Lost in Space

What can I say but here’s another pickin’ and grinner.

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

They were folks lost in space
When they left the old home place
And went out searching for
A new home among the stars.

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger

Past the Van Allen Belt
So fast the ship might melt
Passing Mars and Jupiter
The outer planets a blur

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

Neptune and Pluto flew by
Onward they did fly
Into the deepest space
Leaving the human race

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

They left on their trip
In a tin can of a ship

On board the Robinsons,
Doctor Smith, Major Don
And a B9 robot
For all parts cold and hot

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

On a lovely moony night
Look at the sky to the right
In the distant night
There’ll be a small small light

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

It’ll be the Robinsons
Out there on their own
Out for an evening stroll
To the right of a black hole

Danger, danger, Will Robinson. Danger.

They left on their trip
In a tin can of a ship

They were folks lost in space
When they left the old home place
And went out searching for
A new home among the stars.

To Soul or Not to Soul

It’s Cold Souls, not Old Souls. Paul Giamatti ,yes, that Paul Giamatti from “Sideways”, is an actor who can’t get it up. Get it up? you ask. Yes, his acting chops. He is doing Chekhov and “Uncle Vanya”. He is Vanya but he is not Vanya. He is lost in the part and doesn’t have a map that will take him into the role. He has reached a point where he can’t separate his part from himself.

Then he reads a “New Yorker” article. Isn’t that the source of a lot of troubles? “New Yorker” articles. A company that stores souls? So he goes for a visit. He’s just a tourist on a looksee. Not really interested. Just wants a little info on how the process works.

The company doesn’t have any answers to deep philosophical questions. It only “de-souls the body or disembodies the soul.” The man behind the desk offers to store the soul in New York City “or if you would avoid sales tax, it can be shipped to our New Jersey warehouse.” Paul answers, “No, God no. I don’t want my soul shipped to New Jersey.”

As you can see, “Cold Souls” is a comedy but one that tackles deep, philosophical questions like where Paul plans on storing his soul once he takes up on the offer. There’s always Russia. The Russian soul they talk about is there. Why not his soul?

What is in it for Paul? “Believe me. When you get rid of the soul, everything makes so much more sense. Everything becomes more functional and purposeful,” the salesman says. He is pretty convincing. What could be more appealing? Paul is convinced. Where does he sign up.

Little does Paul know this is a bait-and-switch that isn’t bait-and-switch. When Paul goes back to retrieve his soul, he finds out that somebody else has it. You could call this a romantic comedy. After all, it is the story of a man falling in love with his soul.

If you could exchange your soul for another, what kind of soul would you want?

One Man’s Jungle is Another Man’s Jungle

“Who wants to see a comedy, featuring an African bushman as the main character?” you ask. An African bushman of all people? Obviously you haven’t seen The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980). This comedy, which is both farce and slapstick, turns our view of the world upside down. In this one, the natives aren’t restless. They are doing just fine until the gods drop an empty Coke bottle out of the sky. It calls into question a lot of things we normally take for granted. Things like religion, ownership and civilization. And the difficulty of getting from here to there by truck.

Using a documentary style, the movie tells the story of what happens when Xi, a Kalahari bushman, sees a Coke bottle fall out of the sky and takes it home. After all, it came from the sky and it must be a gift from the gods. Soon the bush people are fighting over it. Xi realizes this is not good. So he tries to get rid of it. But the darn thing just won’t go away. It just won’t go away. What to do? What to do? Nothing but head off to the edge of the world to throw the evil object away.

Meanwhile in another part of Africa, a young woman tells her parents she wants to go off to the Kalahari and be a teacher. They are not happy but there is no stopping her.

And Xi just keeps on doing what Xi and his people have always done, live in harmony with the natural world. When a baboon gets a the bottle, Xi convinces him that it is a bad thing. The baboon returns the bottle to Xi, convinced he had better get rid of it as fast as he can.

The priest in charge of the school where the girl is to teach asks his biologist friend to pick the teacher up. The biologist just happens to be the pilot who threw the Coke bottle out of the plane window. You’d think the trip to pick up the teacher and bring her back to the school would be an easy peasy. The biologist and his truck have one hell of a time getting to her. The trip is a slapstick affair. But this is the bush country of Africa. What else can you expect? Oh, and one final thing. The truck’s brakes are shot.

Just when the biologist thinks things can’t get any slapsticker, there’s the return trip with the teacher to the school, and things do get slapsticker. Thanks to a warthog and a rhino. It ain’t pretty when a naked white man in his red shorts runs through the jungle with a warthog after him and his name isn’t Tarzan. Talk about the worse beginning for a romantic relationship between a biologist and a teacher, this is one of the worst. It can’t get any worse, or can it?

Since the film has a documentary element, we learn so many helpful things. For instance, the rhino is the fire prevention officer of the jungle. I know it sounds crazy but it’s true. It’s not a good idea to stand and try to stop an armored car all by your lonesome when it’s chasing some bad guys. Just how do you get a truck out of a tree. Why are women always impressed with a guy who has a better car?-

Does Xi get rid of the evil Coke bottle? Does the biologist win over the teacher? Do the gods leave Coke bottles for bushmen to find?

The Best “Eh” Movie Ever

Has got to be “Strange Brew”.

For those of you who think Canadians are not funny, I have news for you. Canadians are some of the funniest people on the planet. Guess it’s all that ice and snow and long winters. They have a lot of free time and there’s nothing else to do but knit and tell polar bear jokes.

Like: How many polar bears does it take to break the ice? Just one. Once he’s swigged down a bottle of Péché Mortel Imperial Stout, he’s the life of the party.

Just look at a few of the members of the Canadian Comedy Establishment who have made the long, treacherous journey to the US: Dan Ackroyd, Jim Carey, Mike Meyers, Seth Rogen, Martin Short, Tommy Chong, Samantha Bee, Caroline Rhea and Ted Cruz. You’d think that there were no comedians left in Canada. But there are.

Just watch “Strange Brew” (1983). It has Canadians, of course. Those lovable mugs, Bob and Doug, the McKenzie Brothers, are just two. It has more beer than you could shake a polar bear at. You can’t get through a scene without tripping over an eh or a hoser. I’d say that is some pretty good reasons why this is a Canadian comedy.

By the way, just a footnote. “Strange Brew” is a remake of “Hamlet”. Bob and Doug are regular Rosencrantz and Guildensterns.

It’s my understanding that Bob and Doug had beer on set everyday for all the cast. So if the movie is a little hazy at times, you’ll know why.

So see it. If you can, see it with some Canadians. They can translate some of the Canadianisms for you.

Andy Griffith took my virginity

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about sex. I’m talking movies. It was in the mid-1950s. The first movie I ever saw was “No Time for Sergeants” and it became the movie that I measure all other movies by. The story of a country boy who goes into the army, it was first a Broadway play where Andy perfected his art of the country boy who goes off to visit the city. He turns out to be a lot smarter than we’d want to give him credit for. Man, I loved this movie. Still do.

Part of the experience of seeing this movie, and movies like it, was going into a movie theater, getting myself a big bag of popcorn and a coke. Sitting there in front of the big screen with the actors larger than the fifty-foot woman, I was in what used to be called “hog heaven”. There was nothing like it. At least, not in my young life. It was one of the great pleasures of my life. A way to get away from all the kidding I took from other kids because I had big ears and was clumsy and a bit nerdy, though not nerdy enough to be really smart like Steve Wosniak or Bill Gates and make a fortune inventing stuff.

No matter how many movies I have seen since that first Andy Griffith moment, I will never forget the buzz I got from “No time for Seargeants”.  He really made my day.

What was your first movie?