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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Weird Movie Village is Five Years Old!

And they say relationships don't last. It was February 26, 2009, when I wrote my first post for this blog. And what a long, strange trip it's been. That first missive was about the good old days of working at the drive-in theater, an experience that a lot of today's readers don't have the opportunity to enjoy. I hope I've been able to bring some of those memories to life for you as vividly as a bag of greasy, stale popcorn.

My posts haven't been as regular as of late, but  I've also been serving as an L.A. theater and music critic. The last show I covered was Kaiser Chiefs, who were last seen here in 2008. And this town has great equity-waiver theater in so many neighborhoods -- the west side, Hollywood, the Valley -- even Sierra Madre! Add to that the various Twitters and Tumblrs and that's a whole lotta content.

Still, I'm intent on keeping the Village open and even hope to add some new features this year. In the meantime, I'd like to take a look at what's transpired in the Village over the past half-decade.

Not just reminiscing about drive-in and grindhouse classics from years gone by (although they're so fun to cover), the Village has also provided reviews of a lot about new films. From completely straightforward features like Saving Mr. Banks to a Hollywood premiere of an English slasher, I've tried to make sure that WMV patrons are kept up-to-date on what's new and what should really be ignored (i.e., any Hangover sequels).

By way of projection (okay, digital projection), for 2014, I'm interested in seeing 300: Rise of an Empire, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, The Hobbit: There and Back Again and — okay, let's see what Disney does with Into the Woods. I just can't dredge up the excitement for the latest X-Men or Spider-Man, and I've frequently let my feelings be known about the Paranormal Inactivity series of stinkers.

The Village lost some important denizens over the years. Karen Black and Susan Tyrrell were among those whose losses stung the most, but there were also: Anne Bancroft; Jackie Burroughs; Patricia Neal; Poltergeist's tiny Zelda Rubenstein; wildman Ken Russell; character stalwart (and Russ Meyer fave) Charles Napier; Billy Jack himself Tom Laughlin; porn legends Harry Reems and Jamie Gillis; the all-around showman Dave Friedman; and — of course — the ultimate pussycat, Tura Satana.

The Village is the place where we salute great performances in films, and we're not talking about Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman. More like Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist, Christina Ricci in Addams Family Values (remember her trying to smile?) and Crispin Glover in Willard, to name a few. And if you want to see a gallery of the cult celebs I've had a chance to meet, do visit the women's gallery here and the men's gallery here.

Of course, there have been plenty of posts covering weird movies, some earning their own column (Valley of the Dolls, City of the Living Dead, Night of the Living Dead), and some coming in gangs. For example, how about David Carradine in drag as the mother of a feral kid whose tongue has been removed and has been trained to kill like an animal? We got it. A movie about a guy who eats contaminated poultry and becomes a blood-drinking, turkey-headed monster? Ditto. You know, it's about time for a new post exploring films on the fringe. Maybe they'll make Kardashians Go To Hell 3D next year.

Themes also figure large in Weird Movie Village. Here, you've been able to explore such diverse and intriguing topics as:
The author with John Waters
Directors have been given an honored place here as well. It's always a privilege to be able to acknowledge the distinctive vision of a particular director...even if it's for the wrong reasons. Along with the aforementioned Ken Russell, we've featured David Cronenberg, Tim Burton, Lucio Fulci and the crown prince of earnest but misbegotten cinema, Ed Wood. And John Waters, whose talents reach far beyond the cinema, was honored as a national treasure.

We've kept up with contemporary television, too. True Blood, which began so promisingly, has become an incomprehensible bore and it's hard to believe it's still dragging along. Ryan Kwanten says there'll be a whole lot of dead characters in its final season. Good.

Breaking Bad, which never had a bad season, concluded last year with its dignity intact. Dexter, which had some shaky years but regained its footing to reach a more or less satisfying conclusion, also ended in 2013. Sadly, The Borgias, which had been working up such a good head of steam, was deemed to expensive for Showtime and the plug was unceremoniously pulled. Dracula, NBC's dabble in cable-edgy blood and sex, likewise came to an abrupt halt, but it wasn't particularly notable, so…meh.

HBO's Boardwalk Empire is wrapping up this year. After the death of Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt), the show seemed to go into a free-fall, but it came roaring back in 2013 with its strongest season. Hopefully it'll go out with a well-deserved bang.

The same can't be said for The Walking Dead, which slipped into a coma before its mid-season break last year and shows no signs of reviving. Happily, shows like Bates Motel, just entering its second season, are ready to step in to break up the ennui.

And the edgy comedies are doing just fine. Nurse Jackie is coming back for its sixth season in April, and it's showing no signs of wear. Meanwhile, the Showtime sex farce Episodes is in the midst of its third season and actually keeps getting better. Speaking of sex, the subversive Masters of Sex has been renewed for a second season in 2014, and Shameless is in the middle of its fourth season. It's great but so intense because it's really hitting the fan in the Gallagher household.

I hope to add more video to Weird Movie Village in 2014. Maybe I'll try out that new-fangled Vine thing. Otherwise, I hope you'll make plans to visit the Village often to get your fix of strange.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Weird Movie Village for five years celebrating the best of the weird - and sometimes the best of the worst. The Village is a good place to be for those who enjoy less mainstream entertainment!

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