Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Hot Club

Mr. D. told me about meeting a woman once through a dating service. He met the woman at a restaurant. She had described herself as "in good shape". When she arrived, she filled up the doorway. Mr. D. said, "She was in shape for a water buffalo." Marcus Aurelius had the same experience. Met the woman at a restaurant where she tore into her food, wolfing it down. She said her personal trainer told her she was eating the wrong combination of foods. Marcus said, "Yeah, aisle 3 and.4"

We were toasting and I used my grandfather Jim Cullen's favorite: "Here's to the health of your blood. Without good blood, you can't have good health. So here's to your bloody good health." Mike McHugh then quoted William Butler Yeats to me: "Being Irish he had an abiding sense of tragedy - which sustained him through temporary bouts of joy." Great quote!

Overheard at the Hot Club (one straight guy to another); "Looks like you'll be my bitch again New Year's Eve."

Told FootJoy about seeing George Scott at the Red Sox Hall of Fame induction ceremony on NESN. FJ said he remembers manager Dick William's telling of Boomer going on a road trip and asking Williams if he could borrow $20 to go sightseeing. When Scott returned he had put on 20 lbs. Williams said, "I didn't know you could go sightseeing in a supermarket."

Frequent Flyer just got back from a trip to Kansas. FF said he saw a T-shirt that read: Dear Dorothy: Hate Oz. Took your shoes. Find your own way home. Signed Toto.

The Warden said that if stem cell research passes, the Red Sox should bring back Carlton Fisk as a catcher. The Warden thinks the Sox should trade Coco Crisp for Cap't. Crunch.

Marcus Aurelius quoted some preacher (I think): "Sin is forgiven by God. Stupidity is forever."
Mr. D.'s 2 rules of etiquette: (1) Look at a person when you shake their hand and (2) Listen to what the other person is saying at least 20% of the time.


My introduction to Robert Altman (as far as I can remember) was his M*A*S*H (1970). It is one of the greatest cinematic comedies ever conceived. I just read that Altman said it was his satirical attack on the Vietnam War. And he was pissed that the TV show was done solely for money.

Altman passed away on Monday from undisclosed causes (but he had heart problems) at age 81. He was unswerving in his iconoclasm and the way he made movies.

Some other Altman favorites are McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Thieves Like Us (1974), Nashville (1975), The Player (1992), and Gosford Park (2001). I even liked Brewster McCloud (1970).

Altman was nominated 5 times for Best Director but never won an Oscar until getting a Lifetime Achievement Award this year (just in time). According to Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, Altman's first film was The Delinquents (1957). And his next effort was the documentary The James Dean Story (also '57), something I did not know even though I'm a James Dean fan.

Maltin notes that after that Altman spent a decade directing episodes of such series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Combat and Bonanza.

While Altman could be hit or miss, his work was always interesting. His memory and genius will live on in, if nothing else, M*A*S*H. R.I.P. Robert Altman.


This movie, written and directed by James Gunn, harkens back to the creature features of our past. It starts with an alien meteor landing in the small town of Wheelsy. George Romero parodied that intro in his Creep Show when he used horror writer Stephen King as the farmer who flirts with danger by inspecting the object that just crashed near his house. The next step is of course the mutation of humans into monsters.

Gunn is well aware of the history of horror films. His Slither is a sampler of many of my favorites growing up. Enemy from Space (1957) uses the alien egg/meteor (as does a host of movies from The Blob to Aliens).

The slugs that result from 'harvesting' are passed on to humans much like in Cronenberg's They Came From Within (1975). In fact there's a tub scene which is almost a direct steal of that movie in which Cronenberg used Barbara Steele to good effect.

Other movies will ring your alarm bell - Peter Jackson's DeadAlive, for instance, not only for the globs of gore, but the exploding 'casing'.

Michael Rooker of Henry fame gets to tear up the scenery with his twisted theatrics. Gregg Henry, who usually plays wisecracking bad guys, here plays a wise-ass mayor. His lines are as funny as they are profane. Henry serves as comic relief amidst the bloody body borrowings.

The rest of the cast is unknown to me but competent. Gunn, who did the script for the recent remake of Romero's Dawn of the Dead, dishes up dialogue that provides a steady stream of smart-alec remarks along with the blood. Gunn keeps the fun and gore flowing. There are a bunch of insider jokes and homages to horror staples of the past.

One caveat - this movie isn't for everyone. The gore is extreme. There is considerable profanity and bad things happen to children and animals. The latter is one of the unwritten conventions of horror (don't do harm to kids and pets) that Romero himself 'violated' in Night of the Living Dead. For me the movie was great fun and a trip back to the monster movies of my youth.

For another take, check out this review: http://www.bloody-disgusting.com/review/561


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