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.

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August Prompt – Ebert Brings the Love and Hate

Happy August, Cinema Shamers! We are back on schedule with our prompt being released on the 1st of the month. So, get up and catch those shameful watches on the run. This month our prompt is going to focus on the most famous critic in the history of film criticism, Roger Ebert.

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The show he shared with Gene Siskel, At the Movies, was a big influence on my early years of film watching. I will say I always preferred Siskel to Ebert. Siskel always felt more like a blue collar critic, or maybe I just agreed with Siskel most of the time.

For the month of August, we are going to focus on movies Ebert loved… but also the ones he hated. Ebert released four books in his series titled “The Great Movies,”totaling 409 films, a list that could keep you busy for years, let alone a month.

As with most critics they let know about their favorites, but they’re also well known for the films they reviled. I knew he didn’t like Blue Velvet due to an infamous debate on “At the Movies.” I will admit I was surprised by some of the films listed, one of which was a favorite of mine during my teenage years, Tommy Boy.  I would highly recommend checking out that Hated list, there were some shockers on that list. The star rating of these hated films range from zero to 1.5 stars.

Links to the lists appear below. Browse the entries for your next potential Cinema Shame. You can pick one from the hated or the beloved, maybe even both for the completists. I know I’m going to finally give Caligula a watch because Ebert walked out even before it was over.

“‘Caligula’ is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length.”

Ebert’s List of Great Films: https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/roger+ebert+the+great+movies/ 

Ebert’s Most Hated Films: https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/eberts-most-hated

As always, submit your Cinema Shame by tweeting your post to @CinemaShame or emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you… at the movies.

–NB

 

End of July Report

It’s the end of July, which closes out our prompt on Summer Blockbusters. Thanks to all our contributors. I know for myself I didn’t complete my post or even watch the two I picked for myself, which was “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.”  While I didn’t get to see these, I did get to see a current summer blockbuster, that will most likely be a future Cinema Shame contender for those unlucky few who decide to miss out: “Mission: Impossible Fallout.”

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Cinema Shamedown – show the contributors some support through their twitter handles and  their blogs

@requelstecher discusses – “Le Samourai” – http://www.outofthepastblog.com/2018/07/le-samourai.html

@Campbelldropout covers “Broadway Melody” -https://cinemashame.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/broadway-melody-1929-musical-prompt/

@realweegiemidget reviews “Misunderstood” – https://weegiemidget.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/misunderstood-1984/

@TakingUpRoom writes on “How to Steal a Million” – https://takinguproom.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/how-to-steal-a-million/        

@007hertzrumble reviews “Heaven Can Wait” – http://thirtyhertzrumble.com/heaven-can-wait-cinema-shame/

@007hertzrumble steps into the jungle with “Rambo: First Blood Park II” – http://thirtyhertzrumble.com/rambo-first-blood-part-ii-cinema-shame/

Broadway Melody (1929) – Musical Prompt

I’m a stubborn person, as my Mom would say I’m hard-headed. In stating that, I completely ignored the advice from @007hertzrumble and @hollywoodcomet regarding “Broadway Melody” the Best Picture winner from 1929 (you can check out their comments on episode 12 of the Cinema Shame podcast). An informative watch due to the historical context, but overall not really a film worth watching and should probably be removed from some shame lists. I’m far from a musical expert, more of a neophyte regarding the genre. Even though I’ve witnessed few, “Broadway Melody” is at the bottom of the barrel.

I was blinded by the gold beauty from the Best Picture statue on the cover of the DVD. Only the second film to receive the honor, it was the perfect follow-up after my shame statement on the first Best Picture winner “Wings”. I fear I’m sounding too harsh but there was little value in this viewing. The only positive was the beauty and an introduction to the film careers of Bessie Love and Anita Page. The film’s plot is best classified as a bad love story involving a pair of sisters who come to New York to be on Broadway. The sisters are Hank (Bessie Love) and Queenie (Anita Page), a small-town act from the western U.S. coming to the big city to take their vaudeville act to the next level. The sisters receive help from Eddie Kearns (Charles King), a songwriter and performer and Uncle Jed (Jed Prouty), their agent and family connection in the city. Eddie’s background and connection with the girls is where the confusion with the film starts. He knows the girls, but how well? I would say it’s between picking up a date from a newspaper ad to preparing to take a knee and pop the question. I assume the viewer is supposed to be so enamored by Queenie’s looks, that it is completely justifiable Eddie would drop Hank for Queenie. The reconnection between the three is played out in the hotel room, there is a pervy reacquaintance between Eddie and Queenie, who has blossomed into a woman, in which we are not given any details on when the last time Eddie saw her.  Eddie is supposedly the next big thing on Broadway and boasts his cred to the sisters when they come into town, promising them a large number in his musical.

The relationship of Eddie and Hank is never fleshed out with background information. I don’t need the whole story but for a man to state he intends to marry a woman I would like a little evidence to build a reality of this relationship. Eddie’s whole infatuation with Queenie is so over the top any viewer can tell where this plot is going. Eddie gets the audition for the ladies and it doesn’t go well. Hank argues and fights with the other dancers after her and Queenie’s performance is sabotaged. While their musical number was impaired, the overall dance routine was not remarkable. This is where the editing or story gets messy, I originally thought the sisters didn’t get the dance number but they show up on dress rehearsal performing with Eddie. They are then pulled from the show due to the slow tempo of the number. I have no idea about the tempo, I wasn’t entirely sure how a song about Broadway connected with a show set during the age of Romans. The main aspect of the plot is one sad love story. I find it hard to believe the intent of this production was to delivery a sad movie about isolation and failure. Being the first Hollywood musical, I would expect a more uplifting story. Eddie becomes obsessively attached to Queenie, gets extremely jealous when other suitors try to take her out. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be cheering Eddie on in this movie or to be repulsed. Is he the hero? Trying to protect Queenie from these Broadway producers who only want one thing, which is the same thing Eddie wants but somehow, he is the noble, deserving suitor. Hank is basically left out in the cold and realizes Hank’s infatuation with Queenie. She must watch Eddie pine after Queenie and witness the two get married. The two sisters break up the act. Queenie steps into the role of housewife and Hank partners up one of the dancers she fought during the audition. They start their own vaudeville act and prepare to tour the country. The only piece of emotion is shown near the film’s end, as Hank leaves New York and vows to return to Broadway, there is a shot of her face as she mentions Queenie. It shows her loneliness and heartbreak. It’s a subtle shot and I could be placing too much emphasis on the shot because her character’s romance with Eddie is never fully explained. We are even unsure her about her relationship with her sister, was it the performing that she loved or just being with Queenie.

In Richard Barrios’ book “Must-See Musicals,” “Broadway Melody” is included as one of the “50 show-stopping movies we can’t forget”.  Barrios states about Broadway Melody, “As with many Oscar recipients, it’s timely entertainment, not timeless art, and as a very early sound film, it now seems as primitive and remote as a relic from the bronze age. The dialogue sounds as though they were still trying to figure out exactly how movie talk should sound, cinematography is static, the musical numbers gauche, if charming, and the dramatics pretty threadbare.” I don’t know a lot about the technical aspects of many films, rarely do I judge classic films just on their technical aspects. “Broadway Melody” desperately needed a decent story, it lacked depth regarding the relationships of the characters. As for this being on someone’s musical shame list, I would suggest finding a different musical. I plan to follow this up with the recent Criterion’s release, “King of Jazz” which was released in 1930, it was also included in Barrios’ book.

June Prompt – Musicals

Happy Summer, Cinema Shamers!

I apologize for the delay in getting the June prompt posted. Nothing says “Summer” like Musicals and if you need proof for that statement, one is a little ditty called “Summer Nights” in a small musical called Grease and the other piece of evidence is one of the most highly anticipated movies of this summer, Mamma Mia 2. I said it here; therefore, it is fact. Mamma Mia 2 is one of the most anticipated movies of the summer. (I’m waiting for my pull quote.) People have been clamoring for more of Pierce Brosnan’s singing and the miracle that is the Hollywood studio system has answered.

The main reason for June having a Musical focus is the Shameless tie-in to TCM’s online course “Mad About Musicals.” If you have the time I would highly recommend enrolling http://musicals.tcm.com and taking a stroll through the history of Hollywood musicals. 

I completed their course on noirs two years ago and really enjoyed it. Progress at your own speed, watch a wide variety of movies you wouldn’t normally. I’m hoping this musical class and this prompt will lead to some new watches and hopefully some new favorite films. My personal viewing history of musicals is limited, a genre into which I’ve failed to deep dive. I’ve probably seen more modern musicals than classic. I hope to knock off two to three musicals from the ol’ shame list, with John Waters’ Hairspray which will also be my first John Waters film.

As always, let us know your Musical Shames by tweeting @cinemashame or emailing us at cinemashame@gmail.com. We look forward to the conversation and discussion this month.

Also, don’t forget to check out James Patrick (@007hertzrumble) and Jessica Pickens (@cometoverhollywood) on the most recent episode of the Cinema Shame podcast as they discuss Hollywood Musicals.

Until next month, Shamers….

–DB

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A World of Pain–April shame prompt

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The April shame prompt was to watch and report on a film shown at the 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Now this is an event in which I envy all who attend, since I probably never will. But I perused the list and knew right away which movie I had to see: The Big Lebowski. I have had no end of shame over not knowing anything about this movie, and never getting the cultural references that everyone else seems to get. So I got some popcorn, some raisinets, and settled in to learn something about The Dude, and why he abides. I had high hopes, as I am never disappointed in anything I see Jeff Bridges do.

 

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Hey, careful man, there’s a beverage here

 

The coolest thing about this movie is that it is impossible to put it into a slot. Some movies are dead on Noir, Action, comedy, horror, and so forth. This one was a mixed bag of tricks that surprised me. Loved it. I give it a four out of five stars, which is very good for me as I never give anything five except the movies I could watch over and over and never get tired of, like The Third Man, Groundhog Day, and The Big Sleep. Down-side? A bit frequent on the f-bombs, more than my taste, and a pedophile, but then who didn’t deal with pedophiles in the late 90’s?

It was all part of it–the sexually ambiguous 90’s. Nothing clear and standing out like the 50’s where you knew what was morally ‘right’ to society and what you were supposed to do. You knew your role. The 90’s had slackers and hackers, terrorists and sexual predators. Yeah, I know, every era has had them. But now the general public was aware, and bothered–and I would maintain, titilated by the whole situation we’d found ourselves in. But then, this is not an analysis sort of movie review. I really hate those. You know the ones that dig into Nietzsche and Freud and tell you what to think about film history. I know what I think, and I know what I like. I like movies that don’t look like every other movie–and surprise me.

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Speaking of The Big Sleep, I did not expect this movie to feel like a noir film. The premise seemed silly to me. Not that silliness puts me off. I love it. But I thought it would be a straight comedy. It totally wasn’t. What I like about the noir films that have caught my attention is their ability to tell a story and keep me engaged, without necessarily putting closure on the plot. Like life, you finish watching the movies knowing that life will go on with those characters, as it does for us.

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Mark it zero!

 

Oh, and there are femme fatales, of which this movie has two, depending upon your view.

The noirs of the 40’s were pulpy and fiction-y, and the moment and atmosphere felt more important than the plot. Like Raymond Chandler. Oh dear, I do love his writing. I know, I know, it is not Shakespeare. It is not even Ian Fleming or Grisham. It had it’s own style and is very quoteable, even by those who say they don’t like pulp fiction. But I have digressed from The Big Lebowski. The Dude. A lazy-ass sonofabitch who goes to the grocery store at the start of the movie and writes a check for sixty-nine cents.

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Which brings me to my final point about this film, and what I liked about it the best. The running gag, or point, or philosophy, if you must about the rug. The Dude brings it up at the most infuriating of times, to some, seeming to be a minor issue, this rug he feels ought to be replaced by the older, crippled, mega-wealthy Lebowski. I found it funny, odd, and something like I would do. After all, who wants to live in a world, where someone can just walk into your place and piss on your rug, with no consequences?

Well that was enough for me, and alone made the film entertaining, even without the bowling, the white russians, the nihilists, and the kidnapping. But maybe you feel differently. Maybe this film didn’t do it for you, or you prefer to see something deeper into the plot.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, man.

your opinion

 

***

You can also read me at  Are You Thrilled
or come and say hello to me on Twitter at @areyouthrilled for poetry and artsy stuff or @movielovebogart for movies and television

 

April Prompt – TCM Film Festival

For the month of April, Cinema Shame will be focusing on the films shown at the 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. The festival will be held from April 26th through April 29th in Los Angeles, CA. (Our very own @007hertzrumble will be in attendance with a few Cinema Shame buttons to hand out!)

Here is a link to the list of films being shown at the festival http://filmfestival.tcm.com/programs/. The festival offers a large variety of films, many of which are widely available for home viewers. We have a healthy number of contributors attending the festival this year and look forward to getting updates on their own Cinema Shame conquests on location. If you are planning to attend, let us know by tweeting us at @CinemaShame or sending us an email at cinemashame@gmail.com.

When blogging about your First-Time Watches featured at this year’s TCMFF, use one of the below banners to link back to this page to help spread the Shame. Happy Home Festivaling!

Here’s the current festival lineup, though more films will be announced when the full schedule is released… any… minute… now…

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2018 TCM Film Festival Lineup (as of 4.15.18)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938)

Animal House (1978)

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Black Stallion (1979)

Blessed Event (1932)

Bull Durham (1988)

Bullitt (1968)

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Create from the Black Lagoon (1954)

Detour (1945)

The Exorcist (1973)

Fail-Safe (1964)

Finishing School (1934)

Gigi (1958)

Girls About Town (1931)

Grand Prix (1966)

Hamlet (1948)

A Hatful of Rain (1957)

Heaven Can Wait (1978)

His Girl Friday (1940)

How to Marry A Millionaire (1953)

I Take This Woman (1931)

Intruder in the Dust (1949)

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Kramer Vs Kramer (1979)

Leave Her To Heaven (1945)

A Letter to Three Wives (1949)

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)

Maurice (1987)

The Merry Widow (1934)

A Midsummer Nights Dream (1935)

The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

My Brilliant Career (1979)

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

None Shall Escape (1944)

The Odd Couple (1968)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Outrage (1950)

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

Park Row (1952)

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Places in the Heart (1984)

Point Blank (1967)

The Producers (1968)

The Raven (1963)

The Right Stuff (1983)

The Roaring Twenties (1939)

Romeo and Juliet (1968)

Scandal: The Trial of Mary Astor (2018)

Scarface (1932)

The Set-Up (1949)

The Sea Wolf (1941)

Show People (1928)

Silk Stockings (1957)

Sounder (1972)

Spellbound (1945)

Stage Door (1937)

A Star is Born (1937)

The Story of GI Joe (1945)

Strangers on a Train (1951)

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971)

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

The Ten Commandments (1956)

THEM! (1954)

This Thing Called Love (1940)

Three Smart Girls (1936)

Throne of Blood (1957)

To Have and Have Not (1944)

To Whom It May Concern: Ka Shen’s Journey (2010)

Tunes of Glory (1960)

When You Read This Letter (1953)

Where the Boys Are (1960)

Wife Vs. Secretary (1936)

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

Windjammer: The Voyage of Christian Radich (1958)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Woman of the Year (1942)

The World of Suzie Wong (1960)

The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962)

 

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