Whatever Will Be, Will Be

(Thanks, ukwebwonders!)

My first memory of Doris Day was her long-running TV series that ran on CBS from 1968 to 1975, which I understand she initially wanted no part of. Although I can’t recall a single episode (I was four years old when it premiered) other than each one I saw being as blandly wholesome and clean-cut as it gets with the usual sitcom of the era comedic flourishes (well, up until the last two seasons when network programming drastically changed).

Still, I did have “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” embedded in my brain for years (it’s still there) and yes, automatically associated it with Day, which ended up making my first viewing of Alfred Hitchcock’s excellent 1956 “remake” of his 1934 film, The Man Who Knew Too Much even more entertaining.

That song gets sung twice during the film, but as I’m betting a penny some of you haven’t yet seen this classic, I’ll let you go watch the film and see how well it’s used.
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The Monster of the ID Is Keeping Me From My Research!

(Thanks, Crosscheckmate!)

NO, not THAT Monster, you. I’ve been a bit occupied today in getting some expired ID’s renewed, so it’s been a bit of a hassle today in terms of a few things. Anyway, the balls are rolling on some stuff, so that’s good. I’m going to go take a nap after this hot day of running about and waiting and maybe pop up later to post something that’s actually worth reading. I see my inbox is PACKED TO THE GILLS (*blub!*) with stuff. Eh, what else is new? Other than people making a damn mist for potato salad from strangers who should know better (and send that money to me because I’d put it to much better use. Art doesn’t spoil, folks… unless it’s made from stuff that spoils, of course)…

Random Film of the Week: Forbidden Planet

Forbidden Planet_MPEven though the first time I saw Forbidden Planet was when I was about five or six years old on a medium-sized black and white TV with not always perfect reception and the film was rather horribly panned and scanned from what I recall, I fell in love with it and it’s remained one of my favorite science fiction films. I’ve since seen it countless times and it remains quite a fun film to watch thanks to everything melding together so flawlessly (including its handful of flaws).

I think it was also one of the first movies I actually remember looking at the music credits for and being surprised that two people composed the “electronic tonalities” that were buzzing my eardrums and pleasantly sinking into my brain’s recesses. Louis and Bebe Barron’s impressive score drove home right away that this was no ordinary 1950’s flick with a low budget and cast of no-names mugging it up for the camera. I’ll also admit to thinking director Fred Wilcox was a relation, but I think my mother or father pointed out that many people have the same last name who aren’t related at all (but I don’t think I believed her at the time). Flash forward a few years later and when I finally saw the film in color on a huge TV in its original widescreen format, I was even more floored thanks to the beautiful color palette and (mostly) still impressive visual effects. I was also a bit jealous because back in 1956, it must have been blowing audiences back in their seats to see this on a massive Cinerama screen with those sounds booming from multiple theater speakers… Continue reading

SCIENCE! Let’s Conduct A Little Experiment, Shall We?

(thanks, Ipmangas!) 

Here’s a simple test for those who think different types of media directly affect one’s behavior in every single case. Have the kids (or yourself) watch NOTHING but this classic Humphrey Bear short for an entire month and see if you become a lot less of a litterbug (and really great at doing cartoon dances). If you’re still tossing that fast food wrapper or soda can to the street or not cleaning up after the dog when you walk it, then you can shut up about little Johnny potentially becoming a mass murderer after he plays five seconds of a game rated above his age (which he shouldn’t be doing anyway if you’re a decent enough parental unit).

If, on the other hand, you’re humming that bouncy tune from the cartoon while scooping up trash wherever you go (and being very careful with any matchbooks you find)… well, you can throw every entertainment device in your home into that trash bin as well and go burn ALL of the books in your home while you’re at it. Can’t be TOO picky about where the kid will pick up a violent idea, right?

Random Film of the Week(end): The Indestructible Man

(thanks, All Classic Video!) 

TIMOne of those crazy 50’s “B” sci-fi/horror flicks that sticks in the mind thanks to the performance of its lead, The Indestructible Man is also one of those forgotten gems that modern audiences would most likely laugh out of a theater or change the channel after a few minutes of dialog during a slower moment. Of course, I grew up seeing this flick countless times on TV, so it was a formative part of my misspent youth. Combining sci-fi, horror and film noir elements and featuring a creepy performance from Lon Chaney Jr., this is one of those short, snappy little movies that makes for a nice jolt as well as few unintentional laughs.

Chaney plays Charles “Butcher” Benton, a convicted killer and thief who’s been given the gas chamber treatment, but has his dead body illegally sold to a scientist for research purposes. Of course, it being the 1950’s and a “B” movie and all, that scientist happens to be studying the effects of electricity and his own chemical concoctions on dead subjects and ends up quite thrilled when Benton is brought back to the land of the living. Naturally, when you beef up a dead man with voltage and vitamins, his first response will be to kill you and your assistant then take off with intent of wiping out just about anyone who sent him behind bars. Maybe that stupid scientist should have invented a time machine so he could pop up today and read this post, then zap back and get better prepared…

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E3 2013: Oh, Microsoft… You’re Making This TOO Easy…

(video swiped from YouTuber Rinoa Leonhart)

So, the Xbox One. Yeah, THAT Xbox One. Did you know it has the computational POWER of ten Xbox 360’s? No? Well, Microsoft says so and while it’s probably true as the sky is blue (under certain circumstances) and the sun always rises even if you can’t see it (always, so far). Amusingly enough… I was planning to post that clip above BEFORE this article appeared (you WILL laugh at some point while reading it, trust me), but I got busy tinkering on a review and man, I feel as if they’re writing my lame comedy material for me and I don’t even OWN a Kinect.

At this point in damage control mode, you have to wonder when they’ll just start sending out white or black vans rolling around neighborhoods to grab random strangers off the street and MAKE them play a game just to show off how much POWER their system has. POWER, I tells ya… Granted, you still can’t use it offline unless you’re online first (subject to change based on day of the week and a update to the licensing agreement) and that new Kinect is always on even if you shut it “off”, but POWER! Wondrous working POWER… *Crack*, BOOOOOM!!!

OK, OK… I’ll knock it off now… Jeez…

Random Film of the Day* Earth vs. The Flying Saucers

*For the next week or so plus, I’m going to add a random film the great Ray Harryhausen worked on. The legendary special effects MASTER passed away yesterday at age 92 in London and yes, the film world owes him more than they can ever repay.

Earth vs. The Flying SaucersWithout Ray Harryhausen’s still impressive special effects, Earth vs. The Flying Saucers would probably have been just another 1950’s “B” movie lost to the ages, only popping up on one of those cheapo compilation DVD’s you see as impulse items at some big box stores. However, thanks to those awesome saucers and some fine destruction of federal property by some rather cranky aliens, the film has been a favorite as well as an inspiration for other flicks from Independence Day to Mars Attacks! and more. The somewhat clunky acting and use of WWII stock footage don’t hurt the film one bit because they’re usually only a few minutes from one of Harryhausen’s cool animated saucers blowing the heck out of something or simply flying across the sky…
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Random Film of the Week: Attack!

(thanks, Ray Acton!) 

attackAs far as war movies go, Robert Aldrich’s 1956 film, Attack! isn’t the predictable, lavishly produced jingoistic, rubber-stamped by the military rah-rah fest glorifying World War II as a unifying fight against the Axis where everyone on our side is perfectly portrayed as a sterling citizen soldier of upstanding moral fiber with one or two likable quirks. Instead, it’s a gripping slice of drama that pulls no punches as it details the breakdown in command of a whittled down unit of soldiers under the command of a cowardly captain (portrayed perfectly by Eddie Albert) and how another officer tries to bring a moral center back to the men before it’s too late.

According to a few sources, Aldrich didn’t get the usual assistance from the Department of Defense when making the film and in fact, had to make do with shooting the entire thing in just over a month using borrowed, bought or rented military gear including two tanks (that military purists will note were badly disguised as German Panzers). Despite this, it’s a powerful, must-see film that’s on par with Sam Fuller’s The Steel Helmet, or Kubrick’s Paths of Glory and Full Metal Jacket as one of the best films in the genre.

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