Interstellar does not look stellar to me.

by meanlouise on October 9, 2014

in movies, true life 2014

We saw a lot of movies in the theater this summer. An unusually high number (for us).

I quickly reached the point where I could only endure the trailer for Interstellar by imagining all of the characters who go into space (for no apparent reason) eventually crash land on a planet of apes.

If I see the trailer too many more times I may have a psychotic break, because there’s something about it that irritates me. A lot. I don’t know what the movie is about. I don’t care.

Husband’s plot summary is good enough for me. Granted, it’s also based on seeing the same trailer too many times. Everyone’s a critic these days.

According to Husband, the plot of Interstellar is this: “Matthew McConaughey loves his children but he hates wheat. He probably loved baseball, but not as much as he loves his old truck and his children. People play too much baseball which results in all of the old trucks in the world being covered with dust. This endangers humanity, and possibly the wheat, so Alfred must send Catwoman and Matthew McConaughey into space. McConaughey is sad to leave his children. How sad? Really fucking sad. But he’s got to go, because we need a new planet to play baseball on. But he’s really really sad anyway.”

Here – in case you’ve managed to miss it:

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Escape from the Planet of the Apes
image: Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

We spent Christmas quality family time with the 5 original Planet of the Apes movies. (Seven months later, I found this post in my drafts folder).

You’d think we’d have these movies memorized by now, but when you’re dealing with such a sprawling franchise things get a bit hazy, even for Highly Trained Professionals such as ourselves.

After all, we’re not dealing with a mere trilogy. The first film, Planet of the Apes (1968), was adapted from a French novel, Pierre Boulle’s La Planete des Singes (1963) and was followed by 4 sequels in 4 years: Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973).

Plus, there were 2 TV series (1 live-action and 1 animated), 1 execrable reboot (2001), 2 prequels – (Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – and a whole bunch of comic books.

Plus, there’s time travel. Time travel that contradicts the time line established in the narrative – a narrative that’s already a bit nonsensical to begin with, to boot.

The 3rd film, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, may be a terrible movie, but it’s also terribly entertaining. And it’s got Ricardo Montalban and Eric Braeden giving the scenery a pretty thorough chew, so there’s that.

There’s a delightfully nutty scene in which Presidential Science Advisor Dr. Otto Hasslein (Braeden) goes on the nightly news and explains time travel. I couldn’t find the full scene on youtube, but I did find a remix called “A Lesson in Regression” that does it justice:

You really should watch Escape from the Planet of the Apes, if only to be thankful that the new prequels forego time travel in favor of something slightly more science-y and slightly less what-the-fuck-y.

Still the old films have something the new ones never will: 70s fashion. And, of course, Ricardo Montalban.


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Jaws 3D

by meanlouise on July 9, 2014

in movies, pop culture

jaws-3d-image

Orlando Weekly: “They deleted the subplot where Dennis Quaid searches for an antiperspirant that works.”

I hate myself for wanting to drag the the Jungle Pete family to Sea World next week because Blackfish was deeply disturbing. Plus,The tickets to the park are shockingly expensive. At the same time, we just watched Jaws 3 as part of a 4th of July marathon and now I feel like we HAVE to go.

Still…Jaws 3D. The movie where Orlando is RIGHT ON the ocean. The movie that sucked so bad that entirely different actors were cast as the Brody sons in the next movie. And their professions were changed so we could 3 never happened. That movie that makes Jaws 3 seem like ART because it really ups the ante on its badness but acknowledges that we’re all in this together so we might as well bring Michael Caine along for the ride.

Don’t worry, in a few days I’ll have lost all interest in going to Sea World.

I hope.

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Bermuda Tentacles

by meanlouise on June 18, 2014

in horror & scifi, television

Like all battleships that venture into the Bermuda triangle looking for the President of the United States, the heroes of Bermuda Tentacles have a worm scientist on board. This is useful when the convoy of ships are beset by giant worms reaching out of the water to menace them.

I’m making it sound an awful lot better than it is.

Admiral Linda Hamilton asks Dr. Worm Science Guy Played by Jamie Kennedy: “Do they seem hostile?”

He replies: “I don’t know…they’re worms. (dramatic pause) They do seem angry.”

Huh.

In addition to the questions I was forming about that scientific assessment of the situation, I wondered why a movie called Bermuda Tentacles would be about worms.

Later, I sort of got my answer, but by that point I was of the opinion: “Worms. Tentacles. Who the hell cares?”

Linda Hamilton makes a commanding Admiral, but each of her scenes ended with her looking like she was going to angrily turn her agent into a chew toy as soon as the camera stopped rolling. And well she should, this movie was more crap than craptacular.

Bermuda Tentacles

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Godzilla Countdown

by meanlouise on May 14, 2014

in horror & scifi, movies

kingkongvgodzilla

I recently finished a draft of an article about Pacific Rim (2013) that required re-watching both Gojira (1954) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956).

Criterion remastered both movies and put them together as a BluRay set (also available on some streaming services). It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Gojira, I was surprised how much I’d forgotten. This is probably because I’ve seen Godzilla so many times it’s pretty much over-written the other movie in my brain.

It’s fascinating to watch them back to back. Both are melodramatic and slightly nonsensical, but Gojira is quite artistic, while Godzilla is generally just silly and over-wrought.

More than 1/3 of the original movie was cut to make room for the insertion of new scenes featuring American actors, and, to be fair, it’s impressive how well Godzilla works. It’s also interesting to see how much of the story was changed, re-arranged, or simply obscured through the omission of the original dialogue.

AFI screened Gojira a few weeks ago, but I was working on my paper and didn’t have time to go. I know, I know…

Here are Criterion’s 3 Reasons to Watch Gojira:

After you watch those two movies, you’ll be ready to move on to Godzilla Raids Again (1955), which is a delightfully insane piece of movie-making. I’m certain the original movie must be insane, but it’s the epic amount of narration added to the American version that truly elevates this movie to instant camp classic status.

Godzilla Raids Again makes a perfect double feature with King Kong versus Godzilla, which was re-edited to make a strange movie even stranger, although I’m not entirely certain that was the intention.

The actor playing the American scientist doesn’t pronounce reptile properly. He keeps saying “reptull,” which is odd since he’s supposed to be a specialist in reptulls, er, I mean, reptiles.

The plot: someone decides it’s a swell idea to go get a giant gorilla and bring him to Tokyo to fight a giant prehistoric dinosaur. Sure, why not? And then there’s the whole pharmaceutical company subplot, the racist depiction of natives in the King Kong acquisition scenes, something involving hallucinogenic red berries, and a giant octopus attack.

Don’t miss the Interpretive Kong Dance Extravaganza!


Husband and I are definitely ready to see the new Godzilla Thursday. I’m going to be very sad if it sucks like the 1998 Godzilla did. It’s okay for a Godzilla movie to be Bad, but it should never be boring and stupid.

That movie was boring and stupid and let us never speak of it again.

Here’s the Official Godzilla (2014) Trailer:

If you want to know more about the evolution of the Godzilla movies, William Tsutsui’s Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters is an entertaining and informative read.

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Pepe the Mail Order Monkey

by meanlouise April 29, 2014 art

Lots of you seem to be wandering around in my blog looking for info on Tim Tate’s story, Pepe the Mail Order Monkey. I have some of Tim’s art and I supported the Fringe Festival musical Pepe the Mail Order Monkey, but I think this is what you’re looking for: NPR’s Snap Judgement aired a […]

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Curious Alice

by meanlouise April 28, 2014 seriously?

The National Archives’ Special Media Archives Services Division has a blog called Media Matters that is full of amazing gems, like this: The Curious Case of Curious Alice. The post is about a deliriously insane 12 minute movie the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) made in 1971 to convince children not to do drugs. […]

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Failed Restaurant Concept: Well of Souls & Snakes

by meanlouise April 3, 2014 pop culture

[another post that’s been hanging around in the drafts files for a few months] It was nice of Santa to bring me a boxed set of all 4 Indiana Jones movies on BluRay, since I need them for thesis research. When we watch movies in La Florida, we tend to turn the volume up very […]

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Margaret Wertheim’s Ted talk about the Crochet Coral Reef project

by meanlouise April 2, 2014 art

The Institute for Figuring posted this exciting note on facebook yesterday: IFF Director, Margaret Wertheim’s, TED Talk about our Crochet Coral Reef project as an artistic response to global warming, has reached a million views. We’re currently working on a book about the project that will highlight all 30 Crochet Reefs around the world and […]

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Cautious optimism about the postponement of Nazi War Diggers

by meanlouise April 1, 2014 academia

updated 2:30 p.m. EST with two more links at the end of the post. I was on campus until rather late last night and didn’t get a chance to update the list of articles critiquing and opposing the National Geographic Channel’s Nazi War Diggers, a proposed 4 part series which appeared to portray archaeology as […]

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