The Wal-Mart $1 and $5 DVD bins provides a mixed bag of goods
. In the past I've often passed them by, but not long ago, on a whim while at one of the self-service check out lines, I grabbed a copy of a one dollar double feature that included Gone with the West
and Molly and Lawless John
. For pure amusement value it was worth more than the buck I spent.
For the record, I'd watch a film with Sam Elliot in it even if it lacked a story line [has one], had incomphrhensible dialogue [clever, actually],
and the image grainy at best [this copy was clear]. Molly and John Lawless
was a minor gem that apparently passed me by. The film got an R Rating, perhaps due to Sam Elliot twice uttering the word "shit" and one scene where he climbs on top of a whore, and both of them are bare chested.
It is commonplace for one to watch an Oater
where the two principal characters are on the lam from the law, but while carrying a papoose with them? I've never seen that catch before. Vera Miles and Sam Elliot are an odd-couple pairing, a proper sheriff's wife runs away with a sociopath bank robber killer who had smooth talked her into helping him escape the hangman's noose. It may not be what most would consider a proper western, and while it is comic in it's delivery, I'm not certain if it was intentional, or if 30 years passage since production [1978 release date] has rendered it somewhat camp.
The conventional western fan might be uncomfortable with what seems to be an actual intimacy between the two characters. But it's a rather decent watch throughout.
I'll refrain from spoiling the ending, just in case you want to see it yourself. Now relegated to knock-off bins at places like Wal-Mart
, still worth it.
Of the two, when taking into consideration things like clever dialogue, awareness of social issues perhaps not considered in the time period shown, but may have been a draw to contemporary viewers, Molly and Lawless John
was the better of the two. All in all it provided a rather quirky take on the history of the old American West while the other... well, I'm about to get to that.
Which brings me to my thoughts on Gone with the West
, for which it was impossible to find a review [It receives mention on both Rotten Tomatoes
and the IMBD
websites, but I found no write-ups] so I suppose mine is the first one online. [correct me if I am wrong on this
]. For a friend of mine and I we found the film was an entertaining debauched romp.
Re-released in 1978 as Little Moon and Jud McGraw: Plot Synopsis: "Somewhere in the mirage-laden distances of the Southwest is a ghost town called Black Nullar. Jud Mc Graw, a tarnished hero, and Little Moon, a not-so-innocent Indian maiden, have scores to settle"
Released in 1975, and starring James Caan, my guess is that Mr. Caan likely doesn't have it high on his resume list. Neither, I suppose would Stephanie Powers. As for Aldo Ray
[who went on to do a quasi-porn film, Sweet Savage
, a year later in 1979] he might not have cared but his filmographies don't list it. Sammy Davis, Jr. often appeared as a comic foil, so maybe would not have minded the credits.
The film got a PG Rating. how the film makers got that when there is a cockfight, a simulated rape scene -- these both early in the film --
and lots of pawings about in a brothel/saloon is beyond my understanding but, oh well.
In some measure, the review is more about the writing, direction, even the musical score, than about the acting, which is ham-handed and [sometimes] silly.
The villain played by Aldo Ray exposed he hairy chest several time in "Gone with the West." The image to the right is from an unrelated flick. Aldo Ray was a George Cukor "discovery" - I leave you to ponder that one.
There is precious little dialogue. The principals - Caan as a wronged cowhand Jud McGraw, and Ms. Powers as Little Moon, a Spanish speaking half-breed [it is she who gets gang raped] - don't understand what each other is saying so body language becomes a more important communication tool. With other characters, much of the talk is almost guttural, and often drowned out by gun shots, fight noises and TNT going off.
With such sparse dialogue, it is odd to see two writers assigned to the project. Both with histories in television series writing; one apparently toward the end of his script writing career [Monroe Manning
- Lassie, Flipper, The Witnesses], the other [Douglas Day Stewart
- Bonanza, Room 222] went on to write and co-produce An Officer and a Gentleman
, so this piece of celluloid shrapnel didn't kill his career.
Then there was the music: From the 1970's brassy urban jazz overture [the soundtrack from the film Shaft comes to mind
] to the plaintive theme song; at least three times the hymn "Abide with Me" was sung be a scruffy looking counter tenor, always as a preface to a funeral, none of which were maudlin. The theme song about "What a Man has to be," with repetitive inane lyrics that spoke to the unfairness of life, and how men had to be men and deal with things in a manly way, even if it was unpleasant. [perhaps this was to help explain the many bar brawls as well as a wrestling match that showed me from where some of the World Wrestling Entertainment moves were born
Finally, I want to say a little about the print copy I watched. Although the movie was originally filmed in color this copy was a dark, grainy, sepia-toned version that could pass for intentional but every now and again a strong red or blue would stand out. This somber and, at times, almost opaque quality of the image, actually served to increase its unintended humor aspect for my friend and I.
I am guessing that it is bootleg from the "Digiview Entertainment Made in China
. The folks in China were likely violating copyright protections to burn the DVD. The copyright protection is carefully written to extend only to the DVD cover art.
Would I watch it again? You betcha! Am I glad I didn't pay full price to see the film in a theater? You got that right. But for 50 cents per film with the viewing cost to go down each time it's seen, as they say at VISA, "priceless
Labels: humor, James Caan, oaters, Sam Elliott, Stephanie Powers, Vera Miles, westerns
art + artists
Nicole Duennebier describes what she does as "cataloging textures"
of those "under dwelling malevolent creatures...
[while depicting a world that is]..a combination of textural pleasure and textual disgust
Yesterday, she talked with an audience at the New Britain Museum of American Art
about her work, which is on display at the NEW/NOW gallery space until April 26th.
She turns to nature for inspiration. While living in Gloucester. MA she would go down to the tidal pools to study the flora and fauna living there. She found she was both fascinated and repelled with the beautiful and the grotesque lying abed together. This dual fascination, as applied to her renderings, results in showing everything she sees.
James Baker, President of the Maine College of Art, in Portland ME, observed of Nicole that the variety of studies required when she went to college benefited her then budding art trajectory
Nicole ...[explained] that what surprised her most in her education was the role of liberal arts courses, which she admitted she at first tried to avoid. A course in coastal ecosystems presented an unexpected resource of materials to inspire her and “changed my whole body of work.”
At last night's reception I asked her if people, upon finding out that her inspiration is drawn from what she finds in nature, if the people are surprised about this. She indicated that they were. She went on to talk of the distance humans maintain from nature, and commented on society's lack of awareness of what is acually out there and surrounding us all the time, but added, now that she's aware of the elements of nature herself, she has to depict it. for "when you are in nature and you see something beautiful, you have to accept the things around it...
I've got to agree.
Labels: NBMAA, Nicole Duennebier, young artists
memes: 25 random things
- I almost didn't get into college because a financial aid officer said he "...didn't think I was culturally deprived enough
" to receive financial aid.02
- I've never known what it was like to not be able to draw03
- I have no idea where my birth mother might be. Here maiden name is/was Mary Selma Evans. If someone knows her whereabouts, please write me04
- The family once had a cocker spaniel named Brandy. She was stolen within a week of getting her.05
- Learned how to drive a vehicle using standard shift. It's still my favorite way to drive.06
- Montreal is my favorite city.07
- In general, I'm not terribly fond of cities, and [unless I was enormously wealthy
] wouldn't want to live in one but I do enjoy visiting them.08
- It's been over 25 years since I lived there, but I still think of the Adirondacks as my home.09
- Many of my favorite music CDs include
compositions, songs and groups that most folks have never heard of.10
- I was present in a crowd of angry college students when Nelson Rockefeller saluted us by raising his hand and showing us his middle finger... here's a grainy news photo of this historical gesture to your right -->11
- I learned far more from Gretchen Westervelt than I thought I did when I knew her. 12
- I'm a vegetarian when there is no meat available to eat.13
- I once had to tell Sammy Davis Jr that he could not smoke in his hotel room.14
- When travelling to stay with my father while he was dying, I thought of hundreds of things I wanted to say to him. When we were alone together I couldn't talk. I still regret this.15
- Rockwell Kent's widow, Sally Kent Gorton, once left me -totally alone- to peruse RK's collection of prints
for hours. 16
- I really like doing crossword puzzles.17
- On two separate occasions I saw a hotel or dorm room completely vandalized by a renowned Olympic speed skater while it had been occupied by him. 18
- It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to properly use chopsticks for eating. The guy who showed me said I must have lied about having never used them before.19
- My favorite foods include venison, rabbit, okra and eggplant. I dislike brussels sprouts.20
- An acquaintance of mine once purchased an original Rembrandt print at auction for only $5. The auctioneer held it up describing it only as a "...picture of a windmill
." My friend was the only bidder.21
- I passed my first kidney stone in a hotel room in Paris.22
- If I were 20 years younger and single, I'd think seriously about moving to live in Bisbee Arizona
- I never feel alone, nor lonely, when walking solo in the woods.24
- Once purchased a brand new Coleman Scanoe for only $35 dollars.25
- I'm not afraid of the dark.
IMAGE SOURCES: Montreal - from my own collection; Nelson Rockefeller - found at Charles Eicher's Disinoftainment; Return to Asgaard, by R Kent, in the Hermitage Collection, St Petersburg, Russia; Bisbee, AZ from Trip Advisor
Labels: facebook, memes, random things
I came across this while visiting David Gwynne's weblog Other Stream
. The band is known as November Group
and David describes them as "Boston-based, vaguely lesbian band who also recorded “We Dance”, and "Put Your Back To It"
." This is "Homeland."
All these works described are videos from the early 1980s. The video here is somewhat dark and haunting. It's DEVO with a grim edge. Given the group is named after a contingent of radical artists and architects
perhaps that is exactly the right tone. I've also seen them noted at Not Rock On
Does anybody out there know if they are still peforming, either as a group or individually?
Labels: David Gwynne, November Group, pop music, videos
barriers to growth
Large bureaucracies are often barriers to change.
People have known this for quite some time
yet we do little to allow for adaptation. The video hits close to home for me since I can recognize many of the same traits and stale responses seen here, in people with whom I work.
So it is frustrating to have to listen to dense dittoheads
more concerns about keeping the turf beneath their feet stable than in recognizing that sometimes change is necessary for stability.
I want to make one more thing clear while writing about this phenomena; while the examples shown [and linked to
] refer to government bureaucracies, these traits and practices are not limited to government. Insurance and bank lending giants, major corporations [look at the automotive industry] and private health care practitioners are equally as guilty.
We need to change these stultifying practices in order to make some headway at resolving the various [and varied
] crises facing our society today.THANKS TO: Bill Pierce for the link to this YouTube presentation. Much of the "script" comes directly from bureaucratic dictates. Apparently, you can not make this up.
Labels: climate change, creative spirit, innovation