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Thanks for everything Dave.
I loved Letterman going back to the 1980s. The Top Ten Lists, Late Night Monkey Cam, Paul and the band, everything. I had watched the final episode of The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and knew what Johnny meant and what he had accomplished, but to me he represented a previous era. I didn't have the emotional connection with Johnny that I did with Dave. Watching this show, particularly the great final Top Ten List, was emotional for me. The part that really hit me was when Dave was introducing the CBS Orchestra for the last time ever. Then Foo Fighters played "Everlong" to close things out in style. Thanks for the memories Dave. Oh, and definitely read Jason Zinoman's "Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night."
The Ace of Hearts (1921)
Pointless: It's the "Usual Suspects" of the 1920s
The viewer is dropped into a meeting of a mysterious organization that has decided that someone has "lived too long" and that it's their responsibility to kill him. Cards are dealt out and one of them gets the Ace of Hearts, meaning it's his job to do the killing. What follows is a whole lot of talking leading up to a gratuitous swerve that explains nothing and is supposed to be a proper resolution. I hated that when it happened in "The Usual Suspects" and I hated it here too. The Netflix DVD sleeve didn't even list any kind of plot description, just saying that it was about "murder and mayhem," and it failed at even that. I never thought I would feel let down by a Lon Chaney movie, but this one did it. Avoid.
Charley My Boy! (1926)
Just because it's old doesn't make it a classic
I watched this on Turner Classic Movies and I couldn't follow it. I don't know what that says about me, I just know that I couldn't keep track of the characters. There was the Charley who got splashed by the car, the old guy Charley and apparently the jerk at the office who insulted the boss who got confused for the young Charley. Or something. There were a couple of funny moments, but if I can't keep track of the characters it makes it impossible for me to enjoy whatever I'm watching.
Beating them at their own game
This episode will always stand out to me because of one moment during Janeane Garofalo's interview. She talked about doing a photoshoot and wanting to look like Kim Deal (of the bands the Pixies and the Breeders), and DENNIS MILLER, the king of all kinds of bizarre and obscure references, DIDN'T know who that was! He could only say, "I've never felt older," and a sarcastic, "Yeah, Kim Deal, she's my favorite too." Janeane probably wasn't TRYING to stump Dennis, but, she did, and that will always stay with me.
OutKast: Hey Ya! (2003)
Hey Ya! Hey Ya!
If you are going to do something as ballsy as base your music video on something as iconic as the Beatles' debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show," you better be able to deliver one HELL of a song. Fortunately, Outkast did exactly that. "Hey Ya!" is awesome from the opening notes. The screaming black fangirls are no different than the screaming white fangirls from 40 years earlier. The old-fashioned Polaroid cameras for the "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" part is a great touch too. Great song, great video.
The Jetsons (1962)
Overrated and Awful
While the premise of doing a futuristic equivalent to "The Flintstones" was solid, the writers/animators forgot about A LOT of what made "The Flintstones" work. Have you ever noticed how the Jetsons had NO FRIENDS? There was no Barney to George's Fred. But then, who would want to be friends with a wimp who kept losing his job? Orbit City was so underpopulated that, on the episode "Family Fallout," the Jetsons faced off against his boss Mr. Spacely's family, something that would NEVER happen in real life.
The Apartment (1960)
Mr. Wilder, Your Movie Sucks
Maybe because I was born in 1975, but, I couldn't find what the appeal of this movie was supposed to be. The bosses are manipulative lowlifes, the alleged "hero" is a spineless coward, the women are treated like garbage...and this won FIVE Oscars, when it didn't even deserve to be nominated for even ONE? THIS crap won Best Picture and "Psycho" wasn't even nominated? What were they smoking?
There is a serious case of Values Dissonance going on, since I can't imagine anything like what happened being allowed today, as lawsuits would be flying left and right. Avoid this overrated mess.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957)
A masterpiece- The Best Bad Movie Ever Made
You either love "Plan 9 From Outer Space" or you hate it, there is no middle ground. It is a film that is almost impossible to criticize today, since it is so famous for its flaws. You have bad actors delivering bad dialogue, bad science ("Solarite bombs!"), bad special effects, Edward D. Wood's wife's chiropractor running around for no reason and doing nothing that has any connection to the plot (due to Bela Lugosi dying before Wood could figure out how to work Lugosi's last footage into a story)...Despite that, it is absurdly entertaining. Edward D. Wood was an accidental genius, someone whose films were entertaining seemingly BECAUSE everything went wrong. It's like the saying, "A friend is someone who knows you but likes you anyway." Forget all the naysayers, turn it on, sit back and enjoy.
"Just Clap Your Hands"
This is the kind of fun video we'll never get to see again because WWE doesn't have great gimmicks/characters anymore. Back in the 1980s, we had the Iron Sheik (before he deteriorated into a profanity-spewing meme-generating caricature of himself), Rowdy Roddy Piper (at his most intense and funniest), Nikolai Volkoff (at his unmusical best), the Junkyard Dog, Don Muraco, Mr. Fuji, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Freddie Blassie, George "The Animal" Steele, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Captain Lou Albano, Uncle Elmer, SD Jones and Koko B. Ware, and it was back when Vince would let himself be silly like he does here. If you're like me and you were around for this era, it's a great trip to a bygone era. If you weren't around, you don't know what you missed. It's notable for the fact that Hulk Hogan wasn't involved, and there had to be a very good reason for Hulk Hogan not to be part of something in 1985 WWE.
The Gong Show Movie (1980)
Absolutely Insane- The Missing Link Between Ed Wood and "Reality TV"
I was born in 1975 so I was too young to have ever seen "The Gong Show" on TV, though I found several clips on YouTube. For those who are not familiar with it, try to imagine "America's Got Talent" minus anyone who is in any way marketable. Chuck Barris created the TV show and wrote and directed this movie that mixes footage that was censored from the original TV show with a storyline about Barris trying to escape the show while battling both the network censors and the talentless losers who want to be on it. Barris staggers through the film in a way that suggests what Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" might have been like if it had focused on Wood's post-Lugosi decline into alcohol and soft-core porn movies and novels. I should point out that I didn't laugh so much as just stare in stunned amazement at the acts. Some of this stuff is infamous and you've probably at least heard of them if not seen edited versions. The acts are presented in a rapid-fire montage style that predates MTV by a year. It's not for everyone, but if you've got an open mind, it is worth seeing.
Syd Barrett's First Trip (1966)
I watched this out of curiosity, since I am a big fan of Pink Floyd. Unfortunately, even if you are one too, I still can't recommend this. There are scenes of Syd running around and he and the other members of Pink Floyd mugging for the camera and not too much else. The best thing I can say about this is that it tends to go by rather quickly, but that really is the one positive thing. If Pink Floyd's music was featured or there was some kind of insight added from the other members, maybe it might be worth watching. Because that is not the case, you should watch the 2003 documentary "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story" and the movie "Pink Floyd: The Wall" instead. I have never used LSD or anything like it and never will. At the same time, it was at least shorter than "Tell Your Children."
I hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. The first sign that trouble was on the way was seeing Will Ferrell's idiot grin and realizing he and the other guy were supposed to be playing Woodward and Bernstein, roles previously played by real actors Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. I laughed, maybe, twice. This is a perfect example of a film that deserved to flop, since it wasn't any good. For some reason, some critics gave this film good reviews which is something I will never understand.
There is a good, funny movie featuring clueless teenagers wandering around the White House. It's called Beavis and Butt-Head Do America and it is much more entertaining than this stinker could ever be.
Stir Crazy (1980)
OK, but it could and SHOULD have been better.
I really wanted to like this movie. For the most part I did, as there was a good mix of physical and verbal comedy. I remember thinking that, with the basic premise established in the first 20 minutes or so, they probably could have the whole thing be nonstop laughs for 90 minutes. Somewhere along the line, the writers sort of lost track of the jokes and the film ended up being much longer than it needed to be to tell the story. The last half-hour or so is pure plot without any reason to laugh. There are some very funny moments here, but, given the participants, there should have been more. It's Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and they are stuck in a film that's too long and not funny enough to justify the running time.
Bad Train Wreck
I once watched the entire saga of Trapped in the Closet on IFC. It was a true train wreck in that it was awful but somehow I could not stop watching. The story was so complicated and R. Kelly was so pretentious that I simply could not make sense of or care about what happened. If the focus was supposed to be on the tangled sexual relationships of the characters, what was that whole business with the mobsters and the train doing in the film? I honestly hoped that someone would get killed since I thought that it might help end this stupid thing. I have no idea how anyone could actually find this mess genuinely entertaining and not just as a "so-bad-it's-good" alternative classic. In conclusion, it's a bad train wreck that you are better off avoiding if possible.
Overlong and Overrated
I don't get all the positive reviews for this movie. I found it overlong and I could not find a reason to care about any of the characters. Technically speaking, there was no true heroic character, as it was a bunch of technologically-advanced criminals and their victims. At several points during the movie I was pleading "Go home! Go home!" It had a decent idea but I have to think that Rod Serling (RIP) probably could have done a much better job with this and he would have done it in a shorter time. I really think the writers and producers could have made a tighter film with better and more interesting characters. Christopher Nolan did terrific, terrific work with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but this film is unworthy of its success.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
I first ran across this film while checking my channel guide for what movie was going to be shown on IFC Grindhouse that week. The plot description said the generic stuff about a killer loose at a summer camp. Having previously watched, and enjoyed, The Burning and Madman on previous episodes, I went in having a rough idea of what to expect. I was wrong. The first thing that shocked me was the staff members were clearly pedophiles which is terrifying in itself before all the violence starts. Even when you think you have figured out who the killer is, you get hit with a finish so stunning that you can't help but think about it for a long time.
This movie deserves to be better known.
Tell Your Children (1936)
Tell Your Children...That This Movie Sucks.
I watched this after taping it from an episode of IFC Grindhouse. It was so boring that I could barely stay awake watching it. Maybe it was because I have never smoked pot and never will that it didn't work for me on any level. It wasn't effective as propaganda or unintentional camp. I fast-forwarded it at some points just because I wanted to get to the ending.
Aside from the fact that I have never smoked pot and never will, maybe the fact that I saw it 72 years after it was made would explain why I found zero entertainment value. I applaud Dwain Esper for his hard work keeping the movie Freaks out of obscurity, but this movie just stunk.
Basic Instinct (1992)
Does Not Hold Up At All
Basic Instinct seemed like a big deal 15 years ago, since there was so much nudity and sex. Unfortunately, once you get past that, there's not much else here. The plot is so convoluted that even Joe Esterhaz, the guy who wrote it, wasn't sure who the killer was or what happened. The film did make Sharon Stone a star, but did not help her in the long run. Aside from Casino, has she made one good movie since Basic Instinct? In a way, it did for her what Dracula had done for Bela Lugosi 61 years earlier. Yes, the roles made them famous and immortal, but also typecast them leading to careers in generally inferior films. The gay protesters who objected to the film's negative portrayals of lesbians missed the mark. What they should have objected to is that all of the characters are unlikable or unsympathetic. It's all flash and no substance (pun unavoidable.)
Muppet Babies (1984)
More Wonderful Muppet Entertainment
This was such an entertaining show. The Muppets were funny, the writing was clever and everything worked so well. Gonzo referenced the Twilight Zone on one episode, changing it to the Weirdo Zone and even tried singing the music. My personal favorite moment was Fozzie's bizarre non-joke "What's the difference between an orange?" If you think about it, there is no difference between a thing and itself. At the same time, it borders on being a Zen Buddhist koan, allowing for any particular answer.
Jim Henson was such a genius and Muppet Babies was one of his many great creations. We all miss you Jim. Thanks for the memories. R.I.P.
This was such a bad PPV. The only match that was anywhere close to good was Raven vs. Perry Saturn. Some matches, such as The British Bulldog and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart vs. Alex Wright and Disco Inferno, were seemingly thrown onto the card with no reason to be there other than to give those guys something to do. The main event, War Games, was the worst of its kind and killed off the match as the Fall Brawl main event forever. (Read: the 2 years, 6 months and 13 days WCW had left). The Cruiserweight Title match between Juventud Guerrera and Silver King should have been much better. The highly talented Norman Smiley is reduced to carrying then-boss Eric Bischoff's useless buddy Ernest "The Cat" Miller. The heavily hyped return of the Ultimate Warrior only served to make the product worse. Don't watch this show. Ever.
Funny, Funny, Funny
First off, this is _not_ a conventional wrestling video. Juggalo Championshit Wrestling is ICP's own creation, and is a vehicle for their hilarious pseudonymous commentary. 3D (Violent J), Gweedo (Shaggy 2 Dope) and "Luscious" Johnny Stark (Jamie Madrox of Twiztid) make jokes, mangle wrestlers names, use insider terms, curse and generally do everything that regular wrestling announcers cannot. The whole thing is a parody of wrestling promoters who make themselves and/or their family or friends the top stars at the expense of everyone else. Like everything else by ICP, it is not for everyone. However, if you are a Juggalo or just someone who loves wrestling and has a sense of humor about it, you will love it.
The Matrix (1999)
Enjoyable yet difficult to understand (and harder to explain)
In his column "In The Realm of the Senseless," about movies that made no sense, Joe Queenan mentioned "The Conversation" as a film that you enjoy even if you can't understand what it is about. I would definitely add "The Matrix" to that list. Exactly how and why everything is happening is never entirely clear, but it is exciting and compelling enough to keep your interest.