Last week I had a fun day where I enjoyed a Purge double-bill. I watched the first The Purge movie on Blu-ray at home (borrowed, of course, from the library) then went out to catch its sequel The Purge: Anarchy in the theatre. I’m crazy for bad movies like these. And when I say “bad”, know that I don’t mean BAD. These are b-movies.
And when I say “b-movies” I mean …well, I might not know what I mean. Traditionally, a b-movie was a low budget, quickly filmed feature that ran on the bottom of a theatrical double feature. That kind of film going experience disappeared long ago.
The term b-movie also could signify that a film belongs to a certain genre – a genre that is gritty or silly or what-have-you. They are more fun-for-you and than good-for-you. We have your old timey westerns, creature features and gangster movies. We also have your more contemporary horror and science fiction genre workouts. Continue reading
August 11, 2014 saw the passing of an old and dear friend of mine. And probably a friend of yours as well. Mr. Robin Williams, the Man Who Made Us Laugh. Though I did not know him as a private person I knew and loved him through the laughter and tears we have shared over the years. It has been decades since I sat in the darkness of a dingy little movie house and was introduced to the man who became a legend and took on the worst pirate of all in order to save the magic of childhood imaginings. That man with the crinkled crows feet smile that held a knowing gleam of mischief and excitement whenever he appeared.
A lifetime on the big screen, small screen, and center stage has left a vast repertoire of films and books that showcase his legacy and influence throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century. With an almost superhuman ability to reach out and communicate to children Robin’s trademark clownish lovability can be found in some of his most beloved children’s films such as Hook, Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Happy Feet and Aladdin. How could anyone forget the film which brought us the iconic role of the Genie, a hundred quirky personalities all stuck in one character? Continue reading
So there is this 80s movie called Eddie & the Cruisers (the library doesn’t carry it and that’s okay). It’s about a contemporary journalist and a rock musician-turned-high school teacher who begin a quest to find whether a legendary, early 1960s, long-thought-dead rock and roller (the titular Eddie) is still alive and hiding from fame. The movie plot follows a Citizen Kane format: our rock n’roll protagonists look up old band members so they can reminisce – through this nostalgic 60s flashback haze - on how amazing and important and awesome Eddie and his early rock sound was.
Eddie & the Cruisers was part of a larger movie trend that idealized another time – namely America of the late 1950s to the end of the Woodstock era. These movies – some classics like American Graffiti , others like Oliver Stone’s The Doors perhaps less so – all share “that was the best of times” kind of vibe. They also share obsessions with music and this obsession manifests itself through an unshakeable belief that music was just so much better then. Continue reading