My desire to blog is not great, lately or now. I don’t attribute this to anything other than the fact that sometimes writing doesn’t sound like fun. You know what is fun? Watching movies and drinking coffee. You know what else is fun? Flickchart. If you spend more time reflecting on your opinions of movies and what you’ve gleaned from watching them than you spend actually watching them (which is no small amount of time in and of itself), and you haven’t looked at Flickchart yet, well, you might as well bid sayonora to your friends and divorce your spouse now and save yourself a lot of unnecessary pain and non-Flickchart-using time, cause you’re gonna be on this website for the rest of your life. I’ll just leave it at that. It just occurred to me that my blog production lag kicked in right around the time I discovered Flickchart. I assure you, this is no coincidence. I have never encountered a site more attuned to my obsession with movies and lists than Flickchart. It’s also an excellent timekiller, an attribute I value as I really want these next nine months to whiz by so we can skip past weeks of considerable spousal pain and discomfort and get right to the moment when our child, Flickchart Stover, is born.
In other news, I am fat. This seems to stem from a lifetime of eating food. Seriously, go to the store, buy some food, eat it, and then try not to get fat. It’s impossible! Other news I have for you is that our car is being a shitheel again. We are probably going to have to buy a whole new car. The 2002 Nissan Sentra is the worst product ever put on this earth. I really hope someone out there is considering buying one of these horrible cars for whatever reason and then through some act of God manages to see this blog and is then suitably deterred from purchasing it. My theory on cars is that when you put a key into their ignition and turn it, the car should start. Unfortunately, my theory on cars differs greatly from that of the makers of the 2002 Nissan Sentra. Replacing the battery has not helped. Taking it to a few different mechanics has not helped. What I have learned from this irritating experience is that buying used cars is for suckers. Either buy ’em new or buy ’em dirt cheap from some dude, but that middle ground will just break your heart, and soon you have monthly payments going towards a giant paperweight for your lawn. Used car dealers are unreliable: you heard it here first! I wish our car had a throat so I could slit it and give it a Colombian necktie, and a family so I could make them watch. Our 1997 Subaru station wagon with over 200,000 miles on it is an infinitely superior automobile. It responds to things like keys and gasoline. We are really not asking a lot of our vehicles here, only that they propel us from place to place. Oh well, live and learn, or, failing that, bitch fruitlessly about it on the Internet. On a more positive note, having dealt with the 2002 Nissan Sentra, I can safely say that our impending offspring will have to go to immeasurable lengths to prove itself either as expensive or as disappointing to us as this car has been. Urinate in my face while I’m trying to change your diaper, Junior! Thoroughly coat my favorite sweatshirt in fetid, milky barf! Deplete my bank account and withhold gratitude! Conjure missives the likes of which parenthood has yet to comprehend, but the fact remains, Junior, that you are not, and could never hope to be, the 2002 Nissan Sentra, and for that simple fact alone, my precious angel, Daddy loves you very much already.
This past Sunday my wife went to the always-excellent Big G’s to meet up with friends for unreasonably sized omelets, so that afforded me some solitary mannish time to squander upon such unproductive pursuits as pouring inexpertly brewed coffee down my esophagus and firing up a few in no way acclaimed motion pictures on my Xbox, which is equipped with Netflix instant viewing, my new favorite thing in the world other than Flickchart, The Statler Brothers, and defecating. There’s nothing like having the house to yourself, a rare circumstance I will no doubt be cherishing even further and less frequently in the near future, so I made sure to queue up the seediest and least-competently produced gems available to me, preferably something rife with fumblingly conveyed lesbianism. As such, my first choice was 1970’s “Just the Two of Us”.
“Just the Two of Us” (which also goes by the far more ridiculous and thus way better title of “The Dark Side of Tomorrow”) turned out to be a fairly coherent and relatively sensitive look at the difficulties and insecurities inherent in being a lesbian in late-sixties-era suburbia, with passable acting, tastefully shot love scenes, and a clear desire to frame its put-upon protagonists as well as the issue of homosexuality in general in an open-minded and understanding light. Imagine my disappointment.
Easily the best “hauntingly sensitive love story” you’ll see this year, the film focuses on Denise (the hovering brunette) and Adria (the prone blonde). Both are housewives who spend most of their time lying around in sparsely if modly furnished homes, provided to them by husbands who are always either working or telling their wives to stop bitching at them for working all the time. They’re way too busy funding flourescent orange ottomans and ornate aspic molds to be able to blow a load or two into their pert and willing wives. So one thing leads to another, and soon enough Denise and Adria are engaging in such sapphic pastimes as ordering fruit salads at local cafes, taking a spin on a merry-go-round, and finally, riding horses while holding hands, which is not only cloying but unsafe at best.
Anyway, we do get some boobs but it’s nothing to write home about, which is too bad since I was really looking forward to writing up a detailed description of the softcore lesbian porn I’d been watching in my wife’s absence and mailing a hard copy to my folks. It’s all very tenderly done. The situation starts to get out of hand when it becomes apparent that, while Denise seems to be coming to terms with both the fact that she may be a full-on lesbian and legitimately in love with her newfound companion, Adria is just experimenting and would like to be free to continue cavorting with weiner-owners as well, and not necessarily her husband. It gets awkward, a lot of people get hurt, and dagnabbit if I didn’t get into the whole thing. I really wanted it to work out for these crazy kids. The two leads (particular Elizabeth Plumb, whose only other credit according to IMDb is something called “The Psycho Lover”, as Denise) are adequate enough, the cheap sets are a brand of late-60’s faux chic that never fails to appeal to me, there’s a couple of ingratiatingly dippy hippie tunes, and best of all it’s only 74 minutes long. Neither lesbianism nor exploitation are done a lasting disservice by “Just the Two of Us”.
Next on the agenda, in an ongoing and thus far unsuccessful quest for lurid, ineptly lensed, objectifying entertainment, I fired up the 1982 classic “Butterfly”, starring your favorite actress and mine, Pia Zadora.
A inarguable trailblazer in the redneck incest thriller genre, “Butterfly”, much like “Just the Two of Us” before it, surprised me by engaging me in an at least passingly unironic fashion from start to finish. Better still, it didn’t skimp quite so much on the boobs and butts, and at no point did it attempt to make a statement, other than “Look, Pia’s naked again!”
In a nutshell, “Butterfly” is the story of a nymphette who comes back to her hometown and starts hitting on every male that crosses her path, including her estranged dad, played by Stacy “Mike Hammer” Keach. Being a backwoods type of feller, Keach feels some unfortunate urges, but also being an upstanding, churchgoing man, he resolves to resist her overt passes and tendency to sashay about the cabin in various stages of undress and reclaim his role as the sorely needed father figure in her thus far tragic life.
As you can see, all does not go according to plan. Give the guy a break! It’s Pia Zadora! What are you gonna do, not hump her in a cave?
Anyway, I’m not gonna go into the details, more out of an inability to follow the needlessly convoluted plot than out of concern for spoiling a film that you’re most likely not going to bother watching, but it turns out they’re not really father and daughter after all, so in the end the masterminds behind “Butterfly” get to have their graphic incest cake and eat it too. As an added treat, we have Orson Welles, finally obliterating the very last ounce of acclaim and goodwill he garnered from “Citizen Kane” as an ornery judge who alternately denounces and drools over Pia’s sultry lawbreaking.
I have a newfound appreciation for Orson Welles, thanks to the Dean Martin Variety Hour DVDs my wife got us for our recent anniversary. Listening to him speak, it’s hard not to imagine that Kelsey Grammar cribbed a fair amount of his Frasier Crane schtick from Welles. Here, watch him regale you with the story behind and the content of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and try not to enlist.
I also watched “Phantasm”, “The Poseidon Adventure”, and the original Terry O’Quinn version of “The Stepfather”, but they were all reasonably well-made and as such aren’t worth commenting upon. Anyway, it was nice to take a day and just watch a bunch of dumb movies. I have to go eat two loaves of garlic bread now to make them go away because I didn’t count on the smell of the garlic ruining the life of my spouse, whose pregnancy has endowed her with upsetting but not uninteresting super-smell powers, an ability that unfortunately will not help her out a whole lot after I’ve eaten the garlic bread either, if my digestive history is any indication. Oh well, goodnight ladies and germs!