Friday, May 31, 2013

Leaving the Queue: "That's Big BooTAY... stop calling me Big Booty!"

Despite the fact that I am sooooooooo glad that Big Trouble in Little China wasn't a direct sequel to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, I still love the latter for it's oddly endearing zaniness.

I mean, honestly... a Brain Surgeon/Physicist/Rockstar/Superhero?

Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown, Dan Hedaya... just a perfectly quirky, personality-heavy cast that works as one of the greatest bad movies of all time.

Honestly, the only problem that I have see is with Ellen Barkin, who just doesn't fit (but that may have just been her hairstyle... and it was the 80's, so I'm probably just projecting).

It's iconic... it's a cult favorite... it's... leaving the queue.


Centered around the larger than life persona of Buckaroo Banzai (Weller), renaissance man of the 80's, and his ragtag crew of whitehat enforcers, who are there to save the world when it needs saving or just play a hip tune, the movie follows the conflict between Buckaroo and alien criminals from Planet 10, masquerading as humans on earth. Having invented a device that allows one to travel through solid matter, Buckaroo finds himself in the crosshairs of Lord John Whorfin (Lithgow), who wants to use the device to take over the universe.

Antics ensue.

The narrative makes no sense, the characters are colorful but insane, and there's absolutely no actual chemistry between the actors... really, the only performances that are great are those of Lithgow and Lloyd... but it's just so fun.

If ever there was a movie that joyfully would embrace a riffing from Mike and the guys, it's Buckaroo Banzai. If ever there was a movie that managed to maintain it's cheese and likability equally, it's Buckaroo Banzai. If ever there was a need for Jeff Goldblum in sheepskin chaps, you'll find it in Buckaroo Banzai.

Though, really, I think the world would've been a much better place without the image of Jeff as a Roy Rogers cowpoke.

It's terrible. It's stupendous. It's crass. It's brilliant. It's... best while high or drunk... or maybe both.

It's certainly better with friends.

It's gone (as of 6/1/13).

See you, Space Cowboy.

Day One Hundred and Fifty-one - BONES: Season 1, Episode 19, "Who do that Voodoo that you do so weeeeeelllllll~"

I think I may have found my zen center when it comes to BONES.

I only watch it now when one of two conditions are met: either I'm already drunk (or well on my way to a buzz) or I'm in the mood to make an impromptu Rifftrax out of my evening's viewings.

Both of these are pretty much necessity by this point because I can't watch this show and take it seriously anymore... it's just too preposterous, especially if you take this particular episode as an example. Why? Because it's the voodoo one.

Seriously. Voodoo.

It's not like I fault them for it. It actually looks like the writers are trying to give an actual serious explanation of the religion without resorting to cheese and hokum. Both the positive and negative aspects are presented via a case of ritualistic murder where Tempy is the main suspect in a killing... you know, considering she wakes up covered in blood and without memory of her past two days.

That aside, though... BONES is just patently ridiculous.

Evidence tampering, illegal investigations, lack of recusing due to conflict of interest... this episode in particular highlights all the things that are completely unbelievable and could be forgiven in singular instances, but not as a pattern of behavior for anyone. It would be one thing if the series was based off of Kathy Reichs' books, but the show explicitly says it's based off her actual life.

Sure. Whatever, guys.

It's also ridiculous that a random comment about Brennan and Angela's heights being larger than Hodgin's is what spurs the groundwork for his courting of the latter. I mean we go from a joke to him jonesing on her in one quick step? Stop being so damn lazy.

You know, I love strong female protagonists... but Tempy is not a good example. Nor is Angela. And Booth is not a good male role model, nor is Hodgins or Zack. The closest the entire cast comes in that regard lies in Dr.Goodman... and, from what I hear, he gets booted next season. Blech.

I think I'd much rather be watching Fringe for its strong female lead... and I will, soon. But I promised myself I'd get to the episodes of BONES with Stephen Fry. I shall not break that promise.

My only hope is that I don't run out of Canadian Mist and Diet Coke Lime before then.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day One Hundred and Fifty - Psych: Season 6, Episode 10, "Cary... you make everything better."

If nothing else, Psych is silly fun... usually. Sure, there are the occasional episodes that just don't have much of anything, but most are pretty entertaining if you ignore the actual mystery and focus on the referential and self-referential humor.

I'd say that wasn't the case here, but it's true that the mystery itself is blah. Especially in comparison to the fun, almost-genius bits of meta-humor and guest star chemistry.

Firstly, the episode starts off with the old black and white Universal logo. I mean, that's genius right there, isn't it? Making a pulpy adventure story and starting off with that?

Secondly, to get you in the Indy mood, the first guest star that we're treated to in the episode is perennial Indiana Jones (and general Sci-fi and Fantasy) supporting actor John Rhys-Davies. Sallah from the Indy series, Paladin from Wing Commander, Gimli and Treebeard from LotR. Put that Welshman on any program and you've got my attention. Get him for an Indy-themed episode of Psych? Gravy.

Third, finally, and perhaps most importantly, is Cary Elwes. Reprising his role as the master thief Despereaux, Elwes swaggers through the episode doing his best Dread Pirate Roberts while Shawn fawns and Gus grumbles. Despereaux was a novelty when he first showed up in the series and, perhaps, just a fun bit of continuity when he returned the second time. This guest recurrence, however, felt just right as the pressure to capture him was off and the entirety of his bits were all charm and snark... which, really, is pretty much the whole appeal of Psych as a show.

The throwaway villainess (played by Madchen Amick) really doesn't present much of a threat or alluring charm and that's my one main disappointment with the episode, but with Cary there I'm well enough sated to enjoy myself. I was kind of hoping she'd be in a second Twin Peaks episode, but you can't always get what you want.

I do think that both Rhys-Davies and Elwes looked surprising trim here... especially the latter, who was noticeably pudgier his last two appearances. While I'm not unimpressed by Rhys-Davies dropping down in size, it was particularly distracting to have Wesley looking roundish previously.

One last thing to note, I really like how supportive Jules (Maggie Lawson) is towards Shawn and his grief when his hero Despereaux notably dies in a vivid boat explosion. Similar to last episode when she was off on a date and out of her normal detective motif, her sympathy here is more interesting... as is Lassiter's tacit glee over the same death.

All it all, this is one of the stronger episodes that I've seen of late and I enjoyed myself immensely. It's just too bad that Gus couldn't hook up with that overzealous tour guide (and that they couldn't use Hearst Castle for the backdrop of the epi).

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-nine - The Golden Child, "Actually, pretty quality for a generic 80's action movie."

Back when I was an Army Brat, living in quarters on Ft.McPherson in the 80's and early 90's, there wasn't much in the way of quality entertainment either on television or VHS cassette that my parents would let me consume that wasn't Disney or have a G or PG rating.

The Golden Child definitely stretched the limits of what my parents would allow me to check out from the base's library, seeing as how stuff like Lethal Weapon and Apocalypse Now were off the table unless I was visiting a friend with more, shall we say, permissive parents (you know, the kind with barely hidden stacks of Playboys and the like).

That's not to say The Golden Child was all that violent or explicit. Really, I think it only got it's PG-13 rating due to Eddie Murphy's occasionally foul mouth, but it wasn't to the level of, say, Beverley Hills Cop or anything... and certainly not as bad as Delirious.

To be honest, TGC is actually a rather harmless generic adventure tale, mixing a mild amount of Murphy's usual 80's, street-smart player with a heart of gold with a cheesy Buddhist mysticism tale where the titular Golden Child is kidnapped by vague demonic forces for the purposes of unleashing Hell on Earth.

I actually kind of like it. Sure, it's not to the pulpy comic level of Big Trouble in Little China as either a star vehicle or Asian-American mythos trope, but it's not all that bad.

For one thing, it has several Chinese-American stars that I'm always happy to see (Victor Wong and James Hong), and even though it keeps true to the trope of generic white-guy villain, it has a few interesting choices when it comes to minions... like Pons Maar as a sort of evil Son Goku and Randall Cobb as a dim sort of Mongul warrior.

I was a bit disappointed that Peter Kwong had a minimal role... it had been forever since I saw The Golden Child so, when I saw him pop up in the cold opener, I was expecting a more fleshed out minion role like his turn as Rain in Big Trouble. No such luck, however.

Additionally, the stop-motion demon form of Sardo Numspa (who is played in its human guise by Jeffrey Jones's British doppleganger, Charles Dance), was pretty rough considering the standards set forth by higher tier films like Ghostbusters and the like.

Still, despite the meh characterization for Murphy's social worker, Chandler, and the flimsy romance with his female guide/partner, Kee Nang (played by Charlotte Lewis), it works fairly decently for what it is... a generic 80's action flick.

It did win any awards (and, heck, was barely nominated for any small prizes), and rightly shouldn't have... but it was still an alright flick that fits as a lazy Saturday afternoon matinee.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-eight - Psych: Season 6, Episode 9, "Poor Corbin Bernsen"

I can safely say that I used to love Psych.

I don't exactly hate it now, but I can't rightly say I really enjoy the show anymore. Maybe it's just that the Jules/Shawn tension is gone now that they're together and that fact harms the show (much in the same way that Pam and Jim finally getting together signaled The Office jumping the shark).

That said, I still try and check in every once in a while... and will probably do so again later in the week for the return of Cary Elwes.

This episode, however, had several other guest stars, including Brandon from 90210 (Jason Priestley) and Buster from Arrested Development (Tony Hale). Yes, I know that Arrested Development's brand new season is currently available in its entirety on Netflix, but I promised my sister that I would wait for her to visit in June so we could watch it together.

Plus... Arrested Development just isn't my thing (blasphemy, I know).

In any case, Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat is a cute little mystery that actually has very little in the way of actual Psych shenanigans. Really, it felt like the entire episode was a misdirection away from Shawn's NintendoDS... which I find kind of admirable, even if I was bored.

Instead of your typical setup where Shawn and Gus outrun the police with small moments of "spot the clue" for Shawn, the epi is mostly Shawn and Jules bonding with an outlaw couple while Gus, Lassiter, and Henry have a guy's weekend where they club then hide from the graverobber blonde chasing Henry.

The whole wine country bit was tired and the reveal even more so... but it was nice to see Jules outside of her main context as a police detective. Well, for most of the time, anyway. There wasn't much development for her character or their relationship aside from "let's do romantic things, not mystery things" which, of course, they cannot avoid.

Also, she just looks so cute in casual clothes. Not that she doesn't rock her professional wardrobe.

Overall, this really is one of the weakest episodes of Psych, save for those final moments where Gus retrieves Shawn's lost DS. But, I'm sure there's more to come with that when I get to the next episode where Pierre Despereaux (Elwes) returns.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-seven - Panic, "I'll never get tired of Neve... but there's just no empathy here."

I really do love William H. Macy. He's a fine actor that does those sad-eyed stoics so bloody well, I cannot help but want to watch every film his in.

And Neve... oh, Neve. Some of my favorite guilty pleasure movies feature you doing your best rendition of the artsy chick. You as a glassblower mistress in Three to Tango... and, hell, your chic hairdresser in a kimono here in Panic, as well. You're everything I hope to find in a woman... creative, blunt, sensual, and assertive.

It's just... despite the combination of two of my favorite actors, there's just no feeling here.

I don't know if it's the lack of chemistry or the mood is never right, I just feel like the only truly impactful and empathetic moments in the movie are when Macy is talking with his son. Everything else? Just blah.

I think it's an interesting concept for a film, I just wish it had been done better.

It was nice to see John Ritter again and Donald Sutherland did perfectly fine as this sort of sociopathic patriarch. I was actually pretty happy with the flashback sequences where they had to de-age him. Tracey Ullman was a bit of a stretch, I think. Not that she isn't a fine actress, it's just that her own flashback and the emotional moments during the climax felt like acting as opposed to something real.

It was almost there, but never quite right... and that's the complaint I think I have about the film as a whole. Everything about the movie is off. Everything from the title to the natural progress of the supposed stress Macy's hitman Alex is nominally intended to be feeling. His love scene with Campbell is well shot, but empty... the abortive one with Ullman is well-acted, but shallow... and the ultimate reveal by their son and Macy's freak out? Almost a non-issue.

I could read every beat of the film and wasn't surprised in the least. Honestly, the only thing that kept me mildly interested was Neve and her smoulder. It's not that I hated the movie or actively wanted to stop watching, it's just that I felt like I was sleepwalking through the whole thing.

A bit of irony, considering that's what Alex was complaining about to his shrink.

It's not a terrible movie, and was actually rather well shot with a lovely color palette and excellent camera work... it's just boring. And it's certainly not the black comedy that the description promised.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-six - Tron:Uprising, Isolated, "I... may have been hasty."

A few days ago, I was just so happy to finally get a chance to check out the animated tie-in of the Tron universe that I probably forgave more than I should have when it came to plotholes, flat characters, and just general overall cheese.

Now that I'm a couple of episodes in, the bloom is definitely off the rose.

It's not that I don't still enjoy it, somewhat, it's just that there are only so many times I can take awkward scenes, characters acting against type, and the tendency towards episodic resets.

I mean, for a city of thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands, of programs... The Occupation sure finds plenty of time to interact specifically with Beck and the rest of the garage's mechanics on a regular basis, yet completely forget them once the half-hour is over. I've seen Beck's two compatriots arrested and held several times now by the bad guys and not once do any of the red/orange-shirts stop and say, "Hey, didn't I round you up last week and you escaped? That's suspicious!"

That and the blatant incompetence that the big bad forgives of his direct subordinates, yet punishes with deadly force the slightest infraction by the no-face Redshirts of his army. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Paul Reubens is getting work, but the crap his character Pavel and Emmanuelle's Paige (who should've been named Page... no 'i') get away with, they should've been derezzed long ago.

I mean, consider this episode, Isolated. Paige and Pavel chase the disguised Beck to an island of code out in the middle of the Sea of Simulation. What should be a prime case of actual character development is just more Pavel backstabbing (with no consequences, other than venomous looks) and Paige's mopey hostility.

Sure, the one highlight is the cameo by Olivia Wilde, reprising her role of Quorra from Legacy, but the interactions we see here via Paige's flashbacks are all awkward and ultimately pointless. The whole Iso angle should have deepened both the overall universe and Paige's own personal quest, but thanks to terrible writing and direction, it's useless... a failure.

And that's the whole problem with the series. I really have no trouble understanding why it was cancelled, now. I want to like it. Hell, I want to love it. But for every small moment of potential that peeks through the veil, there are dozens of pathetic, cliche ones that come straight out of Horrible Trope Television 101.

At this point, I can only recommend Tron:Uprising for folks who are desperately in love with Legacy as it retains the fighting and graphic styles. For fans of great television and storytelling? Stay far, far away.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-five - Call the Midwife: Season 1, Episode 2, "Some bitterness, some joy."

With this second episode of Call the Midwife, I find myself enjoying the series more and more. While everyone else is gaga for Downton Abbey, I find the more down to earth problems of East End, London to be much more relevant and dramatic.

I'm sure it helps that babies are being born every episode, as those are always tearjerker affairs whether miraculous or tragic, but still... great stuff.

This entry into the series has several interesting plots and subplots, but I think I was most attracted by the addition of upper class midwife (and a bit of a "longshanks"), Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, who goes by the nickname of "Chummy."

From what I can gather, reading about the series here and there, she's kind of the darling of the show to most folks and it's very easy to see why here. Her manner is always optimistic and kind, she never lets her worries get her down, and she always puts her patients first... even excusing herself so they don't see her nerves showing before a difficult procedure during the latter half of the episode.

Yes, Chummy is a bit of a peculiarity as her manner is more the typically quaint attitude we've come to expect of the kind, overly friendly royals, but through the course of the episode, like Jenny Lee in the one previous, she wins over pretty much everyone.

Including me.

Sadly, not all is so bright and happy though, as Jenny Lee's storyline for the duration is her relationship with a former child prostitute who is pregnant. Much of the episode follows Jenny Lee's successful attempts to get the girl further and further away from her abusers with the help of an activist preacher who runs a home for troubled girls.

Just when you think everything is alright, though, the hard truths are told and the girl cannot keep her new baby, who is taken to be adopted and never seen by her natural mother again. It's a difficult scene to watch, but an honest token of the time.

I love how the episode contrasts both the good and the bad of the NHS and its policies... helping women who could only previously suffer the tragedy of stillborn children get caesarians (and healthy babies) free of charge while offering the other hand which takes a newborn from an unfit mother.

Honestly, the only issue I have is that the pimps don't get their comeuppance. At the very least, I wanted the firebrand preacher to take his fists to the girl's stalker. Grr, I'm mad even thinking about it.

Call the Midwife is definitely worth the watch, so I heartily recommend adding it to your queue if you haven't done so already. Much better than the upstairs/downstairs twaddle of DA, even if it does seem like it's going to be conveniently episodic and only mildly concerned with it's characters' personal arcs.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-four - The New Guy, "LET'S... DO IIIITTTTT(, Eliza Dushku!!)"

This is the guiltiest of my most guilty pleasures, I think.

For the most part, I attribute my love for The New Guy to Eliza Dushku and her parade of swimsuit fashions in the middle of the film. She definitely fits my Bad Girl crush motif in its entirety, whether she's the Uber-bad girl, Faith, or the redeeming herself not-so-bad girl, Later-Faith... well, let's just say that every way she played Faith worked for me. Just like her whichever girl, Echo, or Tru... or... or... her take here in TNG as Danielle.

Eliza... just... DOES IT for me.

The rest of TNG's appeal falls around it's "pathetic loser turned high school hero" storyline. It's always fun to see the little guy triumph against all odds and become the kid all the girls want and all the guys want to be like.

Set in Texas... and I really just can't imagine the hell that high school in Texas is like for dweebs like me... TNG follows young Dizzy Gillespie Harrison (DJ Qualls) who is a complete dork, and suffers for that fact. Along for the ride are his fellow dork friends (including a Zooey Deschanel who hadn't hit her indie-goddess prime yet) as he finds he just can't take it anymore and, with the help of jailbird kingpin Luther (Eddie Griffin), gives himself a badass makeover so he can startoff fresh at a new school.

At said new school, he supplants the jerkoff cool kids at the top of the pile and manages to impress cheerleader hottie Danielle (Dusku) in the process. After a few trope hurdles like avoiding his old bully and almost losing his old friends for his new life, Dizzy manages to win over the entire school and witness the comeuppance dealt to his tormentors.

With weird as heck guest spots (including Gene Simmons, Tommy Lee, and Henry Rollins to name a few), lackluster acting from pretty much everyone BUT Eliza, and a silly, plothole heavy script, TNG should be relegated to the bottom of the discount bin, never to be bought, let alone watched... but there's just enough goofy charm and Dushku sex appeal to overcome the film's rampant cheese.

It's shallow of me, I know... but what can I say? I told you it was the guiltiest of guilty pleasure movies, didn't I?

Eliza is so devastatingly gorgeous in my book that I can even forgive the horrible cameos by Tony Hawk and the O'Connell brothers.

If you're looking for deep fare or even a passable coming of age comedy, you done goofed by relying on The New Guy... but I still pull it off the shelf or, in the case of today, find it in my Netflix queue at least once a year.

Usually when I'm lonely and in need of some home grown American Moe.

Plus it has one of my favorite lines by David Hasselhoff in any format, ever. Just, uh, make sure you wait till the end of the movie to catch it.

Also, I've just noticed that every single image capture I made from the film has Eliza in it in some form or another. I've got it bad, I think... and it gives me the deep down blues, even as I look at her and feel warm/giddy and smile.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-three - Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne, Episode 1, "Okay, hold on... did that woman just attach a chain to-OHMYGAWD!!"

I felt it was time to try another Netflix anime of a series that I'd never watched before. Initial impressions were somewhat promising, as the title card was suitably fan-service friendly, but it was yet another one without dual audio.

Well, they can't all have terrible dubs, so I gave it a try.

Really, the dub wasn't the problem, as it was actually somewhat decent... and neither was the plot or the art style all that troubling (well, I do have one or two needling issues there). It was the brutality gimmick that really bothered me.

See, Rin:DoM centers on a buxom private detective type who has the uncanny ability of resurrection. In the cold opener of the episode, we are treated to her very violent and certainly unhappy death as she's tagged several times by a shotgun and plummets quite a few stories from the rooftops to street level.

Granted, in the very next scene we're shown that she's perfectly fine the following morning, but still... it was hard to watch.

After the cold opener, the majority of the episode revolves around a man who feels his memory, his very life, isn't his own. Rin takes it upon herself to investigate and stumbles onto professional hitmen, secret cloning and organ harvesting operations, and a very disturbing sadist doctor-lady... oh, and zombies.

Weak storytelling and the horror gimmicks randomly popping up aside, what is truly disturbing are the lengths of brutal domination and torture that the author forces Rin to endure for the sake of... well, what? Gratuity is all I can come up with.

Literally the sadist doctor pierces every fleshy bit of Rin's body, going so far as to attach a long length of chain to what is implied to be her genitals... a chain that the evil doctor yanks just for the heck of it.


Also, ugh.

It's those moments that are just completely unnecessary and over the top. Not that I'm a fan of censorship, I just can't call the anime quality when it resorts to this level of on-screen torture to fill some time.

Then, there's the zombie horde that just comes out of nowhere.

I mean, I could swallow the evil sadist doc-lady cloning people to harvest their organs... I could also live with the hand-wavey way she macguffined a "chemical memory transfer" so that the clones retain the original's personality... but random zombies?

What the hell?

The little trouble I had with the art is that a lot of the featured style swings way too liberally back and forth between flat and boring and overly extravagant. Like everything is dull and solid colored until you get to that one frame where Rin is putting on nylons and THEN there's deep texture.


I'll probably stick around an episode or two more, despite the red flags, just to give the series a chance to redeem itself... but, anime really doesn't work that way. It's stories are generally already written and approved long before anything gets animated. I don't hold much hope for improvement, but we'll see.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-two - TEDTalks: Sex, Secrets, and Love: Episode 5, Brené Brown, "Deep Vulnerability? Have you met me, woman?"

Busy day, today, so I only had time to cruise a TEDTalk on my lunch break. Kinda feels like cheating, but not as much as, say, watching Pucca or anything.

Sometimes TEDTalks have such deep insight into one's soul through calm and concentrated logic that it can be baffling, figuratively mind-blowing (see, nerds? I didn't say "literally") enough to warrant huge emotional swings and an almost drunken euphoria.

Then, sometimes, all you want to do after (and during) some Talks is to cry.

I think that I was definitely in the latter category listening to Brené Brown talk about some striking similarities that she has found in her research into shame and overall happiness.

It's not a long talk... but, then again, most aren't... and she manages to paint her thesis in very broad strokes, not bogging us down in actual data points or sets, almost to the detriment of her presentation's hypothesis, but I still found myself with tears in my eyes throughout her storytelling.

That's one of her ice-breaking moments, by the way, her freaking out over a booker wanting to describe her purely as a "storyteller" as opposed to her lofty title of "researcher."


For such a short talk that really was light in the bytes, it was pretty amazing just how quickly she could latch onto my vulnerabilities (which is ironic... you'll just have to watch and see why) and force me to think about why my life is currently the way it is, and may continue to be.

While it wasn't really groundbreaking or awe-inspiring, Brené did manage to tap a line on some insecurities that both gave me worry and hope for the future... and I both love and hate when that happens.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day One Hundred and Forty-one - I Was A Male War Bride, "An ounce of Cary's charm with a thimbleful of plot."

Despite what I am about to type in this post, I love Cary Grant. Arsenic and Old Lace is a grand old time and To Catch A Thief is about as cool as 50's could ever get. I think it's a tossup between him and George Clooney when it comes to debonair charm in my book.

Yes, I realize that I'm riling up the Gosling hordes out there, but I calls'em like I sees'em.

That said, I was a bit bummed out by I Was A Male War Bride... especially since the crux of the title doesn't really factor into the movie until the last twenty minutes or so.

For the majority of the film, French Captain Rochard (Grant) and American Lieutenant Gates (Ann Sheridan) are at each other's throats. Apparently there is ample history between them previous to the start of the film and most of what we're privy to is an almost botched mission into occupied Germany after the end of World War Two to find a black marketeer and trade his underground art or gold bullion or those vast stores of American Cigarettes and Nylons that the Gestapo seemed to have in limitless supply.


The point is, they suffer through disaster after disaster together, needling one another along the way. Of course they're utterly in love with each other. There's no other explanation as to why Sheridan instantly goes to tears over coffee when Grant washes his hands of her after she has him hauled off to jail, as a black marketeer, himself.

And that's a good hour of film, ladies and gentlemen, just leading up to the fact that they really love one another... a discovery they make after several precocious German kinderschitzen send a sleeping Grant barreling into a hale bale on a motorcycle without a driver. Sure, it helps that they timidly share kisses after (Grant and Sheridan, not he and the children), but it's all cheap slapstick and tame foreplay.

But, what should I expect? It was 1949, after all. It would take five more years before they could even hint at sex with the fireworks spectacle of To Catch a Thief.

I guess I'm just disappointed that the whole "have to masquerade as a woman to pass as a war bride" bit is all of ten minutes on the back end. What could have been a wonderful gender bender comedy only manages to capitalize on it's title for a few mild jokes at the expense of both the Army and Navy... and Ann Sheridan is entirely too smug about all of the trials and tribulations she gets to put her new husband through.

Maybe it's a case of comeuppance for all the hundreds of years of gender inequality, now that women were officers and it's the men who were camp followers (well, in this one case anyway), but still... everything she went through, he suffered just the same, but worse.

As far as classic films goes... and I think it's a stretch to call it "classic" as opposed to just old... as far as classic films go, it's alright. I Was A Male War Bride has a few entertaining examples of Cary's unique aplomb and comedic timing, but his conflicts (and attraction) with Ann Sheridan are spurious at best, and the near constant beating he takes over the last half of the movie just stretches credulity beyond belief.

I mean, I'm an Army Brat... I know about the Army and it's bureaucracy. This was Keystone-Freaking-Kops.

Plus, Cary Grant as a Frog with the single most unbelievable French Accent in existence? Yeah, no, thank you.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~