Eyes Wide Shut

If Kubrick had died a year or two earlier he never would have made Eyes Wide Shut and his legacy would have been untarnished by such a mediocre flick. Not to mention the dirty old man as director ickiness about the whole thing. And the dialogue, sheesh. Only Pollack sounds like he not acting, and it has to have the worst last line by any genius director ever. The whole mess is just stupid, and there are few things more embarrassing than a genius being stupid. It’s great if you’re really stoned, though, which I was the first time. Unstoned, it’s just endlessly tepid, the lousy performances, inane dialogue, absurd plot devices, meandering subplots and more T & A than Vegas, baby, if that’s your thing.

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Phantom Planet

Still mining the Mill Creek 50 flick SciFi Classsics collection while waiting for the cable box to arrive so I can watch news 24/7 like everyone else. But in the meantime I’m finding occasional gems like the obscure Phantom Planet (1961). It was either written or directed or produced by a guy that used to write arrangements for Fred Waring but something must have happened, some bad booze, maybe, or some early LSD, as this flick is about as far removed from Fred Waring as Sun Ra. It’s not art, sure, but it’s wildly imaginative with some very striking effects–and concepts–for 1961. Surely Kubrick and Roddenberry loved it, as they both copped ideas, and not just sorta copped them either but flat out lifted whole scenes. The flick is sort of a cross between a very low budget Forbidden Planet, space opera Outer Limits, and any number of 1950’s science fiction radio shows (such as Dimension X or X Minus One), as radio allowed for just about anything, as long as listeners could imagine it. Here they tried to apply that to the silver screen (or a drive in screen anyway) and the result is no Zontar the Thing From Venus but some occasionally dumb but very entertaining science fiction. I suppose that stoned out of your mind it’s even better, but I was high on life. Well, life and coffee. Oh–that’s Richard Kiel in the solar monster suit, his first role, I think, and Francis X Bushman is the wise old alien. Plus enough alien babes to satisfy your inner Kirk.