Book Review: SEX IN THE CINEMA The ‘Pre-Code’ Years (1929-1934) by Lou Sabini (Bear Manor Media 2017)


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Those of you who faithfully follow this blog know what a huge fan of Pre-Code films I am, even devoting an entire series to them, “Pre Code Confidential”. Well, film scholar and all-around good guy Lou Sabini has gone a step further and written a new book, SEX IN THE CINEMA: THE PRE-CODE YEARS, published by the fine folks over at Bear Manor Media, a handy reference guide to 107 Pre-Code films covering topics like illicit sex, gangland violence, drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, abortion, and Busby Berkeley… what more could a Pre-Code fan ask for!!

Helen Twelvetrees & Charles Bickford in 1932’s PANAMA FLO

Out of the 107 movies covered here, I’ve seen a mere 36, and covered seven on CRV. That will certainly change, as a few of them are sitting in my DVR ready to be enjoyed (thanks, TCM!). Lou was a student of noted film historian/collector William…

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Book Review: HOPE: Entertainer of The Century by Richard Zoglin (Simon & Schuster, 2014)


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He was unquestionably one of the most famous, most recognized persons of the 20th Century, the father of what we now know as stand-up comedy, the first true multi-media star. A patriot and a philanderer, a giver and a taker, a smart-mouthed comic and a friend to presidents and generals. But who was Bob Hope, really? This ambitious 2014 biography by Richard Zoglin attempts to answer that question, a meticulously researched tome that tries to uncover the private man behind the public mask.

with vaudeville partner George Byrne

Zoglin digs deep into the available archives and uses interviews with those that knew him to paint his portrait of the notoriously reticent Bob Hope, reaching all the way back to his hardscrabble beginnings as an immigrant in Cleveland with six brothers, an alcoholic father who was an itinerant stone cutter, and a stern but loving mother who served as the de facto head…

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Book Review: STICK IT! MY LIFE OF SEX, DRUMS, AND ROCK’N’ROLL by Carmine Appice with Ian Gitting (Chicago Review Press 2016)


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About three weeks ago, I attended the Vanilla Fudge 50th Anniversary show at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA. It’s a great venue to see a concert, with an intimate 280 seat capacity. Three of the four original members performed (bassist Tim Bogert is retired from active touring), and their psychedelic, proto-metal stylings had the joint rocking hard. Keyboard wizard Mark Stein, guitarist Vinnie Martell, new bass player Pete Bremy, and legendary drummer Carmine Appice tore the house down with their renditions of hits like “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Take Me for a Little While”, and “People Get Ready”.

Much as I enjoyed all their musicianship, the main reason I went was to catch Carmine Appice,  one of rock’s all-time greatest drummers. The band did a meet-and-greet after the show, and I snatched by a copy of Appice’s recent book, STICK IT! MY LIFE OF SEX…

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2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2016


Right now, I’m in the process of taking a look back at some of my favorite things from the previous year.  Yesterday, I posted a list of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016.  Today, I post my 20 favorite novels!

All of these are worth reading and in fact, I insist that you do.  Let’s enjoy the written word while we can because, sadly, the future holds only illiteracy and propaganda.

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  1. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  2. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
  3. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  4. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
  5. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  6. Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  7. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
  8. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  9. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  10. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
  11. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  12. The Girls by Emma Cline
  13. Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
  14. The Widow by Fiona Barton
  15. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
  16. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
  17. The Empty Ones by Robert Brockway
  18. The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
  19. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey
  20. The Gloaming by Melanie Finn

Tomorrow, it’s the list that you have all been waiting for: my picks for the best films of 2016!

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Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016
  8. 2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016
  9. 2016 In Review: 10 Good Things I Saw On Television in 2016
  10. 2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2016

2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2016


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My look back at the previous year continues with 10 of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016!  Now, it should be noted that, because this is an entertainment-related website, I’m only listing my favorite entertainment-related books.  There was a lot of good nonfiction published last year but the majority of it had nothing to do with either the movies or television so who cares?

Anyway, all of these are wonderful and well-worth the money!

  1. The Godfather Notebook by Francis Ford Coppola
  2. TV: The Book by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall
  3. The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling
  4. Natalie Wood: Reflections on a Legendary Life by Manoah Bowman
  5. The Purple Diaries: Mary Astor and the Most Sensational Hollywood Scandal of the 1930s by Joseph Egan
  6. In Search of Lost Films by Phil Hall
  7. Down from the Attic: Rare Thrillers of the Silent Era through the 1950s by John T. Soister and Henry Nicolella
  8. Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
  9. The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous & Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel by James Bone
  10. A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers Who Saved the Movies by Dennis Bartok and Jeff Joseph

Finally, I have to give an honorable mention to two books that were published in 2015 but which I didn’t read until 2016.  These two books were definitely my favorite non-fiction reads in 2016 and there’s no way that I couldn’t mention them.  Troy Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse and So Deadly, So Perverse Volume 2 contain everything you could possibly want to know about the giallo genre!

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Tomorrow, my look back at 2016 continues with my favorite novels of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016
  8. 2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016
  9. 2016 In Review: 10 Good Things I Saw On Television in 2016

Book Review: JOHN WAYNE: THE LIFE AND LEGEND by Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster)


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He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth, partly fiction” –

Kris Kristofferson, The Pilgrim

He was a football star at USC who also starred on the debate team. A primitive that could quote Shakespeare, Keats, and Churchill with ease. A two-fisted, hard drinker who was adept at chess and bridge. A man some called racist whose three wives were all Hispanic. To his friends, he was Duke Morrison, but to the world he was known as John Wayne. This definitive, well researched biography by Scott Eyman was released in hardcover in 2014, and is now available in trade paperback form. Eyman, who also wrote the definitive book on John Ford (1999’s PRINT THE LEGEND: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN FORD), spent years to make this the last word on John Wayne, separating the man from the myth, in this in-depth study of how the boy from Winterset, Iowa became…

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Airport Reading: Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me by Steven Hyden


51y-hABo2ML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Today, I have flown from Baltimore to Chicago and, after a three-hour layover at O’Hare, from Chicago to Atlanta.  Now I have to wait two hours until I board a plane to Dallas.  Luckily, I have a good book to read.

Steven Hyden’s Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me takes a look at some famous pop music rivalries and what they may or may not reveal about the meaning of life.  Hyden examines 19 different rivalries, everyone from Oasis vs. Blur to Neil Young vs. Lynard Skynard to the Smashing Pumpkins vs. Pavement, Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones and, naturally, Roger Waters vs. everyone else in Pink Floyd.  And, of course, he also writes about Biggie vs. Tupac because, as he puts it, that’s the only rivalry that he “was required by law to write about in this book.”

The best chapter, in my opinion, is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Jimi Hendrix’s legacy and Eric Clapton’s continued existence.  He asks a very important question: If Hendrix had lived and was currently living the life of Eric Clapton, would we still consider Jimi to be the greatest guitar God of all time?  A close second to the Hendrix/Clapton chapter is Hyden’s look at the rivalry between Nirvana and Pearl Jam.  Hyden makes a convincing argument that not only did Kurt Cobain never really grow to like Pearl Jam but that Bruce Springsteen really does not like Chris Christie that much either.

Steven Hyden’s an opinionated guy and, reading the book, I have disagreed with him almost as much as I’ve agreed.  But he is also a very good writer and he definitely knows his music.  Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me has made this day of airports and flying bearable.  I highly recommend it!