Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 12/20/21 — 12/26/21


I hope everyone had a good holiday!

Just one more week and this year is over!  We’ve got a lot of good things in store for this site in 2022.  I can’t wait for our readers to see them and tell us what they think!

Here’s what I did this week.

Films I Watched:

  1. Big Sur (2013)
  2. A Christmas Story (1983)
  3. Die Hard (1988)
  4. Die Hard 2 (1990)
  5. Don’t Look Up (2021)
  6. Elf (2003)
  7. Goodfellas (1990)
  8. Holiday Affair (1949)
  9. It’s A Wonderful Life (1947)
  10. Lethal Weapon (1987)
  11. Nebraska (2013)
  12. Paradise Cove (2021)
  13. Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  14. The Shop Around The Corner (1940)
  15. Staying Alive (1983)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. A Very Boy Band Holiday
  2. The Brady Bunch
  3. Dexter: New Blood
  4. Football
  5. Kelly Clarkson Presents: When Christmas Comes Around
  6. The Love Boat
  7. The Office
  8. Santa Claus is Coming To Town
  9. Saved By The Bell

Books I Read:

  1. Night of Camp David (1965) by Fletcher Knebel

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Bee Gees
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. Broken Peach
  4. Britney Spears
  5. Camila Cabello
  6. Darlene Love
  7. Jake Bugg
  8. Idina Menzel
  9. Katy Perry
  10. Lindsey Stirling
  11. Norah Jones
  12. Norman Greenbaum
  13. Saint Motel
  14. Taylor Swift
  15. Yvonne Elliman

Awards Season:

  1. St. Louis Film Critics Association Winners
  2. Indiana Film Journalists Association Winners
  3. DFW Film Critics Winners
  4. Online Association of Female Film Critics Winners
  5. Nevada Film Critics Society Winners
  6. Florida Film Critics Circle Winners
  7. Black Film Critics Circle Winners
  8. North Texas Film Critics Winners
  9. Greater Western New York Film Critics Association Nominations

Trailers:

  1. The Northman

Best of 2021:

  1. Top Ten Single Issue Comics (Ryan C)
  2. Top Ten Comics Series (Ryan C)
  3. Top Ten Special Mentions (Ryan C)
  4. Top Ten Vintage Collections (Ryan C)

News From Last Week:

  1. Jean-Marc Vallée Has Died; Director Of ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ & ‘Sharp Objects’ Was 58
  2. Joan Didion dies at 87
  3. Hamptons cops pull over Alec Baldwin, Hilaria after warrant issued for his phone
  4. Emmy Rule Changes: Dramas and Comedies Will No Longer Be Determined By Hour or Half-Hour Length
  5. Britney Spears’ Father, Who Was Suspended From Conservatorship, Requests Daughter Pay Legal Fees
  6. Jagged Little Pill’ Will Not Reopen on Broadway Due to Omicron Surge
  7. Chris Noth Dropped From CBS’ ‘The Equalizer’ After Sexual Assault Allegations
  8. Palm Springs Film Awards Ceremony Canceled Due to COVID Concern

Links From Last Week:

  1. My Traumatizing Years With Bryan Singer
  2. What really happened to Ronald Hunkeler, who inspired ‘The Exorcist’
  3. Tater’s December 2021 in Books
  4. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 12/17/21
  5. Santa Smokes! Hilarious Cigarette Ads! Celebrities Hawking Holiday Products!

Links From The Site:

  1. Erin shared Universe Science Fiction, The Sensualists, Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Welcome, Star, and the Day After!  She also shared a scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas!
  2. Leonard reviewed Licorice Pizza!
  3. Jeff wished everyone a happy Festivus!
  4. Doc wished everyone a Merry Christmas!
  5. I shared music videos from Saint Motel, Norman Greenbaum, Frank Sinatra, Norah Jones, Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, and Darlene LoveI shared my week in television!  I reviewed Wild Indian and Fear and Loathing in Aspen.  I shared scenes from Goodfellas, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Less than Zero!  I shared Treevenge!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  Subscribe!
  2. At her photography site, Erin shared Purple, Yellow, Cowboy, Inside the Dollhouse, Merry Christmas Eve, Merry Christmas, and Squirrel!
  3. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared The Family Madrigal!
  4. At my music site, I shared songs from Norman Greenbaum, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Bob Dylan, Katy Perry, Lindsey Stirling, and Broken Peach!

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

Catching-Up With The Films of 2021: Fear and Loathing in Aspen (dir by Bobby Kennedy IIII)


The year is 1970 and big business has all the power in Aspen, Colorado.  The landscape is being bulldozed to make room for time-shares.  The once pristine ground is being covered in asphalt.  The rich are using Aspen as their own personal playground while the hippies, drawn to the town by the beautiful landscape, are regularly used as scapegoats for every problem that the town encounters.

A struggling journalist named Hunter S. Thompson (Jay Bulger) wants to change that.  When Thompson first declares that he will be running a third party, “freak power” campaign for Sheriff of Pitkin County, his main concern is getting paid to write about it and perhaps becoming a regular contributor to Rolling Stone Magazine.  But, as the campaign starts to grow and Thompson finds success in motivating the hippies to actually register to vote, he starts to realize that he could actually win this thing.  Despite the efforts of Aspen’s mayor (Cheryl Hines, the stepmother of the film’s director), “freak power” is on the verge of turning the establishment upside down.

Fear and Loathing in Aspen is based on the true story of Thompson’s campaign.  Thompson did not win but he did go on to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and to cover the 1972 presidential election for Rolling Stone.  Thompson was an iconoclast, a writer who as open about his love for drugs as he was for his love of guns.  He committed suicide in 2005.  If he were still with us, one imagines that he would probably love Bernie while hating Trump, Biden, and Twitter.  There have been a few, generally uneven attempts to bring Thompson and his writing to cinematic life, the most famous probably being Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, starring Johnny Depp as Thompson.

Fear and Loathing Aspen stars Jay Bulger as Thompson and it should be said that Bulger does a good job in the role.  While he doesn’t quite have the movie star charisma of Johnny Depp, he is believable as a sincere prankster, as someone who is genuinely torn between whether or not to burn it all down or to try to make people’s lives better by participating in the system.  Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn’t really rise up to the level of Bulger’s performance.  Cheryl Hines, Laird Macinstosh, and Paul Morgan all give such cartoonishly evil performances as Thompson’s political opponents that it makes Steve Carell’s performance as Donald Rumsfeld in Vice look nuanced and intelligent by comparison.  The film’s director tends to rely a bit too much on obvious tricks, like split screens and shaky hand-held footage.  It gets distracting.

The director, by the way, is Bobby Kennedy III, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.  There’s some irony to be found in a film about outsiders being directed by a member of the Kennedy family, particularly the son of someone who would probably just be another Facebook conspiracy troll if not for the circumstances of his birth.  Fear and Loathing in Aspen may tell the story of an outsiders revolt but it doesn’t feel authentic.  With the exception of a few scenes, it feels like counterculture cosplay.

Four Color Apocalypse Year In Review : Top Ten Vintage Collections


Moving right along with our 2021 round-up, we arrive at the TOP TEN VINTAGE COLLECTIONS list. The rules for this category are as simple as they are arbitrary on my part : basically, any book which collects and/or presents comics material originally published prior to the year 2000 fits my definition of “vintage.” One of these years I should probably bump that up by a decade or so, but this is not that year. This category also includes translated works such as manga, Eurocomics, and the like, provided they’re chronologically appropriate. And with that out of the way, here’s what we’ve got :

10. Scoop Scuttle And His Pals : The Crackpot Comics Of Basil Wolverton, Edited By Greg Sadowski (Fantagraphics) – A legitimately uproarious collection or little-seen early Wolverton humor strips meticulously restored and overseen by the comics historian who knows his work best, these are admittedly not as outrageously OTT as what would come later, but stand well enough on their own to mark this book as more than simply a compendium of early-days curiosities. If there’s not enough fun stuff in your current reading pile, picking this up will surely rectify that situation immediately.

9. Alberto Breccia’s Dracula, Translated By Jamie Richards (Fantagraphics) – Lavish wordless strips from the Argentinian master that place history’s most infamous vampire in conflict with the dual soul-crushing forces of military dictatorship and US commercial imperialism, this was both gutsy stuff for its time and, as it turns out, a prescient warning about the future. Even Breccia’s funniest work packs a conceptual wallop.

8. Red Flowers By Yoshiharu Tsuge, Translated By Ryan Holmberg (Drawn+Quarterly) – After dabbling in genre for his earliest stores, Tsuge left its safe confines to create these emotionally immersive tales informed by his own travels, and the results are still several levels above the merely “impressive” to this day. I’d say something about witnessing the flowering of an artist’s talents, but surely that would be too painfully obvious for its own good, wouldn’t it? Except I sort of just did. Whoops.

7. My Life & Times : Spain Vol. 3 By Spain Rodriguez, Edited By Patrick Rosenkranz (Fantagraphics)  The most recent volume of Rosenkranz’ exhaustive Spain retrospective is also the best, focusing as it does primarily on the underground master’s autobiographical comics. Gorgeously restored and thoughtfully presented, this is the “deluxe treatment” this work has long been deserving of.

6. The Biologic Show By Al Columbia (Hollow Press) – Apparently the cartoonist himself is none too pleased with this collection for reasons I’m not privy to, but damn if I wasn’t impressed. One of the most disquieting series ever produced as well as one of the finest auteur works of the 1990s, having this material back in print is something for which all of us not named Al Columbia should be incredibly thankful.

5. BugHouse Book One By Steve Lafler (Cat Head Comics) – Bridging the 1990s/early 2000s divide but with very much a 1950s Beatnik “vibe” to it, Lafler’s under-appreciated gem of a series is richly deserving of finding a broader audience. Jazz, drugs, femmes fatales — there’s no telling which is more dangerous in this unassumingly, and unquestionably, visionary comic.

4. It’s Life As I See It : Black Cartoonists In Chicago 1940-1980, Edited By Dan Nadel (New York Review Comics) – Released in conjunction with a retrospective exhibition of the same name, Nadel’s superb collection features everything from political cartooning to newspaper strips to undergrounds to downright mainstream-leaning fare and presents a comprehensive and engrossing view of the rich cartooning history that’s been an integral part of the Black experience in Chicago. There are names both familiar and less so on offer in these pages, as well as plenty of work that’s seldom been made available outside the city itself, making this the definition of an “essential” read.

3. Jimbo : Adventures In Paradise By Gary Panter (New York Review Comics) – Unquestionably the most influential book on this list, there’s no underestimating the impact of Panter’s masterwork on generations of cartoonists who followed in its (and his) wake. Some unfortunate production errors on the part of the publisher (including cropped-off artwork) prevent this from being ranked higher than it deserves to be, but its nevertheless a fairly decent presentation of one of the best comics every made by anyone.

2. Enigma : The Definitive Edition By Peter Milligan And Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse/Berger Books) – The finest mainstream comic of the 1990s finally gets its due with an impressive presentation that may leave a bit to be desired in terms of color reproduction and page size, but still represents a more comprehensive package than fans of this cult classic (myself included) probably had any right to hope for. More than the “British Invasion” mind-fuck to end all “British Invasion” mind-fucks (although it sure is that), Milligan and Fegredo’s magnum opus is a labyrinthine, clever, and hilarious meditation on identity, reality creation, and the nature of meaning itself in a postmodern world.
1. Trots And Bonnie By Shary Flenniken, Edited By Norman Hathaway (New York Review Comics) – If “long overdue” is a running theme here, no collection fits that description better than this deluxe oversized presentation of Flenniken’s groundbreaking National Lampoon classic. “Irreverent” is the most polite way to put it when it comes to these strips — “beyond good and evil” might be more like it. Obliterating all boundaries of taste (good and otherwise), Flenniken created a comic whose power to shock and disturb is only exceeded by its ability to make you laugh your ass off and empathize with its characters. Like nothing else, before or since.

We’ve got two lists left to go, for TOP TEN CONTEMPORAY COLLECTIONS and TOP TEN ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS, and my plan is to get them both done in the next day or two. Until then, it’s my duty to remind you that ALL of these are “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature, and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to give it a look by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypseAdvertisement