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Showing posts from 2019

Misspent Youth: Carol Lynley

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

The American actress Carol Lynley passed away earlier this year at 77, leaving behind a strong legacy on stage and in film. Born Carol Ann Jones in Manhattan in 1942, she began her career as a child model before seguing into acting. Lynley went on to star in several noteworthy film and television roles over the years, ranging from the controversial teen pregnancy drama Blue Denim (in which she starred on Broadway in 1958 and in the film version the following year) to the sex comedy Under the Yum Yum Tree (in 1963 alongside Jack Lemmon) to one of the most successful disaster movies of the 1970s, The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Lynley appeared in episodic television from Police Woman to Charlie's Angels, and the occasional TV movie, like 1972's The Night Stalker.

Wherever she appeared, Lynley made an impression. Blonde, blue-eyed, and stunningly beautiful, she brought a subtle grace and a c…

Misspent Youth: Linda Lovelace

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.

I was born smack in the middle of the "Me decade," the 1970s, so I missed 1972's sociocultural atom bomb, Deep Throat. Still, the most famous porn film in history sent shockwaves through the culture, the reverberations of which were felt long after the film left theaters. In the early 1980s, kids were still whispering its name, and the name of its legendary—and legendarily talented—star, Linda Lovelace. So, while it was several more years before some of us actually witnessed Lovelace's, um, talents, she was certainly a known commodity to kids my age.

Born Linda Susan Boreman in the Bronx in 1949, Lovelace first starred in a series of hardcore "loops" at the behest of her husband/manager/pimp Chuck Traynor. She went on to do a small clutch of films, both porn and otherwise, none more famous than Deep Throat. Traynor had discovered Boreman's astonishing talent for &…

All I Want for Christmas: Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight

Deck the halls and spike the eggnog, because it's time for another seasonal installment of All I Want for Christmas. I had high hopes to crank out a couple of them this year but we're nearing the finish line of the December holiday spring, so this might be it. My desire to do entries on Christmas movie favorites like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and Black Christmas (1974) will have to wait 'til next year. This annual tradition began in 2017, when I asked Santa to deliver me the ridiculously awesome Joan Collins for Christmas. Then in 2018 came the eternal request for less elf on the shelf and more Elvira under the tree.

Now those legendary ghosts of All I Want for Christmas blog posts past are joined by the equally legendary Elizabeth Montgomery, filling in for Santa while wearing far less clothing than the big guy. I don't even care about the gifts; she can leave them on the roof, as long as she wears Mrs. Claus's younger sister's saucy yuletide getup. She gets…

Five Films: Scorsese

Martin Scorsese's nearly four-hour long crime epic The Irishman dropped on Netflix a few weeks back. It's already garnering awards talk, and while I can see certain aspects of the film being worthy of that praise—in terms of performances, Al Pacino steals the show—for the most part it was an utter slog to get through for this avowed Scorsese acolyte.

Let me clarify. I haven't truly loved a Scorsese movie in a very long time. However, his earliest 1970s films, all the way up to his 1990s work, have always been absolutely crucial to my love of movies. These were some of the first films that helped teach me the language of auteur cinema, shaping forever after how I would see, feel, process, absorb, and analyze film. So, go ahead and watch The Irishman if you have half a work day to kill. But please, follow up with some of Scorsese's best films as either a reminder or, if you've never seen them before, a mind-blowing introduction to the man's cinematic genius. Wit…

It Came From the '90s: Showgirls

Exploring why the 1995 film Showgirls is an enduring cult classic.
(Due to the film's copious amount of salty language and nudity, these posts are probably NSFW)

Next year will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of one of the most memorable films of not just the 1990s, but if you ask rabid fans like myself, of all time: Paul Verhoeven's 1995 bomb Showgirls. Hyperbolic much, you ask? I mean, it bombed at the box office, right? To that I say, since when has box office been an indicator of a film's greatness? Showgirls was savaged by critics and audiences upon release, but not long after morphed into one of the most beloved cult classics in film. In terms of big-budget films that went on to attain cult status, Showgirls ranks alongside Barbarella for me as two of the best of the bunch.

Its legend has only grown in recent years, and there are two new documentaries on it: Goddess: The Fall and Rise of Showgirls and You Don't Nomi. To celebrate the upcoming twenty-fifth birthd…

October Dreams

As much as the anticipation leading up to October 31st brings me great joy every year, the impending arrival of Halloween also brings on some sadness, too. That's because it marks the last day of the greatest month of the year, and the elbowing aside of the great things that make it the greatest. Sure, we horror nerds will continue watching and reveling in all things creepy, year around, but the mainstream's focus will shift to the nauseating displays of treacly holiday claptrap surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas. For some of us, that's almost too much to bear. That's okay, at least we have movies like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles to help us through Thanksgiving, or like Black Christmas or New Year's Evil to provide some yuletide cheer.

At this point, 2019 has started to wear me out. I'm not sure how much new content you'll see around here these next few months.  I go through this annually, where I question why I'm writing this blog, and for who…

It Came From the '90s: Barb Wire

This series looks back at the 1990s and its influence on the generation of people who came of age during the decade. [This post may not be safe for work, thanks to a gif below.]

More than two decades since its release, the sci-fi comic book movie Barb Wire remains one of the essential documents of the 1990s for a few reasons. As written by Chuck Pfarrer and Ilene Chaiken, the film feels like both a time capsule of the American decade in which it was made, and uncanny foreshadowing of where we've ended up in America today, in 2019.

I'm serious. Hear me out before you sneer.

Maybe you had to be there in order to fully appreciate the absolute lunacy of peak Pamela Anderson media hype. When that infamous sex tape of her and then-hubby Tommy Lee was stolen in 1995, it was uploaded to the still-nascent and damn-near lawless internet for all the world to see—well, okay, for people who had the patience to sit through dial-up's excruciating wait times. Then in 1996 the star of Bayw…