Lisa’s Week In Review: 6/15/20 — 6/21/20

Another weeks come to an end.  This year is nearly halfway over and yet it still feels like it hasn’t really even begun.

Anyway, here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week.  I didn’t watch as many movies as I meant to so I’m a bit disappointed in myself.  Oh well.  I’ll make up for it next week!

Films I Watched:

  1. The Assistant (2020)
  2. Cold Turkey (1971)
  3. Contraband (1980)
  4. Hoffa (1992)
  5. A Long Way Off (2014)
  6. The Night Clerk (2020)
  7. Slow Fade (2011)
  8. The Vast of Night (2020)
  9. Wendigo (2001)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever!
  2. The Bold and the Beautiful
  3. Celebrity Ghost Stories
  4. Coming Home
  5. Community
  6. Conan
  7. Days of Our Lives
  8. Doctor Phil
  9. General Hospital
  10. Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back
  11. I Killed My BFF
  12. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  13. The Office
  14. Seinfeld
  15. South Park
  16. The Twilight Zone
  17. Word of Dance
  18. The Young and the Restless

Books I Read:

  1. Esther: Royal Beauty (2015) by Angela Hunt

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Afrojack
  2. Armin van Buuren
  3. Big Data
  4. Bob Dylan
  5. The Chemical Brothers
  6. Coldplay
  7. Ekkah
  8. Elle King
  9. Ellie Goulding
  10. The Heavy
  11. Icona Pop
  12. Jakalope
  13. Kygo
  14. Muse
  15. Neon Indian
  16. Nine Inch Nails
  17. Phantogram
  18. Robyn Adele Anderson
  19. Saint Motel
  20. St. Vincent
  21. ZOON

News From Last Week:

  1. Oscars: 93rd Academy Awards moved to April 25, 2021; eligibility period extended by two months
  2. Ordinary Woman Fired Because of Washington Post Article About Costume She Wore at Halloween Party Two Years Ago
  3. ‘The Good Place’ Producer Megan Amram Grovels for Forgiveness Over Bad Tweets
  4. Jimmy Kimmel announces he is taking the summer off to spend time with his family after blackface controversy among late-night hosts
  5. The Bold and the Beautiful’ using blowup dolls for sex scenes in new episodes
  6. Fall TV schedule takes shape with cancellations, renewals and additions
  7. James Gandolfini Once Threatened to “Beat the F*ck” Out of Harvey Weinstein After a Disagreement
  8. The Oldest Hatred Rears Its Head

Links From Last Week:

  1. Washington Elite’s Stalinist Halloween
  2. The 20 Best Movies Eligible for the 2021 Oscars Right Now
  3. Why Can’t You Get Canceled For Anti-Semitism?
  4. The Washington Post’s Halloween Costume Hit Job Is a New Low for Cancel Culture
  5. Washington Post opens new front in the cancel culture wars
  6. Dirty Harry, The Searchers, and True Lies do not need warning labels
  7. How Quibi became the Fyre Fest of the coronavirus
  8. The American Soviet Mentality
  9. Jimmy Kimmel needs to apologize for blackface sketch, not take a vacation
  10. The “cancel” crew will come for you someday soon.

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin reviewed Bang the Drum Slowly and shared The Sexy Covers of Charles Copeland and More Covers From Hard Case Crime!  She also shared: The Junk Pusher, Death of Jezebel, Film Fun, Past All Dishoner, Shadow of a Killer, The Moving Target, and Father and Son!
  2. Doc wished everyone a Happy Father’s Day and shared a music video from Neon Indian!  (I helped.)
  3. Jeff shared music videos from Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Journey, and Berlin! He also reviewed If Lucy Fell, Megaforce, Rockstar, an issue of What If?, The Trigger Effect, Don King: Only in America, Parallel Lives, Eye See You, Hard Target, and 3000 Miles to Graceland!
  4. I paid tribute to Ian Holm, Lucio Fulci, Daria Nicolodi, and Vilmos Zsigmond.  I reviewed Hoffa, Cold Turkey, and Contraband!  I shared music videos from Robyn Adele Anderson and Ekkah!
  5. Ryan reviewed Chapter Two, Book Fight, Hero, and (extra) Ordinary!

More From Us:

  1. On my music site, I shared songs from Neon Indian, St. Vincent, Coldplay, Kygo & Ellie Goulding, Elle King, and Saint Motel!
  2. On her photography site, Erin shared: Country Rain, Dallas, 311 Market, Hotel Lawrence, Metropolis, D, and On Market Street!
  3. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared songs from Hans Zimmer and Marvin Gaye!
  4. Ryan has a patreon and you should consider subscribing!

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

Have a safe week, everyone!

3000 Miles to Graceland (2001, directed by Demian Lichtenstein)

Five thieves show up in Vegas to rob a casino.  The casino is also hosting an Elvis convention so the criminals all dress up like Elvis before trying to pull off their heist.  Since one of the criminals is played by Kurt Russell and Russell famously played Elvis in a made-for-TV movie, it’s a meta joke.  The worst of the criminals is played by Kevin Costner because, in 2001, Costner’s career was dead in the water and he was trying to reinvent himself as some sort of badass character actor.

As a result of a shootout and series of personal betrayals, Russell and Costner are the only two thieves who survive the heist.  Kurt Russell ends up taking all of the money for himself and running off with single mother Courteney Cox.  (Yes, Cox’s then-husband, David Arquette, does have a small role in the movie.)  Costner pursues them, killing anyone who he comes in contact with until it all leads to one final shoot out.

3000 Miles to Graceland is a stupid, stupid movie that was made at the time when every director was still trying to remake Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects.  If you need any proof of how bad this movie is, just consider that it is one of the few Kurt Russell films to never develop a cult following.  There are people who would jump into the mouth of a volcano if Kurt Russell told them to and even they won’t watch 3000 Miles to Graceland.  Even the worst 90s crime films have at least a few people willing to defend them but 3000 Miles to Graceland has been abandoned on the ash heap of crime film history.  Despite having a once-in-a-lifetime supporting cast — Christian Slater, Bookeem Woodbine, Kevin Pollack, Jon Lovitz, Howie Long, Ice-T, and even Paul Anka — 3000 Miles to Graceland has never even received a direct-to-video sequel.

Why is 3000 Miles to Graceland so forgettable?  The heist storyline has been done to death and this film doesn’t bring anything new to the genre.  The only new wrinkle that 3000 Miles to Graceland brings to its familiar story is that the thieves are all dressed like Elvis and that gets old pretty quick.  The other problem is that Kevin Costner is miscast as the psycho villain.  Michael Madsen could have handled the role.  So could Tom Sizemore or Woody Harrelson or just about other actor out there.  But Kevin Costner, who first found fame as a sort of modern-day Gary Cooper, never seems comfortable playing a cold-hearted sociopath.  He makes up for this discomfort by trying too hard.  Comparing his performance here to his more nuanced turn as another criminal in A Perfect World shows just how miscast he was in 3000 Miles To Graceland.

Fortunately, better things were ahead for almost everyone involved in this movie.  Kevin Costner has recently returned to playing the type of roles that made him a star to begin with and Kurt Russell has become an American idol.  Fortunately, 3000 Miles to Graceland is remembered, if at all, as just an unfortunate detour in their otherwise distinguished careers.

Music Video of the Day: Take My Breath Away by Berlin (1986, directed by Marcello Anciano)

Take My Breath Away was written by Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock after the producers of Top Gun realized that they needed a romantic scene between Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis and that they would need something other than Danger Zone to play during it.  (Originally, the love scene wasn’t in the finished film but when test audiences said that they would like to see one, Cruise and McGillis were brought back to quickly shoot one.  McGillis had dyed her hair for another film, which is why the scene itself is shot in silhouette.)

The song was originally offered to The Motels but it was eventually recorded by Berlin.  (Terri Nunn, the lead singer of Berlin, was one of the contenders for the role of Princess Leia in Star Wars and would have been cast in the role if, for some reason, Carrie Fisher hadn’t worked out.)  Like most of the soundtrack-related music videos of the 80s, the video for Take My Breath Away is a mix of clips from the film and clips of the band performing.