Category Archives: high school

Glee Star Dead at 31

Over the weekend, “Glee” star Cory Monteith was found dead in Vancouver, he was 31. Recently released from rehab, drugs are suspected but unconfirmed.

Acting since he was a child, he rose quickly to stardom on Fox’s “Glee” a few years back playing Finn, high school footballer who joins the glee club. The musical comedy drama experienced great success in the first couple seasons, but then fell victim to what does in most high school shows – graduation. Trapped between following popular cast to college and introducing new characters, “Glee” has floundered. Finn recently returned to a bigger role as a co-teacher of the glee club.

The Canadian actor and singer had been in a relationship with “Glee” co-star Lea Michelle for a time before his death. He will be missed.

What’s Your Lunchbox?

I’m old, I grew up waaay back in the 1970s. Back then, in public school at least, everything you had was a status symbol. I’ve talked about SSP Racers before, but the real status symbol of those elementary days was The Lunchbox.

First it was all about the lunchbox you got, whether you picked it out yourself, or your parents got it for you, you were psyched for the first day of school, so you could show it off, and show everyone how cool you were. Or not.

I was a geek, I am a geek, I mean. I was never the cool kid, never. Round about first and second grade I was all into comics and also Peanuts. I loved Snoopy and Charlie Brown, and especially Linus. Why I never had a blanket or thumbsucking problem is beyond me. But the point is I had a Snoopy lunchbox.

My lunch box was a big goofy yellow dome metal lunch box that kind of had Snoopy sleeping on top as if it was his doghouse and said, “Go to school with Snoopy” and “Have lunch with Snoopy.” Again, me being a dopey kid, I had two of them, cuz I left one at the bus stop one morning. Dopey and forgetful.

At the time, and in hindsight, I really was very uncool. I still remember decades alter who had the really cool lunchboxes. “Land of the Giants” and “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Johnny Lightning” and “The Archies,” and the Beatles Yellow Submarine – those are the folks you wanted to sit next to at lunch, just to look at their lunchbox.

Throughout my elementary school days things changed as tin turned to plastic, the Archies turned to Josie and Pussycats, and “Land of the Giants” turned to “Six Million Dollar Man,” but the lunchbox continued to be a status symbol. It faded away as I entered junior high and high school obviously. Heck, those places had vending machines – what did we need with lunchboxes any more?

As with most nostalgia however, lunchboxes, especially the tin kind have made a comeback. We have a miniature Superfriends lunchbox as a Christmas tree ornament, and The Bride uses a Nightmare Before Christmas lunchbox for her stage make-up. So what’s your lunchbox?

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Devil Dog

Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell ~ I’m seeing this telemovie for the first time since 1978, but I have vivid memories of the first time this movie of the week was on television.

I remember not the night it first aired so much as the next day at school. In English we were doing a creative writing exercise, and had been doing it for a few weeks, and it was finally due that morning. One kid, who shall remain nameless, but he knows who he is, and anyone reading this who was in the class remembers who he is, handed in his story and its name was “Evil Dog: Hound from Hades.” I wonder what he had been doing the last few weeks, but I sure do know what he had been doing the night before! Man, would I love to read his ‘story’ now!

The original movie, plagiarism lawsuits aside, starred such television luminaries as Richard Crenna, Yvette Mimieux, Ken Kercheval, Lou Frizzell, and those two Witch Mountain kids Kim Richards and Ike Eisenmann. The flick was written by mediocre television writers Elinor and Steven Karpf and directed by Curtis Harrington, who actually used to be an interesting director. But it doesn’t show here, the writing obviously overshadows the directing, and the performances, which are worse than the usual movie of the week.

The story is a fairly simple one. The devil mates with a dog (don’t laugh, yet) and a Satanic cult sends the litter of subsequent puppies out into the suburbs to raise havoc. Our feature family receives a German shepherd named Lucky who likes to play mind games with the family, killing a maid and basically effs with everybody.

There’s so much telekinetic stuff going on here I would have thought the Witch Mountain kids would have caught on right away, but no go, they quickly becomes Lucky’s slaves, and total brats. Father Richard Crenna seems to be the only one hip to the dog’s evil and faces off with the devil dog that has taken over his family. Great z-movie fun, this would have been prime real estate for “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

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Twilight ~ I’ve never had the pleasure (or displeasure depending on your perspective) of reading Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” books so I really had no idea of what to expect here other than teen angst and sparkly vampires. That said, I have to say that Twilight is really not bad at all. I had actually expected a bad movie from all the trashing it’s received and the critics’ usual contempt for anything with a pop culture vibe. This was a good movie however, not a great one, but a good one.

Twilight does skew to a younger demographic and while I had heard it was cast with all “90210” type pretty people, I have to say I found no one in this flick particularly attractive or unattractive, but that may just be me. The vibe of the flick is definitely “Afterschool Special” meets Judy Blume with some vampire stuff and intriguing special effects thrown in, but again, that’s not to say it’s bad.

The plot is pretty typical teenage fare. New girl in a new school trying to fit in, only the weird kids aren’t Goths, punks or geeks – they’re vampires. But that’s beside the point, everyone’s just trying to get along. Twilight high school is a whole lot different from the Mean Girls or “Lord of the Flies” high schools the rest of us went to apparently. And when the plot does take a turn toward something meatier, the good news is that Twilight doesn’t disappoint. Much. It just goes by too quickly. Good thing there are sequels.

Quite a bit of it is a bit predictable, even transparent, like the set-up for werewolves in the sequel New Moon, but it kept my attention, kept me watching, and now I am interested in the books, and the movie sequels, both finished and impending. Great soundtrack and worth seeing.

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Dead Is Dead?

“Dead Is Dead.”

Anyone else remember this one? And no, before you say it, I’m not talking about the episode of “Lost” that also carries the title.

Actor Godfrey Cambridge produced this 21-minute anti-drug film in 1970. I saw it at least every year I was in senior high school. Among the things featured in this powerful no-holds-barred short are footage of addicts going cold turkey, the music of Bill Withers and Curtis Mayfield, and a female heroin addict vomiting as she falls down a flight of stairs.

It seemed to be the school’s answer to show the film rather than actually talk to us about drugs, a subject many of us at that age already knew more about than the teachers did.

Still, I’d love to see this film again. Anyone else remember it, or better yet know how to obtain a copy?

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Never Going Back to My Old School…

The eleventh season of the American “Big Brother” premiered tonight on CBS. The reality TV series focuses on a number of individuals living together in one house for an extended amount of time, isolated from the outside world, participating in competitions and voting each other out until only one remains to collect a huge cash prize.

I’ve been a fan since the first season. Notably the American edition is slightly different from the dozens of versions done in countries across the globe. You see, Americans are stupid and have shorter attention spans. That’s apparently why the show seems to attract such idiots – or at least that’s my theory. Basically, if I like a contestant, either America, or the rest of the idiot housemates, won’t – and they’ll get voted off. It’s such a sure thing, I should bet money.

There are some contestants introduced tonight that I genuinely liked – Ronnie the gamer, Lydia the girl with the ink, and especially Kevin the graphic designer. But they are immediately doomed when this season’s surprise premise is announced. We are always told to ‘expect the unexpected’ when it comes to the seasonly themes, and this season’s – well, it instantly put my initial faves in the bullseye.

The theme for “Big Brother 11” is high school, as the housemates are separated by clique – just like high school. The cliques are: the Athletes, the Popular, the Brains, and the Offbeat. For the last two, please feel free to substitute the words geek, dork, nerd, or whatever works for you – the kids that the first two groups would beat on, call names, shove in lockers and give wedgies to. Hell, even the first competition included, guess what, wedgies.

When it was said the theme was high school, guess which group said they would never go back to high school, and guess which group said they loooved high school, and guess which group had looks of utter horror on their faces? And gee, I wonder who’s going to win? I know I hated high school and I know I would never want to go back to high school, even for money and national television exposure.

Probably the biggest kick in the teeth is that the winners of the wedgie competition got an extra member to their clique who would become the Head of Household for the week. For beginners, the HoH is the one who chooses who gets voted out each week. That extra member (for the Athletes, because who else would be best at the art of wedgie?) was a cast member from last season – the king of idiots in my opinion, Jessie, whose muscles seem to have overwhelmed his small brain.

Hmmm… I wonder who’s going home this week? I should make my cash money bet now. it’ll be folks from the Brains or the Offbeat, and probably at least one of my favorites. Just like every other season of “Big Brother,” and even more just like high school. I wonder if the next competition will involve being stuffed in a locker or swirlies?