Category Archives: Movies

Political motivation by way of Miister Ferris Bueller?

There’s one movie from the 1980’s that I still find as an asset, the whole perspective is told in such a way that it builds the protagonist in a comical and entertaining way. It’s a movie that stood as a benchmark to be met or exceeded for teen comedies, not just in the 80’s but in cinema, in general, moving forward from that point forward.

“Ferris Bueller, you’re my heer-oh.”

Yet what leads me to this write up is a negative. One line of dialog from Mister Ferris Bueller jumped into my head this morning, a line which I have long known from a scene I’ve long known… And the current world of politics and the grand motivator for the Dotard in Covfefe, Donald J. Trump, popped into my mind.

Is it fitting I link Ferris, Cameron and Sloan’s altercation at Chez Quis restaurant to Trump? Or is it a contradiction: Some kids who are members of the general masses try to get lunch at a high class restaurant in the Chicagoland area? I’m comparing something for this scene to a sitting President of the United States who is high class and thinks he knows populism while he is totally disconnected to the general populous.

Just to cut to the chase, Ferris’ entire concept of getting lunch at Chez Quis starts with him pretending to be Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. The idea sets off Cameron and Sloan as the maitre’d is not going along with Ferris’ con attempt.

It’s Ferris’ first-person, direct-to-the-camera reaction response to Cameron and Sloan that just seems to explain Trump’s inspiration for continued carelessness…

 

“A: You can never go too far. B: If I’m going to get busted, it is not going to be by a guy like that.

A: Donald Trump is going too far. Regularly. The welfare of America is not what’s driving him as-so-much self-gain. B: The question must be asked if Special Counsel Robert Mueller is the “guy-like-that” or someone else. There’s too much evidence in the Trump-Russia probe to expect Mueller not to end up busting Trump. If it’s not him that does it, it will be Congress in one way or another.

I digress; comparing Trump to Bueller is an insult to Ferris Bueller and the ageless piece of cinema from director John Hughes.

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An unseen sight from The Truman Show

I kvetched recently about one little line of dialog hitting me in a painful way from the 1993 hi, The Fugitive. It was one sign of the on-the-go work that changed the script to the film we know… But one line irked me.

What’s inspired this write up doesn’t irk me in the filmmaking sense as-so-much the curious viewer who is into the movie and the lead character. This isn’t a flaw, but it’s a gargantuan scene that never is seen by the viewers during the build-up to the climax and finale of 1998’s The Truman Show. Continue reading

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A flaw of dialog in “The Fugitive”

You ever love a movie and yet see a glaring error in a scene, be it a gaffe by an actor, dialog failure, or something physically taking place in a scene that marks it as a blunder from one degree to another? I’ve got that hounding me right now with a movie I’ve always held in high regard. It’s a flick that’s had more flaws popping up when I think about it – but that’s opinion on my part and evident mostly due to watching the movie too many times and being exposed to it too much in pop culture or by chance on cable.

And, really, this flaw I note is just opinion. It’s dialog in a passing scene of the 1993 hit, “The Fugitive”. Continue reading

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A reaction to the basic premise of “Die Hard: Year One”

The mused about title is Die Hard: Year One and already the sixth movie of the Die Hard franchise is a failure. Yes, Bruce Willis is set to return to the franchise as John McClane, but with this in a prequel/back-story action movie, it counters the entire premise of the original film. Continue reading

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Wishful thinking and film; re-create this scene

As far as I know, this could have already played out but…

One scene, out of context, that I find hysterical (in context and as part of the film, it’s still funny but not as serious) is the opening confrontation of Mr. Miyagi and sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid Part II. Forget Daniel LaRusso, forget the Cobra Kai students – just the fact Miyagi is being bigger in making his physical confrontation. Continue reading

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Finding entertainment from a politically-inexperienced president

A man with no political experience finds his way into the Oval Office and becomes President of the United States of America. He’s got to learn more than just the day-to-day job at the office, which is vastly different from the day-to-day world which he’s used to.

Yeah, that sounds awfully familiar and vastly understated for the moment, doesn’t it? Perhaps it’s the previous version of the above summary that help some people give Donald Trump so much leeway to be so out-of-character and non-traditional as President? The problem with that is how the previous version wasn’t egotistical and profit driven, nor was he so ideological or politically driven that he alienated so many.

After 114 words, you should be wonder who the hell I’m making reference to with this “previous version” stuff… Continue reading

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Classic films and storylines left open: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Some movies end with what you see as a clean ending. Some movies end with aspects of the story still open for speculation when you care about the characters involved. I usually end up thinking of 1993’s The Fugitive and wondering what happens next with Dr. Richard Kimble and Deputy Sam Gerard. Yeah, they drive off and it looks like Kimble will be freed, but that’s a story unto itself (due process) as well as the story of Kimble vs. Gerard playing out directly in a non-hunt fashion.

But a 24 year old movie isn’t the focus of this post… No, no, I’m going back further into film history with a teen classic. It’s comedy goodness and teen angst mixed into one utopian ball of Chicagoland adventure and hilarity.

You ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Of course you have… or at least you damned well better consider it in the immediate future. The 1986 film is dated but the basic point is teens skipping school.

While Ferris is the focus, there is another storyline that is not resolved on screen with the movie’s end (“Life moves pretty, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” Repeated by Bueller to end the flick… Well, at least the main movie. It’s actually Ferris telling you, post credits, the film is over and you should go home now). Ferris’ best friend, Cameron Frye, has a mess to deal with: A 1961 Ferrari GT, the love and passion of his father Morris Frye.

It’s Cameron who epitomizes teen angst mostly in the film. He holds strong contempt toward his father to say the least. In fact, it’s the climax of the film where Cameron explodes and it results in the demolition of the Ferrari:

And while Ferris vows to take the blame (and the disaster that would come with it for his personal life), Cameron accepts responsibility himself. It’s his confrontation to have and he’ll deal with the consequences. (Side note: Sloan, Ferris’ girlfriend, thinks this was part of Ferris’ scheme for the day off from start to finish. I’ll leave it to you to judge if that’s what the deal was or not).

So, Ferris and Sloan leave, everyone’s returning home… And what happens with Cameron Frye in his confrontation with his father???

The first conclusion someone could draw from this is, “whatever it was, it wasn’t film worthy or John Hughes would have put it in the flick.” That is a good way to dismiss the confrontation but it doesn’t tell you the story of that evening for Cameron. It’s too loaded and too baited in the climax to truly be something to just brush off.

Yet, I think about the confrontation of Cameron and his father (I picture Morris Frye as actor Terry Kiser who you may know better as Bernie Lomax among other roles – no, I don’t imagine he’s dead) and what I see is an unexpected reaction. Cameron is in the garage, stern, strong willed, ready for war, and a suited Morris Frye, fresh home from work, has walked in on the open garage.

“What are you doing in here? I thought you were sick?” He’s walking in and doesn’t see the car… but sees the smashed rear window. He slows down and approaches without saying a word. He looks down and sees his beloved, classic automobile smoldering in the hilly ravine behind the garage and starts a mix of crying and laughing.

I can see Cameron stepping up immediately and taking responsibility in one way or another – perhaps by attacking over love for the car by dad; loving the car and generally hating the family… And yet, Morris’ reaction isn’t out of heartbreak, anger and disgust, it’s that cracking up aspect. He stops Cameron not by yelling, but by putting his arm around him while keeping up his hysterics. The incident rings Morris Frye just as much as it scares and stings Cameron… But I see it as a message that Cameron has grown up. I see it as a message for Morris that his material dream is done and it’s back to reality.

Does Cameron get in trouble? Oh, yeah, yeah, but it’s a whole different situation than what you’d expect. It’s not a war between the Frye family members. I just can’t picture how that goes. I can’t picture how Cameron’s mom (who is in Decatur, Illinois during the movie) plays into things.

Maybe I’m dead wrong, but I just see everything twisting at this critical non-film climactic moment. What’s built up as hate and angst in the movie deflates with Morris’ reaction to the end of his love affair. Cameron’s not the sickly boy any more, and my car isn’t where I can invest myself in full.

That’s drawing conclusions on my part, and the point is that there are times in cinema where things are left to have that happen. What happens with Cameron Frye is a big angle as he is a big angle.

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Film questions and opinionated answers that are one in Filmillion

A month ago, a little further back perhaps, I saw a post on Reddit pointing to a new web site that vowed it would predict the movie you were thinking of in 30 questions or so. Filmillion piqued my curiosity, so I gave it a whirl (more than once) and was left frustrated and disappointed. That’s not because of how well the site performed but by how flawed its questions (and movie guesses tend to be.

If there have been any database improvement or other site modifications to combat flaws isn’t something known by me. What is known is that I gave the site another run for the sake of writing this article. If it leads you to wanting to try it yourself remains to be seen, but here’s what I dealt with and the outcome.

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The Beatles video, “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, missing in action no more

It’s arguable to write that the greatest song the Beatles ever recorded and didn’t release as a single was “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, which was released in 1965 on the album “Help!”. It’s a standard Lennon/McCartney scribed ode that has ties to “She Loves You” as if it were a sequel. I write that point here but I don’t link because trying to find the source I read has been fruitless (this line will be deleted if I do find the link). There are only two words on record for any member of the Fab Four speaking about the song: John Lennon told Playboy in 1980, “That’s me.” You can find more in-depth coverage of the song here. There are touches on other facts about Lennon / McCartney and history that may pique your interest.

I was introduced to the Fab Four in 1985 when my father won a VHS tape of “Help!” from 101 WCBS FM in New York. I was skittish and disinterested at first in watching as the tape opened up with the black-and-white trailer to “A Hard Day’s Night”, the film the Beatles made in 1964. Black-and-white film and disjointed snippets of Beatle songs from the movie just didn’t win me over (and what would you expect? I was 5 or 6 years old at the time). I fidgeted, I tried getting up, but my father put his hands on my shoulders and sat me down.

Then “Help!” started, with actor Leo McKern reciting cult tidings in what amounted to an execution ceremony. Though it was a dark setting, the color blazed (in comparison to that “A Hard Day’s Night” trailer and my interest ticked up. One thing led to another in the film and McKern’s character of Clang bellowed to his cult sect that surrounded him, “Where is the ring?! Search her! What has she done with the ring?!” The cult cried repeatedly “The ring?!” in response and then… then…

Then you see the fabled ring, a large red gemstone on a standard gold band. It just so happens to be on the hand of drummer Ringo Starr as a performance of the song “Help!” gets underway (in black-and-white… which meant nothing to me at this point) and truly the movie began as the Beatles performed “Help!”.

There were seven songs performed in the movie, with “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” being my favorite. Heck, viewing the film a second time, I remember my brothers and I rewinding the video to replay the song and sing along with it. We were won over. That’s not to say “Help!” didn’t win us over, or “Ticket to Ride”, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, “I Need You” (George Harrison’s first composed song), “The Night Before, or “Another Girl”. It’s just the memory of this song in particular.

Director Richard Lester played with lighting but did a simple in-studio scene with John, Paul, George and Ringo. The hues and colors vary and smoke plays into scenes (hey, smoking was hip back then Ringo is doing it in some scenes of the song). I’d put this song, as a video; well ahead of the majority of music videos that also play the studio scene. And seeing it’s been 52 years since the damn thing was recorded, that should tell the music video director sect out there to raise their game.

You can’t find the song on YouTube though, and the simple Google search (which now produces extensive info results for most songs) only shows you amateurs playing.

Is there a business contrast playing out between Apple Corps LTD (the Beatles company) and Google? I don’t know. What I do know is that I started this write up fixated on not being able to find the videos from “Help!” on YouTube. Only a fraction of the movie performance of “You’re going to Lose That Girl” can be found.

A re-worded my web search just a tad (with quotation marks: “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” video, Help!) and lo and behold I found what has been missing via Vimeo.

“You’re Going To Lose That Girl” from Merritt Mullen on Vimeo.

Will it remain on the site? Dunno, though it’s 4 year lifespan tells me that it’s going to stay. You can find a low quality version of “Ticket to Ride” on there, as well as “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” (standard quality). The other songs are missing / have mixed in content.

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by | March 8, 2017 · 12:33 PM

The day when the Jose Gaspar is overseen by Cap’n Jack Sparrow

The Gasparilla season in Tampa, Florida is forthcoming. That’s weeks (if not a month) of civic events around Tampa tied to the grandiose kick-off celebration event: the invasion flotilla of locals, politicians and civic leaders and the “invasion” of Tampa, with the city being claimed by the pirates to officially start the whole season off.

And, yet, it’s just local. It’s not a recognized event nationally. This seems contradictory because there’s an odd timing coincidence: The invasion can also be deemed as a physical representation of the tourist season. From February through April, much of the state of FLA is invaded by that dubious, pirating lot of vacationers and spring training nuts who spend money and relax while also crowding up roadways and areas of commerce.  A pirate invasion? How about snowbird invasion?

(Note: If you couldn’t tell, I’m playing around here with negatives; tourism is a grand part of Florida)

The NFL’s annual championship rite, the Super Bowl, has been played in Tampa more than a few times, and while the game has begun being played later in January and now February, there was never a schedule shift of Gasparilla and the pirates to coincide the hype of Super Bowl Weekend… While that’s a grand marketing failure, it also makes sense: Tampa Bay is represented by the Buccaneer franchise in the NFL after all. Forcing a pirate image / entity down the league’s throat when it’s a celebration of two teams playing for the Lombardi Trophy… Well, it seems like a bad move that will be hit with criticism nationally.

That doesn’t mean always keep the damn thing hoaye, local and low key though.

I’m not here to lobby for much, but there is a point I do want to make that could raise local leaders’ thoughts on the invasion event that earns it a spot in national attention in a positive, tourism-inviting sense. Since the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean” by Disney Films, and with actor Johnny Depp’s has embraced his Captain Jack Sparrow. I’ve wondered why we haven’t heard of Depp being in town for this Gasparilla invasion. Not necessarily in-costume (which he seldom dawns for more intimate events) but just out of his personal “connection” to piracy (in show, not in plundering and looting) by way of Sparrow.

The fact Disney is so invested 90 miles away adds a little touch to the idea. It’s not like Depp has to stick around longer than he wants to (unless he’s in-character). I also want to say Tampa residents/politicians or civic strong-guys shouldn’t actively push to make this happen, or if they do to not make a public marketing push (“See Johnny Depp at Gasparilla!!”). That turns down and ruins the surprise of something like this happening.

Gasparilla is this Saturday, January 28. I don’t expect the presence of Cap’n Jack Sparrow this year… It would be grand if some other star (who is not a local resident) would make their presence known.

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