Desolation Canyon (2006, directed by David Cass)


After robbing a bank in a small western town, an outlaw stops by the home of his estranged wife and takes his own son hostage.  The town’s aging sheriff (Patrick Duffy) teams with the boy’s grandfather (Stacy Keach) to take the outlaw down and save the child’s life.  Accompanying them is the bank president, Edwin Bornstein (David Rees Snell).  Edwin may be a city boy who talks about how much he’s always wanted to say “I reckon,” but it turns out that there’s more to him than meets the eye.  He’s also good with a gun.

I probably should have given up on Desolation Canyon as soon as I saw that it was a “Hallmark Presents” film but I like westerns and Stacy Keach has always done well whenever he’s been cast as a gunslinger so I decided to give it a try.  Starting with a bank robbery and endings with a duel, Desolation Canyon is about as old-fashioned as an old-fashioned western can be.  Because it was made by Hallmark, there’s nothing dangerous or edgy about the film.  A few people do get shot but there’s no blood.  The shoot outs in Red Dead Redemption are more violent and suspenseful than anything to be found in this film.  (Of course, that’s because most of the shootouts in Red Dead Redemption occur because the play pushed the wrong button while trying to greet someone.  I still feel bad for accidentally shooting the kindly old homesteader who just wanted someone to help him collect some flowers for his wife.)  This is the type of western that you can safely watch with your grandparents, since that’s who the film was made for.  That’s not bad because grandparents need movies to but if you’re looking for a complex or an unpredictable western in the style of a Larry McMurtry novel or a later Eastwood film, I reckon this ain’t it.

Giving some credit where credit is due, Stacy Keach, David Rees Snell, and even Patrick Duffy are credible in their roles.  Stacy Keach is especially convincing a former gunfighter who can still outdraw anyone.  Stacy Keach is 81 years old and still working.  Someone needs to write a great Stacy Keach role and they need to do it now.

Music Video of the Day: Atomic by Blondie (1999, dir by ????)


Through the Shattered Lens has already shared the original video for Blondie’s Atomic, the one that was released in the late 70s and which featured the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in a small role.  This second music video is for the live version of the song.  It was filmed in 1999, while the band was performing at New York’s Town Hall.  The entire show was filmed by VH-1.

What can I say?  I just like this song.  It’s a song that makes me want to dance.  It’s also a song that makes me appreciate my hair.  “Your hair is beautiful” is a simple lyric but it’s also one that perfectly captures a very certain feeling, that feeling that this night is going to be greatest night of all.  Of course, the song itself is often interpreted as being about the end of the world.  If the world was ending, wouldn’t you want your hair to be beautiful?

(For the record, Debbie Harry says that “Atomic” was simply a way of describing something as being powerful, that the lyrics were just some words that sounded good to her, and that there really isn’t any sort of deep meaning to the majority of the song.  I would argue that the fact that Atomic is about nothing makes it about everything.  I would also argue that it’s occasionally fun to make pseudo-profound pronouncements and see if anyone takes them seriously.)

Enjoy!

Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight make it right
Uh huh make me tonight
Tonight
Tonight
Oh uh huh make it magnificent
Tonight
Right
Oh your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Tonight make it magnificent
Tonight
Make me tonight
Your hair is beautiful
Oh tonight
Atomic
Atomic
Oh

Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 1/10/22 — 1/16/22


I spent most of this week sick.  No …. not COVID sick.  Instead, I just had a cold.  I get a cold every January.  In fact, I almost always get a cold during the second week of January so really, I guess I should be happy that I’m consistent about these things.  The temperature is plunging outside.  The nights are below freezing.  The days aren’t much better.  The snow that is covering the rest of the country might reach us eventually.  Who knows?  But, my point is, this is the type of weather that always leads to me getting a cold so it’s no surprise or reason for worry that I ended up with a cold this week.

Still, being sick when there’s things you want to do sucks!  And it especially sucks right now because anytime I so much as sniff in public, everyone turns around and stares like I’m a witch.  And it doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a mask.  I could probably carry a negative COVID test around with me and there’s certain people in the world who would freak out the slightest hint of a cough.

My point is, people are paranoid out there.  But again, I’m not a witch.  I’m just a girl with asthma, trying to survive the cold season.  I will happily be weighed alongside a duck because I am definitely not a witch.

Anyway, I was sick from Monday until Thursday.  I’m over it now and I’m ready to make up for missed time over the upcoming week!  Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week:

Films I Watched:

  1. American Ninja 2 (1987)
  2. Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
  3. End of a Gun (2016)
  4. God’s Not Dead: We The People (2021)
  5. I Hear The Trees Whispering (2022)
  6. The Internship (2013)
  7. The Last Duel (2021)
  8. Mass (2021)
  9. Murder in the Blue Room (1944)
  10. The Truman Show (1998)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Allo Allo
  2. The Amazing Race
  3. The Bachelor
  4. Bar Rescue
  5. Football Game: Cowboys vs The Cheaters
  6. Full House
  7. Judge Steve Harvey
  8. King of the Hill
  9. Mom
  10. The Office
  11. Open All Hours
  12. Relatively Famous: Ranch Rules
  13. Silk Stalkings

Books I Read:

  1. The Man on the Train (1988) by W.J. Chaput

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Alesso
  2. Avicii
  3. Bee Gees
  4. Blondie
  5. Britney Spears
  6. Calvin Harris
  7. The Chambers Brothers
  8. Charli XCX
  9. The Chemical Brothers
  10. Chic
  11. Coldplay
  12. Donavon
  13. Fatboy Slim
  14. Fiona Apple
  15. Icona Pop
  16. John Carpenter
  17. JR JR
  18. Katy Perry
  19. Muse
  20. Paper Lace
  21. The Prodigy
  22. Saint Motel
  23. Samuel
  24. Smokey Robinson
  25. Steve Miller Band
  26. Taylor Swift
  27. Underworld
  28. Wyre
  29. Yvonne Elliman

Best of 2021:

  1. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems Val Saw In 2021 (Valerie Troutman)

Awards Season:

  1. North Dakota Film Society Nominations
  2. San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Winners
  3. Denver Film Critics Society Nominations
  4. Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations
  5. San Diego Film Critics Society Winners
  6. Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Guild Nominations
  7. Music City Film Critics Association Nominations
  8. Austin Film Critics Association Winners
  9. SAG Nominations
  10. Georgia Film Critics Association Winners
  11. Hawaii Film Critics Society Winners
  12. Iowa Film Critics Association Winners
  13. Kansas City Film Critics Circle Winners
  14. Toronto Film Critics Association Winners

Trailers:

  1. 6 Classic Trailers for January 16th, 2022

News From Last Week:

  1. Groundbreaking Canadian Director Jean-Claude Lord dies at 78
  2. French director Jean-Jacques Beineix dies
  3. Cultural Critic Terry Teachout Dies
  4. Legendary singer Sonny Turner dies at 83
  5. Icon Ronnie Spector dies at 78
  6. Box Office: ‘Scream’ Debuts to Bloody Impressive $30.6 Million

Links From Last Week:

  1. Hiking To The Iconic Hollywood Sign! Getting My Tinseltown Close-Up!
  2. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 1/14/22

Links From The Site:

  1. Case reviewed Gone and the Lady Vic episode of Titans!
  2. Erin shared The Scarlet Spade, The Grindle Nightmare, The Smasher, A Half Interest in Murder, Crockett’s Woman, The Shame Takers, and Top of the Heap!  She also reviewed Forever Strong and took a look at the covers of Detective Short Stories!
  3. Jeff reviewed Gunfighters, End of the Gun, Griff the Invisible, Rangers of Fortune, The Doolins of Oklahoma, Ring of Terror, and Space Rage!  He also played Second Wind and wrote about Galactus and the first ever televised football game!
  4. Val shared her 25 Best, Worst, and Gems list of 2021!
  5. Ryan reviewed The Christmas Before/Santer, Quiet Thoughts, and Sour Pickles!
  6. I shared music videos from Wyre, The Chambers Brothers, Chic, Bee Gees, Steve Miller Band, Paper Lace, and Yvonne Elliman!
  7. I reviewed Ford: The Man and the Machine, Dear Evan Hansen, I Hear The Trees Whispering, Space Mutiny, and God’s Not Dead 4.
  8. I paid tribute to John Carpenter and Walter Hill!
  9. I shared scenes from Diva and Bonnie and Clyde, 
  10. I read 1988!
  11. I shared my week in television and reviewed the Dexter finale!
  12. I shared an AMV of the Day and a short film called The Other Fellow’s Feelings!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  Consider subscribing! 
  2. For Horror Critic, I reviewed I Hear The Trees Whispering!
  3. At my online dream journal, I shared: Monday Morning’s Lecture Dream, No Dreams on Tuesday, Wednesday Morning’s Snow Dream, Thursday Morning’s Locked-In Dream, Friday Morning’s Broken Window Dream, No Dreams on Saturday Morning, and Sunday Morning’s Trip To The Lake Dream!
  4. For Reality TV Chat, I wrote about the latest episode of The Amazing Race!
  5. At my music site, I shared songs from Avicii, Samuel, Muse, Alesso & Katy Perry, Coldplay, David Shire, and Donavon!
  6. At Pop Politics, Jeff shared Look Who’s Running Again, Tom Malinowski Channels Henry V, Larry Hogan for Senate?, He’s Always Been Like This, It’s About Time, God Has Abandoned The Patriots, and Thank You, Tom Brady!
  7. At her photography site, Erin shared mediation, Light in A Tunnel, Flower, New Angle, Guard, Shoes on a Wire, and Blue Sky!

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

(I am not a witch.)

Great Moments In Television History #12: NBC Airs The First Football Game


Today, everyone takes at least three things for granted: television, football, and football on television.

However, that wasn’t always the case.  There was a time when television was a novelty and the idea of watching a game on television while it was being played was nearly unheard of.  The first televised football game didn’t involve any of the teams in what would eventually become the NFL.  Instead, it was a college game between Fordham and Waynesburg.  It was played on September 30th, 1939.

The game was aired on NBC, as part of an experiment to see whether or not a game could actually be carried live over the air.  The game was called by Bill Stern, a radio announcer who was famous for embellishing the action on the field while he was calling it.  Unfortunately, since no footage of the game appears to still exist, no one knows if he attempted to embellish the action that was being televised.

All in all, NBC spent $100,000 to show the game.  What was the size of the audience for the very first televised football game?  It was speculated that 500 to 1.000 people watched the game on television!  In 1939, with television still a luxury for most people, that was enough to convince NBC that sports and television could go together.  82 years later, it appears that NBC was right.

Incidentally, Fordham beat Waynesburg, 34-7.

Previous Great Moments In Television History:

  1. Planet of the Apes The TV Series
  2. Lonely Water
  3. Ghostwatch Traumatizes The UK
  4. Frasier Meets The Candidate
  5. The Autons Terrify The UK
  6. Freedom’s Last Stand
  7. Bing Crosby and David Bowie Share A Duet
  8. Apaches Traumatizes the UK
  9. Doctor Who Begins Its 100th Serial
  10. First Night 2013 With Jamie Kennedy
  11. Elvis Sings With Sinatra

Great Moments In Comic Book History #16: Alex Ross Captures Galactus In All His Glory


Galactus has always been one of my favorite Marvel characters and it’s a shame that his only film appearance was botched in 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  Now that the Fantastic Four are once again free to be a part of the MCU, my sincere hope is that we’ll get a worthy Galactus film.  If Marvel Studios could bring Thanos to life, why not the Planet-Eater?

Below is Galactus (and the Silver Surfer) as imagined by Alex Ross.  All four of these images are from Marvels #3 (March 1994) and they really capture Galactus in all of his glory.

Hopefully, the next time Galactus appeared in a film, he’ll be as impressive as he was here.

Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:

  1. Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance” 
  2. The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
  3. Crisis on Campus
  4. “Even in Death”
  5. The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
  6. Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
  7. Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
  8. Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
  9. The Death of Dr. Druid
  10. To All A Good Night
  11. Zombie!
  12. The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
  13. The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
  14. Captain America Punches Hitler
  15. Spider-Man No More!

Space Rage (1985, directed by Conrad E. Palmisano)


Space Rage is a mix of science fiction and the old west.

In what the movie insists is the far future, a sadistic and notorious criminal named Grange (Michael Pare) is a captured after robbing the Bank of the Moon. As his punishment, he’s sent to a prison planet called Botany Bay. Despite the name, the entire prison is a desert. (Maybe they named it after the doomed colony from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.) The prison is run by Gov. Tovah (William Windom), who uses the prisoners as slave labor in his mines. Grange doesn’t want to work as a miner so he plots his escape. There’s only one shuttle that goes from Botany Bay to Earth and Grange plans to be in control of it.

Two men are determined to stop Grange and his partners from escaping the planet. Walker (John Laughlin) is a young bounty hunter who is haunted by he death of his wife. The Colonel (Richard Farnsworth) is a former policeman who is haunted by nightmares of his time on Earth. Working together, the inexperienced Walker and the crusty, old Colonel try to thwart Grange’s plans.  Grange has an itchy trigger finger and is willing to kill anyone to get what he wants.  Grange may be quick on the draw but the Colonel might be even quicker.

Space Rage starts out as a western before becoming a prison film before then concluding as a Mad Max rip-off, with everyone chasing each other through the desert in intergalactic dune buggies.  The movie is only 75 minutes long but due to a repetitive soundtrack and some less than inspired dialogue, it often feels longer. The Botany Bay is too obviously Southern California to be an effective setting and neither Michael Pare nor John Laughlin seem to be invested in their roles. Not surprisingly, the film’s greatest strength is Richard Farnsworth, playing another no-nonsense veteran tough guy and doing what a man has to do to keep Earth safe.  His presence alone does not make Space Rage worth watching but it definitely helps.  It’s a good thing he was out there looking out for us.

Game Review: Second Wind (2021, Matthew Warner)


Society has collapsed.  Biological warfare has changed the majority of humans into werewolves.  Those who have not been infected live in locked-down shelters.  You live in Shelter 5, with your second wife Lorraine.  You used to live in Shelter 4 with your first wife, Wendy.  Wendy kicked you out after she found out that you were cheating on her with Lorraine.  Things have been tense ever since.

Now, Lorraine’s pregnant.  The midwife has told you that the delivery is not going as planned.  A C-section has to be performed to save the lives of both Lorraine and the baby.  (With humanity nearly wiped out, the survival of your baby could give hope to those few who remain.)  You have to get a doctor but that means making you way across the desert wasteland and the ruined city to Shelter 4.  Not only do you have to save the life of your second wife but you’re going to have to convince your first wife to help you do it.  You only have a few hours to make it and all of the shelter’s hoverbikers are damaged beyond use.  Best of luck!

Second Wind is an interactive fiction game for adults.  The stakes are real.  The puzzles require thought.  Your mistakes have consequences.  Puzzles are usually my great downfall when it comes interactive fiction.  Timed challenges are my second greatest downfall.  As you can probably guess, I had to play Second Wind a few times before I got anything close to a good ending and, even then, it was only as good as any ending can be when the world’s gone to Hell in a bucket without anyone even enjoying the ride.  But the challenge made the eventual success even more rewarding.  When playing a game like Second Wind, the best advice would be to remember that using google is not the same as cheating and that Occam’s Razor is your friend.  It also helps to take notes because a lot of the game’s puzzles depend on remembering numbers and then inputting them into the keypads necessary to enter the shelters.

I dug Second Wind.  It’s better-written than most and the descriptions are so vivid that you’ll feel like you’re in that apocalyptic desert, trying to make your way back home.  And if you really do get lost, there is a walk-through that explains the puzzles without leaving you feeling too ashamed for not being able to figure them out for yourself.

Play Second Wind.

25 Best, Worst, and Gems Val Saw In 2021


I had a lot of screenshots to choose from this year to use to open this post. There was Tab Hunter shooting a magic arrow from a flying carpet, someone in a dog suit trying to lick Elvis Presley, Betty Compson doing Cinemax shadow theatre in 1929, chandeliers made of women, and much, much more. I decided to go with the geeky choice. That’s Warren Beatty in Kaleidoscope (1966) demonstrating a supply chain attack.

He breaks into a factory that makes playing cards for the different casinos/clubs in the area. He marks the originals that will be used to print the cards. Then he sits back and waits for the marked cards to be printed and delivered securely, end-to-end, to the casinos/clubs. He can win as much as he wants because all the cards are pre-marked. Is he winning too much? No worries, cause even if the casino opens up a fresh deck, they’re marked too. Of course he eventually runs into a problem when the film realizes it doesn’t have a story beyond this neat idea.

As you might have guessed from my mention of Tab Hunter, Elvis Presley, Betty Compson, and a staple of pre-code films, I watched a lot of TCM last year. I don’t know what happened. I haven’t watched the channel this much in close to 15 years. But It was well worth it. It help me rediscover why I got into film back in the mid-2000s.

Unfortunately, unlike previous years, I only got through 761 films. On the other hand, this year I don’t have to stretch things to have 25 best films. The sheer tonnage of garbage I watched in 2020 made that a tough list to compile.

I do have to preface these lists with a little bit of information. Since I was watching TCM, it meant that I did several of their Stars Of The Month (John Garfield, Doris Day, and Elvis Presley). I watched a lot of films during the month where they only play Oscar nominated films. Finally, I also sat through almost every official IOC commissioned Olympic film. I try to have a variety of different films when I make these lists. It was just more difficult this time because of the large clumps of similar films.

The rules are the same as in previous years:

  1. There is no particular order to the films in these lists. They either made it, or they didn’t.
  2. These lists do not necessarily have films that came out in 2021. These are films that I saw for the first time in 2021. Unlike previous years, there is actually one from 2021. I wanted to include at least one this time.
  3. The gems list has films that don’t make the best list, but I want to put a spotlight on them.
  4. Disagree with any of my choices? Good! I want people to form their own opinions and think for themselves. But if you care to share those opinions, then be nice about it.
  5. I link to reviews of these movies if I can find any that have been written by one of our contributors here on Through the Shattered Lens.

One final thing of note is that The IX Olympiad In Amsterdam (1928) is the Italian cut. It’s not the slightly less awful version–The Olympic Games, Amsterdam 1928 (1928)–that was done in Germany by UFA to try and get Dutch theaters to stop boycotting the film. Perhaps they were boycotting the film because it is the worst Olympic movie ever made.

On With The Show! (1929, Alan Crosland)

Anyways, ON WITH THE LISTS!

The Breaking Point (1950, dir. Michael Curtiz)

Best:

  1. I Married A Witch (1942)
  2. Fantastic Planet (1973)
  3. The Breaking Point (1950)
  4. The Best Man (1964)
  5. The Big Chill (1984)
  6. On Borrowed Time (1939)
  7. An Enemy Of The People (1989)
  8. The Holy Man (1965)
  9. I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
  10. The Life Of Emile Zola (1937)
  11. The Story Of Louis Pasteur (1936)
  12. 16 Days Of Glory (1985)
  13. Sapporo Winter Olympics (1972)
  14. The Olympics In Mexico (1969)
  15. White Rock (1977)
  16. Elvis: That’s The Way It Is (1970)
  17. Elvis On Tour (1972)
  18. Born Yesterday (1950)
  19. Dark Passage (1947)
  20. Babbitt (1934)
  21. Five Came Back (1939)
  22. Tarzan And His Mate (1934)
  23. Kind Lady (1935)
  24. Love Affair (1939)
  25. I Never Sang For My Father (1970)

Slappy And The Stinkers (1998, dir. Barnet Kellman)

Worst:

  1. Adventure Girl (1934)
  2. Starlift (1951)
  3. Dulcy (1940)
  4. Stay Away, Joe (1968)
  5. The IX Olympiad In Amsterdam (1928)
  6. The Crowded Sky (1960)
  7. Solarbabies (1986)
  8. Catalina Caper (1967)
  9. Slappy And The Stinkers (1998)
  10. Little Orvie (1940)
  11. Kisses For Breakfast (1941)
  12. She Had To Say Yes (1933)
  13. Hold ‘Em Jail (1932)
  14. That’s Right – You’re Wrong (1939)
  15. The Tunnel Of Love (1958)
  16. Lower Learning (2008)
  17. Tickle Me (1965)
  18. Rings Of The World (2014)
  19. Forsaking All Others (1934)
  20. The Woman In The Window (2021)
  21. Show Of Shows (1929) (I recommend reading the NY Times review from 1929)
  22. Snows Of Grenoble (1968)
  23. Cats (2019)
  24. Dawning Of The Dead (2017)
  25. Keep Watching (2017)

Mrs. O’Malley And Mr. Malone (1950, dir. Norman Taurog)

Gems:

  1. Four Daughters (1938)
  2. Daughters Courageous (1939)
  3. Mrs. O’Malley And Mr. Malone (1950)
  4. Cast A Dark Shadow (1955)
  5. It Happened Tomorrow (1944)
  6. Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
  7. Downstairs (1932)
  8. Jewel Robbery (1932)
  9. Hell’s Angels (1930)
  10. Conquest (1983)
  11. The Sheepman (1958)
  12. Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
  13. Scissors (1991)
  14. Mandalay (1934)
  15. On With The Show! (1929)
  16. Black Panthers (1968)
  17. Flying High (1931)
  18. Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
  19. Kaleidoscope (1966)
  20. Abar, The First Black Superman (1977)
  21. Girlfriends (1978)
  22. The Golden Arrow (1962)
  23. Superman (1980)
  24. Lifeguard (1976)
  25. Crooks Anonymous (1962)

Abar, The First Black Superman (1977, dir. Frank Packard)

Drive My Car Wins in Toronto!


Earlier today, the Toronto Film Critics Association named Drive My Car as the best film of 2021!

Here are all the winners from the hometown of Degrassi:

Best Film
Winner: ​DRIVE MY CAR
Runners Up: LICORICE PIZZA & THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Director
Winner: ​Jane Campion – THE POWER OF THE DOG
Runners Up: Ryusuke Hamaguchi – DRIVE MY CAR & Denis Villeneuve – DUNE

Best Screenplay
Winner: ​DRIVE MY CAR
Runners Up: LICORICE PIZZA & THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Actress
Winner: ​Olivia Colman – THE LOST DAUGHTER
Runners Up: Penelope Cruz – PARALLEL MOTHERS & Kristen Stewart – SPENCER

Best Actor
Winner: ​Denzel Washington – THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
Runners Up: Benedict Cumerbatch – THE POWER OF THE DOG & Andrew Garfield – TICK, TICK…BOOM!

Best First Feature
Winner: ​THE LOST DAUGHTER
Runners Up: PASSING, PIG & SHIVA BABY

Best Documentary
Winner: SUMMER OF SOUL
Runners Up: FLEE & THE VELVET UNDERGROUND

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: ​DRIVE MY CAR
Runners Up: PETITE MAMAN & THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD

Best Animated Feature
Winner: FLEE
Runners Up: ENCANTO & THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Jessie Buckley – THE LOST DAUGHTER
Runners Up: Kirsten Dunst – THE POWER OF THE DOG & Ruth Negga – PASSING

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Bradley Cooper – LICORICE PIZZA
Runners Up: Ciarán Hinds – BELFAST & Kodi Smit-McPhee – THE POWER OF THE DOG