Sorry for the repeat absences. If you’ve been reading my Twitter feed on the side of the page, you probably know that my mother—Law & Order fan extraordinaire, brewer and drinker of two pitchers of sweet tea a day, and the woman who watched Poltergeist because she thought it was funny— was ill and unfortunately passed away a few weeks ago. I’m finally on the verge of settling some of the little details an only child has to settle when this happens, so the Omelet is open for business again.
One of the weird side effects of going through Mom’s things is that I now have a fridge full of food I wouldn’t ordinarily eat, because I can’t stand to waste it. (This is different, to my mind, from hoarding; nothing makes me happier than tossing the container from something I’ve finally used up. It’s the “finally used up” part that’s important here.) I did my best getting rid of the leftovers, tossing anything I knew I absolutely wouldn’t eat, but there’s still a lot left.
So not only will you actually be getting that Conjuring write-up I promised you back around Halloween, for a while I’ll be writing up “The MomFood Diary” as I go through all this stuff. Our first entry? Ensure Butter-Pecan shakes. Stay tuned…
It’s been a while since I rewatched a Jeff Goldblum movie for this site—well, he’s in The Sentinel for about a minute, like everyone else—and this was one of the first I ever saw. It was 1986, and I was attempting to gear up for The Fly by watching everything the guy had ever done, including Death Wish and that disco movie.
Why Found-Again? That said, I’ve been putting this one off. I’ve seen a lot of Found-Again films at this point, and only a few have really disappointed me. I thought Transylvania 6-5000 was goofy fun when I was 12… but will a comedy broader than the ocean, and sporting an aesthetic best described as Monty Hall meets The Munsters meets Benny Hill meets Love Boat, really stand up to grown-up scrutiny?
The Premise: Instead of making things up like a normal tabloid, the paper Jack and Gil* (Goldblum and Ed Begley, Jr.) work for sends them to Transylvania after a tourist video seems to show the Frankenstein monster. They arrive to find a town bent on increasing tourism and showcasing its normalcy despite being populated by (among others) a goofy bellhop, a sort of Igor family, a shy but horny vampire, a werewolf, a mad scientist, and, yes, the F-Monster himself. Jack, who has an amazingly low tolerance for bullshit for a hero in a comedy, just wants to give up and romance a beautiful blonde; Gil, who makes up in go-getter spirit what he lacks in brains, stays on the case. And that’s how they stumble onto the real secret of the Transylvanian monsters.
Like a lot of these goofy movies from the ’70s and ’80s, this has a pretty good cast; if you ever watch it, remember that only a few years later, Geena Davis took home the Oscar. John Byner and Carol Kane steal every scene they’re in, and Jeffrey Jones does well as, essentially, the Principal Rooney of a small town in the Carpathians. It also has a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards, if you’re into that. As for the plot, you know me–any mystery in a storm.
The Verdict: I don’t think I’d go so far as to recommend it for a movie night, but being trapped in a room with T-6-5000 could certainly be worse. And I won’t lie: the “heartwarming” denouement, especially Lupi and Radu, at the end of this movie gets me every time, as stupid as that is. Transylvania 6-5000 is still best enjoyed by 12-year-olds, but what I’ve lost in tolerance for its obvious gags is made up for by… well, by a lot of the other movies I’ve watched for this site. It’s an Abbott and Costello flick for a new(er) age, made with obvious affection for the old monster movies that inspired it.
That said, it was a pretty long 94 minutes, and you can see why.
*Oh, hell. Is that a pun?
Next time: The Quest For Monday becomes The Quest For Voodoo! And for next Friday, by default, we have Dracula AD 1972.
In honor of the week, this interlude’s theme is love. But first, I’m tapering off. Here’s the video for “Hands Clean” because you-know-who is in it.
With that out of the way, here’s my favorite love song from an artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately, Webb Wilder.
If you prefer a song with the concentrated power of ten ordinary love songs, here it is.
Okay, fine, this next one is less “a love song” and more “a sad thing about love I sing along with loudly in my car.”
And the antidote for too much “Since I Fell For You”:
Lastly, for you love cynics, I give you Barry Manilow’s version of “Read ‘Em And Weep,” which is pretty much the “Ride of the Valkyries” of breakup songs—even if the video gestures at a different opera.
Synopsis: You know those horror movies with a group of people stranded at the house of a delusional madman and forced to compete in strange ways for survival? Well, Jonny Quest did one too; Race Bannon is in the sights of Snoopy’s old foe, a WWI flying ace. Not a Peanuts/JQ crossover, sadly, but there is a wiener dog.
Tip 47: It never pays to compare yourself to others.
It’ll only lead to anger.
Next time: A book review? Quite possibly!
Next time on TQfM!: Condors and the mad German barons who love them.
Synopsis: You know those horror movies in which a group of people are stranded at the house of a delusional madman and forced to compete in strange ways for survival? Turns out Jonny Quest did one too, and Race Bannon is in the sights of Snoopy’s old foe, a WWI flying ace. Not a Peanuts/JQ crossover, sadly, but there is a wiener dog.
Tip 46: There is such a thing as being too calm sometimes.
Spoiler alert: the Quests aren’t all gonna fall out of the air and die, but no thanks to Mr. Roger Bannon.
Next time: Up in the air for now, no pun intended.
Next time on TQfM!: Guten tag, Herr Thinly Veiled Villain!
Synopsis: The Quests go to Thailand so Benton can develop drugs that facilitate long-distance space travel. They’re pursued by Zin, whose new plan involves a Race Bannon lookalike. Dr. Quest’s awesome project, some interesting animals and the presence of an honest-to-god adventuress brilliantly distract from one of my least favorite classic plots.
We’ve talked before about how luck is often better than skill. But there’s luck as normal people experience it, and then there’s this.
Tip 45: “Elephant stampede in your favor” is one of the best levels of luck.
And once the bad guys are knocked out, we get one final look at the JQ monkey (and friend!) before getting the heck out of Thailand.
Next time: A Found-Again post in which I explore the burning philosophical question, “Why, when I love vampire detectives, do I hate this vampire detective?”
Next time on TQFM!: Enemies in high places in “Shadow of the Condor.”
Why Finally? Because I am squeamish as all get-out, and it’s a David Cronenberg film. I’ve been familiar with his reputation since 1986 and later (surprise!) from my ill-fated attempt to watch The Fly so I could see Jeff Goldblum with no shirt on.
When The Fly finally showed up on cable, I was 13 and very excited. My mother, who was more of a Commander USA’s Groovie Movies kind of person, sat down to watch it with me, but I folded right around the time Seth Brundle starts getting those giant back-hairs at the start of his flyification. Defeated by the yuck factor, I wandered off to my bedroom to read; occasionally Mom would yell out updates like “He just vomited acid!” or “His penis fell off and he put it in the medicine cabinet!” and I would yell back “THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW!” because that is how my family rolls.
Even though it would make one heck of a Found-Again Friday, I’ll probably never watch the entire Fly. But I made it through (and liked) Videodrome a few years ago, so when someone suggested 1981’s Scanners, I decided to go for it. After all, its classic head-exploding scene is pretty famous—so much so that the movie might be considered required viewing under my “Deliverance Rule.”
And there was always a chance that would be the grossest part of the movie. Right?
The Premise: A generic government defense/intelligence agency hunts and captures Cameron Vale. Vale is a “scanner,” one of a small group of people who can telepathically mess with other people’s heads—at some pain to the scanner, and a whole lot of pain to us squishy-headed normals. After tutelage by mad scientist Dr. Ruth (Patrick McGoohan—if nothing else, the name proves at least Cronenberg can’t predict the future himself), Vale is sent out to track down a rogue scanner named Darryl Revok. It’s a name that is clearly up to no good, and the character is played by Michael Ironside, so Revok is basically doomed to be very, very evil.
What follows is a psionic version of spy vs. spy, with contacts and allies on both sides becoming casualties of Vale and Revok’s date with destiny.
The Verdict: What kept bugging me as I watched this unfold is something simple: why on earth can’t scanners seem to pick up when someone is after them with a gun? I’d almost bet there’s an explanation that I missed because I know very little about Cronenberg movies (see above re: squeamish as hell).
As a thriller and the story of a man’s search for his identity, Scanners is often excellent, with that bleak aesthetic shared by all 1.3 of the previous Cronenberg films I’ve seen. And while some of its scenes of scanners in action—the head-exploding scene, a sort of mind-melding ritual, Cameron almost killing a tweed-clad yogi—are outstanding, other times the telepathy feels underused or oddly used, and the movie has a bad case of that creeping cinema disease where things explode that really shouldn’t. Despite that (and some eyeball violence), it’s an absolutely worthwhile watch.
Might go well with: Videodrome; Firestarter.
Geez, even the trailer agrees this is a one-scene movie. It’s not!
Synopsis: It’s Hadji’s origin story! The awesome orphan meets the Quests for the first time and helps foil a plot to manufacture nerve gas. Also on the scene is Hadji’s friend, the greedy Pasha Peddler, who has a knack for making timely rescues profitable.
Tip 30: No need to reinvent the wheel.
When you’re in a tight spot—if, say, your boss started a mini-avalanche and got captured by the bemasked minions of a secret nerve-gas factory—there’s no need for a new plan if you can adapt an old one.