Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 3/13/23 — 3/19/23

The first week after the Oscars was not a bad one.  Here’s what I watched, read, and listened to.

Films I Watched:

  1. Absentia (2011)
  2. The Bat (1959)
  3. Boston Strangler (2023)
  4. Dave (1993)
  5. Deadly Hero (1975)
  6. Detective Knight: Rogue (2022)
  7. Disco Godfather (1979)
  8. The Holy Roman Empire (1961)
  9. Luther: The Fallen Sun (2023)
  10. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  11. Romero (1989)
  12. Shotgun (1989)
  13. This Is Our Time (2013)

Television Shows I Watched:

  1. Abbott Elementary
  2. Accused
  3. The Bachelorette
  4. The Brady Bunch Hour
  5. Farmer Wants A Wife
  6. Jail
  7. Night Court
  8. Night Flight
  9. The Scott & Gary Show
  10. Survivor

Books I Read:

  1. Wild In The Streets (1968) by Robert Thom

Music To Which I Listened:

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. Atomic Kitten
  3. Avril Lavigne
  4. Big Data
  5. Blondie
  6. Britney Spears
  7. The Chemical Brothers
  8. Christina Aguilera
  9. Dropkick Murphys
  10. ELO
  11. Fiona Apple
  12. Hilary Duff
  13. Jessica Simpson
  14. Lindsay Lohan
  15. Michelle Branch
  16. Muse
  17. The Ohio Players
  18. Saint Motel
  19. Spice Girls
  20. The Spokemen
  21. Taylor Swift
  22. Think
  23. The Wallflowers

Live Tweets:

  1. Shotgun
  2. Dave
  3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  4. Absentia 

News From Last Week:

  1. Actor Lance Reddick Dies at 60
  2. Ben Savage Gets Married As Congressional Campaign Kicks Off
  3. Mira Sorvino Reacts to Oscars 2023 Omitting Dad Paul Sorvino from In Memoriam: ‘Baffling Beyond Belief’

Links From Last Week:

  1. Clint Eastwood’s Triple Play Of Classic Films – In One Year! 1971’s “Dirty Harry!” “Play Misty For Me!” “The Beguiled!”
  2. Tater’s Week in Review 3/18/23
  3. The Oscars’ best picture might seem radical. But it’s as traditional as they come
  4. Whit Stillman’s Cinema of Loyalty

Links From The Site:

  1. I reviewed the Oscar ceremony!
  2. I shared an AMV of the Day!
  3. I congratulated you on surviving Oscar Sunday!
  4. I shared my March Oscar Predictions!
  5. I shared the trailer for The Little Mermaid!
  6. I shared my week in television!
  7. I shared music videos from Britney Spears, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Branch, Dropkick Murphys, The Wallflowers, and Jessica Simpson!
  8. I shared scenes from The Godfather, The Dark Knight Rises, and It Happened At The World’s Fair!
  9. I paid tribute to David Cronenberg!
  10. I reviewed Drive He Said, Charlie Says, Polk County Pot Plane, 600 Miles, Road to the Open, The Holy Roman Empire, Luther: The Fallen Sun, Deadly Hero, Boston Strangler, Disco Godfather, Detective Knight: Rogue, This Is Our Time, and The Weekend Nun!
  11. I reviewed Hang Time, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, City Guys, The Brady Bunch Hour, and California Dreams!
  12. Erin shared Captain Crossbones, Rangeland Romances, The Ides of March, St. Urho Statue, St. Patrick Mosaic, Small-Town Chippie, and Another Piece of Fanny!
  13. Erin profiled Joseph Szokoli and celebrated the return of Baseball!
  14. Jeff wrote about the Incredible Hulk!
  15. Jeff reviewed Rocky Marciano is Dead, New York Cop, Cover-Up, Intensive Care, Randy Rides Alone, Blue Steel, The Greatest American Hero, Winds of the Wasteland, and Amnesia!

More From Us:

  1. At her photography site, Erin shared Curb Appeal, Rainy Morning, Neighborhood, Wind, Movemenet, Exit, and Drive Carefully!
  2. At Pop Politics, Jeff wrote about Andrew Cuomo!
  3. For Horror Critic, I reviewed Hounded!
  4. For Reality TV Chat Blog, I reviewed the latest episode of Survivor!
  5. At SyFy Designs, I shared: Oscar Thoughts, Blinded By The Morning, Racetrac, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and A Proposal!
  6. At my dream journal, I shared: Last Night’s Gate Dream, Last Night’s Searching For A Store Dream, Last Night’s Trying To Watch A Movie Dream, No Dreams Last Night, Last Night’s Sweetwater Dream, Last Night’s London Dream, and Last Night’s Tornado Dream!
  7. At my music site, I shared songs from Ohio Players, Spice Girls, Ireland, Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and The Wallflowers!

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

Game Review: Amnesia (1986, Electronic Arts)

You wake up in a hotel room in New York City.  You have no idea how you got there.  You have no idea who you are.  And you have no clothes.

So starts Amnesia, the semi-legendary text adventure game from 1986.  Amnesia was Electronic Arts’s attempt to challenge Infocom’s domination of the text adventure genre.  To write the game, they brought in author Thomas M. Disch.  Disch came up with a twisty and complex story where each choice often led to unexpected tangents.  The game featured a detail recreation of Manhattan, one that you could experience only if you could figure out how to find some clothes and get out of the hotel without getting arrested.  Of course, even after finding something to wear, it’s probable the many players decided to go ahead and marry the mysterious woman who claimed to be the main character’s fiancée.  Those players found themselves suddenly whisked off to an Australian sheep farm, where they lived out their days happy but unsure of who they actually were.  For them, the game ended quickly but without many answers.  Others, however, braved the streets of a virtual Manhattan is search of their identity.

Who are you?  Throughout the game, there are clues but they’re not always easy to find.  There’s a large collection of eccentric and bizarre characters who can help you or hinder you.  You have to avoid the police who want to arrest you and the people who are trying to kill you.  Of course, even if you defeat those assassins, the game also features random encounters with people who will ask you for directions and who will shoot you if you give them the wrong answer.  This feature was actually something that EA added to the game to punish anyone who had borrowed the game disk from a friend.  The game originally came with code wheel that you could use to determine which streets intersected with each other.  If you bought the game, you would be able to give people the proper directions.  If you didn’t buy the game or, if you’re playing the game in 2023 at the Internet archive, you would end up making a random guess and hoping that it didn’t lead to you getting shot by a tourist.

(Fortunately, there’s an online version of the code wheel.)

Even if you die, the game doesn’t necessarily end.  You might find yourself waiting in Purgatory.  After a certain number of turns, Charon might approach and ask if you’ve figured out your name.  If you give him the right name, you can move on.  If you don’t know your name, Charon leaves with a promise that he’ll return in another thousand years.

Amnesia is a challenging game.  It’s also a frequently frustrating game.  Thomas M. Disch was an author and the game reads like a long and dense novel.  There are times when Disch seemed to forget that the point of Interactive Fiction is that the player is supposed to have complete control over their actions.  At the same time, Amnesia’s descriptions are so detailed and many of the events are so unexpected that this is a game that benefits from frequent replaying.  And the game itself is so difficult that when you actually manage to accomplish anything, whether it’s getting out of the hotel or finding a place to sleep or even giving someone the right directions, you feel as if you’re the greatest player alive.

Or at least you do until the next puzzle comes along.

Play Amnesia.

Great Moments In Comic Book History #32: The Hulk Makes His Debut

Somehow, it slipped my mind that this month is the 61st anniversary of the debut of one of the characters who would come to define Marvel Comics, The Incredible Hulk.  Though it was dated May of 1962, the first issue of The Incredible Hulk actually came out in March.  Here’s the cover, featuring artwork from Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman.

It’s obvious from the cover that The Incredible Hulk was still a work in progress when he made his debut.  First off, he’s grey instead of green.  Secondly, while Bruce Banner was always portrayed as being a scientist who kept a tight grip on his emotions, I don’t think he ever looked as nerdy as he did on this cover.  Third, the Hulk himself looks more like an oversized version of Frankenstein’s Monster than the Hulk that readers would eventually come to know and love.  Though it is not mentioned on the cover, Banner initially transformed into the Hulk whenever the sun went down, like a werewolf.  The Hulk coming out whenever Banner got mad was a later invention.

Because Marvel could never decide whether they wanted the Hulk to be a hero or a monster, the first run of The Incredible Hulk came to an end after just six issues but Marvel kept the character around and eventually gave him a regular feature in Tales to Astonish.  He was even one of the founding members of The Avengers, though that didn’t last for long.  Marvel eventually figured out that Hulk worked best as a loner and he was embraced by a counterculture who disliked the military almost as much he did.  The character proved to be so popular in Tales of Astonish that he eventually took over the entire comic and the name was changed (again) to The Incredible Hulk.  Hulk’s been a Marvel mainstay ever since, appearing on both television and in the movies.

And it all started 41 years ago, this month.

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
  24. Captain America Quits
  25. Spider-Man Meets The Fantastic Four
  26. Spider-Man Teams Up With Batman For The Last Time
  27. The Skrulls Are Here
  28. Iron Man Meets Thanos and Drax The Destroyer
  29. A Vampire Stalks The Night
  30. Swamp Thing Makes His First Cover Appearance
  31. Tomb of Dracula #43

Winds of the Wasteland (1936, directed by Mack V. Wright)

When the invention of the telegraph puts the Pony Express out of business, two veteran riders — John Blair (John Wayne) and Larry Adams (Lane Chandler) — decide to start their own stagecoach line.  The richest man in Buchanan City, “Honest” Cal Drake (Douglas Cosgrove), sells them the line to nearby Crescent City.  Though initially grateful, Blair and Larry soon discover that Crescent City is now a ghost town that serves as home to exactly two inhabitants.  Rather than give up, Blair and Larry set up their stagecoach and they suddenly get lucky as settlers start to find themselves in Crescent City.  Blair is even able to convince the local telegraph company to run the wire though Crescent City, which leads to an influx of even more people.  Now, Blair just needs to land the contract delivering mail for the area.  To do that, he’ll have to win a stagecoach race against Drake, who turns out to not be very honest at all.

Winds of the Wastelands is one of John Wayne’s better pre-Stagecoach programmers.  While it has the western action that most people would expect from a B-western, it also has a lot more comedy than some of Wayne’s other poverty row productions.  For instance, a skunk tries to turn the stagecoach into his home and, of course, shows up at a key moment during the big race.  When one of bad guys tries to convince Blair to take his donkey to Crescent City in the stagecoach, Blair asks if there are any other “jackasses” who want a ride while casting a look at Drake’s men.  The movie takes a more serious turn when Drake goes to extreme methods to try to stop Blair and, as a result, Larry is wounded in a gunfight.  Doc Forsythe (Sam Flint), the founder of Crescent City, has to rediscover his confidence to perform the operation that can save Larry’s life.  Fortunately, the doctor’s daughter (Phyllis Fraser) is there to both help him out and to fall in love with John Blair.

This 55-minute programmer featured John Wayne playing the type of character for which he best known, the level-headed westerner who wasn’t going to let anyone push him around but who still fought fair.  Watching this movie, it’s easy to see why, just three years later, John Ford used him in Stagecoach.

Retro Television Reviews: The Weekend Nun (dir by Jeannot Szwarc)

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 1972’s The Weekend Nun!  It  can be viewed on YouTube!

By day, Marjorie Walker (Joanna Pettet) is a probation officer who, some might say, cares just a little too much.

By night and on the weekends, she’s Sister Mary Damian, a nun who has taken the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Mother Bonaventure (Ann Sothern) isn’t sure that she’s happy about Sister Damian working as a probation officer.  And the tough and cynical Detective Chuck Jardine (Vic Morrow) certainly isn’t happy when he discovers that the reason why Marjorie has never invited him into her home for a drink is because she lives at a convent.  But Marjorie is determined to make a difference, especially in the life of a troubled teen runaway named Audree (Kay Lenz).

Now, this may sound like the premise of a socially relevant sitcom and, indeed, The Weekend Nun is one of those titles that might lead some to expect wacky hijinks and an intrusive laugh track.  However, The Weekend Nun is not only loosely based on a true story but the film also takes itself very seriously.  From the minute that Sister Damian agrees to take part in a program that would allow her to work a real job during the day while returning to the convent at night, she’s exposed to the harsh realities of the world.  She goes from being sheltered to dealing with distraught parents, drug addicts, teen prostitutes, and violent criminals.  Because Captain Richardson (James Gregory) doesn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable, he hides the fact that she’s a nun.  Of course, this leads to be people like Chuck Jardine wondering why Marjorie is so shocked when she witnesses the thing that he has to deal with a day-to-day basis.

And, indeed, the film’s biggest flaw is that Marjorie is often portrayed as being ridiculously naïve.  The film acts as if spending time in a convent is somehow the equivalent of spending a decade hiding out in a bomb shelter or something.  (Speaking as a Catholic school survivor, nuns are usually some of the least naïve people around.)  Marjorie is portrayed as being such a wide-eyed innocent that it’s hard not to wonder why she was hired to work as a probation officer in the first place.  Of course, Marjorie quickly gets an education on just how dangerous and unforgiving life on the streets can be and she soon has to make a choice between being a nun or being a probation officer.  Will she give her life to God or will she potentially give it to Vic Morrow?

Joanna Pettet overplays Marjorie’s innocence but that’s more the fault of the script than anything else.  James Gregory, Vic Morrow, and Ann Sothern are all believable as the authority figures in Marjorie’s life and Kay Lenz has a few good scenes as the teenage runaway who Marjorie tries to save.  Beverly Garland has a small but brief role as Lenz’s horrifically unconcerned mother.  It’s a well-acted film, regardless of any other flaws.

The Weekend Nun is not perfect but it’s still preferable to The Flying Nun.  It’s a sincerely heartfelt film, one that’s earnest in a way that can seem a bit quaint but which is still likable when watched today.  For better or worse, there’s not a hint of snark to be found.

All Of The Rangers’s 2022 Home Runs!

Good news!  We’ve only got 11 more days to go until the start of the MLB regular season!  Will this be the year that my Rangers finally get it together and return to the post-season for the first time since 2016?  Even if we don’t make the post-season, can we at least have our first winning season in seven years?  I hope so!  But even if we don’t, I’ll still be cheering for my team and whoever represents the AL in the World Series!

(Unless it’s the Blue Jays.)

Here’s a video I found of every single Rangers homerun in 2022!  Watching it and hearing “Gone!” over and over again has got me pumped up for the season!

Opening day is March 30th!  The Rangers will be hosting the Phillies.

Music Video of the Day: Come On Over by Jessica Simpson (2008, dir by Liz Friedlander)

Today’s music video of the day is both wholesome and rebellious.  It’s wholesome because it’s a Jessica Simpson video.  It’s rebellious because it’s Jessica finally calling the shots over her own life.

Take that, Nick Lachey!

Seriously, this feels like a nice revenge video.  It came out two years after Jessica and Nick divorced and it finds Jessica back on the ranch and waiting for a better lover and, even more importantly, doing it all on her own terms.  This is the type of video that Jessica’s management never would have allowed to happen in the days before she married Nick.  As such, this is not just a video about inviting over your lover.  This is a video growing up, maturing, and embracing what makes you happy.