Sunday, June 01, 2008

Films on 6/1/08

Now About Lamb (1965) American Lamb Council
Includes basic lamb cookery showing easy, versatile lamb dishes as prepared in the family kitchen and on the outdoor grill. A housewife in pearls and glistening plasticky-helmet of hair learns about all the delightful meals you can make with lamb - stew, lamburgers, rack of lamb and so much more.

Hamm Comes to the Riverbank (1965) Riverbank Film Productions
Part of the Tales of the Riverbank series, the film uses live animals to tell the story of a hamster meeting a raccoon, rabbit, bee, frog and a rat. We saw a film later in the series, Let's Have A Party. Hamm moves onto the Riverbank and meets his new neighbors including Roderick the Rat who curses "Sufferin' Cheese Rinds"! I'm told that the Riverbank films were shown on Canadian TV - generally early in the morning. It's very soothing and has a definite British influence and maybe a little gay subtext? A bunch of gentlemen bachelor rodents meeting up for a picnic and tea discussing their flower gardens.

Flash That Smile (1984) American Dental Association
A teen dancer teaches others about how good dental hygiene will help make you attractive and confident. Heavily influenced by the 1980s dance films (Flashdance, Fame, Dirty Dancing) and break dancing films (Breakin', Breakin' 2, Krush Groove) there is a lot more dancing than there is dental information - which is a little odd for your average ADA film. The break dancing/flossing pantomime sequence is awesome, borderline stupid. I think I have a low tolerance for films that were made after I graduated from high school - mostly because I hated 80s pop culture so much...

Thumbs Down - Hitchhiking (1974) Filmfair
Demonstrates the variety of potential dangers to both the hitchhiker and driver, using dramatizations of hitchhiking and interviews with victims of hitchhiking-related crimes and accidents. some great shots of stringy-haired teens talking about how they avoid getting picked up by the wrong person. A Pasadena cop then tells us some great stories of the dangers of hitchhiking. Rape (hetero- and homosexual) is one of the main dangers discussed. The cop tells an amazing story of a driver who picked up two teen boys, shot one and performed "immoral acts" on them before dropping them off at a hospital. Supposedly the driver had intended to kill the boys, wrap their body parts in chicken wire and stucco, paint them green and dump them i the wilderness. There is a lot of b-roll of the camera crew filming the "teen-on-the-street" interviews which makes the film seem all more fake.

Johnny Boy (1973) Joyous Lake
A poignant story about a foster kid named Johnny in rural Florida and how the transitory nature of foster care isn't good for anybody. A horrible singer-songwriter warbles throughout the film and ruined the film for my audience, but I thought the film had a lot more going for it.

Adventures in Grammar Galaxy- Verbstar (1979) Barr Films
Having read the synopsis for this film, I was prepared for a bad film, but I had no idea what a trainwreck this would be. Presents puppet characters who find the clues to conjugating s-form verbs, learn when and how to use auxiliary verbs, find the answer to the riddle of the 'ed' and 'ing' ends and tackle the irregular verbs. Character actor Hal Smith (Otis the drunk, Goofy) does some of the puppet voices but the script is such a mess I don't know how any kid could fathom the subject matter. Generally, puppets are a bad sign that an educational film is going to be bad for its intended purpose - but usually great for laffs!

Magic Circle - Bleacher Feature (1975) United Methodist Communications.
Focuses on role playing. Asks children to think of a time when they thought they were doing the right thing, but got in trouble anyway. You have a bunch of fifth graders in a circle being spurred on by an adult to act out a scenario - where a kid sits in another kid's seat in the bleachers. The kids brainstorm alternative solutions. Lots of wide leather watchbands and belts in this film.

Rifles and Sabre (1974) Interland
Sigh, even though the weapons being twirled and tossed in this film are fake, I was hoping for a little bit more excitement than what this film shows. A tall automaton girl demonstrates the various techniques...


Charlotte said...

How was the Lamb film? Lamb is my new boyfriend. I love lamb. YUM!

Todd said...

The lamb film was a hoot just for the pearls and high heels in the kitchen. And that outer space puppet grammar movie was one of the most bizarrely wrong-headed educational films I've ever seen. Stupidest looking puppets I've ever seen, too (that's a good thing). But the real treasure was the breakdancing scene in "Flash That Smile," with those awesome flossing and brushing moves in with the pops and the locks. Put that bit up on YouTube, Skip. For the children. Who knows how many teeth you'll be saving.