Author Topic: What was the last movie you watched?  (Read 1538316 times)

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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16905 on: July 25, 2016, 12:37:55 AM »
I've always enjoyed the ol' "Guy who doesn't know he's in a spy scenario aces a spy scenario" joke, so Cars 2 has that much going for it. And while the original is definitely at the bottom of the Pixar barrel, it's still pretty good. It's not DreamWorks bad, anyway...

It's funny, DreamWorks seemed to be losing that stigma for a while with How to Train Your Dragon and then BABY BOSS... (plus all that goddamned Minions crap).


Offline ScottotD

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16906 on: July 25, 2016, 01:03:25 AM »
I've always enjoyed the ol' "Guy who doesn't know he's in a spy scenario aces a spy scenario" joke, so Cars 2 has that much going for it. And while the original is definitely at the bottom of the Pixar barrel, it's still pretty good. It's not DreamWorks bad, anyway...

It's funny, DreamWorks seemed to be losing that stigma for a while with How to Train Your Dragon and then BABY BOSS... (plus all that goddamned Minions crap).

Are there trailers for Baby Boss, I'm thinking it's more the Rodger Rabbit baby than an actual infant.
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16907 on: July 25, 2016, 01:19:35 AM »
I've always enjoyed the ol' "Guy who doesn't know he's in a spy scenario aces a spy scenario" joke, so Cars 2 has that much going for it. And while the original is definitely at the bottom of the Pixar barrel, it's still pretty good. It's not DreamWorks bad, anyway...

It's funny, DreamWorks seemed to be losing that stigma for a while with How to Train Your Dragon and then BABY BOSS... (plus all that goddamned Minions crap).

Are there trailers for Baby Boss, I'm thinking it's more the Rodger Rabbit baby than an actual infant.

Personally, I'd rather it turn out to be a "The Woods" type bit of misdirection of an actually interesting project.


Online The Lurker

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16908 on: July 25, 2016, 06:21:19 AM »
Son of the Mask ( 2005 )

In my quest to build a complete superhero/comic book movie library, mostly thanks to a lot of these films now being sold for a dollar on Ebay and Amazon, it is inevitable that many if not most of these films will be stinkers. In fairness, there have been some comic book movies I have seen with bad reputations that turned out to be not  that bad, mildly entertaining, or even a fantastic bit of entertainment that did not deserve it's reputation. I had hoped that Son of the Mask would fall somewhere in that category. In the annals of historically bad comic book movies, So of the Mask has been ranked down there with Howard the Duck and Batman & Robin as the worst of the worst. On top of that, the movie that had spawned it, The Mask ( 1994 ), is considered one of the best comic book movies from the 90s with a lot of positive reviews, and I did not like it that much. And here was it's sequel, which those who loved the first movie said was terrible.

In the 1990s New Line Cinema wanted to have their own Superhero movie franchise. They had a choice. Howard Stern was in pre-production on a Fartman movie while producer Bob Engleman had just bought the right to The Mask, a comic book published by the then outsider comic book company Dark Horse. The Mask gave those who wore it magical powers, but also turned them insane, and often into a villain rather than a hero. But despite how dark the comic book could get, it was actually perfect for a franchise. In the comic book, The Mask could be worn by anyone, allowing it to move from person to person with no need for any permanent characters. That meant that New Line could do sequel after sequel without needing to bring back the same cast. The Fartman movie deal fell apart when Stern refused to sign away his rights to the merchandising, and New Line went to Plan B, the lower profiled Mask franchise. But they lucked out by casting Jim Carrey just before Ace Ventura: Pet Detective ( 1994 ) made him a superstar, and Cameron Diaz in her first movie role. But since both actors were relatively unknown, neither was offered a multi movie deal, and therefore were not obligated to appear in any sequels. A big mistake on New Line's part, especially when they insisted they would not proceed with the sequel until they got both actors to agree to return. And by that time both were huge movie stars who had no interest in making a sequel. Inevitably New Line dropped idea of a Mask franchise and instead went with the successful Blade franchise.

At some point someone at New Line must have realized they still owned the rights to make at least one more Mask movie, and thought "Hell, why not?" It was not as if New Line was interested in turning The Mask into a franchise any more, because this movie was written to end the story of The Mask. I probably should warn you about spoilers, but really, the movie is bad enough that you will not care if the plot has been spoiled. And the part about Odin sending Loki to Earth to retrieve The Mask so it can be permanently returned to Asgard  is in the very beginning of the movie. Yes, that's right, Loki and Odin are in the movie. Marvel actually does not own the rights to the Norse Gods. They have been around forever and are pretty much public domain. Frankly, I am surprised no other studio has made their own Thor movies in recent years.

Since the last movie, The Mask has somehow floated upriver from where it was tossed, and ended up in a stream in the suburbs of Edge City where it is found by a dog, and brought back to the home of Tim Avery ( Jamie Kennedy ) an aspiring animator who is trying to get his boss at the....well, I am not sure exactly what the company is that Tim works at other than they make him wear a turtle costume to entertain children....anyway, Tim wants to convince his boss to make a network cartoon series that Tim will animate. Meanwhile his wife ( Traylor Howard  ) wants a baby, even though her husband is clearly too immature to be a parent. On the night of the company Halloween party, the dog has chewed up the original  mask for Tim's zombie costume, and instead he takes the mask that his dog has found. Putting it on, Tim turns into The Mask, and becomes the life of the party. Tim's boss ( Steven Wright ) is impressed, and wants Tim to develop his costume into an animated series they can pitch to a network. Meanwhile Tim had worn the mask home and impregnated his wife while wearing it. She gives birth to a son who turns out to have the same powers of The Mask without having to wear it. Meanwhile the dog has buried the mask since the party, and once it becomes jealous of the new baby, digs it up and puts it on to become a Mask Dog. This leads to a bunch of Roadrunner inspired mayhem between the magic baby and the suddenly intelligent dog. Meanwhile Loki, who has the same powers as The Mask, has spent most of the movie trying to find it and using his powers against anyone who gets into his way. He finally tracks The Mask to Tim's house and ends up abducting the baby, leading up to a showdown between Tim wearing The Mask and Loki ( where inexplicably the magic baby does not get involved. )

And that is as much of the movie I care to describe. I think I may have actually made it seem better than it actually is. And the sad thing is that this movie had a lot of potential. It had a far more decent cast than it deserved, including Allan Cumming as Loki and Bob Hoskins as Odin. But despite a talented cast, everyone walks through their roles and makes no attempt at a decent performance. Most depressing is when Jamie Kennedy turns into The Mask, at which point he was suppose to step up his performance as the over the top character, but instead steps his performance down. It is a lackluster monotone performance that conveys his emotions as: " I wish I was not wearing this costume".  Think of George Lazenby's performance in that one James Bond film he did, and then tone it down ten notches, and you'll get the picture. The only person in this movie to give a decent performance ( and I am including the extras as well ) is Traylor Howard as Tim's wife and mother of the magic baby. She is such a joy to watch that you feel devastated this movie ended her film career. She deserves to be a household name in much better films, or at the least the star of her own sitcom. Instead she ended up on Monk for it's last three seasons as his assistant.

Another thing this movie had for it was outstanding production design and special effects. The movie may be a torture to watch, but is usually a pleasure to look at. The best I can describe it is that the sets look similar to the imaginative style of the television series Pushing Daisies, although the costumes seem out of Lazy Town. Which leads to the two things that doomed this movie. One was the half assed attempt to make this a children's movie. This was the reason for the odd set designs, as well as the reason for the focus to be on a magic baby and a cute doggie. But while the concept was aimed at preschool kids, the subject matter was not suitable. When a cute doggie puts on a mask and becomes a scary green doggie, small children become upset. And New Line wanted the movie to appeal to adults as well, perhaps when they realized how expensive it would be to film. The other thing wrong was the script written by Lance Khazei, who despite having worked on The Chevy Chase Show and Politically Incorrect, and writing a few Nickelodeon cartoons in between, delivered a movie that was devoid of any humor. Lance's idea of funny was to steal gags from classic animated cartoons without any of the references that made those original gags funny. Perhaps an argument could be made to how the cast did not attempt to make the material work. But then again most of the gags were done with CGI generated characters, and the CGI was flawless, which leaves the blame squarely on the material.
I think Asylum did their own Thor movie.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16909 on: July 25, 2016, 06:24:39 AM »
Yep, it was called Almighty Thor.


Offline Darth Geek

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16910 on: July 25, 2016, 06:56:55 AM »
I remember hearing a while ago that a studio was going to make a movie about the (I think Greek) Gods waking up and coming to modern day having to deal with people not believing in them anymore. Which could have been an interesting premise. But I don't know if it's still in development.



Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16911 on: July 25, 2016, 07:09:37 AM »
I think Asylum did their own Thor movie.
Yep, it was called Almighty Thor.

Rather than the low budget direct to video via "SyFy original movie" that Asylum puts out, I was thinking something more like a major theatrical release.  Sort of like how a couple of years ago two big budget Hercules movies came out in theaters the same year. I am surprised this does not happen more often with popular public domain characters. For example, the supreme court ruled that Sherlock Holmes and Watson were in the public domain. Yet since then the only release of a new Sherlock Holmes movie was Mr. Holmes, which was based on a copyrighted 2005 novel. And the closest thing to a television series to rival Elementary was Houdini & Doyle.  On the direct to video market, it is a different story. But those companies already release knock offs of copyrighted films and characters, using characters with very similar names, and movie titles that are almost the same as a copyrighted title, being off  by only one word ( or letter ). 


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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16912 on: July 25, 2016, 02:27:04 PM »
Don't watch 400 Days. It's confusing, stupid and bad.


Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16913 on: July 25, 2016, 08:25:18 PM »
I don't care what anyone says, I still like The Shadow.


Offline ScottotD

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16914 on: July 25, 2016, 08:41:20 PM »
If you can explain it you might want to send an Email to How Did This Get Made
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16915 on: July 25, 2016, 09:35:09 PM »
If you can explain it you might want to send an Email to How Did This Get Made

Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to the episode, which is why I watched it.  I remembered liking it as a youth and while it definitely has stuff worth making fun of, including an incredibly cheesy end theme by Taylor Dane, I was pleasantly surprised that I still liked it.


Offline ScottotD

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16916 on: July 25, 2016, 10:33:44 PM »
It came out last week  :)
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Offline Johnny Unusual

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16917 on: July 26, 2016, 06:01:21 AM »
Yeah, but my computo-tron is broke.  I have a loner, but I'm not downloading my podcasts to it.


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16918 on: July 31, 2016, 02:03:32 PM »
The Pedicab Driver ( 1989 )
Movies made in Hong Kong were discovered by Americans in 1973 when Warner Bros. distributed an English dubbed Shaw Brothers Studio produced martial arts film called Five Fingers of Death ( Formerly called King Boxer ( 1972 ) in it's home country ). Warner Bros. never expected a Chinese movie with a cast unknown to Americans to become a hit, and had only released it as a way of priming the American movie market to the concept of martial arts movies in preporation of the release of Enter the Dragon, the movie starring Bruce Lee  they co-produced with Golden Harvest. With the success of Five Fingers of Death, every minor film distributor ran out and got the distribution rights to whatever Asian martial arts movie they could afford. The Kung Fu /  Chop Socky mania of the 70s had begun, peaking in 1974 with Carl Douglas' #1 hit song Kung Fu Fighting in 1974, and his follow up Dance the Kung Fu which was a minor hit in 1975. Little did Americans realize that back in Hong Kong, the Chinese stopped going to martial arts movies after Bruce Lee died, and the only reason why they were still being made was for distribution in America, Australia, Germany and Great Britain. When the MPAA began to crack down on Asian martial arts films by giving them X ratings for violence, and only an R or PG rating if all of the moments of body contact were edited out, Kung Fu movies moved to places like Times Square's former pornography district, shown in the same movie houses as Debbie Does Dallas ( 1978 ) and were no longer part of the mainstream. Movies made in this era would later be called Old School Kung Fu.

A second wave of discovery of Asian martial arts movies happened in 1980 when World Northal took movies that usually got X ratings by the MPAA, and with very few edits, began syndicating the same movies to television stations as part of a syndicated show called Black Belt Theater. Other distributors began editing and syndicating their own martial arts movies, including Warner Bros. who never even bothered selling their hit film Enter the Dragon to television in the 70s, but now had it along with Legend of the Golden Vampires and The Big Brawl in syndication. This second no-named wave of martial arts popularity ended in the late 80s, thanks to a combination of events including many local stations becoming FOX, World Northal going bankrupt and putting the television broadcast rights to thousands of movies including most of the Shaw Brothers films in limbo, and as a result of that, USA Network's cancellation of Kung-Fu Theater.

Which brings us to the third wave, known as the New Wave. It began as a result of great Hong Kong produced action and fantasy movies being shown at various film festivals, leading eventually to popular Chinese and Hong Kong film festivals across America. While these festivals mostly showed big budget fantasy movies like The Bride with White Hair, ( 1993 ), and shoot em up action films like John Woo's Hard Boiled ( 1992 ), the festivals soon discovered Jackie Chan and Jet Li. These were the actors who had revitalized the martial arts movie in Hong Kong. It also started a schism between what is defined as Old School and New Wave. Generally Old School is the late 60s to 1983 while New Wave was 83 to present. But there were some exceptions, like Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Hong Kong's first major special effects fantasy made in 1982. Or further back than that, Black Magic, a horror film produced by Shaw Brothers in 1975. Almost every actor from the 70s, including Bruce Lee, are Old School. But Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung get a pass on that, and much of their pre-1983 work is considered new wave. The same with director Lau Kar-Leung, who is considered a new wave director even though most of his best films were made during the 70s.

Enough of the history lesson and back to me. The wave that I discovered Hong Kong movies was during the 80s with Black Belt Theater, shown locally as part of the Saturday afternoon movie block called Drive-In Movie. I did not think of buying any of these movies on video until the early 90s ( see next review ) only to discover that almost every major 70s martial arts movie was either never released in America on home video, or had gone out of print years earlier. I had Ric Meyer's book as a guide to most of the best martial arts films, but with exception to the Bruce Lee movies, could not find any of them. It was the same story when I upgraded to Laser Disc. But on the other hand, you could find almost every New Wave title on Laser Disc. At the height of the New wave popularity Jackie Chan crossed over with Rumble in the Bronx ( 1995 ) which was soon followed by most of his earlier movies being re-dubbed and re-released on home video. By 2000 almost every New Wave movie was available on Laser Disc, either as an official US release, or as a slightly more expensive import. But the one popular New Wave film I could never find was Sammo Hung's Pedicab Driver. It seemed to evade both the import market, as well as the Weinsteins who bought the rights to every Hong Kong action movie they could get their mitts on. Even when DVDs surpassed Laser Discs, and you could find hundreds of cheap DVD imports of both New Wave and previously hard to find Old School films, Pedicab Driver still remained elusive. By the time Amazon and eBay made it possible to buy movies from foreign countries where Pedicab Driver had actually been distributed, it was long out of print. I had pretty much given up on ever seeing the movie when Warner Bros. announced that they had purchased the rights to over 200 martail arts movies for Warner Archives. Pedicab Driver was among the first wave of releases.

So. Was Pedicab Driver worth the wait? Yes and no. It does have some great fight scenes from Sammo Hung, including a mid film fight between Sammo and guest star Lau Kar-Leung. It also has a very decent action sequence with Sammo in a pedicab being chased by villains in a car.  It is a formula plot, but moves along without dragging between action sequences, and avoids drawn out comedy sequences which have made so many other Hung and Chan films hard to watch. There are two romantic subplots, but neither slow things down, and both are neatly tied into the main plot. And it has villains you want to see Sammo bring to justice, which makes you root for the heroes during the ending vengeance fight. But this movie is no better than the rest of Sammo Hung's work. In fact, I would say that Eastern Condors ( 1987 ) is a far better movie than this.

So why has it received so much praise over the years? Being unavailable other than a blurry bootleg may have been part of it. But lets consider the years when it did get praise. In the late 80s only a random sampling of Hong Kong movies were distributed to Chinese theaters in Chinatowns across the U.S. When the New Wave first became popular thanks to the film festivals, the movies that were available were spotty. Going to a Chinese video store to rent bootlegs of Hong Kong releases was near impossible because all the boxes were in Chinese characters with very few including additional English titles. And often the proprietors of these shops neither spoke English, nor trusted the white people who were suddenly turning up in their stores asking for actors or directors under their Anglo names. A lot of Sammo Hung's work was not yet available. But Pedicab Driver was still making the rounds as a subtitled movie in Chinese theaters. And it had popular New Wave director Lau Kar-Leung in an acting and fighting role. So no wonder the writers who rushed books out on the Hong Kong cinema saw Pedicab Driver as a classic. It's continued unavailability prevented it from being compared to other martial arts movies, so it retained it's status as a masterpiece. The truth is that it is just a run of the mill Sammo Hung movie, worth seeing if you are a Sammo Hung fan, but by no means one of Hong Kong's best. If you are a martial arts fan, it is a movie worth seeing. But you would probably want to keep about 200 other Hong Kong movies ahead of it on your bucket list.



Labyrinth ( 1986 )
This was quite a collaboration. In between Howard the Duck and Willow, George Lucas produced a fantasy musical written by Monty Python's Terry Jones, directed by Muppet creator Jim Henson, Starring David Bowie who also wrote the songs, and with characters created by illustrator Brian Froud. It should have been one of the 80s hit fantasy films, along with Time Bandits ( 1981 ), The NeverEnding Story ( 1984 ),  Ghostbusters ( 1984 ) and The Dark Crystal ( 1982 ). But instead it lost Tri-Star $13 million. It would not be until the 90s that the movie was rediscovered enough to build a cult following.

When Labyrinth came out, I had been a huge Monty Python fan for more than a decade. I never actually got to see it in a theater. It seemed to be in and out too quickly, and besides, Jones only wrote the script, but neither directed not acted in the movie, so there was not that much urgency to see it. Not as much urgency as something like Yellowbeard ( 1983 ). But I did buy the tie-in book, The Goblins of the Labyrinth, written by Jones with artwork from Froud. The first prerecorded VHS tape I bought was Secret Policeman's Other Ball, a full six months before I even owned my first VCR. ( Record Explosion was selling them off at $5 a tape, and I thought that by the time I saved up enough for a VCR, they would all be sold out. ) Whenever any film starring any Python member was reduced to the magic price of $10 to $15 I would buy it. ( Remember, this was back when most prerecorded movies retailed at $80. ) In October of 1989, Record World reduced the price of Labyrinth to $10, and that is when I saw it for the first time. I eventually did begin buying movies unrelated to Python in 1990, beginning with the Bruce Lee box set from CBS/FOX home video, and what was then the entire Planet of the Apes movie collection ( also from CBS/FOX ). Both were on sale.

Flash forward nearly three decades. I began to realize my early movie collection was in a dire need of an update. I had a lot of films on VHS in the old pan-and-scan full screen format. And they stopped making VCRs. Sure, I have a couple of machines just for watching my old tapes. But when those VCRs break, that's it. And for all I know, my entire VHS collection has demagnetized by now.  But upgrading movies I already own is expensive. So it is being done bit by bit, waiting for Amazon's sellers to clear their shelves by selling DVDs for $1. Upgrading my collection was a slow process. And I was in no hurry to upgrade Labyrinth. That is until the news broke that David Bowie had died. You all know what happens when someone famous dies? Everyone rushes out and buys their albums, their books, their movies. There was a distinct possibility that Labyrinth was no longer in print, and just gradually selling off the existing stock. I had to buy it before it sold out.  Otherwise what was left would be on eBay for more than $100 a copy. Amazon said "Only Three Left In Stock: Order Soon!!" with no mention that any more were on the way. So I panic bought the blu-ray.

Long story short, the company that was putting out Labyrinth on DVD and blu-ray began pressing more. So not only were my fears unfounded, but they just announced that they are releasing a special 30th Anniversary Edition with all new bonus features. DAMN IT!!! DAMN IT!!! DAMN IT!!!

When I saw this back in 1989 I recalled liking it a lot. But that was a long time and many films ago. Like many films I bought on video back then, it was watched one or two times and then put back on the shelf to be a fancy wall decoration along with other VHS boxes. I almost watched it again in the early 2000s when I started finding Jennifer Connely attractive, but despite it being removed from the wall shelf and placed on the smaller shelf under the television, I never found enough spare time to see it again. And then the brief fascination with actress Connely ended, and it went back to it's proper spot. So basically this is the first chance I have had since my late teens to see what is basically a Muppet movie without the popular Muppets. Would I still like it, or would I find it too immature for my tastes? The good news is that I still seem to like the movie as much as I remembered liking it. It is still those cheap Muppet characters and special effects that were eventually done away with when CGI became practical, but enough life is brought into the puppets that they seem real enough. ( Ironically, Henson opens the movie with a CGI owl, which much like the space ships in The Last Starfighter ( 1984 ) and the Enterprise in the early episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, just does not look real. Henson was using a technology that would eventually steal work from his company. ) None of the David Bowie songs are really memorable, but are still very pleasent. The acting among the non Muppet cast could have been better, but is acceptable. It is a nice bit of entertainment, but also something you would probably end up putting on a shelf for decades before finding a reason to see again.


« Last Edit: July 31, 2016, 02:31:51 PM by stethacantus »


Offline stethacantus

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Re: What was the last movie you watched?
« Reply #16919 on: July 31, 2016, 02:03:54 PM »
Never Give a Sucker an Even Break ( 1941 )
Finally got to the end of the WC Fields 10 movie box set, and the last movie was Field's final starring role. Having lost his contract with Paramount over his alcoholism, he dried out and got a new contract with Universal. But while Universal offered Fields the best working environment of his career, allowing him to script his own movies, he did take issue with how the studio heads tampered with the film's production. Scripts were often disapproved. And when they were approved, they were often rewritten, presumably to clean it up for the censors. And Fields had little say over the casting, often being forced to work with actors and comedians he detested. Eventually Fields began to demand full creative control over his movies, or he was through working for the studio. By the 1940s it was clear his alcoholism was back, and was effecting both his health and demeanor on the set. That is, if he was sober enough to make it to the set. It was not just his alcoholism that gave Universal reason enough to dump him. By 1941 they no longer needed him.

In 1940 they released a formula rom com called A Night at the Tropics which featured among it's cast their newest contract stars, Abbott & Costello. When that film became a surprise hit, Universal tried their new comedians in their own starring film Buck Privates ( 1941 ). That movie became one of the biggest box office hits of all time ( for back the at least ).  Abbott & Costello followed it with a slew of other hit movies. Universal no longer needed Fields, and Fields no longer needed Universal. So what happened? Inexplicably, the studio caved in and allowed Fields full creative control over his next movie. His script with no revisions, the cast he approved of, a director instructed to take Fields directions, and the ability to improvise or rewrite any scene. Fields got to make the movie he wanted, which Universal immediately edited and later released with little fanfare as a B picture. About the same time Universal got rid of Fields.

What went wrong?  Instead of the usual formula picture he had made so many times before, Fields decided to use the creative control that Universal unexpectedly gave him to make something described as too surreal for 1940s audiences.  And as such, confounded the critics, most of whom gave the movie a bad review. It also poked fun at the very studio system that had allowed him to make his own movie in the first place. Universal saw it as a waste of their money. A costly "fuck you" from Fields to the studio executives. The studio heads who allowed Fields to have his way felt like they were the suckers. They also knew audiences would hate it, which they did. But then again, their are many who say it was Field's masterpiece. A film made many many decades before it's time. It has even been described as Monty Python decades before Monty Python.

Actually, this movie is just barely surreal. It has a few moments, like when Fields walks into a ice cream shop to order a milkshake, then turns to the screen and says to the audience "This was suppose to be in a saloon, but the censor cut it out." Breaking the fourth wall was rare in the 40s. There are other surreal moments, but they take place in the movie within the movie.

Here is the plot. Fields plays a character named WC Fields, or Uncle Bill to his niece, but called "The Great Man" in the credits. He works for the same studio that employs his niece Gloria Jean. ( most of the actors play themselves in this movie, although in real life Gloria Jean was not related to Fields. ) The studio head wants to get rid of Fields, but desperately wants to keep his niece who he is grooming to be a major star. So he puts up with Fields, agreeing to a meeting where Fields will read him his latest script. As Fields reads the script, we cut to the scenes he is describing. In the movie within the movie, Fields and Gloria are on their way to a small Eastern European country in an airliner with an outdoor sun deck. When Fields accidentally knocks his bottle of alcohol over the side, he jumps out of the plane after it, somehow surviving by landing on an outdoor bed on a mountain top home. It is the home of a beautiful girl and her mother ( Margaret Dumont ) who had moved there to become a recluse after her husband abandoned her. Fields takes advantage of the daughter, who had never seen a man before, teaching her a game that involves tricking her into being kissed. But when the mother shows up to play the same game, Fields jumps into a basket hanging from the side of the cliff which then falls thousands of feet to the ground. He manages to survive without a scratch, but his booze bottle he had jumped from the plane to save has smashed in his back pocket.

He then goes to a local Russian village where he contacts Gloria at the airport and asks her to join him.  While in a local saloon that serves nothing but Goat's Milk ( which happens to be 100 Proof ) he gets into a conversation with two locals about the mountaintop home. Here he learns that the mother is actually very rich. On hearing this, Fields suddenly decides he is in love with the woman, and once Gloria shows up, returns to propose. Meanwhile, the other two men Fields had been talking to also go to the mountain top home, each climbing up the side because Fields failed to tell them about the basket lift. One wants to meet the beautiful girl, the other has the same plans as Fields to marry the rich mother. Everyone meets at the mountain top home, which is now guarded by a gorilla. After getting rid of his rival, Fields convinces the mother to marry him, but a few minutes later is somehow talked out of the marriage by Gloria. They both get back into the basket which begins to plummet.

At this point the studio head has had enough of the script and orders Fields out of his office. When Gloria discovers Fields was fired, she punches the studio head in the nose and informs him that if her uncle no longer works for the studio, then neither does she. At this point the edits made by Universal become apparent, as references are made to scenes that were removed. Fields is going some place to start a new career and wants Gloria to stay behind. Where he was going was lost in the edits. Gloria convinces him to take her along too, so he gives her $1.25 to buy "several outfits" from a department store. While waiting for her to come out, he offers a lift to a woman he mistakenly believes is about to give birth, and rushes her to a hospital. The movie ends in a very decent action scene involving Fields car racing through the streets of California, and at one point getting stuck on a ladder of a passing fire engine.

This is certainly not Fields best work, but I wonder exactly how I would have felt about the unedited version of this movie. Many of the funniest lines were rehashed from previous movies. And although the ending chase scene was great by 1940s standards, it seemed a waste of Fields talents to just have him reacting in a few back projection shots while most of the scene was stunt drivers. Then again, you needed to end a movie big back then. It was either a chase scene, or allowing Gloria Jean to sing another song while Fields watched. This movie may have been too surreal for those who saw it back in the 40s, but it is barely surreal by today's standards. Monty Python and Woody Allen moved that bar way up in the 70s. It does not deserve the bad reviews it got when released and does have quite a few decent laughs with original material here and there. But the plot is disjointed with an ending that is a non ending. There is a hint of a much better and sentimental film that Universal probably ruined with their edits, so one can only wonder.

Fields being fired from a studio for a surreal script foreshadowed Fields being fired from Universal for a surreal film. Altough in this case, the studio head did not get the chance to stop Fields at the script stage. Once free of Universal he was cast in  Tales of Manhattan ( 1942 ) for 20th Century Fox. Six stories that involved the same coat, each a mini story with a different cast. Fields was in the fifth story along with Margaret Dumont and Phil Silvers. However, Fox felt the movie's running time was too long, and had the fifth story cut. In 1944 Universal brought Fields back for three more movies, each where he made a guest appearance as himself. By 1945 he was too sick to make any more film appearances. By that time he had checked into the Las Encinas Sanatorium where he spent the last two years of his life, dying on Christmas Day, 1946 of a gastric hemorrhage.

Well, that wraps things up for the WC Fields movie collection.  I did mention I was a completest, didn't I? So far I have the 10 film set, and Alice in Wonderland which I bought a couple of years ago because Charlotte Henry was in it. Field's played Humpty Dumpty. That is 11 films down, 30 more to go. ( Including his supporting and guest roles, and seven shorts. ) I am not sure they are all on DVD yet. To get the ones only available in sets, there will be a lot of double dipping. And currently three are listed as lost: The Potters ( 1927 ),  Two Flaming Youths ( 1927 ) and D W Griffith's That Royal Girl ( 1925 ) which is on the  American Film Institute's list of the 10 Most Wanted Lost Films of All Time. And then there is  Tales of Manhattan. A while back the deleted fifth story was rediscovered in a 20th Century Fox film vault and edited back into the movie for the VHS release. Currently the DVD release for the film has the theatrical edit only, and does not even include the scene as a bonus feature. So I will have to wait on that one until there is a proper release. Meanwhile I guess I will attempt to get the rest of his movies. But I am also currently upgrading my VHS library, collecting Python related movies, collecting classic martial arts movies, two quarters into buying all the Steven Spielberg films, still working on compleating Buster Keaton's guest shots and cameos,  looking to build up my silent era movie collection, looking to start collecting Marx Brothers and a few others, finishing my comic book movie collection, and am way behind on purchasing my favorite television series from the past. Just to mention a few more things I want to decorate my shelves with. And my entertainment budget is $25 a week, so it is a matter of either buying what has been put on sale that week, or panic buying what seems to be going out of print. So who knows when I will see another WC Fields movie again.