Classic Movies: Excalibur @Tubi #movie #Excalibur #music #ClassicMovie #GoodWatch

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This past weekend, I discovered that John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) was available to stream on Tubi. In case you didn’t know, Tubi is a free streaming service with commercials, and it’s often useful for watching movies showing on pay services to which I don’t subscribe. I took advantage of a rare day of not working out and re-watched it.

To me, Excalibur is a classic, and it has a moderately funny story behind it (for me). My dad was always present but never paying attention. He left our upbringing to our mother, taking interest only when our interests collided with his. So, if you weren’t playing tennis, playing chess, or visiting the Renaissance Festival, you were a nuisance. He wasn’t cruel; just uninterested. When Excalibur came out, both he and I were interested in seeing it. I was a mythology buff, and he a history buff, and the movie appealed to both of us. Well, I was 13, and when my mother found out how much nudity was in it, she blew a gasket. Of course, my dad was pissed off at me because I was the one that told her.

That was a fun day.

My Impression

Nudity aside, I loved the movie. I was familiar with the basics of Authurian legends and wanted more. The next time I saw the movie was in high school, which were the days of VHS movie rentals. My cousin and I rented it, and my view had changed. I found the base storyline just as interesting but the delivery goofy at times. Also, being a high school kid, I was a bit put off by seeing Sir Lancelot’s nut sack. This weekend was the third time I had seen it, and it was fantastic, errrr … nut sack and all.

It’s a quick telling of the Arthurian legends, taking some liberties with the story in the interests of getting the story told in less than 8 hours. What’s not to love about that? I’m sure many readers agree, so I’m not going to dwell on any of that. Instead, I’m going to point out something I found interesting and unusual.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is, as one would expect, filled with grandiose, classical music pieces. However, what’s interesting about it is that the music never played (to my recollection) during the battle scenes. All you heard was the sound of battle, and that produced a chilling effect. Because I’m a nerd, I’m reminded of an observation Lt. Cmdr. Data made about alien poetry that often included pauses that could last for days. That seems ridiculous, but pauses do have value. They’re analogous to negative space used in graphic arts, such as the arrow in the FedEx logo between the ‘e’ and ‘x,’ and this effect was used very well by John Boorman here.

As always, YMMV, though how could you not like Excalibur?

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Classic Movies: Top Secret @valkilmer @CBSAllAccess #TopSecret #movie #CBSAllAccess #ClassicMovie #GoodWatch

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The other day, I was thinking, “I’d really like to see Top Secret again.” This weekend, I watched the latest episode of the Stand, and afterwards went browsing through the movie list on CBS All Access and found — you guessed it — Top Secret.

This category, Classic Watch, is reserved for classic movies like Casablanca and Citizen Kane. Perhaps it was inappropriate to include the Nightmare Before Christmas, but I make no apologies for including this one. This movie is a classic as far as I’m concerned. It’s stupid fun. Some of the gags were dated, in part because younger people won’t get the references (e.g., the exploding Ford Pinto), and in other part because people today are far more sensitive than they were in the 80s. I must admit that the latter makes me snicker a little bit.

As always, YMMV.

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Classic Movies: The Nightmare Before Christmas @disneyplus #ClassicWatch #DisneyPlus

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My Classic Movies category is reserved for movies like Citizen Kane and Casablanca, but I couldn’t help but include this movie in that series. It’s only 27 years old, but it’s a movie that everyone told me is a “must-watch.” Thought I enjoyed it, and it’s probably as good as any Halloween movie for viewing during that holiday season, I wouldn’t place it in that category. As with many movies, this one may have earned its reputation based on nostalgia rather than filmmaking technique.

Or not. Maybe it simply didn’t trigger things in me that it does in most others.

Even if you also merely like it, it’s short, fun, and thematic, so it’s not a bad watch at all. As always, YMMV.

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Classic Movies: Cassablanca @hbomax @movie #ClassicWatch #QuarantineLife

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I’ve discovered Turner Classic Movies on HBO Max and thought it would be a good idea to watch some of the “classics” I’d never seen. I started with Citizen Kane, and now I’ve moved on to Casablanca.

Of course it suffers from being out of time, but overall this movie stood up well. For example, though 78 years old, it’s actually quotable, and a Nazi gets shot. The story isn’t what you typically see today, so the ending isn’t what you may expect from today’s formula. From what little I know about Gone with the Wind (soon to be viewed), it also avoids the trite ending. Maybe these elements were typical in the late 30s and early 40s — I don’t have enough data points to say — but in any case it helps Casablanca stand out. Dooley Wilson was great as Sam. The primary setting is a crowded bar, and his occasional musical numbers help set those scenes, but the movie smartly moves on from that setting when the story needs to go forward. As Time Goes By remains a classic.

All that said, the best part about watching this movie is that I now understand completely one of the best Saturday Night Live skits I’ve ever seen.

Kate McKinnon is so good that she gets the final word in this post. As always, YMMV.

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Insane Watch: Eraserhead @DAVID_LYNCH @hbomax #Eraserhead #movie #film

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What?

Here’s the tagline from HBO Max:

A printer named Henry Spencer is on vacation when he learns that his ex-girlfriend, Mary X, has given birth to a terribly deformed baby. Henry marries Mary and the two try living together, but it does not work out. So Mary leaves and Henry begins to care for the baby. After this, several bizarre events take place.

Wait, what? After this things get bizarre? Haven’t you been paying attention up to this point?

There are visions of a woman in Henry’s radiator who dances and crushes small, tadpole-like creatures. Henry has a tryst with a woman who lives across the hall, and he has a dream that his head is being used to make pencil erasers.

Did I like it? I don’t know. I saw it three days ago and am still trying to figure out why’d they even let the mother take the baby home. Where did the baby’s poop go. Could all that oatmeal be the poop that was stored under pressure?

Explosion Brains GIF by South Park - Find & Share on GIPHY

I want to see a sequel called EThead. That baby looked like an human/ET hybrid. As always, YMMV.

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Classic Movies: Citizen Kane @hbomax @movie #ClassicWatch #QuarantineLife

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I’ve discovered Turner Classic Movies on HBO Max and thought it would be a good idea to watch some of the “classics” I’d never seen. I decided to start alphabetically at Citizen Kane. Bad start.

It didn’t age well. The movie is inspired by William Randolph Hearst, who means absolutely nothing to me. I’m a guy born long after Hearst died (1951), and even longer after Citizen Kane was released (1941). I can’t relate specifically, and the general story is just blah. I’m also annoyed at the “twist” that’s been the subject of so much praise. I see it as less a “big deal” and more a “big disappointment.”

Nevertheless, I at least respect what this film means to the evolution of cinema. According to those in the know, it was a necessary step towards the great movies we have now. I also liked that it went out of its way to highlight new actors in the end credits, one of whom, Agnes Moorehead, played Samantha’s mother in Bewitched.

If, like me, you just have to see it, then do so, but don’t expect much. As always, YMMV.

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