Almost every week for the past ten (twenty?) years, my good friend Mark Jordan Legan and I have gotten together to watch movies. “Bad” movies? “Good” movies? “Cult” movies? “Weird” movies? Whatever you want to call them, it’s fine with me. We’re “film freaks.” We pride ourselves on unearthing the obscure and the wonderful. We were watching THE ROOM long before it became a cult hit. We love THREE DEV ADAM and THE VIY and MYSTICS OF BALI and ROBOT MONSTER and SH! THE OCTOPUS. If you haven’t seen these, track them down.
Others have joined us, over the years. My daughters. Geoffrey Sutton. Christopher Moynihan. Heath Hyche. Tim Dutton. Gary Anthony Williams. Jon Worley. Lee Goldberg. Jim Rash. Many others. To them I say… there always space on the sofa.
This weekend we started with an episode of THE ABBOTT & COSTELLO SHOW (1952). A brilliant series – I haven’t watched it in years so it’s like new to me. The genius of Sydney Fields shines through in every episode. The one we watched ? “The Haunted House.” Bud and Lou in an old dark house. The “moving candle” routine. Classic. And George Barrows in a gorilla suit! For some strange reason, I love gorilla suits. They fill me with child-like glee. And George Barrows was one of the best ape-suit men. He played the Ro-Man in ROBOT MONSTER, for crying out loud. A delight.
Next, we watched BUS 174 (2002). Documentary that tells the tale of what happened in Rio de Janeiro on June 12th 2000, when Bus 174 was taken over by an armed young man who threatening to shoot all the passengers. The events were transmitted live on all Brazilian TV networks. Harrowing. Relentless. A text book example of police incompetence and media interference. Highly recommended. Directed by José Padilha.
20 FEET FROM STARDOM (2013) was the next feature. Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer |– the story of the back-up singers, those who provide the harmony and the energy for the stars. A fascinating documentary by Morgan Neville. The stories of these women are compelling and inspiring. An example — Darlene Love is reduced to being a cleaning lady; while she’s cleaning someone’s bathroom, she hears an old recording of herself singing on the radio. Heartbreaking. Recommended.
We finished up with BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD (2013). A documentary about George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LVING DEAD. Disappointing. Oddly, the only one interviewed is Romero. None of the other living principles are featured. Critics pontificate endlessly. A boring re-telling of what could have been an interesting story.