What a Way to Go! is a film I cannot believe exists. When I first heard about it a few years ago, I’m 97% sure I lost my mind. There are so many things about this movie that boggles me. Let me just start with the biggest one: the cast. Oh my god, this cast. Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Gene Kelly, Dean Martin, Robert Cummings, Dick Van Dyke, plus very small roles for Margaret Dumont, Reginald Gardiner, and Tom Conway. (more…)
“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ”
— James Baldwin
Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant sh*t to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Motherf*ck him and John Wayne
— Public Enemy
Spoilers for the film They Live.
If there’s one tangible benefit of living in the 21st century it has been living through the near universal reevaluation of director, writer, producer and composer John Carpenter’s work. Reading old reviews and commentaries of his work from critics of the time you can get the sense that Carpenter occupied a space as something between low budget journeymen and elevated schlockmeister. It wouldn’t be until Gen X critics and directors (people who grew up with this stuff and recognized it as more than pop cinema puff) started having a voice in the media landscape that he eventually got his due as a left-of-center auteur and innovator not only in film scoring but in the minimalist music movement. (more…)
Guest post by Benedict Jones.
The year was 1998. There was a resurgence of new comic books, which was something my friends and I lived for. It was our teenage-fiction of sorts. Action movies made a push for flashier martial arts and complex choreographed fight scenes more than ever. The popularity of Japanese cultural themes had also been growing, through Japanese animation and continuous re-hashing of samurai related stories. We had already been huge fans of guys like Brandon Lee (the son of the famous Bruce Lee), Jean-Claude Van Damme, and of course Wesley Snipes. Vampire movies and themes were also in the mix, from Interview with a Vampire to one of our favorite Japanimations, Vampire Hunter D. (more…)
The Trouble with Angels (1966) was the last film that Ida Lupino directed, coming at the tail end of her long period as a television director. In many ways, it represents a sharp departure from the socially conscious noirs that she’s best known for, and yet for fans of the film, it feels like an apt continuation of the gendered critiques that mark her 1950s work. (more…)
Guest post by Kathryn Glen.
Readers of a certain age and socioeconomic privilege will remember Marc Summers as the host of Nickelodeon’s hit game show Double Dare, where pint-sized contestants competed in physical challenges and hoped to avoid Nickelodeon’s ubiquitous green slime. Anyone who missed the show can catch its reboot on air today, or they can witness the phenomenon live on tour. With ’80s and ’90s nostalgia trending, On Your Marc — a documentary about the life of Marc Summers — may initially strike some as yet another attempt to monetize America’s collective memory. But On Your Marc is far from a hit-like-if-you-remember-this cash cow, it is an insightful look at one man’s triumphs and struggles that can resonate with viewers from a variety of entry points. (more…)
Guest post by Michael Crandol.
It only took a ten-second YouTube clip from The Fantasy of Deer Warrior to convince me that I had to track down this movie at any cost. It was a scene familiar from countless grindhouse martial arts flicks. The fierce young male hero, clutching the dying body of his elderly teacher while the female love interest looks on, weeping. A closeup of the hero’s angry, determined yet tear-streaked face as he swears revenge on the villains who murdered his master. An archetypal kung fu movie moment.
Except everyone was dressed up like adorable forest animals. (more…)