7/26/15: Gremlins

Gremlins Poster

[Drawl] “Friends, let me introduce myself. Paulie’s the name. Turned 58 on Wednesday 7/26. [Await audience’s ‘Happy birthday’] That’s more than ½ a-100. I’m an actor with a story to tell ya. It all started 21 years earlier, on 7/26/95, when I got myself a present: A pet for my kids. A green iguana. Species Iguana iguana…I guess.”  Little fellar name-a Garfield. Put’m in a 10 gallon tank with a wire lid on the parlor floor.  ‘Week later it “vanished in the air.” Week after that I decided to replace’m. Went to work that day. A Wednesday. 8/9/95. “The day…the Jerry…DIED”. 2. Jerry's Dead Had no idea about the impending “disturbance in The Force.” Left work when I felt it, but the kids come first so I went to  No automatic alt text available. in Simsbury CT & got me a new baby green iguana. Female. Pig-Pig’s’r name. This big with tail . [Gravelly] “‘Look Paulie, there are some rules that you’ve got to follow.’, Steve Emmons says. ‘1st of all, give her lotsa light. She needs hot light. Too little heat & light will kill her.  2nd: Give’r plenta water to drink. Lizard But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget: She’s a vegetarian so never feed’r meat, especially after midnight. It’ll make her mean!’  So I bring Pig-Pig home & put’r in the tank. It cheers the kids up some. They were upset cuz they knew Ah’d be depressed cuz The Captain abanded the Trips.  Refused to listen to music. Watched CNN. Listened to some drones talk about Jerry’s Gremlins. The fellers stopped over & we bought a couple mushroom pizzas & drank beer for Jer.  When they left, I gave Pig-Pig some water & tamaters.  Feel asleep onda sofer. Woke up in the middle of the night. Light was still on. Food was gone. Still had some crickets left from when I bought Garfield so I figured, whaduz Steve know anyhow? Sounds like he swallered a rasp. Threw one in, turned off the light & went to bed.  Next day I got up & Garfield was staring at the tank wantin’ to get in. Emaciated. Looked like shit took a shit on’m! Cricket was gone! Cindy says, “‘Did you feed her after midnight?’ ‘I gave’r a cricket.’” Garfield died that night. We celebrated Pig-Pig’s birthday On 8/9/16. Lizard She died about double the normal in-house lifespan. on “Well, that’s the story. So if your iguana disappears for a week, before you go buy another one, turn on all the lights, check all the closets & cupboards, look under all the beds, ’cause you never can tell: It just might be in your house. OR…maybe they multiply if you feed ‘em crickets after midnight!”

[Normal voice] Gremlins, right? I’m supposed to talk to you guys about  Joe Dante’s Gremlins: A Christmas horror comedy released in the summer. It’s told retrospectively ala film noir by Rand Peltzer (Hoyt Axton)  who goes to Chinatown looking for a unique Christmas present for his son Billy (Zach Galligan)  & buys him a Mogwai (Cantonese for Gremlin) for $200 from a merchant’s grandson (John Louie) behind his odd Grandfather’s back (Keye Luke), who doesn’t think Rand will follow the rules of the Mogwai: Keep him out of the light, away from water & never feed him after midnight. Billy loves his new pet Gizmo (voiced by Lizard Howie Mandel) & so does his squeeze Kate (Phoebe Cates).

Gremlins won 5 Saturn Awards including Best Supporting Actress (Polly Holliday as the Scrooge-like Mrs. Deagle).  Released as PG, the mild violence in it & its exactly one month predecessor,  Steven Spielberg’s LizardIndiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Poster, are credited with the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) creation of the PG-13 rating. The MPAA felt the violence on Steven’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (released on 5/8/84) and Gremlins (released on 6/8/84), on which he was an EP (Executive Producer) and Presenter, was too extreme for PG but didn’t warrant an R. Spielberg is 1 of 3 Gremlins’ EP’s. The EP provides and/or secures a film’s financing, initiates its development & hires the Producers, who in turn hire & manage the Director & budget. [Drawl] Seems like ev’ry Hollywood project these days includes Spielberg as a Director, Producer or EP. He’s Director on The Post, to be released on 12/22/17, and 3 more active or announced movies; Producer or EP on 2 announced TV series, a mini-series & 13 announced or active features. Now for a late birthday present to m’self…I’m giving y’all identical summer Halloween presents…of My Blog of Steven Spielberg presents…Joe Dante’s Gremlins .




[Video] [JPGs] [Narrator] “2007: The S&P is falling & the resulting economic crisis The Great Recession. Banks, real estate developers & insurance companies’ stocks are plummeting. People are losing their jobs – becoming killers & thieves to seek their fortune. Thugs turn neighborhood bars into armed camps, with robbery & murder rates higher than those in New York or Los Angeles today. Out of this chaos comes extensive funding for lawmen. Those who’d previously retired their badges & guns to start a peaceful life with family, preparing to live out their lives as southern gentlemen reconsider as silver is discovered in order to serve & protect America. People turn to alcohol & black market opiates like Delaudid to ease their pain. And once again, there’s money to be made through organized crime in America. Attracted to this atmosphere of greed, membership in ruthless biker gangs, recognized by the custom-decorated motorcycle jackets (or colors) they wear…skyrockets. 2 Greater Waterbury gangs fight for control of Naugatuck. They call themselves The Hell’s Angels…and The Outlaws. The Outlaws control the Borough’s Union Street Station Café: Clayton Reynolds, Proprietor, where Cindy & I go for pre-movie Happy Hour on Tuesdays. Now if it appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds, that I claim to be a hippie but prefer The Outlaws, the anti-Christ, Faust or the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, know this: I’m not a hypocrite; I just like to sound like one. Or if I am, my hypocrisy goes only so far. The Outlaws did not come out until after sundown, as we found out one enchanted moment when our film started late. [Brit] ‘Interesting little scene, my dear. Set your gaze upon him: The quintessential biker type. He’s got the look of both predator & prey.’, I told her. On 8/9/07, The Outlaw Michael [ZAD-stad] Sjaadstad murdered 35 year old Eric Anderson in the Café’s parking lot for wearing a Hell’s Angels t-shirt in the bar that night. Left his body laying dead in the creek beside it, face in the water, as if to say ‘Take a good look at him. ‘Cause that’s how you’re gonna end up if you wear those colors in here!’ 8 years later, The Outlaws & their gang control over the Café was broken forever. Clayton died of a heart attack on 2/20/15. Among the mourners at his wake were Outlaws and Hell’s Angels. They wept.”


Gang rivalries have been around for man’s entire history; some times are worse than others; like in the Old West, especially in the infamous AZ silver mining town of George P. Cosmatos’ Tombstone, where Wyatt, Virgil & Morgan Earp, and Doc Holliday’s (Kurt Russell, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton & Val Kilmer) famous gunfight with Ike & Billy Clanton and Tom & Frank McLaury (Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, John Philbin & Robert Burke) at the O.K. Corral on Allen St. at 3 pm on 10/26/1881. The true gunfight was 6 buildings behind the Corral on Fremont St. The film won Val Kilmer MTV’s Best Male Performance and Most Desirable Male Movie Awards. For that latter, I award MTV this Oscar for Grossest Movie Award Ever Given.


The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral has long been a favorite topic of moviemakers. There have been 7 other features about it, including John Sturges’ most famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral from 1957, adapted by Leon Uris and starring Burt Lancaster & Kirk Douglas, which was nominated for Best Film Editing and Sound Recording at the 30th Academy Awards, the only film about the shootout to receive an Oscar nomination. The 1st was 1932’s Law and Order written by John Huston & starring his father Walter; the most recent, Wyatt Earp in ’94 with Kevin Costner in the title role; a role for which Val Kilmer was MTV Movies’ Most Desirable Male a year earlier in George P. Cosmatos’ Tombstone.
Post-Film Discussion Notes


Costume & Props: Thumb Drive; Mini-Oscar for Grossest Movie Award Ever


Why is there a huge sunsetting panoramic scene as Doc leaves Tucson? It’s reminiscent of Gone With the Wind, and perhaps reminder that this too is a civilization Gone With the Wind.


In the Bird Cage, an actual theatre/saloon/gambling hall/brothel which anachronistically opened on 12/26/1881, exactly 2 months after the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, vignettes of Henry V and Faust are performed. Why? Henry V centers around The Battle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War, a foreshadowing & symbol of the battle to come. In the Battle, outnumbered England is victorious over France. And Faust sells his soul to the devil to live forever, which, symbolically, the impending gunfight will facilitate for the combatants.


On 2 different occasions, Johnny Ringo (Michael [Bean] Biehn, who plays Reese in The Terminator) challenges Wyatt to a shootout: The first time, Wyatt walks into the Oriental the day after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral (10/27/1881); the second, he awaits his arrival at the big oak when Ringo is killed (7/13/1882). Both times, Doc Holliday says “I’m your huckleberry.”. Why? Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in 1876, 5 years before the O.K. Corral & 6 before Ringo’s death (officially suicide, which is why Doc tells Wyatt “Poor soul, he was so high-strung. Afraid the strain was more than he could bear.”). Adventures of Huckleberry Finn would not be published in the USA until February 1885, 3 years after Ringo’s death. Huck was Tom’s sidekick. And Doc is saying to Ringo, he’s not available. You’ll have to settle for his sidekick; his right hand man. Ringo is surprised & afraid at the oak because supposedly Doc is a more skilled pistoleer.


Why does Cosmatos show a building ablaze as the Earp’s & Holliday head to the O.K. Corral? In real life, fires were commonplace in Tombstone at the time, and the O.K. Corral burnt to the ground on 5/25/1882. Only the sign that hung suspended from 2 poles remained. Symbolically, what’s about to happen is, as the Mexican man predicted when he quoted Revelations “Behold a pale horse. And the one that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” And then, after Wyatt shoots Stillwell (Tomas Arana) at the Tucson Train Station, he says to Ike “…I’m [Death] comin’; and Hell’s comin’ with me….”


Do you remember what Wyatt does when Morgan dies? He looks at his blood-covered hands.

Why? Because he feels that it is his fault; that he has Morgan’s blood on his hands.

Nonetheless, he takes revenge with his deputized posse of Holliday, Sherman McMaster (Michael Rooker), Turkey Creek Johnson (Buck Taylor), and Texas Jack Vermillion (Peter Sherayko), along with 2 others Charlie Smith & Tip Tipton in real life, in the legendary Earp Vendetta Ride. Why? Because both history & Cosmatos want us to realize that neither Earp nor Holliday nor any of these people, be they Cowboys or lawmen, were good guys. The cops, so to speak, were criminals as well.

Why does Behan align himself w/ the Cowboys? To make the point well in advance of the Earps & Holliday’s merciless vengeance, that lawmen in the Old West were corrupt & themselves not at all law-abiding

Do you think Cosmatos wants us to think the end justifies the means? Sort of. But the posse is definitely portrayed as ruthless murderers. Only at the very end, when they let Ike Clanton go after he discards his red sash, do they show any mercy at all.

Why is Ike portrayed as a coward? In the real gunfight, he ran away claiming to be unarmed. Speculation abounds that the Earps & Doc went to the gunfight looking to kill them; that they Cowboys were heading out of town. So he could have been unarmed in reality, although this is unlikely in Tombstone in 1881 regardless of the ordinance that Virgil posted. He probably was not a coward but was just truly afraid of the Wyatt & Doc whose reputations preceded them everywhere they went. So, to me, this is why he is portrayed as such: To demonstrate how feared the duo was. The Vendetta let him go and he was gunned down by Det. Jonas Brighton on 6/1/1887 in Eagle Creek AZ when he wouldn’t surrender to charges of cattle-rustling, not in a robbery attempt as Narrator Robert Mitchum says in the Epilogue. His brother Phineas surrendered, further evidence that Ike’s portrayal as a coward was symbolism.


What are the major themes of the film? Brotherhood; Abusive Gangs (Law Breakers and Lawmen); Revenge; Drug Addiction; True Love; Bravery & Sacrifice



  • Budget $25M; box office $56.5M; US rentals $26M; filmed 5/17/93 – 8/28/93; released 12/25/93
  • Original director & writer Kevin Jarre was fired early in filming for unwillingness to abbreviate his screenplay. He directed only the scenes w/ Charlton Heston (Henry Hooker). Kurt Russell claims to have directed most of the film thereafter & that Cosmatos was there mainly to unsure the rest of the production & post-production ran smoothly. Whether that claim is apocryphal is debatable, and hence I refer to the film & scenes as Cosmatos’.
  • The film is dedicated to Birgitta C. This is George P. COsmatos’ wife, who died of cancer on 7/7/97 at 47. George died of lung cancer at 64 on 4/19/05.
  • Hooker did provide refuge for Earp & his posse during the Earp Vendetta Ride
  • The character Mr. Fabian (Billy Zane) is made up & Josie was never held up on a stagecoach
  • The Gilbert & Sullivan play that Josie’s in in Denver (which never happened, though the troupe did perform it in Tombstone when Wyatt first got into town) was H.M.S. Pinafore, about romantic love that breaks socioeconomic classes. In that obligatory scene, Josie tells Wyatt that she’s wealthy & the play symbolizes their relationship. Earp, however, was not poor.
  • Billy Claiborne is played by Wyatt Earp’s distant cousin Wyatt Earp
  • Doc plays one of Chopin’s Nocturnes in the Oriental. This is significant because it’s thought that Frédéric Chopin also died of TB. He was well under 100 lbs when he died.
  • Note that, in both of the 2 filmed close-up deaths, Morgan & Doc’s, the characters expel their last breaths slowly & audibly, as if their souls are leaving their bodies

12/28/14: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz Poster

“[As Oz] I am Paulie, The Great & Powerful Wizard of Flicks! Wiz                                                                                           Who dares…? Red curtainUm…Wizard of Flicks!! PauliePay no attention to that man behind the curtain. [Normal voice] Er…um…On 9/17/99, Hurricane Pink Floyd PFarrived at our house in Wolcott CT in all its psychedelic fury. I was working from home & was in a meeting with my boss, Val, looking out the back window as it arrived. [Drawl] “‘Unusual weather we’re having, ain’t it? There’s a storm blowin’ up, Val – a whopper, to speak in the vernacular of the peasantry. It’s a hurrican’! It’s a hurrican’!’ [Singing] The wind began to switch/The house, to pitch/And suddenly the hinges/Started to unhitch/Just then, an oak/And this is not a joke/Came crashing down on the picnic table/THIS is not a fable! [Boy] ‘Weren’t you frightened?’, [Normal] you might ask. Frightened? You’re talking to a man who’s laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom & chuckled at catastrophe. I was petrified!” I gave up on sandbaggin’ after 10 hours. Sandbag                                                        By the next morning, the 18” of rain overflowed the stream in the woods all the way to the foundation, flooding our basement & burning out the sump pump’s motor. “I took our dog out to pee & saw the devastation. ‘Stimpy, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Wolcott any more.’ Our garden pond was the backyard & one of the goldfish swam by. ‘Now I know we’re not in Wolcott! There must be a place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Stimpy? There must be. Beyond the rain…somewhere over the rainbow maybe. But that’s not what’s worrying me. It’s how to catch the fish. Pond                               These things must be done delicately.’ Then our black comet, Scarecrow, went speeding by. Comet ‘Now which way did he go? That way? Or that way? Of course, some fishies do go both ways. I even hear some people do these days’ Well, Scarecrow was the only one that got away. Scarecrow, of all the fish that have died in the 25 years I’ve had them, I think I’ll miss you most of all. When the waters receded, I realized I was over the rainbow. There’s no place like home!Home

Just ask Dorothy, 16 year old Judy Garland                                                                           who wore a tight corset to portray the young teen heroine of Victor Fleming’s                                                                 The Wizard of Oz. The picture is beautifully shot in brown & white when Dorothy’s in KS, and in color when she & her dog Toto get carried away to Oz by a terrifying twister, where she meets: The Munchins; Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke); The Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton, who was so frightening to the children of the era that many of her scenes were cut or shortened); The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger); The Tin Man (Jack Haley); The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr); and finally The Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) who she seeks out to help her get back home to see Auntie Em (Clara Blandick). 

It won 2 Oscars in 1940 at the 12th Academy Awards: Best Song for Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen, music, and E.Y Harburg, lyrics)E.Y. , which was almost cut in order to shorten the 1st KS segment; and Original Score (Herbert Stothart). It was nominated for Best Picture, Art Direction, Color Cinematography, and Special Effects (which amazingly went to The Rains Came). Fleming had a pretty good year in ‘39. He also directed Best Picture and Director Winner Gone with the Wind. 1939 is widely regarded as the greatest year in film history. It also included: Stagecoach; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Of Mice & Men; Dark Victory; Wuthering Heights; Gunga Din; Love Affair; The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Goodbye Mr. Chips; Young Mr. Lincoln; and Victor Fleming’s The Wizard of Oz! “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah! O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!”

Addendum                                                                                                                                 L. Frank Baum’s more violent 1900 novel thought of as metaphor for shift from the Silver Standard to the Gold Standard. Dorothy’s slippers were silver, the standard at that time. It’s my theory that the film version is a metaphor for the changing time as Hitler rose to power: Dorothy the common American; Wicked Witch of the West is Hitler with her Blitzkrieg Flying Monkeys; Scarecrow the unappreciated farmer; Tin Man the underused Depression-era factory worker; Lion the too-frightened-to-address-Hitler Congress; Yellow Brick Road, a false path leading to “the only thing you have to fear is fear itself” Oz/FDR, a good man but phony leader of the land; Munchkins the hidden little people working behind the scenes to keep things going; Glinda is the ideal, righteous & courageous, who stands up to Hitler. For example, when the Scarecrow says, “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t they?”, Fleming, through the screenplay writers (Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson & Edgar Allan Woolf) is suggesting that the time to talk is over & the time for FDR to act & join the Allied Forces in WWII is NOW. Comments?

9/2/14: Scarface (1983)

Do any of you know who my favorite musician is? [As Tony Montana] “Say hello to my lil friend! Scar - Tony Most musicians don’t have the guts to be who they wanna be…play what they wanna play.” Then there’s Jerry. Scar - Wall But there’s so few of them guys that there’s only one. [Brooklynite] “So that’s why I like music, you know. But the guys in the movie business are the guys who fly straight. Okay, here’s the story. I come from the guttah. I know that. But I got an education & that’s okay. And I know the street & I’m making all the right connections. I got the right woman, Xmas - Cindy so there’s no stopping me. If I wanted to, I coulda gone straight to the top. But me: I always tell the truth; even when I lie. My father: PW - Dad He was, uh, from the gutter too. Just like me, ya know? We used to watch sports together, especially da Yankees. Scar - NYY He was a big Yankee fan. I’d like ‘em too, but I don’t pay attention ta sports too much. But Mom: OTW - Mom She knew! Uh, she used to make me study movies wid ‘er. I learned. We watch guys like Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney. Scar - HB&JC They, they teached me to talk the street. I like doze guys. I always knew one day I’m comin’ here to talk about movies. My old boss – really old & mean as a river rat – Linda Big Stuff, Scar - Hag she axed me, [Wicked Witch of the West] ‘Is this it? That’s what it’s all about to you? Eating, drinking, screwing, talking?’ Fuggetaboutit! I’m 57. I got a bag for a belly. I got tits. I need a bra. Dey got hairs on ‘em. I got liver spots. I eat crap all day like one of dem rich freakin’ dummy celebrities in Miami. Ain’t it great, man? Hey, every day above ground is a good day. And someday, I plan to spend my remaining days above ground in New Smyrna Beach FL Scar - NSB  with my big, hairy tits hanging out. Pelican, fly! Come on, pelican!” Scar - Pelican

As the quote by Jerry suggests, people are inherently afraid of those from other countries – always have been & perhaps always will. Tony Montana (Al Pacino),Scar - Pacino Brian DePalma’s Scar - DePalma Scarface (a word never uttered in the film), is the paradigm for why. He came from the streets too, the streets of Cuba, where he was a seasoned criminal before ever setting foot on one of the ships headed to Miami carrying 125000 refugees – 1/5 of whom had criminal records. When he gets to Miami, he & his best friend Manny (Steven Bauer) Scar - Manny are sent to a refugee camp where their felonious natures escalate. Soon Tony & Manny are deeply involved with South Florida’s organized crime syndicate and begin working for the brutal drug lord Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia). F. Murray Abraham, who plays Lopez’s right-hand man Omar, found out he got the part of Salieri in Miloš Forman’s Scar - Amadeus Amadeus Amadeus while Scarface was in production. Before receiving that news, he was treated as an also-ran by the crew. The notoriety of playing the co-lead role in a Forman film changed that instantly & forever. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Frank’s girlfriend, Elvira, Scar - Cast and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is Tony’s sister, Gina. Scar - Gina The screenplay was written by none other than Oliver Stone, Scar - Stone who was addicted to cocaine at the time. 

Scarface received 3 Golden Globe nominations: Pacino for Best Actor in a Drama; Bauer for Best Supporting Actor; and Giorgio Moroder for Best Score. Scar - Giorgio Mororder, a 3-time 3 Oscar Winner, was the first to restore Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis. Scar - Metro He simultaneously composed a new score for it. Metropolis is a Utopian city for the rich who inhabit it, but dystopian for the proletariat who live beneath it & keep it running. Moroder’s version was released, fittingly, in 1984. Many scores have been written for it since, most recently by the Caspervek Trio Scar - Casper in 2014. The Alloy Orchestra Scar - Alloy have 4 different scores that they’ve performed live accompanying the film since 2010.  The Alloys are a 3-piece ensemble who use keyboards, strings, drums & stuff to make the music & sound effects fitting the action (e.g., a saw creates the sound of a door opening). I saw Metropolis with the Alloys at Real Art Ways (or RAW), Hartford Scar - RAW on 3/19/11, before Executive Director Will K. Wilkins Scar - WW changed policy direction, eliminating classic film to re-focus only on new art, irrespective of quality, seemingly targeting mainly the LBGT community. But if you don’t respect for the past, how can you expect to to take steps toward the future? But in 2011, Real Art Ways was fantastic. And that screening of Metropolis backed by the Alloy Orchestra was one of the finest evenings of art I had the privilege to attend that year. The film, my favorite of the decade, was Kurt Vonnegut’s Scar - Kurt main inspiration for his first novel, Player Piano. Scar - PP No copies of the original 153 minute version remain and the Alloy’s 148 minute versions are copyrighted, but Moroder’s 83 minute and a 148 minute version with a different score are on YouTube and Netflix. Okay, say hello to Moroder’s score & watch the trailer below, then update your Netflix DVD or Blu-ray Queue or visit HBO GO to stream Brian DePalma’s Scarface. 4 Stars!

8/9/14: High Anxiety


I brought a fruit salad & some water for you all while you read the Blog today.

Okay, let me just install this water in the dispenser. Anxiety - Lift “I got it. I got it. I got it. I ain’t got it.” “When I ring the bell, you are tardy! And those who are tardy do not get fruit cup! Anxiety - Bell Okay, come up & get your fruit cup & water. 

You’re probably thinkin’, [feminine] ‘You’re so strict, Professor!’ I’m strict, but fair! And, as you can see, I did work long & hard on this speech!” Anxiety - ProfAs Mel Brooks’ High Anxiety opens, a plane is landing & Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (Brooks) is petrified. Anxiety - Thorndyke I’m not an aerophobe, but I can relate. I hate flying. The only good thing about it is getting there fast. I particularly hate the post-9/11/01 airport security process. Anxiety - Security A couple of years ago, my wife Cindy & I P&C were flying to New Smyrna Beach FL Anxiety - NSB with a couple carry-ons each. She went first & made it thru fine. My laptop was A-OK but then when they screened my backpack, am alarm went off and, already a nervous wreck, I turned to Cindy & said, [Jewish] “‘What is this, a game show? What did I win, a Pinto?’ as a TSA agent asked, [baritone]‘Whose bag is this?’ I raised my hand & he said, ‘Follow me! I’m sorry sir, we’re going to have to search you & your bag.’. Anxiety - Security ‘Please sir, what did I do? What did I do? What’s my crime?’ ‘You beeped.’ ‘I beeped! I beeped! Take me away! Take me to Alcatraz! Put me in irons! I beeped! The mad beeper is loose! Take away the beeper! Take me away!’” It turned out that my kids had a party at our house while we were out the Saturday night before, and one of their friends left some cans of Busch Beers in the fridge. Anxiety - Busch I took a few to the movies the night before, drank all but one & forgot to empty the backpack before leaving for Bradley. When he discovered the offending item, he said smiling, ‘Mr. Marino, life is too short to drink crappy beer.’, and I was on my way fully aware Anxiety - Sweat of my need for more of this ===> Anxiety - RG

Alfred Hitchcock Anxiety - HItch often utilized the potential danger in various modes of travel as a plot ploy, and Mel Brooks’ captures the idea perfectly as double Golden Globe Nominee High Anxiety begins. Dr. Thorndyke is the new head of [Dr. Colburn] The Psycho-Neurotic Institute for the Very VERY Nervous. Anxiety - Inst Dr. Charles Montague (Harvey Korman) Anxiety - Korman is angry that he didn’t get the post when the previous head suddenly died of a coronary. Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman) Anxiety - Diesel, undoubtedly a parody of Nurse Ratched Anxiety - Ratched from Miloš Forman’s Anxiety - Milos One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Anxiety - Cuckoo, really runs the Institute. Thorndyke immediately notices the suspicious goings on there . There are many great comic performances in the picture, including: Ron Carey as Thorndyke’s assistant, Brophy Anxiety - Brophy; Howard Morris as the Dr. Sigmund Freud character Anxiety - Freud, Professor Lilolman Anxiety - Morris; Madeline Kahn as Thorndyke’s love interest, Victoria Anxiety - Kahn; and Brooks’ 3 co-writers all appear in the film, as does Charlie Callas in a cameo as Cocker Spaniel Anxiety - Callas. 

Hitchcock perfected the MacGuffin, a plot ploy used to move the characters along in the story. MacGuffins seem important, but aren’t. The best way to know if something is a MacGuffin is to substitute the word & see if anything changes. For instance, in Psycho Anxiety - Psycho, Marion (Janet Leigh) Anxiety - Marion steals $40000 & flees Phoenix where she meets Norman (Anthony Perkins) Anxiety - Psycho& her demise at the Bates Motel Anxiety - Bates. But if she stole a MacGuffin instead, wouldn’t her fate have been the same? Watch the trailer at the bottom of the Blog, then add the film to your Netflix Queue. As you watch the film, you can use the table just above the trailer to see where MacGuffin & the other Hitchcock references mentioned in High Anxiety can be found: It’s the most comprehensive list I’ve seen documented anywhere. Not to sound like The Man Who Knew Too Much, but my Suspicion is that my Blog readers know I’m Notorious for film analysis so Rich and Strange that if I was anyone else, even if I was Young and Innocent, Under Capricorn and beyond a Shadow of a Doubt it’d give me Stage Fright, make me Spellbound, cause Vertigo, send me into a Frenzy, and drive me Psycho. If I’m wrong, you can take me Downhill The 39 Steps, throw me out the Rear Window hanging from a Rope until The Birds peck at me, leaving nothing for the Family Plot. And now, even if you’re a Secret Agent, I’m The Wrong Man to Blackmail, I Confess, Bon Voyage, Bunny <=== The Lady Vanishes ===> Geisha, leaving my tribute to Mel Brooks’ tribute to The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock: High Anxiety! 4 Stars!

Anxiety - Table

8/14/14: Elvis – That’s the Way It Is


Music is like no other art form. For those of us of a certain mentality, it can drive you crazy; manifesting in a love for the form in general and The Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion Elvis -GRTUD for a particular artist long after death. And I mean your own, not theirs. Mozart comes to mind. Elvis, of course. I love ‘em both. But it’s Jerry Garcia that “rocks my soul”. Elvis - BDown“When you’ve heard him on record, really there, that’s nothing until you’ve heard the live performances. I remember the first time I saw him live, with the Grateful Dead on 4/23/77Springfield Civic Center. Elvis - 42377 He walked out on stage & that’s all it took for me. Ya know, I was a fan immediately. Before…I had heard a lot about him, said, ‘Ya sure. Nobody, NOBODY is that good!’. Well, he’s that good. He’s…um…the original creator of this style – what people call jam bands, a term I take exception to. Well not the original creator, but blended it & put it together in a way that it stayed. And…when he did this, he created something that nobody [laugh-talking] knew where it was gonna stop. A Jerryhead is more than just a follower. It just…somebody that cares enough that they devote a good part of their life to him. I collect every show I can get on CD. I’ve got 100’s of dollars worth of CD books of these shows, taken up in the house anywhere I can get ‘em. And Jerry was very patient with his fans. He really liked them. He loved them”, just like Elvis did his. And as you watch Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, you’ll see this come thru loud & clear! Jerry, by the way, was a huge fan of Elvis’: He covered Mystery Train

and That’s All Right Mama

with the Grateful Dead and his side projects; Run Tutt, Elvis’ drummer, played in Jerry’s solo bands from ’75-‘77;

and Grateful Dead and Jerry Band backup vocalist, Donna Jean Godchaux (née Thatcher), was on the From Elvis in Memphis LP as well as Suspicious Minds which was originally released as a single. 

Elvis - Donna

That’s the Way It Is, which reached #22 on the Variety National Box Office Survey in 1970, documents Elvis’ return to touring after 12 years. In reality, it wasn’t much of a tour. He played the Elvis Summer Festival from 8/10/70 thru 9/7/70 at the International Hotel’s Showroom Internationale in Vegas, then toured for a week. Elvis’ longtime manager, Col. Tom Parker, Elvis - Col is credited as Technical Adviser. He wanted the project to be a closed circuit broadcast of one of the shows, but it was not to be. It was an MGM release, and they did all the filming & called the shots. The studio rehearsals are at MGM Studios in Culver City CA and RCA Studios, Hollywood. The live segments are all from Vegas – opening night and Evening & Midnight performances the next 3 nights. During the opening sequence, a live performance of Mystery Train/Tiger Man, there’s a fan-made sign hung indicating the show is from 9/9/70 – AZ Coliseum, Phoenix, but it’s not. That was the only show of the tour in Phoenix & the tune wasn’t played there. It’s masterfully edited to give the impression that the documentary is of the tour. Film Editing is part of post-production, meaning it takes place after filming is completed. It’s the art of sequencing footage according to the director’s instructions. In 1970, editing was done by splicing sections of film together. Now it’s done digitally. Film Editor Henry Berman Elvis - Berman combines concert  footage, interviews, fans comments, the International Hotel’s Press Conference & such brilliantly in this great documentary of The Return of The King, Denis Sanders’ Elvis: That’s the Way It Is. Unfortunately, this is not available for free but can be rented from Amazon  Video for $2.99. So watch the trailer below then head over to Amazon to see the full movie. [Elvis] “Thank you. Thank you very much”. 3 Stars!