Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Episode 35 (The Legacy)

Yes, I’m still watching them.  Yes, I’m still trying to review them.  But precious little since 27 has interested me.

This one is particularly wretched, worse than the worst soap opera you’ve ever seen.  Included as an update, and a warning.

The ending is worthy of a 50’s prop short or ultra-cheezy MST flick that might make Joel Hodgson say: “Think about it, won’t you?”

Thoughts While Watching The Very End Of ‘NHL Top 10: Goalies’

Well, they got number one right.

It’s obviously Hasek, if you go by the only stat that really matters for a goalie (Save Percentage).

Admittedly, even that stat can be misleading (some shots are harder to stop, some defenses lead to more of these, etc) but here’s a stat that immediately convinced me (and yes, I’ve seen Hasek play in his prime, and LOTS of other goalies in their primes…and without stats I’d say he’s the best.  The stats confirm, not make):

Dominik Hasek was born in 1965.  Career save percentage: .922

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but even a BACKUP goalie in today’s game has to have at least a .900 save percentage to be considered good.  There are lots of arguments about the reason for that, but consider this:

Going by the FACT that save percentages have gotten better and better in recent years (and even not THAT recent years), to have a high SV% is more impressive for Hasek’s era.

And, if the stats I looked at are correct, Hasek has the highest save percentage in the history of the NHL.

And here’s the sealer: NO OTHER GOALIE born before 1970 is in the TOP THIRTY-TWO all time in save percentage.

The closest?  Patrick Roy, born in 1965: 33rd all-time at .910

Buck Wild (2013)

A cabin in the woods.  But this one isn’t scary or funny.

Just another cr@ppy zombie(ish) flick.

Really dumb and boring.

And if I see one more sh1tty movie where they show people nailing small fcken pieces of wood onto fcken doors and windows I’m gonna…not be surprised.

Grade: F

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

I was afraid to watch this again.  The first time (a LONG time ago) I really liked it, and I was quite concerned that it would be a huge disappointment now, for some nagging reason…

It wasn’t a huge disappointment.  But that’s mostly because I went in expecting it to be a huge disappointment, and it was ok.

The script is…ok.

The acting is decent, not great…Kline probably being the best.

The “drama” attempts fall short, and while it has some amusing moments certainly, it’s rarely “funny”.

Definitely dated.

Off NF Streaming 6/1/14.

Grade: D+

Birth Of The Living Dead (2013)

A documentary on the making of ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, with four sources of info: George Romero himself (dun dun DUN!), a voiceover guy and stock footage (Oh, the pretension…), various voices talking over scenes/stills of the movie itself, and lastly (and leastly) some “experts” giving their opinions on various subjects (OHHH, the pretension).

Before proceeding further let me be clear: this is a DOCUMENTARY.  It’s not a ‘Dead’ movie.  It’s not about a new ‘Dead’ movie.  There is NOTHING new here in terms of actual “movie”.  So if you’re looking for that, stop right here and look someplace else.

If you’re up for a ‘Night’ documentary, this is in some ways unique (quotes, stills) and in some ways lacking; leaving out important behind-the-scenes bits that I’ve seen in other documentaries on the subject.

If you think you might be up for it, here goes…

The Sources:

1: Romero – talks about himself, talks about the making, talks about the travails, makes some jokes, laughs, grins, smiles, rakes in the dough.  Hell, I’d be smiling.  “Screw you, copyright laws!” he may well have been thinking.  He also confirms some theories:
-The ending was, from the beginning of the script, intentionally as dark as possible – something they fought to keep, actually.
-The cause of the “zombies” is never given on purpose (I believe George could have concocted something solid if he really wanted to): “God changed the rules, no more room in Hell…” or whatever else you can think of.
-By what he says AND doesn’t say: there was no Vietnam message, no civil rights message, etc etc etc…(see the IQ below for George’s overall take on making the film).  The closest he comes to validating any of these (or any other) theories is to acknowledge that the fictional inspiration for ‘Night’ was about “revolution”. 

From his own commentary, he may have used little bits here and there of what he saw/heard/experienced of the times, but only in the same way that he used the already-dented car: it was there (physically or in his head), so it came out. 

According to Romero’s own words, they DO NOT explore the “racial issue” AT ALL…the script remains as it is despite the concerns of  (you guessed it) Duane Jones. 

A black man as a hero is great, and Duane Jones is a real actor…and the retroactive commentary is fun to think about/look at…but Romero didn’t cast Jones because he was black.  He wasn’t making a message.  He was hiring an actor.  So let’s not turn this into some great, brave revelation by Romero.  It simply was as it happened.

2: Voiceover guy and stock footage – lots of commentary about the 60’s, the civil rights movement, riots, unrest, violence, politics, Vietnam…none of which, I believe, had anything to do with ‘Night’.  I mean, was Romero AWARE of these events?  Sure.  Did they inspire him to make a movie?  Did they have ANYTHING to do with the movie?  No.  He just wanted to make a flippin’ movie.  Again, see the IQ below.  Trudging through this is often painful since it’s so obviously cr@p and it’s not even NEW cr@p…I’ve heard most of it before.

3: Various voices + scenes/stills – Often interesting, mostly because of the movie supplying the footage, but occasionally due to some commentary that rises above mediocre/redundant (usually from George).  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be able to decide on whether it wants to be THIS (an actual analysis of creation/scenes/etc) or an over-analysis of extremely debatable “motivations”/”themes”/”messages”…ultimately the latter wins out, which is too bad.

4: The only names I recall are Fessenden and Ebert, because everything else was just so unremarkable.  You’ve got George himself talking about it…who the fck cares what some random unrelated guy THINKS George was “trying to say”?  You’ve got the man himself there.  And the man himself seems to say, for the most part, “I was just trying to make a horror film”.  But for the good and the bad:
– Larry Fessenden tries to cast the movie as a willful defiance of Hollywood as a form of “critique” of “Hollywood” films…but that’s bullsh1t.  Romero shot it on a really worn shoestring because he
HAD to, not cuz he would have minded getting a few thousand from “mainstream cinema”.  So Fessenden stars as the guy that gets the most pretentious about the whole thing.
– As Roger Ebert (among others) attested to, and is quoted rather hauntingly around 1:02:00 as saying, this was NOT your typical B-grade 60’s cheezy “horror” flick – something which children found out rather painfully after going in expecting to see one.  His quote, as per usual with him and R.C., says it better than I ever could.

Other notes: Some good background info on the many contributors to the film that you may not have seen/heard/known before, some interesting little factoids in general, a completely unexplainable venture into Sidney Poitier films that makes me think they needed to pad out the length or were just REALLY stretching the whole (non-existent, IMPO) “civil rights” angle to the film, and LOTS and LOTS of over-analysis.

I think Romero himself summed up ‘Night’ and dismissed all the brouhaha surrounding it simultaneously with the best line of the doc.

Inspirational Quote: “It was no big thing, man.”

Grade: D

Christgau’s Consumer Guide: Albums Of The ’90s (2000)

I don’t like the change in format, which strikes me as lazy.

I also don’t like the further long-windedness, which strikes me as showboating.

It’s more love/hate than the previous two volumes, with entries that I could read over and over for eternity nestled amongst those that never cease to bore me.

But there’s too much good stuff for this not to be a good read.

Grade: B

Christgau’s Record Guide: The ’80s (1990)

Slightly inferior to the ’70s guide, IMPO, because he has more of a tendency to get long-winded here and some of his material just isn’t quite up to snuff.

But moments of brilliance are scattered throughout, and this is also pretty much a must-read for anyone interested in criticism; music especially.

Grade: A-

Rock Albums Of The ’70s: A Critical Guide (1990)

Material originally published in 1981, but my version for review purposes was 1990.  I’d recognize that cover anywhere.

Here, as always, Robert Christgau states his opinions as facts and moves easily between fiercely positive and fiercely negative – with a vast rainbow of variations between the two.

He also writes better than most novelists.  He can laud beauty as well as he can rip trash, and he can make at least one person’s answer to “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” become “I wanna be a rock critic!”.

In general, it IS far easier to destroy than to create.  But Christgau’s reviews are often creations in themselves – tiny little blurbs of inspired yet seemingly offhand wonderfulness, even when they lay waste to more time-consuming “creative” efforts.

Some of the time I think he doesn’t have the slightest fcken idea what he’s talking about, but it’s telling that my reaction then is irritation instead of boredom.

He’ll teach you some useful words and phrases, he’ll piss you off, and (most importantly) he’ll make you grin devilishly at the perfect choice of words and phrasing that tears down X; which you knew was total sh1t all along but never could fully explain why.

Til now.

Grade: A

Good For Her

http://www.aol.com/article/2014/05/24/worlds-ugliest-woman-pursues-anti-bullying-film/20891976/?icid=maing-grid7|maing11|dl9|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D480287

For a quick summary on how I feel about bullying, see ‘Bullying – A Short Commentary’ and the guest review for ‘Fight Club’.

A bully in his natural environment:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2YVyLLKRHw

10/16/16: FAIR USE: CRITICISM – Typical of this movie, this is a good clip surrounded by a lot of mediocrity. (housekeeping)

Doomsday Book (2012)

Three Asian (Korean) short films: one “zombie” and then two artsy.

If you’re not in the mood to have (at least attempted) deeeeeep thoughts presented for your analysis/approval/disapproval/mockery, best to steer clear.

But generally not being a fan of pretentious artsy cr@p, I find the second and third films somewhat interesting and worth a view.  I don’t think they’re as “deep” as they want to be, but they don’t annoy me and they do, to an extent, intrigue me.

First: Zombie-ish outbreak film.  A few darkly humorous touches, otherwise totally generic at best and terrible (in dialogue and acting) at worst.  And more the latter.

Second: A robot appears to have achieved “Consciousness” – a sense of identity and a pattern of “thought” beyond what was programmed into it.  Some revere it, some want it destroyed.

The dialogue and acting are generally decent, and it’s at least somewhat thought-provoking; with a definite Buddhist leaning to its philosophizing.  Parts are dull, but parts are interesting…and I was surprised and pleased (quality-wise) by the ending.

Third: After an online order, everyone prepares for the end of the world via a meteor collision.  Like the first, a few darkly humorous touches…more, probably; and better.  More in line with
the second in terms of the acting and dialogue being relatively decent.  A hell of a lot better than ‘Melancholia’, and less fcken gloomy.

Grade: D+

Unreviewed Series Episodes – An Explanation

Similar to a post I made about a year and a half ago, an explanation on why some episodes of television programs I review are skipped:

Basically those skipped are by default reviewed as “Not worth your time”.  I’m at least somewhat of a fan of every series I review…if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t bother reviewing it (unlike movies). 

So it’s not someone that doesn’t like ‘Star Trek’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ saying “it stinks”…it’s a FAN saying “I like X…but this particular episode of X sucks, skip it”.

Yes, I watch them all.  If I’ve reviewed up to episode 50 that means I’ve watched all 50 episodes, even if I’ve only reviewed 20-25.  An effort to save fellow fans time by avoiding dulllights.  And if it’s borderline I usually include it just in case you might feel differently.

As for programs that I review completely, it’s either because I REALLY like them (‘Flying Circus’), they’re REALLY short-lived (‘The Vacant Lot’) or I just felt like it.  But the only difference between an episode that I review as “This sucks” and one that I skip is that I saved keystrokes, basically.

It’s sh1tty work, but somebody’s gotta do it.

-Puppy >.< Yip!

The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1983)

Having read this version, the 1979 edition, and the 1992 ‘Album Guide’ from cover to cover (literally) more than once I can say with educated, informed certainty (well, as far as subjectivity
goes) that this is the superior version.

As for the 2004 edition, it either was too boring to remember or I gave up hope after reading 92’s reviews.

Of course, in terms of music reviews, this book – and indeed all printed review guides – is irrelevant; made so by the internet and the “age of information”.

But to me, it holds more than a nostalgic charm.  I don’t even care about MANY of the musicians/groups reviewed, but the reviews themselves are often, to me, works of art in themselves.  They are written, much like R. Christgau’s printed guides, with REAL feeling; very subjective and very opinionated. 

Why is that better than a completely objective approach?  Because an “objective” approach to music is sterile.  It is clean, logical, unemotional…everything that most music is NOT.

Music is about feeling, and so is this.  Something that many people need to be reminded of.

Superior to the ’79 version because it’s more expansive and references changes in reviews from 79-83.

Superior to the ’92 version because it has spirit, spark.  You know…soul.

As I’ve said to/about more than one entity, if you want a camp follower’s A+++ for every recording, best to get a camp follower to write it…not a critic.  And if you want a sterile, objective “analysis”…you have my pity. 

And, to paraphrase R. Christgau: Why are you reading this blog?

Grade: A

A Strong Argument Against Poetry

Just imagine if this came to be the norm:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAobK3fyGDI

And, as a bonus, an argument against ballet PLUS inspiration for the classic ‘Maximum Overdrive’:

(Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “Killer Cars”)

10/16/16: FAIR USE: CRITICISM – Good clip from one of the best episodes of a great show. (housekeeping)