I know I grimaced as if the Grinch just ripped a Christmas-hating fart right in my face when the old badger told the two young forest animals at the beginning of The Tiny Tree that the Christmas story he was about to tell them wasn’t about toys or Santa. You don’t have to be Rudolph on a foggy night to see that absolutely no good could come of such a proposition. Just from the title alone, I was already concerned that this was going to involve a midget tree pining (get it?) to be a giant redwood and learning the valuable lesson that God made you just like he intended to because he hates your undersized guts! Continue reading “The Tiny Tree (1975)”
Hanna-Barbera’s The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t special from 1972 is a painlessly pleasant experience for fans of the company’s other efforts of the era, particularly Scooby Doo, Where Are You!
While there is no mystery to solve or monster to unmask, it feels similar with a wolf stalking a Pilgrim and Native American boy, while a squirrel helps rescue them a couple of times. There’s the chase through the woods we’ve seen a hundred times in various Scooby episodes, there’s the last minute trap the wolf is lured into and there’s even some of the same music used! Continue reading “The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t (1972)”
A group of art thieves hijack a plane by using knockout gas! The pilot is a progressive man who wants to marry his girlfriend, but she’s straight out of Ms. Magazine and is too career minded to commit! Familiar TV faces abound on this doomed flight including Brenda Vacarro, Darren McGavin and Gil Gerard! The plane comes equipped with gartguan-sized videodisc player! Even better, it also comes equipped with a lounge singer! And the whole thing crashes into the Bermuda Triangle! Truly, Airport ’77 is the most gloriously 70s of the four Airport movies! (Or any movie for that matter!) Continue reading “Airport ’77 (1977)”
We all know that on every Halloween we put jack-o’-lanterns on our porches and window sills to ward off evil spirits intent on ruining the year’s harvest of trick or treat candy. Ask any kid who ended up with a bag full of pencils, toothpaste and loose candy corn and they’ll tell you their mom was too damn lazy to help carve a pumpkin that year. But how did that tradition begin? Like any good joke/holiday tale it all starts when a witch, leprechaun, vampire and angry billy goat walk into a barn. Continue reading “Jack O’Lantern (1972)”
I don’t know how Casper left this mortal coil and became a ghost. The death of a child is always a tragedy and any circumstances that lead to poor Casper the human boy dying are undoubtedly heartbreaking. As a boy, I am sure he was the love of his parent’s life and the passing of such a sweet, gentle soul left them shattered. As a ghost though, Casper is such a simpleton, you wonder if somehow whatever process that allowed to him attain his ethereal form didn’t account for brain damage at the time of his death. Continue reading “Casper’s Halloween Special (1979)”
With its all star cast of Charlton Heston, George Kennedy, Karen Black’s crazy eyes and the plane’s altimeter, Airport 1975 is easily five years better than 1970’s Airport!
Wisely tripling the fatalities (from one to three), ramping up the drama among the passengers (Will Linda Blair’s Janice survive the trip to get her kidney transplant? Will Myrna Loy’s Mrs. Devaney create an even worse crisis following the mid air collision that kills the crew by drinking the airplane’s in flight adult beverage selection completely dry? Will the singing nun further traumatize the already shellshocked stewardesses by doing an acoustic version of “Seasons in the Sun?”), casting Erik Estrada (CHiPS‘s Ponch) as a cringe-inducing horny Latin stereotype and being a half hour shorter than Airport‘s transatlantic length 137 minutes, Airport 1975 is perfectly crafted to improbably make the overheated and silly original feel like a classic of nuance and sophistication. Continue reading “Airport 1975 (1974)”
Airport is a disaster movie where I kept waiting for the disaster to happen. Was it going to be Burt Lancaster’s airport manager Bakersfeld stroking out from fighting with his boss and his shrewish wife? Was it going to be George Kennedy’s airport maintenance chief Joe Patroni having a heart attack due to shoveling too much snow? Or would Dean Martin’s smarmy playboy pilot have a fainting spell right there in the middle of the airplane once his stewardess mistress (Jacqueline Bissett) announces she’s pregnant? Continue reading “Airport (1970)”