Sunday, May 27, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Revisited

In theaters no less!  After writing this original post way back in 2011, one of the kind folks at The Super Mario Bros. The Movie Archive found it, reached out and asked if I'd like to post my article on their site for their followers, since they're all big fans of the movie.  Even though it wasn't exactly a glowing review, they appreciated the overall idea of the post.  It took us a while to get around to it, but eventually it made it onto their message boards.

Not long after that, they told me about a screening they were having here in Los Angeles, with special guests, and kindly invited me to come.  I agreed and dropped in to see the movie in the theater, a totally new experience from my original viewing on cable at home in the early 90s.

It wasn't a completely sold out show, but the number of fans that turned out was pretty impressive.  And the movie definitely has its fans, some of whom I chatted with in line.  They all said, or I overheard, that the movie is part of their childhood.  Some were more gamer types than others, but I did meet one other person who had a hard time connecting the fungus shown in the movie to the mushroom power ups in the games.  Also, a fellow girl in line noted that she had a John Leguizamo crush when she saw the movie too.  See, it's not as weird as some people might think!

The organizers at The Super Mario Brothers The Movie Archive were also able to score some props and costumes from the movie for the lobby displays.  It's always fun to see that stuff up close.  Check out the pictures:

 A King Koopa T-Rex mold

Princess Daisy's dress from the film.  Seems short here on the mannequin, but it was average length on the actress in the movie.

One of the final King Koopa transformations.  Scared the life out of me as a kid.  Slightly less intimidating in person, but still impressively detailed.  Check out the drool!

The jumping boots!  Apparently better known as Thwompers or Thwomp Stompers.  They look like tricked out moon boots to me, but they let you fly, so I'm not going to judge.

After some vintage, probably 70s era no smoking and no talking ads (Tarantino would have loved them!), we got to the intros from Ryan Hoss and Steven Applebaum, explaining a little how their site came together and how, though the movie isn't widely known as a cult classic it in the traditional sense, it's got a good sized fan base. 

Then they introduced our special guest, production designer David L. Snyder, who has also worked on other movies like Pee Wee's Big Adventure and Blade Runner.  He commented a little on how, even though creative control and concepts changed hands a few times up to and including Disney's involvement, most of his designs stayed the same.  He added that, even though it was "flawed...At least they made the movie."  And really, when you work in TV and movies, sometimes you just want to know it gets made.  He also added that he doesn't always like watching his own movies because when he sees them at first, he just thinks of all the things he would have done differently or changed, but he was ready to see it now for the first time in ages.

And with that, we were off and running with the movie!

I, obviously, had forgotten a lot of details that happened in the movie, like just how silly some of the puns or one liners were.  But the best, most ridiculous thing that I forgot was Dancing Goombas!  Mario and Luigi take an elevator to find Daisy, but it fills up with Goombas, the lizard people security guards in the movie.  I'm still not sure I understand the logic, other than it serves as a distraction, but Luigi gets them all swaying back and forth to some elevator music in just about the weirdest scene in the movie.  I mentioned that I was going to see this movie again to a friend, and his reaction was "The dancing Goombas!"  Check out the link to see what we mean:

They even have a follow up gag at the end with someone radioing in to Dennis Hopper, "Sir, the goombas are dancing again!"  Very silly, and the crowd whooped and cheered for the scene in the theater.

I also forgot that John Leguizamo takes his shirt off when they're stuck in the desert outside the dino-people city, and he looks pretty good.  That one was, clearly, for the ladies.

There's even more, so let's run through the list real quick like:

-They did indeed play Walk the Dinosaur during the dance club scene.  This song is fantastic, no matter what context you hear it in.

-Daisy and Luigi go on a double date with Mario and his girlfriend, and neither dress up AT ALL.  She's still wearing her palentologist gear, and he's in his t-shirt and hoodie from earlier.  Meanwhile, Mario is rocking a suit and his date is in a (for the 90s) nice dress.
-Maybe it's because it was just goofy, but Daisy and Luigi run in on Mario in an undershirt and boxers asking for help with a major plumbing problem.  He gets deathly serious and says, "Let's do this!" or something along those lines, and it just struck everyone in the audience as hilarious.
-Dennis Hopper's Koopa was a huge germaphobe.  Never understood why, just some weird character quirk
-Yoshi, the pet dinosaur in the movie, was creepy-cute! 
-Not creepy-cute, but just plain creepy?  Dennis Hopper hitting on Daisy.
-The two goofy thugs, one of which is played by Fisher Stevens.  They start off stupid, get a brain upgrade, and then speak intelligently, but are still more or less dumb.  I forgot they were in the movie, but I liked all their silly business.
-It has literally nothing to do with anything else going on, but Dennis Hopper orders a pizza at one point in the movie, and it actually comes up again a couple times.  First, he demands to know where his pizza is, and then before he's defeated, someone radios in "Sir, your pizza's here!" and he yells, "Not now!"
-Everyone died laughing at this, but at one point Luigi sees a little mushroom sprouting from the fungus that kind of turns to follow them as they're passing by.  He says, "I think it's trying to communicate with us!"  And then he YANKS it off the wall.  Look, Luigi, it can't keep communicating with you if you KILL IT. 

Did my overall opinion of the movie change?  Not really.  But I have to credit the guys at The Super Mario Bros. website for putting together a really fun evening and bringing an old childhood favorite for many to the big screen again.  There's nothing better than having the right crowd at a movie screening because it becomes such a great communal experience.  Everyone's sitting in the dark, reacting to something onscreen, laughing, cheering, screaming, and crying.  And it's always a fun opportunity to see something on the big screen that you haven't seen there in years, or that you've only ever seen on TV.  Watching something at home definitely has its perks, but seeing it in the movie theater is always better.  This movie hasn't been on screen in theaters for 19 years, so it was a great chance for fans to to relive their memories or enjoy a whole new viewing experience.

The guys at the Super Mario Bros. Movie Archive site are taking the show on the road with screenings in Wilmington, NC (where they shot some of the movie), and Seattle in the very near future.  Check their site for more information:  

Up next, the most obscure movies I've ever seen on HBO, including another one starring John Leguizamo!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And I'm Victoria!

Well, I've been running a little heavy on horror movies these past few posts.  Let's get a little lighter and talk about something really fun: Spice World!

Is Spice World the best movie of all time?  Of course not.  But is it damn fun?  Absolutely!  It's so silly in that British way that I just love, and the movie knows it's not out to accomplish anything grand.  It's of course a retread of A Hard Days Night with the Spice Girls running around London, singing, dancing, and trying to be good friends while enduring the pressures of fame.

I used to really love the Spice Girls when I was a kid, but I think everyone did.  Come on, when you hear the start of this, doesn't it just brighten your day a little?

I remember my best friend and I wanting to see it in theaters really badly, but somehow we never got around to it.  Or rather, our parents never got around to getting us there.  But after the movie came out on video, my dad got me some kind of advanced copy from a work associate of his, which is especially impressive because he didn't even work in entertainment (nice string pulling Dad!).  The only problem with the video was, because it was some promotional advanced copy, a watermark message would scroll across the screen from time to time with dire warnings about not copying or distributing it.  But it didn't matter because you could still see the movie, and I got to see it early on beautiful VHS.

Spice World is just campy as all get out, full of celebrity cameos, and really fantastically silly moments, plus Spice Girls music (which may or may not be your favorite thing).

This is, easily, my favorite part of the movie though:

Victoria, aka Posh Spice, is actually suprisingly funny in this movie.  She'll never be a great comedienne, but she nails whatever they give her here.  She does her goofy stuff with a straight face, and the mash up between her "Posh Spice" cool, aloof persona and the wacky goings on around her make her a sort of straight man, but a disdainful, idiotic one.

Someone helpfully did a super cut of all her moments (this person also has too much time on their hands).  Among the "highlights," I think I like it best when she refuses the obstacle course at the 2:00 mark and prissily walks past it in her heels and tiny dress (which is so short, you'll notice she has to keep yanking it down).

(Skip the bus scene at the end of the clip for the moment, there's more on that later)

My second favorite part is the capper to a running gag they had going.  In the movie, the Spice Girls manager, played awesomely by Richard E. Grant, is hearing movie pitches from two Hollywood guys, played by Mark McKinney (of Kids in the Hall Fame) and George Wendt.  Each pitch has been increasingly ridiculous, such as suggesting a movie where Sporty Spice would try to win a skiing championship to save the girls if she could just get over her crippling fears of heights, skiis, and snow.

The final pitch they deliver is a self aware tie in with the plot of the movie, which is essentially that they have to get to the concert in time, but of course there are Hollywood "rules" they have to follow and a chase ensues.  Richard E. Grant listens to the insane description of everything happening (while we viewers see it as it's happening), and then when they don't rush through the door as promised in the pitch, he shouts "YOU LIED!" and tries to choke Mark McKinney.  The unexpected intensity of his reaction is what sells the joke for me.

Long story short, watch the first three minutes of this clip to get the idea.  You can also stick around and watch them perform "Spice Up Your Life" while everyone dances, including Roger Moore.  I know I just did.

The movie serves as a silly time capsule of 90s fashion and pop culture, and captures a moment when the group was at the absolute height of their fame.  They must have known they wouldn't be around forever (brief reunion tour not withstanding), so why not preserve some of that in a way that includes Meat Loaf making a less than timely "I Would Do Anything For Love" joke?

The movie never takes itself seriously, and it was never meant to.  Some of the jokes are simple or even lame, but I think the more unexpected ones (like the few shown above) are really fun and keep it from being completely terrible.  It's a ridiculous movie with a ridiculous premise, a slip of a plot, and no major character development, but that's not the point.  It was never going to be a grand cinematic outing, it was going to be a fun movie about a fun group of girls with stock personalities driving around in what appears to be Dr. Who's TARDIS disguised as a double decker bus (remember, it's bigger on the inside) getting into vignette adventures with the likes of Hugh Laurie, Alan Cumming, Stephen Fry, Bob Hoskins, and Elton John.  And damn it, I like it.

Plus, Richard O'Brien, better known as Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, appears as a nefarious paprazzo.  I'm not saying he didn't do it for money, because let's face it they all did, but if you have the creator of probably the best known camp movie ever showing up in your campy version of A Hard Days Night, well I think that serves as an unwritten seal of approval.

So, if you're feeling a like watching something light and want to do the equivalent of dumping cotton candy on your brain, revisit Spice World.

And remember, there's always room for wacky photo shoots!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peaches? Peaches!

I was going to originally write this post about seeing the movie Selena for the first time and learning about her life, and other more serious ruminations. But I'm saving that for another post where I can pay her and the film its proper respects.

Because I just found out that the movie Amityville 1992: It's About Time is on YouTube in full.

Backstory on the Selena/Amityville connection: I was at a good friend's slumber party when I was in middle school, and both movies were in the stack of videos for the night. Why both were in the rotation I have no idea, but any good girls' slumber party should have a mix of laugh inducing horror and tear jerking romance or weepies.

Amityville 1992: It's About Time, is about a CLOCK from the Amityville house that wreaks havoc on a family. And it's pretty much as amazing as it sounds (if you love terrible horror movies and making fun of them as I do).

There are three things that I distinctly remember about this movie, apart from all the laughter.

The first that leaps to mind features an old lady looking for her dog, crying out, "Peaches? Peaches?" At some point, the dog has been eaten by a pool drain, and the lady is about to make a nasty discovery.

Check it out, starting at 3:50. And brace yourself, it's pretty gross.

Now, you might say, "You terrible girls, how could you laugh at that poor dog and old lady?" Well, as you may have guessed the movie itself is pretty silly. Something about the voice yelling "Peaches" over and over, and the timing of the sound effect just sent us into peals of laughter. And the dog's name is Peaches for crying out loud.

Secondly, we were all beyond skeeved out when the daughter of the family becomes possessed and decides to seduce this kid.

That's her brother by the way. Believe me, I re-watched a couple scenes from earlier in the film to try to make it less nasty and say, "Oh, well she's his step-sister, so it's only slightly creepy." But re-watching the opening scenes has made it unfortunately clear that they share DNA.

Finally, our heroine is able to undo everything the evil clock did and the movie starts over. At that point, she beats the hell out of the clock and walks out, but not before this amazing exchange:

"What was that all about?"
"It's about time, that's what!"

You need to jump to about the 7:57 mark to enjoy it:


Many thanks to Water Cooler Films on YouTube for hosting the shorter chunk of the movie.

But don't you think it might be worth it to watch it in all its glory?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

We Gotta Find A Place to Crash!

I used to really love going to the video store. In fact, I miss going to the video store. I miss wandering from section to section, picking up titles based on the covers and reading the backs, trying to decide if I'd be interested in it. Sometimes, you could find some real gems, something you overlooked when it was in theaters or just flat out never heard of.

And other times, you find some fantastically amazing crap.

For years, every time my best friend and I would go into the local video store, we would always see this box cover:

So, it's an art film then?

It intrigued, it bewildered, it tantalized, and it made us ask just what the heck was this movie? No matter who we were with, we'd ask, "Can we rent this?" And it was always met with, "Ha ha, very funny guys. No." We knew as long as we couldn't rent videos without a parent, we weren't going to see it. But we'd always look at it, every time, without fail.

"One day," we'd say. "One day."

And then, sometime around the start of college, we did it. We rented Motel Hell. It was tucked in along with a handful of other cheesy horror movies, our favorite for sleepovers and birthday parties. I remember we didn't end up watching it until morning, but, in so, so many ways, it was worth the wait.

Motel Hell is the classic story of a farmer and his sister, who either kidnap people from their motel, or cause their cars to crash off the road for their human sausages. They keep the people in the ground, buried up to their necks with their vocal chords cut so they can't scream, and keep them hypnotized until they're processed into "Farmer Vincent's Fritters." But one day, a young couple are caught in the trap. Farmer Vincent becomes smitten with the little lady, and she does in return. Farmer Vincent's sister is jealous/flat out crazy and is really committed to the whole "cannibal sausage" plan, eventually threatening Farmer Vincent's beloved. At some point another young man joins the equation, creating one of the weirdest love triangles in horror history.

It's just so hard to decide between the admittedly bland but far less murderous younger man and the incredibly creepy, cannibal farmer and his sister.

Our heroine is pretty game to hook up with Farmer Vincent, and it's just really weird. Of course, as these romances do, it all kind of falls apart when she discovers the horrible secret and is almost turned into sausage by his sister. She escapes with the indistinguishable young guy while the people in the ground bust out and attack Farmer Vincent and his sister. I'm pretty sure everyone dies with the exception of our heroine and the random young man.

Perhaps justifiably, there aren't many video clips of the movie online, except this trailer.

The grainy quality coupled with the surprisingly graphic shots for a trailer really don't do justice to how supremely silly everything in the movie actually is. You can also spot a few shots of the van for the band Ivan and The Terribles, who are responsible for the best scene in the entire movie.

The driver of the van is a very Rasputin-looking member of the band Ivan and The Terribles. The scene shows the band smoking weed, drinking, and generally being an awesome late 70s band. I forgot exactly what prompts it, but the driver says, "We gotta find a place to crash."

And then the van crashes.

Maybe you had to be there, or have to actually see the scene, but by God it is one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. The timing of it is absolutely amazing, and the look of the band just adds to the overall impact of what I'm guessing wasn't supposed to be a joke, but ended up hilarious anyway. They of course become part of the Farmer Vincent garden patch, but are also around at the end for the cannibal vegetable attack.

So if you're ever wandering around one of the last of the video stores, looking for something strange and hilarious, I recommend Motel Hell.

Is that a garden of people? Oh, Motel Hell, wonders never cease!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are You Scared Yet?

I love horror movies. I love being scared. But unfortunately, this is what happens every time:

Credit for the image goes to Ali Brosh over at Hyperbole and a Half. Her blog is amazing, please check it out!

That is what my roommate walked into when I was about halfway through Insidious.

Roommate: Are you okay?
Me: The only reason I didn't scream at you when you came in was because I heard keys in the door, and ghosts don't use keys.
Roommate: Okay...
Me: Now hurry up and do whatever you gotta do because they're finally explaining what the hell is going on.

For the entirety of Insidious, I had that blanket right up to my face, as if that was the one thing that would protect my from the terrifying things on screen.

Hey, this blanket protection is working out pretty---OH JEEZ, OH GOD, OH NO, OH CRAP!,

I've always been easily startled, kind of like a deer. But there's a big difference between being startled and being really truly scared. I've been startled plenty of times during horror movies. I've rarely been truly scared.

The Amityville Horror remake starring Ryan Reynolds is an excellent example of things startling me, but not really scaring me. I saw the movie in the theater with my friends in college because, hey Ryan Reynolds is hot and we were bored. I think it was the opening weekend for the movie, because everybody was reacting really big, and there were lots of people in a giggly mood. Amityville isn't a truly terrible movie, but it is open to some Mystery Science Theater 3000 style mockery, something I was on a bit of a roll with that evening. Mind you, I'm not shouting it out loud at the screen because I don't want to get kicked out, but I'm whispering them to my friends and we're adding to the silly mood and overall energetic atmosphere of the theater.

Some highlights included:

I'm a crazy lumberjack and I'm okay....

And, in response to the slutty babysitter offering to make out with her teenage charge:

How about NO, you big ole' ho!

Admittedly, you may have had to be there to get the full effect, but you get the gist. The crowd is wacky, the movie is alternately silly and startling (not scary), but everybody is in the right mood. On the flip side of my snarky commenting, I was gasping like a startled Southern lady and flinching like a cat on a counter who just got caught when I saw stuff like this:

This movie is too silly by half--DON'T TURN AROUND KID, OH DEAR GOD!

And then the ending rolls around. The family has escaped. Ryan Reynolds is back to being hot and not crazy (but still crazy hot). All is well. They cut back to the spooky Amityville house, with spooky little ghost girl standing in the foyer. She primal screams and they flash cut between all the scary images from the movie, and then it all stops. She's just standing there. Just. Standing. There. For what feels like an eternity on screen. I mutter to my friends, "Oh man, I bet something grabs her, and I'm going to just flip the heck out."

Wait for it, waaaaaaaaaait for it.....

About two seconds after I say that, hands pop out of the floor and yank her by the ankles into the house, forever. You can join in the jump scares at this link (sorry, they wouldn't let me embed it).

I responded with a hearty startled scream, followed by a manly, "God Dammit!" and finally boisterous laughter from myself, my friends, and I think a few people around us. It was an expression of relief that the tension was over, surprise at my girly scream, and then good 'ole self mockery. And I left the theater laughing with my friends, rather than scared of the idea of a ghost girl and hands popping out of the floor to grab me in the night.

But Rosemary's Baby? That actually scared me. It's very creepy, very unsettling, and it sticks with you after you've turned it off and moved on to something else.

What gets me is that Rosemary is sure something is wrong, and she's somewhat vocal about it. But with everyone telling her, "You're fine, what are you worrying about, you're fine, listen to us, we know better," she doesn't trust her own instincts. And by the time she really starts asserting herself and fighting back, it's too late and the next thing you know she has the devil's son in her arms. That sense of being the one sane person trapped in a room full of crazy people (or devil worshipers as the case may be) and no one listening to you...yikes, no thank you.

Also, never, ever accept tannis root from your overbearing elderly neighbor. She probably worships the devil and wants to get you demon pregnant.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And For My Next Trick!

Welcome back, hope everyone had a good winter break and rang in the new year with style.

I spent my vacation catching up on movies and finishing off last entry's cliff hanger by watching Death Defying Acts. And, well, I didn't die watching it, but I wouldn't say I thrived.

I think the biggest misstep the movie made was trying to have its story both ways. It starts off with Benji (Saorsie Ronan), the daughter of Catherine Zeta-Jones' Scottish medium, Mary, describing that she has a gift to see things other people don't. But, she says, as she's grown up, she's lost the gift just as her mother said she would. So they set it up straight from there that they are not magically psychic, but maybe they kinda are? It's confused from the start.

Then they show that mother and daughter are con artists, with Mary doing literally everything from pick pocketing and music hall performance, to letting randy librarians peek up her skirt. Benji is her accomplice in most of this, especially the music hall performance, where they perform a standard issue psychic show. They present a man with a watch from his dead wife "on the other side" (which is of course a watch they had earlier fished out of his pocket).

Is your name Mark, by any chance?

Houdini arrives in Edinburgh and presents the big challenge: He will award $10,000 to any medium who can tell him the last words his mother spoke to him on her death bed, proving his skepticism wrong and the Spiritualists right.

Cue hilarious montage of people applying for the test while a bored Houdini watches. Then Mary shows up, and spouts off some generic details about his mother that Houdini's manager, Sugarman, calls shenanigans on immediately. And though he agrees, Houdini is instantly like "HER! I WANT HER TO DO THE TEST! AND IT'S CERTAINLY NOT BECAUSE SHE'S SMOKIN' HOT."

Schwing! She's the hottest medium ever.

This comes off as a huge issue to me. Mary is routinely called out by the manager for being a scam artist, yet Houdini would have been the loudest decrier of everything she did. But in the movie, he's so smitten with her that he's taking her to dinner, dancing with her, frolicking with her and Benji, and all around utterly forgetting his carefully cultivated image that he falls for a major deception that I don't think he would have ever fallen for. But more on that later.

I couldn't get a screen cap or find the image, but the musicians in this scene are blindfolded for no good reason, other than to add mystery to Houdini. But really, it just makes it look like he's going to kill her later because he's a complete lunatic.

Houdini and Mary fall in love, bond over being poor (or formerly poor in Houdini's case) and get to know each other well, which Mary warns against since it could be considered "cheating" when it comes to the test. And all the while, she's uncertain about if she should go through with it. Benji and Sugarman urge her on, and Sugarman even sneaks her the key to the mysterious trunk in Houdini's room that holds the secrets to Houdini's personality and the secret to guessing his mother's final words.

The trunk contains Houdini's mother's wedding dress, photos and other mementos. Then they go down the weird path that a lot of Houdini stories want to go and point out, "Hey, his mom looked a lot like you Catherine Zeta-Jones!" They even say "He doesn't want me, he wants his mother!" and other things to basically imply that Houdini was obsessed with his mom, in the extreme Freudian sense (think cigars and tunnels). To get rid of the meddlesome Scots and get his client back on the road, Sugarman tells them the secret to Houdini's mother's final words: Harry was touring when his mother passed away, and so there were no final words that he would have personally heard. That is very true, and was in fact one of the biggest regrets of his life.

To really drive home the ick factor, the day of the test, Mary wears Harry's mom's wedding gown, to "channel the energy." Like Houdini would have EVER believed that!

You want me to WHAT at the test?

Mary starts the test by entering like she's walking down the aisle, like some kind of sick wedding ceremony. I understand their point, but I think this was a little much. Mary sits in a chair, and starts referring to Harry as Ehric (his real first name) and acting very possessed. Abruptly, she decides she can't do it, and hops out of the chair. Everyone is shocked, and that's when Benji drops to the ground and starts speaking in German-accented English. "Ehric, where are you? I need you Ehric, Why are you not come to me?" she asks. Harry gets on his knees in tears and apologizes in German and English to his mother. Then Benji sits up and cryptically warns him to beware of the angel with fire red hair, the sun will go black and to be careful.

The test ends and reveals to the press that Houdini was never at his mother's side when she died. And Houdini seems to buy ever moment of Benji's demonstration, and it's fairly convincing, since to Houdini's knowledge, Benji's never claimed to be a medium. But having read everything I read and having seen some of his correspondence in museums, it's hard to believe that he would have ever been taken like that. I feel like he would have found out that Sugarman leaked the information. Also, Harry's mother spoke NO English. None at all. And Benji's performance featured a lot of English from the ghost of dead woman who only spoke German.

Anyway, they win the money and Houdini and Mary have sex. Then he leaves in the morning for Montreal. Benji and Mary watch him go, and Benji mentions that she did the little poem about the angel just like her mother told her to, indicating that it was all a fake and they successfully duped Houdini. Mary walks away sadly, lamenting the great love lost.

THEN they go another step and have Benji narrate that the psychic ability she claimed to have lost in the beginning, she never really lost. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhh!

The movie is still not over at this point by the way, and they begin the sad montage Houdini in Montreal, greeted by spectators. Meanwhile, Mary and Benji are presenting themselves as psychics in Edinburgh. The clock strikes noon. Mary faints. As she faints, a red headed man in Montreal (hey! angel with fire red hair coming full circle audience!) comes through the crowd and delivers the fatal blow to Houdini. He dies on the steps of the theater in Montreal (not true). Sometime later, Benji and Mary are watching a newsreel on Houdini's death, crying silently in the movie theater.

You've been a fantastic audience!

So, Benji was faking being psychic by being actually psychic and successfully fooling Houdini with her mother's help. WHAT?

I understand that the filmmakers were aiming to get past the man, the myth, the legend, but the myth and the legend were heavily cultivated by the man himself. He was his own greatest hype man. If he were a rapper, he would somehow magically be the guy on his own song shouting, "YEAH!" and "WHAT!" at every opportunity. The manager shuttles him around and seems to be very controlling of Houdini, when I've never had that impression. As the manager points out, Houdini was spreading the message that he had been there and heard the final words, so the movie is aware that he's his own hype man, but it seems to downplay how incredibly skilled he was at it. They made it seem almost more like he was just a pathological liar instead of a savvy showman.

It also committed the same sin that every magic movie ever makes.

Mary: How did you do that?
Houdini: Magic!

You've gotta be kidding me. To quote a superior magic movie, "A real magician tries to invent something that's new!" (The Presitge will be an entry unto itself, believe me.)

So concludes part two of the Houdini two-parter on Oh My God Rewind That! It was worth checking out since it's the only modern Houdini movie I'm aware of, and didn't receive much attention in America. Which is odd, considering how American Houdini and his persona were.


Up next, I'll look at the joys of horror movies, Disney, the mafia, and the saddest movie ever.

And look for more regular posting, I promise this time!