Found-Again Friday: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

Why Found-Again? For personal reasons too depressing to go into, I don’t watch this very often—which is, as you know if you’ve ever seen it, a total shame. 1999’s Thomas Crown Affair is a wonderful movie, and I don’t say that often enough.

The Premise: Bored gazillionaire businessman Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) turns to art theft for a little excitement and gets more than he bargained for when the theft brings ruthless insurance investigator Catherine Banning (Rene Russo) into his life. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, if you’re the sort of person who thinks a cat and a mouse might hook up at a fancy-dress ball.

The Thomas Crown Affair—a quasi-remake of the 1960s heist film with Steve McQueen—is a mystery movie. It’s a heist movie. It’s a romance movie. It’s an art-museumgoer-geekery movie. It has an amazing soundtrack. It’s a worthy successor in wit and pace to The Thin Man, the movie that is my gold standard for non-supernatural films.* And more to the point, Crown is the other role Brosnan was born to play—after Remington Steele and that shooty guy with the short name.

This film is so. Much. Fun.

The Verdict: Sorry, I couldn’t hear you: I was too busy bouncing on my couch in joy as Nina Simone wailed on my television. Are you watching this yet? Why aren’t you watching this yet?

Watch this!

Might go well with: Champagne, the first season of Remington Steele, apples.



*I’m classifying sci-fi in the supernatural category for the purposes of this review, although there are lots of excellent arguments as to why I probably shouldn’t.

Found-Again Friday: Into The Night

“The police can’t help me—I’m one of the bad guys.”

I really didn’t mean to use this space for so much Jeff Goldblum Revisited, but I’ve been watching a lot of semi-obscure ’80s/early ’90s movies lately and Into the Night fits right in.

The Premise: Nerdy engineer Ed (played by you-know-who) has insomnia, a cheating wife, and a general case of suburban malaise.

That "whoa" sound you heard back in 1987 was Tween Me watching this.
That “whoa” sound you heard back in 1987 was Tween Me watching this.

On a late-night drive, Ed inadvertently rescues Diana (Michelle Pfeiffer) from a bunch of Iranian mobsters and is plunged into seedy intrigue in Los Angeles—seems Diana (see the quote above) is a jewel smuggler. Can the two of them make a deal that will get them out of this mess alive? Will Ed ever sleep? How did Dan Aykroyd get in this production, and how would we ever play Four Degrees of Jeff Goldblum without him?

This is a weird little movie, and since I didn’t recognize all the director cameos when I was younger (the movie’s director, John Landis, plays a bad guy; David “The Fly” Cronenberg plays Ed’s boss, and there are other brief appearances by Lawrence Kasdan and Roger Vadim), I am only now starting to appreciate how weird. Jim Henson has a cameo, for pete’s sake. And yet I kept wondering what kind of movie David Lynch could’ve made from this same material, since it seems to touch on a lot of his neo-noir motifs.

On the other hand, could anyone really improve on Jeff Goldblum in an Elvis car?


The Verdict: On the whole, I probably like this movie as much now as I did when I saw it in the ’80s, but for completely different reasons. Except for the B.B. King soundtrack, of course: that’s always good.

Keep an eye out for David Bowie in the trailer, too.

Might go well with: Bacon, other diner food.

Next time: We spend more time with Jonny Quest and friends.

Found-Again Friday: Musical Interlude 6

Summer is on its way out for 2015, but let’s cling to it a while with some island music! As usual, all songs posted are things that appear in my music collection—I have a weakness for reggae and soca as well as for Voltaire and nerd music and, well, almost everything else.

Here’s a voice that never fails to give me chills:

When I’m in need of a little lift in spirits, I go for this one.(Work semi-warning: bikinis, sexy dance moves, etc.)

Speaking of which, this one has spawned a lot of dance tutorials on YouTube:

I may be misremembering, but I could swear I heard a network use this to advertise reruns of the show that shares the name.

And one of the first reggae songs I ever heard back when I was a moody youth (and I liked it anyway)…

Enjoy the sunshine!


Next time: Jonny Quest and family are on the beach, too—though probably not listening to Tenor Saw.



Found-Again (and Again) Friday: Musical Interlude 5

This week we’ll run down some of my recent obsessions.

I like to listen to this one when I’m writing, and the video is excellent, too:

And I just got this fellow’s most recent album—you may remember him from the goth interlude. It’s been ten years since I saw him live, but even after being updated this is a classic… if lyrically NSFW.

How about some electroswing?

I couldn’t find an official video for this next one, nor am I sure footage from the Thin Man movies entirely goes with the song.

Eh, who am I kidding? The Thin Man goes with everything.

And finally, the last song that lodged in my head for days on end. You’re welcome!


Next time: More Highlander, either the third movie first sequel that actually exists or some more audio. What fun!

Found-Again Friday: Musical Interlude 4

I know that on Monday I promised you no vampires, but I never said I wouldn’t come close. It’s Goth time!

Given that I’ve been drawn to dark themes since my first Halloween coloring book, it was only a matter of time till that included music, too.

Like a lot of people my age, I began with The Cure, and I’ll be forever grateful to the aunt who accidentally bought me an import album full of obscure tracks because it was the only thing by The Cure she could find at the store:

I was in eighth grade when this one came out, and I drove my family crazy listening to it.

Fifteen years later, I was still playing the same song all the time—just this one.

And then there’s this—I’m a sucker for a Poe reference or seventeen:

And as a parting gift:


Next time: The Highlander takes a stab at romance. Yes, even things on Mars can see what I did there.

Found-Again Friday: Musical Interlude 3

This time we’re going down south to find out what my room sounded like when I was 15.

…And that sounds way more exciting—and disgusting—than it is. Oh, well.

I started my folk-music post with my “gateway drug” group; southern power-pop had them, too. Here’s my favorite REM song.

And I mentioned in the first musical post that these guys were local in the ’80s:

This band was my very first concert! And about 7 more, but only one in their native North Carolina.

[fights temptation to post every song from the Boylan Heights album available on YouTube]

But the group that consistently gave me chills, the group I listened to all the way to college interviews and back, was the incomparable Guadalcanal Diary.

And as a bonus, a song by the man who had a hand in producing music for everybody mentioned above: the video is odd, but hey, wolf spiders are cool.


Next time: It’ll be Monday. Take a wild stab guess.

Found-Again Friday (Well, Valentine’s Day): Singin’ In The Rain

Why Found-Again? This one, like a few before it, is cheating: I watch this every year on Valentine’s Day.

I can’t really remember when this became a tradition for me: I decided to watch it one year when I thought I’d have nothing else going on and wanted a movie that would have some romantic aspects, but not too many. Singin’ In The Rain still delivers all that and more, and so it’s become my go-to no matter what kind of Valentine’s Day I’m having that year.

The Premise (to most people): Handsome leading man Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) gets a rude awakening when talkies replace silent films, but prevails with the help of the ingenue he loves (Debbie Reynolds) and his best friend.

The Premise (to me and people I’ve persuaded to watch the movie): The snarky, sensible, and crazy talented Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) rolls with the punches—in some cases literally—as the film industry changes. Also, his friend Don has problems both romantic and professional.

I stand by my interpretation 100%. Gene Kelly is good-looking and an excellent dancer, but Donald O’Connor is the star of the movie, and all too few people seem to know it. Don’t believe me?

(Warning: contains musical number, if you’re against that sort of thing.)

The actual “Singin’ In The Rain” song might be more iconic, but this is friggin’ amazing.

The Verdict: Are you kidding me? Go watch this right now. Here’s some more:


Might go well with: Given that my traditional Valentine’s Day food involves stuffing cinnamon candy hearts into my mouth until I look like a vampire, I’m just going to say champagne.

Next time: One of my favorite parts of Highlander for TCBOM!. Our long(-winded) nightmare is almost over! And no, I don’t mean me.

Found-Again Friday: Musical Interlude 1

I’ve been wanting to shake up the kinds of things I look at on Fridays (Highlander, of course, being a smorgasboard of infinite variety every Monday), but I hesitated to branch out into music. More than TV or movies, I still listen to a lot of the same things I’ve always listened to—I just add more as things are brought to my attention. The Gordon Lightfoot song  I loved when I was ten* is on a mix in my car right now: that’s not very Found-Again, is it?

Still, the idea appeals, so here are some things you could expect to find blaring in my headphones in the early ’90s. (No verdict section required for this one—if I picked ’em, I still like ’em.)

Here’s something a bit nerdy:

I mean it as a very high compliment when I say that nobody yelps and growls like Murray Attaway, whose solo album was stock listening for me for ages:

One of my teenage regrets is that I never got to see these guys live, even though they were from Norfolk:

And 1993 was the year I got a little bit into zydeco.

*Between the folk music and the Goldblum crush, I was exactly as popular as you think I was during my tween years.


Next time: This part just drags ON and ON Ramirez trains Connor in Monday’s TCBOM! post.