HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (1944) is Preston Sturges’ screwball classic in which William Demarest’s Marine platoon discovers 4F Eddie Bracken has been lying to his mother about fighting overseas rather than disappoint her by not following in dad’s footsteps. Simple solution: the Marine fit him with a uniform and some spare medals, take him home and pass him off as a hero. Complication: everyone in town turns out to celebrate and opponents of the windbag mayor decide a war hero would be the perfect choice to run against him. And what about Ella Raines, the girl Bracken left behind, now engaged to the mayor’s son? A great comedy, and in an age where “thank you for your service” is supposed to be the automatic response to meeting anyone in the military, Sturges’ gentle mockery of soldier-worship (“Nobody knows what I did, they just know I’m a hero.”) hasn’t aged a bit. “They’ve got four bands out there — one medal isn’t enough!”
The second season of KUNG FU(1973-4) sometimes gets a lot closer to a conventional wandering-hero TV western than S1 did, but not so often it lost its distinctive charm (as noted in my S1 review, if you don’t want a white guy in yellowface as the Eurasian lead character, the charm may be lost on you). Among the memorable episodes are A Dream Within a Dream (Caine investigates an apparent murder, only the body vanishes) and Empty Pages Within a Dead Book (a vengeful Texas ranger learns the difference between Law and Justice) — and yes, the titles are definitely part of the charm. There are also some whimsical episodes such as The Spirit Helper (a young Native becomes convinced Caine is his spirit guide) and the zany two-part season ender, The Cenotaph, which includes a fight with a Chinese warlord who is emphatically not a master of the martial arts. With the TV season starting up, it may be a while before I get to my DVDs of S3, alas. ““That woman must have died of gallstones — 2,000 pounds worth.”
Rewatching the 2016 GHOSTBUSTERS remake during my Florida stay didn’t change my opinion that it’s a very worthy follow-up to the original, as “ghost girls” Kirsten Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Johnson discover a seething misanthrope (if they’d made it this year, I suspect he’d be an incel) plots to raise the dead to terrify the living, Melissa McCarthy avoids a fatal high five, Mayor Andy Garcia insists he is not that mayor from Jaws and Chris Hemsworth tries to answer the phone. A shame it didn’t win over more people. “Laborers such as you shall be spared until the end of the butchering, so make the most of your extra time.”
The third season of Sailor Moon, AKA SAILOR MOON S, uses much of the previous seasons’ formula (energy-draining monsters dominated by villains who keep failing and getting destroyed, but a bigger bad behind them), in fact too much for my taste. On the other hand, it has some good stuff, such as Chibi-USA’s relationship with the seriously ill Hotaru and the enigma of Sailor Scouts Neptune and Uranus, tougher, more mature and more experienced fighters (also lesbians, something dropped from the original US dub) who think the regular cast just isn’t hard core enough to stop the coming of the Messiah of Silence (I do like the episode in which Usagi demonstrates that silly and tenderhearted though she is, she’s still top dog on this show). I’m sure I’ll get to the remaining run eventually, even though I’ve never heard anything positive about it. What they say is true, I was naive and foolish — but I was also right!”
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