I feel every generation should have a movie or two that defines them and how hard it is to grow up during that period. We’ve had movies like “Dazed and Confused,” “Mean Girls,” and “Breakfast Club,” and we’re very fortunate to have had two very good movies (“Eighth Grade”) about the modern youth culture in the last five years. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is one of the finest drama comedies of the year. It’s an honest and entertaining look at two girls trying to find out who they are before they graduate high school and enter in to college–possibly without one another.
BOOTLEG FILES 686: “Going Spanish” (1934 short comedy starring Bob Hope).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright enables anyone to duplicate prints.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: The chances of a digitally restored version are nil.
Eighty-five years ago, Bob Hope made his film debut in a dinky little two-reel comedy. And thanks to an indelicate wisecrack about the film’s quality, he almost saw his film career end with that debut effort.
It’s estimated by Deutsche Kinemathek that 80–90% films, and 75% of all silent films are now lost. Many made even before the 1900’s are gone, with over 3500 lost films having been recorded by archivists and historians. So it’s an invaluable service that Undercrank Productions is giving its movie loving audience by delivering previously unseen and rare short films by many movie stars audiences have never even heard of. While the shorts aren’t always pristine, the fact that they get a new life on DVD is a wonderful gift to film enthusiasts that want to learn more about the film stars of yesteryear and how they helped shape the genres.
Every once in a while, I’m glad to break out of the doom and gloom of DC Batman movies and watch something that is just fun and exciting. I admit that I missed all the waves of comic books in the last few years where Batman crossed paths with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so this movie was completely new to me. Suffice to say being a fan of both properties I was anxious to see how they would handle it, and thankfully DC/Warner and Nickelodeon delivers something for the fans and the general audience looking for a good pop culture crossover.
I was more than a little surprised when “The LEGO Movie” ended up being one of the best movies of its year. Lord and Miller managed to take what could have been a glorified commercial for LEGO and ended up building a unique universe, and a heartfelt, hilarious adventure about reaching deep to find what makes us so special, and appreciating the child within us. I even loved the meta-climax, which with other creative minds behind it, might have destroyed everything we saw before it.
There are thousands, if not millions, of fans who have taken to the dude and found his unkempt, unusual style and take on life a true source of inspiration in some form or another. His influence was evident even in big blockbusters like “Avengers: Endgame” this year. People who love “The Big Lebowski” don’t particularly use the Coen brothers film as a guide for life, but every single person that’s ever decided to let it in has at one time channeled the dude, every fan at one time has thought “What would the Dude do?”
The original documentary “Fighting With My Family” was the stuff that underdog tales were made of, so when it was turned in to a feature film, it wasn’t too surprising. Stephen Merchant has a knack for creating very funny, human tales, and this adaptation does a good job of taking from the documentary and creating a very good adaptation of the story of Saraya, a young wrestling fanatic who would become Paige, one of the most influential female wrestlers and Superstars for the WWE.
The fact that Dwayne Johnson became one of the biggest movie stars in the world is surprising considering he comes from a long line of wrestlers, and wrestlers don’t always translate in to big movie stars. Even people like Roddy Piper, may he rest in peace, never quite became a huge star despite his talent for playing assholes and loud mouths. We can talk all day about wrestlers that never made the big leap to acting, but Johnson earned his path, starting out in bit roles and mid-level action films like “The Rundown.” Sixteen years later, it’s an underrated gem in a large line of blockbusters from “The Rock.”