Sunday, October 31, 2010

Formspring Question # 53--Kung Fu Fighting Edition

Are the 5 deadly venoms under appreciated, overrated, or just where they should be?
I have never seen the movie, so you are asking the wrong guy. Kung fu movies are not my thing.

Formspring Question # 52--Potent Quotables Edition

What movie was the "Up Yours, Baby" quote from?
Kelly's Heroes

Blogroll Spotlight # 67

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

American Digest--Our Long National Nightmare is Over

American Perspective--Yes, This Election Will Be a Referendum on ObamaCare

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Nature's Best Costumes

Big Feed--Liberal Dementia May Be Genetic

Camp of the Saints--Halloween Rule 5

Classic Liberal--A Return to Civility?

Current--Friday Funnies: Barney Frank Commemorative Coin

Da Tech Guy--The Rally to Restore Totalitarianism?--No Cameras Allowed

Daley Gator--John Kerry Pitches a Tantrum

Gorge's Grouse--A Thought for Christian Democrats

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--The Friday Pin Up

Jaded Haven--Praying for Gridlock

LiberalGuy--American Remains

Mind Numbed Robot--Quote of the Week

Nice Deb--Friday Free-for-All

No Sheeples Here!--Greatest Hits of the 111th Cogress

Other McCain--Stomp Her Again, Tim!

Paco Enterprises--Throw the Bums Out

Pirate's Cove--Shocer! Americans Prefer Tax Cuts Over Government Spending

Proof Positive--Barbara Boxer's Family Profits from a Fake Indian Tribe She Helped Create

Randy's Roundtable--Friday Nite Funnies

Self-Evident Truths--Before You Go to the Voting Booth

Troglopundit--An NFL Team in England?

Washington Reel--Tea Parties: What More Do You Want?

How about a little Alice Cooper for Halloween? I am embedding his performance of "Welcome to My Nightmare" from The Muppet show. If you are a purist, you can see his original video for the song here instead.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 3--Can You Lie Without Saying a Word?

Of course. Body language can be deceiving. Withholding truth one has a moral obligation to reveal is dishonesty as a sin of omission.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Camera"

“The Night of the Camera” is the first of many, sporadic episodes to not feature Artie as Jim’s partner. Ross Martin suffered a heart attack shortly after the previous and missed twelve weeks of filming. It is casually mentioned that Artie is “off in Washington.”

Artie’s first replacement is my favorite of all of the temps, Jeremy Pike. Pie, played by Charles Aidman, is much like Artie. He is a master of disguise with a encyclopedic knowledge of every subject which conveniently pops up during misadventures with Jim.

“The Night of the Camera” also features a bonus partner in comedian Pat Paulsen as Bosely Cranston. Cranston is an clumsy, nebbish scientist with the Secret Service who begged for his field assignment, a job for which he is not ready. But he does have a photographic memory, a skill which comes in handy amid the comic relief he nebbishly offers.

Paulsen was fresh off his comedic run for president in 1968, a running gag on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, whe he made his appearance. You may recall Rosie Grier, former football great and bodyguard to RFK, was featured in an episode during the third season. The Wild Wild West had quite a few connections to the Democratic side fateful 1968 presidential campaign. Robert Corad is a Republican who played G. Gorfon Liddy I a television movie in 1982. Oneassumes hewasa Richard Nixon man.

Jim and Jeremy are working at exposing the members of a nationwide opium smuggling rig when Bosely’s bumbling ruins their best lead. They wind up finding a use for him when they discover he has a photographic memory. They need to sneak him into the mansion of the suspected ringleader of the opium smuggling business so he can secretly memorize the names of addresses of all the accomplices from two books hidden away in the ringleader’s office.

Bosely’s Steve Urkel ways nearly blow it many times while sneaking around and breaking into the mansion’s library, but he not only succeeds, but surprisingly does kung fu to subdue the escaping ringleader. Implausible, but very humorous. Doubly so because of the obvious stuntman during the kung fu fighting.

The entire episode is played more for laughs than any other before or since. Paulsen was clearly the centerpiece for the episode. The plan pays off beautifully. It is such a fun romp, it almost makes pedantic little old me forget opium was not illegal in the 1870’s, therefore it was not a crime to transport or sell. I almost forgot that.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Scarlett Johansson

Saturday, October 30, 2010

This Week at Apocalypse Cinema

There is a little more than a week's worth this time around. We area little behind thanks to my hospitalization a couple weeks ago. The run of horror movie reviews will now run well into November because of it.

The Revenge of Frankenstein
Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed
Mad Love
The Omega Man
The Mephisto Waltz
The Black Cat
Creepshow
Creepshow II
The Gorgon

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 71

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

Pirate's Cove links to Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 70, Blogroll Spotlight # 66, and January Jones.

The Current links to Texas Rangers Earn First Trip to World Series.

The Classic Liberal links to January Jones and Lea Michelle.

The Other McCain links to January Jones.

The Official Page of... links to Kristen Bell.

Bollywood Actress links to January Jones.

Planet X links to my review of The Big Bang Theory "The Irish Pub Formulation."

Blogroll additions:

Nice Deb added me to er blogroll.
Archeology Excavation added me to the blogroll.
The Pagan Temple added me to its blogroll.
Randy's Roudtable added me to his blogroll.

Note: It is often tougher to discover when I have been added to a blogroll tan when an individual post ha been linked. Do not be shy about speaking up over lining either way.)

A sincere thank you to all who linked. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.

Allegedly Deep Thought # 2--If You Had a Chance to Get a Message Across to a Large Group of People, What Would it Be?

My message would be to appreciate the small things. I do not mean stop and smell the roses or pet a puppy. I mean that one should appreciate how everything can change in a flash, completely altering a life. One should be mindful of that.

Here is a good illustration. Te retina is an incredibly tiny thing, yet if it tears off, it will take your eyesight with it. Every plan you have ever made can go bye bye along with it in an instant. When the opthamologist told me the surgery was a failure and I would never be any better than a legally blind cyclops, my life was completely altered. For him, though, I was one of twelve or fifteen patients he was going to see on some random Tuesday. She was trying to stick me in before he went out to grab some Chinese food. She was thinking about shrimp fried rice while I was wondering what else I had to live for in the half-darkness.

Your action may not always or een often merit a blip on your innteral radar, but they can have a big impact on someone else. Your just another day at the office, distracted by a grumbling tummy news may destroy someone else’s life.

I would have paid this idea lip service years ago when I was in law school. I would have said that as a Christian, I would most certainly pay the utmost attention to my clients’ needs. Most anyone who needs a lawyer is hiring one to help with the largest issues of their life outside health decisions and mot us ea lawyer in that, too. But I know I would not have meat it without the empathy I now have for being on the receiving end.

It is impossible to maintain that high emotion for every client, I know. But the experience would still make me a better lawyer now than it would have before. It is not going to happen now. I did not appreciate how something as tiny as a retina can force big changes.

I do appreciate the irony of the catalyst for the end of my legal career teaching me about being callous with clients far too late for the lesson to do me any good. That is, in some ways appreciating a small thing, too.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of Fire and Brimstone"

Four writers are credited for “The Night of Fire and Brimstone.” I have learned from experience that when you see that, brace yourself for a disjointed mess. Such a circumstance means the script as been re-written several times. You will probably be able to identify enough small plot elements that could have made for an episode themselves, butare thrown I here as filler.

Jim and Artie travel to the abandoned town of Brimstone, Virginia at the request of a Prof. Colecrest. He has made some sort of discovery, but will not say what it is. It must be big, because a group of bandits have gotten there before and are busy roughing him up to find out all he knows.

Colecrest escapes into the mineshafts below the town just as our heroes discover something is amiss and ave to fight the gang. They escape ito the mines, too, only to discover Colecrest has suffered a concussio from a fall. jim stays with him in hiding as Artie runs off to get a doctor.

The doctor is sick himself, but insists on going over his daughter’s protests. Her mother recently sickened and died from the same ailment, so se is worried about him. He leaves without his medication, so se rus off after him.

Meanwhile, Jim has to sneak around fighting the gang members in the mineshaft. His tactics remind me a lot of Rambo’s battle with Soviet troops in the Afghan tunnels in Rambo III. Jim fights directly, sets booby traps, and een once tricks oe gang member into shooting another. I doubt “The Night of Fire and Brimstone” was direct inspiration for Rambo III, but the similarities are striking.

When that is all said and done, Jim discovers an old, crazy Confederate office living down there with the skeletons of his mean. he has been dow there on assignment from Robert E. Lee and has no clue the war has been over a decade or more at this point.

If you have lost trac of the plot, let me help:

1. The professor, who is the only one who knows some secret, will die without medical treatment for his injury.
2. The doctor needs his medication, perhaps to live, as well.
3. There isan old, kooky Confederate officer down there protecting the secret.
4. The gang wants them all dead to cash in on whatever this secret is.

Got all that? The gang catches the daughter coming with the edication and uses her to lure the doctor out. The doctor, howeer, is artie in disguise. Her ad Jm over powerte gang. Colecrest, on death’s door a ew moments ago, makes a miraculous recovery enough to explain the whole plot with a load of exposition. The Confederate officer was protecting a treasuretrove which Colecrest discovered. That is wat everyone was after. Artie, disguised as Robert E. Lee--I kid you not--relieves te old officer of command.

The story absurd, jumbled, implausible, and full of plot holes, but how can you resist enjoying something like what I just described? Artie whipping up a Lee disguise in a matter of miutes is worth a viewing right there. This episode is strange.

A final note--Ross Martin suffered a heart attack after filming “The Night of Fire and Brimstone,” so Artie is going to miss a number of episodes. The Wild Wild West was not aired in the same order it was filmed, so there will be some alternating between Jim working with Artie and him having a temporary guest star for the remainder of the season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Shape Editor Apologizes to Readers for LeAnn Rimes Cover

The editor of Shape magazine apologized to readers for featuring home wrecker LeAnn Rimes on this month's cover:
Subject: To my dear Shape readers

You are all in good company (why I'm e-mailing you all together) as you all agree Shape has made a terrible mistake in putting LeAnn Rimes on the cover.

Please know that our putting her on the cover was not meant to put a husband-stealer on a pedestal-but to show (through her story) how we all are human. And this woman in particular found strength in exercise in what she said was her most difficult personal moment.

But it did not come across that way ... And for that I'm terribly sorry.

I hope that we can do better the next time for those of you that will give us another chance.

Humbly,

Valerie
Rimes tweeted in response:
Just so all my fans know, I'm getting to the bottom of this. It's the first I've heard of this. Shape is throwing me a party next week as a thank you and a congrats for being on their cover for the 3rd time. I find this very contradictory. I love you all!!
There you go, girls. Eat right, exercise, and maybe you too, can steal another woman's husband. Shape might even throw a party in your honor!

Eddie Cibrian is a cad for having the affair with rimes, too, lest you tink I am letting him off scott free. it takes two to tango, you know.

(Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Formspring Question # 51--Duchovnyan Doll Edition

Tea Leoni
Tea Leoni:She just turned 44, as luck would have it.

Allegedly Deep Thought #1--How Old Would You Be if You Did Not Know How Old You Are?

The pedantic answer would be 33. Even if I did not know how old I am, I would still be the same age. Ignorance of one’s actual age does not make one older or younger. If it did, we have rain surgeons out there specializing in lobotomies that specifically too care of such things for the youth obsessed wealthy.

But since this question is looking for some enlightened, existential answer, I will play along.

Judging by how I feel, how quickly I appear to be falling apart, and the perpetual autumn of life in which I dwell, I would say I am somewhere I my early 60’s. Still alive and sharp, but life has definitely slowed down. More time is spent cherishing memories of the past than experiencing new things. More things leave than enter.

All this stuff contributes to my being more a reflective old man than a thirty-something.

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Egyptian Queen"

“The Night of the Egyptian Queen” is a fairly run of the mill affair. The powers that be must have known that, since the femme fatale spent the entire episode cavorting cavorting about in a skimpy harem outfit, showing off a lovely midriff and a whole lot of leg, as a distraction. There is even a light bondage scene thrown in for the perverts out there. You know who you are.

A ruby on loan to a San Francisco museum from some Egyptian poobabette (Are important female poobahs called that? If not, they should be.) is stolen away from Jim. Our heroes spend the evening alternating between chasing down and being captured by three different parties who want the ruby. It ultimately fell into the ans of Rosie, a belly dancer who was using it as a toe ring during her mesmerizing performances.

The ring is stolen from her by an Egyptian diplomat played by--I kid you not--Boss Hogge himself, Sorrell Booke. The ruby itself is third rate junk, but it can be used when the moon is in a certain position to release a trove of ancient treasure. It is the treasure that everyone is after.

It is interesting “The Night of the Egyptian Queen” aired a full ten years before King Tut mania hit the United States in the late ’70’s and these sort of stories were common place on te idiot box. That, the half-naked belly dancer, and Boss Hogge as an evil Egyptian mkae this one an amusing oddity, but the rest of the episode is nothing special.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Reese Witherspoon

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Formspring Question # 50--Little Italy Edition

Does your busted colon make it difficult to eat fettuccine alfredo?
I avoid it if there is broccoli mixed in. Certain green, leafy vegetables can cause inflammation.

The Big Bang Theory--"The Irish Pub Formulation"

Leonard sardonically remarks his “betrayal” of his friends makes him the Darth Vader of Pasadena. Sheldon retorts he is way too short to be the Sith Lord. He is, at best, a Turncoat Ewok. I am going to have to use that one at some point. If I do, you will all now where it originated.

Here we are in week two of no Kaley Cuoco. How are all you desperate nerds holding up? Overwhelmed Google Image Search yet?

Much like last week, “The Irish Pub Formulation” takes a typical sitcom plot--one character secretly dating the relative of another--and sees how well these uniquely nerdy characters handle it. I thought it was much better than last week’s effort with the awkward, incompatible blind date for Leonard.

Raj’s sister, Pia, comes to visit. He does not want Howard doing his usual obnoxious PePe Le Pew routine o her. E is satisfied to learn during her first visit five years ago, Howard and Leonard made a pact to not hit on her out of respect for their friendship with Raj. The pact is short lied. Leonard and Pia wind up spending the night together.

It is a short lived element to the episode. Pia is just rebelling against her traditional Indian upbringing. The comedy comes from trying to keep the one night stan from Sheldon, convincing him to keep the secret once he discovers it, and the guys all revealing the absurd betrayals they have been keeping secret from one another. Definitely a socially odd bunch those.

I laughed out loud quite a few times, but still cannot help ut note how every episode has to revolve around Sheldon, no matter how forced the situation has to be to bring him into it. This was not as terribly strangeas it sometimes is. In fact, I thought the character was much more pleasant this week as he weaved a Lucy Ricardo-esque alibi for Leonard rather than the uncomfortably demented Sheldon from last week. Some writers have a better handle on im tan others.

Botto line: “The Irish Pub Manipulation” wastrite, but funny. It feels implausible that Leonard can have all these one night stands, but seeing the genuine friendship between he ad Sheldon re-emerge makes up for it. Too often, you have to wonder why such a relationship continues. I will bet we never see Pia again, though.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Formspring Question # 49--In Doggerel, I Would Imagine Edition

Why does my neighbor's dog keep telling me to murder women?
Because dogs are man’s best friend, not women’s. The notion implies a chauvinistic gender favoritism in the extreme. Extreme chauvinism promotes a sense women have less value than men, and therefore can be treated as lesser beings. The attitude allows the chauvinist to justify violent behavior towards women. In extreme cases, this can include murder.

Dogs are, of course, text boo cases. Note how they routinely refer to their women as “bitches.” Go to a dog pound, and you will here that word more than at a Jay-Z concert. None blink an eye at its use. Even the women are resigned to it.

You did not ask for my advice, but if I were you, I would just ignore the dog. They are pack animals inclined to assume a dominant role if you allow them to do so. You should not. The human should maintain the alpha dog role in every relationship with a canine. Even if you are just neighbors, you need to be in control.

David Berkowitz did not heed that advice. Look what happened to him.

Quotation #30--Whatever Strikes Your Fancy

"And a thousand thousand slimy things lived on, and so did I." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Fugitives"

“The Night of the Fugitives is just so-so episode as far as the plot is concerned. Jim and Artie are pursuing the nebbish bookkeeper for a crime syndicate. Jim nearly nabs him in san Francisco, but the crooked accountant esapes to epitaph, Colorado, where Jim tracks him down. Unfortunately, Epitaph is a racket owned entirely by the crime syndicate boss. Jim and Artie, posing as an Elmer Gantry, have to snuggle the bookkeeper out of te town populated by gunmen.

If the plot I just described sounds more like a third than fourth season episode, that is because it was intended to be. Filming had to be stopped for the entire season because of one notorious scene. “The Night of the Fugitives” is most famous for featuring Robert Conrad’s failed stunt which resorted in a skull fracture. The morbid part is the footage of the accident was still used in the episode. Geek that I am, I have it all screen capped for you.Conrad is supposed to jump from the top of the staircase, grab the chandelier, swing on it, and kick a stuntman playing a thug.He successfully makes the jump and grab.He also successfully makes the kick, but his hands slip off the chandelier.This one is blurry because the accident happened quickly, but Conrad goes down head first onto the floor with his legs flailing in the air. His actual landing is fast and mostly obscured by the staircase, but he hits hard.There is an abrupt cut right after this moment. Filming ended for the third season ended because of Conrad's injury. When filming resumed months later, the scene was more or less picked up here with the fight continuing. But the above scene is genuine. While later filming made this out to be the thug grabbing Jim to continue the fight, it is the stuntman checking on Conrad's well-being. He was slow to get up and clearly already in distress.

This was the first serious injury Conrad sustained. Surprising, considering the daredevil stunts he had performed over the last three seasons eventually earned him a spot in the Stuntman’s Hall of Fame. Afterwards, the studio put a restriction on the type of stunts Conrad would be allowed to do. The accident contributed to the notion The Wild Wild West was too violent for prime time television and, along wit Ross Martin’s heart attack in the fourth season, lead to its cancellation.

I hae to point out the irony of claiming the series is too violent when they used the actual, nearly fatal accident Conrad suffered, treated it as part of the fight, and kept going with it as though he never got hurt. Is not one of the complaint violence on television is senseless because the consequences are not dealt with maturely?

“The Night of the Fugitives” is decent, but not great. I cannot in good conscience give it a bad score, though, can I?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Erin Heatherton

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SyFy Cancels Caprica

Not a real surprise, but the effective immediately bit is. The show is doing so poorly in the ratings, SyFy is pulling the final five episodes. Anyone who was wondering why the channel did not promo the next episode last night, there is your answer.

Caprica was doing terribly within the coveted 18-49 year old demographic. I imagine those ratings got even worse with the return of the NBA last night.

I was intrigued by the first ten episodes, but mostly because they were such a freak show, I could not help but watch. The series could have been Mad Men meets I, Robot, but it got too bogged down in the virtual reality stuff while the religious terrorism aspects meandered aimlessly. What happened to the original idea Caprica was to be about the creation and eventual revolt of the Cylons? That sounded like an idea worth watching.

It is not over for the Battlestar Galactica franchise. Not only will SyFy burn of the remaining Caprica episodes sometime in 2011, but the channel ha ordered a Cylon War I pilot called Blood & Chrome for next year. It will follow a young Bill Adama as he fights against the original Cylon revolt. Just on the surface, it sounds like they are trying to fulfill Caprica’s fan expectations with a new, potential series. At least they are not giving up on the franchise.

Since I may not have much of a chance to post these now, here is what is left of my Alessandra Torresani photos:

My Lack of Enthusiasm Regarding the Midterms

For about two weeks now, half the blogs I follow have been obsessively dissecting Tuesday’s midterm election while the other half’s output has slowed to a trickle with next to no political coverage. I am guessing the latter finds blogging over elections rather than issues tedious. I am in that category myself. Blogging about specific candidates, many of whom will likely fall into irrelevance win or lose, cannot hold my attention. Hence, the lack of political blogging lately from the Eye.

Not that indifference to specific races will stop me from making big picture predictions:

1. The GOP will gain 63 seats in the House.
2. The GOP will gain seven seats in the Senate.
3. Nancy Pelosi will resign with hopes of falling off the radar.
4. Steny Hoyer, who should have been Speaker, will suddenly preach the Gospel of Bi-partisanship.
6. John Boehner will become Speaker. No one will be able to explain exactly why.
7. The excitement will soon pass as gridlock sets in, probably until at least 2012.

In the long term, Barack Obama will be completely flummoxed by his new opposition, even though the Republican house will not be anything impressive. The scenario may be similar to 1994, but the players are not up to it. Say what you wish about their personal politics, ill Clinton was brilliant at politicking itself and newt Ginrich was a hot headed revolutionary rimming with new ides. They lead the troops into some exciting times. Obama and Boehner pale in comparison.

Those two are not the only ones. One of the biggest problems congress faced in general after the last two drubbings the GOP received is a lot of inexperienced rookies they were too green to hold. Hence, you got a lot of emrrassig gaffes at town hall meetings with constituents, classless statements to the press, and a whole lot of them bullied into unwise votes by more experienced Democrat leaders who knew they would be driven out as fast asthey came in, so who cares about their seats? The same problem is going to plague the GOP House.

I do not believe there is an iceberg in the Sahara’s chance that Christine O’Donnell will wi her Senate seat in Delaware because she has said too many dumb things in public. The only reason you know about her is because theSenate is far more high profile than the House. For every O’Donnell ditzy enough to believe she was once a witch because that was the only way she could get a fellow in high school, there are ten Tea Party faorite House candidates whom have ideas just as silly, but will likely win for lack of media attention to them

I am not predicting buyer’s remorse necessarily, but a definite dampening of enthusiasm once reality sets in. How much enthusiasm for the electio can I muster when I believe that way?

Quotation #29--A Quote That Describes You

"Cynicism is humor in ill health."--H. G. Wells

Bonus quote:

"And introduce an element of cynicism and darkness into it and just realize that we're all vulnerable. We are humans. There is a finite end to this life and we're all going to face it and a little silliness can help."--Alan Thicke

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Kraken"

Release the Kraken!

All right, now that we have gotten the obligatory Clash of the Titans reference out of the way, let us get down to the plot of 'The Night of the Kraken." A diabolical genius has created a sea monster which has been destroying ships off San Francisco. I reality, the sea monster is a front for a new kind of torpedo with which aid diabolical genius is going to use to ill Adm. David Farragut. That is until Jim escapes from the villain’s undersea layer and out swims the torpedo in order to save the admiral’s flagship. Jim is assisted by Artie, who is posing as a Portuguese fisherman.


This plot is very different from the second season's "The Night of the Watery Death," because in that episode, A diabolical genius has created a sea monster which has been destroying ships off San Francisco. I reality, the sea monster is a front for a new kind of torpedo with which aid diabolical genius is going to use to ill Adm. David Farragut. That is until Jim escapes from the villain’s undersea layer and out swims the torpedo in order to save the admiral’s flagship. Jim is assisted by Artie, who is posing as a Portuguese fisherman.

If they were going to directly lift the plot of another episode, they should have chosen more wisely than the mediocre “The Night of the Watery Death.”

To be fair, there are a couple twists in “The Night of the Kraken” that were not around in the previous. But they are only improvements because of their absurdity. The first is pictured above. Jim wrestles and defeats the mechanical squid underwater. It has to be seen to be believed. Second, our heroes discover an experimental diving suit in perfect steam punk style. It looks as ridiculous as the Juggernaut a few episodes back, but fits in with the style o the series.

As does Ted Knight in a dual role as the villain arms dealer and a doomsday evangelist warning of God’s judgment on San Francisco. If only he had known what that city was destined to become, he would have known how quaint it was in the 1870’s. Opium dens are quite tame compared to what plagues the place now. I will bet he hates Jim’s spunk, too.

I gave “The Night of the Watery Death” an average rating. Even though ’The Night of the Kraken” is practically the same episode, the bonus elements I talked about above merit a higher score. They are dumb, but enormously amusing.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Alyson Hannigan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Charlie Sheen Hospitalized for Being Charlie Sheen; CBS Cashes Checks and Ignores

This sort of thing is not news any longer, but the Eye has been keeping tabs on Charlie Sheen ever since the laughable notions arose last year that the Aspen district attorney’s office might throw the boo at him for a Christmas Day domestic dispute arrest and/or CBS might put the brakes on his bad boy behavior in order to protect their brand. No such luck on either count.

Sheen was arrested at the New York Plaza shortly after 2 AM this morning. Hotel security called police after crashing sounds were heard from his room. Police found Sheen intoxicated and naked amid the destroyed room. He was taken to the hospital for what his reps say was an allergic reaction to medication. I was not aware a vodka and cocaine cocktail qualifies as medication, but perhaps I have not Gone Hollywood enough to grasp such concepts.

He was accompanied to the hospital by his ex-wife, Denise Richards. She is not the one he tried to give a Colombian Necktie to on Christmas Day. They were actually I New York together with their daughters. No word on were the little girls wound up during all this. Perhaps the hooker Sheen was sharing his suite with looked ater them for the evening.

Sheen’s rage allegedly began when he discovered his wallet was missing after a night of partying. Presumably, the hooker wanted her ash up front in case Sheen later pulled out a knife or gun, as he is wont to do, and she had to eat a hasty retreat. Said wallet is enormously important because it most certainly holds so many $100, sheen canot fold it over properly.

There is were the real issue comes in. Sheen is te star of Two and a Half Men. It is one of the highest rated shows on television and the highest rated sitcom on CBS. What is more, its ratings peaked after the Christmas Day domestic dispute incident in which Sheen pinned his wife down and held a knife to her throat. With circumstances like that, there is no compelling reason for CBS to step in to control his behavior. The network is making money regardless.

What does Sheen have to do for CBS to step in? Pull one of these stunts in public? Beat his wife to a bloody pulp? how about--and God forbid--injure or kill one of his daughters? Considering that Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Man is a not too exaggerated caricature of himself, viewers are enjoying watching him make a buffoon of himself in droves, and CBS is making a mint on all of it, nothing he does may make difference anyway.

Quotation #28--A Quote That Could Have Originated with You

"Sarcasm is a foreign language to you, isn't it?"--Timor, The Lion King 1 1/2

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Gruesome Games"

That is the lovely Sherry Jackson, maing her seco appearance on The Wild Wild West, down on all fours carrying an egg in a spoon alongside Ross Martin. “The Night of the Gruesome Games” carries on the tradition of just about every crime/action series of doing an homage to the 1932 film The Most Dangerous Game. As you can probably guess, The Wild Wild West took it most literally--to the suffering of the actors’ dignity, of course.

Jim and Artie are in hot pursuit of Dr. Rekar, a researcher who has stolen a vial of deadly germs. The vial has to be kept at a certain temperature or else it will explode within a few hours, spreading disease all across California. Rekar is apparently killed in the pursuit, but our heroes learn he has sent the vial in luggage to the mansion of eccentric millionaire Rufus Krause, who had invited Rekar to his birthday party.

Artie poses as Rekar with Jim as his body guard in order to search the mansion for the vial of germs. Krause is an eccentric old coot who likes to humiliate his money obsessed gussets by forcing them to play children’s games in order to win gold, jewels, and furs. In the end, he announces he is going to leave his entire fortune to whoever is still alive in the morning.

The games are a red herring. It really is just a weird old man having fun by "torturing" people whose greed has destroyed their lives. Well, except for that brief interlude where his henchman, an obvious knock off of Goldfinger’s Oddjob name no Fun, attempts to boil Jim alive in a giant bird cage in the basement. Believe it or not, that is one of the saner aspects of the episode. The real plot is that Rekar faked his death. He is married to Krause’s hostess. The two of them plotted to kill eery guest I order to inherit Krause’s fortune, then use the vial of germs to gain political power.

Does that make any sense? How about destroying the vial of germs in a furnace because heating it up will cause it to explode, spreading deadly disease/ I am puzzled by that one myself, but this is definitely one of those episodes that you cannot give a whole lot of thought to or your head will explode. Just go alog with the silly atmosphere and enjoy it. “The Night of the Gruesome Games’ is fun, but dumb. Probably a lot like your prom date.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quotation #27--A Quote You Would Want on a T- Shirt

"Knowledge is the food of the soul." -Plato

(Normally, I would say if you can reduce your philosophy down to a t-shirt slogan or bumper sticker, you are not trying hard enough, but perhaps that is too harsh.)

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Sedgewick Curse"

The Wild Wild West takes its first turn with horror in the fourth season with “The Night of the Sedgewick Curse.” The series id often hit and miss with darer stories, but this time around, it is a bulls eye.

Jim plays courier between Ulysses S. Grant and a high ranking government official who is vacationing at a health spa to treat a blood disorder. The official disappears from his hotel room moments after jim leaves. Our heroes are on the case.

The only weak point of the episode is the freak accident way in which Jim stumbles across the true plot. He winds up saving young Lavinia Sedgewick from crashing her stagecoach and is invited to dinner as a reward. The Sedgewick’s are Lavinia and her grandfather. They live in a creepy old mansion with both of them seemingly under the undue influence of Dr. Maitland.

The Sedgewick family, with the apparent exception of her grandfather, has a tradition of dying young. Lavinia’s brother, a biochemist, died a few months ago. In her family’s history, several generations have dabbled in witchcraft, the occult, and bona fide Satanism with local torch and pitchfork carrying villagers bringing forth their predictable end.

It is not revealed until the fourth act they were all in pursuit of eternal youth. Lavinia’s brother switched from magic to science and was on the verge of discovering it, but his formula caused rapid aging instead. He did not die months ago, but is being passed off as the very old, senile grandfather. Lavnia has roped Dr. Maitland into continuing her brother’s research. He has been using the local spa to kidnap clients with certain blood disorders for further research. Jim discovers the failed patients in the dungeon including the government official he is looking for, all dying of advanced age.

Artie, posing a someone with a blood disorder, tricks Lavinia into thinking the formula now works. It does not, so her worst fear comes true as she rapidly ages after injecting herself. The limits of the era’s special effects keep that from happening on screen a la Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but the final reveal of her looking 100+ years old was still startling now and probably even more so when the episode first aired.The rapid aging process turned her eyes brown, too. Scary.

“The Night of the Sedgewick Curse” is a very good, very creepy episode. The show is at it best when it flirts with high concepts, yet does not resort to camp in order to pull it off. The episode feels like one of the best Hammer Films of the day to me. I would give it four tars, save for the too convenient way Jim ad the Sedgewickses meet.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Shelby Keeton

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blogroll Spotlight # 66

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

American Digest--Travels with Barry. Hey, I Thought This Part of the World Adored Him?

American Perspective--It's Time to Call Barbara Boxer Ma'am Again

Belmont Club--Odds Against Tomorrow

Camp of the Saints--Rule 5 News

Classic Liberal--Lisa Richards is a Liar

Current--Kicking the Etitlement Mentality Habit: Is America Really Ready for This?

Da Tech Guy--Oh, You Mean Those WMD!

Daley Gator--Meet the New Marxists, Same as the Old

Flopping Aces--Suday Funnies

Gorge's grouse--The Thinking Rock

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--3,000,000,000,000

Jaded Haven--The Art of Seduction

Mind-Numbed root--Sofia Vergara

No Sheeples Here--The Pledge of Allegiance a Contetious Issue

Other McCain--Rule 5 Sunday

Paco Enterprises--From the Shelves of the Paco Lirary

Proof Positive--Herman Cain on the Fair Tax

Right Klik--It's Time to Tear It Down

Six Meat Buffet--Let the Bimbo Speak

Teresamerica--Dr. Dave Janda on ObamaCare

Troglopundit--In Single Guy's News Today

Washington Rebel--Let God Sort 'em Out

This wee has been mostly posts about The Wild Wild West. Why stop now?

Quotation #26--A Quote That Reminds You of Someone

"There is love of course. And then there's life, its enemy."-- Jean Anouilh

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Juggernaut"

The key reason I have a difficult time recommending The Wild Wild West to friends, as much as I love the series, is “The Night of the Juggernaut.” As sure as the world, this will be the first episode they see and it will tait their opinion forever. About the only thing worse that could happen is if their first impression is the 1999 Will Smith movie. Damage control is difficult with both.

Jim and Artie head to New Mexico to determine why farmers are being driven off their land. When they get there, they discover farmers are being terrorized and that steam powered, orange and yellow tank pictured above. I kid you not. The Juggernautt, as it is called, was created by a wealthy landowner who has discovered huge oil deposits underneath the property of every dirt poor farmer in the area. He does not want to share the potential fortune.

Our heroes foil his plan, destroy the Juggernaut after taking it for the requisite spin around the block, and ensures all the farmers get their due from oil revenues. One even finds true love for good measure. I am sure the fact he is now wealthy has othig to do with it.

You do not have to look too closely to realize the town of Grey Ridge is redecorated sets from Gunsmkoe. There use is not for the first time, either.

The plot is decent and well executed. Artie’s disguise as a over the top Texas land baron buying up all the farmers’ property is one of his most amusing. The problem is the Juggernaut. It is such a dumb idea done so poorly, it is the only part of the episode which does not fly. Otherwise, it is quite good.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kirsten Dunst

Saturday, October 23, 2010

San Francisco Giants Win National League Championship

I confess this will be a short lived alliance. All I wanted was for a certain team from Pennsylvania to not make it to the World Series. My wish was rated. I have never heard a crowd of 60K+ go so quiet, so fast, as when Ryan Howard struck out lookig to end the game.

I do enjoy watching the teams celebrate, no matter who they are. Baseball is such a great game.

The World Series match up is the Texas Rangers v. San Francisco Giants. We have a red state v. blue state, George W. Bush v. Nancy Pelosi contest brewing. I would be pulling for Texas regardless of politics, since they have never been to the World Series, but the cultural implications are fun to note.

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around # 70

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

The Current links to Hiatus Explanation.

Mind-Numbed Robot links to Hiatus Explanation.

Classic Liberal links to Take It to the Limit.

Pirate's Cove links to Full Metal Jacket #69, Blogroll Spotlight #64, and Daniella Sarahyba..

Planet X links to my review of The Big Bang Theory episode "The Hot Troll Deviation."

iPhone Wallpaper links to Olivia Munn. (A link is a link, folks.)

Jennifer Aniston News links to Jennifer Aniston Edges Out Betty White as Most Eligible Bachelorette.

Nice Deb adds The Eye to her blogroll.

I was braced for a big downturn of reciprocal links considering the anemic hot babe and The Wild Wild West bloggig during my convalescence. Very pleasant surprise.

A sincere thank you to all who linked. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.

Quotation #25--A Depressing Quote

"I find nothing more depressing than optimism."--Paul Fussell

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Doomsday Formula"

Actor Kevin McCarty, famous for the lead roles in the classic science fiction Cold War allegory thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers, rounds the unfortunate trio of Pernell Roberts and Harold Gould as villains from The Wild Wild West who ave passed on within the last year. McCarthy died I September at the ripe old age of 96. His IMDB page not only lists 200+ roles, but his final one is dated 2010. He kept working right up until the end. Amazing. What kind of role does a 96 year old man play?

His turn as Maj. Gen Krull in “The Night of the Doomsday Formula” makes for one of the best villains of the series. The episode brings the feel and tone of some of the series’ best from the first and second seasons. The series has fully recovered from the dull third season even by this early date.

A scientist informs Ulysses S. Grant through a telegraph he has developed the most powerful explosive known to man. When Jim arrives in Denver to meet the scientist, he discovers by his daughter the scientist has already gone off with “Jim West.” she is then kidnapped right out from under Jim’s nose. When he and Artie find out the materials needed for the explosive have been well hidden, they surmise whoever kidnapped the scientist wants him to develop a new batch and are going to use his daughter to force him. The race is on to recover them both.

Their only clue is a steel fist handle on an umbrella used to cok Jim on the head. The umbrella belongs to Krull. Krull, a disillusioned former US military officer, has become an international arms dealer specializing in new technology. He fears the US military has grown complacent and gun shy in the wake of the Civil War. Artie hilariously poses as a Bedouin looking to buy the explosive krill is rumored to have while Jim breaks into Krull’s ranch through the *ahem* back way in order to find the scientist an his daughter.

In the true spirit of ’60’s television westerns, which often shared sets to hold down production costs, Krull’s ranch is the Brakley Ranch from The Big Valley. Some iconic sets have pulled double duty in this show, but this appearance struck me as funny as when the lagoon from Gilligan’s Island and the settlement from Star Trek’s “Arena” once stood in for Devil’s Island.

All the classic elements are here. Jim the swashbuckling hero saves the girl from a fiery pit in the same manner as Batman saved Vicki Vale in 1989’s Batmn. Artie is comedy gold as he uses a recording of his bad Arabic singing to cover his tracks while he snoops around, and then use fireworks as a distraction for Jim’s escape. Krull dies by his own weapon in the end. Not so predictably, the scientist has a fatal heart attack. The formula dies with him.

I like ’The Night of the Doomsday Formula.” It is a classic and therefore earns four stars for being a return to the series’ true form.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

January Jones

Here is some photos of the lovely January Jones to turn you all from turning into >Mad Men. Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Rangers Earn First World Series Trip

That is right, New York Yankees. A $206,333,389 payroll will not buy you a trip to the World Series! It is almost enough salve to make up for Bobby Cox forced to retire without the Atlanta Braves earning a better shot at a world championship. Almost.

How about Josh Hamilton for a redemption story? From hopeless drug addict to ALCS MVP. Read about how God lead him out of addiction here.

Quotation #24--A Humorous Quote

"Our bombs are smarter than the average high school student. At least they can find Iraq."-A. Whitney Brown

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Big Blackmail"

“The Night of the Big Blackmail” serves as the premiere episode of the fourth, final, and trouble plagued season of The Wild Wild West. Both Robert Conrad and Ross Martin were seriously injured filming episodes. Martin also suffered a heart attack early on which limited his appearances. But it was the rising anti-violence sentiment in the wake of the assassinations of RFK and MLK that ultimately spelled the show’s doom. Until then, though, there was a lot of fun to be had.

Case in point--this episode. Our heroes take advantage of a fencing tournament hold at an ambiguously Eastern European country’s embassy in Washington to steal a case I which Baron Hintertroiser has hidden some item which he will reveal as an embarrassment to the United States. Jim manages to steal the case in an exciting, Mission Impossible-esque escapade. Inside is an anachronistic, but bless them they tried to make it convincing fake film which shows “Ulysses S. Grant” signing a treaty with an oriental leader of an ambiguous, yet obviously public enemy number one country. With the United States in international disgrace, the Baron’s country can expand its territory unchallenged.

Our heroes spend the bulk of the episode engaging in an elaborate plan to place an altered film into its place I the embassy’s basement before anyone realizes it is missing. As per this show’s requirements, the embassy was designed by an eccentric architect with booby traps and a highly elaborate safe, all of which are made short work of by our heroes. When the baron ultimately plays the replaced film for his audience of dignitaries, it is mostly Artie engaged in an impression of The Little Tramp forty years before Charlie Chaplin.

“The Night of the Big Blackmail” has an unusually large number of anachronisms, such as a phonograph recording used to distract some foreign henchmen on top of the film that is the key to the entire plot. All of them I can excuse because of the general appeal of the episode. A big highlight id Harvey Korman’s role as the Baron. The character has echoes of his turn as the villainous Headley Lamarr in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, a movie which was still five years away from filming. Definitely a good start to the weirdly fun, but sadly unlucky fourth season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Lindsay Lohan May Go Back to Jail Today

I have my doubts.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Big Bang Theory--"The Desperation Emanation"

bbt the desperation emanation,Big Bang Theory,Jim Parsons,Johnny GaleckiI will bet there are a lot of broken hearted geeks out there tonight. “The Desperation Emanation’ is the first episode Kaley Cuoco was written out of after breaking her leg last moth. There is a pretty obvious bit in the episode when Sheldon runs off in a panic, desperate for advice over Amy’s request to meet her mother. You have to figure he would go to penny for that, ut the scene instead leads to a conversation outside the apartment building with Leonard which serves only for a couple jokes, but no plot development. There is where penny is missing, no?

I have spilled half the plot already. Sheldon is busy trying to get rid of his girlfriend after she apparently wants to take it to the next level while lonely Leonard fids himself the only one of the group without a girl. He invokes the same girlfriend agreement with Howard that landed him Bernadette, but she sets Leonard up with a classless dud from her self-defense class. Predictable comedy ensues as she constantly attacks Leonard while obliviously embarrassing herself. Sheldon learns Amy only wants to pretend they area couple to please her mother. They, oblivious to the stigma, describe a vigorous sex life to mommy dearest via web cam in order to pull it off.

Leonard’s date, joy is played by Charlotte Newhouse. I had never heard of her. A quick IMDb search does not reveal any big credits, either. Usually one off guest stars are some sort of in joke. I am afraid in Newhouse is famous for playing shallow, crass characters, her reputation is lost upon me. Most of the date is, too, in all honestly. Bernadette is an academic type. Her poor choice for a hook p is an out of character act solely to set up an typical sitcom mismatch of characters. A bit disappointing.

As for the resolution of Sheldon and Amy’s dilemma, it is funny, but a bit disturbing if you really think about it. Their complete misunderstanding of what is socially acceptable does make one wonder why the Department of Social Services has not assigned the two case workers yet. Maybe I am a stick in the mud here, but there is a line between humorous social awkwardness and detrimental, antisocial behavior. Mining for comedy gold on the borderline can get disturbing.

A decent episode in spite of my gripes about predictable sitcom fare with Leonard’s date and some questionable humor with Sheldon and Amy.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

NPR Fires Juan Williams for Saying What We Are All Thinking When Traveling with Muslims

I have always been ambivalent about Juan Williams. He is very clearly a progressive, albeit one who draws his conclusions through logic rather than the all too often progressive tactic of adopting leftist talking points then declaring oneself an intellectual by virtue of having done so. Whether said progressive can explain or defend his beliefs is irrelevant, you ignorant, racist Teabagger. How dare you insinuate otherwise! Nevertheless, I do not care much what for believes. I just appreciate the road he took to get there.

I have never been a bi fan of NPR, either. It is progressive propaganda which openly attacks conservatives and Christians routinely with impunity. Why someone earns intellectual credit for regular listening is beyond. It sounds more like congratulations for hae sat through it instead. Double curiosity why one ears geek points for listening, but many in the bookish, science fiction crowd I am familiar with swear by NPR. Yes, they do think I am a Philistine.

Now NPR has fired Juan Williams for making statements to Bill O’Reilly that every last one of us is thinking--when he sees Muslims on his plane, he gets nervous. Who can blame him? Remember the days when all you had to worry about was Muslim terrorists taking your plane hostage in exchange for Israel freeing some PLO members from prison? Those days were quaint. Today they put bombs in their shoes and underwear because hijacking planes and flying into skyscrapers has become too difficult. It also pays too remember those shoe and underwear bombing plots were stopped because regular passengers were mindful that ice Muslim in Aisle F over there might try to kill them all.

NPR is being dumb and hypocritical here. Its correspondents have sad far worse things about Christians for years and Tea Party activists most recently without anyone battig an eye. Of course, Christians and Tea Partiers are not going to chop your head off when you offend them, so NPR has to be careful what its employees say in public. Which is exactly the spirit of what Williams said to O’Reilly about Muslims. So Williams’ big sin is reealing NPR is just as fearful of Muslim extremism as you and I. We are just supposed to be stupid to understand its intellectual nuance regarding the matter.

Quotation #23--A Bible Verse

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happened to them all."--Ecclesiastes 9:11

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Death-Maker"

We have finally reached the merciful end to the lackluster third season. The good news is the fourth season is a considerable up tick. The d news is the fourth season is also the show’s swan song. At least it goes out on a high note. For my money, the third season is the only detriment to the series.

“The Night of the Death-Maker’ is a key example why. The episode takes all its elements from past episodes, mixes them together, and calls it a new story.. To be fair, this was not intended to be the season finale. Filming of the final four episodes was cancelled because Robert Conrad suffered a serious skull fracture performing a stunt. The episode with the injuring stunt was completed for the fourth season, actual accident making it to the screen and all, so I will address it in more detail in a few days. Suffice to say, if there was a big bang planned for the end of the third season, neither “The Night of the Death-Maker,’ nor Conrad’s skull fracture was anyone had in mind.

Gen. Gullen Dane, a disgraced general fired by Ulysses S. Grant, has hidden away in a monastery he is holding hostage with a private army. He plans to assassinate grant with a stolen gattling gun so he can take over California for his own. Our heroes are looking for possible hiding places near the railroad where such a gun could be shipped quickly. They just happen to discover the monastery is Dane’s base of operations after noting a monk appearing at the local hotel plus the wine the brothers make tasting unusually bitter. It turns out the imprisoned brothers have been sabotaging the wine in a pitiful attempt to attract outside attention.

Our heroes free the brothers and stop Dane from assassinating Grant We have seen all this before, right down to a disgraced military officer hiding out in a church/monastery with a private army ready to take over California. “The Night of the Death-Maker” is literally a cut and paste script with every part, sans the imprisoned brothers, taken from previous. It is not bad necessarily, but it is disappointingly unoriginal.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Britney Spears

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quotation #22--A Wedding Ring Inscription

"True love means an airtight prenup."

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Simian Terror"

If you can appreciate the prescient humor of the above scene, thirteen years before Donkey Kong, then you have already gotten every available ounce of enjoyment out of the particularly weird “The Night of the Simian Terror.” If you wish for it to be spelled out further, Jim is attempting to rescue a girl kidnapped by a giant ape, but he cannot get to her because the ape keeps throwing barrels at him. Was Shigeru Miyamoto inspired by this episode to create the first Donkey Kong game? Probably not , but it is a funny thought regardless.

Like I said, it is about the only amusing bit in a strange mess of a story. Jim and Artie are assigned to travel to Kansas and retrieve a senator who has defense bill held up in committee. They find his estate is barricaded and armed to the teeth with visitors not welcomed. But when one of the security team is literally crushed to death by what could have only been a giant animal, our heroes he to et to the bottom of things.

The bottom of things is the senator had a child named Dimas years ago who was not quite right, so he faked the kid’s death and gave him to an anthropologist who once failed at an experiment to nurture an ape from birth to make him more humanlike. Dimas and the ape became pals--just go with it--so the ape has been killing off family members so Dimas can inherit the family fortune.

Dimas is killed in a fistfight with Jim, which I would think is implausibly ridiculous if I had not seen Jim engage in fisticuffs with the ape just a few minutes prior. Past experience makes it seem a bit more plausible. The ape dies in a hail of bullets from an angry mob that has formed in response to the killings. There might e some social commentary in there somewhere, but I had lost interest y that point and do not care to dig for it.

Richard Kiel plays Dimas. He is essentially playing Dimas exactly as he did Voltaire. The characters are so much alike, it is odd Jim and Artie do not comment on it. Actors get recast o The Wild Wild West all the time, so it is a accepted part of the show. But this is like hiring Michael Dunn to play another evil villain similar to Dr. Loveless, but with a different name. Actors who play iconic characters cannot pull that sort of thing off. At least not for dedicated fans.

“The Night of the Simian Terror” does not work for me. It attempts to be dark, but has too many absurd elements to pull it off. Not the least of those elements is Jim fighting the ape and holding his own far longer than logic would have it. You know, like more than two seconds. Those of you who really enjoyed dating high school girls--dumb, but fun--may get a kick out of it. I hardly did.

We finally end the terrible third season tomorrow before heading into the series’ wonderfully weird fourth and final season.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Lea Michele

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quotation #21--Favorite Grafitti

"Up Yours, Baby"

(Name the movie?)

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Amnesiac"

It seems like every series that ran long enough during a certain era of television did an occult/voodoo themed episode like yesterday’s. Such series also had to do an amnesia episode. When they go back to back, you kind of feel lie the show is just filling in the blanks with expected plot devices. I cannot complain too much, however. “The Night of the Amnesiac” is quite good in spite of its unimaginative plot complication.

Jim is escorting a supply of small pox vaccine for the US Department of Health, a agency which has never existed, to halt an epidemic out west. His stage coach is robbed y a gang of outlaws who plan to use the vaccine as ransom for the return of their imprisoned boss, Furman Crotty. Crotty is played by Ed Asner. The character is not much different than his character in El Dorado. Deliberate casting, I imagine.

Jim’ head is grazed by a bullet during the robbery. He awaken with no memory of who he is, but still has his fighting skills and heroic sense of chivalry. They are pt on display when he rescues a girl from beig manhandled and eventually encounters the robbers again, even though he has no clue who they are.

The interesting point about “The Night of the Amnesiac” is how the focus is split on Jim and Artie equally. Jim’s plight does not take center stage as much screen time is given over to Artie’s search for the missing vaccine. In fact, the return of Jim’s memory isan implausible, trite occurrence. He sees Artie about to be shot and suddenly remembers who they both are.

The bigger twist is Crotty’s plan to replace the small pox vaccine with ordinary water. With small pox having wiped out the population, he can rebuild the country in his own image. While it may seem o under normal circumstances for a crook like him to have such grandiose visions, Asner plays it believably. Crotty is a psychotic genius.

“The Nit of the Amnesiac” does have its issues beyond ’Hollywood” amnesia and creating fictitious government agencies. Anachronisms include mentions of an ouija board (invented in 1901), Pinnochio (not published in the US until 1911) ad genocide (first coined in1944.) Pedantic complaints, ut I still have them. Nevertheless, “The Night of the Amnesiac” is a hihligt in the generally lackluster third season.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kristen Bell

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quotation #20--A Favorite Epitaph

"Beyond is the infinite morning of a day without tomorrow."--W.S. Abbott

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Undead"

That is Los Angeles Rams great Rosie Grier whom Jim is on the verge of shooting above. Grier is a voodoo influenced zombie named Tiny John. Jim does shoot him, but it does no good, and Tiny John throws Jim around like a rag doll. The scene is oe of the few times in the series they do not bother to hide Robert Conrad’s short 5’ 8” stature.

The appearance of Grier has another significant meaning for the series. A few months after “The Night of the Undead” aired, Grier became RFK’s bodyguard for his presidential campaign. He was guarding RFK’s wife Ethel on that fateful night at the Ambassador Hotel, but he was the one to subdue Sirhan Sirhan and take the gun away from him. The combination of RFK’s and MLK’s assassinations prompted an anyi-violence campaign which ultimately lead to The Wild Wild West being cancelled. We will get to that with more details in a few more days.

“The Night of the Undead” is the seemingly prerequisite foray into voodoo/occultism that any long running show in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s had to do. It is a bit of a mess that is saved by some genuinely scary elements by the television standards of the time.

Jim and Artie are investigating the disappearance of a professor when they stumble across a revenge plot between two doctors. Oe had his fiancee stolen years ago, so he plans to turn the other’s daughter into a mind-controlled slave so he can marry her instead. He is using slave labor to mine some element from beneath is house in order to turn people into these zombies. The voodoo rituals are designed to scare everyone away from the operation.

Our heroes stop the plan and rescue the girl before her nuptials in a duty, cobweb filled wedding party that has been sitting there since the original planned wedding some twenty years prior. There is a particularly disturbing touch to that element which sticks out most in my mind about the episode. I am also bemused by the mention by Jim that the doctor is planning to use his mined element to turn people into robots. I am quite certain there was no concept of robots in the 1870’s. a small gripe, but a ripe nonetheless.

“The Night of the Undead’ is just an average episode. The show has done horror elements etter in the past and will do so better in the future there aresome neat elements to the story, but not enough to make this one a classic.

Rating: ** (out of 5)