Thursday, February 27, 2014

That's All, Folks


It is nice to know I have not been forgotten during my months long absence.

Many bad things have happened since May 25, 2013.  It has only been within recent days that I have gotten a laptop and internet connection again.  I took some time to mull over how much I want to announce to whomever is still checking in periodically.  You must all be tired of hearing about my health and personal issues by now.  Sometimes, I cannot believe them all myself.  With some help, I am coming around to realize God’s hand has been more involved in bringing me to where I am more than I have ever known.

I would like to write about everything that has gone on since that now infamous May 25, 2013, but for once, I do not believe it is something every Googler searching for photos of Kaley Cuoco in her underwear ought to stumble upon down the road.  But if any faithful readers are concerned, please email me and I will fill you in.  Interested parties will realize why I am keeping things quiet.

This is the end of The Eye, but not of my blogging.  I am beginning another one in short order.  It will probably be much different than this blog, but The Eye has run its course.  I will add a link to the new blog when it goes up.  In the meantime, a big thank you to those who checked in regularly.  It means a lot to me.  I wanted to blog during this trying time, and I am thrilled that I now have the capacity again. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Three Stooges--Three Troubledoers

Three Troubledoers has the Stooges revisiting the Old West.  The trio’s westerns are generally weak as far as I am concerned, but I was fairly amused by this one even though it is another in which the rest of the cast must compensate for the ailing Curly.   Fortunately, the guest stars are particularly good in Three Troubledoers

The Stooges are cowboys arriving at the town of Dead Man’s Gulch.  The fifth sheriff in six months has just been killed by Badlands Blackie, an outlaw terrorizing the town.   Blackie has also kidnapped the father of the most beautiful girl in town, Nell, in order to blackmail her into marrying him.  The Stooges take pity and intervene.   Curly inadvertently chases Blackie off an becomes the new sheriff.  Moe and Larry are appointed deputies.

Nell promises to marry curly if he saves her father.  He agrees, but proves in ept as sheriff to the point nell decides she has no choice but to marry Blackie.  The Stooges come to her rescue with the help of a bazooka.  They defeat Blackie’s gang and save Nell’s father, but he refuses to bless the nuptials between Nell and Curly.   In an especially sadistic moment, curly hands Nell’s father a lit stick of dynamite to kill him.  Nell grabs it from him and uses it to chase the Stooges out of town.

Three Troubledoers is after curly suffered his first stroke.  While his performance is more spirited than in recent shorts, he is clearly struggling.  His speech is slurre and his timing is off.  He takes far less abuse than usual, too.  The short relies an everyone else to pick up the slack.   They do so well.

Three Troubledoers is much more a screwball comedy than your usual Stooge fare.  They do not ish out much abuse as they are trying to play heroes.  It is tough to watch Curly’s decline, but the other cast members get so many opportunities to shine, you do not have much time to dwell on the melancholy sight. 

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Flashback Friday: Lynda Carter

Whether she is saving the world as Wonder Woman or shilling for colored contact lenses as herself, Lynda Carter is one beautiful woman. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Three Stooges--Uncivil War Birds

Uncivil War Birds revisits the American Civil War.  This time, the Stooges are southern gentlemen--just go with it--who must leave their sweethearts to fight for the Glorious South on the eve of their wedding.  If this short does not sound familiar, it is because the stooges perform a blackface routine at one point in order to escape enemy headquarters.  Ergo, the short is not generally in television rotation due to racial content. 

After war breaks out, Moe and Larry inadvertently join the Union army while Curly joins the Confederate.   The tide keeps turning between the two sides, so the Stooges have to keep pretending either curly is their prisoner or they are his depending on which side is currently winning.  Their hearts belong to Dixie, so they steal a map showing Union troop locations and save Curly from a firing squad before heading home to marry. 

Uncivil War Birds was filmed after Curly’s first stroke.  He is much more animated in it, but his speech is still slurred and his timing is still off.  Curly spends much of the short locked in a smokehouse while Moe and larry have the lion’s share of the action.  Curly still has some fine moments, but he is clearly struggling.

It is not proper to say these days, but the blackface minstrel routine the Stooges use to steal the map and escape Union headquarters is hilarious.  The gag is a reflection of its time, folks.  You cannot be too harsh about it even if it is offensive to modern sensibilities. 

Uncivil War Birds is a remake of te Buster Keaton film Mooching Through Georgia.   It feels more like a screwball comedy tan a regular Stooge short.  Tey do not even abuse each other that much.  Curly, in particular, is spared.  It is still hilarious in places.  Good luck trying to find it anywhere other than the complete DVD set of 190 shorts, however. 

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Alice Eve

Is this the best scene from Star Trek Into Darkness?  Maybe. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Race Is On

Did you know The Eye is ten years old now?  The actual tenth anniversary was may 17th.  That was three days after hitting three million hits.   I figured it would either sound like overkill to crow about two milestones so close together or you might think three million in a decade is not all that great.   The latter is because The eye has changed its philosophy with the times.  Some changes were/are more popular than others.

It seems like a lifetime ago when I started this blog.  Well, it was definitely another life.  My first intentions were to record my final year of law school, the bar exam, job search, first year as a lawyer, and all that good stuff.  Those early posts mostly gripe about exams and my rigorous writing requirement.  Such concerns seem quaint now, as if they were the concerns of someone else.  My, how the times have changed. 

It was a little more than a year after the blog’s inception that it became a place to talk about my newfound health issues.  This ws about august 2004 right after discovering my eyesight was permanently damaed and diverticulitis was going to eat away at my colon for the duration.  Ironically, all that calamity bean around the first blog anniversary.  It took until august to adjust enough to reality to actually put my thoughts into words. 

Even the blog named changed.  It was not always Eye of Polyphemus.  At first, I called it Caviar for the Mind.  I changed the name one sleepless night in September 2004 to reflect the misanthropic cyclops from homer’s The Odyssey.   I made the change in one of those impulsive fits you suffer from when you are too tired to sleep and too punchy to make sound decisions.  But it was a reflection of my often bitter sense of humor  U was a misanthropic cyclops at this point.  So in the morning, I decided to keep it.  The name has been the only steady aspect about the place for nine years now.  There is a strong desire to frequently change whatever I can because so much has settled in for good.

The eye has gone from law to health to politics to spiritual struggles to science fiction reviews to pretty girls and back again.  It is a wonder I have any loyal readers at all with content so schizo. 

These days the blogging is not so much schizo as non-existent.   It has been a rough eight months.  Blogging was one thing I sorely missed during my slow recovery from colon surgery.  To be honest, it was on my mind because I felt like I was slowly slipping away.  Indeed, without the feeding tube inserted in January, I probably would be dead by now after surviving a diverticula burst that had already miraculously not ruptured my colon and therefore saved my from likely death.   As much as I believed there was left to say, I did not have the strength to say it while spending weeks bedridden.

I am limping along much better now than a couple months ago, but I am still struggling to find my inner oomph.  If you want to know why I chose the Three Stooges of all things to review, it is because I knew when I started I could not handle much more than something so frivolous.    Covering the Stooges has been a bright spot in spite of their general unpopularity as posts.

 I am still being zapped and sapped.  Two weeks ago, my incision had to be partially re-opened and drained.  I am going to have to ingerly tend to the wound for the foreseeable future.  It is the seventh or eighth time it has been cut open since 2004.  I have lost count.  But who wants to keep a count of something like that?  I certainly lack the energy. 

So now the race is on to see what comes next.  Is it something exciting or will the other shoe drop?  I am a realist, so am I going to go with the latter.  I am currently lagging behind in this race.  Licking my wounds, both physical and emotional, is very distracting.   But we see what kind of changes are in store for The Eye as we slowly, but surely head towards that finish line. 

The Three Stooges--A Bird in the Head

A Bird in the Head, which is a play on the adage a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, is another short in which Curly is clearly ailing.  His speech is slurred in places and his comedic timing is off.  Curly is still the star of the short, but he is given much less rigorous stuf to do.  The bulk of the action falls on the shoulders of his cohorts and guest stars. 

The Stooges are hired to hang wallpaper by a Mr. Beedle on behalf of eccentric Professor Panzer.  They make a disaster of it in their own, predictable way, and are chased into panzer’s lab.  Panzer takes a keen interest in Curly’s brain size and offers the trio an undisclosed job.  They jump at the chance, and wind up locked in a bedroom with the realization they have made a huge mistake.

Panzer plans to place Curly’s brain in the head of his gorilla Igor.  Curly’s brain is the smallest he has found so far.  Igor gets loose from his cage and attacks the Stooges.  There is a short romp before curly is alone with Igor.  The gorilla takes a shine to Curly, who reciprocates.  The Stooges and Igor attempt to escape together.  They succeed when panzer enters with a Tommy gun that is quickly stolen by Igor.    Igor provides cover while his new buddies beat a hasty retreat. 

While he is still the star of the short, Curly’s performance is unusually subdued.  There is only one active comedy bit with him--that of attempting to lay wallpaper flat, but having it roll up on him every time--and it is very small.  Curly’s mostly has reaction shots and other visual jokes in relation to what is going on around him.  There is even a scene in which Igor forces Moe to endure the working over he was about to give Curly.  He is definitely not our Curly.

Watching curly’s performance reminds me his best days are gone, but A Bidr in the Head is still funny in spite of the pall hanging over it.   The short is certainly not as vibrant as usual since not everyone is on their game, but the guest stars, particularly whoever is in the gorilla suit, pick up much of the slack. 

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Stephanie Cayo

Stephanie Cayo is another hottie i had to look up.  She is a Peruvian actress, singer, and model. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Three Stooges--Beer Barrel Polecats

We have been talking a lot about Curly’s decline in health.  Never is his deteriorating condition more evident than in Beer Barrel Polecats.   The short was filmed after he had suffered a minor stroke.   He was unable to work even the usual the usual four or five days shooting schedule,  so Beer Barrel Polecats has very little new footage.  Instead, it is mostly scenes from In the Sweet Pie and Pie and So Long, Mr. Chumps.

 The result presents two serious problems.  The worse of the two is the glaring difference in curly.  He is at a healthy weight and the top of his game in the old footage.  But in the new, he has lost a lot of weight, his speech is often slurred, and his timing is off.  He cannot take his usual abuse, either.  The other problem is the mish mash of plots from In the Sweet Pie and Pie and So Long, Mr. Chumps make no sense when added to Beer Barrel Polecats plot of the Stooges illegally making beer during Prohibition and inadvertently selling a bottle to a detective.

So the trio wind up in jail in new footage, then on death row in old footage, escaping death row in old footage, yet still in jail in new footage before searching for an old friend to help escape again in yet more old footage.  They are recaptured and sent to solitary until 1986 when they are finally released at the short’s merciful end. 

It is difficult to enjoy Beer Barrel Polecats even though the reused footage has some funny bits.   The difference in Curly’s performance in old versus new footage is depressing.  There is no effort to streamline any resemblance of a plot, either.  The short utilizes footage from the past stooge appearances in jail an does the best it can with them.  The best is not that ood.

I would advise staying away from Beer Barrel Polecats even if you are a died hard fan.  The short is poorly done and Curly’s comes off so bad that in a lot of ways, the short is more morbid than using a stand in for the recently deceased Shemp that will occur in four shorts in the future.  That is saying something, folks. 

Rating; * (out of 5)

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn is still trying to purge her geek credentials.  It is not happening for her.  She does look nice in a bikini, though. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Three Stooges--Micro-Phonies

While we are definitely in the middle of Curly’s decline in health, there are still a few shorts in which he hits all the marks.  Micro-Phonies is one.   Curly takes less abuse than normal, but he is still the comedic focus. 

The Stooges are repairing the radiator in a recording studio when they become enraptured by te singing voice of Alice van Doran.  Alice is ecretly pursing a singing career against her ather’s wishes.  The Stooges are buste by their boss for goofing off and have a scufle in which they destroy an Italian singer’s violin and glasses.  The accident will come back to haunt them.

The trio find safety in the recording studio and start playin around with the microphone.  Curly, in drag,  begins lip synching to Alice’s recording.  He earns the contract alice was going after on the spot and is hired to play a party that night.   Moe says they will take the record to the party and lip synch like in the studio.

Unfortunately, the Italian singer is at the party and sabotages their efforts after they hae screwed up a few times themselves.  The final blow is when Alice hides behind a curtain so Curly can “sing.”  The Italian singer exposes the scheme, but Alice still gets her contract while the Stooges are chased away as frauds.

There is noticeably less Stooge violence in Micro-Phonies in favor off a screwball comedy plot.  It is a welcome change.  The short is hilarious in many places.  It is also bonus that it is one of Curly’s last top notch performances.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

Diora Baird

Diora Baird has not effectively cashed in on her Wedding Crashers fame, but she is still hot.