Archive for the movies Category

Faust Movie Friday: Bedazzled (1967)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s another Friday during AWESOME-tober-fest!  That means it’s time once again for a Faust Movie Friday!  Today I’m going to look at Bedazzled.  For some of you the 2000 movie starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley just popped into your head.

Bedazzled 2000 poster

While, yes, I actually like that movie and considered covering it this year, that’s not the movie I’m talking about. Did you know that 2000 movie was a remake of another movie?  From 1967 starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, it’s also called Bedazzled.

Bedazzled 67 poster

The 1967 original movie has basically the same premise. Hapless and miserable Stanley (Elliot in the 2000 version) contemplates suicide when he is visited by the Devil incarnate and offered a deal; 7 wishes to get the life he always wanted in exchange for his immortal soul.  The rest of the movie is Stanley going through his wishes and figuring out what works and what doesn’t (mostly, it doesn’t work).  In this 67 version, Peter Cook is the Devil and Stanley is played by Dudley Moore.

Peter Cook’s Devil is very charismatic.  He seems simultaneously to enjoy his job and also loathe it.  He’s funny.  He’s constantly making deals.  Stanley keeps thinking that he and the Devil are becoming friends and then the Devil proves that they are nothing of the sort.  I really enjoyed Cook’s portrayal here.  Dudley Moore, pre-Arthur, which I haven’t seen much of at all, is great as the likeable loser Stanley.  He’s pathetic but you are pulling for him the whole time.  But, I’ll be honest, throughout the movie I was constantly wondering why he was so infatuated with that waitress, Margaret.  Almost everyone throughout the movie is clearly infatuated by her.  I didn’t necessarily see the appeal.  Why would Stanley want to kill himself and change everything by selling his soul to the Devil for her?  I guess that speaks more to Stanley than the desireability of her.  Regardless, this movie is a lot of fun.  It’s super funny.  It’s 100% British.  So very British.  But I really enjoyed watching it and I’m glad I finally checked it out.

Let’s take a look at some of the scenes from Bedazzled.


The movie starts with some very trippy 60s credits.


We meet Stanley Moon. Played by Dudley Moore.  Happless short order cook at Wimpy’s Bar (right pic).  He’s pining over one of the waitresses that work with him. He’s so depressed about his job, his lack of girlfriend, and his unrequited love, that he’s ready to commit suicide by tying a rope to his plumbing and jumping off a chair. Unfortunately, the pipes break and he floods his apartment.


Enter The Devil. Played by Peter Cook.  He promises that he can help Stanley.  He offers him 7 wishes for his eternal soul.


The Devil takes Stanley to his current base of operations, The Rendevous Club.  We learn from the sign that the Devil’s current nomme de plume is George Spiggott.  While he and Stanley negotiate over the terms of the contract that the Devil is offering, we see him performing “random bits of mischief” as he calls them.


Here he’s opening a crate of records bound for a record store and putting a big scratch on them.


Here he’s tearing out the last page of an Agatha Christie novel so whomever buys it won’t find out who the killer is.  In case you were wondering what book that is, it’s The Clocks.  Stanley signs the contract and begins his wishes.


After each wish, if Stanley doesn’t like the outcome of the wish, he just blows a raspberry and is taken back to George the Devil. Whenever this happens, George is usually in the middle of more mischief. Here, George just released a bunch of wasps on a circle of hippies playing music.


George offers Stanley his own room and bed to rest in after one of his wishes goes particularly awry. After waking up, Stanley meets Lilith. George has in his employ several characters that are physical manifestations of the 7 deadly sins. We met Anger and Sloth earlier. We’ll meet Envy later. Lilith is Lust, and she’s played by the great Raquel Welch.

If you watch this movie, you’ll notice that the Elizabeth Hurley version of the Devil from the 2000 remake is based on Welch’s Lust.  They even wear a few of the same outfits.


This is after another bad wish. When Stanley appears, George was in the middle of putting a small leak in an oil tanker.


Towards the end we find out that George had a deal with God that if he got to 200 Billion souls first, he could re-enter Heaven as an angel. And George had done it. So he was throwing a goodbye party with all of his employees before going back up to Heaven to join the angels.  And because he got a few extra souls over 200 Billion, George gives Stanley back his own soul.


Of course Lust is dancing on the bar at the party.


Then we see the Devil board an elevator in his office that goes directly to Heaven, and he gets an audience with the almighty. We learn that George giving Stanley his soul back negates the deal and he has to return to Earth to stop Stanley from destroying the contract.

I really enjoyed watching this movie.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It was a lot of fun and the performances are very good.  Especially if you like that dry British wit.

Well, that finishes out this week.  Next week is the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest.  And I have a few good articles to finsh us out.  Join me next week, won’t you?



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Faust Movie Friday: Crossroads (1986)

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, monsters, movies, The Devil with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2020 by Paxton

Faust Movie Friday

It’s Friday, guys!  Usually on Fridays during AWESOME-tober-fest I do movie reviews in what I call Fangoria Movie Fridays.  However, since I’ll be doing Devil movies this year, I’ve decided to rebrand these Friday movie reviews as Faust Movie Friday!

Today, I’m talking about Crossroads from 1986 starring Ralph Macchio, Jami Gertz, and Joe Seneca.

1986 was a sweet spot for Ralph Macchio. He was in two movies that year; Karate Kid Part II and Crossroads. So he was at the height of his mainstream penetration. And Crossroads feels like an odd movie to do during this time. But I’m so glad that he did.  I’m a big fan of old blues music anyway, but there’s a lot to love about this lesser known, underappreciated movie.  And yes, the devil makes an appearance, and he’s a *great* version of Ol Scratch.

Before we get to Scratch, let’s talk about the movie in general.  There’s always been this old American folk tale about blues legend Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil so he could play the blues guitar like no one else.  This movie takes that small urban legend and runs with it.  We even start with that very image.  Robert Johnson at the Crossroads making his deal with someone who is clearly more than he seems.  We later learn it’s the Devil’s assistant.

We then cut to Eugene played by Ralph Macchio. A gifted classical guitarist who is studying at Juliard, but really only wants to play the blues.  He’s studied the blues, read about them.  Learned about all the legends and the tales.  So he thinks he’s tracked down blues legend Willie Brown, the last person to play with Robert Johnson before he died.  And Eugene hopes to talk to Brown to get the fabled “lost song” of Robert Johnson.  Willie says he’ll give it to him if Eugene breaks him out of the old folks home and takes him back to Mississippi.

So Eugene gets a part time job on the maintenance crew of the home.  You, know to help him “case the joint”.  And because it’s Ralph Macchio, he has to pop the collar of his coveralls while mopping the floor. Eugene then uses his maintenance access to break Willie out the home and they hit the road back to Mississippi.

And cue all the normal road trip events; they don’t have enough money, they get in trouble in a bar, they meet a wayward teen girl, steal a car, get harrassed by small town cops.  All the stuff you expect to see on a roadtrip movie but I’m thoroughly enjoying the trip.  The whole time we think Willie just wants to get out of the home and live the rest of his life back in Mississippi, but we later learn he has alterior motives.  Willie apparently made a similar deal to the same man as Robert Johnson, and Willie wants to go back to the Crossroads where he made the deal to get out of it.  And he’s using Eugene to get there.  However, along the way, Willie winds up teaching Eugene what it means to be a real blues man before the big final confrontation with Ol Scratch.

And here’s Ol Scratch.  Played by Robert Judd.  I don’t know where this guy came from, but he is an AMAZING on screen Devil.  Looking at his IMDB he’s only done 2 movies; one back in 1977, and then Crossroads.  But he is awesome as Scratch.  Like an old, friendly small town southern preacher.  But underneath, you can feel a bit of menace.  I’d forgotten how good Judd is as the Devil.  Anyway, Scratch won’t let Willie out of his contract unless he has something to bargain with.  Eugene offers himself.  Scratch suggests a contest between Eugene and his man, guitarist Jack Butler.  Winner take all.

Eugene agrees, and suddenly they are transported to what looks like a small barn being used as a blues bar.  And Eugene goes up guitar to guitar against Jack Butler, played by the awesome Steve Vai.  This final battle is really feast for the eyes and ears.  I love it.

Check it out for yourself.  But honestly, if you haven’t seen the movie, just watch the whole movie.  You won’t be disappointed.



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Super Blog Teamup: Jumper and the creation of a multiverse

Posted in books, movies, pop culture with tags , , , on June 24, 2020 by Paxton

Well, I decided I needed to write more, and I haven’t really found a time to do it.  Keeping up work, podcasting, and several “real life” things during the quarantine have kept me pretty busy.  However, I still have that urge to write more on the blog.  So when Charlton Hero gave me the opportunity to join the latest round of Super Blog Team-Up, I thought that this was a perfect chance to do that.  And the topic of expanded universes in pop culture was a perfect fit for me.

So let’s talk about Jumper.

Back in 2008, a movie named Jumper was released. It starred Hayden Christensen from the Star Wars prequels, Jaime Bell, Rachel Bilson, and Sam Jackson (also from the Star Wars prequels). It looked like a fun, big budget, high octane, genre movie.  It’s about a kid, Davey Rice, that learns he has the ability to teleport.  And he also learns that there are others like him and a shadowy government agency is out to control them, and their ability, for themselves.

jumper movie

The movie is…pretty good. There’s lots of interesting ideas throughout.  I love the idea of teleporters.  And Davey discovers this whole group of people who can teleport just like him, and then also discovering Sam Jackson’s character and his agency are after him.  Ruthelssly.  No holds barred.  I like that.  But the movie isn’t as good as the sum of the parts.  Christensen isn’t great as Davey.  He’s a bit like Anakin Skywalker in Episode II, rather whiny.  I like Rachel Bilson, but she isn’t really given a lot to do.  Jamie Bell is awesome as Griffin who introduces us to the wider world of Jumpers and their battle against Sam Jackson’s Paladins.  This movie, for the most part, sets up a cool world that I would have liked to have seen continued.  But it went no further than this despite rumors that they are trying to start up a TV show featuring Jamie Bell returning as his Griffin character.

But I’ll admit, I’ve always been a sucker for teleportation as a power.  I was always a big fan of Nightcrawler.  There were several DC Comics villains that could teleport or “warp”.  I just thought it was a great power and not utilized enough.  In fact, if you ask me today what super power I’d like to have, I would say teleportation or “warping” powers.  Imagine rolling out of bed, showering and “popping” into work 5 seconds later?  Or, time to drive the kids to the grandparents’ house 5 and a half hours away?  Ok kids, grab your suitcases, think about Gramps’ house.  BAMF.  We’re there.  No yelling in the car.  No “are we there yet”s.  None of that goddam nonsense.  Ok, see you in a week, kids.  BAMF.

Anyway, after seeing the movie, I did a little research into the story.  I discovered that it was based on a book.  A book about a kid that can teleport.  Needless to say, I was intrigued.  That book was from 1992 and it’s called Jumper by Steven Gould.

Jumper Book 1

So a few months later I picked up a used copy of the book and started reading.  And clearly I didn’t research the story enough, because the whole time I was reading it, I was waiting for Sam Jackson’s Roland character or Jamie Bell’s Griffin character to make an appearance.  I had no idea that the movie was rewritten to be so different from the book.  None of the movie characters show up and, as a matter of fact, the entire concept in the movie of Paladins, and legions of people with the ability to jump, and this huge war going on between them is not even mentioned.  The movie created a whole alternate universe for Jumper that essentially just shares the characters of Davey and Millie and that’s about it.

The book’s story focuses on Davey and Millie, and their relationship, as well as Davey’s strained relationship with his father and mother. The entire story is more intimate and, honestly, works a bit better in many respects. In the book, Millie is a girl he meets at a party, not his elementary school crush.  Davey is the only person in the book we ever see that can teleport.  And the government is, in fact, after Davey, but it’s the NSA, not some shadowy government branch with agents called Paladins. Also, it’s more clear in the book that Davey is supposed to be very immature and whiny due to his poor relationship with his family, and the fact that he’s been on his own since he was 14 or 15.  Which somewhat explains Hayden’s whiny performance in the movie.  Also the ability to jump is explored more, which is nice.  But it’s not explained how it really works.  The reader is learning about jumping as Davey learns about it.  We see him test out his powers.  Learn how they work.  And how they don’t work.  The book is also really good about exploring many issues not apparent in the movie version.  It explores a little more realistically about Davey and his responsibility to use his power and not let it be abused.  And there’s some extra stuff about his mother that is really explored in the book that is only touched on in the movie. So while I enjoyed the movie, it was technically a terrible adaptation of the book.  The stories are completely different.

Then, I discovered, that in 2004, Gould wrote a sequel to Jumper called Reflex.

It’s obviously a sequel to Gould’s novel and not the movie as it was published a few years before the movie was released.  It makes the odd choice of jumping 10 years in the future after the first book.  At this time, Davey, who is now working for the NSA as an agent, is finally captured by a secret criminal organization and is tortured and conditioned into working for them. Millie must work with the government to save him. I really do recommend reading both Jumper books, even if you didn’t like the movie (but especially if you did).  What happens to Davey in this book, how the criminal mastermind tortures him and “conditions” him to obey his commands is terrifying.  Millie gets a lot to do because it’s up to her to save Davey.  You could almost see how this story could be modified to be a sequel to the movie Jumper.  Just change the shadowy criminal organization to Sam Jackson’s Paladins and you’re set.  You’d have to omit the part where Davey is actually working for the government, but maybe not, maybe there’s a rogue element in the government allowing it to happen.  Speaking of, in the beginning of this book we learn that Davey did ultimately agree to start working for the government.  When we get to the beginning of this book, which is, like I said, 10 years later, we see he’s about to get out of it.  I’m surprised we haven’t gotten any stories from Gould about the 10 years Davey spent as an agent for the government.  I bet there are some really good stories you could do with Davey as a teleporting secret agent.  That could have been a lot of fun.

So, at the time of the movie’s release, we had two Jumper books by Steven Gould to support the movie.  There wasn’t a separate novelization of the movie, which honestly would have made sense to do because the movie is just so different from the original novel.  No, instead, to confuse everybody, they just rereleased both Gould Jumper novels with brand new movie poster covers.   And, along with the rereleases, instead of a new novelization, Gould wrote a new Jumper book.  It was called Jumper: Griffin’s Story.

And again, to completely confuse everyone, this book is written as a prequel to the movie.  So now, with the movie release, we have two Jumper books by Steven Gould that honestly have *nothing* to do with the movie except a cover with the movie poster.  And also a new Jumper book, written by Steven Gould, and also with a movie poster cover, that has nothing to do with the original novels.  Complete madness, guys.

As the title suggests, this book tells us the story of the Griffin character before the events in the movie.  Honestly, it’s a pretty good book.  The only character from the movie other than Griffin to show up is Sam Jackson’s Roland, but that was only briefly. I was also hoping that towards the end of the book we’d see an appearance or cameo by Davey.  However, in an odd decision, the book ends years before the movie is supposed to begin.  So it doesn’t really connect to the movie at all.

After this book and the movie was released, not much really happened with the Jumper universes.  No new movie ever happened and no new books were released.  Nothing, that is until 2013 when Gould released Impulse, followed by Exo in 2014.

These two sequels jump ahead a few more years and focus on Davey and Millie and their daughter “Cent” (actually, Millicent, like her mother).  It continues on in the same novel universe as before.  Impulse is actually really good.  I was concerned when I realized it was going to focus on the daughter going to school and her parents being all paranoid and weird, because I wanted to hear more about Davey and Millie.  However, the way it builds on how they live.  Totally off the grid.  They teleport to several places on Earth.  Davey is paranoid for a reason.  Almost to a fault.  All Cent wants is to go to high school like a normal person.  I really enjoyed it.  Exo is currently the most recent sequel.  It’s…okay.  It jumps a few more years.  Cent is much older now.  There’s a WHOLE LOT more experimentation in this book with the ability to teleport.  Like, they really try to break down how it works what with the air pressure differences and the differences in elevation between two supposed jump sites.  It’s almost a bit too much.

There was also a prequel comic book that was released around the time of the movie.  It was called Jumper: Jumpscars.  It followed Davey’s mother before the events of the movie.  That’s the one thing with Jumper that I haven’t read yet.  It’s become kind of hard to find for a good price.  No one I guess bought it when it came out.  It’s not even on Comixology.

So, as a stand alone movie, Jumper is good. When compared with the source material, it is a very bad adaptation. However, since the movie makers made an interesting enough story, I’d say it balances out to a win. I mean, the movie got me to read the entire Jumper series by Gould, so it must have had something there.

Check out some of the other awesome entries in this Super Blog Team Up Expanded Universe series:

Michael May: Treasure Island Universe

Super-Hero Satellite: M.A.S.K.: The Road To Revolution.

Between The Pages Blog: Fantastic Forgotten Star Wars Characters

Comics Comics Comics: The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones

The Source Material Comics Podcast: TMNT/Ghostbusters

DC In The 80s: The TSR Universe

Pop Culture Retrorama: The Phantom Universe

The Telltale Mind: Archie Andrews – Superstar

The Daily Rios – Little Shop of Horrors

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2019

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2020 by Paxton

Movie Report

Yesterday, you saw my favorite books/comics I read in 2019 list.  Had lots of fun with it?  You agree with everything I put on the list?  Tough.  It’s my list, sucka!  And now it’s time for another list.  This time we are looking at my favorite movies list.

I keep a list of the movies I watched with some small reviews in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

Anyway, I think it’s time to dig into my list.  Rules, like my books, only movies new to me in 2019 are eligible. I’ll start with my list of favorite movies released in 2019, then I’ll do a list of favorite movies I watched in 2019 that weren’t necessarily released that year.

But first, my favorite movies that were released in 2019


Avengers: Endgame (2019) – I started off last year’s list with Infinity War, so I’ll start of this list with the sequel. Again, what else can I say? This wrapped up the first 10 years of the MCU in a nice, tight, little bow.  I loved it.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – Yikes.  Well, I don’t think Star Wars will ever *not* be divisive again.  This movie had the unenviable task of not only following The Last Jedi (good or bad), but also fully wrapping up the Skywalker saga.  I don’t know that *any* movie could live up to that pressure.  I had fun with this.  They made a few decisions that I don’t necessarily agree with, but for the most part I had a lot of fun with the movie.  It felt good to have fun-loving Finn and Poe again.  They were not themselves in the previous movie.  And I again love Rey and Kylo and their whole relationship.  I’m *mostly* happy with how this went down.


Knives Out (2019) – I loved this movie.  It’s like a more quirky Clue the Movie mixed with Kurosawa’s Rashomon.  Great cast and everyone is bringing their A-game.  Lots of fun and the mystery is good too.


Happy Death Day (2017)/ Happy Death Day 2U (2019) – The second movie was released in 2019, so that’s why this entry is here.  I kept hearing how good the first movie was, and by the time I sat down to watch it the sequel had come out.  So I watched both, back to back, in 2019.  And I was pleasantly surprised how good these movies are.  The first one is like a horror movie Groundhog Day.  It’s very inventive and fun.  The second movie, is not really even a horror movie.  It’s a Sci-Fi fantasy adventure.  And you wouldn’t think that would work *at all* but it totally works.  I really enjoyed both of these movies.


Downton Abbey the Motion Picture (2019) – I’m a sucker for this show, so, I was a sucker for this movie.  I loved returning to this world, I loved revisiting these characters, I loved this movie.


Always be My Maybe (2019) – So. Much. Fun.  The leads in this are adorable.  I love the music Marcus makes with his band.  Keanu Reeves makes a scene stealing cameo that I just loved.  This is a great movie.  See it if you haven’t.

And now, movies from any year that I watched for the first time in 2019


Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) – How great was this movie?  I didn’t get to see this in the theater, but I’d heard from everyone how good it was, so I rented it.  And everyone was right.  This gets it all right.  Miles is great.  I love the other versions of Spider-Man that show up.  Penny Parker in particular.  It’s really so good.  And the animation is terrific.


Upgrade (2018) – I expected this movie to be sort of a low-key update to the Bionic Man.  It’s not that.  It goes a different direction and I applaud the movie for going there.  It’s dark and intense, but I really liked it.  I’m not going to say much more than that except, give it a watch.


Staten Island Summer (2015) – I saw this while scrolling around on Netflix one afternoon and watched it on a lark.  And wow, it’s really good.  It’s one of those “one last summer before college” movies.  It just hit every single nostalgia button for me.  It takes place in and around a community swimming pool, which, when I was in high school, I worked three summers as a lifeguard at one such pool.  It’s a sweet, fun movie about friendship and moving on to the next step in your life.  This was such a fun surprise, check it out.


Uncle Drew (2018) – I love ragtag basketball movies.  This one has a great cast, it’s lots of fun, and it’s really funny!  I almost didn’t watch it because, while I thought it looked good, I was afraid they showed all the funny stuff in the trailer.  Nope, this is a solid roadtrip/basketball movie with some heart thrown into the story.

Those those were my overall favorite movies I watched in 2019.  Hopefully you can find some gems in this list.

Next week, I’ll put out some Honorable Mentions of things I thought were worth talking about, but not necessarily “listworthy”.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2019: Movie Magazine ads

Posted in AWESOME-tober-fest, Blog Series, Fangoria, Halloween, holiday, magazine, movies with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2019 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest 2019

If you know me at all you know I’m a huge fan of movie tie-in merchandise. Especially movie novelizations. Check out the I Read Movies podcast if you don’t believe me. Along with novelizations, I’m also a huge fan of movie souvenir magazines. I’ve talked about them before on this blog (see the Back to the Future movie magazine).  But instead of talking about one specific one, how about we take a look at ads for a group of these movie magazines?  They ran in Fangoria all through the 80s.


Here’s an ad from Fangoria 40 (1984).  Lots of good ones here.  Superman III.  Star Trek II and III!  Rocky II and III!  Sometimes these ads would also feature older magazines so clearing houses can clear out their stock to get new magazines.  Annie!  Not sure I’ve ever seen that one.  Conan the Barbarian.  The Best of Stallone mag shows up in TONS of ads I’ve seen.  I guess they never could sell it so it just kept showing up on all these ads.


Here’s a magazine ad from Fangoria 49 (1985).  One year later.  See, still trying to sell that Best of Stallone magazine.  We see a few similar mags like Rocky II and III, Star Trek II and IIIRambo is new as is that Explorers magazine.  I can’t believe these magazine cover prices top out around $3.95.  $3.95!!  That’s insane.


Here’s an ad from three years later in Fangoria 70 (1988).  More old stock like the Star Trek magazines.  But we get a bunch of new ones like more Stallone with Over the Top and Rocky IV.  We also get Superman IV, The Untouchables and a new Star Trek, Part IV.  And there’s a Spaceballs the Magazine over on the left.  I’ve never seen that one before.  And a nice Masters of the Universe magazine on the right side.  This is a really good grouping of movie magazines.  And their prices are still crazy.  Less than $4?!  YES, PLEASE!



Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.