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Showing posts from September, 2019

Dame Joan Collins: Magnum Cop

I've made it my mission to hunt down and watch all of Dame Joan Collins's pre-Dynasty cult films. From crime dramas to horror to erotic thrillers, she starred in some delightfully trashy flicks in the 1970s and early 1980s, and I'm going to watch them all.So, consider Dame Joan—or, as I like to call her, Joan Fucking Collins—numero uno on the list of reasons why I recently streamed Poliziotto senza paura, a 1978 Italian film set in Vienna and directed by Stelvio MassiVarious international titles include Magnum Cop,FearlessFearless Fuzz, and Fatal Charm. IMDb describes the plot like so: "An Italian private investigator tries to get to the bottom of a suspicious kidnapping case with the help of an exotic dancer." I like to describe it as a combination police procedural/screwball comedy/erotic thriller. The dubbing into English is hilariously bad, leaving many characters sounding like stand up comics delivering punchlines to jokes they never told in the first pl…

Misspent Youth: Magnum, P.I.

Looking back at the pop culture mainstays of this Gen-Xer's gloriously misspent youth.
For an eighties kid from the Northeastern United States, whose parents drove a Chevette, and whose experience with exotic locales was mostly limited to occasional trips to tacky, mouse-themed amusement parks in Florida, Magnum, P.I. was the very definition of an aspirational television show. The long-running hit CBS series—about a handsome, funny, and sensitive Midwestern Vietnam vet turned private investigator in Hawaii named Thomas Magnum, his friends Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley) and the cantankerous but lovable scold Jonathan Higgins (John Hillerman)— was filmed on location in and around Oahu, Hawaii. As if that gorgeous, heavenly island setting wasn't enough to make me jealous, there was also the steady stream of beautiful women who regularly graced Magnum's life. Then there was Magnum's exciting profession and his insanely awesome bachelor lifestyle. Hired on b…

Capsule Reviews: Coffy

Quick-hit movie reviews for the masses.

"She's the Godmother of them all ... the baddest one-chick hit squad that ever hit town!"

"They call her Coffy and she'll cream you!"

Starring in Jack Hill's exploitation classic Coffy (1973) effectively established Pam Grier as the most badass woman of 1970s cinema. She'd already staked her claim in previous films, but with Coffy Grier cemented her eternal star status. The story of a nurse by day, vigilante justice seeker by night, Coffy allowed Grier ample opportunities to show off her ample assets - and I don't just mean that bodacious body, although that is certainly on full display throughout the film.

Quentin Tarantino famously loves Grier so much—often listing Coffy as one of his favorite film—that he built the love letter Jackie Brown around her talents. He even cast her Coffy costar Sid Haig* in a knowing nod to their past genre glories. It's no surprise why; Grier is absurdly charismatic as the…

Scream Queens of Halloween: Danielle Harris

Celebrating Scream Queens that make the Halloween season the most wonderful time of year.

It's that time of year again, the most wonderful time of year, when I fully immerse myself in all things Halloween. A few years ago I celebrated the season with a series of pieces on favorite "Women of Horrotober" for The After Movie Diner - including love for Shelley Duvall in The Shining,Lili Taylor in The Addiction, Wendy Kaplan in Halloween 5, and Heather Langenkamp in Wes Craven's New Nightmare, among others. This year I'm hoping to do a series of posts here that similarly honor the many great women in horror history. What better way to start than with one of my favorites, Danielle Harris of the Halloween films.

Harris has starred in four Halloween films: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge Michael Myers from the initial series, and then in the Rob Zombie reboots/remakes Halloween and Halloween II. In the earlier films she's Jamie L…

Nicole Kidman: To Die For

Selections from Nicole Kidman's  filmography that demonstrate her extraordinary talent and risk-taking commitment.

Choosing a favorite Nicole Kidman performance is nearly impossible, as she's gifted us with so many memorable roles. The same goes for trying to select her best-ever performance - where does one begin? Certainly, though, her work as Suzanne Stone Maretto in Gus Van Sant's To Die For (1995) is as excellent a place to start as any. Suzanne might well be my favorite Kidman performance and the one I'd rank atop her best-of list.

In a story of small-town ambition gone wildly off the rails - with a cracking script from Buck Henry and loosely based on the Pamela Smart story that electrified American media a few years before - Kidman is an aspiring television news journalist in New Hampshire who may lack experience but makes up for it with a maniacally relentless drive for fame and fortune. Married to a local Italian restauranteur's simple and old fashioned son …

Blowing in the Wind: Marilyn Monroe and That Iconic White Dress

This month marks sixty-five years since one of the most iconic moments in twentieth-century popular culture: Marilyn Monroe’s angelic white dress being blown sky high by wind rushing up from a subway grate beneath her feet in the film The Seven Year Itch. Billy Wilder shot multiple takes, while Sam Shaw snapped photo after photo for what had to be the biggest publicity stunt ever staged at the time. Marilyn wore two pairs of underwear for the shot, yet, as noted in Lois Banner's critical biography Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox (2012), "a dark blotch of pubic hair" remained visible to the 100 male photographers and over 1,500 male spectators, all of whom crowded eagerly around the set to gawk and drool. Due to strict 1950s movie censorship laws, photos had to be doctored to white out the offending blotch, but those in attendance saw it, over and over, shot after shot. Marilyn's husband at the time, the extremely old fashioned Joe DiMaggio, stormed off the set i…