Tag Archives: films

Blood Simple Is Still Brilliant

What is it about Sunday mornings and great movies?

I wrote about enjoying “Mystery Train” one Sunday morning in March and recalled just how much fun it was and how it was one of the 80s movies that made me fall in love with smart, small films.

This Sunday morning, I’ve spent the past two hours watching “Blood Simple“.

Frances McDormand, in her debut, was impressive.

John Getz as the haunted Ray made you feel the pain of doing something you detested.

Dan Hedaya‘s creep factor as the jealous husband was off the charts

and finally, M. Emmet Walsh was just crazy good.

I saw it in the theater with Newscoma in 1985 and was so impressed with the visual style the Coen Brothers brought to the screen.

Since then, my love of the siblings’ cinematic stuff has grown vastly.

I posted a video montage of the Coens’ work earlier this year, but I watched it again this morning after viewing their movie and again was reminded of the way themes repeat in their works, so I decided to repost it. Enjoy!


You Can Say That Again – The Wilhelm Scream

If you watch enough action or sci fi movies, you’ve heard the Wilhelm Scream. You may not realize it, but your ear drums have been tapped on by this sound effect.

Dating back to 1953, the perfect agonized scream has found its way into movie after movie, with everyone from George Lucas to Tobe Hooper regularly finding room for it in their flicks.

Legend has it that Purple People Eater entertainer Sheb Wooley is the voice of the Wilhelm Scream.

First I present you with a compilation of some familiar clips to let your ears become aware of the famous howl.

Then I’ll give you some of the history and legend of the scream from sound effects editor and movie historian Steve Lee.

Eraserhead and Restless Legs

I was over at Joe P.’s place this morning and he had mentioned the flick “A Boy and His Dog.”

The sci-fi cult hit starring a pre-Miami Vice Don Johnson was one of those independent movies from the mid 1970s that stretched the boundaries. It was obviously outside the box even though some mainstream actors had roles including Jason Robards. It was one of several movies from the era that set the tone for directors into the 80s and beyond.

The one I’ve had on my mind lately is David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.”

Don’t ask me why.

Well, maybe it’s because I’ve been watching “The Squidbillies” on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block and the old granny squid reminds me of the fetal, crying baby in the movie.

Yeah, I think that’s what carried me here.

I haven’t seen the film in ages, but I still remember the first time I did. How could anyone forget any of that imagery?

The visuals in the black-and-white setting of “Eraserhead” were incredible and impossible to erase from the back of the retinas. From the huge hair of Jack Nance to the oozing, wriggling cornish hens to the monstrous “baby” to the lady in the radiator, Lynch kept your attention with images that were hard to look at and at the same time hard to look away from.

Seeing that movie let me know there were ideas being submitted that didn’t cater to Hollywood and television’s “Brady Bunch” themes. Some creativity disturbed the status quo and pushed the limits.

For Lynch, the five-year-long process that it took for him to finish the film was well worth it. Mel Brooks caught a viewing of the movie and hired him to direct “The Elephant Man.” And so an outstanding career was on its way.

I’ve got some video here for you, but it’s not from the movie.

It’s actually an homage of the movie in a video by the UK band Half Man Half Biscuit for their song “Restless Legs.” Enjoy.

Mystery Train takes me for a ride

“It’s cool to be in Memphis.”

That’s what Japanese teenager Jun says, and I wholeheartedly agree.

I took a trip to Memphis this morning while watching Jim Jarmusch’s “Mystery Train.” I haven’t seen this flick in years and it didn’t disappoint me after our long separation.

It’s films like this from the 1980s that turned me into a movie fan. The quirky characters, the settings that could be encountered in nearly any town if you knew which street to turn down, the actors and their performances. Throw in the ghost of Elvis and some “Lost in Space” TV trivia and you can’t go wrong.

Jarmusch mixed the music, the DJ, some moans and a gunshot to tie together a non-linear story that intersected in three arcs. One review of this movie that I read described it as “An experimental film that went ‘pulp’ before ‘fiction’.”

The melancholy, muted colors and rusted signs told the tale of an economy and relationships in decline.

Elvis’ “Blue Moon” comes across as pretty mournful playing behind all three tales. The spectral King comes across both aurally and visually.

But there is humor here as well. Watching Mitsuko spark a zippo with her feet. The lipstick smeared kiss between young lovers. The tale of Elvis’ comb and its providential delivery (although the deliveryman turned out to be a bit menacing), Sam and Dave, the complimentary towels, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Room 22.

It’s all good stuff. Roger Ebert has a solid review.