A Christmas Story: Muse on Favorite Scenes

“You’ll shoot your eye out.” “The Old Man,” directs Ralphie to look at one last present that he had hidden. Ralphie opens it to reveal the Red Ryder gun he wanted. These are only two of so many scene I love in “A Chrstmas Story.” Let’s reminisce together shall we? A disclaimer: As usual, my podcast contains spoilers.

“You’ll shoot your eye out.”

The Old man directs Ralphie to one more present.

Ralphie takes the gun outside and fires it at a target perched on a metal sign in the backyard.

The Old Man wins a “major award”

the dogs ruin the family’s dinner by romping through their kitchen and eating their turkey. This results in the family having Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant

Ralphie and his friends Flick and Schwartz are tormented by the neighborhood bullies Scut Farkus and Grover Dill. Ralphie eventually snaps and beats up Farkus.

Flick accepts a dare from Schwartz to stick his tongue onto the school flagpole

After getting a Christmas tree, on the ride home one of The Old Man’s tires becomes flat, so he goes to fix it.

For homework, Ralphie and his class are assigned to write on what they want for Christmas.

“I like the Tin Man”

“The Santa Visit”

Ralphie, a fan of the Little Orphan Annie radio program, eagerly awaits the arrival of a decoder pin he has applied to receive. When it comes in the mail, he uses it to decode a secret message at the end of the day’s broadcast, but is disappointed to find it is only an advertisement for Ovaltine, the show’s sponsor.

It’s a Wonderful Life

My daughter Isabella is my guest on this show :) It is highly rare that a film touches so many lives over the course of so many generations. We’ve had plenty of movies about the great depression and the surrounding hard time periods. None of them portray such stirring and memorable images as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (Please note my review contains spoilers)

Meta info: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)PG | 2h 10min | Drama, Family, Fantasy | 7 January 1947 (USA)An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.Director: Frank CapraWriters: Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett (screenplay) | 3 more credits »Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

Director Frank Capra

The life & times of George Bailey / actor: James Stewart

The lady Mrs. Bailey / Donna Reed

Clarence aka Henry Travers

Purpose of suicidal Ideation / Message of the movie

Colorization / James Stewart’s opinion and reaction

Favorite scene.

Other movies like this: Scrooge/A Christmas Carol, A Ghost Story, Miracle on 34th Street, The Family Man

Closing Christmas blessing: May you not have to leave your body or station in life to find serenity and the value of your life.

Comics vs Horror Challenge w Guest Drew

It’s a very cool topic today with a special guest: Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews to watch 3 horror films I thought he’d enjoy and he challenged me with three in like fashion. Did I become comic book crazed? Did Drew become a zombie? Listen and find out! My guest Drew can be found at these locations: Website/blog: Drew’s Movie Reviews Twitter: @DrewToTheFuture  & Facebook Page: Drew’s Movie Reviews

Drew had You’re Next, Train to Busan, and Hush.
I had Dredd, Watchmen, and Spiderman 2.

The Grapes of Wrath

I see many comparisons in this 1940 movie to our modern country’s split. What do you think. These are desperate times for many. We shouldn’t ignore that. Things change when the haves become the have nots. My wife and I watched “The Grapes of Wrath” recently and while it seemed old at first, it packed some relevant, powerful and therapeutic messages for me. The adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel was about the Joads, a family from Oklahoma, traveling in the 40’s to find work. It is during the ferocious dust bowl period that made farmers’ land fallow.

The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Passed | 2h 9min | Drama , History | 15 March 1940 (USA)
A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.
Director: John Ford
Writers: Nunnally Johnson (screen play), John Steinbeck (based on the novel by)
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine

Those who once owned the farms were now vagrant/migrant workers. The greed and selfishness of the banks and landowners is an eerie backdrop to this realistic fiction. With our country in such financial crisis it seems it could return to this. Maybe it’s not so bad to be afraid of that. Maybe we need that fear to bring about change as working people.

The whole aura of the movie always gets to me emotionally because this might as well be my family. My grandpa came to Bakersfield, CA from Arkansas when my dad was just a kid. Certainly my dad was younger than Tom Joad being born in 1945. Still, I see the Joads as “my people.” I see them as all America’s people, especially right now in 2018. It is quite a powerful movie when you really connect with the messages. Those messages are about life, death, family, faith, hard work, and government. This is about survival. An account of a depression-era family’s migration to the greener pastures of California based on the novel by John Steinbeck.

As we get started: Here’s the original trailer for this film from the 1940’s.

This is a review that contains spoilers. If you have not yet seen The Grapes of Wrath, go see it then come back and listen.

Section 1 (set up audio clip)
As it begins, Tom Joad is oujust out of prison and is hitchhiking back to his father’s farm in Oklahoma, Even now you see siginificant symbols showing what we might now call the “Haves and have Not” In a similar way we have an employed and an unemployed: the great separator of this time even now. Tom already has a black mark on him early in life and he’s not hiding it that’s for sure. What makes the working man more deserving than the unemployed hungry man? That question comes up here again and again in the great depression of the 1930’s. I’d say there needs to be a form of welfare so Americans don’t starve. Not a handout that never ends but a hand up, some relief. The stories of powerty get to me in this film. How about the fate of a convict? Henry Fonda messes with the cautious truck driver, tells him he’s guilty of “HOMICIDE.” Is it helpful to have an attitude out of prison? Would it do any good to have a better attitude? Most convicts can’t find work You get a real feel for the calllousness of Tom Joad as the hitchhiker challenging the skeptical truck driver. Check out this clip:

Below this lines are show notes and a script, it has not been proofread.

grapes1.mp3

Tom meets Muley Graves (John Qualen) who is hiding out. Muley explains through a flashback about how so many were forced from their farms. This is one of the horrors of this film, and it is historical, real. They hear Californi is the land of milk and honey and set out in a dilapidated truck with the whole Joad family. They are filled with hope

grapes2.mp3

The trip along Highway 66 is painful arduous, and it soon takes a toll on the Joad family. The aging and sick Grandpa (Charley Grapewin) dies along the way. Tom writes the circumstances surrounding the death on a page from the family Bible and places it on the body before they bury it so that if his remains were found, he would not be investigated as a homicide. They park in a camp and meet a man, a migrant returning from California, who laughs at Pa’s optimism about conditions in California. He speaks bitterly about his experiences in the West. Grandma (Zeffie Tilbury) dies when the reach California, the son Noah (Frank Sully) and son-in-law Connie (Eddie Quillan) also leave the family group.
The family arrives at the first transient migrant campground for workers and finds the camp is crowded with other starving, jobless and desperate travelers. Their truck slowly makes its way through the dirt road between the shanty houses and around the camp’s hungry-faced inhabitants. Tom says, “Sure don’t look none too prosperous.”
After some trouble with a so-called “agitator”, the Joads leave the camp in a hurry.

grapes3.mp3

The Joads make their way to another migrant camp, the Keene Ranch. After doing some work in the fields, they discover the high food prices in the company store for meat and other products. The store is the only one in the area, by a long shot. Favorite scene: When the Joads ask to buy a loaf of bread for a dime in a diner. They are told the bread is 15 cents a loaf and not for sale anyway. This being all they had, the storekeeper lets them have it for 10 and lies about how much the candy costs so the Joad kids can have some swirl sticks. The movie is great from beginning to end, but that scene is forever etched into my mind.

Bread begging clip

Later they find a group of migrant workers are striking, and Tom wants to find out all about it. He goes to a secret meeting in the dark woods. When the meeting is discovered, Casy is killed by one of the camp guards. As Tom tries to defend Casy from the attack, he inadvertently kills the guard.
Tom suffers a serious wound on his cheek, and the camp guards realize it will not be difficult to identify him. That evening the family hides Tom under the mattresses of the truck just as guards arrive to question them; they are searching for the man who killed the guard. Tom avoids being spotted and the family leaves the Keene Ranch without further incident. After driving for a while, they have to stop at the top of a hill when the engine overheats due to a broken fan belt; they have little gas, but decide to try coasting down the hill to some lights. The lights are from a third type of camp: Farmworkers’ Wheat Patch Camp (Weedpatch in the book), a clean camp run by the Department of Agriculture, complete with indoor toilets and showers, which the Joad children had never seen before. Tom is moved to work for change by what he has witnessed in the various camps. He tells his family that he plans to carry on Casy’s mission in the world by fighting for social reform. He leaves to seek a new world and to join the movement committed to social justice.

Tom Joad says:
I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build, I’ll be there, too.

As the family moves on again, they discuss the fear and difficulties they have had. Ma Joad concludes the film, saying:
I ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and

nobody cared…. Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain’t no good and they die out, but we keep a-coming. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out, they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, cos we’re the people.

Grey Gardens w Guest Hermione Flavia

In this episode I am joined by my return guest Hermione Flavia as we talk about fame, the film industry, and the 1975 documentary, Grey Gardens. We see here a mother and daughter living in squalor and talking together about their lives as quasi famous relatives of Jackie O. It reminds of dependence in family and co-dependence when poverty and mental illness prevent advancement. They also eat meals in their beds.

Grey Gardens (1975)
PG | 1h 34min | Documentary, Comedy, Drama | 27 September 1975 (USA)

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video
An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.
Directors: Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles | 2 more credits »
Stars: Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale, Brooks Hyers

This film has 4 directors. I am struck by how 4 well known directors can see this subject matter as worthy of filming. It definitely sends some powerful messages. For me, the strongest one was about fame and how we can be guilty of measuring our worth or level of success of how famous we are (or are not).

There is so much space between squalor and mega fame. Why don’t people focus more on everyday success. Why do we as a culture worship fame in its current forms. I watched this film and recorded a podcast with my guest Hermione Flavia.

Sin City

Sin City – A Film Summary and review (Podcast Notes)

This is a listener requested film that I had not seen but enjoyed watching as a result.
Thank you to Doug out there for requesting this review. It works on many levels the main ones being the neo-noir style narration, the graphic novel look and unicolor approach, and the actors cast in this movie.

Sin City (2005)
R | 2h 4min | Crime, Thriller | 1 April 2005 (USA)

Watch Now
On Netflix
From $1.99 (SD) on Prime Video
A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption.
Directors: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez | 1 more credit »
Writer: Frank Miller (graphic novels)
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis

Directors and background: There are 3 directors.

Frank Miller

Sin City (TV Series) (graphic novels – 2018) (announced)

Robert Rodriguez

Special guest director Quentin Tarantino

So, now let’s listen to the trailer for this film: Trailer

History of the movie
Based on Frank Miller’s comics/graphic novels.

Actors
The film stars an ensemble cast led by Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, and Elijah Wood, and featuring Alexis Bledel, Michael Clarke Duncan, Rosario Dawson, Carla Gugino, Rutger Hauer, Jaime King, Michael Madsen, Nick Stahl, and Makenzie Vega among others.

As the story begins, you have several intertwined tales that you think will amount to some larger, coherent meaning. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t but that’s what the directors tried to do. It’s amount to reading a comic that takes you through several locations possibly dealing with a central theme or villain. It looks very gothic novel from the get go and I liked that. Everything is dark. There are very few grays. It is either black and white or another well-chosen color like red, yellow, or white thrown in to accent some action or point in the plot. Usually this is blood but it is often eyes, the street, a woman’s brooch, or other well-chosen thing. This effect is done very well. It made me feel like I was in a dream. It turns out the Cannes film festival gave this film an award based on its visuals. Another aspect you get right away and throughout is what Wikipedia calls “Neo Noir.” I would have just called it Noir. It is set in locations that are flat and drab like you might find in a Humphrey Bogart film. The actors voices are used to narrate thoughts and this is used much more than traditional talking in a role. It’s all very creepy and it transports you to another place very effectively.

In the first scene a man is wooing a woman and appears to care for her only to reveal soon he is a hit man and he actually kisses then kills her. He coldly says “I’d cash her check the next morning.” Jessica Alba is in this but figures prominently in the final acts only. Brittany Murphy is Shelly in this. I was so impressed by her. Hollywood lost a beautiful and talented woman actor when she passed away. She was taken far too young. This movie doesn’t feature her prominently but there is enough of her to really see the kind of talent she had. She’s as hot as a cat on a roof and she can work it too. I really enjoyed her scenes.

So, before too long we have the main gist of the story beginning.

Hardigan, Bruce Willis, is a Cop thinking about retirement. He has a bum ticker and he’s too old to be pulling his style of vigilantism on the streets. There is an 11-year-old girl getting raped by that is likely to be raped by some psychopath running the town. Hardigan is determined to prevent that from happening. The girl is the character who would later be played by Jessica Alba. At this point when people get shot their blood is milky white. You start to see what they’re doing with the effect and it’s pretty cool.

Next we meet Mickey Rourke’s character and Jaime King as Goldie. He;s picked her up and taken her back to his red heart-shaped bed in a hotel. He has some face prosthetics which make him look evil but we find he’s a good guy just out for a good time. At any rate, he has fallen in love with this one. They wake up after a blissful night, she is dead. He needs to find out who killed her. He becomes a bit of a vigilante like Willis’ character is. Now there is a sort of central theme to the plot.

He’s trying to get a name out of a guy in an alley by shooting him in the stomach. That’s the way interrogation is done. He knows he’s gonna die but doesn’t want anymore pain. Then he shoots him in the head.

Mickey Rourke is fucking built When Rourke’s character is told the slut is not worth dying for, he defends her. Worth dying for. Nice thing to stand for. Also defending 11 year olds from rapists is another. They got the motives and empathy things down.

Creepy look of eyes at the farm. This is when the creepiness of the eyes and cutout format is at its peak. Elijah Wood is a cannibal

Corrupt police. A movie that shows the LA PD corruption is The Changeling w/Angelina Jolie.

Goldie’s not dead!!! Her twin sister is a bad ass bitch!

Rutger Hauer

Coerced confession from Rourke’s character – The electric chair

Brittany Murphy is Shelley

Clive owen is Dwight McCarthy

Hardly recognized Benecio Del Toro with all that wet mop of hair and I think some face prosthesis

The red convertible, Clive Owen is out to take his Caddy

The white blood again

A dirty cop Benecio is a

The LA Brea Tar Pits :)

Old Town

Irish gang? Merceneries

The hand grenade sends him into the tar

Never give an Irishman good cause for revenge

The main story in Old Town drags it al down a bit.
Been Listening to the podcast “Super Horror Bros.” and they say “If you are going to have me watching your film for over 90 minutes, that’s an hour and a half, you better have a story that keeps the wait worth it.” This film should be a wham bam. It is 2 hrs 4m

The girls of Old Town come to the rescue w guns

The final acts of this film are not its strongpoint. Willis’ character goes to solitary until he confesses … there’s things that happen. He is reunited with Jessica Alba and she is romantically in love with him. This even though he remonds her he is “Old enough to be her grandfather” and after 8 years in jail. What about that bad ticker? It was hard to believe that part at the end.

So, my final thought: Sin city is a visually pleasing neo-noir masterpiece adapted from a graphic novel. I was a little let down to find out it didn’t take place in Vegas which is the place I have always thought was called Sin City. It looks more lie Los Angeles at night. It is a fun film. I enjoyed most the scenes of vengeance and vigilantism. This is certainly a film I would recommend. I simply would have preferred a simpler, more credible story with a shorter runtime that took off about 30 mins. I gve this film an 8/10.
Thank you to Doug out there for requesting this review!!!
Well, that’s the end of my review and I will see you next time.

Body Horror, Podcasting & Banter w my Guest Rik Morgan

Body horror is one of the most disturbing types. In this episode we dialog about it. To imagine being maimed or disfigured with no ability to heal or change back is horrifying for sure. Here are some of the films I had great dialog about with my guest Rik Morgan of “Hail Ming Power Hour,” “House of Whacks” and other great podcasts.

Tusk
The Brood
Alien
Deathdream (Rik recommended to me but we don’t talk much about this one)
The Thing
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Possession
from Beyond
Human Centipede
Rabid
Eyes Without a Face
Videodrome
Shivers

My guest:

In this show I welcome for the first time to my show, podcaster and Youtuber Rik Morgan. I discovered his show looking at my friends’ lists of podcasters on Twitter. The first one I listened to was “Short Bus Cinema” and I about cracked up listening. Since then I have discovered he has many projects the latest of which is a Youtube show called House of Whacks. Here’s the preview, if you have a chance to watch it I hope you enjoy!

Rik is a great talent and I was glad to have him as a guest on my show. Watch for a return visit! And keep your fingers crossed!

The rest of our show today was about body horror films.

Beverly Hills Cop Franchise w Guest Hermione Flavia

Announcing another great guest! Hermione Flavia ( on twitter @hermioneflavia ) agreed to appear on the show and when we talked about movies to cover, she came up with “Beverly Hills Cop” which I agreed with right away. I had a lot of fun with her recording the show! Have a listen and enjoy.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
R | 1h 45min | Action, Comedy, Crime | 5 December 1984 (USA)

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.
Director: Martin Brest
Writers: Daniel Petrie Jr. (screenplay), Danilo Bach (story) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton

I’m a big fan of the franchise and of Eddie Murphy’s work. It was very exciting to rewatch and discuss these films with her! What you hear in this episode is our discussion on these 3 films. We take a few birdwalks but were pretty good about coming back on topic :) WHICH as you may know is a bit of a challenge for me sometimes. She’s agreed to come back and we’re making plans for her to be on the show again very soon.

My guest today is Hermione Flavia from Wildfire Movies. Check her out on Instagram as well: hermioneflavia.

Charly and Limitless w Guest Audrey Fox

My guest is Audrey Fox of 1001 Movies and Beyond and Rated M for McPhail podcast. She’s on twitter at: @audonamission (I love to read and listen to her stuff!) I really enjoyed having a dialog about films with her today. This episode is about the 2 films Charly and Limitless.

Charly (1968)
M | 1h 43min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi | 23 September 1968 (USA)

An intellectually disabled man undergoes an experiment that gives him the intelligence of a genius.
Director: Ralph Nelson
Writers: Daniel Keyes (novel), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)
Stars: Cliff Robertson, Claire Bloom, Lilia Skala

Today we’re going to talk about the brain in movies and what it can cause people to do when drugs are involved, when operations are involved, basically when humankind intervenes in the natural patterns of the brain.

We’ll be talking about Charly, the psychological suspense thriller from 1968 and Limitless the thriller from 2011. I do have a guest today and her name is Audrey Fox.

Audrey shared she is a “Movie Lovin Millennial.” She has a website and podcast and we first got connect through the LAMBcast and LAMB site where we were guests on a show “Movies That Really Scared Us.” Since then, I have had her on Talking stars as a guest multiple times and today she agreed to be on my own show. She has a degree in film and a very unique and engaging way of talking about movies. I am eternally grateful she was on my show today!

We share some banter on the President and current state of affairs that is causing BOTH of us stress.

Limitless (2011)
PG-13 | 1h 45min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller | 18 March 2011 (USA)

Limitless is a movie starring Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, and Abbie Cornish. With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access one hundred percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.
Director: Neil Burger
Writers: Leslie Dixon (screenplay), Alan Glynn (novel)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Abbie Cornish

What a topic! Anyway, if you disagree, it doesn’t last forever. I agree with what Audrey says that if you support putting children in cages I don’t care what you have to say. That was good! She has a lot of great things to say. I always look forward to when I can get her on the show.

We review the two films with commentary back and forth and then we talk about what we’ve been watching.

Ep. 69 – American Splendor

After picking this film based on its Metacritic score, I watched and learned of a unique talent in our times: Harvey Pekar (pronounced “Peek-are”). Radiant describes it well.

He was a comics artist who lived the artist’s life. I was hugely inspired by his story and specifically, Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of him in this film. I give it easily a 10/10 but be aware it is droll and sometimes very nerdy. In other words, it’s not for everyone. The film really touched me though and I talk about how at length in this episode. Thanks for listening, may Harvey Pekar rest in peace. My next film for commentary is “About Schmidt.” See you next time.