Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sean Connery, Lex Barker, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton

It seems that, when he was just 21, Timothy Dalton was offered the role of James Bond. He turned it down because he thought he was too young. Most actors that age find themselves playing high school kids, so he probably was.

The role went to George Lazenby after he accidently slugged a professional wrestler during an audition.

I've heard different explanations for why Lazenby quit. That he was in over his head, that he realized he wasn't experienced enough as an actor to do it. But it's also been reported that his agent urged him to quit. It was the '60s! Nobody liked secret agents anymore!

Sean Connery was in a movie with Lana Turner in the 1950s. Turner's insanely jealous gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato (pictured above), pulled a gun on Connery and Connery took it away from him and beat the crap out of him. Which may not be as impressive as it sounds since Stompanato was later stabbed to death by Turner's 14-year-old daughter.

Lana Turner had terrible taste in men. She was married to former Tarzan actor Lex Barker. Turner threw Barker out of the house at gunpoint when her daughter, then 13, revealed that he had been molesting her for years. Pretty shocking. What the hell was wrong with that guy.

Back to George Lazenby, I'm not sure that accidentally punching a stuntman in an audition is such a good thing. It's been reported that David Carradine kept sending stuntmen to the hospital on the show Kung Fu. When I heard that, I wasn't sure what to think. Should I be impressed? Did it show that his kung fu really worked? Or did it show that he was clumsy and didn't know what he was doing?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jello Biafra backs down, but he's still stupid

Jello Biafra backed out of performing in Israel. But he insisted it wasn't because of protests or the boycott. And he says he's going to Israel to see things for himself. Like there's just not enough information to go on. It's all a mystery that can only be solved by going there on vacation.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Average fellows turned violent

I haven't seen No Country For Old Men, but isn't it one of these?

Movies where sort of average guys find themselves in a violent armed conflict. And they turn out to be pretty good at it.

What are examples?

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, where a piano player mentions that used to shoot guns a lot, and he finds himself shooting it out all over the place. Sam Peckinpah. Well worth watching (even though Harry Medved, half-brother of effeminate right-wing talk show host Michael Medved, listed it as one of the fifty worse movies of all time.)

A much milder case was Gene Wilder in Silver Streak. A guy traveling by train because he's afraid to fly has to battle violent criminals with a history of attacking public transportation.

Another Sam Peckinpah movie, Straw Dogs with Dustin Hoffman as a mild-mannered math professor who battles over-charging English workmen.

And another Dustin Hoffman movie, Marathon Man where a middle aged jogger/college student battles Nazism with his father's suicide weapon.

There was Three Days of the Condor where a mild mannered CIA analyst battles the federal government.

In a somewhat similar vein, the James Bond movies that I thought worked were the ones that started with James Bond in the office being treated rather badly by his superiors around the office until he finally gets out in "the field" and can do what he likes. The ones that stand out in my mind in this regard are Dr No which starts with him being forced to trade in his gun, Goldfinger, where Q is rude to him while showing him the new gadgets, Never Say Never Again where M actually seems to hate him.

I'm sitting here now watching Breaking Bad. Walt seems to be developing a capacity for violence, but who knows.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I could do the stuff James Bond did. I really could.

I read the book Casino Royale. I don't know why. It was terrible.

Here's what it was about. A French labor union leader has squandered union funds. He hopes to win the money back in a casino. Casino Royale. And James Bond must go there to undermine the French labor movement!

He goes to Monte Carlo. Some people try to kill him by lobbing a bomb at him, but the bomb goes off prematurely and they are killed.

Later, he plays this game in the casino. The game is purely a game of chance. There's no skill involved. He sits mindlessly betting money and rolling dice.

He wins the money.

Later, he is captured and tortured. But some people come and rescue him.

He didn't do a damn thing!


The death toll keeps climbing in Norway.

I don't know how easy it is to get guns in Norway. Is it like Sweden where all men 18 to 55 are in the Army reserves and keep military weapons in their homes?

I just looked at an article online from The Telegraph in Britain.

The reader comments are quite disgusting. A segment of the British public seems to more or less approve. There's also a tea bagger on there, presumably an American.

Someone did comment:
The comment section in DT [Daily Telegraph] is very disappointing. I have a feeling that Europe is heading for a very difficult time ahead. Looks like the left and the right both are trying to reconcile to and justify the extremist elements on their sides. So much so that there have been really very little sensitivity shown towards the victims who were basically kids. How inhuman can we really become?

Its all about politics in Guardian and DT comments sections. It really is disgusting.

Amy Winehouse, Kim Kardashian

Amy Winehouse has died, poor girl, at age 27. Cause of death unknown.

Not surprising, but it still comes as a jolt. Her own mother once said that she wouldn't be surprised if she died before her time.

Kim Kardashian sues because someone else looks something like her!
Turns out people who look like Kim Kardashian have no right to work. She and her pimp/mother are suing Old Navy for running an ad featuring model Melissa Molinaro. Sex tape star Kardashian claims that Molinaro has no right to appear on television because she somewhat resembles her.

We know that Kardashian had plastic surgery. Her nose was altered if nothing else. Molinaro looks the way she does naturally and Kardashian had plastic surgery. If anyone had the right to sue, it's Molinaro. Disgusting parasite Kardashian claims she has the right to have herself surgically altered to resemble another person, then sue that person for the crime of looking like her.

Something similar happened long ago. Bing Crosby destroyed a singer's career because he sounded somewhat like the child beating drunk Crosby. The guy was in a radio ad. He stated his name in the ad. But Crosby's company threatened to sue, the ad was pulled and the guy never worked again. Even if elderly drunkard Crosby didn't have a leg to stand on in court, just the threat of a lawsuit was enough to destroy another man's career.

91 killed in Norway

Well. 91 people were murdered in Norway, nearly all of them teenagers at a summer camp. The death toll keeps rising. It's a bit of a relief that the killer was a Norwegian. A right-wing extremist. On the radio, they described him as an "ethnic Norwegian", so we'd know he wasn't a Muslim who had Norwegian citizenship.

Nope. He was Norwegian, all right.

It made me think of the Jewish father of a character in the book Compulsion by Meyer Levin who is (sort of) relieved that Leopold & Loeb picked a Jewish victim. He thought it would have triggered a wave of anti-Semitism if two Jewish killers had murdered a Christian child in 1924.

In the same way, it was a relief when the killer in Norway turned out to be a Christian. And a Christian he was----people quote his manifesto which started out with him denying his Christianity and ended with him quoting the Bible and calling for the Christians to take over.

After the Oklahoma City bombing, before Timothy McVeigh was discovered to be the bomber, commentators were blaming it on Arabs. One scumbag went on the news and announced that trying to kill a large number of people was "a Middle Eastern trait."

It turned out to be an American trait, as many middle easterners can tell you. More specifically, a mid-western trait.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The chick Prince William married

That woman Prince William married has spent over a thousand bucks on candles and air fresheners for some reason.

She doesn't look so good now, does she?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

I don't know how many times I've watched It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. Whenever I can't sleep at night, I turn it on and I go right to sleep.

Starred a bunch of TV stars. Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Jonathan Winters, and Phil Silvers all had TV shows. Plus there was Uncle Charlie from My Three Sons, Andy Devine who had a children's show at one point and was a semi-regular on Flipper. There was Mr Howell from Gilligan's Island, Jack Benny in a brief appearance. There was Zasu Pitts from Erich von Stroheim's Greed.

I didn't recognize the women in it---Sid Cesar and Milton Berle's wives---but they were on TV shows. Sid Caesar's wife was Edie Adams, Ernie Kovaks' widow.

Plus Norman Fell who went on to be TV's Mr Roper. He played Freud on an episode of Bewitched. What did Buddy Hackett do?

Arnold Stang, who played a heroin addict in The Man With The Golden Arm.

Here are the things that have bothered me more and more:

At the beginning, when Jonathan Winters, in his moving van behind the other cars, slows down, stops, gets out of the truck and then sneaks around the corner on foot, what WAS he trying to do? It doesn't make sense, and he explaines, "All right, I was trying to----aw, rats!"

When Ethel Merman calls her son, Dick Shawn, to tell him to go dig up the money, he refuses to listen and tells her to stay right there---he's coming to save her! Why didn't she simply call him again? They were using a pay phone and maybe they needed more change, but why didn't she get more change if this was the case?

Buddy Hackett's acting was terrible. In the initial death scene, Mickey Rooney was the only one who acted appropriately.

And there was the part where Spencer Tracy has his wife on one phone and his daughter on another. He holds the receivers together so they can talk to each other, but he holds them both right side up. Shouldn't one have been upside down so the speaker would be close to the mouthpiece?

What crime did the cab drivers commit? Why did Spencer Tracy tell THEM to turn themselves in?

How many car crashes did these people cause? Wouldn't it have made more sense for the police to have arrested them and then demand the information from them?

When they were parked on the side of the road, they agreed they needed to get their cars off the curve. They pointed "over there", to a wide spot where they could meet. It was behind where the cars were. Did they make U-turns to get back to that spot? It didn't seem like it was that easy. I had an Imperial, and the turning radius was terrible. You couldn't do a U-turn on a two lane road, and even of you could, it would be extremely dangerous.

How come Dick Shawn, a lifeguard, had such a nice car, shiny new Chrysler convertible?

Wasn't it awfully dangerous, Phil Silvers driving around with a child sitting next to him with the passenger-side door torn off his car? There were no seat belts.

Did drivers back then always stop when they saw people on foot waving to them to stop? And did children back then hop into cars with strange men because they offered them a dollar?

How did the police know the names of all the people? At one point, when one of them was summing up the action, how did he know about Dick Shawn? How did they know who Ethel Merman called and the content of the phone call?

Didn't any of the cops think that they should intervene when they saw all the accidents and destruction these people were causing?

There were no seat belts back then. They didn't even have padded dashboards. Even the "minor" accidents in the movie were potentially fatal.

Why did all the characters have to suffer so horribly at the end?

Didn't any of the people think about how they were going to spend tens of thousands of dollars in cash without the IRS finding out? It was probably less of an issue back then, but it seems like it would still be something to consider.

Where did Jimmy Durante get his car? He'd just gotten out of prison.

Would rear-ending a car really cause that much damage to a moving van?

Why they keep calling Ethel Merman an "old bag"? She was only 55. She was the same age as Milton Berle.

Jerry Lewis's cameo----why was he acting like that? It was completely out of character with the rest of the movie.

Why was Stan Freberg wasted, just sitting in the background while Andy Devine talked on the phone?

That's the stuff that bothered me. I know there were continuity errors and other mistakes, like cameras and crew being reflected in the car windows, that bother other people.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New season of Breaking Bad

I don't know how I felt about the new episode of Breaking Bad.

The ending was very violent but rather arbitrary. It wasn't clear why Gus did what he did, at least not to me, and Walt and Jesse were saved only in part by their own actions. Gus's final act didn't make sense to me.

Personally, I have no sympathy for the Libertarian chemist Jesse offed in the final episode last season. Some critics have claimed that he was the only pleasant, sympathetic character on the show. I thought he was rotten. He produced methamphetamine because he had a philosophical opposition to drug laws. It didn't bother him that he was dealing with killers. He thought that drug dealing was free enterprise, even though they routinely murdered their competition. Good riddance to him.

At this point, it wouldn't bother me if they DID kill Walt. Would you want him living in your neighborhood?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Adventures of Old Christine

I keep watching The New Adventure of Old Christine in re-runs. For some reason, I can never get into sit-coms until after they're off the air and in syndication.

The kid in it is central to the premise of the show. He's the reason Christine is in constant contact with her ex-husband and his girlfriend, also named Christine. The kid is the reason Christine has to deal with the mean, wealthy moms at his high-priced private school. He's the reason her brother lives with her---he babysits.

But the kid has nothing to do on the show. I don't know if the writers considered this a running gag, but in each episode, Ritchie comes in, says something, and his mother tells him to go upstairs and change, or go to his room, or go take a bath. They don't even try to come up with a good reason why Ritchie has to leave the room. In one episode, they visit Christine's mother.

"Can I go play in the basement?" Ritchie says.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Charlie Harper, RIP

Well, they decided they're killing Charlie Sheen's character on Two and a Half Men. That guy who created the show must be really upset. Wants to make sure Charlie Sheen can never return.

There are other ways to do it. Didn't they just switch families, almost without explanation, on Charles In Charge? Charles went away for a couple of weeks and when he came back, the house was sold, a new family moved in, but the old family, as a condition of the sale of the home, required them to hire Scott Baio as their male nanny. That's what somebody told me. I could never stand Scott Baio or Willie Ames, although they did pave the way for Coreys Haim and Feldman.

Scott Baio is a Republican now. I don't think any of his earlier roles were especially embarrassing to a aging conservative. But Willie Ames, now a devout Christian, starred in an Israeli Blue Lagoon rip-off called Paradise. He co-starred with a masturbating chimpanzee.

I still think that everyone on Two and a Half Men should advance in rank. Alan should take on Charlie's role as a degenerate, still less successful than his now late brother. Jake should take on Alan's role as a frustrated would-be degenerate. Then they would need a new third character who would just be slightly confused by it all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Breaking Bad coming back

Well, after an extended hiatus, Breaking Bad is coming back Sunday on A & E.

There was a murder in Oregon several years ago. Two guys murdered a couple, then fled to Mexico. It turned out that they had seen the movie In Cold Blood, the true story based on Truman Capote's "nonfiction novel" about Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. They murdered a family on a farm in Kansas in the 1950s. They thought there was a vast sum of money there. There wasn't. They hitchhiked to Mexico, were arrested, tried and hanged. Hickock became a criminal after a serious head injury caused a change in his personality. Perry Smith was horribly abused as a child.

It turned out that these two idiots in Oregon murdered a couple walking on the beach because they wanted to be like Smith and Hickock.

There's no telling.

Now we have this show Breaking Bad. It doesn't make methamphetamine production look very appealing, but I'm sure that, out there, there are people watching the show wishing they could be like Walt, the terminally ill chemistry teacher who goes into the meth business so he'll be able to leave money for his family. It's a grim, violent show.

But I know a young fellow who was telling me about his friend. He watched the Japanese movie, Battle Royale, about Japanese high school freshmen forced to fight to the death until only one is left alive. This guy was convinced that he would do really well at it. Wished they had that at his high school.

Personally, I always marveled at drug addicts. Years ago, there were people with two hundred dollar a day drug habits, at a time when you could actually live on two hundred a month if you had to. I always thought, if only you could maintain that drive to make two hundred dollars a day WITHOUT being a heroin addict!

Of course, it was later explained to me that they made their money through theft and prostitution.

Some people I saw on a talk show

I saw some Christians, maybe Mormons, on a talk show. They made an odd claim in the middle of this. They said that they had some friends. Their friends' thirteen-year-old daughter, they said, was so impressed by the movie Pretty Woman that she became a prostitute.

They made this claim in passing. No one questioned it. They didn't question whether it was true, but they also didn't ask for additional details which is a pretty good indication that no one believed it.

Was it something they heard somewhere---some urban legend circulating at their church---and they decided to give it added credibility by claiming it was people they knew?

There was the time on Geraldo Rivera's old talk show. It was during the Satanic cult hysteria. There was a woman who claimed to have been a victim of Satanists as a child, forced to participate in human sacrifices and so forth. She was surprisingly cheerful about it.

Someone in the audience asked why she didn't tell her teachers.

She answered that she didn't go to school. She attended the first grade, but her Satanist parents never sent her back.

The woman in the audience didn't seem to believe this.

The woman insisted it was true That she was taken out of school after the first grade, and, she added, she didn't attend school again until she was 18 and went to college.

"Huh?" I thought.

Was I the only one who heard that? Geraldo didn't seem to notice.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lion of the Desert

They're showing the movie Lion of the Desert on TCM. About Arab resistance to the Italian invasion of Libya. The film was financed by the Libyan government in the 1970s. It starred Anthony Quinn, Oliver Reed, with Rod Steiger as Mussolini.

The Italians were pioneers in the practice of bombing people with airplanes. They started bombing Libya 100 years ago in 1911. And now the filthy Italian bastards are bombing Libya again. Along with some other people.

Sherwood Schwartz RIP

There was a made-for-TV movie, a docudrama, giving a behind-the-scenes view of The Brady Bunch. Peter and Jan made out in the dog house. Or was it Bobby and Cindy? I can't remember. Greg went on a date with Florence Henderson, of course.

At one point, the kids on the show were making extra money singing and dancing in Las Vegas. They demanded more episodes with singing and dancing in them. It'd help their career.

For some reason, they sent the kids to talk to Sherwood Schwartz. "Uncle Sherwood". He asked if there was anything else they wanted. Susan Olson wanted an episode where Cindy gets a pony. Christopher Knight wanted Peter to run away from home and become a juvenile delinquent.

Plus there was all the conflict between Shwartz and Robert Reed. Reed didn't want to do the show in the first place. Schwartz had actually wanted Gene Hackman for the role, but Hackman dodged that bullet.

Schwartz was upset. They were trying to take creative control of the show.

Creative control?

Well, Sherwood Schwartz has died at age 94.

I watched both Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch. I thought Gilligan's Island was more interesting artistically. But still, you watch them and it's still surprising how bad they are. They were never funny. Which was fine for the most part. To the kids watching, they were dramas.

There was an attempt to resurrect Gilligan's Island as sort of a Fantasy Island-type series. The castaways have been rescued and have opened a resort on the island. And it was only then that you realized that the premise of the original series wasn't bad---people trapped on an island trying to get rescued.

The Brady Bunch storylines seemed to focus on severe social embarrassment. Which was pretty good. It set the stage for Curb Your Enthusiasm. Try sitting through an episode of Saved by the Bell and you'll appreciate The Brady Bunch.