Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Movie: Maryjane (1968)

Let me get this straight. There’s a 1960s take on REEFER MADNESS co-written by HOLLYWOOD SQUARES host Peter Marshall and Dick Gautier, who played Hymie the CONTROL robot on GET SMART? And the role of the hip art teacher who knows how to rap with the kids is played by then-has-been rocker Fabian, filming on days when he could borrow Bill Bixby’s hair from THE COURTSHIP OF EDDIE’S FATHER? And the cinematography demonstrates a pothead’s understanding of the technical term ‘day for night’? And Garry Marshall is in it? Why isn’t this thing a cult classic?

Because it sucks, that’s why. Jack Webb could tell the same story on DRAGNET in a quarter of the time and not lose any of the laughs.

TV: AFI Tribute to Meryl Streep

Whoever receives this award should be informed in enough time to set up a movie with Jim Carrey so he can appear on the show. It never hurts to kick these fetes off with a little energy.

Meryl deserves the prize just for her amazing late career renaissance, beginning with ADAPTATION. She’s better now than in her early-‘80s heyday. The highest compliment I can pay her is that she has made me abandon my decision to blow off the remake of one of my favorite movies, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. Meryl steps into the Angela Lansbury role, and her scenes in the preview are utterly terrifying. She’s scarier than Doc Ock and an army of homicidal robots put together.

The look back at her career was depressing in one respect. By the time Meryl was 35, she had already appeared in THE DEER HUNTER, KRAMER VS. KRAMER, SOPHIE’S CHOICE, SILKWOOD, and had wrapped OUT OF AFRICA. An amazing run, if you leave aside the question of how well these award-winning movies have held up. (I’ve never seen a minute of KRAMER, and have failed on multiple occasions to make it through OUT OF AFRICA.) No contemporary actress of that age can boast of such a streak. Kate Winslet maybe comes closest. The making of Oscar-bait movies and the management of young careers has changed too much. If Meryl were starting out now, there would be a lot more theater in her future.

TV: AFI’s 100 Years ... 100 Songs

2. The phrase ‘Sponsored by Napster’ still sounds very, very wrong to me.
3. AFI is flogging a dead horse with these specials. At least this theme is more accessible than the last two, devoted to ‘thrills’ and ‘passions.’ What’s left? 100 Years ... 100 Wipes? Great Moments in Product Placement?