Friday, April 18, 2008

Sometimes B is better than A

Last night, at the always-awesome New Beverly Cinema, we saw, live and in person, the fantastic Mr. Roger Corman, the king of the B-Movies. He's responsible for so many truly great and awesomely lousy movies, its unbelievable -- as our friend Darren Roark (yay! A new Minneapolis transplant!) said last night, quite rightly, he's the only producer in the history of cinema that built a legend by quantity over quality. So many of his billion-odd films are terrible, but there are enough gems in his catalog that he's rightly hailed as a talent-spotter extraordinare.

And one hell of a director, too -- we saw The Secret Invasion, starring Mickey Rooney, Edd "Kookie" Burns (yup, of "Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb" fame), and William Campbell, whom Trekkies will remember as both the Squire of Gothos and Koloth from "The Trouble With Tribbles." Its a fantastic war picture, and as Joe Dante describes it, "The Dirty Dozen" years before that film was released.

His Q&A was charming and funny as hell -- nobody asked him, though, about my two favorite Corman projects:



"Battle Beyond The Stars," a Star Wars-sploitation film that was written by the legendary John Sayles, with art direction by James Cameron. Yes, THE James Cameron. Check out the hot dog scene -- its got wit and verve all through it, it might actually be a better film than actual Star Wars in several ways.

AND:



"The Fantastic Four" -- which remains unreleased to this day because of its legendary badness, but I'll tell ya -- as lousy as it is, it has 200% more heart than the version that eventually came out.

Next weekend: a midnight showing of "The Howling" which is my 2nd favorite werewolf pic of all time. The best? John Landis' amazing "American Werewolf In London," because of THIS WOMAN HERE:



Jenny Agutter, my favorite geek crush of ALL TIME, aka "who Trixi went as for Halloween last year."

I'm rambling. Go to the New Bev. The end.

8 comments:

Nick said...

Ah, Jenny Agutter. So rad. She was even hot in Darkman!

Jon Hunt said...

She was hot in EVERYTHING. The resonance of her hotness still echoes in the universe like the Big Bang. Hell, she's hot NOW, much like Helen Mirren.

Tilt Araiza said...

I once attended a press junket event where, after availing myself of four or five glasses of free wine, I was suddenly told "You're interviewing Jenny Agutter in five minutes". The interview went surprisingly well (she's a class act), but I've never repeated the formula for any other interviews.

Jeffrey M. Rosado said...

The Howling is a big fave of mine, too...and my big crush for a while was the stunning Elisabeth Brooks (Marsha); I really wanted to be Christopher Stone when I grew up :-) -- Forgotten what a great cast this movie has: Slim "Yeeeeer Hooo!" Pickens, Dee Wallace Stone (gorgeous, too), the always dependable Kevin McCarthy, horror legend John Carradine, Robert Picardo (big fave of mine from both The Wonder Years/China Beach) and John Steed himself, Patrick Macnee...

MissTrixi said...

Robert Picardo: Also in Star Trek Voyager, and possibly the only truly good thing about that series.

LAP said...

I have always been afraid of some of my Marvel faves coming to life on film, and the clip of The Thing in the Corman FF is a good representation of why. He looks really good, the right kind of rocky- and then he talks and just when I get used to how his rocky lips move and accept it, they have Reed take his hand and I think "No! The Things hand should be 5 times the size of Reed's Aaaaaah!" it makes me wince a little, because on paper characters like Beast or The Thing, or even Wolverine are just so much better when they aren't 3 dimensional. I could never buy action figures (although McFarlane ones are usual pretty great)of Wolverine because they never looked anything like him to me. What a big geeky rant this has become. I loved Logan's Run (although it marked the first time I realized that Farrah was not smart enough to be a detective) and let's not forget that Corman also produced Rock and Roll High School. A schlocky movie that is so silly and magical that my 9 year old even gets it.

Jeffrey M. Rosado said...

Trixi,

Complete agreement on Voyager/Picardo, but I thought Kate Mulgrew was pretty good as well...Only reason I got a chance to even see the show was because I was the master control op for its first two seasons via the station where it aired in my neck of the woods.

Aeijtzsche said...

That place is great, I saw Two Lane Blacktop there. Great hangout.