Eddie and the Cruisers

This movie was based on the 1980 novel by P. F. Kluge. I’ve always liked the 1983 film. At the time the movie came out the rumors of Jim Morrison still alive and Elvis sightings were everywhere and the movie fulfilled some fantasies of “What If.”

It’s about an early sixties band that played fifties type music and were gaining a following. They meet Frank Ridgeway an awkward backward pianist that played classical music. Eddie Wilson sees his potential and starts teaching him how to play rock and roll.

Eddie’s musical vision is ahead of its time. He uses Frank’ classical background to start working on an album called “Season in Hell.” When you hear snippets of the album it is years ahead of their time period. Most of the band hated the new music. The record company rejected the album because it was to “dark and strange.”

After that Eddie’s car crashed through a railing on a bridge and his body was never found. Did Eddie die?

The film picks up in the 80s when a reporter is asking the former Cruisers questions about the lost album.

I really liked this movie. The sequel not as much.

The soundtrack was by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. A hit song was released off the soundtrack. “On The Darkside” peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The movie flopped at the box office but when played on HBO it became a cult classic.

The Cast…

Tom Berenger
Michael Paré
Joe Pantoliano
Helen Schneider
David Wilson
Kenny Hopkins
Michael “Tunes” Antunes
Ellen Barkin
Kenny Vance

“On The Dark Side”
The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real 
She’ll never know just how I feel 
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream 
Makes me feel crazy, makes me feel so mean 

Ain’t nothin’ gonna save you from a love that’s blind 
When you slip to the dark side you cross that line 
On the dark side, oh yeah 
On the dark side, oh yeah

The Time Machine 1960

I somehow missed this movie until 2005. It stars Rod Taylor as George Wells, the beautiful Yvette Mimieux as Weena and Alan Young. I have always liked Time Travel movies and this one is well thought out.

Rod Taylor portrays George Wells and he builds a Time Machine. Other than the Tardis it’s the coolest time machine I’ve ever seen. He builds a miniature one and while his friends look on he turns the small machine on and it disappears into the future. His friends don’t really believe it. They question what good it will do if it really works?

This time machine doesn’t physically move but just occupies the same space in the future.

George gets frustrated and takes the real machine for a test ride into the future. They had no CGI but they get across time travel fine. To show time passing they set up a mannequin across the street to show different clothing styles passing by with the time which is great.

George ends up in a future society where all the people are young. They do nothing all day but play and eat. George soon finds out there is a price they pay for playing all day.

My favorite part of the movie are the creatures called the Morlocks with glowing eyes that live underground because they could not stand light. They provide the clueless land dwellers with food for obvious reasons. That is a simplified version of the film. Very well made movie.

This all begins right at the turn of the 20th century. Alan Young does a great job as David Filby…George’s best friend and later on David’s son…

My son watched this when he was 8 and was scared of the Morlocks but kept watching. He still watches it now. It was filmed in 1960 and the film won an Oscar for Best Effects, Special Effects. Does it measure up to today’s special effects? Certainly not but it gets the story across so if you like classic sci-fi you might like this one.

This is an article on the Time Machine prop that was used in the movie.

http://www.hollywoodlostandfound.net/props/timemachine.html

This is a trailer for the movie.

 

 

Harold and Maude

I first watched this around 10 years ago. I had read that it was a dark comedy. I started to watch it not knowing what to expect. Well…it was a movie I’ll never forget. It’s an extreme May-December romance. In this movie young Harold equals death and Older Maude equals living.

Harold (Bud Cort) is a 20-year-old son of a wealthy woman who stages fake suicides to get her attention. She simply ignores him after he fakes cutting himself, hanging his self, and drowning etc. He annoys her more than anything else.

Harold’s mom starts trying to set him up girls and Harold sabotages the meetings. Harold is obsessed with death. He goes to strangers funerals on a regular basis and that is where he meets 79-year-old Maude. Maude is full of life and she steals Harold’s hearse…yes he has a  hearse and offers him a ride.

Maude is very much about living in the now.  Harold and Maude start seeing each other.

Ruth Gordon who plays Maude brings the spark to the movie. She lives in a train car, liberates a city tree to the country, and does what she pleases.

I would strongly recommend this movie to anyone who likes dark or offbeat comedies.

The movie was directed by Hal Ashby. The soundtrack was performed by Cat Stevens. The music was a perfect fit for this movie.

Both Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon were nominated for Best Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture -Comedy in the Golden Globes.

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The Graduate

I saw this movie in the 80s and never forgot it. I watched it when I was roughly the same as Benjamin in the movie and I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

Dustin Hoffman portrays Benjamin Braddock a college graduate coming home and not having a clue what he was going to do with his life. He keeps getting asked and grilled about it and he keeps retreating into himself. He is eventually seduced by an old friend of his parents Mrs. Robinson. At first, he tries to avoid her but he is such an easy target for the older woman. He finds himself eventually succumbing to her advances.

Benjamin is full of confusion and anxiety but keeps meeting her. He realizes he wants more than sex out of a relationship and then the affair turns into a nightmare. He finds himself falling for the one woman in the world Mrs. Robinson tells him to stay away from…her daughter Elaine.

Elaine starts to like Benjamin and Elaine is told about what happened. Elaine goes away to school but he Benjamin will not give up trying to explain and win her back. Elaine is to be married and Benjamin eventually tracks the wedding down and crashes it.

He arrives but Elaine was just married. Mrs. Robinson says its too late and Elaine said “not for me….” Elaine and Benjamin ran off with joy and triumph and get on a bus.

The last couple of minutes are the magical part of this movie. The church scene and the close-ups setup the last scene. It’s the last scene that makes this movie different from others. The two get on a bus and are smiling but then the smiles fade…the look on Hoffman’s face tells a story…they got what they wanted and now what does he do? Where do they go from here? Is it all downhill from there? It’s open to interpretation.

The Simon and Garfunkel’s songs set the mood of this movie and it would not be the same without them. They are as big a part of this movie as the actors. This movie made me more of a fan of Simon and Garfunkel. I tracked the soundtrack down in the 80s just for the song “April Come She Will.”

The cast included

Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katherine Ross. William Daniels and Murray Hamilton… and it was directed by Mike Nichols

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Tombstone – 1993

I’m always late to the party discovering movies and bands…I saw this movie for the first time last year. I just started to get into westerns in the past couple of years when I discovered “Have Gun Will Travel” and the black and white 30-minute episodes of Gunsmoke.

This is a classic movie. Val Kilmer fan was fantastic in this film. The entire cast did a great job but the way Kilmer portrayed Doc Holliday was iconic. The movie centers around the Earp brothers arriving in Tombstone to make their fortune but they get pulled into fighting the “Cowboys.”

I’m not sure how accurate it is to the real story but its a very entertaining movie nonetheless and I cannot believe I didn’t see this years ago. If you haven’t seen it…make plans to see it. I don’t think you will be disappointed. You will never hear the word “huckleberry” the same again.

The cast included Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Charlton Heston, Jason Priestly, Jon Tenney, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Dana Delany, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Michael Rooker, Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Zane.

I looked up the Oscars for 1993 and it is a crime that Val Kilmer wasn’t nominated for anything.

The trailer for Tombstone

 

Superfly – 1972

Monday night I went to see this 1972 movie at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. It was like being in a time warp and back in 1972. This movie has padding and some wooden acting but you can tell where Quentin Tarantino was inspired. I’ve always liked the movie and seeing it on the big screen made it that much better.

They filmed it on the cheap with some real criminals in the movie to add authenticity. The character “KC” was a pimp in real life and the famous car from the movie is, in fact, KC’s car. The car is no longer with us…it was seized by the IRS when KC got into trouble.

“Fat Freddie” “Charles McGregor” in real life was a reformed criminal. He helped on the realism and went on to appear in more blaxploitation films in the 1970s. He also ended up going to schools and counseling children on the dangers of a life in crime.

The highlight of the movie, of course, is the music. Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack is great. Curtis does appear in the movie playing in a bar.

The movie’s budget was under 500,000 dollars but it did gross over 30 million at the box office.

One quote got a laugh from the audience…and it was because of the mention of an eight-track. You’re gunna give all this up? Eight Track Stereo, color T.V. in every room, and can snort a half a piece of dope everyday?! That’s the American Dream

I’m glad they didn’t clean the film up too much. It had some grainy elements and it fit the atmosphere perfect.

It’s not a great, great movie but the story is good with a nice twist… and it did make a cultural impact.

Duck Soup

This was the fifth and last movie The Marx Brothers made for Paramount. In the other Paramount movies, Groucho is usually put in a position of power. Hotel manager, Explorer, the Dean of a college but in this one he actually runs a country.

While Groucho who plays Rufus T. Firefly is president of Freedonia, Harpo and Chico play Pinky and Chicolini who are spies for a rival country named Sylvania. Freedonia is near bankruptcy and Sylvania trying to take it over. Rufus declares war and manages to get Pinky and Chicolini on Freedonia’s side.

In later MGM movies, The Marx Brothers were sympathetic figures. In this film, they were the definition of anarchy. The Brother’s irreverence is raised many notches in this movie than any other they did.

The film did not do great at the box office in 1933…but has since become a classic. Personally, I like the Paramount movies the best. Their most successful movie was “A Night At The Opera” which was their first at MGM and it was produced by Irving Thalberg. Yes, it had more of a plot and the Brothers were great but were a bit tamer.

Margaret Dumont is brilliant as always as Groucho’s straight “man.”

If you want a great comedy watch this movie…you may even find out the answer to the burning question of “what is it that has four pair of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?”…. well maybe you won’t…but watch it anyway.

Trying to explain the plot is almost like trying to describe in detail about a bomb exploding. In the Paramount movies, the plot was secondary to the Brothers running rampant.

Things were not great in the world while they were filming this movie. Below Harpo talks about working on the movie.

Harpo from “Harpo Speaks” about working on Duck Soup.

Acting in Duck Soup, our last picture for Paramount, was the hardest job I ever did. It was the only time I can remember that I worried about turning in a bad performance. The trouble was not with the working hours, the script, the director, or the falls I had to take (I never used a stunt man or a double). The trouble was Adolf Hitler. His speeches were being rebroadcast in America. Somebody had a radio on the set, and twice we suspended shooting to listen to him scream. Hindenburg had died. Hitler was now absolute dictator of Germany. He threatened to scrap the Versailles Treaty and create a German navy and air force. He threatened to grab off Austria and part of Czechoslovakia. He threatened to go beyond the boycott and revoke the citizenship of all Jews.
I never knew until then what the emotion of pure anger was like, how it felt to be sore enough to want to hit somebody in cold blood. A lot of people I knew were shocked that I was so shocked. Nothing would really come of the dictator’s threats, they said. He was all bluff and hot air. His act was nothing more than a bad imitation of that other comic, Mussolini.