Hooray for Harold Lloyd!: MOVIE CRAZY (Paramount 1932)


cracked rear viewer

Harold Lloyd  made a smooth transition from silent films to talkies beginning with 1929’s WELCOME DANGER. Unlike Charlie Chaplin (who stubbornly clung to making silents until 1940), and Buster Keaton (whose MGM contract took away much of his artistic freedom), Lloyd retained both his comic visual style while integrating verbal gags in the new medium and kept control of the pictures he made. And while his popularity had begun to wane by the 1930’s, Harold Lloyd’s early talkies are definitely worth watching – because they’re flat-out funny! Case in point: 1932’s MOVIE CRAZY.

MOVIE CRAZY is one of those “Hollywood-behind-the-scenes” stories you know I love so much, so it automatically scored cool points with me! Kansas farm boy Harold Hall lives with his parents and daydreams of being a movie star. One day, he sends his picture and a letter to Planet Films exec O’Brien – only the inept Harold…

View original post 643 more words

Campus Kooks: The Ritz Brothers in LIFE BEGINS IN COLLEGE (20th Century Fox 1937)


cracked rear viewer


I haven’t posted anything on The Ritz Brothers since January of 2016 , so when TCM aired a trio of their films this weekend, I chose to review what I consider their best solo effort, 1937’s LIFE BEGINS IN COLLEGE. This was their first name-above-the-title movie, and features Harry, Jimmy, and Al at their zaniest, with the added bonus of comedienne Joan Davis as a kooky coed with her sights on Native American football hero Nat Pendleton.

Collegiate musical comedies were a popular sub-genre in the 30’s: COLLEGE HUMOR, PIGSKIN PARADE, COLLEGE SWING, COLLEGE HOLIDAY, et al, so it seemed the perfect milieu for the Ritzes to showcase their peculiar brand of nuttiness. The story is typical campus corniness, as George “Little Black Cloud” Black arrives at Lombardy College (crashing his motorcycle for an entrance) wanting to join the football team, and immediately developing a rivalry with football team captain…

View original post 488 more words

Anime You Should Be Watching: Asobi Asobase


Greetings all, as the supposed resident anime expert here at TSL, I’ve let a lot slip through the cracks due to crazy amounts of laziness, and let’s face it, a certain amount of sobriety.  Was I not drunk enough?  Was I too drunk?  We’ll leave that up to your imagination.  What shouldn’t be left in the realm of uncertainty is how great Asobi Asobase is.

To start with, this show looks like your standard, boring, slice of life that any anime fan worth their salt has seen a million times, right?  Oh, that’s just what these devious devils want you to think!  In fact, if you watch the opening sequence, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to think.

I’ll admit, I don’t know very much Japanese.  Just enough to get me into, and sometimes out of trouble.  But from what I can tell, that OP is nothing but innocence and typical SOL sugary goodness.  So you go into this anime expecting that, and somewhere in the first episode, like 10 minutes in, you’re in for a rude awakening.  Sure, this starts off as all sweet, sugary high school life of “Oh hey, let’s start an after school club!” But it quickly forgets whatever premise it ever had and completely devolves into “Let’s make these girls as effed up as we possibly can!”  I’d tell you the premise of this anime, but it seriously has no premise.  It’s hilarity done strictly for the sake of hilarity.  You’d still like some kind of starting point you say?  Ok, here’s the premise they initially start us with.  Hanako is a bored rich girl who wants to form a club to play games.  Kasumi is a girl who is terrible at English, whose sister always beat the crap out of her at games without mercy and has a complex about that.  Olivia is a girl who looks like a foreigner (something strange and mysterious to Japanese apparently) yet was born and raised in Japan and doesn’t know a lick of English.  Kasumi joins the club because she expects Olivia to tutor her in English.  Olivia joins because she thinks she can fool Kasumi, and also because she thinks Hanako is an idiot and likes making fun of her.  Hanako turns out to be the smartest member of the club.  Absolutely none of that matters past episode 2.  Hanako is borderline genius, Olivia gets exposed, Kasumi, well she’s got a lot more going on that just being poor at English.

As we watch further into the show, we get hit with full on craziness. How crazy could it be might you ask?  Well, one of the more normal segments revolves around Hanako’s butler? Maeda revealing that prior to joining her household he was a homeless man who was abducted by aliens and anal probed with a laser device inserted into him.  Yes, he shoots lasers out of his ass.  And it’s viewed as totally normal.

And I did say that was one of the tamer scenes, yes?  I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you one of my favorite scenes I’ve seen so far.  If you need some sort of setup, I guess I’ll give it to you.  Essentially the girls are forced to sneak into the office of the student council president by someone who may or may not be a guy pretending to be a girl (totally is, no question about it) and they have to steal a certain file that contains information that this guy would rather not get out into the open, even though most of it is about the three girls in question.  Anyways, this is the penultimate scene.

This is the kind of humor you’re in for with this show.  If you didn’t find that hilarious, then this show isn’t for you.  I’m not judging (I’m totally judging) but that’s OK.

Finally, I gotta say, the ending theme to this is probably the best ED I’ve ever seen in an anime.  Ever.  But definitely for this season.  First off, I’ll share with you the ending theme that we get to see after each episode.

Totally different theme from the OP, right?  I think it’s great how they go from a sugary sweet opening theme to this total metalcore ending.  Gives the right balance between what you expect from the description, and what you actually get from the show.  I should mention that both the OP and ED are sung by the main three girls on the show.  Also, I really want to share with you all the full version of that song since I feel they really do a fantastic job of it.

To me, the amazing part is that none of the three main actresses, Hina Kino (Hanako), Konomi Kohara (Kasumi), Rika Nagae (Olivia) have ever really starred as the main voices in any show prior to this, yet they really come across to me as veterans in the industry.  Just the way they interact with each other and totally own their roles is something you’d only expect from long time veterans.  These are girls that I think we’ll be hearing a lot from the in the future in the anime business.

This offering from Rin Suzukawa is easily the best comedy I’ve ever had to recommend on this site.

Ultimately, this is a show that is much greater than anything anyone could say about it.  Comedy is super subjective, but if you don’t find this funny at least 80% of the time, it’s time to  play some Operation and have your funny bone checked.

Confessions of a TV Addict #10: Neil Simons’ Greatest Hit THE ODD COUPLE Will Endure


cracked rear viewer


When Neil Simon passed away this weekend at age 91, the world lost one of the 20th Century’s greatest comedy minds. Simon got his start writing for radio along with brother Danny Simon, and the pair soon moved into the then-new medium of television, hired by producer Max Leibman for the staff of YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS starring Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris. This seminal variety show ran from 1950-54 and featured the talented comedy minds of writers Mel Brooks , Selma Diamond, Mel Tolkin, and Reiner on its staff. The Simons siblings moved to Caesar’s next venture CAESAR’S HOUR (1954-56) along with most of the writing staff, joined by newcomers Larry Gelbart and Aaron Ruben .

The Simons joined the staff of THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW (1955-59) for its final season, chronicling the escapades of con artist Sgt. Bilko. During this time, Neil began working…

View original post 503 more words

Comedy Tonight: A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM (United Artists 1966)


cracked rear viewer

Director Richard Lester made the jump from The Beatles to Broadway in filming A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, but it wasn’t that far a leap. In adapting the Tony-winning musical comedy to the screen, Lester energizes the film with his unmistakably 60’s cinematic style, resulting in one of the decade’s best comedies, aided and abetted by a cast of pros including Zero Mostel , Phil Silvers, Jack Gilford, and the great Buster Keaton in his final film performance.

The credits roll to the tune of Stephen Sondheim’s “Comedy Tonight”, which may be my favorite song from any musical, as Zero introduces us to the main players. He’s Psuedolus, a slave owned by young Hero (Michael Crawford), son of unhappily married Senex (Michael Hordern) and his shrewish (not Jewish) wife Domina (Patricia Jessel, who’s a riot!). Hero has fallen in love with Philia (Annette Andre), the…

View original post 586 more words

Double Your Fun: Laurel & Hardy in BLOCKHEADS (MGM 1938) and SAPS AT SEA (United Artists 1940)


cracked rear viewer

Hal Roach first teamed Stan Laurel with Oliver Hardy in 1927, beginning a long and prosperous screen comedy collaboration. The pair became the movie’s most beloved, and funniest, screen team, a point  that’s hard to argue against after a recent rewatching of BLOCKHEADS and SAPS AT SEA, two films that each clock in at less than an hour, but pack more laughs than many longer, larger budgeted films of the era – or any era, for that matter!

In BLOCKHEADS, L&H are soldiers during WWI, and Stan is ordered to stand guard in the trench until the troop returns from battle. Twenty years later, he’s still there! Found by a pilot he shoots down, Stan is taken to an Old Soldiers’ Home, when Ollie (once again a henpecked husband) spots his picture in the newspaper. Ollie rushes to see his old pal, and finds him sitting in a wheelchair with…

View original post 780 more words

Pre-Code Confidential #21: Wheeler & Woosley in DIPLOMANIACS (RKO 1933)


cracked rear viewer

Political satire in film ran rampant during the Pre-Code Era. Somewhere between W.C. Fields’s MILLION DOLLAR LEGS and the Marx Brothers’ DUCK SOUP  sits DIPLOMANIACS, Wheeler & Woolsey’s madcap take on war and peace, 1930’s style. It’s purely preposterous, unadulterated farce, and is guaranteed to offend someone, if not everyone.

Let’s get it out of the way right now: DIPLOMANIACS is not politically correct in any way, shape, or form. It’s loaded with racist stereotypes, casting Hugh Herbert as a not-so-wise Chinaman (“It is written that it is written that it is written that it is written”), lambastes Jews, Native Americans, and homosexuals, and portrays women as sex objects (spy Marjorie White is delivered in plastic wrap). A bomb tossed into the peace talks causes everyone to turn blackface, leading to a prolonged minstrel number! If you’re already offended, stop reading… but if you can take the heat, by all…

View original post 476 more words