Puddles from the previous hour's rainfall weren't the only things littering the super-sized parking lot. It was nearly impossible to find a parking space because of all the abandoned carts scattered willy-nilly! I'm talking twenty or more. Obviously, the only possible reason for the many, many scattered carts is that the previous shoppers were all witches melted by the unexpected summer shower. I mean, that's science.
But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to show you the sight that greeted me when I left the store with my milk and ice cream. Behold:
Movies. June. 3/3.
90. (1149.) Cornered (1945)
The plot mostly involves Dick Powell getting hit in the head a lot until he accidentally murders the right guy. It might be a rough watch if not for Powell's commitment to the role. He totally owned the noir films he was in. He's so good at noir, it's almost hard for me to watch him in his early song and dance films.
91. (1150.) Gypsy (1962)
The true life story of
Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee as told in song! I hope in real life, Gypsy Lee Rose Gypsy Rose Lee was more charming on stage than the very appropriately named Natalie Wood. (I liked the film anyway. It was pretty good when Wood wasn't on screen.)
92. (1151.) Zabriskie Point (1970)
My view of late 1960s counter-culture was formed purely by episodes of Dragnet and The Monkees. This film sets out to prove that both of those models were completely accurate. The movie is as beautiful as it is vapid, as though made with a child's understanding of hippie reality and a college art student's pretentious self-indulgence. Re-reading my review, I find I've made it sound far more enjoyable than it actually is.
93. (1152.) When the Game Stands Tall (2014)
Biopic of Bob Ladouceur, who comes across as the Jesus of high school football coaches. There's more than a little luck in his story, but I certainly wish more coaches would emphasize doing the right thing over gridiron victories.
94. (1153.) Wonder Woman (2017)
As I quipped to Coop, the film is called Wonder Woman because Mediocre Woman wouldn't sell as many tickets. Gal Godot is amazing. Everything else is only ho-hum. The third act in particular is a real slog. Way to wear out your welcome, Wonder Woman.
95. (1154.) I Married a Witch (1942)
Fantastic movie with some pretty good special effects for its era. Lana Turner has a reputation as a hell raiser and rumor has it that her costar liked to call this movie "I Married a Bitch." Perhaps that's why she seems so right for her role as a devil woman tricked into mortal matrimony. Recommended.
More to come.
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Transcript of actual telephone conversation between father and son:
I'm just calling to remind you that Battle Bots is coming on television tonight on the Science Channel.
I did not know that. I don't get the Science Channel.
Of course you do. You've seen Battle Bots before.
Yes, I have. And I liked it. But it didn't used to come on the Science Channel.
Do you get the National Geographic Channel?
The Science Channel is right next to that.
I don't have the same cable provider you do. We're not even in the same state.
Science Channel is 244 on DirecTV.
I don't have DirecTV.
Oh, well. I was just trying to help. You know intention is what counts.
Are you saying that if the son of the President of the United States intended to collude with Russia, he's guilty even if he didn't successfully collude with Russia?
Well, Hillary Clinton —
What does Hillary Clinton have to do with any of this?
What can I say? Some people are brainwashed.
. . .
One of the two of us should be committed. I'm still not sure which.
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I'm a night person, and I'm usually still working when Last Call with Carson Daly wraps up and NBC rolls over to Extra with Mario Lopez. For those of you unfamiliar, Extra is thirty minutes of light celebrity news akin to Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Access Hollywood, TMZ, or anything that comes on E! or TLC. I rarely change channels because one, I can't feel too old if I know the names of whatever popstar tweens are listening to on Radio Disney these days, and two, there's not a whole lot on TV at 2AM. Besides, it's all harmless fluff. Usually.
In recent months, Extra has been devoting a lot of time to a fellow named Tyler Henry who has a show on E!. Perhaps you've heard of him, though I hope not. Certainly you've heard of other people like him. Jon Edward had a similar show for years on the Sci-Fi channel (back when it was called the Sci-Fi Channel). Teresa Caputo has a similar show on TLC. All of these people claim to be psychic.
Disclaimer: They're all liars.
Extra likes Henry because he specializes in "being psychic" to the stars. My problem with his increasingly frequent appearances on the show — other than thinking that he comes across as a huge douche nozzle — is that they treat him like what he does is a real thing. That's fake news!
Hey, Extra, he's not a psychic, he's an entertainer. "Reality television" should in no way be mistaken for real life. Suspending disbelief is what actors like doing, but that doesn't mean we have to promote every con artist who comes preying. I half expect to see you interviewing a Nigerian prince next week.
Mario, if you want to believe that Henry can talk to your dead grandmother and assure you that she forgives you for buying the cheap casket, I guess that's your prerogative. But encouraging the rubes to confuse "art" and "reality" is how this country ended up with a carnival barker in the White House. So ditch this Henry guy and get back to interviewing models about their love lives. Your grandmother's ghost and I will thank you.
The next big crossover event for Superman: six issues of Existential Crisis.
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Movies watched in June, batch 2 of 3:
84. (1143.) Madea's Big Happy Family (2011)
Tyler Perry's satirical family dramadies aren't high art. In fact, they usually feel like Lifetime specials. However, his over-the-top Madea character is a lot of fun. I will watch more.
85. (1144.) Lucky Night (1939)
I'm pretty sure this film wouldn't work without Myrna Loy as the spoiled rich girl determined to live up to her mistakes. Frankly, the ending is terrible, but the journey definitely had its moments, most of them thanks to Loy's wit and smart mouth.
86. (1145.) The Nun's Story (1959)
Audrey Heburn's well-intentioned nun is stymied at every turn by Catholic bureaucracy, misogyny, and racism, yet the movie walks a fine line, refusing to condemn the practices of the religion at its center. It leaves that to the viewer. Mildly recommended.
87. (1146.) Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (1953)
A true cinematic gem. Barely more than a silent comedy, the characters, scenes, and gags really stick with you. Highly recommended.
88. (1147.) A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Less recommended. The dog isn't as big a character as I was hoping, and Don Johnson's protagonist isn't very charming. That said, I think the bigger problem here is the writer that inspired it. I don't think I generally care for Harlan Ellison stories. He seems to take the point of view in his stories that that humanity isn't worth the trouble. That's some dark shit, and I get plenty of that point-of-view in the nightly news. I don't really want it in my entertainment.
89. (1148.) The World's Greatest Sinner (1962)
Now this movie left me in a terrible mood! The Internet tells me that this movie was never released to the general public, and I can see why. As a selfish salesman declares he is a god and takes over American politics, I felt like I was watching the Donald Trump story. Well, at least until the end, when the Devil kills the protagonist's family for no good reason. At least I think that's what happened. Do not watch to find out if I'm wrong. It's not worth it. Sad!
More to come.
Happy Birthday, 'Murica.
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.
I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
— Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776 (masshist.org)
Happy Great Anniversary Festival, everybody!