Friday, December 31, 2010

25 Favorite Actors-- REVISTED --Just In Time For the New Year

My list of 20 favorite actors has not been changed at all since I started this blog (TWO YEARS AGO, next month). I decided it was time for a revision, a switching of places, and because I broke down trying to figure out who to cut...I just added 5 extra places to the list! ;-D

Each of the added 5 actors have actually been favorites for a long time-- long before I started this blog. I just seemed to always forget them when I made the list! So, NOW, they are being rightfully included (and I'm certainly leaving out some other favorite)! ALSO, for the first time ever I am given ACTUAL numbered places to each of the actors! (The placings are slightly irrelevant and change often, so, don't pay any serious attention to them. ;-D) OH, and do remember that the top 6 are REALLY just tied for first place. Well, anyway....

From the top (actually from the bottom)!

James Gleason
  Favorite Roles: Henry Connell in Meet John Doe // Max Corkle in Here Comes Mr. Jordon

 Classic Line: "There you are, Norton-- THE PEOPLE. Try and lick that!" -Meet John Doe

James Gleason was always great. No matter what. I've never seen him give a bad performance. He could play drama and comedy equally as well. AND he's never gotten the recognition he deserves.

Tommy Kirk
Favorite Roles: Merlin Jones in The Monkey's Uncle // Elliot Willard in Bon Voyage!

 Classic Line: "It's better to use your head than break your back, I always say." -Swiss Family Robinson 

Tommy Kirk is just cool. Whether he's Merlin Jones or the Shaggy Dog or Ernst Robinson or Go-Go (um, an alien from Mars or something...) he can always make me laugh. There would be practically NO cool 60's Disney movies if he hadn't been around!

 Michael Callan
Favorite Roles: Eddie Horner in Gidget Goes Hawaiian // Clay Boone in Cat Ballou

 Classic Line: "Wanna hear my first hit? Wanna hear my last hit? It's the same hit." -The Cat and the Canary

I adore Michael Callan he is completely brilliant and cool in everything! For more in-depth on him, check out this post!

Gary Cooper
Favorite Roles: John Willoughby in Meet John Doe // Longfellow Deed in Mr. Deeds Goes To Town

 Classic Line: "People here are funny. They work so hard at living they forget how to live." -Mr. Deeds Goes To Town 

Gary Cooper is AWESOME! In everything. Of course I'm rather partial to his Capracorn myself. I don't even think anyone else could play a disillusioned man better than he. His final scene Meet John Doe is so much brilliance. He says like three words the entire time...but you know exactly how he feels. Gary Cooper practically invented the understated style that later actors (like Steve McQueen) would copy.

Bradford Dillman  
 Favorite Roles: Arthur Straus in Compulsion // Paul Raine in A Circle of Deception

 Classic Line: "By my reckoning, in over four decades I've been personally responsible for the demise of well over a thousand people. Heck, at Jonestown alone my Kool-Aid took out over nine hundred, and I've blown up the Queen Mary twice." 

He was seriously just brilliant. I'm not going to say anymore now, because Bradford Dillman week is coming next month (I'm not joking with you.)

Keenan Wynn 
Favorite Roles: Alonzo P. Hawk (in anything) // Charlie Davenport in Annie Get Your Gun // Harvey Huntington Honeywagon III in Bikini Beach

 Classic Line: "At the tender age of nineteen, I was the best known re-possessor of cars west of the Mississippi. Hot-wire Hawk, they called me." -Herbie Rides Again

 Oh, I can't resist another Alonzo Hawk quote (to his son, who just HAPPENS to be Tommy Kirk..;-D): " If you weren't deductible, I'd disown you." - Son of Flubber 

 Anyway. Keenan Wynn was one THE greatest character actors ever. He could play any part. But, unfortunately for the stars of said films he played any small part in, he had so much presence and was really such a great actor, that he easily stole scene after scene.


Frank Sinatra
Favorite Roles: Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls // Charlie Reader in The Tender Trap // Mike Conner in High Society 

 Classic Line: "Hello, this is a recording, you've dialed the right number, now hang up and don't do it again." -Ocean's Eleven

There's not much to say about Sinatra. He just is. Not only was he really quite a brilliant actor, but he more importantly was pretty much the coolest person to ever live. Watching him on screen is mesmerizing. You are watching pure coolness just standing there.

Bobby Darin
Favorite Roles: Tom Milford in That Funny Feeling // Tony in Come September

 Classic Line: "Sir, do you know what a lemming is? Well, it's an animal that destroys itself. -- I gotta look up my family tree 'cause there must have been some real lemmings there." -Come September

My Darlin' Darin. He's extremely talented at drama (nominated for an Oscar), and even better at comedy. I simply adore his work with his wife Sandra Dee. They are completely adorable together. ALSO: Bobby wrote and sang for many of his films. He's always amazing.

James Garner
Favorite Roles: Jason McCullough in Support Your Local Sheriff // Jess Remsburg in Dual At Diablo // Henry Tyroon in The Wheeler Dealers // Fred Williams in Boy's Night Out
Classic Line: "I'm never illegal. I'm just close to it." - The Wheeler Dealers

 James Garner. He plays the conman so well....IT'S SCARY. In The Wheeler Dealers, he was conning every character, as the viewer I KNEW exactly what he was doing...but still found myself believing all the different lies he was telling all the different characters. That is awesome, evil power. As brilliant as James Garner is at comedy, he is just as amazing at drama. All throughout his career he's done dramas and comedies at the same time. He's just always been brilliant at everything. 

And: James Garner could tell me that I was a Martian living on Pluto....and I would probably believe him.

Vincent Price
Favorite Roles: Nicholas Van Ryn in Dragonwyck // Prof. Henry Jarrod in House of Wax // Dr. Goldfoot in Dr. Goldfoot and His Bikini Machine

 Classic Line: "I also read palms, I swallow swords, I mend my own socks, I never eat garlic or onions, what more could you want of a man?" -Laura

The openings words of Vincent Price's IMDb bio read: "Actor, Author, and Gourmet". <--This is coolness.

Vincent was so completely cool because he completely admitted that 90% of the time he was gloriously over-acting in everything (he called himself "an old Shakespearean ham actor")! But, unlike most others, Vincent Price was a good over-actor. He turned over-acting into art. All those freaky horror films of the 50's and 60's would be fun at all if Vincent was trying to be understated or something. And who else could turn Dr. Goldfoot and His Bikini Machine into a more than slightly brilliant movie?! 


Clark Gable
Favorite Roles: Peter Warne in It Happened One Night // James Gannon in Teacher's Pet

 Classic Line: "I want to see what love looks like when it's triumphant. I haven't had a good laugh in a week." -It Happened One Night

 Clark Gable just makes me happy. He can say and do anything, even absolutely ridiculous things...and completely pull them off. Case in point: Puttin' On The Ritz. If you've never seen Clark Gable singing and dancing to Puttin' On The Ritz (or MORE accurately: NOT singing and NOT dancing ;-D) are missing out on a major part of life.

Peter Lorre
Favorite Roles: Kismet in My Favorite Brunette // Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace // Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon

 Classic Line: "You know, Rick, I have many a friend in Casablanca, but somehow, just because you despise me, you are the only one I trust." -Casablanca 

Peter Lorre was a genius AND he was effortlessly cool. He was not a character actor. I have literally never seen him give a bad performance-- playing a wide range of characters! He played drama and comedy equally as well. I utterly adore his sinister gardener in My Favorite Brunette, because it spoofs his part in films like The Maltese Falcon. I think my favorite performance of Mr. Lorre's is in Arsenic and Old Lace. Everything about his Dr. Einstein is hysterical. It's odd, but as much as I adore Cary Grant (and he's brilliant in that film), I always feel like Dr. Einstein is the one that you REALLY want most to get out of the situation unscathed!

Howard Keel
Favorite Roles: Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate // Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers // Wild Bill Hickok in Calamity Jane // The Poet in Kismet 

 Classic Line: "May your taxes increase!"-Kismet

Howard Keel was absolutely one of the greatest musical stars ever. But he was not at all the usual, old, "standing around singing with an insipid look on his face" musical actor. I've always thought of him as rather a cross between Errol Flynn and Gene Kelly...but with a really good voice. When Howard Keel shows up in a movie, he comes swaggering in. He can turn any musical into something brilliant, and so much fun!

Tyrone Power
 Favorite Roles: Zorro in The Mark of Zorro // Tim Baker in A Yank in the RAF // Thomas Jefferson Tyler in That Wonderful Urge // JAMIE-BOY in The Black Swan

Classic Line: "Can't go wrong drowning politicians, Henry." -The Black Swan 

Tyrone Power was so amazing to watch on screen in all that swashbuckling coolness, but the craziest part about it-- was that he was even more talented than that. He wasn't just a brilliant comedian, he was brilliant in action films, but then you find out, oh he was ALSO brilliant in drama. And he was the best pirate ever. Although, most people remember Tyrone Power as always playing the "hero", he very rarely played a straight, simple hero. His heroes were very often conflicted, or not exactly heroes (JESSIE JAMES IS SO STINKIN' HONORABLE AND GOOD!), or "Charming Jerks". The latter is my classification for characters who are really just such jerks and horrible and selfish, but they are so charming you just love them anyways (think: Cary Grant in His Girl Friday). Tyrone Power was THE best at playing charming jerks.

Okay, I'm not sure exactly where all this Ty rambling is going to....let's just move on.


Robert Montgomery
Favorite Roles: David Smith in Mr. and Mrs. Smith // Lucky Wilson in Hide-Out

Classic Line: "I'd give five bucks to see that cat take a sip of that soup." -Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Robert Montgomery was such a hugely expressive actor. His REactions, whether in comedy or drama were always completely brilliant. He was really great in drama, but I adore him most in comedy. Mr. Smith is seriously one of the coolest characters to ever appear on film.

James Dean
Favorite Roles: Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause // Cal Trask in East of Eden

Classic Line: "Man has a choice and it's a choice that makes him a man." -East of Eden

"You can wake up now, the universe has ended." -Rebel Without A Cause 
It seems that there are very often only two different opinions on James Dean. A) He was the greatest human being to ever walk the face of this planet. OR B) He is completely overrated, a horrible actor, only famous because he died young. PERSONALLY, I think both approaches are wrong. I don't think James Dean was THE greatest actor ever, but neither do I believe that he is completely overrated either. James Dean was a great actor. If would have been so amazing to see what else he would have done in his career, if he hadn't died after only three films. James Dean is a great actor because he pulls you into a film. He FORCES you to feel and understand the characters. Some accuse him of over-acting, but I would more say that he never got the chance to play an understated role (although Giant has some really understated moments from him). His three roles really demanded a bit of overacting. I mean, he was playing a teenager in two of them. I am a  teenager. I find the overacting COMPLETELY believable. ;-D

Bob Hope
Favorite Roles: Larry Lawrence in The Ghost Breakers // Monsieur Beaucaire // Ronnie Jackson in My Favorite Brunette

Classic Line: "I wanted to be a detective too. It only took brains, courage, and a gun... and I had the gun." -My Favorite Brunette 

  "I'm in great shape, for the shape I'm in." -The Ghost Breakers 

Bob Hope forever played the coward. And he was so brilliant at it too. Bob Hope always makes me laugh, no matter what. His famous rapid-fire delivery ensured that if he didn't have you laughing at this joke-- he'd be sure and get you on the next one! Although, he could give a well-timed pratfall when necessary, his humor came much more from his words. He was a very topical comedian, he joked about people and events happening RIGHT THEN. But, although, much of his work is topical, it still stands up today as being completely hilarious. And what a truly great man he was as well. He gave up so much time and money and even risked his life (some the stories from Vietnam-- WOW!) to be right there with the troops, not only to make them laugh, but to give them support (he was named an Honorary US Veteran, the first time such an honor has been bestowed). I don't know, he was just such an AMERICAN. (It's regrettable, that he was actually born in England....;-D)

Jack Lemmon
Favorite Roles: Jerry in Some Like It Hot // Professor Fate in The Great Race // C.C. Baxter in The Apartment

Classic Line: "That's the way it crumbles... cookie-wise." -The Apartment

"I'm a neurotic nut, but you're crazy!" -The Odd Couple 

Did Jack Lemmon ever do anything not brilliant?! I don't think so, I really don't. Very often actors are excellent at both drama and comedy, but they seem to lean a bit more to one genre. Not with Jack Lemmon. You watch him in a comedy and it's like, WOW! HE IS THE GREATEST COMEDIAN EVER! And then you watch him in a drama and it's, WOW! HE IS THE GREATEST ACTOR EVER! He was truly equally brilliant at both drama and comedy. And not just light drama or dramedy. He could do seriously heavy drama AND THE craziest farce ever. Jack Lemmon. There's just not much else to say about him. Haha.

Cary Grant
Favorite Roles: Walter Burns in His Girl Friday // Jim Blandings in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House // Mortimer Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace // Devlin in Notorious // Jerry Warriner in The Awful Truth // Walter Eckland in Father Goose

Classic Line: "Nothing, Mary. Just a private joke between me and whoever my analyst is going to be." -Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House 

"Insanity runs in my family... It practically gallops." -Arsenic and Old Lace

"Take Hitler and stick him on the funny page." -His Girl Friday 

As you can tell from my long list of favorite roles and classic lines (it was seriously painful to cut both down that much), Cary Grant never gave a bad performance. I will watch anything that has the name Cary Grant on it, because it is going to be well-done, or hilarious, or just plain happy.

William Powell
Favorite Roles: Nick Charles (in anything) // Godfrey in My Man Godfrey // Doc in Mister Roberts 

Classic Line: "The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry martini you always shake to waltz time." -The Thin Man

William Powell was a very consistent actor. He was consistently brilliant. It didn't matter whether it was the 30's or the 40's or the 50's, he was always hilarious. I consider him to be the greatest comic actor ever.  (He always did drama quite well.)

Joel McCrea
Favorite Roles: Joe Carter in The More the Merrier // John Sullivan in Sullivan's Travels // Tom Jeffers in The Palm Beach Story

Classic Line: "There's a lot to be said for making people laugh. Did you know that that's all some people have? It isn't much, but it's better than nothing in this cockeyed caravan." -Sullivan's Travels

Why does Joel McCrea not have 50,000,000 more fans?! He certainly deserves them! He had an understated acting style quite similar to Gary Cooper's, but Joel McCrea was really even better at it. AND he could do over-the-top when necessary. He was a very natural actor. One believes that he is EXACTLY the character he plays. He worked with many of the greatest directors AND was practically Preston Sturges' own personal muse (he starred in three brilliant Sturges' films)! And he was genuinely such a nice guy off-screen! :')

Why exactly does he not have 50,000,000 more fans?!

Gregory Peck
Favorite Roles: Joe Bradley in Roman Holiday // Mike Hagen in Designing Woman // John Ballentine in Spellbound // Stretch Dawson in Yellow Sky

Classic Line: "I've come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it and protest their own innocence, then help it along and wonder why it grows. People who would never beat up a Jew. People who think anti-Semitism is far away in some dark place with low-class morons. That's the biggest discovery I've made. The good people. The nice people." -Gentleman's Agreement

 Who else could play an adulterous King David or a guy who'd kill his own brother (Duel in the Sun) and then go play Atticus Finch?! ALL WITH COMPLETE CONVICTION AND BELIEVABILITY! Gregory Peck was definitely one-of-a-kind. He could do drama, or he could frantic comedy (Designing Woman) or he could do a mixture of drama and comedy (Roman Holiday.... :'''/).
Fred Astaire
Favorite Roles: Lucky Garnett in Swing Time // Tony Hunter in Band Wagon // Josh Barkley in The Barkleys of Broadway // Ted Hanover in Holiday Inn

Classic Line: "You're at a level where you can only afford one mistake. The higher up you go, the more mistakes you're allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it's considered to be your style." -The Notorious Landlady

Style. That is a word to describe Mr. Astaire. He was brilliant and mesmerizing in everything. He's the greatest dancer ever (my mum hates musicals, but if she happens to walk by while I'm watching one and Fred's dancing: she always stops and becomes engrossed in it! Haha! Only with Fred though.). He also has my favorite voice ever. I could listen to him talk or sing for hours.

Basically, he just did everything perfectly. And with style.

Ray Milland
Favorite Roles: Don Birnam in The Lost Weekend // Tony Wendice in Dial M For Murder // George Stroud in The Big Clock

Classic Line: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation. I can't take quiet desperation!"

The Magnificent Mr. Milland: playing drunks, murderers, and nuclear holocaust survivors alike with perfect ease, a charming smile, and a killer Welsh accent. Extremely underrated and extremely brilliant. As the would-be murderer of Grace Kelly in Dial M, he makes us ROOT FOR HIM. Of course, his most magnificent moment is The Lost Weekend. No where before or again has alcoholism been portrayed so strikingly. This is typical of a Milland performance. You can never take your eyes away.

Dana Andrews
Favorite Roles: Mark McPherson in Laura // Walt Dreiser in My Foolish Heart // Pat Gilbert in State Fair 

 Classic Line: "Justice? What do you care about justice? You don't even care whether you've got the right men or not. All you know is you've lost something and somebody's got to be punished." -The Ox-Bow Incident

If there was ever an actor who desperately deserved an Oscar, but never got one-- it's Dana Andrews. HE WAS NEVER EVEN NOMINATED! WHAT?! I will never forgive Fredric March for winning for The Best Years of Our Lives, while Dana, who clearly gave the most brilliant performance in the film, wasn't even acknowledged. Dana Andrews was, I believe, the greatest under-stated actor ever. He was able to convey so much through his characters, without being over-the-top at all. The only problem with Dana is that you can never count on him surviving through the film. THEN IT'S JUST DEPRESSING. 

His 102nd birthday is coming up tomorrow, and the film world would indeed be a much lesser place without him (although MOST people apparently don't even realize this. -_-) 

Basically, I just love Dana Andrews.
(I'm also married to him, but that's beside the point. ;-D)

So. Here are my 25 favorite actors. This post took me like 10 hours to write. I'm not even joking. I started writing it at 9 last night and finally went to bed at 2, having only made it as far as Peter Lorre. THIS IS DEDICATION. Only, NOW, nobody's going to actually read the entire post because it's approximately as long as the unabridged Les Miserables. (Believe me. I know. I had to read that for ninth grade literature.)

Also: please forgive and spelling or grammar errors....I never edit before I post! ;-D

I hope you have a stupendously wonderful New Years Eve and strikingly awesome 2011! :-D


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Monkee Mania....ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!

Happy Birthday to Mike Nesmith (68) and Davy Jones (65). 

I remember sometime, long in the past (for all we know I probably never said it at all), mentioning a series I was going to start about The Monkees, BUT WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO SERIES I ANNOUNCE!

Anyway. In this post I'm just gonna post a little cool Monkeeness!

My favorite Davy Jones sung-song:

His basic, non-singingness works extremely well in Forget That Girl! The song makes you wish you were running through a sunshiney field in the middle of summer. :')

Moving right along to Mike:

Tapioca Tundra is such BRILLIANCE! No idea what it's about, but it's definitely brilliant.

Click on it. You won't be able to pull yourself away, nor will you be able to stop at one listen. Believe me.

Coming in behind Tapioca Tundra is Listen to the Band, if only for the completely awesomeness of every time he sings "Listen to the Band....duh duh duh duh duh duh". It's quite fun to recreate that moment at home. One of my younger brothers and I do it often. (Much to the annoyance of everyone else...;-D)

Now, we get to the actual TV show.

Davy: Although, Davy is my least favorite member of The Monkees (but I do love them all so much), he really was a huge part of the reason the show was successful. He was the "actor" of the bunch. This clip is completely random, but also seriously hilarious. (It's actually from a TV special, but still...) Davy is lead singing a crazy 50's teen-band, complete with creeper non-human-sounding back-up singers. AMAZING.

 This clip (just the first minute of this video) will never cease to be completely hysterical to me. Mike reading the farm report. Hilarity. "Mr. Kreshlow, Mr. Kreshlow....YOUR CHICKENS ARE DEAD." Brilliance.

 Anyways, Happy Birthday Mr. Nesmith and Mr. Jones. YOU ARE BOTH WAY TOO AWESOME!


P.S. Thanks ever so to Terry for reminding me it was their birthdays! :-D

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jessie Royce Landis...YOU ARE COOL!

Of all the many brilliant character actresses, Jessie Royce Landis was definitely one of the most brilliant....and coolest!

She never gave a bad performance, and although not a huge amount of people may recognize her name, there are certainly many who can recall her face instantly.

She is probably most famous for playing Grace Kelly's mother in To Catch a Thief and then playing Cary Grant's mother in North by Northwest (she was only seven years older than Cary), but she was in so many amazing films. I made a short tribute to her, just from films and shows I happened to have around the house, and discovered that she was in a lot more than I even thought!


There are four specific pieces to Jessie Royce Landis' "persona". A Jessie character MUST have at least three of these pieces or it's just NOT a Jessie character (there are only a FEW exceptions....;-D).

1. She plays a main character's mother.

2. She wears CRAZY hats.

3. She carries around a small dog.

4. She has brightly colored hair.

In Gidget Goes to Rome (a completely horrible, dismal, pathetic film that I truly wouldn't even wish on Randolph Scott) Jessie Royce Landis' character (the only not horrible part of the movie, besides Joby Baker), is a part that obviously had to have been written for her. She doesn't play the mother, but she plays the Aunt. Of course, much joking is made by the fact that nobody (not even her) can remember HOW she is related to the family. She wears seriously awesome/crazy/60's hats. She talks often about how buying a hat can make any situation better. She constantly carries around not one small dog, BUT TWO. She also has extremely colorful hair. There is an entire scene devoted to her sitting in front of the mirror trying on many different wigs (of course then she-who-is-a-Gidget-imposter walks in and ruins all the fun. ;-D)

This is typical Jessie Royce Landis.

She can turn even THE most horribly made, depressing movie ever-- into something brilliant and happy.

And she's SOOO cool while she's at it. I seriously want to be her when I'm 65.

The tribute I made to her:

(If the clips are looking a little fuzzy, make sure you are watching it in 1080p!)

So, are there any Jessie Royce Landis fans out there?! What's your favorite role of hers?! I'm thinking maybe To Catch A Thief .....BUT SHE WAS SO BRILLIANT IN's hard to choose!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"John, look at me. You don’t have to die to keep the John Doe idea alive! Someone already died for that once! The first John Doe. And He’s kept that idea alive for nearly two thousand years. It was He who kept it alive in them —and He’ll go on keeping it alive for ever and always! For every John Doe movement these men kill, a new one will be born! That’s why those bells are ringing, John! They’re calling to us—not to give up—but to keep on fighting! To keep on pitching! Oh, don’t you see, darling? This is no time to give up!"

(My other Christmas Eve movie tradition: to watch Meet John Doe in my room while making wrapping presents at 2AM. This final scene comes up and The Stanwyck starts talking...and I get a bit of a tear in my eye.... AND THEN, the awesome James Gleason comes up and says: "There you are, Norton-- THE PEOPLE. Try and lick that." ...and I'm dead. ;-D)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your holiday is filled with awesomeness! :-)


Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve.

I'm so excited.

I'm going to watch Christmas movies with the family all day and go to a Christmas Eve service with my sis tonight.


Mr. Alastair Sim.

If you have never seen Alastair Sim's Ebenezer Scrooge...then you are a sorely deprived person.
There is just no getting around it. ;-D

This version is so completely brilliant and wonderful, there are not even words to describe it. 

My family has watched it every Christmas Eve for much longer than I can recall (in fact, I remember being 3 or 4 and having to be escorted out of the room during the arrival of Jacob Marley's ghost).

This adaptation captures the spirit of Dicken's novel better than any other version. Every actor is wonderful in this film, but it is Alastair Sim who IS the film. He is perfectly frightening, and tragic, and humorous, and full of so much joy he can't even contain himself. (Anyone who ever says the word "label" to me at any point in the year is welcomed with a gleeful interpertation of Sim: "I must have a label. LABEL, LABEL, LABEL, LABEL, LABBBEELLLLL!")

And the writing and direction are astounding. This is not your normal, "sweet", little Christmas Carol. This movie can be extremely frightening. The camera-work is dark and BRILLIANT. This is all makes the ending redemption...THAT much more awesome.

This film is so perfect, it wouldn't even be Christmas for me without it.

I'd highly recommend it. And I know Kate-Gabrielle recommends it highly as well (just in case you don't want to take the recommendation of someone who regularly advises you to watch Gidget Goes Hawaiian. ;-D)

Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas Eve!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Photo of the Day!

Bradford Dillman in Circle of Deception

East Germany's "Heißer Sommer" a.k.a. The Communist Frankie + Annette (now this is just weird)

Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer) was made in 1968, just a couple years behind the Beach Party movies. But it follows the same basic formula, has a similar plot, and similar songs. The only differences are that Hot Summer is in German...and has all the evil capitalism and individualism taken out.

It was really weird. I never knew until last night that they made mind-smushing entertainment behind the iron curtain!? Clearly, this proves that mind-smushing entertainment is a universal genre that doesn't get enough credit. ;-D

The title song: I decided to stream this movie through Netflix (I currently have a 1 month free trial that I may have to continue...haha), because it was in my "suggested films". This is the beginning of the movie. I was completely mesmerized.

This is going to be stuck in my head forever. And I can't even pronounce any of the words!

Here is another song from the beginning of the film, when the girls and the guys are both trying to hitchhike to the Baltic Sea, the girls are having a bit more success than the guys though. (It ALWAYS works this way in mind-smushingdom. ;-D)

Watching this movie was equal parts fascinating and just WEIRD. Hot Summer valiantly tried to show the complete awesomeness and coolness of collectivism and communism. It really did try.

This is where the marked difference between Hot Summer and AIP films shows up. In the Beach Party movies, it is not only important, but NECESSARY to be independent and original and "your own person". But, in Hot Summer individualism is decidedly frowned upon. The character in Hot Summer who causes all the conflict is the girl who constantly states: "I do what I want and I want what I do". In the end her shockingly selfish behavior is shown as a divisive and destructive life-style.

Also: in Hot Summer, the characters stay in groups. There are the girls and the guys (who eventually combine into one awesome, beach-going, communist family ;-D), and they do not leave from their respective groups. They travel together, work together, eat together, sleep together. They do it all for a common goal, not allowing themselves to be side-tracked by an uncooperative "individual's" personal problems. Near the end a member of the guy's group decides to leave and set-out on his own, he is then told that he is taking the "coward's way out". (He ends up coming back to the group approximately thirty minutes after he leaves it, soo...;-D)

I think Hot Summer is a fascinating perspective on East Germany in 60's, and the whole concept of socialism and the collectivist life.

But, besides all these profound, and fascinatingly historical pieces of Hot Summer, it is also completely entertaining. The songs are brilliant. And the choreography is kinda way more awesome than most AIP stuff. Of course, when they danced...THEY ALL DANCED TOGETHER. It was sort of like West Side Story.

Except, of course this is more like East Side Story....heh heh heh (I'VE BEEN WAITING TO USE THAT JOKE THIS ENTIRE POST, OKAY! ;-D)

The clothes and hairstyles were decidedly cool and 60's and scenery was beautiful (it was particularly interesting seeing a bit of Berlin at the beginning, a Berlin that was not yet crumbling around itself).

I would recommend Hot Summer to anyone. Whether you are interested in the history, or the 60ishness, or just the brilliant mind-smushingness.

 The German Frankie + Annette. ;-D


"without a hurt the heart is hollow..."

Bobby Darin
May 14, 1936 - December 20, 1973

I really wanted to write an amazing post about Bobby's brilliance and perhaps about his continuing influence. But, I just can't find the words. 

He was genius. He conquered music, film, television, and of COURSE live performing. I think the most striking thing about Bobby is that it is impossible to listen or watch him without "feeling" exactly what he's trying to convey. Oftentimes, it's great joy. Many of his songs are crazily upbeat (he can turn ANY song into a "must snap your fingers to"). And his famous comedic skills are on display in many of his films and television performances (and what is available to hear and see of his live stuff). 

Other times, he's describing pain and sadness. It's nearly impossible to listen to some of his music without feeling that pain. But, not necessarily in a painful way (if that makes sense?!). And of course, he also was extremely adept at drama in films (Oscar-nominated for Captain Newman  M.D.). 

Whatever it was that Bobby wanted you to see or understand, it always came through.

Bobby once said, "My goal is to be remembered as a human being and as a great performer."

He is certainly remembered as a great performer and he should be remembered as a great human being, as well.
Bobby expressed his beliefs, what he truly believed, whether it was popular or not. He worked tirelessly for Civil Rights, performing and marching in parades. This was not the "popular" thing to do. And it could have easily damaged his career. But, he didn't care. It was something he believed in. Bobby behaved the same about everything he believed in. He took action.

Bobby knew he was going to have a short life. When he was 8, he overheard the doctor telling his mother that he would not live past the age of 16. He managed to smash a lot of life into the 37 years he had. And this his legacy. What he left behind is still relevant, influential, sometimes "inspirational" and much of the time it's just completely happy (and hilarious)! 

"It isn't true you live only once. You only die once. You life lots of times, if you know how."

The title of my post comes from the song "Try to Remember". (Listen to Bobby singing it here.)

Niamhy wrote a lovely tribute to Bobby here. (ALSO, that photo was kinda swiped from her Tumblr. ;-D)


The Millie is Disowning a 60's Teen Surfer Movie.

For Those Who Think Young is pathetic.

(Please do take note that this coming from someone who thoroughly enjoys Dr. Goldfoot and His Bikini Machine.)

I adore my mind-smushing entertainment of the 60's. I really do. I welcome almost any cheaply-made, poorly written, horribly acted film with open arms.

But, this was seriously just pathetic.

First problem: James Darren.

I am NOT a fan of James Darren. I tolerate him in Gidget and Gidget Goes Hawaiian because of the OTHER people starring in those films. In this movie he was just bloody annoying. Usually, James Darren takes the films he stars in QUITE seriously. He's always trying to insert some "dramaticness" into otherwise perfectly mindless perfection. In this movie, he was almost the complete opposite. He was stinkin' trying to be Frankie Avalon. He even had his haircut (The Frankie cut is copyrighted. People are not supposed to steal it. ;-D). But, James Darren is NOT Frankie. Frankie always comes across as realizing, that, yes he is in spaceship with a chimpanzee (see: Sergeant Deadhead) and yes, he realizes his character is a complete idiot. That's why he's so cool. James Darren is not cool.

That's another problem: This movie tried to almost completely copy the AIP formula.

Now, I love tons of Mind-Smushing Entertainments, not just AIP stuff (Columbia made a lot of awesomeness too). But, this was a pretty obvious rip-off of the Beach Party films. They took all the random pieces and just smashed them back together, but it was weird how they did it. It was like someone said, "Hey, the Beach Party movies have this many minutes of surfing, this many minutes at the 'hang-out' listening to the unfunny comedian try to be funny, this many minutes of conflict between main girl and guy...." Because, all the surfing was smooshed into one long montage. We had to listen to Woody Woodbury go one for like 20 minutes (who the heck is Woody Woodbury?!). And all the conflict is confined to a small space of time.

It was just weird.

Good parts of the movie: Well, the side-kicks (who weren't really side-kicks after the first two minutes, because someone forgot to write them back in) were stinkin' awesome! Nancy Sinatra (pre-Boots, with dark brown hair) and GILLIGAN (I'm sorry, but I never call Bob Denver anything but Gilligan).


And, another thing. HOW MUCH DID PEPSI PAY TO HAVE THIS MOVIE MADE?! It was like one long commercial. Everywhere you looked the Pepsi logo appeared (it was like a creepy nightmare or something...;-D) and people were singing Pepsi's motto...

Anyways. I hereby declare that this movie is no longer a part of the Mind-Smushing Canon. Take note students of the genre.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


Who would have ever thought that a cartoon about an oddly eyeless old man voiced by Thurston Howell III could be so poignant. ;-D

(This is clearly the coolest Christmas Carol ever....ONLY BEHIND Scrooge with Alastair Sim!)



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy 95th Birthday, Mr. Sinatra!

Frank Sinatra was born on December 11th, 1915. NINETY-FIVE YEARS AGO! Wow! What was the world like 96 years ago?! What did people do without the overwhelming coolness that is Sinatra?! I can't imagine.

There is a quote from the liner-notes of The Heart of the Matter (a random compilation album I own) that I simply adore. It describes The Chairman of the Board so very well!

Sinatra was like some kind of inexplicable Big Bang, all sound exploding out of him and respectfully being bestowed upon a longing audience. His genius aligned with the planets and he sang about the moon and the stars like they were his personal playthings.

That's kind of the essence of complete and utter coolness.

 Happy Birthday to my favorite singer ever....


I'm off to the beach!

I'll be back on Wednesday night!

The wunderbar Pacific Ocean on the coast in the Northwest is freezing cold even in the middle of July. But I still love it (/swim in it. ;-D).

See you all later! :-D


Photo of the Day!

Be still my heart!

It's Ingy and Jean Simmons together...chatting about life, science, philosophy, the brilliance of that movie they saw together last night (Gidget Goes Hawaiian actually...;-D)! *sigh* I WANT TO BE THERE!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Gun For Hire

This movie is complete brilliance. It was complete brilliance in 1941. It will ALWAYS be complete brilliance.

Trivia: The alternate title for the film was actually Baby-Faced Brilliance.*

*It's definitely not recommended that you listen to any trivia I give you. Just like a Hitchcock flashback....I'm liable to be completely lying to you. ;-D  

I adore Film Noir. MOST Film Noir.

Film Noir that is utterly nonredeemable and depressing for no reason I do not adore. (Born To Kill, I am looking at you!)

Film Noir that is "awwwwww happy" is my favorite of all. I could watch Laura every. single. day.

And then there are Noirs that are not in anyway "awwww happy", but are still quite amazing. This Gun For Hire is one of those. It's fascinating. No matter how many times one watches it, it is still always a must-be-completely-involved-in-the-story kind of movie. There is no room for finger-puppet making during this movie.

Which isn't a problem at all, because it's a completely engrossing film. The opening scene starts out and Alan Ladd is already giving milk to little kittens, beating up women, helping disabled children, and killing random unarmed people. One begins to understand that this movie is going to be STINKIN' CRAZY.

And pretty Wowzie Kazam.

The acting in This Gun For Hire is really amazing. Veronica Lake and Laird Cregar both stand out brilliantly. And of course there's Alan Ladd. It's really shocking to me that he was fourth-billed. This may be his debut film, but it is definitely my favorite performance from him. He is an unapologetic, coldblooded killer. BUT, YOU FEEL SO SORRY FOR HIM. Oh my gosh. The poor little thing. Can you believe that horrible police officer, Robert Preston?! Why the heck is he persecuting this lonely, misunderstood hitman?! I mean, Alan's nice to cats. AND HE DOESN'T KILL SMALL, DISABLED CHILDREN. What more can you ask for?! Nobody can be completely perfect.

Aww, look at their cute, little innocent faces.

Note: this description does NOT include Robert Preston, who I always forget is even IN this movie. Sheesh. ;-D

I'm not going to say any more about this film, because I of course, do NOT want to give anything away, but really. You should go see it. I can't even think of any regret anyone could have after viewing it. There is not one single flaw in the entire film. AND it's only 81 minutes long, WHAT?! Yeah.

Those of baby-faced brilliance just being cool



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