|THE MISCELLANEOUS LINKS SECTION |
MILITARY HELICOPTER (ROSEMARY'S BABY) • WILLIAM SMITH ON HAWAII FIVE O • RICHARD WIDMARK IN KISS OF DEATH • BOSOM BUDDIES IN THAT THING YOU DO • FRENCH CONNECTION MEETS JOE • ORCA THE WHALE AND HOWARD THE DUCK • ROLLING STONES VIDEO REWIND • GOODBYE RAY HARRYHAUSEN
CINDY MORGAN ON HUNTER • CYNTHIA BAIN ON CHIPS • REBECCA STAAB IN LOVE POTION 9 • REBECCA STAAB ON COLUMBO • ROBYN HILTON ON STARSKY AND HUTCH • LESLIE BROWN IN ALLIGATOR • SUE LYON IN ALLIGATOR
DEY YOUNG IN PRETTY WOMAN • BELINDA BALASKI ON BARETTA • BELINDA BALASKI IN GREMLINS • ROCHELLE WINTER ON LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY • NANCY WILSON AND LANA CLARKSON IN FAST TIMES • KRISTINE DEBELL IN CHEERLEADERS WILD WEEKEND • KRISTINE DEBELL IN BLOODBROTHERS • JUNE FAIRCHILD CINEMA
|BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS|
CHARLENE TILTON ON HAPPY DAYS • NICK NOLTE (ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE) • NICHELLE NICHOLS (THE LIEUTENANT) • JIM CARREY (THE DEAD POOL) • ROBERT DOWNEY JR. (UP THE ACADEMY) • BART SIMPSON IN TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE
|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS |
Cult Film Freak has been my online handle for many years, beginning with my main website that has interviews only. Even though that site looked fantastic, it was going nowhere. So I made a blog, this blog, with movie reviews (and interviews transcribed from my podcasts) and gave it a similar url so I'd have a built-in Google rating, or whatever it's called.
Now to really answer the question: I soon realized that Cult Film Freaks didn't relate to all movies, especially new ones. Also, I was at an autograph show and gave Louise Fletcher one of my old business cards, and she read "Cult Film Freaks" and kind of smirked. I knew then I had to have a somewhat conventional name to thus cover everything cinema related. This would also help get a wider range of interviews. But I will always be Cult Film Freak beneath it all. That url will stay, forever...
But now it's James M. Tate Cinema because of Google analytics. I've written enough for the name to get more hits and traffic to the site. Or maybe it's ego.
What's your favorite movie of all time and why?
STRAW DOGS. There's something clever and claustrophobic about this film. Directed by Sam Peckinpah, who will always be renown for THE WILD BUNCH and other Westerns, STRAW DOGS, more or less a modern Western filmed in England, is much more personal... at least for the main character, played by Dustin Hoffman, who eventually learns his young English trophy wife has more in common with the villainous locals than with him.
A unique form of paranoia haunts every frame of STRAW DOGS from beginning to end. It's one of those movies that seems "possessed" or "cursed" or something.
But now the shark ate the dogs. JAWS is my new favorite movie ever. If you want to see a current top ten, go back to the blog, scroll down and look to the sidebar on the right hand side.
What's the difference between the "Greatest Movies" and "Favorite Movies" on your Movie Lists?
The Greatest Movies are the important ones; Favorite Films are the ones you can watch over and over... especially during those long nights when you can't fall asleep (like tonight). And those lists, by the way, which I just started doing, get more hits than anything.
Many blogs are sporadic, with new posts every now and again or on weekends, yet your blog has a new post every single day... How did this start?
I give all credit to Marisa Young's Timothy Carey Experience... She's a daily blogger and I thought that was so cool. Her dedication amazed me so I followed suit... Although I guess I cheat a little... Some of my older posts I re-edit and add bigger pictures and bring them to the front when I don't have anything new to add. But don't tell anyone...
Do you think it's important for a nostalgic film buff to watch new theatrical films?
Yes. And I didn't always review new movies. I completely avoided going to theaters. Reviewing new stuff started around 2011. I saw some kid's blog where he reviewed old and new flicks and I had to follow suit. Therefore the reason I review new movies is to get more hits on the blog. And going back to the initial question, I do think it's important for someone into older movies to watch new stuff to keep your finger on the pulse of cinema, even when it's not beating.
What's the worst thing about going to the movies?
The twenty-minute trailers. They are so awful. It's neverending, those trailers. Like watching seven bad bands before the headliner... And you're not even sure if the headliner will suck. And Hollywood movies are usually against Capitalism. So here we are, paying big bucks to see a movie, and we have to suffer through overlong commercials. Go figure.
What's your favorite era of film?
The seventies. And whenever I tell someone this they kinda giggle. But then I remind them: THE GODFATHER, TAXI DRIVER, STAR WARS, JAWS, CLOCKWORK ORANGE, LAST PICTURE SHOW, FRENCH CONNECTION, OVER THE EDGE, TRUCK TURNER... And hey, even RAGING BULL was conceived and shot during the seventies. So there!
Your least favorite era?
I have a problem with the early sixties. While there are tons of cool movies from this era, a lot of the films are in a strange position between the Film Noir fifties, hindered only by the Code but it didn't matter because they were more creative... And the latter sixties and early seventies, when restrictions were gone and movies became more realistic. Thus the early sixties flirted with being realistic but still held onto the old fashion melodrama aspect, and... I don't know... I just find some of the early-sixties films are like having conversations with an uptight aunt who drinks by herself when no one's watching. It took the latter sixties for her to get buzzed and more honest, with nothing to hide. But... and this is a big but... Television shows during the early sixties are incredible.
What made you first get into interviewing actors and actresses?
It was TROLL 2, the worst movie of all time, that got me started... Remember MySpace? Well I had a MySpace dedicated to TROLL 2. I found an actor from the film and wrote a few questions, and added the answers to the page... Then I found Jennifer Salt, the star of GARGOYLES; Brian De Palma's SISTERS; and the TV show SOAP and I decided to take things to the next level... A real actor from real movies... I sent questions to Jennifer, got answers, and to make a very long story short, I followed suit with Belinda Balanski (THE HOWLING) and thus my original site started, with very cool graphics provided by my lifelong friend, and from that point, since he couldn't keep up with my interviews, I decided a blog would be the way to go... And it's still going...
And you do live internet PODCAST interviews... When and how did this start?
I got an interview with Karen Black, one of my favorite actresses, on the phone... It was an interview to transcribe, not a podcast... And I was scared to death... The interview went okay but it was my first time and the first time is never without kinks... Then my friend Laura (who set up Karen's interview) and I discovered a guy with a podcast show on Blog Talk Radio, and we decided to do our own interview show... It began with cult actor/friends like Gary Kent and Robert Dix, and eventually Laura and I broke our partnership as co-hosts and I've been going alone ever since... My guests are now my co-hosts... It's sporadic, and I only do one or two a month, yet it's a real high... Better than any drug...
What are some pros to doing interviews?
Meeting actors and actresses in person, usually at Autograph Shows. And sometimes becoming friends with them. Sally Kirkland and I have gone to the Academy and watched movies together. I run Olivia Barash's facebook and she's the coolest person on earth. I also help Harry Northup, the villain from OVER THE EDGE, run his facebook and it's amazing knowing these people I grew up watching and admiring... If I told myself this would happen in the 80's or 90's, I'd have laughed out loud... Or excuse me, I'd have LOL'd...
Any cons in doing interviews?
The flakes. Many flakes. There are more flakes in show business than a bowl of Special K. In fact, blaxploitation star Fred Williamson once told me, "Actors are very unreliable." And trying to get interviews is a bitch. And setting them up is tough too. But the worst aspect is, when I go to autograph shows to acquire interviews, some of the more insecure actors and actresses have prissy "managers" or "assistants" that are rude, arrogant and over-protective: like the people in high school who are friends with the person you really want to date, and their vindictive input will thwart any chance you might have had if they weren't a bulwark in the first place.
Who's your favorite actor of all time?
I would say Robert De Niro because that was my answer for years, or Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, the usual giants. But lately I've realized that one of the greatest, and the guy I always enjoy watching... not just when he's speaking but when others are speaking... is Gene Hackman. He can do anything. But I have to say, I have a brand new favorite, an actor that Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick both considered the greatest of all time: James Cagney.
Who's your least favorite actor of all time?
Paul Sand, perhaps. Although he nailed the drunk angel in WHOLLY MOSES. It's his TV appearances that bugged the heck outta me. But he has his own style... Sort of an Elliott Gould without the leading man persona... But I should give him a break. I shouldn't polarize anybody. They all have talent, in their own way.
Ellen Burstyn. ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE is my favorite movie about a woman being independent and yet it doesn't revel in feminist preaching. She's also brilliant in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and THE EXORCIST... Which brings me to another favorite actress, Linda Blair... But that's for different reasons...
Least favorite actress?
I'm not going to say because I might interview her one day, whoever she is... Which brings me to a realization that actor Terry McGovern (the ladykiller teacher in AMERICAN GRAFFITI) had about my podcast show... That I interview mostly women... I'm not sure why, I just like women, that's all.
Favorite action star?
Lights, camera... Reb Brown. The movie CAGE starring Reb and Lou Ferrigno is a classic, and Reb provided one of my best podcast interviews. But wait, maybe Steve McQueen. Or Charles Bronson. Oh heck, this is a difficult, if impossible, question to answer.
Who made the best comedy films?
While ANIMAL HOUSE is my number one comedy of all time, directed by John Landis who also made THE BLUES BROTHERS and TRADING PLACES, the best comedy director and writer is Woody Allen. I am a Woody fanatic although I think his career post-Mia has been hit or miss... but mostly miss.
There's a JOURNAL section on your blog where you talk about each time you go to the movies... What's the point of this journal?
My reviews are written, to the best of my abilities, very professionally and I don't use the word "I" any longer... When I read other movie review/cinema blogs, they're too opinionated... So the JOURNAL section is my attempt to bring an old school BLOG into this site. A place where I can be a jerk and not care about anything but speaking, or writing, my mind.
Who is your main Movie Review influence?
Not who, what. PEOPLE MAGAZINE. I have a subscription to this wonderfully banal rag because of the movie reviews... and I've dug their reviews for years (so there have been many different writers). They have long paragraphs and I do that long paragraph thing (I have since changed this style)... And not just because PEOPLE does it... I prefer keeping everything in one flowing paragraph so the reviews aren't too wordy... I don't want to dissect movies so much that people don't want to see them... It also allows a poetic touch: to sum up everything in one fell swoop... I feel like an "artist" getting everything in one paragraph, which allows tricky and creative editing on my part... Sort of like sculpting... My reviews begin an end in the same fashion... Plus, I'm an impatient blog reader so I write reviews that folks can read quickly...
What do you think of Blogger.com Blogs?
Well I've discovered Wordpress.com and while I think they are better looking blogs, I dig the simplicity of Blogger and the Most Popular index, allowing people to pick and choose important posts on the main page... and the cool thumbnails. I just wish Blogger would, like Wordpress, get with the program and add the multi header pictures... so that whenever you refresh a new picture appears on the header.
Have you received any negative reactions to particular reviews?
Yes, and for a while I shut down my comment section so that only people who "follow" the blog can write. But I made it open again. Yet the meanest reactions come via email. One guy said I will never be a real movie reviewer and that I can't write worth crap, and not in that order.
Do you think it's egotistical, insane, or just plain pathetic to have a FAQ section of your blog where you answer your own questions?
It's not egotistical, although I do think it's pathetic and insane, and I am insane... Anyone who prefers movies to real life is insane, and insanity is the greatest way to be in a mundane world. Does that sound pathetic? But really, people do ask me why I write this blog (without financial gain), what's my favorite movie, actor, actress, how I got started with all this cinema stuff, so this section (what you're reading now) has merit and will continue to grow... So if you don't like it, go FAQ yourself!
|ORIGIN OF A CULT FILM FREAK|
Through high school and eight years of junior college, my scriptwriting (i.e. creativity) was on standstill but I watched movies just as I did in junior high.
And in 1995 I began writing screenplays again, and still watched many a film and, after the invention of that thing called “The Internet”, I always wanted to do a website about movies but didn’t feel my cinematic opinions merited any more significance than someone with a voracious appetite to rewatch the same hundred-or-so flicks over and over. Of these, one of my personal favorites was, and still is, considered the worst movie of all time, TROLL 2, a straight-to-cable 1991 horror/action catastrophe (not at all related to the mediocre 1980's TROLL starring Noah Hathaway as a kid named "Harry Potter").
For fun I wrote an unofficial sequel script titled TROLL3: MONSTROUS BEINGS, after which I appeared in the documentary BEST-WORST-MOVIE where I share my work with the cast members, and I had a Myspace page for this unofficial sequel, which was a Troll 2 fan page as well.
I did a written interview with one of the actors, Darren Ewing (whom I later did a podcast with), and posted the interview on MySpace. This was just for fun and my blog barely got any hits. Basically, I was shadowboxing in a darkened room.
Then, one night I'm watching the Brian De Palma classic SISTERS, and realized how much I dug the highly underrated actress Jennifer Salt. I looked for her on Myspace and found an appreciation page, and the guy who ran it had Jennifer’s email and said she’d love to hear from a fan. So I decided to try interviewing her, via email. I sent questions about MIDNIGHT COWBOY, Woody Allen's PLAY IT AGAIN SAM, the TV-movie GARGOYLES, the TV-series SOAP, De Palma's SISTERS and her Oscar-winning (and at one time blacklisted) screenwriter father Waldo Salt, and thus had my first official interview.
I included the Jennifer Salt interview on the TROLL 2 MySpace blog – which was becoming a Cult Horror film page as well (though still getting hardly any hits)… And then, with the itch for interviewing real actors, I found Belinda Balaski, who co-starred in the horror classics PIRANHA and THE HOWLING.
After Belinda emailed back a wonderful interview, I realized I had to take things to another level... So I called up my friend Paul, an extremely creative web designer, and told him I just bought a URL for cultfilmfreak.com. Based on my specs, I had him put together a page for Jennifer's interview. I instructed him on the entire layout and where to put certain pictures relating to the Q and A; I also had him make a page for Belinda Balaski... which thus transformed into Cult Film Freak dot com.
And since then I’ve landed interviews with other great actors and actresses like Yaphet Kotto, Michael Madsen, Lee Purcell, Peter Mark Richman, Susan Olsen, Karen Black, and many others.
So now, as you can see, everything has moved here, to this blog, and that's what it shall remain forever. I can control everything and I do the layout and, well the blog lays itself out I guess but I add my own banner and background and theme and there are posts every single day, from movie reviews to interviews, to opinions to photo albums to just about everything cinematic... It's all here and let's hope you enjoy everything.
DIARY OF A ROGUE MOVIEGOER
4/17/13 I haven't been keeping up to date on the journal; perhaps because not very much happens in my life and I haven't gone to the theaters lately. I went to Monsterpolooza and talked with Gary Lockwood of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and he shared a little insight about his character. I like hearing about his acting more than his conquests. I also met Donna Wilkes from ANGEL and JAWS 2 again. She's really nice and was a hero, or rather, heroine of mine growing up. And just to note, I have a bunch of Howard Stern shows on MP3 format and I record individual segments for my computer, and gave two Stern CDs with audio interviews... from 1994... to Eric Roberts and, of all people, Danny Glover. Both were really stoked. But long gone are the days of my own interviews so I don't have anything to share on that front. Maybe one day I shall return, a triumphant podcaster again. We'll see...
1/18/13 Caught the flu... the infamous flu... after having a really bad cold for an entire month, but I was able to turn up my hoodie and see the new Arnold movie, THE LAST STAND, at Marina at eleven in the morning. The theater wasn't crowded but some of the people there were noisy and irritating. One really fat guy sat in the third row (there are three rows past the stadium-like seats), down to the left from where I was perched cat-corner at the very top, and he was looking up and down at the screen and thus making comments and cheers, hoots and howls whenever anything happened of the testosterone nature. It was quite funny, and I was making noises in retort to his ape-like noises that, if anyone was really concentrated, was subliminally parodying the nature of his idiocy. He was something else. Probably lives in a trailer, and not even his own trailer.
1/10/13 Haven't been updating this journal and I apologize. I have been sick an entire month and it's not going away. Well I'm not as bad but something is still lurking. I missed DJANGO UNCHAINED on Christmas Day but a few days later caught it at Marina Pacifica, and it was a pleasant experience, no distractions. I've seen a string of movies since: a few at Market Place including THE GUILT TRIP and a film that I haven't written a review for, yet... And back to the Marina, I saw the Billy Crystal comedy PARENTAL GUIDANCE and JACK REACHER, the latter where the guy behind me was kicking the seat a few times till I cleared my throat in that hinting manner and, well, this lack of storytelling is why I haven't partaken in this journal for a while. All my moviegoing experiences have been absent of frustration... How boring, huh?
10/28/12 Saw CLOUD ATLAS on Friday at Market Place. Sat in the very back at a handicap seat all alone. Two old people sat in front of me and ended up leaving halfway through. Wasn't their cup of tea. And this weekend went to the SON OF MONSTERPOLOOZA horror film makeup and autograph show. Met Malcolm McDowell, or rather, I got a few autographs from him and who I did actually meet i.e. talked to for a while was Joe Turkel from THE SHINING, THE KILLING and PATHS OF GLORY and spent a lot of time chatting with Veronica Cartwright from ALIENS and THE BIRDS. Also spent time with legendary character-actor CLU GULAGER after the event and we discussed topics ranging from an edited scene in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW to his memorable cameo in the John Landis Neo Noir INTO THE NIGHT. It was a really cool weekend that also included autographs from Lance Henriksen, Jenny Wright, Catherine Mary Stewart and a few others.
10/9/12 Saw FRANKENWEENIE with my nephew at Marina Pacifica and it was in the smallest theater in the newest side, and has the feel of a private screening room albeit a really big one – but it’s a small theater and I always prefer it because there’s never a crowd, which is why particular films play in there. God knows why this movie, the best Tim Burton film in ages, bombed so hard. Saw ARGO in a larger theater and sat in the very back and was very sleepy, it being a Saturday Afternoon – I really don’t prefer watching films during my usual naptime, especially if they’re boring. Saw THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER at Market Place; sat behind three teenage girls who looked like kittens with a ball of yarn – the movie was their yarn and they ate it all up, but weren’t noisy or anything. And most recently caught PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 at Marina Pacifica and the audience was mostly couples, and being alone I felt particularly lonesome and irritated… the latter feeling towards the movie itself, which ended when it should have started.
9/30/12 Went to see LOOPER with my friend Kenny – he saved our backrow seats when I took a piss, and the theater at Market Place wasn’t crowded...The only memorable experience was a guy who, towards the end of the film, walked into the theater, leaned against the wall and was eating popcorn so loud it sounded like firecrackers…On the way home Ken pointed out how KILL BILL 2 was more David Lynch than Tarantino and I got a kick outta that very true statement…The day before, Saturday, saw HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA at Marina (with my nephew) and the worst aspect was the film itself... And now I can share about my October 1st experience at the screening of a new Henry Jaglom film at the Directors Guild of America on Sunset… Saw Judd Nelson and Karen Black and spoke quickly with a bearded Dennis Christopher, who was classy and polite and Zack Norman, who played Danny DeVito’s cousin in ROMANCING THE STONE (“Look at them snappas, will ya!”), was very cool… My friend Ashley and I had a pretty good time after the movie during the champagne party… And I got to witness a famously flirtatious ladykiller make a pass at Ashley, who’s quite beautiful… The one and only Corey Feldman asked her, “Haven’t I seen you before?” and it was hilarious… Nice guy though… And the coolest person there was Henry Jaglom’s son… Henry, though, wasn’t very friendly but he might’ve had things on the brain… Diane Salinger, David Proval and Richard Benjamin (who was in the theater but not in the lobby) were also present... But I really prefer autograph shows where the celebs wanna talk, especially if you pay them... At this screening I felt like a janitor at a wax museum...
9/21/12 Getting back into the swing of going to the movies. Saw THE MASTER at Bella Terra, which is part of an outdoor shopping center at the foot of Huntington Beach. Love this theater and haven't yet had a bad experience. The next night saw ROBOT AND FRANK in the smallest theater at Market Place. The following day, at the same theater, saw TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE. Sunday Afternoon and it was crowded with old folks. The worst part was sitting through a ten minute infomercial for Les Misérables. I was moaning as Hugh Jackman showed everyone how he sings live; it was like being tortured but no one else seemed to mind. It's basically a Leisure World theater. During the movie itself, everyone laughed and even applauded. Clint Eastwood's audience is younger than he is and they're all ancient.
9/16/12 Nothing to report on seeing LAWLESS at Marina. I sat in the far back seat, which feels like you're not even in the theater, separated from the goons in the audience, and I like being up there. This is the first movie I've seen in a theater since THE EXPENDABLES sequel a month ago. Why did I take such a long break? It is the twenty minute trailers or the annoying patrons I have to share my space and time with? If you've read my journal so far, you'll know the answer, or answers, to that question...
8/11/12 Saw THE CAMPAIGN at Market Place Saturday Afternoon. Sat in the back and the air conditioning felt good on a very hot/sticky day. The audience laughed because they wanted the movie to be funny; that's how it sounded, anyway. Good crowd with no jerks. And then on Sunday Morning saw TOTAL RECALL at Marina. Lost my back row/right corner seat to a lady... "seat snag" always occurs when I take a last-minute restroom break during the trailers. So I sat on the back row/left corner. Hardly anyone in the theater. Air conditioning felt good. But eventually, feeling antsy and tired, I left about ten minutes early. It was apparent how the film would turn out so it didn't matter. I felt sluggish all afternoon. Which leads to my illness this week.
8/05/12 Well the Hollywood Autograph Show is over, and from now on, instead of Burbank, it will be located in smoggy noisy grotty (I just used that word) LAX, ugh! But I have a bone to pick with certain folks at the Show... Assistants and Booking agents who are so protective of their clients they leap all over the real fans that simply want to have a conversation other than, "Here's 20 bucks... Write my name in silver snail-trail pen..." For these prissy irritated little guys who chew me out when I engage their actresses or actors in conversation... You need to realize your clients aren't mannequins in your private parlours of envy. This is the second show I've driven home feeling frustrated and pissed off after spending hundreds of dollars... And that's not a good thing. Would you eat at a restaurant where, after ordering an expensive dinner, you get yelled at by the waiter? Anyway, for the cool maverick actors and actresses (Reb Brown, Morgan Brittany, Debi Storm, Susan Blakley) who don't need snotty little fuss buckets sitting by their side like clingy guardian angels, this drink's for you...
7/22/12 Saw THE DARK KNIGHT RISES with my nephew on Sunday at Marina (all movies were at Marina for this entry). We had to stand out in a line and wait fifteen minutes. Of course after the tragedy both he and I were jumpy each time a door opened inside the theater, but we’re paranoid to begin with. Oh and we sat in the section I refer to as The Mozart Seats. The ones in the far back – elevated from the others. I forgot that it was for the handicap and their friends. But was reminded when a guy rolled up in a wheelchair and asked me, “Are you here because you’re actually handicap, or...” And you can imagine I felt like shit. Then again, there were others sitting all around; two rows consist of this section. So I said, “At least I’m not the only one,” trying to feel less jerky. We scooted over and thankfully there were two seats available, or we’d have been front row for an overlong movie. And a few days ago I finally saw MAGIC MIKE, a movie I was avoiding. My friend, a female, went with me... she was as bored as I was. And the Saturday before, a week ago, saw ICE AGE 4 with my younger nephew. There was only one other family in the theater and it was great – except that when we entered the room it was completely dark – the manager had to turn on everything and I requested that he skip the trailers, which he did. Boy oh boy, the moviegoing experience is awesome without all those trailers: twenty minutes worth. Which cracks me up every time I see a Hollywood film against Capitalism. The people against it don’t have to sit through trailers, which are Capitalism Easter eggs – they have private theaters and skip right to the chase. And I saw THE WATCH and it was a perfect experience without distractions.
7/06/12 Although I enjoy New Yorkers in movies… Especially the most obnoxious characters… In real life they can drive you nuts. I’m in line to see SAVAGES on Friday (opening) night at Marina… Three New York jerk-offs in their early twenties are commenting on two pretty girls a few lines over. “That bitch has a fat ass," comments the first. “Yeah, she sure does,” the second chimes in. Then the third guy walks over and asks the other girl out – she refuses politely and I’m standing in line trying not to look back (Lot’s wife). Then they mentioned a movie that, if they bought tickets, would seem very gay... this stars Channing Tatum and I silently agreed: that’s a flick I'll rent, if ever… But back to the movie at hand: I walk into the theater and it’s almost completely full. I have to sit in the third row, and I’ll say this for Marina’s newer theater (to the right of the ticket counter): no matter where you sit, the screen is comfortably visible. And once the movie was almost over, a funny thing happened: When the protagonists turn the tables on the villains, a black guy started chanting loudly: “That’s how you do it! That’s how you do it!” Over and over for like… ten times or more. A few people said, “Shut up” but in that cautious tone white people have – guilt mixed with fear. I think that guy's shouting was the best part of the movie. And just to note, the next Monday I brought my nephew to see TED and at Market Place and I went to TO ROME WITH LOVE again – and enjoyed it more the second time. I even added a ½ to my original three star review.
6/29/12 It’s my birthday and I’ll see TED if I want to. Another big opener for the underdog theater Market Place. The audience was good and men roared with laughter: sounding like the studio audience for MARRIED WITH CHILDREN. One guy laughed the hardest and loudest and then after the movie turned to his friend and said, “It was funny, but not hilarious.” I imagine if it were hilarious he’d have let off a hydrogen bomb. So the next week I took my nephew to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and two old high school friends, actually church friends, were there. Hadn’t seen one of these guys in twenty years. I was speaking to them in the theater and kept being interrupted by a strange young woman with noticeable mental challenges: she didn’t know when not to interrupt. Then you could hear her speaking through the entire movie but thankfully my nephew and I sat far in the back. And on Tuesday, the day before July 4th, I went to BELLA TERRA off Beach Boulevard and the 405 and saw the new Woody Allen flick TO ROME WITH LOVE. I dig this theater... It feels like you’re in a big private screening room – it has that fancy contained atmosphere setting. A man behind me – but way off to the side – kept coughing loudly. I’d turn around each time… Not to complain but to look at the pretty mousy blond girl sitting next to him, who was probably his daughter because she was bookended by the man and a woman his age: obviously her parents. I’d probably be annoyed by the man’s coughing if he weren’t a possible father-in-law… Shit, I wish. I didn’t even have the guts to speak to them as we all left the theater. What a wuss.
6/27/12 Afternoon screening of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER at Market Place. A perfect audience – no one sat near me. The next day saw BRAVE with my youngest nephew at Marina Pacifica. We got the back two rows and it was another good crowd and not even kids were noisy. Then on Sunday (hat trick) saw SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD and got my usual seat with my feet on the “roll bar.” An older woman sat diagonal to me and halfway through made these strange noises – I couldn’t figure the origin (her feet weren’t moving) but it was a torturous tap, tap, tapping of some kind so I moved to the very back row, which in that particular theater the seats are so high a couple could have a honeymoon without anyone noticing. Oh and last Monday my nephew (the older one) and I saw MOONRISE KINGDOM at Marina. Theater was full of happy hipster couples. My nephew slept through the entire film and I was very jealous.
6/15/12 Well what’d’ya know, The Old Folks Theater i.e. The Market Place in Long Beach got both of the new big releases – although the older and still popular movies playing at Marina won the weekend. I went to the horrendously awful THAT’S MY BOY on Friday afternoon and the audience was sparse and quiet. That is – there wasn’t much laughter. Then on Sunday I saw ROCK OF AGES in a smaller theater and other than two women who sat behind me – both with scratchy laughter reminiscent of Mercedes McCambridge’s boozy gurgle from THE EXORCIST – it was an alright time. I wound up moving and sitting in a lone seat in the handicap section.
6/08/12 Midnight screening of PROMETHEUS at the Marina. Not many people and I bought my tickets on a machine outside the place. One of the smaller theaters and it was a good quiet crowd. Then upon leaving at nearly 3 a.m. and heading into the parking lot where mist shrouded the car windows, a group of "fan boys" moaned about the movie. One said, "I can't believe how unfocused it was." He repeated this about four times, and was very focused. And the next day saw MADAGASCAR 3 with my youngest nephew at The Market Place. Another good crowd but a lotta kids yet even they weren't very noisy.
5/19/12 Saw BATTLESHIP with my nephew at Marina. One of the big theaters and it was mostly full. When the trailers began a woman around sixty was talking to her husband (or whoever he was) and I said to myself, "Oh hell, another talker." I always sit close to the blabbermouths. I've found that people who talk during trailers will continue doing so. She did... but only a minute into the opening credits before I turned and SSSH'ed them. The man replied, "Shhh yourself." So I sprang out of my seat, walked back, bent down and said: "So you're gonna talk during the movie." It wasn't a threatening tone nor was it a question. I felt kinda guilty but the talking ceased after that. I can be a neurotic dick, and the movie going experience brings it out, but sometimes I'm in the right. Right? And on Sunday I saw GIRL IN PROGRESS at Market Place. Then skipping a week later, saw MEN AT BLACK III at the Marina, opening night, Friday. Not really crowded, and I brought my nephew to ensure I could save my seat. I use that poor kid as a human bookmark, but he gets a free movie.
5/18/12 Went to WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING and the turnout/audience was as expected: Young girls and couples. It was in the largest theater at The Market Place and I sat in my usual back corner to the far left. Other than an obnoxious girl showing her bright iphone screen to her boyfriend, all was okay. Oh but the trailers, tons of them all promoting either date movies or feel good flicks and I thankfully had music in my headphones to drown out the torture of cross-promotion.
5/17/12 This will teach me to pay attention to the Internet. I had no idea THE DICTATOR came out already. I thought it opened Friday. I found out it was playing at the Marina and saw it in one of the smaller corner theaters. The crowd was eclectic and I wasn't entirely comfortable, although I had my usual seat next to the hand rails, so that was nice. When the movie started, some jerk sitting behind me - and a few seats over - kept scooting his feet through the seats. My peripheral was distracted by his Vans nudging back and forth; when he laughed the shoes wiggled in the same rhythm of the laughter. I sat up, looked back and sat down, hoping he'd get the hint. Then he sat up, peaked over at me, and sat down. He kept on with the damn shoe-shifting, so after another five minutes of Asshole Sneaker Theater I sat up... and this time whispered (very politely) for him to stop, and he said, "Oh, I'm sorry." And was actually cool about it. After that the only problem was the movie itself. The audience's semi-hollow laughter reminded me of seeing THE HANGOVER PART 2 where everyone anticipated greatness and was handed mediocrity. But I was in the back row for that showing, at least. Oh and a message to anyone making comedy films. Hold back on showing too much in the trailers. It's interesting what people sound like laughing at jokes they've seen a hundred time in the trailers. It's difficult to explain, but the laughter sounds like the feeling of eating soup after a big meal.
5/15/12 Saw BERNIE, which I really enjoyed, and almost didn't see it. Driving down Studebaker Road I turned back around and headed back home. Then turned around again, went to the Market Place theater and after paying for that movie, almost slipped into another movie but stuck with the one I planned on, thankfully. The audience was quiet except two college-aged girls who mistook the place for a coffee shop or University library. They were far enough away so it didn't matter, but what's even worse than people talking during a movie is when the people sitting next to them don't bitch about it. Then on Wednesday I saw THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL in the biggest theater at Market Place with only a few people inside. I love that. I felt like a content old man but the movie got a tad boring. Still, it was a good time, relaxing. The audience was quiet. No babies, bitches, or brutes.
5/11/12 Saw DARK SHADOWS at the Marina Pacifica. In one of the "corner theaters" and it was almost a full house. A woman behind me was snorting a lot, annoying as hell, and continuously did so even when she wasn't laughing. And kicking the back of my seat and even my shoulder once. Till I turned around and said nothing. And she stopped after that. The kicking, anyway.
5/05/12 Saw the blockbuster Marvel adaptation of THE AVENGERS at the Marina Pacifica with my youngest nephew, Cody. Had my usual good seats with my feet propped on the roll bar. The crowd cheered for the Hulk and dug the movie more than I did. And my nephew, at times, seemed bored. Then on the following Tuesday I saw THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENT and was almost all alone in the theater. Marina again. I was sitting in the very back, hidden, and a couple walked in, jovial about being the only people there and talking loud. So during the movie I had to stake my territory with obnoxious laughter and, after that, they were much quieter.
4/24/12 Saw THE LUCKY ONE at the Market Place. The concession girl gave me my free coke (I have a card) which I didn't drink. I used it to save my seat during bathroom visits. Although since the theater was practically vacant I didn't have to worry about seat-snag. Only a few old folks (from the local Leisure World... this is their place) and four college-aged girls, who yapped during the trailers but piped down once the movie started, were there. But my real adventure was this weekend during the Hollywood Autograph Show. I talked Led Zeppelin with Cindy Brady (Susan Olsen). The Grateful Dead with Bobby Brady (Mike Lookinland). Steven Spielberg films with Cousin Oliver (Robbie Rist). I hung around my friend John as he spoke with Gary Lockwood from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Gary sat next to fellow Kubrick astronaut Keir Dullea, an affable guy but not as open as Lockwood. Later on, at the bar, Gary hung out and told many tales of a Hollywood ladykiller... himself. Lorenzo Lamas was down-to-earth and friendly. Stepfanie Kramer from HUNTER was pleasant and might do an interview. THE SOUND OF MUSIC stars Heather Menzies appreciated my PIRANHA poster while the original Spiderman Nicholas Hammond talked THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES. I got autographs from Garry Marshall, who signed my VHS copy of PSYCH-OUT (a b-movie where he provided a cameo before becoming a mogul). Cindy Williams signed a few things; I gave her copies of a CONVERSATION lobby card and she didn't know how to react. The girl who played ANNIE (Aileen Quinn) was very cool and very pretty. Turned out just like you'd expect: big smile and tons of infectious energy. And the major highlight was hearing a fan mistake Sally Kellerman with my friend Sally Kirkland. "Do you have anything from Best of the Best?" he asked a stone-faced Kellerman. And the guy kept asking and asking. I jumped in with: "You're thinking of Sally Kirkland." Which was funny because Sally Kirkland and I have discussed how the same thing happens to her and, well anyhow, till the next show...
4/17/12 Saw LOCKOUT at Marina Pacifica with my nephew. It played inside the big theater on the old section to the left. The one gorgeous counter girl checked us in – she outta be in pictures, as they say. The theater was almost empty. But my real experiences occurred during the weekend (Sunday) at Monsterpalooza where I met, and got autographs and hopefully lined up interviews from, actors and actresses including Thomas Waites, the guy who gets run over by the subway in THE WARRIORS and plays Windows in THE THING. I pointed out that THE THING has two characters named “Mac and Windows” and he got a kick outta that. Also met Jessica Harper, mostly known from SUSPERIA (a film I don’t really care for) but we talked Woody Allen’s STARDUST MEMORIES and LOVE AND DEATH. She was surprised that I knew about character-actor John Rothman, her beau in STARDUST MEMORIES – it turns out he’s her brother-in-law! Later, in line to have John Landis autograph my INTO THE NIGHT album/LP and a THE BOOK OF WEREWOLVES paperback, which was also signed by David Naughton, star of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, THE HOWLING director Joe Dante and his stock ingénue/werewolf victim from THE HOWLING Belinda Balaski… Standing in the Landis line I felt a tap on my shoulder and it was Jessica and her female assistant (who provided the tap, I think) saying hello. That felt good. Chris Sarandon was there – I mentioned his DOG DAY AFTERNOON character Leon is noted in The Andy Warhol Diary and he tripped on that. And before entering the show, child actor Scott Schwartz stood in line with my friend John and I. Scott's in the memorabilia business. He "owned" Richard Pryor in THE TOY and is most famous for getting his tongue stuck on the pole in A CHRISTMAS STORY. Other talented folks including a past interviewee Kelli Maroney and last but not least, veteran scream queen Ann Robinson from the original WAR OF THE WORLDS who is very nice and talkative. Anyhow, let’s hope those interviews fly in.
4/13/12 Friday the 13th and nothing bad happened. Got a good seat in the biggest theater at Market Place for THE THREE STOOGES. Sat in the back row. To my right about five seats down a lanky teenage kid around fifteen was laughing at everything without making a sound. It was infectious sneaking peaks at him. Made me enjoy/appreciate the movie more, which was surprisingly good anyway. Larry David, who plays a bickering nun in the movie, despite being an icon for the modern generation, isn't funny in my opinion. He seems like someone's endearingly cranky uncle hired to perform when the talent doesn't arrive. On his popular cable show he's being himself, so that works, but in other people's films, playing characters, he's just not humorous at all.
4/06/12 Wasn't planning on seeing AMERICAN REUNION till Saturday or Sunday but Friday Night at 9:30 I got an itch. Wired on an energy drink I checked the times for my favorite, Market Place, and it was playing at 9:40. Alas, I couldn't make that. So I saw that Garden Grove's VALLEY VIEW FOUR STAR THEATER, which back in the day (the eighties) was known as "The Burn." I'd ride my bike from Long Beach and buy doobies for $5 bucks apiece, ride home, smoke in my room and listen to Pink Floyd... I saw this theater had a 9:50 showtime so I raced over, got a good seat in the back, and it was hardly crowded at all. The audience consisted of teens or twenty-somethings and they were quiet; no one laughed much at all. This theater's kind of a dump, next door to a white trash bowling alley, but they only play three movie trailers unlike the horrendous six at the bigger venues.
4/02/12 Went to see SALMON FISHING AT THE YEMEN at the Market Place and it was old-timer night: attack of the Peppridge Farms people. They even had subtitles on the screen, which I don't mind since I use them at home. But I noticed the elderly take a long time to order things: tickets, food, or whatever else. I stood in line almost ten minutes with five couples ahead of me. They want their deals and information upfront, up close and personal. Repeated a hundred times in case they'd miss a phantom deal or coupon thrown their way. Once inside, the movie played in the biggest theater with a tiny audience. Brings back my fear the Market Place will close soon. I don't want the Marina to be my only option. And while I realize there's that giant Long Beach Edwards theater bordering on grimy Hawaiian Gardens with the awful horseshoe-shaped parking lot that's always crowded, I despise that location and pray my underdog locale will survive.
4/01/12 Back to the UA Marketplace theater to see another selected release that finally found it's way to Long Beach. JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME starring Jason Segel. He's a likable actor but I wonder what's the attraction girls have to this bizarre looking lug; he resembles an overweight coffin maker in a Gothic comic book. The theater wasn't crowded but my back row was taken. I sat four rows behind a guy who ate popcorn louder than an A-bomb. I then moved a few seats over. I don't like anyone sitting directly behind me even if they're back some. I call this MY AMERICAN COUSIN phobia. Figure it out. Oh and I mentioned how there's a pretty girl (who tries not to be) at the Marina theater -- well there's one here too. I got a free popcorn with my movie-card so I went up and collected my "gift" and talked to a pretty worker about BEING FLYNN and actually ordered popcorn. But I actually ate the popcorn when the movie was halfway done. Before that I used the bag to save my seat during my usual two bathroom visits.Works better than a sweatshirt or keys.
3/31/12 Saw WRATH OF THE TITANS with the only person I see movies with, or just about. My twenty-four year old cousin Austin. He was moping audibly from the get-go and I could tell he didn't dig the flick, which was pretty bad. I had to tell him to pipe down since the 3D tickets cost thirty bucks. The theater was somewhat crowded at Marina Pacifica and it was raining outside. One person worked the ticket booth and there was a line going all the way up the stairs. It was annoying, and wet. Those kids at the Marina are lazy and sluggish. There doesn't seem to be any management. A soft anarchy.
3/30/12 Went to Long Beach UA Marketplace to see a movie that'd been in "selected theaters" for a while, BEING FLYNN. I worry that this theater, which I've gone to since I was a kid, will close down soon since it's never very crowded and plays lesser known movies than the big neighboring Marina Pacifica. And they stop after the 7 O'Clock shows except Friday and Saturday. And I didn't help them any. There was no one working the ticket counter. So I walked into the lobby where no one was checking tickets, or working the food stand. It was like a ghost town or one of those post-nuclear flicks. So what was a person to do? I walked into the movie for free and felt I was being watched. But I made it in. There were only four people inside the theater. I sat in the back and felt paranoid when a "Darth Vader" walked in with the standard red lightsaber flashlight, pacing up and down the middle isle for no apparent reason. Guilt, perhaps. But again, this free ride couldn't be helped. The employees must have been upstairs listening to Radiohead or something.
3/27/12 Went to Marina Pacifa for THE HUNGER GAMES on a Tuesday Night to avoid the weekend crowds and rain. It was in one of the bigger theaters and without many people, although a good half of the seats were filled. It just didn't seem that way. I sat in the back corner, my usual residence during solo flights. The audience was my cup of tea, not being too expressively emotional during the movie itself. I got a feeling many were seeing it a second time. The age range was college and a lot of young couples. And although I avoided this blockbuster during the weekend, Saturday afternoon was a standalone adventure. I drove to the Valley to meet child actress KATY KURTZMAN, who I've collected hard-to-find movies for her YouTube Site, and my friend OLIVIA BARASH, the cult-popular child actress turned ingenue from REPO MAN who co-starred with Katy in the Disney TV Movie CHILD OF GLASS in 1978. I alone set up this reunion, and while they reminisced on old times I felt like the janitor in The Breakfast Club, or the Invisible Man, or both, but it was kinda neat being with two (who I consider) icons of a great era of child actors. Katy and Olivia never had a long-running TV series to define their careers and that's a good thing. Not bogged down by a one-note symphony and having appeared in an eclectic assortment of projects, their "living legacy" is, in my opinion, more valid than the actors and actresses whose pinnacle achievement's bigger than they are. It was a good meal and a pretty good time, although to me, being a lover of classic film and television, the importance of the occasion is what really flagged the moon, as it were. And it was a long journey to and from, but not much traffic, thankfully. Oh and Sunday night I was invited by a beautiful actress I interviewed (the youngest I've ever done a podcast with... she appeared in a Henry Jaglom film) to her birthday party, but the storm's tail-end was cracking the night sky, and being an hour from L.A. during rain-swept traffic, I had to pass. And now I feel that that was a trek I should've taken. I think when the time comes, and my time is up, my headstone will coin the STAR WARS line, "Almost there."
3/17/12 Almost a full house for 21 JUMP STREET. Couldn't tell who was there to see the geek and who for the sex symbol. It was a mixed crowd: some teenies but mostly middle-aged couples and a few families. I had a good seat along the side towards the middle (at Marina Pacifica in Long Beach) and an overweight man sat on my row, which has four seats: so there was one between us. People who saw us probably thought we came together and did that "homophobic seating" thing, but we were just two people who go to movies alone. Trailers showed the new Johnny Depp/Tim Burton movie, a reboot of the iconic horror soap opera DARK SHADOWS that looks horrible. They're taking a cool Dan Curtis show and turning it into a farce, with Johnny doing his usual flitting goth boy thing that began with his horrendous puppet-like performance in ED WOOD and won't ever stop. So anyway, after all the trailers, 21 JUMP STREET begins. The audience was laughing at everything. It was a funny movie but still, the laughter was a bit much and they were even cracking up at the stuff that'd been shown on the trailer a thousand times. They wanted to get their money's worth... it was that kind of "we paid for this so we're gonna enjoy it" laughter. A beautiful girl, around eighteen, sat with her parents to my right, which was distracting because every once or twice I'd look over to see how she was enjoying the film. I get distracted that way. Pathetic, huh? Oh and during almost every scene, even the really overboard sexual stuff, a little girl who sounded, I swear, around five or six years old, was cracking up really loud. It was bizarre and a bit creepy. Some parents have no limits. Or perhaps the babysitter brought her. "Our little secret."
3/11/12 So I felt I had to see two movies this weekend and went to Eddie Murphy's A THOUSAND WORDS. It was in the largest theater at Marina Pacifica Long Beach and there were about ten people inside, all spread around. I like when this happens, and it's rare. I sat in the back and could be a fine bum with my ipod, sweatshirt and notebook and didn't have to worry about getting my seat sharked when I'd take a piss. That happens a lot going to the movies alone. And it's strange still seeing Eddie Murphy on the big screen, especially having grown up experiencing TRADING PLACES and BEVERLY HILLS COP in theaters, and 48 HRS the first VHS I ever owned and cherished. Those were the days when Eddie was lean, hungry and hilarious; opposite of the cookie-cutter comedian he's become. I'm glad I got to experience that era as a teenager. Eddie Murphy was my own personal Woodstock.
3/11/12 A day screening of JOHN CARTER at Marina Pacifica. I always flock to those seats with the footrests I can use no matter how many people fill the theater. But I got really tired during the movie. The long decline where you just can't be awake enough to feel normal. And it wasn't just because the movie was boring. There's something about afternoon screenings I don't like. It's good to get the movie over with so I can review it, and link it to imdb before the late evening, but the daily routine's thrown off a bit and, like I mentioned, weariness will stalk you relentlessly. And why didn't they call this movie JOHN CARTER FROM MARS? That's so much better, don't you think?
12/10/11 Went to the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences with my friend Sally Kirkland. Sally's an iconic, Oscar Nominated actress that I interviewed, and she takes me along to see new releases. I had really wanted to see Steven Spielberg's THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN for quite some time. It had been heavily promoted for a year, and this was a screening fifteen days before release. Sitting in the middle section, I noticed a bearded guy sitting down with his long haired son about three rows in front. "This is all digital," the man said to the younger guy, "whereas it used to be optical." It was John Landis, director of ANIMAL HOUSE, TRADING PLACES, AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON to name a few, and his son Max, who wrote the script for CHRONICLE (although I didn't know that then). After the movie, Sally and I said hello to John Landis. What he thought about TINTIN was funny, but perhaps shouldn't be shared as it's his own business (remember, both Landis and Spielberg produced the TWILIGHT ZONE movie). Sally then introduced Mr. Landis to Terry Moore, who happened to walk by. John's face lit up as he introduced "The star of the movie we watched together... Terry Moore from MIGHTY JOE YOUNG" to his son. Wherein Max replied in blunt slacker bravado: "Oh Shit!" It was a great day. And earlier, at the now defunct restaurant The Silver Spoon, I met, and talked with, Robert Forster. We discussed THE DESCENDANTS. Anyhow, thanks for that day, Sally.
10/06/11 I went to a pre-screening of MONEYBALL with actress and friend Sally Kirkland at the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences. We sat in the middle of the row where Sally prefers because she doesn't have to move her neck around, which makes sense. But I am claustrophobic and prefer sitting on the end of the row. Plus I like to be able to use the bathroom, because when you have to go, you have to go. And I usually have to go at least once during a movie. Well halfway through the movie I had to go pretty bad, and Jack Carter, a very old actor who appeared in one of Sally's films IN THE HEAT OF PASSION, was sitting, and blocking, the end row. Jack's very tall, and his long legs made it impossible for me to slip out. I had to sit there and wait for the (long) movie to end. Jack Carter is an old guy and throughout the entire film he was asking his wife, "What did they say?" Or sometimes he'd connect with a piece of dialog he did hear, and repeat it to her loudly. After the screening I saw the beautiful Leslie Ann Warren, who was at the theater when Sally and I went earlier that afternoon to see a foreign film HAPPY, HAPPY which was TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE. Halfway through that movie, Leslie walked out of the theater, and I met her in the lobby as she was reading dialog for an upcoming play. Sally had to tell her how HAPPY, HAPPY ended but I don't think Leslie cared. Nor did Sally or myself, but we stuck through it anyway, just like we did THE BEAVER and ATLAS SHRUGGED. And something I forgot. Before MONEYBALL, on the way up to the third floor where the theater is located, a familiar looking blond lady was in the elevator with us: Angie Dickenson. It was only later I realized the significance of riding in an elevator with Angie. Being a fan of DRESSED TO KILL and it's predecessor, PSYCHO, this was liken to taking a shower with Janet Leigh... Think about it...