Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 11/21/22 — 11/27/22

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Now, onward to the final month of 2022!  I honestly can’t believe this year is almost over.  Every year, I swear that I’m not going to be running behind on what I need to watch in December and every year, I end up running behind.  That’s certainly the case this year!  Oh well.  Half the fun of running behind is getting caught up.

Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to this week.

Films I Watched:

  1. 1BR (2020)
  2. The Affair (1973)
  3. Born Innocent (1974)
  4. Disco Godfather (1979)
  5. Highlander (1986)
  6. Invaders From Space (1965)
  7. Life on the V (2014)
  8. Look At Me: Xxxtenaction (2022)
  9. My Old School (2022)
  10. Rush Hour (1998)
  11. Sarah T. — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (1975)
  12. Send Me (2022)
  13. An Unfinished Life (2005)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. The Amazing Race
  2. Bachelor in Paradise
  3. California Dreams
  4. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  5. City Guys
  6. Football
  7. Frosty Returns
  8. Frosty the Snowman
  9. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  10. The Love Boat
  11. Survivor

Books I Read:

  1. It Starts With Us: A Novel (2022) by Colleen Hoover

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. Aidan
  3. Britney Spears
  4. The Chemical Brothers
  5. Christina Aguilera
  6. The Corrs
  7. The Crystal Method
  8. Emma Bunton
  9. Geri Halliwell
  10. Ichika Nito
  11. Katy Perry
  12. Lorde
  13. Lorn
  14. Miss Machine
  15. Moby
  16. No Doubt
  17. Saint Motel
  18. Sash!
  19. Shakira
  20. Spice Girls
  21. Taylor Swift

Awards Season:

  1. The Independent Spirit Nominations

Live Tweets

  1. Highlander
  2. Rush Hour
  3. Disco Godfather
  4. 1BR

News From Last Week:

  1. Director Albert Pyun Dies At 69
  2. Singer and actress Irene Cara dies at 63
  3. Critic and Artist Michael Fiengold Dies At 77
  4. Borscht Belt Comedian Freddie Roman Dies At 85
  5. Comic Book Artist Vic Carrabotta Dies At 93
  6. Box Office: ‘Black Panther 2‘ Rules as Disney’s ‘Strange World’ Stumbles With $4.2 Million Opening Day
  7. Mick Jagger’s Desire to Play Alex in ‘A Clockwork Orange’ Shared by Malcolm McDowell at Beatles Vs. Stones Extravaganza in Turin

Links From Last Week:

  1. Will Streamers Whiff at the Oscars?
  2. The World’s Common Tater’s Week in Books, Movies, and TV 11/26/22
  3. Celebrating “Planes Trains & Automobiles!” The Greatest Thanksgiving Film Ever!

Links From The Site:

  1. I wished Arleigh a happy birthday!
  2. I shared 6 trailers in memory of Albert Pyun!
  3. I shared music videos from Adi Ulmansky, Sash, Lorn, Alphaville, Aidan, Ichika Nito, and Katy Perry!
  4. I reviewed Top Gunner and Sarah T — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic!
  5. I reviewed Hang Time, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, City Guys, One World, and California Dreams!
  6. I shared my week in television!
  7. Erin shared The Clever Sister, Front Page Detective, The Darkening Door, Thanksgiving at the Arboretum, Lowdown, Ivan The Terrible, and Teen-Age Terror!
  8. Erin shared a scene A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!
  9. Jeff reviewed Comedians!
  10. Jeff shared two great moments in television history: The WKRP Turkey Drop and The Day Barney Exploded!
  11. Doc wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

More From Us:

  1. For the Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed Survivor and The Amazing Race!
  2. At my music site, I shared songs from Emma Bunton, Christina Aguilera, The Corrs, Miss Machine, The Crystal Method, Sash!, and Moby!
  3. At her photography site, Erin shared The Backyard From Another Angle, Something In The Sky, The Backyard in Black And White, The Fence in Black And White, Fencing, Cameras in Black and White, and Antiques in Black and White!

Want to check out last week?  Click here!

Retro Television Reviews: Sarah T — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic (dir by Richard Donner)

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay.  Today’s film is 1975’s Sarah T — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic.  It  can be viewed on YouTube!

In 1975, two years after shocking audiences in and receiving an Oscar nomination for The Exorcist, Linda Blair played Sarah Travis.  Sarah is fourteen years old.  She has a high IQ.  She lives in a nice suburban home.  She has an older sister named Nancy (Laurette Sprang) and she makes a good deal of money working as a babysitter.  Sarah lives with her mother, Jean (Verna Bloom) and her stepfather, Matt (William Daniels).  She misses her father, a chronically unemployed artist named Jerry (Larry Hagman).  Jerry is the type who will complain about how no one is willing to give him a chance while he’s day drinking early in the morning.  Jerry’s an alcoholic.  That’s one of the many things that led to Jean divorcing him.  (Matt is fairly regular drinker as well but it soon becomes apparent that he can handle his liquor in a way that Jerry cannot.  Matt has a glass of Scotch after work.  Jerry has his daughter by a slushy so he can pour his beer in the cup.)  Jean is always quick to keep Sarah from drinking.  When someone offers her a drink at a party, Jean replies that Sarah only drinks ginger ale.

Of course, the name of this movie is Sarah T. — Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic so we already know that Jean is incorrect about that.  When we first meet Sarah, she is fourteen and she’s been regularly drinking for two years.  She’s even worked out a system where she gets liquor delivered to the house and then tells the deliveryman that her mother is in the shower but she left the money for the booze on the dining room table.  Like many alcoholics, Sarah has become very good at tricking people and hiding her addiction.  Of course, Sarah doesn’t think that she’s an alcoholic but …. well, again, just check out the title of the film.

When Sarah goes to a party with Ken (Mark Hamill, two years before Star Wars), the handsome captain of the school’s swim team, she ends up having too much to drink.  Nice guy Ken not only takes her home but also takes the blame, telling Jean and Matt that he was the one who gave Sarah the alcohol.  Jean, convinced that this is the first time that Sarah has ever gotten drunk, forbids her from spending any more time with Ken.  In the morning, Jean comments that Sarah will probably have a terrible hangover and maybe that’s punishment enough.  The joke, of course, is on Jean.  Sarah doesn’t even get hangovers anymore.

Soon, Sarah’s grades start to slip and she starts to skip class so that she can drink.  Still blaming Ken for all of Sarah’s problems, Jean finally takes Sarah to a psychologist, Dr. Kitteridge (Michael Lerner).  Dr. Kitteridge announces that Sarah is an alcoholic and recommends that she start attending A.A. meetings.  Sarah does go to one meeting, in which she meets a surprisingly cheerful 12 year-old alcoholic.  However, Sarah still has a way to go and so does the movie.  I mean, we haven’t even gotten to the scene where Sarah begs a group of older boys to give her the bottle of wine that they’re clumsily tossing in the air.  By the end of the film, she’s even managed to hurt poor, loyal Ken.

Myself, I hardly ever drink.  Some of that is because, like Sarah, I’m the daughter of an alcoholic and a child of divorce and I’ve seen firsthand how difficult it can be to live with an addiction.  (My Dad has been sober for five years and I am so proud of him!)  Of course, another reason why I hardly ever drink is because my tolerance for alcohol is amazingly low.  I get drunk off one sip of beer.  Long ago, I realized my life would be a lot easier and simpler if I just didn’t drink and so I don’t.  Watching the film, I wondered if I was watching what my life would have been like if I had gone the opposite route.  Would I have ended up like Sarah T?

Probably not.  Sarah T is one of those films that was obviously made with the best of intentions but it just feels inauthentic.  A lot of that is due to the performance of Linda Blair, who often seems to be overacting and trying too hard to give an “Emmy-worthy” performance.  There’s not much depth to Blair’s performance and, as a result, the viewer never really buys into the story.  At her worse, Blair brings to mind Jessie Spano shouting, “I’m so excited!” during that episode of Saved By The Bell.  (Blair was far better served by B-movies like Savage Streets, in which she got to kick ass as a vigilante, than by films like this.)  As well, the film’s portrayal of A.A. is so cheerful, upbeat, and positive that it almost felt like a Disney version of InterventionWho are all of these happy addicts? I wondered as I watched the scene play out.

Because I’ve been a bit critical of his acting abilities in the past, I do feel the need to point out that Mark Hamill gives the best performance in this film.  He plays Ken as being a genuinely decent human being and it’s hard not to sympathize with him as he gets in over his head trying to deal with Sarah.  If Blair plays every emotion on the surface, Hamill suggests that there’s a lot going on with Ken.  Deep down, he knows that he can’t help Sarah but he still feels like he has to try.  Though Blair may be the star of the film, it’s Hamill who makes the biggest impression.

As a final note, this film was directed by Richard Donner, who is best-known for directing The Omen, Superman and Lethal Weapon.  This was Donner’s final made-for-TV film before he moved into features.  There’s nothing particularly special about Donner’s direction of Sarah T.  If anything, the film’s pacing feels a bit off.  Fortunately, just as Linda Blair would get to prove herself as one of the queens of exploitation cinema and Mark Hamill would go on to achieve immortality as Luke Skywalker, Donner would get plenty of opportunities to show himself to be one of Hollywood’s premier, big budget maestros.

As for Sarah T., I would recommend watching it on a double bill with Go Ask Alice.

6 Classic Albert Pyun Trailers

Albert Pyun (1953 — 2022)

I just heard the sad news that director Albert Pyun has passed away at the age of 69.

In honor of Pyun’s career, it’s time for a special edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film trailers!  The six trailers below were all designed to promote films directed by the great Albert Pyun.

  1. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)

Albert Pyun made his directorial debut with this film, which starred Richard Lynch.  The Sword and the Sorcerer was Pyun’s most financially successful film.

2. Dangerously Close (1986)

In 1986, Albert Pyun directed the teen vigilante classic, Dangerously Close.

3. Cyborg (1989)

Due to the presence of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the leading role, Cyborg remains one of Pyun’s best-known films.

4. Captain America (1990)

20 years before Kevin Feige and the MCU, Albert Pyun brought Captain America to the big screen!

5. Omega Doom (1996)

In 1996, Albert Pyun was responsible for this post-apocalyptic western, starring Rutger Hauer.

6. Tales of an Ancient Empire (2011)

Finally, in 2011, Pyun directed his long-awaited sequel to The Sword and the Sorcerer, Tales of An Ancient Empire.

Rest in Peace, Albert Pyun.

Albert Pyun Films That We Have Reviewed:

  1. The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)
  2. Dangerously Close (1986)
  3. Cyborg (1989)
  4. Captain America (1990)
  5. Arcade (1993)
  6. Omega Doom (1996)
  7. Blast (1997)

Happy Birthday, Arleigh!

A hushed silence falls over the TSL offices as we come together to celebrate the man who makes all of this possible.

Today is November 27th.


Thirteen years ago (!), Arleigh Sandoc created the site that would become Through the Shattered Lens.  Twelve years ago, he came across me defending Dario Argento on twitter and he asked me if I would like to be a contributor.

Of course, I accepted and I have never looked back.  Over the years, we’ve been joined by other contributors, all of whom have added their voices and made Through the Shattered Lens into what it is today.  It’s been a wonderful ride and I’m looking forward to thirteen more years!  And it all started with Arleigh Sandoc and a review of Avatar!

So, today, let us celebrate!

Celebrate by reading Arleigh’s review of Avatar, the post that launched this site.

And then check out his review A History of Violence!

And his review of Night of the Living Dead!

Want a real blast of nostalgia?  Check out his thoughts on the first episodes of The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones!

Thank you, Arleigh, for the opportunity to be a part of Through the Shattered Lens.  And happy birthday!

Music Video of the Day: Smile by Katy Perry (2020, dir by Matthew Cullen)

We could all take a lesson from Katy Perry.  Get out there and enjoy life, despite all of the people who are determined to keep others from doing just that.  We live in a world where some people are addicted to spreading misery and, fortunately, Katy Perry is not one of those people.