June Prompt – 1989

This June marks the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman. A film with huge cultural significance, positive and negative — as it forever it changed the summer blockbuster landscape. The entire summer slate of 1989 has to be one of the greatest in film history for sequels, blockbusters and surprise hits.

Consider that during just a few months, the summer of 1989 begat Ghostbusters II, Lethal Weapon 2, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Licence to Kill, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Abyss, and Do the Right Thing.

And so far I’ve just mentioned the summer releases. The entire year boasted en entire roster of films worthy of discovery (or rediscovery). I would have been around three so there are no solid memories of this year for me, except vague memories about Hardee’s promotion of Ghostbusters II. I guess Licence to Kill would have been too much for a child’s happy meal toy, kids probably couldn’t handle a shark-mangled Felix Leiter toy.

For more discussion of non-summer related releases from 1989, we have our in-house resident expert, James Patrick (@007hertzrumble), whose personal website has posted some great discussion on films from that year. It is a great resource if you want to scroll back through a few of these releases you might have missed.

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I’m limiting my choices to three, but I have a feeling I will be doing more rewatches of 1989 films. My biggest shame release from 1989, which has had a lot of talk in the film twitter vacuum, is Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. (See James’ conversation here.) I’ve seen bits and pieces over the years but never took the time to watch the entire film. I’ve owned The Dream Team (another entry that James has lauded) for at least a year now without watching it and it would be interesting to compare Keaton’s performance to his role in Batman. The last movie I will pick from 1989 will be Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies and Videotape. I will always take this opportunity to toss a Criterion release into the mix.

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Reach out to us on twitter (@cinemashame) or by email (cinemashame@gmail.com) with your Cinema Shames from 1989 or 1989 recommendations.

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Future Prompts — Coming Soon to Shame Near You!

July – Cult Films

August – Racy Films (SCANDALOUS!)

@campbelldropout

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The Doris Day Rememberathon

I invited some friends to come on the Cinema Shame Podcast to celebrate the life and work of Doris Day. We discuss some of her personal history and many of her films, most notably It’s a Great Feeling, Starlift, Calamity Jane, Love Me or Leave Me, and Pillow Talk. I’ve cut in many of her wonderful songs and an interview with Robert Osborne on her 90th birthday.

Subscribe on iTunesStitcher Radio / Spotify

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

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – Really likes Caprice

Alan Hait (@alanhait) – #OldMovieWeirdo and #TCMParty denizen

Danny Reid (@PreCodeDotCom) – Lord of the Pre-codes.

Jessica Pickens (@HollywoodComet) – Writing about Musicals at Comet Over Hollywood since 2009. 

Raquel Stecher (@RaquelStecher) – Classic and indie film writer. 

Clips Contained in this Podcast:

Doris Day – “Que Sera Sera”

Doris Day on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson 1974

It’s a Great Feeling Trailer

Doris Day – ‘It’s a Great Feeling”

Robert Osborne interviews Doris Day on her 90th 🎂 

Calamity Jane trailer

Starlift trailer

Clip from Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine

Caprice trailer

Doris Day – “S’wonderful”

Robert Osborne introduces Love Me Or Leave Me on TCM 2015

Love Me Or Leave Me trailer

Doris Day – “10 Cents a Dance”

Pillow Talk trailer

Bells are Ringing trailer

Preacher Boy – “Shamedown” <— Check out Preacher Boy’s music here

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Recorded in May 2019. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.

2019 Shame Statement

Time for another year of penance. I know I haven’t been consistently writing, but I definitely am still consistently watching. One thing I try to do each year is expand my knowledge of a genre. Last year it was supposed to be westerns and I managed to get a few first time watches in. This year I’m going to move onto comedies.

The journey into comedies is inspired by my discovery and newfound love of screwball comedies after watching His Girl Friday for the first time in November 2018. I followed up with Bringing Up Baby and His Favorite Wife and wouldn’t you know? I liked something new that I had no idea I would. Hence 2019 will be exploring humor. Here’s gonna be some of them I certainly plan to watch:

The Naked Gun Trilogy – All I’ve seen of these films is the “that’s my policy” bit that spoofs Dirty Harry. That’s all I needed to see to decide it’s finally time to knock these off the list.

Joes vs The Volcano

Inspired by CinemaShame’s very own James Patrick, I hear about how much this film means to him, so I need to see what is going on. I like hearing when movies are special to people that aren’t the usual suspects.

Young Frankenstein

I’ve been working on my Mel Brooks watching for a while now. Yet I’ve still haven’t seen his magnum opus. I own it, so it should be one of the first I knock off this year.

That Thing You Do!

Some more Tom Hanks here.

Chasing Amy

One of many still unwatched Criterion disc. Also the one Kevin Smith film I was always genuinely interested in.

So this is the opening salvo. Obviously subject to change. Or not at all. Here’s to 2019 and all your first time viewing!

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 11: TCMFF 2018 / Raquel Stecher & Jessica Pickens

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A very special on-location episode: Raquel Stecher, Jessica Pickens and James talk about their most anticipated first-time watches from the 2018 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Los Angeles, California. We move on to tank tops, golden age Hollywood dinner parties, and attempt to eliminate “classics” they’d like to see taken down a peg while elevating something worthy of greater adoration.

Subscribe on iTunes / Stitcher Radio

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

CREDITS:

Talking Heads:

James David Patrick (@007hertzrumble) – Attended his fourth TCM Film Festival in 2018.

Raquel Stecher (@raquelstecher) – Attended her sixth TCM Film Festival in 2018. Blogs about classic film at outofthepastblog.com.

Jessica Pickens (@hollywoodcomet) – Attended her fifth TCM Film Festival in 2018. Blogs about classic film (especially musicals!) at cometoverhollywood.com.

Clips Contained in this Podcast:

“TCM Intro” (circa 1995)

Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Robert Osborne and Alec Baldwin introduce Fail Safe.

Ben Mankiewicz introduces Grand Prix.

Trailer for Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song

NCAA March Madness Theme

Paul Newman in The Sting

Dean Martin, Vincent Price and Ken Lane @ the Bar Galacto

Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in The Quiet Man

Shirley MacLaine and Laurence Harvey in Two Loves

Flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz

A clip from The Reluctant Saint

A clip from The Locket

Michael Schlesinger discusses SH! The Octopus on Trailers from Hell!

“Springtime for Hitler” – from Mel Brooks’ The Producers

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Recorded on April 26th, 2018. Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. Negative dollars are made from this podcast.

Shame Statement 2018

Great to be a part of another year of Shame! I actually accomplished quite a bit. I knocked off a good deal of horror films with Friday the 13th being the big one I wrote about. I also watched and wrote about Straw Dogs which was a very unique viewing experience. Now here we are at 2018 and I have a new list of films to partake of for the first time. This year I want to try for a themed approach. This year I want to focus on westerns, my favorite genre. Not every Shame will be a western though. But I do want to add some more of this genre to my cinematic talking points.

Yojimbo/Sanjuro – Akira Kurosawa

The Hidden Fortress – Akira Kurosawa

The Shooting/Ride the Whirlwind – Monte Hellman

The Revenant – Alejandro G. Inarritu

Romancing the Stone – Robert Zemeckis

A History of Violence – David Cronenberg

Hang em High – Ted Post

One Eyed Jacks – Marlon Brando

McCabe and Mrs Miller – Robert Altman (pray for me here as I typically can not stand Altman films)

Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro

Ghost in the Shell – Mamoru Oshii

Death Rides a Horse – Giulio Petroni – Complete

Wyatt Earp – Lawrence Kasdan

No Dog in this Fight: My first viewing of Straw Dogs.

The end of Straw Dogs has Dustin Hoffman’s David Sumner driving an uncredited David Warner’s Henry Niles back to town after the climatic showdown in the Sumner house. Henry tells David, “I don’t know my way home.” To which David responds, “That’s okay. I don’t either.” This final exchange sums up the entirety of what  Straw Dogs conveys. At the end of the day, just what are we? 

There will be spoilers here.

Prior to my viewing of Straw Dogs, the only film by Sam Peckinpah I’ve seen was The Wild Bunch. I took that film as a more visceral version of a Leone western. However having only seen it once, I didn’t get the themes that are prevalent with Peckinpah’s work. This film is rife with controversy and complications and interpretations. It is not an easy watch. Things do not resolve themselves. People are not good and don’t nescesarily become better people by the end of this.

This film is certainly one that earned its controversial status. It raises questions. Even if you answer one question, you may not answer the next question the same way.  Is Straw Dogs a condemnation of violent masculinity? One may interpret it that way. Or is it a celebration of that? It may be as well. Is Peckinpah blaming women for the violence that occurs against them? It seems that way, at least to me it did. Early on David asks his wife Amy (a heartbreaking performance by Susan George) why doesn’t she wear a bra if she doesn’t want the leering eyes of her ex-boyfriend and his cohorts focused on her chest. This moment is actually one of many that show her husband is not only meek, but part of the overall problem. He disrespects his wife at times and belittles her. He blames her sexual freedom for the attention she did not ask for. By time we reach the climax, you’ll see David is no better than the brutes who invade their home. It just took him a little longer to get there.


The controversial rape of Amy is still a discussion point to this day. Becuase of how Peckinpah filmed the scene, there are indicators that Amy at first refuses but then acquiesces. Now I do not see it that way. I saw a woman trying to cope with the violation being committed against her. The scene is brutal and uncomfortable and I actually feel uncomfortable trying to discuss it. Yet this is film criticism and I’d be remiss to not mention it at all despite its notorious reputation.


This is a very complicated film, directed by a very complicated man. Did Peckinpah hate the violence within himself? Did he allow that to manifest in this film? Does he think David is a hero or antihero? So many questions. It’s fitting that this film came out in 1971, the same year as fellow controversial director Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Straw Dogs, like that film are not easily watched. Yet both films hold a mirror to the ghastly primal nature of humanity and at the very least, make you look inside and question just what are you. Straw Dogs, structurally is a time bomb, ticking away during its runtime until it explodes in the climax. 

Is it just a matter of time for any of us? Just another of the many questions it forever brings. Endless questions and endless discussion.