Amoeblog

Summer-centric Cinema List: Amusement Parks in the Movies!

Posted by Kells, July 1, 2017 11:17pm | Post a Comment
Greetings thrill-seekers and family fun-loving Amoeblog readers! Summer's officially here for half the planet which means it's amusement park season. Whether you get your kicks at a globally branded monolith of a theme park or bravely risk those rickety rides at your local fairgrounds, I heartily recommend everyone indulge an amusement park interlude before Summer's end. If you can't make it happen, don't let the dog days get you down—let the movies take you there! Here's a fat list* of fifteen flicks featuring amusement park themes and scenes for your Summer-centric movie marathon consideration. Feel free to let me know if you think I missed anything essential and keep in mind that some of these titles may be found in used condition in our stores, perhaps in VHS format for all you tapeheads out there. Check the links to our online store or give us a call to see if we have what you're looking for and we'll do our best to hook you up. Now, hold on to your butts and enjoy ride!


Rollercoaster (1977)

With a story that plays out like proto-Die Hard script with somewhat made-for-TV production values, Rollercoaster is a "disaster movie" era thriller that may have fallen through the cracks of time (which is completely understandable given that, box office-wise, it had the likes of Star Wars and Smokey and the Bandit to contend with), but is nevertheless worth watching for the quality and quantity of its amusement park footage. Filmed extensively at Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA), King's Dominion (Doswell, VA), and the now defunct Ocean View Park (Norfolk, VA), it's arguable that shot-for-shot this flick packs more visual theme park punches than any other film. What's more, the band Sparks makes a cameo appearance near the end of the movie that lasts long enough to include two songs ("Big Boy" and "Fill-er-up" off Big Beat (1976). Apparently Sparks agreed to appear after KISS turned down the gig, however, fun fact: KISS went on to film KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park at Six Flags Magic Mountain a year later (#choices). Anyway, if you've been to these parks and long for days of yore, or if you fancy suspenseful depictions of thrill ride terrorist acts, and/or Sparks, Rollercoaster is the movie for you!



Little Fugitive (1953)

This influential and critically acclaimed nugget of naturalistic cinema is a wonder in many respects, but the main attraction is Coney Island as captured in glorious grayscale by photographers/directors Ruth Orkin, Morris Engel, and Ray Ashley. Starring an unknown Richie Andrusco in the title role, the little fugitive of Little Fugitive follows the adventures of a runaway described by the film's trailer as a "sportsman, gourmet, slugger extraordinary...the kid who's got a sharp eye for the odd chance, a quick hand for a fast buck" as he wanders out to Coney Island on his own. "From the gasping heights of the Parachute Drop to the secrets that hide under the boardwalk," it's easy to lose yourself in the enchanting spontaneity and bumbling pace of this film as it delivers on it's promises of depicting "a revelation of life and love where there's more of it per square inch than anyplace else in the world" with refreshing and memorable potency. It is the stuff of vicarious, atmospheric, amusement park magic.



40 Pounds of Trouble  (1962)

This is not a Disney™ film, but the vintage Disney footage is without a doubt the main reason anyone should suffer this fluff. Roughly twenty minutes of the film’s running time plays like a dedicated full color commercial extravaganza featuring Disneyland as it existed once upon a dream...of the early 1960s. Though purists will likely be plucked by elements added for the sake of hamming up the park’s presence in the film, and feathers rightly ruffled over certain cringe-inducing aspects inherent to Disneyland attractions of yore, the footage provides a marvelous whirlwind tour of what is arguably the world’s most iconic amusement park, the way it mostly was, for the ages. Oh! Also, during this Disneyland detour there is a movie going on and, eh, it's alright. Tony Curtis and Suzanne Pleshette are looking particularly fine in the film and there are some additional fun-to-see scenes shot around Lake Tahoe and in Harrah’s Lake Club, but as soon as the Disneyland portion of the picture monorails into view be prepared to gag on a grab bag of vintage Disney-flavored visual candy enchantments while the movie’s plot desperately tries to assert its relevance. 



Breaking All the Rules (1985)

This may be a forgotten panties-over-the-fishnets Canadian teen boner comedy with hairstyle continuity issues starring unknown actors like Carolyn Dunn and Thor Bishopric, but who cares when the story is all about two guys and two girls who meet each other's desperation at an amusement park on the last day of Summer (played by La Ronde, Quebec's largest and Canada's second largest amusement park, still in operation today). The aforementioned panties serve as a bit of a plot device, and there is also this Scooby Doo-esque jewel heist subplot the four teens get mixed up in during their couple-swapping misadventures, which maybe sounds lame, but—dammit—it's fun! Plus, the lengthy day-to-night amusement park parts of the film are colorful and chock full of real Canadian mid-80s silhouettes lending the perfect backdrop for the film's mischief-making and Paul Zaza's synth-driven soundtrack and titular theme song.



DOUBLE FEATURE: DARK LADIES, DARK RIDES


Both Night Tide (1961) and Carnival of Souls (1962) possess distinct visual facets that embrace the notion of amusement parks as spellbound centers where the strange and otherworldly congregate, luring impressionable outsiders into their mysterious confines with suspicious intentions. And both films are anchored by powerfully enigmatic leading ladies—one a mythic beauty (Linda Lawson) who attracts an outsider (a smokin' hot Dennis Hopper) to enter her amusement park domain (portrayed by Ocean Park Pier and Santa Monica Pier) and the other, an haunted outsider (Candace Hilligoss) who strays into an abandoned amusement park that seems to beckon to her (actually the crumbling remnants of Saltair Pavilion in Salt Lake City, also once called the Coney Island of the West). Featuring beatnik jazz, beach bongos, church organ and plenty of screams, consider pairing these together for a reality vs. the unknown battle of dark amusement park movies.



The Even More Fun Trip (2007)

Featured in McSweeney's Wholphin No. 7 (their "DVD magazine of rare and unseen short films"), this animated documentary short directed by Bob Sabiston, the rotoscope animator behind Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, centers around a group of friends making a return trip to Six Flags Fiesta Texas. One of the people in this group, Ryan Power–a young man with autism, is unflagging in his enthusiasm for this excursion and for the duration of the film he  compares this "even more fun trip" to Fiesta Texas with the trip they enjoyed three years prior, verbally marking each difference and similarity relentlessly. Power's focused impressions and tenacious oversharing blends all too well with the amusement park setting and the ever-shifting psychedelic animation Sabiston cloaks this home movie in, making the overall viewing experience feel not unlike a warped thrill ride in and of itself.




The Lost Boys (1987)

For a Peter Pan-inspired vampire biker gang horror-comedy with a cast featuring the Coreys and other 80s faves, The Lost Boys has aged well in accordance with its "never grow old" credo. The timelessness of the film has everything to do with the fictional, sleepy "murder capital of the world" beach town setting created for the movie, Santa Carla, CA (played by Santa Cruz, CA), it's freak magnet beach boardwalk amusement park (played by the amazing and well worth visiting Santa Cruz Boardwalk), and its local comic book store (played by Atlantis Fantasy World which is still in biz btw, ask them for a copy of Vampires Everywhere and you won't be disappointed). Without these innately cool and very real backdrops, the film might drag under the weight of its contrived situations, clunky dialogue, and other absurdities (cue beefy saxman Tim Cappello's greased-up unchained live performance of "I Still Believe" that provides a means for the pivotal boy-spots-meets scene), however, The Lost Boys would probably remain enduring classic because vampires.



My Lucky Stars (1985)

Given all the situations, settings, and support a world class stunt comedian like Jackie Chan has employed throughout his distinguished career, it seems inevitable that an amusement park movie would be among his "been there, done that" accomplishments. The second in a series of five Lucky Stars films, My Lucky Stars follows undercover cop Muscles (Chan) alongside his good buddy Kidstuff (played by director Sammo Hung) and the three others in their "Lucky Stars" gang as they travel to an amusement park in Japan (Fuji-Q Highland, still in operation) to sock it to some Yakuza thugs at the behest of the Hong Kong Police. Culminating in some acrobatic action featuring a ferris wheel and some fun fight scenes involving ninjas and ghosts within the mobster's lair, which happens to be awesomely located deep inside a haunted funhouse type of dark ride, the loose and ludicrous story gives the ensemble cast plenty of fodder for their infamous blend of martial arts and rowdy, raucous comedy which is all anyone could wish for in a Jackie and company production.



The New Kids (1985)

This horror/thriller, the third amusement park movie from 1985 to make this list, tells the tale of teenage siblings (played by Lori Loughlin and Shannon Presby) who, after enduring a family tragedy, move in with their uncle Charlie (Eddie Jones) who operates a homespun Christmas-themed roadside amusement park and gas station in central Florida called Santa's Funland. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, one thing leads to another and the two "new kids" find themselves the targets of relentless harassment by a local druggy hick (James Spader) and his shit-kickin' henchemen (John Philbin and Vince Grant, to name just two). These focused disturbances of the peace eventually involve their family and love interests (played by Eric Stoltz and Paige Lyn Price), culminating in a revenge-fueled, drawn out night fight within the confines of Funland, the lighthearted family-friendly setting thrown in sharp contrast with the "bloodbath" finale. As one of the films' taglines states, "The kids learned three things about southern hospitality, blood, sweat and terror!"



DOUBLE FEATURE: CRICHTON CRISES


Are you team Robotic Cowboys or team Dinosaur Clones? Watching these two together may be the only way to find out. Both Westworld (1973) and Jurassic Park (1993) come from the brilliant, twisted mind of novelist (and suspected theme park junkie) Michael Critchon, and both stories focus on fantastic yet somewhat plausible amusement parks that seem too-good-to-be true in the eyes of both their guests and hosts until a series of tragic malfunctions renders each a trap zone of localized crises with no possibility of escape? No spoilers, but if you haven't seen both of these bonafide blockbusters yet what are you waiting for? 



Big (1988)

Arcades n' games have always been part and parcel of any great amusement park experience, and Big makes big use of that fact to inject an essential dose of fantasy into this Tom Hanks-driven comedy that remains as fresh and endearing as the day it hit theaters. The film begins with a young Josh Baskin (David Moscow) enjoying a night out with his family at a carnival style amusement park until he spots Cynthia Benson, an older girl he fancies, in line for a thrill ride called Ring of Fire. With a spurt of sudden desperation to ditch his folks and impress his crush, he attempts to board the same ride only to be told he isn't tall enough. Humiliated, he puts a coin into a creepy antique fortune teller game called Zoltar Speaks (the real star of the film?) and makes a wish to be "big." From there the story sets off with Hanks takes the wheel, encountering memorable performances by Robert Loggia, Elizabeth Perkins, and Jon Lovitz along the way. Games and amusements further figure into the picture by the film's resolution with pivotal scenes featuring Rye Playland Park (Rye, NY).



Adventureland (2007)

Depending on your tolerance for "cool" soundtrack comedies featuring overgrown adolescents and any connections to either Jud Apatow, SNL, or The State, Adventureland is likely one of those movies that, at first glance, is immediately embraced with interest or completely dismissed by those who consider themselves in the know, or whatever. While it falls into the "cool" soundtrack movie zone, it is hardly a comedy and, as far as the overgrown adolescents go, the heart and substance portrayed in the film's relationships are surprisingly relatable. More importantly, the film takes place at the titular amusement park (played by Kennywood of West Mifflin, PA) and enjoyably explores the sights, sounds, and social structures of such a place as a shitty but fun work environment. The decidedly 80s tint may be heavy-handed, but the music (not always for the sake of the "cool" soundtrack—folks of a certain age may recall that one Summer ruled by Falco's "Rock Me Amadeus") and the fashion (obviously hip kids getting to work the Music Express while the freaks thanklessly man the Games) works pleasantly well for the flavor of this film rendering it palatable compared to others like it.



National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

As far as amusement park movies go this one is an essential, maybe even the quintessential, example. It’s got everything: a John Hughes script packed with memorable quotes, first-rate comedic actors serving white-bread, middle-America family realness under Harold Ramis’ direction, Lindsey Buckingham’s hit soundtrack jammer Holiday Road," and, of course, a story that anyone can relate to—the excitement and anticipation of a road trip to a mega-theme park, in this case Walley World (a Disney-inspired fictional park played by a heavily embellished Six Flags Magic Mountain).  It's a "what could go wrong?" gone so right kind of movie.

Personally speaking, there are two crystalline moments in this film that ring too real with me: the slo-mo, “Chariots of Fire” sprint to the entrance of Walley World, and Clark Griswold's (Chevy Chase) fun-bully freak out retort, “This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes!” Perfection. 


*I hope you've enjoyed the ride! Please note: this post isn't a "top" or "best of" list ranking movie picks from good to greatest. Of all the Summer cinema themes that come immediately to mind, amusement park movies rate below Summer camp movies, beach movies, and party movies (pool or otherwise), and you don't have to dig very far into amusement park film fodder before things begin to get barely watchable (see: Beverly Hills Cop III. Or, don't see it). As such, I referred to my inner theme park junky and chose enjoyable films that I feel successfully capture the vibe, light, motion, and overall appeal of amusement parks showcased as a setting or story (while trying not to overthink things too much).
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(Wherein we wish woved ones well!)

Posted by Job O Brother, January 9, 2013 10:25am | Post a Comment



Here's a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal spitting out sea water and a dead unicorn.
You're welcome.

The day after Thanksgiving I was returning my home to its normal layout. (We’d transformed our living room into a banquet hall; it looked good, but I still don’t know how I’m going to repair the dent in the floor left by the wind octet.) In the process of carrying the pool with live swans upstairs to the sewing room (you have to make due when living in the city) I heard a sound come from my lower back that sounded like an excerpt from a composition by Harry Partch


Yes, Christmas came early and Santa brought me sciatica. (Even though I specifically asked for a pony. With sciatica.)

What is sciatica? It is a set of symptoms including pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve, or by compression or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves, the source of which typically stems from tiny devils prodding the inside of your bowels after the neighborhood witch has cursed you.


This is exactly what my leg looks like now.

As a result, I haven’t been able to sit at my desk for a month and I’ve been doped up on pain-killers, steroids and craziest of all, smoking those reefer cigarettes.

Continue reading...

(Wherein I review rad, rainy resources.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 20, 2010 11:38am | Post a Comment

Merry Christmas from the homeless guy who stole your candles!

Santa, it would seem, heard my Christmas wish and brought me lots of rain. While not convenient to my compulsive walks to the grocery store for whatever culinary whims o’ertake me, I’ll trade easy access to the “Asian food aisle” for gloomy storm-clouds any old day. It’s not just the weather itself, it’s the music, movies, food and activities that I save for just such an occasion. What are they? I’m pretending you ask – Why, I’ll tell you!


Boner.


Let’s start with alcohol, as any good day does. This is the season for a cocktail staple of mine: hot toddies, of the whiskey variety. It’s so simple, I hesitate to say this is a recipe, any more than boiling spaghetti and dumping a jar of sauce on it is a “recipe,” but if I’ve learned anything about you earthlings, it’s that when cooking doesn’t come naturally, it doesn’t come at all. So here goes…

1.)  Simply boil water. If you need instructions for this, stop now and don’t ever, ever step into a kitchen.

2.)  While you wait for your water, squeeze the juice from one whole lemon, removing any seeds. Save the seeds and, in another blog, I’ll show you how you can use these dried lemon seeds to make the ugliest, stupidest necklace ever.

Show me the Mo Movies!!! - Missouri in Film and TV

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 30, 2010 10:00pm | Post a Comment
Some folk that know me know I have to see dang near err movie that's filmed in, set in or tied to Missouri (whurr I grew up). With the Bourne Trilogy, those ties were somewhat tenuous... Badass Jason Bourne is merely informed that his real name is David Webb and he's from Nixa. No wonder he joined the military. Needless to say, people are sick of hearing me talk about my home state, but most of yins are strangers so it will hopefully be only a fraction as annoying as what they put up wither pritnear err time I sip on somethin'.


I just sawl Winter's Bone the other day. What can I say? The boyz (and gulz) in the woodz is always hard! Wisely, they actually filmed in the Ozarks rather than in Canada or some other pale stand-in. Not much in the way of distracting celebrities either. Perfect music by Tindersticks' Dickon Hinchliffe. Real recognize real, ya heard? Anywho, hurr's my pretty complete timeline of Mo Films.


MO MOVIES IN THE SILENT ERA

  

Silent Movies were ideal for the people who made "Show Me" thurr motto. With outlaws from Missouri including Tom Horn, and badass cowgirls Belle Star and Calamity Jane, it's kind of surprising how many Missouri-set Westerns overwhelmingly favor popular Missourian Jesse James. Apparently, the most Missouri silent movie would have Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer joining the James Gang. Just consider the following silent films set in the state:

The James Boys in Missouri (1908), Coals of Fire (1911), In Mizzoura (1914), Tom Sawyer (1917), In Mizzoura and Shepherd of the Hills (both 1919), Huckleberry Finn (1920), Jesse James as the Outlaw (1921) and Jesse James (1927).

MO MOVIES IN THE EARLY SOUND ERA


People have always love songs about Missourians wildin' out. Just consider "Frankie and Johnnie," about Frankie Baker, who rubbed out her man in 1899 after she found him with another woman. It inspired the films Her Man (1930) and Frankie and Johnnie (1936).

Then thurr's Lee "Stagger Lee" Shelton, a Mack who killed William Lyons in 1895 after he made the mistake of touching his pimp hat. "St. Louis Blues" is relatively peaceful by comparison, and was in essence, one of the first music videos.

There were more movies about the creations of Mark Twain and Robert and Zerelda James too. Interestingly, thurr seems to've been a short-lived vogue for movies about people ('specially dames) from Missouri, probably in part due to the popularity of Missourian actress Jean Harlow. Consider the following:

 Meanwhile, the events of her famous lovers quarrel inspired films, including Her Man (1930) and She Done Him Wrong (1935). After that, her legend spread nationally and people hounded her for autographs and prank called her. Frankie and Johnnie (1936) followed.

St. Louis Blues (1929), Tom Sawyer (1930), Huckleberry Finn , Kitty from Kansas City (both 1931), The St. Louis Kid, The Girl From Missouri and Kansas City Princess (all 1934), St. Louis Woman (1935), The Voice of Bugle Ann (1936), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938), I’m From Missouri,  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer – Detective, Jesse James and Days of Jesse James (all 1939).

Huckleberry Finn 1931Voice of Bugle Ann

Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1938           

MO MOVIES IN THE '40s

The '40s were pritnear a continuation of the previous decade as the nation remained obsessed with popular, racist murderer who stole from everyone and gave to himself (Jesse James). Just look at these'n's:

In Old Missouri and The Return of Frank James (1940) Bad Men of Missouri, Belle Starr, Jesse James at Bay, and Shepherd of the Hills (all 1941), A Missouri Outlaw (1942), Meet Me in St. Louis and Kansas City Kitty (both 1944), Down Missouri Way (1946), Adventures of Frank and Jesse James (1948) and Calamity Jane and Sam Bass and I Shot Jesse James (both 1949).

    

 

TV AGE MO

Finally, movies about Missouri started to get a little more interesting in the 1950s, focusing often on modern crimes and juvenile delinquents, and not just outlaws from the Old West. Consider the following:

The Great Missouri Raid, Return of Jesse James and The Missourians (all 1950), Pete Kelly's Blues (1951), The Pride of St. Louis and Kansas City Confidential (both 1952), Calamity Jane and The Great Jesse James Raid (1953), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Jesse James’ Women (both 1954), The Delinquents (1955), The True Story of Jesse James (1956), The Pride of St. Louis (1957), The Cool and the Crazy (1958) and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959).

     True Story of Jesse James



MO MOVIES IN THE '60s

After nearly half a century, Americans seemed to have finally had enough of films about Tom Sawyer and Jesse James. As a result, movies taking place in Missouri became fewer and farther between; consider:
Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (both 1960), Hoodlum Priest (1961),  Beetle Bailey and Hottenanny Hoot (both 1963), and Ride a Wild Stud (1969).




MISSOURI IN THE '70s

After a decade away from screens, a new generation of film-goers clamored for cinematic representations of Tom Sawyer and Hollywood obliged. Missouri-loving audiences were also blessed with many new characters.

Huckleberry Finn and Kansas City Bomber (both 1972),Tom Sawyer (dir. Don Taylor), Tom Sawyer (dir. James Neilson) and Paper Moon (all 1973), Huckleberry Finn and Lucas Tanner (1974), Huckleberry Finn, Bucktown, Linda Lovelace for President and Kansas City Massacre (all 1975), The Student Body (1976), The Baxters (1977) and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1979).

 
   

MISSOURI IN THE '80s

When most people think of '80s cinema, teen sex comedies often come to mind. Not in Missouri, thank you. For Hollywood, Missouri in the '80s meant a revival of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn films... and Mama's Family. Things began, finally, to change toward the end of the decade.

Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (all 1981), After MASH, The Day After and Mama’s Family (all 1983), Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer (all 1984), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1985), The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James (1986), Huckleberry Finn and Bird (both 1988) and Miss Missouri, Parenthood and Road House (all 1989).
After MASH 


MISSOURI IN THE '90s

For whatever reason, in the '90s it became somewhat popular to set things seemingly randomly in the Show Me state... that, and the subject matter began to expand in odd directions. Look the these:

The Josephine Baker Story, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, White Palace (all 1990), Child’s Play 3 (1991), Sniz and Fondue and Article 99 (all 1992), King of the Hill, Adventures of Huck Finn, Huck and the King of Hearts, The John Larroquette Show and What’s Love Got to Do With It? (all 1993), On Our Own (1994), Casino (1995), Malcolm and Eddie and Kansas City (both 1996), The "Airport" episode of Newsradio and Waiting For Guffman (both 1998) and Ride With the Devil (1999).

Josephine Baker Story        


 Article 99King of the Hill


THE NEW MO-LLENNIUM

For some reason, the new millennium brought a decrease in Missouri's star turns. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Lookout were both obviously filmed in Canada and the latter film was a steaming piece of horse pockey.

 



Living in Missouri
(2001), The Games of Their Lives (2003), Jesus Camp (2006), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and The Lookout (both 2007), Albino Farm (2009).


MO IN THE 2010s

I haven't been home in a while but Winter's Bone made me nostalgic; so far it's the only MO Movie of the decade that I know of. Update: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth was great too. 

Winter's Bone (2010)



The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2012)


 
Masters of Sex

*****

To read about Missouri and music, click here

******

"!woeM"

Posted by Job O Brother, April 13, 2009 11:28pm | Post a Comment
My cat is weirding me out. He’s sitting in front of my closet door, facing it, staring.

After I wrote the above sentence, he suddenly lunged up, supported by his hind-quarters, and pressed his face into the long mirror nailed to the door. Methinks he’s of a mind to jump into the room he sees inside the looking glass, despite the fact that I have repeatedly forbidden him to do anything of the sort. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll never approve of house-pets defying the laws of physics. It’s un-Christian!

What a perfect lead-in this would be to discuss with you my great love of the works of Lewis Carroll, and the myriad influences it’s had on both music and movies. How sad it is that this blog won’t discuss it further!

It was on this day in 1894 that Thomas “Sloppy-kiss” Edison produced the first commercial exhibition of motion pictures in history, in New York City, using his new invention, the kinetoscope. (It’s interesting to note that, even at this first “movie,” people were already complaining that there were too many previews.)


For a fee of 25¢, patrons could peer into a variety of kinetoscopes and enjoy a hilarious comedy such as “Man crouching and getting back up,” or passionate romances like the heartfelt “Woman arranging a bouquet, then dusting a lamp”, and let's not forget the riveting drama and pathos of “Balloon blown up, then popping.” It’s testament to the genius of these stories that little has changed in Hollywood plot-structures, even all these years later.


Edison saw little real value in his invention, having been (tragically) hypnotized by his other new invention, the Hypno-helper, into believing the hypnotizing machine would be the answer to every home-makers’ chores. (His confidence in the contraption remain unchanged, even after hundreds of letters came from husbands across America complaining that they’d come home from long days of work, hoping for hot meals, and instead finding their wives in trances, thinking they’re chickens, or their “arms were so light they’d float away,” or, in some extreme cases, that they were the Sea Islands Hurricane and had killed over 1,000 people in the greater coastal area of Georgia.)

Despite Edison’s ambivalence to the kinetoscope, it was a tremendous success. Where Edison saw no future, others saw a fortune waiting to be made, and soon advancements in film-making technology came faster than Fatty Arbuckle at a game of spin-the-bottle. [I am so, so sorry about that.]

Over the course of time, movies have become a diverse and refined art-form (excepting anything starring Matthew McConaughey, that is), and the people who make the films have become the closest things our country has to royalty.


You've come a long way, baby! - Lillian Gish vs. Courtney Love

All of which would be great background information if this blog was about the motion picture industry, but as it is, instead, about Tammy Grimes, I present you with this:


Despite being a staunch Republican, Grimes managed to give birth to the ultra-cool Amanda Plummer.


Ms. Plummer earning that S.A.G. paycheck in Peter Greenaway's homage to Fellini, 8½ Women

Amanda Plummer’s fame as an actress of both screen and stage (she’s been nominated for three Tony Awards and has won Best Actress once) has eclipsed her skills as a pet therapist, her true passion. I know this because Ms. Plummer was kind enough to take my pussycat on as a patient. (My cat had suffered a traumatic experience when a neighborhood dog jumped in through my open window and, after tearing up my best pillow, proceeded to introduce my cat to crystal meth, which led to years of addiction which only abated after months of intensive counseling and controlled supplies of catnip chewies.)

Ms. Plummer’s revolutionary, therapeutic process involves the use of Edison’s hypnosis wheel, the only bad side-effect of which is that my kitty now thinks he can jump through my mirror to the other side.

But, as I said before, that’s not what this is about.