Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1959)

In what universe was this film even set?!  Full-time loser Frank Sinatra runs a hotel in Miami Beach that somehow doesn't make any money.  He hasn't paid his rent in over 5 months or even paid his employees in 5 weeks(!!!), but instead of trying to get some cash together he's out partying like it's 1999.  A closet full of "$200 suits", dancing at clubs, driving around drunk in his shiny Cadillac convertible with a sloshed beatnik bimbo in his lap.  Oh yeah, he also has an 11-year-old son that seems to pretty much raise himself.  The film opens with Frank finishing up a long night of partying, he comes in at 4 a.m. to find his kid holding an eviction notice.  So what does he do?  Nothing.  Just goes crying to his older brother, Edward G. Robinson, about needing some money.  After a short eternity of pointless talking, Robinson finally agrees to give him some dough if Frank will agree to marry sexy and sweet Eleanor Parker and run a department store that Robinson owns!!!  The story just goes on and on like this until the inevitable happy ending.  It's terrible.

Fantastic cast (except for that annoying little kid), talented director, costume design by Edith Head, nice photography...I was really hoping to like this movie, but holy fook that story was horrendous!!!  It seemed like every single decision that Sinatra made was bad.  How did so many talented people sign up for this hokum?

Negatives aside, I did enjoy watching Edward G. Robinson and Thelma Ritter.  The Miami locations were cool too.  I was also interested in Carolyn Jones' beatnik character with her blue nail polish, bongos and free spirit.  Kinda unique for a mainstream movie from 1959.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THE STONED AGE (1994)

Two teenagers, Joe and Hubbs, just wanna get drunk, stoned and laid.  Problem is all they got is an half bottle of Peppermint Schnapps, a little bit of skunk weed and no babes.  But their luck turns around when they hear about two hot chicks from up north who are staying across from "the Frankie Avalon place".  Problem is a bunch of other dudes have heard about them also.  So now they gotta get over there quick and make their move before anybody else tries to Bogart their babes.

THE STONED AGE is not a deep movie or just a straight up T&A sex comedy (although there is some nudity).  It's more of a wild night coming of age comedy set in the late 70's.  Both Joe and Hubbs are likable fellows who create an interesting dynamic together.  The girls, Jill and Lanie, are interesting also...come to think of it everybody in the movie is interesting.  There's really not any truly dislikable characters.  Well, Jill's father is a dick, but he did kick a bunch of dudes in the balls and double headbutt two guys at once so there's that. 

Quick pace, low-budget that works well with the story, good acting, likable cops ("You kids probably think I'm a real butthead. You think I didn't want to sneak into some girl's house when I was your age? Hell... they used to call me 'Doggy Door' Dean."), insanity on your potato, a floating eyeball, massive upper body strength, Ox 45, an awesome soundtrack featuring Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, Deep Purple, etc. and a ending that makes you wish the movie wasn't over.  Recommended for cool dudes.

Friday, August 21, 2015

THE RAINBOW MAN/JOHN 3:16 (1997)

Short (41 minutes) and interesting documentary about how strange life can really be.

If you're old enough, you might remember Rollen Stewart from back in the 80's as the crazy dude in the rainbow wig and John 3:16 signs that seem to show up at all kinds of different sporting events flapping his arms around, dancing and tugging on his beard like a maniac.  Well, it ends up he was a maniac.

Rollen was born to alcoholic parents.  His father died when Rollen was 7.  Later his mother died in a house fire and his sister was murdered.  He married a woman who cheated and left him.  After that Rollen began smokin' lots of weed and somehow came to the decision to make himself into a celebrity by acting like an asshole while wearing a rainbow-colored afro wig at nationally televised sporting events. Strange thing is, it worked...kinda.

Starting in 1977 Rollen drove back and forth across the country for over 60,000 miles a year living in his car and begging for free tickets.  Once inside he'd get on camera as much as possible.  Somehow this actually worked and he even showed up in a Budweiser commercial!  Three years later the lonely Rollen saw a late-night religious program about the apocalypse and replaced his Rainbow Man shtick for the John 3:16 shtick. Driving all those miles, Rollen must have hit one too many potholes and knocked a screw loose because in 1992 he became convinced that the rapture was gonna happen soon (like this week!) and that he needed to warn as many people as possible. So in order to get a large audience fast he set off a series of stink bomb attacks (to show people that "God thinks this stinks.") then kidnapped a hotel maid and held her captive while smoking a joint.

Arrested and sentenced to three life sentences Rollen doesn't look too good (in 1997). His eyes are a little blank, but man he sure can spout off some amusing jibber jabber..."Society is bigoted towards Jesus Christ and I'm their scapegoat." According to Wikipedia he's still in prison and was most recently denied parole in 2010.  I know he did some dangerous things, but (without knowing all of the evidence and facts of the case) it seems to me that Rollen would be better suited for a psychiatric hospital than prison.

Not the most fascinating documentary of all time, but it's a fun, easy watch. Definitely worth checking out.