Elsewhere: The Doomed to Repeat the Past Edition

Some sad and frustrating news: According to Michael Blake, Universal plans to tear down the historic Stage 28. Inside Universal has more about the closure, and the rumor that the demolition is to make way for more theme part attractions. There’s a petition to save the stage here, already at 1,400 signatures as of this posting. Those curious about the history of the stage might want to check out my article on Stage 28 for the Universal Backlot Blogathon in 2012. — After shamefully neglecting the blog for mumblemumble weeks, I have several scintillating updates coming in the next few days. First, the links; later, the rants. Maybe. I dunno, guys, it’s late in the summer and it’s too hot to have any emotions. Wait, is tickled an emotion? Because I’m absolutely tickled to announce that, as of this month, I’ve joined Next Projection as a writer/critic. Check out my first few articles here: * The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) review for Second Coming: Cinema’s Greatest Sequels * Dead Man (1995) review for Strange Paradise: The Cinema of Jim Jarmusch * Child of God (2013): Despite the middling to poor reviews this film got on the festival circuit, I had hopes that it would be worthwhile. Those hopes were misplaced. – While I no longer write columns for ClassicFlix, I still do monthly DVD reviews: * My August DVD review: The Big House (1930) – And finally, some interesting links to waste I mean spend your time on: * A … Continue reading

Elsewhere: The Rainy Season Edition

Thanks for your patience during SBBN’s downtime last week. The site should be stable from now on, though my time here will remain limited because of some life issues; to be both vague and blunt, I have to spend my time making money and not entertaining the masses for free. Speaking of free, here are some recent articles I’ve written around the intertubes: My last ClassicFlix articles: * Partners in Crime: Sidekicks in Film Noir * I Live My Life DVD review * Clara Bow: Life As the It Girl Recent Reviews and Articles at Spectrum Culture: * Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013): I no longer remember what review this was from, but not long ago I stumbled across a description of a film as being an exasperating hagiography, a film “by friends, for friends.” The same could be said for Supermensch, which is one of the most accidentally creepy films I have ever seen in my life. The image of the good-natured, awesome, karmatastic Shep Gordon only barely hides the judgmental one-percenter underneath. * Oeuvre: A Woman Under the Influence (1974): Though I recognize how influential and groundbreaking they are, I don’t click with John Cassavetes’ films and I struggle not to actively loathe them. That’s why you shouldn’t bother reading this article. Recent SBBN Articles and Reviews You May Have Missed: * We Are the Best! (2013): I really loved this film. Viewers should stay for the end credits, a nice nod to a comparative sequence … Continue reading

The Big Elsewhere

Unused poster art for Radioland Murders (1994), courtesy 3B Theater!   It’s been a while since I managed to post a little link roundup of my recent articles and reviews plus other innerestin’ things, so this isn’t really a little link roundup at all, but a medium-sized roundup, but it should still fit inside a breadbox. Big Business Before the Code: The ClassicFlix article that I alluded to a couple of Elsewheres ago, about businesses during the pre-Code era, their function as microcosms of society, and the roles of women in business during the Depression. – Over at Spectrum Culture recently: The Discoverers (2012): A warm and occasionally macabre family dramedy starring Griffin Dunne, Madeleine Martin, Stuart Margolin, Cara Buono, David Rasche and more. Criminally Underrated: Radioland Murders (1994): The only real problem with Radioland Murders is it too accurately mimics the musical comedy programmers of the 1930s, up to and including the goofy feel-good ending. My favorite moment: When Bobcat Goldthwait’s character hears radio actors reading from two different scripts at the same time, and genuinely says, “That’s good!” And Brian Benben agrees. The Girl and Death (2012): A lush but empty 19th Century romance between a romantic (and Romantic) young doctor and a tubercular courtesan. God’s Pocket (2013): It’s going to take a long time before I can watch a Philip Seymour Hoffman film and not feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. Whitewash (2013): Dark comedies are all the rage nowadays, as I have just realized … Continue reading


Regis Toomey, Dick Powell and Richard Erdman in Cry Danger (1951).     I neglect SBBN so often it seems pointless to even apologize anymore, but I promise, a couple of new posts are coming shortly, and finally (finally!) I’ll start on the series-shaped thing I spoke about, probably in the coming weeks. Thanks to the moons aligning just right, I’ve had over two weeks of deadlines which have clumped together like a JV soccer team, so on the days I’m not writing, I’m just munching on snacks and staring at movies and then forgetting to log them on Letterboxd. Even if it means hilarious amounts of B12, I will get my ass in gear and get some content up. But first, a little self pimpage in the form of a somewhat incomplete list of articles I’ve written around the interhole recently. If that’s not your thing, scroll down for other articles from around the web toward the bottom of this post — a lot of people have been writing a lot of neat stuff lately, and you’ll definitely want to check those out. — * Cry Danger (1951): I first saw this unheralded little noir about a year ago, when I saw people on Twitter under the #TCMParty hashtag mention a woman with an enormous black flower on her dress. Later I discovered the film was restored thanks, in part, to the 2010 For the Love of Film Blogathon, and recently I had the great luck to be able … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week

Here’s what I’ve been working on this week here at SBBN and elsewhere, as well as nifty bits of things from around the internets. * The Sandpiper (1965) at Spectrum Culture for the Oeuvre series. It’s not the film’s fault that supporting actor Chuck Bronson became a cultural icon a few years after The Sandpiper, but you still have to laugh at him jabbing away at the nude sculpture, pretending to use Liz as a model; he just destroys the thing, obviously chipping wood away from the finished product, which sadly wasn’t very good to begin with — the nipples were crooked and it looked like Sally Kellerman more than Elizabeth Taylor, anyway. Your chuckles will devolve into full-blown guffaws when he growls, “You gonna seduce him?” to Liz, but that’s okay, you’ll cheer your head off when he punches the hell out of Burton, and if you’re sane, as Burton comes to, you’ll turn The Sandpiper off and go watch Death Wish again. * U Want Me 2 Kill Him? on SBBN. Don’t let the terrible title, occasionally stylized as uwantme2killhim?, turn you off. This is a nice, tight little thriller, with an understated tone that works really well with the subject matter; as Mark (Jamie Blackley) gets further sucked into the strange tales he reads in chat rooms, everything is so downplayed that you wonder if there’s some actual truth there. * The Art of the Steal at Spectrum Culture. Yet another film I liked better than most … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week

A day late and many, many dollars short, here’s this week’s roundup of my articles written elsewhere, and some links you’ll absolutely enjoy, guaranteed, or triple your money back. * Showing Up (2013) at Spectrum Culture: This documentary is literally nothing but talking heads, yet it is fascinating. If you’re interested in the acting process, or any artistic process, really, I recommend this picture. * Chlorine (2013) at Spectrum Culture: This movie is a mess. Not an unpleasant mess, mind you, but still a mess. — * Cliff Aliperti’s post on Skyscraper Souls at WarrenWilliam.com: I’ve been writing up an article which I hope to be able to link to in the next installment of Elsewhere, and in researching Skyscraper Souls I was reminded of Cliff’s excellent post here. Definitely recommended. * Brooklyn Vegan’s 2008 post on the Mountain Goats set at Bottom of the Hill. Yes, those are panties. Some great video of the entire set is on YouTube (“Dilaudid” will kill you) and the audio can be found on archive.org. * Faye Dunaway’s Comedy Coach: An anecdote. * Header image from Skyscraper Souls, courtesy Carole & Co. — Last week, comedian Jonathan Ross, apparently without the usual vetting, was announced as the host for the Loncon 3 awards ceremony. Many in the sci-fi/fantasy fandom objected to Ross as Hugo Awards MC because of his lengthy list of controversies, including garnering complaints for his expletive-filled hosting gig three months ago at the British Comedy Awards. The SF/F fandom is … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week (Updated)

Thank you all for your patience as I gather together some films for a new blog series I’ll be starting soon, as well as a set of Warner Archive MOD DVD reviews, all coming shortly. Meanwhile, please to enjoy some of my articles that have appeared elsewhere around Le Interwebbe, plus a few interesting things I’ve stumbled across recently. * UPDATED TO ADD: Spectrum Culture’s snarky little Oscar article, where I blather (occasionally at length) about the nominees. For anyone interested (no one will be interested) I and about seven million others will be live-tweeting the Oscars on Sunday night. * Redemption Tomorrow for Sin Today: The Fallen Woman in Pre-Code Films: My latest Pre-Code Obsession article for ClassicFlix, focusing on those out-of-nowhere endings in pre-Codes that were designed to help mitigate all the naughty, naughty things that went on in the first 95% of the film. If you’re interested in the topic, I highly recommend Lea Jacobs’ The Wages of Sin, a terrific book with in-depth info on the censorship and editing process behind plenty of pre-Codes, particularly the notorious Baby Face (1933). * Underrated: Night of the Comet (1984): A fine 80s low-budget horror/sci-fi flick that far too many sniffy guys dismiss as unimportant, because they’re sniffy guys. * Oeuvre: Two Weeks in Another Town (1952): Part of Spectrum Culture’s Oeuvre series, focusing on Vincente Minnelli. I had seen Two Weeks before, but when re-watching it for this article, its flaws hit me particularly hard. One of the … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week

The holiday season has been over for many weeks, but the endless, soul-draining, life-sucking winter that will not die has really thrown off my groove. With some luck and a little willpower and copious amounts of caffeine, I hope to be starting up a few new projects, as well as resuming some features I let fall by the wayside recently. In the spirit of pretending like I’m a productive member of society, here’s what I’ve been doing when I haven’t been doing nothing: Review: Band of Sisters (2013) at Spectrum Culture DVD Review: Deception (1946) at ClassicFlix Review: The Truth About Emanuel (2013) at She Blogged By Night Review: Like Father, Like Son (2013) at Spectrum Culture Serial: My rather depressive final installment of The Monster and the Ape (1945) here at SBBN *** A couple of things what might interest you: David Bordwell’s The Rhapsodes: Agee, Farber, Tyler, and us: A history and meditation on the origins of modern film criticism. Followed with a part two posted yesterday, including links for fussbudgets (like me!) wanting deeper background. Informative and wildly entertaining stuff. Courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: PDFs of Myra Keaton’s scrapbook, from 1901 to 1920, including plenty of clippings about her son Buster. And finally, if you have an hour and a half to spare, this fascinating Marc Maron interview (audio only) with comedian provocateur Norm MacDonald:

Update: The October Edition

Arbogast on Film may or may not be open for the holidays! We all love Arbo and are glad he returns to us, even if it is only once a year. My husband’s art blog The Fuzzy Skeletonian has launched his 2013 Octoberweenpaloozaganza: Crumple Mania, so stop on by! As always, his blog has gory content of an adult nature, so it is NSFW. Most years, I post classic Hollywood Halloween photos on SBBN, but I have a busy month ahead, so I’ll be randomly posting a few Halloween photos (with quite a few reposts from previous SBBN years) over at my Tumblr. Note that my Tumblr can occasionally be NSFW, but I use the NSFW tag, even for manbutt, so I believe you can filter it easily. *** I will be doing The Monster and the Ape for my new classic movie serial recap series, and these would usually go live on Thursdays, but my hands are not faring well after ten articles and posts in eight days, so give me a day to recover. *** Some of my more recent posts elsewhere: My DVD review of The Undying Monster at ClassicFlix. My review for A Single Shot (2013) starring Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo and William H. Macy at Spectrum. A new Minnelli Oeuvre piece on The Bad and the Beautiful (1950) at Spectrum. ***            I’ll be participating in two blogathons in October: The Hitchcock Halloween Blogathon over at Backlots, and my third (and hopefully finally successful) try … Continue reading

Elsewhere: The Adorable Dogs and Hollywood Butts Edition

Things I’ve written elsewhere, and other stuff around the interwebs lately: My piece on The Human Factor (1979) as an underrated gem is up at Spectrum Culture. This is now available on MOD DVD at Warner Archives, in a print that I absolutely adored, because the grain was kept — all that delicious, nutritious 1970s grain — and it looks gorgeous. I don’t have Warner Archives Instant, but many of you do, so I thought I’d do a little browsing around and found a few things you might be interested in: Night Flight (1933) – Insane John Barrymore pre-Code that I’m not sure has even been on TCM before. An all-star cast and apparently a plot based on The Little Prince. Madam Satan (1930) – This one’s a no-brainer. If you haven’t seen it, and you have Warner Instant, go watch this now. Just… seriously, just stop everything you’re doing and go. Previous SBBN posts on Madam Satan can be found here and here. Simon (1980) – Available in high definition from Warner Instant. Just a few years ago you couldn’t even get a copy of this, now it’s on MOD DVD and Warner Instant. My Criminally Underrated post for Simon is here at Spectrum Culture. And, finally, my Oeuvre post for Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate. Warning: I talk about Gene Kelly’s butt. *** Around the web: From February, a terrific post at Movie Morlocks by Susan Doll on one of my favorite actors, Sam Rockwell. Joan Crawford in a … Continue reading