On this week’s episode, I comb through the dark corners of Disney Plus — yes there are a few! — to tell you about some fun frights for this Halloween season! Also, I’m glad to see that Kindertrauma.com is still up and running!
You know you want some visual Alice Cooper content. Here’s his performance of “School’s Out” AND a brief interview about actually doing the show from a few years ago.
While looking up Fairuzu Balk’s filmography, I discovered that she played a vampire in a ZZ Top video! It’s a very weird and plodding song, but it’s a fun ride AND, like Bride Of Boogedy, it also features Vincent Schiavelli! I gotta get me a guitar-shaped boat now.
I’m not one of those dudes who had their lives changed by Almost Famous. I was friends with some of those guys in high school and in fact saw this movie over at one of their houses in high school. One friend fell in love with Kate Hudson after seeing the flick and another would incessantly sing Stillwater’s “Fever Dog.” Both were in my band. I dug the movie when I saw it, but it didn’t become a favorite.
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the movie, it’s basically Cameron Crowe’s fictionalized memoir of touring with various bands in the 70s, but centered around a young kid named William and the fictional band Stillwater. The high schooler gets the attention of Rolling Stone who sends him on tour with the band who he becomes friends with even though his mentor Lester Bangs (Philip Seymour Hoffman) warns him against it and also falls for groupie–sorry “Band Aid”–Penny Lane, played by Hudson. It’s basically the story of a kid learning to go from fan to pro in an industry that’s showing him all its warts, no matter how much they wound him.
I actually had more fun spotting the supporting actors in the flick than watching it. I think that’s because I’ve seen and even lived this story a bit myself. Having been a comic book fan who worked in the thick of the comic book world at Wizard, I can really relate to what William goes through (minus the groupies) but comparing a film, even a great one, to my real life, the film’s not going to hold up. I get that it’s great and I love all the rock and roll stuff, because I’m a huge fan of music from that era, but it just doesn’t vibrate inside of me like it might have when I was younger.
Anyway, back to that star watching, here’s the ones I saw. You’ve got Jimmy Fallon playing the manager’s manager. I can’t remember if I knew who he was when the movie first played. The gone-too-soon Mitch Hedberg sits in on a manager poker game! Anna Paquin and Fairuza Balk (The Craft) play groupies. Jay Baruchel is a Led Zeppelin super-fan and even Nick Swardson has a moment as a wild David Bowie fan. Heck even Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet pops up as a hotel worker. I’m sure there’s plenty I missed. Plus, of course, one of my favorites Jason Lee plays an important part. It’s funny how similar the character is to Banky from Chasing Amy, but the guy they got to play the singing voice sounds embarrassingly like someone else. Oh, this was also the first movie I saw Zooey Deschanel in and didn’t even realize it!
I think had I bought the movie after I saw it and gave it a few more spins, I would have a lot closer relationship to it, but as it stands, I can appreciate it without falling in love with it. Though, I do adore the “Tiny Dancer” bit. Moments like that in real life are amazing and should be enjoyed both in the moment and later in life. I have incredibly fond ones of singing songs with my buddies back home and even the other week when the missus and I wound up singing “Summer Loving” from Grease, even though she had to sing most of the dude parts because I only know about half the words.
I’m kind of shocked it took me 14 years to finally get around to watching The Craft. Not only is it a horror movie, but it’s got Robin Tunney who was in my beloved Empire Records, Mary Jane from Half Baked, Neve Campbell who’s pretty much a non-entity in this movie and the ridiculously crazy looking Fairuza Balk who looks a lot like Tunney’s Empire Records costar Debi Mazar. And, hey, maybe if I had watched this back when it came out I would have liked it, but The Craft is a snoozefest. Ten minutes in, I knew the plot: new girl joins coven, she’s got real power, they start using it, things start getting out of control, the new girl tries to get them to stop, the other girls turn on her and she wins in the end. And hey, I was right. Plus, it was over-long. I’m a big believer that horror movies should be at a tight 90 minutes and this is 101, all of those extra minutes could have and should been cut.
I did like a few things. The actresses were all pretty. That was nice to see. But seriously, it’s always fun to see familiar actors in different roles, though I wish they wouldn’t have been so one-note. Skeet Ulrich was also in this, which is interesting because he was also in the other big 1996 horror movie, Scream, which I reviewed recently. Oh, Brekcin Meyer’s in it too and he was actually really funny. The weirdest appearance for me was Christine Taylor as the racist girl who picks on Mary Jane and actually calls her a neogroid. I think my jaw was on the floor for a full on minute and THEN I realized that it was one of my all time crushes (and one of the funniest actresses around) saying it. So weird and not okay.
Oh, hey, also, I went to a private Catholic high school and there’s no way you can get away with all of the uniform violations these kids do. Shirts hanging out, some people wearing ties, others not, short skirts. We’d get a demerit for that kind of stuff (well, not the skirt thing, it was an all guy school). The volume also jumps up and down in really annoying places, which makes it hard for me to watch this while the missus is sleeping. Uncool. All in all, if you somehow missed out on The Craft the first time around, don’t bother.