I tried on three separate occasions to watch Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960), part of the “Hammer Icons of Suspense” DVD set that recently came out. But all three times I fell asleep after ten or fifteen minutes. Odd, considering the plot of a man driven to murderous extremes by a near-fatal accident, along with Diane Cilento’s ludicrous performance, you’d think it’d be an instant trash classic. I can’t say it was boring, but I can testify to a dulling apathy that swept over me like a humid fog. I figure I wasn’t meant to see the whole thing, so I sent it back to Netflix.
My father was an avid Edgar Rice Burroughs fan and took me to see Tarzan movies when I was a kid. I barely remember any of them, but I do recall zoning out a lot. He was into Tarzan and Westerns, I was into monster movies and James Bond. Anyway, in 1966 I was kind of jazzed to see Tarzan and the Valley of Gold because I saw the trailer at a matinee and it looked like it had more action that most of the other Tarzan movies. We went the weekend it opened, at a Saturday matinee, and the old man settled into his chair with his popcorn and soda, and the movie opens with this big husky guy in a suit and tie flying around in a helicopter, dodging bullets and enemy agents, and someone calls this guy ‘Tarzan,’ which got my father really pissed off. They’d turned Tarzan into James Bond! He spoke fluent English and knew judo moves! I thought all of that was pretty cool, and it became my favorite Tarzan movie of all. (I was eight-years-old.)
Jump ahead forty-four years: Warner Archives releases it on DVD-R, and Deep Discount DVD was selling it for thirteen dollars and change, so in the online shopping cart it went. I hadn’t seen the movie again in all those years. And now, seeing it was, well… I will say this: Tarzan kills a guy with a giant Coke bottle. (You gotta see that.) And he hangs out with Nancy Kovack, who I had the hots for when I was a wee tad. (She knew her days were numbered as a sex kitten screen siren, so she married Zubin Mehta.) And the villain’s bald henchman is played by Don Megowan, fresh from battling Clickers in The Creation of the Humanoids (1962). Was it worth the wait or the money? Yes, yes and no.
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I just smoked weed for the first time in twenty-seven years, only to reach two inevitable conclusions:
a) I’m no longer in my twenties.
b) There’s a reason I stopped smoking weed twenty-seven years ago.
(Note to The Authorities: if you’re thinking of busting me, there’s no product in my crib. But if you got a warrant, I guess you’re gonna come in.)
Someone recommended I see Triangle (2009), which intrigued me because the Bermuda Triangle is such a cool setting for a fantasy or science fiction movie. I found the film mildly engaging, though the scenario becomes redundant before long. (I could draw comparisons to its plot gimmick and that used in a couple of other movies, but in doing so I’d be giving away too much, and I think spoilers suck.) One thing that did stand out in Triangle was its star, Melissa George. Not being much of a television watcher, I didn’t know her from the shows she’s been on (Home and Away, Roar, Charmed, Thieves, In Treatment, Grey’s Anatomy), nor did I recognize her for playing Camilla Rhodes in Mulholland Dr. (2001). But in Triangle she was successfully locked in character, and not too shabby on the eyes, either. So I rented The Betrayed (2008), a somewhat suffocating drama where she’s held prisoner and gets abused. It’s not really that good a film, but she’s excellent. And then I saw Turistas (2006), where she’s top-billed with an ensemble cast in what apparently is referred to as a “torture porn” flick. I dunno… I didn’t find it all that disgusting, and, as far as Black Market Body Parts movies go, I’d opt to see it again over a repeat performance of Dirty Pretty Things (2002). Which reminds me that my cable company will be offering Repo Men (2010) On Demand next Tuesday, which may be worth a gander.
Someone close just got leukemia after smoking cigarettes for far too long. It prompted this interesting discussion, between a woman in the family who just turned thirty, and myself, who stopped smoking twenty-two years ago:
“I’d like to quit smoking,” she said. “But it’s so hard. Every time I want to quit, I end up smoking the next day.”
“Quitting smoking was the best thing I ever did,” I replied.
“What made you quit?”
“A few things,” I said. “There was the health issue. I figured I’d get cancer or something else horrible, or have to carry an oxygen tank around for the rest of my life. And then there was the money. When I quit, Marlboro had gone up to ten bucks for a carton.”
“They cost a lot more than that now,” she said.
“But I think the one thing that really made me want to quit smoking is the power cigarettes had over me,” I said. “I don’t like anyone or anything having power or control over me, and cigarettes had complete control over me.”
“Wow,” she sighed. “I’m glad cigarettes don’t have that kind of power over me.”
“Well that’s great,” I beamed. “Then quit.”
She looked at me, said nothing, and resumed texting someone on her Blackberry. One day she may get it.