Tag Archives: Internet Movie Database

Movie Wisdom – Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez Edition

14 Jan

Last week, my wife and I saw The Mule, the latest movie starring and directed by Clint Eastwood. It kind of plodded along, but we cannot expect too much action from Clint these days. At some point in the movie, I noticed an actor that I recognized. However, I could not figure out why. That is when I went to the trusty Internet Movie Database to do some research.

The actor was Clifton Collins, Jr., and I knew him from Westworld, the HBO series based on the 1970s movie. When I started reading about him, I ran into an interesting fact. Clifton Collins, Jr. is the grandson of Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, the character actor who played in several John Wayne movies. He is great as Carlos in Rio Bravo.

Gonzalez Gonzalez was “discovered” by Groucho Marx on You Bet Your Life. I put quotations around discovered because he had been a performer with his family since childhood.

To honor Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, here is some wisdom that can be found from his movies.

From Rio Bravo

Man gets shot that’s got a gun, there’s room for reasonable doubt. Man gets shot that hasn’t got a gun, what would you call it?

From Hellfighters

There’s no mystery. There just seems to be.

From The Love Bug

Everything explains itself one way or the other.

Money serves to ease the pain.

From The Love God?

When will the government stop interfering with private business?

If you love your country, you’ll publish a filthy magazine.

The public wants sex, sex and more sex!

From Chisum

No matter where people go, sooner or later there’s the law. And sooner or later they find God’s already been there.

From Support Your Local Gunfighter

Everybody winds up dead sooner or later.

A man’s gotta’ be numb on both ends to earn his livin’ sittin’ on a horse.

You can’t gunfight a man sitting on your ass!

There are some things a man just can’t ride around.

We share the same ancestors as far back as Adam and Eve.

A man should spread happiness as he walks through life.

Love don’t work unless both people give.

 

 

 

Movie Wisdom- Wendell Mayes Edition

29 May

The other day, I got a call from Ken Beck, a friend and journalist who writes a lot of articles about local history. He asked if I have ever heard of a former Cumberland University student named Wendell Mayes. When I said that I did not know the name, Ken began to explain.

While doing research on something else, he came across Wendell Mayes and learned that he was a Hollywood screenwriter who worked on screenplays for such movies as The Spirit of St. Louis, Anatomy of a Murder, North to Alaska, The Poseidon Adventure and Death Wish. Ken wanted to write a story about Mayes but discovered that he had no children to interview. He found a great article about Mayes. However, one great article does not turn into another great article. In short, I was sent on a mission to find out about his time at our university.

After spending time not finding much at the Alumni House, I asked one of our librarians. Here is a hint. If you need to find information then see a librarian. They know all of the tricks. One of their best tricks is finding someone who can find the answer. Within a few hours, Joshua, one of my former students, sent an email with information.

Wendell Mayes was born in Caruthersville, Missouri in 1914. This is important because most sources list him as being born five years later. He attended law school at Cumberland University in the 1933-1934 academic year. Joshua even found a copy of his student registration card.

Internet Movie Database list Mayes’ first writing credit in 1951. If anyone knows what happened in those 17 years please let me know.

In the meantime, I will honor Wendell Mayes’ legacy by listing some words of wisdom that came from his movies.

From The Spirit of St. Louis

Nothing too wrong with this dead reckoning navigation… except maybe the name.

From The Hanging Tree

If you open your eyes and look, you’ll see things for what they are.

Where the wind blows too hard, the trees gotta bend.

From Anatomy of a Murder

People aren’t just good or just bad. People are many things.

I never met a gin drinker yet that you could trust.

From In Harm’s Way

All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.

On the most exalted throne in the world, we are seated on nothing but our own arse.

Fish, or cut bait.

Indecision is a virus.

From Hotel

A sure way to empty a hotel fast: drop an elevator.

 

 

2-7-1 Contact

9 Feb

Over the weekend, I watched Contact, a movie that I have seen countless times. It is one of those films that I can watch over and over and never get tired of it. This could be for several reasons.

It is Science Fiction placed into the real world.

It portrays the conflict between science and religion.

It has a pre-Alright/Alright/Alright Matthew McConaughey playing the religious soul of the nation falling in love with Jodie Foster, the scientific mind of the nation.

It has one of the coolest Howard Hughes-type characters not named Howard Hughes.

It has a government cover-up.

The list could go on and on, but, in short, the movie has everything.

However, this post is not about any of that. It is about the closing scene.

Before the pictures fade to black and the credits roll, Jodie Foster is sitting on the rim of a canyon and contemplating all that has happened. As the camera scans, the radio antennas that picked up the transmission from space can be seen in the background.Jodie Foster Canyon

I always found the radio antennas fascinating and wanted to see them after my first viewing of the film. A few years ago, I got my wish and traveled to the Very Large Array, or VLA. It was cool to see the antennas stretch over the landscape. I took a bunch of pictures but could not find them. However, I did get a picture of the t-shirt that I bought.image-21

Oh yeah, one other thing was interesting. They bent over backwards to make sure we knew that SETI did not use the facility. I guess people go there thinking that Jodie Foster really got a message from space.

I write all of that to write this. There is not canyon at the VLA. When Jodie Foster sat at the rim of the canyon, she was somewhere else entirely, and I wanted to know where. With a short venture into the Internet Movie Database, I discovered that she was looking into Canyon de Chelly. As it turns out, I have also been there.West 2010 209

The VLA is in New Mexico.

Canyon de Chelly is in Arizona.

According to the GPS, they are 271 miles apart.

When people talk about Contact, they criticize her trip to the wormhole for being stupid. She traveled light years to run into her deceased dad. They are focusing on the wrong thing. The trip to Vega was amazing, but it was nowhere near as amazing as Jodie’s ability to be in two places at once.

Looking at the Future Through a Glass Filled with Jack Daniel’s

29 Aug

What happens when you mix cold medicine, Jack Daniel’s and a dystopian movie? Last night, I found out.

I have been under the weather for the past few days, which sucks because classes started over those same few days. Luckily, it was all about going over the syllabi. I am not a big medicine taker, but my wife convinced me that I needed something. I am certain she was right.

Reason #32 to get married = There is someone around to make you take drugs when you are sick.

She also thought that a little whiskey might help. Before you start thinking that she was trying to kill me by mixing medicine and whiskey, I need you to know that we have a happy home. Whiskey is an old remedy for colds and such. Grandmothers used to give it to kids. Of course, that is the old days. Today, that would be considered child abuse and somebody would call the government.

Reason #14 not to trust the government = They make you stop taking home remedies for sickness and make you buy health insurance.

I don’t know if whiskey cures a cold, but it certainly makes you think the cold is going away.

So, I was filled with cold medicine and drinking Jack Daniel’s when I got the urge to watch The Last Chase, a movie about a bleak future. Being a movie made in 1981, that bleak future was supposed to happen about ten years ago. It’s always weird to watch a movie depicting a future that is currently the past. That’s why movie makers and religious leaders who predict the end of the world should follow the same rule. When you envision a future of destruction, set the date a long way into the future.

Anyway, the movie stars Lee Majors, Burgess Meredith and Chris Makepeace.

It was supposed to be the transition of Majors from television star to movie star. That didn’t happen. Instead, he was making this movie while Ryan O’Neal was stealing Farrah Fawcett from him.Farrah Fawcett

At least, that is according to an interview with the director.

Burgess Meredith was not far from the success of Rocky, and I wonder why he signed up for this.

Chris Makepeace was the Jesse Eisenberg of the 1980s, playing the intelligent kid who did not fit in with everyone else.Chris Makepeace

He was in a couple of hits like Meatballs and My Bodyguard, and I began to wonder whatever happened to him. A quick Google search didn’t tell me much. According to the Internet Movie Database, he last appeared in something in 2001. There is a Chris Makepeace tribute page, but it is lacking, as well.

Now, back to the movie. Gas shortages and a plague sent the United States into a tailspin. In the future, the government has clamped down and declared no privately owned vehicles. Everyone is controlled by public transportation. Franklyn Hart is a former race car driver who longs for the old days. He rebuilds his car and plans to drive it across the country to California, which has gained its independence.

A young kid from a boarding school doesn’t fit in with his classmates and spends his time hacking government computers. He hitches a ride, and the two head out.

The government tries to stop them by getting a fighter pilot to chase them down and kill them. He wants to be a free as they do and sacrifices himself so they can make it to their destination.

I have watched the movie a bunch, but this was the first time I have seen it with drugs and alcohol in my system. This is what I picked up.

In the coming apocalypse, our cities will not be destroyed by bombs or rising sea levels. They will be overcome by matte paintings.

Taking drugs and drinking whiskey will make you feel numb.

In the future, Smokey the Bear is still fighting forest fires.

Speaking of smokey, it would be nice if cops of the future really drove black and white golf carts.

When our society breaks down and we abandon the heartland, the Native Americans will take their land back.

Only in the movies can the guy find a woman in the woods to hook up with.Alexandra

The kid learning how to drive in a race car is like taking a driving test at the Indy 500.

The government will stop trying to control Utah and Arizona. Apparently, they are too difficult to deal with.

The future will have sex clubs and promote group sex. The government much think that mass sex is the same a mass transportation.

Even in the future, the government will find a reason to massacre Native Americans.

In the future, a plane can be refurbished in a couple of hours.

For some reason, the look of boarding schools never change. Just ask the X-Men.

Coca-Cola still has a fizz after twenty years in the can.

Combining cold medicine and Jack Daniel’s is an enlightening experience.

Speaking of Jack Daniel’s, it is timeless and will continue to be produced in the future. Same label and everything.

Computer technology will regress to look and function like computers in the 1980s.

Colonel Steve Austin could have ran to California on one leg.

Lee Majors ages more gracefully in the movies than he does in real life.Lee Majors

By they way, he took his stage name from Johnny Majors, who played and coached football at the University of Tennessee.

Since it is football time, that is probably a good one to end on.

Movies that Time Forgot

3 Feb

Classic movies of the past are remembered and often honored. They continue to live on movie channels and Blu-Ray discs and are watched and analyzed by cinema scholars and ordinary fans. But, what about the movies that did not become classics – the ones that had a short run on the silver screen and a bit longer run on late night cable. These are not analyzed or held up as artistic achievements. They are the movies that time forgot. They exist only as memory fragments of those who saw them. Today, a stream of consciousness led me to such a movie.

This was test day in my classes, and I promise that teachers love test days. While the students are searching their brains for answers they hope will come, teachers can sit back and relax. For me, this means a day of surfing the internet. An activity such as this can get tedious after a while and can lead to some strange places. A stop by the Entertainment Weekly website led me on a journey that I never expected.

As I scanned the site for news about The Hunger Games movie, I noticed a snippet about Sherilyn Fenn, an 80s vixen that I was totally infatuated with, and her upcoming role on a television show that I never heard of. Wondering what she looks like these days, I googled her images and found that she has aged well. Then, I went to the Internet Movie Database to recount her career. There was Boxing Helena, a controversial movie if I remember correctly, and Two Moon Junction, an erotic thriller designed to show off Fenn’s assets. Interestingly, it was also the last film for Burl Ives and Herve “Da Plane, Da Plane” Villechaize. But, I didn’t stay with Two Moon Junction for long because I suddenly remembered my favorite Sherilyn Fenn movie, The Wraith.

Charlie Sheen used to be cool. Here's the proof.

In The Wraith, Charlie Sheen, Fenn’s boyfriend, was killed by a drag-racing gang. Apparently, he took tiger blood before his death because Sheen comes back as the Wraith, a drag-racing, ass-kicking ghost – perhaps the coolest ghost ever. He had a fast car and an awesome racing helmet. He kills the gang leader, Nick Cassavetes, in the end, and Sherilyn finally figures out who he really is. Then, Sheen drives off into the sunset. Too bad for him that his career has not had the same cool fade out. As I read about The Wraith, I began thinking about other car chase movies and remembered The Last Chase.

The Six Million Dollar Man meets Speed Racer

I watched The Last Chase almost every time it was on cable. This movie starred Lee Majors as an old race car driver living in a future USA that has faced some real issues. A plague had killed millions, and OPEC had cut off our oil supply. A totalitarian government ruled over a populace that traveled by bicycles and electric golf carts. Apparently, golfing was still a popular pastime. Majors, the government spokesman proclaiming the evils of cars, tired of this way of life a rebuilt a race car that he had hidden under the house. After picking up a stowaway in the form of Chris Makepeace, Majors heads on a cross-country trip to “free California”, which has broken away and started using gas-guzzling cars. This has always seemed ironic to me. A state full of environmentalists who do not want us to pump our own fuel ends up being the one that brings the fuel back. At any rate, the government unleashes Burgess Meredith, an old Vietnam War pilot, to chase the car in an antique fighter jet. How can a movie be better than that?

For some reason, this movie has always stuck with me, and certain spots stood out.

1. Chris Makepeace learned how to drive in a race  car. How cool is that?

2. Authorities used an old Coca-Cola delivery truck to block the roads. I wonder if it still had fizz.

3. Native Americans took back control of their land once the USA retreated to the cities. This was always my favorite part. With a lot of patience, they won in the end.

Anyway, I have always wanted to see this movie again, so I headed over to Amazon to see if it was available. Lo and behold, it has been released on DVD, and I bought it immediately. I suppose it wasn’t Blu-Ray worthy. So, my trip through the movies that time forgot led me to The Last Chase, which I eventually caught. I wonder if it will be as good as I remember.