Episode 296 – The Trip (1967)

Log entry, nighttime, July something or other. So, we’re coming to the end of our series “Be Like the Cor-Man” and in preparation for our discussion of “The Trip,” an exploration of the effects of an LSD experience, I’ve decided to really commit to the message of the film, so I’ve eaten half a sheet of blotter acid in preparation. I’m pretty sure that’s a reasonable dose for a beginner; the internet seems unable to agree on that. I have to say, so far I’m pretty disappointed. It’s been over an hour and I’m not even slightly biffle dinked. Krammiz frantzaville . . . Wait, why did I type that? Ow! Ow, dammit, the keys on my keyboard are biting me! Oh man, the plants in my window box were right; why didn’t I listen?! They warned me that computer peripherals aren’t to be trusted! What? Say that again, I dare you! Oh, what do you know about it? You’re just a regular old chorus of talking bats wearing electric blue zoot suits; what do you know about the counter-culture of the 60’s? Oh, ok . . . my spleen just explained to me that I should be open to all perspectives if I want my consciousness to expand beyond simple truths offered up by random walking conifers. I see now. I see everything. I see beyond the crude shells of . . . oh, hang on. Wait, this isn’t blotter acid! This is a sheet of bubble gum tape! Dang it, that giant talking puffin lied to me! So . . . where did these bats come from? While I’m figuring that out, join us on a far out Corman trip, man. Groovy. Freaky-deaky! [Eww, so much bat guano . . .]

Poll question: What time period is your favorite film setting, in the past or future?

Episode 295 – The Raven (1963)

Once upon a weekend dreary, while I pondered, drunk and bleary,
Over many a scratched and stainéd film, inducing quite a snore –
On the toilet I sat crapping, while the weekend I was mapping
In my head, my brain foot-tapping, hoping not to be a bore.
Surely there is something more!
Ah, distinctly I remember! It was May, no, wait, December!
Or maybe bleak November, I don’t know, my head is sore.
As I sat there nearly napping, from outside there came a tapping,
As if someone loudly rapping, rapping on the bathroom door!
Me: “One more minute, I implore!”
Then a voice, like some longshoreman, said: “’tis I, dead Roger Corman!
Do not open up the door, man, for that stench I can’t ignore!
Dead I may be, there’s no question, but I make this kind suggestion,
Someone should check your digestion, for that smell is bad, oh lor’!
If I weren’t dead already, it would kill me, that’s for shore!”
“Why haunt me, o movie shaman” I inquired, my face a-flamin’
My effluvia you’re shamin’, so what brings you to my door?”
“If a movie you are cravin’, go and watch my film ‘The Raven’,
Your podcast, it will be savin’, oh such pleasures are in store!”
And with that, he was no more!
So, I sat there, breathing fumes in, no it didn’t smell like cumin.
Shut your face, I’m only human! Does yours like roses smell?
Was the phantom truly speaking . . . oh lord, no, the toilet’s leaking!
It is out that I am freaking! Dear gods, this is surely hell!
How’s the movie? We shall tell!

Poll question: which author’s works do you most enjoy seeing adapted into film?

Episode 294 – A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Hey, all you Daddy-os and cool chicks! Get hip to this new scene, man! We got some groovin’ behoovin’ all in the name of that heppest of hepcats Rog Corman and man, is this guy a real gone cat! We’re  diggin’ the scene in our scenario-series “Be Like the Cor-man”, man, and brother, have we got a blast this week with “A Bucket of Blood”. Man, we’re not just copping a bit, we’re not a couple of gin mill cowboys, we’re laying down the ginchiest melody around! This pucker palace has it all: art, murder, folk singing, and that squarest of cubes, Burt Convy! But don’t blow your jets, this is going to be boss! So focus your audio and pick up what we’re putting down; it’s better than a zonk in the head. Crazy, daddy-o, crazy!

[Translation from “Beat”: we’re pleased as punch that you’re joining us as we discuss Roger Corman’s “A Bucket of Blood.” Our discussion should be quite nifty.]

Poll question: what genre do you think mixes best with comedy?

Episode 293 – Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)

In 1977, a little indie film called “Star Wars” was released, ushering in a new era for science-fiction films. Its budget? Eleven million dollars. To which Roger “Be Like the Cor-Man” Corman replied “hold my beer” and a mere three years later presented the world with the sci-fi epic “Battle Beyond the Stars” for a much more reasonable two million dollars. Clearly, the Cor-Man knew where to trim the fat and what useless fripperies weren’t needed to tell a powerful and original story (ok, maybe not that original; the plot is clearly an homage to “The Magnificent Seven” and, via some elegantly subtle clues, to it’s antecedent “The Seven Samurai”. Trust Corman to steal only from the best. He even got one of the actors who was in “The Magnificent Seven” to appear in his movie, and another who almost stole the part of Vin away from Steve McQueen! This movie not only demonstrates Roger Corman’s ability as a producer but also his modesty, as despite the many Corman-esque directorial touches in this movie, Corman refused to be listed as director, turning that honor over the man who helped answer the question: “How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?” Confused? Give a listen, and much will be revealed.

Poll question: “Star Wars” forever changed the science fiction genre. what movie was a genre game-changer for you?

Episode 292 – X: the Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963)

There’s a new superhero in town, the man they call “X”! He has the power to see through things! Clothing! Human skin! Manila file folders! And how does he use this power to fight crime, you ask? Uh . . . well, I guess he could see criminals naked and mock them about any body image problems they might have until they surrendered out of sheer embarrassment and shame. Wow . . . X is kind of a jerk. Lotta nerve calling himself a hero . . . except he doesn’t! That’s entirely on me! What a twist! No, this week’s entry in “Be Like the Cor-Man” does read somewhat like a superhero origin story, except that no one ever calls him “X” (the character’s name is Xavier. No, not “Professor” . . .) and he doesn’t try any super heroics, unless working in a carnival counts. I guess it could; that’s how Dick “Robin” Grayson got started, but anyway! This is considered one of the Cor-man’s better efforts; after all, it’s in color and it stars an Oscar-winning actor (Ray Milland) but how does it stack up against “Little Shop of Horrors”? Tune in and find out! Same Cor-time, same Cor-channel!

Poll question: What non-actor’s performance pleasantly surprised you?

Episode 291 – Little Shop of Horrors (1960)

Tremble before the rise of the Cor-man! We’re in “Be Like the Cor-man” now, up to our necks! For all his chintzy budgets, churned-out scripts, and lilliputian shooting schedules, Roger Corman hardly ever lost money on any of his pictures. Some of those pictures . . . one finds oneself asking “how?” as is the case of the 1960 now-cult-classic “Little Shop of Horrors” (not the musical, but it’s inspiration). This movie may very well hold the record for the shortest shooting time of any Corman film (tune in to find out how short) but it did have the distinction of being one of the first, if not THE first, horror-comedy movies ever. If you don’t agree with that last point, take it up with Bumpy (but really, do tell us if you can think of an earlier example). If nothing else, this movie is probably the best movie about a human-eating plant surrounded by Jewish stereotypes in Los Angeles that is supposed to be New York’s skid row that Jack Nicholson ever appeared in. Probably. Did that not make any sense? Give a listen; it’ll make even less.

Poll question: is there a movie adaptation you’ve seen that is better than the source material? If so, which one?

Episode 290 – The House of Usher (1960)

Spit fire and save matches, we’ve got us a new series! And it’s a doozy, recognizing one of the greatest most talented highly influential directors of the last hundred years. Who you may ask? Ron Howard? Sure, “Apollo 13” is decent and “A Beautiful Mind” won some minor awards like an Oscar but did he bring us “Dinoshark”? No, he did not! Martin Scorsese? Yeah, yeah, “Raging Bull,” “Mean Streets,” those are ok, I guess, but they’re no “Attack of the Crab Monsters”! What about Francis Ford Coppola? I guess some people like “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” but come on, what are they compared to “Teenage Caveman”? But you know what all these directors have in common? They all got their starts working with one man. One exceptional man. One single man. One Cor-man. Yes, these giants of Hollywood, and many others, owe a great debt to recently-departed director/producer/occasional-kind-of-actor Roger Corman, a man who has his name on almost four hundred movies. With this series, we are exhorting you, one and all, to “Be Like the Cor-Man” and we’re starting off with one of his interpretations of an Edgar Allen Poe story (and he did a bunch of those!), “The House of Usher” (or “The Fall of the House of Usher,” as it was sometimes marketed. Or my favorite: “The House of Usher Goes to Hawaii”. Thought that of course was never released). What is it about the Cor-man that has left so indelible a impression upon American film-making? Give a listen, and we’ll try to clue you in!

Poll question: what is your favorite decade/era for film making? If you look closely, which decade has most of your favorites and why?

Episode 289 – The Great Dictator (1940)

Halloyouall! Hier is de ende auf “Hat Nicht Gewonen. Hat Nicht Gewonen. Hat Nicht Gewonen” und der Max und der Mike ist vatchen das moviefilmen von Herr Charles Chaplin “Der Zehr Biggen Leadermensch”. Das ist ein moviefilmen vot nicht winnen das Oskar fur “Müst Gooden Movenpicturspassemachen” und das ist zehr unhappimachen. Or ist das? Maybeezo ist güt? Ist notzogüt? Komm, giben sie ein listenearenhearing zu der sauerbraten und so weit. Der Max und der Mike getalken lotsundlots und maybeezo yü dinken es ist lotsafunnyinterestdinkenmachen. Gesundheit!

Poll question: do you watch any of the major movie award shows, like the Oscars or the Golden Globes?

Episode 288 – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Um, ok, this is a bit embarrassing but while we were hoping to discuss “Singin’ in the Rain” as this week’s entry in our “Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win. Didn’t Win” series, we, well I’ll just say it, we couldn’t afford the licensing fees (it’s very complicated; it would take an economist to explain it) BUT don’t despair, because we’ve got something even better: the 1954 Soviet Union. . . homage to this great musical, another great musical called “Make Song During Bad Weather For Praise of Glorious Soviet State.” Oh, it’s a delight! We’ve got Genikoff Kelski, the Dancing Tractor Mechanic, Danilov Conzokoff, the legendary singer/beet farmer, and the lovely, sturdily-built Devrachav Reynavek, former tank commander and Olympic silver-medal winning power-lifter. What a cast! And the songs! So catchy! In addition to the toe-tapping title song, there’s “Induce Happy-Making Laughing in Service of the State,” “It is a Good Morning in Glorious New Russia,” and of course, “You Are Required to Dance”! Who needs that Oscar also-ran from that hack outfit MGM? I mean, that turkey didn’t even get nominated for Best Picture! The only reason “Make Song During Bad Weather For Praise of Glorious Soviet State” didn’t win in ’54 was clearly blatant favoritism on the part of the bourgeoisie capitalist running-dogs of the Academy. Give a listen and find out what did win! [Ok, I wrote what you wanted; you’ll “take care” of Bumpy now, right?]

Poll question: do you like to know the “behind-the-scenes stuff” for your favorite movies or does that spoil the magic?