Category Archives: 2016 movie blogathons
Announcing “The 2nd Annual SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON”!
It’s never too early to start planning for a summer vay-cay, now, is it? Having struck quite the touchy nerve with my previous SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON last year, I thought I’d do it again for this summer.
If you’re unfamiliar with last year’s ‘thon, the idea is to blog about movies that are a turn-on in the way that they suggest sex rather than graphically depicting it. Movies from the Production Code era are ideal examples, but you don’t have to limit yourself to that time period. If you’re stuck for ideas, click here to link to last year’s SEX! Blogathon, and read some of the entries.
The rules for this year’s SEX! Blogathon are the same as last year’s, as follows.
Your blog entry can be about any single movie, as long as it fits the following criteria.
1. You need to write about an entire movie that you find sexy, not just a single scene. The upside-down kiss in the 2001 Spider-Man movie was undeniably sexy, but unless you can make a case for the entire movie being a turn-on, please don’t write about it.
2. The movie you choose can be from any era (even silent), but it needs to be a movie that subtly suggests sex. No writhing, naked bodies, and no explicit dialogue about how much one person wants to go to bed with another.
That’s not to say that your choice can’t be a modern movie with adult dialogue. If you can make a solid case for something like, say, Body Heat (which was a modern homage to 1940’s-style movie sex), I’ll accept it.
3. Explain why you think the movie is sexy. Your explanation does not have to be lurid or explicit, just a simple description of why the movie “does something” for you.
How Do I Join the Blogathon?
In the “Comments” section at the bottom of this blog, please leave your name, the URL of your blog, and the movie you are choosing to blog about. At the end of this blog entry are banners for the ‘thon. Grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.
The blogathon will take place from Sunday, June 19, through Tuesday, June 21 (the first day of summer). When the opening date of the blogathon arrives, leave a comment here with a link to your post, and I will display it in the list of entries (which I will continually update up to the beginning of the ‘thon, so keep checking back!).
I will not be assigning particular dates to any blog posts. As long as you get your entry in by the end of the day on June 21, I will be satisfied. (That said, the earlier the better!) Duplicate entries about the same movie are welcome as well.
Again, be sure to leave me a comment and grab a banner, and have fun with your blog entry!
Here’s the line-up so far:
Movie Movie Blog Blog – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Serendipitous Anachronisms – A Room with a View (1985)
Moon in Gemini – A Place in the Sun (1951)
BNoirDetour – Scarlet Street (1945)
The Flapper Dame – The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Outspoken & Freckled – It (1927)
Love Letters to Old Hollywood – To Catch a Thief (1955)
Defiant Success – A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Thoughts All Sorts – Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Flickers in Time – Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Meredy.com – Red-Headed Woman (1932)
Pop Culture Reverie – The Moon Is Blue (1953)
Realweegiemidget – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Silent Wierdness – Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925)
Pfeiffer Films and Meg Movies – The Age of Innocence (1993)
Dell on Movies – Double Indemnity (1944)
Sex! Blogathon Banners
“Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” – Oliver Hardy
The following is my entry in The Classic Quote Blogathon, hosted by The Flapper Dame on Mar. 4-6, 2016. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ backstories of some of the most famous quotes in movie history!
I would hazard a guess that, even for non-fans of Laurel & Hardy, there are two indelible images of Stan and Ollie that everyone seems to know about or remember. One is of the duo endlessly hauling a crated piano up a Sisyphean flight of stairs in The Music Box.
The other is of Ollie turning to Stan, usually after some Stan-created disaster, and intoning, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” A funny and most durable catchphrase — but where did it come from?
Laurel & Hardy biographer Randy Skretvedt believes the line might have been provided by L&H title-writer H.M. “Beanie” Walker (above), who might have unconsciously cribbed it from Gilbert & Sullivan, who used the line in both The Mikado from 1885 and The Grand Duke from 1896.
The catchphrase was first used by Hardy in The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930). In popular culture, the catchphrase is often misquoted as “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” This misquoted version of the phrase was never uttered by Hardy in a movie. Ironically, L&H seem to have caused the misunderstanding themselves, having named another of their 1930 short subjects Another Fine Mess.
The catchphrase became so familiar that L&H even got laughs out of variations on it. For example, in Chickens Come Home (1931), Ollie starts to say to Stan, “Well,…” But Stan finishes the thought with, “Here’s another nice mess I’ve gotten you into.” In the shorts The Fixer Uppers and Thicker Than Water (both 1935), Ollie remarks, “Well, here’s another nice kettle of fish you pickled me in!” And in the feature film Saps at Sea (1940), Ollie declares, “Well, here’s another nice bucket of suds you’ve gotten me into!”
If you’re a hard-core Laurel & Hardy buff (here, sir!), you might have wondered how many times this catchphrase has showed up in a L&H film. One enterprising website has documented the answer — indicating that the catchphrase (including its minor variations mentioned above) was used a total of 16 times. In two instances, it showed up twice in the same film, and it is even the very last line of dialogue ever spoken by Laurel & Hardy in a theatrical movie (in their final release, 1951’s infamous Utopia).
Unlike Laurel & Hardy themselves, another set of filmmakers did use the catchphrase correctly as a title, but to little avail. In 1972 came a little-seen movie comedy titled Another Nice Mess. It was produced by Tom Smothers of the Smothers Brothers, and it was written and directed by Bob Einstein (later to gain fame as stunt man “Super Dave Osborne” on cable TV). Intended as a political satire, it starred impressionist Rich Little and character actor Herb Voland playing President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew in the manner of Laurel and Hardy. Apparently, the movie had only a brief run in a few Los Angeles theaters and was never released nationally.
In 2005, a jury of over 1,500 leaders from the creative community, including film artists, critics, and historians, chose what they felt were cinema’s 100 most memorable quotes for the American Film Institute’s “100 Years…100 Movie Quotes” list. Ollie’s “Another nice mess” quote ranked at # 60.
The phrase continues to be relevant in the age of blogging. A little over a year ago, a blogger — who had recommended the use of an older Microsoft handset whose email app later became obsolete — used Ollie’s catchphrase as the headline for his blog on how he would help users restore their email system. And just three weeks ago, a blogger for LinkedIn.com felt compelled to hurl Ollie’s invective at “interventionist economists” such as Alan Greenspan.
Right up to the end of his life, Stan Laurel poo-poo’d the idea that his movies had any claims to either social commentary or immortality. One would imagine how floored he’d be that just one simple sentence from his movies has taken on such a life of its own.
American Film Institute. 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes. http://www.afi.com/100Years/quotes.aspx
Hearn, John. Here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/another-nice-mess-youve-gotten-me-john-hearn
StanLaurelAndOliverHardy.com. Nice Mess. http://www.stanlaurelandoliverhardy.com/nicemess.htm
Technical Meshugana. Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into! http://www.techmeshugana.com/2014/11/nice-mess-microsoft/
Turner Classic Movies. Another Nice Mess. http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/739646/Another-Nice-Mess/notes.html
Wikipedia. Laurel and Hardy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurel_and_Hardy
IN LIKE A LION, OUT LIKE A LAMB BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap
We’ve uncovered quite a few bloggers who had misgivings about certain films that they ended up loving! Thankfully, we got them to share their stories with us in
If you’ve missed any of these enjoyable film memories, click on the appropriate blog name below to link to the blog and read the blogathon entry.
BNoirDetour came to realize that Bogie and Bacall really did have it all in The Big Sleep.
Moon in Gemini was transformed from film snob to movie populist, courtesy of James Cameron’s The Terminator.
Love Letters to Old Hollywood decided she wanted to have what Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were having in When Harry Met Sally.
Serendipitous Anachronisms anticipated a snark-fest and got an engrossing thriller when she watched Richard Boone in the otherworldly I Bury the Living.
And yours truly got a pleasant surprise in black comedy when I partook of future big-name stars Denis Leary’s and Kevin Spacey’s early career work in The Ref.
We still have two more days to go in our blogathon, so keep us bookmarked for more terrific turnaround stories in cinema!
The IN LIKE A LION, OUT LIKE A LAMB BLOGATHON is here!
The month of March is upon us, and with that our lion-to-lamb film blogathon. For the next three days, we take a look at bloggers’ memories of movies that originally got them wound up with apprehension, only to fill them with relief from moviemakers who actually knew what they were doing.
If you are one of the blogging participants, please leave the name and URL of your blog entry in the “Comments” section below, and I will appropriately link to it. Readers, simply click on the links below to read the blogathon entries — and bookmark this site, as we will provide blogathon updates at the end of each day. Enjoy!
Here’s the line-up:
Movie Movie Blog Blog – The Ref (1994)
BNoirDetour – The Big Sleep (1946)
Cinematic Scribblings – The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)
Old Hollywood Films – Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet (1948)
I Found It at the Movies – The Wild Bunch (1969)
Moon in Gemini – The Terminator (1984)
Love Letters to Old Hollywood – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Serendipitous Anachronisms – I Bury the Living (1958)
In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Move Over Darling (1963)
THE REF (1994) – Not your ordinary Christmas movie
The following is my entry in my In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from Feb. 28-Mar. 1, 2016. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ accounts of how they attended certain movies with great trepidation, only to be pleasantly surprised by them!
R.I.P., Blockbuster Video.
I never thought I’d write those words. But I have to admit, if you hit that place on the right night, with someone on the floor who really knew his or her movies, it was like getting directed to a rare album selection at Tower Records that you never even knew existed.
One Saturday night, my wife and I were in Blockbuster, wanting to find a fresh comedy but at a complete loss for what to watch. We got all the way to the checkout lane with a half-baked selection, and the cashier could actually see the despair in our eyes. She asked what the problem was. When we told her, she asked, “Have you ever heard of The Ref?”
When we heard the title, my wife and I declared that we weren’t interested in any feel-good football movie. The cashier laughed and told us that the title was simply deceiving. She gave us the movie’s box to look at. Denis Leary? Kevin Spacey? Whoever heard of these guys?
The cashier smiled and assured us that, if we were in the mood for a dark comedy, we should take her word for it and rent the movie. Blessed be that cashier — we can only hope that cashier has gone on to bigger and better things in the movie world.
The movie introduces us to an on-the-rocks couple, Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur (Spacey and Judy Davis), whose bickering is so tumultuous that even their marriage counselor (B.D. Wong) can barely keep it contained. On their way home, it is the Chasseurs’ bad luck to run into Gus (Leary). Gus has tried to pull off what he thought was a simple burglary, but he barely escaped the toothsome clutches of a guard dog, and his alcoholic partner has driven off without him.
Gus holds the Chasseurs at gunpoint, tells them to drive to their home, and holds them hostage there while he tries to figure out how to bail himself out. Meanwhile, the homefront gets even more complicated when the Chasseurs’ spoiled son Jesse arrives home from boarding school.
Oh, and this all occurs on Christmas Eve, which ushers in an enjoyable subplot involving the Chasseurs’ self-absorbed family (led by the sublime Christine Baranski) and some smile-inducing nods to It’s a Wonderful Life and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (wait for it).
So many modern dark comedies are tiresome, not because they have a nasty edge to them, but because they pretend to be hostile while taking a “just kidding” approach because they fear alienating their audience. The Ref serves up its bile straight and black and is at its most delightful when it shatters audience expectations.
Gus thinks all it will take to get out of this mess is a gun and an attitude, but he ends up being the titular referee to this volcanic couple that he can’t shake. And Gus has even more to deal with when Jesse finds more of a father figure in Gus than he does in his own father.
The Ref is simply a delightful surprise all around, right down to the credits. The script is by Richard LaGravenese, who pulled off a similar black-humored miracle with his screenplay for The Fisher King. But the movie’s biggest surprise is that it was produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer! How did the masterminds behind Top Gun and Flashdance catch their breath long enough to do a dark, thoughtful character study?
Of course, if you’ve seen the sterling work of cast members Leary, Spacey, Davis, and Baranski in the past two decades, I don’t have to sell you on their work here. The Ref is like a warm-up for their greatest work to come — a very heated warm-up.
SO YOU THINK YOU’RE NOT GUILTY (1950) – In praise of Joe McDoakes
The following is my contribution to the Oscars Snubs Blogathon, being co-hosted Feb. 26-28, 2016 by The Midnite Drive-In and Silver Scenes. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ defenses of Academy Award nominees that didn’t win the golden statuette!
I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about Joe McDoakes, and this blogathon gives me a perfect excuse to do so.
“What the heck is a ‘Joe McDoakes’?”, I hear you cry.
Joe McDoakes was a series of 63 one-reel comedy short subjects produced by Warner Bros. between 1942 and 1956. George O’Hanlon — later to gain his greatest fame as the voice of George in the TV cartoon “The Jetsons” — played the title character.
The shorts began as a project of Richard Bare, a film professor at USC who wanted to show his students how to make a movie. (After the McDoakes series was retired, Bare made further use of his offbeat sense of humor, as the director of a wonderfully wacko TV series titled “Green Acres.”) The shorts were directed by Bare and also written solely by him up through 1948, at which point O’Hanlon took a hand in the storylines as well.
The series’ raison d’etre was to place Joe in an everyday situation and, usually, watch him bollix it up through stubbornness or misplaced overconfidence. The first few shorts showed Joe going through the motions of an activity (as in the debut short, So You Want to Quit Smoking) while an offscreen narrator commented on Joe’s actions. Eventually, Joe and his supporting cast were allowed to speak, although the narrator (usually the delightful Art Gilmore) wasn’t abandoned until 1948.
I could spend an entire blog cataloging the virtues of this achingly hilarious series of shorts. (As it happens, I devoted an entire website to it instead. Click here if you’re interested in the minutia of the Joe McDoakes series.)
Suffice to say, three of these short subjects were deservedly nominated for Best One-Reel Short Subject Academy Awards; undeservingly, none of them won the statuette. For the purposes of this blogathon, I will center my attentions on the 1950 Oscar nominee, So You Think You’re Not Guilty.
(Oh, yeah, I forgot. At this point, I’m dutifully supposed to mention 1950’s One-Reel Short Subject Oscar winner, Paramount’s Aquatic House-Party. Anyone who has devoted a blog or website to this immortal movie gem, please leave your URL in the “Comments” section below.)
(Also, the remainder of this blog entry contains complete spoilers of So You Think You’re Not Guilty. So skip to the last two paragraphs if you truly intend to obtain the movie in one of its rare forms, which I’ll discuss later.)
At the start of the movie, Joe is driving his convertible through town with his wife Alice (Phyllis Coates, best known as TV’s first Lois Lane on “Adventures of Superman”). Joe dutifully stops at one of those old-style traffic lights where the “Stop” and “Go” signs pop up and down appropriately. Here, though, the signs go haywire, causing Joe to drive skittishly and cause a traffic jam.
A policeman pulls Joe over and politely tries to deal with him. But Joe brashly proclaims his innocence, despite the fact that he has neither his driver’s license nor his vehicle registration to hand over to the cop. The cop writes Joe a traffic ticket and tells Joe he can pay the $2 fine in court and be done with it. But in court, “innocent” Joe makes such a nuisance of himself that the judge fines him first $50 for contempt, then $75, and finally $100.
So Joe has just multiplied his losses by 50. Not good enough for him, though — now he wants a trial. Sadly, Mr. Battin (Ted Stanhope, above left), Joe’s lawyer, isn’t nearly as concerned about Joe’s innocence as Joe is. While the prosecutor (Willard Waterman) pulls out every shameless tactic possible, including a “witness” to the incident (a blind man with a seeing-eye dog), Battin says nothing.
At the end of the prosecutor’s song-and-dance, Battin whispers to Joe, “I got an ace in the hole. Watch this!” Battin slowly stands up and announces, “The defense rests.”
For some reason, this doesn’t pacify Joe, who creates such a scene in the courtroom that he gets another $1,000 tacked onto his fine and is sentenced to 30 days in jail. While in his jail cell, a fellow prisoner coerces Joe into breaking out with him. Joe tries to escape through the window, but his suspenders get stuck on what’s left of the sawed-off bars. Joe is quickly captured and sentenced to 10 years for an attempted jail break.
Next we see Joe out in the jail courtyard, having served a year of his sentence. A fellow prisoner (a nifty cameo by Douglas Fowley, a gangster in late-era Laurel & Hardy movies) says that when they both get out of jail, Joe needs to look him up. The con is getting into a new racket that’s perfect for Joe: “Signal-fixin’ radar — ya always got the green light!”
Joe is called to a meeting with the warden (Ralph Sanford), who asks Joe if he really did commit the crime of which he’s been accused. Hard-boiled Joe gladly admits to the crime and says he’ll do it again when he gets out. Ironically, now that Joe has finally admitted his guilt, the warden says that Joe is qualified to get out of jail. “‘Stop-Lite’ McDoakes Paroled,” reads a banner newspaper headline.
Joe, once again free and driving, makes the very same driving mistake at the very same traffic light. But no heroics this time — as soon as a cop approaches Joe, he throws $2 at the cop and begs him to pay off the ticket.
I wish this movie was available for posting here. Sadly, this wonderful short subject and its 62 brethren are as rare as an Oscar was for the series itself. If you want to see So You Think You’re Not Guilty by itself, it’s available as an extra on Warner Bros.’ 2005 DVD release of the James Cagney classic White Heat.
Also, the entire McDoakes series is available for purchase on demand. Depending on if you buy a new or used set, it costs anywhere from $32 to $50 at Amazon.com — but IMHO, it’s worth every penny. (If you don’t want to take my word for it, click here to read critic Leonard Maltin’s rave review, which inspired me to buy the set sight-unseen.) I think you’ll agree that Not Guilty and a good number of these other shorts were simply robbed at Oscar time.
RE-ANIMATOR (1985) -A sci-fi movie with sparks of genius
The following is my entry in the Movie Scientist Blogathon, being co-hosted Feb. 19-21, 2016 by Christina Wehner at her self-named blog and by Silver Screenings. Click on the above banner, and read a rich variety of blogs devoted to movie scientists of all kinds!
Poor Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott). It was the first misfortune of his life to be cursed with a conscience. When we first see this medical student, he is doing everything possible to revive a dead patient long after his peers have given up hope. “Your optimism is touching,” one of his superiors tells him, “but a good doctor knows when to stop.”
Dan’s second misfortune is to take in, as his roommate, fellow med-school alumnus Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs). Herbert is regarded as a promising new student by the med school’s dean. But Dan and his girlfriend Meg (Barbara Crampton) regard Herbert as condescending, aloof, and mysterious – and with good reason.
We learn that Herbert was kicked out of a Switzerland medical school for his unregulated experiments in the reanimation of dead human tissue. It turns out that Herbert has a fluid that can bring the dead back to life, but only for a few moments at a time. What must Herbert do in order to prolong the resurrection process? Can he coerce naïve Dan into using his minor clout at the medical school to help him? And by the way, where has Meg’s cat gone to lately?
It seemed a daunting task, but co-writer/director Stuart Gordon, taking off from a story by H.P. Lovecraft, has created a riveting and plausible (albeit very gory) modern-day mad-scientist tale. We can truly believe that Herbert is singularly driven to make his wild dream of re-animation come true – not for fame or fortune’s sake, but simply because fate has decreed it must be done, laws and morals be damned. And we can also believe that Dan, given pause as he is every so often by that darned conscience of his, is compelled to help Herbert see his vision through.
Even if you’re willing to give yourself over to the movie’s Grand Guignol vision (which I was, surprisingly), the film has its troublesome elements. Richard Band’s score is haunting yet plagiaristic, slavishly aping Bernard Herrmann’s strings of Psycho.
And while Barbara Crampton is likable enough as Meg, her underwritten, shrieking-meemie characterization does the women of cinema no favors. By the time you see her bound, helpless, and naked in the movie’s climactic scene, all you can think is, “I sure hope they paid that actress well for what she went through.” (Maybe what cinema needs is a mad-scientist woman inflicting this kind of stuff on men as the payback for all of the movie misogyny that women have endured over the years.)
The amazing thing is how the movie transcends its guts-and-gore origins and really gives you a stake in these characters’ outcomes. For 104 minutes, Re-Animator breathes fresh air into what seemed to be a moribund genre. Herbert West would be proud.
The movie’s trailer is embedded below. (WARNING: It’s redband.)