[Stopped Buttons] Day 36 | March 26

Tyrone Power stars in NIGHTMARE ALLEY, directed by Edmund Goulding for 20th Century Fox.

Nightmare Alley (1947, Edmund Goulding)
2008

So much of NIGHTMARE ALLEY is great, when it fell apart it broke my heart. So much of it’s truly amazing. More so than modern films, when old movies fall apart I find it more disappointing. It goes from discovering something great to not. Of course, lots of people still hang tough with problematic movies. I find myself less able to do so. There’s just not enough time. The NIGHTMARE ALLEY post doesn’t get many readers. It might have done better years ago (with the DVD release), but it’s bad now.


Halle Berry and Kurt Russell star in EXECUTIVE DECISION, directed by Stuart Baird for Warner Bros.

Executive Decision (1996, Stuart Baird)
2009

I saw EXECUTIVE DECISION at a sneak preview, liked it, went back again (with more people) on release. And when EXECUTIVE DECISION hit home video, it became a frequent family favorite. I think my mom had the VHS, I had the laserdisc. I guess I saw it in college or so and didn’t like it. I was probably at my snootiest. This viewing was a lot more rewarding. For a somewhat obscure–at this point–nineties action movie, the EXECUTIVE DECISION post gets readers. It still has interest.


Johnny Depp stars in SLEEPY HOLLOW, directed by Tim Burton for Paramount Pictures.

Sleepy Hollow (1999, Tim Burton)
2012

I saw SLEEPY HOLLOW the second day with a friend. He’d seen it before. Don’t think I would’ve gone twice. We watched SLEEPY HOLLOW–which I hadn’t seen since the theater–for the podcast (so a six month delay on the posting). SLEEPY HOLLOW was the movie to kill my enthusiasm for Tim Burton. But that podcast did at least remind me I used to love him. Readership on the SLEEPY HOLLOW post has been bad. It’s got a low, rocky year-to-year. No one else wants to remember it either.


Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford star in COWBOYS & ALIENS, directed by Jon Favreau for Universal Pictures.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011, Jon Favreau), the extended version
2013

I don’t know why I insisted we watch the extended COWBOYS & ALIENS (or why I insisted we watch it at all). COWBOYS & ALIENS was a blockbuster where my wife wasn’t offended but I was hostile towards the film. I got over caring about it fast. Getting dispassionate about movies has always been a problem, especially when I pick a movie I’m not watching alone and I loathe it. No one has been reading the COWBOYS & ALIENS post. Because, really, why would anyone read a post about that movie? Extended or not.


Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges are on the run in AGAINST ALL ODDS, directed by Taylor Hackford for Columbia Pictures.

Against All Odds (1984, Taylor Hackford)
2014

I remember my mom watching AGAINST ALL ODDS in the eighties. She was a Jeff Bridges as heartthrob aficionado. I got around to seeing AGAINST ALL ODDS sometime in high school and liked it. More, as I embarrassingly recall, than OUT OF THE PAST. This viewing was miserable. Not only did I hate the movie, I spent the movie wondering what was wrong with my youthful opinion. A surprising amount of readers for the AGAINST ALL ODDS post, at least in the first (last) year. It’s still doing all right though.


Lyman Ward, Stan Ivar, and Wendy Schaal find hunting space monsters tiring work in CREATURE, directed by William Malone for Trans World Entertainment.

Creature (1985, William Malone)
2014

I’ve been waiting to see CREATURE since I was a kid. That VHS box cover used to call to me in Video Adventure. Later, I found out CREATURE was supposed to be awful (regardless of Mr. Bueller’s presence in the film). And I forgot about it. When I did remember it, I couldn’t find it OAR. Then I did find it widescreen and watched it. And it is, no doubt, a terrible movie. The CREATURE post gets a decent amount of readers, at least it did the first year. Who knows if interest will hold up next year…

[Stopped Buttons] Day 35 | March 25

A scene from HULK, directed by Ang Lee for Universal Pictures.

Hulk (2003, Ang Lee)
2008

Before seeing the previews and stills, I did have interest in Ang Lee’s HULK. Not after seeing them, however. I can’t even remember what prompted me to finally see the 2003 HULK, since I’m not an Ang Lee fan (with notable exception). And, no surprise, the HULK movie’s pretty terrible, even though most of the cast is good (in other things). Sometimes really good. I remember the HULK post did encourage conversation on publication, but it no longer gets many readers. Does pretty bad, actually.


Jet Li and Morgan Freeman star in DANNY THE DOG, directed by Louis Leterrier for Europa Corp.

Danny the Dog (2005, Louis Leterrier)
2011

If I saw the DANNY THE DOG trailer–probably called UNLEASHED–I would’ve laughed at it. It should be bad. I think I saw DANNY during my “rediscovery” of Luc Besson (watching his movies when I needed some but not too much distraction). And DANNY THE DOG is an awesome action movie. Really, really good stuff. Proof Luc Besson can do good in an unexpected pinch. Sadly, DANNY THE DOG has had some of the lowest feature readership I’ve seen since looking through stats. I wish people had interest.


Harry Langdon stars in SATURDAY AFTERNOON, directed by Harry Edwards for Pathé Exchange.

Saturday Afternoon (1926, Harry Edwards)
2012

I only sort of remember SATURDAY AFTERNOON. I think there was a lot of exterior Los Angeles shooting. Maybe. It isn’t so much the Harry Langdon shorts I watched meld in to one another, they didn’t have enough specific content to be memorable. Films ceasing to be disposable (especially shorts), which kept going for years, was one of the interesting things to discover. The SATURDAY AFTERNOON post actually got some readers. It does terrible now, which is fine, but for bad slapstick, it started okay.


Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, and David Gulpilil star in CROCODILE DUNDEE, directed by Peter Faiman for Hoyts Distribution.

Crocodile Dundee (1986, Peter Faiman)
2013

Given my age, I grew up with CROCODILE DUNDEE. So did my wife. Not sure why we watched it. In a retro mood? Much of the film is ingrained in my childhood movie memory–thanks to repeated viewings and advertising; the rest of it was muddled. CROCODILE DUNDEE, along with a lot from the eighties, underwhelms when compared to childhood enthusiasm while still being okay. It’s a relatively recent post, but there’s not much interest from readers in CROCODILE DUNDEE. The numbers are very low year-to-year.

The Decalogue: Two (1990)

This episode of “The Decalogue” is a quiet, thoughtful story about a doctor and the wife of one of his patients. They’re neighbors, which puts them in an uncomfortable proximity as the wife has a secret from her husband and forces the doctor into her confidence.

The scenes between these characters–the doctor played by Aleksander Bardini, the wife by Krystyna Janda–amount for probably fifteen minutes of Two. The film runs almost an hour; most of the time, Kieslowski is examining Bardini and Janda. He applies a different level of focus throughout; Janda isn’t clear until the end, but Bardini’s character’s most telling scene is his first. There’s more exposition later, further exploration into his life to explain him, but it’s not telling, just interesting.

And beautifully acted. Kieslowski never goes overboard with symbolism, but Two wouldn’t work near as well without the fantastic performances from Bardini and Janda.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski; written by Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz; directors of photography, Edward Klosinski and Wieslaw Zdort; edited by Ewa Smal; music by Zbigniew Preisner; production designer, Halina Dobrowolska; produced by Ryszard Chutkowski; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Krystyna Janda (Dorota Geller), Aleksander Bardini (Doctor) and Olgierd Lukaszewicz (Andrzej Geller).

[Stopped Buttons] Day 34 | March 24

Han Suk-kyu and Shim Eun-ha star in TELL ME SOMETHING, directed by Chang Yoon-hyun for The Klock Worx Company Ltd.

Tell Me Something (1999, Chang Yoon-hyun)
2008

TELL ME SOMETHING was in a box set of Shim Eun-ha DVDs. I still haven’t watched the whole set; it was on sale. I remember we were interested in it to see what a Korean serial thriller would be like. Not particularly special, unfortunately. South Korean movies got great around 2000. The late 1990s ones seem to have been building up to it. I wish I knew more about it. Rather surprisingly–TELL ME SOMETHING is 16 years old and I don’t know if there’s a R1 release–it did decent for a few years.


Sterling Hayden and Coleen Gray star in THE KILLING, directed by Stanley Kubrick for United Artists.

The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
2009

THE KILLING might be the Kubrick film I’ve seen the most, if only because I started seeing it in high school. I remember when my dad and I did our first Kubrick festival we didn’t watch it, but did the second time. Or we watched it earlier. At some point (in college?), I didn’t love THE KILLING. But on this viewing, I did. I can’t remember what problems I could have had. For a couple years, the KILLING post did really well (one year phenomenally), then started falling off a lot. It’s barely okay now.


A scene from THANK YOU MASK MAN, directed by Jeff Hale for John Magnuson Associates.

Thank You Mask Man (1971, Jeff Hale)
2011

I can’t remember where I heard of THANK YOU MASK MAN. Or found it. But a Lenny Bruce cartoon? Had to see it. THANK YOU MASK MAN reminded me a lot of the cheap cartoons I used to see in grade school on snow days. Except it not being for kids. I was expecting it to be something incredible due to Lenny Bruce’s involvement. THANK YOU MASK MAN was just okay. Okay’s good. The THANK YOU MASK MAN post doesn’t do well, but for an obscure cartoon, it does better than expected. Obscurities tend to backfire.


A scene from MARTIAN THROUGH GEORGIA, directed by Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow, and Maurice Noble for Warner Bros.

Martian Through Georgia (1962, Chuck Jones, Abe Levitow and Maurice Noble)
2012

I don’t remember much of anything about MARTIAN THROUGH GEORGIA, other than the title seemed too cute. And I vaguely recall it seemed like MARTIAN THROUGH GEORGIA went on forever. Bad shorts–animated and not–sometimes drag incredibly. I do remember from my Warner cartoon viewings I started to dread the name Abe Levitow. Though then didn’t he do something good?. For whatever reason, MARTIAN THROUGH GEORGIA got some readers its first year. It’s been super low (like other cartoons) since.


Shawn Hatosy, Laura Harris, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall and Elijah Wood star in THE FACULTY, directed by Robert Rodriguez for Dimension Films.

The Faculty (1998, Robert Rodriguez)
2014

I saw THE FACULTY at the midnight show, then again on opening day. I loved it and talked about it non-stop. Initially saw it with a friend, second time made my sister go. Bought the DVD, watched it, watched it again when my roommate did. I was terrified to go back to it for this viewing; it’d been like 12 years since I’d last seen it. And THE FACULTY’s still great. Unfortunately, the FACULTY post barely gets any readers. It did okay on publication, but fell off fast. It’s recent, but has no legs.


Stewart Granger and Eleanor Parker star in SCARAMOUCHE, directed by George Sidney for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Scaramouche (1952, George Sidney)
2014

SCARAMOUCHE was one of the first Eleanor Parker movies I saw. I had the MGM/UA laserdisc (not the Criterion). Back in the late nineties, discovering more classics, I’d always be shocked more people didn’t know about one. Like SCARAMOUCHE. This viewing might have been the first time I watched the DVD. It’s a fantastic film, just as strong as ever. Gorgeous print too. Unfortunately, there’s not much interest in SCARAMOUCHE. It’s recent, but readership’s bad and the single (TCM?) bump was minimal.


Nastassja Kinski stars in CAT PEOPLE, directed by Paul Schrader for Universal Pictures.

Cat People (1982, Paul Schrader)
2014

My history with the CAT PEOPLE remake starts when I was like five and saw a picture from it in a film book. My family had this oversize, paperback review book with occasional black and white stills. I wanted to see all the films with stills. I finally saw CAT PEOPLE in high school, liked it, bought the laser, stopped liking it, liked it again this viewing, got the blu. The CAT PEOPLE ’82 post has occasional slight interest, but seems constant. Too soon to tell if it’ll be consistent year-to-year.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, James Gunn)

Guardians of the Galaxy does something splendid and director Gunn never really acknowledges it, which just makes it more splendid. The Rocket Raccoon character–beautifully voice acted by Bradley Cooper–is easily the most successful CG film creation to date. And Cooper gives the film’s best performance; whoever directed Cooper in the sound booth, be it Gunn, Cooper himself, someone else, does a great job.

Gunn directing the actual actors? Not a great job. Not great enough to notice Chris Pratt’s vanishing accent, Pratt and Zoe Saldana’s shocking lack of chemistry, Saldana’s more shocking lack of presence or the not even soap opera nefarious villainy of Lee Pace. So not a good job.

The less said about Glenn Close, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, John C. Reilly and Benicio Del Toro the better.

Tyler Bates’s musical score combines plagiarism and ineptness (like much of the film’s visual design, actually).

Guardians is mean-spirited “fun,” with the audience always asked to laugh at someone or other’s suffering. The scenes where Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman try to confront it–usually between Pratt and Saldana–stop the film cold. Then the raccoon or his walking tree (who gets all the wonderment, which is silly) come along and save things.

Or even Dave Bautista, who’s not exactly good, but he’s sincere. And sincerity goes a long way in Guardians because there’s so little of it.

Gunn exhibits apathy, cruelty and an utter lack of imagination. Guardians is far better than it should be.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by James Gunn; screenplay by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, based on a comic book by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning; director of photography, Ben Davis; edited by Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne and Craig Wood; music by Tyler Bates; production designer, Charles Wood; produced by Kevin Feige; released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Starring Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Vin Diesel (Groot), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), Lee Pace (Ronan), Michael Rooker (Yondu Udonta), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Djimon Hounsou (Korath), John C. Reilly (Corpsman Dey), Glenn Close (Nova Prime), Laura Haddock (Meredith Quill), Sean Gunn (Kraglin), Peter Serafinowicz (Denarian Saal), Christopher Fairbank (The Broker) and Benicio Del Toro (The Collector).

[Stopped Buttons] Day 33 | March 23

James Garner, Jenilee Harrison, and C. Thomas Howell star in TANK, directed by Marvin J. Chomsky for Universal Pictures.

Tank (1984, Marvin J. Chomsky)
2009

I sort of grew up with TANK. My parents didn’t encourage army movies but Jim Garner always won my mom over. I vaguely remember seeing TANK again in college, rented (of course) from DJ’s Video, probably my freshman year. But maybe not. TANK was one of Universal’s pan and scan releases real early but I somehow came across it OAR. Maybe R2? I watched that release. And the TANK post does great as far as readership. It always has; maybe three or four times the “decent” norm. I have no idea why.


Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman star in ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, directed by Kevin Reynolds for Warner Bros.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991, Kevin Reynolds), the extended version
2011

I don’t have a vivid memory of seeing ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES in the theater, rather a vague one. Everyone liked ROBIN HOOD back then. People rented it a lot, watched it a lot. Then I forgot about it, even though I like Costner. I remember the VHS version had the video for Bryan Adams over the end credits. Thankfully, the extended cut DVD did not include that. The ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES extended cut post doesn’t do well. I wouldn’t expect it to do well either. It’s got limited appeal.


Stewart Granger annoys Edwige Feuillère in WOMAN HATER, directed by Terence Young for General Film Distributors.

Woman Hater (1948, Terence Young)
2012

I was really looking forward to WOMAN HATER, even though I had primarily selected it as a linking movie. Ever since seeing SCARAMOUCHE, I’ve been a big Stewart Granger fan and WOMAN HATER sounded like it’d be a great role for him. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most unlikable romantic comedies I can remember. Practically every moment of the film is miserable. As far as readership goes, the WOMAN HATER post doesn’t do well, which is fine. Who cares if no one’s interested in something bad.


Eleanor Parker and Dana Andrews star in MADISON AVENUE, directed by H. Bruce Humberstone for 20th Century Fox.

Madison Avenue (1962, H. Bruce Humberstone)
2014

MADISON AVENUE was actually one of the first Eleanor Parker movies I got to see, thanks to FMC airings. It was far enough along in my classic movie viewings I was very excited to see Dana Andrews and Jeanne Crain with Parker too. I watched it this time off my old OAR recording from FMC. The Fox MOD DVD is P&S (the movie’s Cinemascope). Boo hiss, Fox, boo hiss. Sadly, the MADISON AVENUE post hasn’t done well. It’s recent, but it barely got any readers on publication. I suppose it’s obscure.


Ko Ah-sung and Chris Evans star in SNOWPIERCER, directed by Bong Joon-ho for CJ Entertainment.

Snowpiercer (2013, Bong Joon-ho)
2014

Since hearing about SNOWPIERCER, desperately is the only word to describe how much I anticipated seeing it. Bong Joon-ho’s films get more exciting. Having SNOWPIERCER star Captain America just meant more people would see it, which is great. The week a R3 DVD came out with English subtitles, I got it and the wife and I watched it. SNOWPIERCER just devastates. Great stuff. The SNOWPIERCER post did really well on publication and for a few more months, but has (quite unfortunately) since dropped off a lot.

Where’s Marlowe? (1998, Daniel Pyne)

Where’s Marlowe? is a pseudo-documentary about a pseudo-documentary about private investigators. Miguel Ferrer is the private investigator and he seems like a good fit for the role, only director Pyne and co-writer John Mankiewicz don’t actually need him for anything. The point of the film, as things move along, is getting the documentary makers (played by John Livingston and Mos Def) more involved with the private investigating.

When the film centers on Ferrer, who’s a good-natured rube who cares too much about his clients and their problems to be fiscally solvent, Marlowe at least has some charm. And as appealing as Mos Def gets in his performance, he and Livingston are still unlikable. Once Allison Dean–as Ferrer’s suffering secretary and Def’s love interest–gives up on Def (and the documentary), it’s hard to stay onboard.

The film has some good supporting performances, particularly from John Slattery as Ferrer’s partner, and also Clayton Rohner as a client. Miguel Sandoval has a nice cameo. Livingston is bad, so’s Barbara Howard in a smaller, but important role. Howard’s real bad, Livingston it might be the script’s fault.

Speaking of the script, the writers don’t pay much attention to keeping their characters consistent. It really hurts Ferrer, though nowhere near as much as his unexplainable absence during some of the second act hurts the film. It’s a messy script, which Slattery overcomes because he’s not the lead. Poor Ferrer stops getting character development after twenty minutes.

Marlowe’s a misfire.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Daniel Pyne; written by John Mankiewicz and Pyne; director of photography, Greg Gardiner; edited by Les Butler; music by Michael Convertino; production designer, Garreth Stover; produced by Clayton Townsend; released by Paramount Classics.

Starring Miguel Ferrer (Joe Boone), John Livingston (A.J. Edison), Yasiin Bey (Wilt Crawley), John Slattery (Kevin Murphy), Allison Dean (Angela), Clayton Rohner (Sonny ‘Beep’ Collins), Elizabeth Schofield (Monica Collins), Barbara Howard (Emma Huffington), Kirk Baltz (Rivers), Miguel Sandoval (Skip Pfeiffer) and Wendy Crewson (Dr. Ninki Bregman).

[Stopped Buttons] Day 32 | March 22

Chantal Contouri, Sigrid Thornton, and Hugh Keays-Byrne star in SNAPSHOT, directed by Simon Wincer for Filmways Australasian.

Snapshot (1979, Simon Wincer)
2013

We watched SNAPSHOT for the podcast, so I blame Matt for making me sit through that Australian turkey. We paired SNAPSHOT with the HALLOWEEN TV cut–the U.S. title was THE DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN. It’s a miserable viewing experience. Not even the presence of the Toe Cutter made it amusing. At best–I’m stretching–SNAPSHOT does have good shots of 70s Australia. The SNAPSHOT post–delayed six months after we released the podcast episode–doesn’t get a lot of readers, which doesn’t surprise me.


Doug McClure and Cy Grant are fast friends in AT THE EARTH'S CORE, directed by Kevin Connor for Ken Films.

At the Earth’s Core (1976, Kevin Connor), the digest version
2014

Why watch the digest version of AT THE EARTH’S CORE? Just because I got a copy of it. No other reason. Thanks to the introduction of Short Stop, I was able to be a lot more playful with the site programming. Sometimes regrettably. For a while, I was considering doing digest recuts myself. But lost interest in the idea. I think right after AT THE EARTH’S CORE. Surprisingly, the AT THE EARTH’S CORE digest post gets a lot more readers than expected. Not great, but better than most shorts.

Fast Five (2011, Justin Lin), the extended version

It’s almost embarrassing how well Fast Five is made. Director Lin can’t do two things–which might be important for the film if the story mattered at all–he can’t direct heist sequences and he can’t direct car races. He doesn’t care how the heist works or how the car race works, he cares about the scene looking good. And he and cinematographer Stephen F. Windon make Five look really good.

Is there any depth to that appearance? Not much, but it’s smooth and keeps the film moving at a good pace between action sequences. And there are lots of action sequences. Whether it’s car chases or fight scenes or gun fights, Lin puts together some amazing stuff. There’s no depth to it, but who cares… there’s pretend depth.

Chris Morgan’s script goes overboard acknowledging all the Fast and the Furious movies and their characters. Only there’s no depth to any of the characters. Gal Gadot and Sung Kang flirt. Is it cute? Sure, she’s an affable supermodel and he’s likable without much acting talent. Is it good? Not really. But it passes the time.

Until an action sequence. Or the promise of one (both Lin and Morgan very carefully build expectation for a fight between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson).

Speaking of Dwayne Johnson. He’s terrible. Laughable. But it’s actually immaterial to the film.

There’s some male bonding between Diesel and Paul Walker, but not much.

And Lin again gets a decent Walker performance.

In between amazing action scenes.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Justin Lin; screenplay by Chris Morgan, based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson; director of photography, Stephen F. Windon; edited by Kelly Matsumoto, Fred Raskin and Christian Wagner; music by Brian Tyler; production designer, Peter Denham; produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel and Michael Fottrell; released by Universal Pictures.

Starring Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), Jordana Brewster (Mia), Tyrese Gibson (Roman), Ludacris (Tej), Matt Schulze (Vince), Sung Kang (Han), Gal Gadot (Gisele), Tego Calderon (Leo), Don Omar (Santos), Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs), Elsa Pataky (Elena), Michael Irby (Zizi) and Joaquim de Almeida (Reyes).

[Stopped Buttons] Day 31 | March 21

Gene Tierney and Tyrone Power star in THE RAZOR'S EDGE, directed by Edmund Goulding for 20th Century Fox.

The Razor’s Edge (1946, Edmund Goulding)
2006

I first saw THE RAZOR’S EDGE in the late 1990s. I assume on AMC, but maybe a rental. It blew me away. Even though I was somewhat familiar with old movies, RAZOR’S EDGE was the first to make me recognize how little I knew but should. The movie also got me into reading Maugham, which friends have gotten to hear about for years. I should watch RAZOR’S EDGE more. The RAZOR’S EDGE post used to have a much better readership. It still does well, but it’s dropped by almost half the last two years.


Dennis Morgan and Virginia Bruce star in FLIGHT ANGELS, directed by Lewis Seiler for Warner Bros.

Flight Angels (1940, Lewis Seiler)
2006

I know I saw FLIGHT ANGELS because it was on TCM, but I don’t know why I wanted to watch it. Maybe it’s short? One of the great things about TCM, which I learned with old AMC, is just watching the channel. Sort of passively programming. I also tend to enjoy airplane and airport and transportation movies in general. They’re good for efficient drama generation. No one reads the FLIGHT ANGELS post. I’m surprised; no TCM-fueled interest? Doesn’t Jane Wyman still have fans? Ralph Bellamy?


A scene from SUPERMAN II: THE RICHARD DONNER CUT, directed by Richard Donner for Warner Bros.

Superman II (1980, Richard Donner), the Richard Donner cut
2007

The Richard Donner cut of SUPERMAN II was the holy grail of recuts and so on; mythical unicorn made real. Unfortunately, Richard Donner does a terrible job with director’s cuts, SUPERMAN, LETHAL WEAPON, etc. And SUPERMAN II is the worst. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something more self indulgent and defensive than Donner’s SUPERMAN II. It’s an exercise in pettiness. The post for the Donner cut of SUPERMAN II does okay as far as readers. Did better a few years ago. I’m glad interest has waned.


Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin star in THE LAST SHOT, directed by Jeff Nathanson for Touchstone Pictures.

The Last Shot (2004, Jeff Nathanson)
2008

Of all the feature films I’ve written about for the site, I think I remember the least about THE LAST SHOT. First, I have no idea why I watched THE LAST SHOT. I don’t closely follow Alec Baldwin and certainly don’t follow Matthew Broderick. I remember being surprised Toni Collette was in THE LAST SHOT. I think I wanted to see what Jeff Nathanson was all about. Not much. As for getting readers, the LAST SHOT post has routinely gotten almost none. It does awful. Better last year, but still awful.


Nick Brimble and John Hurt star in FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND, directed by Roger Corman for 20th Century Fox.

Frankenstein Unbound (1990, Roger Corman)
2011

FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND was covered in the first (and only) Fangoria magazine I ever bought. A new Frankenstein! It was also one of the first R-rated movies I watched with my dad. I begged and begged to get to see it. VHS, not the theater. I rediscovered FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND in high school (as well as the novel) and stopped loving it so much. But this viewing I dug it. The FRANKENSTEIN UNBOUND post did okay on publication and for its first year, then fell off. Lower than decent, but not terrible.


Edwige Feuillère stars in LUCREZIA BORGIA, directed by Abel Gance for Héraut Film.

Lucrezia Borgia (1935, Abel Gance)
2012

LUCREZIA BORGIA was probably the easiest Abel Gance movie to find and see. Even BEETHOVEN went out of print. Of course, I didn’t hear about LUCREZIA BORGIA when I was looking into Gance. The wife and I watched it real soon after I did. Gance’s sound films seem so constrained. He really showed how you don’t need talking so having it cuts down on the effectiveness. The LUCREZIA BORGIA post hasn’t found a level year-to-year; it’s been all over the place. Hopefully people still find Gance though.


A scene from THE DINOSAUR AND THE MISSING LINK: A PREHISTORIC TRAGEDY, directed by Willis O’Brien for Conquest Pictures.

The Dinosaur and the Missing Link: A Prehistoric Tragedy (1915, Willis O’Brien)
2013

Willis O’Brien was one of the first behind-the-camera names I knew (thanks to KONG), but I haven’t seen much. I read a lot of books on the 1933 KONG as a kid too, but it never occurred to me I’d be able to see the other films they mentioned. Everyone having access to DINOSAUR AND THE MISSING LINK is amazing. It’s an amazing short too, but that access is really important. Sadly, the DINOSAUR AND THE MISSING LINK post hasn’t had many readers. It did improve after a terrible first year. But still too low.


Ben Kingsley can count, in MARVEL ONE-SHOT: ALL HAIL THE KING (2014), directed by Drew Pearce for Disney Home Video.

All Hail the King (2014, Drew Pearce)
2014

Based on the other Marvel One-Shots, I was expecting ALL HAIL THE KING to be another artlessly bad one. So when it turned out to be magnificent, I was surprised. It deftly engaged with the brand, but also with the perception of it. And then Marvel stopped doing the One-Shots. They finally made a good one and gave up on the format. I wonder if it’s related. After a few good months of readership, interest in ALL HAIL THE KING has waned. I still remind people to watch it; it’s awesome.


Dudley Moore and Elizabeth McGovern star in LOVESICK, directed by Marshall Brickman for Warner Bros.

Lovesick (1983, Marshall Brickman)
2014

I was very surprised to discover LOVESICK in 2014; I thought I would have heard about it a long time ago. Given it’s Marshall Brickman–the name, being Woody Allen’s only (somewhat) regular co-writer–I thought I would’ve known about it. The wife and I are sympathetic to Dudley Moore and I’ve always been an Elizabeth McGovern fan, so we watched it (OAR from iTunes). I’m not the only one who’s unfamiliar with LOVESICK. While the post is too recent for trends, readership’s lower than it should be.

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