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Archive for the 'Reruns' Category

Happy Birthday, Sting!

Posted by scott on October 2nd, 2010

Amazon offered the following party planning notion in an email yesterday, and if I had any doubts about who the online retailing giant likes better, me or Sting, this pretty much clears it up.  Still, I’m trying to take their suggestion in the spirit in which it was offered, but I can’t figure out how to virtually flip them off (I’m sure there’s an appropriate emoticon, but giving someone the finger digitally just seems redundant).  So instead of watching The Bride again (because, what with working on the sequel and all, we have fresh hells to visit), I thought I’d put on a little Kool and the Gang and just post our summary of it from .

The Bride (1985)
Directed by: Franc Roddam
Written by: Lloyd Fonvielle

Tagline:  ”A woman born of electricity…a man driven by passion!”

This film stars Sting, and is probably the best example you’ll ever find of Police brutality.

It’s a dark and stormy night.  Baron von Frankensting is sitting around his ancestral home, Schloss Kardboard Kutout, playing “Mousetrap!” with Quentin Crisp and a crash test dummy.  For some reason, the game causes Frankensting’s Monster to experience nocturnal emissions, so they pack it in and decide to electrocute Jennifer Beals instead.  True to the genre, a bolt of lightning succeeds in giving unholy life to her corpse, but it frizzes out her hair something awful.

The newly animated Jennifer loses a game of “Mystery Date,” and the Monster promptly arrives at the lab door to pick her up.  It seems that Frankensting is a sort of necrophiliac’s Chuck Woolery, but his matchmaking doesn’t go very well.  Rejected and emasculated, the Monster flees the castle and stumbles blindly into the forest, where he attends a John Bly workshop and attempts to get in touch with his inner corpse.

The Baron, we now learn, is a radical feminist who hopes to use Jennifer to create “the New Woman.”  Equal and assertive.  Fearless as a man.  Able to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

Frankensting sits by the fire, contemplating his utopia of sexual equality, when Jennifer toddles in stark naked, squats at his feet, and begins sucking her fingers.  The Baron reassesses his priorities.

Meanwhile, in a cave somewhere in the Alps, the Monster receives relationship counseling from a dwarf.

Frankensting gives Jennifer the Eliza Doolittle treatment, and her education progresses swiftly.  Soon she has learned to wear a hoop skirt and spin rapidly in a circle until she projectile vomits.  But somewhere in Bavaria, at that very same moment, the Monster becomes urpy, thus proving that there is a psychic link between the Baron’s two creations, or that the curried wurst the Monster had at Oktoberfest isn’t agreeing with him.

Frankensting takes Jennifer on a field trip to a mausoleum, and a pleasant time is had by all, picking through the loose femurs and ulnas.  But the Baron becomes insanely jealous over Jennifer’s infatuation with a rotting skull, and refuses to show her his bone.

By this point, Jennifer has become sufficiently refined that the Baron and Colonel Pickering decide to take her to the Embassy Ball, where she meets the extremely blond Cary Elwes, who is dressed in a Prussian Hussar’s uniform and looking slightly more Aryan than Beowulf.  Predictably, Frankensting becomes jealous of Cary’s skull, and runs off to hide in his secret fort and smoke crack.

Later, in an astonishing scientific breakthrough, the Baron invents glitter, and throws a party to celebrate.  But when he peeks into the master suite and finds Jennifer and Cary making out, he goes ballistic, because his parents are coming home soon and he told everybody to stay out of their bedroom.

Even later, Jennifer goes to Cary’s house, and in a tender, erotic scene, they strip down to see which one of them has the frilliest underwear.  This triggers the creatures’ psychic link, and the Monster, who lies chained and rotting in a dungeon somewhere, finds his nipples becoming perky.

All this talk of engorged nipples finally proves too much for the Baron, and he snaps, becoming so sexually abusive toward Jennifer that Louisiana Senator David Vitter tries to hire him as his chief of staff.  Suddenly, the Monster bursts into the room to rescue her, but has second thoughts when the Baron chases after him with a torch.  They run all over the castle in a weird, pyromaniacal Benny Hill sketch, until Frankensting, after several attempts, finally succeeds in falling off the tower.  And while the Baron’s death doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, it does answer a question the audience has been asking with increasingly impatience for the last 90 minutes:  Sting, where is thy Death?

As the superimposed face of a dwarf looks on and recites weird platitudes like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the two reanimated lovers go to Venice, where their rotting bodies cause a cholera epidemic that winds up killing Gustav von Aschenbach.  The End.

To St. Valentine, With Love and Squalor

Posted by scott on February 14th, 2010

We post this every couple of years as a sort of half-assed Valentine’s Day tradition, so feel free to skip over it. For those who haven’t seen it before, this was an effort by s.z. and I to create our own holiday, and get in on some of that sweet, sweet, seasonal marketing money. Happy VD, folks!

A survey indicates that 78% of Americans are currently in a romantic relationship (and since we saw this on one of those VH-1 pop culture shows where they get all sentimental about Voltron and Shrinky Dinks, it must be accurate). For these people, there is Valentine’s Day, a time to show your loved one just how much you care by buying him or her a tacky gift and a pre-printed card. And while some cynics maintain that the holiday was invented by Fanny Farmer and FTD, we shouldn’t forget the person for whom the day is named, Saint Valentine, the Christian martyr who was shot by gangsters in a garage in Chicago over a shipment of bootleg Whitman’s Samplers.

Don’t get the wrong idea; we approve of Valentine’s Day, if only because a holiday celebrating romance is better than one honoring some of the other popular themes in American society, like random gun violence or daytime TV, thus saving us a trip to Wal*Mart to buy a heart-shaped box of hollow-points for that Special Someone.)

Nevertheless, we don’t think it’s quite fair that couples get Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day, the third Saturday in October (described as “a day to honor and be kind to one’s sweetheart”). While Sweetest Day has never really caught on with shoppers (despite the urging of florists, who fail to see much Halloween business) it is still listed on most calendars and celebrated by many parochial schools. So, since people who need people are the luckiest people in the world, we think that it’s only right that the 22% of the populace who are not in a relationship get a holiday of their own. Thus, for everyone who won’t be getting flowers, a diamond, or dinner and an amateur strip show this Valentine’s Day, we would like to propose a special day, just for us. We call it Bitterest Day.

Bitterest Day, celebrated on the 15th of February, will be the official anti-romance holiday. It will be a legal holiday, involving time off work with full pay, but only for those who are nobody because nobody loves them. Its motto will be, “I am not appealing to the opposite sex, so I have lots of disposable income to spend on consumer goods.”

Let us now explain some of the customs and traditions of this newest American holiday:


We all know that an integral part of Valentine’s Day is those frilly, mushy, overpriced bits of cardboard which all spouses and sweethearts are required to buy, under penalty of a booty moratorium. Bitterest Day also has its cards, but you don’t send them to that Special Someone. No, you send them to one member of that Special Twosome. Indeed, you choose the cutest, sweetest, ickiest couples you can think of, and “Care enough to send the very worst.” And although you may address the card to Marsha, your intended audiences is John (or vice versa). After all, they do share everything, right?

Here are a couple of sample cards:

Front cover: When you left, you took my heart. But you left behind . . .
Inside: THESE! (Attached is a pair of crotchless panties.)

Front cover: How do you make love last forever?
Inside: I don’t know. But I DO know how to make you pay for it for 18 years. (Attached are authentic-looking paternity test results.)


While lovers get 5-pound boxes of chocolates and expensive candlelit dinners at French restaurants, what do we, the non-adored get? Well, we also get expensive dinners at French restaurants. This is how it works. You call up “Danny,” your ex-boyfriend, and you tell him that you read in Ann Landers that it’s “Reconciliation Day” today, and you want to invite him to sup at Chez l’Imbecile to demonstrate that you’ve “gotten beyond” everything. Mention that you also want to invite Klamidia, the stewardess he dumped you for, since you know she must be a special lady.

When they arrive, tell them that this is a special occasion, and urge them to order the most expensive things on the menu—you do the same. During dinner, offer small talk such as, “I’m so happy to see that the two of you are still together. It’s rare to see somebody forgive the person who gave them . . .oh, but I shouldn’t be talking about periodic discharge at the dinner table!” And, “Danny, I have such special memories of our time together–I think of them whenever I watch the videos. Hey, have you heard about those websites where they pay for amateur bedroom tapes? Kind of intriguing, huh?”

Then, while they are enjoying dessert, get up to “powder your nose.” Keep on walking right out of the restaurant, leaving the check for them. Worried about repercussions? On Bitterest Day, there are none. It’s the law.


Okay, maybe you won’t be getting two dozen red roses, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy nature’s bounty. As a celebrant of Bitterest Day, you’ll get your fill of posies by spending time in a floral shop—whichever floral shop uses the most annoying Valentine’s Day ad this year. (My nominee is the one that cautions “Don’t break her heart this Valentine’s Day—get her the roses she deserves, if you really care.”)

On February 15th, the florist will be exhausted, stressed, and probably suffering from methamphetamine withdrawal. So, use Bitterest Day to choose massively complicated flower arrangements for your upcoming wedding! Surely you’ll need to look at LOTS of design books and at TONS of samples to plan the floral arrangements for the extravaganza your daddy, the Senator, will be giving his little girl. And since you are something of a bubble brain, you will have a hard time remembering just exactly what they call those white blossoms that you’ve always dreamed of for your bouquet. (“Bougainvillea? Tuberoses? No, wait, I think they’re called carnations!”)

After five or six hours, when you have finally gotten everything settled, call your fiancé and tell him the plans. Sputter, stutter, mutter some profanities, and finally yell, “Then the wedding is OFF!” and slam down the phone. Inform the florist that you could never marry a man who didn’t love baby’s breath as much as you do. But feel no need to apologize for wasting the petal monger’s time–for you’ve just helped another curmudgeon learn the true meaning of Bitterest Day! Which brings us to…

Bitterest Day Holiday Specials

Let’s face it; we all lead rushed, harried lives that leave little time for the simple joys of an old-fashioned holiday celebration. That’s where the media comes in, since it often takes a showing of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or “Frosty the Snowman” before we can begin to feel the Christmas spirit. So it is with Bitterest Day.Of course, in our version of the typical Rankin-Bass animated special, Frosty has nerve-endings, and he screams as he melts. Screams quite a lot, actually, until the children who pranced so gaily around him are left pale and shaken, and his last, whispered words, “I’ll be BACK again, someday…!” haunts the dreams of all who witnessed his hideous demise.

For the adults, meanwhile, there’s that Bitterest Day perennial, “The Bishop’s Wife,” in which an angel is sent to Earth to restore a churchman’s wavering faith, and help him to erect a cathedral. In short order, the angel cuckolds the hapless cleric, then hatches a ghost payrolling scheme with the mobbed-up local union boss to funnel the construction funds to an offshore account, leaving the Bishop behind to face charges of peculation while the angel and the Bishop’s wife enjoy an extradition-free life on Grand Cayman.

So, in conclusion, we urge you to open your heart to Bitterest Day, the one day a year in which it’s okay to be an old maid living with nine cats, or a quiet loner with a large collection of guns and porn. For the most important part of Bitterest Day is feeling good about yourself as a person in your own right, and realizing that you don’t have to be part of a couple in order to be okay. Plus, on Bitterest Day, you don’t have to wear anything that makes you look like a prostitute Care Bear, and can wander around your dusty house in the tattered remains of a wedding dress without enduring any snide references to “Great Expectations.” So get on the phone to Merlin Olson today, and say it with Bitterness.

Speaking of Speaking Ill of the Dead…

Posted by scott on December 22nd, 2009

Via Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, I see that veteran character actor (and the man from whose dandruff Eddie Deezen was cloned) Arnold Stang has passed on to the great adenoidal void at the age of 91. One of the films Ivan mentions which Stang appeared in, and hopefully won’t be remembered for, is Hercules in New York, which we subjected to the treatment back in 2007. Therefore, consider this, if you will, a tribute, rather than a rerun.

Hercules in New York (1970)


You can tell your film career isn’t off to an auspicious start when you’re playing the title character, and you still get second billing behind the voice of Top Cat.

Our story opens at the summit of Mount Olympus, where the Greek gods, in their limitless wisdom, have chosen to live on the steps of a community college library on Long Island. Arnold Schwarzenegger (”Arnold Strong” in the credits) is Hercules, a demi-god celebrated in myth and ballad for his ability to recite lines phonetically. On earth, Hercules was lauded as the mightiest of warriors, while on Olympus he is chiefly famous for showing off his veiny, trunk-like thighs in a side-slit mini skirt.

Hercules is bored in the realm of the gods, but Zeus will not permit him to visit earth, because, “these mortals are bedeviled by as aggravating a collection of annoyances as it’s possible for one to imagine,” so adding Arnold to the situation would just be gilding the lily. When it’s pointed out to Hercules that he’s only a demi-god anyway, and should quit putting on airs, Arnold slowly recites, “My father may have been a mortal, but you Zeus, my father, are a god.” So, Hercules Has Two Daddies.

Under the circumstances it’s forgivable that the star doesn’t understand English, but you’d think that kind of thing would have disqualified the screenwriter. Especially since he then starts mixing up the Greek and Roman pantheons (Zeus is king of the Gods, but is married to Jupiter’s wife, Juno, which doesn’t make any sense unless we happened to catch the gods while they were competing on the hit ABC reality series, Wife Swap.). Finally, Herc can’t stand it anymore and jumps off the mountain. He lands on the wing of a Pan-Am airliner, pausing just long enough to scare the crap out of William Shatner, before hopping off again.

Hercules splashes down, and the next thing we know, he’s aboard a tramp freighter—naked and glistening—toweling his massive physique in front of the crew and their flinty-eyed captain. If the filmmakers had chosen this moment to give up on the whole ancient-hero-in-modern-times scenario, and just make a gay porn version of Jack London’s “The Sea Wolf,” I think we all would have been a lot better off.

Unfortunately, they stick to their game plan, and Hercules jumps ship in New York. In keeping with the classic myths, he immediately encounters pretzel vendor Arnold Stang, whom the filmmakers call, with malice aforethought, “Pretzie.” At first glance, they would seem to have little in common—the wormy, adenoidal peddler and the unintelligible slab of waxed beef—but they bond over their equally annoying voices.

Herc and Stang embark on one of those Legendary Journeys that Kevin Sorbo milked for four years in first run syndication. Except, instead of engaging in epic battle with Cerberus or the Nemean Lion, Hercules pits his brawn against a junior college track and field team working out on a softball diamond in the Sheep Meadow, because the special effects budget is a little skimpy.

Meanwhile, comely co-ed Helen and her father, The Professor, sit in the bleachers watching her track star boyfriend, Rod. Helen, with her pert nose and long, center-parted brunette hair does a credible job of pretending to be Ali McGraw, but then blows it later in the film by refusing to die of leukemia.

Helen invites Herc and Stang over for tea. When Rod arrives arrives, Hercules asks, “is he your lover?” Both Rod and Helen are scandalized (in 1970, the Sexual Revolution was going strong in bohemian haunts like Fresno and Wheaton, Illinois, but apparently it had yet to hit Manhattan). Rod demands satisfaction, but since they appear to be filming in the producer’s grandmother’s apartment, and Grandma has lots of porcelain knick-knacks, they can’t afford to stage a fight scene. So Hercules violently yanks Rod off his feet, and then cradles him gently against his bosom, while Helen screams and Stang hops up and down. And thus does this battle take its place amongst the legendary Labors of Hercules—the slaying of Anteus, the destruction of the many-headed Hydra, and the breast-feeding of Rod.

Naturally, Helen immediately agrees to have dinner with Herc, and later to take a ride in a hansom cab through Central Park. Suddenly, a man in the worst bear costume since Santa Claus Conquers the Martians appears beside the cab. Herc immediately leaps out and begins an inter- (or intra-) species smackdown. Helen screams, “Beat him up!” She’s off camera, so it’s not clear whom she’s addressing, but one assumes it’s the bear. She watches the two ursine antagonists wrestle for a moment, then has an orgasm (no, I’m not kidding) and falls back against the upholstery, spent and dewy.

Arnold finally works his hand inside the costume, but can’t find a breast, and he goes berserk, beating the ersatz bruin into a bathmat. Instantly, the WWE comes calling, and a newspaper from one of those Make Your Own Headline booths at Coney Island informs us that Hercules is now Champion of the World.

Meanwhile, on Mount Olympus, Zeus sits upon his throne, serene and majestic, except when a co-ed who’s late for an eight o’ clock class runs down the steps and clips him in the head with her backpack. Otherwise, all is well in the mystical abode of these all-powerful beings, as demented young women in filmy togas run around on the grass, bouzouki tapes from a Greek restaurant play relentlessly on the soundtrack, and Audra from The Big Valley serves cocktails.

Unfortunately, down on earth, Hercules is consorting with Vince McMahon, pretzel salesmen, and Ali McGraw impersonators, so Zeus orders Mercury to take Hercules a Pick-Me-Up bouquet. Ah, the viewer senses, at last, the filmmakers will deliver a battle royale between two legendary warriors endowed with powers of cosmic proportion! Let the combat commence!

Cut to Hercules, who takes some snapshots at Rockefeller Center, then has coffee and a bagel at the Automat. Mercury, having apparently missed his cue for the fight scene, finally shows up and stages an intervention. Herc takes it about as well as Charlie Sheen usually does, and Zeus dispatches Nemesis to open an amphora of whup-ass on Hercules. But Juno intercepts Nemesis, and gives her a mood ring that will render Hercules both mortal and mellow.

Stripped of his demi-divinity, Herc is now vulnerable to Juno’s malice. She immediately sets in motion a cunning plan to kill Hercules by…I’m not sure, actually. It has something to do with Hercules losing a weight lifting contest on a TV variety show that’s filmed in front of a shower curtain. And even though we’re not sure what the hell is going on, we suspect that no good can come from this, since nothing good has come from anything else in the movie, especially the opening credits. Anyway, during the power lifting, Hercules sustains a rupture of heroic proportions, and is forced to flee the TV studio, clutching his groin and pursued by the Mafia.

In the Elysian environs of Olympus, Great Zeus is displeased by this turn of fate. At least, I think he is—it’s hard to tell, because most of the dialogue is being drowned out by the sound of nearby cars honking.

Herc runs outside and just happens to discover an unattended chariot parked at the curb (well, they’re easier to find at rush hour than a cab). Herc cracks the whip and drives his two-horse two-wheeler through Times Square (passing a movie theater showing Easy Rider), and then he cruises aimlessly around for awhile, rendering it unclear whether the movie is ripping off the chariot race from Ben-Hur, or the Amish buggy scene from Witness.

Thanks to a jump cut, Herc is now in Central Park, where Helen and the Professor are being chased down by Mobsters, one of whom has apparently borrowed his mom’s station wagon for the day (sure, the modern capo shows a predilection for late model black sedans, but in 1970 the Mafia’s car of choice was apparently the cream-colored Country Squire).

By this time, however, the wheels are coming off the chariot (as well as the movie), so our hero and Pretzie jump into the backseat of the Professor’s car. Almost instantly, Helen shouts, “We’re out of gas,” followed by a moment of pure terror as we realize the rest of the movie may consist of Herc and Stang making out.

Mercifully, they go into a warehouse instead, where Hercules gets his ass kicked by a pick-up group of thugs. Suddenly, Atlas and Sampson appear! Or rather, a beefy guy wearing the bottom half of a monk’s habit, and another dressed like Fred Flintstone show up, and start smacking around the crooks while our hero scrambles onto a pile of boxes and cowers.

(By the way—Sampson? It’s one thing to mix up the Greek and Roman gods into some kind of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pantheon, but now we’ve got characters out of the Old Testament? Who’s going to show up next? Gilgamesh? Jesus? The Dukes of Hazard?)

Anyway, Herc gets his strength back and immediately rips off Sampson’s act by pushing over two stacks of empty cardboard boxes, which apparently frightens off all the thugs, because suddenly the fight is over.

We cut to Olympus, where Hercules is concluding the tale of his earthly adventures. “It all sounds revoltingly noisy,” Juno sniffs, and we’re forced to agree, since she has to shout to be heard above the off screen traffic.

So there you go, fans of 300 and Victor Davis Hanson. To the ancient Greeks, heaven is filled with scheming, immortal harridans and mini-skirted lummoxes who talk like Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles. On the bright side, Mount Olympus — judging by the soundtrack – is convenient to schools, shopping, and the Long Island Expressway.

R.I.P., Pretzie.

Congratulations John Stossel!

Posted by scott on September 11th, 2009

I have nothing to say, really, about John Stossel working for FoxNews, except, perhaps, what I said when Mary informed me that Army Archerd was dead: “You mean he wasn’t already?”

Still, it’s an auspicious event, which ought to be marked in some manner, but I’m getting ready for my first appointment with the physical therapist, so I thought I’d just repost this wedding announcement from July, 2006, which was inspired by this bit o’ libertarian wisdom:

Half the states in America have banned cousin marriage, but there’s no good reason for it. You can marry your cousin and have perfectly intelligent kids.

Hear, hear!  Anyway, gotta go.  I want to get to the reception before all the corn liquor’s gone.

Meredith Lisa Stossel, the daughter of Bridget and Harold Stossel of Dogpatch, New Jersey was married Saturday, July 15, 2006 to John Bubba Stossel, the son of Sharon and Phillip Stossel of West Dogpatch, New Jersey.  Pastor A. Rand officiated at Our Lady of Perpetual Chromosonal Damage in East Dogpatch, New Jersey.

The hillbilly-themed wedding and reception took place at the Hoot-n-Holler Garden of Love in South Dogpatch.  The Best Man was the groom’s brother and son, the Maid of Honor was the bride’s mother, aunt, and second cousin twice removed.  The flower girls and ringbearer were human-animal hybrids.

The Stossel/Stossel Wedding Party.  From L to R on groom’s side:  Groom John Stossel.  Cousin Clem Stossel.  Cousin Lum Stossel.  Brother/Father Cletus Stossel.  Second cousin Abner Stossel.  Third Cousin Jebediah Stossel and his conjoined twin, Chang Stossel.  Brother and possible uncle Rip Stossel.  From L to R on Bride’s side:  Second Cousin Rose of Sharon Stossel, first Cousin and probable half-sister Rebecca Stossel, some transvestite from a local barber shop quartet, aunt Jane Darwell Stossel-McCoy, sister/sister-in-law Cissy Stossel-Stossel, Lorna Hayduke, who isn’t related to the rest of the family, but she’s her own mother, and the Bride.