Film Review: Palm Springs Weekend (dir by Norman Taurog)


The 1963 film Palm Springs Weekend asks the question, “When is a beach film not a beach film?”

When it takes place in the freaking desert!

That’s right, Palm Springs Weekend takes place in the middle of the California desert.  There’s no ocean in sight nor are there any beaches on which to frolic.  Instead, there’s just a cheap motel and a swimming pool.  That said, Palm Springs Weekend pretty much follows the same formula as all of the beach films that were released in the early 60s.  A group of college students hop on a bus and head off for the weekend.  One student is wacky.  One student is rich, wild, and dangerous to know.  And, of course, one student is clean-cut, responsible, boring, asexual, and studious and all about doing the right thing.

Troy Donahue, the blandest teen idol of all time, plays the clean-cut student.  His name is Jim and he’s a college basketball star.  Even when he’s on the bus traveling to Palm Springs, he’s still got a book to study.  Jim’s the type who wears a suit and a tie to the pool.  He ends up falling in love with Bunny Dixon (Stefanie Powers) and the two of them spend a lot of time talking about sex in the most chaste way possible.  Bunny’s father (played by Andrew Duggan) is the chief of police and he doesn’t want any crazy college kids causing trouble in his town!  Well, it’s a pretty good thing that all he has to worry about is Troy Donaue asking his daughter if she wants to take a moonlight stroll in the middle of the desert.

(Trust me.  I’ve spent enough time in the desert to know that the last thing you want to do when you live near rattlesnakes is take a moonlight stroll.)

Jim’s best friend is Biff (Jerry Van Dyke).  Biff is the wacky college student, which means that he plays the ukulele and he gets all the comedic moments.  In this film, that amounts to getting babysitting an annoying boy and, at one point, falling into an extremely sudsy pool.  Luckily, Jim’s there to deliver CPR, which leads to soap bubbles floating out of Biff’s mouth and …. you know what?  I’m tired of writing about Biff.

Anyway, Biff and Jim really aren’t that important.  The entire film pretty much belongs to Robert Conrad and Connie Stevens, largely because they’re the only two actors who are allowed to break out of the trap of always either being bumbling and innocent or dramatic and self-righteous.  Robert Conrad plays Eric Dean, who is a spoiled rich kid who owns an expensive and fast car and who is basically a fun-loving sociopath.  Meanwhile, Connie Stevens plays Gail, who is a high senior and who is pretending to be a college student.  And while the film insists that we should somehow be disappointed in Gail because she’s acting wild and breaking curfew and doing more than just talking about whether or not it’s appropriate to kiss on the first date, she’s actually the most compelling character in the film because, at the very least, she’s actually setting her own rules and making her own decisions.  Since Palm Springs Weekend was made in 1963, it ultimately feels the need to try to punish Gail for thinking for herself but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s still a far more interesting character than the blandly innocent Bunny.  Gail’s a rebel.  Gail’s the future.  All hail Gail!

Anyway, Palm Springs Weekend is pretty forgettable and it’s never as much fun as any of AIP’s old Beach Party films.  That said, I’d still recommend it if you’re a history nerd like me.  It’s definitely a film of its time, a time capsule of an era.

Here’s The Trailer For The Lighthouse!


So, I just finished watching the trailer for The Lighthouse and I am now officially excited!

Robert Eggers previously directed one of the best horror films in recent memory, The Witch.  Well, he’s back now with The Lighthouse, a black-and-white film about two men (Willem DaFoe and Robert Pattinson), one lighthouse, and one secret.  The trailer is wonderfully creepy and the black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous.  I can’t wait to see this film!

Here’s the trailer:

 

Here’s The Trailer for Queen & Slim!


Queen & Slim is a film that’s been getting of positive buzz.  Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith play a couple on a first date whose lives are turned upside down when they’re pulled over by a racist cop.  The cop ends up dead and Kaluua and Turner-Smith end up on the run.

And here’s the just-released trailer!

Queen & Slim will be released in November, just in time for Oscar season.  Judging from the trailer, this film is either going to be very powerful or way too heavy-handed.  Daniel Kaluuya is probably one of the most interesting actors around right now so I’m always happy to see anything he’s involved with.

Lisa’s Early Oscar Predictions For July


It’s that time of the month, again!

(No, not that time!)

It’s time for me to present my predictions for who and what will be nominated for the Academy Awards next January!  Now that we’re nearly done with the summer, the Oscar picture is becoming a bit more clear.  For instance, I do think that Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is going to be a player, if just because it’s about actors and the Actors Branch is the biggest voting bloc in the Academy.  (How do you think Birdman and Argo managed to win?)  And the trailer for The Irishman makes it look like the type of Scorsese film that often gets nominated.

Still, it’s too early to say anything for sure.  Last year, for instance, Green Book didn’t really become a player until fairly late in the season.  In fact, at this time last year, everyone still thought A Star Is Born was going to win everything.

So, with all that in mind, here are my predictions for July.  Be sure to also check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, and June!

Best Picture

1917

The Aeronauts

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Fair and Balanced

Harriet

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Pain & Glory

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Best Director

Pedro Almodovar for Pain & Glory

Kasi Lemmons for Harriet

Sam Mendes for 1917

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

John Lithgow in Fair and Balanced

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in Where’d You Go Bernadette?

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Rene Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Shia LaBeouf in The Peanut Butter Falcon

Malcolm McDowell in Fair and Balanced

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes

Taika Waititi in JoJo Rabbit

Best Supporting Actress

Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Janelle Monae in Harriet

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Meryl Streep in Little Women

Oh Hell Yeah! It’s The Trailer for The Irishman!


Oh hell yeah!

The trailer for Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman has been released!

In The Irishman, Robert De Niro plays Frank Shearan, a hitman who was active in the mob for decades.  Before his death, he claimed that he was not only responsible for the death of Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, Sr. but also that he played a role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy!

Robert De Niro plays the Irishman.  Al Pacino plays Hoffa.  Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ann Paquin, and Ray Romano all have supporting roles!  (Don’t roll your eyes at that last one.  Romano has actually developed into a fairly interesting character actor.)  Apparently, a huge amount of money was spent on de-aging CGI so that the elderly De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, and Keitel could all play men in their 30s and 40s.  It’s either going to be brilliant or it’s going to be like Captain Marvel, where you were happy to see Samuel L. Jackson looking so young but you couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t seem to be quite as expressive as usual.

Listen, I love conspiracy movies.  I love gangster movies.  I love historical movies.  And I love Scorsese movies!

Bring it on, Netflix!

Music Video Of The Day: Animal by Miike Snow (2009, dir by Sebastian Mlynarski)


This is one of two music videos for Miike Snow’s Animal.  I prefer this one because it features some moody shots of the band standing in the rain and the whole thing has a sort of end of the world, apocalyptic feel to it.  The song itself has been interpreted to be about everything from addiction to ennui to the furry sub-culture.  The band has been said quoted as saying that maybe we shouldn’t try to read too much into the song.

(For the record, I have never gotten the whole “furry” thing, nor have I really had any desire to understand it.  I mean, to be honest, it just seems stupid.  Unfortunately, I once took a creative writing class where one of my classmates was absolutely obsessed with furries and he even wrote a play about some sort of sex-obsessed space bear.  And, of course, the presidential campaign of Beto O’Rourke has put furries back in the headlines.)

Miike Snow is made up of lead singer Andrew Wyatt and Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg.  Karlsson and Winberg previously produced Toxic for Britney Spears.  When Animal was first released as a single, there was a lot of online speculation that the band was named after director Takashi Miike but, sadly, that turned out to be false.  Apparently, the band actually is named after someone named Mike Snow.  The band added an extra i because …. well, just because they felt like doing it.

More power to them, say I!

Enjoy!