The Ides of March has come (March 15)

(N.B.  This is a very long post — I don’t expect everyone to read it.  But for anyone who feels the way I do about Cleopatra, in particular, and the Goddess, in general, I believe you may really enjoy it. 😎

I remember the term, the Ides of March, from when I was in the 8th grade or so.

Elizabeth Taylor as "Cleopatra" 1963

Somewhere around that time, I saw the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton movie, “Cleopatra.”

In the language of the time, this film  “blew my mind.”  It was the most expensive film ever made, to date.  And, remember, I was a full-fledged drama queen by the 8th grade, and can you imagine a movie that would appeal more?  I couldn’t, and can’t now. Continue reading

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Speaking of B Movies…

I was flipping through channels during lunch, and I came upon the very beginning of a movie that looked like it would meet my criteria for B movies.  It’s called Supernova, and the major star is James Spader.  More about him later.

This film isn’t what I expected, but in a way, it is, too.  It isn’t a disaster movie, which I expected from the title.  Supernova is a movie about humanity and personality, and a disaster, of a sort.  Typical B-movie sci-fi, although I expect it has a following.  Basically, rescue ship answers beacon, picks up survivor and “artifact.” Benign survivor turns bad….. that’s all for now, in case someone of you want to watch it 😎

The reason I sat down to write this is because of my actor/watcher relationship with James Spader.  I first saw him as Steff in Pretty in Pink.  I love Molly Ringwald, or did when she was making that kind of movie.  But the Steff character is a snob, a self-righteous bastard, and a jackass who believes his parents’ wealth gives him permission to do anything he wants.  (And, as you’ll see, this is my non-hateful definition of the character!)  Spader plays Steff, and he is convincingly nasty.  I decided when I saw this movie for the first time that I hated him.  Not Steff — James Spader.  I thought that was perfectly normal.  Of course, I was pretty perfectly abnormal, so I would.

I haven’t watched any of his movies since.  I even stayed away from Stargate, because he acted in it.  (That’s saying a lot, for a sci-fi freak like me.)  I held on to this irrational feeling from 1985 until today.  I’m not saying he’s particularly good in this movie, although he plays his part with some skill.  I just haven’t had the opportunity to watch him since I went through all those changes last year,  For the first time in 30 years, I watched.  And I don’t hate him at all.  He’s a decent actor, and I have some movie-making-up to do.

But why was my initial reaction so strong?  Because it was easier to hate an actor than another individual?  Well, yes, but….  Because he played such a total A-hole in that movie?  Well, obviously, I’d known that type in high  school, and I blamed him, for some crazy reason, for the crap I got from the cheerleaders, et al.  Was it easier when I was 25 to hate anyone, because that made it okay that I hated myself?  Closer.  More questions and answers will arise as the days go by, I’m sure.

And my final point?  I know not every kid is as crazy as I was, but if someone claims that movie content doesn’t influence young people, I have to laugh.  Ironically.  Ha, Ha, F*cking Ha.

30-Day Challenge Day Nine: Top Five People I’d Like To Kill

I wouldn’t like to kill anyone.  So, in order to answer this topic, I’m going to choose my five favorite fictional villains — these characters I dislike enough to want to maim them, anyway.  Warning:  Spoilers Ahead!  I mean it!  If you haven’t seen one of these movies, don’t read this post until you have.

  1. Bob Rumson, from The American President. This character is played by Richard Dreyfuss, opposite Michael Douglas as President.  Rumson is a caricature — every self-righteous conservative politician who decides to focus attention on an opponent, because he has nothing to say for himself.  I’d like to cut out his tongue, I guess, or maybe the tongues of the politicians he represents.
  2. The T-1000 from Terminator 2:  Judgment Day.  I find something particularly creepy about a villain who can assume the appearance of anyone I care for.  I know this is ridiculous — to dislike a fictional villain enough to push him into the fiery smelter.  But there I am.  I think T-2 is the best, most ground-breaking sci-fi feature of its time, and they made the T-1000 more than awful enough.
  3. Wesley Snipes’ Simon Phoenix, from Demolition Man.  I don’t really hate him — I actually get a kick out of this character.  But  he is evil incarnate, and something  totally expected happens when Sylvester Stallone’s John Spartan kills him.  Phoenix is just a funny, imaginative character — the evil person’s comic.  Love this movie.
  4. Agent Smith, (by Hugo Weaving.)  The Matrix was another sci-fi breakthrough, technically as well as cinematically.  I don’t want to say too much, in case there are those of you who haven’t seen the movie.  Agent Smith is, in the beginning, an aloof, disconnected bad guy, but soon becomes involved in the story, with a great hatred for Neo, (Keanu Reeves,) the film’s star.
  5. Gary Oldman’s Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, from The Fifth Element.  What a nasty, mean dude this guy is — he gets exactly what he deserves, after cooperating with the Great Evil to destroy Earth:  Zorg is a very neat, particular man, and his character’s death is certainly fitting, given where it happens.  I love how mean this character is; I also loved Milla Jovovich as the Fifth Element — her first blockbuster movie, in the U.S., at least.  And Bruce Willis — Ahhhhhhh!

30-Day Challenge Day Eight: Top Five Biggest Fictional Crushes

Well, this is interesting, as it ties in with my B movie post from yesterday.

  1. One of my strongest fictional crushes was and still is Michael Biehn.  He just flattened me in Terminator, and then I found him in all kinds of also-ran movies like Navy Seals.  I believe if I ever saw him play an *sshole or a sh*thead, my heart would break.
  2. Vin Diesel, in The Pacifier.  He still plays the tough special forces guy, but his assignment is to baby-sit five kids while their mom retrieves some special intelligence info in Paris.  I really liked him in XXX, but this movie grabbed me — he is perfection!
  3. With a nod to Robert Heinlein, I love the Professor in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  The Professor is not the young, handsome man who is another protagonist of the book, but rather he provides the spirit behind the “Revolution,” which informs the whole story.  The Professor is a political transportee, a wise man, and fond of Mark Twain, which author I also love.
  4. Will Patton as Chick Chappel in Armageddon.  I’ve always had a things for bad guys gone good in fiction, and Chick is the poster man for that role.  Handsome, kind, a little befuddled as to what happened to mess up his life, but he gets to hold his son in the end, after SAVING HIM FROM A CRASHING ASTEROID.  I’d say he earned it 😎
  5. Also from Armageddon, but from almost every movie he acted in before that, as well, and all the way back to Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis.  This goes so far back, I don’t even remember when I went nuts over him.  I owned the record he made as Bruno, with the Heaters.  Sexiest man alive, I swear.  Ever.  No doubt. ❤

B movies

I have a confession.  I really enjoy B movies.  I love when the Sci-Fi channel has a disaster day — they play their made-for-TV disaster movies, like Atomic Tornado, and Snowy Apocalypse, and I have a blast!  I like slightly better than mediocre science fiction as a whole, although I also enjoy really good Sci-fi.  One example:  I really enjoyed Starship Troopers, an okay adaptation of Heinlein’s book, but no actors that anyone would know, most likely.

As I sit here next to my VHS collection, I can spot dozens of movies that my more exclusive family and friends would never touch.  I have almost every Jackie Chan movie ever made, and my favorites are the very early ones.  Dante’s Peak is another; I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched that movie, and I love it just as much every time.  Kind of corny, but it all works out in the end, which is the best part of B movies, as far as I am concerned.

I really enjoy Ah-nold, in Total Recall, and Running Man.  I thought Wayne’s World was funny, and I adore Porky’s.  This would probably be a good place to stop, but no, not me!  I loved all the Babylon 5 series, though most of my family thought I was pretty mental for a while — I’d drop everything to watch it.  I like to watch Deep Impact, which came out at the same time as Armageddon, but really was an also-ran.  I love anything with Michael Biehn in it — one of my favorites of his is Navy Seals with Charlie Sheen.

I could probably  go on confessing for paragraphs more, but Category Seven: The End of The World is coming on Sci-Fi, and I love it, don’t want to miss it.  So now you all know something about me that really only my family knew, till now.  I love this blog!!  I can say all of this stuff, without any fear or shame.  This is just me.

30-Day Challenge Day 20: Discuss my favorite movie and why it’s so special to me

This is impossible! I can tell you what my favorite movie is today, but tomorrow it will be different and probably different every day thereafter.  Recently, I’ve been drawn to, (what else?) science fiction movies:  Transformers (I and II), The Matrix, Armageddon, even, (she wrote blushingly,) 2012.  Mom and I saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; I really enjoyed Gary Oldman’s role as Smiley in this spy movie.  Oldman figures in a sci-fi go-to movie of mine:  The Fifth Element; (for me, a go-to movie is one you watch when you have nothing else to watch, but want to see a movie.  Other go-tos include Independence Day, Armageddon, and both The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.)  My interest is not limited to serious movies; I loved Star Trek: First Contact, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and anything with John Cusack.

All that being said, the “favorite movie” I’ve chosen to write about today is totally different from any of those above.  It’s Tom Hanks’ That Thing You Do.  I loved this movie from the day I first saw it, especially Liv Tyler’s performance.  I really can’t believe that anyone could have played Faye better than Liv.  She is not the primary character in the show, although she is the female lead.  Even standing backstage, singing along with the band and dancing in place, Liv Tyler is Faye.

Beyond Liv’s performance, I really love the fact that the actors who played the band worked hard and became a band; they play along with their songs in the movie, although the vocals are provided by Mike Viola, of the Candy Butchers.  (I honestly just learned that fact 8-(  ; since 1996 I’ve been under the mistaken idea that the actors sang the music.  Doesn’t matter, as I still love the movie.)  This must have been hard enough, but on top of it, these actors looked like a band from 1964 — very innocent, mostly happy, normal kids.  This is a terrific film portrayal of a band.  Not much ego in these performances, except where the script calls for it.  And in the middle of a really good performance, Tom Hank’s Mr. White recaptures the enthusiasm of Brian Epstein at the Shea Stadium Beatles concert; Epstein managed the Beatles in the first couple of years of their career.

Besides the character performances, the original title song was co-written by Hanks and Adam Schlesinger, and it is a catchy tune reminiscent of early British Invasion pop music.  In the film, Hanks refers to it as “snappy,” and that is exactly the word to describe it.  I cannot help but smile when I hear the soundtrack.  And I am not really a pop music person, although I liked 60s pop more than any other.  The film is just fun to watch, and keep an eye on Liv Tyler through the movie.  Every move and nuance is true to the character — a joy to see!