July Movies to Watch For

The following are some films on Sundance, Fox Movie Channel, and TCM that you might want to check out this month. All times Eastern. Remember, these films may be edited, time compressed, in the wrong aspect ratio, canceled, or eaten by bears. You know how it is.   *** SUNDANCE The Deep End (2001) July 7, 8:15 PM and 1:35 AM Thriller about a mother who finds the body of a man she believes her son has killed. Remake of the 1948 A Reckless Moment.   The Housemaid (2010) July 22, 1:50 AM (early morning the 23rd) Thriller-drama following a young maid of a rich family who finds herself the victim of dangerous mind games.   FOX MOVIE CHANNEL Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis (1988) July 3, 9:15 AM Made-for-TV reunion show of the classic 1960s “Dobie Gillis.” It’s a campy musical that makes pretty much no sense. I saw it in high school on its original run, having never seen an episode of “Dobie Gillis” in my life, and thought this was hilarious. It was sort of a middle class, suburban “Head.”   It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog (1946) July 9, 4:50 AM A reporter, a police officer, a dog and wacky criminal hijinks.   The Last American Hero (1973) July 17, 7:45 AM Almost-documentary about race car driver and moonshiner Junior Jackson. I saw this on television as a kid when I lived in Southern Missouri and didn’t realize it was a satire because, er, … Continue reading

Queer Film Blogathon: Freebie and the Bean (1974)

This is my entry for the Queer Film Blogathon, hosted by Garbo Laughs. Please check out Caroline’s entries as well as all the other fine participants! *** Hollywood loves to engage in bigotry through the guise of humor, usually qualified as “edgy” or “irreverent.”  When bigotry is played as humor, it automatically inherits the default “it’s just a joke” deflection, essentially excusing its controversial content simply because of context; that is why a homophobic character used purely for humor and without any reflection of social commentary is so problematic. The 1970s version of the foul-mouthed cop slinging racist and homophobic epithets seems to be a common spin of the popular Archie Bunker type of character, but without any acknowledgement that Bunker was social satire — at least until he inadvertently became the voice of the disaffected and scared middle class (see season two’s Jesus Christ Superstar rant in “Archie and the Lock-Up”). Stripping these slur-slinging characters of satire was more than just lazy, it was a deliberate effort to reassert the dominance of white males in an era where that dominance was being questioned. The buddy-cop film Freebie and the Bean pairs two bumbling, high-spirited police detectives, one of whom takes bribes and engages in all manner of bigoted slurs against pretty much everyone who isn’t male and white. He is also portrayed as a desirable, suave, well-dressed, handsome guy. FatB opens with the partners Freebie and Bean rifling through a guy’s trash. They are so obvious about it, loudly … Continue reading

In Memoriam: Susan Tyrrell and Richard Lynch

The film world has recently lost two terrific character actors. Susan Tyrrell, who appeared in Fat City (1972), The Killer Inside Me (1976), and Cry-Baby (1990), died of unknown causes on June 19. Photo courtesy Follies of God by James Grissom, which has a wonderful quote about Tyrrell by Tennessee Williams.   Richard Lynch, horror, television and B-movie character great, was found dead in his home on June 19. Photo courtesy the official Richard Lynch website. Both actors are more than deserving of their own posts, of course. Tyrrell and Lynch were both still actively working in film, both with active projects still in production. Richard Lynch has been a mainstay in the movies that many of my B-movie brethren talk about, and if we haven’t seen a Richard Lynch film for the Bad Netflix Instant Movie Marathon, it’s only because we haven’t yet gotten around to it. I first saw him on a two-part episode of “Hunter” in the late 1980s, and his performance was so strong that for years I referred to him as Frank Lassiter, the name of the character he had played. And that was exactly the kind of actor he was, giving terrific performances in everything from big budget films like Little Nikita (1988) to B-grade flicks like Puppetmaster III to a classic ensemble piece such as Crime and Punishment (2002). Susan Tyrrell was one of the first cult movie mainstays I discovered, thanks to a university course in crime fiction. A burgeoning film critic … Continue reading

My Thoughts on The LAMB

I have dithered about posting any of this publicly for a very long time, and because of the way discussions about these issues tend to go, I have disabled comments. Further, because I will be mentioning names and blogs for clarity’s sake, I do not want anyone to go off in comments on any of these people, deserved or not. I’m not interested in insults or retribution. What I want is to state publicly, with as much information as possible, why I had problems with the online movie organization The Large Association of Movie Blogs, i.e. The LAMB. I quit LAMB almost exactly a year ago, in the summer of 2011. It’s come to my attention that there has been a bit of a dust-up amongst LAMB members over the last few days, about the Best Classic Blogger award given by The LAMB. My concern is that the way it is being handled is exactly how my issues were handled, or rather not handled, two years ago. The LAMB was founded by Dylan “Fletch” Fields in 2007, and bills itself as “the premier movie blog directory – a one-stop shop for readers and bloggers alike.” Film blogs of every genre join, are featured in an introductory post, and can participate in various events. After participation on LAMB for a while, I didn’t feel it was a very good fit for me, but I stayed in it because there are, frankly, only two movie blog associations I could join. (The other … Continue reading

Mary Pickford Blogathon: Secrets (1933)

This is the SBBN entry for the Mary Pickford Blogathon, hosted by KC at Classic Movies. I highly recommend checking out Classic Movies, not just for the other participants, but for KC’s own contributions, such as today’s really fun Q&A with Peggy Dymond Leavey, Pickford biographer. *** Mary Pickford had considered silent star Norma Talmadge her rival, especially for the few years in the 1920s when Talmadge’s career, briefly, eclipsed Pickford’s. With this competition still relatively fresh in Hollywood minds, people took notice when, in 1930, Mary Pickford began filming a talkie remake of Talmadge’s 1924 hit film Secrets. Slated to be titled Forever Yours, Pickford’s version was in the midst of production when she abruptly shut the whole thing down. Director Marshall Neilan had been one of Mary’s favorite directors in the past and she had asked for him specifically on Forever Yours, but now his alcoholism proved too catastrophic to overcome. Rumors persisted for years that Mary had burned the negatives of this aborted production, though in truth, she had donated all the material from the unfinished film to the Library of Congress in 1946. In fact, Pickford had sent the LoC almost all of her enormous film collection in 1946; unfortunately, Forever Yours was immediately mislabeled, then abandoned when the LoC’s motion picture department was shut down in 1947. The LoC kept the contributions at the time but eventually decided to rid themselves of the dangerous nitrate films left in their care, meaning Pickford’s donations were transferred … Continue reading