Movie: King Ralph (1991)

The 1991 comedy King Ralph opens with earliest Universal Studios logo before transitioning to each of three later iterations.  This is apparently intended to convey the rich legacy of this studio as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.  Myself, I thought this was the first joke in the movie, as the following picture will employ largely […]

Movie: Backbeat (1994)

Needless to say, there has been a bit of obsession over The Beatles for decades now.  So many books and movies.  One would think there were no new avenues to explore in 1994, and yet Backbeat is, I believe, the first movie to concern their pre-fame years in Hamburg and the only true “fifth Beatle”, […]

Movie: Pretty Poison (1968)

Anthony Perkins may have been typecast as a result of the success of Psycho, but it’s only because playing disturbed persons seemed to come so naturally to him.  I don’t know what the man was like in real life—maybe he was as sweet and kind as Boris Karloff or Peter Cushing.  But you can’t deny […]

Movie: The Bug: The Life and Times of the People’s Car (2016)

My wife’s dream car is a fully-restored original Volkswagen Beetle.  I also think they’re awesome, but I wouldn’t especially care to own one.  Still, they’re easy to anthropomorphize as having friendly, smiling faces.  It is that appeal which warrants the 2016 documentary The Bug: The Life and Times of the People’s Car. This well-paced film […]


It’s a cliché to say every day is a gift, but every day I have lived past July 17th, 2008, has been bonus life.  Or, to use the jargon of video games, my “1UP”. If I am still alive when this is published, it will have been 15 years since I was in a hit-and-run […]

Movie: Ninotchka (1939)

“Garbo laughs” Greta Garbo’s persona of being a humorous ice queen was so thoroughly ingrained in the public consciousness of 1939 that all it took to sell a ton of movie tickets was this simple tagline. Fortunately, there is much, much more to Ninotchka than just Garbo’s advertised joviality.  This is a one of the […]

Movie: Canadian Bacon (1995)

I have only vacationed in Canada once, taking a brief road trip to Toronto by way of Windsor.  We had apparently picked the wrong time to do this, as the country’s relations with the US was at a low, as result of a trade dispute.  Having always heard how polite Canucks are, I was stunned […]

Movie: The Peacemaker (1997)

On her last day in a recording studio, Janis Joplin did an acapella number asking the Lord to buy her a Mercedes Benz.  She didn’t specify whether the car should be bulletproof, as to better protect George Clooney and Nicole Kidman in 1997’s The Peacemaker while they seem to destroy half of Vienna while trying […]

Movie: No Way to Treat a Lady (1968)

William Goldman was quite the prolific screenwriter.  Most famously known for The Princess Bride, he actually worked across a wide range of genres, authoring such screenplays as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man and Misery.  So I was intrigued when I noticed he wrote a novel that was adapted into 1968’s No Way […]

Movie: Perfect Blue (1997)

When this 1997 anime appeared on Shudder, I did a double-take.  This movie has appeared on my radar occasionally for many years now, but I wasn’t curious enough to learn more about it.  I realize this is a bias, but Akira is the only anime I have enjoyed.  Yet I found myself intrigued when a […]

Movie: Melvin and Howard (1980)

1980’s Melvin and Howard is based on a true story.  There are a couple of things I need to make clear from the beginning.  First, there needs to be some clarification that it is based on a true story and not based on hard facts.  Second, I am going to delve a bit into the […]

Recipe: The Improved Pancake

You know those instant muffin mixes where you just add milk?  The kind that are usually sold in soft-sided packages instead of boxes?  Fun fact: you can turn any of those into pancakes just by adding one egg (or the equivalent amount of egg substitute) in addition to the milk. Now I’m going to take […]

Movie: It Couldn’t Happen Here (1987)

There have been bad movies based on concept albums.  Then there have been bad “jukebox musical” films, where a narrative thread tries to serve as a throughline for otherwise unrelated songs.  But here is a true oddity: It Couldn’t Happen Here takes the tracks from the Pet Shop Boys album Actually and…uh, well, I’m not […]

Movie: The Blancheville Monster (1963)

Nothing happens in the 1963 Italian gothic horror film The Blancheville Monster.  What is confusing is how much nothing happens in it.  There is a weird inertia to this picture, even if it has a girl returning to her family castle after living in exile, her father who may or may not be deceased (and, […]