Saturday, January 28, 2012


Like some people I'm not a Monkee hater, I always thought they had some good tunes and their TV show was a mild diversion but, I have to say, this TV special
Sucks! The main problem: not enough Monkees and Too Much Brian Auger and Trinity with Julie Driscoll (a group nowhere near as good or as important as they imagined themselves).
There is so much Auger and Driscoll that it made
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee seem like it's their special with The Monkees simply being guest stars. To further add to my misery while watching this special, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino are featured only briefly and are used primarily as backing for Auger and The Monkees.

33 1/3 Revolutions has a plot of sorts, what I guess someone thought was "heavy man" (Hey! It was 1969!): The Monkees are stripped of their personalities and then molded back into plasticized Pop Stars and at the end of the special given their freedom to be individuals again. All of this is orchestrated for the most part by Auger and Driscoll. The Monkees dress up as robots and sing "Wind Up Man", this is followed by a scene with Auger in a stack of piano players (with himself at the top) and Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino all under him. This is the point where I almost became disgusted enough to turn the whole thing off. Next, Darwin (yes, it is supposed to be that Darwin) takes over and Paul Arnold and the Moon Express do an expressive dance....once again, I had thoughts of ending my misery.

Each Monkee, under the watchful eyes of Auger/Driscoll, gets a solo in order to discover their own personality: Mickey sings a funky "
I'm a Believer", Peter gets all Eastern mystical with "I Prithee (Do Not Ask For Love)," Mike comes off best doing a split screen duo with himself with a country tune "Naked Persimmon (The Only Thing I Believe Is True)"and Davy, dressed as a toy and true to his musical theater roots, sings and dances to "Goldilocks Sometime."

33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee continued to go downhill for me as The Monkees, dressed as apes, performed Neil Sedaka's "I Go Ape", the "ape" Monkees evolve into a 1950s group and Auger introduces them as "idolized, plasticized, psychoanalyzed, and sterilized". The Monkees do a medley of 50s hits with Little Richard, Fats Domino, and Jerry Lee Lewis having very short song segments. Fats Domino gets slightly more screen time than the other two, although Jerry Lee steals the show in the few seconds he is on screen.

Auger decides the group should have complete freedom which leads to the final segment. Davy begins by singing "String For My Kite". Peter enters and shows off his skills on the harpsichord. Mickey and Mike show up and a party scene (extras were rounded up off Sunset Strip) develops with The Monkees, Buddy Miles Express, Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll, and Trinity all joining in on "Listen To The Band". The special closes on a book with a page reading "Chaos Is Come Again" and as the book closes we see the back cover reads "The Beginning of the End", which is apt since this is the last time The Monkees would perform as a quartet until 1986.
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee was such a disaster that two other planned specials featuring the group were deservedly scrapped.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The Other Side of Nashville
leads you to believe, during the opening scene, that the movie is going to be about honky-tonk singers who are struggling to make it in Nashville. The movie then takes a turn with a host of stars bemoaning the fact Country Music has become too citified. Even Chet Atkins, who helped create "The Nashville Sound" joins the chorus. What The Hell....the man who was instrumental in pushing out "real" country music in order to line his own pockets with money, NOW, or at least in 1983 when this movie was made, thinks country has lost its roots. Maybe it goes back to the old saying "You don't miss your water, till the well runs dry".

As each of the country artists (most who would now (2011) fall into the category of Alt, Outlaw, or Americana) give their take on what's wrong with country music, the movie features song performances from that artist or the artist they are discussing. Musicians interviewed or in performance clips featured in
The Other Side of Nashville include: Willie Nelson, Bobby Bare, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr., Chet Atkins, Kris Kristofferson, Carl Perkins, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Scaggs, Terri Gibbs, Gail Davis, Jerry Reed, Porter Wagoner, Charlie McCoy, Rattlesnake Annie, and Bob Dylan.

Near the end of the movie, the point of the movie changes direction again, when Willie Nelson says "Music is Music", no matter who is making it, that all musicians have a similar outlook on what they are doing.
The Other Side of Nashville then goes back to some of the artists who now contradict their earlier statements and seem to agree with Willie. I realize the movie was edited this way, still it was odd seeing this turnaround.

The movie returns to the honky-tonk from the first of the film and ends with Owen Davis singing his song "
The Other Side of Nashville". I never could quite grasp what point The Other Side of Nashville was trying to make, since it kept changing directions. On the other hand, it was an enjoyable film due to all of the song performances. And where else are you going to see/hear a movie narrated by Bob (Is It Running, Bob?) Johnston.

Monday, January 9, 2012


The poster pretty much gives you the plot "When Guys and Gals Rent The Same Beach House, It's
Wild On The Beach". Lee Sullivan (Sherry Jackson) inherits a beach house from her late uncle. She plans to make it into off campus female housing for students at the local college. She will also use the rent money to finance her own education. When she arrives at the house she finds Adam Miller (Frankie Randall) has the same idea, but he's planning to use the house for male housing. He claims her late uncle gave him permission before he died. They knock heads, but a romance develops between the twosome. (shades of Annette and Frankie...but believe me this duo is NO Annette and Frankie)

Wild On The Beach
was filmed in black and white and just barely falls into the 1960s series of "beach party movies". I say "barely falls into", since the beach in the title refers to a beach the actors only walk on....there's NO swimming and NO swimsuits involved in this production for the gals or guys. There are some stock and background shots of surfers, but these shots have nothing to do with the actors or the plot.

Frankie Randall sings two songs: "The House on the Beach" and "The Gods of Love". These two songs are merely okay. Randall did go on to better things, appearing on the Dean Martin Show and even hosted Dino's summer show a few times. Cindy Malone fairs much better with a really great 60s female tune "Run Away From Him" and Jackie and Gayle do a nice smooth song called "Winter Nocturne"

The Astronauts have four songs in Wild On The Beach: "Rock This World", "Little Speedy Gonzalez" (which probably wouldn't past muster in a film now and be deemed racist), "Pyramid Stomp", and "Snap It". Sandy Nelson pops in for one performance: "Drum Dance".

Wild On The Beach isn't bad, it's just not very good. The only reason I would recommend this movie (unless you just like lame comedy and predictable plots) is the appearance of Sonny and Cher backed by The Astronauts singing the song "It's Gonna Rain". They really tear into this song and it's a little different than what you normally hear from the great pop duo. The only other saving grace of Wild On The Beach is the unintentional humor of watching white boys dance.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Conway Twitty only made two movies where he played someone other than himself, this movie Platinum High School (later re-released as Trouble At Sixteen) and College Confidential. In both movies he plays a "bad boy", albeit in this one he's much "badder" than in Confidential. When I purchased this movie (not on DVD, but it's fairly easy to find a used vhs copy), I hadn't looked at the movie poster and the title led me to believe this would be about kids in a high school.

high school referenced in the title is a military school for troubled rich kids. The school is on a remote island off the coast of California where the students, and for that matter the faculty, cannot leave. Mickey Rooney's son, who he hadn't seen for years, was sent there by mistake by his wealthy, now deceased, mother. His son died on the island and Rooney is there to find out what happened. Rooney, always a solid actor, actually has his best part in Platinum High School in an action sequence, where he fights three men using judo, empty rifles, and a knife.

Conway Twitty, Jimmy Boyd (I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus), and Harold Lloyd Jr. are known as "The Three Beasts" and they show up from time to time during the movie to menace Rooney or to cause some other type of trouble. Conway Twitty has a few lines during each scene in which he appears. Maybe it was due to his Southern accent, but Conway's acting reminded me of Elvis during his earlier movies. I don't see any reason Conway couldn't have gone on to make more films if he had wanted, but I guess it didn't appeal to him as much as a music career. Conway doesn't sing in
Platinum High School; however, he did compose and sing a great rocking tune for the movie's soundtrack (see below).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Man Outside
is a pretty average movie for the first two-thirds of the film, but the last one-third moves it into "god awful" territory. Robert Logan is a lawyer and due to a personal tragedy in his life, chucks his city ways and becomes a hermit living in the woods alone with his dog. Logan gets wrongfully accused of snatching a young boy and is arrested.... This is the point where the movie really starts to go downhill.... Logan escapes from jail to track down the abductor and the boy himself. Why did he have to escape....your guess is as good as mine....I mean he could have just orchestrated the whole thing from jail or for that matter told the sheriff who to look for. During his escape, Logan and his love interest/abettor in escape, Kathleen Quinlan, have to sit outside by a fire in the snow and discuss things, even though there's a house with heat in the background. Oh long as they're on the run hunting down the boy and the abductor, they might has well take time for a little loving. Then there's a truck which has sat idle in the weeds, but is magically running again after obviously been given a wash and shine before it's placed back on the road (all this in the space of just a few minutes). There's a big psychotic breakdown by the real abductor near the end of the movie right before a super gooey ending. Folks, I'm just touching on some of the really stupid stuff in the last 1/3 of Man Outside....believe me when I tell you there's lots more.

Four fifths of The Band are in
Man Outside. Levon Helm has a the most screen time as the sheriff. Levon did a great job in Coal Miner's Daughter portraying Loretta Lynn's father. In Man Outside I can only say his acting is adequate and that is being generous with the word "adequate". The other three members only have minor roles: Rick Danko plays the kidnapped boy's father and has a few lines. He really didn't get enough screen time for me to make any type of judgment about his acting. And speaking of not having much screen time, Richard Manuel is only billed as Vigilante #1 as he and a couple of other guys beat up Robert Logan. Garth Hudson has perhaps the strangest role, he is billed as Recluse in the credits. Supposedly he is a scarred Vietnam Vet living way back in the woods and has a couple of lines of spaced-out dialogue.

The members of The Band didn't do anything to make this movie worse than it was and I guess that should be an accomplishment of sorts. Unless you are a really big fan of The Band and just want to see most of the members in a movie, then I wouldn't recommend
Man Outside, you'd be better off watching The Last Waltz.