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Watch this. You'll understand.
Looking good, dog.
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Cinnamon Frosted Flakes are a real thing now. I haven't had them yet, and after watching this commercial, I can tell you I never will. We'll be right back after this message.
Did you hear that guy at the end of the commercial say that Cinnamon Frosted Flakes "tastes like victory"? Does Kellogg's know where that line comes from? Have they never seen Robert Duvall as the satiric Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now?
Once upon a time, art and literature employed allusions to previous works audiences would be familiar with in order to reinforce concepts. In modern America, corporations still uses allusions, but they no longer expect the audience to understand them rationally. They only want to trigger an emotional connection. "Oh, yeah. I remember Apocalypse Now. I liked it. I bet I'd like Cinnamon Frosted Flakes."
Kellogg's doesn't care if the actual reference is to napalm, a weapon used to burn people to death. Nor does Dodge care if their products are pitched by Star Wars' oppressive evil Empire. Six Flags gladly names roller coasters after DC Comics serial killers.
So good luck with your new product, Kellogg's, but I still pay attention to who is trying to sell me something. Kilgore can keep his cinnamon. I'll stick with my Sugar Frosted Flakes, the cereal that Superman says is the best.
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Yes, I still watch Saturday Night Live every week.
But I'd really rather be watching La La Land again.
Last week, Dungeons & Dragons was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Obviously, I think this is a great thing.
But more important than any novels I've written about a role-playing adventure I created, this special occasion gives me the opportunity to remind you of Tom Hanks' greatest performance.
This movie is Mazes and Monsters, the 1982 classic based on the right-wing paranoia that Dungeons & Dragons was destroying childrens' minds.
Drink it in. That man has won two Academy Awards.
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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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This heavily scripted short "about" Emma Stone feels fabulously Old Hollywood, like an MGM promotional puff piece. Is Emma anything like the person appearing in this video? Who cares. More please.
(FYI: Note that the video was uploaded on October 18, but National Dress Up Your Pet Day is January 14. Has Vogue been sitting on that footage for nine months? Or was it released three months early? I guess those would have made it 75 questions.)
Saturday Night Live has long had a habit of dumping the weirdest skits of the night at the end of the show. However, those can also be the best.
I watched the following skit when it aired at just before 1 AM on September 26, 1998. It remains my all time favorite SNL skit. It cheers me up whenever I think of it.
If you can't laugh at unity, caring, kindness, and friendship, what can you laugh at?
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Coca-Cola has a new direction. After eight years of "Open Happiness," we're now told to "Taste the Feeling."
Sales have been slumping lately, so Coke is obviously making an effort to be more inclusive. Happiness alone wasn't cutting it, so the company is opening the door to sadness, anger, embarrassment, and fear. Gotta taste 'em all!
The message here appears to be "Coca-Cola will take the edge off." Isn't that exactly how they used to market cigarettes?
I'm not comfortable with that.
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Batman is dead.
For the record, this Batman was one Lenny Robinson of Maryland, according to the Washington Post. Robinson had the best of intentions for impersonating Batman: he liked to cheer up hospitalized children. It's hard to imagine Bruce Wayne having a problem with someone borrowing his likeness for something like that.
Robinson was killed last month after experiencing trouble with his "Batmobile," a customized Lamborghini. Robinson's car was struck by a Toyota Camry whose driver apparently didn't notice the sportscar stopped in his lane in the middle of the night. Wearing all black to remain unseen by criminals is a double-edged sword.
I hope that this tragedy will make people realize just how dangerous the Batmobile really is. In the comics, Batman wrecks it about once a year during high-speed pursuits. Even when Batman is driving safely, the car is routinely the target of super-villains. It's destroyed by Penguin in Batman Returns, Riddler in Batman Forever, Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, and the Joker in The Dark Knight. I don't know who was driving that Toyota Camry, but it seems that any Batmobile might be a magnet for trouble.
This world is a worse place anytime a Batman dies. So if there's any lesson to be learned from this disaster, maybe it's this:
I watched 16 movies in June. Here's the first batch:
103. (850.) The Horse Soldiers (1959)
Union cavalryman John Wayne rampages through the South on a desperate secret mission. Even playing a Damn Yankee in an otherwise mediocre John Huston movie, Wayne is very entertaining.
104. (851.) The Enemy Below (1957)
Robert Mitchum engages in World War II submarine warfare against sympathetic Nazis! Good movie.
105. (852.) The Cat O'Nine Tails (1971)
There's an intriguing mystery story at the heart of this Italian horror/thriller "starring" Karl Malden. Too bad the finished product is little better than a cheap, dull exploitation film.
106. (853.) The Hanging Tree (1959)
You probably wouldn't guess it from the title, but this film is fundamentally a Gary Cooper romance/western. Why did Cooper always end up with women a quarter of his age in movies? It's creepy.
107. (854.) Miami Connection (1987)
A rock band of tae kwon do masters fight a street gang of drug-dealing ninjas in Florida. If that sentence doesn't make you want to go see this film RIGHT NOW, there's something wrong with you.
More to come.