Film Review: Cocaine and Blue Eyes (1983, directed by E.W. Swackhamer)


When San Francisco-based private investigator Michael Brennen (O.J. Simpson) gives a ride to Joey Crawford (John Spencer) on Christmas Eve, he doesn’t know that it’s going to lead to the biggest case of his career.  When Joey asks Michael to help him track down his ex-girlfriend, Michael assumes that Joey would never be able to pay for his investigative services.  But one week later, Michael gets something in the mail from Joey.  Inside the envelope, there’s a picture of both Joey’s ex and a thousand dollar bill.  Ever after he discovers that Joey was mysteriously killed the night before, Michael decides to take on the case.  His investigation will take him not only to Joey’s ex but it will also lead to him uncovering a drug ring that involves one of San Francisco’s most prominent families.

Simpson not only starred in this made-for-TV movie but he also served as executive producer.  Watching the movie, it’s obvious that it was meant to serve as a pilot for a Michael Brennen TV series and it’s also just as obvious why that series never happened.  O.J. Simpson was not a terrible actor but, ironically for someone who set records as an NFL player, there was nothing tough about him.  Simpson may be playing a two-fisted, cash-strapped P.I. but, in every scene, he comes across like he can’t wait to hit the golf course.  Simpson’s pleasant demeanor may have served him well in other areas of his life but it didn’t help him with this role.  Whenever Simpson has to share a scene with John Spencer, Candy Clark, Cliff Gorman, or any of the other members of this film’s surprisingly talented supporting cast, Simpson’s bland screen presence and lack of gravitas becomes all the more apparent.

Of course, when seen today, the main problem with Cocaine and Blue Eyes is that it’s impossible to watch without thinking, “Hey, didn’t the star of this movie get away with killing his wife and an innocent bystander?”  Even the most innocuous  of lines take on a double meaning when they’re uttered by O.J. Simpson.  It doesn’t help that the movie opens with Michael visiting his estranged wife and their children on Christmas Eve and getting chased around the neighborhood by a guard dog.  When the movie was made, this scene was probably included so that O.J. could show off some of the moves that made him a star at UCLA and with the Bills.  Seen today, the scene takes on a whole different meaning.

Without O.J. Simpson, Cocaine and Blue Eyes could easily pass for being an extended episode of Magnum P.I., Simon and Simon, or any other detective show from the 80s.  With Simpson, it becomes a pop cultural relic.  I don’t think it’s ever been released on DVD but it is available on YouTube, where it can be viewed by O.J. Simpson completists everywhere.

A Movie A Day #193: The O.J. Simpson Story (1995, directed by Alan Smithee)


Long before O.J.: Made In America

Before The People vs. O.J. Simpson

Before American Tragedy

Before today’s live, televised parole hearing…

There was The O.J. Simpson Story.

In 1994, shortly after O.J. Simpson was charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Fox rushed The O.J. Simpson Story into production.  It was one of many “true life” stories that showed up as television movies during the 90s.  There was a movie about Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s divorce.  There was a movie about David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, which actually aired while the siege in Waco was still ongoing.  There were three movies about Amy Fisher.  So, of course, O.J. would get a movie.

Though the movie was produced in 1994, it was not allowed to air in 1995 so that it would not prejudice any of the jurors in the case.  (After all, they might have done something crazy like ignore all of the DNA evidence and let O.J. go free.)  I think the legal authorities may have been giving The O.J. Simpson Story too much credit.  There were many bad made-for-TV movies made in the 90s but The O.J. Simpson Story may very well be the worst.  The only thing it could prejudice some against is television.

Opening with the discovery of the murders in Brentwood, The O.J. Simpson Story mixes scenes of O.J. (played by Bobby Hosea, who shows not a hint of O.J.s famous charisma) talking to the police and his lawyer, Bob Shapiro (Bruce Weitz, slightly more credible than John Travolta was in The People vs. O.J. Simpson) with flashbacks to O.J.’s youth, first marriage, and his relationship with Nicole (blandly played by Jessica Tuck, who, beyond the color of her hair, looked nothing like Nicole).  The film also devotes some time to O.J.’s friendship with A.C. Cowlings, who, as a young man, is played by Terrence Howard.

Several of the famous incidents of the case are wanly recreated.  The famous bronco chase is there, of course.  O.J. is shown beating Nicole in the infamous 1989 incident, which the movie suggests was triggered by Nicole telling O.J. that he would never win an Oscar for appearing in The Naked Gun.  But, since the movie was rushed into production before the trial even began, it is remarkable how much is left out.  There’s no Mark Furhman finding the black glove.  There’s no Kate Kaelin, Faye Resnick, Johnnie Cochran, or even Marcia Clark.  Because the movie was made before the trial had even begun, it does not even take a stand on whether or not O.J.’s guilty.  Narratively, it is an incomplete movie and evidence of why movies that claim to tell true stories should not be rushed into production before the story itself has been completed.

As for the film’s dialogue, when O.J. first meets Nicole, he asks her, “Any problem with going out with a brother?”

“Yeah,” Nicole says with a smile, “I’m in the Ku Klux Klan.”

Not surprisingly, The O.J. Simpson Story was directed by Alan Smithee, which was the pseudonym used by directors who felt that their movie has been so butchered by outside interference that they should not even be credited with the final result.  The O.J. Simpson Story is one of the worst Smithee films that I have ever seen.  Compared to The O.J. Simpson Story, Smithee’s work on Let’s Get Harry was Oscar-worthy.

As for the real life O.J. Simpson, earlier today, he was granted parole from the Nevada Parole Board.  He will be released from prison on October 1st.  He has said that he hope to be allowed to move to Florida after being released.  The real-life O.J. Simpson story continues.

When it comes to the long saga of O.J. Simpson, it seems appropriate to give the last word to MAD Magazine:

A Movie A Day #11: O.J.: Made in America (2016, directed by Ezra Edelman)


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O.J.: Made in America, the best film of 2016, opens with a parole hearing in Nevada.  The inmate is surprisingly friendly and affable.  He talks about how he has tried to make the best use of his time in prison.  He chuckles as he talks about his prison duties.  For a prisoner, he seems like a really nice guy.

Then the parole commissioner asks him about the first time he was ever arrested and the prisoner’s entire demeanor changes.

“We’re going to talk about that?” he asks.

ojThe prisoner, of course, is former football great and actor Orenthal James Simpson and the first time that he was arrested, he was charged with murdering both his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.  In 1995, after a long and controversial trial that both forced people to reconsider how they viewed race relations in America and also marked the beginning of what would become reality television, O.J. Simpson was acquitted.  13 years to the day of his acquittal, he was sentenced to 33 years in prison for armed robbery in Nevada.

O.J.: Made in America leaves little doubt that O.J. got away with murder, though it should be pointed out that O.J. Simpson did not respond to requests for an interview and that Johnnie Cochran, who headed the legal team that won Simpson’s acquittal, died in 2005.  But with a sprawling running time of 7 and a half hours and featuring interviews with hundreds of people who either knew or were affected by O.J., O.J.: Made in America is about much more than just the trial of the century.

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The first three hours of O.J.: Made in America deal with who O.J. was before he was charged with murder.  Things open in the 1960s, with the nation torn apart by racial unrest, and O.J. Simpson winning the Heisman Trophy and setting rushing records with both the USC Trojans and the Buffalo Bills.  While other black athletes, like Mohammad Ali, were putting their careers on the line and speaking out about civil rights, O.J. was deliberately apolitical.  When O.J. was pressured to speak out on civil rights, he would reply, “I’m not black.  I’m O.J.”

In turbulent times, O.J. emerged as a black celebrity that whites could safely embrace.  O.J. made history as the first black man to be used as a spokesman in an advertising campaign, running through airports for Hertz Rent-A-Car while onlookers shouted, “Go, O.J., go!”  A Hertz executive explains that, whenever they filmed a commercial, they were careful to make sure that it was only white people who were seen cheering O.J. on.  Retiring from football, O.J. moved to Brentwood, an all-white enclave in Los Angeles.  Surrounded by sycophants, O.J. pursued an acting career and remained silent while Los Angeles dealt with a series of racial incidents, culminating in the riots that followed after four LAPD officers was acquitted in the beating of Rodney King.

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During all of this, O.J. divorced his first wife and married Nicole Brown.  One of the commendable things about O.J.: Made in America is that it gives a face and a personality to Nicole, who is often the forgotten victim when people discuss the O.J. Simpson case.  At the same time, O.J.: Made in America also documents how O.J. never faced any serious consequences for abusing Nicole.  Even after he was charged with domestic battery, all O.J. had to do for his community service was set up a charity golf tournament.  He later did an interview with Roy Firestone where the two of them joked away the charges and Firestone worried that they may have led some people to think that the Juice was a bad guy.

The next three hours deal with not only the murders of Nicole and Ronald Goldman but also with the national ramifications of the so-called “trial of the century.”  The first three hours were dominated by interviews with childhood friends, business associates, and neighbors.  It’s during the 2nd three hours that the familiar faces start to pop up.  Gil Garcetti, Bill Hodgman, and Marcia Clark talk about prosecuting O.J.  (Unfortunately, Chris Darden declined to be interviewed.)  From the defense team, F. Lee Bailey, Barry Scheck, and Carl E. Douglas share their memories of how this murder trial became a national Rorschach test on how Americans viewed race, celebrity, and justice.  The irony is not lost on anyone that O.J., who never made any public commitment to civil rights and who surrounded himself with rich, white people, was largely acquitted because of race.

Until I saw O.J.: Made in America, I could never understand how O.J, manages to win acquittal.  His guilt has always seemed so obvious to me.  But, as O.J.: Made in America made clear, reasonable doubt can mean different things to different people.  A black jury in downtown Los Angeles had reason to both distrust and dislike the LAPD.  When Mark Furhman is heard using racial slurs, Carl Douglas says that it confirmed everything that he had always suspected by the LAPD.  Beyond that Cochran and his team put on a better show than the prosecution, who often seemed unsure how to respond and who repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with unforced errors, like asking O.J. to try on the bloody glove.  (Mike Gilbert, O.J.’s agent, reveals that O.J. had stopped taking his arthritis medication during the trial, causing his fingers to swell up.)  Even though the late Cochran could not be interviewed, he still easily dominates the documentary.

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O.J.: Made in America features interviews with two of the jurors, Carrie Bess and Yolanda Crawford.  When Crawford is asked if the acquittal was payback for the Rodney King verdict, she weakly protests that it was not.  When ask the same question, Carrie Bess unapologetically nods in the affirmative.

With the trial over, the best part of the documentary is yet to come.  The final 90 minutes deals with the decade between O.J.’s acquittal and his Nevada conviction.  Freshly acquitted from murdering his wife, O.J. Simpson swore that he was going to track down the real killers, returned to his Brentwood mansion, and discovered that none of his old friends wanted to hang out with him anymore.  The once popular O.J. Simpson was now a pariah.  Simpson was taken to civil court by the Goldmans and the Browns and a new jury found him liable for the deaths of both Nicole and Ron.  Ordered to pay $33,000,0000, a bankrupt and friendless O.J. spent ten years in the wilderness.

If things could not get any more surreal, O.J. was hired to star in a Punk’d-style TV show that would have been called Juiced.  The Juiced footage would have been the strangest part of O.J.: Made in America if not for what happened in Las Vegas.  Convinced that a memorabilia collector had stolen his stuff, O.J. and his entourage confronted the man in his hotel room.  In a comedy of errors, O.J. grabbed everything that he felt had been stolen from him and ended up taking a lot of other things as well, with the entire encounter being audio recorded.  Because a member of Simpson’s entourage had a gun on him, O.J. was charged with armed robbery.

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Tom Riccio, a member O.J.’s Las Vegas entourage, talks about how, in the minutes before leaving to confront the memorabilia collector, O.J. was watching the Tyra Banks Show in his hotel room.  Tyra’s guest?  O.J.’s goddaughter, Kim Kardashian.  Kim announced that she and her family were going to be starring in a new show for E!  O.J. laughed and said, “That show will never last.”  Ironically, just as no one would have known (or cared) who Kim Kardashian was if not for her father’s role on O.J.’s defense team, O.J.’s murder trial also set the stage for the emergence of the reality television genre that would make stars of everyone from the Kardashian daughters to Donald Trump.

One final note about what happened in Las Vegas: O.J.’s Nevada trial was covered, for Entertainment Tonight, by Marcia Clark.

Convicted of armed robbery, O.J. was sentenced to prison.  As Carl Douglas puts it, it was not a coincidence that the judge waited until a year to the day after Simpson’s previous acquittal to sentence him.  And it was not a coincidence that Simpson, found liable for $33,000,000 in the civil lawsuit, was sentenced to 33 years.  Douglas calls it the “fifth quarter,” the fight that happens after the fourth quarter to determine who really won the game.  O.J.’s childhood friend, Joe Bell, calls it “white justice in America.”

Most people saw O.J.: Made in America when it was broadcast over five nights by ESPN.  But the best way to see this documentary is the way it was originally viewed at Sundance: as a seven and a half hour movie, watched with little break or interruption.  Full of candid and thought-provoking interviews and previously unseen footage, O.J.: Made in America is a powerful look at race, fame, and crime.

For tomorrow’s movie a day, it’s another documentary about a sports hero who ended up in prison, Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator.

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Embracing the Melodrama #28: The Towering Inferno (dir by John Guillermin)


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I have a weakness for the old, all-star disaster movies of the 1970s.  It could be because those movies remind me of how fragile life really is and encourage me to make the most of every minute.  Or maybe it’s because I have my phobias and, by watching those movies, I can confront my fears without having to deal with a real-life tornado, hurricane, tidal wave, avalanche, or fire.

Or maybe I just have a weakness of glitz, glamour, and melodrama — especially when it involves a huge cast of stars and character actors.  Yes that’s probably the reason right there.

Case in point: the 1974 best picture nominee, The Towering Inferno. 

As is the case with most of the classic disaster films, The Towering Inferno is a long and big movie but it has a very simple plot.  The world’s tallest building — known as the Glass Tower — has been built in San Francisco.  On the night of the grand opening, a fire breaks out, trapping all the rich and famous guests on the 135th floor.  Now, it’s up to the fire department to put out the fire while the trapped guests simply try to survive long enough to be rescued.  Some will live, some will die but one thing is certain — every member of the all-star cast will get at least 15 minutes of screen time and at least one chance to scream in the face of the film’s still effective special effects.

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As for the people trapped by the towering inferno, we don’t really get to know them or their motivations.  (Add to that, once the fire breaks out, everyone pretty much only has one motivation and that’s to not die.)  As a result, we don’t so much react to them as characters as we do to personas of the actors who are playing them.

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For instance, we know that Fire Chief O’Halloran is a fearless badass and a natural leader because he’s played by Steve McQueen.  McQueen brings a certain blue collar arrogance to this role and it’s a lot of fun to watch as he gets progressively more and more annoyed with the rich people that he’s been tasked with rescuing.

We know that architect Doug Roberts is a good guy because he’s played by Paul Newman.  Reportedly, Newman and McQueen were very competitive and, in this movie, we literally get to see them go-head-to-head.  And, as charismatic as Newman is, McQueen pretty much wins the movie.  That’s because there’s never a moment that O’Halloran isn’t in charge.  Doug, meanwhile, spends most of the movie begging everyone else in the tower to exercise the common sense necessary to not die.  (Unfortunately, despite the fact that he looks and sounds just like Paul Newman, nobody in the tower feels like listening to Doug.  If Towering Inferno proves anything, it’s that most people are too stupid to survive a disaster.)

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The tower’s owner, James Duncan, is played by William Holden so we know that Duncan may be a ruthless businessman but that ultimately he’s one of the good guys.  Holden gets one of the best scenes in the film when, after being told that people in the building are catching on fire, he replies, “I think you’re overreacting.”

Roger Simmons is Duncan’s son-in-law and we know that he’s ultimately to blame for the fire because he’s played by Richard Chamberlain.  Roger might as well have a sign on his back that reads “Doomed.”  The same can be said of publicity executive Dan (Robert Wagner) and his girlfriend, Lorrie (Susan Flannery).

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Faye Dunway is Susan.  She is Doug’s fiancée and she really doesn’t do much but she does get to wear a really pretty dress.  The same can be said of Susan Blakely, who plays Roger’s dissatisfied wife, and Jennifer Jones, who plays a recluse.  And good for them because if you’re going to be stuck in an inferno without much to do, you can at least take some comfort in looking good.

Then there’s Fred Astaire, who does not dance in this film.  Instead, he plays a kind-hearted con artist who ends up falling in love with Jennifer Jones.  Fred Astaire received his only Oscar nomination for his brief but likable performance in The Towering Inferno.

And finally, there’s the building’s head of security, Jernigan.  We know that he’s a murderer because he’s played by O.J. Simpson and … oh wait.  Jernigan is actually probably the second nicest guy in the whole film.  The only person nicer than Jernigan is Carlos, the bartender played by Gregory Sierra.

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The real star of the film, of course, is the fire.  In the 40 years since The Towering Inferno was produced, there’s been a lot of advances in CGI and I imagine that if the film was made today, we’d be watching the fire in 3D and it would be so realistic that we’d probably feel the heat in the theater.  That said, the fire effects in The Towering Inferno are still pretty effective.  Now, I have to admit that I have a phobia (and frequent nightmares) about being trapped in a fire so, obviously, this is a film that’s specifically designed to work itself into my subconscious.  But that said, the scenes with various extras thrashing about in the flames are still difficult to watch.  There’s a scene where Robert Wagner and Susan Flannery find themselves trapped in a blazing reception area and it is pure nightmare fuel.

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The Towering Inferno is an undeniably effective disaster film.  At the same time, when one looks at the 1974 Oscar nominees, it’s odd to see The Towering Inferno nominated for best picture along with The Godfather Part II, Chinatown, and The Conversation.  Unlike those three, The Towering Inferno is hardly a great film.

But it is definitely an entertaining one.

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44 Days of Paranoia #19: Capricorn One (dir by Peter Hyams)


Last night, the temperature plunged here in Texas.  When I woke up this morning, I was confronted with a world that was literally frozen.  Needless to say, nobody in Dallas went to work today.  Instead, we all sat in our houses and tried to keep ourselves entertained.  I kept myself occupied by watching a film that was initially released way back in 1978 and which takes place in my home state.

The name of that film was Capricorn One and it’s the latest entry in the 44 Days of Paranoia.

Capricorn One begins with three astronauts preparing to take the fist manned space flight to Mars.  James Brolin is the stoic leader.  Sam Waterston is the guy who has a joke for every occasion.  And O.J. Simpson is … well, O.J. really doesn’t have much of a personality.  He’s pretty much just along for the ride.

However, it turns out that there really isn’t going to be a ride.  Just as the countdown begins, the astronauts are ordered to leave the capsule.  They are then transported to secret base in the Texas desert.  It’s here that they have a meeting with the Head of NASA, who is played by Hal Holbrook.  (It’s simply not a 70s conspiracy film if Hal Holbrook isn’t somehow involved).  Holbrook proceeds to deliver a stirring monologue where he talks about how he and Brolin have always dreamed of sending a manned flight to Mars.  However, as Holbrook explains, the life support system on the crew’s ship was faulty.  If Holbrook had allowed them to be launched, they would have died as soon as they left the Earth’s atmosphere.  However, if the mission had been canceled then there was a chance that the President would use that cancellation as an excuse to cut NASA’s funding.

So, as Holbrook explains, an empty spaceship has been launched into space.  As far as the American public is concerned, the three astronauts are currently on their way to Mars.  Now, in order to save the space program, they are going to have to fake the mission.  In a studio, a fake alien landscape has been set up and it’s from that studio that Brolin, Waterston, and Simpson will pretend to explore Mars.

Brolin, Waterston, and Simpson reluctantly agree to cooperate with the plan.  However, after doing the first fake broadcast, Brolin starts to have second thoughts.  Realizing that he can’t trust the three astronauts to keep a secret, Holbrook announces that the capsule’s heat shields failed during re-entry and that the crew of Capricorn One is now dead.  Now, all he has to do is have the three of them killed for real.

Meanwhile, a NASA technician (Robert Walden) stumbles onto evidence of the deception.  He subsequently vanishes but not before he tells reporter Elliott Gould about his suspicions.  While the three astronauts try to escape from Holbrook’s agents, Gould tries to find out what really happened to Capricorn One.

It’s probably half-an-hour too long, the plot is full of holes (the least of which being why Holbrook waited until after he had announced the fake deaths to order the real deaths), and director Peter Hyams allows a few scenes to run on and on while others seem to end with a jarring abruptness.  However, for the most part, Capricorn One is a well-acted and solidly entertaining film.  However, there are two things that make Capricorn One especially memorable.

First off, Capricorn One features one of the most exciting action sequences that I have  ever seen.  It occurs while Gould is investigating Walden’s disappearance.  After visiting Walden’s apartment and discovering that it’s inhabited by a woman who claims to have never heard of his friend, Gould is driving away when he discovers that his brakes have been disabled.  The car then starts to accelerate and Gould finds himself desperately trying to regain control as the car careens through the streets of Houston.  The scene is shot almost entirely from Gould’s point-of-view and, for five minutes, we watch as everything from other cars to unlucky pedestrians come hurtling towards the car.  For those few minutes, when the viewer and Gould become one, Capricorn One is not only exciting but it feels genuinely dangerous as well.

Secondly, Capricorn One features some of the oddest dialogue imaginable.  Peter Hyams not only directed the film but he also wrote the screenplay as well.  Watching the film, one gets the feelings that Hyams was so in love with his dialogue and with all of his quirky characters that he simply could not bring himself to cut anything or anyone.  As a result, the film is full of lengthy monologues.  When the characters speak to each other, they don’t have conversations as much as they trade quips.  Characters like Gould’s ex-wife (played by Karen Black) and his editor (David Doyle) show up for a scene or two, deliver monologues that are only tangibly related to the film’s plot, and then vanish.  Sam Waterston ends up telling the world’s longest joke while he climbs a mountain in the desert.  Towards the end of the film, Telly Savalas (who was in my favorite Mario Bava film, Lisa and the Devil) shows up as a foul-tempered crop duster and engages in a long argument with Gould who, despite being a reporter, never bothers to question why Savalas would have a crop dusting business in the middle of the desert.

But here’s the thing — it works.  As odd as some of the dialogue may be and as superfluous as some of the action is to the overall plot, it still all works to the film’s benefit.  The constant quirkiness works to keep the audience off-balance and to give Capricorn One its own unique rhythm.

Capricorn One — see it now before Michael Bay remakes it.

Other Entries In The 44 Days of Paranoia 

  1. Clonus
  2. Executive Action
  3. Winter Kills
  4. Interview With The Assassin
  5. The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald
  6. JFK
  7. Beyond The Doors
  8. Three Days of the Condor
  9. They Saved Hitler’s Brain
  10. The Intruder
  11. Police, Adjective
  12. Burn After Reading
  13. Quiz Show
  14. Flying Blind
  15. God Told Me To
  16. Wag the Dog
  17. Cheaters
  18. Scream and Scream Again

6 Trailers To Go On The Road With


This weekend, I’m busy getting ready to go on a road trip with Jeff.  I’ll be away from home for two whole weeks!  However, fear not!  With the help of WordPress and my wonderful, beautiful older sister Erin, I will still be updating and posting even while we’re on the road.  I might even be able to convince my fellow Shattered Lens writer to spend the next two weeks watching the Lifetime Movie Channel and posting “What Lisa Would Have Watched Last Night.”  How about it, guys? *wink wink*

Anyway, while I deal with shopping and packing, why not enjoy the latest entry of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse And Exploitation Trailers.

(And by the way, just because I’m going to be out of town next weekend won’t stop me from posting six more trailers next Saturday.  Why?  Because I love you, silly!)

1) The Klansman (1974)

In this infamous little film from the 1970s, Richard Burton, Lee Marvin, and O.J. Simpson fight the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.  Believe it or not, I’ve actually seen this movie though the copy I saw was one of those public domain DVDs that I think was actually a copy of the edited-for-TV version of this movie.  (I say that because every time someone cursed, there was an awkward silence on the soundtrack.)  Even more odd is the fact that I’ve actually read the old novel that this movie is based on.  Anyway, this movie is pretty bad but the book is okay.  The film was directed by the same guy who directed the first James Bond films.

2) Beyond the Door (1975)

Okay, so this is pretty obviously an Exorcist rip-off but wow, this trailer freaks me out.  Needless to say this is an Italian film.  My favorite part of the trailer, to be honest, is the use of the Ryder truck.  It’s a moment that epitomizes Italian exploitation in that you can tell that the filmmakers really thought that displaying the one word — “Ryder” — would convince viewers that they were watching an American-made film.

3) 2020 Texas Gladiators (1985)

Speaking of Italian exploitation cinema, here we have another example.  I pretty much had to include this trailer because I live in Dallas and 2020 is just 9 years away.  That said, I’m not sure what part of Texas this film is supposed to be taking place in.  I’m guessing by all the shots of boots marching through grass that this is supposed to be up in North Texas but if you can find mountains like that around here then you’ve got far better eyesight than I do.  Add to that, the sudden indian attack seems more like an Oklahoma thing.  Not surprisingly, according to Amazon, this film was not only directed by Joe D’Amato but features both George Eastman and Al Cliver.

4) 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Apparently, it didn’t start in Texas.  This is also an Italian film.  It was directed by Enzo Castellari and, not surprisingly, George Eastman is in this one as well.

5) Empire of the Ants (1977)

The is the trailer that  dares to ask — who are you going to listen to?  Common sense or H.G. Wells?  I’ll tell you, nothing freaks me out more than when I see  one of those ant lines carrying a dead cricket back to the anthill.  Ants are one thing that I will not allow in the house.  However, I kinda admire them.  They’re so neat and organized.  Plus, males in ant society know their place.

6) Mr. Billion (1977)

“20th Century Fox presents Mr. Billion …. starring Terence Hill, the 5th biggest star in the  world…”  I haven’t seen very many Terence Hill films but I always enjoy seeing him in trailers.  I can’t really say whether he’s a good actor or not because every time I’ve seen him, he’s been dubbed.  But he definitely had a very likable presence.  You wanted him to be a good actor whether he was or wasn’t.  That said, even if I had been alive at the height of Mr. Hill’s fame, it never would have worked out for us as I’m Southern Italian and Hill is quite clearly from the north.  That’s just the way it is.  Anyway, back to Mr. Billion — I’m including two trailers for this one.  The first is the “Prestige” trailer.  The second one is much shorter and features one of those odd little songs that gets stuck in your head.