Archive for August 25th, 2005

Lipstick and Dynamite

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Well I should get this out of the way upfront, there is no actual dynamite in this movie, or explosions of any literal kind. What this is is another wrestling documentary. It is not nearly as good as BEYOND THE MAT or my favorite, HITMAN HART: WRESTLING WITH SHADOWS, because it’s done mostly in that tv special kind of way with talking head interviews and Ken Burns style photo montages. (There is not all that much footage of the era they focus on.) But it’s a different and interesting angle on the wrestling topic. This one is all about lady wrestlers, told through interviews with a group of elderly women that used to do the deed back in the golden age.

Most of these women looked like b movie stars when they were young, but they were tough ladies with names like Gladys “Killem” Gillem, and as we know from the other wrestling documentaries, even if it’s fake, it’s a dangerous sport/artform/opera that destroys the body of pretty much anybody who does it long enough to be successful. (read the rest of this shit…)

Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

This is a documentary about something I never heard of before, one of the first pay cable channels, one for movie buffs. This was in Los Angeles of course and started in the ’70s, before home video. The movie focuses on the obsession and tragic life of Jerry Harvey, who was the programmer for most of the time the channel existed.

This guy starts out watching the channel at home, writing a letter to complain about their programming choices and how he thinks they should do it. They end up liking his ideas and hiring him, and he becomes a force, one of those ones that you have to reckon at or whatever. He starts playing foreign films, forgotten masterpieces, movies he loves that he thinks were unfairly panned. He makes friends with Sam Peckinpah, Robert Altman, Michael Cimino (they don’t mention Thunderbolt and Lightfoot though) and guys like that, using his connections to get movies nobody else knew were out there. He creates an event out of the director’s cut of the Wild Bunch. The director’s cut of The Leopard. Which it turns out is not about a leopard, but some kind of prince or somebody. The way the movie tells it, this guy singlehandedly turned around the reputation of Heaven’s Gate by showing the director’s cut. Same thing with Once Upon A Time In America. They interview James Woods and he says how the critic Sheila Benson called the theatrical release one of the worst movies of the year, then after seeing the director’s cut called it one of the best of the decade. (I’ve only seen the bastardized version and I thought it was great – can’t wait til I have 4 hours free.) (read the rest of this shit…)