Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Song That Dare Not Speak Its Name

I dedicate this re-post to my friend Tom who continually taunts me with this goddam piece of shit song.
Have you ever hated a song? I mean REALLY hated one particular song?
There have been, in my lifetime, a lot of songs that I didn't like, say The Macarena or Toni Basil's Mickey, for example, but I more or less was able to avoid those because they usually went away after a short while.There is currently a "song" which I find to be the most irritating earworm that I've ever heard. This wretched recording, which was released exactly one year ago today, is a huge pop hit and despite the fact that I don't listen to commercial radio, don't watch MTV and never go to danceclubs - I somehow manage to hear it at least once a day.
The shitty song in question was in heavy rotation at my gym for months, playing twice, and sometimes three fucking times during a typical 90 minute workout. Luckily, now I only hear it every other day. Or maybe I'm just not working out as often as I used to? On Facebook, so-called friends are constantly posting YouTube clips featuring the song, or updating their status with a lyric from this dreadful ditty. This begs me to ask "Who the fuck are these people and what have they done to my friends?"The 'performer' of this musical atrocity is someone who I never really cared for in films and I do not know any other song that this one-named person sings. If their other songs are anything like this thing, please keep 'em far away from me. To make things worse, this musical turd has won awards from once-reputable magazines, proving how sad the state of music is today.
Recently, several trendy new TV shows have used this atrocious tune in episodes and even before that one older, once funny sketch show had done a painful parody of the "groundbreaking" music video that came attached to this malignant melody. I think a certain someone is rolling over in his jazzy grave.
These shows have all been promptly removed from my dvr. That's how much I hate it. I haven't hated anything this much since Sarah Palin, well maybe Glenn Beck.
What puzzles me is that people who I know and like actually find the song amusing, fun and cute (?) - when to me it's like listening to a thousand pieces of chalk being dragged across the world's largest blackboard. To top it all off, the "message" of the song is offensive as well - I only wish this was still the days of women's lib where Helen Reddy fans would take to the streets protesting this sexist, mindless dreck!
Yes, I know it's only "pop music" and I should chill out and not get so worked up about it and stop being such a "hater". But you know what, if something that I don't like is forced upon me aurally, I have a right to complain! As a person who suffers from migraines, a song like this is a danger to my health.
So, I will do my best to avoid this vile and vomitous anthem–I've already managed to walk out of bars and stores in protest when I've heard it playing, and I've left at least one party prematurely and I will continue to do so in protest and in defense of good taste. I will go on hating it, hoping that the hate will spread and people will rise up an destroy every known recording of it in existence.
My biggest fear is now that this thing is part of the lexicon, I will never be able to escape it. It will be played at weddings, bat mitzvahs and probably at my funeral - and then I will rise from my grave and yell...
"Oh, Mickey, you're so fine You're so fine you blow my mind Hey, Mickey Hey, Mickey!!!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SCAVENGER HUNT

Here's another re-post of a popular movie "review" from last year.The other night my friend Dennis brought over a VHS copy of a 1979 film called SCAVENGER HUNT (directed by Michael Schultz). So we invited a few like-minded friends over and after we hooked up our only dusty VCR, we watched it. As a fan of the brilliantly funny IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD, I'm always disappointed when other films try to copy the 'all-star cast on a quest format'. 1981's CANNONBALL RUN was an attempt to recapture the spirit, so was 2001's RAT RACE. Here the stars are smaller and the quest is sillier, and the laughs are few and far between.

The whole she-bang starts when a kooky old game maker Mr. Parker (played by Vincent Price) dies during the opening credits, and his will states that his multitude of heirs must compete in an elaborate scavenger hunt in order to inherit his fortune. The hunt turns out to be a zany quest where the 15 potential beneficiaries must outsmart and outrace one another to inherit the big bucks!!! EIGHT IS ENOUGH star Willie Aames plays one of Vincent's nephews. He is seen here in a costume from perhaps CIRCUS OF THE STARS?

The huge cast includes a mix of 1970s character actors and TV favorites. In the spirit of competition, our viewing crew decided to call out who was still ALIVE : Richard Benjamin, Cloris Leachman, Dirk Benedict, Willie Aames, Stephanie Faracy, Richard Masur, Stuart Pankin, Stephen Furst, Arnold Schwarznegger, and Liz Torres. And who was DEAD: James Coco, Scatman Crothers, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Robert Morley , Richard Mulligan, Tony Randall, Avery Schreiber, Ruth Gordon, Pat McCormick and Carol Wayne. It looks like the DEAD team wins by one point - two if you count Vincent Price! Here's Willie again, probably from THE BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS...
I could go into details about who played who and who is on what team, but suffice to say it would be an exercise in futility – because you'll never want to watch this film for any reason other to see 19-year-old pre-Bibleman Willie Aames running around in tight Angles Flight disco slacks. (This is Dennis' fondest memory of the film). Post-BATTLESTAR GALATICA and pre A-TEAM Dirk Benedict also provides some moments of hunkiness that can be enjoyed.
But the rest of the film, with its repetitious scenes of fast food being used to entrap fat people, French maids,  toilets named 'Monclare" and its all-star ostrich wrangling is too dumb to be enjoyable. Our group did laugh a lot, but mostly at our own comments-which due to certain circumstances I can't recall right now. Our friend Danny actually had lines memorized from repeated viewings as a child. Maybe he can provide some more insight on why one should watch this movie.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Happiest Millionaire

Here's a re-post from 2008. Enjoy. Or not.
So Big! So Romantic! So Full of Life! So What? THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE is famous for being the last film that Walt Disney oversaw before his death. It was intended to be the next MARY POPPINS, but was a huge critical and box office failure. For years I've wondered about it, so I finally decided to rent it and see what all the hate is about. The film opens in 1916 Philadelphia, as John Lawless (creepy-looking Tommy Steele), an optimistic lad, is seeking employment as the butler for the wealthy Drexel-Biddle family. He is supposed to be charming, but I find him annoying - especially when he's singing "Fortuosity" repeatedly and talking directly to the camera. He's like an obnoxious human cousin to Jiminy Cricket. Next we meet the long-suffering family maid, Mrs. Worth (played by the great Hermione Baddeley, better known as Mrs. Naugatuck from MAUDE).Finally we meet our star, the scowling patriotic patriarch Anthony Drexel-Biddle, (the usually likable Fred MacMurray), who runs a bible study class and fight club in his stately manor. He also raises pet alligators and is obsessed with the Marines Corps. He's loud, opinionated and supposedly a happy millionaire.His gay-ish sons (who only appear in one scene) are very protective of their tomboy sister  Cordy (the perky Lesley Ann Warren), who announces her unconventional plans to go away to school...much to her overbearing father's disappointment.
Once away, and living on campus, Cordy begs her sassy, rogue-wearing (i.e. slutty) roommate (future MATCH GAME star Joyce Bulifant) to teach her how to flirt. As a result, she meets a dashingly ambitious young man named Angier Duke (future HOLLYWOOD SQUARES host John Davidson), who's big dream is to move to Detroit and work in the auto industry. Wasn't this also a plotline from John Waters' FEMALE TROUBLE?When Cordy and Angie's plans to wed are announed, Mr. Drexel-Biddle loses his shit, but relents after Duke kicks his ass in jujitsu.Subplots about Anthony's frozen pet alligators......the revolving-door household staff, and Anthony's desire to join the Marine Corps(even though he is clearly over 50 years of age) do nothing to advance the plot.

Angie's snobby New York mother, Mrs. Duke (Geraldine Page) is not impressed by the Drexel-Biddles. I don't blame her.There's a whole Phillie vs. New York feud thing going on - and it becomes apparent when Cordy's Aunt Mary (Gladys Cooper) has a bitchfest with Mrs. Duke  (my favorite scene so far) - and things go from bad to worse when the Duke family's wedding invitations get misplaced! When it looks like the wedding is off, the butler takes Angie out drinking at a rowdy bar populated only by singing and dancing men. A brawl ensues and Angie is arrested. Mrs. Biddle (Agnes Moorhead, um, I mean Greer Garson) is not amused. Cordy declares the wedding is off and the whole gang shows up to bail out Angie - and then the happy couple decide to elope! It all ends with Mrs. Biddle explaining to her husband that "It Won't Be Long Till Christmas" while they lament growing old - and oh yeah, Anthony get accepted to join the Marines! Whatever.

THE HAPPIEST MILLIONAIRE turns out to be a big, boisterous overblown un-magical musical about absolutely nothing! Unlike many Broadway and film musicals of this era (FUNNY GIRL or MAME, for instance), this one has barely anything in it to hold the viewers interest. Certainly children would not know to make of this - especially if they were fans of this:  I cannot imagine the average Disney fan to be enthralled by this humdrum outting. Even this comic book adaptation grasped at straws to find something entertaining about it:I think Disney wanted his own MY FAIR LADY or HELLO, DOLLY but ended up with HELLO, MY BORING LADY. Like MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, the story is based on a true story about a stubborn father and his brood - but unlike that MGM classic, this film lacks interesting characters, enjoyable musical numbers and a compelling reason to watch it. At almost 3 hours in length, you'd think we'd get to know and care about these characters - but I found myself loathing most of them. The songs, written by Disney legends the Sherman Brothers, are not their best work and are quite unmemorable. Overall, a pretty dreary experience, considering how "Happy" this was supposed to be. So there you have it . Once again, I've watched it, so you never have to. If you do decide to check it out, watch with caution and lots of caffeine!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blogger's Guilt

I'm amazed at how some bloggers are able to post something every damn day. Sure, when I was unemployed it was pretty easy. But for the past 7 months I've had a full-time job, ran a production company, attended several film festivals and managed to have somewhat of a family and social life all while from suffering from a condition called Blogger's Guilt.
The main symptom of BG is the anxiety I feel when I'm sitting in a work meeting or on set of a show I'm working on or even when I'm at home, collapsed from exhaustion on my living room floor getting my face licked by my dogs. I feel like "I wish I had the time, energy or creative where-with-all to blog about something...anything right now. But sadly, I don't."
Of course there's a million things I want to blog about. There's the all great Warner Archive Collection dvds that I've been watching, all the fun new, overpriced comic books I've been reading, all the bizarre bad movies I've forced my friends to watch with me, etc. There's also all the rants about things like: how I've managed to ignore every big Hollywood summer this summer (except for the wonderful TOY STORY 3) and how much I loathe 90% of what's on TV these days.
There's also more DOUGLAS MICHAEL SHOW interviews I want to do, more DOUGSPLOITATION DIVAS that I want to sing the praises of and I'm sure there's more SONSEED craziness that I can report on. Plus, there will always be the ever-popular celebrity death notices. Who's next??? Anita Bryant...perhaps?
So, while I attempt to get on a more regular blogging schedule, there will be a mix of reruns, shorter posts, maybe two or three parters and possibly a few surprises here and there. I'd like to thank all my regular readers who have been patient with my infrequent posts and assure them that I'm thinking of them during all of my BG attacks.  Keep your cards and letters coming! In the meantime, you can find me on my living room floor...with the dogs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Get Ready for RUBDOWN

RUBDOWN is my production company's third collaboration with the amazing writer/director Dennis Hensley. The first two, SCREENING PARTY and REUNION have been entertaining film festival audiences for the past few years, and it looks like RUBDOWN will continue in that tradition. Having premiered at San Francisco's Frameline festival last month, RUBDOWN has it's LA premiere at OUTFEST this coming Sunday night as part of the unfortunately titled program "FROM URANUS TO TITICACA".
Here's the brilliant trailer (edited by Nicole Opyr).
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Hope to see some my Dougsploitation readers there!
Sunday, July 11th @ 9:45 p.m. DGA
(with pre-screening reception starting at 7:30 PM)
Thursday, July 15th @ 9:45 p.m. Sunset 5
$9 Outfest Members -- $13 Non-Members
Tickets: www.outfest.org -- 213-480-7065

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wonder Woman 1941-2010

I'm not gonna get all fanboy about bit, but the JMS story in WONDER WOMAN #600, introducing the "new" 18-year old Wonder Woman in her new costume was the most depressing comic book story I've ever read. Well, at least it's got people talking about the character. RIP, Diana.