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Weekly Mishmash: December 14-20

Time for another mishmash, and all I want to do is try and figure out why the shooting victim in Trauma Center: New Blood keeps dying on me. Oh well…
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969). Another live action Disney discovery courtesy of TCM. This was the first of three films starring Kurt Russel as happy-go-lucky college student Dexter Reilly. This outing finds an electrical accident giving Dexter the knowledge of a computer, in a plot that appears to be Tron in reverse. Silly hijinks of the type found in a typical I Dream of Jeannie episode ensue. Overall, I preferred the third Dexter Reilly movie (The Strongest Man In The World) to this one, but like Ivan I found this a pleasantly brainless experience. Hands down my favorite part of the movie was the opening credits sequence, featuring vintage computer-y visuals and a title theme with some of the weirdest tongue-twisting lyrics ever. “Never met a groovier dude, an electric kind of guy” — yeah, baby!

Oh, and everyone needs to check out TCM’s beautifully done documentary The Age of Believing: The Disney Live Action Classics. It repeats on December 28th. Don’t be fooled by the toothache-inducing subject matter; it’s excellent.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007). Heard a lot of good things about this when it turned up on several critics’ “Best of” lists last year. This grim Romanian drama follows two college co-eds as they attempt to arrange an illegal abortion. Although the film is a period piece set in the ’80s, it reaffirms the fact that Romania is one of the few places on earth doing original, thought-provoking films. Not an uplifting piece, for sure, but I loved the aching, lovingly detailed milieu Cristian Mungiu sets forth with a small cast of fascinating characters. The film is deliberately paced but never boring, and beautifully photographed with many long unedited takes. One scene in particular, with actress Anamaria Marinca dutifully attending her boyfriend’s family dinner party while her mind is obviously elsewhere, is an understated marvel.
Sprecher Cherry Cola. I’ve been falling behind on my soda reviews, but just wanted to mention this super-sweet delight from a bottler in Wisconsin. Ever have a Coke with a shot of cherry at Sonic? This concoction is like one of those with ten shots of cherry. It’s cherrilicious to the point that the cherry taste bludgeons the cola taste to death. Just thinking about it again makes my mouth water.

Sprecher Cherry Cola

10,000 Maniacs — In My Tribe and The Ramones — Ramones. A couple of classic albums to fill out my iTunes library. Amazon had the digital edition of In My Tribe, an album whose grimy cassette I wore out during my college years, for just $1.99 this week. Revisiting confirms that it has not a single dud track, although Natalie Merchant’s earnest preachiness grates more easily now than it did in ’87. This particular download lacked the band’s cover of Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train,” but I did manage to find it elsewhere (sure, it seems like a label-induced sales gambit, but the album doesn’t feel complete without it). I always wanted to hear the Ramones’ debut. Although the album cuts don’t measure up to iconic tracks like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the album is as raw and goofy and fun as everyone has said. I liked the extras on the CD edition, too — strangely enough, the early version of “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” might be the only example of a song where the demo is more polished sounding than the final product!

2 Thoughts on “Weekly Mishmash: December 14-20

  1. Watched Candleshow and Bedknobs & Broomsticks tonight on TCM. Jodie Foster was a marvel, and I didn’t expect to love Candleshoe as much as I did. B&B was also charming, though I did somehow manage to fall asleep for a large part of it. Can’t wait to catch the documentary.

  2. Monkey David on December 22, 2008 at 12:18 pm said:

    The lack of “Peace Train” is due to the band’s anger at Cat Stevens’ (Yusuf Islam’s)comments supporting the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

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