Lisa’s Week In Review: 7/13/20 — 7/19/20

The best thing about this week?  On Saturday, as the host of the week’s #ScarySocial live tweet, I got to introduce a whole new group of people — including four of my colleagues here at the Shattered Lens — to Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead!  Leonard, Jeff, Case, and Patrick joined me and a few others in watching Fulci’s classic zombie film.  Here’s just some of their opinions about the film:

#ScarySocial is a weekly event.  Basically, every Saturday at 9pm eastern, we watch and live tweet a movie.  I’m one of three hosts, along with Tim Buntley and Deanna Dawn.  It’s a lot of fun and next week, we’ll be watching the 1986 film, House.  So, if you’ve got the time and you want to watch a horror movie with a good group of people, check out our twitter account for more details!

Here’s what else I did this week.  To be honest, I probably did more shopping this week than I should have but we all deal with stress of modern life in our own way, right?

Films I Watched:

  1. Becky (2020)
  2. Cease Fire (1985)
  3. City of the Living Dead (1980)
  4. Escape from New York (1981)
  5. M.O.M. Mother of Monsters (2020)
  6. Where Have All The People Gone? (1974)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Alienist
  2. Family Feud (These were like old episodes from 1988.  It’s weird what you discover on Prime.)
  3. King of the Hill
  4. The Love Boat
  5. The Office
  6. Ozark
  7. Planet of the Apes
  8. The Powers of Matthew Star
  9. Snowpiercer
  10. Unbelievable

Books I Read:

  1. The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History (2020) by Andy Greene
  2. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed (2015) by Jon Ronson

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Big Data
  2. Britney Spears
  3. The Chemical Brothers
  4. The Crystal Method
  5. Cults
  6. Ennio Morricone
  7. Garth Emery
  8. HAIM
  9. Hardwell
  10. Havelock
  11. Jakalope
  12. John Carpenter
  13. Ludwig Göransson
  14. Motorama
  15. Public Service Broadcasting
  16. Purity Ring
  17. Roosevelt
  18. Saint Motel
  19. TAKIA
  20. UPSAHL

Our Ongoing Tribute to Morricone:

  1. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  2. Man With A Harmonica (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  3. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  4. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  5. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  6. Desolation (The Thing)
  7. The Legend of the Pianist (The Legend of 1900)

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin profiled Everett Raymond Kinstler and shared Illustrated World, Weird Tales, Rage on the Bar, Captain Dack and the Mystery of Peril Island, Danger Trail, Adventure, and Forever Evil!
  2. Jeff reviewed Footsteps, Marooned, The Gladiator, Disaster on the Coastliner, Demolition High, Demolition University, and Repo Jake!
  3. I shared music videos from Roosevelt, TAKIA, Ludwig Göransson, Havelock, Haim, Gareth Emery, and Motorama!  And I reviewed Becky, M.O.M., Carlito’s Way, and Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power!
  4. Ryan reviewed The Werewolf Expert and Incoherents 2/UBU!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  You should consider subscribing!
  2. On her photography site, Erin shared Around the Neighborhood, Trampled, Richland, Richland 2, The Park, Two Trees, and Turtle!
  3. At Pop Politics, Jeff wrote about Kelly Preston, The Redskins, Kanye West, Bari Weiss, Nick Cannon, and Kanye West again!
  4. On my music site, I shared songs from UPSAHL, Purity Ring, John Carpenter, Cults, Paul Engemann, The Crystal Method, and Garth Emery!

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

Repo Jake (1990, directed by Joseph Merhi)

Jake (Dan Haggerty) is a former Marine and sock car racer from Minnesota who comes out to Los Angeles in search of a new beginning.  A fan of John Wayne, the laid back Jake always tries to do the right thing.  His first day in L.A., he thwarts a purse snatching and gets a girlfriend named Jenny (Dana Bentley).  He also gets a job as a repo man.  He repossesses cars from people who aren’t paying their bills and he always does it with a polite smile on his face.  He’s the nicest repo man around but that doesn’t keep him from getting on the wrong side of some of the people he meets.  When he repossesses the car of a local pornographer, the mob demands that Jake take part in an illegal demolition derby.  If he wins, he’ll live.  If he loses, both he and everyone who matters to him will die.

Haggerty’s genial presence is the best thing about Repo Jake, a low-budget movie that would probably be unwatchable without him.  Haggerty’s so likable that he makes scenes work even when they shouldn’t.  My favorite moment was when he walked in on a sleazy photographer trying to manipulate a model into posing topless. “I’m here to repossess your car and I’m pissed off,” Jake politely says before knocking the photographer across the room.  If you didn’t know who Dan Haggerty was, you might think that the producers just grabbed a real repo man off the streets and made him the star of their movie.  With his big beard and his mellow vibes, Haggerty was a legitimate Hollywood character.  Though he found fame playing Grizzly Adams on television, he was arrested in 1984 for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer and his career never really recovered.  Haggerty went from being a TV star to appearing in movies like Repo Jake.

The plot of Repo Jake is pretty dumb and nearly impossible to follow.  It never makes sense that Jake would be forced to take part in the demolition derby.  Actually, nothing about the movie makes sense but a lot of cars get wrecked, a helicopter gets repossessed, and Dan Haggerty knocks a purse snatcher through a store window and it’s all so stupid and Jake’s so friendly that the end result is actually pretty cool.  Repo Jake is saved by the sheer likability of Dan Haggerty.  It’s hardly a good movie but, at the same time, it’s not a terrible way to spend 90 minutes of your life.

Song of the Day: The Legend of the Pianist by Ennio Morricone

Today’s song of the day comes from The Legend of 1900, a 1998 film that probably deserves to be a bit better known than it is.  The film’s score was composed by the great Ennio Morricone.  Today’s song from Morricone is The Legend of the Pianist.

Previous Entries In Our Tribute To Morricone:

  1. Deborah’s Theme (Once Upon A Time In America)
  2. Violaznioe Violenza (Hitch-Hike)
  3. Come Un Madrigale (Four Flies on Grey Velvet)
  4. Il Grande Silenzio (The Great Silence)
  5. The Strength of the Righteous (The Untouchables)
  6. So Alone (What Have You Done To Solange?)
  7. The Main Theme From The Mission (The Mission)
  8. The Return (Days of Heaven)
  9. Man With A Harmonic (Once Upon A Time In The West)
  10. The Ecstasy of Gold (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  11. The Main Theme From The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly)
  12. Regan’s Theme (The Exorcist II: The Heretic)
  13. Desolation (The Thing)

An Offer You Can Refuse #22: Carlito’s Way: Rise To Power (dir by Michael Bregman)

After you watched Carlito’s Way, you may have asked yourself, “Gee, I wonder how Carlito came to power in the first place?  I wonder what he was like when he was young….”

Now, keep in mind, you may have asked yourself that.  I did not ask myself that.  To be honest, I didn’t really care.  Carlito’s Way pretty much told me everything that I needed to know about Carlito’s past.  Just the fact that people on the street respected him as soon as he got out of prison and that everyone was trying to get him to restart his life of crime told me that Carlito was obviously a big deal in the past.  So, I didn’t really need a prequel.

But, obviously, the people behind the 2005 film, Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power, disagreed.  I guess I can understand their logic.  When you’ve got a hit film, it’s only natural to try to do a follow-up.  And when the first film ends with the main character dying, you really don’t have much choice but to do a prequel.  And let’s give credit where credit is due.  Long before the movies were made, Carlito Brigante was the main character of two novels written by Edwin Torres.  Carlito’s Way: Rise To Power is based on the first of those novels and Torres reportedly said that he appreciated that the prequel stuck close to what he had written.  So, it’s not like they just made up this film’s plot out of thin air.

That said, it’s still not a very good film.  It takes place in the 60s, with young Carlito (Jay Hernandez) working his way up the ladder in New York’s drug chain.  His partners, who he met in jail, are Earl (Mario Van Peebles) and Rocco (Michael Kelly).  When they’re release from jail, they find themselves in the middle of drug war between Hollywood Nicky (Sean Combs) and the Bottolota Family, led by Artie (Burt Young).  The three friends play the two sides against each other while also dealing with all of the usual betrayals and random violence that one normally expects to find in a movie like this.  Luis Guzman shows up, playing a coke-snorting hitman named Nacho.  It’s a bit disconcerting since Guzman played a different character in Carlito’s Way but it’s still always good to see Luis Guzman.

Anyway, the main problem with Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power can be seen in the casting of the main characters.  Carlito’s Way had Al Pacino, Sean Penn, and John Leguizamo.  Rise To Power has Jay Hernandez and Mario Van Peebles.  Whatever gritty authenticity the film may be aiming for vanishes as soon as Mario Van Peebles looks straight at camera and smiles at his reflection.  As for Jay Hernandez, he’s a likable actor but he’s the exact opposite of intimidating.  You’d probably say yes if he asked you to prom but he does’t exactly come across like someone who could take over the New York drug racket.  When Sean Combs is the most dangerous person in your movie, you’re looking at trouble.

Director Michael Bregman attempts to imitate a bit of Brian De Palma’s style from the first film and Jay Hernandez does his best to sound Pacino-like in his voice-over narration but the end result is flat and predictable.  This is an offer that you can refuse.

Previous Offers You Can’t (or Can) Refuse:

  1. The Public Enemy
  2. Scarface (1932)
  3. The Purple Gang
  4. The Gang That Could’t Shoot Straight
  5. The Happening
  6. King of the Roaring Twenties: The Story of Arnold Rothstein 
  7. The Roaring Twenties
  8. Force of Evil
  9. Rob the Mob
  10. Gambling House
  11. Race Street
  12. Racket Girls
  13. Hoffa
  14. Contraband
  15. Bugsy Malone
  16. Love Me or Leave Me
  17. Murder, Inc.
  18. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
  19. Scarface (1983)
  20. The Untouchables
  21. Carlito’s Way