Summer 2007, issue 25
"This party's lame, Max!" Ian (Robert Downey, Jr.) Weird Science (1985)
Lame-o Summer Rerun Issue! *
Lame!!! Lame lame lame lame lame! No summer blockbuster issue, here, pal. Just a random smattering of some of old items from old issues. Classics? Greatest hits? Reruns? Retreads? Stuff that never should have seen the sickly, glowing light of the internet to begin with? Deal with it. The world's falling apart, Endy Chavez is on the DL, and The Sopranos is caput -- each one reason enough for a mental summer vacation. Taken together, well, it's a wonder I can get out of bed in the morning. With twenty-four groundbreaking issues under our belt since May of 2005, we think we can afford a summer of coasting, laurel-resting, and cheap, ice-cold beer. Enjoy. Na zdorovije.
HOT HOT HOT!
(August 2005) It's been a long hot summer. Here are some movies where the temperature is rising and it isn't surprising:
The Return of the Summer Solstice
(June, 2006) Here are some suggestions for your own personal double features, to help you through the looooongest day of the year (although you should probably get outside and enjoy all that extra daylight instead of sitting in front of a TV). And hey, if you come for any of these movies and mention that you read about 'em here, we'll give you two for one. Oh wait, that's kind of the deal already, since you can borrow three at a time, for free. (Cheap!)
Hot enough for ya?
(July/August 2006) It was the kind of summer where if you dropped a quarter, you'd better pick it up before it melted into the sidewalk like wax. It was the kind of summer where m&m's melt in your hand, and in your mouth. It was the kind of summer where you sweated a lot.
Okay, I'm no Mickey Spillane, the late and prolific scribe of hardboiled crime fiction and creator of archetypal hardnosed private eye Mike Hammer, but give me a break, it's been the kind of summer where it's too hot to make your brain work properly enough to decently parody an endlessly parodied literary style.
It was that kind of summer.
We have one movie in our collection based on a Spillane novel: Kiss Me Deadly (1955), directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker as the violent and angry Mike Hammer. It is a dark Cold War era thriller with a noiry, roughneck style that fits Spillane's prose to a T. It also features 'the great whatsit,' an influential plot device: a suitcase and its mysterious, ominous, glowing contents. One of the characters floridly describes it as "The head of Medusa. That's what's in the box, and who looks on her will be changed not into stone but into brimstone and ashes. But of course you wouldn't believe me, you'd have to see for yourself, wouldn't you?"
Two other films in our collection give nods to the great whatsit. In Alex Cox's cult fave Repo Man (1984), instead of a suitcase, the mysterious and incendiary whatsit is kept in the trunk of a car. "Oh you don't want to look in there, officer." This film is a bizarre and funny cult classic, starring that Sheen boy Emilio Estevez and lean character actor Harry Dean Stanton, and featuring a great punk soundtrack.
The other film with a great whatsit is Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994), where it is kept in a briefcase transported by the hit men Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Vincent (John Travolta), and is less an object of danger and more of mysterious, mesmerizing beauty. It's opened in the last scene of the film, when Jules and Vincent are in the diner while it's being robbed by Pumpkin (Tim Roth) and Honey Bunny (Amanda Plummer). As in the earlier two films, we don't see whatever causes the glow, but unlike those films, it isn't incendiary; we do see its effect on Pumpkin -- he is momentarily transfixed by its beauty and seems to recognize it. "Is that what I think it is?" he says. "It's beautiful."
The Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the Library Learning Center. Come up and see us some time.
* "That is so lame." Dr. Cathy Muller (Bridget Moynahan), The Sum of All Fears (2002)
Summer Movie Spotlight: Jaws
(June, 2005) Everybody else in my family had already seen Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel, so when the movie was reissued, I went, alone, to see Jaws. I must have been about ten, twelve years old. I kept my feet on my seat until the lights came back on, and I jumped about a mile high when the [pseudo-spoiler!] severed head pops up. It was not only one of the first big summer blockbusters, it is a great movie that does everything well, and one that I can still watch on TV today no matter where I come in on it. Also one of the great quotable flicks. You have a favorite, I'm sure. "This was NOT a boating accident!!!" "Get out of the water!" "I'll find him for three. I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten." "You're going to need a bigger boat."
Summer Movie Spotlight: Smiles of a Summer Night
(July 2005) What we think of when we think of Ingmar Bergman: starkness, allegory, existentialism, struggle, pain, long silences, heavy symbolism, inner emotional turmoil, and... puckish, playful, romantic sex comedy? That's right, the man who brought you the indelible (and endlessly parodied) image of Death Playing Chess in the Seventh Seal, also made a delightful little romantic comedy in 1955, two years before the Seventh Seal, called Smiles of a Summer Night. Mismatches, misunderstandings, and misadventures during a weekend in a country house. Watch it with someone you love on a midsummer night--it's one of the best ever. Choice quote: "Men are beastly. They're silly and vain and have hair all over their bodies. " --Charlotte (Margit Carlqvist )
Congratulations, class of 2007!
...or, the "James Bond class," as Miss Moneypenny likes to call them. And congrats especially to the Media Center's own Joelle Pierre Louis, who, while earning her bachelor of science from the respiratory therapy program, has worked part-time for us since fall of 2003, regaling us with hospital stories, food channel stories and Golden Girls stories. Good luck, Joelle!
In the Mix: a random shuffle of some movies we've played recently in our Now Playing program. Here's what we were playing back when we published the first issue of our newsletter in May of '05:
Other sites we like:
(July 2005) It has occurred to me more than once that the accomplished character actor Ernest Borgnine used to play a lot of roles in which he got beaten up. And deservedly so, because before Marty, he played a lot of sadistic bullies and sweaty, leering henchmen. Some great examples are Johnny Guitar and From Here to Eternity, and one of the best is Bad Day at Black Rock, where he actually gets beaten up by a one-armed Spencer Tracy, who's also about twenty years older than Borgnine! Johnny Guitar and Bad Day... are two offbeat Westerns, two of my favorite films, and well worth seeing beyond the Borgnine-beating scenes, while From Here to Eternity is set in Pearl Harbor during WWII and is generally acclaimed as one of the best war movies of its era.
This issue of BCLMC is brought to you all the way from the back row by Super Lame-o Media Assistant Patrick Jewell. Tell your friends.
BCLMC BROOKLYN CAMPUS LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER
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