The Concession Stand

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movie Cliches: You Give Me Fever

"You Give Me Fever."

Do you have a woman in your script who has (ahem) loose morals? Want to know the quickest way to let your audience know that she is supposed to be the town tramp? Other than dressing her like a teenage talk show guest, (Next on The Maury Povich Show: "Maury, help me with my wild teen!") there's another surefire way to drill this fact into your audience's head- get her in a red dress and have her sing or dance to the song "Fever".

I'm sure you've seen this on too many movies and TV shows to count. (Married... With Children had Kelly Bundy do this in its third season, but I think we already knew by then that Al's Little Girl was "Open for Business".) Either we see the spectacle happen early on in the film or show to establish that this woman is a "friendly girl" or else it is used to symbolize a change in a bookish woman's demeanor. After all, how many times have we seen straight-laced schoolmarms or librarians take off their glasses and rip off their conservative clothing to reveal a tight-fitting red dress, all done to the tune of "Fever"?

Many people have commented on how a quick way to make money in the music industry is to write a Christmas song that takes off, then sit back and watch the money roll in. I would imagine that an even better way to rake in the cash would be to write a new song that could be used by Hollywood as a replacement to "Fever." Until then, I would imagine that the people who own the rights to that song are happy that Hollywood movies and television shows are still full of sex crazed women- and written by lazy writers.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Totally Fake Classic Movie Anecdotes

"... Nobody was more careful about watching the budget on the Cleopatra set than Elizabeth Taylor who always took on the extra responsibility. 'The studio is already investing a ton of money, so I feel an obligation to help out by keeping my requests and those of others at a reasonable level.'  Ms. Taylor made sure to keep her special requests at a minimum and was always chastising cast members who didn't follow her lead..."

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Blind Kiyomi Sunday MST3K Quote

"Shut up and watch the deer get slaughtered! It's fun!"

-Tom Servo from the MST3K riffing of Circus on Ice

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blind Kiyomi Saturday Bad Movie Quote

"I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer."

-Claudette from The Room

Friday, December 27, 2013

Things You Don't Want To Hear Inside A Movie Theater


10. “What? You’re calling me with important news? No, tell me everything, I’m not 
doing anything important.”
9. “Okay, one large popcorn and a large Pepsi. That will be $64.50”
8. “Welcome to tonight’s showing of Whitney: The Movie!”
7. “As long as you prop your feet up on the seat in front of you, the rats won’t bite.”
6. “…..starring Barbra Streisand!”
5. “Welcome to tonight’s showing of After Earth!”
4. “Um, those aren’t Raisinettes….”
3. “Look, there’s Pee-wee Herman! Is he waving at us?”
2. “Welcome to tonight’s showing of Waterworld 2: Kevin’s Revenge!”
1. “…..directed by Barbra Streisand!”   

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Movie Cliches: The Hip-Hop Retirement Home

“Hip-Hop Retirement Home”

You’ve seen this shortcut many times. A grandmotherly woman (or grandfatherly man) is totally hip with what the kids find so popular these days. And they express their hipness for cheap laughs. How many times have you seen a movie grandma use horrendous profanity or discuss her womanly needs in grotesque TMI fashion?

Another example of the “Hip-Hop Retirement Home” shortcut is to pick any older authority figure (A judge, priest, university chancellor, etc.) and have everyone afraid of doing something inappropriate in front of him or her. Everyone goes out of his or her way to make sure that nothing goes wrong when this person arrives. (typically for an inspection or contest) When the authority figure does arrive, everyone is aghast when things go completely wrong. Of course, everyone assumes that they’ve flunked the inspection/lost the competition. There’s always a tense moment until . . . it turns out that the elderly authority figure is down with the youngsters! He (or she) just wants to party down, tap the keg and smoke out. She (or he) then announces that the youngsters have won the contest or passed the inspection. Of course, this shortcut wouldn’t be complete without seeing the authority figure partying down with the winners!

So what else besides the “Foul-Mouthed Granny” or “Hip-Hop Authority Figure” fits into our “Hip-Hop Retirement Home” shortcut? Why the “Hip-Hop Retirement Home” itself! Who hasn’t seen a situation in which a youngster is forced into volunteering at a retirement home, only everyone there is so drugged up and pathetic that he (or she) figures they have to liven things up. In this case, she (or he) either stops giving the old folks their medicine or, by some cruel twist of fate, makes some “special brownies” that get served to the old folks for lunch. In either situation, the retirees start boogying down and getting jiggy with it. Of course, this results in our volunteer getting fired from his (or her) volunteer stint. Everything turns out all right at the end, however, when the volunteer gets asked back because the retirees love him (or her) and just want to get down!

To sum up, the “Hip-Hop Retirement Home” is typically used for the cheap laughs it usually gets. Interestingly, the same people who laugh at this Hollywood Shortcut would probably be more than just a little freaked (and a trifle bit disgusted) if their real Grandma and Grandpa acted in this manner. But as long as they do laugh, we’ll still get foul talking grannies and boogy down grandpas.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Movie Cliches: All Good Hippies Went To Berkeley

“All Good Hippies went to Berkeley”

This Hollywood shortcut is near and dear to my heart, since I went to Berkeley and all. You see, other than having someone wear tie dyed articles of clothing, the best way to let an audience know that someone is a free spirit or a hippy is to let everyone know that they attended, taught at or just lived in Berkeley.

This shortcut was used in the comedy classic Grumpy Old Men; as you might remember if you’ve seen the movie, we are told that Ann-Margret’s character has retired from a professorship at Berkeley. This doesn’t surprise her neighbors, since she is portrayed as a free spirit who we see doing a lot of things that could be described as being kooky. While the things that she does (hot tubbing, bizarre artwork, etc.) show us how strange she is, the fact that she once worked at Berkeley seals the deal. (Although the writers could have been lazier and simply made mention of her ties to Berkeley without providing any examples….)

This shortcut was used heavily in the 1980’s when Hollywood was enamored with stories about “hippies” turning into “yuppies”. Typically, the revelation of someone having gone to Berkeley would be matched with a poorly doctored picture of the actor wearing a tie dyed shirt and sporting an Afro. (Yes, even if the person in question wasn’t African American.) Sometimes they would be pictured with a known activist like Joan Baez, Jane Fonda or Tom Hayden.

So, even though the Berkeley campus is decades removed from any sort of activism, the legend lives on in Hollywood- because all good hippies still go to Berkeley.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Really Bad Ideas: Howard the Duck: Special Edition


Howard the Duck: Special Edition

HOLLYWOOD (RPS)- George Lucas triumphantly announced today the complete restoration of his classic 80’s production Howard the Duck. “I am excited to finally see my real vision up on the screen,” noted Mr. Lucas, “Imagine what a little CGI can do for this classic film!”

Among the many noticeable changes, the most jarring will be the use of a CGI Howard in place of the animatronic one used in the original film. “I always wanted Howard’s character to be more like Jar Jar from The Phantom Menace.” Howard is also getting a new voice to go along with his new look. “I was never satisfied with Howard’s voice in the first film, but when I first heard Gilbert Gottfried speak, I knew I had finally found the right person to bring Howard to life!” Other notable changes include having Jar Jar himself play Howard’s friend in the duck universe, (“I want to tie this movie’s universe 
in with the Star Wars one,” noted Mr. Lucas) and the digital erasing of Lea Thompson from the movie. (“One look at Caroline in the City and I realized what everyone had been telling me; what the hell were we thinking?)

Mr. Lucas seemed confused when asked whether he was consulting with the original director of the movie, Willard Huyck. “Willard who? The Original director of the film? I thought I had him taken out back and-“ Mr. Lucas was then reminded by a PR assistant about the new footage shot for the movie. “We have shot all new footage that makes the film more relevant to today’s audiences and inserted Justin Timberlake into the movie.” When asked how this would make the film more relevant, Mr. Lucas insisted that it was at the behest of his daughter. “It’s not like she’s ever steered me wrong 
before. I mean, I eventually decided to edit NSYNC out of Attack of the Clones, didn’t I?”

Mr. Lucas plans to release the movie this Fall into theaters at the request of Universal Pictures, which wants the opportunity to have the DVD release out by Christmas, a situation that Mr. Lucas finds unlikely. “This is, quite possibly, the best special edition I've ever done. At least until I get my hands on The Phantom Menace. Jar-Jar wasn’t accepted as well as I had initially thought, so I’m replacing him with that Gecko from those insurance commercials. Doesn’t that sound cool?”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Blind Kiyomi Sunday MST3K Quote

"This isn't Bakers Square."

-From the MST3K riffing of The Dead Talk Back

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Steven Spielberg presents: "Manos: The Hands of Fate"

Manos: The Hands of Fate

Hollywood, CA (RPS)- Famed director Stephen Spielberg announced his intentions today to remake the cult classic Manos: The Hands of Fate. “I am truly excited about this project,” noted Mr. Spielberg, “Imagine how much better this classic would have been with an all star cast and a budget into the hundreds of millions?” Mr. Spielberg says that he has always wanted to re-make Manos, ever since he saw it back in college. “I remember telling everyone I knew how great that movie was. Unfortunately, I now think I was extremely drunk when I first saw the movie, but who cares? Slap my name on this baby and you’ve already got at least a $75 million dollar opening.”

Mr. Spielberg announced that his movie will differ from the original in that it will be called Steven Spielberg’s Hands! The Hands of Fate. “Our initial research shows that most people don’t realize that manos is Spanish for hands, so we figured we’d put it in the title so that nobody gets confused,” noted Mr. Spielberg.

Another major change will revolve around the signature character from the original movie, a half man, half goat named Torgo. “I always thought that Torgo would be better as a CGI character, not a real actor,” Mr. Spielberg said, “I also thought the perfect voice for our CGI Torgo would be none other than Gilbert Gottfried himself!” Other casting choices will feature Tom Hanks as the wayward father, Meg Ryan as his wife and Dakota Fanning as their little daughter who gets caught up in the Satan worshipping cult along with her parents. The fearsome Master who orders his minion Torgo around and draws Tom Hanks’ family into his web will be played by none other than Christopher Walken. “Chris Walken gives me the creeps. He’s perfect for this role!”

Hollywood super couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore will make cameos as a smooching couple that witnesses some of the action. The roles of the ineffectual lawmen that try to find the lost family were not filled at press time, but Mr. Spielberg noted that he was courting such Hollywood luminaries as Samuel L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. Mr. Spielberg hopes to begin shooting in early 2005 in Prague. “I know that the original movie was shot in Texas, but I wanted to spend vast amounts of money to recreate the landscapes in Prague. I really like shooting movies in Prague. Heck, I just like saying the word Prague.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Movie Cliches: The Leno Effect

It is well known in Hollywood that whenever a screenwriter wants to take a shortcut to quickly illustrate a character’s importance or how embarrassing a situation is, they simply insert a clip of a Jay Leno monologue in which the character or event is mentioned. This typically occurs right after another character tries to reassure the embarrassed person that everything is okay. For example:

TOM: Honey, nobody noticed that your top fell off, trust me. Now let’s watch TV.

(Tom flips to a news program.)

NEWS ANCHOR: On the lighter side of the news tonight, Lindsay Davenport, heiress to the Davenport Potash fortune exposed a little more than she bargained for when-

(Tom flips to another channel.)

JAY LENO: Did you hear about this? Apparently socialite Lindsay Davenport had her top fall off. It went down faster than Monica Lewinsky.

(Tom flips to a third channel.)

HISPANIC ANCHOR: Este es un clip de “Lindsay Davenport”-

(Tom quickly shuts off TV.)

Of course, the audience is meant to find this funny and accept it as proof that the character is a Very Important and Famous Person. A lazy shortcut, of course, that still crops up in American films.

Things have obviously changed, however. Now that Jay Leno has been exposed as a backstabbing douchebag whose credibility in Hollywood is at an all time low, will they still use him as the go-to guy for these type of scenes? I suppose only time will tell whether Jay retains these roles or they get passed on to someone else. Ideally, Hollywood should probably think about retiring this creaky cliche, just as Jay Leno should have retired his creaky act.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Movie Specs: "Violation of Privilege": An Ashley Judd Thriller

With the recent revelations that Ashley Judd has accused her sister of spying on her, we bring you the latest idea for an Ashley Judd Thriller.

Violation of Privilege

Louella Grant (Ashley Judd) is a high flying attorney who always wins her cases and works alongside the senior partner in the firm. (Morgan Freeman)

Suddenly and without warning, she begins losing cases after the opposition seems to keep getting inside information on the firm's internal conversations.

She enlists the help of the law firm's snarky streetwise PI (Joe Pesci) who discovers that her bitchy sister (Katherine Heigl) with the help of a geeky IT Tech (Colin Hanks) has been spying on her to sell secrets to her opponents. 

Her sister's spying has made some powerful enemies. A high level drug kingpin who lost a case because of the leak (Jimmy Smits) orders a hit on her sister. 

Does she protect her family, or allow the criminals to exact their revenge on her bitch of a sister? Also, she bangs a police detective (Jason Statham) who is investigating the shady drug runners.

**Okay, Hollywood, where do we pickup our  checks?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Movie Cliches: The Sainted Witness

So- you’ve got a protagonist who is mostly a good person, yet currently finds himself in a regrettable situation that makes him appear to be completely depraved. How does the filmmaker make sure that the audience knows how messed up this situation is? By letting The Sainted Witness view the proceedings, of course!

The Sainted Witness is typically a respectable person who we would imagine has never seen such depravity in his or her life. While The Sainted Witness is often a nun (dressed in full nun regalia), he or she can also be a priest, minister or an innocent looking elderly person. The protagonist often tries to explain things, but almost always makes things worse. If he’s naked, his efforts to reassure The Sainted Witnesswill often result in him exposing more of his privates or (even worse) him becoming entangled with her.

Other possible misunderstandings-

* He injects himself with insulin, but The Sainted Witness assumes it’s illegal drugs.

* He’s entangled with someone else by accident but it appears that they are engaging in sexual intercourse. (Bonus points if he’s getting married and the person he’s entangled with is not his fiance.)

* It appears that he is trying to destroy or sully a religious article.

* He just suffered a painful injury and screamed the filthiest profanity he could think of as loudly as possible. (Bonus points if it was in a church.)

While The Sainted Witness might actually confront the protagonist with righteous indignation, oftentimes they say nothing; their mere presence at the scene of the embarrassment is enough to get a laugh out of the audience.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Blind Kiyomi Sunday MST3K Quote

"I'll offer to park cars. For charity."

-From MST3K's riffing of Devil Doll

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Blind Kiyomi Saturday Bad Movie Quote

"If it hadn't been for you I would now be in someone else's digestion."

-Maxie, from Titanic: The Legend Goes On...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Really Bad Ideas- TV Remake Insanity!!

With the release of “I Spy: The Movie” I think that it is safe to say that Hollywood has scraped the bottom of the barrel
when it comes to movie remakes of old television shows. (And I thought that “Car 54 Where Are You?” was as low as they could go.) Soon, however, I bet that they will begin to mine 80s television shows to put on the big screen. While there might be some shows that will make a good transition, I’m sure that there will be many that will fail miserably. Of course, since this is Ralphland and we’re talking about Really Bad Ideas, we’ll focus on-

Really Bad Ideas- TV Remake Insanity!!

Who’s The Boss: The Movie!: Fading “Cute Actress” Meg Ryan stars as Angela Bower, a working mother with little time to care for her aging but sex starved mother (Debbie Reynolds) and her way too cute son (Jonathan Lipnicki). She hires the tough talking Tony Micelli (Tom Hanks) after a cute misunderstanding at the Nanny agency. (She thinks he’s the stripper she’s hired for her mom’s bachelor party… don’t Meg and Tom’s characters always “meet cute” in these movies?) Tony moves in with his even tougher talking daughter (Christina Ricci) and not only brings order to the house, but sweeps Ms. Bower off her feet and down the aisle. The film ends in Central Park with the camera panning away, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan staring dreamily into each other’s eyes and the strains of a Harry Connick, Jr. song filling the air.

Jeopardy! The Movie: Desperate to be loved and to win an Oscar, Jim Carrey takes on the role of Alex Trebek, a smarmy know it all game show host whose grating on camera demeanor hides darks secrets at home. You see, Mr. Trebek is only trying to protect himself from love. But little does he know that love is about to come knocking! He becomes smitten by a complex, sultry contestant (Played by Angelina Jolie) that he begins dating against the wishes of his producer and best friend Merv Griffin (Played by Nathan Lane). Despite the rough patches that threaten their budding relationship, this couple is guided down the aisle by fate and syrupy Celine Dion songs. Even though the movie is factually wrong in practically every way, it becomes a blockbuster to the chagrin of Alex Trebek, who considers a lawsuit against the movie’s producers. Despite the massive Oscar campaign mounted by the studio, Mr. Carrey again (deservedly) goes home without an Oscar.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bad Ideas: "Family Circus: The Movie!"


Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt team up again as the hilarious father and mother from the Family Circus comic strips. This time, however, the family has been re-imagined and the kids have grown up!

Frankie Muniz is Billy, the oldest son. Hillary Duff is the hilarious Dolly and Haley Joel Osment is little Jeffy. The fun begins when mom decides to return to the working world, leaving her teenaged kids in the hands of their frantic cartoonist father. Unfortunately for him, the devilish “Not Me” and the scheming “Ida Know” have returned to wreak havoc on the family hizzouse!

Getting jiggy with the family by voicing this double trouble duo are Eddie Griffin as “Not Me” and Loni Love as “Ida Know”. Featuring a fun new song by the Baha Men, (“Who Let Not Me and Ida Know Out?”) and enough jiggy-ness to fill four hizzouses, Family Circus: The Movie will blow the roof off the mother- father!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Toy-Based Movies

Universal Pictures and Hasbro have announced that they are teaming up to produce movies based on Hasbro’s various toy and game lines. This unbelievable bit of news has “epic failure” written all over it and appears destined to produce the sort of movies that would eventually end up being mentioned here at So what types of projects can we expect? Probably a few bad ideas like these:

Monopoly: The Movie

Starring: Adam Sandler, Gene Hackman, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rooney and a gaggle of washed-up SNL actors.

Story: Gene Hackman plays a maniacal billionaire who is desperate to own every piece of land in Atlantic City. He ends up owning everything- except for the highly prized Boardwalk, which is owned by another eccentric billionaire played by Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler’s character is a kind hearted guy who rents it out to an orphanage run by a priest (Mickey Rooney) and a sexy social worker (Jessica Alba). Frustrated, Hackman’s character mounts a vicious takeover attempt to gain control of the Adam Sandler character’s company and therefore gain ownership of the elusive Boardwalk. Of course, Adam Sandler won’t go down without a fight, and ends up ruining his rival’s company, and bedding that sexy social worker. In between, we get treated to Mr. Sandler’s baby voice, a random Steve Buscemi cameo and Rob Schneider’s “You Can Do It!” guy.

Michael Bay’s Risk

Starring: Big explosions and special effects plus a new batch of expendable actors.

Story: Apparently there’s a war going on somewhere with loud explosions, cool CGI effects and scantily clad women running around. That’s about it. (What do you expect from a Michael Bay film?)

The Easy Bake Oven Movie

Starring: Dakota Fanning, Judge Reinhold and Meg Ryan

Story: A young girl (Dakota Fanning) discovers that her Easy Bake Oven is magic and can produce delicious three course meals. Her single father (Judge Reinhold) decides to enter his daughter in a cook-off contest, figuring that there’s no way she can lose. After winning the first round of a million dollar cook-off with a stunning beef ragout, the contest organizers get suspicious and send a sultry divorcee (Meg Ryan) to investigate. Of course Ms. Ryan’s character gets a lot more than she bargained for and ends up getting swept off of her feet and down the aisle by Mr. Reinhold. Miraculously, Dakota’s Easy Bake Oven stops working after the wedding, but she’s so happy with her new mom, she doesn’t really care.

My Little Pony

Starring the voices of: Mike Myers, Miley Cyrus, Zac Efron, Gilbert Gottfried and Vanessa Hudgens

Story: The world of My Little Pony comes alive in CGI! Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens provide the voices of two ponies who have a crush on a cute guy pony voiced by Zac Efron. Unfortunately, all is not well in Ponyland, because an evil Scottish pony, voiced by Mike Myer (who else?) wants to take over the world, aided by a wisecracking sidekick voiced by Gilbert Gottfried. Since Hollywood believes that (Mike Myers’ Scottish Voice) + (CGI) = BIG MONEY, it doesn’t really matter what happens next.

Aggravation: The Game Movie

Starring: Jim Carrey, Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, Ashton Kutcher and Carrot Top

Story: While the game involves moving marbles from one place to another on a game board and “aggravating” your opponents by bumping them back to start, this movie consists of each star aggravating the audience with their lame shtick. See Jim Carrey “talking” with his buttocks, Dane Cook rambling on and on about nothing, Jessica Simpson’s “acting”, Ashton Kutcher being a douche and Carrot Top just being himself.

First Draft Film Titles

Horse Faced Lady and Her Three Slutty Friends

Dolly Parton Runs A Whorehouse, But You Still Won't See Her Naked Rack.

We Might As Well Just Flush The Studio's Money Down the Toilet, Starring Dane Cook

Two Dudes Bang Each Other On A Mountain

Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers Collect Another Paycheck

Tyler Perry, Tyler Perry & Tyler Perry Star in Who Cares, This Movie Is Going To Make Money No Matter What

Foul Mouthed Old Ladies Are Hilarious!

Has-Beens on a Plane

Let's Just Blow Stuff Up, Directed By Michael Bay

Stuck-Up College Frat Guys Get Their Comeuppance

Whiny Emo Makes An Indie Film in Which He Gets a Date With His Dream Girl Even Though She Laughed At Him In Real Life

Whiny Emo Who Grew Up Rich Makes An Indie Film About How Troubled His Childhood Was

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Three Line Movie Summaries: Santa Claus Movies

**Santa, whose intelligence is shown to be just above that of a chimpanzee, gets caught in a trap by an evildoer, gets lost or becomes sick.

**The Care Bears, According to Jim, Strawberry Shortcake, The Shrek and/or Jim J. Bullock are enlisted to help “save Christmas” by finishing Santa’s route.

**Santa is saved or recovers and thanks his new friends for “Saving Christmas”, because as we all know the true meaning of Christmas is getting material goods on the morning of December 25th and not a day later.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Quintessential Lifetime Original Movie

Taking a look at cable television, it seems that most channels cannot keep their supposed concepts pure. Desperate for ratings, most channels will sacrifice their alleged themes to air anything they think will attract viewers. That’s why Law and Order reruns get aired on the Sci-Fi Channel or The Learning Channel will show just about anything regardless of whether any actual learning is involved.

But one channel is not only good at keeping its concept pure, it also seems to have spawned an entire genre of films that only it could air. Of course, we’re talking about the Lifetime Cable Network, home of the “woman in peril” film, known to one and all as the “Lifetime Original Movie”.

The Lifetime formula is simple really; take Meredith Baxter, Joanna Kerns, Tori Spelling or any number of young or middle aged actresses, give them a perfect life, then pull the rug out from under them. Slap a ridiculous sounding title that sometimes has little to do with the actual movie (Like Fatal DeceptionStrip Me Deadly, They Took Her Son, They Took Her Life or Fatal Accomplice) and you’ve got a Lifetime Original Movie!

Some people simplistically try to claim that every Lifetime Original Movie features the central thesis that “Women are good and Men are bad.” This is far from the truth; for example, if the guy is Meredith Baxter’s son, he’s probably good. In fact, about the only thing that is a must for a Lifetime movie is that everything must start out perfect for the main heroine. In fact, we know that everything is perfect because our heroine will spend the first fifteen minutes of the movie living the good life and telling everyone around her who will listen how perfect her life is.

Then comes the bombshell- it can be anything really, but it has to bring the world down for our heroine and provide her with a cause to pursue. Rest assured, however, that regardless of the depths her life sinks to, our main character will triumph, even getting a chance to gloat about how she’s back on top.

So just to illustrate how easy it is to put together a Lifetime movie, let’s create one for Meredith Baxter-

With Friends Like These

Meredith Baxter is sitting on top of the world. She lives in a lavish McMansion with her husband Bruce Boxleitner and her days are spent shopping in lavish malls and taking advantage of the tony country club she is a member of with her best friend in the world, played by Megan Mullaly. With her young daughter out of the nest and working in the city with a high paying job, Ms. Baxter’s character anticipates growing old with her husband and preparing for the loads of grandchildren her daughter will no doubt bear.

But then- disaster strikes! Ms. Baxter’s husband dies in a freak accident. Bereft, she takes solace in the fact that her husband had a hefty retirement portfolio so that she can continue to live the life she has grown accustomed to. Unfortunately, her husband’s employer is an Evil Capitalist(tm) who points to a clause in her husband’s retirement plan that doesn’t require him to pay out a nickel due to the circumstances of his death. Luckily for Ms. Baxter, he tells her that he has a heart and cuts a check for $1,000. Ms. Baxter tries to see what her legal recourse is, only to discover that she has none and should just get on with her life.

Soon, she finds herself having to sell off the McMansion to pay the bills her husband left behind. She must give up her country club membership, which makes her wealthy friends look down their noses at her. Even Megan Mullaly ignores her calls. ‘At least I have my daughter’ thinks Ms. Baxter, but when her daughter discovers that there isn’t going to be an inheritance, she becomes cold to her own mother.

Depressed and forced to make a living on her own, Ms. Baxter takes a job as a waitress at a coffee shop. She makes a new friend in one of the other waitresses, a sassy black woman played by Alfre Woodard. Ensconced in a cheap apartment and blessed with a steady job, Ms. Baxter is down, but not out.

In the course of her work, Ms. Baxter stumbles upon a problem in the food service industry that she thinks she can solve with a unique invention. The invention is a success at the Coffee Shop, but she needs seed money to fully capitalize on her million dollar idea. The Coffee Shop owner, a jerk who has little regard for women rejects her, as do her old friends, who laugh in her face. Dejected, she sees her opportunity to make money on her invention slipping away. But, there was one person who she hasn’t asked yet- Alfre Woodard. Ms. Woodard’s character tells Ms. Baxter that she’s been squirreling money away for a rainy day and “It’s rainin’ cats and dogs today, honey!” At this time, Ms. Baxter reconciles with her daughter who admits how stupid she was and also invests in her mother’s idea.

Ms. Baxter and Ms. Woodard become partners and use their spare time to produce their new product. After a few tense minutes with their first potential customer, they soon discover that their product is a hit. Money starts rolling in and they both quit their jobs, leaving their jerky former employer speechless. The ladies soon become the toast of the town and the business world, getting their pictures in every business magazine and newspaper. Soon, their small company outgrows its small offices and they find themselves overseeing a million dollar business with hundreds, if not thousands of workers.

So, is the movie over? Not yet. You see, Ms. Baxter has to gloat, so her old friend Megan Mullaly invites her to lunch. Ms. Baxter accepts the invitation and calmly catches up with her friend. “That was a bad spell for you wasn’t it?” notes Ms. Mullaly, “Lucky it’s now all over. Let’s do lunch again next week.” Cue Ms. Baxter’s angry tirade. Ms. Mullaly gets to purse her lips and look embarrassed when Meredith storms out of the restaurant, vowing to never see Ms. Mullaly ever again.

So, is that it? Nope, because it appears that her husband’s old company somehow wants to buy her new company because they are making so much money and are somehow in the same line of business. (Something we barely learn at this point.) Ms. Baxter triumphantly enters the office of the Evil Capitalist(tm) who tells her that he hopes there’s no hard feelings and that the buyout offer is more than fair. At this point, Ms. Baxter refuses the offer and a member of the company’s board of directors storms into the office to shake Ms. Baxter’s hand. Why, you ask? Because they are selling out to Ms. Baxter’s company, of course! To add insult to injury, Ms. Baxter hands the Evil Capitalist(tm) his severence check- $1,000!

So, is the movie over? Yes, mostly. But first, we see Ms. Baxter, Ms. Woodard and Ms. Baxter’s daughter sipping champagne a few weeks later- in what used to be the Evil Capitalist’s(tm) office! Then we fade out.

That’s it- the quintessential Lifetime movie, right off the top of our heads. Substitute Joanna Kerns or throw something to do with cancer in there and you’d have an entirely new film. See how easy it is?

**Keep in mind that this idea is (c) Ralphland Productions, so if you work for Lifetime and see this, don’t get any ideas. (But if you like the idea, we can talk…..)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bad Movie Quote

"I'm going to ask you a straightforward question: isn't it true that you have, perhaps unwillingly, acquired a certain habit through association with certain undesirable people?"

- Dr. Carroll from Reefer Madness

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Things We Learned From The Movies

Every single woman living in NYC has a gay friend who makes Liberace look like Rambo.

If you hear a noise and think it’s just your cat- you will be murdered in a few minutes.

Irresponsible singles are frequently put in charge of caring for babies, unruly children and/or dogs.

All women have a crazy friend, a slutty friend, a boozy friend & an “ethnic” friend.

A plucky young white teacher is the only thing needed to turn around a struggling inner city school.

It is possible to stop any plane by running in front of it and waving your hands at the pilot.

Every swinging single guy is really just looking for the right woman to step in and take over his life.

Any guy who says his life is perfect while looking at a picture of his family will die within 15 minutes.

When you start singing & dancing everyone around you will join in and know all the lyrics & dance moves.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Mundane Films

“The Mailman of Alcatraz”

“The Happiest Thousandaire”

“Plan Nine From Outer Poughkeepsie”

“Brewster’s Hundreds”

“The Fry Cook Who Loved Me”

“Casino Normal”

“Throw Momma a Party”

“The Best Little Outhouse in Texas”

“The Sneezeguard”

“Willy Wonka and the Cardboard Box Factory”

“The Coke Bottle Redemption”

“Captain Antarctica”

“(500) Days of After-school Detention”

“Die Hard- Of Natural Causes”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Totally Fake Classic Movie Anecdotes

“… Donna Reed found the It’s A Wonderful Life shoot to be extremely dull up until the infamous “Pottersville” scenes. ‘Get me a scotch!’ she shouted, ‘Then watch me do a dance that would make Gypsy Rose Lee blush!' When advised that she would be playing a spinster librarian, Miss Reed became upset, but she soon got her revenge when she revealed that she was wearing nothing underneath her character’s matronly overcoat. ‘Have you seen the rare Pottersville beaver?’ she asked. When Jimmy Stewart admitted that he hadn’t, she quickly disrobed, sending Frank Capra through the roof…”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's A Wonderful Life & Roadhouse?!?!?

Every Christmas, millions of people watch the timeless classic It's A Wonderful Life. Millions more stumble upon a similar classic while drunkenly flipping through cable channels- the immortal film Road House. Wait, what?

Yes, it's true. There are startling similarities between the Jasper, Missouri of Road House and the hell hole of Pottersville, the alternate universe in It's A Wonderful Life. Most people forget what life in Bedford Falls would have been like if George Bailey had never been born.

Full of neon and wanton women, Pottersville is supposed to be a frightening place. There's divey bars full of trashy, loose dames:

Wild, boisterous fights:

Shady establishments filled with sultry harlots catering to perverts:

Run by a tyrant interested only in money:

Sound familiar, Road House fans? The Jasper, MO of Road House would give Pottersville a run for its money.  There are sleazy dives:

Trashy, loose women:

Sultry women catering to perverts:

And wild, boisterous fights:

All in a town run by a greedy tyrant:


Both Dalton from Road House and George Bailey even have frumpy, frigid women to deal with:

But while they may have had similar experiences, they resolve their problems in strikingly different ways....

George Bailey discovers that life is beautiful and merely chooses to reverse his wish that he was never born, thus relegating "Pottersville" to non-existence:

Dalton from Road House cleans up Jasper by kicking ass and taking names:

So while many folks will celebrate the holidays with the traditional, heartwarming story of one man's importance to his family and friends, maybe it's time to have a Patrick Swayze Christmas this year!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

25 Years of Mystery Science Theater 3000!

25 Years ago, a little Cowtown puppet show premiered. Happy Anniversary, Mystery Science Theater 3000!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

When At First You Don't Succeed....

....rename your film & try again!

We've seen this picture of the German DVD box for Ruckus...

But did you know they also apparently called it "Eat My Smoke"?

And also "Ruckus in Madoc County"?

I wonder if this fooled many people... Did someone go to see "Ruckus" to see a shoot 'em up commando film, then "Eat My Smoke" for a raucous yokel car chase comedy, then an action-filled dirt bike movie?

Perhaps "After Earth" could have benefited from a similar ad campaign...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bad Movie Quote

"The only thing you know about country music is the first four letters!"

-Brock from Howling: New Moon Rising

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sad News in the Bad Movie world....

Fans of the movie Giant Spider Invasion, starring Alan Hale, Jr., Barbara Hale and a cast of Wisconsin bumpkins, have a reason to be sad tonight. The legendary "Giant Spider" used in the film's climactic final scenes was stolen, dismantled and sold for scrap.

Obviously just a metal framework mounted on a VW beetle, the spider was one of the most ridiculous things in the film. That's saying a lot, since the entire movie was nothing but a ridiculous mess. By the time the spider enters the picture, audiences are so shell shocked by the ridiculousness of it all that the spider hardly registers upon first viewing, but subsequent viewings always show this unspecial effect for the train wreck it is.

Why was it so easy for this classic movie prop to be stolen? It was just sitting in a random field, slowly rusting away. It could be argued that the thieves were merely putting it out of its misery, providing it with a more dignified ending.

The giant spider is survived by its bad movie prop brethren- the painting of the Master from Manos, Mikey's Bike from Teenage Strangler and Carol Channing's bra from Skidoo.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bad Movie Quote

"Come on! You and ten other guys, right? I've seen those lookalike contests!"

Diane, from Eddie and the Cruisers II

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bad Movie Quote

"Man, you know what I'd love to do, right now? Go down to Marie Callender's, get me a big bowl, pie, some ice cream on it, mmm-hmm good! Put some on your head! Your tongue would slap your brains out trying to get to it! INTERESTED? SURE?"

-The insane character Christopher Walken played in Gigli

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bad Movie Quote

"You don't want flammable tits, do you?"

-John Carradine as "The Surgeon" in Myra Breckinridge

"Ruckus".... in Germany!

WTF? This is apparently the German box art for our favorite little film Ruckus. While the box art does feature depictions of actual scenes from the movie, they're all greatly exaggerated to the millionth degree like something out of a Michael Bay film. Dirk Benedict looks like he's going after enemy invaders, not a sleazy band of inbred backwoods bullies. And Linda Blair looks on with a frightened look on her face; which gun did our hero pull out to show her? I assume many a German bought this film based on this awesome artwork and proceeded to be terribly disappointed.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Every Adam Sandler Movie....

Every Adam Sandler Film.....

... has a hot chick who is out of Adam's league, yet still wants to bang him ...

... features a washed up celebrity who was popular when Adam was a kid but is now forgotten & believed to be dead...

... has one or more of his SNL buddies who would not otherwise still be working...

... features an old lady who says or does things an old lady shouldn't say or do ...

... has at least one character who doesn't react to things in a way that even approaches being realistic...

... and has so many jokey winks to the audience, that if it were a person it would be Gilbert Gottfried.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Woodland, CA Movie Fest: "Wasted"

Ronnie Scheib from Variety thinks this is 'Highly Impressive'? Assuming that's in context, 
Ronnie must be easily impressed...

In the pantheon of movies filmed in Woodland, CA, Wasted is definitely the latest addition. Directed by first time director Matt Oates and starring American Pie’s Eddie Kaye Thomas,Wasted follows a group of college aged buddies who reunite when one of their own passes away. That’s pretty much it. Other than drinking, drugging and hanging out, these friends don’t really do much of interest. I’m guessing they were so enamored of their concept that they forgot to actually have something happen in the movie. The film takes place over the weekend of their buddy’s funeral, but you’ll seriously feel like weeks have gone by when the film is through.

The only fun I received from this movie was spotting the Woodland shooting locations. The defunct Al’s Drive In is prominently featured as a big nighttime hangout. (It’s even featured on the DVD box.) Other Woodland landmarks include the Woodhaven Lanes bowling alley and the Woodland Swim Center. Unlike the other Woodland film “Ruckus”, however, there’s nothing really interesting to hold your attention when you’re not trying to spot the shooting locations. (Which must explain why the film had no theatrical release.) To someone from Woodland, there’s novelty value. For everyone else, the film must have been a crashing bore.

The coolest thing about this film for me is that I actually worked in the area the filming took place in at the time. The shooting wasn’t too disruptive and I never saw the actors around town. It’s too bad the film went straight to DVD, but that is to be expected from a film in which nothing happens.

"Ruckus" Goes To The Yolo County Fair

There isn’t much that is truly special or different about the Yolo County Fairgrounds. Every year, the grounds host the same rodeos, the same events and the same “Fair”. The people in these parts try to act like the fair is something special or unique, but it’s really just a place where people can eat the same food, see the same things and “bump” into the same people year after year. For many Woodlanders, the fair is the most exciting thing that will happen to them all year. However, as they walk past the never changing exhibits, bump into the same “friends” who they won’t see again until next year and eat the same food items that their Great-Great-Great Grandfather probably ate, none of them probably realize that they are walking in the steps of giants. 

I speak not of the “Native Woodlanders” who insist on having dirt roads named after them just because they lived, but of Hollywood giants; two of which were actually nominated for real Academy Awards(tm) while another actually won! (Though not for the movie whose production dragged them to Woodland way back in 1980.) Tucked in the back of the Yolo County Fairgrounds is the “Rodeo Arena” which no longer seems to host actual rodeos, but is currently used for the “Destruction Derby”, in which grown ups play bumper cars with real vehicles until only one car can still run. (That just screams classy, doesn’t it?) In any case, this “Rodeo Arena” has a small place in Hollywood history; it once hosted the filming of “Ruckus”, starring the previously referenced Oscar(tm) nominated actors Richard Farnsworth and Linda Blair, Oscar(tm) winner Ben Johnson as well as TV’s “Face” himself, Dirk Benedict.

In “Ruckus”, Dirk Benedict plays a Vietnam Veteran who drifts into town and stirs up the local yokels who round up a posse to hunt him down and harrass him. He gets taken in by Ms. Blair’s character, who proceeds to become his love interest. In one pivotal scene, Mr. Benedict’s character takes Ms. Blair and her son to a local fair. According to director Max Kleven’s DVD commentary, the production company had to pay to bring in a carnival for the shoot. Since we can safely assume that this was a low budget affair, they probably needed to make it appear like this was a massive county fair, but could only afford to rent enough rides and concession stands to fill a small area. Enter the magnificent “Rodeo Arena”, which appears to have been used solely to make the “Ruckus Fair” look like a bigger enterprise than it actually was. If you look closely enough while watching “Ruckus,” you will notice rows of bleachers surrounding this “fair”.

While I previously stated that it seems nobody here in Woodland remembers this film, some wonderful Internet visitors sent me information about getting the opportunity to play extras in the film, so it seems that not everyone forgot about the movie. As it turns out, while so much has changed since the movie was first filmed back in 1980, the Yolo County Fair and its “Rodeo Arena” are two places that have seen very little change. (Maybe they moved the Scrambler over a few spots, but otherwise, things remain much the same as before.) Since Mr. Kleven has stated that he came up with the basic storyline for “Ruckus” after visiting the Woodland area as part of the crew on another film, (Jiminy Crickets, we can only guess what that film might have been…. perhaps Danny Thomas Productions’ “Bloodsport”? ) it is only reasonable to assume that any real “Ruckus” fanatic would want to witness firsthand the sight of the trainwre- er, “film”.

So, anyone with a desire to witness “Ruckus” filming locations in all their glory would do well to head over to the Yolo County Fair and see something in the glorious “Rodeo Arena”. Perhaps you too will be inspired to write a movie about a backwoods town eager to run a poor Vietnam veteran out of town because he dared to ask for a raw hamburger.

Ruckus Revisited

In a distant installment, I extolled the virtues of a movie filmed in and around my hometown of Woodland, California. Well, not actually, but I did remember mentioning that I wanted to obtain a copy of the DVD version of the movie so that I could hear the audio commentary and find out a few answers- Why the hand sweep movement? Why so few women in the town? What did Linda Blair think about Woodland? And most importantly- WHY?????

First off, this was a chance to view the movie yet another time in a situation in which I could concentrate on its brilliance without trying to find the Woodland area shooting locations. This was also another chance to see if I was overly harsh about the film and whether I had gotten anything wrong. There were a few things that I had missed; Dirk Benedict’s character does introduce the sweeping hand movement earlier in the film than I had previously remembered; I might have been taking a nap when he initially gives this signal to Linda Blair’s character who is hiding him from the Pickup Truck posse. And there were a few more women in the movie than I had remembered; during the Burger Window scene, a few women can be seen milling around in the background. These women who I missed previously bring the total population of women in the town to something like 12 or so. My apologies.

So, what mysteries are solved in the DVD commentary? Well, the trio of Director/Writer Max Kleven, Actress Linda Blair and Actor Dirk Benedict do not apologize for the film as might be expected. In fact, they seem quite satisfied with their little film and hold out hope that this DVD release could spawn interest in an all-important Ruckus sequel. Really. They feel that if the movie had been given a chance initially it would have been bigger. I will admit that the film did not get an adequate release, but I find it hard to believe that this would have made a difference in its success. Although, I could be wrong. After all, wasn’t “The Dukes of Hazzard” a huge success at this time?I think that the biggest disappointment for me was the lack of any juicy Woodland stories. Sure, Linda Blair does mention Woodland at the beginning of the movie. There’s also the Knight’s Landing reference midway through, but for the most part they do not reveal anything of interest. Well, Mr. Kleven does say that he wrote the movie around the locations that he found and that seems correct. When I look around here, I too would probably be inspired to write something about overzealous yokels. Or maybe not.

So, while I do not regret getting the Ruckus DVD, it would have been great to hear something about Woodland. (It could have brought some insight into why nobody here at the time remembers the movie.) Maybe everyone just took a nap that month. The mystery continues!