Morning Call Sheet: Wooderson, Angels, and 'Fear of a Black Republican'

–FOUR TIMELESS COMEDIES HIT BLU-RAY TODAY–

Not sure why the Reuters headline calls the 1978 film “Animal House” an “80’s comedy,” but aren’t these the same idiots who forever label all-too expected bad economic news as “unexpected.”

Anyway, “Animal House, “The Blues Brothers, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” and “Dazed and Confused” are four of the best teen comedies made in the history of the genre and they arrive on Blu-ray today. Hunter Duesing has more on “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers” here, but the other two are just as note-worthy, especially “Dazed and Confused,” which I might have watched as often as twice a week for a couple of years.

The setting for “Dazed” (the late 70’s) is a little before my own person high school era, but as a grade-schooler, I remember those kids, the music, the feel, the vibe — and no movie has ever captured time better. Furthermore, thanks to a potent mix of self-deception and self-awareness, Matthew McConaughey’s tragic/pathetic Wooderson character is one of the all-time greats.

“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

I would also urge you to see the dark side of “Dazed and Confused,” an underrated 1979 classic appropriately titled “Over the Edge,” which is available on Netflix.

As far as “Fast Times,” what makes this one so timeless is a startling moral center that catches you completely off guard. If you had to boil down the film’s theme it would be that teenagers discover that loveless sex not only leaves you hollow inside but can lead to truly tragic consequences.

It’s also interesting to return to a time when we actually liked Sean Penn.

–“FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN” COMES TO DELAWARE THIS WEEKEND

Kevin Williams wrote a well-received article for us about his documentary film “Fear of a Black Republican,” and now those of you in the Delaware area will have an opportunity to see and support Williams this weekend.

More information here

–THE NEW “CHARLIE’S ANGELS” *YAWN*–

Something has happened to beauty over the last decade or so. Or maybe it’s just Hollywood’s taste in beauty. Obviously these new Angels are gorgeous head turners, but there’s also something generic and somewhat blah about them. There’s really nothing that draws you in, nothing that demands you do anything more than take a long look. The original Angels we’re obviously fine specimens in the department of physicality, but there was something more to their beauty. Part of it is a womanly maturity — they look like women who have lived a little, seen the world, and would have something to talk about. These new Angels look like they graduated from Hollywood High School and modeled for a few years before landing this “big break.”

To be fair, you can see the same thing in many of today’s “hottest” male stars. Same generic pretty-boy looks. Same lack of something more.

I realize I’m unfairly judging a book by its cover. But when it comes to casting and stardom, these things matter

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TODAY’S QUICK HITS

Lars Walker reviews Andrew Klavan’s “The Final Hour”

Harry Potter posts Biggest 2nd week decline in History of Blockbusters

Screen Rant has all your Comic-con News

Trying to care. Failing.

Trying to care. Failing.

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CLASSIC PICK FOR WEDNESDAY JULY 27, 2011

TCM:

1pm EST: Big Heat, The (1953) — A police detective whose wife was killed by the mob teams with a scarred gangster’s moll to bring down a powerful gangster. Dir: Fritz Lang Cast: Glenn Ford , Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando. BW-90 mins, TV-14, CC.

What a cast. What a movie. Dark, violent, tragic, intense, and intensely satisfying.

Lee Marvin steals the show as the sadistic gangster Glenn Ford’s homicide detective is determined to bring down, but it’s a flashy role, perfectly designed for him. In fact, it’s really Ford who does most of the heavy-lifting here as an unscrupulous but righteous cop boiling with rage and willing to do most anything to avenge the death of his wife. No one slow-burned like Glenn Ford.

A movie any lover of noir has to see, one of those films you hardly ever hear about that’s so well-crafted it should be used as an exhibit in directing and screenwriting courses.

Legendary director Fritz Lang jams so much story and character into 90-minutes you never see the seams and if Gloria Grahame doesn’t break your heart, you better check for your own pulse.

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