Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 93 of a series

Before you can watch this movie you need to make sure you can correctly pronounce Waxahachie. Use Google if you need to.

This came out in 1984, and I am sure I only saw it once before on TV. The new month just started, and I asked Google what new movies are on Amazon Prime Video. I have been waiting for this one to show up, and here it is. It’s Places in the Heart, starring Sally Fields. Wikipedia has the details.

Yes, this is small-town Texas in the midst of the Great Depression, and it shows. We see a Texas family sitting down to dinner, and the father, Royce Spalding, says grace while Edna Spalding and the two children bow their heads reverently. Then we here what could possibly be a gunshot. Food is passed around, and there is talk of visiting relatives in Oklahoma. Then another shot. And another.

Somebody comes to the front door. The sheriff is needed. There is a “nigra” shooting off a gun down by the railroad tracks. So Royce is the sheriff, and he straps on his service pistole and heads off to the trouble, kissing Edna for the very last time.

Down by the tracks a very drunk Wylie is firing off a pistol. The sheriff calls him out by name. It’s a small town. The two know each other. Wylie fires two shots into the air, then he tosses his whisky bottle and takes a shot at it. Then he fires off another shot, which hits the sheriff squarely in the chest killing him. He reacts in horror, knowing his certain fate.

Meanwhile, Edna’s brother-in-law, Wayne, meets school teacher Viola in an empty house where they get it on on top of a bed. Small town Texas.

Wylie’s body is dragged behind a car to Edna’s house, where the vigilante hooligans display it as though it were some kind of hunting trophy, only with less dignity.

We see two funerals. They sheriff and Wylie are laid to rest in separate cemetaries.

Edna has never been anything but a housewife, and she has no marketable skills. The family has no income Bank officer Denby gives it to her straight. She will be evicted in a few months. When a hobo named Moses comes looking to work for food, Edna tells him she cannot hire him, but she prepares a meal for him. Another meal the next day, and Moses goes on his way out, as with Jean Valjean, he steal some tableware.

Later a law officer comes to the door, bringing Moses along. Again, as with Jean Valjean, Edna tells the law Moses was taking the items to somebody else, and it was wrong for him to not directly there.

Moses points out the 30 acres of land adjacent to the house, and tells Edna she should plant cotton. He demonstrates his expertise with the cotton enterprise, and for $15 she purchases the seed. Moses advises the seller is cheating her, selling her a cheaper seed, such is his expertise.

Denby brings his brother-in-law, Mr. Will, to the house. Denby was blinded in the war, and he will pay to room at the house.

Moses and Edna begin to plow for the planting, using mules to pull two plows. A tornado comes up, and they get the mules into the barn and everybody takes cover in the storm shelter. People in the town are killed, and the house is badly damaged.

Edna needs to get the crop in ahead of other growers. There is a prize for the first bale of the season. Moses recruits additional pickers, and they have their crop ahead of the competition.

Moses advises Edna on negotiating with the buyer. The market is week, something like 2.5 cents per pound. Following Moses’s advice Edna invokes the prestige of being the first ginner to process a crop, and she gets nearly 4 cents a pound.

Edna discusses with Moses future operations, purchasing adacent acreage and also a tractor. But when Moses goes to investigate a light on in the barn he is accosted by five Klansmen, who proceed to beat him up. Will hears the commotion, and brings a pistol to the fight. But, being blind, the most he cad do is fire a few rounds at random before he runs out of bullets. He does recognize the five by their voices, and they scatter, not wanting to face justice for killing a white man.

Moses figures he needs to depart the area, and the final scene shows a devotional at church, and as the camera scans the congregation we see all the characters, dead and alive. I am taking the scene is meant to depict places in the heart.

I am thinking I heard six shots before Wylie killed the sheriff with a seventh shot. But I searched, and they do make seven-shot revolvers.

The movie features a time warp. We see Edna and Moses plowing to plant the crop as the tornado blows through. Then about the next thing we see them preparing to harvest the crop. I have been in several cotton fields, and cotton does not mature that fast. So what went on while somebody changed film in the cameras?




Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 79 of a series

By now readers have figured out I don’t actually review these films. I search out films, many of which my readers never heard of, and I post a synopsis and some screen shots. Then I describe a few things I find with the plot or the production. The idea is to give people a chance to determine whether they want to watch. Currently I am only reviewing films streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu (sometimes YouTube). If you have these services you can watch the films for free. Else you might purchase or borrow a DVD.

Anyhow, this one came out 30 years ago, and it went right past me at the time. It’s Shattered, which may or may not be connected with a franchise with the same title. And here goes the synopsis. This one is on Amazon Prime. Wikipedia has the details.

We see the driver’s view as a car careens down a winding road at night. Looks like the California coast in Marin County. Oops! the car plows through a barricade and cascades down the slope. Somebody is ejected from the car, but we see the view from somebody else as the car tumbles and shattered glass fills the view.

The  woman survives with minor injuries, but the man, who took the full ride, ends up with massive facial damage and amnesia that allows him to recall stuff about who won the World Series but nothing about his personal life. He has to be told he is Dan Merrick, and the lovely lady is his wife Judith. He recuperates, and the two drive south to San Francisco, where they make passionate love

But Dan is a real estate developer in partnership with Jeb Scott. When Dan and Jeb’s wife Jenny are alone together she gives the indication the two previously had something going.

Dan fishes around in his office and comes across a roll of film with salacious photos of Judith in the covers with an unidentifiable man. Dan figures to find out what’s been going on.

He finds an invoice for $7000 to a pet shop. What did he buy? A gorilla. He makes a visit and finds Gus, the proprietor, a retired private investigator. Gus tells Dan the invoice has been paid, and he gives some details. Those details include photos of Judith sacked out with Jack Stanton. The name has already come up in Dan’s searching. Who is Jack, and what has been going on with Jack and Judith? Gus and Dan team up to run down the mystery.

They stake out Judith. She goes to this place in her white Mercedes-Benz, and turns the car over to the valet. They figure she plans to meet Jack there, possibly driving a red Porsche.  The Porsche arrives, and the valet takes it. The driver goes inside, but then returns and drives away.

Gus and Dan follow, and the Porsche drives into a place that looks a lot like Muir Woods. They lose sight of their quarry, but then it reappears, and gunfire shatters the windows of Gus’s car.

Now to wrap things up. Dan goes to Jeb’s house and finds Jenny has been murdered. Dan confronts Judith, who lays out the details. He is not Dan. He is Jack. She was mad about Jack, but that did not sit well with Dan, who attacked her. She shot Dan, and the two dumped the body in a wrecked ship on the coast. The ship is in a place where Jeb and Dan were planning a massive development. But the ship was a spoiler. They planned to illegally have the ship towed out and sunk. The law would not allow this, because the ship contained hazardous chemicals. The idea was Dan’s body would never be found after the ship was sunk.

But on the way back from dumping the body the car went off the cliff. Judith took advantage of the situation, and Jack’s face was reconstructed as Dan’s. And, yes, Judith murdered Jenny.

Now Jack (formerly known as Dan) and Gus go out to the wreck and find Dan’s body. Actually, in the movie I counted three trips out to the wreck, but on the final trip Judith intervenes and shoots Gus, who falls into a pool of chemicals. Jack can’t help Gus, but for some reason he leaves the scene with Judith driving the Mercedes-Benz. Judith is by not bat shit crazy, and she coerces Jack to go along, using her pistol as a persuader.

As they race along the coast road a police helicopter appears in the rear view mirror, and a loud speaker voices commands the driver pull over and stop. 

Judith, realizing the jig is up, goes full Thelma and Louise as Jack escapes the car.

The helicopter lands, and out comes Gus. He has not died, and his injuries have been fixed up.

And there is a lot that does not make sense. In the opening scenes we see Judith tumbling down the embankment after being ejected from the car. And she can still walk, and she can check out of the hospital and drive back to San Francisco the next morning to send a FAX from Dan’s office? This is unbelievable.

Judith killed Dan, and the only place she could think of to dispose of the body was a ship wreck. What ever happened to loading the body down with stones and dumping it in the bay?

Dan and Jeb planned to squeeze past the EPA guys by secretly towing the ship out to sea? This is going to work? The EPA guys are going to come around asking what happened to the ship.

We see Jack and Judith leave Gus in the pool of chemicals and drive back to San Francisco. And before they can get there Gus rescues himself, gets patched up, alerts the police, and takes a ride in a helicopter. Gus is the man for you.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 92 of a series

I know I never saw this when it came out in 1973, because I recall seeing it in black and white instead of color. So I must have seen it on TV back before I had a color TV. I thought about it a year or so ago, and I checked, but it was not on Amazon Prime Video or Hulu. Then I posted this Quiz Question on another site: “Name the movies in which Elisha Cook gets killed,” and I peeked at his Wikipedia article and scanned a list of his movie rolls. He was in the movie, and then I checked again. It was streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s Electra Glide in Blue, and is it ever so slightly weird. Here is from Wikipedia.

The film is all about culture clash and people whose lives are in a downward spiral, so don’t expect a Cinderella ending. The opening scene shows somebody loading a double-barrel shotgun.

We can’t see who’s loading the shotgun, but we do see a sock being pulled off and a string fitted to somebody’s big toe and also to the shotgun’s trigger. We see the muzzle of the gun being laid against a man’s chest. We also see somebody frying up a (porkchop?). The gun goes off, and we see somebody cutting up and eating the porkchop. Apparently a murder meant to pass as a suicide.

We see Arizona motor patrolman John Wintergreen engaged in a fierce romp in the sheets with absolutely smashing Jolene.  We see her preparing to leave for work as patrolman Wintergreen does chin-ups and downs a couple of raw eggs. Definitely a health freak.

We see John suit up for work, one zipper at a time. In formation that morning the commander instructs his troops on how to handle the culture clash as an onslaught of hippies is scheduled to descend on their quiet desert landscape.

John is a no-nonsense trooper. Here we see him writing a ticket (90 mph) to a Los Angeles police detective.

John’s partner, Zipper Davis, is not so squared away. He resents the hippies, and when the two pull over a hippy van, Zipper insists they unload all the van’s contents on the road side for inspection. When Zipper attempts to plant evidence John has had enough and calls a halt to Zipper’s mischief. Watching this for the first time years ago I got the idea Zipper got his name for the zippers on his jacket.

But John and Zipper spot Crazy Willie wandering the desert. Willie blathers about Frank dead in his cabin, and John checks it out. He finds the body from the opening scene.

The coroner does not want to waste time and public money on this throw-away corpse, but John insists on an autopsy due to inconsistencies found at the scene. Like: the man shot himself in the chest instead of in the head, meaning that would cause him to bleed out in agony. He could have, if had wanted to, take note of the absence of copious blood. When a man dies his heart stops pumping, and he quits bleeding.

John convinces Det. Harvey Poole this is a crime requiring some investigation. Poole is eager to agree, because he is all about ambition and personal advancement. The coroner now finds the .22 bullet in the back of the dead man’s head. Poole puts John in civvies and makes him his personal driver. This is John’s ultimate goal. He wants nothing more than to get off the cycle and into a police car. He yearns to be a detective.

They question Willie some more. Willie talks about the druggies who were hanging around Frank’s cabin. Also about drug dealing and about the $5000 that was supposed to be in the cabin and now is not.

Poole and Wintergreen push hard on their investigation. They harass a conclave of hippies living out in the desert, looking for a person named Bob Zemko. Poole is dead-sure Zemko is the man they want.

Poole begins to take John into his circle, and that’s the end for John. Poole takes John to meet his main squeeze, and it turns out to be Jolene, who is drunk and brags about her romps with John.

So John is back in the cycle with Zipper, and they chase down Zemko, riding with a gang. The chase gets wild with bikes crashing and Zipper unloading with his pistol on one bike, exploding the gas tank. John zeroes in on Zemko, who crashes through somebody’s window and is taken into custody.

But John takes a reality check and figures their man is Willie. He gets Willie to babble a confession, and that finishes the crime investigation. John informs Poole he thinks he has been wrong at every point and is a fool. John is back riding with Zipper.

And now enters the eponymous Electra Glide in blue. Where did Zipper get the money? It was the missing $5000. Zipper stole it, and now he knows he is finished. He is drunk, and he unloads his sorry future on John. Here is where I recall him referring to himself as “Zipper the slipper.” He has slipped, and now his life is over.

Zipper gets wild and fires off three shots at John, who kills him with a shot from his own pistol.

Later, obviously after a hearing on the killing of Zipper, John is back patrolling the desert. He spots the same Hippy van from before and stops it for not having a front bumper. He recognizes the guy Zipper had harassed from before and tells the guy to go about his business and get a bumper.

Then John realizes he still has the guy’s license and goes after the van. The passenger in the van pokes a shotgun out the back window and kills John with a blast to the chest. The bike continues rider-less as John dies alone in the middle of the highway.

This may be the iconic Robert Blake movie. I saw him first as Little Beaver, sidekick to Wild Bill Elliott on Saturday matinees in small town Texas. He was also the little kid who sold Humphrey the pivotal lottery ticket in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He was a fevered killer in In Cold Blood, and as a police detective in the TV series Baretta. His carreer apparently ended with his acquittal for the murder of his wife.

“You betchum, Red Ryder.”

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 78 of a series

Amazon Prime Video is currently streaming a slew of schlock science fiction films, so I am starting out the new year with some real seat squirmers. I noticed this one on the Prime Video roster, and I was wondering whether it was going to be a bad movie. Then I read the title again, and yes, guaranteed. From 1975 it’s The Giant Spider Invasion.

Wikipedia has the details.

We see a comet streaking towards Earth. There is going to be trouble.

It appears to land in rural Wisconsin, where we are entertained by a cast of odd characters. Central is Sheriff Jones, first seen reading a book titled Flying Saucers Want You. Sheriff Jones ties the plot together until the final scenes, where he gets eaten by a giant spider.

Dr. Vance and Dr. Langer meet to investigate the comet landing. A bond is formed.

Dan Kester is a scheming piece of trailer trash, whose wife, Ev, spends her days drinking heavily. Dan brings home a geode-like object he has found. When cracked open it reveals large uncut diamonds. He does not notice the spiders that emerge and breed larger and larger. Ev, in a drunken stupor tries to get some sleep. A spider crawls on the bed covering. She awakes to find the spider. A much larger one emerges from a bureau drawer she pulls out. She attempts to escape. The house is filled with spider webs. A huge spider eats her.

Dan takes one of the diamonds to a local rock shop. The scheming rock hound tells Dan the diamonds are not real diamonds. He goes to investigate the source of the diamonds and encounters Ev’s underage sister, Terry, coming out of the shower with nothing but a towel. It’s really the only exciting scene in the movie.

Terry brushes him off, and as he drives back to town a giant spider attacks and eats him.

Word of the spider invasion gets around. The town’s people go up in arms. They aim to take on the spiders with fire power. See the comparable scene from Island Claws, about a giant crab invasion. When the spiders invade an amusement park it becomes not so amusing. Everybody runs for his life.

Vance and Langer call in a neutron source to be dropped from a helicopter, but not before the sheriff gets eaten.

Hey! If you don’t recall Barbara Hale as Perry Mason’s legal assistant from the 1050s TV series, then you were born too late.

If you have read this far, then please post a comment saying something like, “I read it.” If you don’t I will post ten more such reviews. You have been advised.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 91 of a series

It’s a new year and time to go to Amazon Prime Video for another Bad Movie of the Week. And I found this and watched it, and it was not such a bad movie, so I’m making it a Wednesday Bad Movie. From 1956 it’s Eyewitness, And that makes it 64 years ago, meaning most of you reading this did not see it when it came out. And neither did I. It’s from England, and Wikipedia has the details.

The plot is easy to summarize, and I will do that. It’s about a woman who witnesses a murder, and the entire plot involves the killer trying to eliminate the eyewitness. To start off we see Lucy coming home to discover her spendthrift husband has purchased a television set on credit. Lucy is outraged, since the household is already up to its knickers in debt.

Lucy storms out of the house and goes to the cinema, and while there she needs to make a phone call. During this side trip she passes by the theater manager’s office and happens on two men robbing the company safe and killing the manager.

Pursued by Wade, the person who did the actual shooting, Lucy is knocked down by a bus and taken to a hospital. Wade is determined to eliminate this witness, over the objections of his partner, the skittish Barney.

Lucy is still alive but unresponsive. She is wheeled into a recovery room. Wade, under a ruse, checks with the hospital and learns Lucy is alive.

And the remainder of the movie revolves around Wade’s efforts, sometimes comical, to eliminate Lucy before she talks. He goes around back and peers through the window. Cantankerous oldster, Mrs. Hudson, spots Wade snooping around a number of times, but each time she summons pretty nurse Penny Marston, Wade has merged back into the shrubbery outside. 

Wade’s murderous adventures take a comical twist when he is forced to hide under Lucy’s bed while nurse Marston comforts her.

This goes on with numerous side adventures. For example, nurse Marston’s fiancée arrives. He is an an American soldier stationed in England, and he tells her he is being posted to Japan in two days. The two plan to get married.

By this time nurse Marston has become such an obstacle to Wade’s scheme he decides to do something about her. Wearing a hospital smock and a mask he sneaks through the hospital corridors and lays a trap for the nurse. He waits inside a supply room and dashes a plate on the floor. When Marston comes to investigate, Wade grabs her and silences her.

Now Wade needs to get Lucy to a quiet place where he can smother her with a pillow. But a little girl named Molly, who shares the same ward with Lucy, notices Wade is wheeling Lucy in the wrong direction. The operating room is that way.

In the meantime Barney has been caught lurking outside and mauled by a guard dog. He is now, himself, a patient in the hospital.

But Marston is found trussed up in the supply closet, and it is for sure there is fowl play afoot. Lucy[s husband arrives, and they discover Lucy is not in her bed. Molly points the way.

Barny discovers Wade’s attempt to smother Lucy, and he uses a length of wire to garrote him in the act.

Rescue arrives. Lucy has survived, Wade is dead, and Barney collapses on the floor. Lucy and her husband embrace. We never do find out how the matter of the television set gets resolved.

And a happy new year to you, too.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 77 of a series

In 1951 Patricia Neal starred in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Three years later she was back with a plot variation called Stranger from Venus., now streaing on Amazon Prime Video. Look for the plot similarities. Wikipedia has the details.

I will only summarize the plot. First we see the view from an alien spacecraft as the pilot scans the English countryside for a place to set it down. A farmer tending his fields looks up in wonder.

About the same time, dark now, a young woman named Susan North drives along a country road. The landing lights from the space craft blind her, and the sound of the rushing craft distract her. She crashes the car.

A stranger walks into a nearby pub. He has no money, but he will work for food and lodging. He has no name, but he knows what people are thinking.

Some people, including Susan’s fiancée, Arthur, arrive, looking for Susan. She was supposed to have been there by now. Then Susan arrives. She has been badly injured, but now her injuries have healed remarkably. They discuss with the stranger regarding who he is, where he came from, and why. He tells them he is from Venus, and he has come to establish a dialog with Earthlings. He can only stay four days, and then he must return, else he will die.

Arthur is a high-ranking government official, and he reports back to his bosses. Meanwhile Susan and the stranger establish a bond. They meet and converse in a peaceful place of Susan’s. It culminates in some touching and kissing.

Meanwhile the English government has decided to subvert the diplomatic mission. It was supposed to be a worldwide confab to address how to forestall future conflict on Earth. Instead, the government will capture the diplomatic ship and keep the aliens’ advanced knowledge for themselves.

But the stranger gets wind of the plot and notifies the mother ship. The ship does not land and leaves without taking the stranger on board. He goes back to Susan’s favorite place, where he dies and disappears.

And that’s the story. It’s the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs all over again.

Not a lot of excitement in this movie: people plotting and scheming. No running gun battles, no passionate sex in the hay loft. There are some issues I would like to point out.

Of course there is the farmer watching the space craft in full daylight, followed by the craft landing at night.

Then, this is England. I see cars driving on the left, but I see Susan’s car with a left-hand drive. In fact, wherever I can catch it, I see drivers getting out on the left side of their cars. ‘Tis a puzzlement.

The stranger tells people he is from Venus. A serious scientists wonders at these people from millions of light years away. Hint: Venus is never more than about 120 million miles from Earth.

You may also have seen Patricia Neal with Gary Cooper in The Fountainhead and with Paul Newman in Hud., for which she earned an Academy Award.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 90 of a series

I saw this when it came out in 1956. It’s The Killing, an early Stanley Kubrick film. All this time I never got it out of my mind, and I checked Amazon Prime Video in past years. Then, there it was, and I watched again and got these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.



The title hints at a major crime score, a killing. The literal meaning ot the word takes on the ultimate significance. Almost everybody involved is going to get killed. We see Johnny, a career criminal and fresh out of the stir after a five-year stretch. Fay has been faithful to him all this time, and Johnny tells her they will never be apart again after the big score he has planned.

The plan begins to unravel almost from the get-go. One of the gang members is George, who mans the $5 window at a horse race track. Johnny is going to rob the track’s cash room after George opens a secure door from inside.

Only George is a wormy little guy who has a gorgeous wife. Sherry is hot-blooded. She is also scheming and treacherous. George is devoted to Sherry, and he will do anything to keep her in line. He promises there will be money beyond belief. Soon. Real soon. Sherry pesters George relentlessly. How? When. George lets slip critical details.

Sherry passes what she knows on to her lover, Val. The downfall of all becomes inevitable.

Members of Johnny’s gang meet to go over the details, but Sherry tracks George to the meeting. When she is detected she gets punched out. Gang members ponder whether to kill Sherry. That’s Sherry lying passed out on the bed. They decide to make it George’s responsibility to keep Sherry in line.

It’s the day of the heist, and the elaborate scheme goes into action. Johnny prepares a heavy piece of artillery, disguised as a box of flowers, for one of the gangsters to slip into the track locker room.

Another gang member is Nikki. His job is to shoot a leading horse in the seventh race, causing a distraction. But when he arrives at the planned parking area, it is closed. He cajoles the parking attendant, patronizing him.

But now he has caught the attention of the attendant, who pesters him, threatening to ruin his chance to shoot. Nikki lashes out, calling the guy a “nigger.” The attendant had planned on giving Nikki a horseshoe off a famous mount, but now he throws it on the ground. Nikki makes his shot, but he runs over the horseshoe as he drives off, a nail puncturing one of his tires. The attendant sees what is going on and kills Nikki, the first to die.’

A staged fight in the track bar gets all the money room guards distracted, and ohnny empties the cash into a duffel bag, which he tosses out a window for another gang ember to snatch up.

The gang members gather at their meeting place, all but Johnny, who is running late due to heavy traffic. They think they hear Johnny arriving, but it is Val and his partner. Everybody but George is killed.

As Johnny arrives at the meeting place he sees George, wounded, fleeing before the police arrive. Sherry is packing to fly away with Val when George arrives and shoots her. George dies.

Johnny now has all the money, so he purchases a second-hand suitcase and stuffs as much as he can into it, leaving the remainder on the ground in an out of the way place. He and Fay arrive at the airport for their flight to Boston, and, wouldn’t you know it, there is a lady with a yappy little dog, all set to spoil everything.

As the baggage cart heads out to the plane, the little dog gets loose. The driver swerves, the suitcase bursts open even before it hits the ground. Prop wash generates a cyclone of loose bills. The jig is up.

Johnny and Fay attempt to catch a taxi, but they turn to see to plainclothes cops coming to arrest them.

And I have a few gripes. First, Elisha Cook is cast properly as the wienie little guy. He made a great career playing these parts, See The Maltese Falcon and Shane. But casting Marie Windsor as his wife was a complete broke. We have all been around long enough to know major babes like Windsor do not give guys like George a second look. Kubrick would have been better advised to cast a woman who would, in real life, marry the $% window guy, and still sneak around on him.

Then there is the matter of the expected $2 million haul. Yes, I can believe $2 million would pass through the betting windows on race day, but the money would be going both ways. This is parimutuel betting. Money from the losers goes right back out to pay off the winners. The track does not need to have anywhere near $2 million in the cash room at one time.

Eight years later Kubrick would case Sterling Hayden as the mad wing commander in Dr. Strangelove.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 76 of a series

I’ve been spending a lot of time camped out at home, the result being I’ve been watching a bunch of bad movies. I scrubbed the Amazon Prime Video listings, and there it was. It’s Porky’s from 40 years ago.

This is a classic in bad taste, as you will see. To cut the suspense, Porky’s is a bad-ass red-neck honkytonk out in the Florida Everglades, where you can get all manner of illegal pleasure, but only if refinement is not your style.

So, what makes the plot? It’s the horny high school boys of Angel Beach, next county over. The running theme is the guys want to get laid, and they cook up elaborate and useless schemes.

And you have to wonder why they’re wasting their time. I mean, the campus is rife with hot and available high school girls.

Mind, the setting is 1954, so I can relate to these guys. Only they pull pranks we never imagined in Hood County in the 1950s. Here’s one.

A couple of the guys tell their friends they can fix them up with one hot mamma, and she can take them on all at once. Only they need to get ready and get naked while the pranksters go in first.

And the prank is the pranksters have engaged a “big nigger” (what did I say about lack of taste?). And he is big. When the boys are signaled to go in, not only is the hot mamma there, but in comes her big black husband, who sends the boy running naked back to town.

So the horny dudes figure to get some at Porky’s out in the ‘glades, and they figure for $100 they can get a group rate.

But Porky, who owns the place, tricks them, takes all their money, and dumps them in the swamp.

Meanwhile there is some adult sex going on. A basketball coach has the hots for the girls team coach. The knowing head coach advises him to just go for it. He will find out why she is called “Lassie.”

Events turn, and the two wind up together in the men’s locker room, where the smell of jock straps gets her hormones to raging. She jumps on his bones, and we learn why they call her “Lassie.” She howls like a collie in heat, which agony can be heard all through the gymnasium.

Wait. You have horny teenage boys, and you have teenage girls. You have to have the shower scene. The boys have engineered peep holes into the girls shower, and they get an eyeful.

But one of the boys gets too rambunctious, and he inserts his business into one of the peep holes. The head girls coach comes barging in, and she spots the prominence and grabs hold. The boy ultimately regains control of his business, but not before the coach has had a good enough examination to be able to identify the offending probe.

And here comes the final comedy scene, as the coach insists the boys stand for a short arm inspection. Everybody else is rolling with laughter.

And I’m leaving out the part where the boys get revenge on Porky, undercutting the pilings supporting the honkytonk and pulling it down into the swamp.

It says something about the taste of the American audience that this film has multiple sequels, and it was the fourth highest grossing film of 1982.

And that is all for 2020.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Wednesday Bad Movie

Number 89 of a series

100% sure I saw this in Granbury when it came out in 1958. It’s Cowboy, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It purports to show the real life of cowboys on the western frontier in the 1800s. Only it really does not, as will be explained. From Wikipedia “This film is an adaptation of the Frank Harris semi-autobiographical novel My Reminiscences as a Cowboy.” Either Harris had some odd experiences in cowboy life or the producers of this film took considerable leeway in their interpretation of his book. Here is an abbreviated list of players.

Before getting into the plot, some attention must be given to the title credits. Note the score is by George Duning. I bring this up, because as I watched and listened, it became obvious Duning leaned heavily on Aaron Copland. A number of the musical chords seem to have been borrowed from “Rodeo” and “Billy the Kid.”

The second thing I noticed, even before the credit scrolled up is the title graphics are by Saul Bass. Nobody was ever like him.

Now we are going to see what cowboy life was really like in the 1880s. We see Frank Harris as the desk clerk in a swank Chicago hotel. A vaquero from the cattle trail strides in and announces that Mr. Reece is coming. Harris is nonplussed, but his boss is fully prepared. He orders Mr. Reece’s rooms be prepared and his city clothes be brought out of storage and cleaned and pressed. Mr. Reece is a very important customer.

Bad news. The very lovely Maria Vidal and her father are staying in the rooms that must now be vacated for the important Mr. Reece. The problem is Harris has the hots for Maria, and the attraction is mutual. Nonetheless, Sr. Vidal prepares to vacate and return to Mexico, feeling the need to break up his daughter’s romance.

Then the cowboys from the trail stride in. And what a scene they make. If you know real cowboys you see the mistake right away. These cowboys did not just arrive from the trail. They just arrived on the cattle train from Wichita. So why are they wearing chaps? You don’t wear chaps in town. Chaps are for riding through the bramble out on the trail. They keep your legs from being torn to shreds by thorny things.

It turns out Reece and Sr. Vidal are old friends. They do business. Vidal raises cattle in Mexico, and Reece will soon be heading that way to make a significant purchase..

Now Maria is gone back to Mexico, and Harris has the burning need to get down there. He pleads to hire onto the trail drive, but Reece has no interest in taking a city slicker along on a drive. As they debate, Reece entertains by shooting cockroaches with his trusty six gun.

But after a night at the opera and some heavy poker playing, Reece has dumped his excess cash, and he needs to get back on the trail. In the depths of his loses at the table Reece has taken an offer by Harris to float Reece a stake in exchange for a partnership in the business.

Using the stake from Harris, Reece wins back most of his losses, and wants out of the deal. But Harris will not take the money back. A deal is a deal, and honor is at stake.

We next see the scene back at the Wichita rail head. The way it appears to work is Reece has a steady crew, which travels with the herd to Chicago. The others are on a pickup basis collected in Wichita.

Yeah, life on the trail is not as Harris had imagined. Early in the drive to Guadalupe some cowboys play a prank with a friendly rattlesnake. The snake bites a poke, who dies before sunup and is buried out on the prairie.

They get to Guadalupe, and Maria is now Sra. Arriega. Her father wasted no time getting her married off to a local nobility.

There are festivities. It’s a game called “ring the bull’s horn,” and it involves riding into a pen full of horned cattle and dropping a ring on the horn of a fighting bull. Sr. Arriega accomplishes this, his horse suffering being gored by the cattle and the bull. Reece, not wanting to sacrifice his horse, accomplishes the task on foot.

Now they have a herd of cattle, and they head back to the Wichita rail head. Along the way they encounter an Indian hunting party figuring to score come of the cattle. This enterprise devolves into a shooting war, with the Indians suffering all the loses.

Reece’s friend, a former marshal, quits in Wichita and goes to visit an old friend. The reunion ends badly, and the ex-marshal kills his friend in a gunfight. He then hangs himself. Harris’s callous reaction does not sit well with Reece and the others.

Things even up between Reece and Harris on the train ride to Chicago, as Harris enters a cattle car to rescue some fallen cattle. Reece jumps in and saves Harris’s life.

And the big conclusion. Reece strides into the hotel with Harris beside him, now a full-fledged cowboy.

Besides the business with the chaps, the plot suffers additional challenges.

Harris gets applause for rescuing a wayward calf. Absolutely not. These are beef cattle. You do not start a drive with a calf tagging along. And no calves are born on the drive. You do not set off to Wichita with a pregnant cow.

If you know anything about real cowboys of the time, then you know something like 40% of them were black. I did not spot a single black face in the entire movie.

The business with the Indians is also suspect. The hunting party would have been satisfied with a few cattle, then they would be gone, allowing Reece to proceed on to Wichita with a few lost cattle and no running gun battle with the Indians. My understanding is that is the way these matters were usually resolved. Nobody gets killed.

Why did Sr. Vidal take his young daughter with him on a business trip to Chicago? When you figure that one out, please let me know.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Bad Movie of the Week

Number 75 of a series

This one has some history, and I will dispense with that first.

I knew Dan from my days in Austin 50+ years ago, and a few years back we hooked up on Facebook. Dan has some peculiar ideas, as posted previously. He has a number of like-minded Facebook friends, and one of them is Cody, apparently somewhere in upstate New York. Cody has similar views as Dan. Both are big on conspiracy theories.

Further explanation—something’s happening here, and what it is isn’t exactly clear. It needs to be explained. Explain it by proposing there is a conspiracy. People unknown are working together to cause what’s happening here. When you attempt reasoning, for example by mentioning there is no evidence of the people working to conspire, then the conspiracy theorist will assure you this is further proof of the conspiracy. If there is no conspiracy, then the people doing this would not need to hide their activities.

Now there is the Kecksburg UFO incident. Kecksburg is a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania, and on 9 December 1965 a large fireball, possibly a meteor, was seen over Detroit, Michigan. Follow the link and read all about it. Sum total: no alien spacecraft landed near Kecksburg. And get out a map. It’s about 325 road miles from Detroit to Kecksburg, but the road has to go around Lake Erie, so the straight line distance is somewhat less. Anyhow, people saw the meteor over Detroit, and they did not see it in Kecksburg.

But an object was purportedly found in the woods outside Kecksburg, and that has given life to the Kecksburg UFO incident.

So it turns out Cody is an indie movie director/producer, and he was going to make a movie based on the Kecksburg UFO incident. My first reaction on Facebook was something like, “This is a joke, right?” I was immediately shot down by Dan and his friends, so I kept quiet and tracked production of the movie, following the dialog on Facebook.

And it’s finished, and it was released last year, and it is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It’s named Kecksburg for obvious reasons. Wikipedia does not have an entry, but from IMDb thee is a cast of characters.

  • Scot Cooper…John Murphy
  • Szonja Oroszlán…Roza Zelienski
  • Scott Levy…Stan Zelienski
  • Remington Moses…Anne LeMaster
  • Maria Olsen…Dr. Hildegard MuellerRichard
  • John Walters…Lyndon Baines Johnson
  • Gary Lee Vincent…Jennings Randolph
  • Emily Lapisardi…Lady Bird Johnson
  • JoAnn F. Peterson…Erma Byrd (as Joann Heavner Peterson)
  • Cody Knotts…Racist Soldier

And it is terrible. It’s most like the worst movie I will review on this site. Here is a bare bones synopsis.

Title credits feature a woman speaking into a mouthpiece. She tells of sightings that the government needs to cover up.

We see a government man driving with a young woman near “Cheyenne Mountain, CO, Alien Incursion Site #1072, December 9, 1965.” As the woman drives, the two talk. Why does she live way out here? She likes the beauty and majesty of the place.

They stop at the place where the woman made the sighting. The agent shoots the alien and then the woman. He is cleaning up the site.

We see President Lyndon Johnson conferring with Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Johnson is doing what he did best, he is strong-arming the senator. But a message is handed in. Johnson needs to make a critical decision. His instructions are to confine the incident and terminate all witnesses. He intervenes multiple times during the movie.

In Pennsylvania (presumably Kecksburg), small town radio reporter John Murphy spins platters and does an occasional news flash.

It is late in the day and Roza Zelienski is kissing her fireman husband, Stan, off to work.

There is a flash in the sky, and some kids wander onto the site to check it out.

Stan and his partner drive to the site.

Government troops and men in black show up, and there is some shooting. They kill one of the kids and capture another. The third gets away. Roza phones Murphy, and he comes by her house. She goes with him to the site.  The troops and agents round up the firemen and Roza and Murphy and prepare to kill them. Murphy threatens he has a tape of the conversation, and he leverages it to get everybody released.

But Murphy has no such recording, and the government agent visits the radio studio and uses a paper trimmer to cut off a finger of a woman working there.

The agent leaves, and Murphy continues his attempts to get the story out. He is assassinated.

And that’s the movie.

To be true, the best dramatic portrayal is by the young woman murdered in the opening scene. To bad, because if they had kept her character on the film could have had some life. Also, the parting of Roza and Stan has some human interest.

As it is, not much is wasted on dialog. One might have hoped for sequences such as the following:

I lost it. Where did it land?

It was over there.

No, can’t be there. The farmer said it disappeared behind the ridge. It has to be here. Turn right.

I mean, that’s somewhat close to real life, and if a movie is to show some life it needs to have people talking like people talk. Here is what we get instead.

Stan: Maybe a  meteor, or maybe…

Partner: Then what? What what?

Stan: I couldn’t say.

Partner: I gotta know. I can take it.

To lighten things up the government agent is presented as a smug, smirky killer, whose speaking parts include (my summation) “Well, I guess we need to kill them all (chuckle chuckle).”

After I watched the movie I had a Facebook dialog with Cody. It went like thisl

John Blanton
Cody Knotts
, on a one-to-one matter…
I watched the Kecksburg movie on Amazon, and now I am wondering. Please respond.
1. The basis of the plot is the landing of an extraterrestrial spacecraft in Pennsylvania in 1965. Do you believe this happened?
2. The greater part of the plot is a ruthless government killing people to conceal the event. Is this imaginary, or do you believe the government acts in this manner?
Cody Knotts
John Blanton
 1. No idea. Really have no evidence to either side. 2. Yes. Violence is necessary for government in many cases. I have friends that had business partners killed. I have spoken to people days before they allegedly committed suicide. Its naive ti think that people will not kill for power.

I am not suggesting you watch the entire movie, but you might consider watching a few scenes and let me know. Is this the worst thing you have ever seen being passed off as a movie?

Cody Knotts is also responsible for Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies. Check it out.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments