Friday, August 31, 2007


the opening credits

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Magnificent Seven

This is one of my favorite westerns and one of my favorite movie themes (I'm finally figuring out how to add videos to the blog) :)

During my recent western movie marathon, I rediscovered Burt Lancaster. Solid actor with definite screen prescence. He would be on my list of favorite male actors. He starred in many great films -- such as From Here to Eternity, Elmer Gantry, The Birdman of Alcatraz, and Field of Dreams.
Listed below are his top ten westerns as rated on IMBd:
1) Gunfight at O.K. Corral (1957)

2) The Professionals (1966)

3) Vera Cruz (1954)

4) The Unforgiven (1960)

5) The Hallelujah Trail (1965)

6) Ulzana's Raid (1972)

7) Apache (1954)

8) Lawman (1971)

9) Valdez is Coming (1971)

10) The Sclaphunters (1968)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jimmy Stewart has made some great movies -- such as Rear Window, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and The Philadelphia Story -- but I'm partial to his westerns.
Listed below are his top rated western movies according to IMBd.
1) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

2) The Shootist (1976)

3) How the West was Won (1962)

4) Winchester '73 (1950)

5) Destry Rides Again (1939)

6) The Naked Spur (1953)

7) Shenandoah (1965)

8) The Man from Laramie (1955)

9) Bend of the River (1952)

10) The Far Country (1954)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. "
from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Directed by John Ford
Starring John Wayne, James Stewart,
and Lee Marvin as Valance

Friday, August 24, 2007

I just discovered a new blog called Saddlebums WesternReview ( which talks about western novels and movies. There's a terific interview with author Brian Garfield. Check it out.
Meanwhile I've been having a western marathon around here. Not long ago I talked about The Outlaw Josey Wales being my favorite Eastwood western. Below are a few of the other "cowboy" movies I've been watching.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

and other joys of home ownership
A few months ago, I inherited a house. It's 30 years-old and in pretty good condition. (There's still a mortgage on it so I didn't get it free.) I've never owned my own home before. Always been a renter. Now I'm not. There's something cool about owning the place you live in. You can fix it up the way you want it and lenders suddenly "love" you. On the other hand, when something breaks or just wears out I want to call the landlord and have him/her repair it. I guess I could call my land line on my cell and leave a message for myself. Anyway, today I had a brand-new garage door installed. Looks like the one pictured except mine is dark brown in color. Felt good when I saw it done and the installer drove off with the old dilapidated one. Another home repair off the list. Yes, new garage door installed, front sprinklers replaced, wallpaper removed from master bedroom, master bedroom painted, guest room and guest bath done. Next is to finishing cleaning out the garage so I can park my car in the garage with the new door. Almost there. Then the carpets should be replaced and the front awning and its brick patio (is it still called a patio if it's in the front of the house?), and get grass to grow in that one pesky section of the backyard -- needs a backyard barbecue, too, and a hot tub for midnight skinny-dipping (need to find someone to skinny-dip with, too) and ... and ... and ...

Friday, August 17, 2007

I've always enjoyed these stories and wondered how they got started in the first place. Anyway, over at ( they've listed the Top Ten Most Enduring (I guess) urban legends from Hollywood. Stuff like sexual images in Disney cartoons, that the actors in The Blair Witch Project are still missing, that Brandon Lee's accidential death in The Crow was filmed and is shown in the released film, and in the background of the Yellow Brick Road scene in The Wizard of Oz a midget (or is it "little person" to be P.C.?) is seen hanging himself. I read one, however, that I'd never heard before. Jamie Lee Curtis was born with both sets of sexual organs. Huh? Oh-kay. I guess the only thing to say about that is to repeat the closing line from Some Like It Hot (which starred Jamie Lee's papa.)"Nobody's perfect."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Check out the article at MovieFone ( about the worst and most-overused cliches in action movies. It's fun.
Three of my favorites are: 1) when the hero dashes across an open field and the bad guys can't hit him when firing about a 100 rounds at him 2) when every blow to the head of a bad guy (usually a guard) knocks him instantly out -- just once I'd to see the bad guy grab the back of his head and start screaming in pain 3) when a group of bad guys jump the hero to beat him up and attack one-at-a-time -- that must be in the Bad Guy Etiquette Handbook.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I’m working on a new project. Part of the research has been watching westerns. (I know, a tough job but it has to be done.) Among current actors Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Robert Duvall, and Kevin Costner all do well in the genre. Heck, these men probably were cowboys in their past lives. The superstar among the still-making-movies group, however, is Eastwood. He cut his acting teeth as Rowdy Yates on the 50’s TV series Rawhide. He also made a few unremembered westerns in his youth as well as films like Francis (the Talking Mule) Joins the Navy. But Eastwood’s career took a giant leap in the mid-Sixties. He went to Italy and made a low-budget western with a guy named Sergio Leone called A Fistful of Dollars. Since then he’s been in nine more westerns and one of them won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. Here’s the list (The Beguiled, Paint Your Wagon and Coogan’s Bluff are not westerns really … two of them may take place in the general historical time period but they are not part of the genre. TB is a Civil War moody something and PYW is a bad musical. CB is a modern day western with a cowboy-goes-to-the-city scenario that is better in idea than in execution. The film just doesn’t hold up after all this time .)

Anyway, here’s the Eastwood western list:

A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Hang ‘em High
Two Mules for Sister Sara
Joe Kidd
High Plains Drifter
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Pale Rider

Unforgiven won the awards and may be Eastwood’s last word on the genre (I hope not but then I hope they'll continue Deadwood, too, over at HBO). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly holds the Number One spot on the IMDb viewers best western list. For me, The Outlaw Josey Wales is my favorite Eastwood western. Even with Sondra Locke in it, the movie is just totally cool.

Josey Wales: When I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long.
Lone Watie (played by the great Chief Dan George): I notice when you get to DISlikin' someone they ain't around for long neither.

Josey Wales: Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy.

Yep …

Thursday, August 09, 2007

I reviewed their list. 50 movies, 50 incredible sex scenes. Uhhh ... I hadn't seen most of the films listed. They were mainstream films by the way. Several I had seen but didn't recall them being especially memorable. On their list I only noted six (yeah, a measly half dozen) that I thought were unique and involving. Here's the six:
35. Network
Faye Dunaway and William Holden are doing the deed (as they used to say) and Dunaway talks about her job in TV programming the entire time.
24. The Cooler
When sad-guy loser William Macy makes love to Maria Bello its erotic and touching.
17. Body Heat
William Hurt throws the chair through the window and the passion explodes between him and Kathleen Turner. Oh, yeah.
10. Young Frankenstein
Never considered this movie erotic before. It's definitely one of the funniest films ever made. But, I guess, when Madeline Kahn submits to the lust of Peter Boyle's monster and goes from fear to orgasmic singing is erotic. Nah, it's just funny.
8. Secretary
The only movie I figured would be on the list and was. I'm not talking about this one.
2. A History of Violence
The IFC writers thought the angry sex on the stairs was the pivotal sex scene. I prefered the earlier one when Viggo Mortsensen and Maria Bello made "love" to each other after Maria seduced him by wearing her old cheerleader outfit. Sidebar: this was the only movie in my six where the lovers were also husband and wife.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Okay, now that I have your attention. IFC has listed what their writers feel are the "50" greatest sex scenes in cinema history at I haven't read the list yet but I will. Off the top of my head, I would include the "Wall of Jericho" scene in It Happened One Night, the "take it slow" scene from The American President, and (don't tell anyone) a couple of scenes from Secretary. My full report will come later when I can give my undivided attention to this IFC article that it deserves.

Friday, August 03, 2007

My friend, Melanie, passed through town the other day. I had dinner with her, her brother, step-daughter, and two nephews. It was fun. But the visit wasn't long enough.
She'll be back through town in two weeks and I'm hoping we will be able to work out a longer visit. We'll see.
Mel told me that she reads this blog and asked me if she was ever going to see her name on it sometime. So here it is: