Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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I recently, finally, watched A Streetcar Named Desire and really liked it. I'm definitely watching Night of the Iguana soon.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

NIGHT OF THE IGUANA: A 1964 film directed by John Huston and based on a play by Tennessee Williams. It stars Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr, Sue Lyon ("Lolita" herself) and, yes, Grayson Hall. It was even better than I remembered it. I don't know why we didn't watch it when Bob was here (oh, yeah... because Tracy hates it), but I'd recommend it to anyone. Except Tracy.

Yeah, there's just something about a movie based on a play. I always try to imagine how certain scenes would have been staged. Let us know what you think of it!

Another Tennessee Williams movie to see is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Not the 1958 Liz Taylor/Paul Newman version, but the 1984 movie starring Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones. Unlike the earlier movie, the 1984 version makes it clear (not obscure) that Brick's dead football buddy was a lot more than his buddy. The Hays Code really screwed up the 1958 version, including having Brick and Big Daddy reconcile.*

I found the 1984 version on Youtube:

*The "Adaptations" section of the play's Wikipedia page 

contrasts the film adaptations. Tennessee Williams hated the 1958 version.

TOMMY: Listening to Jesus Christ Superstar last Sunday (which music critic Dave Marsh once described as "a sappy hippie's version of St. Matthew's Gospel, which ought to be equally odious to true believers of all faiths, if only fior the musical pablum it offers as a substitute for conviction") put me in the mood for something equally overblown. I really wanted to see Tommy in the theater in 1975, but I didn't always get what I wanted in those days (as if I do now). 

Here's what Dave Marsh had to say about the soundtrack album: "Ann Margaret, Jack Nicholson and Oliver Reed don't have an octave of range among them; Elton John's version of 'Pinball Wizard' is feeble next to the original; and Tina Turner's 'Acid Queen' is a screeching parody of The Who's, and of her own soul-slut persona. No excuse for this while you can still obtain the original,"

There is little doubt in my mind that, if I had seen Tommy in the theater back then ("in my younger and more vulnerable years") it would have ranked among my favorite films of all time. As it is, by the time I did see it, I was more than passingly familiar with The Who's original "rock opera." Still, I do love cheese, and I break this movie out every once in a while, if for no other reason than to see Ann Margaret swimming around in baked beans. 


In the early 2000s in a nearby small town, a drama teacher I know directed a production of Tommy as the school show that was, as such things go, quite engaging. He explained that the cast asked about the 70s movie, and if they could see it. He said that, if they wanted to do so, they could wait for the cast party, saying, "if I thought there was any value in it at all, I would have already shown it to you."

I've never seen Tommy performed on stage. If I ever do, I'm sure it won't be performed by The Who.

YMMV. I love both of these movie adaptations. 

I consider myself something of a "Tommy" aficionado. I have seen the Broadway play twice: once at the St. James Theater in New York City and once at the Fox Theater in St. Louis. In addition, I was at Universal Studios in 1989 the night they concluded their tour with a complete performance of Tommy. (NOTE: I wasn't actually at the performance; I was in a tram riding around the outside of the Universal Amphitheater.) I do have the album of thay night's performance, though. In addition to The Who's original album and the Original Cast Recording of the play, I also have the following 9with some of the notable cast members highlighted).


HAWKER: Eric Clapton

ACID QUEEN: Tina Turner

COUSIN KEVIN: Paul Nichols



SPECIALIST: Jack Nicholson


HAWKER: Richie Havens

ACID QUEEN: Merry Clayton

COUSIN KEVIN: John Entwistle

UNCLE ERNIE: Ringo Starr


SPECIALIST: Richard Harris


HAWKER: Steve Winwood

ACID QUEEN: Patty LaBelle


UNCLE ERNIE: Phil Collins


And then there's the matter of the late-Soviet-era adaptation of The Fellowship of the Rings that resurfaced last week. They're taking the hobbits to Leningrad!

Doctor Hmmm? said:

The Bishop’s Wife (1947). Cary Grant just Cary Granting it all over the place. Monty Woolley has a nice supporting part, as does Elsa Lanchester. David Niven, unfortunately, seems uncomfortable and is kind of wasted in his role. I’m not sure if that’s him or just the role. Still, I liked this one.

I like the remake, The Preacher's Wife, a lot better. Denzel Washington is in the Cary Grant role, Courtney B. Vance is in the David Niven role, and Whitney Houston is in the Loretta Young role. 

I agree, David Niven seems like he doesn't want to be there for some reason. Courtney B. Vance played the Preacher as someone run ragged doing all the things a minister has to do who took his wife for granted, and that works better.

But both versions suffer a bit from the problem with the premise: The angel is lusting after a woman he can't have, so you can't root that much for him.

"...ACID QUEEN: Merry Clayton..."

Speaking of Merry Clayton, she has a new album out, and NPR did a profile on her this morning.

It's a seven-minute listen, well worth one's time. 

Over the past few weeks I have watched the entire 4 film run of Ip Man films on Netflix. The first one is quite good but the quality diminishes with each sequel. That being said, Donnie Yen is terrific throughout the entire series.

DRAWING FLIES: The "lost" View Askew film; another movie Tracy hates. 

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