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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #278  (Vol. 6, No. 29)  This edition is for the week of July 18--24, 2005.

"Bad News Bears"
 by Mike Smith
A Week of '40s Horror Comedies & More!...Jeff Goldblum In Town...."Masters of Horror" Gets Some Press....Bigmouths Strike Again
 by Andy Lalino
Couch Potato Does Live 8....The Kids Just Want Their New Wave....Fall TV Sneak Preview
 by Vinnie Blesi
Lizards....Batman And Robin: The Boy Wonder....Jim Aparo
 by John Lewis
(Un)professional Athletes....NolanAid
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Scotty....The Line....Passing On....That Ain't Good English....Happy Birthday....Jaws: The Story, Part 26
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

A Week of '40s Horror Comedies & More!
Did anyone take note of the sudden glut of venerable 1940's spook comedies shown on cable TV last week? Saturday saw a showing of "Spooks Run Wild" (1941) on the Goodlife Network, starring Bela Lugosi and the East Side Kids (later to become the Bowery Boys). Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey were, of course, in the cast.

Turner Classic Movies cured the Monday doldrums with a fantastic 6-feature horror marathon: "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" (1948), "The Ghost Breakers" (1940; with Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, and the great Richard Carlson), "The Old Dark House" (1932; Karloff, Ernest Thesinger, Charles Laughton, and Gloria Stuart; dir. James Whale), "Zombies on Broadway" (1945; Lugosi), "Ghosts on the Loose" (1943; a follow-up to "Spooks Run Wild" with Lugosi and the East Side Kids), and finally "London After Midnight", Lon Chaney's lost horror classic retold with production stills set to music.

Jeff Goldblum In Town
How did this one get by me? Too late, I read in the St. Petersburg Times that venerable actor Jeff Goldblum made a lecture appearance at USF on Monday, July 18th. The gig was, he was lecturing to theater students - the public was not allowed. Had I known about the event, I would have posed as an "seasoned" USF student, which would have looked like the scene from "Blazing Saddles", when Harvey Korman approached the box office with his I.D.: "Student!". Goldblum's practically a demigod in the Fanboy universe, appearing in the 1978 remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension". Oddly, the author of the article, Times Performing Art Critic John Fleming, never mentions Goldblum's best-known role: as Seth Brundle from David Cronenberg's "The Fly"! Instead he lists his snack food cinema performances: "Independence Day" and "Jurassic Park"!

Despite the oversight, I enjoyed the article. It was interesting to see how Goldblum is regarded in the eyes of a theater aficionado as opposed to a horror/sci-fi fanboy.

"Masters of Horror" Gets Some Press
Not to be confused with Matt Drinnenberg's website of the same name, Showtime's "Masters of Horror" is an all-new series airing this Halloween featuring one-hour(?) anthology stories directed by the genre's most enduring talents: John Landis, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, and Joe Dante. The list kind of puts into perspective how there really are so few new horror directors that have the same reputation and legacies as these venerable craftsmen.

The article "Articulating the Trouble With the Movies", which appeared in Tuesday's St. Pete. Times, had the panel of four comment on the state of motion pictures - and not the "Masters of Horror" project! Excuse me, but if you have four of the leading horror directors in one forum, please let them talk about horror and their new project, not why 14-year-olds aren't going to matinee screenings. I appreciate the insight, however I'd much rather have the scoop on the new series.

In yet another journalistic head-tilter, the article writer (Chase Squires, TV Times critic) cites Landis' credit for the comedies "Animal House" and "The Blues Brothers" and not "An American Werewolf in London" or "Innocent Blood" - both horror films!

The directors blamed bad movies, too many remakes and sequels, and multinational corporations (they own the studios) for the state of the movie business. Personally, I think it's simply a dip in the cycle; you'll see it resurge in time. It already has.

As far as the MOH concept goes, I pose this: have you ever seen a well-done made-for-pay cable horror series?

Bigmouths Strike Again
Usually it's the Republicans complaining about the lack of morality in movies nowadays (they were probably saying the same thing back in the 1930's), but here's Dem bigmouth Susan Estrich vilifying "The Wedding Crashers" as a vile, testosterone-laced Rated R boobfest. Aren't you glad these talking heads are looking out for our well-being?

Now that these clowns are married, mommies and daddies, and have found The Lord; they feel free reign to pontificate on what movies the American people should be seeing. God forbid, if it's not a Disney or Pixar extravaganza, it's not worthy of watching (I see that day coming).

I love the way they glob on to a particular film, in this case "The Wedding Crashers", and totally ignore other exceedingly violent or sex-stuffed movies! Wouldn't it be fun to sit Susan down and make her watch "Thriller - A Cruel Picture" or "Emmanuelle in America"? You may see a real-life exhibition of the famous scene from "Scanners"!

Sue, these movies aren't made for an old cow such as yourself. They're targeted at young males who happen to enjoy crass humor and seeing females naked. You know, I'd love to hear stories about your life as a young woman in the '70s. I'm sure there's a skeleton closet lurking there somewhere. Let's nose through your dirty laundry. Now that you're in your '40s, I guess the younger generation is not allowed to have fun in your eyes. Why don't you mind your own business and let this continue to be a free country?

To be fair, I've heard plenty of Repub commentators rally against exploitive films; once I recall WWBA syndicated host Lars Larson negatively comment on Freddy & Jason horror films, which I found very offensive. On the whole, however, I have found Republican talk show hosts to be surprisingly restrained when it comes to bashing sex and violence in the movies (TV is another story...), simply because most of them believe in the right of free speech and expression (within reason). Also, I think movies (in general) fly under their radar (thankfully); especially lesser-known films.

The Dem attack dog is political correctness, which gives them the urge to rally against films such as "The Wedding Crashers", which they feel exploits women. What you have as a result is a restraint on freedom, expression, and free speech. Thank God for the early '80s, when we as young males were able to enjoy "My Tutor", "Hot Chili", and "Boarding School for Girls" without a feminist/political correctness kibosh. I believe the lack of teenage sex comedies comes from the ugly, vile specter of political correctness that surfaced in the dreaded late 1980's, which managed to destroy nearly every genre fanboys loved.

I guess with either party, we simply can't win.

"Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.