Monday, May 31, 2010

DLR LotD 05/30/10

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Mickey has a monocle." -- Cindy, at Rancho del Zocalo

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Laugh, Don't Cry

Oscar Noir: Week 3
Monday, May 24, 2010

I killed some time after work by doing a couple of errands and picking up some dinner and after-show food before driving down to Beverly Hills.  I arrived at the parking structure and they told me that I couldn't park there until 6:30 p.m., unless I wanted to pay for 30 minutes.  Since I had seen one of the valets drive a van into a pole, I decided to leave.  I went to the other parking lot instead, which let me in even though I had 2 minutes until 6:00 p.m.  I stood in line for a few minutes before Liz got there and I was happy to see that she had an extra sweater for me, because it was chilly out there in that line!  She found seats for us in the center section, and I conversed with a guy wearing a Lakers t-shirt.  Liz informed me that she had just watched "Laura" again the other day because she loves it so much, full well knowing that she'd be here tonight.   Louise Currie of the Captain Marvel series was again in the audience, looking glamorous.  

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter Two:  The Guillotine" (1941)
Everyone in the car survived the car going off of the bridge, because it fell into the water, and Captain Marvel jumped down to save them.  The cliffhanger this week was that Captain Marvel was hit with an electric shock, and is on a conveyer belt, which has a guillotine at the other end.  Who will save him?  It's got to be someone, right?  There are several more of these in the series!

Cartoon:  "Flora" (1948)
It's like Film Noir, but with a dog all upset about a cat!  Why are all of the cartoon Siamese cats so mean?  I mean, she made the dog suicidal, for goodness' sake.  Meanie.

Feature Attraction:  "Laura" (1944) Screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt, based on the novel by Vera Caspary, directed by Otto Preminger, and starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Judith Anderson.
  • Another special guest in the audience was Cara Williams, nominated for an Oscar for her role in "The Defiant Ones", and was in the scene in Laura's office as the secretary who is listening to Waldo ask Laura to dinner.  
  • The film was introduced by Scott Frank, writer for "Dead Again" and "Marley and Me".  He didn't give spoilers, for which he received applause, and I was happy.  He defended Dana Andrews' work and told us to watch for Mr. Andrews' facial expressions in different scenes.
  • The makeup artist was Guy Pearce.  But isn't that the guy in "L.A. Confidential" and "Memento"?  Wow, he's been around a long time. ;)
  • Clifton Webb is hilarious.  I kept looking forward to the next scene that he'd steal every time he wasn't in one.
  • I wish my hair could do what Gene Tierney's did.
  • I did like the looks that McPherson gave to people, especially the look of disdain he gave to all of the suspects.
  • I needed a few minutes to get over Vincent Price's voice not saying something haunting, or laughing maniacally.
  • Favorite line:  " In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention." -- Waldo
  • Close second:  "I don't use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom." -- Waldo  (He had all of the great lines).
  • For a moment there, I thought that McPherson was having a dream sequence.  It's the soap opera fan in me, I guess.
I really enjoyed this movie.  This is what I think of when I hear the term "Film Noir": murder, mystery, and witty dialogue.  You gotta love it.

Next up: "Double Indemnity".

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fe Dude 2: The Metal Boogaloo

Seeing "Iron Man 2" was my motivation for taking a walk to the movie theater on Furlough Friday this week.  I kept dilly-dallying, but finally made it out the door and walked quickly to the theater, making it into the actual room as the previews were being shown.  Phew!
  • Is it wrong that I liked the streaks in Mickey Rourke's hair?
  • Who came first?  Vanko or Baretta?
  • I'm not jealous enough of Scarlett Johansson already, that now she also has to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. badass?  Unfair! ;)
  • Pepper Potts looks great in blue dresses.
  • I like Sam Rockwell as a comical bad guy.  Reminds me of when he was in "Charlie's Angels", which I happened to watch later that night.
  • I like that Jon Favreau gave himself a little bit with which to kick some ass.
  • I think that I would have preferred to wear Rhodey's silver suit: more sleek, less flashy. 
  • Nick Fury had more stuff to do here.  Cool.  "Which do I look at?  The patch or the eye?"
  • Heh.  "Super Secret Boy Band".
  • I liked the scenery when Rhodey and Stark, in their suits, are telling each other to get to higher ground.  The cherry blossom petals are falling as the War Machines show up.  It looks like the beginning of a fight in a martial arts film.
  • I cried during that whole scene with the Stark father/son stuff.  Shut up.
  • I love that "Make Way For Tomorrow Today" song.  It sounds like "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow".Hey, it's by Richard Sherman!  

So the God of Thunder is next up?  Awesome.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Superman, Captain Marvel and Captain Midnight

Oscar Noir: Week 2
Shadow of a Doubt
Monday, May 17, 2010

I drove down to Beverly Hills right after work and had a lot of time before I could park in the structure, so I drove to MILK and got a Manchego salad and a hazelnut madeleine.  I might go there every week just to try something different each time.  I love that place.  When I returned to the area near the theater, I parked on one of the residential streets and ate my dinner.  I waited for Liz, and after she parked, we realized that we had parked in a Permit Only zone, and moved our cars to the parking structures.  Oops.  There was a long line for the holders of the series pass this time, and Linda found us, then went to her short ticket holder line and saved us seats. Liz and Linda were excited about the movie we would see, because they love it.   

Before we get to the films, look at that avatar over there on the right, concocted just for this series.  She is really cool if you watch the entire animation, which is available at that link underneath.  Unfortunately, the code is too large to export onto the blog, which is usually the case, so I'll be including the link from now on.  Now, on to the show.

Cartoon:  "Superman in Showdown" (1942)
A mobster hires a guy to dress as Superman and rob people and banks.  He is soooo not as handsome as Superman.

Short:  "Adventures of Captain Marvel, Chapter One: Curse of the Scorpion" (1941)
This is the setup for how Billy Batson becomes Captain Marvel, out in the Middle Eastern desert.  His powers are given to him by the Captain Marvel that grew old, and all he has to do is say "Shazam!" and he gets his powers.  He says the word again, and he's back to being Billy.  Captain Marvel doesn't look like Billy at all, which kind of stunned me.  I guess I forgot how that also happened in the TV series I watched in the 70s.  This episode is longer than the others will be, since it was the premiere.  Great cliffhanger at the end with the bridge exploding and the car falling.

We had a special guest in the audience: Louise Currie, who played Betty Wallace in this series. At 97 years old, she was still dressed in old-Hollywood glamor, in a white gown, and a fur-lined wrap.  She was funny and thought that the microphone was merely a prop instead of being used as a sound device.  She said that she hopes she lives until the next episode (she was one of the people in the car).  That was really cool.

Feature Attraction:  "Shadow of a Doubt" (1943), story by Gordon McDonell, script by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, and Macdonald Carey.
  • The MC read a letter from the actress who played little sister Ann, who is now living happily in Arizona or New Mexico or something like that.
  • The film was introduced by Dick Clement, writer of "Flushed Away", "The Commitments", and "Across the Universe".  He had actually never seen the film before being asked to do the introduction, but really enjoyed it.  He thankfully didn't give any spoilers away, and the audience applauded when he mentioned that he hated when critics give spoilers in their reviews.
  • We were supposed to look for all of the things done in twos.  Ah, duality.  
  • Ann (Edna May Wonacott) reminded me a LOT of Abigail Breslin, by the way she looked and her precocious manner.  I loved this character.  So now I see the connection between the cartoon, the short, and this film: Ann asked God to bless "Captain Midnight, Veronica Lake and The President of the United States."  Always be appreciative of your superheroes.
  • I was a little bit uncomfortable with the relationship between Uncle Charlie and his namesake niece.  I think that if the movie had been done in present day, that might have been pushed to some kind of sexual abuse thing.  I like that it didn't do that in Hitchcock's film, but it still made me uncomfortable whenever they were physically close to each other. Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright played off of each other beautifully, though.  Lots of tension where it was supposed to be.
  • I know Macdonald Carey as the patriarch of "Days of Our Lives", and was happy to see him in his younger movie star days.  I so would have had a crush on him back then, had I grown up in that time.
  • The story was mainly set and filmed in Santa Rosa, CA.  I thought to myself, "I don't remember Santa Rosa looking like that when I saw Rockapella there", and have now realized that it was probably because we never actually went into town that day.  Oh, wait, there were earthquakes that affected the town anyway.
  • I am now always going to think of this movie when I hear the "Merry Widow Waltz."
  • Wow, that score, by Dimitri Tiomkin, really got me nervous at the climax.
  • Loved the crime-buff relationship between Joseph (Charlie's dad) and their neighbor Herbie, as they talked about how they'd kill each other. 
I really enjoyed this movie.  Every time I see a HItchcock film that's new to me, I think to myself, "I need to watch more Hitchcock films."  It happened this time, too.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

DLR LotD 05/14/10

Disneyland Resort
Line of the Day
Friday, May 14, 2010

"Why aren't you French-kissing Mr. Toad?" -- Sherry, to Linda, in line at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood's Dark Side
Week 1: The Maltese Falcon
Monday, May 10, 2010

One of the cool things about living in L.A. is that there are a lot of opportunities to see tributes to the film industry.  This year, AMPAS is celebrating the Oscar writing nominees that fall into the category of Film Noir.  I've been interested in watching different movies that are the genre of Film Noir, but never actually sat down to do so, so I was excited enough about this event to get a series pass, which allows me to see all 15 weeks of the event.  At $5.00 per evening, which is quite a deal already, it's a great price, and I get to see the movies on a bigger screen than my home TV.  My thoughts will all be from the point of view of someone's first viewing, as I haven't seen any of the films on the list.  

Each week has a short and a cartoon before the movie.  During the previews, we saw that we would get to see an episode of "Captain Marvel" every week, starting next week.  Cool!  Sadly, I think that I will have only seen the cartoons before the nights that they're shown.  Such is my TV addict life. :)

Short:  "How to Be a Detective" (1936) starring Robert Benchley
Robert Benchley talks about how to be a good detective, then promptly shows how much he sucks at it.  You gotta love old-fashioned humor.

Cartoon:  "How to Be a Detective" (1952) starring Goofy
It's Goofy, hello!  Those darn weasels.

Main Feature: "The Maltese Falcon" (1941) written and directed by John Huston.
  • The book "The Maltese Falcon" was written by Dashiell Hammett, and since Mr. Hammett is no longer alive, the Academy invited his family to be there, including his granddaughter.  
  • The movie was introduced by Lawrence Kasdan, famed writer of "The Empire Strikes Back", "Return of the Jedi", "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Silverado".  
  • Mr. Kasdan said that he had seen the movie over 25 times, and each time notices something new.  He talked about some of his favorite lines in the movie, but I didn't know any of them yet.  Perhaps I would have been more interested had I already watched the film, because I found myself wishing Mr. Kasdan would stop talking about the film and show it already. To be fair, though, I think that I was tired and didn't want to fall asleep next to the guy with the not-so-fresh breath, for fear that I'd wake up with him breathing on my face.
  • Not surprisingly, this evening was sold out.  There was a long line outside with people wanting to buy tickets.  Why wouldn't it be, though?  This is probably the most famous of all of the genre.
  • Bogart at his best.  Loved him, loved Sam Spade.
  • I can see why this film was nominated for its writing.  The dialogue was quick-paced and witty, and there were a few twists in the plot.
  • Mary Astor was also fun as the not-very-truthful femme fatale, Brigid O'Shaughnessy.  I am glad that Mr. Kasdan talked about the script a bit, so that I could understand a bit of what was going on.  People were laughing so much that I don't think that I heard everything they said, but at least I kinda knew what was going to be stated.
  • Peter Lorre was fantastic as Joel Cairo.  I loved his character, and he had me giggling with almost every word he said.
  • Sydney Greenstreet was great as The Fat Man, whose last name was Gutman.  ;)  I liked his very hearty laugh.
  • I waited this long to see this movie why?!  I want to see that again!
I left before the panel discussion regarding the Film Noir genre because I was tired and it was late.  In the lobby, various works of art were on display for the Chuck Jones exhibit, which is set to open this Friday.  The framed items still had post-it notes stuck to them with the titles, probably so that they'd know where all of the descriptions would be placed.  Sketches included such cartoons as "Feed The Kitty" and "Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century", and "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi".  I love Chuck Jones.  I'm looking forward to seeing the full exhibit next week when I'm there.  They also had The Maltese Falcon prop and script on display, as well as the posters for some of the films that will be shown in the series.  Unfortunately, photography of the exhibits is not allowed, or you'd be seeing a lot of pictures here right now. :)

Next Up:  "Shadow of a Doubt" 

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I had wanted to see "Date Night" since Linda and I first saw the trailer several months ago.  She and I saw it a couple of weeks ago.

  • Loved the chemistry between Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
  • I wish that Kristen Wiig would have been given more to do.  I think she's hilarious on "Saturday Night Live"
  • Mark Wahlberg shirtless just makes my day.
  • I loved when Claire would tell "the story" about other diners in the restaurants.  I sometimes try to get people to do that with me, but they're certainly not as funny as Tina Fey.
  • "Hey, who likes...shirts?"
  • Hilarious scene when the Fosters return to Claw for info and need to distract the hostess.  Additional takes are shown after the credits.
  • "I'll bet you do all kinds of right."
  • The scenes on the streets of NYC were filmed on location in Times Square, prompting them to film with New Yorkers as extras.  A couple of them stared at the camera, and I wondered if they were supposed to be staring at the antics of Carell and Fey.
  • "If we're going to pay that much for crab, it better sing and dance and introduce us to The Little Mermaid."
  • "And will you, for the love of God, put on a f**king shirt?!"
That was a fun movie, with lots of laughs, and a touch of heartwarming stuff.  But most of all, Hello, Marky Mark's chest! :)