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Coca-Cola's response to Georgia's passage of the Election Integrity Act of 2021 ("Statement from James Quincey [Chairman and CEO] on Georgia Voting Legislation," April 1, 2021) opened with this sugar-free, caramel-coloring deficient statement:

"We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation."

Georgia Republican House Caucus response to Coca-Cola's response to their new law (excerpt from "House of Representatives letter to Coca-Cola Company," April 3, 2021):

"Given Coke's choice to cave to the pressure of an out of control cancel culture, we respectfully request all Coca-Cola Company products be removed from our office suite immediately."

Three things:

1. Nothing says you're taking a stand against "out of control cancel culture" like canceling something that you disagreed with.

2. Why would anyone expect Coca-Cola to be happy about the new law when it expressly makes it illegal to give someone a Coke and/or a smile?

(Election Integrity Act of 2121, Section 33: Said chapter is further amended by revising subsections (a) and (e) of Code Section 21-2-414, relating to restrictions on campaign activities and public opinion polling within the vicinity of a polling place, cellular phone use prohibited, prohibition of candidates from entering certain polling places, and penalty, as follows: (a) No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person, other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast: (1) Within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established; (2) Within any polling place; or (3) Within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.)

3. Enjoy your Pepsi, boys. You've earned it.

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After I created my page showcasing delicious Coca-Cola movie product placement screenshots, I should updated it with notable Coke occurrences in other movies I've seen but haven't previously reviewed. Films like

Drink Coke! (The Breakfast Club)
John Hughes' classic The Breakfast Club

Drink Coke! (E.T.)
Stephen Spielberg's classic E.T.

Drink Coke! (Falling Down)
Joel Schumacher's classic Falling Down

Drink Coke! (Silent Movie)
Mel Brooks' not-quite-classic Silent Movie

And no self-respecting list of movie Coca-Cola product placement should omit

Drink Coke! (The Gods Must Be Crazy)
The Gods Must Be Crazy

I was convinced that a Coke bottle played a small role in Andy Warhol's Trash, but on review, that was a Miller Genuine Draft bottle. I first watched Trash in the late Bill Marriott's drawing class in college — he would show us uneducated students an "arthouse" movie about once a week. I loved watching movies in class, even if I didn't like most of them. I didn't like Trash then, and I don't like it now. Now that I'm sure it wasn't a Coke bottle, I hope to never watch it again.

By the way, since we're on the subject of movies I don't want to watch again, there's a Coca-Cola commercial cut into Natural Born Killers that I remember making Coca-Cola executives squeamish back in the day when the public outcry against that movie was at it's height. If I ever do watch it again, I'll be sure to take a pic. But don't expect it.

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More movies!

13. (1872.) Bachelor in Paradise (1961)
I've never been a big fan of Bob Hope's 1940s girl-crazy movie persona, but I thought this 1960s sex-comedy let the air out of that balloon rather enjoyably. It helped that his next-door neighbor was hottie Paula Prentis.

14. (1873.) Crossword Mysteries: Terminal Descent (2021)
A new Hallmark mystery movie! Not a very good one, though. None of the "Crossword Mysteries" have been. But I'll take anything I can get in these desperate pandemic times.

15. (1874.) The Last of Sheila (1973)
See, *this* is how a whodunit should be made! With story credits to Anthony Perkins and Stephen Sondheim (!?!), this film features a small pool of motivated characters, each a familiar Hollywood stereotype. It has some pretty good twists, and I'm happy to say that yes, I did solve it long before the end. (Hint: Director Herbert Ross and editor Edward Warschilka deserve credit for both laying out the scenario fairly and including no wasted scenes.)

16. (1875.) Piranha (1978)
A truly stupid monster horror film desperate to cash in on that Jaws money, down to the holiday beach party that cannot be canceled despite the oncoming school of bloodthirsty piranha — pronounced piran-ya. It's great shlock, especially if you like 1970s Incredible Hulk guest stars like Bradford Dillman and Heather Menzies.

Drink Coke! (Piranha)
"We're going to have a beach party (and drink Coke) even if it kills us!"

17. (1876.) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
From the beginning, I wanted to hate it and its mundane "young love troubles" plot, but the sets are too great and the singing is too great and the ending is too great. It's just great. (I'd heard it was the inspiration for La La Land, and now that I've seen it, the connection is obvious.) I loved it.

More to come.

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Last night, Turner Classic Movies ran Robocop proving that it's a classic movie. Move over Citizen Kane.

In the year 2006, I ran my first post on Robocop, lamenting that the movie was then 17 years old. That was 15 years ago. I have to say that Robocop is aging better than I am. All of its themes about the runaway corruption of Capitalism, a government failing to protect its citizens, and the militarization of the police force are all still relevant today. Maybe more so.

And, of course, we still drink Coke.

Drink Coke! (Robocop)
Dead or alive, you're drinking a Coke!

Sooner or later, someone in Hollywood will remake this movie (again) with a female lead. And there will be a public outcry, because some things — like misogyny — are simply timeless.

P.S. Turner Classic Movies followed Robocop with an airing of Robocop 2, which is not as timeless. (I distinctly remember being very disappointed when I saw it on first release in the theater.) The first movie is a satire of modern society; the second, a parody of the first. You can tell it's an inferior model as soon as you see that the soda company product placement has been changed from Coca-Cola... to Pepsi. Ick.

P.P.S. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be fun to see all the Coca-Cola product placement screenshots I've taken in one place? Yes. Yes, it would be fun. So I made this page. Fun! (I even uploaded shots from both Clueless and Murder by Death I took only last week.)

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At the current pace, I should see barely more than 100 new-to-me movies this year, which will be my lowest total since I started tracking a decade ago. I need to spend more time in front of the television!

4. (1863.) Ships in the Night: A Martha's Vineyard Mystery (2021)
2020 was such a long year, made none the better by a total lack of made-for-television Hallmark mystery movies for me to solve based on the formula alone. This was the fist new one in 2021, and was surprisingly the best in the "Martha's Vineyard Mystery" series so far. Martha's Vineyard was made for quarantine isolation.

5. (1864.) Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw (1976)
Since discovering the existence of this crime exploitation movie — famous for pointlessly showing Lynda Carter's bare breasts (they're a wonder!) — I have jokingly called it "Bobby Jo and the Dinosaur," which in fact would have been a far better premise than this warped "Bonnie and Clyde" knock-off in which Billy the Kid is presented as the heroic ideal. In Bobby Jo's world, crime doesn't pay, but neither does *not* crime. Maybe it's a bit too much like the real world for comfort.

Drink Coke! (Bobby Jo and the Outlaw)
Sadly, she only drinks Coke with her shirt on.

6. (1865.) Smallfoot (2018)
The movie immediately establishes the questioning of authority to be an existential danger (*gasp*) before pivoting to a theme of personal responsibility and neighborly love. It's got a lot of cute song and dance numbers, but I'm just too cynical to buy in to the third-act twist where everyone's heart abruptly grows three sizes in one day. *shrug* It's a kids' movie.

More to come.

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America may be collapsing under the weight of the single worst mental health crisis the country has ever seen, but at least we've still got movies.

194. (1848.) Times Square (1980)
Two teenaged girls, a runaway and a homeless manic depressive, struggle to find their own way to adulthood. There are hints that this is supposed to be a lesbian love story, but the finished product never quite gels. Still, it's not entirely without some charm (in large part thanks to Tim Curry).

195. (1849.) Carnival Story (1954)
A runaway falls in with a carnival barker who turns out to be a cad. The bad romance gets more complicated when both the carnival high diver and strong man also fall for her. Equal parts exploitative and macabre, it's very much a B movie.

Drink Coke! (Carnival Story)
Every carnival has a Coca-Cola stand, right? Right?

196. (1850.) Frenzy (1972)
I'm slowly working my way through every Alfred Hitchcock movie ever, and Frenzy is one of the best. Even though it spends a lot of time with the killer, it's still very suspenseful. Recommended to suspense fans.

197. (1851.) Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
If you haven't figured it out by now, TCM featured circus movies in November. This one is a Doris Day/Jimmy Durante musical comedy of errors, and frankly, it's not as entertaining as Carnival Story.

198. (1852.) Too Many Kisses (1925)
This romantic comedy is the first film appearance of any Marx Brother. Given that it is a silent film, you won't be surprised to learn that Marx Brother is Harpo. I liked it, mostly because I like the lead, Richard Dix, and I like the actor playing the villain even more: William Powell. (Here he's an evil Spaniard. What range!)

More to come.

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We're nearly in 2021, and I'm a whole month behind on my movies list. Here's the first half of movies watched in November.

189. (1843.) I Died a Thousand Times (1955)
A gangster strives to pull off one last big job before retiring. The problem with this sort of film is that if you know anything about Hollywood of the era, you know how it is going to end before it even starts, so the journey has to be worthwhile. In hindsight, I don't think it was.

190. (1844.) Dead Reckoning (1947)
Here's Bogart once again trying to recreate the The Maltese Falcon with varying shades of success. A series of unlikely coincidences propel the plot in act two, but it sticks the landing with a very satisfying ending.

191. (1845.) Fools in the Mountains (1957)
Have you ever seen any of Jacques Tati's French comedies? (Pratfalls, sight gags, mistaken identities, etc.) This Norwegian film is much like those, but with sound, genderbending, and a romantic comedy vibe. Very enjoyable.

Drink Coke! (Fools in the Mountains)
Of course I want.

192. (1846.) The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
According to Hollywood legend, seeing this film is what motivated a young Steven Spielberg to go into directing. It won Best Picture in '52 opposite some films that have earned better reputations over the years (High Noon, The Quiet Man). Yes, the train wreck is impressive, but for my money, the highlight by far is watching Jimmy Stewart commit to his role as a killer in clown makeup. Stewart is just the best.

Drink Coke! (Greatest Show on Earth)
Forget great; it wouldn't even be a very good show without a Coke.

193. (1847.) The Circus (1928)
Disclaimer: I don't know why, but I do not find Charlie Chaplin very funny. I think Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton are hysterical, and Chaplin is undoubtedly technically proficient bot in front of and behind the camera. But I quite literally fell asleep watching him fail to understand how clowns work. *shrug* Your enjoyment is probably proportional to how much you enjoy tramps.

More to come.

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Lately, I've been watching a lot of movies I've seen before and liked. But I still have time for some new-to-me movies like these:

176. (1830.) PT 109 (1963)
This biopic is too long. While watching it, I had ample time to consider a scenario in which the evil land baron who made Patrick Swayze's life hell in Roadhouse was secretly J.F.K., who had survived his "assassination" and moved out to the sticks. I mean, that's not any crazier than anything else you'll hear in 2020.

177. (1831.) Enter the Ninja (1981)
Oh. My. God. Where has this movie been all my life? A gaijin ninja returns to help his best friend by sleeping with his wife and combatting the minions of an evil corporate raider. It's balls-to-the-walls crazy. I can only imagine how much better my life would be if I had seen this action/adventure ninja-exploitation film when it came out. What a wasted childhood.

178. (1832.) Revenge of the Ninja (1983)
Not a sequel so much as an anthology installment, this is a pale reflection of its predecessor. (A rogue gaijin ninja begins killing mobsters, unintentionally revealing himself to the rival ninja whose life he ruined. Oh, and there's also some child endangerment.) If you have the opportunity, watch Enter the Ninja again instead.

Drink Coke! (Revenge of the Ninja)
That's a very familiar clock on the wall of that, uh, Y.M.C.A. dojo?

179. (1833.) Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)
As a live-action adaptation of a young children's cartoon, this film should be terrible. But it's not. By leaning into the source material, it actually manages to be quite charming. I recommend it.

180. (1834.) Picture Perfect Mysteries: Exit, Stage Death (2020)
One of the worst aspects of 2020 is that the pandemic has robbed me of these Hallmark mystery movies that I love to hate watch. The formula is as tired as ever; I identified the killer literally the first time he appeared on screen. I'd watch as many of these as Hallmark could make in a year.

181. (1835.) Ninja III: The Domination (1984)
The third and final movie in the "Ninja Trilogy" fully embraces the supernatural in all its absurdity. To sum up: a cable repair woman is possessed by the soul of an undead ninja who goes on a killing spree against all the policemen who (justifiably) tried to kill him, a rampage that can only be stopped by the swordsmanship of *another* ninja. Better than the second but not the original. Boy howdy, Enter the Ninja was good.

More to come.

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The Miami Dolphins offered 13,000 tickets to their game on Sunday. Only ~11,000 were sold. Is that because people were scared of the pandemic, the weather, or being forced to watch the Miami Dolphins play "football"?

We all should have watched movies instead. Perhaps movies like these:

145. (1799.) The First Wives Club (1996)
Great cast, mediocre result. I'm always game for a buddy revenge comedy, but the movie lost me at the high-rise window washer scaffold misadventure, which would have been too silly for most sitcoms.

146. (1800.) The Red Shoes (1948)
Put this film in the category of movies disappointed by a bad ending. I admit that the dancing is pretty darn good, but having a real ballerina acting the part of the put-upon artist/romantic lead left an insurmountable hole at the center of the film, a flaw that was left badly exposed by the abrupt conclusion.

147. (1801.) Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
Frank Sinatra really loved gangsters, didn't he? His film roles are filled with bad guys with a heart of gold, such as here, where smuggling, counterfeiting, and gunfights are presented as victimless crimes. On the up side, this does A) prove that Peter Falk was a great comedic actor and B) introduce the world to "My Kind of Town." So not all bad, then.

148. (1802.) Smorgasbord (1983)
Nothing about this anthology series of loosely connected vaudeville skits *should* work, and very little of it actually does. There are a few genuine chuckles, but most of the skits are either terrible, one-note ideas or have had the comedic timing destroyed by director Jerry Lewis indulging performer Jerry Lewis's ego. (The editor is Gene Fowler, Jr, who also edited the abysmally paced It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. So he probably deserves some blame, too.)

149. (1803.) Brewster McCloud (1970)
There's no way to describe this movie without making it sound absolutely nuts, so here goes: A bird-obsessed boy living underneath the Houston Astrodome avoids sex and builds a flying machine while under investigation for a string of murders. See? Nuts. There's also no disputing the fact that I loved it! The Player is still my favorite Robert Altman-directed film, but there's a new entry at second place.

150. (1804.) Never So Few (1959)
Is being a commando soldier really any different than being a gangster? Watching Frank Sinatra in the role, the answer would appear to be no. This dawn of World War II movie's plot examining the absurdity of the Rules of War is made nearly insufferable by the shoehorned inclusion of a romance with Gina Lollobrigida.

Drink Coke! (Never So Few)
Take it from Steve McQueen: drinking Coke makes you cool!

More to come.

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I've only finished 3 movies so far in September, but maybe that's because I watched 25 in August. I should probably get a start on reviewing that backlog, so here goes.

139. (1793.) Winchester '73 (1950)
An anthology Western movie loosely organized around a rifle that keeps getting passed around. Jimmy Stewart is the star, but the cast also includes Rock Hudson, Shelley Winters, and Tony Curtis among others. Very good.

140. (1794.) You Were Never Lovelier (1942)
The Taming of the Shrew is the basis for the plot in this Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth musical comedy. Astaire plays his usual manipulative skirt-chasing character, but Hayworth is the highlight.

141. (1795.) Hit the Deck (1955)
This film is a mess. It feels like the studio (MGM) had a bunch of stars they wanted to stick in the same movie, so they had someone write something where the sole criteria was "get all these people on screen." Debbie Reynolds is a good example; her character serves no role in the plot other than giving an excuse to get "Debbie Reynolds" on the marquee. The fruit salad of movies.

144. (1798.) Game Night (2018)
This sort of misadventure comedy — sibling jealously and a series of coincidences lead to a life-or-death situation milked for laughs — is the bread and butter of Jason Bateman's career, but Rachel McAdams is the star player. (She never disappoints.) I enjoyed it, especially the scene with the $17 bribe.

142. (1796.) Thirty Day Princess (1934)
Someone else who never disappoints is Preston Sturges, who wrote but did not direct this permutation of the premise of The Prince and the Pauper. I enjoyed it, too.

143. (1797.) Sabotage (1936)
As much as I like Preston Sturges movies, I love Alfred Hitchcock's work. I think I've often quoted his "if you show the crowd the bomb, you can't let that bomb go off" philosophy, which was very clearly a revelation he came to *after* making this movie. Very watchable and far less predictable than I would have expected.

Drink Coke! (Sabotage)
Coca-Cola in 1938 London! What, what?

Many more to come.

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To be continued...

 

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