Sammy the Seal

Archive for the ‘celluloid’ Category

“We’re not like underpants– we’re people! We’re not supposed to be perfect!”

In celluloid, experience on Monday, 11 June, 2012 at 14:36

Not that its essential to the plot but if you’re familiar with the old Hanes® commercials, the premise makes more sense. This is only one of three I found online:

And from that, comes the wisdom of those lines and of Pete And Pete. Oh, imagination, where have you gone to? Poor kids today. I think I was no longer a part of the Nickelodeon set when this came out, but I remember this one, because of the greatness of those lines and the premise this one. Offbeat, but well-written, with a good “message” (I hate that word) too. I’m also partial to this one because I am a functional eater and therefore not always picture perfect and mannered and clean, and Nona’s (adorable little Michelle Trachtenberg) slightly didactic, but true, admonishment that “you’re supposed to use your hands!” vindicates me. If you’re not going to take her word, take Little Pete’s then: “eating perfectly is imperfect.” I think the barbecue scene at the end is actually kinda sweet. The end credits song by Solaris (who did the theme song) is a nice, melodic, 90s-jangly bookend.



“Did you ever want to see a pterodactyl?”

In celluloid on Friday, 6 April, 2012 at 11:52

“You been goofin’ with the bees?”
“Here’s the lick–”
“You see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear.”
“I feel you been getting some negative vibration from some place, you gotta collect yourself. Be cool. Be steady as a rock.”

Right on, thanks, man. I love this guy.

(I don’t know what is is, but his snore amuses me. That, and Arrow’s rascally animation. Keep digging.)

“Come on down, I’ll chew on a dog!”

In celluloid, funny ha ha on Thursday, 29 March, 2012 at 22:14

Has it really been twenty years since the days of videotaping movies off of pay-per-view? Yes, Beetlejuice, you were one of the first, you’ll always have a special place set aside. Granted, I haven’t seen it in full in probably 15 or so years, so I don’t know how amused I’d still be. I’m still laughing at these clips, so I have a good feeling. Michael Keaton is wonderfully psycho, what a great character. His hick routine here is still funny. Notice he doesn’t know how to lasso that well. I love the little song at the end, the spot would just not work without it.

What a wonderful, perverted, scuzzball of a lout. It should be noted that this movie was rated PG, and yet in this clip we have Beetlejuice stroking himself (which I never caught until today) and the immortal “hey, nice fuckin’ model!” Bonus points for his awkward, nancy run up the hill when he’s inviting them in for dinner.

And finally, some parting words from the bio-exorcist himself: “go ahead, make my millennium.”

“We had a time, oh what a time”

In celluloid, music videos, vinyl on Monday, 26 March, 2012 at 19:29

I think this song is the best one in the movie, it’s by far the most memorable (comparatively and personally/historically). Just on its own, it’s a great, sweet all-too-brief little number. It’s not just the nostalgia talking, it’s the warm songwriting and the gentle, comforting vocal tones. I dare you to listen to this and not smile and repeat the hooks. I always liked the animated mouth singing “why-yi-yi”, it was animated so strangely and goofily. Or maybe a disembodied mouth singing with a wide smile is inherently amusing.

Song: Are You Sleeping?
Artist: Harry Nilsson
Album: The Point

Why it cuts off at 2:18, I don’t know, but according to the album listing, that’s how long it is. I guess it just bleeds into the next track or something. Somehow, it actually doesn’t sound that jarring, despite the abrupt end. It must be magic. Well, maybe they could’ve faded it out a bit more smoothly. Evidently, Harry Nilsson had story credit on the movie, too. Story and songs, I had no idea he was so involved. I just remember knew he was the guy who did the songs, most notably this simplistic, innocent, playful, yet strangely wistful song. Gosh, I’m turning all soft now.

“Are you sleeping?
Can you hear me?
Do you know if I am by your side?
Does it matter if you hear me?
When the morning comes, I’ll be there by your side

And in the morning when I wake up
she may be telling me goodbye (la la la la)
And in the evening if we break up
I’m wondering why

There was a time we had a time, there was a time we had a time
There was a time, there was a time when you were mine
We had a time, we had a time, we had a time oh what a time
There was a time, there was a time when you were mine

And in the evening if we go out
night time will find us at the show (la la la la)
Oh, we may decide to stay inside
you never know

Are you sleeping?
Can you hear me?
Do you know if I am by your side?
Does it matter if you hear me?
When the morning comes I’ll be there by your side”

Me And My Green Blazing Arrow

In celluloid, music videos, vinyl on Sunday, 25 March, 2012 at 23:57


Song: Green Arrow
Artist: Yo La Tengo
Album: I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

I can identify most of the songs in my library during the first few seconds, yet every time I hear this unassuming, ambient, evening-tinged bit of instrumental balm, I wonder what and who it is. I check– it’s hipster icons Yo La Tengo! Lovely nonetheless. The song title then results in word association, and I am led to another seminal animated film from childhood, The Point. It’s from 1971, so it was kinda trippy, but not too wacky. After all, they showed it on the Disney Channel, which is where I first saw it, Alan Thicke narrating in place of the original Ringo Starr. The animation is a bit crude and simple, it’s during the songs that the animation starts to go into outer space (except for the one below). But, it’s still grounded in a way, it doesn’t feel psychedelic and indulgent. I don’t know too much about Harry Nilsson, but he did some pretty good songs for this. Did someone say “arrow”? (Yeah, I did.)


Song: Blazing Arrow
Artist: Blackalicious
Album: Blazing Arrow

Memorable enough that Blackalicious sampled it for a title track. Yes, it was pretty cool to hear the first time. Nice use of it too, and I’m not saying that because of nostalgia. It works well.

The Girls And Boys Of Rock And Roll

In celluloid, funny ha ha, music videos on Thursday, 22 March, 2012 at 12:23

Anyone who came of age in the 1980s ought to appreciate how great this is. The Chipmunk Adventure (1987) was full-length animated film featuring, of course, Alvin, The Chipmunks, and The Chipettes. The plot was all of them getting unwittingly involved in a global smuggling caper, punctuated by many silly and memorable musical numbers, like the one below. Look at the heart and imagination, the animation is so loose, with flair to spare. Every animation moment elicits a smile. It’s the good kind of cheesy. Fuck the corny-ass CGI version of The Chipmunks and fuck CGI (in general, not absolutely). If it doesn’t have Eleanor and Jeanette prancing-flying up the stairs, I don’t want it.

That’s just a good song. Innocuous, but good. Now, the real reason I’m here, is that a couple of years ago, some fantastic, fearless, and awesome people in Colorado Springs decided to re-create this song– dance moves, costumes, and all. If you didn’t grow up with it, it doesn’t seem so transcendent. Except it is. Well, even if you don’t know it, you have to give it up. Their faithfulness to the dance moves is nothing short of marvelous and inspiring. Hearty bravo, cheers, and thank you, gang:

(Sadly, and strangely, the movie is out of print. Ebay/used is the only way, for now. Well, at least the used price is decent.)

“…and my little hedgehog Humphrey”

In celluloid, experience, funny ha ha on Wednesday, 22 February, 2012 at 13:44

I know I’m old, but still, it’s hard to find someone I know (apart from siblings) who has heard of Pinwheel, Nickelodeon’s answer to Sesame Street that began in the early 1980s. (By the way, the two bees– or whatever– in the clip are there because it’s the only version of the intro that was good quality.) It was back when my parents would pay for cable, was having cable so special back in the 1980s? I actually think it was. I had a cousin who had Showtime, HBO, and the other premium channels, and I thought that was a pretty big deal.

I swear, the last great gasp in imagination, especially in children’s programming, happened in the 1980s. And it lasted all morning. Today’s Special was next in line at about 1pm or so. Apart from having puppets and marionettes and such, the show also featured animation and other international shorts, though the only names I can muster off the top of my head are Hattytown, Emily, Simon, and Paddington Bear. Jesus Christ, I’m going to start tearing up, just hearing the music. Not just the Pinwheel theme, but the Simon and Emily themes set my heart a-flutter– they’re so good! Back when theme music was as important and essential to the program.

Emily. Ah, Emily. Originally in French, this was dubbed into English for airing in anglophonic countries. A note about the video, the “yippee” visual was added by the author of the post, it was not in the original. God bless the little girl who sang the dubbed version of the theme song. I never knew what she said at the end, now I am utterly thrilled and overjoyed to learn that it’s “yippee!” Dressed all in red, but sometimes her gloves are green. Fuckin’ A, yes.

For kicks, I found the original French. Good lord, so much awesomeness, I might explode. I love you, Emilie/Emily. Quelle douceur. Les français, je vous remercie.

“Well, you know my name is Simon…” (Still fighting the tears….) I believe Simon In The Land Of The Chalk Drawings is a British creation, I never checked though. The theme song explains the premise, but a little explanation of the weird psychedelic thing at the end of the clip, is that climbing the ladder (mentioned in the song) is what took him over the wall into The Land Of The Chalk Drawings:

And finally, Hattytown! It appears that there is no theme song, just a spoken intro. Bless you again, British people.


“We just getting old”

In celluloid on Sunday, 5 February, 2012 at 23:58

No dissection or discussion here (though the quote is actually depressing in its profundity), just a tribute to one of my favorite character arcs from the entire series. It’s hard to choose, there are another two I can think of that certainly stick out, but I think this gets the top spot because of how unprepared and unexpectedly affected I was, especially the first time I saw it.

(These contain very minor plot points, but they actually spoil very little.)

“I don’t know, but it can’t be this”

In celluloid on Saturday, 28 January, 2012 at 22:14

Thank goodness– again, I didn’t know what I was going to do. It’s hard to find clips that don’t have potential spoilers. As always, you come up with something overlooked and unexpected, like so many other moments. There’s no one-liners, no posing, no cool, no flash to the scene. Just two favorite characters, Cutty and Slim Charles, holding it down. Of course, it’s hard to understand if you haven’t been on board with the story and the characters since the beginning of the series, but if you have, you know how much heart is in here. This scene exemplifies one of the cornerstones of the show, to me, anyway, which is that you can’t typify people, because you don’t know where they are from. Just because you think you know someone or something doesn’t mean you do.  Authority does not automatically equal good, street does not always equal thug. If you want to presume upon a person’s character from a cursory glance, just make sure to do so in your head, unless you want to open yourself to criticism, or expose yourself as closed-minded.

What’s impressive about the power of this scene, other than its simplicity, is knowing the context. The two soldiers here have just come from a hit, where one of them dropped a fucking 12- or 13-year-old kid, and yet, I am still moved– by the responsibility, the honesty, the respect, and, above all, the heart. The world may seem cold and shitty, but it can’t snuff out every flame.

“These bitches in here are no joke”

In celluloid, funny ha ha on Saturday, 21 January, 2012 at 22:52

Rather than showing more dramatic and ponderous material, I thought I’d get some light-hearted in here. The episode it’s from is pretty watershed itself, probably one of my favorites of all the seasons. I was thinking of a scene to put up, but spoilers and too much serious stood in my way. Then, a moment of “how could I forget that???” came to me.  As any fan of The Wire should tell you, it’s nigh impossible to single out any favorite episode, scene, line or moment, as there are so many to be found. If you asked someone about their favorite lines, I bet they’d forget this one. Even a top-ten list would be difficult, as this show is incredibly dense. A top-twenty might be possible. Anyway, this is yet another one to file under “that’s a good one, I forgot about that!”

For the record, the title of the video is incorrect. The stripper is not played by porn actress Nyomi Banxxx, it’s played by Toni Hunter. Either way, she’s a hoot. Despite my declaration last paragraph about the impossibility of superlatives, I think I can safely say here that she has the best cameo on the entire run. Two minutes of screen time as indelible for just one character would be hard to find. Of course, I could be wrong– this is The Wire.