Friday, December 31, 2010

Anime Therapy, Yeah Right

                                                     Anime Therapy, Yeah Right


                                                                             Jay Agan

     A friend of mine was going to get married. Totally knocked over by this babe. He spoke in nothing but glowing terms & was bound & determined to spend the rest of his life with her.

     According to him, you couldn't find a more compatiple mate for him. So much alike, they were. Both PHDs & teachers. Both pretty much the same interests. He liked certain movies & shows. She liked certain movies & shows. He liked history. She liked history. He liked reading/litturature. She liked reading/litt. He liked girls. She liked ..... uh, yeah.

     Her wires must have gotten crossed while she was engaged in correspondance as he ended up recieving a rather explicit letter intended for her "girlfriend". In short, no wedding, gimme back the ring.

     Two years down the road, he drops by to kill some time. I, being something of a sadist, figured he'd gotten over it, thought I'd spring a little something on him. I told him I'd found something he might be interested in & popped the disc in.

     Dirty Pair Flash is a 90s anime reinvention of the original 80s show/series by Haruka Takachiho. Two young ladies, Kei & Yuri, work for a contractural police agency solving crimes with LOTS of collateral damage, hence the name, Dirty Pair.

     One of the three story arcs of the 16 ep series, Angels At Worlds End, involves solving a computer related industrial espionage situation at a planet wide theme park (For some strange reason it resembles Tokyo in the 90s. Why is that?) Along for the ride, is a young man (A computer systems tech/analyst.) named Touma.

     In the fourth & least violent ep of this arc (Sparkling Flower Shop of Love) Touma becomes madly infatuated with Leena, a young lady he meets at a flower shop when he & Yuri duck in to get out of the rain. In his pursuit of her, she inquires more than once about his relationship with Yuri (Wich is strictly professional.). This gets Touma even more fired up. It's only toward the end the viewer finds that it's Yuri Leena is "interested" in.

     It was to this ep I clicked & we sat to watch. At one point, he asked if this had anything to do with him &, with a straight face, I promptly lied (I am an "actor" after all.). He sat there with a semi-puzzled look & every so often I'd peripherally see him glancing my way with a cocked eyebrow.

     For most of the ep, it looks to be another of those dumb romance animes cluttering up the landscape. "Why on earth would anyone want me to watch this krap?" Why indeed. Heh, heh. I was inspired to do this by a former co-worker who once freaked out a poor soul with some yaoi hentai (gay anime porn).

     Well, the end comes around & he's there with a half frown/smirk on his face. He then busts out laughing along with the Kei character & her crude efforts to comfort Touma.

     I was a bit concerned as to how he would take this, but, as he has a sense of humor, he took it quite well. At least it looked that way ..... I think.

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Meet Someone Famous

Ray Harryhausen contemplates skeleton model for his film,
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Columbia Pictures, 1958.

                                           I Meet Someone Famous


                                                                Jay Agan


      It happened to me during MARCON at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio last Memorial Day weekend. He was attending the H.P. Lovecraft seminar. Most of the seminar went by interestingly enough before I noticed him. The presentation/discussion drifted to the authors' well known love of cats.

      Across the aisle, to my right a few rows ahead, a very distinctive voice made some comments. My mind went into overdrive (transmission slipping, gears grinding) trying to place it. It resolved itself as I remembered those stentorian tones from interviews on various dvds.

      He worked from behind the camera. Many of you have seen his films. Though he wasn't producer/director he might as well have been as his works were the center of the films they appeared in. He's still active today in regard to the marketing and enhancement of his & others movies. I had to meet this guy!

      The seminar over, I approached. As I did so, I heard a couple others mention his name. He was sitting there reading, as I introduced myself.

      "Excuse me sir." He looked up. "You have a very distinctive voice," I paused and, "are you who I think you are?"

      I then noticed his name tag to bear a different moniker.

      "I'm sorry. I see by your tag you're not the one I thought you were."

      "Actually, I am someone else," he replied in that unforgettable voice.

      "I understand sir. It was good to meet you." I left the room. He wanted his privacy. I can respect that.

      I don't think he had an event or seminar at the con. Was he in central Ohio on business? Visiting relatives? Who knows? Outside, I ran into one of the seminars' speakers.

      "Do you know who that was you were talking to a few rows back?"

      "No, who?" Replying with some concern.

      "--- -----------."

      "Really? You sure?"

      Another attendee walked up confirming what I said. She recalled he was sitting behind her when the speaker mentioned some work in a Lovecraft related film wasn't as good as --- ------------s. She said she heard him say, "Oh, he gave me a plug."

      I really wish I could tell you who he was. Yeah, frustrating. For all you know, I'm just making this up and I don't blame you for thinking so. At best, you're thinking he was mistaken for someone else. If it wasn't him, it had to have been his twin.

      He wanted his privacy & to be left alone. I have to leave it at that.

                                                Article copyright © Jay Agan

Addendum: As he passed away on May 7, 2013, I can now reveal that it may have been Ray Harryhausen I had inadvertantly met. If it wasn't, it sure looked & sounded like him! Needless to say, I find it interesting that he may have been an H.P. Lovecraft fan.

Photo & links added 5-9-13

Ray Harryhausen: Farewell To A Master here.

Night At The Drive In (One Million Years BC) here.

Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really Part 3

                                     Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really Part 3


                                                                     Jay Agan
      It won't be 10 more this time as I've run out of ideas. Maybe in about a year I'll come up with more. Here goes.
      1. The Tribulation of Haruhi Suzumiya- Out of sheer frustration/cynicism & pique, Kyon tries another attempt at telling Haruhi the truth about herself. This time she believes him! He then notices a Bible on her desk bookmarked halfway through Revelation. Oops!

      Guess we now know who she really is.
      2. Great Teacher Kimura- Yes! He's back! That whacky sicko from Azumanga Daioh! Stalking his way into the hearts of millions &, as usual, is about as funny as a ..... well, a child molester. Belly laughs & gutbusters aplenty over his creepy antics as Minamo & novice science teacher Kaorin, stand between him & the kids.
      3. The Girl Who Schlepped Through Time- She loved her Bat Mitzvah. But it wasn't quite as good as she liked. So.....

      4. Beau Geste & The Secret of Blue Water- The Geste brothers, finding the legendary jewel, the Blue Water, has been stolen, join the Foriegn Legion to avoid disgrace. The sadistic Sargeant Markoff plots to get it. While posted at Fort Zinderneuf a group of jewel thieves, a young frenchman, & a young Kenyan circus performer (who has the jewel) end up there as well, having been pursued by a force of Neo-Atlanteans disguised as Arab raiders. Gary Cooper & Brian Donlevy never had it so bad!

      5. Sailor Quarter/Full Moon- Serena & friends still on the job protecting Crystal Tokyo ..... & coping with eating disorders.

      6. The Attack of the Angst Stricken Giant Magical Robot Vampire Princess Schoolgirl- 90% of the anime you'll ever watch. In one movie.

      7. The Asassination of Haruhi Suzumiya- One of the "factions" involved in the SOS Brigade comes to the descision of putting a stop to all the nonsense. Whose is it? Mikurus'? Itsukes'? Yuki maybe? Then again, Kyon could be pretty much fed up with the whole thing right about now. Tune in & find out!
      8. Bridge On the River Kawai- British POWs are forced to build an absolutly cute little bridge over a stunningly charming river for the Japanese military. The POWs' commanding officer goes mindnumbingly yandere over the idea. Later in the show, commandoes blow up the adorable structure just as a totally moe little choo choo crosses over &..........

      Krap! I said I was running out of ideas & this proves it! I'm almost embarrassed to print this. Aw..... what the heck! I'm hitting the button.

                                              Article copyright © Jay Agan

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really Part 2

Upcoming Animes. Well, Not Really Part 1

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cinematic Heresy Part 3: Gone With the Wind

The BEST part of this mess.
Credit: MGM
                                Cinematic Heresy Part 3: Gone With the Wind


                                                                   Jay Agan

      I've never seen this picture all the way through. I can't rightly say I've even seen it part way through. I tried. Really ..... really, .....tried. I just can't get myself to sit through this ultra over-rated cinematic mistake:

                                                 GONE WITH THE WIND

      My last attempt to view it resulted as before. Disaster.

      Opening credits, no problem. Anyone can get through them. Then ..... bad things begin to happen.

      We're on a pavillion or porch. With this woman. This TALKING woman. Talking .... talking ..... in that ..... voice. Talking ..... in that ..... horrible ..... irritating ..... voice. Talking. Did I say she was talking? Oh yes! Talking.

      Will we ever get off that porch?

      Will she ever stop talking?

      And who the heck is this Ashley Wilkes guy & why should I care?

      I got off the porch ..... running ..... running.

      Actually I flipped channels for something more intellectually stimulating such as NASCAR or pro-wrestling.

Now THIS I'd LOVE to see!

      It must be a masochistic streak in me for I kept returning to TCM in hopes of the situation improving.

      Well. We're off the porch. She's stiiiiiill talking though.

      One hour+ later. Still yakking away. In a ballroom. C'mon Clark! Make her shut up!

      Even later. Atlanta in flames but she has quieted down a bit. What a weird chick. I guess "it takes a burning village".

      As one fellow (In a related thread in the Off Topic Discussions section on The Classic Horror Film Board.) wrote: "Am I the only one rooting for the Union Army?" No. No your not!

      As God is my witness! I will never try to see this movie again! (Que music)

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan
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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

That Elmo Guy

Never did like Elmo. A total Jerk!
Credit: Sesame Workshop

                                                     That Elmo Guy


                                                                   Jay Agan
      To say I hate Elmo would be a bit much. I do have a strong dislike for him. I'll explain. Some things need clearing up first.

      A lot of kids seem to be under the impression he's this cute, little, fuzzy, red monster kid on Sesame Street. Older folks even think he's a muppet, an imaginary character. Wrong. He actually is a real person, believe it or not.

      Sure, he's totally bizarre looking, thus lending to the impression of being nonexistant, but nevertheless, he is real. Crazy as it sounds, there are a LOT of folks out there, some in media, who you'd think weren't real but are. Conversly, there are those not so weird looking who actually are figments of the medias' imagination (Paris Hilton & Barack Obama come to mind. I remember reading about Ted Koppel "being one of Jim Hensons' more fabulous creations".).

      He's also not a kid. He's now in his forties & from what I heard of him since he was a frustrated drama student at Ohio State University, he hasn't changed much. I had the displeasure of knowing Elmo back then & the following is how I came to look askance of him.

      He was alway mooching off everyone. He owes me & a few others money. Never tried paying for anything. Always bumming food, beer, & weed off people. Throw a party, he wouldn't have the common courtesy to byob. Not even a bag of chips.

      He'd never hit on anyone unless she was married or spoken for in some way. Right in front of the husband or boyfriend too! What was up with that? Guy was low class/no class.

      Always regaling us with these pretentious ravings about what a great actor he was. Talked on & on of how a thespian of his caliber was being wasted & the world would one day know him for the serious star he was. Bet he never thought he'd end up the way he did.

      Whenever he got up in front of an audience, he was pretty much the way you see him on Sesame St. Of course, he was a lot more vulgar & nasty then. I'm not knocking his success. From all accounts, he's doing well & I won't begrudge him that. But .....

      He seems to be trying to forget where he came from. "Comparing notes" with others & it's pretty much the same all around: Doesn't return calls. Avoids you on the street & acts like he wishes you weren't around when he can't. Acts like he never knew you & is embarrassed when you talk to him with his "new friends" present. That sort of thing.

      Yeah. He's always made it hard to like him. Now more so than before. Darn Elmo.

                                                     Article copyright © 12-19-2010 Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Strange Young Lady, Strange Little Movie

                                           Strange Young Lady, Strange Little Movie


                                                                              Jay Agan

      I was cashiering at an unmentionable, cut rate, regional, merchandising, chainstore where I met an unusual co-worker. I noticed she would dye her hair (Death black, Chernobyl red, Jolly Ollie orange.) at regular intervals. Didn't think much of it at first though it certainly got the attention.

      A couple months into her employment, I found, through a chance discussion about movies, that she liked anime. (That certainly explained the interesting hair colorations.) This rekindled an old interest I had in the genre. By that time I had been collecting movies for a couple years & was seeking to expand in another direction. Anime seemed a colorful way of doing so & I haven't looked back scince.

      It wasn't only anime she was into, but all things Japanese. And she seemed such an intelligent person. She could speak German, & her Japanese was quite good. Not your typical anime geek, otaku, or Japanophile or whatever it was she considered herself. She told me she had Japanese ancestry (Which I found VERY hard to believe.) A chance meeting with her dad in the checkout line revealed she was about as Japanese as Irish stew.

      Getting to know her better as time went on, I would kid her about her interest in "them there furrin' cartoons". At times she would act rather sensitive about it. I'd say "cartoons", she'd say "anime" (Sometimes "ANIME ---- it!"). I'd say "comic books", she'd say "manga". She'd say "Banzai!", I'd say "John Wayne". You get the idea.

      We had this informal, on again/off again, semi-friendly feud for quite some time. I rather enjoyed it though she wasn't always receptive &, at times, rather peeved.

      One day. She did something ..... awful.

      Knowing I was into sci-fi & horror, she suggested I check out a certain Japanese made horror film. As it was a recently made flick, I was somewhat reluctant. I have an aversion to "modern" horror as they go for the gore, leaving plot & story behind. Most of my flicks were made before 1980 as I'm pretty much "old school" when it comes to horror (Price, Lugosi, Karloff, etc.)

      Knowing the Japanese do things differently, (As one fellow stated on the Universal Monster Army message board: "The Japanese are 30% weirder than the west. And I mean that in a good way."), I bought the flick cold, sight unseen. Something I rarely do. Oh yes. Name of the film: Audition.

      This is not a review, but I will say this film is not so much a horror film as it is a horror. The first 3/4 is a slow building psycho-drama. the last 1/4 ..... excriutiating. Agonisingly, tooth watering, ..... excriutiatingly PAINFUL to view.

      I'm there ..... watching. Hands gripping armrests, fingers convulsingly impressing prints into the wood. Sometimes, sitting sideways, hand over one eye. No screaming or yelling. Only little mewling squeals & gurgles welling up from the bottom of my throat, sometimes spasming into "Oh ..... my .....GOD!". My teeth & jaws hurt so much from all that gnashing & clenching.

      I know the guys' intentions were less than honorable, but ..... did he really deserve ..... that? I will never listen to the prelude of Bizets' Carmen the same way again. If you want to find out what happens in this movie, by all means, see it for yourself. Better yet, by all means, DON'T!

      For days (Weeks!) after, my workplace "friend" would taunt me with that weird little sound the movies' psycho-babe made while manipulating acupuncture needles:

      "Deeki deeki deekideeeee!" (Subtitles said, "deeper! deeper!)

      My usual procedure with flicks I'm less than satisfied with is to either give them away (I'd rather a movie is appreciated elswhere, than sit on a thrift store shelf.), or in this case, throw it out (Save the cases when you do that. They come in handy if you're a collecter.). As I was about to toss it, a thought occured to me (Yes, it does hurt when that happens!). I'll give it to a close friend.

      This friend is an interesting guy: Been in the service over twenty years. Well read/educated, PHD in history. Works for the government (So he's not ALL good, what the hey.). Part time college professor. Traveled the world, "Been there, done that." (At least twice.) Seen some combat (Doesn't care to talk about it.) The closest I've seen to a "Renaissance Man".

      So it was with some fascination/amazement/amusement I saw this guy get unhinged over a viewing of The Silence of the Lambs some years before.

      "Jay? ..... Jay! What's happening next!? What now!?"

      Gave him a sing songy, "not gonna tell ya, har har har!"

      "C'mon Jay!"

      "No way! Snicker, chortle!"

      "Agan ----it!"

      "Hee hee hee hee!" So it went. At times, my mind is not well.

      On one of his travels through, I dropped a bag of movies on him, making it a point to see this particular flick.

      Two weeks later, he calls me up for the express purpose of telling me what a vile piece of crud I am. Seems he made the mistake of watching it with his newly married wife. Now she has more doubts about me than before. (Due to the machinations of aforesaid merchandising chain, I missed their wedding & never met her. What George told her about me must have been interesting enough. Audition did not help.)

      Later, he got the urge to "share the love" & lent the disc to someone at his place of work. Now he's looked askance of by a couple other people.

      The world can be a brighter, better place if even only a few of us "pass it forward". I know it has for several other folks. All thanks is due to a rather strange young lady I met at work.

      You didn't think I was gonna blame myself ..... did you?

                                                       Article copyright © Jay Agan

DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some Cinematic Heresy, Part 2

Poster/photo credit: Warner Bros.
                                                    Some Cinematic Heresy, Part 2


                                                                                Jay Agan

     Casablanca. THE Bogart vehicle. The quintiessential masterpiece. For years I've been told to take this one in. One day I did. Not a good day.

     Claude Raines was excellent as always, but he couldn't carry this turkey alone.

     Bergman & Bogart constantly whining about this Laszlo guy getting between them. I was hoping Conrad Veidt would intervene like a good little Nazi & put both these crybabies out of my misery.

     Not enough Peter Lorre! When you have Pete in a flick, you're supposed to keep him in as long as possible. What good is a sinister second villian if you take him out of the show early?

     The African Queen. Another Bogart film that gives me the yawns. The river goes on & on. So does this movie. I was hoping the crocklegators would make it a shorter film. I like Rooster Cogburn & the Lady more. Go Germans!

     Niether of these flicks are up to the stellar caliber of Beat the Devil, the movie John Huston redeemed himself with. (However, though Lorre is in that flick, Sidney Greenstreet is nowhere to be seen. Dang!)

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan

Some Cinematic Heresy, Part 1

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Worst Worst Case Scenario

Worst Worst Case Scenario


Jay Agan


Pop in the disc, we're off.....

FBI Warning. The Fat Boys Institute! "If you copy this disc, we'll be really sore at you."

The MPAA is watching you! Wooooooooooooo!

You wouldn't snatch a purse. You wouldn't steal a dvd. You wouldn't download a car. Piracy is a crime, me hearties. Arrrrrrrr!

Stockholm Agreement (Darn Swedes!): The UN on the job. Don't watch this flick at church, school, lunch, on the can, or any where else we don't want you to. Otherwise we'll sic Interpol, KGB, Gestapo, Kempetai, DVD, BVD, LSMFT, & any other alphabet soup we can think of on your sorry butt. Don't think so? Try us! We're mean! Oh yeah. Don't take this disc on an oil rig either. You might start another gulf spill.

Stockholm Agreement (Them Swedes again.): En Francaise. We bite our thumb at you!

Stockholm Agreement. Bore you to death en Espanol. Si! Si!

Stockholm Agreement (Now in Swedish.) Ja! Ve bane gonna put such a thump awn yew an, oh forget it!

3+ trailors of flicks you could care less & less about. Usually from the "independent" studio wot sold them to......

The distributing studio logo. Complete with fanfare, music, spfx, etc. Metro, Goldwyn, Golan & Globus present.......

If its an anime (usually a collaborative effort), 4+ logos of studios from 2+ other countries along with their respective fanfares, music, spfx, etc. (Banzai Visual et al)

The opinions, statements, commentaries, nasty rumors, & back bites on this disc do not necessarily reflect those of the staff, management, flunkies, & covert operatives of Yadda Yadda Studios, or of their respective affiliates & tax shelters. However, any distress on your part would be considered a plus.

THX! The audience is sleeping.

The originating studios' logo. Also with its respective fanfare, mucous, and spfx, etc.

Do ... not ... get me started on the 15+ minutes of end credits. Who catered, who did the laundry, who was "with the band", who ... SEE!? Ya got me started!

I know! I KNOW! You can always skip through it (or prestop, stop, then menu) (on some you can't). But hey! I love a parade. Don't you?


Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Azumanga Daioh: Where Are They Now?

Azumanga Daioh: Where Are They Now?


C V Ford

It's been a some time since the Azumanga Daioh kids graduated from high school. Here's some "speculation" on where they & others are at.

Chiyo Mihama - Actually did study abroad. After graduating from M.I.T. at age 18 & post grad, she was employed in several joint Japanese/U.S. projects at the Lawrence Livermore Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasedena, Calif. Now works as an assistant tech advisor/systems analyst for an unspecified Japanese govt. think tank.

Sakaki - Married (Not to Kaorin.) & has her own successful veterinary practice in Tokyo. Relatives, friends & other investors were able to buy the former Gold Animal Clinic at govt. auction after its former owner mysteriously disappeared.

Koyomi "Yomi" Mizuhara - In house dietician at a large Japanese based corporation.

Tomo Takino - Pursued a career in law enforcement. Policewoman & assistant liason between ICPO (Interpol) & Japans' Nat. Police Agency. Has recieved several commendations in regard to the energetic pursuit of her duties.

Ayumu "Osaka" Kasuga - Was a teacher for a while but later became a writer of several best selling childrens' books. "My Best Friends' Father" was on the New York Times best seller list for almost three years running.

Kagura - After winning two gold and a silver in the Olympic swimming competitions, she is now an athletics coach at Waseda University.

Kaorin - Before high school graduation, she tried to avail herself of an "internet service" of a one Ai Enma in regard to a "problem" she was having with a certain teacher. She balked at the price of the "service" & decided to tough it out. After recieving a degree in teaching, she became a science teacher at her old high school.

Minamo Kurosawa - Happily married with two kids. Now an in house physical therapist at the same corporation Yomi works at.

Yukari Tanizaki - Surprisingly enough, is also married & has a son. Met her future husband while exchanging car insurance info (Believe it or not, the accident was his fault, not hers!). Even more surprising, she is now Assistant Principle at the school. Though her driving habits have drastically mellowed, her style of teaching has not.

Kimura - One of Tomos' first "collars". Was to be tried on evidence/testimony supplied by Kaorin-sensei & several students. Adjudged mentally incompetant to stand trial. Now resides at a prefectural mental institution.

Maya - Getting on in years but still rules the roost at the vet. clinic.

Kamineko - Evil lives on forever.

Mr. Tadakichi - Gone but not forgotten. Though she has a pup sired by him, Chiyo-chan dearly misses him.

Storyline (only) copyright © 12-9-10 C V Ford

Azumanga Daioh article: Too Much Cute.

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Disclaimer: The preceding is a NON-PROFIT work of fan fiction for entertainment purposes only. I make no claim to ownership of the copyrighted names/characters, places, & events mentioned in this work. They are the sole properties of their respective owners. Please, by all means support the owners of such properties in the purchase & enjoyment of their products.

DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some Cinematic Heresy Part 1

Poster Credit: RKO Pictures

                                                    Some Cinematic Heresy Part 1


                                                                           Jay Agan

     Howzabout some cinematic heresy? I'm going to pan some "classic" films fans are always raving about but I don't think are so hot. A majority of fans & the critics say they're great but that doesn't always mean they really are. I know what I like.

     First up is Citizen Kane, which I do think is better than great.

     "So it's settled: Citizen Kane is the official greatest film of all time."-Roger Ebert

     I like Citizen Kane. It's in my collection. I try to watch it at least once a year. I made it a point to see it at the Drexel North in Columbus (Now, sadly, a drug store.) on the big screen. This absorbing, groundbreaking film more than made its' mark on the world of cinema. I have nothing but praise for it.'s not

                                                 THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE!

                                                (Insert echo effects/embellishments here.)

     I enjoy other films just as much. While there are points/arguements to be made for its' filmic excellence, to me

                                                 THE GREATEST FILM EVER MADE!

                                            (Insert more echo effects/embellishments here.)

is whatever I'm enjoying at the moment.

     My rating system is simple. If it's good enough for me to have in my collection, it's good enough..... period. I guess that means Plan 9 From Outer Space is right up there with the other giants.
     Next time, I go after Casablanca. "See" ya then!

                                                        Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Breaking a "5th Wall"

A scene from Night of the Living Dead or anime fans at a
convention? YOU decide. Credit: Image 10 Productions
                                                 Breaking a "5th Wall"


                                                                    Jay Agan

     Was wandering around the DVD section of Best Buy a few weeks ago & stumbled on what I thought, at first, to be a potentially amazing phenomenon. In the horror section, I found they were selling copies of Night of the Living Dead (Dimension Films/Dimension Extreme Entertainment label.) No big deal to my way of thinking. A lot of companies sell this public domain film, especially around Halloween. I wasn't thinking of buying it, (Already have it.), but took a peek anyway.

     Examining the box I found something interesting on the back:


     Really.(!?) Those who see the discrepency here don't need an explanation. As for those who do, click here & here. It would take too much space & time to explain otherwise. As for space & time .....

     "Hmm. This is unique," I thought, & bought it anyway. This promised to be a breakthrough in how man percieves the universe & the very essence of existance itself. And I could see it happening right in my own living room! I took it home & popped the disc into the machine.

     You can only imagine my disgust/disappointment when the set didn't explode &/or vanish into the next dimension.

     By the way. It was fullscreen.

                                                   Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Thursday, December 2, 2010


Photo Credit: Madhouse

                                                                Not So HOTD


                                                                              Jay Agan

     I've come to dislike the zombie genre. Zombies are "easy", making the movies are"easy", & look it. These flicks get a lot of hype & raves but I don't see much in this genre seemingly starving for a gimmick. The only ones I have in my collection are the original '68 Night of the Living Dead & Return of the Living Dead (A funny, yet very disturbing film. And I'm not referring to Linnea Quigley!)

     It was with some trepidation I took a look at High School of the Dead (Gakuen Mokushiroku or Apocalypse Academy. Produced by Madhouse. Directed by Tetsuro Araki.) Was'nt as bad as I thought though not as good as I'd have liked. As this show is an anime, suspension of disbelief is doubly required, which helped a lot.

     Starts off well enough. First three eps cover the unexplained breakout of the plague & its seemingly instantaneous escalation. The protagonists (angsty guy, his spear/staff wielding occasional girlfriend, dark haired kendo chick (my favorite), military nerd, self proclaimed girl genius, &.....Nurse Bubblehead (not my favorite). ), meet up & bust out of the school.

     Fourth ep is the "budget" chapter. Lotsa rehash & repeat of earlier scenes. Kind of reminiscent of those movie serials from the 40s.

     5th - 7th. It gets dumb. The good guys hole up in Nurse Bubbleheads' apartment (With a full military Humvee parked outside!) & "fortuitous" things happen. Seems the vacant ones' room mate is a special ops type (Who is elsewhere, clearing airport runways as a sniper.) with an easily broken into gunsafe full of goodies. The girls start acting drugged/drunk & compare breast sizes in the bath. Two try coming on to the angsty guy. Kendo chick parades around the kitchen in apron & thong. The excuse being they had to wash their clothes. All that blood.

     As if there weren't enough "fanservice" already. I haven't seen this many bums 'n boobs scince I attended a Three Stooges film fest in the early 90s. It goes back to a "reasonable" (For the series.) level after. This is partially redeemed with the rescue of a little girl & a dog.

     In ep 8, things getting precarious, the band leaves the apartment & fall in with a large group occupying a huge estate, by becoming trapped by a crowd of the undead against a titanium wire fence strung accross a street. Tense moments as the group takes out the the closing horde one by one while seemingly unable to figure out they can easily bend down & step through the fence. In another of those cartoon non-coincidences, their rescuers are led by the group genius' mom.

     Ep 9 & 10. It's not clear how Mr. & Ms. Genius aquired their wealth but it seems "counter cultural" activities & violence may have been involved. Here, the kids rest up & assert their rights to the weapons they "borrowed" earlier when some of the henchmen try to appropriate them (Mr. Genius backs the kids' play.).

     Some of the citizenry squatting on the estate, are in "denial" & want to get back to "democracy" as in right now. Their fantasies are shattered in eps 11& 12: The U.S. president launches nukes, Russia replies in kind. As the worlds militaries are too far gone, few nukes leave their silos thus WWlll is sparse. One does an EMP burst over Japan & communications go dead.

     The zombie horde breaks through the estate gate & the final battle is on. The protagonists make their escape. After the closing credits, our group is last seen crossing a bridge on foot in the hopes of finding family members. T.S. Elliots' quote from The Hollow Men appears: "This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but a wimper." So does the series.

     I've left quite a bit out of this summary. A vile, manipulative, teacher (Who must have gotten a lot more "face time" in the manga series.). Angsto gets separated from the group twice, with a "girl of his choice". The series also depicts civil unrest/social collapse, breakdown of authority, confrontations with demented survivors, etc. One very brief but disturbing scene in ep 1 has a friend turning on another. Both "get theirs".

     I am less than happy with this series, but it does come accross as "different" from the Romero school. Perhaps it's because the show is an anime that I get that "feel". I doubt I'll buy it but I'd keep it if it was given to me (No. That's not a hint.) If it weren't for all that excessive (& exagerated!) T & A.....

                                                       Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

William Campbell: The Squire of Gothos

No! It ain't Liberace! It's worse!
Credit: Paramount Pictures
William Campbell: The Squire of Gothos

    Jay Agan

"The Squire of Gothos". A Star Trek (tos) episode some don't like, but for some strange reason, I do. It has some elements I would usually dislike in other shows. A quirky, plummy character, acting more like comic relief than serious. (General Trelane,ret.) A fantasy setting with a fairy tale feel, it borders on a Lost In Space episode. (A show I detest.)

Yet, everyone else plays it straight, taking the situation seriously in regard to Gen. Trelane being the real threat he is.

I guess that's why I like this one. In spite of the general coming accross as such a goofy ham, what with his silly grin, exagerated mannerisms, and over the top theatrics, at the same KNOW this guy is dangerous. Yes, it turns out in the end he's really just a kid with a lot of growing up to do. But what a deadly, calculating one.

William Campbell did a great job portraying this character. It would have been cool to have seen Trelane in other episodes. (Instead, Campbell was wasted as another character in that one very execrable episode.) Were they thinking of Trelaine when they came up with Q in Next Generation?

Kind of makes me wonder how Vincent Price would have handled this role. Now THERE is someone I would like to have seen in Trek!

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen & Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet (MGM 1956)
Photo credit: MGM Studios

                                                               IN MEMORIUM

                                                             LESLIE NIELSEN


                                                He made me laugh more than once.

                          Ongoing thread at the Classic Horror Film Board here: CHFB.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Some Bad Movie Experiences

Some Bad Movie Experiences
Jay Agan

Military school, late 60s, rec hall, Wednesday night. Don't let nuns pick your movies! This one was particularly cruel & unusual. Carusel turned me off to musicals forever. We had a choice either watching this ultra-turkey or study hall. Should have taken study hall. (Sing & dance! Dance & sing! la la la la laaaah! Diddley dee! diddley doe! La la la la laaaah! Aaaaargh!) All that krap and hardly a story to be found.

Another military school vignette. This time the Vatican I types scored right but I only came to appreciate this flick later in life. AIPs' Pit & the Pendulum. It moved kinda slow for me until "Uncle Vince" and the gang disinterr the corpse. Hit me like a ton of plutonium bricks! Later that night & early morning, I'm surrounded by a hundred other snoozing cadets & I can't sleep! I KNEW Elizabeth was waiting out in the dark to get me!

High School Social(ist) Studies assignment: Watch West Side Story tonight. For some reason our educators & zampolits had the idea this would raise our conciousness about inner city "culture". From the moment of the first pirouette in the first "fairy fight", I knew something was terribly wrong with this movie. I was actually grateful for the commercial interruptions as I could take frequent bathroom breaks. This garbage had me going at both ends. (Leonard Bernstien, I absolutely loathe you. Tonight! Tonight! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Tonight! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah! Waah! Waah! Waah! Waaaah! Tonite!Toooooniiiiite! TOOOONIIIIITE! Geeze! Holy stinkin' krud!)

Bad movie experience: Seeing a scary movie with a certain girlfriend. Fun movie experience: The same scary movie with that same certain girlfriend. 1979. Had been going with this young lady a few weeks. It didn't even cross my mind how she would react to a horror flick.

Phantasm. Right arm around her ladyship. Everything smooth sailing. Until the floating, bladed, steel ball smacks into the hapless extras' face & starts drilling, blood shooting out the back.

Pain. Deep, dull/sharp, shooting, excriuciating agony in my right shoulder. Through my watering eyes I could see she had rammed her forehead into my shoulder in an effort to look away from the screen. Kid had a head like a rock! Strong too. Try as I might, I couldn't pry her noggin off. If it weren't for the sensation of needing some bones set, I would've enjoyed this. Shoulder hurt for over a week. I think this is why I have arthritis in that shoulder today.

On later outings, she knew not to react so violently. She'd strain the movies through her hands over her face. Said she hated these films but always insisted on seeing them.

I remember an epic arguement we had over a flick that wasn't so much a horror film as it was a horror. I had seen Cruising with a friend the week before. She to had already seen it & insisted on seeing it again. No way. There are some things I won't do for love.

I really miss her.

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Darn Tribbles, Darn Troubles

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

Darn Tribbles, Darn Troubles


Jay Agan

School days. Ah memories. I'll treasure them always. Not! Only the overachievers, jocks, and social butterflies will ever be fond of the high school pressure cooker. Any good memories of that time was from not being there.

One set of good times involved Star Trek (tos). I'd become aquainted with it during its initial network run in the late 60s. In military school, the nuns would (grudgingly) let us watch it ("Cadets don't whistle, chew gum, read comic books, watch cool stuff on tv, have fun, etc.").

I recall the "ruckus" that came up when it got cancelled. Not having been a full bore Trek weenie, I didn't experience the crippling depression afflicting believers. Some disappointment, yes, as it was (then) novel and different. There was so little intelligent sci-fi on tv, (still that way), and if the nuns didn't like it, it had to be good.

Thanks to the zeal and enthusiasm of the fans, stations across the country aired it a lot through syndication in the 70s. WLWC (now WCMH) ch. 4 was the central Ohio Trek pioneer. The time slot was (I think.) 5-6 PM. It didn't matter if it was a school night, (We weren't allowed to watch tv mon-thur.), I'd sneak down the celler and tune in on our older set. I'll always be grateful to the staff of 4 for including Trek in their programming (well into the 80s). A good daily dose of Trek helped in recovery from the indoctrination of several hours before. Usually but not always.

There was, however, an annoying glitch in 4s' Trek scheduling. A glaring defect, sharply curtailing my enjoyment of the show. A nuisance, so vexing, it drove me to obsessive distraction: The Trouble With Tribbles.

On first seeing it in the late 60s, I sorta' liked it. Cutsey, funny, not all that great though. Little was I to know TWT would later become the very fuel powering the ch. 4 Star Trek machine. I understand the station showing the more popular eps more often. Ad revenue and all. But ..... The Trouble with Tribbles? Every other day? Yeah, I exaggerate. It only seemed that way. It could have been once a week, or at least twice a month. Aw what the heck! It was on too dang often!

There I'd be on the bus home. Mixed feelings at conflict in my brain."Star Trek! Oh boy! Oh boy! Yeah! Trek! Please no TWT! Oh golly! Oh yeah! No TWT! Please! Please! PLEASE!"

And seemingly, more often than not. After a particularly depressing day of scholastic brainwashing, there it was, in all its fuzzy non-glory, The Trouble With Tribbles. (Aghh! That's it! I'm doing my homework!)

Why? Why this one? "All the time?" They played the other "top 20" to death too, but not seemingly every time I turned around. Arena, The Changeling, The Doomsday Machine, etc. These I could understand. They were great. But TWT? What a nauseatingly, sickeningly saccharine, piece of crud! It got to the point where I'd be ecstatic to see Miri, Turnabout Intruder, The Empath, or any of the other of the least popular ones.

I've no proof but I suspect there was a group of 5 or 6 Trek weenies in Columbus, constantly calling the station & urging them on (Ooo! Ooo! Can we see TWT again?! Huh? Please?! TWT! Ooo! Ooo!"). I recall a particularly annoying one (who shall remain nameless) showing up at wargame gatherings bugging the crap out of everyone over Trek. (Claimed he was a rear admiral in Starfleet in charge of research.) He had to have been the ringleader.

At a place I worked at in the 90s, we had a tv. 4 had a Trek marathon one Sunday, 8AM-8PM. The top 12 of all time. Naturally, we enjoyed ourselves as we went about our tasks. An older fellow I worked with (left the scene due to cancer) was a sci-fi fan as well. I was pretty much down on Trek weenies and he would kid me a lot about me being a "trekkie" as I knew more about the show than I cared to. (I like the show a lot. It's not my reason for being, however.) I found his word for word co-recital of Celia Lovskys' lines from the duel in the Amok Time episode to be quite amusing.

Things got a little tense as the marathon wore on. We knew TWT was in there somewhere. (He hated it too.) We KNEW an hour long bout of hypoglycemic, pseudo-cuteness was approaching .There were a few tense moments during the "A Piece of the Action" ep. (He didn't like that one either. I always did. Criminals as politicians? Never happen!)

As it turned out, TWT was the last one, thus the best "voted". As we were prepping to close that hour, we didn't care. Still don't.

I'll always have a place in my heart for Star Trek (tos), but not for "The Trouble With Tribbles". Those in love with TWT are TWiTs!

Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kennedy Kurses!

                                                              Kennedy Kurses!
                                                                               Jay Agan

     November of '88. Had been back a few months in Ohio after a 4 year stint in Jersey. Was back to start what I thought was going to be a new life & career (Can't complain. Took my chances, made my chioces.)
     It was the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination & I'm stuck as a telemarketer for a cheap-jack insulation company that shall remain nameless. I'm into my mid-30s & the kids there were 20-somethings. One gets the idea I'm a piece of living history & would I be so kind as to relate my experience of one of the 20th centurys' defining moments? Sure.
     I was in Miss McIlvoys' third grade class at St. Vincents in Mt. Vernon. Principle gets on the pa & announces the pres got shot & to pray for the repose of his soul. Then some creepy choir music was piped in. One kid (who also shall remain nameless) got to laughing over it. Other kids got quiet. I didn't feel affected at all. On the bus home, the high & jr. high kids speculated over what few details they got on the news. Again, no big deal as far as I was concerned. I get home, turn on the set. News. At this hour?
     "Jay! The presidents' been shot!" Mom calmly explained to me. And?
     Later, it dawned on me. What?! No cartoons?! It was that serious enough to keep me from watching my weekly U.S.D.A. required dose of brain rot? I didn't think so.
     Needless to say, the kiddies at work weren't too thrilled over this first hand account of MY ENCOUNTER WITH HISTORY(!) (Insert light show here.). One he-bitch whined indignantly over my cheating him out of some hoped for profound insight.
     Strange as it seems, coming from a film fan, but I never was into hype & the cult of celebrity. Especially when it comes to politicians of whatever stripe.
    What did these fools expect from me? Something sage sounding & momentous? An unforgetable anecdote from one who was "in the moment"? Oh, come on! I was a kid. 9 years old. As a child, I thought & lived as one. I had a childs' priorities. And it was through the eyes of one I remember it.
    I'm not trying to be mean or callous about this. It was a terrible thing that happened. BUT:

   Anyone who was a little kid at that time telling you about "a profound sense of loss", etc. is full of it. He/she was just as ticked off as I was about no cartoons that dreary Thanksgiving weekend in November '63. Nuff said.

                                                     Article copyright © Jay Agan

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Azumanga Daioh: Too.....Much.....Cute

Azumanga Daioh "group shot". L-R Koyomi "Yomi" Mizuhara, Ayumu
"Osaka" Kasuga, Chiyo-chan Mihama, Sakaki, Kagura, & Tomo Takino.
Credit: Kiyohiko Azuma, Dengeki Daioh, J. C. Staff & ADV
                                  Azumanga Daioh: Too.....Much.....Cute

                                                                   Jay Agan

  One of the shows I've put off bothering with (Not my kind of anime.) is Azumanga Daioh. On glancing at articles & seeing illustrations in passing, I concluded it was another of those insufferably cute shows for girls. Having just aquired hi-speed internet & nothing better to do, I decided to take this one in. Glad I did.

  The show is about several young women going through grades 10-12 & the situations (surreal & otherwise.) they encounter. Summer/winter semesters with their attendant classes, sports/culture fests, holidays/vacations & general "slice of life" high school experience. This story arc is repeated for each grade. While one might think this to be boring, there is more than enough variation keeping this series interesting throughout. The characters themselves keep things moving, lively &, at times, have you busting a gut laughing.

  The "cast" members are stories unto themselves:

  Excrutiatingly cute child prodigy, Chiyo Mihama: Top scholar in class but still with the mind of a child. Doing her best socializing with classmates five years older. Her "cooking is so fun" segment from episode one almost had me calling the EMS over what I feared was a sugar OD. This seemed to innoculate me for the rest of the series so I was able to continue.

  Remote, alienated Sakaki: Taller than most of the boys at school & quite self concious of it. Everyone misreads her detatchment as "being cool". Oh yes. She wants a (Can't have one. Parent allergies.). Cats don't seem to like her much. One in particular almost always puts the bite on her when she tries to pet it. You'd think it would occure to her the critter might be rabid.

  Sadistic, hyperactive, ritalin deprived, Tomo Takino: I'm against drugging children to make them compliant in school, but in this case, maybe they should put this one to sleep! LOUD (!) with a capitol loud & always roughhousing or ranking on someone (Usually Yomi.). Also likes messing with Chiyos' mind. ("Okinawa! OH KIN AH WAA!" "Oh! Shut up!")

  Studious, sensible, weight concious, Kayomi "Yomi" Mizuhara: A stabilising force in the group. Good for giving an occasional sock to the jaw of the hyperactive one. In spite of her exasperation with Tomo, they're actually good friends.

  Athletic go-getter Kagura: In a one sided sports/coolness competition with Sakaki. Not above participating in some of Tomos' stunts.

  Spacey, other worldly, Ayumu "Osaka" Kasuga: Originally from (Where else?) Osaka. Her mind, from somewhere beyond there.

  Whacked language teacher, Yukari Tanizaki: You'd think she was related to Tomo, the way she acts. Likes playing head games with everyone. Her teaching "style" is unique to say the least. Also drives like a freakin' maniac!

  Caring, attentive, phys-ed teacher Minamo Kurosawa: Another stabilising force & guardian of the kids, standing between them an a certain "strange" litt. teacher.

  Obsessive, lesbian wannabe, Kaorin: Has a crush on Sakaki (Who is either oblivious or just very good at ignoring it.). Constantly "beating herself over the head" about it. (Geez kid. Get a boyfriend or three. Find out what it's like on the "other bank of the river".)

  Unsuccessful pedophile, litt. teacher Kimura: This guy needs to be locked up! As the kids know what he is from the start & avoid him like the plague, the character is played for laughs. I had to keep reminding myself that Japanese humor is a little.....uh.....different.

  The latter two characters would pretty much keep this show off saturday mornings here & on Adult Swim. I admit, I laughed my butt off over some of the situations they were in. Howsomever, the scenes of Kimura focusing his attention on Kaorin are creepy to say the least. (Is it any wonder the kid is such an emotional basket case at times?)

  While not rushing out to buy the show (Again, not my kind of anime.), I must say I enjoyed watching it & even got a little sad when it concluded. It is, with some reservations, I recommend it to an older crowd.

  So. Do Kaorins' dreams come true? (Oh for cryin' out loud!) Does Kimura Score? (Good Lord! No!) Do the kids graduate let alone pass their college entrance exams? And, most importantly, does Sakaki finally reconcile with the little, gray, piranha kitty? (This is what had me follow this series to the end.) See the series & find out!

                                       Article copyright © 11-18-10 Jay Agan

Addendum: Some months after I wrote this article, I "broke down" & bought this series. Why? It's cute, funny, simple yet sophisticated & doesn't try to insult ones' intelligence. The only bad thing about this series is the ending. You DON'T want it to end (The graduation scene is a minor tear jerker!). The only recourse is to start the show over. Rats!

Azumanga Daioh article: Where Are They Now? here.

Azumanga Daioh, The Abridged Series: An Episodic Review here.

Azumanga Daioh: Well THAT Was Dumb here.

Azumanga Daioh X Peanuts: Some Ruminations here.

Beyond Wrong & Wonderful: An Evangelion/Azumanga Daioh Crossover Fan Fiction here.

Not So Oblivious: An Azumanga Daioh Sakakai/Kaorin Fan Fiction here.

Wikipedia review here.

Go to Main Page here.

DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.