Shitty Movie Sundays: When Time Ran Out, or, The Poseidon Volcano

Irwin Allen had been producing motion pictures for over twenty years before he wandered into the disaster genre. He had a pair of genre-defining hits with The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, but that was about all the water Allen could draw from that well before bringing up sludge. Next came The Swarm (dreadful), then Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (sickening), and finally When Time Ran Out. According to the internet, so it must be true, Paul Newman, star of When Time Ran Out, was once asked if he regretted making any film. He answered, “That volcano movie.” Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: When Time Ran Out, or, The Poseidon Volcano”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Disaster on the Coastliner

I miss movies like 1979’s Disaster on the Coastliner. Once upon a time, before they started getting killed by cable, American TV networks used to fill empty spots in their schedules with homegrown shitty movies. Turn on one of the networks on a Sunday night and there was likely to be some quickie disaster flick or an epic miniseries adaptation of a Gore Vidal or James Clavell novel. This stuff was absolute garbage but also absolutely unmissable. Shogun, North and South, The Thorn Birds, The Big One, The Day After...on and on. The networks developed a short-form storytelling pedigree that they seem to have abandoned overnight. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Disaster on the Coastliner”

The Empty Balcony: Patton

Some actors transcend the characters they play. Some become so familiar to us that no matter the effort we make, it is impossible to suspend disbelief, to see the performance before the performer. Such is the price of fame, at least from the perspective of the audience. As an example, think of Al Pacino’s portrayal of Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross. An incredible performance from a legendary American actor, seething with Pacino’s own brand of exuberance. That role, however, was where Pacino slipped into type. Moviegoers no longer see the characters he plays. They see Al Pacino, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Patton”