November – Criterion Collection and Film Struck

For the month of November, the focus for Cinema Shame will be films released through the Criterion Collection and ones available on Filmstruck. With the recent disappointing news of the beloved streaming service discontinuing on November 29, 2018, it would be a great opportunity to support this platform during its final month. If we crash the service from overuse maybe it’ll at least make a statement about the importance of classic film. There have been a lot of recommendations floating around the web on what to watch before the service ends and those suggestions are listed below.

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With the holiday season rolling around, you can always count on Barnes and Noble’s 50%-off Criterion Sale, which starts November 2nd and runs through the entire month. ‘Tis a joyous time when my twitter feed becomes flooded with people stressing about the small things in life… such as which Criterions to purchase, multiple failed attempts to get the clerk to accept a coupon, or the lack of selection at your particular B&N. After those small quibbles, photos appear of recent hauls, creating envy, and influencing wish lists. Should I purchase the Ingmar Bergman box set? My wife says no, but the Internet says YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES (but only after you’ve sold your already owned Bergman’s to cover the cost). The Criterion sale is a beautiful celebration, but also a double-edged sword of film consumerism.

You may be asking yourself, “So wait… I have to spend money to participate in this Cinema Shame prompt?” Of course not. If you’re like me, someone who owns a large quantity of unwatched Criterions beautifully gathering dust on a shelf, there is no need to purchase more than you already own. (But I probably will.) I know the following discs are upstairs waiting for me: Gilda, Nashville (a long time Cinema Shame), Cat People, His Girl Friday, The Last Temptation of Christ, just off the top of my head.

Gilda

As you prepare to pick your Cinema Shames, don’t forget to share watch recommendations and maybe even a few potential blind buys. There is always room on your Criterion shopping list.

A petition has been going around to “Save Filmstruck.” If you enjoy classic cinema I highly recommend signing it. It can’t hurt to let these soulless media conglomerates know that classic film matters. Here’s a link to the “Save FilmStruck” Petition – https://www.change.org/p/warnermedia-keep-filmstruck-alive

FilmStruck Recommendations:

A Classic Film Blog’s Recommendations – @classicmovieblg – https://www.change.org/p/warnermedia-keep-filmstruck-alive

Alicia Malone’s Watchlist on Letterboxd – @aliciamalone – https://letterboxd.com/aliciamalone/list/my-filmstruck-watchlist/

New York Times Recommendations – https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/29/movies/filmstruck-closing-best-movies.html

If you have a Filmstruck To-Watch-Before-Service-Ends List, tell us on twitter @CinemaShame and we’ll send it out through the loudspeakers.

Don’t forget to check out Episode 16 of the Cinema Shame Podcast where James Patrick and Dan Day, Jr. discuss Hammer Horror:

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Direct Download (right click, save as): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_HammerHorror.mp3

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Getting on the Same Page: His Girl Friday and How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Comedy

HIS GIRL FRIDAY is a film that I hadn’t seen and hadn’t sought because it was one that I thought I would never have had an interest in. I like comedy, but I never had an interest in classic Hollywood screwball comedy. That is until earlier in 2018 when I watched Greta Garbo in NINOTCHKA via FilmStruck (RIP’). I found myself rolling with laughter at deadpan humor exhibited by the amazing Garbo. Had I been wrong all these years? Can I, a man born in the 1980s find humor in classic cinema? I love classic cinema and was surprised that this was an area that I never broke into. I purchased HIS GIRL FRIDAY, during the July 2018 sale at Barnes and Noble. Since this was not only an unopened Criterion, it was a film I never saw as well and therefore was perfect for this November 2018 prompt.

In the supplemental features of the Criterion edition of HIS GIRL FRIDAY, film scholar David Bordwell discusses how the film is one of the most American films ever made. This wasn’t just in terms of the ideology or sensibilities portrayed on screen, but in the filmmaking process. Director Howard Hawks was considered to be one of the great American directors who is not a household name. I can see why this is. Hawks manages to keep your eyes strictly on what is on screen without you paying attention to how he sets up, blocks, lights and all those things related to the process of filming. This is the opposite of someone like Stanley Kubrick (one of my favorite directors), who has your eyes on screen and you notice how he puts it on screen. While both ways work perfectly, you can see why a defined visual style sticks in folks memory much longer. However with HIS GIRL FRIDAY, you don’t need a visual style. For this film, the viewers are given one of the fastest, snappiest and wittiest films ever.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, is the second adaptation of the play The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. The first was directed by Lewis Milestone in 1931 under the same name. That film, also included on the Criterion, I felt had a bit more flourishes in regards to the direction as opposed to Hawks. It also felt like a filmed stage play. Yet while entertaining it lacks Rosalind Russell who outshines Cary Grant like the sun sitting next to a light bulb. Her breakneck delivery of the film’s razor sharp dialogue is one of the best performances I’ve seen. It’s also quite physical without becoming slapstick. This is where my eyes opened to classical Hollywood comedy. It was the delivery that made me laugh, even if the joke itself was outdated. I will say, the Ralph Bellamy bit was a fantastic piece of fourth wall breaking.

This film also doesn’t let you forget that it’s based around the world of newspapers and newspaper writing. The film’s humor never detracts from this premise and also manages to never go into parody no matter what left turns the story takes. Hawks excelled in keeping the whole thing balanced and none of the film’s strengths ever got so high that it felt it was covering up a weakness.

HIS GIRL FRIDAY, is a great piece of cinema comedy and engaging as a look into the journalism business. The back and forth humor was some of the best I’ve ever seen in a film and the world of classic Hollywood comedy is a bit broader to me now and something I seek to understand much more thoroughly.

Episode 16: Hammer Horror Shamedown / Dan Day

Dan Day, Jr. serves up a Shamedown of 6 Hammer Horror films you might not have seen. We talk about why Hammer Film’s horror output endures in 2018 and why some folk have written the films off as more of “that Hammer garbage.”

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Direct Download (right click, save as): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_HammerHorror.mp3

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – Somewhere between casual Hammer aficionado and obsessive.

Dan Day, Jr. (@CushingLee) – Hammer Horror expert, movie blogger at The Hitless Wonder.

Clips Contained in this Podcast:

“Dracula” by James Bernard
Martin Scorsese from Hammer, The Studio that Dripped Blood, 1987
Son of Svengoolie introduction to The Horror of Dracula, 1983
Anthony Hinds from Hammer, The Studio That Dripped Blood, 1987
The Quatermass Xperiment (aka The Creeping Unknown) trailer
Peter Cushing interview, 1989
Christopher Lee from Hammer, The Studio That Dripped Blood, 1987
Scream of Fear trailer
Kiss of the Vampires trailer
The Gorgon trailer
“Addams Groove” by MC Hammer
“Suite from The Gorgon” by James Bernard
Plague of the Zombies trailer
The Reptile trailer
Captain Kronos trailer
“Captain Kronos Theme” by Laurie Johnson

Mentioned Hammer Horror on Physical Media and Streaming:

Buy Hammer: Amazon storefront featuring all Region A Hammer Horror offerings.

Scream of Fear – Mill Creek Double Feature (Region A)
Kiss of the VampireUniversal 8-Film Hammer Horror Collection (Region A)
The GorgonMill Creek Double Feature (Region A) / Indicator Hammer Vol. 1 (Region ABC)
Plague of the ZombiesComing Soon from Shout Factory (Region A)
The ReptileUnavailable (Region A) / Studio Canal (Region B)
Captain Kronos Vampire HunterStreaming (Region A) / Shock (Region B)

Recommended Reading:

Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography by Tim Johnson and Deborah Del Vecchio
The Hammer Story: The Unauthorised History of Hammer Films by Marcus Hearn and Alan Barnes

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Recorded in October 2018. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.

Episode 15: The Burt Reynolds Special Vol. 2

In case you missed it: The Burt Reynolds Special Vol. 1

I invited some more friends to come on the Cinema Shame Podcast to celebrate the life and work of Burt Reynolds. In the second of two episodes dedicated to the Bandit, my guests and I talk about The End, Stick, Heat, Switching Channels, Breaking In, and Boogie Nights and just about everything in between. Despite the 80’s being a tough decade both personally and professionally, Burt delivered a number of interesting performances in movies that are largely forgotten or just underappreciated.

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Direct Download (right click, save as): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_Burt_2.mp3

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – never misses an opportunity to champion underappreciated Burt Reynolds. Owns Burt’s album, Ask Me What I Am, on vinyl.

Brian Saur (@bobfreelander) – Documentary filmmaker, movie blogger (rupertpupkinspeaks.com), podcaster extraordinaire on the Pure Cinema Pod and Just the Discs Pod.

Grant the Carey Troweller (@mentorscamper) – Twitter personality, Movie Obsessive and a blasphemous individual who denies Carey Lowell’s status of Bond goddess.

Kerry Fristoe (@echidnabot) – Movie blogger (prowlerneedsajump.wordpress.com/) and fabulous Twitter personality.

Clips Contained in this Podcast:

Burt Reynolds laughter from Hooper.

Kristy McNichol, Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds on The Mike Douglas Show (1978)

The End trailer

The End clip

Burt Reynolds on Late Night with David Letterman (December 11, 1984)

Stick trailer

Heat trailer

Heat clip

Malone TV spot

Switching Channels promo

Ruby Wax Meets… Burt Reynolds (March 3, 1996)

Breaking In trailer

Burt Reynolds on Conan (March 19, 2018)

Boogie Nights trailer

Boogie nights clip

Burt Reynolds Golden Globe acceptance speech (January 18, 1998)

Apollo 100 – “Joy”

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Recorded in September 2018. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.

October Prompt: Horror, if you must

October is here which brings us to our prompt focusing on the genre of films involving the United Nations to celebrate United Nations Day on October 24th!

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Hold on. I’m getting word that nobody cares about United Nations Day. You goddamn xenophobes. It’s about what? Horror? Well, alright then. Horror it is.

For me personally this is a genre that I’ve always overlooked, I assume its because I’ve seen more bad horror movies than good. I grew up with middle of the road horror in the late 1990s and early 2000s, such as the return of the teen slasher film (Halloween H20, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legends), a large influx of PG-13 horror movies  (The Ring, What Lies Beneath, Darkness Falls) and a flurry of remakes (The House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax, 13 Ghosts).

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Due to my bad choices, I have some gargantuan Cinematic Shames to hack off the list. This is going to be the month I eviscerate some big ones off the list. Such as John Carpenter’s The Thing, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu the Vampyre and Browning’s Dracula (1931).

The saddest part of that incredibly sad confessions is that I own all of these films. The Thing has been sitting on my self for two years collecting dust. I’m hoping these films will give me a broader foundation for the horror genre. I want to be better!

If you want to do an extreme challenge for this month there is the Hooptober Cinco rules (https://letterboxd.com/cinemonster/list/hooptober-cinco-your-terror-is-a-locked-room/) created by The Cinemonster. There are rules and guidelines but the overall objective is to watch 31 horror films during October. You can view 007hertzrumble’s post about his October plans here.

Let us know what horrible and terrifying Cinema Shames you have planned. Along with that, throw in your Halloween costume ideas. Submit your Shames by tweeting your post to @CinemaShame or emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com. Use the banners below to tag your posts and spread the horrific October Shame! Or UN Shame. Either way.

-NB

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Episode 14: The Burt Reynolds Special Vol. 1

I invited some friends to come on the Cinema Shame Podcast to celebrate the life and work of Burt Reynolds. In the first of two episodes dedicated to the Bandit, my guests and I talk about White LightningGatorSmokey and the BanditSemi-Tough and Starting Over and just about everything in between. The river of Burt love runs deep.

Subscribe on iTunes / Stitcher Radio

Direct Download (right click, save as): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_Burt_1.mp3

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – Never misses an opportunity to champion underappreciated Burt Reynolds. Owns Burt’s album, Ask Me What I Am, on vinyl.

Kerry Fristoe (@echidnabot) – Movie blogger (prowlerneedsajump.wordpress.com/) and fabulous Twitter personality, co-host of B-Movie Maniacs.

Christian Devine (@chris_divine) – Screenwriter and award winning video game writer. Trucker movie aficionado. Credits Smokey and the Bandit with his writing career.

Carrie Rickey (@CarrieRickey) – Film critic and columnist. Village Voice, Film Comment, Mademoiselle, Philadelphia Enquirer. Frequent contributor to NPR, MSNBC and CNN.

 

Clips Contained in this Podcast:

Burt Reynolds laughter from Hooper.

The Dueling Banjos from Deliverance.

Burt Reynolds on The Tonight Show – October 2nd, 1973

White Lightning trailer

Gator trailer

Archer episode, “The Man from Jupiter”

Jerry Reed performs “Eastbound and Down” at the Burt Reynolds Variety Club Dinner

Smokey and the Bandit NBC TV spot

Clip from Smokey and the Bandit II

Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton sing “Sneakin’ Around with You” from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Clip from Smokey and the Bandit

100 Rifles trailer

Jerry Reed – “Eastbound and Down”

Burt Reynolds on The Tonight Show – March 2nd, 1977

Semi-Tough trailer

Clip from Semi-Tough

Clip from Starting Over

Candice Bergen sings “Better Than Ever” from Starting Over

 

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Recorded in September 2018. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.

 

Remembering the Bandit

The world lost a cinematic legend on September 6, 2018. I was in California when a friend called and told me the news about Burt Reynolds’ passing at the age of 82. “Smokey and the Bandit” is a staple of classic cinema in the South, an area that loves racing, drinking beer and the occupation of driving semis. My first introduction with Burt was in middle school when I watched a double feature of “Days of Thunder” and “Smokey and the Bandit”. The latter was a film that was on constant rotation throughout college, every road trip playlist included “East Bound and Down”. It was just last year I went with some friends to see to “Smokey and the Bandit” for its 40th anniversary, a nearly sold out theater for a Sunday afternoon showing. The Alamo Drafthouse had a special screening on September 16th in honor of Mr. Reynolds. Even though Hurricane Florence was pouring heavy rain around the area, the screening was sold out, a testament to the love of Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds’ filmography is something I have neglected for years, with a lot of his major work, the work that started his career such as “White Lightning”, “Deliverance” and “The Longest Yard” always on the peripheral of films to watch. I’ve caught up on that deficit in my cinema shame over the past few weeks, watching some of those classics and even some of his more recent work. I knocked off “Deliverance”, “White Lightning”, “The Longest Yard”, “Cannonball Run”, and a release from last year “The Last Movie Star”. Each one having various aspects of quality, but the one constant is Burt’s magical charm shining through, even in “The Last Movie Star” that beautiful smile is still there.

I think the best way to celebrate Burt’s life is to share his work with others. I’m hoping my discussion of his work can maybe persuade to watch his work. I know James Patrick is working on an episode discussing Reynolds and I cannot wait for it to be online. If you haven’t had a chance to read his obituary in The New York Times: (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/06/obituaries/burt-reynolds-dead.html) I highly recommend taking the time to read it. It is elegantly written, presenting the whole picture of Burt; the positives and negatives, the lows and highs.

If you have the chance please join us and share your thoughts on Burt Reynolds and  raise a Coors to toast the legend.