Friday, April 8, 2011

Worth Mentioning - World of Madness

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Jay talks about Don't Look in the Basement and City Island, while Cody defends a Bangle's Allnighter.

Starring: Bill McGhee, Jessie Lee Fulton, and Gene Ross.
Directed by: S.F. Brownrigg

Also known as The Forgotten and Death Ward #13, this S.F. Brownrigg directed horror film is worth watching for lovers of old '70s grindhouse/exploitation style cinema. The plot revolves around an asylum and a new doctor. The newbie is Dr. Beale, a younger woman with moderate good looks. She's hired without the knowledge of the other staff and reports for work the very day that her boss is hacked to death by one of the patients.

Within the first twenty minutes, we meet Sam (in a very likeable performance by Bill McGhee) a patient who only wants someone to help him put his toy boat in some water, witness one of the doctors get hacked up by an axe, and meet a crazy old woman (played like a true lunatic by Rhea MacAdams) who has some excellent advice on roaming around alone. That advice being: Don''t do it, don't be alone, and get out. GET OUT! and NEVER, NEVER come back!!

I'm almost certain that Darren Aronofsky saw this film once and decided that a pill-addled Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream should look exactly like the crazy old lady in Basement. Here's picture evidence for those who don't believe me:

I honestly can't remember if I ever watched this movie all the way through, though the old woman and Bill McGee always stuck with me. I own this film on a double feature DVD alongside the classic version of House on Haunted Hill and purchased it for $1 at Walmart back in 2007. I found the DVD after having misplaced it for the longest time and upon skimming over it I figured it was blog worthy.

It's actually pretty twisted, as one of the female doctors makes Nurse Ratchet look like the tooth fairy and tries to use good-hearted Sam for evil doing. There's a lot of yelling and a fair amount of blood. Overall it's good for a nice '70s atmosphere and some good Texas locations. The ending is pretty savage, too. To check out the most awesome scene then simply go here: Crazy Old Lady That'll Make Ya Giggle

Directed by Raymond De Felitta
Stars Andy Garcia, Steven Strait, Julianna Marguiles, Emily Mortimer, Ezra Miller, and Dominik Garcia-Lorido

I don't usually go for these type of movies, but I found this one to be an enjoyable watch, anchored by strong performances from Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies. The story is based around Vince Rizzo (Garcia) and the secrets his family holds. Vince is a corrections officer who one day recognizes a new inmate as the son he ran out on before meeting and marrying his wife.

His con of a son isn't the only secret Vince keeps from his family, as he is also taking acting classes but passing it off to the family as going to a poker game. It's here that Vince spends a lot of time with Molly (in a really great performance by Emily Mortimer) who has a few secrets of her own. In fact, everyone has some type of secret, as Vince's daughter has been kicked out of college and is now a stripper. Things spiral out of control once Vince brings home his forgotten son, but doesn't tell anyone else in the family who the guy is.

Quirky family comedy dramas are hit or miss with me, and in fact I usually have no interest whatsoever, but this is the type of quirky I enjoy and I had a good time watching it. One of my favorite scenes, probably because of knowing what it's like to be on both sides of a film audition, is when Vince gets a chance to read for a part at an open call for a Martin Scorsese film.

Cody's pick:


The Allnighter is set over the last twenty-four hours or so before graduation at Pacifica College. While preparing to move on with their lives, packing up their house, and attending a beach fiesta, the lead characters also have personal issues to deal with and life decisions to make.

Susanna Hoffs, from the girl band The Bangles and daughter of director Tamar Simon Hoffs, stars as Molly, who's about to graduate as valedictorian but is feeling unaccomplished. She shares a nice oceanfront house called Shangri La with her friends Val (Michelle's younger sister Dedee Pfeiffer), who's engaged to a work-obsessed snob who she rarely sees, and Gina (Joan Cusack), who films almost every waking moment. Gina hardly ever has her VHS camcorder out of her hands, unless she's editing the footage or watching classic horror movies.

Though a pop rock star in real life, Hoffs does a believable job playing Molly as a demure, kind of awkward girl who's disappointed with her love life, or lack thereof. She has a complicated relationship with her surfer dude pal C.J. (John Terlesky, who I knew from the 1986 classic Chopping Mall), as they both like each other but just can't get it together. An added complication is Molly's fascination with an older musician whose style includes pastels, sub-A.C. Slater hair, and blazers with shoulder pads.

Apparently this film was a box office failure when it was released and took a beating from critics (it's got a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes with 7 reviews). A couple reviews I've read hate on the film for featuring characters who have sex in a world where AIDS exists, which I think is a strange criticism. Some characters are arrested in a prostitution bust (Pam Grier cameos as a cop) and it was this mesmerizing YouTube clip of Susanna Hoffs dancing in her underwear (in the YouTube version she's dancing to Nine Inch Nails, in the film she's dancing to "Respect" by Aretha Franklin) that brought this movie to my attention and made it a must-see, but it's not a sex comedy. Characters are sexually active, but this isn't nearly as lascivious as most comedies of the '80s/early '90s. For me now, the movie was just fun '80s popcorn nostalgia. I enjoyed it, and will be getting the DVD for future viewings.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the Allnighter, its totally under-appreciated. I should watch it again sometime soon, its been many years.