REAL HEROES is the story of a misfit string of B-Grade super heroes who audition for a reality television show and hope to “hit the big time” from the exposure and gain some notoriety as a crime-fighting hero and not just some goofball wearing a stupid costume parading around town calling themselves a legit superhero.
These superheroes are (more…)
From the creative minds that brought you ITALIAN SPIDERMAN, this is what they have been working on since the athletically fashionable mustached fat-ass has quit fighting crime and evil: DANGER 5. They fight Nazis and Hitler is (more…)
All that I know about this is that the trailer was uploaded to YouTube.com back in 2007 and that the trailer is hilarious. There are a couple of other videos featuring ITALIAN SPIDERMAN. Apparently, and sadly, ITALIAN SPIDERMAN is dead.
Here is some (more…)
Who is Judy Tenuta? Honestly, when I requested this book from Bear Manor Media to read and review, I do not know whom I was thinking this woman was or what the content of her book would be about. Actually, I read that she was a (more…)
The comedy duo of Martin & Lewis, comprising of actor/singer Dean Martin and comedic slapstick artist Jerry Lewis, team up for a comedic romp that takes place in the army entitled (more…)
If one could not tell, THE ‘BURBS is my favorite Joe Dante film, if not one of my favorite horror-comedies of all time. I place horror in front of comedy because I feel the elements of horror, as well as the jokes scattered here and there throughout the written dialogue of the film are so prominent that Mr. Joe Dante himself must have made this film with fans of horror in mind.
The plot of THE ‘BURBS is quite (more…)
Phil Hall decided to tackle a very difficult subject in attempting to write a book entitled THE GREATEST BAD MOVIES OF ALL TIME, because lets be honest—one man’s “bad movie” may be another man’s epic film. Granted, there are “bad movies” we love, but generally most people know (more…)
Most everyone that watches horror films at some point or another has probably heard of the name Elizabeth Bathory (also known as The Blood Countess, Countess Bathory, and The Bloody Lady of Cachtice). After all, a phenomenal black/viking metal band (in my opinion) from Sweden even went so far as to name themselves after the Hungarian countess labeled the most prolific serial killer in history (some sources say) even though the precise number of victims is debated.
The subject matter of the indie horror/comedy (more…)
A very entertaining interview with actor, writer, producer, and director G. Larry Butler, a man whose been in over 100 films and t.v. shows, as well as having written a book (Here Lies Madness) and being a very entertaining interview. I had a chance to watch Butler in the film PANMAN (2011) as he played the character Professor Hunter in a horror-comedy about a murderer going around killing culinary students armed with a pan and wearing a big, metal pot on his head. Butler also talks about (more…)
I generally can find some positive things to say about a movie I did not particularly care for. I might like the gratuitous nudity and one particular naked woman may be the films’ only saving grace, or there might be one really funny scene or a super disgusting and gory kill that wins me over, but I will definitely let readers know that a majority of the film sucked big balls. I finally found a film that I liked NOTHING about and I increasingly became angrier and angrier that I had to sit through this pile of cinematic bullshit.
DAHMER VS. GACY only succeeded in annoying me on such a colossal level that as heinous as the crimes both serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy committed, no punishment could be more severe than these filmmakers making this film using their names, likeness, and crime details in a low-budget stinker that is supposed to generate laughs, but for me just generated utter nausea and discomfort. (more…)
Comedies have never been my favorite genre of films to watch. After all, horror is my bag. Going into MISS NOBODY I was not sure what to expect. I mean, I was expecting to have to sit through a 90-minute feature of jokes that packed little to zero punch and did not even tickle, for a moment, my funny bone. Director Tim Cox, known for having directed some SyFy Channel originals for t.v., such as MAMMOTH (2006), MORPHMAN (2005), and ALIEN LOCKDOWN (2004), was not really impressing me with his list of movies credited on his resume. I find most of the SyFy Channel original movies to be a semi-decent way to kill 2 hours when nothing else is on for some cheap genre thrills, but whose use are nothing more than that. So I was thinking, “Great! A genre I am very particular about directed by a man who has made low-budget and cheesy Sci-fi films whose general execution in plot and entertainment are almost along the lines of a decent Roger Corman flick. I was setting the bar to my expectations for MISS NOBODY pretty damn low. After I finished the film, I was MORE than pleasantly surprised. I found out this dark comedy really won me over.
MISS NOBODY is a romantic comedy, on the darker side, about a secretary, Sarah Jane McKinney (Leslie Bibb) who is trying to climb the corporate ladder and rise about the menial role of answering phone calls and fetching coffee for her superiors. One day she, with the help of her quasi-eccentric mother Claire McKinney (Kathy Baker, COLD MOUNTAIN), decides to stretch the truth on her application and apply for a much higher position within the company she works for. To her surprise, Sarah lands the job. No sooner than she gets the does she already have it swiped out from under her by Milo Beeber (Brandon Routh, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD) when the boss that hired her gets fired. Totally devastated, she calls upon her lucky patron saint St. George for guidance (this saint’s statue fell from high above a church steeple and killed her alcoholic father) and decides to get to the top by any means necessary (with the help of her guardian angel), even if it means killing her competition.
Bibb (IRON MAN 1&2) is asked to work through dinner with her new boss Beeber (Routh) and when he tries to force himself upon her stating, “I have sex with all my secretaries“, McKinney (Bibb) pushes him off the ladder he had cornered her on in his apartment and knocks him to his death via an umbrella stabbing. Frankly, I do not think an umbrella would be able to impale anyone through the chest, but that is where the dark humor and ridiculousness to the whole matter of affairs comes in. The film is full of creative murders and a pretty amusing array of characters with descriptions of each character voiced-over by McKinney (Bibb) throughout the film. Think of it like THE OFFICE meets DEXTER(with just a touch of morbid overtones such as in HEATHERS), but with a semi-ditzy female version of Michael Scott doing the murdering of all her co-workers and none of the slick maneuverings of Dexter Morgan . Every co-worker is viewed as a potential thorn in McKinney’s (Bibb) side, from the sharp and voluptuous Nan Wilder (Vivica A. Fox) to the oversexed Joshua Nether (Eddie Jemison) to the foot-fetish perversions of Pierre Jejeune (Patrick Fischler).
The inventive and creative kills within the film had me glued to the screen with interest, as well as the goofiness of how the murders were executed. Leslie Bibb was a pleasure to watch on film and her character was perfectly cast to her quirky, yet sexy style, as an actress. She is one of those individuals that I can see as being really gorgeous and sexy, yet also have a nerdy and a side lacking confidence. I believe I really enjoyed the movie so much because of Bibb’s performance and the quasi-innocence her character portrayed. I just could not feel sympathy for any of Bibb’s co-workers as they were killed off, some in quite painful fashion.
The love interest in the film comes in the form of a detective assigned to the case who just also happens to be a tenant in Bibb’s mother’s inn. Adam Goldberg (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), portraying Detective Bill Malloy was a fine pick for Bibb’s attraction. Actor Goldberg is great at playing a schmuck-like type of character that also can transition to having a pair of balls when need be. I fondly remember him as the Jewish roommate, David, of white supremacist Remy (Rappaport) in Singleton’s HIGHER LEARNING. Throw into the cast character actor Geoffrey Lewis (THE DEVIL’S REJECTS), comical David Anthony Higgins (TV’s Ellen), and the always likeable Richard Riehle (OFFICE SPACE) and I felt the cast was very well-rounded. In fact, I am surprised to be hearing myself say that I really liked the film. The dark overtones and elements of black humor are what won me over to enjoying this film so much. I also do enjoy a film that has elements of mystery and a whodunnit aspect to the movie.
Doug Steinberg (TV’s Beverly Hills 90210) wrote the film and the delightful soundtrack is credited to John Dickson, mostly known for doing a bunch of SyFy Channel movies’ soundtracks. I really loved the soundtrack and felt that it added to the overall charm and character of the movie. I kind of was reminded of Danny Elfman a little bit. I think the dark humor, plot, and characters in the film went along superbly with the efforts of Dickson and his playful soundtrack.
For a film tagged as a romantic comedy, I can wholeheartedly say that MISS NOBDOY is one of the few films that I will go on the record for as saying that I really enjoyed and think fans of that genre will enjoy quite immensely, as well as those that normally aren’t into these types of films. I recommend checking out MISS NOBODY.
Over here at SHU-IZMZ, I have been getting a load of films from distributors, some good and some bad, but I try to review each and every one, usually in a timely manner…well, lets face it- I can’t review every film in a timely manner, but I do want to make readers of SHU-IZMZ aware of all the different types of movies and styles that are floating around the world of films. I have decided to do a new feature or style of writing for the website, and that is what INDIE COMEDY ROUND-UP will be. Sometimes, the films won’t even always be indie flicks, but generally more often than not they will be. Those of you that know me probably figured out that comedies are not my favorite, or even close to my favorite genre of films. I do like to laugh, but I just generally laugh at things that many other people do not find the least bit funny. Oh well, that is part of the whole SHU-IZMZ thing. I would much rather watch a comedy along the lines of Dan O’Bannon’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD than I would watch the latest from National Lampoon. For the record, I only watch the National Lampoon movies for the gratuitous T&A. If there is no nudity or sleaze within one of their releases, I generally will regard the film as an epic flop. I just don’t find the humor in those films any good unless it is crude and supplemented with some crude visuals.
So here goes the first installment of INDIE COMEDY ROUND-UP. Sadly, this generally will be films that I only marginally enjoyed, but as always, readers know that comedies are not my thing and one should know that just because I did not enjoy the film does not mean that others who are fans of comedy will not like it. I have outed myself to you, the readers, and the rest of the world as to my biases on the genre of comedy. Also, keep in mind, that I do enjoy other, more mainstream comedies, such as most films with Will Ferrell in them or the goofy and usually sophomoric films that Adam Sandler is in. Go figure.
Today I have chosen two indie flicks from the distributors at Severin Films and Synapse Films: DEVOLVED, the feature debut of screenwriter, documentary filmmaker and ESPN columnist John Cregan and the film THE SWEET LIFE, the directorial debut of Rocco Simonelli, whose past work has been as a writer for the series THE SUBSTITUTE, as well as a handful of other films.
Let’s start with Cregan’s DEVOLVED, described as a teen-themed sex comedy and a throwback comedy, which centers around a group of suburban high-school seniors from San Diego on a whale-watching expedition off the Baja coast of Mexico. They become shipwrecked on a deserted island and it turns into the “nerds” vs. the “jocks”. Elements of LORD OF THE FLIES are reminiscent, as well as the crudeness of the new National Lampoon films and the cheesiness that most teen comedies comprise of. The film is inoculated with tedious and annoying characters, humor, and a plot that has been done on some level but only better. Films in which a group of kids are shipwrecked with little to absolutely zero parental control has been explored before, such as in the very shocking and well-done LORD OF THE FLIES, as I mentioned earlier, but this film is pure comedy, or tries to be, and is filled with the stereotypical characters that everyone has seen in countless other “stranded on an island” scenarios. I kept thinking of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, minus the campiness and cheese factor that a television show from the ’60s with Bob Denver (whom is likeable in it) can have and thrive upon. DEVOLVED was not, per say, a bad film. It was just a film that I really had no interest in throughout and it did not help matters that there was little to no nudity and sleaze within the film when it boasted a fairly attractive cast and was littered with sexual innuendo throughout.
I found much of the humor childish, bland, run-of-the-mill but the the film did have some funny moments such as one opening scene in which a newscaster is conducting a live newscast and a couple of attractive girls run on camera in the background donning bikinis and flash everyone (one of those girls being the brunette Cameron Adams who can also be seen in the voyeur porn clips known for on Backroom Casting Couch that is available in small clips on youporn.com) while shaking their chi-chis. Wait, I guess that was meant to be more titillating than humorous. In hindsight, I was really hoping that there would be more of the shaking of breasts in the film because when the annoying voice-over narration started, I then new that this film was going to be a rough viewing. The character titles popping up on the screen identifying who was who and what their “titles” were, such as their majors and high school clique associations, was even more annoying and an easy way to instantly let viewers know who they were without actually writing their character into the story. Really, this film just looked like a bad made-for-television after-school special that would air on one of the major local networks-minus the nudity, of course.
The film stars Lindsey Shaw (10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU), Robert Adamson (LINCOLN HEIGHTS), and Gary Entin (SECONDS APART) as the leaders of the students who for most, if not all of the movie, are arguing over who should be in control and what everyone’s duties are on the deserted island. I think this movie could have worked better if just had all the girls going GIRLS GONE WILD and the guys trying to nail them while delivering ridiculously crude lines of dialogue instead of the film comprising hardly any nudity and trying to form some social opinion on the different social classes that comprise of high school. Honestly, I was reminded of the film CAN’T HARDLY WAIT because that was also a film that introduced characters in it by on-screen titles and descriptions of who they were and what they were known for. The aforementioned movie was also more humorous, incorporated better actors and actresses, and had Jennifer Love Hewitt strutting around wearing a skin-tight white top that glorified her incredible bust and figure (at least in that movie because I have seen the infamous beach photos that circulated around the net and graced the cover of tabloid trash journalism) that I have viewed time and time again for that hope that the film gives with the theme that the nerdy “good guy” can win the heart of the “popular hot girl”. Yeah, one can hope, right?
If DEVOLVED even came close achieving the pace and feel of CAN’T HARDLY WAIT, along with some epic party scenes I think I may have enjoyed the film much more. DEVOLVED had all the elements of a seminal teen-romper full of comedy, but it just fell flat to me. I was not feeling it, though. I think my main reason for not enjoying this film was the fact that so many of the characters were introduced at lightening speed, were extremely shallow in their depth to each character, and that I just did not give a flying whoop over what the hell happened to any of them. I already had figured that this moronic comedy would go on until the big nerd got the popular girl, the parents eventually found their kids, no one would be killed or murdered, and everyone in the end would end up safe. There were no surprises in this film except why the hell did Chris Kattan (NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY) agree to be in this flop as Coach Papillion. Granted, Kattan was out of commission most of the film from dehydration and nearly drowning, but he really offered nothing to this film.
I recommend avoiding this film unless one needs to see every film Kattan has ever been in, or just needs a refresher coarse on what makes a movie funny by watching one that is abysmally non-humorous.
After that review, let’s move on to a movie, THE SWEET LIFE (2003), that puts a bit more thought and care into the plot of the film and offers viewers some insight into the world of dating and falling in love. Granted, this very subject in films is not something I generally choose to throw into my dvd player or blu-ray player, but it was a screener I requested because James Lorinz and Joan Jett are both in the film. If one can’t exactly place the name James Lorinz than maybe they may remember a few of the movies he starred in that to this day I still enjoy immensely, partly due to his character and comedic value within the films. In STREET TRASH (1987), directed by Jim Muro and written by Roy Frumkes (who is also involved with this film’s screenplay), Lorinz played an ultra-sarcastic jerk who is a doorman at a fancy Italian restaurant that is owned by an Italian mobster in a film that centers around bums in a local junkyard who come across a toxic brand of booze sold at a liquor store that turns its drinkers into a puddle of goo. Lorinz then went on to star in Hennenlotter’s FRANKENHOOKER three years later and was given the lead role, starring in a film that was full of nudity, crudeness, and many lines delivered by Lorinz filled with his biting humor for sarcasm delivered with deadpan deliveries.
THE SWEET LIFE is a very low-budget indie comedy filmed in New York that follows one brother, New York magazine columnist Michael (Lorinz), as he watches with envy as his confident and much more shallow brother Frankie (Robert Mobley) gets all the women and all the friends one could want in life. Frankie just so happens to be banging a slutty and wild-looking bartender at a dive bar that Frankie frequents regularly. Here is where Michael is set up on a blind date with Sherry, played by none other than the legendary Joan Jett. The date is a disaster and ends up with Michael returning Sherry back to her apartment drunk out of her mind and in no shape to have sex with Michael, even though she wants to. Michael does the right thing, putting her to bed and then ends up meeting her roommate and girlfriend to Frankie, Lila (Barbara Sicuranza).
Michael (Lorinz) and Lila (Sicuranza) end up going out and talking long into the night until sunrise and the two end up developing a connection and falling for each other. The rest of the film revolves around Michael and Lila’s relationship, Frankie and Lila’s relationship, and the brotherly love between Michael and Frankie. I guess one can say that the whole film is just about a bunch of relationships, falling in and out of love, and making hard decisions about where one wants their life to go and in what direction to take it.
The film asks the viewers some tough questions about life and explores the often complicated decisions one may have to make in regards to love, friendship, careers, school, and marriage. The film has just as much comedy in it as it has heartfelt sentiment. I enjoyed it much more than the aforementioned film I am reviewing, even though the cheap digital camera used for filming definitely takes away from the film’s quality. I enjoyed the film regardless of this small quality issue.
Of the two films, I would much rather be watching a bad zombie film or outrageously horrible slasher film than anything along the lines of traditional comedies or romantic comedies, but of the two, THE SWEET LIFE is the winner here and the least agonizing of the two films to be watching. Neither film is awful by any means, but of the two DEVOLVED tells a story I care nothing about and THE SWEET LIFE tells a story I care marginally about making it the winner of the two.
I just finished watching one of the Reverand Estus W. Pirkle’s films based upon his book and preachings, directed by Ron Ormond who wrote the screenplay, and I am speechless…well, not really. In actuality, I am laughing my ass off at how retarded these religious idiots are. The intention of the film was to alert law-abiding Christians that Communism is going to come to America and destroy us, but it just comes off as being fanatical. A good friend loaned me If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? on DVD and I was blown away by how warped and demented these extremists are in their religion. The film portrays a Communist general that highly resembles Burt Reynolds, mustache and all, as well as having not one, but TWO, little boys killed on-screen (one of which was decapitated!).
This religious propaganda is hysterically humorous and totally unintended. I am going to post some clips from a few of the films that the good ol’ Reverand Pirkle was involved with. This was my favorite scene in the film so I leave you with this clip and some food for thought about how politics and religion can really suck. Grab yourself a copy of this film is you can find it-IT IS WORTH THE HUNT!
In conjunction to the Devolved’s extended theatrical run in Los Angeles (starting March 4th), Severin Films today announced a series of special East coast screenings for its latest teen comedy, Unhinged.
Other dates are still To Be Announced, but as of this writing, these dates are official –
Monday, March 7th – Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY (time TBA)
Tuesday, March 8th – reRun Theater, Brooklyn, N.Y. (10 P.M.)
Wednesday, March 9th – E Street Cinema, Washington D.C. (8 P.M.)
Thursday, March 10th – Coolidge Corner Theater, Boston, MA (7:30 P.M.)
Severin’s John Cregan (Devolved’s writer/director) is going to be traveling with Devolved as a host of the screenings and he will be bringing with him a shitload of schwag and cool giveaways for those in attendance! I hope there are better giveaways than the hilarious Birdemic hangers! Here is what director John Cregan had to say about Devolved:
“Before we started marketing the film to the public at large, I felt like we owed it to our faithful fans to pause by way of some explanation” says Severin co-founder/Devolved Writer-Director John Cregan.
“Because Devolved is A) a brand new film, B) a teen comedy and C) a comedy that aims for laugh-out-loud jokes as opposed to wry festivalesque humor, I realized that it might instill a modicum of confusion in the core Severin audience. Put Devolved up alongside Santa Sangre, Hardware, and The Sinful Dwarf…it could be the source of some mild disorientation.”
Check out the TRAILER for Devolved right here:
In anticipation of the mildly entertaining, extremely amusing cult smash-hit Birdemic, fans on the West Coast can see the film at The Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX and Cinefamily in Los Angeles, CA simultaneously on February 25th . However, LA fans are treated to an appearance by director Nguyen, stars Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore who will be in attendance signing copies of the film.
Remember, Nguyen is a Master of the Romantic Thrillers! I met this guy in Chicago at the Music Box Theater for the Midwest Premiere of Birdemic and he was nice as hell. He let me and my friends get some photos with him and I even got a free hanger signed by him. As far as his movie goes, it is going to be a cult classic just for its ridiculous absurdity and hilarious special effects, cheap budget, ultra-atrocious acting, and ridiculous plot.
You may or may not have realized it, but February is not only the month that men and women around the world are worrying about how they are going to please the love of their lives’ with the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, but it also is Black History Month. We would like to honor black filmmakers and actors/actresses in the movie industry and what better way than to start off this with actress Tangi Miller to talk about her latest film, My Girlfriend’s Back, directed by Steven Ayromlooi (Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, Love…& Other 4 Letter Words) and starring Malik Yoba (the upcoming Vivica A. Fox feature Caught on Tape, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married). Tangi Miller plays the role of Derek Scott’s (Malik Yoba) beautiful ex-girlfriend Nicki Russell who shows up out of the blue to throw Derek’s seemingly perfect life and career that has been all planned out into complete turmoil as he finds out that he is not sure of anything in his life anymore- his fiancee and their wedding, his swanky law firm that may be offering him a partnership, and being true to himself and his heart. As always, love can be pretty fucked up and the heart does not always make it easy to decide things. Summing it all up, love can really suck and My Girlfriend’s Back reminded this man why life would be so much simpler if marriage never existed or if all marriages were pre-arranged like they are in some cultures.
Tune in to SHU-IZMZ RADIO February 10th at 1pm CST to listen to Tangi Miller talk about her upcoming film, My Girlfriend’s Back, coming to dvd March 1st.
SHU-IZMZ RADIO SHOW LINK
Check out the trailer for MY GIRLFRIEND’S BACK here:
Comedy is one particular genre of film that I enjoy, but I am extremely selective as to what I find funny and what I allow to tickle my funny bone. For this film freak (one who loves the gruesome, bizarre, and violent), what I find to be funny may follow in suit along with the masses in accordance to what is considered true comedy, but unfortunately, most of what I enjoy is neither funny, nor enjoyable to others.
Upon gearing up to watch approximately 25.5 hours of Abbott and Costello on six discs, I had considered drinking copious amounts of alcohol, snorting a line or two of cocaine, and bleeding myself to a state of hallucination so as not to really cut my wrists and take my own life while enduring this onslaught of G-rated humor full of slapstick annoyance, lighthearted physical comedy with jokes that were dated and on a level I neither understood nor found the least bit humorous. Again, comedy is one of those rare peculiarities that touches each individual differently when exposed to it. I happen to find Dead Alive a.k.a. Braindead and Bad Taste, both directed by Peter Jackson, to be two of the funniest films ever made. If anyone has seen either of these films (which I hope people have seen both of them!), they may think me to be slightly disturbed for both films are filled with gratuitous gore and violence, although none of it is very mean-spirited and the bloodshed is portrayed in a slightly humorous and creative manner. I think I would be easily able to defend my statement in choosing those two films, the first couple of movies the now famous and well-respected Peter Jackson made, as prime examples of great comedies.
Getting back to Abbott and Costello…Here is the run-down of what lies within the jam-packed 6 discs that I spent over a full day watching, falling asleep, than re-watching until I came up with the conclusion that I prefer unorthodox comedies to traditional comedies. The set includes 14 episodes of the Colgate Comedy Hour (1951-1954), a bunch of trailers from films Abbott and Costello have appeared in, a 1943 World War 2 Public Service Announcement “The Autobiography of a JEEP”, Documentary Highlights from Mail Call, Bloopers and outtakes from films (Costello says BULLSHIT in one outtake!), 17 episodes of the Abbott and Costello Show on radio (1942-49), and appearances by a multitude of stars and celebrities including Marlene Dietrich, Errol Flynn, Lucille Ball, Lon Chaney, Jr., Jane Russell, Veronica Lake, Rudy Vallee, Louis Armstrong, Dorothy Lamour, Peter Lorre, Hedda Hopper, Bella Lugosi, Penny Singleton, and Arthur Lake (Blondie & Dagwood), Joe Besser and Shemp Howard (Three Stooges), Charles Laughton, Peggy Lee, The Andrew Sisters, Hoagy Carmichael, Alan Hale, Alan Ladd, Victor Borge, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Rhonda Fleming, Gale Storm, The Nicholas Brothers, Mel Blanc, Clyde Beatty, and many more. The dvd is presented in full frame with an aspect ratio of 4×3 and original sound.
|The Colgate Comedy Hour with Abbott & Costello|
This box-set is an exhausting task to undertake watching, especially if you are not really a fan of Abbott & Costello, and even more so if one does not particularly enjoy comedy from 60 or more years ago. I was mildly amused at watching the many cameos from many well-know actors and actresses from Hollywood, but other than that, much of the humor that lied within this box set was really wasted on this viewer. Simply put-Abbott and Costello do not make me laugh. I find much of their frenetically paced, ping pong-styled punchlines and comedic set-ups volleying back and forth to be rather drone-like and almost sleep-inducing. I actually did fall asleep on several occasions and woke up to the dvd menu repeating the same joke punchlines complete with audience laughter.
Of course, the only part of this dvd boxset that amused me was on disc six-the features Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) and Africa Screams (1949), both of which are public domain. Of these two features, I enjoyed a few key portions of them, but much of the shtick that Abbott and Costello are known for, is rampantly displayed throughout both films. Jack and the Beanstalk, directed by Jack Yardbrough, tells the classic tale of Jack and the Beanstalk about a little boy who trades the family cow for magical beans.
Jack and the Beanstalk is the first of only two movies that Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made. The other color film they made was Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd. Jack and the Beanstalk begins in sepia-tone and than changes to color. Abbott and Costello made an independent, 2-picture deal in which they agreed that this was to be “Lou’s film” and the next to be “Bud’s”. They retained individual ownership of the respective films. (IMDB)
In the beginning of Jack and the Beanstalk, when Jack (Costello) first meets the employment agency’s receptionist (Dorothy Ford), he tells her: “I like girls like you, eyes of blue and five foot two.” This is a reference to the refrain of the 1920’s popular song, “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” It’s only after she rises from her chair that he realizes his misconception; he is dwarfed by Dorothy Ford’s 6’2″ full height. (IMDB)
As for the content of the movie, I think that the original story of Jack and the Beanstalk was more amusing to me and not the comedic version that Abbott and Costello re-invented. There were a few dance numbers thrown in that definitely were not on the same level as The Sound of Music or The Music Man, but I was not expecting them to be anywhere near that caliber or level of entertainment. Alongside Abbott and Costello in the film is Buddy Baer, Shay Cogan, James Alexander, Dorothy Ford, Barbara Brown, David Stollery, William Farnum, and Johnny Conrad.
The better of the two films definitely was Africa Screams (1949), directed by Charles Barton, stars Costello as Stanley Livingston, a clerk at a safari bookstore who, upon inquiry, boasts of knowing a map inside a book entitled Dark Safari, whom the parties interested want to have drawn out for them so that they may go to the destination and find some diamonds. They must travel to Africa and deal with gigantic gorillas, apes, monkeys, cannibals, and crocodiles. The film started out interesting, but soon the goofball antics of Costello paired with the sidekick seriousness of Abbott had me bored again. I thought the ending of the film was good, but everything in between was lackluster.
Of interest is the fact that this film features the only on-screen pairing of Joe Besser and Shemp Howard, who were respectively considered the 4th and 5th members of the Three Stooges. (IMDB)
Max Baer, career heavyweight boxer and the Heavyweight Champion of the World in 1934, is in the film as well as Buddy Baer, who also was a boxer and both fought against Joe Louis. There even is a reference in the film where Boots (Buddy Baer) says to grappler (Max Baer), “I’ll hit you harder than Joe Louis ever did,” which is in reference to Max Baer’s career as a heavyweight boxer. In 1935, Joe Louis was the first fighter to knock Baer to the canvas. (IMDB)
Sadly, of all 25.5 hours of Abbott & Costello, what interested me the MOST was the WW2 PSA documentary on “The Autobiography of the Jeep.” It really was cool and now I totally want to go out and get an old military Jeep so I can go racing through the mud, hills, and snow like it’s nothing at all. For fans of Abbott & Costello, this box set must be a wet dream, but for this viewer it was painstakingly slow and tedious to sit and watch for over 25 hours.