Friday, November 25, 2005

Weekend at Sandy's, Part 2

Time to continue my belated P (‘P’ for Sandy Petersen) Fest report before I forget everything.

As noted earlier, I flew down from Chicago and Chris Holland drove from Austin to Dallas, where we met up at Stately Petersen Manor to sit on our butts and watch B-movies all weekend.

Following the Friday night showings, we rose on Saturday morning to eat a quick bite of cereal and some yogurt. (Thus fulfilling my once-a-year Nearly Healthy Meal quotient.) Sandy offered to employ his awesome grill for lunch, and thus we road tripped over to the supermarket for various meats and other essentials. Although Chris became obsessed with the idea that the store must have some hot dogs with casings—as every true dog aficionado knows, by which I mean everyone from Chicago, an absolutely essential element of a good wiener—a close questioning of several of the staff revealed that this wasn’t so. Therefore we went with skinless dogs. That’s what happens when you visit the barbarian wilds of Texas.

[Upon return home, Chris was able to verify that skinned dogs were available, at least in Austin, confirming the fact by sending me a picture of a Nathan’s Famous pack, which boasted, “Natural Casing to help seal in the flavor.” Indeed.]

At the checkout line, Sandy, who the night before had already treated us to a swank steak dinner, demanded to pay for the food himself. He finally allowed me to kick in a pathetic ten spot, if only to let me pretend that I had contributed something. You've got to watch that guy, I tell you.

Thus fortified with hamburger meat, regrettably skinless hot dogs, brats, buns, pop, Nutty Bars (which along with my pretzels quickly disappeared from the common table—next year I’ll have to hoard a private supply), chips and other sundries, we headed back to base camp. Sandy fired up the grill and did yeoman’s work with the meats, and we gorged and gorged well. The meats remained edible for many hours afterward, to boot, allowing for a quick protein break as the movies dragged on.

Thus sated food-wise, it was time for some movies. I think we started just about noon.

To be con't.

DVD bargains...

Help fans mourn the cancellation of Arrested Development with the Second Season box set, now available from for an astounding $14/65% off. If you're looking for a great, cheap stocking stuffer for Christmas, you can definately do worse. is also offering Alias Season One at $29/59% off; Simpsons Season 6 at $17/66% off (!!), and lots of other titles. Check the Thursday listings at for more.

Meanwhile, Amazon is offering March of the Penguins for $17, an extremely good 41% off the street price. That's another great stocking stuffer.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving thanks...

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and let me give thanks to everyone who has come by the blog here, as well as the main site. It's been great to have another mechanism for hanging out with people, albeit admittedly in a somewhat abstract fashion. And thanks as well to all the people who made the generally awful movies we discuss here! What would we have done without them?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The bounty continues...

Man, this birthday thing is such a scam.

Having no morals whatsoever, and trying to save a couple of bucks, I suggested last week to my circle of work friends that the King Kong/Son of Kong/Mighty Joe Young set due out today would be a nice gift. It also wasn’t outrageously priced for a number of people to chip in on.

As mentioned in the DVD section below, there is also a King Kong Collector’s Tin, with reproduction poster postcards and a recreation of the original 40-page theatrical program. That looked pretty sweet, but it didn’t come with SoK or MJY, so it seemed too expensive if it meant having to buy those films separately.

However, just this morning I learned that Best Buy has an exclusive set that has the tin along with the SoK and MJY discs, and for only like six or seven dollars more. I went to the guy procuring my first request, and he said it had already shipped. So I told him not to worry about it.

However, we had already made plans to have them take me to lunch today. Aside from the free lunch I got a nice box of Fannie Mae dark-chocolate covered coconut candies, which are my faves. Then, on top of all that already, they drove me over to Best Buy and bought me the special set with the tin. On top of being the only place the tin comes with the other two movies (there’s a cardboard box the whole magilla fits in), it even features five additional poster postcards as opposed to the regular tin. All that for well under $40.

I don’t know how many of these sets Best Buy is selling—the table we found them on had like three of them—but I’ll bet you see them selling for $75-100 a pop on eBay in six months.

New on DVD (11/22/05)...

The big DVD news of the week, of course—the year, really—is the long-yearned for arrival of the original King Kong. There are a number of options. The two-disc set is available by itself, and features a movie-length documentary by Peter Jackson, commentaries, and a whole bunch o’ crap.

You can also buy a four-disc set that adds in Son of Kong and (the real) Mighty Joe Young as well. Finally, there’s a Collector’s Tin set featuring Kong along with 10 reproduction vintage poster cards, a reproduction of the opening night theatrical program for the movie, etc.

Finally, and I don’t know how long these will last, but Best Buy has an exclusive set featuring the Collector’s Tin along with Son of Kong and Mighty Joe Young. They are the only ones, apparently, to offer this exact combination. You can find it on their website, or in their stores.

As well, other Kong related stuff (like the bad cartoon show) started coming out last week, several other such items come out today (see below) and more (the Toho Kong movies and Konga) are due out soon. It’s Kongapolooza!

With the holiday coming, and with TV box sets still being the hottest DVD market, you can expect plenty more such sets to come out between now and Christmas. This week sees The Andy Griffith Show S4; The Astro Boy Collection; CSI Miami S3; Dark Shadows Set 21; Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; Golden Girls S3; Home Improvement S3; King of the Hill S5; Leave it to Beaver S1; Naked City Set 2; Seinfeld S5; and (separately) Seinfeld S6;

Alien vs. Predator – Unrated Collector’s edition. In other words, probably like a light R version rather than the theatrical PG one. (It’s ‘unrated’ because it wasn’t submitted to the MPAA be rated.) Did anyone really like this enough to double dip? Apparently they think so. Anyway, it’s a two-disc set with commentaries, etc.

Batman vs. Dracula: The Animated Movie (!). I don’t really like the new The Batman cartoon (I adore the older Animated Series), which this ties into, but whatever.

The Exterminator: Sleazy ‘70s revenge-ploitation flick, with a notable cast; Christopher George, Samantha Egger, Steve James and Roger “The Paper Chase” (!) Ginty. Punks cripple Ginty’s pal from Viet Nam, and he’s out to kill the miscreants in the grossest fashions he can. This was a pretty controversial film at the time, with Roger Ebert really beating on it. He gave it zero stars and called it, “a sick example of the almost unbelievable descent into gruesome savagery in American movies…just a sadistic exercise in moronic violence, supported by a laughable plot…a small, unclean exercise in shame.” It’s hard to imagine him writing anything like that anymore.

House by the River: Kino, a classics’ house second only to Criterion, releases this Fritz Lang noir.

House of Seven Corpses: ‘70s horror with John Ireland and John Carradine.

The Jane Mansfield Story: Telepic with Loni Anderson (!) as Mansfield, and a young Arnold Schwarzenegger (!!) as her muscle builder husband Mickey Hargitay. I’ve dreamed for years that this featured Arnold recreating the ending of Hargitay’s Bloody Pit of Horror, but probably not. What a missed opportunity.

The Dino De Horrendous 1976 King Kong redo is out this week (wonder why?) in a new remastered edition.

Kong: King of Atlantis, is an absolutely insane sounding animated movie, and threatens to actually be a worse Kong cartoon film than The Mighty Kong.

The Last Days of Pompeii is an early disaster epic made by the director of the original King Kong.

The Mad Bomber is a cop thriller directed by Bert I. Gordon and starring Chuck Connors, Neville Brand and Vince Edwards. That’s some cheese right there.

Ran, one of the greatest movies of the last thirty years, is out on disc yet again, this time in a purportedly great Criterion edition. I’ve already bought this twice, and may end up getting it again.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is a sure bet for old movie buffs, starring Shirley Temple, Gloria Stuart, Jack Haley, Randolph Scott and William Demarest.

Scarlet Street is classic noir starring Edward G. Robinson and out in a reportedly spiffing new edition by Kino. Ignore all the cheap public domain editions of this film!

The Shirley Temple Collection #2 includes the previously mentioned Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, along with Baby Takes a Bow and Bright Eyes.

Skeleton Man is a DTV no doubt craptacular monster flick starring Michael Rooker (seriously, that guy deserves better) and Casper Van Dien (seriously, he doesn’t).

Cheapie Public Domain house Alpha is putting out a three-disc Sons of Kong set today, rounding up several of their previous releases, including The Ape, Bela Lugosi meets a Brooklyn Gorilla, The Ape Man, Bride of the Gorilla, The Savage Girl, Law of the Jungle, White Pongo and Nabonga. Not the best presentations to be sure, but the casual fan will certainly get his money’s worth.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Arriving today on DVD... last week had their (so far) annual 20% off sale--off the already discounted prices they normally sell stuff for. It's a good time to buy box sets and stuff, and today I recieved part of my order, which probably would have been bigger but I'm closer to being broke than I like.

Today I got:

The Twilight Zone Definative Edition Season 3. I haven't even had a chance to crack open the first two sets, but it's hard to pass these up. The season 3 set features 37 (!) episodes, including numerous classics: It's a Good Life. The Grave, Kick the Can, To Serve Man, Little Girl Lost, etc. The Definative series features supposedly gorgeous new transfers, and tons of extras. Billy Mumy, for instance, provides commentaries for both It's a Good Life and the 2002 sequel (from the short-lived UPN update series) It's Still a Good Life. There's a lot more stuff too,

Next I got the 4th Volume of SCTV. This features the 90 minute shows after a bunch of the cast--Dave Thomas, Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis--had left. I was therefore going to skip buying this set and watch it via Netflix, but once I did so I realized some of the show's best comedy was still on this set. In any case, while I still might forego the next set (until the earlier stuff starts coming out), this is all gold.

Finally, 42nd Street Forever is a collection of exploitation and monster movie trailers, two hours worth. These range from porn films to gore movies to Superfuzz and Green Slime. Great stuff. all I need is about 40 hours to watch all this stuff, sixty if I do all the extras.

Well, I should have gotten some writing done,

but I was lazy, and it was my birthday this weekend, so I used that as an excuse not to. Had a good b-day yesterday, which basically involved watching the Bears unexpectedly beat the Panthers, then going over to Techmaster Paul's house and having him and his wife/my old high school chum Holly take me to Long John Silver (my choice--they don't have many around here anymore, so I almost never get to eat there) for a free dinner. Needless to say, I took gross advantage and ordered an extra fish plank with my already sizable combo meal and basically waddled out of there. Then we went back to their house and watched episodes from the third season of The Amazing Race. That sounds pretty lame, I guess, but it was a pretty good day.

(And while I'm past the point where I need gifts--i.e., more junk to cram into my house--my work buddies will be picking me up the King King/Son of Kong/Mighty Joe Young DVD set due out tomorrow, so the timing was good there.)

Anyway, I've already plans for Wednesday night and Thanksgiving (more football at my brothers--I'm not really a huge fan, but whatever), and do work Friday. So tonight I'd better get my writing shoes on.

In any case, I hope everyone else had a good weekend too.