Thursday, March 7, 2013

I Could Have Written That: Part 2

5. "Crocodile Rock" "Bennie & The Jets"
Now I'm quite sure Elton John is a gifted songwriter, and I am willing to give credit to great talents, even if their material doesn't appeal to me. Prince, Slayer, and Muse all fit into the category of critically acclaimed and very talented artists that make me want to slam my head into a wall.  I have liked much of Reginald Dwight's material over they years, but the whining, grating choruses of these two songs make me bray them mockingly in a screeching tone at the unfair blood-soaked skies of the heavens above in exasperation and rage whenever I hear them. Not so much out of annoyance, but out of anger at the fact that these two tornado warnings of songs got not only recorded, but became hits.

4. "Who Let The Dogs Out?"
 Really?  This was popular?  And it became part of the lexicon. I don't even want to know why....

3. "The Harlem Shake"
This current craze is beyond annoying. It's stupefying.  It's not just the song, it's the abberant spasms it apparently causes it fans to break into. Including world-renowned basketball star Lebron James seen below. My youngest son and I were looking at this on a television at a local Pizza joint, both of us perplexed...."Is that guy dressed as Mario, Rob?", he asked quizzically...

"Yes, C.". I responded.  "Yes, he is...."

because I had nothing else to say....

Many songs, including the affore-mentioned "Gangnam Style" and "Cupid Shuffle", as irritating and unacceptable as they are, had some sort of an attempt at a dance....this just looks like a standing, lucid Donald Sutherland at the end of 1978's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", it just gives me the willies.  Or the Jeebs. Take your pick.

here it is.

 May God have mercy on our souls.

The last two are coming soon. I'm too exasperated by this at the moment, to finish.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The 70's: Sick Was Better Than "The Cure"

Nowadays, some kids embrace being ill. A chance to lie in bed, sleep late, hang out on the couch in front of Disney XD, or XL or XFL or whatever.... so many options with all the electronic handheld gizmos available. I'm not saying kids didn't pull that crap in my day.

 Most of us are familiar with Ferris Bueller's "cold and clammy hands", Elliot from E.T.'s "thermometer in the lightbulb" trick, or you could just plain make it sound like you were congested, which worked best if you had a hyper-sensitive, or overly fearful mom. You had to be careful what you wished for, however. My own kids complain about the taste of OTC meds and cough syrups....and my wife and I try to tell them:

"You have no idea."

 Does anyone remember the toxic sludges and gritty concoctions and snake oils of our youth?:

 Now I do remember this stuff having a D tacked onto the end of it's if that gave it a military grade toughness that promised to kick your cold's ass, or maybe it was just "next level" Formula 44, for those heightened circumstances maybe you had Ebola or something...

or just felt like whining like the insipid, crying whelp in this video, oddly an adult...

 Vicks Formula 44D....for the oncoming apocalyptic supercold...Stay Ready. Contact the CDC.

Really? A gum, Mom? For my sore throat!!  Wow! It's Orange, too?  Great Lucifer's knee-pads!

Oh, God, it was awful.... and it did abso-freakin' lutely nothing for your throat...
Not one iota...
I swear that even those false-prophet, nothing but candy, Smith Brothers cough drops did more for that scratchy windpipe, if only by making you smile because they tasted so damn good. Aspergum were disgusting, not even remotely tasty enough to give you a placebo effect...Can't believe this trash made it past the testing phase....

I don't know what flavor these children's aspirin were, some quasi-orange, maybe?

....oh, right, that's it,..."BAD", they were "BAD flavored".

... and as if the taste wasn't enough, they kicked up a funky dust in your mouth that blew down your throat and gave you a strange powdered sugar cough (just in case your other symptoms were lonely, and you hadn't developed a cough yet, St. Joe's or Bayer children was there for you.), and once again, relieved no symptoms. I don't think it even lowered a fever....

Wow. The varied flavors were all bad in Sucrets. Horrible.
So you have to sell it somehow. You can almost hear some mad scientist marketing exec throwing the ideas out there: "If we put them in a tin, kids will think they're cool and can carry them around. Mom's will want them to put buttons and pins and shit in. Plus, if we individually wrap this crap, it gives it an air of class. Like Twinkies or Hot Pockets."

Too bad nobody thought to put something of medicinal value in there.

So, my point is OTC meds have advanced exponentially since I was a kid. There's Theraflu, NyQuil, Mucinex....and while not outright cures, the products do greatly relieve the symptoms. And the taste of today's items, while not gourmet finger sandwiches, is infinitely better than the stuff back in the day of "Super Friends", Underoos, and Colorforms.

 I would have rather gone to school than take that crap.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Go Back To Vinyl. Jack Says So.

Below is a video from the man himself, Jack White III. Pay attention!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cinenigmas: Peter Hyams

Peter Hyams has been around a long time.  I've been familiar with his name forever.....

Let me preface this by telling you that my thought process has, from youth, been that of a cinephile...names, particularly directors and producers as well as actors are never truly eradicated from my mind.  The same can be said with the monikers of baseball and football players absorbed from hours of game-watching and bubble gum card stacking, as well as music credits inhaled from much platter listening and album liner note reading...

So since childhood, the name of Peter Hyams has been rattling around in my skull due to the pre-cable pay channel (Spectrum was the outfit) viewing of a Sean Connery flick I barely remember called "Outland".  Forgive my memory, I was 9, but the name stuck, if the film didn't. So "Hyams"  always sparked something of an interest from a very young age.

And like Forrest Gump, AC/DC, and boy bands, he never goes away.

He is a director of some talent. He shoots films beautifully, (he's his own director of photography, not many save for Robert Rodriguez can say that) gets solid performances out of actors, tells a story well, and builds great action and suspense scenes....and damn, if he hasn't put together some snappy fight sequences. "TimeCop" and the Hong Kong theatrics of "The Musketeer" are prove positive of that.  (Now, "Sudden Death" has a battle royale in a kitchen between Jean Claude Van Damme and a giant Pittsburgh Penguin with some dead serious John Debney music behind it, that I hope was going for chuckles, because I don't want to associate Peter Hyams with unintentional laughter.)

Now, the reason for all this Peter Hyams related Hem & Haw is that I looked him back up recently after my wife and I were watching a second hand copy of his film "The Relic", which I had no clue he directed.  Damn my eyes.  My lovely inomorata and I enjoyed the hell out of "The Relic", that underrated little sci-fi/horror opus.  Surely, underrated is a word that can be tacked onto Mr. Hyams himself. His films are always better than critics give them credit for. They seem to fit neatly into the category of movies that are often only appreciated a few years after the fact. Now, unfortunate lackluster box office numbers may have something to do with the lack of familiarity of many of his movies, but he has had his share of successes. You don't direct for 30 plus  years in Hollywood if you pile one failure on top of the other.

He's had hits.  "Telefon", "Capricorn One", "2010", "Running Scared", "The Presidio", and "Narrow Margin", working with legends like Bronson, Connery (twice), Billy Crystal, Gene Hackman, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and of course, um, er....James Brolin and Jean Claude Van Damme.

His films look great. They really do, and he surprises, because he can't be genre pinned. He seems as comfortable with sci-fi (TimeCop, 2010, Outland) as he is with action (End of Days, Telefon, The Musketeer, Sudden Death), and even drama (Hanover Street, Narrow Margin, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt). That sets him apart into a class with folks like Rob Reiner, whom I adore,  and John Landis, whom I still can't figure out. You thought I was gonna say Spielberg, didn't you?  Let's not get nuts here.

 As he's approaching his 70th birthday, he's still busy spinning about. Although his second partnering with Michael Douglas, "Reasonable Doubt" failed, he soldiers on. He moonlights as cinematographer on his son John's films, and he has his third pairing with Van Damme coming soon, "Enemies Closer" with Tom Everett Scott and Orlando Jones. Before you ballyhoo that, take a look at Van Damme's recent's not totally embarrassing fare the likes of Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, or (snicker, giggle) Steven Seagal. Unlike those 3, there's respectable material there.

Don't think Peter Hyams done just yet. No, he's never had that mega-box office smash, but his films aren't outright failures either, are memorable, and seem to age well for the most part.  Yes, underrated, as well as eclectic, is probably a good word to use for the New York born man of many tastes, as he's a gifted musician, a painter with works on display, and a former documentarian that has spent time as a CBS news anchor.

With a resume like that, I think the last thing to do is count Peter Hyams out.