Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Obit watch: January 27, 2016.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

For the historical record, Abe Vigoda: NYT. A/V Club.

I loved “Barney Miller” (and really need to pick up the complete box set when it gets cheap), and I don’t remember being a fan of “Fish”. And I actually saw the Broadway revival of “Arsenic and Old Lace” with Vigoda and Jean Stapleton the last time I was in NYC. That was a lot of fun.

But the one thing that stands out for me when I think about Vigoda is this:

It might be because I saw it again recently, but I think this is an amazing scene. Watch Vigoda’s face, and the range of emotions he goes through: shock, disappointment, resignation, and that heartbreaking last line: “Tom, can you get me off the hook? For old times’ sake?” Who else could have played that scene?

Obit watch: January 14, 2016.

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Alan Rickman: NYT. A/V Club.

I was actually going to embed my favorite Rickman moment here, but the NYT beat me to it.

I’d kind of like to see Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, but I’m not going to pay $150 for the DVD…

TMQ Watch: January 12, 2016.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

As always, after the jump, this week’s TMQ


Obit watch: January 11, 2016.

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Florence King: NYT.

The cultural boils Miss King sought so vigorously to lance included:
Political correctness; feminism (“Feminists will not be satisfied,” she wrote, “until every abortion is performed by a gay black doctor under an endangered tree on a reservation for handicapped Indians”); environmentalism; the antismoking lobby; sentiment; intimacy; weakness; special pleading; lack of breeding (“No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street”); gay liberation; far rightism; far leftism; mild to moderate leftism; democracy (“I believe in a Republic of Merit in which water is allowed to find its own level, where voters, like drivers, are tested before being turned loose”); the Constitution; children (“In order to molest a child you must first be in the same room with a child, and I don’t know how perverts stand it”); the human race.


Angus Scrimm also passed away over the weekend. He knocked around quite a bit, doing guest shots on various TV series (including “Alias” and “Trapper John M.D.”) and movies. He was perhaps best known as “The Tall Man” from the “Phantasm” movies. Interestingly, he also wrote liner notes for Capitol Records:

During his tenure at Capitol, Scrimm penned liner notes for artists like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and even the Beatles under the byline “Rory Guy”; he won a Grammy in 1974 for “Best Album Notes, Classical” for Korngold: The Classic Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Even after the success of Phantasm, Scrimm continued to write liner notes.

Obit watch: January 4, 2016.

Monday, January 4th, 2016

Bad time for cinematographers.

Both the LAT and the A/V Club are reporting the passing of noted cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.

He won an Oscar for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and worked on a whole boatload of other stuff: “Deliverance”, “The Deer Hunter”, “The Long Goodbye”, “Sugarland Express”…

Obit watch: December 28, 2015.

Monday, December 28th, 2015

Haskell Wexler, noted cinematographer.

Mr. Sayles said Mr. Wexler had once told him the story of being torpedoed. “He said the U-boat surfaced as the sailors were swimming to their lifeboats,” he said, “and they all were afraid it was coming up to machine-gun them. Instead, the captain lifted a small movie camera to document his kill, and Haskell remembered thinking, ‘I wonder if he’s shooting color or black and white?’”

Meadowlark Lemon.

“Meadowlark was the most sensational, awesome, incredible basketball player I’ve ever seen,” basketball great Wilt Chamberlain, Lemon’s onetime teammate, said in a television interview shortly before his death in 1999, as the Times reported. “People would say it would be Dr. J or even Jordan. For me, it would be Meadowlark Lemon.”

Edited to add: NYT obit wasn’t up previously, but is now.

NYT obit for George Clayton Johnson.

Obit watch: December 27, 2015.

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Robert D. Douglas Jr.

I hadn’t heard of him before the NYT obit, but he led an interesting life: he became an Eagle Scout in 1925. In 1928, he and two other Eagle Scouts were selected to go on a safari with Martin and Osa Johnson; the three Scouts later published a book about their experience. He later went hunting for whales and bears off the Alaskan coast (and wrote another book), flew with Amelia Earhart in an early autogyro, and spent more time in Alaska stomping around with “the Glacier Priest” (and got another book out of that).

This has been floating around for a few days, but I finally found an obit I was willing to link to: George Clayton Johnson. Johnson wrote several of the best “Twilight Zone” episodes (odds are, if the episode you’re trying to remember wasn’t a Matheson episode, it was one of his). He also wrote “The Man Trap” for “Star Trek”, the story that “Ocean’s 11″ was based on, and co-wrote “Logan’s Run”.

A Christmas Story.

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I’ve been threatening to tell this one for a while now. What pushed me over the edge was this (because, hey, Christmas story), and a conversation with my mother about the first “Star Wars”, which filled me with nostalgia. (Or that may have been indigestion from a combination of three cup chicken and the pills I’m taking; sometimes, I can’t tell the difference.)

(We were trying to reconstruct the circumstances around seeing “Star Wars”. My father took my sister and I to the theater at Greenspoint Mall in Houston (which was the closest good one) to see it first run. My younger brother didn’t go with us, because he was roughly 2 1/2. So the questions that came up were: what did we do with him, and when did he first see it? I always thought my dad took us as just a nice gesture, while my mother thinks she had a Tupperware party going on that night and wanted to get us out of the house.)

End of introductory digression.

One year, over the Christmas break from school, I decided I wanted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I’m pretty sure I was in middle school at the time, and to this day I can’t explain what motivated this: perhaps I thought it had a cool title, and I may have read about it elsewhere.

Anyway, I checked it out of the school library and brought it home with me.


TMQ Watch: December 22, 2015.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

We pretty much have all of our Christmas shopping done now, barring a possible few last minute gifts or accessories for gifts already purchased. With that out of the way, we can focus on TMQ.

And what does he have to say this week?


Cahiers du cinéma: The Library of Congress recommends…

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

I just have one thing to say about the latest list of movies added to the National Film Registry

TMQ Watch: December 8, 2015.

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Instead of snark, and before jumping into this week’s TMQ, we wanted to throw up a link to something we found by way of a retweet from Popehat:

So let me be really clear about what happened to me. From the moment I got my first pair of hockey skates at five years old, I got the living shit kicked out of me every single day. Every day after hockey, no matter how many goals I scored, he would hit me. The man was 6-foot-2, 250 lbs. It would start as soon as we got in the car, and sometimes right out in the parking lot.

When I tell people the insane details of my childhood, they have the same two questions.
Why in the hell would anyone do this to their own son?
And then …
Why in the hell didn’t anyone put a stop to it?

Please go read this now, if you haven’t already. This week’s TMQ will be here when you return…


Obit watch: November 25, 2015.

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The NYT is reporting the death of actor Rex Reason.

He appeared with Hayworth in “Salome” in 1953 and with Gable and Sidney Poitier in “Band of Angels” in 1957. In 1956 he played Dr. Thomas Morgan in “The Creature Walks Among Us,” the last installment in the last of the so-called Gill Man trilogy.

Mr. Reason was perhaps most famous for playing Cal Meacham in “This Island Earth”, which I almost think I’d like to watch again for real (as opposed to the MST3K movie version).