Lisa’s Week In Review: 1/20/20 — 1/26/20

Well, this week kind of sucked.  Things started out okay but then I got massively sick on Thursday and I’m only now really starting to recover.  So, basically, I’ve been out-of-it for the last four days.  (Actually, it’s more like the last 4-and-a-half days because I first started to feel a little bit ill around Wednesday evening.)

Anyway, I’ve been forcing myself to rest and “get better” and all that good stuff.  It sucks because I’m not very good at resting but oh well.  Here’s what I was able to accomplish this week, despite being under the weather.  (I mentioned on twitter that I was “under the weather” and a total stranger responded with something about how there’s this huge conspiracy to control the weather and really, folks — don’t start that shit when you’re talking to someone who is already feeling ill and, therefore, not in a particularly indulgent mood.  I’ve never hit the block button so fast in my life.)

Films I Watched:

  1. Alibi (1929)
  2. Blue Chips (1994)
  3. Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer (2020)
  4. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
  5. Mercy Streets (2000)
  6. The Nomads (2019)
  7. The Path of the Wind (2009)
  8. Romeo and Juliet (1936)
  9. Sounder (1972)
  10. Wild Rose (2019)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. 9-1-1: Lone Star
  2. 60 Days In
  3. Avenue 5
  4. The Bachelor 24
  5. Beverly Hills 90210
  6. Boston Stranger: The Real Story
  7. Cheer
  8. Conan
  9. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  10. Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back
  11. It’s a Living
  12. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  13. The Love Boat
  14. The Office
  15. The Outsider
  16. Seinfeld

Books I Read:

  1. Giant (2018) by Don Graham

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Above & Beyond
  2. Armin van Buuren
  3. Best Coast
  4. Bikini Kill
  5. The Chemical Brothers
  6. Crud
  7. The Damned
  8. Jackie Lynn
  9. Jakalope
  10. The Jam
  11. Jimi Hendrix
  12. Kedr Livanskiy
  13. Maluma
  14. The New York Dolls
  15. Okay Kaya
  16. Selena Gomez
  17. The Sex Pistols
  18. The Slits
  19. Steve Aoki
  20. Twist Helix

Awards Season Links:

  1. DGA
  2. Annie Awards
  3. ASC
  4. USC Scripter Awards
  5. CAS

Links From Last Week:

  1. The former lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania is now doing stand-up comedy in California as ‘Mikey Stacks’
  2. Are new ‘Great Gatsby’ adaptations in our future? The classic’s copyright is set to expire in 2021

Links From The Site:

  1. Case reviewed The Perfection!
  2. Erin shared The Covers of Real Western and featured Charles Moore’s photograph of Martin Luther King, The Million Eyes of Su Muru, They Came To Rob Las Vegas, One Adam and Five Eves, Courage, The Trees, and the Judas Tree!
  3. Jeff reviewed Goin’ South, When Justice Fails, Dilemma, Gunshy, Lipstick Camera, Backstreet Justice, and RamboHe paid tribute to Terry Jones.  He shared music videos by Talking Heads, Monster Magnet, The Beastie Boys, and INXS!
  4. Pat shared some new movie posters that you need to see!
  5. Ryan reviewed Floppy and Wildest Dreams and shared his weekly reading round-up!
  6. I shared music videos from Best Coast, Okay Kaya, and Jackie Lynn!  I shared scenes from La Dolce Vita, Roller Boogie, and Mad Max: Fury Road!  I observed the birthdays of David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, and Paul Newman!  I reviewed Alibi, Tender Mercies, Sounder, and Romeo and Juliet!  Finally, I wrote about 7 films that David Lynch turned down!

More From Us:

  1. At Days without Incident, Leonard wrote about Terry Jones.
  2. At Pop Politics, Jeff wrote about the New York Time presidential endorsements and the death of a former congressman.  He also reviewed Netflix’s Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez!
  3. On her photography site, Erin shared Society, Something In A Tree, Space Available, The Train, Truth, Try and Stop Me, and Twin Fans!
  4. On my music site, I shared songs from Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond, Jimi Hendrix, Twist Helix, Aoki, Best Coast, and Kedr Livanskiy!
  5. Ryan has a patreon, please consider subscribing!

Want to see what I did last week?  Click here!

For some reason, this just amuses the Hell out of me.

Rambo (2008, directed by Sylvester Stallone)

When a group of Christian missionaries needs someone to guide them into Burma so that they can provide medical supply to the oppressed Karen people, they approach John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone).  The missionaries think that Rambo is just an American living in Thailand who makes a meager living as a snake catcher and a boat guide.  Because we’ve seen the previous Rambo films, we know that John Rambo is actually a Vietnam vet who, after destroying the town of Hope, Washington, was recruited by the government to rescue POWs in Vietnam and fight the Russians in Afghanistan.

At first, Rambo tells the missionaries that it’s foolish for them to go anywhere near Burma and that he wants nothing to do with them.  It’s only when Sarah Miller (Julie Benz) asks him personally that Rambo agrees to ferry the missionaries up the Salween River.  Rambo isn’t doing it for the missionaries.  He’s doing it to protect Sarah.

Unfortunately, on the way to the village, Rambo is forced to kill a group of pirates and he is rejected by the pacifist missionaries and, after he drops them off at the village, they order him to leave.  However, after the village is attacked and Sarah is taken prisoner by the Burmese military, Rambo returns.  This time, he’s with a group of younger mercenaries who, like the missionaries before them, don’t know what Rambo is capable of doing.  Rambo soon proves that he might not be as young as used to be but he’s still just as deadly.

During the final 11 minutes of this movie, Rambo kills over a hundred people but fortunately, they’re all bad.  It’s excessively violent and gory and it’s also totally awesome.  When you go to see a Rambo movie, you’re not expecting to see Shakespeare.  You’re expecting to see Rambo blow away the bad guys and, on that front, this film definitely delivers.  Even more than the previous films in the series, Rambo is up front about what happens when someone gets shot by a machine gun or blown up by a bomb.  It’s not pretty picture.  The violence is so gruesome that Rambo could almost pass for an antiwar film if the people that Rambo blows up weren’t all portrayed as being almost cartoonishly evil.

Rambo is also upfront about what that type of violence would do to a man’s psyche.  This film features one of Stallone’s best performances.  Eschewing the comic book heroism of the 2nd and 3rd films in the franchise, Rambo reminds us that, when first introduced in First Blood, John Rambo was portrayed as being a seriously damaged and bitter man, someone who hated what the war had done to him and who felt that he no longer had a home in the normal world.  Stallone was 62 when he starred in Rambo and he surrendered enough of his vanity to actually allow himself to look and sometimes act his age.  In this film, Rambo may start out as bitter but he finally accepts that his pain doesn’t have to define his life.  “Live for nothing or die for something,” Rambo says, a line that has subsequently been picked up by the real life Karen National Liberation Army in Burma.

Of the four sequels to the original First Blood, Rambo is the best.  It has the biggest action sequences, the best Stallone performance, and it alerted people to very real atrocities being carried out against the Karen people.  Coming out shortly after Rocky Balboa, Rambo was one of the films that reminded audiences that Sylvester Stallone still had it.  Rambo was a box office success and, 11 years after its release, it was followed by Last Blood.  I’ll be reviewing that one tomorrow.

4 Shots From 4 Paul Newman Films: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Cool Hand Luke, The Verdict, The Hudsucker Proxy

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

95 years ago today, Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  He would go on, of course, to become one of America’s greatest film stars, an acclaimed actor who was active from the mid-part of the 20th century to the beginning of our current century.  He made his film debut in 1954 with The Silver Chalice (and subsequently paid for an ad in which he apologized for his performance in the film, which I think was a bit unnecessary as he wasn’t really that bad in the film) and he made his final onscreen appearance in 2005 in Empire Falls.  (He did, however, subsequently provide the voice of Doc Hudson in Cars, along with narrating a few documentaries.)  Time and again, he proved himself to be one of the best actors around.  According to most report, he was also one of the nicest.  When he died in 2008, the world mourned.

In honor of his cinematic legacy, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Paul Newman Films

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958, dir by Richard Brooks)

Cool Hand Luke (1967, dir by Stuart Rosenberg)

The Verdict (1981, dir by Sidney Lumet)

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, dir by the Coen Brothers)

Scene That I Love For Australia Day: The Chase Begins in Mad Max: Fury Road

Time zones really suck!

I’m in America right now and the date here is currently January 26th.  Now, I look at that date and I think to myself, “Hey, it’s Australia Day!  I’ve got friends in Australia and, according to our site stats, this site has got quite a few readers over there as well!  I definitely need to wish everyone a good holiday!”

Except, of course, I’m a day behind Australia.  In Australia, it’s currently January 27th.  Australia Day was yesterday.

So, what can I say?  I’m a day late in wishing everyone a happy Australia Day and the time zones are too blame.  I’ve never understood why we need time zones anyways.  Don’t even get me started on the International Date Line, which I think was only invented to leave people like me feeling confused.

Oh well.  Happy belated Australia Day!

Today’s scene of the day is from the second-most financially successful Australian film of all time, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road.  I don’t know if it’s possible to really describe just how exciting it was to see this film for the first time.  At a time when action films were typically unambitious and uninspired, Mad Max: Fury Road grabbed the world and said, “Wake up, dammit!”

Of course, the film itself is about more than just action.  It’s about empowerment and freedom and the environment and redemption.  It’s a film that seems to be taking place in another world.  That is, until you see all the cars and the spray paint and then you’re like, “Oh wait a minute.  This just humanity in the future.”  Mad Max: Fury Road was nominated for Best Picture and really, it should have won.  Does anyone remember which film beat it?  (The correct answer is Spotlight.)

In this scene below …. well, the chase begins!  And it’s an amazing scene, largely because there is no CGI.  There is no shaky cam designed to make things look more exciting than it actually was.  Those are actual cars, speeding through an actual desert and that’s an actual person playing a guitar that shoots out fire.  And you know what?  Give some credits to the drummers too.

This scene was, of course, directed by George Miller.  Check it all out below:

After Last Night, 1917 is your new Oscar front runner!

There were a lot of very important awards given out last night and suddenly, the Oscar race has become much, much clearer.  Yes, Parasite is a big contender and it’s certainly a big deal that it won at SAG.  It’ll probably win quite a few Oscars.  But, as of right now, the front runner for best picture is clearly 1917.

Not only has 1917 won the PGA award but, last night, Sam Mendes won the DGA.  1917 is coming on strong and it’s late release date is definitely working in its favor.  It came out just in time to wow the Oscar voters but also late enough that there wasn’t time for any sort of backlash to develop against it.  If I had to guess now, I’d say that 1917 is going to win Best Picture and we can at least take comfort in the fact that it’s better than the last Sam Mendes film that won.

Anyway, instead of doing like 30 different posts for each group that met last night, here’s a quick rundown:

The DGA (Director’s Guild of America) — Sam Mendes won Best Director for 1917.  Honey Boy’s Alma Har’el won for Best First Time Director.  The documentary award went to Steven Bogner and Julia Reichert for American Factory.

Annie Awards (Animation) — Klaus won Best Feature.  I Lost My Body won best indie feature.

ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) — Roger Deakins for 1917

USC Scripter Awards (Adapted Screenplay) — Greta Gerwig for Little Women

CAS (Cinema Audio Society) — Best Feature went to Ford v. Ferrari.  Best Animated Feature went to Toy Story 4.  Best Documentary Feature was won by Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound.

So, for all you people making your Oscar bets — well, who knows?  Listen, the Oscars are unpredictable.  GREEN BOOK WON LAST YEAR, PEOPLE!  So, anything’s possible.  One thing to remember is that Best Picture is determined by a preferential voting system so it’s a close race between two films, it could easily be everyone’s second choice that wins.  And that could mean an upset victory for something like Ford v Ferrari or even Little Women.

But, as for right now, 1917 is the front runner.

Lisa Marie Picks The Best of The 2019 Lifetime Films

Today, I continue my look back at 2019 with the best of Lifetime!

(For my previous best of Lifetime picks, click on the links: 2014201520162017, and 2018!)

Best Picture: Escaping the NXIVM Cult

Best Director: Lisa Robinson, Escaping the NXIVM Cult

Best Actor: Eric Roberts, Stalked By My Doctor: A Sleepwalker’s Nightmare

Best Actress: Maira Walsh, Identity Theft Of A Cheerleader

Best Supporting Actor: Peter Facinelli, Escaping the NXIVM Cult

Best Supporting Actress: Sarah Dugdale, Death of a Cheerleader

Best Screenplay: Amish Abduction

Music Video of the Day: What You Need by INXS (1985, directed by Richard Lowenstein and Lynn-Maree Milburn)

Today is Australia Day and today’s music video of the day comes from one of the biggest Australian bands of the last century, INXS.

What You Need was the leadoff track from their 1985 album, Listen Like Thieves.  It was the first single off the album in Australia and New Zealand while, in the US, it was released after This Time.  It also went on to become the band’s first top ten hit in the United States.  That shouldn’t be a surprise as the song was recorded after the album’s producer expressed concern that Listen Like Thieves was good but didn’t have a “hit.”  The band wrote and recorded the song in one day.

The song’s popularity was undoubtedly helped by this music video, which came out at a time when rotoscope was still a fairly exotic animation technique.  The video was named Best Video at the 1985 Countdown and Music Video Awards.