Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Movie: Howard the Duck (1986)

Most infamous movie bombs aren’t as bad as you’ve been led to believe, but this one is actually worse. I feel bad for Lea Thompson every time it comes on. She’s as cute as a button in her quasi-punk outfits, and she labors mightily to give the movie some fizz. But the damn thing just lays there, inert.

I interviewed Clive Barker for the Boston University newspaper when HELLRAISER was released, and he said that even though he knew HOWARD was a terrible movie, he couldn’t bring himself to hate it because it has a really good monster. And he’s right. It’s part jumbo shrimp/part scorpion, several dozen feet tall with an enormous mouth. And tentacles. It’s not Ray Harryhausen good, but it is impressive. Best of all, it only appears in the last ten minutes, so you don’t have to sit through the whole turgid mess to get a glimpse of him.

By the way, the Barker story is the extent of my name-dropping. I don’t come off well in my other encounters with the great and near-great. I spilled coffee on myself while interviewing Terry Gilliam, and Oliver Stone once pointed at me across his office lobby and asked, “Who the hell is that?” See what I mean?

TV: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

Yet another sign of the apocalypse: last night’s straight guy was introduced to a stylist who is “the only person on the planet to incorporate feng shui into hair.” His approach? “I bend the hair and it tells me how short it should be.” Needless to say, the grooming guru had to be imported from California. I’m trying to start a rumor that he’s responsible for Vin Diesel’s look.

Magazine: The New Yorker, June 14/21 issue

I’m not sure if this counts as a new word or a repurposed one, but either way I like it. TV critic Nancy Franklin, in her positive review of the WB’s SUMMERLAND, calls it the latest melodrama from Aaron Spelling’s “schlitz brewery (that’s schlock + glitz).”