Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flypaper Movies

A good bloggable topic over at Ace's: The movie you can't stop watching once you start.

It's more interesting when you consider films that, perhaps, are not very good. Or are downright bad, even.

Plan 9 From Outer Space, for example, compels me. I know a lot of the dialog. Each line, each actor's gesture, each fragile set, each seemingly random change of camera angle, lighting, wardrobe is like a tiny present to the viewer.

When the wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, a lot of low budget B-flick guys went off to eastern Europe to avail themselves of communist-funded movie sets and unmodernized architecture--to say nothing of un-unionized crews--creating absurdly cheap films with ridiculously rich backdrops.

I find these oddly compelling. Movies like Dark Angel: The Ascent and Subspecies, however "B" the rest of the movie, are surrounded by gorgeous backdrops. And Angel is odd on so many levels, it defies categorization (love story? horror movie? slasher flick?).

Jim Wynorksi, Fred Ray and Dave DeCoteau (all of whom hang out at Fred's Retromedia site, and are three of coolest pro film directors evah) were prolific in th--what am I saying, they're always prolific, but their late '80s and early '90s films are still among my favorite in their catalogue. Action, horror, comedy, family--even a western.

Maybe it's just a sort of nostalgia, but I love the direct-to-video or nearly DTV films of the era. Not all of them are flypaper (probably not even a significant portion) but probably a high percentage than of any other era short of the late '30s/early '40s.


  1. Recently watched You'll Never Get Rich with Astaire, Hayworth, and Robert Benchley, and loved every minute. Fast-moving and witty. Irony in the title, of course all the characters were rich to begin with, so didn't need to worry about getting that way. A movie I have been unable to watch: Southland Tales. The favorable reviews at IMDB and Amazon baffle me. How can an SF flick with Buffy in it be so difficult to look at? I can't do more than about 15 minutes at a time of this one, and am about to officially give up.

  2. It's kind of, as I said, a slam dunk to say you get hooked by old movies, and for us movie fans, it's at least plausible.

    Is it hack if I say that when Casablanca is on, I find myself staying up till 4 or 5AM?

    Ah, well, it is what it is, right?

    I don't think I've seen You'll Never Get Rich, though.

    As for SMG, some of us remember her from her "All My Children" days, when she was the love child of Susan Lucci and her, uh, rapist I guess. That was a hoot because she was actually 16 and Lucci's character was supposed to have been 16 when she was raped. But of course, people started doing the math and as good as Lucci looks, it was chronologically impossible for her to be 32. Heh.

    A lot of Gellar's character on the soap translated over into Buffy, as unlikely as that might seem. I probably only saw her 2-3 times, but you knew just looking at her, she was gonna be big.

    And yet, since Buffy, the only watchable thing she's done (AFAIK) is Scooby-Doo. Try watching The Return some time.

    Oh, she's also done some good voice work. "Robot Chicken" and TMNT.

    She really needs a role to showcase her away from the teen stuff. She's, what around, 30, now!

  3. The funniest thing for me is that I will turn on Free Movies on Demand and my wife will bitch as we go to bed around midnight. I will put on an old flic like Please Don't Eat the Dasies or The Apartment or Some Like It Hot and she will ask me what it is about. Then she will get sucked in and I will just fall asleep. Works like a charm every time. And it stops her from watching that god damn Home Shopping crap.

  4. Troop!

    You survived Tax Day!

    Hey, teach your wife how to Internet Shop--Amazon 1-Click, Ebay, Craig's List--you'll wish she watched the HSN.

  5. Trust me, she knows all about every kind of shopping. She has a black belt in shopping. Luckily she shops for the store so that helps a lot in holding her shopping jones at bay.

    I survived the season by the skin of my teeth. Next year will be horrible with the upcoming tax increases. Clients don't realize that the accountant doesn't get the money, the government does.

  6. That's some sort of black belt in husband jiu-jitsu to redirect the shopping drive like that.

    Of course you're gonna blame the accountant. The Congress is completely insensate and the IRS is scary.


Grab an umbrella. Unleash hell. Your mileage may vary. Results not typical. If swelling continues past four hours, consult a physician.