Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: “Main Title from The Lion in Winter

In honor of the late John Barry, the opening theme from one of his most famous film scores.

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R.I.P. John Barry

Noted music composer John Barry, most famous for his work for the James Bond series and the 1968 film The Lion in Winter, wrote his final note yesterday at age 77.

He will be missed.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Trailer of the Week: Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Speaking of Huckleberry friends...

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Hey, I Remember This Show: The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

From 1968, it's yet another TV show inspired by a classic Mark Twain novel, only this one seems to be more inspired by Twain's fantasy novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court than by the more realistic effort, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There was actually a scene in one of Mark Twain's earlier novels -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -- in which Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn get chased into a cave by the murderous fugitive Injun Joe. However, apart from that, any connection between this American show and the Mark Twain novels in which Huck Finn originally appeared seems to be purely coincidential.

And let's not get started on the whole idea of Addams Family's star Ted Cassidy appearing in brownface. Suffice it to say that any affection I feel for this series is despite that, not because of it -- and no doubt inspired by the fact that I was very, very young when I first saw this. Too young, in fact, to have any idea who Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were supposed to be until long after this show was off the air. I will admit, however, to having been old enough to have been more intrigued by Ms. Becky Thatcher than by any of the other characters.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Huckleberry Finn and His Friends

Apparently this was a Canadian-German production from the late 1970s which was broadcast in almost every country except my own. Okay, it might have aired in the US, but if so, it wasn't in a part of the country that I remember being in.

Given the contrast between that bright and breezy introduction and the many dark elements in the original Mark Twain novel, I can't help but wonder whether or not that was a good thing.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

There isn’t any money in oil anyway. Rockefeller took it all out.
--Carole Lombard, Love Before Breakfast (1936)

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TV Quote of the Week

I just think it's rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.
--Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Some Assembly Required”

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Book of the Week


Should I consider myself evil for wanting to read this book the moment I read that title? Then again I've always liked P.J. O'Rourke if for no other reason than the fact that he seems to be one of the few conservative writers out there with an actual sense of humor.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: “The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun”

Ah, who doesn't long for the good old days when MTV only played warm family-friendly videos like this?

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


Julie Ann Brown (1954 - ). Actress and singer of Irish/Mexican descent, best known for her role in the 1988 comedy Earth Girls Are Easy. Needless to say, she is not normally thought of as being part-Mexican -- or even part-Irish -- though her ancestry does make me wonder anew about the title of her album Trapped in the Body of a White Girl. Was Ms. Brown trying to tell us all something?

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: “The Slap Polka”

From 1943's Hit the Ice, it's Johnny Long and His Orchestra plus the Four Teens and Ginny Simms singing a wintry background number for Abbot and Costello.

I hope you all enjoy it.

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R.I.P. Jack LaLanne

Fitness expert and television personality Jack LaLanne performed his last push-up yesterday at age 96. He will be missed.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trailer of the Week: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Yes, this is an actual trailer, not the Reader's Digest version of the actual movie.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: The Mary Tyler Moore Show

One would think a TV show set in Minnesota would have more winter scenes in its opening credits, but in this case, apparently not. Not that an acute lack of said scenes kept this show from having one of the most famous TV intros of the 1970s.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Good Morning, World

A year-long sitcom which is most famous today for being the first TV show Goldie Hawn did before she was "discovered" on Laugh-In. Oddly enough, the only other cast members who haven't faded long since into pop culture oblivion are Ronnie Schell -- who was more famous for his role as Duke Slater on Gomer Pyle -- and Billy De Wolfe -- who would become more famous for his work on The Doris Day Show.

If nothing else, the show is yet more proof that even in the days when everyone watched primetime TV, critically praised shows weren't always succesful.

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A Broken Window Is Always a Pane

The only thing more annoying than finding out yesterday that someone or something broke a hole in my kitchen window was the fact that not one of my neighbors stepped up to take responsibility for it. No “I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it; please let me know how much it costs to fix it.” Not even a “that sucks.”

It is as if the baseball-sized hole in my window came about through an act of nature -- one that was committed by, say, an angry squirrel or a rampaging acorn -- rather than through human error -- which seems unlikely -- and that it is essentially just my problem now and not that of the person or persons who broke it.

Almost as annoying as that is the run-around I have been getting from a glazier a friend recommended. I get that repairmen have busy schedules and that on weekends, people who repair windows have especially busy schedules. But it seems like it is taking forever simply to get the guy to come out and give me an estimate.

In the meantime, a friend's spouse is recovering from an operation he underwent to remove an aneurysm so I keep telling myself I could have worse problems.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

Suppose it never stops. Suppose the man in charge of the snow has forgotten how to stop it.
--Charlotte Henry, Alice in Wonderland (1933)

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TV Quote of the Week

To all you Johnny-come-latelies out there, you who had this business handed to you like an inheritance and a legacy, all of you, you who never had to scramble or bleed to give birth to it or keep it alive, let me say this:

There were a lot of people who couldn’t speak English so good, that paved the way for you. And they broke their backs, and they did it in cellars, and they did it in attics trying to figure out which way to aim the camera so all of you “Angry Young Men” could say that you were part of an art form.

Now I’m speaking of people like Jesse Lansky, D. W. Griffith, Mack Sennett, and let us not forget a funny little man with baggy trousers and a Nazi moustache. They had talent. They loved what they were doing, and people loved them for doing it. But you don’t love to make movies, and that is a shame. Because you don’t know what you’re missing.
--Rod Steiger, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater, “Slow Fade to Black”

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: “Aquarius / Let the Sunshine In”

This is one of my favorite songs by the Fifth Dimension and as I noted yesterday, this is my favorite version of this particular song. It has been an all-time favorite of mine since childhood. The video is pretty nice too though you all should be warned that not all the images may be safe for your particular workplace.

I hope you all enjoy it.

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


Stacey Lauretta Dash (1966 - ). Actress of Mexican and African-American descent. She is best known for her role in the 1995 comedy Clueless.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: “Aquarius”

I have no idea what age we are in now since the astrological signs shifted quite recently but this was one of my favorite songs when I was a child. Personally I prefer the Fifth Dimension version but this version from the 1979 movie Hair is nice to listen to as well.

I hope you all enjoy it.

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

May the Dream continue to thrive and survive and may all of you continue to do your best to judge your fellow men and women by the content of their character.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trailer of the Week: Ski Party (1965)

James Brown and Leslie Gore in a Frankie Avalon movie? The '60s were indeed a different time.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Northern Exposure

One of the best TV shows that was ever set in Alaska (not that that's a long list.) My late father used to watch this show quite frequently.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: The Second Hundred Years

And the award for oddest premise ever given to a 1967 sitcom goes to...

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Buscando Trabajo de Nuevo: Parte XXVI

I actually had a dream Friday night in which I was training for a new job.

So that's a good sign, right?

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

R.I.P. Susannah York

British actress Susannah York, best known for her Oscar-nominated supporting role in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, ended her last dance today at age 72.

She will be missed.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

No, I don't feel lucky to be alive! I feel lucky I'm not dead. There's a difference.
--Paul Dooley, Breaking Away (1979)

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TV Quote of the Week

No one is ever safe.
--Lena Headey, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, "Pilot"

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: “A Little Good News”

For some reason, I felt like listening to this song this week. If you've been keeping up with the news this weekend, you can probably guess why.

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R.I.P. Peter Yates

British director Peter Yates, best known for directing the 1968 thriller Bullitt and the 1979 coming of age film Breaking Away, ended his last chase Sunday at age 81.

He will be missed.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: “Drum Boogie”

From the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, it's legendary drummer Gene Krupa and a dubbed Barbara Stanwyck collaborating on a number which was so good they had to play it nice. A thankful tip of the sombrero to the Self-Styled Siren for reminding me about this number.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Trailer of the Week: Snow Day (2000)

Three guesses what happened in Dallas today.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: UFO

Believe it or not, 1980 was not actually like this. Not even in Great Britain.

However, I will give this British show from the 1970s credit for being one of the few shows on this subject which did not rip off Chris Carter.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Dark Skies

Ah, 1996. That was the year almost every other sci-fi buff worth his or her salt was watching The X-Files -- and almost nobody was watching this. No doubt because of the aliens.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Movie Quote of the Week

Oh, of course I'll keep it to myself. Until the water reaches my lower lip, and then I'm gonna mention it to SOMEBODY!
--Jack Lemmon, The Great Race (1965)

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TV Quote of the Week

You know, I care about my carbon footprint, but most people out there are making carbon snow angels!
--Alan Tudyk, Dollhouse, “Briar Rose”

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

House M.D.: “Help Me”

Dr. House makes a genuine effort to turn his life around, even going out of his way to help a young woman trapped beneath a crane. Though the woman’s leg is caught under some rubble that can’t be easily moved, Dr. House refuses to allow an amputation of the lady’s leg until all other possibilities have been exhausted. Once he exhausts said possibilities, he insists on performing the amputation himself.

The woman promptly dies in an ambulance en route to the hospital due to a predictable yet unpreventable side-effect of the amputation, prompting Dr. House to undergo a crisis of faith in which he questions the point of doing anything in a world in which such bad things happen to good people. A world in which even people who make an effort to do everything right get punished.

After two years of seeing people in the real world undergo similarly unhappy experiences, I could not help commiserating with Dr. House and his patient, even though Dr. House’s eventual solution to his problems is not one that I would have chosen for myself. It all too often seems like the world is pointless and cruel, that there’s no point in doing the right thing in a world in which people who do the right thing have no more good fortune than people who do the wrong thing.

Yet it is hard to see how just giving in to despair and not doing anything makes the world a better place. Despair may seem emotionally satisfying in the short run. However, in the long run, it seems just as destructive as the cruelty which provokes it.

Granted, it could be argued that the relatively upbeat ending of this episode is every bit as unrealistic as the hallucinations which marked the end of the previous season. But then it could be argued that Dr. House’s ability to regain a medical license despite years of drug abuse is also unrealistic.

In the end, it depends on which type of fantasy you prefer: the genuinely helpful one or the one which is not so helpful. Should you prefer the fantasy which encourages you to help people because it makes you believe that such things matter or should you prefer the fantasy which encourages you to withdraw from people because it makes you believe that nothing you can do can possibly matter? The answer, as always, is up to you. But I know what answer I would choose. And I don't say that because I'm naturally noble or too idealistic for my own good. I have my moments of selfishness and I have had many times in my life in which I have chosen to choose the easy way. However, I also have a conscience and I would like to be able to sleep at night.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Doctor Who (The Second Series): “A Christmas Carol”

Well, I'm glad to see that my sister and I aren't the only ones who ever read Kate Douglas Wiggin's The Birds' Christmas Carol though I had no idea our Scholastic Books club had an outlet in Steven Moffat's country.

Anyway, it would have nice if Moffat had been available to come up with a happier ending for Carol Bir -- er -- Abigail if for no other reason than the fact that actor Dave Tennant officially used up all the "I'm sorry, so sorry" scenes one can reasonably tolerate in this series.

That said, this wasn't really a bad episode. More kind of a "eh?" episode. I did like all the Dickens references and the movie references -- even the shout-out to Jurassic Park III -- and I didn't think it was possible for me to like a shout-out to that movie.

I also must confess that I could have done without the Marilyn Monroe reference if for no other reason that Ms. Monroe seems to be the only American actress British sci-fi shows ever reference. Granted, a reference to an old-time British actress like, say, Diana Dors or Barbara Shelley would probably go over most younger TV viewers' heads but even that would be a bit more imaginative than another MM reference.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Pop Song of the Week: “Baker Street”

In honor of the late Gerry Rafferty.

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R.I.P. Gerry Rafferty

Yet another musical icon of my youth is no longer with us. Singer Gerry Rafferty, former member of the group Stealers Wheel and singer of the 1978 hit “Baker Street,” sang his last note today at age 63.

He will be missed.

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Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: “Gnothi Seauton”

The title of this episode is Greek for “know thyself” and is derived from an old quote by the Greek philosopher Socrates. Sarah Connor mentions it at the beginning of the episode and then goes on to note how difficult it is to know one’s self when one is continually changing one’s identity to survive.

Shortly afterward, the cyborg Cameron Phillips gives Sarah a lead as to where to acquire new fake I.D.s for herself and her son and for a change, it does not involve the Hispanic community. Instead it involves a group of kindred spirits sent back by the future to help out the anti-Skynet resistance. Unfortunately, someone meets up with them before Sarah does and that someone succeeds in doing away with all but one member, who is not to be found.

So instead Sarah ends up going to an old connection in the local Hispanic community after all, only to find out that her contact is officially retired. The contact, however, does suggest that Sarah contact his nephew who has taken over the family I.D. business. This nephew proves to be more mercenary than his uncle and Sarah is forced to break into a safe left behind by the dead time travelers in order to find funds with which to pay him off.

Along the way, Cameron learns to imitate the posture of the nephew’s Latina look-out, proving -- among other things -- that it is just not white Anglo-American humans that the young cyborg learns from. In addition, Sarah learns from the nephew about the infamous 9/11 incident of September 2001 -- and her reaction to that proves to be most interesting. Moreover, both Cameron and Sarah prove to be multilingual, giving both of them an unexpected break when their knowledge of Spanish allows them to eavesdrop on the nephew’s bodyguards. As a result, Sarah soon realizes that her old connection is not quite the reformed felon he claims to be but rather an informant who may or may not be giving info to the feds. Sarah confronts him with this information and he comes up with a convincing alibi, but Cameron kills the guy before Sarah has a chance to verify it.

Not that it matters in the long run. Before the episode is over, it becomes quite evident that the contact really was not quite the guy he claimed to be and even in death, his existence proves to be quite inconvenient to the Connors. Which proves -- among other things -- that knowing herself wasn’t Sarah’s biggest problem this time out after all.

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Monday, January 03, 2011

Movie Song of the Week: “Happy Holidays”

Many major thanks to the Flick Filosopher for reminding me of this number from the 1942 Fred Astaire movie Holiday Inn. It might have been more appropriate if I had posted it last week but this week works fine too.

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R.I.P. Anne Francis

American actress Anne Francis, best known for her starring role in the 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet and her title role in the TV series Honey West, solved her last case Sunday at age 80.

She will be missed.

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R.I.P. Pete Postlethwaite

English actor Peter Postlethwaite, best known for his roles in the 1994 thriller The Usual Suspects and the 1996 movie Brassed Off, took his last bow Sunday at age 64.

He will be missed.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Trailer of the Week: The War of the Roses (1989)

Every time I'm tempted to start kvetching about my parents' divorce, I watch this movie and realize it could have been way worse.

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Hey, I Remember This Show: Batman

As much as Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan would like to think otherwise, this is the one version of the DC comics francise most members of my generation best remember.

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Hey, I Don't Remember This Show: Mr. Terrific

And to think I spent the last two years thinking Seth Rogan's Green Hornet project was such an unlikely project. Who would have ever guessed that it had such a precedent?

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Bienvenidos, 2011!

Here's hoping all those rumors about you and Skynet aren't true.

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