Saturday, April 23, 2016

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Chanhassen Dinner Theater Edition

IIIIIIIIII don't know how to looooove him... ♪

Friday, April 22, 2016

Farewell, Prince

So my friend Elizabeth, who is the only person I know for a fact is more bummed than I about Prince's death, posted the following section of an elegiac Twitter thread...

...and added:
I think "HE JUST DIED JOYCE" needs to become a meme.
I agreed and shared her post to get the ball rolling, and within minutes Evan Hurst of Wonkette came through:

So there you go, Internet. Be fruitful and multiply.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Super Belated Happy Birthday Funtime Explosion!

Annnnnnnd...we're back.

What did we miss?

Nothing?  Are you sure...?

Yes, it's a trick question! We missed a hugely important birthday! But we'll get to that in a second...

First of all, let me apologize about the service outage. Due to various circumstances beyond our control (which poses the question, who does control these circumstances, and frankly I don't know, but I suspect it's that smug guy from the opening credits to The Outer Limits), our Internet (and TV, but now we're just whining) was discontinued for a week and replaced with more 19th Century pastimes, like harvesting toenails, and staring down the cats.

This was a particularly bad time to be run off the Information Superhighway and into a digital ditch -- not that there's necessarily ever a good time to be cut off from all humanity like Charlton Heston in The Omega Man, although at least he was visited by photophobic albinos on a nightly basis, so I'm pretty sure I win. But in this case I had some work that was pending, and which I could neither do, nor, even if it had been done, submit. So there's been a frantic effort around here to catch up, the kind where all the action is undercranked and scored to Yakkity Sax.

But that's no excuse. Well, I mean it is, it's just not a very good one. So let me get to the first and most pressing piece of old business: the belated birthday of Wo'C contributor Keith.

Keith, as you know (and if you don't, I invite you to sample his many fine wares under the "Keith's Cogitations" tab to your right), has been contributing to the blog since 2011, when he watched two-thirds of the Danny Boyle film Sunshine, then quit because it got hard. And who can blame him? Certainly not I.  Because while I do make it a point to finish every bad film I start, I've had years of training in this sort of thing (readers of Better Living Through Bad Movies can attest that each review in the book comes with a disclaimer: "Movie watched by professional viewers on closed course. Do not watch this at home".)

Since his debut Keith has authored everything from advice columns to book reviews (The Phenix and the Anix is one of my favorites), to eulogies (Thomas Kinkade), and taken on such big league lunatics as Alex Jones, Ted Nugent, and the blender full of strawberry daiquiris that is the inside of Peggy Noonan's skull.

He was also kind enough, when I emailed him badly typed birthday wishes from my phone and a promissory note for a future post, to suggest some celebratory eye candy. So without further ado, I present...
The Birthday Boyd!

So please join me in wishing Keith a very happy, and very belated birthday. We now close with the traditional...
Sexy Birthday Lizard!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Mandatory Employee Training Edition

SCOTT: Shadow! Quit grabbing Moondoggie's butt.

SHADOW: I don't know what you're talking about...

SCOTT: You're creating a hostile work environment.

MOONDOGGIE: Yes, I might have to sue. Although I'm willing to settle out of court for your share of the Whisker Lickin's Chicken & Cheese Flavor treats.

SHADOW: Fine! I won't grab it anymore...But there's nothing in the employee handbook that says I can't head-butt his butt!

MOONDOGGIE: Sadly, that's true, and if you ask me, it's a pretty serious loophole. I often wonder what those people in HR do all day, until I fall asleep...

SHADOW: This glorious orange cat ass is mine! I will whisper sweet nothings to it...

MOONDOGGIE: Ahem! My ears are up here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Judge Wapner Rules in Landmark Batman v. Superman Case!

This is a show I'm pretty proud of, thanks to a stellar panel of people with wide-ranging, yet pertinent skill sets (improv, opera singing, pornography, etc.).  Sure, I know everyone has been yakking about Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice since it opened, but I think we succeed in going where no one else has gone before. So please check it out:

The Slumgullion Episode 5 “Zack Snyder Hates Jesus”


Featuring guest appearances by raffish raconteur Indy McDaniel, purveyor of pithiness John Szura, the multi-talented Blanche Ramirez, and -- you know her, you love her -- irrepressible geek girl MaryC!

Also Jeff and me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Wooden It Be Loverly: From Hell It Came (1957)


By Hank Parmer

I would like to state for the record I'm painfully aware there's no way anyone could top Ed Naha's concise but epic review of this film: " -- And to Hell It Can Go!"

So why this guaranteed exercise in futility? I'm not sure. Maybe it's because that rainy afternoon many years ago when the Tabanga (pronounced “Tah-bong-ah”) shambled arthritically onto the 15-inch black-and-white cathode tube of our GE portable TV was a true formative experience: It was the day I discovered an allegedly scary movie could inflict boredom so intense it might well be lethal, in which the utter, leaden tedium on the TV seeps into your soul, and you feel a headache coming on ... and you taste copper ...

This, it should be noted, happened at an age when keeping my holstered cap pistols slung on the bedpost at night, close at hand in case I needed them to scare off the Wolfman, seemed eminently sensible. (Not that I seriously believed I could kill a werewolf with a cap gun -- but I figured there might be an outside chance I could bluff him.)

So it isn't as if the clowns who horked up this cinematic hairball would have had to work up much of a sweat to scare the bejeezus out of my tender young self. Knowing this, you may understand why I've nursed a long-festering grievance against this crappy movie. So on with the show:

After the opening credits, there's an establishing shot of surf crashing on a sandy beach and palm trees swaying in the balmy breeze, with generic tropical island orchestral mood-setter -- heavy on the lush strings, please. Oh, look: a quaint native ceremony!

But there's something sinister afoot, as a close-up reveals their witch doctor, Tano, holding a voodoo doll in one hand and a kebab skewer in the other.

This, by the way, is an extremely rare cinematic example of Polynesian Santeria. The doll has been helpfully pre-marked with a big white circle on its chest, about where the victim's heart should be. Maybe it's from a beginner's kit.

The camera pans to a handsome young native, staked out on the ground. Several chickens scratch around by the poor schmuck's head. Good Lord! Is it to be the agonizing, unspeakably gruesome "Death by Poultry"?

Remember all those Hooters wings you scarfed down...?

(I'm betting these barnyard fowl just wandered onto the set and no one thought it worth the trouble to shoo them off for another take.)

Tano addresses tonight's sacrifice, Kemo: He must die for the unforgivable crime of betraying his own people, plus he caused the death of his own father, the Great Chief.

Kemo protests he's innocent. His father died from the Black Plague!

But Tano says lies will not help him. The chief and many of their people died because of the Americans' devil dust!

Appealing to the crowd, Kemo angrily retorts: "Tano fears the Americans because their medicine is stronger than his! They came here as our friends, and want to help us!"

The new chief, Maranka, demands to know why didn't they cure his father then, huh? Huh? Maranka was Kemo Sr.'s best friend; he begged him to take Tano's medicine, to make him well and strong again.

Kemo accuses Tano and Maranka of poisoning his father.

"The Evil Spirits have seized Kemo's mind!" shouts Maranka. "His tongue has become a serpent!"

(Not “his tongue is like a serpent's”? Whatever ...)

"Just ask my wife, Cory," counters Kemo. I imagine she would be in a good position to notice any such alteration ... oh, I get it: He means she was there when they gave his father the poison.

But luscious Cory has her own agenda. "Why, what do you wish me to say, my husband?" she asks, innocently. Note that despite the sarong and faux-primitive syntax, this lady's flat, vaguely Midwestern accent sounds more like she's spent the past few years of her life taking orders at a truckstop diner.

The look on his face is priceless, as it finally dawns on Kemo how irretrievably screwed he is: "But, you saw them give him the poison!"

"No," she contradicts him sweetly. "His father only took the medicine the American doctor gave him."

Maranka seizes on this triumphantly, pointing out to the assembly that Kemo's own wife has just proved he's a liar! It was the devil dust of the Americans which made the old man sick, then their medicine finished the job. For this, Kemo must die!

Kemo, realizing the fix is in, swears vengeance on Tano, Maranka and Cory. His body may die, he vows, but his spirit will live on. He will be more powerful in death than he was in life. (They call him -- "Obi-Wan Kemobe"!) He will come back from Hell and punish them for their crimes!

Maranka gives the signal. Tano the witch doctor skewers the doll, while simultaneously a couple of islanders drive a dagger into Kemo's chest with a single blow of a stake mallet. That's some powerful voodoo, alright.

(Maybe Tano was using the doll as a demonstration, to ensure the guys didn't screw it up. After all, you can't take too many precautions with these primitive knuckleheads. They might try to pound the mallet into Kemo's chest with the dagger, or forget it's the point of the dagger that's placed against the victim's rib cage, not the butt.)

And there is much rejoicing, ersatz-Polynesian style. A couple of the men and some grass-skirted young women break into a wild celebratory dance, a few feet away from Kemo's corpse and the bemused-looking poultry. The camera slowly pans away from the dancers, then cuts to a busty redhead, peeking warily through some foliage, aghast at this savage spectacle. Four men bring in what's either a coffin or a crude prototype of a porta-john.
This thing will make us a mint at the next luau!

Cut to the Americans' laboratory hut.

Dr. William Arnold and vaguely androgynous Prof. Clark are putzing around in the lab. They crab about being stuck on this lousy island, what with the heat and the damp and the bugs. Why, it's not at all like the brochures!

(I'd like to note that Tod Andrews, who for some unfathomable reason was chosen to play the romantic lead, appears to be half-way gassed throughout the entire movie. He constantly flubs his lines, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out he had to be poked at with a stick to rouse him for the next take.)

They're worried about the natives' incessant drumming, although the Prof admits it has a good beat ... you could dance to it. He'd give it about a 65. Bill, on the other hand, is mad for the irresistible Latin rhythms and smooth stylings of Xavier Cougat and his orchestra.

The conversation turns to the recent death of Kemo's father, recapping for anyone who may have arrived late to the movie that, despite Bill's best efforts, the old guy died after partaking of some of Tano's homemade bubonic broth. Strangely, ever since the duffer kicked the bucket, the natives have been giving the Americans the stink-eye.

Prof. Clark thinks it's no biggie, since the islanders have always been peaceful. Bill, though, complains that these simple, childlike natives are unjustifiably upset over that slight bit of fallout which got scattered all over their island from an atomic test at “Nagasa Key” -- er, I mean “Atoll”, courtesy of a freak cyclone "that blew up out of nowhere". So it was just bad luck, okay?

But when the scientists arrived with their Geiger counters, contrary to what those gloom-and-doom, Ban-the-Bomb peacenik types would have predicted, they found the natives dying from the plague, not the fallout.

That's a relief! I mean, everybody knows if radiation doesn't kill you immediately, you're okay, right? These islanders are just soooo ignorant. Why, says Bill, the radioactivity is only a little more than you'd get from a dental x-ray -- twenty-four hours a day, every day. How could that possibly cause any problems?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Cruz Says, "Baby, It's Cold Outside"

I was reading Roy's column on the rightblogger freakout over Donald Trump's abortion policy (the first one, where he agreed that women seeking abortion deserve "punishment," not the subsequent series of rapid fire amendments, evasions, and take-backs that made him sound like Hank Kimball from Green Acres).  As always, Roy covered the waterfront, but there was a quote toward the end that I thought offered the reader a remarkably revealing, if unwanted, glimpse into the Secret Life of Ted Cruz, Swinger:
The candidate also held a "Women for Cruz" event, gushingly covered by Tim Alberta at National Review: "Plush chairs. Stylish pillows. Purple flowers... in a gently-lit hotel ballroom, beneath elegant, glass-encased chandeliers, the man known for his hardball tactics and red-meat rhetoric attempted to show a softer side,"
So when Ted Cruz wants to talk to the ladies -- and this one's just for the ladies, sorry, fellas -- he eschews the usual noisy, fluorescent-lit hall with folding chairs and a coffee urn on a card table, and instead whisks them away to a bachelor pad straight out of the June, 1964 issue of Playboy. All that's missing is a reel-to-reel tape deck cued up with cocktail jazz, a tiger skin rug, and a collection of slightly risqué Harlequin lithographs he picked up on a business trip to Paris, but otherwise he's ready to press a highball into their hands and sweet talk them right out of their rights.

So I guess it just strikes me as odd (but somehow emblematic of this odd, odd year) that Donald Trump, the ostensible big city sophisticate has turned the abortion debate into a grungy Women in Prison movie from a 1970s drive-in ("This is gonna be a great new law, one of the best laws ever. We'll get Jess Franco to draft it in the Philippines -- legislating is cheaper there -- and we'll hire some Eurotrash blonde to star; but a classy one, like a beauty pageant winner who'll take her top off. And because this is gonna be a big, big law, we'll bring in Pam Grier to play 'Kat,' the sexually aggressive alpha female who runs the cellblock, and maybe get Dyanne Thorne for the warden."  Meanwhile, tribune of the common clay, Ted Cruz has somehow transformed into Christopher Walken as The Continental.

"Ah, tell me, my vision of pre-Raphaelite pulchritude...have you come here tonight to surrender the tender innocence of your civil liberties, or simply to break my heart?"