Thursday, September 29, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Clash of the Titans

This one's for you, Michele. Yes, I love this movie. I really love most movies that have to do with Greek mythology. And this movie covers a lot of ground, from the Krakken to Medusa to the Three Fates. It's sheer, out-and-out melodrama, but what a cast: Olivier, Maggie Smith, Burgess Meredith, Ursula Andress, Harry Hamlin - I have no idea how they got Olivier and Smith to do this (okay, lots of money, I'm sure).

Anyway, there are really dated special effects, but at the time, they were Harryhausen at his best. Bubo, the metallic owl sent by Athena, is a mechanical marvel. The Gorgon was also pretty scary. The Kraken, though, looks like Godzilla on vacation. ;-)

But it's still a fun film for us romantics who love to see our heroes triumph over evil, doing so in short togas. And love conquers all - yay!!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is this Arabian Nights movie from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Starring Jon Hall, Maria Montez, Andy Hall, Conrad Veidt, and Tuhran Bey, it is an wonderful, action-packed romance. The story is well-known, but Hollywood added its own twist, making the thieves honorable after meeting the young, orphaned son of the Caliph (brutally betrayed by his prime minister and then murdered Hulagu Khan). Years pass, and Ali is an adult, leading the thieves who are now a band of rebels in grand Robin Hood-style defiance.

Maria Montez is Amara, Ali's childhood sweetheart and the daughter of the vile betraying prime minister. Now, as a beautiful adult, she has been promised to Hulagu Khan. Ali does not know that the gorgeous fiancee of the Khan is the girl he once played with.

Turhan Bey is her faithful servant who worships Ali Baba and helps free him from the Khan's clutches. Of course, in the end, the evil Khan is defeated, and Ali and Amara are reunited to rule Baghdad.

I just love the sets, the costumes, and the so Alpha maleness of these leading men. And I really giggle at the wonderful rousing men's chorus that was prevalent in swashbucklers at this time. From Errol Flynn pirate movies to Jon Hall desert dramas, there's almost always a scene where the group of men are rowing the boat or riding through the desert all singing in beautiful 3 or 4 part harmony some song that you cannot understand the words to. But it's obviously a morale raiser.

It's a shame that movies like this are rarely made anymore. That's why I love the remakes of the Mummy and new films like Pirates of the Caribbean - they are modern versions of these fun films.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

TV Hunks - additions to the list

Now that the new season is upon us, I have to add a few names to my hunkiest TV male characters. When new evidence presents itself, I am driven to reassess and adjust accordingly - it's the researcher in me.

So, I have added Jamie Bamber (aka Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama) to the list based on the last few episodes (and particularly the towel scene). Hot, hotter, hottest. Now that Richard Dean Anderson is not a regular on Stargate SG-1, I'm happy to find a new Friday night hottie to drool over. Plus, like SG-1, Battlestar Galactica is an incredible show. I'm sooooooooo anxious for January when the new season starts (Sci-Fi shows do several mini-seasons rather than 1 big season, so we get 2 cliffhanger finales a year).

My other entry is from the show PRISON BREAK, Monday's at 8:00 CST. I really like this show a lot. I know it soft-soaps prison life, but this isn't HBO, so they have to. Anyway, Wentworth Miller (aka Michael Scofield) is delicious. Not only is he British (and I am dying to hear him speak in his native accent), but he has a degree from Princeton in English Literature. He's one of my kind. ;-)

His charisma is in part the smoothness of his voice (simply yummy) and in part the intensity of his gaze. He also has the most sensitive mouth - the kind you want to hang on for hours (and I mean hang on with your own lips).

Dominic Purcell (aka Lincoln Burrows) is also a serious hottie - he also has a deep, smooth voice that is like velvet running up and down your most errogenous of zones. He also has an intense gaze. I really liked him in his other show, JOHN DOE, and hated that they cancelled it. But I still prefer Scofield. Perhaps because his character appeals to me more. He's not a screw up like Lincoln. He's a hero, willing to sacrifice his life in order to save his falsely-convicted brother.
Monday, September 26, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Ishtar

Ishtar is one of my favorite films. I know it was univerally panned when it came out, but I think that was more because people had such high expectations based on cast than because of any huge flaw in the film. This is a comedy - a ridiculous comedy about two innocents (Lyle Rogers and Chuck Clarke) with good hearts but little talent. Because they are so naive - basically with very little ability to detect deceit or sarcasm, they act as if everyone is being straight with them. And so, we get the classic comedy set-up: these innocents get caught up in the most complicated intrigue.

But what's really funny here is the interaction between Hoffman and Beatty. The singing is wonderfully bad, but it's done so in a way that is endearing rather than grating. These two are completely sincere in their writing and singing. They have no clue that they can hardly carry a tune, and that their lyrics range from the overly obscure to the cliched. And it's in that lack of knowledge that the real gently humor of this film lies. Had Beatty and Hoffman played this for big yucks, the film would have been cruel and unfunny. Instead, they are mild-mannered and totally devoted to becoming famous musicians.

Of all of their songs, I think my favorite, because it is SO true, is "Dangerous Business:"

(lyrics and music by Paul Williams)

Telling the truth can be dangerous business.
Honest and popular don't go hand in hand.
If you admit that you can play the accordion,
No one'll hire you in a rock 'n' roll band.

But we can siiinnnngggggg - our hearts out (all night)
And if we're lucky, then no neighbors complain.
Nobody knows where the beginning part starts out (sing all right)
But being human we can live with the pain.

Because life is the way we audition for God;
Let us pray that we all get the job.

Cryin' out loud gets you pointed and laughed at
Be like a baby. Only babies should cry!
Somebody tell me how that rumor got started.
Some things I know that only God knows why.

But we can siiinnnngggggg - our hearts out (all night)
And if we're lucky, then no neighbors complain.
No body knows where the beginning part starts out (sing all right)
But being human we can live with the pain
Of course, you don't get the full impact of the song unless you have heard it. For the lyrics of all Rogers and Clarke songs, you can visit this web site: - some of them are barely noticeable in the film, so you really get a chance to enjoy even the fragments that are played. Hopefully one day they will release the soundtrack from this film. You'd be surprised at how many people want this.
I am fortunate that my dear friend, Marie Dawson, is not only a Pavarotti fan but also an Ishtar fan. Now, I have someone to sing Rogers and Clarke tunes to.
Thursday, September 22, 2005

Matt the Pimp and Go-Go Gena

Just some fun pics for Gena and her brother-in-law Matt. You can visit Gena's blog to catch up on the whole pimp get-up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Food for the soul

I got hungry for cheesecake today, so I thought I would post these pics.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Me?! A Seducer?

My friend JillMonroe posted the results to her seduction quiz, so I zipped over and took my own. Here are the results:

Your Seduction Style: Sweet Talker

Your seduction technique can be summed up with "charm"
You know that if you have the chance to talk to someone...
Well, you won't be talking for long! ;-)

You're great at telling potential lovers what they want to hear.
Partially, because you're a great reflective listener and good at complementing.
The other part of your formula? Focusing your conversation completely on the other person.

Your "sweet talking" ways have taken you far in romance - and in life.
You can finess your way through any difficult situation, with a smile on your face.
Speeding tickets, job interviews... bring it on! You truly live a *charmed life*

Guilty Pleasure - Kull

Even though I much prefer Kevin Sorbo as the golden-haired Hercules (right pic), I really liked KULL, his first cinema movie as a lead. It's certainly not up there with Lord of the Rings. In fact, it has more in common with the older Conan movies, but Sorbo is much more delicious than Arnold.

So, Kull is this commoner who becomes king by fluke, thereby pissing off several people who thought they should be king. He also ticks off the priests when he decides he wants to bring a more democratic spirit to the land. No one will be kept from office because of birth.

In the former king's harem, he sees a beautiful woman (Karina Lombard) who tells fortunes. There is instant sparkage, but before they can really get together, in comes Tia Carrere (with her hair an unusual shade of orange-red). She casts a spell on Kull, marries him, and then plans to have him assassinated on the wedding night. But he escapes with the help of a priest, who turns out to be the harem girl's exiled brother.

Tia turns out to be a demon who, in a few weeks, will be reborn and send the world into utter darkness and misery. Kull must defeat her by following a prophecy. So he and his friends set out. They do defeat her, Kull marries the harem girl, the bad king wanna-be (Thomas Ian Griffith), is killed, and unfortunately, so is the harem girl's brother.

This is very campy, but it's full of sword fights, braggadaccio, swagger, and love. SIGH.

I really can't help myself. Everytime it's on, I have to catch at least a bit of it.
Monday, September 19, 2005

Charlie's Angels: Fallen Angels - the revenge continues

Once there was an Angel named Jill who asked a guy named Brad to check out the futon in the back of her cool van.

Then Brad met an Angel named Gena "Kelly" Showalter.

He washed off the stink of Jill and tuned in to the glamour of feathers and pink silk (a prelude to his Fembot antics). You don't want to know what they used the penguin for.

Poor Jill was left alone, pregnant, but still with great hair.

The fate of her unborn child? A mystery.

Bella Notte: A Luciano Update

The concert was magnifico! My friend and I wept during several songs. Though he does not have the power and consistent range that we have come to associate with him, Luciano still has all the sensitivity and purity that makes him a great artist. The concert ended on a high note when he asked the audience to take the role of the chorus in the famous drinking song from La Traviata. He and the soprano, Cynthia Lawrence, sang their parts, and then we got to sing with them. It was incredible to hear almost 9000 people la-la-ing (didn't know all the words).

It was truly a memory I will always treasure. I'm very thankful I had such a wonderful friend like Marie Dawson to share it with.

Bella da verro.
Friday, September 16, 2005

A Life-long Dream

The Divine Luciano-

For decades, I have longed to see/hear Luciano Pavarotti in concert. I think he is the best singer ever - of any genre. Listening to him can bring me to tears. This morning, I found out that he is appearing in Tulsa, OK on the first of 4 farewell tour dates in the US. When I told my dear friend, Marie Dawson, about it, she didn't believe me at first. She, too, adores Luciano. So we googled "Pavarotti" and "Tulsa" and sure enough there it was. But getting tickets? We figured they'd be sold out or too expensive. Not so. Yes, we are in the nosebleed section, and partly behind the stage, but it's his VOICE not his face we are interested in, so that's okay. So for $65 a piece, we are going to see him and fulfill a dream.

I am so excited!! We bought the tickets online at 8:40 am, and I had to teach at 9:00. I went in so high on adrenaline, that I had to give a few shouts and beat the desk to work off some excess energy. My students, accustomed to my eccentricities, enjoyed it thoroughly and were thoughtful enough to offer to cancel class so I could regain my composure. What dear, sweet, considerate students I have. ;-) I didn't bite.
Thursday, September 15, 2005

Just another reason to love Battlestar Galactica 2005

I adore the new Battlestar Galactica. Those of you who followed my TV Hunk countdown may remember that Richard Hatch was #10 on my list. I have every episode of the original series on tape. It's fun, it's campy, and a great swashbuckler. However, the new Battlestar Galactica (BG) is a serious drama. It blows me away, and I can't wait for the next episode!

Last week, though, I found a new reason to adore it: Jamie Bamber. I've always thought he was a cutie, but I had no idea what was lurking under that baggy flight suit (and I do wish they would give them uniforms that were a bit less bulky - I don't need the skin-tight suits from the original, but I simply don't see how they manage to do anything with all that excess leather-like material hanging from them). Okay, back to Bamber. We got to see him wearing (or ALMOST wearing) a towel. Hubba-hubba. This guy is cut, as you can see from this screen shot.

Check out the show. It really is well-written with some amazing acting talent. And don't be put off that Starbuck is female. Katie Sackhoff brings a kick-butt attitude to her portrayal that makes Starbuck not just a rebel and hotshot, but a person whose actions reflect personal trauma and insecurities. She's fantastic.

Musical Gibberish - Muskrat Love

"Muskrat Suzy, Muskrat Sam, do the jitterbug in muskrat land..."

Why? That's all I can think to say after hearing this song, which I did yesterday morning on Sirius' 70s channel.

Why would someone write such a song for an adult audience?
Why would it be so popular?
Why use a synthesizer to reproduce the sounds of muskrats (I assume that's what that noise is supposed to represent. BTW, this is one of the most dastardly uses of the synthesizer. The best use, IMHO, is by Ferris Buller when he synthesizes various bodily sounds).
Why did Captain and Tennille have another hit after this seemingly career-ending song?
Why do I somehow know almost all the words to this?

"And he's tickling her fancy, rubbing her toes, muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes..."

Just kill me now. Please!!
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Get Well Picture for Gena

My friend Gena Showalter is a bit under the weather. To cheer her up, I've done some investigating and discovered this shot of her and male supermodel Marcus Schenkenberg. If that isn't a prescription for health, I don't know what is.

Part of the authenticity of this photo is Gena's tattoo peeking under Marcus' thumb.

Guilty Pleasure - Krull

"This it was given me to know, that many worlds have been enslaved by the Beast and his army, the Slayers. And this too was given me to know, that the beast would come to our world, the world of Krull, and his Black Fortress would be seen in the land, that the smoke of burning villages would darken the sky, and the cries of the dying would echo through deserted valleys. But one thing I cannot know, whether the prophecy be true, that a girl of ancient name shall become queen, that she shall choose a king, and that together they shall rule our world, and that their son shall rule the galaxy."

So opens, and ends, the movie Krull. This is a really fun, romantic film that needs the length of a mini-series to fully develop the story. To me, that is the greatest flaw of this movie - we don't get to see Colwyn and Lyssa meet and fall in love, then plan how to bring peace to their warring people. And once Lyssa is kidnapped by the Beast, Colwyn puts his ragtag band of fighters together with relative ease. But all in all, this is worth the watch if you love fantasy. Obviously, this movie was trying to cash in on the Star Wars' popularity, and though it in no way comes close to the genius of that franchise, this film is good. Not great, but certainly not hideous.

I love it because it is such a template of the traditional hero-quest story. Good vs. Evil, true love, thwarted love, sacrifice, friendships that defy class, and a great big showdown between hero and villain in the end.

Euphemisms for Sex

This morning, I heard an old 70s song called RING MY BELL. It was irritating when I was a child, and it's still as irritating today. But it did get me thinking: what are some of the more ridiculous, cheesy, sleezy, and funny euphemisms for having sex? Send me your favs - even make some up yourself. How about this: "Hey baby, let's make coneys: you're the bun and I'll stuff you with my sausage."

One of my all-time favorite euphemisms is from the movie, CAVEMAN (Ringo Starr, Shelley Long, Dennis Quaid). The whole movie is done in caveman gibberish, and the caveman lingo for sex is "zug-zug."

So from "riding the love express" to "banging bunnies," let me have 'em!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Apologetic Opinions

Do you have opinions about things that you always feel you should apologize for? I dislike or like some things that most of my family and friends like, and whenever the subject comes up, I always feel like they think something is deficient in me. For some of these, I don't care, but some do make me feel clueless. Here are some:

1. Ray Charles: I simply don't care for him. I do love his version of GEORGIA and AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, but that's it.

2. Andrea Bocelli: Not to pick on blind musicians, but this is another overrated singer in my opinion. Everytime I've heard him sing, he's been sharp and flat on several notes. I do not count that as excellence. Perhaps it is my formal training as a singer that makes me more sensitive to some things, but I don't know how people cannot hear him missing notes!

3. Celine Dion: the woman who introduced Bocelli to mainstream America. I bought her first cassette, and liked it. But it's been downhill since then (except the theme from TITANIC). I think she's a Streisand wanna-be who doesn't have 1/5 of Barbara's musicality or sensitivity. Dion seems to have 2 modes: really loud and really breathy/soft. She thinks belting out a high note for a really long time makes her sensational, and I guess a lot of people agree. I finally gave up on her completely after her performance of My Heart Will Go On during the Oscar's. When she gave her chest a thump worthy of an EMT performing CPR, I knew this woman was beyond hope.

4. TITANIC: Though I love the theme song, I have never understood the appeal of the movie. First, Leo Di Capprio is not my idea of hunky leading man. Second, the whole subject matter does nothing for me romantically. In fact, I have a hard time watching documentaries about TITANIC. I almost always have nightmares afterwards. If I believed in reincarnation, I would be tempted to think I was a passenger that died on this voyage - it effects me that much.

5. Julia Roberts: I just don't get it. Not that I haven't enjoyed several of her films. However, I don't see why someone would pay her 20 million to star in a film. I've never seen Erin Brokavich mainly because Roberts is the star. I only recently saw the last 30 minutes of Notting Hill - which seemed great. But I love Hugh Grant, so that made it tolerable.

6. Krispy Kreme donuts: okay, I know Gena is going to comment on this one, but I think these are highly overrated and overpriced. This bakery has somehow managed to form a suger coating over nothing. There's no substance to these donuts. I like a yeasty, chewy treat, not an injection of pure sugar. To be fair, though, I have only eaten the glazed donut. If Krispy Kreme makes a chocolate-covered Bavarian creme-filled donut, the ultimate in donutdom, then I might have to revise my opinion should that turn out to be magnificent.

So there is a sampling. I will probably add to this as I think of other examples. What are some opinions you always feel apologetic for, or people try to convince you that you're clueless?
Friday, September 09, 2005

Guilty Pleasures - The Leech Woman

This is a movie I first saw as a child. It's so campy and fun. The "heroine" is the alcoholic, aging wife of a doctor. He treats her like crap, but she has money, so he can't alienate her too much. His gorgeous nurse and his lawyer are in love - young and beautiful. One day, a really old woman comes to his office for help. When he examines her, he is amazed that she is so old. She tells him she's from Africa where her tribe has found a fountain of youth drug. If he takes her back, she will give him the secret. So he sweet talks his wife into funding the trip, and they head off.

The old woman is the head of her tribe (though why she's in LA, I don't know). The secret drug is something called Naipey (or something like that). But there's just one catch: to make the powder work, you have to mix it with fluid harvested from the base of a man's neck. The means to harvest? A really wicked looking claw ring which, of course, kills the man.

The Americans witness the old woman turning into a gorgeous young woman after taking this drug. She then puts them in a guarded hut and offers the potion to the heroine. Because the doctor has in the meantime told her that she's a hag and he wants to be rid of her, she takes the tribal leader up on her offer, and sticks it to her husband. She immediately grows young. The leader gives her a supply of the powder, and the heroine and the other members of her team head back to civilization (note: all the members are men). The effects of this youth serum turn out to be temporary, and when they wear off, the woman is older than she was before. So by the time she reaches an airport, she has killed all the men to stay young.

She returns to LA - but she cannot resume her old identity without lots of questions, so she pretends to be her niece. She makes an appointment with young, gorgeous lawyer-guy, skips taking the potion so she appears older, and sets up funds for her "neice" (Terry?) who is flying in later that week. After doing so, she makes some excuse and leaves. She then hunts for a man, kills him, and takes the potion.

As Terry, she seduces the lawyer away from his nurse girlfriend who quickly becomes suspicious. Ultimately, the lawyer is in jeopardy when he's with her at a time when the potion wears off. Leech woman misses her treatment and quickly turns in dust as age catches up. The nurse forgives lawyer guy, and they live happily ever after.

It's a classic B-horror film.
Thursday, September 08, 2005

Musical Gibberish - Sunglasses at Night

On my way to work today, I was listening to Sirius 80s, the satellite radion station that plays songs from the 1980s. Though I adore 80s music, some of it was really stupid. Of course, this is not limited to the 80s. One of the stupidest songs recorded played this morning, Corey Hart's "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night."

Don't know it? Here are the lyrics:

I wear my sunglasses at night so I can so I can
Watch you weave then breathe your story lines
And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can so I can
Keep track of the visions in my eyes

While she's deceiving me it cuts my security has
She got control of me I turn to her and say

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades oh no
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades oh no
I can't believe it! 'Cus you got it made with the guy in shades oh no

And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can so I can
Forget my name while you collect your claim
And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can so I can
See the light that's right before my eyes
While she's deceiving me she cuts my security
Has she got control of me I turn to her and say

Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades oh no
Don't masquerade with the guy in shades oh no
I can't believe it! 'Cus you got it made with the guy in shades oh no

Oh I say I wear my sunglasses at night...(repeat and fade).

Is it just me, or do these lyrics not make any sense whatsoever? Sure, as a trained literature teacher experienced in digging out inferences and looking for metaphors, etc., I can concoct some half-assed analysis of this song, but who wants to work that hard when listening to pop music? What's even worse - I remember listening to this song a lot and enjoying it. I had the sunglasses, though I don't remember wearing them at night.

What are some really stupid songs that you remember, or even like. I'm not talking about songs that are intentionally goofy or that talk about silly subjects but in ways that make sense. I'm talking about songs that make no sense. That use strange metaphors and words.

Elton John comes to mind: "Someone saved my life tonight sugar bear." The use of sugar bear seems only as a rhyme for the ending of the next line: "didn't you dear." Unless sugar bear has a meaning I'm not aware of, I think this is silly. And he does this in several songs.

So send me some lyrics or song titles.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Prison Break - New Show

I've been watching a new show on FOX called PRISON BREAK. It's fantastic. The premise is that Lincoln (Dominic Purcell - to the left) is facing the electric chair, having been convicted of murdering the Vice-President's brother. Lincoln's straight-arrow brother, Michael (Wentworth Miller - below) intentionally gets thrown into prison so he can break his brother out. He is convinced that his brother has been framed. Michael is a genius, and as a structural engineer, worked for the firm that refurbished the prison years ago. So he has detailed knowledge of the prison. He has an elaborate scheme to get Lincoln out and then stay in hiding while they figure out who really killed the VP's brother.

Involved is Lincoln's old flame, Veronica (Robin Tunney) who is a real estate lawyer and engaged. She represents Michael at his trial, and then gets sucked into the web surrounding Lincoln.

I really am enjoying the show, and an extra bonus is that an old college friend, Wade Williams, is a regular. I knew Wade when we both attended the University of Tulsa. I was studying opera and he was a drama major. We took several classes together and were in several shows as well. He was such a great person, and I am thrilled to see him popping up in movies and TV shows quite frequently - though he usually plays such a badass.

Anyway, check this show out. In Oklahoma, it airs Mondays at 8:00 on Fox 25.

Guilty Pleasure - Hearts and Armour

This is a movie made in Italy, dubbed in English (titled I Paladini in Italian). Starring Ron Moss as Ruggero and Rick Edwards as Rolando, this medieval knight's tale is based on Ludovico Ariosto's epic poem, ORLANDO FURIOSO (which I have read). Anyone who has read Spenser's THE FAERIE QUEENE will recognize bits of the story as well.

It takes place during a crusade, Moor vs. Christian. Ruggero is a Moorish prince and Rolando a Christian Knight. Barbara de Rossi is Bradamante, a Joan of Arc-like female who is given mystical armor and takes off to the crusades. Tanya Roberts is Angelica, Ruggero's sister.

The story is basically a star-crossed lovers tale. Rolando and Angelica, Ruggero and Bradamante. Bradamante meets a witch who shows her the future - she will love the man she sees in her vision, but she will be unable to stop his fate (in the vision, the knight in armor is killed by a Christian knight). We latter realize that Ruggero is that knight because of his armor.

The leaders of the two armies decide to end the slaughter of their men by each choosing a champion to meet in battle to decide the victor. Those men are Ruggero and Rolando. Of course, love triumphs, but just how is a surprise so I won't ruin it for you.

The movie is very melodramatic, a bit bizarre in places, and completely unbelievable in others (Tanya Roberts as a Moorish princess?). But it's still a movie that romantics will love, especially if you like stories of knights.

And Ron Moss and Rick Edwards are really gorgeous. Nuff said.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - STROKE OF MIDNIGHT

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, also called IF THE SHOE FITS, is a retelling of Cinderella. Jennifer Grey is a shoe designer living in Paris, sharing an apartment with two wanna-be models. She is fairly non-descript, wearing baggy clothes, glasses, no-makeup, etc. She gets a job at Salvatore's, a design house run by Rob Lowe as Salvatore. He is creative, dramatic, extravagant, selfish, and completely surrounded by yes-people, snobs, and sycophants. He's going through an emotional and professional crisis because his life lacks truth and reality (though he doesn't know this yet). He hires Grey to be a general designer, and she catches his notice by not sucking up to him, and encouraging him to be more independent (his sycophants wait on him hand and foot).

He throws a big party to celebrate his latest collection, and Grey is invited. Enter fairy godmother, or rather a very bizarre red-headed woman who is always asking for directions. Grey was nice to her, even though she was running late and dropped her sample shoes to show Salvatore. These pumps, white with glass beads, are given a special something by the woman. When Grey is getting ready for the party, her friend having borrowed a dress from Salvatore's collection for Grey to wear, the only shoes to match are these pumps. When she puts them on, she is transformed into a sleek, gorgeous goddess who later is dubbed Prudence. She doesn't know it yet, though because she doesn't even look in the mirror.

She goes to the party, Salvatore is enthralled, and she runs away eventually. He recognizes the shoes as being Grey's creations and questions her the next day about her friend. So eventually, he hires Prudence to be the face of his new collection (the old one was a bomb). She insists that her shoes be designed by "Kelly" - Grey's real character. So he hires her. And they begin a great working relationship, but he is "in love" with Prudence.

It all works out, Salvatore grows up, Kelly gains confidence, and Prudence fades away.

It's a bit campy, certainly not on the level of Drew Barrymore's EVER AFTER, but it's a delightful, fluffy retelling of this classic story.
Monday, September 05, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Iron Eagle I

Another action flick from the 1980s (and from Golan-Globus, the producers who brought us Sahara and Firewalker). I really love this movie. You have to simply give yourself over to it and enjoy the unabashed tugs on your patriotic heart strings.

The story is about Doug, a 17-year old whose dad is an Air Force pilot. We see Doug getting training in a real F16 with his dad on the sly - this sets up the plot. Soon after, his dad goes on a mission and crash lands into the hands of an evil Middle-Eastern military dictator. The US won't negotiate, and his dad has 3 days to live before the dictator hangs him.

Doug decides to take matters into his own hands. He knows of Chappie Sinclair (Gossett), an ex-colonel who is now in the Air Force reserves. Doug has all his Air Force brat friends secretly compile (steal) all the intel and specs he needs to mount a rescue op. He then takes it to Chappie, because he needs a partner who can plan the thing.

He eventually talks Chappie into it, and they manage to steal 2 F-16s, fully loaded, and take off to the Middle East. Chappie is shot down in a dog fight, and Doug must finish the rescue op alone, which he does.

The best thing about this movie is, in truth, the soundtrack. It is incredible. But I still watch the film when it's on because it is a lot of fun, though you almost sprain your "poetic faith" - what Coleridge called our ability to suspend disbelief when we read fiction.

There have been 4 sequels. I've seen the 2nd (don't bother), parts of the 3rd (don't bother), but the 4th is interesting because it reunites a bitter Doug and a guilty Chappie. You see in the second film, Doug is shot down over enemy territory in the opening (I guess Gedrick couldn't make the film). He is believed dead. In the 4th film, we find out he was in an enemy prison for years, and he blames Chappie for not coming after him. The 4th film is not as "good" as the first, but it is worth watching just for the continuing relationship between the two main characters.

Guilty Pleasure - The Last Dragon

Eddie Arcadian: Where are you gonna go, Angie? Without me, you're nothing! Without that outfit, you're just another no-talent dental hygiene school drop-out from Kew Gardens getting by on her tits!
Angela: And in the end, Eddie, you know what? You're nothing but a misguided midget asshole with dreams of ruling the world. Yeah, also from Kew Gardens. And also getting by on my tits.

That was just one of the fantastic bits of dialogue from this movie that make it worth watching over and over again. Another product of the 1980's, THE LAST DRAGON is a campy salute to kung-fu and Mo-Town. Starring Taimek as Leroy Green (aka Bruce Leroy), and Vanity as Laura Charles, the movie follows the story of Bruce Leroy, a man seeking enlightenment through martial arts. His family, especially his younger brother Richie, do not get it at all. Leroy's arch-nemesis is Sho 'Nuff, the Sho-gun of Harlem, played magnificently by Julius Carry III. Leroy won't fight him because that is against the principles he has devoted himself to.

Leroy saves the beautiful Laura, the host of a weekly video music show called 7th Heaven. She is kidnapped by Eddie Arcardian's goons. Eddie is a music producer trying to get his girlfriend's song on Laura's show. Angie, the girlfriend, has no talent and the songs are really bad (and so deliciously funny). Angie is played by the fantastic Faith Prince. Laura has refused to play the video, so Eddie is going to threaten her. When Leroy blows his plans a second time, Eddie decides to take him out by hiring Sho 'Nuff.

If you love kung-fu movies, then you should check this out. It is way over the top, and the music is pretty cheesy (remember DeBarge?), but it all works together to make a really fun movie. And in the end, good defeats evil and love triumphs.
Friday, September 02, 2005

Poem: Medea

Here's something of my own that I wrote many years ago. I had finished reading Euripides' play, MEDEA, and it inspired me to write something about her plight.


It blinds reason,
Coloring all with a sickly green cast
that winds its way into the very blood of the beholder.

Soon every heart’s beat feeds the infection.
Festering, seething, waiting
for the perfect moment to burst
and cast airborne its deadly spores.

It can lie dormant for years or
quicken in an instant.
A parasite, it will eat away at weak hosts.
For the strong, it offers seductive symbiosis,
commanding sanity in exchange for survival.

Then it becomes a weapon
of remorseless revenge:
cold fury and foaming wrath.

Hair-pulling madness settles
into deep-pitted calculation,
no rules or duty guide the heart
ravished by this disease
born from love’s wake.

Medea knew Jealousy.
Embraced it as a suckling babe,
feeding it with gall
and the sanguine
of blood sprung deep
from passion’s heart.
Thursday, September 01, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - The Slipper and the Rose

I adore this film. Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward is dashing and quite a competent singer and dancer. Gemma Craven as Cinderalla is wonderful - a beautiful voice, good actress. And the supporting cast is great as well.

The story is derived from Perrault's version of Cinderella, supposedly the original. The music was written by Robert and Richard Sherman. The Slipper and Rose waltz scene at the ball is one of the most romantic dance scenes I've ever seen. And the Craven's songs are hauntingly beautiful. The two big dance numbers involving the corps de ballet are a bit long, and I usually fast forward through those.

What I love about this is that you see much more of Prince Edward's problems as well as Cinderella's issues. Then, they are reunited but are soon turn apart because of politics. This leads to a wonderful finale.

If you love fairy tales, musicals, and costume drama, then you must see this movie. It's was filmed in Austria, so it has a realistic feel - no cardboard sets.