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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"For Madmen Only is free if you have Hulu."

"Which Wasteland story was your favorite?"

There was one that adapted Shakespeare's Sonnet 66:

Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill.
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
.
That's one of my favorite Shakespearian sonnets to begin with. It paints the bleakest possible picture (using imagery that is still all too common today), then completely turns it around with the final couplet.  John Ostrander gives it an additional twist. His story is of a man in a tenement apartment, watching TV and contemplating suicide as his wife lies sleeping by his side. As he watches the news of the day, each scene is an illustration of Shakespeare's sonnet. When the story gets to the final couplet, the man takes the gun out of his mouth and holds it to his wife's head. 

FOR MADMAN ONLY: I just got finished watching the biopic about Del Close on Hulu. Thanks, Rob! I also just pulled all of my Wasteland comics out of The Vault. (It is not often I am able to go to exactly the right box on the first try, but I happened to known which one it was in.) Man, I was only 23 when those came out. To be perfectly honest, the Del Close stories were probably my least favorite ones at the time, but I'll tell you what: they have stuck with me all these years. Now, with a greater understanding of Del close behind me, I plan to go back and read all of those stories in the context of the documentary.

Wasteland was my introduction to Del Close, but I also heard about him from Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. If you've heard the remastered version of Pet Sounds, he sings the praises of Close's "How to Speak Hip" album on one of the studio rehearsal tracks. I finally located a reissue of it; the CD includes "The Do It Yourself Psychoanalysis Kit" which is also very funny. I pulled that one out to listen to, too.

WASTELAND:

"...the Del Close stories were probably my least favorite ones at the time..."

I meant the autobiographical Del Close stories. I didn't realize (or had forgotten) that Close had a hand in plotting nearly every story in the series. "Sonnet LXVI" was all Ostrander (although Wm. Shakespeare is credited with the sonnet). I had forgotten a few of the details (such as "TIRED WITH ALL THESE, FOR RESTFUL DEATH I CRY" is the first line in the main character's suicide note), but the story still holds up. It's in the fourth issue. I discovered something else, too: I'm missing the 18th and final issue of the series... and I didn't even know it! I'll have to seek that out; it's the series' only full-issue story.

The documentary played a bit of "The Do It Yourself Psychoanalysis Kit" but didn't make any particular note of it; it didn't mention "How to Speak Hip" at all.

BLUEBEARD (1944): A puppeteer in Paris hires models for his puppets. He also paints their portraits, kills them, and dumps their bodies in the Seine. John Carradine turns in a good performance as the killer, but the plot has a lot of holes. 

THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942): This is the next one that came up in queue, but we've seen it before, and fairly recently, too, it seems. I vaguely remembered it, but Tracy remembered it very well and didn't care to watch it again, so after about 10 minutes we turned it off and watched an episode of The Herculoids instead. Starring Bela Lugosi (the movie, not the cartoon). 

Perhaps she remembers it from Mystery Science Theater 3000 Show 105?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942): This is the next one that came up in queue, but we've seen it before, and fairly recently, too, it seems. I vaguely remembered it, but Tracy remembered it very well and didn't care to watch it again, so after about 10 minutes we turned it off and watched an episode of The Herculoids instead. Starring Bela Lugosi (the movie, not the cartoon). 

I'm just impressed that you have a favorite sonnet. I feel so inadequate.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"For Madmen Only is free if you have Hulu."

"Which Wasteland story was your favorite?"

There was one that adapted Shakespeare's Sonnet 66:

Tir'd with all these, for restful death I cry,
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill.
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
.
That's one of my favorite Shakespearian sonnets to begin with. It paints the bleakest possible picture (using imagery that is still all too common today), then completely turns it around with the final couplet.  John Ostrander gives it an additional twist. His story is of a man in a tenement apartment, watching TV and contemplating suicide as his wife lies sleeping by his side. As he watches the news of the day, each scene is an illustration of Shakespeare's sonnet. When the story gets to the final couplet, the man takes the gun out of his mouth and holds it to his wife's head. 

I just re-watched this episode.  I bet Tracy loved that picture's "Working woman marries some guy she just met and abandons her career" ending.


Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE CORPSE VANISHES (1942): This is the next one that came up in queue, but we've seen it before, and fairly recently, too, it seems. I vaguely remembered it, but Tracy remembered it very well and didn't care to watch it again, so after about 10 minutes we turned it off and watched an episode of The Herculoids instead. Starring Bela Lugosi (the movie, not the cartoon). 

The Baron said:

I just re-watched this episode.  I bet Tracy loved that picture's "Working woman marries some guy she just met and abandons her career" ending.

I've been watching a lot of 30s and 40s movies in between newer stuff. That ending pops up a lot.

Whoa, Jeff -- that Wasteland story is DARK. (Of course it is, it's Wasteland.) I'll have to check it out on DCU Infinite...because I doubt I'll find it in the first box I look in, even though I reread them a few years ago. (Although maybe they're still in the To Be Re-filed box!) But it fits with what Ostrander says about the comic in the movie: "Most horror stories bring you into the darkness and then lead you out. Wasteland just leaves you there."

I'll have to check out How to Speak Hip when I get a chance, too. Thanks for cluing me in!


"Whoa, Jeff -- that Wasteland story is DARK."

Isn't it? "Problem... problem solved."

"Most horror stories bring you into the darkness and then lead you out. Wasteland just leaves you there."

Exactly.

"I'm just impressed that you have a favorite sonnet."

I still haven't read all 37 plays (and probably won't at this point; I don't even remember where I left off), but I have read all 154 sonnets. Shakespeare wrote plays for a living, but his poetry was his art. (Great example of alliteration in that last line, too.)

"(Although maybe they're still in the To Be Re-filed box!)"

Ha! I have one of those, too!

Carefree (1938) -- I've known about the Astaire/Rogers musicals for as long as I can remember, but I don't think I'd ever actually watched one until recently.  I've watched several in the last few weeks, and enjoyed them all to varying degrees.  I mention this one because, while Rogers is always good, she is outstanding  in this one, especially in a couple of scenes showcasing just how talented a comic actress she really was.  (Also, cute as a button.)

Yesterday (2019) -- I'm a sucker for a comedy/fantasy/romance (is that a genre?), so this one ticked all the boxes.  Pretty much nothing I didn't like.  Added Bonuses: An uncredited appearance by Robert Carlyle, and a costarring role by Lily James, who I totally didn't recognize -- as in "Where do I know her from?!?!" -- until The Lovely and Talented googled her and surprised me by telling me that she played Young Donna in ...

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (2018) -- I know, I know.  As movies, the Mamma Mia movies are objectively not good.  I like them anyway.  I'm also a sucker for musicals, especially ones where everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.  Some things are just guilty pleasures.  

We finally saw Niagara (1953) last night. It's not bad, sort of an imitation Hitchcock with Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, Joseph Cotten, in Technicolor. It was a big hit at the time. What I kept thinking was, my parents married in 1953 and went to the Falls for their honeymoon. The extensive location shooting was showing me the Niagara Falls (town and natural wonder) that they saw.

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