Election Ads—Old School

I’ve been avoiding campaign ads for the sake of my mental health, but I did run across an amazing political artifact in the fascinating new DVD collection Saved From the Flames (Flicker Alley). This compilation of nitrate-stock oddities includes Hell-Bent for Election, a 12-minute pro-FDR cartoon from 1944, animated by none other than Chuck Jones [...]

“Give us a kiss”: Favorite Roy Scheider moments

The Feb. 10 death of the underappreciated and dependable Roy Scheider has made me want to retrieve my DVD copy of Jaws (which I stupidly left behind at my parents’ house after I moved out), just to rewatch my favorite sequence. It doesn’t even involve the shark at all. It’s one of the quieter parts [...]

The Cat Dude Abides

A strange Big Lebowski sighting. In the daily comic strip Mutts this week (Feb. 4-9), the cat Mooch has taken to wearing a zoot suit and calling himself the Dude. In Saturday’s strip, Mooch curls up for nap, and his canine pal, Earl, says, “There he is—as always—just hanging around—doing nothing—nothing but being a ‘cat.’” [...]

Lolita Amnesia

Stung by criticism that its “Lolita” beds for girls might be sending the wrong message, Woolworths stores have discontinued the scandalous model after parents’ group set up a fuss. (The model was still advertised on a supplier’s website—Lolita—when I checked.) As its excuse, a Woolworths rep claimed to be ignorant of Vladimir Nabokov’s [...]

Kicking It—Billy Jack

Long before Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo was disillusioned by his time in Vietnam, there was Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack (1971). Disaffected by the white man’s ways, the half-Native American ex-Green Beret lives in sagebrush country, protects an alternative school (where bad protest folk songs and psychodrama role-playing are the prestige courses), gets bitten by rattlesnakes to [...]

Lost “Sheep”

On my Netflix queue, the new DVD of the long-unavailable, mired-in-music-rights-disputes Killer of Sheep has apparently slipped into “Very Long Wait” status. WTF?

I’m so glad I’ve got TCM in my crib. The greatest non-porno, non-sports cable channel ever will air Killer of Sheep twice (as part of a Charles Burnett festival) on Mon., Jan. 21. [...]

The Rocket and Performance Enchancers

Listening to Roger Clemens claim that all he ever injected was Lidocaine and vitamin B-12 reminded me of a famous line from Performance, the 1970 classic of sex, drugs and rock & roll starring Mick Jagger. In the scene in question, reclusive rock star Turner’s (Jagger) girlfriend Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) prepares to shoot [...]