Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Classic TV Show Open Of The Day: UFO

Here's a great find from Siress Yorkie. The show, pronounced "yoo-fo," not "you eff oh," was a British production that also aired in the U.S. briefly in the early 70s. I do not remember it, nor does Siress Yorkie, who says, "I'm shocked I never heard of it. Apparently it was The Bomb for a while in 1970. You don't even need to see the show--the opening has everything you need: T&A, Men Wearing Serious Looks, a token black guy, even some man nips.There's something for everybody! Don't be ashamed if you start Chair Dancing at the perky music. I certainly did."

To me, it plays like a weird mix of Austin Powers, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Space: 1999.


Money Messages Of The Day

From Asylum.com and StuffPeopleWriteOnMoney.com.

Hmmm... 10 dollars? I'm just guessing.

I dunno, but it's a good start.

Rock and roll all night, party every day.

Writing on money is not logical. But it's funny.

I love this one.

The new $6 bill. I bet Taco Bell won't take this one, either.

Vampire Elvis

Joker 1

Joker 2

She's a man, baby!

But you didn't inhale, right?

Trick question?

Donnie Darko lives.

No, but your head does.

Sorry, only 100s give me a boner.

We'll be sure to inform someone who cares.

Amy Winehouse snorted coke with this bill.

Uh, no, and perhaps you need to lay off George Washington's hemp.

QOTD: Kids Say The Funniest Things

What's the funniest thing your kid (or anyone's) has ever said to you?

I was inspired by something hilarious that Mandy just told me, and I hope she'll repeat it in a comment here.


The 20 Greatest Movie Endings Of The Day

A shortened version of this article at The Times (UK) Online. Not a bad list, but they left off some good ones (and not just ones with surprise endings): Fight Club, 2001, Primal Fear, Silence Of The Lambs. What others are missing?


20 Se7en
David Fincher, 1995

The “head in a box” denouement is a jaw-dropper of an ending. Pitt and Spacey’s characters take on the mantles of Wrath and Envy, respectively: Spacey’s jealousy of the cop’s domestic bliss with bride Gwyneth Paltrow causes him to chop her head off; Pitt’s rage and grief prompts him to execute the killer on the spot. WENDY IDE

19 The Blair Witch Project
Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez, 1999

After numerous screen freak-outs, lost students Heather (Heather Donohue), Mike (Mike Williams) and Josh (Josh Leonard) are in a deserted house. Heather screams, Mike is killed by an unseen assailant and the last shot we see, in Heather’s grainy video footage, is of Josh standing in a catatonic stupor, facing the corner walls of the basement, like a punished child. Creepy. KEVIN MAHER

18 Memento
Christopher Nolan, 2000

Leonard (Guy Pearce) is so traumatised by his wife’s murder that he is incapable of remembering anything, bar the occasional jigsaw-like flashback. As he pieces together the clues and tracks down the man who killed his wife, we share his revelations and his triumphs, sympathising with his need to remind himself of what he’s done using notes and tattoos. Then we realise that Leonard is on his way to kill an innocent man. We have been had. Leonard’s amnesiac quest for revenge has turned him into a serial killer, doomed to repeat his actions ad infinitum. NIGEL KENDALL

17 Planet of the Apes
Franklin J Schaffner, 1968

First the mangled torch creeps into shot, then the crown of lady Liberty herself. George Taylor (Charlton Heston) realizes that he’s not on another planet but on postapocalyptic Earth! “You maniacs!” he screams. “You blew it up! Damn you! God damn you all to Hell!” KM

16 The Shawshank Redemption
Frank Darabont, 1994

Having endured decades of wrongful incarceration, beatings, rape and false hope, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) escapes from his gothic jail. After gleefully detailing Dufresne’s flight, Darabont was unsure whether to show his subsequent reunion with jail buddy Red (Morgan Freeman) on a Mexican beach. He wisely chose the even more uplifting option – as his editor noted: “Tell me that smile on Morgan’s face isn’t going to leave the audience as high as a kite.” ED POTTON

15 Gone With the Wind
Victor Fleming, 1939

Boasting a double-whammy of iconic endings, this Civil War epic closes with the destitute heroine Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) being dumped by husband Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) with the immortal lines: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” The feisty Scarlett regroups and, within 50 seconds of screen time, faces the camera for that classic tear-stained close-up, announcing: “I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” KM

14 Doctor Strangelove
Stanley Kubrick, 1964

This comedic countdown to nuclear apocalypse concludes in appropriately bombastic style, with Peter Sellers’ eponymous, wheelchair-bound strategist suddenly finding the use of his legs and Slim Pickens’s bomb commander riding an ICBM, rodeo style, out of a plane. EP

13 Les Diaboliques
Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955

Forget the so-so American remake – the French original has one of the most shocking denouements in screen history. The ill-treated wife and the mistress of a cruel provincial headmaster are conspiring to kill him, and appear to have done so. Until his “corpse” rears up out of the bathtub, sending his wife into terminal cardiac arrest. Just as her plotting husband and his mistress had hoped. EP

12 The Wizard of Oz
Victor Fleming, 1939

The prototype twist ending has Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) waking up back in drab and dreary Kansas and realising that the previous 90 minutes of multicoloured action adventure were only part of a fever dream. Bummer. KM

11 Thelma & Louise
Ridley Scott, 1991

After a truck-stop altercation turns deadly, the titular twosome (Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis) flee across the US until they are cornered by the police. That’s when Sarandon floors the accelerator and sends the car hurtling over a cliff. Part exploitation movie, part cri de coeur for abused women, this film let its girls go down gloriously unrepentant. WI

10 The Sixth Sense
M. Night Shyamalan, 1999

The twist to end all twists. Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is making good progess with a troubled boy who can “see dead people” (Haley Joel Osment), until it dawns on Crowe that he himself is a ghost. The genius of the ending was not just its unexpectedness, but the way it forced a reevalution of the film’s previous events – “So that’s why his wife was ignoring him!” EP

9 The Usual Suspects
Bryan Singer, 1995

Cop Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) thinks he has the case of enigmatic criminal mastermind Keyser Söze sewn up, until it turns out that Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) – the informer Kujan has rashly set free – made up most of his story and is probably Söze himself, a double bombshell that Singer drops in a dazzlingly edited final flourish. EP

8 The Italian Job
Peter Collison, 1969

This light-hearted heist movie boasts the ultimate cliff-hanger ending – literally. Michael Caine and his colourful band of crims have just pulled off a daring bullion robbery from a bank in Turin. The getaway by bus goes smoothly until an accident sends the vehicle into a skid, leaving it dangling precariously over the edge of a cliff. Cue great final line: “Hang on lads, I’ve got an idea . . .” WI

7 Some Like It Hot
Billy Wilder, 1959

It’s the perfect ending to the perfect screwball comedy. Italian mobsters have seen through Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis’s female disguises. Along with Marilyn Monroe, they flee on board the yacht of millionaire Osgood Fielding III, who is smitten by Lemmon’s female alter ego, Daphne. Lemmon desperately tries to dissuade Osgood, finally ripping off his wig and shouting: “I’m a man.” The smirking Osgood’s reply is one of the great last lines: “Nobody’s perfect.” WI

6 Breakfast At Tiffany’s
Blake Edwards, 1961

In torrential rain, Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly desperately searches for Cat, the stray pet she just cruelly dumped from a cab. The missing cat represents her decision not to close herself off from love and mutual dependency. Only when she finds him can she move on with George Peppard’s impoverished writer Paul. WI

5 Chinatown
Roman Polanski, 1974

Private eye Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) has blundered into a murder case that involves multimillionaire Noah Cross (John Huston) and a scandal about the Los Angeles water supply. In the devastating final scene, Gittes’ client and lover, Evelyn (Faye Dunaway), is killed in the streets of Chinatown, and baddie Cross escapes with his daughter, a product of incest with Evelyn. Gittes is told to turn away. “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” NK

4 E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Steven Spielberg, 1982

After weeping at E.T.’s tragic death, then weeping again at his resurrection, and again as Elliott (Henry Thomas) and Co magically take to the skies, what could possibly be next? Nothing but the mother of all weepies in the final farewell scene. Here the composer John Williams pummels the soul, Spielberg yanks every heartstring, and E.T. touches the blubbering Elliott’s forehead with his flashlight finger, saying: “I’ll be right here.” Then E.T. disappears up inside a giant Fabergé egg. Brilliant. KM

3 Casablanca
Michael Curtiz, 1942

Driven to cynicism and exile in wartime Casablanca by a woman who abandoned him in Occupied Paris, Rick (Humphrey Bogart) is not best pleased when she turns up in town with her freedom-fighting husband. But Bogie can’t stop loving her, nor she him. Now though, with Nazis all around, the fate of the world may depend on her husband’s safe passage out of Casablanca. Rick and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) must choose between enriching their own lives by eloping, or enriching the world’s by helping her escape with her husband. On the tarmac, the plane ready to taxi and the Nazis ready to spring, Bogart and the love of his life embrace for what we know will be the last time. NK

2 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
George Roy Hill, 1969

Pale, bullet-ridden, yet still bantering, our bank-robbing heroes Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are trapped in an adobe barn, surrounded by the entire Bolivian army. They have just enough time for a few gags before it’s time for a suicidal frontal assault on their foes. “For a minute there, I thought we were in trouble,” quips Butch, before leading the charge. The soundtrack then reveals the inter-ballistic mayhem that follows, yet the screen simply freeze-frames on the men, an elegant portrait of courageous insanity. KM

1 Carrie
Brian De Palma, 1976

At the end of this Stephen King adaptation, Carrie (Sissy Spacek), who begins the film doused in the blood of her first period, has ended it drenched in the blood of pigs at a high-school prom. Unfortunately for her classmates, Carrie’s womanhood brought with it telekinetic powers, which she then uses to wipe out most of them – and herself – in a blaze of purifying flame. Sue (Amy Irving), one of the few survivors, visits Carrie’s freshly dug grave. She lays flowers. Carrie’s arm thrusts out of the soil and grabs her. A million stomachs leap. Sue wakes up. It was just a nightmare, but one that will never end. NK

Classic Movie Trailer Of The Day: Play Misty For Me

If you've never seen this movie -- and I'm betting most of you haven't -- then you need to. I'm sure that when it came out, it was considered edgy and scandalous, but it's one of the most unintentionally funny movies I've ever seen, and the film that Fatal Attraction completely ripped off. Starring Clint Eastwood as the world's worst DJ, Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development and Donna Mills from Knot's Landing.


And here's a sample of the movie's delights, a clip I call, "God you're dumb."



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