#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Mar. 19: VIOLATED (1953)

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Violated isn’t really as bad as it looks. It also isn’t as good as it looks. What it mostly proves is that Ed Wood wasn’t the only guy with minimal talent and a clouded view of social issues to get hold of a movie camera in the 1950’s.

The movie purports to be about New York policemen trying to track down a psychopath who inexplicably scalps each victim he kills. But the movie’s viewpoint is nearly as deluded as that of its lead murderer. It has gritty, on-location photography that gets you hopeful for a ripped-from-the-headlines ’50s expose movie, only to let you down with pasty-faced non-actors looking as though they’re reading off cue cards.

And for a movie that presents itself as a cautionary tale, it has some weirdly nonchalant characters. There’s an aspiring model who falls hook, line, and sinker for a total stranger’s story that he’s a professional photographer who wants to boost her career. And when the girl goes home to tell her mother about the guy, the mother is strangely unhesitant about letting her daughter go off with him…which starts to leave you with little doubt as to the basis for the movie’s title.

(And let us pay tribute to Tony Mottola’s astounding musical score, played entirely on guitar and sounding like Django Reinhardt after a bender.)

So join us on Twitter.com this Saturday for some grindhouse giddiness. Heck, it’s only 67 minutes of your life wasted!

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Mar. 5: STOP MAKING SENSE (1984)

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I have no rational explanation why the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense has had such a magical effect on me.

When I first saw it, I’d only ever heard the Heads through the occasional song on the radio, such as “Burning Down the House.” I went to see the movie only because it received rapturous reviews from all quarters.

But for some reason, as soon as the credits rolled and I heard the concert audience murmur in anticipation, I just knew I was going to see something different. And when David Byrne nonchalantly walked on-stage and launched into “Psycho Killer,” I felt like I was right there with the rest of the audience, cheering him on.

Refreshingly, the movie takes what one of its group called a “no-bullshit” approach to its concert. The group’s other members — Tina Weymouth, her husband Chris Franz, and Jerry Harrison, and backup musicians Lynn Mabry, Ednah Holt, Bernie Worrell, Steve Scales, and Alex Weir — join the group on-stage one-by-one with each successive song. Stagehands set up props and lighting as needed, right on camera. No frills — they’re not driving themselves into a frenzy to win you over.

As a result, the whole thing comes off less as an elaborate rock concert than an intimate stage show, which is just how Byrne conceived it. Instead of distancing themselves, the musicians draw you in. And with the beautiful, clear music they offer, it’s an invitation to happiness.

Join us at Twitter.com at 4:30 p.m. EST, and let yourself Stop Making Sense.

 

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Feb. 27: EARTH VS. THE SPIDER (1958)

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How does a single, abnormally-sized spider turn up in a random cave for no reason? How is it that, after the spider has been knocked out with poison, rock-and-roll music brings it back to life? And worst of all, how can they name a movie Earth vs. the Spider when it’s not an entire planet that’s being threatened but merely a nondescript, white-bread town that probably deserves to be obliterated anyway?

These are just some of the many questions that won’t be answered this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST. Join us at Twitter.com and use the hashtag #SatMat to enjoy a movie you’ll never forget laughing at!

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Feb. 13: LOCUSTS: DAY OF DESTRUCTION (2005)

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I love disaster movies that give you just a faint whiff of characterization — not a carload of exposition (because who could believe in these characters, anyway?), just enough to rationalize your watching the carnage to come. Locusts: Day of Destruction fits the bill perfectly.

Lucy Lawless plays Dr. Maddy Rierdon, a Dept. of Agriculture investigator who’s getting it from all angles. Her husband is whining because she’s too engrossed in her job to start a family with him. One of her former professors (John Heard) has started a mutant-locust experiment on his own, leaving Maddy to shut down the prof’s lab and fire him.

And worst of all, Maddy must not be getting paid diddly-squat, because her wardrobe is so constrictive, she wears tight jeans to a meeting where she’s addressing her formally dressed peers, and at one point, she walks around an awful long time with just a bra on before she can find a top that fits her. Poor thing!

Oh, and that renegade locust experiment? You don’t think the prof really burned all of those creatures away, do you?

So, Lucy Lawless cheesecake and a locust plague. Need I say more? See you at Twitter.com this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST — use the hashtag #SatMat to comment on the movie as it unspools before you!

 

 

 

#SatMat & #WarBonds’ special Live Tweet movie for Sun., Feb. 7: Harold Lloyd’s THE FRESHMAN (1925)

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Contrary to popular belief, there are a few people in America who are interested in other things (such as movies, perhaps) besides the Super Bowl. Count me among them.

Nevertheless, I felt I had to exploit Sunday’s football mania somehow. So I have joined forces with another Twitter.com Live Tweet named #WarBonds, hosted by a nice fellow named Shane. #WarBonds generally Tweets movies from the World War II era, although occasionally Shane dabbles in silent film as well.

So what more appropriate movie to Tweet as Sunday’s “pre-game show” than Harold Lloyd’s silent comedy classic The Freshman? In it, Lloyd plays Harold Lamb, a naive young man going off to college. Harold thinks he can become popular by aping the cliches of his movie idol, The College Hero, which eventually results in Harold becoming the unwitting joke of the campus. D’ya Harold can turn things around by the time of the big football game?

The movie’s premise sounds as silly as that of The College Hero, but if you give yourself over to it, The Freshman is just as rousing as it was 90 (!) years ago. To keep things matinee-style, we’re prefacing the movie with a cartoon, Popeye’s Ya Gotta Be a Football Hero (1935).

So join us at the 50-yard line, er, Twitter.com this Sunday at 5:00 p.m. EST, and use the hashtags #SatMat #WarBonds to comment along with the movie!

#SatMat Live Tweet movie for Sat., Feb. 6: EMPIRE OF THE ANTS (1977)

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Joan Collins plays a real-estate hustler who drags tourists to the outskirts of Florida to sell them swamp land in the mistaken belief that it’s soon to be a major community resort. Doesn’t a woman like that deserve to be overtaken by mutated ants, even if she is Joan Collins? Maybe because she’s Joan Collins??

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The movie’s credits make much of the fact that its story is based on a novel by H.G. Wells, though I doubt that Wells had much to say about either real-estate scams or radioactive waste. But don’t worry, it’s a standard ’70s disaster movie (writ small due to the lack of funding from a major studio). We get the requisite exposition from one-dimensional characters before they get turned into so much ant fodder. And as for Joan…well, the “Dynasty” pilot script must have looked like manna from heaven after starring in this mess!

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So bring your calamine lotion, and get ready to rock with the #SatMat crowd at Twitter.com this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST!