Category: Weekly Reviews

 

Why Women Scare Me

 

The Brides of Dracula was on TCM this week. I first saw this 1960 Hammer Films classic when I was a kid, and it made a lasting impression. Obviously. I wouldn’t be writing about it today if it hadn’t.

If there is a better opening 30 minutes featuring frightening women on film, I’m not sure what it might be. When I saw this thing as a kid, I was mesmerized by the unholy duo of Martita Hunt and Freda Jackson as the Baroness Meinster and her longtime servant Greta, respectively. I remain mesmerized.

 

Jackson, center, and Hunt, right, minding their manners

 

Hunt, still minding her manners

 

Hunt, forgetting herself

 

Jackson helping a friend make her societal debut

 

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Speaking of women in vampire movies … Alyssa Milano is in the news again. Did you know that Alyssa once starred in a vampire movie? I didn’t either.

Normally, the vampire sinks his teeth into his victims. In this movie, the vampire sinks something else into Alyssa:

 

 

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I am digging the latest Hot New Thing in Hollywood: the drone shot. Just about all recent TV shows and movies make use of it, and for good reason: soaring, breathtaking views of forests, mountains, skyscrapers.

 

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“Dilly dilly” — Bud Light

 “Badda book badda boom” — Choice Hotels

 

I used to think that jingles were the most annoying thing about television commercials. But that was before someone decided that Americans find baby-talk highly amusing.

 

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It’s a tad tiresome listening to talking heads like Fox’s Neil Cavuto defend tax cuts for the rich by claiming that the “well to do” (Cavuto’s preferred term, along with “successful”) pay a disproportionate share of taxes.

OK, Neil, but you always leave out the part about the rich having a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth.

 

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Curb Your Enthusiasm – The good news is that it’s great to see the old gang again. The bad news is that, at least through the first two episodes, it appears that the writers have lost their edge.

Then again, I thought the same thing a few years ago after I binge-watched the entire series; it went downhill after the first few seasons.

 

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Apparently, there was some fuss about film producer Harvey Weinstein this week. I turned to Google to learn more, and this popped up:

 

 

Doesn’t seem so bad. When times are tough, don’t we all just fly to Europe for sex?

OK, so that’s a lame attempt at humor. But since Kimmel and Fallon and Saturday Night Live are all afraid to do Weinstein jokes, somebody has to pick up the slack.

 

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You turn on a football game to enjoy a few concussions and … aarrgghh, politics.

You turn to a Matt Damon movie to enjoy some mindless violence and … aarrgghh, politics.

Ditto for sitcoms, talk shows, and the Internet.

It’s to the point that if you want to absorb some good fiction, you have to turn to cable news.

 

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Here’s an entertaining show you haven’t heard of: Rosehaven.

You haven’t heard of this sitcom because it airs on SundanceTV. And because it’s an Australian production set in … Tasmania. And unless you live across the pond, you’re not familiar with its stars.

The stars are Celia Pacquola and Luke McGregor, pictured above, who play best buds running a real estate business in small-town Tasmania. Yes, Tasmania. It’s a bit like Doc Martin in tone — not a whole lot of belly-laughs, but near-constant smiles and chuckles — and the chemistry between Pacquola and McGregor is priceless.

McGregor is especially funny, although I can only understand every third word he says. I’m not sure if what he delivers is a heavy accent or a speech impediment, but no matter.

 

**

 

“Bump Stocks”

 

In light of this week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s a huge relief to see all of the attention finally being paid to bump stocks. I’ve been saying this for years: If this country can ever get a handle on its bump stocks, all of our problems will be solved.

 

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Survivor is back, which means that CBS cameramen are once again very happy.

 

Alexandrea Elliott displays her assets

 

 Chrissy Hofbeck, 46, opens up for CBS

 

What’s that you say? You don’t care for these sexist photo captions? Hey, Hugh Hefner died, so someone has to carry on the time-honored tradition.

 

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My Minnesota Lynx won another basketball championship.

 

 

Alas, they still get no respect from Google, which opted to post this fake news:

 

 

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Hugh Hefner finally traded in his pajamas and pipe for – something. Probably not a harp. The geriatric germinator passed away appropriately on “hump day,” thereby inspiring much nostalgia and a million bad jokes on Twitter.

 

 

To me, Hugh Hefner was a lot like booze, particularly in my younger days: He was (partly) responsible for the best of times, but also (partly) responsible for the worst of times. If you were a teenage whippersnapper in the 1970s, Hefner and his magazine made you want to grow up fast — or worse, not grow up at all.

My favorite Hefner squeeze was Barbi Benton. Benton was on the cover of the first Playboy magazine I was able to successfully purchase, in the winter of 1970, when a bored cashier at Dayton’s didn’t seem to care that the 12-year-old, nervous boy in front of him was shaking like Colin Kaepernick in a VFW hall.

Here is the cover of my prized possession. That’s the bodacious Ms. Benton giving you the come-hither:

 

 

Below, Barbi frolics on the grounds of Hefner’s Playboy mansion in California. Below that, a clip of her appearance in 1982’s Hospital Massacre, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Just kidding.

 

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“This is an island, surrounded by water. Big water, ocean water.”

– Donald Trump discussing Puerto Rico

 

That’s something you have to admire about President Trump. He has the ability to take complex ideas and describe them in terms that all of us can understand.

 

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Well, if that had been true, it might explain a thing or two.

 

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While I was mourning Hugh Hefner’s death, I began to muse about some other heroes of my misbegotten youth, and I wondered about the first and best James Bond, Sean Connery. I Googled him and discovered the following “news” items: 

 

 

Poor Sean Connery. Internet hoaxters wouldn’t have had the balls to pull this kind of crap back in the day.

 

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grouchyeditor.com Cody

 

Quote of the Week, courtesy of Big Brother’s Cody 

 

Julie Chen:  “Congratulations Cody! You’re America’s favorite houseguest and you’re going home with $25,000! Anything to say, Cody?”

Cody:  (pauses and shakes head) “It doesn’t make sense.”

 

grouchyeditor.com Big Brother

 

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grouchyeditor.com Weiner

 

Poor Weiner and Bush. Weiner and Bush should get together to commiserate. I mean, Weiner and Bush would make a good team. I mean … oh, never mind.

 

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grouchyeditor.com Clapper

 

James Clapper might have lied again? Say it ain’t so!

 

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grouchyeditor.com Lawrence

 

.                  grouchyeditor.com Finch  grouchyeditor.com Lawrence 

 

In case you missed it, here’s a link to Lawrence O’Donnell’s stirring rant about hammers, Labor Day, and things that go bump in the night.

Lawrence now joins Peter Finch and Bill O’Reilly in the canon of hilarious temper tantrums forever preserved on YouTube.

 

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In these Days of Trump, everyone has an opinion about the media. If you’re interested in watching a movie about the press at its best – and at its worst – check out a largely forgotten gem from 2003 called Shattered Glass.

 

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Can it be? After what feels like 25 years of nonstop zombie shows from Hollywood, it seems the walking dead are finally being usurped.

 

That’s the good news. The bad news is that now we can expect 25 years of nonstop killer clowns.

 

 

 

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TV Updates

 

Fall season disappointments:

The Sinner was disappointing. Top of the Lake: China Girl was disappointing. American Horror Story: Cult is disappointing (so far).

And The Deuce, after just one episode, is awfully dour, cynical and humorless.

 

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I’m sorry, but listening to Beth Mowins and Rex Ryan (above) call a Monday Night Football game was like listening to Alvin and the Chipmunk.

For the first 15 minutes of the game I thought it must be Take Your Son to Work Day, and I was hearing some announcer’s 12-year-old boy do his first voice work.

Oh … that would be a reference to both of them.

 

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We keep seeing commercials for a “Noah’s Ark” tourist attraction in Kentucky, pictured above.

 

Now might be a good time for Floridians, who know a thing or two about tourist attractions (and floods), to check it out.

 

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Hollywood’s Revenge

 

It takes a while to write and produce a TV series, but it’s now been ten months since the election, and so ….

American Horror Story: Cult is probably just the beginning of an onslaught of anti-Trump shows headed our way.

 

Sarah Paulson exults over Trump’s election triumph in American Horror Story … just kidding.

 

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Kate Middleton scored a legal victory against a French magazine that published her nude photos.

That’s our excuse for posting, one more time, these photos of the Royal Fanny.

 

.                              grouchyeditor.com Middleton       grouchyeditor.com Middleton

 

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Bummer. Because everyone goes to James Bond movies for the plot.

 

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Nice of Kevin Hart to donate $25,000 to Houston flood victims. Let’s do the math.

According to one source, Hart was worth $128 million in 2016.

$25,000 is .02 percent of $128,000,000.

If you earned $50,000 per year and gave .02 percent of your income, that’s ten bucks.

So Mr. Munificent donated the equivalent of … ten bucks.

 

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George Romero died in July, and now Tobe Hooper has passed. I saw Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in a theater a few years after it premiered, and I saw Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre not long after that.

Which was better? I liked Night of the Living Dead, but Chain Saw scared the piss out of me.

 

 Scary

 

Scarier

 

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So let me get this straight: The creepy My Pillow guy shows up in a couple’s bedroom, uninvited and unexpected, and, instead of calling the police, the couple is happy to see him?

Kinky.

 

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Long-Simmering Complaint:

 

 

And the “t” in “often” should be silent — like this. 

 

This week on Outnumbered, Kennedy was hell-bent on displaying her ignorance:

 

 

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Thank you, Harvey, for being a wonderful play by Mary Chase.

 

 

Thank you, Harvey, for being one of James Stewart’s best movies.

 

 

And thank you, Harvey, for being such a nasty-ass hurricane that you’ve forced the media to give all of us a respite from obsessive Donald Trump coverage.

 

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 An eclipse over Glasgow

 

Damn science nerds. Whenever they try to get the rest of us excited about some rare event – usually a comet or asteroid flying past Earth – The Big Show turns into a disappointment.

 

It’s like the fanatics who keep telling us Trump is just like Hitler. When it turns out that Trump doesn’t have any gas ovens, we get bored and stop listening to them.

 

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By all means, let’s pass tax cuts for the rich. That will heal the country.

 

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When Trump canned Steve Bannon, was he selling out to The Swamp? Has Trump always been in league with The Swamp?

The Swamp doesn’t care.

The Swamp lives on, licking its chops and seeking new victims.

 

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If the point of electing Donald Trump was to shake things up in Washington, then I don’t see how anyone can dispute that his presidency has been an unqualified success.

 

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I guess this is why Stephen King was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters:

 

 

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The problem with cable news is that it attracts the most detestable partisans imaginable.

If I happen to lean toward support of, let’s call it “Issue A,” there is little doubt that I will then witness some obnoxious, odious, self-satisfied buffoon advocating for “Issue A” on cable news.

I will then no longer be able to stomach the idea of supporting Issue A.

 

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