Movie A Day!: Disconnected End Of The Violent Years

Here it is, the last post of 2017. All the films I watched since the last post. It’s a big one. It’s fitting though since I’ve decided to end the blog. My goal was to keep this going for the full year, and I did that. Anyone reading this can tell it’s pretty much been coasting, and that’s my fault. Better to end it than continue. I’m still going to be tracking my movie watching, that can be found on my Letterbox profile found here:

https://letterboxd.com/Ruz_El/

I’m going to attempt to pull back a bit online in 2018, and part of that will be not posting blogs where I can get personal. Anyone who read this blog, thank you from taking time out of your day to spend it here. Hopefully you found something of value or a new favourite.

I wish you all the best.

Disconnected Poster
479 12/17 Disconnected (1984) 3/5   I think this is the first feature by the team behind PSYCHOS IN LOVE, and I enjoyed it more. It’s technically a slasher, but it doesn’t play like one which helps to make it stand out. Worth checking out since it’s such an oddity.

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480 12/17 Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary Special (2017) 4/5   As far as I know Burnett was the only woman to solo host/have a variety show in the late 60’s that ran for 11 years. It was deadly funny, shot live with limited to no retakes and seemed to be as much a contest on which performer could crack the others up first. Amazing to watch the clips now with performers making eye contact and performing their guts out, in comparison with the SNL card reading extravaganza that passes for sketch comedy now. The clips are short, but this one makes it up with lots of remembrances from Burnett herself, who at 84 looks like she’s ready to jump back into the game.

Twenty Questions Poster
481 12/17 Twenty Questions (1988) 3/5   Documentary from Gorman Bechard shot in the 80’s but not released until now is a neat idea. Get twenty different people to answer the same twenty question cards and see the results. It goes on a little long at 60 minutes, but still, a good idea with a simple set-up.

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482 12/22 Liquid Sky (1982) 4/5   One of the more odd 80’s films. A day-glo look at the hip, underground fashion scene with drugs and assault being high on peoples list. And a UFO with an alien that gets high by fatally ingesting orgasms. It’s the type of gorgeous film that you want to just let envelope you, and more dark  than it appears when you think about it. Worth checking out.


483 12/22 The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer Season 1 (2017) 2/5   This history channel series piqued my interest since I’m obsessed with true crime and the Zodiac case is so bonkers. It ended up being goofy as hell, so ridiculous in presentation that even the cracking of part of one of the ciphers was underwhelming. Never mind the stupid super computer taught to think like the zodiac that they kept representing with a matrix-face for the extra stupid to comprehend. They basically ignore all the police work done in the past 50 years to go on wild goose chases that end up with nothing, and the final ep is a massive prick-tease for a season 2 that I’m sure I’ll hate-watch if it comes to fruition.

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484 12/22 Let’s Talk Sex (1983) 3/5   Pretty typical porn for the era, this one visualizing the phone sex fantasies of some mopes calling into a goofy phone sex lines. It’s no classic, and has a horrible dubbed soundtrack, but ends up being better than the usual.

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485 12/23 Festival (1967) 4/5   Before the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock the times they were a changing at the Newport folk Festival. This documentary follows highlights from the 1963-1966 line-ups featuring clips from everyone from Bob Dylan to Mississippi John Hurt. The only complaint is that it’s not 10 hours long with full performances.


86 12/24 Trouble No More (2017) 3/5   A film showcasing live concert footage of Bob Dylan from his Christian years. It’s cut with clips of actor Michael Shannon delivering sermons and frankly none of it works. The live footage is great, but completely without any history or context. A better and more proper documentary of this period should have been made. It’s ridiculous that there’s still no decent concert films of Bob Dylan commercially available.

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487 12/24 Farmer’s Daughters (1976) 3.5/5   Notorious porn roughie noted for starring acclaimed raconteur Spalding Gray, this one lives up to its hype. A trio of daughters assault a farm hand, only to end up on the receiving end of abuse from three escaped convicts. It’s ugly, but compelling at the same time with some editing tricks that defy it’s incompetence.

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488 12/25 Wonder Woman (2017) 4/5   In a world where all the superhero films seem to blur together, and it’s generally regarded that the DC universe post-Christopher Nolan Batman are basically terrible. So it’s nice that this one is so damn good. Gadot is fantastic as in the lead, both genuine and powerful in her depiction, the rest of the cast rises to the occasion with Chris Pine finally being appealing in a role. It’s never dips into cheesecake and I found myself getting teary eyed since it’s so rare to see women in action movies depicted like this. It’s great, I hope the director gets to do more.

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489 12/26 War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017) 4/5   Back in the 80’s, I had a ratty VHS tape in which I had the films “Bridge on the River Kwai” and “Apocalypse Now” and I watched it to death. Sometimes once a week. Never would I imagine that the Apes series would distill these two films into one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Emotional, amazing action and never once did I suspect that the apes weren’t real. It’s a remarkable achievement in a series that has been way better than it had any reason to be.

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490 12/27 Donnie Darko (theatrical cut) 4/5   Second time watching this version and it finally clicked for me. Lots has been written, I have nothing to add. It’s good.

491 12/27 Deus ex Machina: The Philosophy of Donnie Darko (2016) 3.5/5   A very well done making of documentary, mainly due to dealing with the people in the production as opposed to the actors.

Hail, Caesar! Poster
492 12/27 Hail, Caesar! (2016) 3.5/5   The Coen brothers take a look at the golden age of Hollywood. It’s a little bit of a mess, with kidnapping communists and what not, but I loved it. I have a soft spot for old Hollywood and this one really nails the period.

L'ambizioso Poster
493 12/28 The Climber (1975) 2.5/5   “Little Joe” Dallesandro stars in this Italian crime film about an American in Naples trying to find his way in the organized crime scene. It works, but adds up to nothing all that special since it pretty much stiks to genre conventions. Everything in this will be done better in dePalma’s SCARFACE.

Gimme Danger Poster
494 12/29 Gimme Danger (2016) 4/5   As perfect a documentary on Iggy & The Stooges you could hope for. As far as I can tell, every frame of film of the band in its prime is in here, though sadly none with sync-sound. At any rate, the only better telling of this story is the book Total Chaos. A must see, go buy the records.

Baltimore Rising Poster
495 12/29 Baltimore Rising (2017) 3/5   Documentary on the resistance movement in Baltimore in the wake of the Freddie Gray killing. Spends a little too much time with certain people as opposed to telling the whole story, so it’s a little hit a miss. Lays the ground for a better “Black Lives Matter” type documentary in the future.

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496 12/31 Star Trek Season 3 (1969) 4/5   After literally years, I finally knuckled down and finished watching the original series. Generally considered a step down due to budget cuts, it’s still a damn fine season and I find the cheapness adds to the surreal, alien planets. Some good ideas are explored, and one of my favourite episodes – “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”. Next year I may dive into the animated series.

The Violent Years Poster
497 12/31 The Violent Years (1956) 4/5   Of all the films to watch to send off the year I had to watch this one. As far as juvenile delinquent scare films go, you can do better. This one is known due to the Ed Wood Jr. script connection, but I have to admit, it’s a lot of fun. A good girl is running a girl gang, knocking off gas stations, raping guys, and getting tricked by communists?!?!? It’s goofy, but I’ve always enjoyed it since stumbling upon it in the VHS days. The new Blu-ray scan from AGFA is great and worth your time.

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Movie a Day! : 144-153 – The End of June

Right, I’m keeping this intro brief. I watched more movies, let’s look at them and wrap up June!

144 06-24 I Love Lucy Season 2 (1952) 4/5
More of the same classic comedy as the first season. The writing and performances remain top notch and my concern of introducing a baby to the family so far hasn’t had a negative effect. (Introducing kids to shows always has a negative effect.)

145 06-25 Bob Dylan – The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (1993) 4/5
This one was recently released on blu-ray with everything looking and sounding great. I remember getting the pay per-view of this one back in ‘93. There are some differences, they cut George Thorogood’s performance of “Wanted Man” to the dismay of no one. I’m wondering if it was a rights issue? Anyway, what’s here is great so I guess my only complaint would be that it’s not truly “complete.” It is kind of sad seeing so many of the performers featured, like Lou Reed and George Harrison (in his last live performance I believe) who have now passed away. At any rate, the performances and songs more than hold up.

146 06-26 Double Agent 73 (1974) 2/5
This is the second film that Chesty Morgan made with Doris Wishman, and it’s just as shit as the first one. This one’s plot is, Chesty is an undercover agent who has a camera surgically implanted in her massive tits so as to gather evidence to crack a heroin ring. This of course gives her the excuse to flop her horrendous tits out in regular intervals. It’s as unpleasant as the first film, but so ridiculous and ballsy in it’s stupidity that you can’t help but watch it. These two films are certainly cult classics.

147 06-26 The Immoral Three 3/5
This one is the last film in the Chesty Morgan set from Something Weird. This one again follows Agent 73, thankfully replaced by another actress. She’s killed, so it’s up to her three daughters to avenge her death and collect her three million dollar inheritance. This one is the best film in the set, partly due to having people on screen who you actually want to watch instead of the skin diseased-like horrors of the Chesty freak shows. This one is more softcore as well, with a banana being eaten in a way that no banana deserves to be. It’s a bit “Charlie’s Angels” in a fun, exploitation way as well, though don’t expect much in plot or presentation since regardless of how many films Wishman made, she never seemed to improve.

148 06-26 A Gift (1970) 3/5
This is another short film by Wakefield Poole. Shot in the same Fire Island locations that “Boys in the Sand” would be shot, it also features some hardcore shots mixed with some of the editing tricks found in “Andy”. It makes for a nice little art film. That said, the commentary that is included that tells the story behind it is heartbreaking-ly wonderful.

149 06-28 Head Film (1969) 2/5
This one is an experimental short film by Wakefield Poole that is kind of neat but pretty forgettable in the end. It’s clearly him playing with the camera, filming his boyfriend around the house.

150 06-28 Vittorio (1971) 3/5
This is the final short film by Wakefield Poole on the “Boys in the Sand” DVD and is a cut-up animation that played during a gallery show by Canadian poster artist Vittorio Fiorucci. It was kind of neat for what it is. Now that I’ve watched all the shorts, I guess I have to watch the feature porno.

151 06-29 Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013) 3.5/5
I don’t know what it is, but when the directors name is part of the title, I instantly have no desire to see the movie. See every film made by Tyler Perry as examples of movies I have no desire to see that has the directors name in the tite. This is the second film I’ve seen by Daniels. I was not a fan of “Precious”, a film so incredibly over the top in depicting the horribly abused life story of the title character that it was unintentionally hilarious. Anyway, I knew this was a film that mum would like to watch since Oprah is in it and the disc was cheap so I gave it a shot. It’s pretty good, and it’s entirely due to the performances of Oprah and Forest Whitaker. Plot wise, it’s a bit too convenient and over the top in depicting the real life tragedies of the Civil Rights movement that it almost flirts with the “Precious” level of ridiculous, but holds off just enough. I’m guessing Daniels just can’t help himself with trying way too hard to manipulate audiences emotions that he can’t just let the material speak for itself.

152 06-30 Philomena (2013) 4/5
I typically don’t seek out Judi Dench films (I’m racist), but when Stephen Frears or Steve Coogan are involved I’ll check it out. This one was wonderful. The plot, a woman seeks the son that was put up for adoption 50 years prior, sounds like the Lifetime networks movie of the week. The performances help to elevate the material and it’s quite a wonderful journey of discovery to be on that ends up not falling for many of the tropes these types of films tend to fall into. It’s well worth checking out.

153 06-30 Boys in the Sand (1971) 3/5
This one is considered the first mainstream, hardcore gay porn film. Directed by Wakefield Poole, it plays a lot like his other feature that I’ve seen, “Bible!”, except with hardcore. This one is basically a series of three vignettes, each dealing with a fantasy element as star Casey Donovan dreams up guys to fuck. It really is more of an art film. Like “Bible!”, there is no spoken dialog, just music so it plays like a porno “Fantasia.” It’s shot in a natural, documentary style, so there’s no harsh lighting or massive close-ups like in most porno, the scenes play out in a sort of dreamscape with sharp editing. Anyway, it’s not a bad film at all, but I doubt I’ll re-watch it much aside from listening to the commentary track. Vinegar Syndrome did their typical great job on this one. And 13 year old me from the 80’s would be shocked to know that 40 year old me could watch, much less own a gay porn and not have a dick in his mouth immediately after viewing. It’s funny how things change, having lived through the homophobia of the 80’s AIDS period.

Right, that’s it for the movies of June. Considering the traumatic events of the month, I watched a bunch. Let’s look at the numbers!

24 Watched, 23 First Timers0 In Theaters

Woof, 24 movies in the month. I think that’s the worst. Let me look. Nope, not the worst month this year. Let’s see how it compared to this time last year, here’s June 2013:

55 Watched, 52 First Timers1 In Theater

So another month where I’m down in my viewing. Though 55 movies last June? What the fuck? One of them was “Cleopatra” which is 4 hours long. I was either amazing or horrible last year. Let’s not judge.

It’s mid-year too. I’m currently at 153 films, compared to 233 films at this time in 2013. I don’t think it’s possible for me to beat last year. Scary Movie October is coming up though, where I abandon all hope and binge watch as many movies as possible, much to the detriment of my mental health. So we’ll see what happens.

I don’t know what to expect in the months to come.

The End