THE YEAR AFTER YEAR BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…so we’d better get going on

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We received a lot of great entries on the first day of this ‘thon. Just click on the names of the individual blogs below to read them!

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Growing up isn’t easy for sisters Tootie and Esther (Margaret O’Brien and Judy Garland) in Meet Me in St. Louis, as A Shroud of Thoughts tells us.

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The Stop Button takes a look at the troubled life of boxer Jake La Motta (Robert DeNiro) as depicted in Raging Bull.

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Reelweegiemidget Reviews shows how life for Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson (Paul Dano and John Cusack) wasn’t all surf and sun in Love & Mercy.

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The Midnite Drive-In observes a day in the life of Phil Connors (Bill Murray) — over and over and over — in Groundhog Day.

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In the first of his three blogathon entries, Movierob watches a Jewish Hungarian family struggle to hold onto their values through three generations in Sunshine.

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Dubsism gives us the ups and downs of three vacationing couples/friends (including Carol Burnett and Alan Alda) during the course of The Four Seasons.

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And finally, yours truly enjoys Mel Brooks giving us a twisted history lesson in the comedy History of the World Part I.

We still have two days left in this timely blogathon, so keep us bookmarked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SEX! (now that I have your attention) BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

Our bloggers really gave it everything they had. So don’t be surprised by the high quality of the great entries in

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(Click on the name of each blog to read their individual entry.)

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The first of three entries from Movierob eavesdrops on some Pillow Talk between Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

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The Midnite Drive-In displays anything but Contempt for Brigitte Bardot in his critique of the Jean-Luc Godard classic.

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Realweegiemidget Reviews rooks us into a sexy game of chess between Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair.

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Dell on Movies explains why all is fair in Love and Basketball.

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And finally, your faithful correspondent details how Jane Russell’s film debut in The Outlaw is, in every sense of the word, a bust.

We still have two more days to go in our sexy blogathon, so keep us bookmarked. (And for heaven’s sake, put something on — people are watching!)

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THE END OF THE WORLD BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

Death is not taking a holiday here at our blog, nor at The Midnite Drive-In, where our blogs are covering apocalyptically- and post-apocalyptically-themed movies. So join us for

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If you missed our Day 1 Recap, click here to see more great entries. To read the entrants from Day 2, click on the name of each individual blog below.

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The Midnite Drive-in reports on Bruce Willis’ mission from the grim future, as depicted in 12 Monkeys.

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Critica Retro critiques the 1936 film Things to Come, which made some sadly accurate preductions about the dangers of modern technology.

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Once Upon a Screen brings us Fail-Safe, a thriller from the Cold War that, er, pushes all the wrong buttons.

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And while Douglas Adams gives thanks for all the fish, Movierob does not give thanks for Adams’ movie adaptation of his book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

We still have one more day to go in our blogathon, so keep us bookmarked, right to the end!

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THE END OF THE WORLD BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

We had a slew of bloggers who couldn’t wait to write about the apocalypse — at least, as it is depicted in movies. See what they had to say as we present

Day1Recap

Click on the name of each individual blog below to read their blogathon entry.

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Diary of a Movie Maniac reaches way back to another country and another era for his end story — the Danish silent film The End of the World.

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Caftan Woman decided to consult a Pal (George, that is) to find out what would happen When Worlds Collide.

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Speakeasy offers a double feature of doom with This Is Not a Test and Five.

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Fate brings the hammer down on Mike Hammer in the apocalyptic film noir Kiss Me Deadly, as reviewed by The Dream Book Blog.

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Silver Screenings looks at cinema’s first adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984.

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Seeker of Truth ponders whether humans should be allowed to survive, based on the evidence provided in The Story of Mankind.

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In the first of two entries from our co-host The Midnite Drive-In, nuclear (and dysfunctional relationship) fallout is inevitable in Stanley Kramer’s On the Beach.

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Maddielovesherclassicfilms observes the effect that an incoming meteor has on the world and its inhabitants in Deep Impact.

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Movierob gives his take on I Am Legend, the first of two entries in his apocalyptic annals.

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The sun is dying, so ThoughtsAllSorts tries to grab a little Sunshine for us.

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And finally, yours truly takes a look at the cheesier side of apocalyptic cinema, as shown in Plan 9 from Outer Space and the film-within-a-film of Strange Brew.

We still have two more days of the blogathon to, er, survive, so keep us bookmarked for more ominous fun — we’re not dead yet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One month until THE END OF THE WORLD BLOGATHON!

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It’s only 30 days until THE END OF THE WORLDBLOGATHON, that is! Along with my blogging pal Quiggy from The Midnite Drive-In, we will be serving up blog entries related to movies with apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic themes. For further enlightenment on this blogathon (and to sign up, if you haven’t already), click here!

SO YOU THINK YOU’RE NOT GUILTY (1950) – In praise of Joe McDoakes

 

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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!

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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.

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George O’Hanlon as Joe.

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-PartyAnyone 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.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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