Weirdness, crime and ETs: movies viewed

SCHIZOPOLIS (1997) is a bizarre film from Stephen Soderbergh wherein the director himself plays a compulsively masturbating cubicle drone, an L. Ron Hubbard-type guru and winds up cheating on himself with his own wife. At times reminiscent of Monty Python, frequently absurdist, the end result is incomprehensible, but engaging (as opposed to incomprehensible and uninteresting like Donnie Darko). “There was a time I brushed my teeth every fifteen minutes.”

DRIVE A CROOKED ROAD (1954) stars Mickey Rooney — I frequently forget what a good actor he can be — as a mechanic and amateur race-card driver who dreams of someday competing in a major race like the Indy or Le Mans, both far beyond his means. Heck, he’d be happy if he could find a woman who doesn’t dismiss him as too short to date. Enter Dianne Foster, a seductive woman who takes an interest in him, but only to set him up so Kevin McCarthy can recruit him as wheelman for a bank robbery. Film Noir cites this as a textbook example of 1950s trends in the genre: more naturalistic, less shadowy, but still concerned with the femme fatale (though Foster is more guilt-ridden than most), corruption and how one error in judgment can bring you to doom. Well done.“If this works out, maybe we can room together next semester.”

I didn’t get much new stuff watched for Alien Visitors because I spent four hours last weekend watching the commentary tracks and special features on the Invasion of the Bodysnatchers BluRay I bought (well worth the cost, too). One I did catch was Disney’s STEPSISTER FROM THE PLANET WEIRD (2000), in which a teenage girl discovers to her horror that mom Khrystine Haje is dating again, then getting married again, despite her new boyfriend and his daughter being serious weirdos. What the girl doesn’t know is that they’re actually aliens (living-gas bubbles by nature) fleeing their world’s tyrant — and oops, here come the bad guys to catch up with them. As I’ve noticed before, Reuniting The Family is a running motif in Kids And Aliens movies — then again, the protagonist and her mom were pretty tight before the dating started. In its own right, uninteresting (at least at my age) though I did like the idea of the ET stepsister’s sheer strangeness convincing the girls’ classmates that she’s the apex of cool. “I’ve never used this word before, diary, but this was a debacle.”

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