Category Archives: jerry lewis
Wild Hogs ~ Sometimes it’s surprising what you’ll watch when there’s nothing else to watch or you have nothing better to do. I had the unfortunate circumstance of having already seen most of what was available to view in the theater and OnDemand while on our recent Disney Cruise. And that’s what brought me to Wild Hogs.
This movie, from start to finish, is like a cry for help, no, not help, a serious cry of desperation. Four actors, ahem, I mean, men, having their mid-life crises and turning to their motorcycle hobby for comfort and excitement. Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy star in this badly written, painfully performed, ultimately unsatisfying flick.
Its script and premise might’ve worked for a sixties Jack Lemmon or Jerry Lewis farce, but audiences and acting is more sophisticated now. I really had to wonder who this movie was for. Ten year-olds? I know ten year-olds this might be too simple for, even some of the gags don’t make sense.
Well, hopefully those who phoned it in (I’m looking at you, William and Martin, you should be ashamed of yourselves) got paid well enough to pay their rent, and Tim and John had time to trade hairpiece care secrets. It’s almost as if they are acting at each other the lack of chemistry is so bad. Ray Liotta and Marisa Tomei are similarly wasted here.
If you’re ever itching to forget that Macy and Travolta have been nominated for Oscars, this is the flick for you. Wow, what a bad movie.
Ed MacMahon was best known to generations as Johnny Carson’s announcer and sidekick on “The Tonight Show.” For over thirty years his trademark intro of “Here’s Johnny!” was a signal that the show was about to begin, and greatness would follow. In a era of numerous talk shows, and before they became promotional tools and spotlights for trailer trash, “The Tonight Show” was the best. That might be Ed’s claim to fame, but that’s not all he did.
He was also the face of American Family Publishers sweepstakes, a frequent partner of Dick Clark’s on many TV projects and the co-host of Jerry Lewis’ annual telethon. Ed hosted “Star Search,” a series that launched the careers of Britney Spears and Arsenio Hall among others.
MacMahon also did quite a bit of acting over the years. Of specific interest to me was 1967’s The Incident, one of my favorite films. It’s a small part in an ensemble film, but Ed is excellent.
We’ve lost a legend, and he’ll be missed. Rest in peace, Ed.
I discovered something a couple months back. At our local National Amusements theater, Showplace at the Ritz in Voorhees NJ, they have a weekly feature called “Silver Screen Classics” where every Monday they show a classic film from yesteryear for only two bucks, including popcorn and a soda. What a bargain!
Some of the films shown that I’ve seen so far:
The Time of Your Life ~ A quirky little flick that was a labor of love for James Cagney and his wife Jeanne. Based on a William Saroyan play and shakily brought to the screen, it’s more of a series of character studies set in a bar rather than an actual story, and yet it’s quite entertaining. William Bendix shines as Nick the bartender, Tom Powers plays the heavy and crazy old James Barton steals the show as Kit Carson. Enjoyable.
Busy Bodies ~ Classic Laurel and Hardy, this time as sawmill workers. Offered as a pre-show to the above flick, this was a wonderful reminder of the comedic genius of the team. Great gags and stunts sure to entertain children and adults of all ages.
At War with the Army ~ This first Martin and Lewis film was a bit of a disappointment. First the print wasn’t so hot, but also because it just wasn’t that funny – to me at least. The audience was roaring. I just never found Jerry Lewis to be all that funny with Dean, he was annoying if anything, and here he does his finest annoying. Dean is good here and the bits of him, without Jerry, being funny were good I thought.
Wine, Women and Bong ~ Shown before the above movie, this was a pleasant surprise. And it should be noted that the pre-shows for the Silver Screen Classics are sometimes the best part. Directed by Three Stooges veteran Jules White this short featured the short-lived comedy team of Max Baer and Max ‘Slapsie Maxie’ Rosenbloom. What was interesting was that they were both ex-boxers, but it was only Rosenbloom who acted punch drunk most of the time. Rosenbloom actually sounded much like Michael Rispoli in Death to Smoochy. They were no Three Stooges and some of the gags were a bit predictable, but I laughed harder at this than at Martin and Lewis. Great stuff.
Beat the Devil ~ An all-star cast and great folks behind the camera, this flick never lives up to what it could have been. I can easily see this remade as a suspenseful caper, but here it never gets up to a lukewarm drama. Directed by John Huston and written by Truman Capote and starring Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Robert Morley and Gina Lollobrigida, there is much promise, but as I said, no impact, in this flick about conmen out for oil-rich property in Africa. A big part of the problem is Jennifer Jones, acting as an amateur here, and also that Bogart was sick at the time and not up to his usual antics. The pacing is also deadly dull. This could be good, as I said, it’s just begging for a remake.
Call It Murder ~ Originally released as Midnight (actually a much more logical title), this was pushed as a Humphrey Bogart film even though he’s only peripherally in it. Obviously it was repackaged after Bogie made it big in gangster films. Still, it’s a nice little stage drama. It borders on preachy in a few places when talking about the death penalty but for the most part delivers the goods.
Second Chorus ~ Never been a Fred Astaire fan but this was a surprise. The biggest surprise was Burgess Meredith out of “Twilight Zone” and “Batman” mode. The man has quite a range – here he’s Astaire’s best friend and rival for the girl and a job with Artie Shaw’s orchestra. He might lose that contest but he certainly steals the film from Fred Astaire and his dancing feet.
For the latest schedule of upcoming films, please check out the Silver Screen Classics website.