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This is the final batch of movies watched in October.

91. (1029.) Jezebel (1938)
Geez, 1930s Hollywood was obsessed with the Antebellum South. This story is more than superficially similar to 1939's Gone with the Wind and, quite frankly, better. I still don't know if I'd say I liked it, but given that I can't stand Gone with the Wind, I think I'll consider this a win.

92. (1030.) The Gumball Rally (1976)
Geez, 1970s Hollywood was obsessed with illegal automobile races. This is essentially the same movie as Cannonball Run. I can't say it's better, but it's still plenty entertaining. I liked it, especially Raul Julia's performance.

93. (1031.) The Rock-afire Explosion (2008)
If you're about my age, you probably remember ShowBiz Pizza. It was the original Chuck E. Cheese competitor that featured an animatronic animal band, the (unintentionally creepy) Rock-afire Explosion. This movie is a documentary about the robotic band's creator and die-hard fans. The film wants to be hopeful, but underneath the candy coating of sweet optimism lies a rotten core of bitter tragedy. I recommend this cautionary tale of nostalgia run amok to anyone who remembers peeking under the curtain to see Billy Bob looking back.

94. (1032.) The Frisco Kid (1979)
Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder play an odd couple in the American West. It's kind of like Shanghai Noon, except neither character is all that competent. For whatever other flaws it has (pacing is a bit of a problem as it starts slow), it's worth watching to see Han Solo in the Wild West.

More to come.

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As of late, I've been a little obsessed with the animatronic animals that performed as The Rockafire Explosion at Showbiz Pizza place throughout the 1980s. I think that adding robot performers to a pizza joint designed mainly to encourage children to play coin-operated video games is perhaps among the greatest restaurant concepts of the 20th century. Showbiz had lousy pizza but spectacular entertainment. I mean, who cares about your low-quality goat cheese pizzas when a robot bear is emceeing your birthday party celebration?

(Don't remember Showbiz? Thankfully, to the rescue comes YouTube! Someone has been uploading training videos from Showbiz Pizza to YouTube. I guess everyone has a hobby.)

Sadly, with the practical demise of arcade gaming thanks to the home console gaming revolution, the concept died a slow death, replaced by Chuck E. Cheeses using not stage robots but television sets. Though I'm sure that today's kids would prefer robot vaudevillians over televised variety shows led by an animated rat, they don't know that they used to have the option. To the kids of today, it's lost information, like how to build a pyramid. (That's right, I've just essentially compared the disappearance of Showbiz Pizza parlors with the fire that destroyed the Library of Alexandria.)

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To be continued...

 

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