persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

JUST IMAGINE (1930) nominated for Academy Award for best art direction. I saw JUST IMAGINE several months ago. It's an old Science fiction film from 1930. Somewhere it has been described as a satire of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS. That's being kind, and attempting to give JUST IMAGINE too much credit. JUST IMAGE is a cookie cutter variation of the film RIO RITA, which came out a few years previously, and was a successful early musical. Down to the two comic stars of RIO RITA, there's an attempt to replicate the team of Wheeler and Woolsey. There are two singing doofuses in JUST IMAGINE. JUST IMAGINE is a musical. That description is also too kind. The art direction is all art deco and certainly adds to an 'otherness' to the film if only the people and plot would just stay out of the way. But is is a movie...and movies are supposed to have people in them, and this isn't Andy Warhol. This was once a lost film. Forry Ackerman said it was one of the top ten lost films of science fiction. A print of it was found, semi-restored and it has played a few Science Fiction conventions. It doesn't get a big round of applause. It's kind of dull. In the future (the the film's frame of reference, it's 1980), people have numbers for names. And some number(LN-18) wants to marry another number, but someone else's number is up, the the cute numbered couple can't get married unless J-21 does something spectacular in order to convince the genetics board judge to okay the union, otherwise it goes to someone with the evil name of Z-4. (I'm assuming it's Z-4. The only other evil name is MT-3, or is it B-36?) Watching this at a convention is a disadvantage to having a DVD and a remote: you can fast forward over the musical numbers. I heard them and they lack the ability to be remembered. They're sung and played well, but that's not always what's needed. Swedish comic El Brendel plays Single- 0. He's initially from 1930. He was hit by lightening and revived. He comes back to life and completes his golf swing. He was on a golf course when he "died". He and Maureen O'Sullivan are the only people in the group who display realistic talent. El Brendel is the only one who can deliver a joke properly. Let me elaborate: El Brendel is hungry. His friends take him to an automat, press a couple of buttons and a pill drops out. He swallows it, notices he is full and says "I prefer the old fashioned way." Then he gets an alcoholic drink from a bottle. It is another pill. He swallows, gasps for air and says "I prefer the old fashioned way." He spies a couple putting information into a machine, and a baby in a bassinet pops out. He says "I prefer the old fashioned way." There aren't any other good jokes in this movie. It's supposed to be funny. Or make you smile. In order to "do something" to impress the judge a man comes out of nowhere, and offers J-21 the job of flying a spaceship to Mars. I looked at my watch a lot. I skipped chapters. They go to Mars. They come back. They get married. It isn't any good. The dog is playing Frisbee with the DVD. Trivia notes: the spaceship used to go to Mars was saved from this clunker and used in a few Flash Gordon serials, as are the elaborate dance numbers the Martian natives put on for whatever reasons you can come up with. JUST IMAGINE. It could have stayed lost.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010


Of course, everyone needs a children's book with the leader of North Korea featured as the main character. 

I could easily have submitted another cover called HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT A PENIS. But PLANTZILLA is a whole lot goofier. 

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

...and today's sermon will be about unintended irony.

Giani says the line is not new, having seen it as a bumper sticker on a Gothmobile a few years back.

It recalls two other lines of density:

(bumper  sticker) 9 MM is faster than 911.

(T-shirt of atomic explosion) Made in America, tested in Japan.

That last one I saw as a shirt in a Police Catalog. Among all the other shirts about "I'M a Proud PIG", there was that line...

I'm not sure if I ever could have the nerve to wear something like that.  Or the one with the a tom bomb explosion. 

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Or reasons not to open our freezer. We have the head because someone asked for the brain so they could use it to help tan leather. We're still waiting a year later. Meantime, we've obtained another head and jammed it in there. 

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Friday, January 22, 2010


Or someone ought to proof read these books

"The gunslinger approached the bar. 'You got hamburger?' he asked.

'Sure.'  She looked him in the eye, and she might have been pretty when she started out, but now her face was lumpy and there was a livid scar corkscrewed across her forehead. She had powdered it heavily, but it called attention rather than camouflaging. 'It's dear though.' "

(page 27)

He knew why the rhyme had occurred to him. There had been the recurring dream of his room in the castle and of his father, who had sung it to him as he lay solemnly in the tiny bed by the window of many colors. She did not sing it at bedtime....

(page 71). Someone just changed sex.

I was trying to find out why King keeps writing these stories. Gave myself a shot. But I would only buy thrift store editions.  After finishing the third novella herein, I'll put my project on hold. 

The quotes are from the paperback edition, which makes it something like the third or forth edition. 

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things we've learned: do not microwave...

Do not microwave eggs. They explode.

Do not microwave blue cheese. It merely melts it, and releases all of the moldy blue cheese odor:  all at once.

It would be nice if you could microwave oysters and clams in the shell, but they tend to explode as well.

Same thing with corn: it explodes.  That's why they developed microwave popcorn. 

Certain other foods, like canned tune fish, also tend to pop and shoot all over the interior of the microwave. 

Other examples would be nice....

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RAY BRADBURY: over the years has been writing about computers and why they are not creative and why they restrict creativity...

He wrote, in his little collection of essays, BRADBURY SPEAKS: "To test my notion, plant me in a room with two hundred chaps, at two hundred computers, give me a number two Red Ticonderoga Pencil and ten cent Red Mowhawk pad and I will out think and out create the whole Goddamn bunch."

Of course, this is a lot of Hoo! Hah! So Ray Bradbury with his pencil and paper is going to sit back and knock off a work of art that will rival SHREK? I'll venture that a man who cannot drive a car, refuses to drive one, is not competent to discuss technology. If he doesn't know how to turn on a computer, he should not criticize what he fails to share and experience.

Of course, a Bradbury fan will applaud this weird statement without thinking. It would sound good on a stage, delivered to a crowd (which it was), get a thunderous round of applause, move the crowd and make everyone nod in approval, but this kind of rabble rousing doesn't carry far, and doesn't reach out on cold print. It just sounds absurd. A computer helped create the book that was published that has this message in it. And when you see it in print, it sounds real dumb.

There are times when being a Luddite isn't worth it. Perhaps in days gone by, the poets complained that when epics were written down, they lost the life they contained. But they were not forgotten. The Maori of New Zealand were disappointed that the young wrote down the names of the elders, instead of committing them to memory. They were not lost or forgotten.

Time will go on, the passions for art will change and how it is created.

And the luddites who cling to old ways of creating may be really losing the thrust that their writings could give because they cannot change.

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