Category Archives: Movies

Christmas movies: something old, something new

The new, alas, were not very good.

SAME TIME, NEXT CHRISTMAS (2019) has Lea Michele taking her traditional family Christmas in Hawaii, where she runs into her childhood crush; despite her last attempt at dating him going badly, she’s ready to give it another shot, but is he? This was so bland I couldn’t finish, even using it as  “talking lamp” (i.e., keeping it in the background while I did stuff online).

I did manage to finish Netflix’s THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (2019) but only because a Christmas time-travel film is automatically more interesting than a straight romance (for obvious reasons). Unfortunately the story is just as bland as the previous film; Vanessa Hudgens worked as the sweet straight woman in the sitcom Powerless but here the sweetness works against her role as a love skeptic forced to reconsider when she meets a time-traveling knight on a quest. The male lead is worse, and the script lets both of them down: there’s no real romantic conflict nor does the quest seem to matter much. Heck, the knight doesn’t even suffer the usual time-travel culture shock, settling in after one night of binge-watching. I might suggest Lancelot: Guardian of Time as a double-bill because it has a similar romance cynic/true knight relationship, but that would be one mediocre night of viewing. “Modern technology is lit as F.”

Getting back to my perennials, SCROOGE (1971) is one of the many “all actor” (as opposed to All Star) versions, wherein misanthrope Albert Finney reconnects with humanity (a theme that matters a lot to me) thanks to the ministrations of Marley (Alec Guinness), Christmas Past (Dame Edith Evans) and Christmas Present (Kenneth More), all of which works out well for Bob Cratchitt (Michael Crawford) and his family. Shows the influence of the previous Dickens musical Oliver (particularly all the singing street urchins) but regardless of its roots, I love this one. “As for you, nephew, if you were in my will I’d disinherit you!”

WHITE CHRISTMAS (1954) amounts to a backstage musical mixed with the “let’s put on a show” plot Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland frequently used: when entertainers Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye discover their old CO Dean Jagger’s Vermont inn is at risk for going under, they decide to stage their big musical there, drawing enough of a crowd to put his finances back in the black. But how will it affect the guys’ romances with dancing sisters Vera Allen and Rosemary Clooney? I don’t think this would be half as well-regarded if it wasn’t a Christmas perennial, but with the four leads dancing and singing it’s extremely watchable. “My one love affair/Didn’t get anywhere/ from the start/To send me a joe/With winter and snow/ in his heart — wasn’t smart.”

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Christmas movie binging begins!

But before I start the constant flow of Christmas treacle into my brain, I caught a few other items Thanksgiving weekend:

A young couple become something RICH AND STRANGE (1931) when a relative’s gift of money lets them travel around the world, only to find themselves pulled apart en route by everything from seasickness to romantic rivals (a dignified veteran falling for the wife, a golddigging fake princess preying on the husband). This Alfred Hitchcock film has some striking visual moments including the husband’s silent-comedy style evening commute and its frustrations and a moonlight walk across a ship’s desk that focuses entirely on feet and floor. However the film’s story is trite and uninteresting, even though The Hitchcock Romance considers it a masterpiece. “The thing about beautiful women like you is that you don’t want enough.”

I had much more fun with ROADSIDE PROPHETS (1992) whose biker protagonist strikes up a new friendship only to have the guy die minutes later. The biker impulsively pays for the cremation, then sets out to scatter his buddy’s ashes at the place in Nevada he requested — assuming the place is findable. Along the way the protagonist meets the usual array of road-trip oddballs including a hero-worshipping teen, a vagabond stripper, a terminally ill couple, an officiousmotel clerk, John Cusack as a dine-and-dash petty crook (“It’s entrapment — the sign said ‘free buffet’!”) and David Carradine, Timothy Leary, Arlo Guthrie and Abby Hoffman in cameos. Self-consciously quirky, but a lot of fun. “I didn’t get to be a management trainee by breaking rules!”

And now the Christmas stuff — CHRISTMAS PERFECTION (2018) combines the premise of 2007’s  Snow Globe (the female protagonist is magically transported to the perfect Christmas village) with William Dean Howell’s short story Christmas Every Day, in that the village never stops celebrating Christmas. No surprise, the protagonist is soon sick of perfection and thinking her imperfect male best friend is looking much more attractive. This is too sugary and low-key to work for me, and there’s something unsatisfying in her BFF/love interest (like they carefully calibrated the soft spot between “conventional” and “too oddball to be sexy.”). “This is some kind of reality show where they gaslight the children of divorce with happiness!”

SNOW GLOBE (2007), by contrast, seems to be turning into a Christmas perennial for me. Christina Milian is really likable as the lead, a Brooklyn baker who’d love an old-fashioned Christmas but her Italian/Cuban family are so loud and obnoxious and green lasagna is their traditional Christmas dinner — but then Milian stumbles into a world inside a snow globe where everything Christmas is picture-perfect. Part of why I like this is that where the preceding movie buts the blame on the protagonist (too much of a control freak to tolerate imperfection), Milian has valid reasons for getting fed up with her family, even though they all work it out in the end. Rewatching, I do wonder about how the magic works — the village is literally in the snow globe, but it somehow has an independent existence — but like wondering how Santa’s sleigh gets around the world so fast, it doesn’t stop me enjoying.  “Aren’t you having an existential crisis right now?”

I’ve had the soundtrack of RAGTIME (based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel) on my iPod for a while and love it, so I plunked down the money for TYG and me to catch a local production. It was money well spent as 1906 America deals with Emma Goldman, polar exploration, Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Houdini and a Ragtime pianist who retaliates for his true love’s death from a police beating with a wave of terrorism, all set to music. Powerful, though downbeat (reminding me of the book American Movie Musical‘s argument that where musicals traditionally showed music bridging strife in the community, modern productions no longer see the rifts as bridgeable). The production was minimalist in design (you can see the set above, though parts of the show took place on the risers above the audience) and used modern dress but effective nonetheless. My only complaint is the way the script paints Nesbit, a rape victim, as some kind of publicity-seeking adulteress. “When you’re trapped/And destruction seems imminent/Look to Houdini/The ultimate immigrant!”

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A smuggler, a teen detective and a power struggle: movies viewed

SOLO (2018) is, of course, the story of how young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) got a Wookie BFF, won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover), lost his Great Love (Emilia Clarke), made the Kessel run in twelve parsecs and shot first (doing so in the final showdown with Woody Harrelson can’t be unintentional). This was a lot of fun, but not entirely satisfying — my big problem is that Han comes off too noble an anti-hero to be the money-hungry cynic and crook of A New Hope.  With Thandie Newton as a crime lord. “Did you forget? Never trust anyone.”

NANCY DREW — DETECTIVE (1938) stars Bonita Granville as an impetuous Nancy, convinced the mysterious disappearance of an old spinster right before she could donate her wealth to Nancy’s school is a sign of something sinister (spoiler: she’s right). While I’m not terribly familiar with the Carolyn Keene novels, Granville’s wide-eyed naif seems less like the book version and closer to amateur female sleuths like Deanna Durbin in Lady on a Train. This has the odd catchphrase “I’ll bet you $23.80” (supposedly it’s a standard WPA weekly paycheck) and I wonder if Nancy driving her own car didn’t have different meaning back then (it’s common today for a teen, but I imagine it must have been an unattainble fantasy during the Depression). “The password was bluebell — and a bluebell is also a larkspur.”

Granville becomes NANCY DREW — REPORTER (1939) as part of a school competition, then contrives to cover a sensational murder trial in which her woman’s intuition tells her the accused is innocent. Trying to prove otherwise, of course, plunges her and quasi-boyfriend John Litel (they don’t seem to be dating, but she’s quite possessive of him) into deadly danger, not to mention boxing. This was an improvement on the first film. “The man had a cauliflower ear.”

SKIN GAME (1931) is another of those stiff upper lip dramas Hitchcock seems to have made in his early career, a stagebound adaptation of a John Galsworthy play (even Juno and the Paycock opened the sets better). Ed Gwenn gives an excellent turn as a man of business whose plans for a country village put him on a collision course with the local squire, with both of them playing increasing hardball until a tragedy ensues. Better than Easy Virtue, but if this had become a lost film, cinema would not have suffered.. “Papa, may I spit in his eye?”

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Reporting In the Internet Age, In Fact and Fiction

One of the story elements in this season of the CW’s Supergirl is that CatCo has been bought out and taken over by Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo), a corporate schemer (and, we’ve learned, a supervillain on the side) under whose governance clicks, hits and eyeballs are the sole measure of good journalism. Crap is better than good journalism if the crap is serious clickbait.

Recent developments at the Deadspin sports-and-news site have demonstrated that’s a very realistic prospect. The new owners promptly told everyone that to draw more eyeballs, they should stick to sports coverage and nothing else. The flaw in this argument being that the political stuff drew lots of hits: if the owners had any brains, they’d have run with it. As former Deadspin reporter Megan Greenwell puts it, “The tragedy of digital media isn’t that it’s run by ruthless, profiteering guys in ill-fitting suits; it’s that the people posing as the experts know less about how to make money than their employees, to whom they won’t listen.” Which is why so many of the staff are resigning.

Part of the problem may be that “publishing well-written, well-researched articles that address various subjects with authority takes longer and costs more than publishing a high volume of short posts that exist only as filler underneath narrow-topic headlines designed to game Google searches.” Which fits with my experience at the Freedom News chain: I often felt like upper management would have been happy to convert the papers to endless pages of ads and “Cutest Cat” contest instead of actually paying anyone, only they, at least knew that wouldn’t work. It’s why I became suspicious of the business-speak phrase “content providers” which implies that reporters and photographers are really no different or more important than the people who submit press releases, fishing photos or letters to the editor. It’s all content, what’s the difference?

Where Supergirl gets it wrong is that, as Greenwell puts it, “the journalists at Deadspin and its sister sites, like most journalists I know, are eager to do work that makes money; we are even willing to compromise for it, knowing that our jobs and futures rest on it.” Again, that fits with my experience. I know writing about city council budget meetings or zoning hearings might as well be blank space as far as most readers are concerned (though it’s still a bad thing that local news coverage is disappearing), even though it affects their lives big-time (more than once I’ve seen someone declare at a Destin City Council meeting that there’s been no information released about a particular issue or city project, even though I’ve written dozens of stories about it). But I do the best I can to make them interesting and readable. And I also do stories that are more appealing to readers: talented kids and their accomplishments, local writer publishes book, new business development on the harbor.

Kara, Jimmy, Nia and their fellow journalists, however, don’t think about that. As Greenwll puts i, it’s a story where “idealistic journalists, unconcerned with profit, are posed against ruthless business-doers” rather than journalists trying to combine quality and popularity with management that happily flings crap against the wall in the conviction they know what will stick. Nobody argues with Andrea that their serious news article will be a better hook than whatever clickbait she has in mind, they just protest on principle.

Of course, I also have problems with the opposite handling of journalists, where their only standard in covering stories is how it will advance their career (e.g., the graphic novel Genius: Siege). Most of the reporters I’ve known find covering stories and writing about them interesting; awards are great but they’re not the prime motivator (and bosses don’t usually assign coverage based on what will advance our careers).

Still, despite my criticisms, Supergirl comes closer to capturing 21st century reporting than the comics have lately.

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Marital discord in Ireland and Scandinavia: movies

DIE NIEBELUNGEN: Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924) is Part Two of  Fritz Lang’s silent film (I watched Part One, Siegfried, a couple of months back) and disappointing after the epic fantasy of the first. Here, Siegfried’s wife Kriemhild is not only dealing with Hagen murdering him but her brother’s refusal to punish his loyal follower. When Attila (yes, the Hun) proposes marriage, Kriemhild agrees, convinced she can turn him into a deadly weapon against Hagen. And if her family get in the way, too bad … This is a much a more straightline story than Siegfried and correspondingly less interesting; I’m also unclear why Hagen kills Attila’s son at a crucial turning point (from what I recall of reading the prose Niebelunglied, this is a problem with some versions of the story too). Impressive visually though. “You swore on the edge of your sword.”

Alfred Hitchcock again — JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK (1930) is a filmed stage play I’d never imagine comes from the same director who later made Rope. Where the later movie is visually compelling despite taking place on a small set, this film comes off way too stagebound, though Hitchcock uses sound to create a sense of things happening off-screen.

The story didn’t work for me either, though apparently it’s much-beloved in Ireland. The story involves a working class family with a shiftless father, goodhearted daughter, son who’s fighting for Irish independence and Mom trying to keep it all together. When a wealthy relative leaves them an inheritance it looks like the clan’s hard luck story is turning around. Then it all comes crashing down and their doom is so heavy-handed I don’t know I’d have cared even on-stage (but a good stage production would certainly work better than this film). “Yes, that’s right — I have fallen to so low a state.”

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Mean Girls and Lost Loves

When I was around 30, I saw a musical called Is There Life After High School? based on the book of the same name. The book’s thesis, IIRC, is that high school leaves it’s imprint on us the rest of our lives; for many of us it’s the high point or low point against which everything else is measured. The musical dramatizes some of the various anecdotes and accounts in the book to make the same point.

I found it very moving. 15 or so years later, I saw another production. It was well done, but it didn’t move me at all. At 30 I responded emotionally to the idea of being shaped by high school; by my mid-forties, not so much.

Which is a roundabout way to get to my topic, various stories I’ve read recently where a minor plot element is people growing up and adulting but not getting over high school.

The cozy mysteries No Saving Throw and Ghost and the Femme Fatale both involve the female protagonist locking horns with the Mean Girl Alpha Bitch she knew back in high school. Even though it’s been at least 10 years since they graduated, their relationship hasn’t changed and the Mean Girl seems to go out of her way to spoil the protagonist’s life (in fairness, I skimmed a lot of both books so the characterization may have deepened as it went along). The same premise figured into the CW’s Emily Owens MD: protagonist Emily discovers her high school nemesis is in the same residence program she is and oh noes, they like the same boy! The show died fast, in case you were wondering.

I don’t see that sort of thing in male-centered stories, but I do seem to have seen a lot of stories like Take Me Home Tonight in which the protagonist is completely obsessed over his high school crush even several years later. Heck, Ross’s fixation on Rachel was a running thread through all the seasons of Friends.

I’m sure it’s partly my distance from high school that makes me notice this stuff, but it still seems unconvincing. Sure, there were people I didn’t like in high school and I had no particular desire to ever see them again, but when I did, I just nodded and moved on. And they showed no particular interest in doing anything about me. Heck, even Flash Thompson and Peter Parker eventually became buddies and put Flash’s high school jerkitude behind them.

I had some crushes too, but by the time I graduated college I wasn’t looking back at H.S. and hoping some day we’d hook up (I did hang on to that fantasy about a couple of college crushes for quite a while). Though I wonder if that particular trope isn’t a subset of “your first love is your true love and the only one for you” which I see in quite a few rom-coms (I really don’t like that one either). This could work if the crush/first love was convincingly awesome enough, but I notice they rarely are; Take Me Home Tonight‘s protagonist is some kind of supergenius MIT grad, but the female lead is just generically attractive.

I asked some of my female friends on FB about the Mean Girls thing and the majority view (not universal) was that no, unless it’s a town small enough that the community can typecast you for life (you’re The Jock, The Smooth Talker, The Brainiac, The Weirdo, etc.) it’s unlikely to happen. And in fairness, both the cozies took place in that kind of community. Even so, I think carrying over high school relationships as a defining part of the story has become, for me, a bridge too far.

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Love in the 1980s, plus Hitchcock plus Sarah Connor: movies

Set in 1988, TAKE ME  HOME TONIGHT (2011) has a great 1980s soundtrack, but it’s more interested in mimicking films of the era than really evoking the decade. Topher Grace is an MIT grad reduced to working at a video store (I don’t think they ever explain why) and largely avoiding his old buddies. Then he learns the high school crush he never dared speak to will be at the Big Party tonight, so he decides to show, dragging along sister Anna Faris (struggling to choose between Cambridge and Marriage) and his best friend. Will he get the girl? Will he be outed as a failure? I found this too trite to care. Buffy‘s Michelle Trachtenberg plays a punk. “Don’t call yourself a failure — you’re much worse than that.”

Rewatching THIEF OF HEARTS (1984) I think I actually liked it even more than when it came out. Steven Bauer plays Scott, a burglar who rips off Mickey (Barbara Williams) and her husband and discovers his take includes Mickey’s diaries, wherein she pours out her frustration and her fantasies. Intrigued by the passionate woman he reads about, Scott sets out to become her perfect lover — but as Think Like a Man put it, the trouble with pretending to be a better man is that sooner or later you have to live up to it. Part of what makes this work is that they don’t shy away from Scott being a stalker, rather than a dream lover. With David Caruso (later to enjoy brief TV stardom) as Scott’s psycho sidekick “I bet I can tell your favorite ice cream flavor.”

BLACKMAIL (1929) is the first Alfred Hitchcock film in the set I’ve been watching that feels close to the style that made him famous. A young woman has an argument with her cop boyfriend, flirts with an artist, goes up to his studio then stabs him when he assault her. Will her boyfriend learn what she did? Can she keep her mouth shut when an innocent man becomes a suspect? Minor (though Hitchcock Romance argues it has a lot of minor elements that would crop up in Hitch’s later career) but a quantum leap over Easy Virtue. “Scotland Yard? If not for Edgar Wallace nobody would have ever heard of them.”

TERMINATOR: Dark Fate (2019) has a lot in common Terminator: Genisys: using T2 as a template, major changes to the timeline, and another alt.Skynet, the AI Legion, becoming the threat to the future. It works a lot better, however as it has fewer time paradoxes and sticks closer to the spirit of the series, particularly in bringing back Linda Hamilton as a gruff, gunslinging older Sarah Connor. Natalia Reyes plays Dani, a Mexican woman who finds herself the target of Gabriel Luna’s liquid-metal Terminator, with Sarah and time-traveling cyborg Grace (Mackenzie Davis) as her only hope for survival, and the future’s. While I wouldn’t bet on the poor box office killing this franchise, if this is the last movie, it’s a good note to go out on. “So your plan is to slip across the U.S. border with an illegal Mexican immigrant and a woman who once had her own episode of America’s Most Wanted?”

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How could you hate my protagonist? She’s so awesome!

An article on Jezebel argues that the characters movies present to us as obnoxious women are often the good guys: they’re mature and they’re dissing the hero for perfectly good reasons (The Mary Sue discusses this in relation to Breaking Bad and the narrower range of options for women to be non-nice without the audience hating them). An article elsewhere some years back made the same point about Rachel on Friends. She’s presented as a a spoiled princess out on her own, but if she stuck with Monica — an overweight, very uncool kid in her teens — there has to be more to it than that.

Having readers or viewers like characters who are supposed to be obnoxious villains is a problem for writers, though I think I see it more the other way around — characters the writers think are great and I or others find insufferable. There are a number of supervillains the writer clearly thinks are seriously awesome and I just find annoying (giving a character mind-blowing power levels does not, in itself, make them interesting). Similarly, readers often look at heroic protagonists, particularly female ones, and dismiss them as a Mary Sue.

Outside of comic-book villains, I think Wesley Crusher on Next Gen was my first encounter with the phenomenon: I didn’t mind him, but I learned that a lot of fans found him insufferable. Lots of fans (myself included) had a similar reaction to TK Danny Chase, a teenager Marv Wolfman added to the cast of Teen Titans (by then just New Titans) in the late 1980s. A teenage spy and the son of spies, Danny considered himself way more competent than the rest of the team and the scripts seemed to agree (Danny takes down two of the unstoppable Wildebeests during the Titans Hunt arc).

The worst-case scenario is where the author’s written a character who’s transgressing boundaries and the story doesn’t acknowledge it. The wizard in Naomi Novik’s Uprooted abuses the protagonist for much of the book, but it’s hand-waved away. I doubt Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang meant for readers to see Orion in their Wonder Woman run as a sexist douchebag, but that’s how he comes across. James Bond’s treatment of Patricia in Thunderball is played for laughs, but it’s creepy as hell.

Or consider My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997). In a reverse of the female characters discussed in the first paragraph, we’re supposed to see Cameron Diaz’s Kimberly as a woman who deserves Michael (Dermot Mulroney) much more than Julia Robert’s Julianne: Where Julianne’s always prioritized career over love, Kimberly’s willing to postpone college and career for marriage, and even give up her honeymoon so sports reporter Michael won’t miss covering any baseball games. This is supposed to make her the Good Girl; all I could see was an appalling doormat and a sexist script (despite AV Club’s argument the film subverts rom-com tropes).

Badass characters in comics are usually supposed to be cool anti-heroes who have no patience with your shit, won’t follow anyone else’s rules and kick butt in a way nobody else can. Wolverine when he’s written badly. Battalion, a loud-mouthed jerk in the Titans spinoff Team Titans (I think we’re supposed to be impressed than when he crosses the street he just smashes cars that get in his way, but that’s just being a jackass). Ravager, a Teen Titan who wins fights just by the sheer weight of her badassery. To me they’re all just jerks. Keith Giffen had the opposite problem with Lobo: conceived as a parody of violent psycho badasses, huge legions of fans decided he was so over the top he was absolutely awesome.

We can’t guarantee readers will have the same reaction to our characters that we do; the best we can do is hope our beta readers or editors pick up on problems. KC, the protagonist of Impossible Takes a Little Longer, is self-conscious about not looking like a classic comics superhero (shorts and t-shirt for a costume — that’s about all she can stomach in Northwest Florida’s heat). The first or second time I read the beginning of the novel to my writing group, several women said it came off more like she was self-conscious about her looks and not being pretty. I rewrote to make it clear it’s not a lack of body positivity, it’s just that she doesn’t look epic compared to say Gil Kane’s Green Lantern or Curt Swan’s Supergirl (the gap between comics and her life as the Champion is a running element of the book).

Beyond that, like so much about writing, we just have to roll the dice and hope the numbers are good.

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Rom-coms based on dating-advice books: a triple feature

I know of at least a couple of others in this niche genre, such as 1970’s How to Pick Up Girls, but despite that one being available on YouTube, I didn’t have time to go for a quadruple play.

First up, HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU (2009)was based on a Sex and the City episode that got turned into an advice book based on the principle that if the guy doesn’t call/call back/propose/ask you out, the only possible reason is that he’s not really interested (speaking as a tremendously shy person, I can say that as a universal rule, this is bullshit — though in some cases, certainly it’s true) Ginnifer Goodwin (pre-Once Upon a Time) plays a woman who keeps making excuses for the men in her life (good thing she meets an Obnoxious, Irritating man who can mansplain how things work); Jennifer Aniston reluctantly accepts live-in boyfriend Ben Affleck is never going to propose; Drew Barrymore tries to figure out if guys contacting her by MySpace (wow, does that date this film now) or email are really interested; and Scarlett Johansson tries to steal Jennifer Connolly’s husband away from her.

Much as I disagree with the premise (they do acknowledge, at least a little, that men fall into the same delusion, but not how bad male “no means yes” assumptions can get), I’m also annoyed they don’t follow through on it: Goodwin turns out to be an exception to the rule, Afleck pops the question after all. The Connolly/Johansson triangle doesn’t even fit the theme because “he’s cheating on you” is not the same thing. A great cast, but a poor production. “I miss the days when everyone had just one phone number and one answering machine and one tape for messages.”

THINK LIKE A MAN (2012) worked a little better for me as this adaptation of Steve Harvey’s how-to-land-a-man guide sticks to the basics in its ensemble’s romantic dilemmas: can a woman win a mamma’s boy away from his mom? Will the player in the group be brought to heel if his new woman withholds sex? The battle of the sexes that results is stereotypical, but more entertaining, though the product placement for Harvey’s book is about 100 times less subtle (so many people turn out to have copies, you’d think it was outselling the Bible) “She’s trying to push me towards my dreams and help me accomplish your goals — why would she do that?”

THE LONELY GUY (1984) works best of the three because it’s a)starring Steve Martin and Charles Grodin; b)it’s partly written by Neil Simon; c)the source book is a parody of the single life so it doesn’t have any message to put. Getting dumped by girlfriend Robyn Douglass leaves Martin talking to ferns, contemplating suicide, adopting dogs, trying to win over commitment-phobic Judith Ivey (“You’re all right for me — that’s why you’re all wrong for me.”)and bonding with lonely schlub Grodin. This is hit or miss (the sneezing-as-orgasms scene fell very flat for me, for instance) but overall very funny; Joyce Brothers and Merv Griffin play themselves. “I think I can say, without undue modesty, that I am an expert on dog poop!”

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Here, I think, is some great marketing

So when I read Blackout, about New York’s 1977 power outage, I though I’d follow it up by watching 1967’s Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, about the 1965 blackout (which took in a wider area, but had less looting). Too bad for me, it’s not available in any format except VHS, for about $35 (something I discussed over at Atomic Junkshop). The opening, nothing more, is on YouTube. But in the process of looking for it online, I found this copy of the poster.

I know perfectly well that no Doris Day movie is going to be as racy and sexy as this implies. Every review says the movie was an unfunny mess. But the poster still makes me want to see it. Still makes me think the film will be fun, fun, fun, and maybe a little bit naughty (never mind that picking movies on that basis has never worked well for me). So obviously they did good.

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