Monthly Archives: May 2024


Miss Marple


We all know The Beatles. And James Bond. But to me, an unsung hero of the 1960s “British invasion” was Margaret Rutherford as Miss Jane Marple.

Movie lore has it that Marple creator Agatha Christie was not a fan of Rutherford’s portrayal, which emphasized comedy over mystery. It’s true that the four Marple films rely more on slapstick and buffoonish supporting characters than anything found in Christie’s novels.



But I’ve watched numerous actresses portray the spinster sleuth on television series, and I remember very little about them. On the other hand, rubber-faced, jowly Rutherford as Miss Marple made an indelible impression.

Which of the four movies is best? The critical consensus seems to place them in chronological order, with Murder, She Said (1961) followed by Murder at the Gallop (1963), Murder Most Foul (1964), and Murder Ahoy! (1964). To me, they are pretty much interchangeable.


Robert Morley and Rutherford in Murder at the Gallop


All four films are enjoyable larks. The jaunty musical score by Ron Goodwin, the supporting players including Robert Morley, Ron Moody, Lionel Jeffries, and James Robertson Justice (not to mention Rutherford’s real-life husband, Stringer Davis) — all of that makes me smile.

The mysteries are only mildly engaging, but they are mostly there just to give Rutherford and company something to do.


Rutherford and Davis


Release: 1961-1964  Cast: Margaret Rutherford, Charles Tingwell, Stringer Davis  Overall Grade: B+


With Lionel Jeffries in Murder Ahoy!


Would I watch them again?  Of course.


© 2010-2024 (text only)



Down the YouTube Rabbit Hole


It’s easy to get lost in the sea of YouTube videos. You get sucked in by (often) misleading headlines or provocative thumbnails and, while you planned to spend 15-20 minutes surfing videos, at some point you look at the clock and realize you’ve been swimming for three hours.

But not all YouTube channels are created equal. The following are channels I find myself returning to, again and again. They are listed in no particular order. I apologize in advance if I overuse the adjective “fascinating.”




Tim Pool is interviewing Donald Trump tomorrow. He’s come a long way since the day I watched him blow a gasket over the movie Cats.




Travel stuff. Fascinating.




A young guy’s interesting takes on history and what it predicts about the state of the world today.




Bill Maher’s podcast is certainly flawed. Too often he does 90 percent of the yakking himself, with his guest serving as a captive audience. But as long as the subject of the moment isn’t named Donald Trump, the conversations are often engaging. And stoned.




I have no idea what country this young gal is from. But she’s charming and it’s good to get Gen Z’s perspective on cultural affairs.




A young couple from Romania who exist in YouTube’s world of “First Time Watching” movie reactions. He is from Romania, she is from the Philippines. They are fun and I want to live next door to them. But not in Romania.




If you dig movie reviews from an intellectual, uh — goth girl? — this is the channel for you. In her channel’s comments section, I once accused her of “recency bias” and she blew up at me. But I still watch her reviews.




If you enjoy snark and film reviews that attack wokeness with relish, the “Critical Drinker” is your man. He’s been popping up as a guest on Piers Morgan’s show, for whatever that’s worth.




This guy is the anti-Critical Drinker. He’s sunny and friendly and loath to say anything bad about the movies he reviews. But he’s into old Hammer and Universal horror movies, which is a nice change of pace (no “recency bias” here).




This couple living at the top of the world (Svalbard) sucks me in every week. Their videos are often repetitive — shovel snow, do housework, shop for groceries … repeat, repeat — but I find it all very soothing and comforting.




Cody Leach is a very persuasive podcaster. His specialty is horror movies, and his arguments for or against a particular film are very convincing. At least for a while. Often, five minutes after I watch his latest video, I will decide that I completely disagree with his opinions. But never while I’m watching.




An enigmatic guy who reviews films primarily from the 1960s and 1970s. He does a lot of background work on each film and finds juicy behind-the-scenes anecdotes. But for some reason he has disabled his comments section. Too bad.




I can’t decide if this guy is a real redneck or just pretending to be one. Either way, I find his travel videos about America and Americana to be — you guessed it — fascinating.




There are many prank sites on YouTube, but I think this channel might be one of the best. It’s creative and who doesn’t find chicks in thong bikinis to be fascinating?





I’m not interested in salacious stories about Diddy. I just find the blonde bending over in the bikini to be fascinating.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)




There are three reasons you might want to watch 1972’s women-in-prison flick, The Big Bird Cage. 1 — You are a fan of this kind of campy exploitation. 2 — There is an amazing scene in the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines, in which a mass mud-wrestling tournament erupts, pretty much out of nowhere. 3 — You grew up in the 1970s and had the hots for “Barker’s Beauties” on The Price Is Right. Especially sultry Anitra Ford (above and below), who modeled on the show from 1972-76.





Bob Barker ran into a string of difficulties with the show’s models, some of whom sued the “get your pets spayed or neutered” host for sexual harassment. But Anitra, one of the two original “Beauties,” was not among the claimants — possibly because she was too busy acting in B-movies. And often getting naked in them.



The Big Bird Cage (1972) is available in high definition and is dubbed and subtitled. We are supplying our own subtitles for some of the screen captures below. (Click on any picture for a bigger view.)


The plot: The plot doesn’t really matter. Anitra’s character is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets sent to a Filipino women’s prison, where inmates toil at a sugar-cane mill and tussle with two chunky prison guards, both of whom happen to be gay men. One of them watches Anitra shower in the scene below.


“This is how I auditioned for The Price Is Right. Bob told me to go behind the curtain and, when it opened, to show him what was behind door number three.”


“Hi, I’m actress Candice Roman. I have a nice rear end, too, don’t you think?”


“Listen dude, I know you’re wondering why I just flashed my pussy. If you hadn’t noticed, I’m small-breasted. They told me small-breasted girls have to show more to get this kind of role. So now you know.”


“Another pussy flash? All right, how’s this?”


The Big Bird Cage videos: 



More plot: Meanwhile, revolutionaries played by Sid Haig and Pam Grier infiltrate the prison because, well … they believe that freeing the locked-up gals is somehow the equivalent of 1789, when French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille.

Like I said, the plot doesn’t matter.


“Does this look gay enough? Yes, I think we look gay enough. It’s 1972, after all.”


“Perfect spot for a mass mud-wrestle. Because … why not?”


“This wasn’t in the script, but who could resist a spontaneous roll in the muck?”



I would never be so bold as to assert that Ford is in league with Meryl Streep in terms of acting. But she does have a certain savoir faire, a smoldering tough-girl charisma. But not so much in the scene below, in which she’s gang-raped by three horny Filipino men. The men, no doubt, were grateful that there were no “intimacy coordinators” in 1972.


“Rip off the clothes of a hot American actress? Sure, we think we can do that.”


“Sure, I can take a moment to look between her legs. These American movies are great!”



The video:



Writer-Director: Jack Hill  Cast: Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Anitra Ford  Release: 1972


Anitra’s (nude) resume also includes:


Stacey (1973)


The video:



Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)



If Ford looks familiar to you, but you can’t imagine why because you don’t watch sexploitation movies or old game shows, you might have seen the California native sharing a bed with box-office champ Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard (below).



(Credit to AZNude for the videos)


 © 2010-2024 (text only)


by C.S. Lewis


Wikipedia describes British intellectual Lewis as a “Christian apologist.” Really? Maybe I’m misinterpreting the term, but it doesn’t seem to me that Lewis’s writings do much “apologizing” for Christianity.

But I digress. In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis plays devil’s advocate — literally — through “Screwtape,” a high-ranking demon and advisor to his nephew “Wormwood,” a novice demon attempting to corrupt a young Englishman. In a series of letters to the nephew, Screwtape details the tricks of their trade: how to plant ungodly thoughts in an individual’s head, and then how to encourage those thoughts to flourish.

This is accomplished chiefly by appealing to the Englishman’s vanities, fears, etc., and then finding ways to justify his delusions. The great Enemy to Screwtape (and Wormwood) is, of course, Christianity.

Lewis said that he found the writing of Screwtape Letters to be “easy,” but also unpleasant. It’s not hard to see why. Like a film actor who enjoys playing villains on screen, it was probably fun to play-act Satan’s assistant. And yet, there are so many depressing aspects to human nature — so many pitfalls to being a good person — that you might not want to dwell in that role for very long.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)




I spent a lot of time this week (gasp!) listening to women.

Not in real life, mind you, but on YouTube.

Imagine that. The Grouch doesn’t just ogle women; sometimes he listens to them!

It turns out that not every young American female is in thrall of (or dependent on) big, bad government in general, or the Democrat party in particular.

There are young women out there with different viewpoints. I don’t agree with everything these ladies espouse, but a lot of what they have to say makes sense.

Most of them advocate for more traditional ideas of society; some of them also seem to be a bit “black pilled.” Too late to reform today’s America, they say, but there is hope for future generations.

Here are links (in green) to a few of the interesting women I (gasp!) listened to:



Mary Morgan takes on a roundtable of sex workers.


Lauren Chen, Pearl Davis, Rachel Wilson, and Isabella Moody discuss male-female relationships in 2024. Oh yeah, and Tim Pool moderates.


There are some obvious contradictions here. If these women truly believe a woman’s place is in the home, then what the hell are they doing on Internet podcasts?

On the other hand, if women’s issues only gain credibility when they are addressed by actual women, then who else is going to promote conservative views? Your neighbor with a houseful of kids is much too busy.




Stupid Idiom of the Week:

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”


Yeah, not so much in 2024. These days, if you are a powerful person who screws up, you either get promoted (“fail up”) or retire with a golden parachute.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)


The news is awful, again, this week. But you already knew that. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, repeating the same gripes week after week. My complaints, in general, can be summed up in two words: “Biden bad.”

We are planning a new category for The Grouchy Editor. It will be called “The Male Gaze.” The male gaze is in the doldrums these days, having fallen into disfavor with the “woke” and disappearing from reliable havens of the past like Hollywood movies. In mainstream films today, you are more likely to see a bottomless male than a topless female.

We’re going to do our small part to rescue the male gaze. This week’s “Review” is a taste of what’s to come.




You should never, ever grab or pinch a young woman’s bottom. Unless she asks you to. Or unless she is a Hollywood starlet hoping to impress and you are a famous director.

I thought of this when I learned of 25-year-old TikTok star Natalie Reynolds, who pushes the envelope — to put it mildly — for hits, views and likes. Reynolds is the “naked woman” referred to in the New York Post headline above.

Her videos range from cringe-inducing to borderline illegal. In one, she infiltrates a Florida neighborhood for convicted sex offenders. In another, she apparently harms (kills?) small animals. I’m not sure about the legality of these videos, but I do know I have no intention of watching them.


On the other hand, I can’t resist a good ass-grabbing video, which seems to be Reynolds’ specialty:




Above, random dude grabs a piece of Natalie’s ass


Above, Natalie asks a stranger if he will take pictures of her butt


It’s hard to say who gets off more on this focus on Reynolds’s derriere, the random dudes or Reynolds herself. How else to explain her post below, in which her bottom takes a two-minute beating?



All of this ass-grabbing put me in mind of famous ass-grabbing from the past. Like the scene below from David Lynch’s Wild at Heart, in which starlet Charlie Spradling allows Nicolas Cage to, uh, examine her rear end:



Below, Cage and Laura Dern discuss the Spradling grab:



Spradling appeared in a number of mainstream movies in the 1980s-90s. Below, a screen capture from Mirror Mirror, in which she showers before succumbing to a gruesome murder, followed by her first video appearance in a soft-porn thing called High Seas Fantasy, when she was about 20.



That’s our tease for “The Male Gaze,” which in the future will take a periodic look at the objects of male ogling, past and present.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)



Gaza Madness


I’m trying to follow all of the recent media uproar: the student protests, war in Gaza, D.C. politics, etc.

I am trying. But it’s hopeless. Somebody’s not telling me the truth. Or everybody’s not telling me the truth.


I was told, I believe, that there would be “no American boots on the ground” in Gaza:



But American boots on a pier that’s attached to Gaza ground? Doesn’t count, I guess.




Meanwhile, House Republicans, I was told, “control the purse-strings” of government expenditures. Yet Republicans seem more than happy to fund whatever military misadventure — Ukraine, Gaza, wherever — Biden chooses to initiate.





Now they say Biden would like to invite Gazan refugees to come live with us in the U.S. — just like the millions of “newcomers” moving in from our southern border.


Well, we didn’t really want Gen Z to inherit any of the country’s wealth, did we?

Poor Gen Z.

Poor all of us.





Now that we’ve decided Kristi Noem is a puppy-killing villain, can I please get un-banned from Twitter for saying that she has “nice tits”?

Just curious.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)


by Ayn Rand


If I read this Ayn Rand novella just 10 years ago, my reaction to it might have gone something like this: “Interesting. Far-fetched, but interesting.”

The dystopian world Rand creates in her story depicts a society in which totalitarian collectivism rules. The protagonist is a confused soul living in a city where nothing is done — or even thought — by “I” or “me.” To do that is a crime. The only acceptable pronoun is “we.” People don’t have names; they are assigned numbers. Everyone follows, like docile sheep, the dictates of the “Council.”

Interesting, I would have thought in 2014. But people are not docile sheep, I would have thought, 10 years ago.

Flash forward to 2024, in which “he” and “she” are routinely replaced by “they,” and in which violating groupthink can cost you your livelihood. Individualism is dangerous because it threatens the well-being of the group, we are told.

I suspect the reason Anthem is not routinely cited with Brave New World and 1984 as warnings about the perils of — insert your “ism” here — is because Rand planned it in 1937 as a magazine article. It’s a very short novel. It doesn’t have the meat of 1984 or Brave New World. But it effectively conveys the same message.


 © 2010-2024 (text only)