Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Daddy's Gone A Hunting (1969)

There are movies I waited to see for a long time just because of the way the ad affected me as a kid. Faster Pussycat was one, this movie was another.
Set your time machine back to 1969. I'm sitting in my dad's car listening to the AM radio. On comes this creepy commercial for a movie featuring a man reciting a nursery rhyme. Cut to a woman's scream. I knew at that moment I would someday have to see this flick.
Too bad the movie itself doesn't deliver on the promise of the radio ad. It's basically a thriller from the (to steal a concept from Bill Landis) "endangered child" subgenre. Woman dumps psycho boyfriend when she finds out she's preggers. Woman has the pregnancy aborted. Boyfriend comes after her years later when she has a baby she did want to keep. But she's now married to a powerful lawyer with political ambitions, so she can't tell her new hubby the whole truth.
I will say the final half-hour, involving a hunt for the psycho ex-boyfriend, was pretty gripping. But the actor who played him just couldn't pull-off the cloud of fear necessary for the role

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis (2008)

Excellent film about 60's experimental visionary Jack Smith. Smith, who achieved notoriety with FLAMING CREATURES, never went on to the big art film leagues and died in 1989, forgotten by all but a a few dedicated fans. He never finished another film after CREATURES, perfering to live the life of a pure artist.
The film portrays his life and work via interviews with the various friends and family who knew him. You even get a few interviews with Smith himself, who comes across as a tortured artiste. The narrative tries to be as objective as possible, but it does suggest that several critics made their fame off Smith's work.
A good look into a different era when filmmakers actually had to worry about getting busted on obscenity charges.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women (1979)

This is a MTV from the final phase of the "movie of the week" phenomena which made 70's TV such fun. I don't know how to describe it other than make comparisons to Lord of the Flies and Charlie's Angels. And it has both big Clint Walker and Jayne Kennedy (who looks mighty fine in a loin cloth).
A plane carrying catholic school girls out of war-torn Indochina in 1955 crashes on an isolated Pacific island. Years later a sea plane makes an emergency landing on the same island. The sea plane is conveying oil roughnecks back to the US (all male). The roughnecks encounter the adult versions of the school girls, who have grown into a jungle tribe of shapely young women. Meanwhile there's a rival tribe of men who've been raiding the female tribe.
Gilligan never had it so good.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventureland (2009)

Because every now and then I do watch Hollywood movies.
Hilarious film about working a summer carny job by writer Greg Motta. From what I understand, he was discussing the worst jobs they ever had with some other tinsletown types and his was an amusement park on Long Island in 1985.
I'd love to know what his fellow glitter palace courtiers did.
The movie follows a preppie who's alcoholic dad is about to lose his job. Junior has just graduated college with a useless degree in comparative literature and renaissance studies. He'd planned on backpacking Europe. Because he wants to go to journalism graduate school at Columbia ("I want to write travel books like Charles Dickens"), he's forced to take a summer job at a tacky amusement park. Along the way he learns a lot about real life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Equinox (1992)

Stylish thriller by Alan Rudolph about twins separated at birth. One becomes a cunning hit man, the other a quiet nobody. Essentially this is a noir version of The Prince and The Pauper, but given the Rudolph treatment with his love for multiple characters. Every scene is memorable and this movie seems to exist in the same universe where Trouble In Mind takes place. Rudolph is an underappeciated director and it's a shame he hasn't produced more films of this caliber.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The New Women (2001)

Hilarious black-and-white satire of feminist apocolypse literature as a group of neglected housewives find themselves the only survivors of a global catastrophe. After a major electrical storm, all the men remain in a coma, forcing the women of their town to fend for themselves. In the first meeting, they kick out the woman who's been sleeping with all their husbands. When food runs low, a group of them headed by Mary Woronov take off in a camper loaded down with supplies. They've received a radio signal from a surviving colony of women. Of course, the trip to redoubt more fun than the destination.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


If you watched any late-night TV in the early 90's, you may have encountered this whacked-out preacher. A real "put your hands on the radio" type, he was famed for suddenly speaking in tongues when he wasn't begging for money. And it all came down in a baptism of fire when it was discovered the good pastor was dumping all the prayer request letters in the trash.
This documentary was produced by The Trinity Foundation, a small church group that brought the TV preacher's practices to light. It's mostly excepts from the TV specials about Tilton's sleazy practices.
But no documentary can come close to the crazy mailers this Elmer Gantry used to send out for a little $$$. Prayer mattes, holy bread, this man had a system! I don't know who did his marketing material, but they were a genius.
A good movie to watch on a Sunday morning.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kampus Kapers

Ah, to have been a student at a big university in the late 60's. Free love, free money, and sticking it to The Man. The only thing a male had to worry about is which girl to see on a given night. And here are three movies which lets us relive those wondrous days of yore: Three in the Attic, Down in the Cellar, and Been Down So Long It Looks Up To Me. Groovy!
The first, Three in the Attic (1968), concerns the exploits of poor Paxton Quigley (Christopher Jones). He has this problem: a compulsive womanizer, he has three different women on the string, telling each one they are his one and only. When they all find out what's been going on, Pax gets locked in an attic by the vengeful trio and is forced to have sex with them nonstop. He finally escapes, but describes himself as "the first victim of the sexual revolution."
Down in the Cellar
has Wes Stern gunning for Larry Hagman, a rich Texas benefactor of a prestigious college. It seems Hagman spoiled Stern's performance art, so he decides to bring him down by seducing all the women in his life. I'm sure the movie was very topical in 1970.
And at last we have Been Down, based off a famous counterculture novel by Richard Farina. This 1970 movie has been forgotten, but a few copies are known to exist. Barry Primus plays the lead, Gnossos, a young man who is returning to college after being out in the world for a few years. He eventually ends up in Cuba at the time of the 1959 revolution, but not before taking many journeys of self discovery.
Three movies which attempted to copy the success of The Graduate (1967). In many ways they all failed, but they serve as mirrors to the 60's.