Moviedrome Mondays: Big Wednesday (1978)

UPDATED on 10/25/2020: Frequent visitor Steve (check out his youtube channel here) just uploaded a video on youtube of Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Big Wednesday. I shall post it below on here.

UPDATED on 12/15/2020: Frequent visitor Steve (check out his youtube channel here) just re-uploaded a different version of the youtube video of Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Big Wednesday. I will post it below on here.

Once again, I could not find a video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing the film, so once again, I will have to link to Moviedromer’s entry of it alone (read here). The episode’s original airdate was June 5, 1988. Cox’s analysis of John Milius 1978 coming-of-age drama about California surfers is very interesting. Though Cox agrees with the critics that Big Wednesday is “grandiose” and “pretentious” (read here), he also feels that those same words can easily apply to a lot of other good/great films – Cox cites Citizen Kane (a reported favorite of his) as one example. Milius has reportedly cited Big Wednesday as a very personal film himself. In closing, what else can be said about Milius that has not been said before. According to IMDB’s (Internet Movie Database) profile on him (read here), his films often reflect his conservative political beliefs (though he personally identifies as a “zen anarchist“) and likes to say outrageous things. On the side, John Goodman’s Walter Sobchak character in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski is reportedly loosely based on him (read here).

Here is a youtube video link to Alex Cox’s Moviedrome intro to Big Wednesday

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s Original theatrical trailer

Moviedrome Mondays: Razorback (1984)

I know I am a little late on this one, but I could not help it, I was busy celebrating Easter yesterday 🙂 I agree with a lot of the things that Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox says about this 1984 Australian monster flick (read here). Contrary to Cox though, I am a huge fan of the “rock video school of film-making” (in his own words) that he details in that link above. The plot of this horror film revolves around the hunt for a vicious boar in Australia. What makes it fascinating lies not so much in the premise as it does in how it is executed. In this case, it is told through it’s use of fast cuts, tracking shots and use of glowing lights, “neo-noir” lighting, windblown drapery, and fans. All of these are trademarks of Australian director Russell Mulcahy according to wikipedia’s entry on him (read here). Though more well-known for directing music videos for singers like Elton John or bands like Duran Duran to name just two examples of each, Mulcahy would go on to direct the 1986 cult classic Highlander (he would also direct Highlander II: The Quickening five years later in 1991). If I were to single out two highlights of Razorback, it would be Dean Semler’s dreamy cinematography and (as Cox mentions in the link above) a surrealistic dream sequence somewhere during the middle of the film.

Since I could not find a video link to Alex Cox’s introduction, here is a link to the transcript of the Moviedrome episode that originally premiered on May 29, 1988.

Here is a youtube link to two trailers below. This one may be for the Australian market:

 

This youtube link is one for the American market:

Moviedrome Mondays: Diva (1981)

Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox did not seem to be a fan of this dazzling 1981 French cult thriller entitled Diva. The film was directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix and while he has directed other movies after this one (Moon in the Gutter and Betty Blue to name just two examples), Diva still remains (at least for me) his best work. The film’s visual style is rooted in a 1980’s French film movement labeled Cinema du look. According to French-born, but British-based academic/critic Ginette Vincendeau (a Professor of Film Studies at King’s College London), Cinema du look films were driven by their “high investment in non-naturalistic, self-conscious aesthetics, notably intense colours and lighting effects. Their spectacular (studio based) and technically brilliant mise-en-scène is usually put to the service of romantic plots.” Aside from Beineix, fellow French filmmakers Luc Besson and Leos Carax also contributed greatly to this movement. According to French film critic and journalist Raphael Bassan, Beineix, Besson and Carax serve as the main directors of the movement (read here). With the exception of Carax, Beineix and Besson have found themselves frequently criticized for displaying this style in their films (read here). Either that, or maybe it is the way they display it? Even If I disagree with Cox here, I do love the way he talks about it in the link below.

First, here is a link to the Diva Moviedrome episode transcript. The episode’s original airdate was May 22, 1988.

Second, here is a youtube link below of Alex Cox’s introduction to Diva.

 

And finally, here is a link to the original theatrical trailer below (or at least the closest I can come to finding an original theatrical trailer for it).

 

Moviedrome Mondays: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

Sadly, I do not have a link to Alex Cox introducing 1973’s Electra Glide in Blue on Moviedrome because their is no video of him introducing that one as of today. He did introduce the film on there, but I can not find a link of him presenting it. The original airdate of this episode was May 15, 1988. What I can offer you dear readers though is a link to the transcript of Alex Cox’s introduction to it and here is the link to that entry.

As for my personal thoughts on Electra Glide in Blue, I feel that it is a good film. Alex Cox has  suggested that it is a cop’s corrective to Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider from 4 years earlier. The director was American music producer James William Guerico, who has worked with 1960’s bands specializing in either rock (Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears) or Sunshine pop (The Buckinghams). As of 2019, Electra Glide in Blue serves as the only film directed by the 73-year-old Guerico. Prior to being charged in the 2001 unsolved murder of his second wife Bonnie Lee Bakley (read here and here), it’s star Robert Blake was best known for acting in films like 1967’s In Cold Blood (as real-life murderer Perry Edward Smith) and television shows like Baretta. Anyway, here is a youtube link to the trailer below and check out those other links my dear readers 🙂

Moviedrome Mondays: The Wicker Man (1973)

Alongside my other blog entry series (Ken Russell at the BBC), I would like to treat my readers to another one of mine, that I will entitle Moviedrome Mondays. Produced by the BBC, yet transmitted by BBC Two, Moviedrome was a British television series dedicated towards the showing of cult cinema. Some of them were well-known titles (i.e. The Terminator amongst others); others were more obscure (Razorback is just one example). Now, one question you readers might ask is why is an American doing something like this instead of a Brit? and why is an American so well versed in a British series that is not available on DVD in the States, let alone the UK? I can easily answer that question with one word: youtube. Not surprising I know, but that is how I came across it. This is where I first discovered Moviedrome, while typing the words “Alex Cox” in the search engine and “Moviedrome” was one of the words that popped up and I watched it. This was back in 2010. Each Monday, I will give a link to an episode of the series (1988-1994/1997-2000). The former years were introduced by cult filmmaker Alex Cox and the latter ones were presented by Mark Cousins – an Irish filmmaker/critic currently based in Edinburgh (read here). I may skip a few episodes on here due to youtube’s absence of the link to that episode. Nevertheless, I will link you to as many uploads as I can find. First things first though. I would love to dedicate this blog entry to my regular UK readers, which include Paul S. (Pfeiffer Pfilms and Meg Movies), Peter Johnson (beetleypete), Wolfie (Wolfmans Cult Film Club), Carlosnightman (The Spac Hole) and (in some ways) both dbmoviesblog, Madeleine (Maddy Loves Her Classic Films), Paul from The Cinema Fix and Thom Hickey from The Immortal Jukebox. Speaking of Wolfie, he wrote an even better synopsis on the history of Moviedrome back in 2017, that can be read here. If I forgot any other regular UK visitor to this site, Please let me know and I will add your name in this blog entry 🙂 Now without further ado, here is (reportedly) the premiere episode of the first season of Moviedrome. The film Alex Cox introduces here is Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man from 1973. The original airdate for this Moviedrome episode was May 8, 1988 (read here). Now without further ado, here is a youtube link of Alex Cox discussing it below. Watch it If you are interested 🙂

 

04/02/2019 Update: In case anyone is interested, here is a link to the website moviedromer.tumblr.com, which has more information about the program. Also, here is a link to the transcript of The Wicker Man episode.

Also, here is a link to The Wicker Man trailer below: