I decided it might be a good idea to make what’s known as a “sticky post” here on the front page for those coming in who might be concerned about spoilers. In these posts I’m going to be talking about varying aspects of movies that I’ve been watching, This may include writing about things that some would consider spoilers, including, at times, the endings of these movies. Those who are particularly spoiler averse may want to avoid reading these posts if they are planning to watch the movie in question. In certain circumstances where I will be discussing events towards the end of the movie, including the ending in at least a vague way, or when a movie contains a particular plot twist that might be considered major, I will try to post a more specific spoiler warning, because I do recognize that even though I may be writing about a movie that is decades old, it’s still going to be new to some people. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get on with it, shall we?
Saturday on the blog means Saturday Double Feature, right? Remember, the basic idea here is to take a movie that is out in theaters now, and pair it up with another movie from the 1980s or before. Sometimes the connection will be obvious, and sometimes it’ll be a little less so, but that’s part of the fun.
Going again with one of the smaller movies in theaters this week, Brian Percival‘s The Book Thief. Here’s the official synopsis, and then the trailer:
Based on the beloved bestselling book, THE BOOK THIEF tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany.
Of course, putting together the words “book”, “Nazi”, and “young girl” is pretty much going to bring to just about anyone’s mind another famous ypung lady, so it seems almost unavoidable when looking for a double feature pairing to go with 1959′s The Diary of Anne Frank:
So, do you have any other ideas for pairing films with The Book Thief? if so, let me know below. And also let me know of any other upcoming movies you’d like to see “double featured”. Consider it, if you will, your chance to challenge me to come up with an interesting pair.
Until next time, Happy Viewing!
- The Book Thief (high5for25.wordpress.com)
- The Book Thief (2013) (thegrandshuckett.com)
- The Book Thief > This Holocaust-framed coming-of-age film is disturbingly cutesy. (newsreview.com)
As the end of the year approaches, a lot of people will be doing end of year top ten lists and that kind of thing. One of the problems with that, though, is trying to remember just exactly what one saw or what came out, especially for those films that hit earlier in the year. Was that one this year or last year? I seem to remember there was this one film…
Well, in order to help you remember what you may (or may not have) seen in 2013, YouTuber The Sleepy Skunk has created this terrific mashup of scenes compiled from trailers for movies released in the past year. So whether you’re trying to make some kind of a list, or just want a fun reminder of the movies that hit the big screen this past year (including a few that we’re still looking forward to as the year draws to a close), take a look and, if you’re like me, you’ll probably find yourself thinking more than once “Oh, yeah, that was this year, wasn’t it?”
The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.
For some, this post may seem a bit out of the purview of this feature, but let’s be honest: there are a lot of kids out there today for whom 1974 might as well be 1944. It’s all ancient history. And anyway, my playing field, so my rules, right?
Anyway, the movie A Christmas Story has become something of a staple the past few years, with many people watching it over and over again during the holiday season. However, in discussing it with those very same people I often find that they have very little knowledge of the story behind the story and how it relates to the way radio used to be.
Here, let’s take a quick look at one of the climactic scenes from the movie:
There, you hear that voice? No, not the voice of Ralphie shouting obscenities as he continues beating on the bully, the other voice. The narrator. The voice of the grown-up Ralphie who guides us through the story.
Yeah, that’s the voice of Jean Shepherd. Who’s Jean Shepherd you ask? Why that’s simple. He’s Ralphie. No, literally. He is Ralphie.
You see, Jean Shepherd was both a writer and a radio personality. Though he began his radio career in 1948 on WSAI in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was during a long overnight stint from 1956 to 1977 on New York’s WOR that Shepherd really came into his own. In order to fill the time slot, Shepherd would spin yarns from his past, comment on the happenings of the day, discuss American culture and the changes that were going on, and read stories that he had written. In many ways, Shepherd was a precursor to the likes of Spalding Gray, and over the years in his stories he built up his own little world based partially on facts from his earlier life and partially on his ability to simply tell a good tale. Probably the most prominent modern comparison one could make would be to Garrison Keillor and his “Lake Wobegon” segments on A Prairie Home Companion.
As it turned out, over the years one of the most popular stories that Shepherd would read and at times expand upon was a short story which he originally called “Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder nails the Cleveland Street Kid”, and which was originally published in, of all places, Playboy magazine in 1964. It became something of a tradition on WOR for Shepherd to re-read the story each Christmas eve.
And it was this story and others (plus some unpublished anecdotes which Shepherd told over the years) upon which Bob Clark and Shepherd based the movie.
Anyway, as you tune into the movie this year, give an extra listen to the voice of the narrator and a thought to Jean Shepherd and how, without radio, the movie might have never gotten made, and certainly wouldn’t be the same.
I couldn’t find a good single embeddable telling of the story, but here is the 1974 broadcast broken up into 5 parts from YouTube:
(By the way, one of the other famous scenes from the movie, which you won’t find in the above reading, is based on another Shepherd story, “Flick’s Tongue”, which he also would tell/read about once a year on his show, and which was the story that Bob Clark says first brought Shepherd to his attention.)
Oh,, and one final note: As is quite often the case, a great resource for those interested in listening to more of Shepherd’s radio broadcasts over the years is the Internet Archives. I’d say begin your search right here.
Until next time, Happy Listening!
- A Christmas Story, Jean Shepherd (yegbookstravaganza.wordpress.com)
- Review: FRP’s ‘A Christmas Story’ is seasonal charmer (blueridgenow.com)
- A Christmas Story and non-linear viewing (davidgreetham.wordpress.com)
The Rhino! Electro! And… ?
Yep, this trailer promises lots of action in the next Spidey movie, along with some advancement of both the Oscorp and Peter’s parents subplots. That’s certainly not too much for one movie, but still, let’s hope the filmmakers manage to pull it all together and still maintain the relatively lighter tone of the first film. Go ahead, take a look for youself and see what you think.
- Why Yes, That Is Some Kind Of Goblin There – New Triple-Panel Poster For Amazing Spider-Man 2 (durnmoosemovies.wordpress.com)
- New plot of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 released before new trailer (dailymail.co.uk)
- How Many Villains Will Spidey Battle In ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2′? (pinkisthenewblog.com)
While I’m really looking forward to watching Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams‘s performances in Spike Jonze‘s upcoming Her, at the same time I’m really hoping that the whole thing doesn’t devolve into simply waiting for the inevitable-seeming conclusion to play itself out. Unfortunately, this trailer doesn’t help eliminate that feeling at all.
Let’s hope Jonze has at least one or two surprises for us somewhere along the way.
A while back, when Crystal Fairy And The Magical Cactus And 2012 (to use its full onscreen title) was actually in theaters, a friend of mine asked me for my thoughts on it. At the time I had only seen the trailer, so I could only give them my reactions to that, and I never got around to actually seeing the entire movie. However, when I noticed last night that it was streaming on Netflix I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
Yeah, I really shouldn’t have bothered.
Let’s put it like this: there’s a scene in the first couple of minutes where Michael Cera‘s “character” Jamie unsuccessfully tries to flush a small bit of poo while at a party. Apparently, this scene is meant to be somewhat symbolic, as Cera then proceeds to prove himself to be a complete piece of s#!t to everyone around him throughout the rest of the movie.
Seriously, about 30 minutes in, I really had had enough and thought about just turning it off, but no, I decided to stick with it to the bitter end and see if maybe there was something redeeming, anything at all that I could hang some kind of positive review or comment on.
Okay, here’s a positive: at least Jamie didn’t literally barf onscreen as it looked for awhile he might. He just did it figuratively every time he opened his mouth.
I suppose there are some things I could write about that would make this film seem more than it is, as though there were some attempt at depth, some character development, some something here, but really there’s nothing that makes it worth putting up with Jamie’s whining, bitching, moaning, rudeness, and proving of himself as an utterly contemptible self obsessed ass-hat.
I will give kudos to the film’s titular star Gaby Hoffman who does her best to redeem this picture by literally putting everything she’s got on the screen, and for not feeling the need to conform to normal Hollywood standards of beauty in doing so, but even she, in what would usually be called the “manic pixie dream girl” role (actually her character is more the antithesis of the meme in a lot of ways) can’t overcome or really cause any kind of change in Cera’s Jamie.
Whew. After watching that I really think I need some kind of palate cleanser. Or maybe just a good bottle of toilet cleanser.
Here’s the trailer:
- Miracle Turds And Other Important Things To Know About Michael Cera’s “Crystal Fairy” (buzzfeed.com)
- There’s absolutely no way this Michael Cera texting thing is real right? (futurebarstooltexas.wordpress.com)
- Operation Michael Cera: Michael is my Life Coach (menmyselfandgod.com)
- Michael Cera’s Must-See List (buzzfeed.com)
Spidey’s Back! Yep, that’s what you’re getting in this new 3 part poster for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Plus, the Rhino in costume, Electro, and, in the center, Harry Osborne as… The Green Goblin? Maybe. Though there are also reports that the character may be called The Hobgoblin instead. Either way, I’d not expect to see him in the trailer due out later this week, though you’ll definitely get the other two. (BTW, do the clicky-clicky for the biggy-biggy)