Movie A Day!: Decline of Baby Strange

The heatwave has locked in and I’m coming down with a summer cold. Cursed! Here’s what I watched last week. Nearly done with the documentary/bio-pics and I had a rare outing to a first run movie!!


201 07/03 Sea Dog’s Tale (1926) 3/5 Billy Bevan takes the lead in this one as a Englishman who gets hoodwinked to a island to marry a native girl. It’s got some fun bits if you can get past the racial stereotypes and black face.

202 07/03 Hoboken To Hollywood (1926) 3.5/5 Billy Bevan’s gets has to pack up the family and move cross country to LA on a job transfer and gets into all types of shenanigans. Lots of good bits, this one works really well and sees Billy play a bit of a prick that separates him from most of the other comedians of the time.


203 07/03 The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) 4/5   Thanks to Shout Factory I was finally able to get my mits on this one. Since it was impossible to find in my neck of the woods. It was worth the wait. A fascinating look at the LA punk scene and featuring a pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag and The Germs which features future Foo Fighter Pat Smear. Some bands come off more sincere than others but almost all of them are kids so it’s hard to tell really. At any rate, it’s a crucial document.


204 07/03 The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years (1988) 4/5   This one is the polar opposite of the first one. All the punk attitude is gone and everything is sex, drugs and Rock ‘N’ Roll. The old guard like Aerosmith, Lemmy, and Alice Cooper seem to shoot pretty straight while the new bands like Faster Pussycat come off as complete imbeciles. When this one came it, it was pretty hot stuff as I was into the scene. Watching it now, it’s hilariously bone-headed and the sincere explanations for the glam make up is cringe-worthy. Another must see documentary.


205 07/04 Baby Driver (2017) 4/5   The best of the (I think) two action musicals I have seen.  It completely delivers on the premise of a wheel-man fueled by tunes. Everyone in it is pitch perfect and despite a rather contrived ending the film is such a joy I can forgive it. Edgar Wright just simply knows how to make great movies and this one is no different.


206 07/05 The Great McGinty (1940) 3.5/5   A hobo gets swept up into politics thanks to a gangster’s scheme to throw city and state bucks into real estate. SOUND FAMILIAR?!?!? This one from Preston Sturges has some biting commentary on politics and great performances but didn’t reach the heights of his other work for me.


207 07/06 The Lost Weekend (1945) 3.5/5   Billy Wilder takes a hard look at alcoholism in this one with Ray Milland starring as a writer whose life is ruined by the booze. It plays like a film noir except drink is the dame that brings ruin to the main character. It’s good, but even at the worst depths Milland seems to mostly have a handle on things due to his natural charm, despite going all out.


208 07/07 Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’ (2013) 4/5   A fantastic documentary on Hendrix that covers all the bases as well as showing tons of clips of him performing. Not much else to say, if you’re interested in Hendrix, this is the one for you.


209 07/07 The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998) 4/5   Spheeris is back, 10 years after Part II to reexamine the LA music scene but instead delves into the lives of the Gutterpunks, homeless punk rock kids that basically escaped their abusive homes. It might be the best film of the series. It never judges or tries to manipulate you, it simply depicts their lives and lets them speak for themselves. This series of films is essential stuff.


210 07/08 Doctor Strange (2016) 3/5   Finally got around to watching this one and it’s simply okay. These Marvel films have all settled into their groove so there’s not much to say. Doctor Strange is a prick, gets humbled, finds his true power and quips the whole time like every other Marvel superhero. Some great visuals that were frankly used better in Inception, and some okay fight scenes. Nothing else to say.


211 07/09 Hit So Hard (2011) 4/5   A really great documentary about Hole drummer Patty Schemel who struggled with addiction. They get everyone from the band, including Courtney Love, back to tell her story, and Patty taped everything so there’s tons of great footage of Hole on the road and performing back in the 90’s. Add in a mini-history/commentary on other women drummers through history and it all adds up to being great.

 

When the worst film you have seen is Doctor Strange, it’s not a bad week.

Movie A Day 2017! 20-27: Clever Lemmy

After a year of no exercise, I did one part of my old regime yesterday and now I can hardly walk. Isn’t this stuff supposed to make you feel better? Why is it always misery to work out? I wish I had the bug that sees people looking forward to getting up at 6am to go for a run. I have always found exercise a chore. Even gym class in school was something to endure so you could do something fun like watch a movie or listen to music. I’m going to try to stick with it. I have to improve. Based on the news week we just had the future is going to see us needing to shit in holes and figuring out how to turn furniture into weapons. I’m not ready.

Here’s what I watched last week.


020 01/22 A Clever Dummy (1917) 3/5   Ben Turpin stars in this one as a janitor trying to impress a lady so he pretends to be an experimental mechanical man made for the vaudeville circuit. This one was pretty good, most notable for allowing Turpin to shine in the lead. Turpin portrays a robot brilliantly in this one (more accurately he’s a clockwork man) and it ends with a great chase. Worth checking out since most people are probably like me and mostly know Turpin as an extra in other people’s films, if they know of him at all.


021 01/22 Doug Stanhope: Beer Hall Putsch (2013) 4/5   Stanhope isn’t for everyone, but he is for me. Dark, cynical stand up on here that resonates with some truth when it’s not being silly. If you’re a fan you’ll love it. If not, there are better starting points. (Before Turning The Gun On Himself from 2012 would get my vote.)


01/22 Dr. Mario (1990) NES 2.5/5   Once Tetris became all the rage everyone and their dog started putting out puzzle games to capitalize. This was one of Nintendo’s entries. Dr. Mario chucks pills into a jar of viruses and you have to match up the colours to make them disappear. I suck at it so I’m rating it low. It’s actually a fun and novel challenge, I’m being a miserable prick about it.


022 01/22 Hearts and Flowers (1919) 3/5   Another comedy with Fred Sterling chasing after Louise Fazenda after thinking she’s going to get an inheritance. What sets this one apart is a sequence where Sterling’s jilted girl dresses as a man and goes for Louise herself. A fun play on gender that was a bit surprising.


023 01/23 Gilmore Girls Season 3 (2003) 4/5   Another season of my girls! This one finds Rory stressed with graduation, figuring out college and boy trouble out her ass. Dean and Jess come to a head in a fantastic brawl that sadly did not result in both of their deaths. Lorelai bounced back from Max by dating a coffee shop entrepreneur who might be the limpest dick yet to cross her boyfriend-path. The highlight of the season again goes to Lane and her pursuit of rock stardom and a non-Korean boyfriend under her oppressive mothers regime. This season also hosted one of the finest episodes of the series; They Shoot Gilmores, Don’t They? Which sees Lorelai rope Rory into a endurance dance contest in an attempt to dethrone Kirk as champion. It’s brilliant and like the episode of Dean and Jess’s fight really shows how great the writing on this could be by incorporating 3 plots lines into one show and making them all work. It’s tight stuff and makes it worth watching.


024 01/24 Down on the Farm (1920) 3/5   Ambitious slapstick with the usual formula of a guy pursuing a girl in the hopes of a payoff. Mack Sennett seemed to really love that one. The real joy in this film though is in the farm dog that does some genuinely clever tricks like fill a bucket of feed and then take it to some pigs, and later saves a toddler from falling in a river. If it wasn’t for that dog I would have rated it lower. I really hope they didn’t beat that dog to teach it those tricks.

025 01/26 Don’t Weaken! (1920) 3/5   A newly rich barkeep hosts a boxing match to give a fresh dance teacher the once over. Pretty typical slapstick for the era, this one give Fred Sterling a chance to do some great physical work but aside from that there’s not much elevating this one from the norm.


026 01/28 Marc Maron: Thinky Pain (2013) 4/5   Maron’s podcast is so good that it’s easy to forget how great a stand up comedian he is. This one was great. All of his stand up is great. Deep neurosis on display, I really have to watch his TV series.


027 01/29 Lemmy (2010) 4/5   Documentary on the metal legend does a good job of showing the man behind the myth. I found it kinda sad. Off the road Lemmy comes off as mostly lonely, knocking around LA with not much purpose. Put a bass guitar in his hand and he’s one of the Gods. Worth checking out if you have any interest.

I’m never going to finish the Mack Sennett silent film set I’m going through. It’s taking me a minimum 2 nights to watch a 20 minute film. I watch them when I go to bed. It could be the most exciting film ever, but the pleasant soundtracks on these films put me to sleep. It’s really screwing up my viewings! So expect more next time.