Thursday, April 19, 2018

if this were at all legible

The best part of Fletch is not the humor, not the one-liners, or Fletch's deliberate obnoxiousness. The best part is that the plot works, and works well. And, like many a "detective" story--

like Jonny Gossamer novels in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, "the plots, they all have this thing, this formula that was so cool... two cases that were seemingly unrelated. One's normal, and the other' some wild shit... Then you' defined out that they're connected. That it's all one case."

--the two cases/stories that Fletch is working end up more connected than just the coincidence of him hanging out at the beach to look like a junkie and Stanwyk picking him because he seems aimless and disposable. And, the connections don't feel arbitrary. SPOILERS. But really, if you haven't already seen Fletch, you should just go watch it now, come back later. Stanwyk's connection the drug trade is a pretty good reason for him to fake his death and make a run for it. Also, we see Stanwyk and the Chief (Joe Don Baker) about a half hour in. The clues are there just enough that we can almost keep up with Fletch. Almost.

 

 

 

 

 

Fletch makes great use of underlings. He talks to nurses, secretaries, mechanics, real estate agents, drug dealers. All to get information on their higher ups, to get access to file folders and travel and deal details. He poses as a waiter in a crunch. The "help" are invisible. And they are privy to things.

He talks to parents, who are all too willing to talk about their kid.

And, he's got great asides that mean nothing. Like when he tells the mechanics that he needs "10 quarts of antifreeze, preferably Prestone" then he changes his mind, which sells the lie better; "No, make that Quaker State."

Also, I imagine that the waiter (Nico De Silva) at the club knows damn well that Fletch is not there with the Underhills. He's just tired of Mr. Underhill's mistreatment.

And being this kind of reporter (or private detective, as Fletch is effectively the same), lying to people left and right--this sounds fun. Hell, at nine-years-old, I should have been wanting to be someone like Fletch rather than, say, Luke Skywalker or Indiana Jones.

 

 

 

 

 

And, it only just now occurred to me that Sally Ann never actually shows up in the story. She remains on the periphery. (The police are going to pick her up at the Airport Marriott, according to Fletch's letter, but she is also supposedly connecting on a flight from Provo so shouldn't need--but could have, depending on the layover--a hotel room. Also, Fletch confirmed the booking, in Alan's name (when it should be under an alias as Alan is faking his death), on flight 441, but in the letter at the end of the film, he tells the police that it is flight 306.)You gotta wonder how much she knows about what Alan has been doing. Does she know he's got another wife? Does she know he is involved in the drug trade?

Anyway, I'm nine now. And, Fletch and his deliberate obnoxiousness is something I enjoy a lot. And all these other movies I've been rewatching this year--they're on regular repeat on video at home, and movies are infecting my brain more thoroughly, thank god, than, well, god. Despite weekly church, and bible class five days a week in school. Movies are more evocative, more fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

if you’re so bored, why don’t you go to utah

The Harold Faltermeyer music gets going and I'm all in when Fletch is on. We can start there.

(Even though Hollywood Reporter reviewer Duane Byrge called the "eruption of mechanical drumming and percussive bass lines, appropriate in action and triumph-type movies... Annoying and incongruous here", the music helps define this film for me in a good way.)

The titular Fletch (Chevy Chase) and his sardonic, sarcastic, deadpan disdain for everybody sat well with me when I was just turned nine and it sits well with me today.

(Sidenote: I know the "Pup 'N' Taco" line could be taken as racist and dismissive, but I think it is just Fletch playing unsophisticated because he doesn't trust Alan Stanwick (Tim Matheson) one bit. Hell, most of Fletch's character, and his unsophisticated, boorish, childish behavior, is deliberate.)

Meanwhile, in 2007, Reihan Salam, writing for Slate, calls the film "abominably bad" and I am baffled. Salam does capture a certain tone of the film, though, when he describes the era and context for this film:

Reagan has just been re-elected by a landslide when the film hit theaters in 1985, and Fletch reflects, in a strange and roundabout way, an era of wrenching liberal despair. While the enlightened bourgeoisie and their scruffy spawn were no longer running the country, they could at least laugh along with Chevy Chase as he poked fun at Reagan's America--the nouveau Richie, the pig-headed cops, the Mormons.

And there are some beautiful comedic visuals, some fairly subtle. When Fletch talks to his editor ten or so minutes into the film, he (Fletch) doesn't quite have finished the story he's working on. The editor picks up a pot of coffee and his hand is shaking and Fletch picks up a cup and purposely shakes it as he offers, "Can I help you with that?"

And silly ones like Fletch slipping after dressing like a surgeon, with the little booties over his shoes.

But back to Salam and his inability to laugh at anything.

Or--and let's go broad, because I'm in a mood for broad--any conservative that can't take a fucking joke. Or any liberal who can't take a joke, either, for that matter, but for the moment, let us stick with the conservatives. For example, just the other day Breitbart publishes a story: "NBC's 'Timeless' Mocks Christians: 'God Doesn't Exist'". And, for the record, I saw this story because a very conservative, very religious Facebook friend (my high school history teacher, in fact) posted a link to it. The story describes a conversation from a recent episode of the time traveling show (after being sure to point out that "not an episode passes without a major politically correct theme being infused into the storyline... They find racism, sexism, hate, intolerance, and ignorance in America of old"):

Jiya asks Rufus if he ever thought there was "something bigger out there," or a higher power in the universe. In reply, Rufus garbled the concept of prayer and mocked Christians for bothering.

Rufus calls Jiya's "visions" a side-effect of time travel and tells her, "There's no such thing as a higher power." And, he offers a variant of the classic agnostic query: "If everything happens for a reason, then what's the reason for JFK getting shot by some crazy dude with three names?" Then he gets serious. "Look," he says, "when I was a kid, my mom used to thank God for every good thing that happened. And when something bad happened, she'd say, 'Everything happens for a reason' or 'God has a plan'. I watched my mom get on her knees and pray every night, begging God to take us out of our crappy neighborhood. But, you know who did? Me. God doesn't exist." Maybe it's because I'm inherently an asshole and a long-time atheist, but I see no mockery there, and no garbling of prayer, of religion, or any of it. But, even more, this is not the show saying anything about God. This is one character with a point of view. Because, characters are better when they have inner lives and thoughts about the things they do and the things that are done to them. And, honestly, this conversation feels like one of two things in a show like this: 1) a one-off, or maybe just a recurring debate between these characters for them to talk while waiting for other things to happen, or 2) this is a setup, and God himself is going to show up at least on the periphery by the end of the season, and Jiya's "visions" will very much be proven, or at least suggested, to be sourced from that higher power.

Warner Todd Huston, author of the Breitbart piece, says, "Once again we see the insistence that because bad things happen this somehow proves there is no God." Since, I'm going broad, I will counter that it could also just prove that God is a dick. Huston cites a video produced by Dennis Prager about suffering, a basic question of which is, "[H]ow can 'suffering' exist without an objective standard against which to judge it? Absent a standard, there is no justice at all, [Philosopher Peter Kreeft] explained. If there is no justice, there is no injustice and if there is no injustice, there is no suffering. On the other hand, if justice exists, God exists."

Which--and here's some of that mockery that wasn't in that Timeless episode--that's a bunch of circular logic bullshit. You don't need an objective standard to come up with the idea of suffering. Things hurt. We have a nervous system. We have sentience and a deeper understanding of our live and our circumstances than (apparently) most of the animal kingdom. I don't recall the argumentation term for what they're doing here, but it's a bit of putting the cart before the horse, suffering is a concept that comes into being and then gets defined, not the other way around. Similarly, justice is a concept we define based on our own understanding of suffering and fairness. If we require God to define these things for us, then we don't really have as free a will as God supposedly gave us, because all these definitions back us into a corner that would then quite readily teach us about injustice, about unfairness, about suffering, because the threat of punishment will be our only reason for doing good. And, that last line there--which is Huston's phrasing and maybe not Kreeft's, which would explain how simple it is--is not a logical statement because the relationship between the two things has neither being defined or proven well enough to get through this lazy syllogism to that conclusion.

But, that is where faith gets you. Stuck on premises you cannot prove and depending on them to make conclusions that you think now have basis in proof.

 

 

 

 

 

And, then I get distracted laughing at Fletch's antics, and I bother to click on that suffering video. And, I almost couldn't get past this--"If there were no God there would be no absolute standard for good"--because no shit. But, the supposition that we cannot have any standard for good or evil just because some higher power didn't define it for us is, well, silly. Simplistic. And presumptuous. Kreeft says,

The most we could say about evil if there were no God was that we, in our subjective tastes, didn't like it when people did certain things to other people.

Yeah, that works for me. His premise here goes on to be that we cannot call something evil simply because we don't like it. But, that is literally how language works. Evil is something we defined after the fact. And, we've codified our standards plenty--but not absolutely, because we don't need to--in establishing and maintains our various cultures and religions and philosophies. Kreeft says,

If you do not believe in God, your subjective feelings are the only basis upon which you can object to natural suffering.

Again, works for me. And, that is why we discover and study things like medicine. This is why we create police and other organizations set to help people in trouble. "There's just nature doing what it does," Kreeft says. And, again, no shit. But, that is why we rein in nature, that is why we build houses and make clothes. That is why we have vaccines. Kreeft is correct when he says that us not liking bad things happening is not evidence that God does not exist. But, his presupposition that God is the only basis for judging good and evil is flimsier. So, I am okay with that.

And circling back to Rufus in Timeless--and weirdly ignoring Fletch--that is his problem with his mother's religious beliefs. She thanked God for the good things and assumed a plan for the bad. Rufus' understanding of religion, of God, may be simplistic. But, that doesn't make it unreasonable. And, I take offense when Kreeft says "You're private standard [for unjust suffering], means nothing." My private standard means everything.

And then I got bored. I think there were a few more minutes left. Huston claims--inaccurately--"Timeless assumes you are a fool to be a Christian." And, I swing back around to Salam:

Watching Fletch again, I experienced the shock of recognition: The film perfectly captures the rise of the ironically detached hipster sensibility. Chevy Chase... dons a seemingly endless series of "comical" disguises in the haphazard pursuit of a big scoop on the Los Angeles drug trade. And yet he always radiates the same genial contempt. Fletch is handsome, self-confident, and he certainly sounds affable. Listen closely, though, and you'll find that his pleasant demeanor masks the condescending jackass within.

That is the thing, though. As much as far too many of us are still Christian--or claim to be--we love a jackass, we love an asshole, we love a scoundrel. And, Fletch is careful to show us that Fletch is effectively (almost) always in disguise. He keeps everyone on their toes, because it makes them more likely to tell him things that they shouldn't.

Salam continues:

Fletch has no time for squares. He's happy to charge many a Bloody Mary and steak sandwich to some rich asshole while he's infiltrating a posh country club.

And, this:

He claims to stick up for the downtrodden. But like the uber-educated hipster kids clamoring to secede from "Jesusland," his disdain is directed against the God-fearing, hard-working rubes of the Heartland.

Like that's a bad thing.

 

 

 

 

 

And, who hasn't wanted to charge a meal to the Underhills now and then?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

you have been recruited by the star league to defend the frontier against xur and the ko-dan armada

The thing is, despite some of what I said yesterday, it's a good thing that Alex's college plans are not too specific, that his goals are not too concrete. That the skillset that gets him recruited by aliens for a universe-saving adventure isn't that impressive.

Like Centauri's previous recruitment practice on Earth involving a sword called Excalibur. (Note, of course, that the Starfighter logo includes a sword with wings.) All one had to do was be chosen enough to pull it out of a stone and/or have some lady in a lake toss it to you. And, by the way, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

Or from video games.

Alex's problems are deliberately pretty universal.

(And, really vague. I realize watching the early scenes again now, they don't even specify that it was a college loan that Alex didn't get. A Mr. Brenner brought the notice by the diner so Alex's mom could bring it home right away. This is not how college loans work. This is a loan from the local bank. Was Alex going to start a business?)

His lot in life ain't much, is the point. And we can all relate. Even if, relatively speaking, our lot is better than most, dissatisfaction is pretty fundamental to the human condition, especially in America.

He's got problems with his future, just like anybody. Doesn't matter what the future is, just that he wants out of his present.

Similarly, his girl is dealing with the same. Maggie (Catherine Mary Stuart) has her granny to take care of. Even Alex's little brother Louis (Chris Hebert) is basically dreaming of something far from home and his usual lot in life with those Playboys and "Yolanda, baby". I actually think it's interesting--and either a lazy bit of characterization or a brilliant one--that when Louis sees Alex and Maggie kissing, he says "Diarrhea," and looks away. If I'm Louis' age--and I'm just a bit over two years younger--and I see anybody kissing Catherine Mary Stuart outside, flesh and blood, I am watching that action.

But, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, little else to say about the film itself. Visual effects that were awesome at the time but don't hold up well; some wonderfully realized trailer park folks, mostly background players but feeling like real people; and a simple wish-fulfillment story that works in the universal, lacks in some of the specific. For eight-year-old me, it's a nice idea, like many an adventure story, young kid recruited to do something awesome. And, it's nice space story that isn't set in the future, because there ain't no future as far as I'm told in school and church.

Anyway, moving on to 1985.

Monday, April 16, 2018

save the whales but not the universe, huh?

So, I was listening to the soundtrack to the stage musical version of The Last Starfighter today. I only even learned of its existence today, actually. And, it starts off a little goofy, I'm not particularly liking it--production notes online about how they use the trailer park and a picnic table in particular for the trailer park denizens to act out the story, without much else actually seemed like it could be fairly cute, but the music felt immediately wrong in tone for a film that starts so casually, with the sleeping dog and the cat in the mailbox, awnings raising, Otis (Vernon Washington) scraping foot off a plate. Maybe it would be different on stage... I assume it would be different on stage. But, the songs alone don't quite get that same sense that this is a small-knit group of folks who all know each other and are used to passing messages from person to person all the time like they do early in the film when Elvira's (Peggy Pope) power is out and she's gonna miss her soaps.

An annoying detail as well, the musical mentions the zandozan being in the video game, but the game is clearly all about gunstar fighting, and the zandozan has nothing to do with that. Not that I've seen the movie many, many times... Except that is exactly why I'm writing about in this blog today. The Last Starfighter is my last film in this childhood deconstruction for 1984.

But, the thing that I wanted to write about today is actually an improvement, in my opinion, on the film version that arises at the climax of the musical. See, movie Alex (Lance Guest) is basically the handyman of the trailer park, and obviously he's good at playing that videogame, but aside from that there is no real indication that he should be escaping the trailer park. He wants to, but what is he doing about it? Early in the film, right after that on-the-nose shot of the weather vane, we see Alex in his room, and a gust of wind sets his planets mobile in motion and he stares at it, and we can imagine he's dreaming of flying away from the trailer park, maybe flying into space, dreaming of doing all the stuff he's going to actually get to do later. But, what does he do to earn it?

He plays a video game.

That's it.

Every videogame-playing kid's dream--that sitting there playing is going to mean something.

(That scene in which he breaks the record on the game is a great one. The excitement among the trailer park folks is palpable, and it feels real. You really get a sense that this group all care about one another.)

But, even after Alex has that call to adventure in Centauri (Robert Preston) arriving, he rejects it. (Almost twice.) As the hero often does--just check your Joseph Campbell. But then, he only returns because 1) he's in danger and 2) the rest of the starfighters are dead.

Alex gets rejected for his loan. For... some university, I guess. He's got a Save the Whales sticker, and the Beta Unit comments on it later, but otherwise, we aren't told what Alex wants to do. Just that he wants to do... something. His mother says he can still go to city college and he has himself a little tantrum. This is our hero. He happens into an adventure (though Centauri, in passing, suggests it was fate because that particular Starfighter game was supposed to be in Vegas), but his actual skill set--the handyman stuff--has nothing to do with any of it. Even when he decides to hide in a cave, that is a deus ex machina kind of detail that comes out of nowhere; the film has not previously established the hide and seek with his brother. It has established Alex's ability to fix things.

The musical, though--it does a better job. In the film, the death blossom is the big weapon, the thing that wins the final battle. At first, I thought it was cheap that the musical made the death blossom be not quite enough. Like the adaptation had to one-up the original. But then, I thought of what the death blossom was--a deus ex machina to win the unwinnable. In the musical, they have another weapon, the Target Z, and it will surely win the battle except for one thing--it has been damaged in the prior fighting. So, to win the final battle, Alex doesn't just get lucky that his gunstar has some special attack mode. He has to repair an alien weapon console on the fly. He has to actually use the skills that he has been shown to have, in order to be victorious. (In the film, Grig rewires something, sort of.) The video game leads to the gunstar, sure, but the film's final victory is not based on Alex's skill. The musical's final victory is.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Alex's change to deciding to be a Starfighter, even after that conversation with Grig about their families, is cheesy 80s sudden. In the musical, he responds to the offer to go home again with an immediate sense that his family would be in danger.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

have we not met before, monsieur?

It's remarkable sometimes how the silliest of films can work just as well as the best of them to bring me back to long ago, you know, happier times, when I was a cute little kid without a care in the world except for, well, the second coming of Jesus, Armageddon, the apocalypse, and everything* that I've ever cared about ceasing to be.

(* except for my loved ones, of course, but damn it, what about my toys? What about these movies I loved? What about books? Games? The important stuff in life.)

No cares but the biggest.

And, Top Secret!, in particular, plays on some of that biggest stuff. Late in the Cold War...

And then I got to wondering about exactly when this film takes place. I mean, Nick's music is very Elvis. So, I paused on the Billboard Top 40. Nick Rivers has #1 #2, & #4, with "Skeet Surfin'", "Skeetin' USA" and "Skeet City", respectively. He also has #3 in a duet with Tammy Wynette on "You're Skeetin' Heart". Then Eric Clapton has #4 with "Sloe Gun Blues" but #4 is a real song: Duran Duran's “Is There Something I Should Know?" which came out in 1983. Putting Top Secret! roughly in 1984 when it was filmed/released.

But, there are more jokes. #12 is The Rolling Stones with "Enough Already". #14 Aretha Frankling with "Boy Is She Great". #15 Barbra Streisand with "Theme from The Nose".

And then I got curious about the magazine covers. None of them seem to have dates, but the Guns & Bullets cover is interesting, because there's the cover story on Nick Rivers, but also some other story (ALSO INSIDE the cover screams)--or maybe it's part of the Nick Rivers story and we just aren't privy to it--that says: MY DAUGHTER IS DEAD... BUT SO IS THE BURGLAR.

I meant to be talking about the Cold War and how weird it is to reminisce about a time when I was regularly being told that the world would be ending soon. But now, I'm imagining some backstory involving Nick Rivers, his daughter's death, that left him reeling and running off to tour Europe, including behind the Iron Curtain because he's got nothing else to live for anymore.

But, maybe the point is that "What phony dog poo?" sits right next to the idea of a nuclear winter in my head.

Then again, there are odd details like the not-very-funny bit of the restaurant making Nick a whole new suit right next to the idea that Reagan was a great president... Not an idea I had. I don't think. Jokes that don't make you laugh. Nonmedy, as Rich Evans would call it.

Hillary's uncle escape America in a balloon during the Jimmy Carter administration--that's funny.

And the little German joke is a classic. But, that runs right up against the food--"pork bellies marinated in diced pig entrails or the roast swine knuckles poached with flaming hog balls"--which I think is supposed to be funny. But, I don't get it. Germans eat a lot of pig, I guess.

And then the brilliance of "Some things are better left unsaid?" "Like what?"

 

 

 

 

 

Why does the Rare Swedish Books shop have a book called Lesbian Bars of North Carolina, and why is it displayed so prominently?

Meanwhile, so many jokes about sex. Irreverence all over the place. But, at school, it's all follow God's commandments, follow the school rules, and I think I held the record every year for the most swats--we still had corporal punishment--because I was apparently having none of it. But, look back at the movies I've covered this year, so many films about rebels, about irreverent heroes who didn't follow the rules, and we had these on video, we watched them often. And, the Bible could never keep my attention the way that all these movies could.

And, that's really it, isn't it?

The Bible, and church, and Bible class--those were boring, those were telling me all these rules about what I should and shouldn't do, without every explaining why. Meanwhile, movies would actually offer up commentary on the rules. You break the rules when it helps people. You don't get a great respect from the rules from mainstream movies.

Cue religious parents dragging their kids away from the movie theater, except no, that's a good thing. Fuck reverence. Fuck rules without explanation. Even in Top Secret!, Nick has no reason to do what's right, except he meets a cute girl who has sex with him, and East Germany is about to kill a bunch of people. And the guy who turns out to be a traitor gets fucked by a bull because that is American justice in the 1980s. Of course, Nigel had already made that face when he talked about the sailors who "took advantage of [him] in ways that [he] cannot describe." They were foreigners, of course, and he is coded queer, despite his island romp with, and immediate re-attachment in the present to Hillary.

And it occurs to me during "Straighten Out the Rug" that this movie is basically framing 1980s East Germany as 1950s America but with Nazis... Or really, that's just 1950s America. INSERT: rim shot.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

we are not experiencing technical difficulties

Started the day with Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, finishing it with The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human, after a nice game night. Will probably return to Top Secret! tomorrow. In the meantime, thoughts....

Regarding Truth or Dare, the idea works, but the execution drags a bit. Oddly, I think it would work better in a longer form, let the events--and characters--breathe a bit. And, not bother with jump scares; it's not that kind of horror film but it insists on having a few anyway. In context of the Truth or Date game going on, jump scares can literally have no affect on the plot, and do have no affect on the plot. So, they feel cheap. I imagine a Netflix miniseries instead, but the characterization and depth I imagine really wouldn't be the thing that usually comes from Blumhouse.

Mating Habits, on the other hand, might end up being good. But, I am instead thinking that this week has been very strange here at the Groundhog Day Project. Jim & Andy got me headed in some strange directions--and I rather want to dial it back a. Bit now. This week, I swear, nothing but the childhood deconstruction movies, finishing off 1984, moving on to 1985...

Unless something else captures me and forces me to write about it for days on end, for thousands of words, and gets me stuck on a lot of outside research...

Like, for example, just last night I got my hands on a copy of the novels Annihilation and The Crystal World. Also, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and I got out my copy (that I already had) of Alison Bechdel's Are Your My Mother?... Which you'll see the connection of all that if I get back to--yes, back to--writing about Annihilation again.

In other news, I learned of a group of podcasts that are right up my alley--and right up the Groundhog Day Project's alley--called Movie a Minute podcasts. Basically, people watch movies, one minute at a time, and podcast it. And, one in particularly--Groundhog Minute--contacted me about being a guest, which is awesome. But also, talking about movies like this, a minute of screentime at a time (but talking for much longer), appeals to me. I've been trying to find something else to do. I liked doing my YouTube reviews, but wished I could do them a little differently, and the previous version of a movie podcast required another person (or preferably several persons) to be involved as well. This simpler version might be easier.

 

 

 

 

 

While I have often decried voiceover in this blog, Mating Habits is one example of where the voiceover matters, and needs to be here. The dialogue itself is, presumably deliberately, rather bad most of the time, and the voiceover is where the jokes are. Or rather where the humor is; David Hyde Pierce's deadpan alien narration about the central humans is the point. Also, the singular joke that might've made a fantastic short film but doesn't quite work for a feature. Anita Gates' New York Times review says it fairly well: "The film... Is largely idiotic, but hints of charm do occasionally rise to the surface."

Friday, April 13, 2018

how silly can you get?

Now, we let that madness go and return to childhood. I'm eight years old when Top Secret! arrives in theaters. It's absurdist visuals work for me very well. It's utter ridiculousness still holds up, unlike some other, similar comedies. I did write about Top Secret! in this blog before. But, no return to my childhood, and all the movies that were on regular repeat would be complete without this one.

(In other news, I saw Rampage in the theater today. Not much to say about it but if you want to see it, you will probably enjoy at least some of it. Of note for this blog, though, as I'm sitting through the end credits, a name jumps out. Rick LeFevour. Actually, it turns out it, double checking on IMDb when I got home, to be Rick LeFevour, Jr. (Also a Matt LeFevour listed under stunts for Rampage, but while all three work for Midwest Stunts, I have not confirmed that Matt is related to the Ricks.) Anyway, Rick LeFevour was the stuntman who jumped off the top of the Pennsylvanian Hotel in Groundhog Day. Note: the climax of Rampage takes place in Chicago. The LeFevours are Chicago-are stunt people.)

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Top Secret! plays and I find I can still find some of its craziest bits funny. "What phony dog poo?" "This isn't the Howard Johnson's." The East German National Anthem. HIllary means "she whose bosoms defy gravity" (and I definitely knew what bosoms meant because they used that in Private Eyes back in 1980.

I would figure out some other things from this movie, though...

(And, I only realized after choosing the image for today's blog entry that I used that same image when I wrote about the film before. My observations are repeating.)

So, here's this, too:

An aside that many won't get, Scream for Help may have been on video by the time Top Secret! was in theaters, too.

The bulges in the ballet were amusing back then, of course, but I just noticed just how quickly that old lady sitting next to Nick picks up her opera glasses when the first guy comes dancing onto stage.

And, the mouse that "crashes" when Hillary is looking down at the street below... That is just wrong. But, oh, so funny.

"Let me know if there's any change in his condition." Beat. "He's dead."

 

 

 

 

 

And then I spit a mouthful of Diet Dr. Pepper onto my iPad screen when Dr. Flammond tells Nick, "If they find out you've seen this, your life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory." I swear I have never heard that line before, and I'm still laughing after pausing the movie to clean up.

 

 

 

 

 

And later I feel like a fool because I never noticed a glaring mistake this film make (presumably on purpose). (And, I didn't even notice it now; I was browsing trivia and goofs on IMDb.) The film takes place in East Germany but there are still Nazis and there is still a French Resistance.

 

 

 

 

 

Throw in Nigel's experience as the backend of a cow and there was a lot of strange sexual things going on here.

And, when the Germans crash into the pinto, that dummy flying into the air only to come right back down is awesome.

Eight-year-old me definitely enjoyed this more than church or bible class.how