I’ll miss the guy.

Patrick Swayze has terminal cancer, you say? I will take a moment to remember the man before he leaves. For a while, I was a student of his personal catalogue, and what a time it was.

My friend Ron French and I had a ritual in the late ’80s and early ’90s: We’d choose the worst movie in town, pick an off-peak screening and go to throw popcorn and trade snark from the audience. We tried to sit in a place where we wouldn’t disturb others, but we weren’t always successful; to the couple at the Holiday 6 whose enjoyment of “Point Break” we more or less ruined, I’m sorry. We had to see that one on opening night. The prospect of Keanu Reeves as an FBI agent and Swayze as a bank-robbin’ surfer was simply irresistible. (Talking in movies was a big pet peeve of mine at the time, too. I am a hypocrite.)

Swayze was to bad movies of the ’80s what Jack Nicholson was to good ones of the ’70s. “Dirty Dancing,” “Road House,” “Red Dawn,” “Ghost,” “North and South” (bad TV) and my personal favorite, “Next of Kin” — most of these were delightful to watch, so happily did they wallow in badness. What made them good-bad instead of bad-bad was, the people in them had a sense of humor about themselves. They knew it was bad, but they brought their A game, or at least their attention and energy. (The exception to the list was “Ghost,” which was bad-bad; Demi Moore’s personality is a black hole of dumb seriousness that sucks everything into its vortex.) “Red Dawn” was just plain hilarious, but was made funnier by its cultural impact; I remember seeing the program for an anti-communist function of some sort held in Fort Wayne, and “Red Dawn” was the afternoon’s entertainment. The thought of all those people coming off a morning of seminars and panel discussions about gulags and Stalinism, and into an afternoon of “Wolverines!” and Harry Dean Stanton bellowing, “Avenge me!” from behind the wire at the drive-in/re-education camp just kills.

“Next of Kin,” about a backwoods Appalachian clan taking revenge on the Chicago mob was a classic of the good-bad genre, combining elements of standard vengeance, gangster and fish-out-of-water plots. Ron pointed out the camera’s suspicious interest in an early family-picnic scene in which the elders of the clan practice their hatchet-throwin’ skills, and sure enough — I hope I’m not spoiling this for anyone — someone gets a hatchet in the brainpan in the big fight climax. It was so awesome.

One of the joys of bad-movie fandom is, you get to see them on cable years later and squeal, “How the hell did I miss Liam Neeson in this the first time around?!” Check out some of the players in the IMDb listing, beside Neeson: Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton, Ben Stiller, Michael J. Pollard, Ted Levine and that necessity for all bad ’80s cinema — a Baldwin brother (Adam). The character names are nearly as good, with a Patsy-Ruth, Aunt Peg, Old Hillbilly and, of course, Grandpa. (He may be the hatchet-thrower; can’t remember.)

But back to Swayze. What made him a pleasure to watch was his grace. He seemed to know he’d never be doing Mamet off Broadway, but he could dance the shoes off anyone, and didn’t mind wearing tight pants while doing so. It’s hard to dislike a man so masculine, and still so happy in a body built for hip-swivelin’ rather than football. Relax, I’m not going to compare him to Gene Kelly, but they shared a distant ancestor, maybe.

The TV commercial for “Next of Kin” featured Swayze, in an eastern-Kentucky accent, warning, “You ain’t seen bad yet…but it’s a-comin’,” a line I treasure to this day. If only we’d had some more of that kind of bad.

What’s your favorite good-bad movie? Discuss in comments.

P.S. As good as Swayze’s bad was, it really couldn’t match the all-time worst movie we saw together: “On Deadly Ground,” in which Steven Seagal saves the Alaskan wilderness by blowing up an oil refinery in the middle of it. (Sample dialogue, via IMDb: My guy in D.C. tells me that we are not dealing with a student here, we’re dealing with the Professor. Any time the military has an operation that can’t fail, they call this guy in to train the troops, OK? He’s the kind of guy that would drink a gallon of gasoline so he could piss in your campfire! You could drop this guy off at the Arctic Circle wearing a pair of bikini underwear, without his toothbrush, and tomorrow afternoon he’s going to show up at your pool side with a million dollar smile and fist full of pesos. This guy’s a professional, you got me? If he reaches this rig, we’re all gonna be nothing but a big goddamned hole right in the middle of Alaska. So let’s go find him and kill him and get rid of the son of a bitch!

Also: Drunken Eskimo: You are about to go on a sacred journey.

Do we have a little bloggage? We might:

Via Jeff, in comments above, How Hillary won Ohio.

Dahlia Lithwick explains Charlotte Allen to you. Well, someone had to.

For some reason, Detroit is fond of dressing up its large statuary in clothes. With opening day less than a month away, a Tiger in Carhartt.

Off to the gym. Guess what we have to look forward to this weekend? Yes, that.

Posted at 9:46 am in Current events, Detroit life, Movies |
 

67 responses to “I’ll miss the guy.”

  1. Jeff Hall said on March 6, 2008 at 9:58 am

    “But I’m not dead yet!”

    signed, Patrick Swayze

  2. Jeff Hall said on March 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Any mentioned of the Swayze canon must include Road House. A bouncer with a philosophy degree from NYU? Such strength, such depth, such complexity! And he rips out a guy’s voice box in a climactic fight scene and gets stitches drug free. Brilliance.

  3. 4dbirds said on March 6, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Is Adam Baldwin an actual Baldwin brother? I’m a big fan of Serenity and Firefly. Call me crazy but I loved Red Dawn. Yes its stupid and all that, I still like it. I wish Patrick well. Having gone through cancer as the mother of a toddler with the disease and as a sister to a breast cancer patient, it sucks. Two years later my sister’s death is still raw. Cancer sucks the big one.

  4. john c said on March 6, 2008 at 10:04 am

    My favorite bad bad movie is so good it might not be bad. It’s “They Live” starring Rowdy Roddy Piper. He plays a construction worker who stumbles upon a magic pair of Ray Bans. They allow him to see the aliens living among us, as well as all the subliminal messages all around us. Many fights and chases ensue.
    And for what it’s worth, the funnjiest bit of physical comedy ever on SNL was Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley trying out for the Chippendales.

  5. 4dbirds said on March 6, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Charlotte Allen is especially infuriating in this WP online discussion.

  6. JenFlex said on March 6, 2008 at 10:13 am

    4dbirds: No, Adam is from another branch of the Baldwin family tree. Scary degree of resemblance, though.

  7. Lisa Scott said on March 6, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Best bad movie ever: “About Last Night … ” Rob Lowe standing in the middle of the pouring rain on Division Street screaming for Demi Moore, seriously, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

  8. jcburns said on March 6, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Sammy pointed me to this analysis of the Buckeye vote in the Washington Post, which has a great photo of Obama…and the money quote: “Race and class still matter in Ohio.” Me, I think I’d produce a simple 30-second spot where Obama says the pledge of allegiance in a classroom filled with diverse schoolchildren. That’s it.

  9. Harl Delos said on March 6, 2008 at 10:20 am

    You won’t have to miss him right away; tales of his imminent death appear to be spurious:

    “All of the reports stating the timeframe of his prognosis and his physical side effects are absolutely untrue. We are considerably more optimistic,” according to Dr George Fisher, Swayze’s doctor. The actor has a very limited amount of disease and appears to be responding well to treatment.

    The doctor’s prognosis was included in a statement released today by Swayze’s representative, Annett Wolf.

    At least, that’s the story according to http://breakingnews.iol.ie/entertainment/story.asp?j=184715475&p=y847y6xxx

    Swayze’s mom was the one that taught John Travolta to dance. I don’t particularly care for Travolta in general, but I have to admit that they make it appear he can dance. Maybe he actually can. My wife loves his dancing in general, but is especially fond of Michael, when he dances to Chain of Fools. (I like the part better where Andie MacDowell sings about pie.)

  10. Connie said on March 6, 2008 at 10:22 am

    My favorite Patrick Swayze dance was not in the movies but rather on SNL. Swayze and Chris Farley – both shirtless – are auditioning for the Chippendales. I am snorting just thinking about it.

  11. Kafkaz said on March 6, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Haven’t seen it in ages, but I will always pause to watch Don Knotts in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.

    “When you work with words, words are your work,” alone is worth it, but the great lines are endless.

    As a kid, I was a big fan of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, too.

    Sigh. Such an enthusiastic lack of taste.

  12. alex said on March 6, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” is one of those ’80s bad/good movies that still seduces me when channel surfing. It’s Nick Nolte looking filthy and hagard just like his most recent DUI mug shots. And the Divine Miss M singlehandedly redeems just about any steaming pile of crap she’s in.

  13. john c said on March 6, 2008 at 10:33 am

    I forgot about “Christine.” (And I think I made it!)
    It is based on Steven King story about a possessed car – a Plymouth, I believe, for you fellow D-towners. Greatest bad last line, delivered by the hotsy totsy high school sweetheart heroine after the car has finally been put in the crusher but the radio still comes to life playing the same song it always plays from the 50s: “God,” she says, “I hate rock and roll.”

  14. Dorothy said on March 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Didn’t anyone else love “The Blob” with Steve McQueen???

  15. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I have to admit, liberal and surrenderist (and if America buys this sack of shite from John McCain, HL will throw up but otherwise lie peacefully in his grave, knowing he was right about getting it good and hard) and friend to terriss that I am, I cheered for killing those commies in Red Dawn. I think it’s about internal logic, and it all made some perverted form of sense.

    Patrick Swayze? It’s like what John Hiatt said about Billy Ray Cyrus: “But, oh how that man could dance.” The best movie he made was Steel Dawn. With the absolutely incomparable Brion “Time to Die” James, with the inimitable Anthony Zerbe as the completely despicable villain when Alan Rickman was still just a glint in critics’ eyes.

    Next of Kin is primordial. You f**k with my brother, I f**k you over big time. If it’s got Liam Neeson, I’m in. He’s just excellent. Hell, I liked Darkman and Nell.

    I’ve been watching movies a long time, and I wouldn’t venture a guess at what’s a ‘bad’ movie. Leave that to the Mystery Science Theater guys and robots. I believe Chinatown is surely the best movie anybody ever made, followed closely by McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Get right down to it, movies are just great, period. There are movies like Shoot Loud and Cry Uncle and Bucket of Blood nobody ever heard of that reward the two-hour investment of nothing but time. Evil Roy Slade, the brilliant John Astin’s most brilliant moment. And sometimes we watch those Seagall potboilers, and we like them.

    We’d like to turn the Muscles from Brussels loose on any reality show of your choice. Imagination, even hackneyed, violent imagination, trumps total aholes acting like aholes while camera-preening on “reality” that are so scripted they make my molars ache.

    Michael J. Pollard is just too strange to be human, but, you know, Little Fauss and Big Halsey. They had to get a shrimp to make Robert Redford big.

    My female BF and I took a different route. We went to see Blade Runner about 50 times, on the last of the big screens at Coolidge Corner in Brookline. New stuff all the time.

  16. whitebeard said on March 6, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I liked “Ghost” a lot for the supernatural theme and that was about the only Swayze movie I remember watching. But I have to agree that on the bad-bad films the award goes to (envelope, please) anything with Steven Seagal; I cannot help myself and keep on rooting for the bad guys in all his films.

  17. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Dorothy,

    <iThe Blob, with its inherent message that, you old farts, the kids may have a point, was a terrific movie. i wonder when somebody will take movies seriously enough to immortalize Thomas Pynchon. And TC Boyle. and William Gibson. Paranoia as a normal state of mind is underrated. The Blob was anti-McCarthyism, but you know, It was just a movie, Ingrid.

  18. brian stouder said on March 6, 2008 at 11:09 am

    bad/good movie: Tremors (the original) with Reba McIntyre and the guy who played Gus Grissom in The Right Stuff

  19. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Steven Seagall made a movie called The Glimmer Man, with, I think, Marlon Wayans, maybe Damon, that was pretty good. This all comes down to William Faulkner and willing suspension. You just buy the absurd premise and the result is satisfying. Somebody makes an effort to make something up, I’m on board. Creative alternatives are crucial to human existence. How we know we’re actually alive. Otherwise, you’ve got Donald Trump and his improbable hair masquerading as the real world.

  20. nancy said on March 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Steven Seagal’s IMDb entry is fascinating. Apparently, he’s the busiest man in showbiz, but everything he makes goes straight to video, if that’s what (V) means after a title. And what titles!

    Mercenary for Justice
    Today You Die
    Attack Force
    Urban Justice
    Pistol Whipped

    …and so on.

    And hello, what’s this? Plays “Cock Puncher” in “Untitled Onion Movie.” Now that’s worth living another year for. Hang on, Patrick Swayze!

  21. Sue said on March 6, 2008 at 11:21 am

    I’ve really never paid much attention to Mr. Swayze, but he was in a movie I liked: “To Wong Foo…” I thought he was great as the high-fashion, husband-beating member of the trio. I hope he is one of the 23% survival rate (past one year) people. That’s a particularly nasty cancer.
    Re Charlotte Allen. WTF? And how can I square my disgust at her idiocy with my laughter at Joel Stein’s recent “A Little Something For the Ladies” in the LATimes? (I love Joel Stein when he’s not appearing on MTV). Oh, yeah, probably because I think Joel was kinda teasing us (“Ladies are complicated”).
    Ah, Urban Statuary. I’m embarrassed to say that Milwaukee soon will be unveiling a statue of the Fonz (the Bronze Fonz). On the Riverwalk. Yup. Oh, well, people were embarrassed by the Picasso in Chicago at first, too.

  22. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Brian, Tremors is exceptionally entertaining. Class by itself, actually. Set out to make a ludicrous horror movie and succeeded on all counts. Ken Russell did the same thing, with The Lair of the White Worm but he couldn’t condtain his artistic impulses. He did make The Devils. Good bad, and evil, at the same time.

    Are there actors and actresses that just guarantee people will trash a movie because they’re in it? From my point of view, you’ve got the totally insufferable Will Farrell and Adam Sandler. The latter is naturally funny, the former more obnoxious than Chris Farley and David Spade mashed up.

    How is it that nobody gives any credit to Kevin Bacon? He plays everything well, including truly slimy villains. The River Wild. Now that’s a movie I could see in this discussion. I think Meryl Streep is at her best in this movie, David Strathairn too. And, damn, Kevin Bacon is superbly villainous.

    I suppose this is another bad movie. But I really like it. And I’m right.

  23. brian stouder said on March 6, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Say – on the subject of celebrity tidbits – guess what sexy woman turned 50 the other day (aside from our proprietress)? Patricia Heaton – aka Deb Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.

    I still say, HRC evokes a bit of what I find attractive about the Deb Barone character, and given how well Hillary did on SNL – who knows?

    Maybe she can be America’s first president with PILF appeal for the male-over-30 demographic…

  24. nancy said on March 6, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Careful, Brian, her brother is watching you from the right rail.

  25. john c said on March 6, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Paranoia as a normal state of mind” – Michaelj

    This reminded me of a great line about paranoia I heard for the first time in a long time when XM channel surfing landed me on a comedy channel and Steven Wright: He deadpanned: “I woke up the other day and someone had stolen everything I owned and replaced it with an exact replica.”

    Oh, and as I was sitting here supposed to be writing but thinking about bad movies, this funny memory popped into my head. My in-laws are big movie fans. And as they are retired, they see a lot of them. I was chatting with my father in law and the subject of Jim Carrey came up. “Oh,” he said, “we went to see that ‘Irene’ movie and we walked out. It was terrible. It was only the second movie we’d ever walked out on.” You should know that my in-laws, though very smart and open-minded, are classic kind, gentle, non-cussing small-town Hoosiers. “So,” I asked. “What was the other movie you walked out on.”
    the answer …. “Booty Call.”

  26. Catherine said on March 6, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Two words: Top Gun.

  27. Dorothy said on March 6, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Adam Sandler movies leave me cold, ‘cept for “Punch Drunk Love”. That was a weird but fascinating movie.

  28. djmoore said on March 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Mmm, Road House. One of my favorite guilty pleasures.

    I particularly like two supporting actors: Sam Elliot and Jeff Healey.

    Healey played Cody, the bar band guitarist who was “pretty good for a blind white guy”.

    “Was” for real, now, not only because he was pretty good for a blind white guy, but because he died a few days ago.

    If I had a guitar, it would be gently weeping.

  29. Adrianne said on March 6, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    I have to echo Catherine here: Top Gun is the best of the bad! I believe that you, me and Ron spoiled that movie for a whole audience at the Glenwood movie theater back in the day.

    And a guilty pleasure for journalism fans: “Deadline USA” starring Humphrey Bogart as the hard-bitten editor of a failing New York daily owned by a clueless patrician family. Climactic scene features a shootout with mobsters in the press room. Bogart gets a call from the chief hood as the presses clack furiously with an expose of their mob empire. He puts the phone next to the presses. As the hood howls, “What’s that noise?” Bogie replies. “It’s the press, baby…the press…and there’s nothing you can do about it!”

  30. beb said on March 6, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    My two favorite ‘bad’ movies are “Overboard” with Goldie Hahn and Kurt Russell, and “The Fifth Element” with Bruce Willis. Hahn works the cute in Overboard as a clueless women trying to manage four hellion boys she thinks are her sons. The Fifth Element is almost incoherent as SF films go but is such a glorious spectacle of destruction.

  31. Jeff said on March 6, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    The Shadow, with Alec Baldwin

    Flash Gordon, with Max von Sydow as Ming the Merciless

    that Tom Cruise meets Nicole Kidman movie starting in Ireland and ending, i’m vaguely recollecting, in Oklahoma. My dearly beloved and i were compelled by either great inertia or forces beyond our ken to keep watching, watching, mesmerized by the badness, watching, until finally . . . we couldn’t figure out what happened at the end, because apparently Tom died, but then he rose again, and . . . anyhow, credits rolled.

    “Why did we watch all of that?” she asked. “Hon, i have no idea.” Blessedly, i can’t remember . . . something about “The West.”

    Bad/not-good, but eerily compelling.

  32. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    But Jim Carrey made The Truman Show, which is quite affecting (although Ed Harris steals the show). And there’s the phony Capra The Majestic in which Carrey played Mr. Smith bludgeoning Congress a lot better, more convincingly, and more understatedly than Jimmy Stewart was ever capable of.

    Bad movies? The iconic, beyond criticism. It’s a Wonderful Life. An atrocity. Raging Bull, how many times can you say f**k and punch a woman in one minute on screen? Moronic, Neanderthal. Planet of the Apes. Yeah, right, right wing nutjob and values of free human expression. You know he wanted to say “filthy N****r” when he said “filthy ape”. That was kind of the point of that movie, wasn’t it?

    Adam Sandler’s probably an acquired taste, but if he didn’t look so odd, he’s actually capable of being a decent actor. I mean, he always looks like a Beastie Boy.

    Will Farrell, on the other hand, plays straight up same, all the time, and he’s inexcusable. It wasn’t funny on SNL, it’s not funny now. I’ve been forced to sit through Will Farrell movies, and this guy is a jerk.

  33. Mindy said on March 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    “Notting Hill.” Terrible movie. Saw it only once, on a day when I was home alone and needed something on the tube for company while I knitted. The whole movie was so awful it was laugh out loud funny. Julia Roberts was so achingly bad I was embarrassed for her. When she won her Oscar for “Erin Brockovich” I didn’t believe it. The first thing I thought was, “But she was in ‘Notting Hill’.”

  34. Julie Robinson said on March 6, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    I can put up with a lot of bad plot if there’s good singing and dancing. Just call me a sucker for musicals. Loved Hairspray, and though I’m loathe to admit it here, the first High School Musical.

    The announcement on Patrick Swayze was in this morning’s paper along with an obit on a local politician who died of pancreatic cancer. Diagnosis: mid-January. Not even two months.

  35. Kirk said on March 6, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I started watching the remake of “The Out-of-Towners” with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn the other day, but I couldn’t stomach it. I actually like Goldie, but “The Banger Sisters” is another pretty bad one that comes to mind.

  36. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I liked The Pelican Brief best of any Julia Roberts role. If Hugh Grant’s in a movie, I’m not watching. God, what an insufferable twit. I mean, it’s bad enough to be caught in a car, in drag, with former As pitcher Dave Stewart, you know… I did watch Bridget Jones, because I liked th book, sort of, and because my companion made me, and, really, because I hoped Colin Firth would beat the snot out of that metro twat.

    Ms. Roberts best role was probably the amoral, duplicitous fundraising ho that tried and failed to seduce Rey Curtis, and then hung him out to dry in court anyway on Law and Order.

    Really Bad Movie: Sleepless in Seattle. Spare me the labored, winsome dramaturgy.

  37. Sue said on March 6, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I don’t usually have angry reactions to movies, but one movie I absolutely, positively could not stand was Patch Adams. I had to politely sit through the whole thing because my MIL thought it was hilarious and she had the pick on movie night. Oh, God, what an awful movie: meant to be uplifting, but there’s Dr. Patch, determined not to let anyone past him until they surrender and admit that he is the funniest thing ever and his schtick (sp?) is exactly what they needed to get better or die or whatever. After the movie I wanted to put someone into the hospital, not free them from one.

  38. Adrianne said on March 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    The movie title Jeff is searching for is “Far and Away,” spoken in a truly horrible Irish accent. It was directed by Ron Howard.

    And there was some joke in a recent movie about a DVD release of “Patch Adams: The Director’s Cut.”

  39. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Patch Adams was berry berry bad. That’s a function of Robin Williams. When he’s good he’s great. When he’s overindulged by the script and the director, he’s unbearable. Doesn’t anybody else get this feeling of ichoate rage watching Dr. House kill the patient 10 times in an hour and then get lucky, while eating vicodin like popcorn and professionalizing being an ass?

    Critics have long knives out for Robin Williams and sometimes he richly deserves it (one of my brothers went to private school with him, at Detroit Country Day). Death to Smoochy? On the other hand, he’s capable of excellence and nuance. Insomnia, Garp, Good Morning Vietnam. He (under)played the diametric opposite of the obnoxious Patch Adams character in Awakenings, and he was superb. Hardly anybody ever saw it, but Robin Williams made a movie called Moscow On the Hudson, that could have starred Tom Hanks but thank God didn’t. Truly fine movie.

    There’s a disconnect in this argument. I think Nancy’s talking about so bad they’re good movies to some extent. Mystery Science. In my estimation, Don “Sonny Crockett” Johnson put this category away with A Boy and His Dog, although Lori Petty and Ice Cube and Malcolm McDowell might have outdone him in Tank Girl.

  40. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Far and Away. As bad an overblown epic as Gone With the Wind. Only some 5-7 Scientologist dumbass could make Nicole Kidman look bad.

    As for GWTW, I guess the movie wasn’t all that terrible compared with the unreadable potboiler it was made from. Danielle Steele, her previous life cut short by an Atlanta taxi cab.

  41. nancy said on March 6, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Actually, Michael, I’ll take the argument. I’ve always found GWTW: Original Recipe to be one of the great feminist novels of the 20th century. Better than “The Women’s Room,” certainly (and sorry, Ms. Lippman, I know you’re a fan).

  42. sue said on March 6, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I always liked GWTW’s “asides”, comments throughout the book which seemed to indicate Mitchell’s feelings on the culture, even as she presented her story faithfully to the times. But, it will never be on my favorites list because Scarlett never changed, never figured out the big things, and was really no different at the end of the book than the beginning. I can see her as an old woman, still believing herself the belle, still trying to get what she wanted by using her no longer existent “wiles”. What bothers me is not that she didn’t change, but that she could change and didn’t – she was smarter than that.

  43. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Jenny Garp is the great feminist character of the 20th Century. 19th, Anna Karenina or Hedda. Nah, Hester Prynne. Elizabethan? Katherina, although Helena (Oh, spite, oh hell.) gives her a run, but that might be my Diana Rigg infatuation.

    Did you actually read The Women’s Room? Don’t think I’ve ever met anybody that made it through. Bad angry writing with no appreciable point of view, lacking Erica Jong’s resolute Yiddishness and dubious sense of humor. Marilyn French was a poorly regarded English prof at Holy Cross when my brother went there.

  44. Emma said on March 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Some of you may have sentimental feelings about this one, but it’s still bad, nonetheless. “Ice Castles,” the story of a young figure skater named Lexi who crashes into a load of patio furniture and goes blind! I love it.

  45. 4dbirds said on March 6, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Oh Sue, I’d forgotten about Patch Adams. I saw it shortly after my daughter’s cancer treatment was completed and was still very shell-shocked. I left the movie livid. So if only we’d laughed some more and had a better attitude then that damn cancer wouldn’t have been so bad.

  46. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    How about turning Bobby Gentry into drivel, with Robby Benson, for execrable movies?

  47. Laura said on March 6, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Oh, there’s so many good bad movies out there; I’ts tough to narrow it down. But I’ll try. I find Titanic incredibly easy to mock. When I was a teen, I enjoyed mocking My Side of the Mountain (“I’m Jill Kinmont and I ski!”).

    And, no matter your opinion on the race, I hope some of you agree that HRC has had to put up w/a lot of he-man woman-hating.

  48. Joe K said on March 6, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    ANY ROBBIE BENSON MOVIE ROCKS.
    Ice castle’s what a hoot. They forgot the fans would throw flowers and she trips over them. Another R.B. masterpiece, the one when he was the Basketball player in college. So bad I can’t remember the name. Lynn Holly Johnson, the worst bond girl ever. Hell 007 turned her down!!!
    Top gun, As soon as I saw Goose run out to meet the wife and Kids turned to my wife and said “He’s dead”
    Joe K.

  49. Kristina said on March 6, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Flippin’ through the channels this morning, every station seemed to be “remembering” the man.

    It must creep him out – hearin’ and watchin’ and readin’ all of these eulogies about himself.

    So – are media types just trying to beat each other to the punch?

    Or – do you (generic you) think you’ll just be too busy to write something up when he does keel over?

  50. Leo Morris said on March 6, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    “The TV commercial for ‘Next of Kin’ featured Swayze, in an eastern-Kentucky accent . . .”
    Tweren’t no such a thing. As an Appalachian-American in good standing, I feel qualified to nominate the accents in that movie as among the worst of all time, right up there with Dennis Quaid’s in “The Big Easy.”

  51. ashley said on March 6, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Detroit needs their own Manneken Pis.

  52. Sue said on March 6, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Ashley, please see last comment on “Take the keys”. The world awaits your reply.

  53. brian stouder said on March 6, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    And, no matter your opinion on the race, I hope some of you agree that HRC has had to put up w/a lot of he-man woman-hating.

    I confess that I started out blind to the extent of the existential hostility to Hillary Clinton; one sort of automatically discounts the invective from ‘talk radio’ and rightward swaths of the blogocracy.

    But my lovely wife has pointed out several instances of a hyper-critical, always-ready-to-pounce attitude in the regular media (think Chris Matthews)….and at the last debate Hillary made a great joke about the ‘soft’ treatment that Obama gets (literally offering him a pillow!), which got us laughing out loud! – and after the debate the pundits and analysts remarked about Hillary being ANGRY, and about her ‘complaining’….

    it seemed clear to us that if any man had made the same joke, they’d have ‘gotten’ it (and laughed) – yet she drew the ‘furrowed brow’ treatment (think Olbermann)

  54. del said on March 6, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    John Travolta as The Boy in the Plastic Bubble?

  55. del said on March 6, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Robbie Benson in Death Be Not Proud?

  56. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    The anti-Hillary has been staggering. Or at least it might be if you hadn’t lived through the Deanie-Babies. When di d Bubba say anything that could remotely be considered racist?

    When was the last time you heard a potential nominee say “I know her supporters will vote for me. I don’t know if mine will vote for her.”? Who they voting for Barack? McCain? What an asshole. Very poor cgoice of words, and tgoughts.

    We went for a bile ride and thought about Nancy’s comment on Scarlet and feminism. A book we both read, Alias Grace, seems to fit. This book is so good, I’d actually recommend it. And Oryx and Crake.

    I’m not really thrilled with most women recording artists. Joni, Maria McKee, Alanis (going on in a nude bodysuit in the gtermath of Janet jacksin was so damn funny, Aimee Mann, Joan Armatrading, Judy Collins (who was blessed with a perfect voice, and knows how to bend it, if you’re looking to get silly. Nobody on the face of the earth sings like this). But maybe Steve Stills or Jack Bruce.

    I take endless domestic grief over this, but Margaret Atwood is the only consitsently excellent woman writer in this century. The Brontes, well yeah. Jane Austen? Wake me when it’s over.Well. there’s Gaye Weldon, but she’s so mean-spirited,

  57. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Hwre’s the deal:

    Now consider how the Commander in Chief just lied to Congress. How would you have voted?href=”http://italy.usembassy.gov/pdf/other/H.J.Res.114_RDS.pdf”>This is the so-called authorization. Does this say the asshole can institute shock and awe? Nppe. They did it because they could. Nobody in Congress ever voted for the Invasion.

  58. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Nobody authorized the invasion and nobodddddddddy sure as shit authorized the occupation, W is out on a limb with Cheney and Perle and those aholes that signed the PNAC letters

    One thing’s for sure, nobody in Congess ever signed on for either the invasion or theo ccupation. Read the law.

  59. michaelj said on March 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Scarlet, a feminist ? You have to do better than that. Margaret Atwood is so good she can write rings around anybody you bring up.
    .nk pu [

    k’

    pp
    Wow, Feminism in movies, hard

  60. nancy said on March 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Scarlett O’Hara is most definitely a feminist, although she doesn’t really know what that is, yet. She’s a woman perfectly capable of competing with a man at nearly every level, but she lives in a world where women’s lives are more circumscribed than they are in, oh, what? Latter-day Saudi Arabia?

    She runs a household, defies societal expectations (rejecting mourning, serial marriage), runs a business, works in the cotton fields alongside the slaves, has three children by three different baby daddies and still looks aces in a red velvet dress. She bosses all the men in her life around. She shoots a Yankee in the face and buries the body under the scuppernong vines. What else? Don’t get me started — I can bore you all night.

  61. brian stouder said on March 6, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    defies societal expectations (rejecting mourning, serial marriage)

    THAT’S the key point. Women have always been indispensible to society(!) – but the idea of openly standing athwart societal expectations, and shouting ‘Stop’ (to paraphrase WFB!) – that’s the ‘feminism’.

    Tell you what – apply the ‘feminism’ paradigm to Mary Lincoln’s later life, and you get a real-life example of a sort of yankee Scarlett. Jean Baker wrote a fabulous book about her, and one cannot help but admire her.

    Remember how she was legally declared insane? This was because she enjoyed shopping – it was an outlet for her, and she bought things with her own money that she didn’t actually need! (As Baker says, that sounds like a modern American consumer, not a crazy person!)

    It flatly amazed me to read that in the space of one day, she returned home (a residence in Chicago) from shopping, there to find the police waiting for her, with an arrest warrant and a summons to court. They took her downtown, where a jury (all men) was already empaneled, and where “her” lawyer (selected by her son Robert) was waiting. She saw Robert sitting there, adn realized it was his doing….and the trial went forward, and was submitted to the jury, which reached its finding that she was insane, and they took her away to an asylum all before the sun went down!!!

    There she remained for 3 months, but she got the help of a woman who was acting as her legal counsel, despite that women were not admitted to the bar in Illinois, and she gained her freedom again.

    Reading the story, one becomes quite angry at Robert Lincoln, and Leonard Swett, and David Davis….although in the end, Robert did seem to be motivated by a genuinely protective impulse toward his mother (he feared she’d lose the annual stipend that congress somewhat grudgingly approved for her year to year, and he never spent a penny of her money).

    Mary always gets a very bad press – because she willfully did what she thought best, or simply what she wanted to do; despite the best efforts of powerful, connected men to control (or literally imprison) her

  62. sue said on March 6, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I’m not a big Mary Lincoln fan, although I think she was a victim of her times. I am old-school in my opinion of her: if she wasn’t exactly mentally unstable, she also wasn’t aware of her surroundings enough to think her way out of the appalling situations she found herself in. I think Margaret Mitchell knew exactly what she was doing when she developed Scarlett O’Hara; I just don’t like her. I would have loved to see a Scarlett with less Mary Lincoln in her and more Mary Chesnut. That would have been interesting.

  63. LAMary said on March 7, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Jeff, that horrible Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie was “Far and Away.” I used to have neighbors who created movie titles for a living (Field of Dreams was their claim to fame) and they titled that horrible movie. I heard a bad review on the radio saying, “Far and Away is what you should stay from this movie.”

  64. Wally Wilson said on March 7, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Nancy, Nancy, Nancy… Red Dawn is a _classic_! Growing up in Montana, we _all_ knew that that was exactly what we would do! 🙂

  65. corporal waldo said on March 7, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Michael Caine siad he sacked his agents after the Segal movie.

  66. Warner said on March 8, 2008 at 5:58 am

    I always think of Swayze in an episode of M.A.S.H. where he had leukemia. In the show he gave up his chance for treatment to be with his buddy. It was a pretty good episode if for nothing else than the performance of William Christopher. Whenever I catch it on teevee I still get a little teary-eyed.

  67. Mary O said on March 8, 2008 at 7:21 am

    My vote for worst line in that Steven Segal “On Deadly Ground” movie is below. It may not be word-for-word, but you get the picture:

    He expresses surprise that Joan Chen’s character can ride a horse. Her response: “Of course I can, I’m a Native American!”

    Aaaaauuuuuuugggggghhhhhh!!!!!!!