Friday, August 22, 2008

The Wages of Cinema

My friend “Lucky” on MySpace recently posted a blog listing a number of movies she would like to see and challenging her readers to make a list of their own. Drawing on my long years of experience in the TV Listings industry, here are my selections:

Out on a Lamb Chop
(Children) A lovable sock puppet discovers she was a ventriloquist’s dummy in a previous life.

Clash of the Titanic
(Drama) Perseus sinks his fortune in the “unsinkable” Argo only to learn that he has been fleeced. [Yeah, I know … it’s “Jason and the Argonauts,” but it’s all Greek to me. Troy, Troy again, I guess.]

Brokeback to the Future
(Science Fiction) Marty and Doc explore their feelings for one another in the Hill Valley of 1955.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Max
(Comedy) An all-star cast races to find a cache of gasoline buried somewhere in a post-holocaust Australian Outback in this comic tour de force.

Children of a Lesser Godfather
(Drama) Francis Ford Coppola directs this powerful drama that chronicles a family of deaf mobsters over a span of ten years.

Citizen Caine Mutiny
(Drama) A Machiavellian newspaperman weathers a typhoon in 1944 Manhattan.

Singin’ in the Rainman
(Musical) An autistic singer and dancer “definitely” makes the transition from silent films to talkies.

Wild, Wild West Side Story
(Western) Two gunslingers in the 1950s face a gang of murderous teens in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen.

Breakfast Club at Tiffany’s
(Drama) Five eccentric socialites are thrown together and discover that they are five eccentric socialites.

The Grapes of Wrath of Khan
(Science Fiction) A group of genetically enhanced supermen steal a starship in order to flee an ecologically ravaged planet in search of a better life in Oklahoma.

The Princess Bride of Frankenstein
(Comedy) A beautiful young re-animated woman keeps the audience in stitches as she searches for her one true love.

Fiddler on a Hot Tin Roof
(Musical) A Southern family in crisis struggles to hold on their way of life when a melodious eastern European Jewish family moves in next door.

My Fair Lady and the Tramp
(Musical-Animated) A Cocker Spaniel and a mongrel are passed off as royalty by their boorish trainer.

Pee-Wee’s Big Poseidon Adventure
(Comedy) A naïve onanist tries to regain his lost reputation after his career is capsized.

Village of the Damned Yankees
(Musical) A group of sinister British schoolchildren form a Little League baseball team to go head-to-head against the New York Yankees with the help of a crusty old coach.

Cheaper by the Dirty Dozen
(Drama) Personalities clash when a couple tries to raise twelve misfit soldiers in Montclair, New Jersey during World War II.

Flashdances With Wolves
(Drama) A young woman aspires to become accepted by a prestigious dance academy on the frontier during the Civil War.

The Magnificent Seventh Sign
(Thriller) A priest investigates seven mysterious gunmen whose appearance portends the return of Jesus Christ.

Little Orphan Annie Get Your Gun
(Musical) A sharp-shootin’ orphan and her dog thwart a pair of greedy low-brows in Depression-era New York City with the help of a wealthy capitalist.

The Heart is a Lonely Bounty Hunter
(Comedy) A rejected and forgotten deaf-mute pursues four zany misfits to a 1930s mill town in the deep South.

Hard Day’s Night of the Living Dead
(Horror)  Four members of an English rock band are trapped by their own fame in an abandoned farmhouse surrounded by a horde of ghoulish fans.

Blackboard Jungle Book
(Musical-Animated) An infant abandoned in the jungles of India is raised by a group of inner-city hoodlums bent on mayhem.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Hearts and Coronets
(Science Fiction)  A group of eccentric aliens sets out to systematically murder a family of aristocrats in Edwardian England.

Soylent Green Berets
(Science Fiction)  A newspaper reporter bites off more than he can chew when he investigates the suspicious disappearance of an elite military unit in 1968 Vietnam.

Sitting Bull Durham
(Romantic Comedy) A rookie Indian chief knocks one out of the park when his team goes head to head against General Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

The Man Who Knew Too Much Ado About Nothing
(Thriller) An American couple traveling in Morocco is caught up in an intricate web of intrigue and manage to stop a wedding that no one cares about.

Barefoot in Gorky Park
(Romantic Comedy) A free-spirited woman and her down-to-earth husband reaffirm their love in the wake of a series of gruesome murders.

Gilligan’s Island of Dr. Moreau
Seven stranded castaways perform a disastrous series of experiments on native wildlife.

Dirty Harry and the Hendersons
A veteran cop tracks a sadistic serial killer with the help of a cryptozoological rookie.

20/20 Thousand Dollar Pyramid
Contestants compete to guess relevant topics of the day.

Dances With Airwolves
A Civil War-era soldier uses a state-of the-art helicopter to aid a band of Sioux on the American frontier.

ALF-red Hitchcock Presents
A wisecracking puppet hosts an anthology of gripping mysteries.

Barney Miller and Friends
A level-headed police captain tries to maintain discipline among a dimwitted dinosaur, a gaggle of unruly children, and Abe Vigoda.

This Old House
A band of do-gooders restore a crotchety old doctor.

All My Children of the Corn
An errant couple meet their end in a cornfield at the hands of unruly children.  And the whole town worries.  Worries.

Moby Dick Van Dyke Show
A successful comedy writer bets his career on the Great White Joke.  And it stinks.

Monday, August 4, 2008

145 pilgrims die in shrine stampede

As I sat in the Waffle House this morning drinking my coffee and reading the newspaper, I happened to glance at an item released by the Associated Press informing me that:

“... Pilgrims stampeded at a mountaintop Hindu temple in northern India on Sunday, and at least 145 people were killed in a crush that sent worshippers plummeting to their deaths over a broken railing.”

It broke my heart. After all the centuries of collaboration, teamwork and sheer bonhomie between Pilgrims and Indians, that this should happen in our day and age is appalling and shameful.

Indians are cool. Ever since that first Indian stuffed old Tom Turkey and his squaw made the New World’s first Jell-O mold, no Indian has let a Pilgrim come to harm. And every American since has been thankful for that. That’s history. Look it up.

So, how could the Indians drop the ball so disastrously as to let over a hundred Pilgrims plunge to a ghastly death simply because no one saw fit to run to Home Depot and pick up a hammer and a couple of ten-penny nails? Not Do-It-Yourselfers, I guess.

When next Thanksgiving rolls around, things won’t be the same for me. The sweet potatoes just won’t taste so sweet and Macy’s balloons just won’t fly so high. I’m going to say an extra little prayer for those Pilgrims, and I think every Indian should ask himself, "Where did I go wrong?"

We’ve always been the best of friends, we and the Indians. But this time you let us down, Squanto. How can we ever trust you again?