Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 6/27/22 — 7/3/22

Have a good and safe 4th of July!

Films I Watched:

  1. The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)
  2. The Cannonball Run (1981)
  3. Invasion USA (1952)
  4. The Ledge (2022)
  5. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  6. Octopussy (1983)
  7. Off To School (1958)
  8. The Princess (2022)
  9. World Gone Wild (1987)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Beatles: Get Back
  2. Better Things
  3. Bridgerton
  4. Flack
  5. The Flight Attendant
  6. The Gilded Age
  7. Hacks
  8. iCarly
  9. Inspector Lewis
  10. The Lincoln Lawyer
  11. MacGruber
  12. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  13. The Squid Game
  14. Ted Lasso
  15. What We Do In The Shadows
  16. Yellowstone

Books I Read:

  1. Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel (2011) by Peter L. Winkler
  2. Less than Zero (1985) by Bret Easton Ellis

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. Aurora 
  3. Big Data
  4. The Beatles
  5. Belouis Some
  6. Berlin
  7. Britney Spears
  8. Carly Rae Jepsen
  9. Carrie Underwood
  10. The Chemical Brothers
  11. Chromatics
  12. Cosmo
  13. Faun
  14. Felony
  15. Fiona Apple
  16. Frank Stallone
  17. Elwood
  18. Haim
  19. Katy Perry
  20. Kenny Loggins
  21. Lena Katina
  22. The Marias
  23. Michael Fredo
  24. Micow Jupiter
  25. Moby
  26. Moving Pictures
  27. Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
  28. The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats
  29. Paul McCartney
  30. Portishead
  31. Radiohead
  32. Rick Dees
  33. Rita Coolidge
  34. Saint Motel
  35. Shalamar
  36. Sleigh Bells
  37. Suzanne Vega
  38. t.A.T.u
  39. Taylor Swift
  40. The Tenors
  41. Tove Lo
  42. Yvonne Elliman

News From Last Week:

  1. Joe Turkel, Bartender in the ‘The Shining’ and ‘Blade Runner’ Actor, Dies at 94
  2. Famous Hell’s Angels found Sonny Barger Dies At 83
  3. Revolutionary British Director Peter Brook Dies in France at the age of 97
  4. Ezra Miller Accused of Harassing Woman in Germany, and Iceland Choking Victim Breaks Her Silence
  5. Lindsay Lohan is married to Bader Shammas
  6. Chris Cuomo returns to Instagram to share photos from visit to Ukraine war zone
  7. CNN ratings tank in first weeks under new boss Chris Licht
  8. ‘The View’ hosts face backlash for $14K-a-night luxury Bahamas getaway
  9. Box Office: ‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ Going Bananas With Projected $129.2 Million Independence Day Opening
  10. Britney Spears’ Attorney Claims Tri Star Helped Create Conservatorship, Received $18 Million From Pop Star’s Estate
  11. Academy Invites 397 New Members, Including Billie Eilish, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jamie Dornan, Dana Walden

Links From Last Week:

  1. 19 Oscar Contenders From the Year So Far Include ‘Elvis,’ ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
  2. The Inscrutable Screen Immortality of Joe Turkel — 1924-2022
  3. Ten Favorite Martial Arts Movies
  4. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 7/1/22
  5. Check Out These Historical Seoul, South Korea #ThursdayDoors!

Links From the Site:

  1. Erin reviewed Pitching Love and Catching Faith!
  2. Erin shared Pictures of a Country Cemetery, Pictures of An American City, and Pictures of Miss Victory!
  3. Erin shared Country Rain, Across The Lake, Old Ribbons Never Die, Fate, The Origin of Evil, Embassy, and The Venom Business!
  4. With my help, Doc shared music videos from Maureen McCormick, Rick Dees, The Tenors, Chromatics, Cosmo, Frank Stallone, and Paul McCartney!
  5. Jeff reviewed Beavis and Butt-Head Do The Universe, Cone of Silence, Max Knight: Ultra Spy, and You Arrive in America!
  6. Jeff shared a great moment from comic book history and a great moment from television history!
  7. I reviewed The Manor, Less Than Zero, Dennis Hooper: The Wild Life of a Hollywood Rebel, The Princess, Strategic Command, Beowulf, World Gone Wild, The Voyeurs, and The Ledge!
  8. I shared scenes from Top Gun, Forbidden Planet, High Anxiety, and Road House!
  9. I paid tribute to Michele Soavi, Sydney Pollack, and Robert Evans!
  10. I shared my week in television and an AMV of the Day!
  11. I wrote about the 20 best episodes of Degrassi!
  12. Ryan reviewed Five Perennial Virtues #12: Pearl!

More From Us:

  1. Ryan has a patreon!  Consider subscribing!
  2. At Days Without Incident, Leonard shared: Dare and Spellbound!
  3. At my music site, I shared songs from Faun, The O’Reillys and the Paddyhats, Carly Rae Jepsen, Aurora, Tove Lo, Frank Stallone, and Moby!
  4. At her photography site, Erin shared Our Flag, Corner, Creek, What Can You See?, church, The Wait, and A Place to Hide

Click here to check out last week!

Film Review: The Manor (dir by Axelle Croyon)

In 2021’s The Manor, Barbara Hershey plays Judith Albright.  Once a professional dancer, Judith now works as a dance instructor.  Or, at least, she does until she has a sudden stroke at her 70th birthday party.  Judith survives the stroke but it’s discovered that she has Parkinson’s disease.  Judith decides that it’s time to move into a nursing home.  Her grandson, Josh (Nicholas Alexander), disagrees but the rest of Judith’s family thinks that Judith is making the right decision.

At first, the nursing home seems ideal for Judith.  The nurses seem to be friendly.  The home is actually in a stately old manor and Judith has a nice view of the nearby woods from her room.  It’s true that Judith’s roommate seems to think that there’s something sinister happening but Judith (and everyone else) chalks that up to senility.  Judith moves into the Manor and even befriends some of the other residents, including Roland (Bruce Davison).

However, it’s not long before Judith starts to suspect that something strange is happening at the Manor.  She hears strange noises.  There are mysterious deaths.  It turns out that not all of the nurses are as friendly as the originally seem.  Judith starts to have visions of a strange tree-like creature in her room.  When Judith tries to talk to the nursing home’s staff, they dismiss her concerns and condescendingly tell her that she’s just confused.  Some of them even threaten her to keep her from making too much trouble.  Are they just bad nurses or is there something even worse motivating them?  And can Judith discover the Manor’s secret before she becomes the latest victim?

The Manor was the eighth and the last entry in the Welcome to the Blumhouse horror anthology series.  Each of the films premiered on Prime, with The Manor dropping on October 8th, 2021.  For the most part, the quality of the films featured as a part of Welcome to the Blumhouse were uneven.  However, The Manor actually works fairly well.  What the film lacks in budget, it makes up for in atmosphere.  The nursing home is a truly creepy location and director Axelle Croyon does a good job of creating the feeling that there could be something lurking in every shadow.  The scenes were Judith is woken in the night are well-done and the scenes where Judith is told that she is simply confused because she’s elderly are properly infuriating.  Barbara Hershey is well-cast as Judith, giving a good performance as someone who is at peace with being in her twilight years but who still isn’t quite ready to give up on life.  She is well-matched by Bruce Davison, playing a more ambiguous resident of the nursing home.  The ending of The Manor is also a bit unexpected, with Judith making a choice that’s unexpected but which makes sense if you look back over what we’ve learned about her over the course of the film.

In the end, The Manor feels like a modern version of one of those old episodes of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.  Yes, the film does teach an important lesson about aging and respecting our elders but, even more importantly, it adds a slightly unexpected twist to give the story a properly macabre conclusion.  The Manor is an effective little horror tale and one that gives Barbara Hershey a chance to shine.

Great Moments In Television History #20: Eisenhower In Color

The very first color television transmission occurred 94 years ago today, in the UK.  Scottish engineer John Logie Baird, the man who built the first television, was also responsible for showing that images could be broadcast in color.  

Unfortunately, no footage or record of that 1928 transmission remains.  Instead, the earliest surviving color videotape recording is one of then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, delivering remarks during the inaugural color broadcast of WRC-TV on May 22nd, 1958.  The broadcast began in black-and-white before switching to color after 15 minutes.  Of course, only the people who could afford a color television could experience the switch but, at a time when most people still had a black-and-white television and even color films where the exception instead of the rule, this was still many people’s introduction to the idea that television could regularly be viewed in color.  

Even Dwight D. Eisenhower was impressed.

Previous 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
  12. NBC Airs Their First Football Game
  13. The A-Team Premieres
  14. The Birth of Dr. Johnny Fever
  15. The Second NFL Pro Bowl Is Broadcast
  16. Maude Flanders Gets Hit By A T-Shirt Cannon
  17. Charles Rocket Nearly Ends SNL
  18. Frank Sinatra Wins An Oscar
  19. CHiPs Skates With The Stars

Great Moments In Comic Book History #24: Captain America Quits

Captain America #332 (August, 1987) opens with Captain America, the living symbol of the USA, being summoned to the Pentagon.  A group of faceless bureaucrats known as The Commission tell Captain America that it is time for him to become an official agent of the U.S. Government.  They argue that Steve Rogers would not even be Captain America if he hadn’t enlisted in the armed forces and been injected with the super soldier formula.  It’s time for Steve Rogers to stop acting as a free agent and serve his government.  And, if Steve can’t do that, the Commission can find someone to take his place, someone who understands the importance of following orders.  Maybe even someone like the Super-Patriot, who is busy fighting a group of terrorists while Steve is at the meeting.

Steve thinks it over and then does the only thing that his conscience will allow.

He quits.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Steve Rogers quit being Captain America.  In the 1970s, he was so disillusioned to discover that the President was a part of a secret conspiracy that he resigned his commission and briefly called himself The Captain.  Eventually, he returned to being Captain America, just as he would do the second time that he quit.  After The Commission named recruited Super Patriot to carry the shield, Steve didn’t have much choice but to take it back.

Still, this moment defined what Steve Rogers was all about.  He wasn’t about serving the government or enforcing anyone’s particular policy.  He was about America and the ideals that he felt it should stand for.  And if that meant defying his government, that’s what he would do.

It was a great moment.

Captain America Vol. 1#332 (August, 1987)

“The Choice”

  • Writer — Mark Gruenwald
    Penciler — Tom Morgan
    Inker — Bob McLeod
    Colorist — Ken Feduniewicz
    Letterer — Diana Albers
    Editor — Don Daley

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!
  16. Alex Ross Captures Galactus
  17. Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
  18. Goliath Towers Over New York
  19. NFL SuperPro is Here!
  20. Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window
  21. Captain America For President
  22. Alex Ross Captures Spider-Man
  23. J. Jonah Jameson Is Elected Mayor of New York City

Game Review: You Arrive In America (2015, Clickhole)

Welcome to America!

If you’ve ever wanted to experience what it would be like to arrive in America for the first time, Clickhole has had you covered since 2015.  In You Arrive In America, you begin the game standing on a boat that is sailing into New York Harbor.  Soon, you will dock at Ellis Island and you will have many decisions and opportunities ahead of you.

Will you look at the Statue Liberty?

Will you be able to convince the immigration official that your name really is George Clooney?

Will you get a job at a factory?

Will you head to the tenements or spend the day at Coney Island?

Will you start a family and will they grow up to understand the sacrifices that you made to give them a good life?

How many times will you see Yankees great Yogi Berra?

All these questions and more can be answered by playing You Arrive In America.  You Arrive in America uses a Choose Your Own Adventure style of gameplay.  Simply click on what you want to do.  If you want to look at the ground and do nothing, that’s fine.  If you want to get the entire city to join you in chanting, “Let’s go Yankees!,” you can do that too and, as an extra bonus, it will increase your chances of seeing Yogi Berra.  The choice is yours.  You’ve arrived in America and you can do whatever you want!

Play You Arrive In America

Book Review: Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

After having watched the film version a few hundred times, I figured that it was time for me to sit down and actually read Bret Easton Ellis’s Less Than Zero. 

First published in 1985 (and written when Ellis was only 19 years old and still a college student), Less Than Zero tells the story Clay.  Clay is a rich college student who returns home to Los Angeles for winter break.  It’s his first time to be back home since starting college and he quickly discovers that all of his old friends are, for the most part, hooked on drugs and self-destruction.  Clay’s friend Rip deals drugs and buys underage sex slaves.  Clay’s former best friend, Julian, is now a heroin addict who has sex for money.  Clay’s other best friend, Trent, is a model who watches snuff films.  Meanwhile, Clay’s girlfriend, Blair, isn’t even sure that she likes Clay.  Clay goes to therapy and the therapist tries to sell his screenplay.  Clay struggles to tell apart his two sisters and he rarely speaks to his mother or his father.  He’s haunted by memories of his grandmother slowly dying of cancer.  As winter break progresses, Clay finds himself growing more and more alienated from everyone and everything around him.  He feels less and less.

I had often heard that the film version was dramatically different from the book but nothing could prepare me for just how different.  In the film, Clay is an anti-drug crusader who reacts to everything that he sees in Los Angeles with self-righteous revulsion.  In the book, Clay simply doesn’t care.  Clay’s narration is written in a flat, minimalist style, one that makes Clay into a dispassionate observer.  Over the course of the narrative, there are times that Clay obviously know that he should probably feel something but he just can’t bring himself to do it.  Even when he objects to Rip buying a 12 year-old sex slave, Clay doesn’t do anything to stop Rip or to help his victim.  Clay is the epitome of someone who has everything but feels nothing.  Most of the memorable things that happen in the movie — Julian begging his father for forgiveness and money, Clay and Blair being chased by Rip’s goons, Julian dying in the desert — do not happen in the book.  They couldn’t happen in the book because all of those scenes require the characters to have identifiably human reactions to the things that they’re seeing around them.

It’s not necessarily a happy book but, fortunately, it’s also a frequently (if darkly) funny book.  Bret Easton Ellis has a good ear for the absurdities of everyday conversation and some of the book’s best moments are the ones that contrast Clay’s lack of a reaction to the frequently weird things being discussed around him.  Even more importantly, it’s a short book.  Just when you think you can’t take another page of Clay failing to care that everyone around him will probably be dead before they hit 30, the story ends.  Ellis writes just enough to let the reader understand Clay’s world and then, mercifully, the reader is allowed to escape.

Just as the movie is definitely a product of its time, the same can be said of the original novel.  Reading Less than Zero is a bit like stepping into a time machine.  It’s a way to experience the coke-fueled 80s without actually traveling to them.

Max Knight: Ultra Spy (2000, directed by Colin Budds)

Max Knight (Michael Landes) used to be the world’s greatest hacker but now he’s a spy who is more machine than man.  He can turn invisible at will but he also has a computerized heart that has to regularly be recharged to keep him alive and functioning.  I know it sound like he’s Iron Man but he’s not.  He’s Max Knight: Ultra  Spy.  He works out of a futuristic office and he has a virtual assistant who might be in love with him.

When teenage genius Lindsay (Brooke Harman) is kidnapped by a Mark McGrath look-alike named Zach (Christopher Morris), Max is hired by Lindsay’s sister, Ricki (Rachel Blakely).  Zach, who really does look like the lead singer of Sugar Ray, has a cult of followers who are all obsessed with living the rest of their lives online.  (If they had just waited a few years, they could have all gotten twitter accounts and the problem would have been solved.)  Zach knows that Lindsay has come up with the formula that will allow them all to become a part of the Internet and to destroy the rest of the world.  (Because everywhere Zach goes, all around the world, statues crumble for him.)  Eventually, Max and Zach enter the internet and battle it out, via some CGI that makes the entire movie look like an advanced level of Castle Wolfenstein.

Max Knight: Ultra Spy was originally a pilot for a television series and it very much wears its influences for all to see.  Max borrows his look and his general attitude from The Matrix while the special effects owe much to The Lawnmower Man and Doom.  The film’s obsession with the power of the net is, appropriately, taken from The Net.  The first scene is even a recreation of the scene in Entrapment where Catherine Zeta-Jones shows off her agility by avoiding the laser beams that would set off an alarm if she made one wrong move.  Entrapment is one of those films that has been forgotten today but back in 2000, everyone was obsessed with Catherine Zeta-Jones playing an FBI agent who pretends to be a thief to take down Sean Connery.  Sadly, it’s not as much fun to watch Max Knight avoid detection than it was to watch Catherine Zeta-Jones.

There’s a lot of technobabble but it doesn’t add up too much.  Don’t even try to figure out what exactly it is that Lindsay has discovered that will allow Zach to pull off his scheme.  Even without Lindsay being the key, Zach’s plan never makes any sense to begin with.  Michael Landes is a decent hero and Christopher Morris is an annoying villain.  Rachel Blakely and Brooke Harman were cute so the film has that going for it.  Max Knight is mostly interesting as a throw-back to the time when people were still fascinated with the possibilities of the Internet instead of just taking it for granted as one of life’s annoying necessities.  In 2000, Zach was portrayed as being a dangerous madman for wanting to live the rest of his life online.  Today, he would just be a normal Starbucks shift manager.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Michele Soavi Edition

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

Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy 65th birthday to one of our favorite directors, Michele Soavi!  In other words, it’s time for….

4 Shots from 4 Michele Soavi Films

Stage Fright (1987, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Renato Tafuri)

The Church (1989, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Renato Tafuri)

The Sect (1991, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Raffaele Mertes)

Dellamorte Dellamore (1994, dir by Michele Soavi, DP: Mauro Marchetti)

Scenes I Love: Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer Play Beach Volleyball in Top Gun

Tom Cruise is 60 years old today!  He doesn’t look a day over 36.  Insert your own Dorian Gray joke here.

No matter what else you may want to say about Tom Cruise, you can’t deny that he’s one of the last of the genuine movie stars.  He’s been a star in since the 80s, doing things onscreen that you could never imagine some of our younger actors even attempting.  And right now, Top Gun: Maverick appears to be unstoppable with audiences and critics.  There are many reasons for Maverick‘s popularity but one cannot deny that a lot of it is the fact that Cruise just has that old-fashioned movie star charisma.

Today’s scene that I love comes from the first Top Gun.  In this scene, Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, and Rick Rossovich play beach volleyball.  The scene kind of comes out of nowhere and there are times when the whole thing comes close to self-parody.  (Actually, if we’re going to be honest, it crosses the line into self-parody more than a few times.)  But, Cruise and Kilmer manage to save it, like the movie stars they are!

I Watched Pitching Love And Catching Faith (2015, dir. by Randy, Randolph, and Rebecca Sternberg)

I watched Pitching Love and Catching Faith on Tubi because I will always take a chance on a baseball movie.

Heather (Lala Kent) and Tyler (Derek Boone) are both students at the same college.  Heather is a softball pitcher.  Tyler plays baseball and has a chance to play in the majors.  They meet and date but it turns out that they have different approaches to life.  Tyler thinks that a purity ring is romantic gift and he’s never even kissed a girl because he made a pledge to wait until he met “the one.”  Heather has kissed a lot of people because Heather is a normal human being.

One big problem with this movie is that Tyler’s not just weird but also awfully judgmental of anyone who doesn’t agree with him.  There are a lot of people who, for various and understandable reasons, hold off on having sex until they’re married or at least in a committed relationship but Tyler takes it one step further by declaring that he won’t even kiss anyone until he’s sure that he’s in love.  And it’s not just that Tyler won’t kiss anyone.  It’s also that he’ll judge anyone else who kisses someone without marrying them first.  It’s not just kissing, though.  Tyler even judges Heather for flirting with him and then he gives her a purity ring without even finding out if that’s something that she believes in.  I never miss Sunday Mass and even I thought Tyler was being overbearing.  Tyler’s not that much of a catch but every woman in the movie is swooning over him.  I wanted someone to tell Heather that she could do better.

The other big problem is that there wasn’t enough baseball.  There wasn’t even enough softball.  Heather got to pitch once.  Tyler swung the bat once.  But if your movie has the words “pitching” and “catching” in the title, it better have more baseball than this movie!

Final verdict on this movie: Go Rangers!  The whole time I was watching the movie, I was thinking about how much I’d rather see the Rangers have a winning season for once.