Episode 2: Fatal Attraction / Krissy Myers

cinemashameAndMovie_fatalattraction

Krissy Myers (@krissy_myers) and Jay (@007hertzrumble) discuss their shared Shame – Fatal Attraction – and contemplate the ways in which the film wrongs women, trades on peak Michael Douglas fame, and undermines its greatest asset (crazy Glenn Close) for the sake of ticket sales. Will McKinley drops in courtesy of the Old Movie Weirdo hotline to offer his hot take on Fatal Attraction and recommend a thematically-related classic film that’s more deserving of your time. In the scorned women revenge genre, Fatal Attraction may have moved the bar, but it also broke the mold.

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – Writer of fiction and non-, former entertainment journalist, host.

Krissy Myers (@krissy_myers) – Toronto-based pinball wizard, photographer and lifelong student of cinema.

Will McKinley (@willmckinley) – writer for Sony’s getTV network and a self-proclaimed Old Movie Weirdo. willmckinley.com

Direct download (right click, save): http://traffic.libsyn.com/cinemashame/CinemaShame_2_FatalAttraction.mp3

Music Contained in this Podcast:

Diana Ross & the Supremes – I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

Maria Callas – Madame Butterfly: Act 2 “Un bel di vedremo” 

Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

itunesavailstitcher-banner-180x120

Originally recorded on March 2 and March 16th 2017.

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

Episode 1: Police Academy / Will McKinley

cinemashamewide

Cinema Shame – Episode 1: Police Academy / Will McKinley

Will McKinley (@willmckinley) stops by the Shamequarters after first-time watching Police Academy to discuss the erosion of slapstick comedy and consider the factors that led to Police Academy becoming an American phenomenon in 1984 and beyond.

Direct download (right click, save as): CinemaShame_1.mp3

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – host

Will McKinley (@willmckinley) – writer for Sony’s getTV network and a self-proclaimed Old Movie Weirdo. willmckinley.com

Music Contained in this Podcast:

Police Academy March – Robert Folk

El Bimbo – Jean-Marc Dompierre

iTunes_U_black1

stitcher-banner-180x120

Originally recorded on March 1, 2017.

Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Zero dollars are made from this podcast.

So Zatoichi is kinda like James Bond, except blind – Vol. 1

I’ve had this Zatoichi Criterion box set on my shelf. It’s a very pretty box set, filled with lots of movies, 25 to be exact. After procuring the set for Christmas some years ago, I watched the first Zatoichi film, The Tale of Zatoichi. What a superb film!

And then there was silence.

I don’t have an explanation. I just have SHAME.

Last year for my Cinema Shame, list I vowed to complete the set. The 24 other Zatoichi films. This in addition to my regular allotment of SHAME. It might come as no surprise that I failed in this endeavor. But this is a new year, with new lists and new motivation. I’ve made certain promises to myself. That I will watch more, read more, write more. I promised to be better to myself and ignore the noise that has distracted me from doing the things I love. Noise is the urge to pick up my phone for no good reason and scroll through social media bullshit. Noise is a DVR filled with episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I haven’t actively wanted to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory in years.

For January, I began my journey (and my 2017 Shame) through this Zatoichi set once more. To make this exercise more manageable, I’ll break the massive word-spewing down into a few different posts. I’ll watch four Zatoichi movies per month and leave my thoughts here for you to consider.

zatoichi-01-02

Gawkers consider the lowly masseur/legendary swordsman in The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

The first Zatoichi film, The Tale of Zatoichi, showcases a potent character study about the friendship between two warriors (with elevated moral codes) on opposite sides of a clan dispute. Light on swordplay, long on philosophy — but effective at establishing the cavernous division between the moral right and the moral wrong with a conservation of action and language. Our blind, pacifist swordsman vs. a world of human ugliness.

Continue reading

So I’m back to fight the evil Shame in ’17

I screwed the pooch last year. I drafted an elaborate Shame Statement from here to Baja, California and I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Okay, I lied. I made a wrong turn in Columbus, Ohio, likely when I needed a White Castle fix.

We don’t have any White Castles in Pittsburgh, okay!?!?

I don’t want to get into the ways in which I failed my Shame Statement. It would just be rehashing old wounds. Instead, I’m going to move on. I’m going to move on from 2016 and all that mess and my blown Shame Statement. 2017 is a new year. New Shame. New rules. No more Mr. Nice 007hertzrumble.

Let’s get back to the basics. 12+ movies. 12 months.

I’ve again consulted my handy dandy Entertainment Weekly Guide.

EW GUIDE TO THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE

I’ve lost the benefit of free will this year due to my failings in 2016. For my first Shames, I’m taking the first unwatched entry in each genre and moving forward.

DRAMA:

#1. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) – #16 Drama

magnificent-ambersons

Honestly, I’ve never felt shame for not having seen The Magnificent Ambersons, but the book shames me. So I will oblige.

 

#2. Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970) – #20 Drama

fiveeasypieces

I’ve planned to watch Five Easy Pieces for years, decades. I’ve just never done. I’ve owned the film on DVD and I just recently upgraded to Blu-ray. That makes sense, right? I’ll watch it twice to make amends. I watched a few clips during film school and the sense of having seen it probably proves detrimental to the actual, legitimate watching.

 

COMEDY:

#3. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925) – #25 Comedy

annex-chaplin-charlie-gold-rush-the_03

Another film school casualty. In fact, I could probably blame film school for my woeful lack of Chaplin, whereas I’ve devoured both Keaton and Lloyd. Having seen dozens of individual moments from Chaplin films, my memory gets a little foggy regarding the ones I’ve actually watched start to finish.

 

#4. It’s a Gift (Norman C. McLeod, 1934) – #29 Comedy

its-a-gift

The TCM Slapstick Fall class sold me on catching up on my W.C. Fields education. I’ll retitle this section of my Shame Statement “It’s a Shame!”

 

ACTION/ADVENTURE:

#5. The Black Pirate (Albert Parker, 1926) – #8 Action

black-pirate-1926-movie-still

Apparently I’m pretty well versed in Errol Flynn, so the Book has dictated that Douglas Fairbanks requires attention. So it goes.

 

WESTERN:

#6. Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah, 1962) – #7 Western

ride-the-high-country-still

There’s only so many times I can write about how I’m going to watch this movie. And I’ve hit that limit. It’s not like I don’t like Peckinpah. I REALLY LIKE PECKINPAH. And it’s not like I haven’t watched dozens of B-level Randolph Scott movies. BECAUSE I’VE WATCHED DOZENS OF B-LEVEL RANDOLPH SCOTT MOVIES.

 

#7. My Darling Clementine (John Ford, 1946) – #10 Western

my-darling-clementine-1946

I bought the Criterion Collection edition of My Darling Clementine for just such a Shameful occasion.

 

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE:

#8. The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946) – #8 Mystery/Suspense

annex-garfield-john-postman-always-rings-twice-the_05

Postman currently resides on my DVR, which is handy.

 

HITCHCOCK

#9. Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948)

ropelrg

It’s a Hitchcock movie starring my favorite actor. SHAME. All caps.

 

#10. Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)

lifeboat-movie

I figure one good Hitchcock movie set in one spot deserves another.

 

HORROR:

#11. Henry: Portait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1986) – #13 Horror

henry-portrait-of-a-serial-killer-review

Truth time. I really don’t want to watch this movie. I’ve been told to watch this movie. I’ve read how amazing it is. Everyone seems to think this movie is the absolute bees knees. I’ll save this for October and my 31 Days of Horror Movie Marathon when maybe I can trick myself into watching this by putting it in the Tremors 4 case.

 

MUSIC:

#12. Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1986) – #15 Music

stop-making-sense

When one of my favorite bands has done a rockumentary and I haven’t watched it that’s pitch-perfect SHAME, friends.

 

#13. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991) – Personal Pick

commitments_backup_1280

This is a movie that fits squarely in the “I’m going to f’ing love this” box and I haven’t seen it. I know it might not be your particular ball and chain, but knowing I haven’t watched this weighs heavily on my conscious.

 

#14. Viva Las Vegas – (George Sidney, 1964) – Elvis Shame

kxiriutf5mba8lqcfyw3eurxxuq

1964 Elvis and Ann-Margret, directed by George Sidney. Time to fix this oversight.

 

LONG PLAYS:

Zatoichi Criterion Box (Various, 1964-1973)

Film_679_ZatoichiSet_original

I started this endeavor last year. I did not finish. Carry on, Zatoichi.

 

I’m determined to take on 2017 with everything I’ve got. No more Mr. Passive Resistance. I’m here to kick some Shame butt.

gandhi010648ul2-1574

State Your Shame for 2017

Do you have those movies — you know the ones — the ones you *should* watch, the ones you could watch if you just made the time?

It's a Wonderful Life - Wall of Shame

The Blade Runners, the Godfathers, the Taxi Drivers, the It’s a Wonderful Lifes that everyone talks about and maybe you admit you haven’t seen them.

Maybe.

Or maybe you pretend because you know enough to make idle conversation and espouse idle, non-poignant remarks that won’t give away your secret.

CinemaShame is a community of online writers, bloggers and social media participants that have formed a support group, a safe zone, for penitent moviewatchers. We name the movies we regret not having seen. We watch the movies. We write about our experience.

Finally watching a “classic” after reading and hearing about it for so many years offers a different perspective than those that have lived and loved a film for their entire life. It’s an informed perspective that brings prior knowledge and cultural awareness. Does the film live up to its status? Does it live up to the hype?

Join the Knights of Penitent Moviewatching. Share your shame, fulfill your destiny. Kneel before the classics of Cinema.

kneel

31 Days of Horror: 2016 Shame-a-thon

For the past few years, I’ve gathered the fearless masses during these pre-Halloween weeks, encouraging them to indulge in a horror movie shame-a-thon, sponsored by Cinema Shame. The notion was simple. List 31 unseen horror movies you feel obligated to watch and tackle as many as you can during the month of October.

It may seem impossible, but October’s creeping up on us all yet again. I know this, you see, because it’s my birthday tomorrow and my birthday is a harsh reminder. The whole end of summer, end of one more year of existence combo-malaise. Pumpkin picking, hay rides, apple cider, arguing about costumes with small people… and then Halloween.

This year, I’m again following my Cinema Shame method, but adding a new twist. Fellow Pittsburgher @ElCinemonster has been organizing his Hoop-Tober Challenge on Letterboxd.com for three years now. Each year he lays down some challenges to help guide the viewing of his monstrous minions. Anyway, that’s been a smashing success, and I’ve enjoyed watching the event from afar. This year I’ve decided to combine my Cinema Shame Horror Shame-a-thon with @ElCinemonster’s Hoop-Tober Challenge to create the most unwieldy title in the history of movie blogging and watching.

Welcome to the 2016 CinemaShame/Hoop-Tober Watch Pile 31 Days of Horror Shame-a-thon

31 days of horror 2016

So let’s lay down the laws, shall we? Continue reading

So… the Red Shoes are, well, really f’ing red.

dvd_red

When first conceiving my 2016 List of Shame I scanned my shelves for especially shameful movies I’d owned but never watched. The Red Shoes stood out. It’s red and white text, bold and conspicuous against the sea of low-numbered Criterion black. Somehow the act of purchasing and procuring magnifies the Shame. Here, I intend to watch you, I do, but for now you’re going to sit on this shelf over here and look pretty. It’s the “We’ll do lunch” of movie watching. During the last Barnes and Noble Criterion Collection sale, I broke down and purchased The Red Shoes, Powell and Pressburger’s early Technicolor masterpiece. I’d read all this hyperbolic praise for The Red Shoes, including some from the likes of Martin Scorcese who ranks it among the finest films ever made. And there it was all beautiful and Blu-ray-y.

Vicky Page (Moira Shearer), a young ballet dancer from a well-to-do family, snags an audition (courtesy of her Aunt’s connections) with Boris Lermontov, the hardass, take-no-prisoners impresario of the Ballet Lermontov. This is the kind of guy that believes art begets suffering and suffering begets art and anything else is just tiddlywinks and glue sniffing. When Lermontov loses his prima ballerina to the nefarious institution of marriage, he creates a starring role for Vicky Page in his new ballet, an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Red Shoes.” It’s your typical happy-fun-times HCA bauble. A peasant girl becomes obsessed with a pair of red shoes. The shoes begin to move and dance on their own. She can’t stop dancing. She can’t take them off. She asks and executioner to chop off her feet. The shoes continue to dance. There’s apparently a scene where the girl’s amputated feet lead her down the aisle at church so she can show everyone the red shoes again. She begs God for mercy and then her soul flies off to Heaven. The End. What the actual fuck, Hans Christan Anderson?

Based on the fairy tale, you can guess where this movie’s going as life begins to imitate art. Lermontov’s The Red Shoes becomes a huge success, catapulting Vicky Page into ballet superstardom. All goes well until Page falls for her Red Shoes composer and their coupling throws Lermontov into hysteria. He boots the composer. She leaves the company, knowing she’ll never have the same success elsewhere. Lermontov also retains the rights to The Red Shoes.

So that’s the story. But that’s not why it’s beloved. Powell & Pressburger’s use of color in The Red Shoes stands as a monument of visual filmmaking. Red jumps off the screen as if in a third-dimension. I also can’t recall a film framed in the Academy ratio that felt this big. And it’s not about scope and scale. It’s about the use of light and shadow, a conservation of space and timely deployment of color.

The-Red-Shoes

The film leaves images imprinted on the brain. Like that one above. And this one.

the-red-shoes-19481

Meanwhile contemporary critics of the film often panned The Red Shoes as derivative. Hrm. It seems to me there’s a disconnect here in 1948. A rarely used color development process. Some of the most arresting visuals in cinema this side of D.W. Griffith. So what’s the problem, jerky critics? Ahhh. Yes. There’s that story I mentioned earlier.

In many ways, The Red Shoes is a quintessential entry in the “backstage melodrama” genre. Aggressive, petulant showrunner. Delicate but driven ballet dancer. Forces of nature collide. Tears happen. Hearts are broken. It’s done well. It’s a competent, time-tested love quadrangle. If we keep Hans’ original story for The Red Shoes in mind, we know the narrative’s ultimate destination. I won’t spoil it in case you’re slow on the uptake. The question that you then must ask is whether or not Powell and Pressburger earn that ending. That’s a touchy question to ask in the face of millions of adoring fans claiming The Red Shoes to be an inarguable classic, a pinnacle of early British cinema.

The_Red_Shoes1_from_Web_lowres-detail-main

Controversial opinion alert:

My immediate gut says that The Red Shoes doesn’t earn its ending. The film packs an inordinate amount of character shift into the final five minutes, sprinting to the finish, perhaps as the amputated shoes raced down the church aisle for their final bow. If we know the story of the fairy tale, we have already injected that into our interpretation of the film. I remember wondering with ten minutes to go if I’d read the film entirely wrong and we weren’t going for the movie imitating the ballet within the movie conclusion that seemed so very assured after Lermontov first describes ballet he wants to produce. The final shot fails to resonate for that reason. It all happens in a relative blink without any time to dwell on the finer points of character.

While I adored much about The Red Shoes, I can’t give this my highest recommendation. The rushed ending and perhaps indeed derivative narrative detracted from my overall reception. I’d pre-written the OMFG 5-star review in my head during the journey but by film’s end I realized I needed to rewrite the script. I’ve reduced my overall impression to OMFG that cinematography! that Moira Shearer! and ehhhhh… what just happened?

Shame #1 is in the bag for 2016. But I’ve got a long year ahead. Join me, won’t you?