Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Elementary School Scarface

What creativity!

It is rumored that the Utter Despair Elementary School's
Spring Play will be David Mamet's GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS
performed by Miss Delacorte's 5th Grade thespians.

THE FUTURIST! wishes to salute (but not in a Fascist manner)
his Irish comrade ROB2D, the Emerald Island's Astute
Archeologist of Odd and Eccentric Videos.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Absolutely Wonderful Peter Cook & Dudley Moore

One of the most splendorous discoveries of THE FUTURIST!'s recent viewing activities was watching a DVD of collected episodes of NOT ONLY ... BUT ALSO starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. As a THE YOUNG FUTURIST!, he saw a very funny film entitled THE WRONG BOX. The motion picture was based on a Robert Louis Stevenson story about family greed. The film starred Michael Caine, John Mills, Peter Sellers and the wickedly funny Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. It was at this time, THE FUTURIST! became entranced by this comedy duo. It took years and years, but finally a compilation was made of their comedy show from the 60s which lasted into the early 70s. Not many of the episodes are available due to the BBC having criminally erased most of the show's recorded tapes. THE FUTURIST! has written about their great film BEDAZZLED in an earlier post. Peter Cook has to be one of the funniest, most profoundly dry comedians in THE FUTURIST!'s memory. His characterizations are side splitting and the odd tall and small coupling of Cook and Dudley Moore was genius. Every time you see them together in one of their skits, you tend to believe they were entirely improvised; their comedy timing was magic. THE FUTURIST! regrets many things and one is that he was never able to see these two live on stage. When you watch their TV program, you can see how they influenced many other comedians, especially the MONTY PYTHON crew.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Music for a Comic Strip Female Super Criminal

THE FUTURIST! once watched a very enigmatic 1966 film directed by Joseph Losey derived from the British adult comic strip by Peter O'Donnell and Jim Holdaway called MODESTY BLAISE. The film starred Monica Vitti as the very mod woman of very many talents, those mostly being of wily seduction and criminal genius. She and her companion, Willie Garvin, get entangled in some strange nefarious doings involving a foppish Dirk Bogarde and his crew of evil cohorts including Mrs. Fothergill a woman who loves to kill and dresses in men's suits. The script was written by the creator of the original comic strip, but it was mangled and redone and never bore a resemblance to his ideas. The movie's incoherence and odd direction may be attributed to the creative team veering from the original material and adding their own weird spin. The film was made around that time of BARBARELLA and DANGER: DIABOLIK; a pop art bit of campy fun filmed for genre lovers. It just didn't work, though.

However, the movie title song that describes and warns us of Modesty's many talents is very 60-ish and bouncy and more fun than the film. Here it is done by Virginia Vee courtesy of the now forgotten Scopitone music video jukebox craze. Dig the crazy clothes and moves, dear Readers.

"She'll turn your head
though she might use a Judo Hold ... "


performed by Virginia Vee

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Life Artistic

In a recent short interview with the Guardian, director Wes Anderson was asked what piece of art he would choose to own, if he could have just one. He cited this painting:

by Bronzino
courtesy of
New York's Frick Collection

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Nice to Have a Great Job

Cinema Loves an Elevator

THE FUTURIST! tips the hat he never wears to
Mr. Nick Dawson, a wonderful British gentleman,
(who writes with excellence and is the
author of BEING HAL ASHBY)
for bringing this video to THE FUTURIST!'s attention.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mike Nichols & Elaine May - Mother and Son Skit

The Sounds of Fear

AS readers of THE FUTURIST!'s blog know, he is in contact with Seussonoras Labs located in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Dr. Steven Seussonoras, the CEO, brainchild and inventor of the company, recently imparted some interesting news to THE FUTURIST!, which was, at one time, very hush hush TOP SECRET in government circles. The Bush Administration asked Seussonoras Labs to create a special Guantanamo Bay torture device to make supposed interred terrorist suspects confess to crimes and/or impending crimes to our national security. Dr. Seussonoras is a very compassionate and politically liberal individual and refused to co-operate with the government suits. They then threaten to expose certain information regarding his failed auditions to DANCING WITH THE STARS and AMERICAN IDOL which were unknown to the public at large. He decided to co-operate and designed this aural device to create sheer terror and dental clenching trauma. Dr. Seussonoras is a Indie music devotee and despises teen pop and bubblegum music. He directed this video of a valley girl, which he had cloned into a trio of terror at Seussonoras Labs and had the screeching DNA duplicates overlap their singing of Taylor Swift songs. The good news is that its use uncovered a plan for a group of terrorists to shop lift at a Barnes and Noble on October 27, 2007. This crime was averted. The bad news is that the Valley Girl Clones escaped from Seussonoras Labs. Shopping Malls across the United States are on Red Alert!

WARNING! You will not be able to watch more than a minute of this, Dear Readers ... Please prepare yourselves!

In Other NEWS!

Christopher Lee, the great film actor of Hammer Horror Films, does a heavy Metal Album:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Music of Happy Discovery

Some times the Internet can unearth a pleasant surprise. THE FUTURIST! finds this to be so very often. Much like when he flips through one of his film reference books looking for a certain entry he intends to read or re-read, his eyes will see some other interesting piece of information fly by as the pages are thumbed ... and he stops or goes back and reads that entry and forgets what he was originally looking for ... but ... it doesn't matter, because something very intriguing was found along the way.

This happened with THE FUTURIST!'s Saturday Music post for today. He was watching a fascinating video on a man who loved the purity of sound in vinyl recordings and had amassed hundreds of thousands of records. After watching this short film, THE FUTURIST! delved deeper into the Vimeo library and found the delight below.

The film about the man and his music archive impressed upon THE FUTURIST! the value and aural splendor that music can provide to a person's soul. THE FUTURIST! has no idea who the artists are below and has never heard of them before ... but for some reason he clicked on the image and was given a gift of a beautiful sound that pleased his soul very very much. Hopefully, you will enjoy it, as well.

As an aside, THE FUTURIST! hopes that the lead singer eats a sandwich soon; his thin frame and possible pain due to malnutrition may cause the grimace he exhibits when he sings.

performed by The Morning Benders
and the Echo Chamber Orchestra

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pisces Birthday Salute

Harvey Sid Fisher ramps up his Astrology Sign Song technique
with this little ditty about those born under the sign
of The Fish ... Pa Pa Pa PISCES!

Speaking of fish ... do you smell something bad?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday Music from the Bizarre

In THE FUTURIST!'s CD collection is a copy of the Warner Archives recording of FEELIN' GROOVY: THE BEST OF HARPERS BIZARRE, a compilation of the group's most scintillating sounds. THE FUTURIST! first heard the sounds of Harpers Bizarre when seeing the opening credits of a heavily edited version of William Friedkin's film THE BOYS IN THE BAND on television as a THE YOUNG FUTURIST!; their rendition of the Cole Porter tune ANYTHING GOES plays over the visuals as different characters in the film are introduced. They have this dreamy conservative sound that tonally resembles THE ASSOCIATION or FREE DESIGN. The group performed Randy Newman pieces, the work of Van Dyke Parks and Harry Nilsson. Their sound was referred to as Sunshine Pop or Baroque Pop. When you hear them you are reminded of clean cut choirboys playing a sardonic musical game with their repertoire; there seems to be a smirk in their sunny style and a feeling of nostalgic sadness tempered by aural bliss.


performed by Harpers Bizarre

Thursday, March 11, 2010

THE FUTURIST! salutes The Dude

Dear Dude,

You have always abided in the heart of
THE FUTURIST! You have never let him down in whatever
role you tackled in your career. You have been in some films
that did not deliver the goods (ex: KING KONG),
but YOU always did deliver.
It is cliche to echo the phrase that you are
"one of the most underrated actors in film",
but it is true. You are always effortless in your
performances and have a flair for appearing "unactor-ly"
Perhaps CRAZY HEART is not one of your best performances
and maybe it could be said you received your Oscar due to
sentiment, but it is overdue and even if you never
were acknowledged, THE FUTURIST! would always
cite you as one of his most favorite of actors.

A list of lesser known
Jeff Bridges films
that should be watched
JUST for Jeff Bridges:

FAT CITY (1972)
NADINE (1987)
WILD BILL (1995)

Future Short: Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Dir: Chris Milk
Music: Gnarls Barkley
USA - 2008

Sunday, March 7, 2010

2009 Oscar Predictions with Guest Ghost James Whale

THE FUTURIST! is about to predict what he thinks will win in each of the 24 categories at tonight's 82nd Annual Academy Awards presentation. Many make their predictions based on the prior award winnings by some of the nominees, current buzz by critics, favoritism of the moment by the Hollywood elite or who played the best alcoholic, blind, homosexual, mentally challenged and made-to-look-uglier-than-they-really-are-in-real-life role. THE FUTURIST! does not use any of these techniques. Some believe THE FUTURIST! can foretell The Future ... and what he knows about The Future is that it is not bright and ends ugly for us all. AS to Oscar awards ... that was to be predicted with the aid of the supernatural.

THE FUTURIST! recently received a phone call from his neighbor Walter Bascom, a spiritual medium who lives two doors down from THE FUTURIST! in Utter Despair, N.J. Walter claimed that the ghost of Hollywood director James Whale had contacted him and said his spirit had been hovering about Utter Despair caught in a state of limbo. The Ghost of James Whale had been restless ever since his other-worldly dismay at Sir Ian McKellen losing the Best Actor Oscar to Roberto Benigni in 1998. Sir Ian portrayed James Whale in the film GODS AND MONSTERS. His spirit has been wandering depressed through the ether since that disappointing Oscar night.

The Ghost of James Whale: "Did you see that bloody ass climbing over the audience like a Borneo ape to take that award that was rightfully mine ... I mean, Sir Ian's, of course. Bloody disgrace it was."

The Ghost of James Whale
Dead Director of FRANKENSTEIN,

The knowledge of an actual Hollywood director's ghostly presence in Utter Despair was shocking and THE FUTURIST! immediately made arrangements with Walter to ask The Ghost of James Whale to help him predict this year's Oscar winners.


Best Picture - THE HURT LOCKER

The Ghost of James Whale: "Oh, I agree, dear boy. Sweaty men defusing explosives is always a winner. Lots of phallic symbolism in that picture. And there was that scene where those brutes were punching each other and then one rode the other like a prize bull at the rodeo ... and they did this on their leisure time. Excellent sequence. It did, however, remind me a bit of my time in the trenches in WWI. But that would have been made less horrific if someone had rode me in such a charming, manly style. I mean, to get our minds off the bombs and such, that is. But, THE HURT LOCKER is a good prediction."


The Ghost of James Whale: "She's manly. Should could punch Elsa Lanchester through a prop wall. If she hadn't been wed to that vulgar Cameron character, I'd think she was a Lezzer"


The Ghost of James Whale: "Quite good. He was such an Adonis when he was younger. Now, look at him. A grizzled weathered long haired smelly thing who thinks he's really a country singer. Personally, I like that Jeremy Renner. I've got an average sized explosive in my trousers he could defuse. Ha ha ha ... yes."


The Ghost of James Whale: "My dear, THE FUTURIST!, this dreary Sandy Bullock with a blond wig and that hoity attitude in that Christian film and Meryl Streep doing her usual accent driven drivel in a role that was a cartoon will cancel each other out between their respective base camps. That little English sprite from AN EDUCATION will take it in a surprise moment. Oh, she's a dear ... love to go clothes shopping with her. Now, if Jeremy Renner was a big queen, well ... he'd get my vote for Best Actor and Actress. Next?"

Best Supporting Actor: CHRISTOPHE WALTZ
Best Supporting Actress: MO'NIQUE

The Ghost of James Whale: "That Nazi piker was a bit queeny. I liked him. And that brutish mother in PRECIOUS will take it, too. Meanies prevail in this category."

Best Cinematography: THE HURT LOCKER

The Ghost of James Whale: "Not a lot of color ... lots of dirt. Grimy. Gray. Sweaty men ... I like. Could have used a dash of chartreuse. Those barracks needed color."

Best Costume Design: THE YOUNG VICTORIA

The Ghost of James Whale: "The Brits take this one, dear. It's about a Queen, damn it. Queens always dress well. Look at me, for God's sake! There's spectral proof in front of your eyes!"

Best Animated Feature: UP

The Ghost of James Whale: "I don't watch cartoons. I don't really care. I'm picking it because I'm thinking of Jeremy Renner and it's the first adverb/preposition that comes to mind. Well, part of me does. Oh, dear. boy, I'm batting a thousand in our little cricket match of vulgar euphemisms!"

Best Art Direction: SHERLOCK HOLMES

The Ghost of James Whale: "London looked wonderful. It might have been all painted back drops, stilted sets and such, but what marvel- What? CGI? What the Sod is CGI?"

Best Documentary Feature: THE COVE
Best Documentary Short:

The Ghost of James Whale: "Fish and the Chinese. Perfect together. I once had a delightful light entree of Chinese Flounder in a Ginger Sauce with vegetables at The Brown Derby in 1935. Charles Laughton was with me and so was Colin Clive."

Best Foreign Language Film: EL SECRETO DE SUS OJOS

The Ghost of James Whale: "Speaking of food, I had a El Secreto de Sus Ojos dish at an after Oscar soiree at Ramon Navarro's estate. I wanted seconds, but that damn Francis X.Bushman got there first."

Best Film Editing: THE HURT LOCKER

The Ghost of James Whale: "Very good cutting. The camera could have stayed on Jeremy Renner a bit more, though. Am I getting redundant?"

Best Makeup: STAR TREK

The Ghost of James Whale: "I'd vote for THE YOUNG VICTORIA, due to my Queen's have the best makeup theory, but this had odd looking beasties and such. It's a lock."

Best Original Score: SHERLOCK HOLMES

The Ghost of James Whale: "Hans Zimmer, isn't it? That reminds me of my first school boy crush. Hans Dustledorff. He was an exchange student. Oh, I wanted to exchange things with him so very much." * sigh *

Best Original Song: THE WEARY KIND from CRAZY HEART

The Ghost of James Whale: "Does anyone care? I like a Cole Porter tune, to be frank."

Best Short Film Animated: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH
Best Short Film Live Action: INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA

The Ghost of James Whale: "I don't watch these. I like looong things. Short is not an attention getter in my book, dear boy. These are guesses."

Best Sound Editing: AVATAR
Best Sound Mixing: AVATAR
Best Visual Effects: AVATAR

The Ghost of James Whale: "oh, those blue people get all of these. That movie was all bells and whistles. A ghost said to me, 'James, you didn't see AVATAR in 3D?' No, I didn't you ninny. I'm dead. I'm not even 1D myself."

Best Adapted Screenplay: UP IN THE AIR

The Ghost of James Whale: "Would it be appropriate for another Jeremy Renner inspired penis joke? Insert here. INSERT! Oh ... my .. word! I did it again!!"

Best Original Screenplay: INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

The Ghost of James Whale: "Lots of good dialogue and talking in this one. I love talking. Especially if it's bitchy gossip. Did you know Claude Rains wore lifts in his shoes? He did. He was a bloody midget."

Any last words, Ghost of James Whale?

"That Jeremy Renner is certainly a titillation. If only I were alive and it was a robust Summer day at my Hollywood estate circa 1937, I would gladly take the utmost pleasure in languishing lazily at poolside perusing the athletic knife-like diving of dear Jeremy in my Olympic-sized swimming pool. Later, I would paint his movie militarily funded physique in my art studio. I see him as a Pre-Raphaelite Pagan God, naked to the elements holding a - "

Thank you.

Let us see if The Ghost of James Whale is correct tomorrow.
THE FUTURIST! wishes to profusely thank Walter Bascom, Medium Rare and The Ghost of James Whale for this special blog posting in honor of The 82 Annual Academy Awards.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Music from The Oscars 25 Years Ago

THE FUTURIST! tracked back the Academy Award Best Song nominees from 25 years ago (1984 to be specific) and found a treasure trove of five 80s pop tunes that ALL surfaced on the Pop Charts and played continuously on the radio. THE FUTURIST! asks: When was the last time this occurred in Academy Awards history? These songs, due to their chart rising popularity, produced awful music videos indicative of the era. The Best Song category gets more dismal every year; songs that appear during credit sequences or unmemorable tunes from mediocre animated films and lots of tunes by Randy Newman seem to populate the nominee slot each year. Some years there are just three songs nominated due to the hardship in choosing the "best" by whatever committee makes the decision. It is certainly a dying category that may not survive much longer. Who can remember most of recently nominated songs? THE FUTURIST! found many classic standards that won or were nominated in the 30s and 40s and 50s. The 1960s produced some memorable tunes, as well; The Windmills of Your Mind, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, The Shadow of Your Smile, Born Free, Moon River, and The Carpenters' For All We Know. But look at 1984 a year which had five really great examples of 80s pop tunes that ALL excelled financially on the air waves. THE FUTURIST! has a soft spot for the Phil Collins' Against All Odds ... a song that Mr. Collins was denied the chance to perform at the Academy Awards by the producers, because they claimed they were not "familiar with his work". Instead, Ann Reinking (a Broadway performer) was selected to perform a slow tonal crawling rendition that destroyed the force of the song's lyrical angst. Mr. Collins watched from his seat in the audience.

THE FUTURIST! was going to post a video of each song in its entirety, but thought that the visuals and the song length would cause total cerebral inertia. In regard to you, dear reader, THE FUTURIST! has found a wonderful concise example of all five songs nominated for Best Song of 1984 complied together in shortened samplings.

The winner of the coveted Oscar is the first song you will hear.


You heard in order of sequence:

from the film THE WOMAN IN RED (1984)
music and lyrics by Stevie Wonder

from the film AGAINST ALL ODDS (1984)
music and lyrics by Phil Collins

from the film FOOTLOOSE (1984)
music and lyrics by Kenny Loggins and Dean Pitchford

from the film FOOTLOOSE (1984)
music and lyrics by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford


from the film Ghostbusters (1984)
music and lyrics by Ray Parker Jr.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscars circa 1974

THE FUTURIST!'s favorite film is CHINATOWN, so he has a fondness for the Academy Awards of 1974. It was a Golden Year of nominees ... well, there was THE TOWERING INFERNO, of course ... but nominees that year were AMARCORD, THE CONVERSATION, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, LENNY, BLAZING SADDLES, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, DAY FOR NIGHT, ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, THE GODFATHER PART II and HARRY AND TONTO.

Disney's AVATAR

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rolling Happy

Take a gander at this musical number from It's Always Fair Weather (1955) directed by Stanley Donan and Gene Kelly; the same directing team that brought the world Singing in the Rain. THE FUTURIST! was going through some musical film sequences on YouTube and found this one ... it's amazing. THE FUTURIST! has not seen this particular film, but he had seen this solo dance number in a Gene Kelly documentary. Kelly dances effortlessly in roller skates in this scene. He glides like a carefree breeze, wafting purely on a feeling of love. Then he tap dances on the skates. It is all done magnificently on a fake studio set giving the illusion of New York City streets. The illusion is evident, but so is the magic that classic musicals from the Studio Era conjured. Emotions depicted through song and dance, instead of dialogue between characters. Excuse the French subtitles and just watch the poetry. If THE FUTURIST! attempted this in Utter Despair, N.J., it would result in stares, scoffing and, most likely, a denouement resulting in THE FUTURIST! uncontrollably rolling into rush hour traffic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oscar's Best Scores 1978

The Academy awards are this Sunday and THE FUTURIST! is readying himself for a stultifying evening of bad jokes, dull award presentations, insipid interludes of misguided montages and predictable outcomes. He will, of course, be prepared with a fortification of olives securely submerged in Norwegian Vodka. Being in a bored whimsical mood, THE FUTURIST! looked back at some awards of the past regarding Oscar. Some of the nominees make those of today seem so thin and wane. Listen to this example of the 5 nominees for Best Score in 1978. The winner was the disco sounding score to MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, but listen to the others ... Jerry Goldsmith's forceful dizzying Viennese waltz with a menacing tempo, the beauty and melancholy of DAYS OF HEAVEN and the jazzy jaunt of HEAVEN CAN WAIT ... and the iconic orchestral oomph of SUPERMAN.