Ten Dared, Disney Style!

DATELINE: Cliffhanger!

 John Beal Dangles by his one arm!

In 1960 Walt Disney studios took on an unusual adventure story for them: the true historical tale of John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado River in 1869.

As Davy Crockett proved a few years earlier, there was no historical truth that Disney could not whitewash. Powell’s misfit crew of tough guys has been turned into a second-banana costar cast of familiar faces and comfortable stereotypes. Ten Who Dared is satisfying emotional comfort food. It falls short of classic, but will do in a pinch.

That’s not to say it isn’t a solid entry in biographical adventure.

You do have a bunch of scene-stealers around John Beal, the 1930s leading man now in late middle-age playing the one-armed Powell. His younger brother could be his son: James Drury in a pre-Virginianemesis role, complete with handlebar mustache.

Our money is on the grizzled Brian Keith, long before his TV comedy stuff, he could always be counted on to give an accounting worth watching. Up against Ben Johnson and R.G. Armstrong, you have marvelous performers. Throw in the spoiled rich kid from the Spin and Martyseries, David Stollery did one more Disney film before leaving acting entirely.

Those Disney moments feature Stollery being ordered to shoot his dog, and James Drury as a villain tormenting everyone.

By modern CGI effects, the rapids and the actors together are less than effective, as the disgruntled men begin to think Powell is searching for gold—and cutting them out of the process.

Other character flaws, amid greed and impatience, lead to more problems, making it your less than happy Disney film.

In true Disney fashion, the most hideous events are left for narrator explanation.

Yet, there is something of an experiment here for a later style of Disney movie. You cannot go awry with the Grand Canyon and notable character actors at the acme of their careers.

 

 

 

 

Food of the Gods: Yum-Yum, Eatum Up!

DATELINE:  Blood to Let?

  Platter splatter?

Whether you consider the menu of godly appetizers to be forbidden fruit, Ancient Aliens offered us a repast of great delectable items.

Yes, our favorite show about those ancient space creatures who fiddled with our DNA has turned our stomachs upside down with the apple of knowledge.

Forget Jennie Craig, dieters. “The Food of the Gods” is what you need on your shopping list.

Forget salt. Aliens apparently have an aversion to salt, and when one contactee provided the CIA and Project Blue Book with a cracker a generous alien provided, it was salt-free.

Can you make manna on your Cuisinart? Or do the crackers of aliens fall from heaven? When the episode begins to suggest that blood-drained animal mutilation is tied into immortality, you begin to see ET as a new variation on Dracula. Swallow hard, Adam’s apple.

Yes, ambrosia is some kind of fluid or food that helps you travel for centuries on space craft. Eating it on earth helped Adam, Moses, and Noah, live to be about 1000 years old. So, Ancient Aliens is hot on the trail of the magic elixir.

Yes, aliens farm blood out of Homo sapiens. Yes, we have no bananas.

It isn’t long to jump to trans-substantiation or making the blood of Jesus out of wine. It would appear that ancient aliens need this stuff—and it is what will sustain humankind when they venture out into space

The problem with the series is that it often forgets its previous findings. Yes, there is a supply of blood to be let by abducted people, but the aliens originally came to Earth for its gold deposits.

There is your ambrosia, manna, wine of gods, soma, and all the rest on Gilligan’s Planet.

 

Missouri Breakage! Classic Brando/Nicholson

DATELINE: Them’s the Breaks, Pardner

 

Mother Hubbard aside? Smile when you say that! 

Return with us to the thrilling days of yesteryear when Marlon Brando teamed up with and up against Jack Nicholson to make a Western. It’s called deceptively The Missouri Breaks.

It was 1976, and both Godfather and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were history.

What’s left is the new frontier of two highly-charged actors going head-to-head.  However, like most of these superstar confrontations, the actual meetings are limited to some off-beat actors’ studio hambone. Brando actually has a small role and does not appear during the first half-hour.

Nicholson plays a horse thief whose gang falls under the observation of a “regulator.” It’s Brando in a dress and looking less zaftig than usual.

We may see parallels to The Left-Handed Gun in that adolescent world of cowboys because Arthur Penn is on board to direct the strange antics.

If there is a surprise, it is that Brando looks much younger than you’d expect, and Nicholson looks somewhat older.

You should expect the usual Brando laundry list: he has an inexplicable Irish brogue and other quirks that characters disdain (lilac cologne? walking under ladders?).  It is doubtful they could have switched roles like Burton and O’Toole in Becket. When Brando inexplicably wears a Mother Hubbard dress, you figure Nicholson surrendered the prize.

There is some wry humor interspersed and some outlandish details to take the Western into the Far Country. In case you are wondering, the Breaks in the river Missouri can be found in Montana.

We cannot imagine that Brando and Nicholson rehearsed any of this stuff, probably trying to shock the other’s performance. Already Brando is self-limiting, but there is no later laziness in his performance. He is up against the high-stakes gunslinging Jack Nicholson. And, perhaps, he saw this as High Noonfor the age.

Since this movie cannot be enjoyed on any conventional Western level, you take it as a psychedelic trip down memory lane. Don’t even think about the symbolism of Jack pulling a gun on Brando as he sits in his bubble bath.

With so many desperadoes (Harry Dean Stanton, Randy Quaid), you can count the deserving bad ends for western villains. It’s a romp.

Shine On, Alien Moon, Up in the Sky!

DATELINE: Manning the Moon?

 Tripping to the Moon!

Mooning the Man?

If you can forgive some of the silly statements, like “fictional hypothesis,” you may find the documentary Alien Moon intriguing enough to entertain, or to surprise with a bare elemental study. Consider yourself mooned.

The film repeats endlessly its main theory: the Moon is a hollow and unnatural object.

Going from there is an easy step for man, and a giant leap for skeptics. It seems that a hollow Moon may be an artificial satellite that traversed the universe looking for a planet suitable for terraforming for a humanoid race.

Guess who and where?

If there are surprises that are indisputable science, it is that information that moon dust is highly corrosive and likely would present major hurdles for colonists there. In fact, the allergenic problem could cause moon hay fever if it enters the human lungs.

If we have a big problem, we need a bigger dust mop.

Another curio of the film is the strange detail that there is a glassy surface on the Moon, likely caused by high heat not caused by meteors. And, the Moon seems to have strong radiation fields.

Of course, such films start off with acceptable points—and once you have accepted those, the leap is six times what a human on Earth might make.

There are structures, either there from ancient civilizations from another place, or are real estate still active by about 250 aliens who arrived from some place 40 light years away.

We again have governments censoring astronauts and scientists to protect us from the demonic elements that could undermine our fundamentalist religions. Until people go back there and enter the deep tunnels of the Moon, we may only experience more documentaries like this one.

Trump’s Latest Antic

DATELINE: Pond Scum Unites!

 Who are these people?

Only 7 black students were allowed to attend a speech given by President T.rump at their college. Only the most out-of-touch semi-Republicans were allowed to attend. The rest were told to stay in their dorms, like good nephews of Uncle Tom.

You see, according to President Trump, those Republicans who support impeachment are “human scum.” Well, we have now learned where our place is in the food chain. We aren’t sure if we are at the top of the pond scum or at the bottom.

In any respect, two-hundred hand-picked toadies greeted the presidential nitwit’s big speech to the black community by the biggest fraud since Rudi Giuliani decided to steal assets out of the Ukraine.

You may find it ironic, or perhaps merely poetical justice, that Rep. Elijah Cummings was laid to rest at the Capitol, in repose in state under the rotunda, while several former presidents paid respect.

From the White House where the biggest idiot in history now resides, there came only deafening silence. He hated Cummings and likely celebrated his passing. You may well wonder what kind of human scum now floats on the puddles of the White House.

As the crown prince of emoluments now sees it, the Constitution he swore to uphold is “phony.” He arranges his storm trooping congressional toadies to raid hearings he does not like, violating protocol and good manners.

When baseball umpires plan to buy automatic weapons to shoot Americans who support impeachment, you know that Trump will resort to civil war to keep his job. It was once known as sedition, and Aaron Burr was the chief proponent.

History has dubbed a new Burr under our American saddle: his name is T.rump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Brady Assaults Media Twice in One Week

 DATELINE: APB FOR A&B (NOT ANTONIO)

Brady mask, life-size! 

Tom Brady just lambasted the media for making up stories about his desire to leave New England. It’s just “hype,” according to TB12. It’s a bunch of horse pucky from people trying to make money off the Brady name and legacy.

You mean people like Robert Kraft? The NFL? ESPN? CBS? MNF? TNF? SNF? You mean corporate types like Under Armor?

Yes, we would concur that all of the above named are trying to make money off the TB12 brand—not to mention his trainer, his real estate agent, and sundry souvenir marketing gnomes.

It was the second assault and battery on the media by TB12 in a weak moment. Maybe his patience is wearing thin, but we aren’t sure why.

Deflategate never bugged him like rumors of leaving Bean-town half-baked if you want a dozen Super Bowl parades.

As for making money off Tom, we wish we could hook up to that choo-choo train, but the milk train doesn’t stop here anymore. Flora Tom Goforth is about to go forth. Just call us the Witch of Capri. Our name has once again been crossed off the guest list.

Of course, Tom—the man who hides the truth under a thickening layer of Botox—never directly responded to the notions counter item that he is selling his home and his contract is up after the season.

He did not give an answer that re-assured, like he wants to play in New England until the end of the line, or that he even hopesto be back in the area next year.

That hope was hung out to dry with his TV appearance that mocked his owner, beloved Kraft of massage fame. As Tom complained testily, you dastardly media are reading metaphors into fiction where similes will do.

Oh, Tom, you coy boy.

Oak Island: Strike Three, Pre-Season Seven

DATELINE: Another Dud Top 25!

  Red Dye is not #2!

Twenty-Five Moments? It’s like sitting down for those home movies one more time. You may want a glass of wine, or something stronger to bare those ills we have than discover the repetition. There is no undiscovered country in this special.

Well, weren’t those the same as the 25 great theories? Or the 25 great discoveries? You could probably package a few minor times as a moment. And, you could rehash the entire two hours from the previous week.

The notion that Matty Blake, the Lagina Brothers’ cheerleader, has to bridge each three-minute segment with some hyperbole is growing tedious.

It might have been interesting to have Gary Drayton, Alex Lagina, or even Charles Barkhouse, host one of these preamble specials. Of course, that would have given the second bananas too much attention. Instead, the radio personality that shows excitement over a licked stamp is the host with the most.

Could they not give us a two-hour biography of Dan Blankenship who received three-minutes of tribute in the first of these specials?

That could have been illuminating, given his disagreements with the other Oak Island pioneer, Nolan, or even with Marty Lagina over dowsing rods.

Instead, we seem to have a two-hour episode with more commercials than usual, but it must be our imagination.

As for the clips, we are re-visiting Paris, and there are repeated clips of previous research families. Mostly, there are pictures of the Lagina Brothers being “cute” or “meaningful.” Perhaps we have lost something over six seasons.

Yes, there have been three or four figures, including Dan Blankenship, who have passed on. These are among the moments. However, Number One is not finding the leaden Templar Cross! We won’t spoil the invisible suspense.

As for treasure, you will see the jewels, the bones, the scenes of the early diggers re-enacted, and on and on.  We are now at the edge of waiting for the seventh season to start, and this nonsense to stop.

Gothic Lunacy: Lord Byron’s Party

DATELINE: A Dark & Stormy Movie

 

Polidori, Shelley, and Byron, aka Spall, Sands, and Byrne

 

If you want to learn about the dark and stormy night in 1816 that resulted in the creation of Frankenstein and Dracula by Lord Byron’s pals, you might look elsewhere.

Ken Russell’s hothouse and nuthouse movie about Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron is pure Gothicnonsense. As was the style of Russell back in 1987, you had a psychedelic version of biography and history. It is not satisfactory.

The cast is somewhat exemplary:  Gabriel Byrne as lame Byron, Julian Sands as pretty Shelley, Timothy Spall as off-putting Dr. Polidori, and Natasha Richardson as demure Mary! Wow, you almost expect the acting alone will carry the film.

However, the director hijacks every moment and even has cast members chewing on rats. We thought the film turned into that rat-festival moviel, Willard.And, inexplicable pythons wrap around suits of armor. Yep, it’s Ken Russell.

Instead of a dark and stormy night where these highly creative people choose to write great books, we have a literal ghost story. The demons are really around every corner. You almost feel sorry for the servants who basically take a powder during the latter part of the movie to avoid these koo-koo birds.

The summer without sun inspired the writing of Frankenstein and Dracula. Byron took credit for Polidori’s work, and Byron couldn’t write prose. The stepsister of Mary is around for crazy moments in which the sexual peccadilloes of the characters is tested.

We have more than your usual homoerotic connections between the men, including some fairly passionate kisses, but Julian Sands was never prettier. Gabriel Byrne seems to have bigger breasts than the women stars. Timothy Spall is actually slim.

The film becomes increasingly erratic and difficult to watch, as befits what did in the style of Ken Russell ultimately. We had hoped to see something truly fascinating, but not quite on the level of a train wreck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Oak Island Fake Documentary

 DATELINE: Kidding the Kidder?

The second attempt to whet the appetite of the fans for the seventh season of Curse of Oak Island proves to be a phony countdown. Here are the 25 most likely theories about the what explains the mystery on the island.

This list of “top” items has no particular logic to it.

How does it differ from the top 25 moments on the series? Well, it all covers the same ground, atop and underneath.

This gives the series host a bunch of short bridge moments between three or four-minute segments. These rehash topics are not in any sense of urgency or chronology, as presented by Matty Blank, er, Blake.

In fact, the oldest theories about what happened on the Nova Scotia island may be the earliest and oldest items: like this is the treasure of a couple of dubious pirates: Captain Kidd or Sir Francis Drake. As we recall from our 33rddegree Mason great-uncle who went up there every summer from the 1920s to the 1960s, this was the common belief of residents.

To lesser extent, there was a belief that Marie Antoinette’s jewels may be there, or Shakespearean folios hidden by Sir Francis Bacon.

Recently the show has bought forth a bunch of neo-experts, including Travis Taylor (he brought the star map theory), or people who believe that the Aztecs reached up to Oak Island where Spanish conquistadors put the Mexican treasure,

Don’t expect answers: after all, they want you to tune into their best kept secret shows that begin in a few weeks. You will be teased with Columbus and Washington as potential treasure plotters.

Hang in there, fans, (or as Matty Blake calls you–“Acorns”) but these alleged hook shows are really counter-suspense and point-killers.

 

 

Air Force One is One Fat Half-Wit

DATELINE: Ford Trumps Lincoln

 Prez Ford Shoots from Hip

Can it be that Trump thinks he is Harrison Ford in the hilarious presidential/terrorist movie called Air Force One?

Delusion takes many forms: for a fat old man to see himself as an idealized President Harrison Ford may not be a stretch for Mr. Trump. Here’s a president who goes off script in public speeches, much to the shock of his aides.

Ford’s president is no Gerald and no Lincoln. He orders outrageous tactical attacks on the Ukraine in conjunction with the Russian president! In 1997’s now sentient movie about the future of the American presidency should give everyone a nightmare.

Gary Oldman shows up with a suspicious crew in Moscow who plan to board Air Force One and do mayhem. Back at the White House, Vice President Glenn Close and Secretary of Defense Dean Stockwell are at loggerheads. The U.S. government is run by buffoons. Most of the movie takes place in mid-air: They are on a jet flying around, but there is not even the hum of an engine in this aircraft.

Within a matter of moments, the terror team has fairly much wiped out the highly trained and highly touted Secret Service aboard the aircraft. Hmmm. This is not a high recommendation for American protection service. We suppose most people tell themselves that it’s only a movie meant to give Harrison Ford some heroic moments.

Since this film takes place in the years right before 9-11, there is something creepy about a stolen plane filled with hostages about to fly into some kind of explosive crash.

Of course, the POTUS here is a Medal of Honor winner who was a hero in Vietnam: no, it’s not John McCain, but it isn’t exactly Trump. However, the President is surrounded by a bunch of cowering bureaucrats or power-grabbing traitors.

In one ridiculous moment, the President must cross fuel line wires to dump fuel: we figure this is realistic because Trump crosses wires daily. As a stable genius, we presume Trump can also fly Air Force One.

It is a cynical view of entertainment.

 

 

Bill Gates Joins the Epstein Denial Club

DATELINE: LOL Lolita Express!

 Yuck or Yikes?

Lest we stir up a hornet’s nest of billionaire idiots, we want to castigate Bill Gates right out of the gate.

This week we learned that this richest man on earth type is either an idiot or thinks we are idiots. He denies he was a friend (close or otherwise) of pedophile suicide Jeffrey Epstein.

The frequent flier mileage and chronic visits to Epstein were all strictly for philanthropic reasons: not personal and not business.

Gates does write to a friend that he met a beautiful woman and her young daughter at Epstein’s manse and decided to spend the day. Hunh?

This is like Trump saying that he knew Epstein liked women, especially younger ones, and they shared that interest. Grab’em while they’re hot.

Nowadays, with money to revise history, these billionaire bozos are hiring PR men and women to whitewash the facts.

How illiterate are these clowns?

That seems to be the only excuse: each, even President Clinton, flew on Epstein’s rock and roll private jet, dubbed “Lolita Express.”

Not one had the literary acumen to recognize Nabokov’s pedophile object of desire. Not one asked why the plane was named after a pre-pubescent girl. Not one had seen the two movies on the subject, yes, titledLolita.

How lacking in curiosity can they be? Enough to know that ignorance is bliss; deniability is paramount in the world of billionaires trying to get away with murder, suicide, and pedophilia.

We have had our fill of dumb-bunny, Playboy bunny-loving rich dopes. Go to the back of the line, Gates and Trump.

Murnau & Max: Life & Death Struggle

 DATELINE: Noserferatu-too much?

Has it been twenty years since Willem Dafoe took on the role of Max Schreck as Nosferatu? And, John Malkovich played the great German director. Shadow of the Vampireis meant to be film history, horror in cinema, and ultimately docudrama to end all vampire tales.

It was like watching Burton and O’Toole in Becket in some kind of twisted duo version of clash of titans. They quibble like Fredric March and Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind.Yes, their screen confrontations are on this level.

Is it comedy, satire, or history? Perhaps it is all rolled into one silent screen classic, as the original depicted shadows over substance. You may laugh at the foibles of movie makers.

Unable to film Dracula, Murnau, the Herr Doktor of cinema, filmed on some remote location where an unknown actor, of Stanislavski Method, turned himself into a real vampire. Or did he?

The conceit of the movie is that Max was no actor, but a real creature of death whom Murnau located.

The film is looney in its hilarity. When Max misbehaves on the set, F.W. Murnau denies him makeup.  When Max Schreck begins to eat the cameraman, the two come to one of their marvelous argumentative scenes. Dafoe clicks his fingernails like a castanet and watches sunrise on film, moving us behind the hideous makeup. You can’t have a film like this without Udo Keir as well.

Two temperamental creatures want to make a movie to last for all time: and they do! Nosferatu’s spirit is captured in this behind-the-scenes account, however falsified or dramatized.

The ending is spoiled, purely preposterous, with Murnau directing the ultimate mass murders.

It’s koo-koo bird stuff, but dreams can be made of that too.

Joan Crawford as Faye Dunaway as Mommie Dearest

 DATELINE: More Like Twin Peaks?

 

Is it Joan or is it Memorex?

 

Where does one begin? Where does one end up? You could put this movie on the end of Joan’s long career—or did that happen when Feud hit the miniseries on TV forty years later? Mommie Dearest is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Mommie Dearest is child abuse taken to levels not seen until Jeffrey Epstein chose to play the role in a Manhattan playhouse.

The twisted tale of Christina Crawford and her adoptive mother is one for the cautionary ages.

You may half expect the dead Joan Crawford to jump out of her coffin and continue to terrify the world. Was she a monster?

Bring us the axe but leave the wire hangers. We want to be objective.

Suffering the strains and stresses of aging would destroy any movie queen but being fired by Metro and re-inventing herself as a tough, savvy career woman, Joan Crawfish seems to deserve all rotten tomatoes that are tossed at her.

Our dear friend Jim Kirkwood, actor and writer of novels like Good Times/Bad Timesand There Must be a Pony, took a role in the movie as the MC who gives Crawford an award: he later had nightmares that his movie star parents would come back to haunt him for participating in this hallucinogenic version of Sunset Boulevard.

The film cannot be viewed on any normal level today, nor could it back then! It had transmuted and altered itself into a zombie of movie history.

Norma Desmond and Joan Crawford were the same height. It was the movies that got small.

Oak Island Specials Headline New Season

DATELINE: More of the Same Again!

 $ Cash Down Logo!

To whet your appetite for season seven of the Curse of Oak Island, the series is beginning the season with early-bird specials. Fans cannot get enough of the Lagina Brothers and their motley crew of treasure hunters.

Tonight is a count-down of the group’s accomplishments over the past six seasons. And, you better believe they give credit to no one except themselves.

What have we got here? Well, it’s the same old wine in a semi-recycled bottle. Yes, the clever producers of the show have found yet another way to repeat, ad nauseum, the same events we have seen repeatedly, over six seasons.

Never let it be said that the Lagina brothers don’t know how to beat a dead horse. This is marketing at its most brazen. By packing the two-hours in the guise of a count-down, you have a way to introduce the show to new viewers. And, if you are an old hand, you should avoid these two hours, lest you are bored, bed-ridden, and/or your remote control is broken.

What’s more, the ever-irritating, fawning Matty Blake is your host, on the Lagina payroll.

To start, the show deals with 25 great discoveries over 220 years. So, you have to include all the historical data: like boys finding a hole and digging in pre-1800. You must include the reasons why Marty Lagina and Dan Blankenship had to move to Oak Island (after reading a Reader’s Digest article), and then you have to list the appearance of the Restall family, and on and on.

Forget those “bobby dazzlers” found by Gary Drayton. Those are at the end of the show.

What emerges of interest is the stuff the producers never think is interesting: like the fact that Oak Island is now a big tourist attraction, or that it has a money-making museum with unusual artifacts (TV props included).

You see throngs of tourists being led by some of the TV show personalities in walk-arounds. You begin then to see the mammoth scale of this money-maker for History Channel, and the Lagina family.

There is never a discussion of cost of security, or other requirements to protect the island. It must be steep: Oak Island is no longer a forgotten speck off the coast of Nova Scotia. You are looking at a Grand Canyon of Mysterious Tourist Traps.

 

 

Ancient Aliens: Second Half 14thSeason

 Rock Carving or UFO?

 

DATELINE: Stardate, 14.15

Coming back after a short hiatus, the Ancient Aliens series picks up by giving another of its regular cast members a vacation trip.

This time it is William (Don’t Call Me Bill) Henry, stalwart reporter, who takes time to visit Italy during a glorious summertime trip.

We don’t know if he saw Naples, took in Rome, or went on a paddle down the streets of Venice, but he surely examined Turin in depth.

Who knew it was a hotspot of extraterrestrial history, superseding even the Romans and the Etruscans?

The ostensible opening gambit is ley lines, those straight lines points around the globe that seem to indicate some deeper power of magnetism or mineral-laden waters. There is a line going directly from Ireland to Italy, and you don’t have to join Ancestry.com to find it.

You might cry out, “Macaroni,” but the series is claiming that the Italian Alps are the embassies of the UFO visitors. The other comment to raise your eyebrow is that conjunctivitis is caused by radiation.

In any respect, the Mt. Musine area near Turin is highly active. The show notes how important Turin is in history and economic terms without ever mentioning the Shroud of Turin.

This was the place where Emperor Constantine saw something in the sky that converted him and his men to Christianity, making this one of the earliest UFO encounters on record. There’s more: Turin is a smorgasbord of activity, ranging from stone carving and geoglyphs to dragon stories, fiery chariots, missing time abductees, and UFO chases by the Italian Air Force.

It seems there may be underground bases here along the Italian Alps: skiers are hereby warned.