Sunday, May 30, 2010


Bill and Wayne's Excellent Adventures in the World of Film

Bill and Wayne’s latest adventure in the quirky world of movies involved sausage, egg and Tabasco bagels and a classic spaghetti western called Once Upon a Time in the West. Not only was the old flick a little bit quirky, it was a little bit kooky, strange and a lot dark and spooky.

Sergio Leone, a man whose name is synonymous with spaghetti westerns, is responsible for this masterpiece. Filmed in Spain and Utah, there is a hellish feel to the experience. Everything is filthy, dusty, dry and dilapidated. The flaming sun constantly beats down on the ghostly characters.

Leone toys with time, slowing everything down to a fiendish snail’s pace. The opening scene is a movie in itself as Leone spends what seems like hours focusing on a fly on Jack Elam’s head and water dripping insipidly on Woody Strode’s head. And it’s captivating. Alfred Hitchcock said there is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation. Leone is down with Hitchcock’s concept. The film is 999 percent anticipation and .001 percent bang. Hope my math is right there. But the bangs are pretty damned explosive.

Henry Fonda, the blue eyed iconic all American actor, is evil personified. Seeing Fonda cross over to the dark side is shocking and down right scary. Charles Bronson is magnificent (sorry, couldn’t help the cheap allusion) as the revenge bent gunfighter who speaks through a harmonica. Jason Robards plays it cool as a sometimes good, sometimes bad gunfighter. He delivers this line of the movie to the smoking hot damsel in distress, played by Claudia Cardinale: “You remind me of my mother; she was a whore…”

I’ve heard great things about this old standard over the years and I can’t believe it eluded me for so many years. Now that I’ve seen it I can comfortably say baby, the emperor is fully clothed.

Once Upon a Time in the West gets two thumbs up, five stars, and a full tub of quirky flavored popcorn.

Artist's rendering of Bill and Wayne

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

WHEN PIGS FLY - snYder coMics #13

Sophisticated, soshmisticated - I can't help digging bad puns...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010



The latest excellent adventure in the quirky world of film came at the recommendation Guely of Sweden and RDD, the Hoosier Lawyer. My father in law Wayne and I took a look at the classic western, Johnny Guitar Saturday morning and there were sausage, egg and Tabasco sauce bagels.

Johnny Guitar, directed by Nicholas Ray, ain’t you’re run of the mill cowboy picture; the 1954 movie is a calculated attack on McCarthyism. The title character is played by Sterling Hayden, a blacklisted B movie actor and a decorated World War II veteran. In spite of the title, Johnny Guitar is a kinda cool, kinda goofy supporting character. The women run the show in this flick. Hey, I have five daughters; I’m cool with feminism.

The heroine, played by all time melodrama queen Joan Crawford, gesticulates and shouts and cries constantly at her nemesis played by Mercedes McCambridge. And McCambridge shouts, moans, shakes her fists and overacts right back. McCambridge, who would fittingly go on to serve as the voice of the devil in The Exorcist, plays a sexually repressed loudmouth weirdo, a female version of Tail gunner Joe McCarthy. These opposing crazy broads are reminiscent of the some of the nuns back in my Catholic school days.

The dialogue and musical score are tremendously over the top, giving the film the feel of a B science fiction movie. I kept waiting for the creature to pop out of the lagoon. At times it feels like an opera or a silent movie. I don’t know how to categorize the movie. All I can say it’s as bizarre as hell and it sure doesn’t play like a 1950s western.

The movie is fittingly set against the bizarre red rocks of Sedona. The characters are clad in sharp black and bright blues, reds and whites, bringing about a Disney feel.

Ray smashes the viewer in the noggin with blatant sexual symbolism. The women strap on guns while the parade of waterfalls, caves, trains, blasting storms and raging fires never stop.

Ernie Borgnine heats things up as a ridiculously psychotic and surprise, surprise, sexually repressed bad guy while John Carradine manages to do some legitimate acting in the middle of all of this insanity. First rate character actors like Royal Dano, Scott Brady and Ward Bond keep things interesting.

The dialogue is laugh out loud corny. When Sterling introduces himself as Johnny Guitar a cowboy smirks, “Guitar ain’t no kind of name.” The cowboy’s name is, get this, The Dancin’ Kid. Later in the film The Dancin’ Kid offers Johnny Guitar his hand and Johnny Guitar says, “I never shake hands with a left handed gun.” The line is so campy it’s cool – quirky cool.

The whole darned movie is quirky cool. I liked the darned thing – dammit - and so did my bagel eatin’ movie watchin’ partner, Wayne. Tabasco soaked egg and sausage bagels with a kooky old movie like Johnny Guitar is a way quirky cool way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Any man who loves his mother
is man enough for me.
Brightening her eyes, sending her flowers,
though it's no anniversary.

Many men want fame and fortune,
it's gold they love to see,
but I say a man who loves his mother
is man enough for me.

Many men love dogs and kittens,
and pet them constantly.
Show me a man who loves his mother
as much as she wants to be,
and I'll show you a man
who's a lot like me.

Dean Martin Sang this coolest mother song of all time in Robin and the Seven Hoods.

You can watch the film clip here:


Friday, May 7, 2010

Hoop Tree

I took this picture in Prescott a couple of months ago.
There was something about the juxtaposition of the hoop against the tree that pretty much blew my mind...