Living Hell - Volume #1, Issue #1



  o Windy News
  o DVD Review
  o Hello Dolly

Windy News

Last month, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta lift-
ed a temporary injunction blocking Alice Randall's novel "The Wind
Done Gone," a retelling of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind"
as told from the viewpoint of a slave, the daughter of a slave, and
a white plantation owner.  Randall and publisher Houghton Mifflin
contended that the book is a parody and, thus, is protected by the
First Amendment.  The decision has been hailed a victory for ton-
gues and cheeks everywhere, as evident by Mifflin's announcement of
several *other* upcoming retold tales:

  o "The Wind Done Broke" - Retelling of Mel Brooks' BLAZING
     SADDLES, as told from the viewpoint of the campfire

  o "The Wind Died Down" - Hurricane Floyd and it's aftermath
     in North Carolina, as told from the viewpoint of a chip-

  o "The Damn Wind Didn't Blow" - Orville and Wilbur Wright's
     problematic early years, as told by Cousin Asrain

  o "The Dung Did Fly" - Chronicle of New York Mayor Rudy Gu-
     liani's recent marital problems, as told from the view-
     point of his hairpiece

  o "The Wind Done Gone And Then Came Back" - Sequel to "The
     Wind Done Gone," as told from the viewpoint of a copy-
     right lawyer

  o "The Wand Done Gone" - Backstage secrets of stage magician
     Doug Henning, as told from the viewpoint of his pants

  o "The Gong Done Rung" - Biography of Chuck Barris, as told
     from the viewpoint of Jaye P. Morgan

  o "The Bong is Gone" - Legal issues relating to the medical
     use of marijuana, as told from the viewpoint of Woody Har-

  o "The Bell Done Rung" - The secret sexual life of Alexander
     Graham, as told from the viewpoint of the man who came

DVD Review

SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.  154 minutes.  Warner Brothers.  "Special edi-
tion" with eight minutes of footage deleted from the 1978 theatri-
cal release, but which occasionally have cropped up on subsequent
television airings.  The "deleted scenes" include an extended con-
versation between Supes-- post rescues-- and his Marlon Brando-lo-
oking dad, with the Man of Steel admitting to feelings of, gasp,
joy and Pops explaining why secret identities are good.  An in-
triguing sequence, sure, but hardly necessary.  This is a movie
that takes great pains to *depict* the elements of the decades-old
mythos, but without spelling them out quite so literally.  Still,
it's nice to see more of Brando...

Other "deletions" are smaller and more incidental: an extra shot or
two here; a scene that runs slightly longer than it should, there.
What's *missing* is a better editing job, with better integration
of the restorations.  Like Lex's pre-entrapment "gauntlet" that,
while exciting, interrupts the cross-cutting with the coming test
launch.  Thus, the subsequent missile firing seems to occur right
out of the blue.  Let's see, other footage includes a earthquake-
toppled Hollywood sign-- complete with screaming (but, alas, not
smushed) Girl Scouts-- and the revelation that the little girl on
the train waving to Clark is a pre-teen Lois Lane.  Oh, and that's
Kirk Alyn and Noel Neill as her parents, AKA Clark and Lois of the
old Superman serials.  (One *positive* side-effect of the added
footage is that the movie no longer seems over before it begins.)

For new or revisiting viewers, the movie is near-starling smorgas-
bord of humor, with comic opportunities lurking at practically ev-
ery turn.  Well, except for the dreadful grim Planet Krypton, that
is.  And yet, for all the slapstick and oh-so-sly asides, the joki-
ness never once impinges on the movie's more heroic proportions.
In fact, the deft balance between (melo)drama and comedy in the
screenplay-- which Mario "Godfather" Puzo had a hand in-- is rather
stunning when compared to the later (and uniformly suckier) super-
hero films of the Eighties and Nineties.  (Bonus question:  crappy
SUPERMAN sequels notwithstanding-- same for SUPERGIRL, as it's an
off-shoot-- what gets *your* vote for the crappiest "spandex-fest"
of the last twenty?  I'll say SPAWN, for starters.)

Another smile-bringer is that big, Seventies-style, all-star en-
semble cast, featuring fabulous bit work by everyone from Susannah
York to Larry Hagman.  (What!?  Major Nelson!?  Hint: "vigorous
chest massage.")  Reeve, of course, is a marvel and Hackman's a
consistent (but never overplayed) scene-stealer as Arch Nemesis.
Only Margot Kidder is still the sore thumb she was twenty years
ago-- toothy, harshly featured, and, overall, just too... ungainly
to be the best head-turner for the Chin of Steel.  The film's age
also shows, notably in the form fake-looking special effects.  (Ef-
fects that maybe could've been "Lucas-ized?"  You know, retouched
or outright redone?)  The worst of the worst are probably the matte
shots-- cheesy superimpositions used for everything from flying se-
quences to the baby capsule's trip.  They looked lame *then* and
look even lamer *now*.

At least most of the miniature work impresses.  Key word: most.
There's still a *ton* of fakery when the Fortress of Solitude is
created.  Same for that dreadful, Super-made dam at the end.  Oy.
(If memory of old "Starlog" magazines serves, an ace effects coor-
dinator quit-- or was fired-- before the film was finished.  Hence,
that crappy "fake flood" in the finale.)  And as someone whose seen
SUPERMAN at least a dozen times over the years, those old, familiar
continuity errors are also still there.  Like Supes jumping out of
a Daily Planet window, his business suit inexplicably transforming
into his costume.  Huh?  Or the glaring incongruity between the ae-
rial footage of the capsule crash and the relatively short distance
of the landing site from the road.  Guess the filmmakers didn't use
their slide-rule on that one...

Hello Dolly

We went to the mountains last week; to the Smokies, to take in the
tourist traps and sample the reliably breathtaking scenery in and
around Gatlinburg (TN).  We stayed one town over in Pigeon Forge,
outlet mall Mecca and home of "Dollywood," and, at least at one
service station, where passers-thru can purchase anatomically cor-
rect "Dollypops" in several different colors.  I kid you not.

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros



Search Mike Legeros

Copyright 2023 by Michael J. Legeros