MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Plan Nine from Outer Space.

Plan Nine from Outer Space  makes nearly all of the Worst Movies Ever Made lists. It remains my benchmark for the kind of campy monster movies I love.  Written and directed by Edward D. Wood Jr., this movie is both delightful and dreadful.

Bela Lugosi died during the filming of Plan Nine. Wood replaced Lugosi with his wife’s chiropractor (who in no way physically resembled Lugosi) for the remainder of the movie rather than refilm Lugosi’s scenes.

Space aliens, zombies, even a vampire or two populate this  ambitious movie. It is a classic film, but not in the way Wood intended.

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Love in the Afternoon

My husband wanted to clear out his DVR player, and this 1957 classic was on there. I mostly loved it.

Audrey Hepburn, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier–a very nice cast, although Cooper was a little too old to be playing the love interest. There was an ick factor there. Other than that, it was lovely romantic comedy.

Hepburn was stunning and amazing as always. I prefer Chevalier as an older actor than a younger one, so I thought he was marvelous here as Hepburn’s father.  Cooper is a wonderful actor and didn’t disappoint in this…except for the age thing.

Chevalier plays a private detective who is investigating an American playboy (Cooper). His daughter, played by Hepburn, becomes fascinated with the subject of her father’s investigation.

The film does offer the requisite happily ever after ending.

Four stars.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies: The Mark of Zorro

I went on a long writing retreat in May. We were gone on May 4 (Star Wars Day) and May 5 (Cinco de Mayo). Being the total geeks we are, we decided to cook corresponding meals and watch relative movies on those two days.

Star Wars went off without a hitch.

We planned to watch The Mask of Zorro (with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones) from 1998 for Cinco de Mayo, even though the movie has nothing to do with Mexico or the battle commemorated on that date. But someone accidentally grabbed a colorized version of  the 1940 The Mark of Zorro (Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell) from the library. We decided to watch it anyway.

Parts of the movie  reminded several of us of The Scarlet Pimpernel. At one point, someone shouted, “Look! It’s the Dread Pirate Roberts!” (The Princess Bride).  Regardless, we laughed and enjoyed this gem of a motion picture. Tyrone Power was a dashing hero. Linda Darnell was insipid, but because the character was written that way.  Basil Rathbone was a delightful villain.

If you get a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it.

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-The Big Lebowski

Several years ago, a supervisor at my Day Job mentioned a long sweater I kept in at my work cubicle. He called it my Big Lebowski sweater. I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “Really? You should watch the movie. You’ll love it.”

I hate being predictable.

A few years later, a co-worker made an obscure reference to the movie, then said, “You’ve never seen it? I’m shocked. You’d love it.”

I really hate being that predictable. 

I mentioned these conversations to my husband at some later date. He said, “Oh, I have it here. I’ve been meaning to watch it. How about tonight?”

We laughed our butts off.

The Big Lebowski is a movie you either love or hate. I tried to share it with my critique group, but they got twitchy only a few minutes in.

According to the Internet Movie Database:

Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

The movie is so much more. There’s a pot head, a convert to Judaism with anger issues, a bowling league,  a slutty trophy wife,  nihilists, and a couple of guys who pee on rugs.

The cast is incredible: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Sam Elliot, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and John Turturro. The amazing Cohen Brothers wrote and directed it.

It’s definitely a cult classic.

The Dude abides.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-The Little Shop of Horrors

Many years ago, when I was working in local TV, my general manager called me into his office and said, “I have a kitchen set for you. I’ve hired a host. Here’s your budget. Make me a TV show where guests hosts come on and cook while watching movies.”

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Bad movies. Bad horror movies. The black-and-white motion pictures I grew up loving. I don’t like what passes for horror movies these. I prefer the absurd. 

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Little Shop of Horrors. No, not the campy musical version with Steve Martin, but the original Roger Corman film from 1960.  It’s a terrifically funny movie, which is probably why Frank Oz remade it as a musical in the 1980s.

The original contains a  dreadful, blaring jazzy sound track. Jack Nicholson appears in one of his earliest motion picture performances.  The film is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “Feed me. I’m hungry.” And when it came time to create the opening graphics for the show, I insisted this line be included. What better for a cooking show?

I never realized the movie is now considered a cult classic until recently. It’s been redefined as a black comedy. That’s fair. I never knew Roger Corman had a following until I was much older, and even then, I didn’t realize Little Shop was one of his.

Apparently I have very good instincts.