Thursday, December 30, 2010

Movie Quote of the Week

I’ve been betrayed so often by tomorrows, I don’t dare promise them.
--Bette Davis, Dangerous (1935)

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TV Quote of the Week

If you don't have the bad memories, you'll never know how good the good ones are, right?
--Renée O'Connor, Xena: Warrior Princess, “Forget Me Not”

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Movie Song of the Week: “I Remember It Well”

From the 1958 musical Gigi, the ideal movie song for the last week of the year.

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Song Quote of the Week

If the Devil danced in empty pockets, he'd have a ball in mine,
With a nine foot grand, a ten piece band and a twelve girl chorus line.
I'd raise some loot in a three piece suit, give 'em one dance for a dime.
If the Devil danced in empty pockets, he'd have a ball in mine.
--Ken Spooner and Kim Williams, “If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets”

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “Pilot”

Heh. The robot’s first name is Cameron. As in James Cameron, the director and co-writer of the original Terminator movie that introduced us all to Sarah Connor in the first place. At least that is the first name given by the robotic bodyguard Summer Glau plays in this series. If that is not ironic enough, there is a FBI agent named Ellison as in Harlan Ellison, the guy who once wrote a short story which may or may not have inspired the original Terminator.

Apart from that, there are relatively few shout-outs to the creators of the original movie as far as names are concerned. For that matter, the third and fourth movies have been ignored altogether for obvious reasons. After all, you cannot very well have a TV show with The Sarah Connor Chronicles in its title if you’re going to base it on a movie in which Sarah Connor is already dead. Of course, we get an inevitable repeat of the classic line: “Come with me if you want to live,” delivered this time out by Cameron.

But there are no references to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s characters and no flashbacks to Michael Biehn’s character’s -- though he is mentioned in passing in a scene in which John refers to his real father having been a soldier who died on a mission. Although Sarah and John Connor seem familiar with the concept of killer robots, the rest of the world still sees their past experiences from the first two movies as just one long zany story told by a pair of crazy people. And indeed, Ms. Connor is still being treated as a dangerous fugitive by the above-mentioned Ellison.

So once more Sarah and John Connor are on the run from the law. And they once again has a robotic protector -- the above-mentioned Cameron. The terminator this time out does not even get to be played by a famous actor but that is besides the point.

This first episode emphasized the sacrifices Sarah makes for John -- for example, running away from a boyfriend who has known Sarah long enough to feel comfortable buying her an engagement ring -- and Sarah’s inevitable fear that said sacrifices are not enough to keep John safe. Plus towards the end, Sarah acknowledges her fear that John may eventually pull away from her. That the more she tries to protect him from an admittedly clear and ever-present danger, the more she will end up alienating him.

A key plot point in the episode involves Cameron using a time travel device to relocate the Connors away from the path of a killer robot. Of course, the Connors and Cameron end up clothes-free as a result of said relocation and we get yet another shout-out to a scene from the original film as Cameron proceeds to procure a wardrobe for the self-conscious fugitives.

The final scenes shows the trio making plans to locate the mysterious Skynet which will supposedly set off World War III in April 2011. Given how close that date is, I guess I should either wish them Godspeed and good luck or pray that they truly are fictional characters. Because if they existed in the real world, that would be most inconvenient.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Pop Song of the Week: “Lovergirl”

In honor of the late Teena Marie, a video of her first big hit.

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R.I.P. Teena Marie

Singer Teena Marie, the most famous white singer ever produced by Motown, sang her last note at age 54 yesterday.

She will be missed.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Trailer of the Week: The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Hey! It's a chick flick!

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Due South

The closest thing we'll probably get to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon in my lifetime -- and -- surprise! -- it was created by Paul Haggis of Crash fame. It may not be everyone's cup of tea but at least it is more respectable than Dudley Doright. And whatever happened to David Marciano anyway?

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Sergeant Preston of the Yukon

Brrr! My body shivers just watching this intro. It's a good thing this show was before my time.

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The Legacy Continues

One of the most surprising discoveries of this year's Christmas season is the fact that my sister's son is proving to be quite a reader. Granted, his mother is a reader, his maternal grandmother is a reader and his mother's oldest brother (yours truly) is a reader so this really shouldn't come as a surpise. But still I really wasn't expecting to see a boy his age so into reading.

For what it's worth, his favorite reading material thus far appears to be Tom Clancy novels which might explain his addiction. Then again my mother is also a big Tom Clancy fan and I'd hardly consider her to be the type of person most people imagine when they think of a Tom Clancy fan.

Again, it's going to be interesting to see if my nephew keeps up his interest in reading or if it proves to be as much a fad as his taste for Pokemon and Power Rangers. Time will tell.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

¡Feliz Navidad y Merry Christmas, Y'all!


I had hoped to post more this week but I've been so busy with last-minute stuff that it seems like I'm constantly running everywhere. I hope you all enjoy the Christmas holiday and I look forward to seeing you all back here on Sunday.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pop Song of the Week: “Christmas at Ground Zero”

If there's one thing we could all use this time of year, it's another upbeat Christmas tune.

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Movie Quote of the Week

May my beard grow clear till it gets down to my foots... May it get a nest of prison rats... before I break my promise to a dying woman!
--Pedro Armendáriz, Three Godfathers (1948)

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TV Quote of the Week

If you can’t trust Santa, whom can you trust?
--Adam West, Batman, "The Duo Is Slumming"

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Song of the Week: “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Reposting this video from times past because I really would like to hear something upbeat this week.

Besides, nothing really says Christmas to me like the sight of Mariah Carey in a pair of white go-go boots...

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That's Funny. She Doesn't Look Latina: Parte XVII


Mariah Carey (1969 or 1970 - ). Daughter of an Irish American opera singer and a black Afro-Venezuelan engineer. Despite having dabbled in movies like Glitter and Precious, she is best known for her musical career.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie Song of the Week: “Sabbath Prayer”

I'm feeling the need to post something traditional this week and this number from 1971's Fiddler on the Roof seems the most obvious choice.

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R.I.P. Steve Landesberg

Actor Steve Landesberg, best known for playing the intellectual police detective Sgt. Arthur Dietrich on the TV series Barney Miller, closed his last case today at age 65. He will be missed.

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hey, I Remember This Show: The Pink Panther Show

Believe it or not, Blake Edwards was not directly responsible for these cartoons but he did inspire them with the animated sequences to his Pink Panther movies. Later on, the animated panther was spun off into a series of theatrical cartoons which eventually ended up on this series. Just as Bugs Bunny was not originally created to entertain young TV viewers but rather to entertain adult movie goers, so too was the Pink Panther originally created to amuse a more grown-up audience. That said, it's kinda hard to imagine the Saturday morning TV of my youth without that character.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Peter Gunn

The last few minutes from the first episode of Peter Gunn, the TV show which was the late Blake Edwards' most famous series on the small screen. And yes, Virginia, there is a reason why the music played over the closing credits sounds familiar.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Trailer of the Week: The Great Race (1965)

One of the first Blake Edwards movies I ever saw -- and still one of my personal favorites.

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Classy Bumper Sticker of the Week

Don't blame me. I voted for the American.

My response: Hey, I voted for an American too. His last name just happened to be Obama.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

R.I.P. Blake Edwards

Noted director Blake Edwards, most famous for directing the original Pink Panther movies, managed to steal away this past Wednesday at age 88.

He will be missed.

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pop Song of the Week: “Why Me?”

Steven Moffat's favorite music video.

Many thanks to the Flick Filosopher for reminding me of this song.

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Movie Quote of the Week

The boss hands you the envelope. You wonder how much is in it, and you don’t want to open it. As long as the envelope’s closed, you’re a millionaire.
--James Stewart, The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

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TV Quote of the Week

We hate full body scans.
--Hugh Laurie, House M.D., "Black Hole"

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Icon of the Week


George Santayana, originally named Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás, was born this day in Madrid, Spain, in 1863. Best known for his famous quotation “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” Santayana was a Spanish American philosopher and author who wrote in English and who had been raised and educated in the United States of America.

One of these days, I intend to make it all the way through his novel The Last Puritan even though I find it hard to imagine a storyline that can do that title justice.

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Buscando Trabajo de Nuevo: Parte XXV

I got a reprieve from TEC just in time for the holidays. They finally paid me the “backpay” they've owed me since November so I should be okay for the next few weeks.

Now I gotta decide what I should do if I don't find a job between now and January.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Movie Song of the Week: “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”

From the 1941 Abbott and Costello movie Buck Privates, it's Patty, Maxene and LaVerne of the Andrews Sisters demonstrating the three best reasons to choose Abbott and Costello over Laurel and Hardy. (Btw, Patty is the one who sings the solo during this number.)

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The Last Great Christmas Movie?


I'm trying to think of a great Christmas movie that has been made since Love Actually was released in 2003 but not a whole lot of movies come to mind. Nothing Like the Holidays was okay but it was hardly as memorable an effort as this film was. And the less said about such dubious efforts as Elf and Deck the Halls, the better.

Besides, Love Actually is more artistically ambitious than most feel-good holiday movies and though not every subplot works as well as it should, the film itself ends on a more satisfying note than most conventional movies. Not everyone in the movie gets a particularly happy ending and some people don't even get a particularly realistic ending. But the whole thing still works despite itself and this is despite my usually being a diehard Anglophobe who delights in poking fun at imperfect British movies.

Besides, I don't really feel up to griping about Elf this week even though it's about as shameless a waste of cinematic talent as I've seen in ages. Even Zooey Deschanel couldn't save it for me and I usually love everything Ms. Deschanel does.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Trailer of the Week: Batman Returns (1992)

The most famous third of director Tim Burton's Christmas trilogy.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Yogi Bear

Or as the Venezuelans call him, “El Oso Yogi.” Either way, Old School Yogi still seems more watchable than the newer versions.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Chilly Willy

Okay, I remember the character but I never realized he had his own theme song. Perhaps because you so rarely hear it nowadays.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Movie Quote of the Week

Ha ha ha ha ha ha... You can't fool me. There ain't no sanity clause.
--Chico Marx, A Night at the Opera (1935)

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TV Quote of the Week

Happy Birthday!
--Jackie Vernon, Frosty the Snowman

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mi Hermano y Mi Mamá!

It's my mother's birthday today. My family is going to celebrate it next Sunday, but it's still worth noting.

It's also my youngest brother's birthday today. We're celebrating that next Sunday as well.

It's also the Catholic religious holiday known as Feast of the Immaculate Conception but you all probably knew that already.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Pop Song of the Week: “I Won't Last a Day Without You”

Poor Karen Carpenter was never that hip even when she was alive but sometimes her songs are the most appropriate songs for my current mood. This particular song is dedicated to all the friends and relatives who have helped me out during the past year but most especially to my mother and my youngest brother -- both of whom have birthdays tomorrow and both of whom have been an especially big help to yours truly. I look forward to the happy day when I can begin paying them back for all their aid.

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Movie Song of the Week: “A Fine Romance”

I wasn't intending to post another song from 1936's Swing Time so soon but my beloved Ginger just looks so sad that I couldn't resist. Besides, the way my past weekend has gone, I could use a good Astaire-Rogers number to pick me up.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Hey, I Remember This Show: The Avengers

For some reason, British spy shows tend to age better than American TV shows. Thus The Man from U.N.C.L.E. seems almost unwatchable today while The Avengers seems as stylish as ever. It didn't hurt that The Avengers was one of the first such programs to feature a strong female lead character while The Man from U.N.C.L.E. seemed to only feature women when it needed some ratings-friendly eye candy.

This particular intro is from The Avengers' 1962 season which paired Patrick Macnee with Honor Blackman, an actress who would later gain even more fame when she played the notorious Pussy Galore in the 1964 Bond film Goldfinger. Needless to say, this season was a bit before my time but then I never said I remembered every season of this series. Nor that I was old enough to remember watching it in prime time. Like most Avengers fans living today, I'm most familiar with the show through syndicated reruns and DVDs.



The intro I most remember:

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: James Bond Jr.

So the original James Bond had a son? No, wait, the theme song specifically notes that he was named after his uncle James so I guess the title character of this cartoon is supposed to be 007's nephew. Then again, when you consider the way 007 got around and the number of women he knew, perhaps James Bond Jr. could be better referred to as his "nephew."

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Trailer of the Week: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Wait a minute! This was a Christmas movie?

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Movie Quote of the Week

Mortal, we spirits of Christmas do not live only one day of the year. We live the whole 365. So it is true of the child born in Bethlehem. He does not live in men's hearts only one day of the year but in all the days of the year. You have chosen not to seek him in your heart.
--Francis De Wolff, A Christmas Carol (1951)

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TV Quote of the Week

For the record, I consider that flying pig to be a coincidence and not a sign from God.
--Joan Cusack, A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) (TV Movie)

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Dexter: “The Getaway”

Oh no, they didn’t.

No, they didn’t.

No.

They didn’t.

I’m tired of seeing my favorite characters offed by writers eager to make a point about how serious the world is. Especially since there appears to be something cynical about the way this particular character was chosen. Most of Dexter Morgan’s other acquaintances and his sister are probably going to be immortal as far as this series is concerned. But poor you-know-who? Apparently she got the short end of the stick.

Damnit, if they were going to write her out of the series, she deserved a better ending than what she got.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mother of Mercy! Is This the Middle of My Favorite Brunette?


When we last tuned into In Medias Res Theatre, actor Victor Moore was demonstrating to Dorothy Lamour in On Our Merry Way how easily one could create a sarong by simply sewing together three extremely large handkerchiefs. Personally I was a bit surprised that the Hays Office let them get away with that scene since the last thing they usually tolerated was the implication that a film’s leading lady could get away with wearing little more than a few handkerchiefs. But those were different times and different mores. Besides, the past is a difficult country; we are not supposed to make sense of what they do there.

Anyway, this week in In Medias Res Theatre, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope got captured by a gang of nogood-niks at a local sanitarium who took away their clothes so that they could not escape. Fortunately, for the sake of the Hays Office, they left them both big fluffy robes to put on and in any event, it soon became evident to even the most disinterested viewer, that the bad guys did not take all of Ms. Lamour’s wardrobe but only her outer clothing, allowing her to retain a modest black slip which they no doubt justified on the principle that they might be depraved thieves and murderers but even they would not dare stoop so low as to deprive a woman of her modesty.

Needless to say, there was a lot more to the 1947 movie My Favorite Brunette than that one scene and indeed, I found this film a lot more enjoyable than the usual Bob Hope vehicle. Perhaps it is because it was made near the beginning of Hope’s career when he still gave a damn about his movies or because it is because one of the first films Hope had a financial stake in, giving him an incentive to make things as audience-friendly as possible.

Of course, not all the credit for the movie went to Mr. Hope. Ms. Lamour had her share of good scenes too -- and without once having to slip into a sarong though there were a few scenes in which she was forced to don a surprisingly well-fitting maid’s uniform. My favorite character among the film’s various bad guys was Peter Lorre’s Kismet, a mysterious foreign-born doctor whose favorite pastime -- apart from knife-throwing -- seemed to consist of taunting native-born Americans with how much more he knows about American history and politics than they do. Of course, he did all this while studying for an upcoming citizenship test, a practice that would seem to indicate that even no-good evil foreigners were intent on becoming American citizens back in the 1940s.

Also memorable was a minor role by Lon Chaney, Jr. as Willie, an orderly on the sanitarium who had a fondness for walnuts and the strength to bend iron bars. Hope, of course, tried to use this last trait to his advantage but things did not quite work out that way.

In any event, despite a less than flattering cinematography which made more than a few scenes seem a lot darker than they should be -- which might be related to the fact that the film is now in public domain -- I quite enjoyed My Favorite Brunette. I could have done without a certain cameo towards the end but apart from that, I liked it just fine. I just wish I could say the same about all Bob Hope movies.

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