Friday, December 21, 2007


THE JUDY GARLAND CHRISTMAS SHOW (1963) is actually an special episode of Judy's short-lived CBS variety series. When a Christmas episode starts out with snow in Los Angeles you know you're in for a treat. When it's sponsored by Contac time-release capsules - you are in "huh?" TV heaven!

Well, things get off to a nice start as Judy sings her official holiday tune - "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" which she introduced in the film MEET ME IN ST LOUIS. As she sings she cuddles with her young son Joe, constantly touching him and even rubbing noses with him all the while poor big sister Lorna stands by attentively and must settle for a slight tap on the hand. Judy then welcomes the viewers to her "home" and tells them that tonight she's staying home with her family (i.e. - no booze and pills for Mama tonight!). She then confides in us that her eldest daughter, 17-year old Liza is out skating with her "beau".

Judy then leads the kids in a rousing rendition of "Consider Yourself at Home" from the musical OLIVER! as she takes the viewer on a tour of her living room set. This makes me wonder why CBS choose to air this series in black & white - since it was originally broadcast on Sunday nights - opposite NBC's BONANZA - which was brought to you in "living color". Go figure.

Next up is the first Contac commercial - which had a soundtrack that sounds similar to Bernard Herrmann's PSYCHO score. Speaking of psycho, after the commercial break Liza storms in the door, ignoring her little sister Lorna and pretending to not know that she's on Mama's TV show. So they finish up the OLIVER song and hoist little Joe up on the piano where he bravely struggles his way through another song from OLIVER as Judy proudly looks on. Lorna sits quitely and pretends that she is loved.

After Joe's solo number, Liza's "beau" - choreographer Tracy Everitt - arrives wearing a sweater borrowed from LOST IN SPACE and black pants that are tighter than Liza's Capezios. I surmise that Tracy is the first in a string of painfully sexy and marginally talented young men that will break Liza's heart over the years. Today, Mr. Everitt teaches dance classes in Hoboken, NJ. For real. Google him.

Liza convinces the family to watch as she and Tracy perform "Steam Heat" as a pitch for Judy's stage act. The Fosse-like dance steps overwhelm Judy who jokingly asks them how long it took them to learn their little routine. When Tracy delivers his "two and a half years" punchline, you can hear crickets in the studio. So Tracy and Liza take little Joe over to the Christmas tree so Judy can warble a tune from her animated film GAY PURR-EE. No one even wonders where Lorna is - I think she's in her room crying at this point.

Next up is another great Contac commercial featuring characters from THE WIZARD OF OZ in stop-motion animation, complaining of flu and cold symptoms. Amazing.

After the ad, handsome family friend and LOVE BOAT theme crooner Jack Jones shows up singing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" from MY FAIR LADY and another song called "Lollipops and Roses". He looks at Lorna as if to say "How did the neighbor's kid get in here? Don't you people have locks on your doors?" Afterwards, Lorna tries to get attention from Mr. Jones by convincing him to let her sit on his lap and sing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Didn't this happen in LOLITA too? Meanwhile, Liza seems slightly annoyed that Lorna is getting any airtime at all, but decides to let this one slide.

Next up is an ad from Judy's "alternate sponsor" Pall Mall cigarettes! First pills, now ciggies - what's next Jack Daniels? Oddly, the announcer pronounces the brand as "Pell Mell".
After the 'cancer sticks' ad, Liza sings a boring song as Tracy fiddles with a small package he has placed near his crotch. Huh?

After her solo number, Liza steals more camera time by getting under a blanket with Jack and Judy for a medley of snow songs - but they are rudely interrupted by a gang of Charleston-dancing Santas who crash the party - no doubt looking for pills and cigarettes! This is followed by an ad for Thrill dish soap - "it's like getting a new pair of hands in just 14 days!". Wow - what a tagline. There needs to be an episode of MAD MEN about that campaign!

After the dish soap commercial, the caroler's arrive - led by Judy's backstage nemesis Mel Torme (who I think she calls "Mort") - aka the Velvet Fog - aka the bastard who was hired to fix Judy's show. As scripted by Mel, Judy has to convince him to sing "The Christmas Song" (which he wrote) - and he invites her to sing along. Judy looks as if she's up to something. Mel begins to scat and Judy takes over the song - changing the lyrics right in front of the guy who wrote them! Judy rules.

The real lyrics:
"They know that Santa's on his way, 
He's loaded lots of toys
, And goodies on his sleigh
, And every mother's child is gonna spy,
To see if reindeer really know how to fly"

Judy's lyrics:
"They know that Santa's on his way
, He's loaded lots of GIFTS, 
And TOYS on his sleigh
, And every mother's child is gonna spy
,To see if RAINBOWS really know how to fly"

You can tell that Mel is seething inside and Judy's loving it. Mel later got revenge by writing a tell-all about Judy and the show after her death. Next up is another stop-motion commercial - this time for a free Betty Crocker and Gold Medal flour holiday cookbook! It's incredible!
After the ad, Judy's house is now full of freeloaders. Tracy brings out a bowl of eggnog and then they begin an endless medley of sacred carols. The self-important ham known as Mel Torme leads the choir. Then Lorna and Joe sing "Silent Night" - followed by an ad for Head and Shoulders! This ad features a woman well into her 30s worrying about having dandruff in her graduation photo. Honey, that's the least of your problems!
After the dandruff clears up, Judy boots everyone out of her house. Liza and Tracy dash off caroling - but the dancing Santas return to perform a crazy Rockettes-style dance with Judy. Damn - I wish this was in color!!!

So, then Judy shuts off all the lights - but Lorna and Joe come out calling "Mama..." to which she replies, as if annoyed - "WHAT???!!!". Well, it turns out she forgot to sing "Over the Rainbow". Which she then does - and it is a beautiful arrangement! Then Judy says goodnight for good and the camera pulls back to show it's still snowing in L.A.. All is well with the world, until CBS cancels her show...but that's another story. This show is a total 10 outta 10. Just for kicks, here's a recent pic of Judy's kids. Awww...Lorna.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


For our next Holiday-themed review - our very angry friend Danny brings us back to 1978 - when DONNY & MARIE were all the rage. Donny was all over magazine covers and Marie was on TV constantly. 29 years later - and some things haven't changed. WARNING: The opinions expressed in the following review are all DANNY'S...not DOUG'S, so any nasty emails I get will be forwarded directly to DANNY. It was really scary watching this crappy old TV special. (Editor's note: Actually it was really just an episode of their weekly ABC series). First of all, my friends and I got into the holiday spirit by trying to figure out which Osmond boy was deaf or possibly retarded.  It was REALLY hard to tell.  Most of us settled on Tom Osmond because his tongue did look a little over-sized, but I thought, "Maybe he's just a bad lip syncher..."  (Editor's note: No, actually the bad lip-syncher was Marie.)
Another scary thing was Jimmy Osmond.  We couldn't decide which lesbian he looked like most, I thought he was quite Rosie O'Donnell-ish, while some others said he looked more like Chastity Bono, but someone else nominated him "the retarded one"... I might tend to agree after seeing this pic...yeah -he's retarded alright.
Jimmy had a memorable solo moment when he sang "What If Jesus Came" ..."on __ ____" was added by some anonymous member of our viewing party... okay it was me! (Editor's note: DANNY not DOUG). Jimmy just walked in the snow singing.  Boring!! Until, at the end, Jesus actually came!... on __ ____! (For those of you saying I'm gonna burn in hell... I'll grab you a cappaccino on the way down!)

Then there was the usual Osmond crap, like the "men" trashing the kitchen singing a horrible medley about knowin' how to cook grub.  The worst of it came when they announced,  "...the Osmond wives will sing!"   Someone needed to explain to them there's a difference between "WILL" and "CAN". 
My favorite part was at the end of the wives' song, they throw pillows at their husbands. Well, some of the husbands have their small children in their lap and one of them wives beans the kids pretty good, possibly causing more brain damage in the Osmond clan.  I'm pretty sure we saw tears. By the end of the show we all agreed, Marie was a total c*nt. (Editor's note: Not sure what provoked this, but remember I told you that Danny was very angry!)

Well, Merry Christmas from Provo, Utah - home of retarded Osmonds, boy-child lesbians, kitchen-trashing menfolk and marginally talented wives. If I've offended anyone, I've done my job.

Editor's final note: Donny and Marie as Luke and Leia - awesome!

The HUH? Hall of Fame: FAYE DUNAWAY

The fabulous Faye Dunaway is an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winning actress. She has starred in such contemporary classics as BONNIE AND CLYDE, CHINATOWN and NETWORK. She has an incredible screen presence and is a true class act no matter what she is in. The camera always seems to love her - even if the films she's in are ones that make you say "Huh?".

Even before MOMMIE DEAREST, the notorious "movie that ruined her career" there was THE EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978) in which Faye played a fashion photographer named Laura Mars whose photos depict images of murder and death. Laura also experiences visions of the murders of her friends and coworkers, through the eyes of the killer. Teaming with a cop played by Tommy Lee Jones, she soon she realizes she will be the next victim! This film is stylish and a hoot to watch. Faye's performance stands out despite the cliched script (by John Carpenter!) and the extra cheesy theme song by Barbra Streisand (who the project was originally developed for).

During an interview in the early 1970s, the outspoken Miss Joan Crawford said that of the current crop of young actresses only Faye Dunaway had "what it takes" to be a true star. This was after Joan had just starred in a movie called TROG. Then came MOMMIE DEAREST (1981) - "I was too good at Crawford," Faye has been quoted as saying. I agree and that's what makes the film a absolute pleasure to watch. I feel that Faye's performance is more like she was possessed by Joan. Faye has also said that during the filming, she felt Joan's presence on the set. Too bad Joan's ghost didn't throw her weight around and force the production to be a more accurate portrayal of her life story, rather than, as John Waters has called it "a comedy about child abuse".

In her autobiography, on the topic of MOMMIE DEAREST, Dunaway stated that she wished the director had enough experience to see when actors needed to rein in their performances. Too bad Faye didn't know that Frank Perry had been directing acclaimed films like DAVID AND LISA, THE SWIMMER, LAST SUMMER and DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE since the early 1960s. Nice try, Faye.

More recently, during an interview on Bravo's INSIDE THE ACTOR'S STUDIO, Faye revealed that she and the make-up artist labored trying to get the "Crawford look". Faye had to train herself to hold her facial muscles just like Joan did. Faye says "It was chilling." Agreed.
The movie, as we all know, was savaged by film critics. Roger Ebert said "I can't imagine who would want to subject themselves to this movie." The critic for Variety said "Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all." In an widely-circulated 2006 voice mail message to the producer of a documentary of her life, Dunaway said she wanted to "really trim down everything to do with that MOMMIE DEAREST. I'm not going to talk about it; maybe one thing I'm going to say about it and that's all." And that's where the problem lies, I believe if Faye would only embrace it for what it is, I think people would appreciate her over-the-top performance even more - and they would respect the fact that Faye might even have a sense of humor about herself and the film. But no...not our Ms. Dunaway.

Soon after playing Crawford, Faye turned up on NBC in a four-hour 1981 TV movie called EVITA PERON produced by Gary Coleman's production company! This non-musical biography was made to cash in on the sudden popularity of the late first lady of Argentina. This was all due to the success of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical EVITA– which was eventually filmed starring some non-actress named Madonna in the lead role. Imagine if Faye had nabbed THAT role! The show did pretty well in the ratings and the NY Times had to say this about EVITA PERON: "From an impoverished little girl who was spat upon by an arrogant aristocracy to the international celebrity obsessed with power and personal revenge, Evita was extraordinary in her passion to succeed and to be remembered. If she didn't exist, she would have had to be invented by Joan Crawford." Hmmm...

In 1984, Faye, hoping to overcome the damage that MOMMIE DEAREST wrought upon her, she turned to SUPERGIRL. I can only guess she was banking on that the film would do for her what SUPERMAN did for Gene Hackman. Faye received top billing, playing the newly-created villain, Selena. Selena was no Lex Luthor. Despite her spirited performance, the movie bombed. Realizing that the franchise was now dead and the character outdated, DC Comics killed off Supergirl two years later. A coincidence? Perhaps.

Maybe the ghost of Joan Crawford was still lurking around Faye, because in 1986, Faye returned to TV for a prestigious production called, er... BEVERLY HILLS MADAM. This time, Faye was playing a very Joan-like woman who runs a high-class brothel catering to rich and famous clients in Beverly Hills, with hookers played by TV actresses like Donna Dixon and Robin Givens. Faye's character experiences a series of crises as one her girl ends up pregnant, and another dead. Not exactly CHINATOWN or even TROG for that matter.

In 1994, Faye was determined to comeback and take to the stage in the LA production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit stage musical adaptation of the film noir classic SUNSET BOULEVARD. Faye was all set to replace Glenn Close, but she proved unable to meet the vocal demands of the score and was let go, publicly humiliating the star. In her infamous 2006 voicemail tirade, Faye insisted that references to "the Lloyd Webber stupidity" be taken out of the documentary about her. She apparently wants to accentuate the positive, by eliminating ALL the negative. She has truly become Joan Crawford. I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see this documentary about her life!So these are some of the many reasons why Faye is now officially inducted into my "Huh?" Hall of Fame. Though I kinda suspect she would not show up for the induction ceremony, if there was one.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The HUH? Hall of Fame: LIZ TAYLOR

Well, you just gotta love Liz Taylor. She's a friggin' legend - living a glamourous public life and starring in some of cinema's greatest films like GIANT, CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?– not to mention cherished classics like LASSIE COME HOME, NATIONAL VELVET and FATHER OF THE BRIDE. Outside of film, Dame Elizabeth's devotion to ending the AIDS epidemic is truly inspiring and she really is a INTERnational treasure.

Then there's the other Ms. Taylor, the Liz that makes me say "Huh?". This is the Liz Taylor that's friends with Michael Jackson, markets crappy perfume...and the one that married Larry Fortensky. This is the Liz that starred (or appeared in) some of the worst films ever made. The Liz that played Pearl Slaghoople in THE FLINTSTONES movie. A casting choice so bizarre and inept, that 13 years later and it still makes me say "Huh?" I mean look at the evidence: I rest my case.

But the craziness did not start in Bedrock in 1994. Let's turn the clocks back a bit to 1960 and BUTTERFIELD 8. Liz actually won an Oscar for this film in which she plays a slutty, drunken " fashion model" (aka prostitute) who falls in love an alcoholic son of a working class family who has married into money. Liz made the film to get out of her contract with MGM, so she could jump over to 20th-Century Fox to star in the epic CLEOPATRA (more on this one later). Taylor's conditions for agreeing to make BUTTERFIELD 8 included shooting the film in New York, having control over costumes, hair and giving husband Eddie Fisher (freshly divorced from America's sweetheart Debbie Reynolds) a supporting role. She publicly campaigned against the film: "I hate the girl I play, " she told the press, "This is the most pornographic script I have ever read!" The public, titillated by Taylor and the provocative subject matter, made the film a hit. "I still say it stinks" recanted Liz. After finishing production on BUTTERFIELD 8, Taylor, and freed from MGM's clutches, shew flew to London to begin work on CLEOPATRA, the biggest budgeted film up till that time.

In 1963, Liz also became the highest paid movie star AND worked with future husband Richard Burton (who was cast as Mark Antony) for the first time. The press had a field day when Taylor and Burton began an torrid and scandalous affair during filming – both stars were married to other people at the time!!! The Vatican even accused her of "erotic vagrancy"!!! That's pretty damn cool The production itself was plagued by many problems, and director Joe Mankiewicz' original cut was six hours long. Fox demanded that two hours be cut, which they were, thankfully. When the film was released historians criticized it's inaccuracies, critics attacked the disjointed script and the over-the-top acting was laughed at universally, causing filmgoers to wonder how a film maker could get such great actors to act so badly.

After a string of better films in the mid-60s, Liz and Dick returned to Huh?-ville in 1968 with a little something we like to call BOOM! Freely adapted from Tennessee Williams' play "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore", BOOM! is the oddest, most pretentious "art film" ever made. It's almost indescribable. But if you EVER get the chance to see it - Run!!!

Liz spent much of the 1970s making mediocre films for theaters and TV, appearing on talks shows, Bob Hope specials and playing herself on HERE'S LUCY. In 1978, she showed up in - of all places - a musical! In A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Liz delivers a poorly dubbed rendition of "Send in the Clowns". Isn't it rich?

In 1981, during the peak of the daytime soap opera fad, Liz showed up for a short stint on GENERAL HOSPITAL, playing Helena Cassadine. The character has lived on, though Liz has never revisited the role. After THE FLINTSTONES debacle, Liz participated in an ill-concieved ABC TV-movie aimed at gay men who missed THE GOLDEN GIRLS. Entitled THESE OLD BROADS, this "event" gathered together for the first (and LAST!) time: Liz Taylor, Debbie Reynolds (Liz's longtime nemesis) , Shirley MacLaine (who had played Debbie in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE) and Joan Collins (who took over the role of Pearl Slaghoople in THE FLINTSTONES sequel). I can recall this being among the two of the most painful hours ever spent in front of the TV - rivaling the infamous MARY & RHODA reunion movie. To top it all off, poor Liz delivered all her scenes from a sickbed!!!

Well, in spite of it all - we still love her and are proud to have Dame Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor as our first inductee into the "Huh?" Hall of Fame! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The "Huh?" Hall of Fame

As other blogs announce their year-end lists - The Best of 2007, The Worst of 2007, The Same as Other People's Lists 2007, etc. - I've decided to end the year with "The "Huh?" Hall of Fame" dedicated to individuals (or perhaps groups) who have achieved fame and/or acclaim despite their continued involvement in films, TV shows and other entertainment enterprises that make me go "Huh?".

In no particular order I will unveil my choices over the next few weeks in between a steady flow of movie reviews. Check back soon (and often) for the ten lucky winners!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Time for another family-friendly holiday treat from Barry Mahon - the genius filmmaker who brought us THE WONDERFUL LAND OF OZ (previously reviewed by Danny). This time we have a wonderfully inept retelling of the storybook classic, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK from 1970.

The movie opens as we meet Jack and his poor white trash family: his mother who looks like a cross between Nannette Fabray and Jean Stapleton and dresses like an orange pilgrim and his greedy and trampy-looking sister Rosemary – who is complaining that no one will EVER want to marry her because she has no dowry. Mom reassures Rosemary that since she's pretty good at doing housework that eventually someone will want her. Thanks for the positive re-inforcement, Mom. Really, thanks.

Jack, meanwhile is a teenage gay-in-training, much like UGLY BETTY's nephew Justin - and he dresses in a plethora of snazzy outfits featuring wide brown stripes and suede with fringes. He's really working the "Peter Brady during puberty" look. The family is distraught cause Papa is dead and they've apparently squandered everything that he left them. Oh, not everything. There were some things that Jack's dad invented like a mechanical goose that can lay golden eggs, a talking golden harp and some other golden crap - but somehow someone stole these things, depriving Rosemary of her oft-mentioned dowry.

Mom then announces it's time to sell the family cow because it gives very little milk these days. So, rather than doing it herself, she enlists Jack to take the cow to town to sell it. Jack then sings a wretched song, looking as if he's as bored as I was.

In a town where the backdrop looks like it was painted by a junior high theater class, we meet Honest John - Used Cow Salesman. Honestly. For some reason Honest John (to be hereafter referred to as "HoJo") dresses like Little Lord Fauntleroy while all the townsfolk got their duds from the 1970 JC Penney catalog. Then HoJo "sings" some terrible song and gets Jack to accept a handful of "magic" beans instead of cash for the cow. HoJo then proceeds sells the cow to Cat Stevens for $30.

Meanwhile, back home, Rosemary is still complaining about NEVER getting married. Oh shut the FUCK up already! When Jack returns home he tells them about his great magic bean deal with HoJo and Mom and Rosemary basically call him a stupid asshole - which he is.

Next we see HoJo walking around some cave trying to decide where to hide his "Used Cow" sign. This goes on for about five minutes until Jack and his sister, obviously spelunking, come across the cave and his sign. Then they go home. Huh?

A cuckoo clock on fast-forward tells us that time has passed. Mom - still in her orange gown from yesterday - opens up the dining room shudders to reveal a bad oil-painting of a landscape! Rosemary then shows up in her same clothes from yesterday...eww. Mom's so pissed at Jack and the whole bean situation that she chucks them out the window- where they instantly sprout into a big vine made up of fake ivy from Joann's Fabrics. Jack of course decides to climb it while singing another dreadful song - not even noticing the painting of a castle behind him. Then he turns, sees it and decides to head towards it - in a manner that could be described as "a spastic shuffle". Was it a long distance to travel or was the cloud-cover ground all sticky? We'll never know. He repeats this odd way of "walking" several times throughout the movie. Making me scream "Huh?"!

Meanwhile, Mom beats herself up for scolding Jack and letting him go up the beanstalk. Too late, Mom.

So Jack makes his way to the castle, opens the door and sees a kindly woman cleaning up. Then we see the "giant" - who's really just a Silver Lake Bear - a chubby, hairy guy who shouts a lot to get attention. The giant (to be hereafter referred to as "The Bear") sits in an oversized chair, and uses oversize utensils - making him seem rather small. Wait... shouldn't his hand props be SMALL to make him look BIG? Oh never mind. Another big "Huh?" Oh then he sings a horrendous version of "Fee Fi Fo Fum" for the first of three times.

So after he eats his meal, his "wife" brings The Bear his golden goose (a papier-mâché blob about the size of a chicken). It then lays him a golden egg! Jack decides this must be his father's invention and steals it as The Bear takes a nap. When Jack carries the goose it's suddenly a turkey-size papier-mâché blob, meaning that the giant isn't really that much bigger than Jack. Jack slowly climbs down the stalk in the first of several long uncomfortable shots that seem to linger on his very tight, form-fitting trousers. When The Bear awakes he announces that "if I find him - I'll crush his balls" - or at least that's what I heard.

The family welcomes Jack home and the goose lays a golden egg for them. Yippee! It's like winning Lotto...with a stolen ticket. Meanwhile, HoJo tells Rosemary he's starting a new business - selling Magic Beans. She tells him to get lost cause she's now engaged to be married. Huh? Then a couple who look like Joan Collins and Sonny Bono refuse to buy HoJo's beans. We then learn that HoJo gets his beans cheaply and upsells 'em! Boo! Hiss!

We next meet Rosemary's hunky boyfriend, who first tells her that her lack of a dowry doesn't matter - but it would help if she were rich because then they could buy an inn and run it together. So they send Jack back up to steal more gold shit from The Bear.

This time The Bear is eating fried "Creepy Crawlers". After his meal, his poor wife brings him his magic harp, which sings to him as he counts his gold. What the heck does he spend his gold on anyway? Are there any other people up in giant land? Where does his wife shop? Costco? Big Lots? Giant Depot?

Jack makes it back home with The Bear's gold in time for a party - Mom's gone all Martha - serving finger sandwiches, punch and a Red Velvet wedding cake. Everyone is dressed in fancy pajamas and nightgowns, as all the townsfolk dance to accordian music. It's like THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW meets the birthday party scene from PINK FLAMINGOS. Meanwhile, The Bear is rigging a trap for Jack, in case he ever comes back to steal something else!

Time passes and Rosemary and her husband (?) are discussing whether or not to serve liquor at their bar. Huh? Meanwhile, HoJo continues to piss off the townsfolk - so they decide to have a meeting about getting rid of him. It's about time, people. More time passes, and we learn that the Inn isn't doing well because there's no "live entertainment". So Rosemary and this other girl get a plastic cup and fill it with - oh wait. Wrong video.

So, finally Jack decides to grab the damn singing harp to help out his miserable thankless bitch of a sister once more. Then HoJo gives a boring soliloquy about something and that's the last we see of him. Jack manages to grab the harp, but The Bear wakes up and starts climbing down the vine...oh no!!! Will the townfolks meet The Bear face-to-face?

No way - cause Jack runs out, chops the vine down and The Bear falls to his death. Then the entire cast crawls out of the woodwork for a song about "happy endings"...and Jack mentions that he fells bad for the wife because she happened to "hook up with the wrong guy". Huh?

Wow - did I mention this was only 63 minutes long? Worth watching if only to see how misguided an attempt at modernizing a classic fairy tale with no budget, painfully bad songs and first-time non-actors could turn out. It's THAT bad. 5 out of 10 "Huhs?"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Today we bend the rules a bit here as my friend Danny reviews one of the worst (or best) Christmas specials ever - HE-MAN & SHE-RA: A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - Originally broadcast in syndication in 1985. Presenting for your holiday pleasure Danny's review...Funny thing is, when I watched HE-MAN & SHE-RA: A CHRISTMAS SPECIAL with a group of drunken, rowdy friends, we suddenly became peaceful and quieter than usual - and I didn't fast forward through this one at all!  It is a Christmas miracle!!!

The story goes something like this: "Orgazmo" went into a cockpit and accidentally launched He-Man's rocket into space. I think. So somehow, Orgazmo in the rocket ends up on the planet Earth. Once on our planet, he runs into two earth children who are about to get crushed in an avalanche, so he uses a spell to rescue them.  These two kids are named Miguel and Alicia. Two Latino children. At least, I suppose they're Latino, based on their names.  Let's see what their parents look like...(Click on photos to enlarge)How the hell did those two end up with those two kids??? Adoption? One thing I'll say for them, at least they kept their natural hair color.  Everyone else in this "movie" dyes their hair!  You can tell 'cause no one dyes their brows.  Anyway, He-Man's friend, "Sidekick Man", brings back Orgazmo and the two wetback kids. (I can say that - cause I'm Mexican!) But they get captured by Skeletor, who I thought was supposed to be a bad ass, but he turns all gay when a puppy licks his face - yeah, GAY! I can say that -cause I'm gay! 

Anyway, He-Man tries to save the kids, but then he's distracted by some sort of sex toy fair and spends some time trying out the equipment he's considering buying. Unfortunately, it's not strong enough to hold him, so he moves on. 

Meanwhile She-Ra (whom I had NO IDEA was He-Man's sister) spends a lot of time fighting a "Beast Monster", very imaginatively named, no?  So Then He-Man and She-Ra team up and save the day! They're really brother and sister?  But he's so much more tan and his hair is orangey-er... But they DO have the same brows. (Click on photos to enlarge)

Anyway, then every one in He-Man/Sha-Ra "world" gets together and celebrates Christmas  which we learn is about presents!!!...and something else too, but mostly PRESENTS!!!My favorites are the two gay guys on the left looking like they'ere just coming home from the Folsom Street Fair 2025.  I wonder what's in their Christmas packages...?

But, I wonder, do the people in the He Man Universe even have any concept who the baby Jesus is or anything of the sort?  Does it really matter? No!! Anyway, the "film" ends with the moral of the story, brought to us by Orgazmo and He Man's alter ego, Adam... "Your brows don't HAVE to match your hair. Am I gay, or what?"

Doug adds - this is beyond the "Huh?" scale - only watch it if you are stoned or Mexican or Gay or like TV shows based on crappy toys from the 1980s. Enjoy!


Maybe it's because I attended 13 years of Catholic school (that includes kindergarten), and got to know so many nuns on a personal level, but I've always been fascinated by movies about "brides of christ". And what better time than Christmastime to watch one of these habit-forming films?

THE SOUND OF MUSIC, AGNES OF GOD, NASTY HABITS, CHANGE OF HABIT, THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS...just to name a few - are always required viewing in my house. As a child, THE FLYING NUN was one of my favorite shows, and I can recall asking several of my nun teachers if they could secretly fly. None of them could - but some could really SING!

Now, the true story of THE SINGING NUN is something that would make a fascinating film. The real Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile), who wrote and sang the worldwide hit song "Dominique" lived a very much different life than what Hollywood would have led us to believe.

Born Jeanne Deckers in Belgium in 1933, she joined a Dominican convent, taking the name Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She became popular among the other nuns for her beautiful songs and was encouraged by to record an album in 1963. The song "Dominique," (about an evangelist and saint who figured prominently in Belgian history) made her an international celebrity, and she adopted the stage name of Soeur Sourire . She performed in concerts and even appeared on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW in 1964. Imagine if a nun appeared on AMERICAN IDOL today!"Dominique" sold more than 1.5 million copies, and following the success of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, a movie about her starring Debbie Reynolds, was made. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't cover the later years of her life. Around the same time as the film's release, Jeanne stopped performing, Soon after, in 1967 she left the convent and recorded her second album, titled "I Am Not a Star in Heaven". Though she was deeply religious, she grew increasingly vocal and critical of the conservatism of the Roman Catholic Church and she became an advocate of birth control (and reportedly gay rights as well). She even recorded a song entitled "Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill ." Wow.

She later opened a school for autistic children in Belgium with a "friend", Annie Pescher. By the early 1980s the Belgian government began claiming that she owed back taxes almost $50,000. Desperate to raise money, she released an updated dance music version of 'Dominique' in 1983 (need to find it on iTunes) but it failed to set the charts on fire. In 1985, she and Pescher committed suicide together by overdosing on barbiturates and alcohol, and were buried together in consecrated ground. There is a recent Italian film called SUOR SORRISO which delves into these details. I look forward to seeing it one day.Meanwhile, getting back to the movie at hand - I'd been curious about the film for years - I mean a "true story" about nuns starring Jewish-convert Debbie Reynolds her "best friend" Agnes Moorehead and everyone's favorite sexy 1970s MD - Chad Everett!!! Plus pre-FANTASY ISLAND and WRATH OF KHAN Ricardo Montalban and a cameo by Ed Sullivan himself! How could things go wrong?

Directed by war movie veteran Henry Koster , things do go terribly wrong. Well, Debbie does as well as she can as the unsinkable Sister Ann, the spunky nun who who can sing like an angel, but has a lot to learn about doing good things and butting in where she doesn't belong. She is always riding around on her motor scooter with her guitar ("Sister Adelle"), playing soccer with the boys and trying to stop peasant girls from becoming strippers - what a scamp! Moorehead is effectively bitchy as "Mother Endora" - a senior nun, who is not amused by Sister Ann's frolics.Sister Ann's real dream is to move to the African Congo to work with children, but in the meantime she befriends a lonely local little boy, Dominic, whose mother has died and whose father is an alcoholic. I think his sister (Katherine Ross) is kinda whore-ish too. Sister Ann doesn't care about the saint like the real Sister Smile, so decides to write a song about the little boy instead. Go figure.

The song goes something like this:
"Dominique, nique, nique

I will tell of Dominique

His goodness to acclaim

And I pray the song I sing

Will some simple pleasure bring

That the world shall know his name!"

I think something got lost in the translation.

When Father Clementi (Montalban) hears Sister Ann's song, he see dollar signs and enters her in a talent contest. Before you know it, old friend Everett, apparently channeling Clark Gable, shows up and signs her to a record deal and the whole world is soon listening to her silly light-hearted songs!

The album has become a sensation, and "The Singing Nun" is soon making appearances at parties and engagements, even appearing on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW on CBS! Ironically, while preparing for the show, the nuns explain that they're forbidden to wear makeup-even though the actresses portraying them are clearly wearing lipstick and false eyelashes! Huh?

Everything seems wonderful and magical, only Sister Ann is unprepared for her new found fame-and her attraction to Everett! This is just like Sister Bertrille and Carlos - I mean what was the deal with those two?

And what of the tragedy that soon befalls Dominic and his slutty sister? Does a poor Catholic girl really need to resort to stripping to pay the rent on her cockroach infested shack?

So, if you are curious to see how sugary and fictional a Hollywood biopic can get - see THE SINGING NUN. I'll give it 6 out 10 "Huhs?" because just the thought of bawdy Debbie Reynolds (Miss Burbank 1939) and rumored lesbian Agnes Moorehead as nuns is comedy enough for me! For the record, Reynolds explicitly denied to film historian Robert Osborne that Moorehead was gay, describing her as "terribly religious." That's not what Paul Lynde had to say about her! Hmmm...