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Friday, April 18, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: P is for The Pirate Movie!



1982



All right - I know - it's a really goofy movie - but that's the point! Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance becomes a big hit on Broadway. Movie rights are sought after and secured - a very theatrical looking version went before the movie cameras with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt starring.



Then for some bizarre reason these filmmakers were undaunted and decide to film a spoof version - with parody songs and pop culture gags that were decades ahead of those "______ Movie" flicks that were coming out every couple of months a few years ago. This movie beat The Pirates of Penzance to theaters by about six months. Neither did very well at the box office, though this one had a long second life on HBO and other pay cable services throughout the 80's.


It's got an entertaining cast and was lushly shot in Australia - gorgeous scenery and solid production values make this one of my favorite WTH curio movies.





Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Pirate, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: O is for Operation Kid Brother!



1967



You gotta love the Italians - they do enjoy making their own versions of other people's movies. And you really gotta give it to these filmmakers - they didn't just find some hunky lantern jawed hero type and stick him in a generic James Bond pastiche - no, this bunch went and hired Sean Connery's brother - a non-acting plastic surgeon and archer - and had him play himself. Then they went and hired the Bond Girl from From Russia with Love (Daniela Bianchi); the main villain from Thunderball (Adolfo Celi); and a secondary bad guy from Dr. No (Anthony Dawson).



They weren't done yet either! They also hired M (Bernard Lee) to play Neil Connery's spy boss and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) as the spy boss's secretary. Mind: blown! I guess what really surprises me is that the 007 producers just let this go on - with apparently no problem whatsoever.



I'd always heard and believed that this was just terrible - but I finally saw it a few months ago - and you know what? While it's true Neil Connery was no actor - the movie is actually an entertaining Bond knockoff - with outlandish but respectable production values and tongue enough in cheek to make it fun.



It was on Amazon Streaming in a nice widescreen version and might still be if you'd like to check it out.







Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: N is for Never Too Young to Die!



1986


Yeah, it's a video poster - but those count too! Here's a goofy 80's James Bond takeoff that at least had the good idea to actually hire a former James Bond - George Lazenby - to seal the 007 deal. Plus you have Vanity, Gene Simmons, and Robert Englund.  And, aw, what the heck - you got John Stamos too. And his hair. And a crazed hermaphrodite villain.  If you're not thinking "I need to see this right away...." then you should be!




Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: M is for Mad Monster Party?



1967



Rankin/Bass Productions made some of the most beloved holiday TV specials from my youth. Stuff like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. But they also made feature films - and this is one of my favorites of their productions.


Our favorite classic monsters brought to life with stop motion animated puppets - it's a great way to introduce youngsters to the monsters! You know you're in for a good time with the voices of Boris Karloff and Phyllis Diller!





Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Puppet, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: L is for The Last Starfighter!






I purchased the novelization of this movie long before I saw it - in fact, I missed it at the theater for whatever reason and only caught up with it on home video. I really don't know why that was, because I'd read the book and thought the story - boy plays video game, little knowing it's really an audition for a real space war - was wonderful.



I thoroughly enjoyed the movie too - Lance Guest and Catherine Mary Stewart are the youngins; Dan O'Herlihy and Robert Preston are the old pros, and it's a terrific little flick. There are some really cool behind the scenes factoids too: director Nick Castle played Michael Myers (The Shape) in Halloween (1978); and this movie is the first to do all of its space visual effects with computer animation! (Yes, they're slightly primitive - but better than you'd expect from thirty years ago!)



Yes, this is the preview, or teaser, poster - but I actually like it better than the release poster - plus, this was what the cover to the novelization looked like - and it was truly eyecatching.




Until next post-er, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: K is for Kiss Me Deadly!


1955



Although there have been other Mike Hammers in the movies and on TV - I think Ralph Meeker might have been the best of them all. He's tough, mean, and nasty - just like Mickey Spillane wrote him.



This is a terrific 50's film noir with Hammer drawn into the case when a female hitchhiker he picks up gets dead - and it's a particularly gruesome death too. (And look! It's a young Cloris Leachman!)  After that Hammer's on the job - fist fighting, gun fighting, throwing people down stairs, the works.




The McGuffin everyone is after is mysterious - and very lethal. The movie comes down to one of the craziest climaxes ever put to film - and that's saying something!







Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A-Z Challenge 2014: J is for Johnny Dangerously!



1984



After his successes in Night Shift and Mr. Mom, Michael Keaton made this comedy spoofing the gangster flicks of the 30's and 40's. Despite a credible cast, the movie's wild humor didn't really catch on in theaters, though it seemed to work better on cable TV where it played constantly in the mid-80's.


If you like those old movies though - you'll find a lot to laugh at here.






Until next post - you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!