Tuesday, April 23, 2019

THE LOVE BUG (1968)

"We all prisoners, chickie baby. We all locked in."

A down on his luck race car driver, Jim, accidentally becomes the owner of a Volkswagen Beetle named Herbie that is somehow alive.  It's never explained how Herbie came to be alive, I just chalk it up to demon possession or...maybe some Nazis were driving around drunk when they ran over and killed an Amish preacher (who had a secret interest in voodoo).  His soul then took possession of the Beetle and killed the Nazis in unspeakable ways.  Now, with his revenge complete and nothing to do, he drives to San Francisco to hang out in Haight-Ashbury with the hippies and take up racing!  Groovy, Pop.  Groovy!

Anyway...now that Jim (and Herbie) are winning races nonstop, Jim gets the big head and starts believing that he is the reason for all of the wins.  Some cruel things are said and Herbie runs away to commit suicide!  What the hell?!  I didn't see that coming!  Don't worry though, because Jim and Herbie make up...right in time for the big race.  Yay!

I enjoyed THE LOVE BUG.  It was darker than I expected it to be, but it was still a hoot.  Impressive car stunts, at least one drug reference, hippies (the girl in the dune-buggy was the voice of Velma in the Scooby-Doo cartoons), good pace, humor that was charming in how lame and dated it was, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez in the background of one scene, some of the same race footage that was used in FIREBALL 500, beautiful San Francisco and San Bernardino National Forest filming locations, lots of familiar old Hollywood faces, classic cars galore.

Definitely worth checking out.

Part 2 - Herbie Rides Again (1974)
Part 3 - Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)
Part 4 - Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)
Remake - Herbie Fully Loaded (2005)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961)

Professor Fred MacMurray, who's so absent minded that he borders on being a danger to those around him (during the opening credits alone he blows out the windows to his upstairs classroom and rains broken glass down on the students walking below), fritters his days away tinkering in his laboratory working on god knows what.

As the film opens, he once again misses his own wedding...for the third time!!!  (How this guy ever even got engaged to begin with is a mystery to me.)  Anyway, so while he was suppose to be at his wedding, he was actually at home brewing up something so incorrectly that it blew up his shed and knocked him out.  When he awoke he found that he had invented a form of rubber that somehow creates it's own energy.  He names it "Flubber".  Naturally, the first thing he does with this new invention is make his car fly and then attach some Flubber to the bottoms of the college basketball teams shoes!  This causes the players to start flying all over the place and able to jump 20 feet in the air.  Soon after, all kinds of predators (including the government and a local hoodlum) want this amazing new invention for themselves.  Why they don't just take it from the basketball players, I don't know.  Instead, they chase MacMurray all over the place.

For a light-hearted, early 1960's Disney flick, I enjoyed THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR.  Silly as fook story, good special effects, cute dog, sinister undertones, a political jab about killing "every senator and congressman", maybe(?) a reference to TWENTIETH CENTURY that was probably just wishful thinking on my part, medium pace that could have been sped up a bit, great backlot locations, solid acting (especially by MacMurray) plus lots of great classic movie actors like Keenan Wynn (and his real life father Ed Wynn and his real life son Ned Wynn), Edward Andrews, Nancy Olson, James Westerfield and many others...even Leon Tyler from GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW!

Good lazy afternoon time-waster.

Interesting bit of trivia: THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR was actually nominated for three Academy Awards (including Best Cinematography!), but lost all three.

Part 2 - Son of Flubber (1963)
Remake - Flubber (1997)