Most people who know Weird Al Yankovic’s music are aware of Dare to be Stupid, off The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack. If not that, then songs like Eat it! or the equally epic Trapped at the Drive Thru quickly come to mind. Though I don’t own a Roku (yet!), I’m kind of excited for this. The movie covers Weird Al’s humble beginnings and rise to accordion superstar. Daniel Radcliffe (Horns, Swiss Army Man) and Evan Rachel Wood (HBO’s Westworld, Kajillionaire) seem perfectly cast as Weird Al and Madonna here.
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story will be available on November 4 on The Roku Channel.
The 1970ish film Toomorrow tells the story of a group of students who are determined to make their way through art school despite not having much money. They do what they can to cut down on costs. For instance, they all live in one big, communal house. And even though they think that the protestors in the streets are totally groovy and happening in a far out way, they decline to really get involved with any of it because bail’s expensive.
(At least, that’s what I assume is going on in the protest scenes. This isn’t exactly the most coherent film ever made.)
The students also pay for college by forming their own band! Calling themselves Toomorrow, they make use of a new instrument called the Tonaliser! The Tonaliser sends out sonic vibrations that put everyone into a good, dancing mood! The Tonaliser is so powerful that the vibrations are even felt in outer space.
It turns out that there’s a group of aliens who have all the technology in the world but who have never figured out how to create music. They really want to learn, though. Music is the one thing that their society needs. The aliens, represented by Johnny Williams (played by the great character actor Roy Dotrice, who looks embarrassed to be in this film), abduct Toomorrow so that Toomorrow can teach them how to appreciate music. Toomorrow has no problem with doing that but they’re going to need help to focus or …. something. I don’t know. This movie is impossible to follow. All I know is that an alien woman goes down to Earth to keep Toomorrow focused and there’s a scene where she’s taken to an adult Swedish movie so that she can learn about human anatomy. Or something.
Yes, it’s Toomorrow! A film about hippies that was meant to appeal to hippies but which was definitely made by people who were not hippies themselves. The film does it best to show off its counter-culture bona fides, what with the commune and the art school and the protests and the band’s lead singer waking up with a different woman every morning and a barely there subplot about a professor having an affair with the member of the band. But none of it feels very authentic, largely because all of the hippies are very clean-cut and none of the protestors are really protesting anything specific as much as they’re just walking around with signs. All of the “shocking” counter-culture behavior takes place off-screen. Randy Newman once described Horse With No Name as being “song about a kid who thinks he’s taken acid” and Toomorrow is a film that was obviously made by that kid’s grandparents. As for Toomorrow the band, their music is nothing special. In fact, there’s really not a single memorable song to be found in Toomorrow the film. The aliens could have just waited a few years and abducted the house band from the Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
You may have noticed that I mentioned that the film was a “1970ish” film. That’s because Toomorrow didn’t receive an actual theatrical release. It was produced by Harry Saltzman (who also co-produced the first 9 James Bond films) and Don Kirshner, the music promoter who was responsible for The Monkees. It was directed by veteran British director Val Guest. When Saltzman and Kirshner failed to pay Guest and the rest of the crew for their work on the film, Guest sued and, as a result, Toomorrow spent decades held up in litigation. It was only released on video because everyone who was suing eventually died with the case unresolved.
If Toomorrow is known for anything, it’s for being the film debut of a young Olivia Newton-John. Olivia played a member of Toomorrow but she doesn’t get to do much, beyond smiling cheerfully while either performing and passing out tea at the commune. Olivia reportedly had such a terrible time on the set of Toomorrow that she swore she would never make another film and nearly turned down Grease as a result. That said, Olivia is probably the best thing about Toomorrow. She’s the only member of the band with any screen presence and probably the only one of them who could have talked the aliens into not blowing up the Earth.
Toomorrow can be viewed on YouTube. It’s interesting as an example of how much the old film establishment struggled to figure out how to appeal to younger filmgoers in the late 60s and early 70s. Every moment in the film has been calculated to appeal to “the kids” but it’s precisely because it’s so calculated that the film ultimately fails. There would be no tomorrow for Toomorrow.
Today, the Shattered Lens wishes a happy birthday to the great William Friedkin. As a director, William Friedkin revolutionized both the horror genre and the crime genre. The car chase from 1971’s The FrenchConnection has been much imitated but rarely equaled.
A few years ago, I attended a showing of The French Connection at the Alamo Drafthouse. As exciting as this chase is, it’s even more amazing when viewed on a big screen.
As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter. I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie! Every week, we get together. We watch a movie. We tweet our way through it.
Tonight, for #MondayActionMovie, we are watching 1994’s Zero Tolerance! Selected and hosted by @SweetEmmyCat, Zero Tolerance stars two great character actors, Robert Patrick and Titus Welliver! It also features musician Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame. I’m not sure who Fleetwood plays but there was probably a lot of cocaine on set. Here’s the trailer:
That’s really all I know about Zero Tolerance! I plan to find out more tonight and I invite you to join me. If you want to join us, just hop onto twitter, start the film at 8 pm et, and use the #MondayActionMovie hashtag! I’ll be there tweeting and I imagine some other members of the TSL Crew will be there as well. It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy. And a review of this film will probably end up on this site at some point this week.
#MondayActionMovie invites you to join us for ZERO TOLERANCE (1994) when hair was big, but guns were bigger
After all this time, Billy Idol is still out there, making music and making videos. Cage is his latest and it features Billy singing about dealing with his own demons while breaking free of a straight-jacket. Harry Houdini has nothing on Billy!
The video was directed by SRS, which I assume is a pseudonym. Remember when music videos used to be directed by guys with names like Nigel and Spike? Now every music video appears to have been directed by a computer program.
Right now, this video only has 419,000 views on YouTube. Times are forever changing and musical tastes change with them but that’s still no way to treat Billy Idol!