See What The Buzz Is About : Steve Lafler’s “BugHouse” Book One

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It’s always a treat when a staple of your reading youth (and in this case I use the term “youth” advisedly, as I was well into my twenties when the series in question originally saw print) becomes available again for a new generation to enjoy — or for members of your own generation who may have missed out on it the first time around to finally discover for themselves. There’s bound to be a bit of risk involved in re-visiting something you hold in high esteem, though, isn’t there? I mean, a person’s tastes and expectations change over time, there’s no doubt about that — or at least they damn well should — so what appealed to you at age 25 stands a very real chance of just not doing the job for your 40-something self. Above and beyond that, though, there’s also a very real possibility that changing times

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Spring Breakdown: Love In A Goldfish Bowl (dir by Jack Sher)

The 1961 film, Love in a Goldfish Bowl, tells the story of two college students.

Gordon Slide (Tommy Sands) and Blythe Holloway (Toby Michaels) are best friends.  Their relationship is strictly platonic, though everyone at the college assumes that they’re more than just friends.  Gordon and Blythe both share the common bond of coming from broken but wealthy families and they both want to do something more with their lives than just following the rules.  Blythe is a good student, the daughter of a senator.  Gordon is styles himself as being a cynic, or at least what was considered to be a cynic by the standards of 1961.  (James Dean would have probably called him a phony.)  The school’s headmaster (John McGiver) suspects that 1) Gordon and Blythe are more than just friends and 2) that Gordon is a bad influence on Blythe.  He even orders them to stop seeing each other, which I guess is something that headmasters could get away with in 1961.

Still, it’s going to take more than some stuffy authority figure to keep Gordon and Blythe for enjoying their Spring Break!  Especially when Gordon’s mother happens to own a beach house, which would be the perfect place for the two of them to hang out.  Despite knowing that each of their parent probably wouldn’t approve of them spending the break together, Gordon and Blythe decide to do just that.  Blythe even gets permission for her father, albeit by duplicitous means.  (Gordon imitates the headmaster on the phone.  Wow, that wild and crazy Gordon.)

At first, the beach house seems like the perfect place for Gordon and Blythe to unwind.  But when they meet Giuseppe La Barba (Fabian Forte), things start to change.  A member of the Coast Guard, Giuseppe plots to steal Blythe away from Gordon, with his schemes causing Gordon and Blythe to reconsider their feelings for each other.

Considering that this film is 60 years old, it’s perhaps not surprising that Love In A Goldfish Bowl often feels like it’s a rusty time capsule that someone buried in the sand on a California beach.  Everything from the intrusive headmaster to the scandal of divorce to the domestic routine that both Gordon and Blythe naturally slip into as soon as they arrive at the beach house makes this film feel almost as if it comes from another planet.  While the film is critical of adults who don’t understand what it’s like to be young and idealistic, it also ultimately ends with the suggestion that the adults might not be so clueless themselves.  It’s a bit of a wishy-washy approach to what little conflict the film has to offer up.

My point here is that Love In A Goldfish Bowl is an amazingly innocent little film, the type of Spring Break movie that would cause even your grandma to say, “Those kids really need to loosen up and live a little.”  Usually, I kind of like time capsule films like this, just because I’m a history nerd and I’m always interested in seeing how people used to live and communicate.  Unfortunately, Love In A Goldfish Bowl is a remarkably slow 88 minutes and neither Tommy Sands nor Toby Michaels have enough chemistry to be interesting as friends, let alone as a chaste couple waiting for their wedding night.  Fabian has a little bit more screen presence than Tommy Sands but overall, this is a pretty bland affair.

Ultimately, this film is mostly interesting as an example of what beach movies were like before AIP reinvented the genre with the Frankie and Annette beach party films.  Thank goodness people finally learned how to celebrate being young and on the beach.

Scene that I Love: The Finale of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo

Yojimbo (1961, directed by Akira Kurosawa)

The great filmmaker, Akira Kurosawa, was born 111 years ago today, in Tokyo.  Kurosawa would go on to become one of the most influential directors of all time, making 30 films over a career that lasted 57 years.  Though Kurosawa is often cited as an influence on westerns (Seven Samurai became The Magnificent Seven, Yojimbo inspired Serigo Leone to create The Man With No Name), Kurosawa’s influence goes for beyond just one genre.  He directed action films.  He directed gangster films.  He directed social problem films.  He directed historical epics.  Kurosawa taught an entire generation of future film film directors the language of cinema.

In honor of the anniversary of Akira Kurosawa’s birth, here is a scene that we all love from his 1961 masterpiece, Yojimbo.  Playing the lead role of the lone swordsman is, of course, Kurosawa’s frequent star, Toshiro Mifune.


4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Michael Haneke Edition

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

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 79th birthday to the great Austrian director, Michael Haneke!  One of the most thought-provoking and visually proficient directors of all time, Haneke has been challenging viewers for decades.  His films may sometimes be controversial but no one can deny their importance.  Here are….

4 Shots From 4 Michael Haneke Films

Benny’s Video (1992, dir by Michael Haneke, DP: Christian Berger)

Time of the Wolf (2003, dir by Michael Haneke, DP: Jurgen Jurges)

Cache (2005, dir by Michael Haneke, DP: Christian Berger)

The White Ribbon (2009, dir by Michael Haneke, DP: Christian Berger)

Music Video of the Day: Send Her My Love by Journey (1983, directed by Phil Tuckett)

“I had a girlfriend when I was a teenager and somebody had called backstage to one of the shows and said, ‘Virginia still talks about you and your relationship.’ It was just one of those offhanded comments. I looked at her and just said, ‘Send her my love.’

I walked out, and it hit me: ‘Wait a minute, that’s a song!’

I went home and I called Steve Perry up and I said I came up with this idea, and we wrote it on the spot. A lot of this stuff we wrote was just on the spot. Very, very spontaneous. We kind of wrote with an urgency because we didn’t have a lot of time together. The road was hard enough. When we did write, we wrote very intense. All the lyrics were, like, within hours. We didn’t mess around.”

— Jonathan Cain on Send Her My Love

Like so many of Journey’ videos (with the notable exception of Separate Ways), the video for Send Her My Love is a no-nonsense performance clip.  This video was directed by Phil Tuckett, who also directed videos for Slayer, Def Leppard, Europe, The Black Crowes, and others.