Still more stuff I learned from the movies:
- Despite its modern setting, anachronisms galore may cause you to think "The Little Rascals" is a period piece, set in the 1930s, when the original "Our Gang" shorts were made.Why? Well, there's Alfalfa's suspenders and bow tie, the gang's ramshackle clubhouse, Stymie's derby and vest, a number of gags recycled from the old films, the kind of mischief the kids get into. . . .
But then something happens to jolt everything forward 60 years, as when one of the gang uses a decidedly '90s colloquialism, like Alfalfa telling someone to "Bite me!"
Gee, it just makes you yearn for a live-action Bart Simpson movie, doesn't it?
- To paraphrase the review in The New Yorker magazine, if Arnold Schwarzenegger can speak five languages fluently in "True Lies," why isn't his English better?
- If you have trouble understanding foreign languages, there is an easy solution. Just carry a movie or video camera with you.
Remember "The Hunt for Red October"? Early in the film, the Soviet submarine commander (Sean Connery) is speaking Russian. Then, the camera closes in and pulls back again - and suddenly all the Russian characters are speaking English.
The same thing happens in "Clear and Present Danger" during an early scene with a Colombian drug lord. Everyone speaks Spanish until the camera moves in and out - then everyone is suddenly speaking English.
So, just take along a video camera whenever you visit a foreign country, then zoom in on anyone you're talking to and they'll suddenly start speaking English!
- Here's another ridiculous outcry from the politically correct police, a minority of loudmouths who are claiming that "The Lion King" is racist and sexist.
Maybe, but only if you play it backwards while searching for subliminal messages. . . .
- Live-action movies only get G ratings when they are about animals or made up of old movie clips.
Animated movies, with few exceptions, dominate the G-rated category - even those that are arguably a bit more violent than the usual fare, like "The Lion King."
But in the past week-and-a-half, we've had two G-rated movies come through town.
One, "Black Beauty," is about a horse. The other, "That's Entertainment III," is a compilation of clips from old MGM musicals.
The rest of the year, however, we'll get only animated G-rated pictures.
Next up, Don Bluth's "A Troll in Central Park." Then, "The Swan Princess," produced by a Utah company. And finally, "The Goofy Movie," a new Disney picture starring you-know-who.
How rare are live-action G-rated movies?
Even "The Little Rascals" and "Lassie" are rated PG!
- There's something about being in a movie that makes a dog have to urinate (except Lassie, of course - she's too much of a lady).
It's true. If you see a dog in a movie - any dog (except Lassie) - sooner or later he'll urinate on something or someone.
Current examples - "The Little Rascals" and "The Mask."
- Angels were much slower before computer animation came on the scene.
Don't take my word for it - look at the evidence in "Angels in the Outfield."
Unlike the heavenly messengers in "Field of Dreams" or "Defending Your Life" or "Heaven Can Wait," the seraphim in "Angels in the Outfield" are faster than a home run!
- Speaking of the amazing abilities of computer animation, "Forrest Gump" has loads of examples.
But if they could make Tom Hanks shake hands with Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, why couldn't they make John Lennon's lips match the words he speaks?
The dialogue in that "Dick Cavett Show" clip is dubbed, of course, but couldn't it have looked a little less like something out of an old "Godzilla" movie?
- Speaking of "Godzilla," that's the next project for hot director Jan de Bont, whose "Speed" just crossed over the coveted $100 million mark and is the summer's biggest sleeper.
Honest! This is a major-studio-funded, high-tech, top-of-the-line special-effects version of "Godzilla," not one of those silly puppet-stomping-Tokyo routines.
Do you suppose he'll get Keanu Reeves to star?
- Despite the longer list of serious roles to her credit, Bridgit Fonda should exercise her comedic muscles more often. She's terrific in "It Could Happen to You," and was quite good in the equally light "Singles" a couple of years ago.
But please, no "Single White Female" sequel.
- Julia Roberts seems to have lost her luster. Fans are no longer willing to pay to see her in any old thing she does.
"I Love Trouble" is her first flop since achieving stardom with the megahit "Pretty Woman" (for which she was Oscar-nominated, you may recall). After five weeks "I Love Trouble" has taken in a mere $28 million. (Remember, the film cost an estimated $40 million to make.)
Maybe one or both of her next two projects - "Mary Reilly" (the "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" story told from his chambermaid's point of view) and "The Women" (a remake of the old classic, with Meg Ryan and Jodie Foster co-starring) - will put her back on top.
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Harrison Ford, starring in "Clear and Present Danger," answering reports that he will reteam with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg for a fourth Indiana Jones movie, despite his emphatically insisting in 1989 that "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" would be the final Jones adventure:
"How about this - I lied. At the time, I clearly felt that way. It seems more of a pleasure to explore the possibility now than when I was still bruised and battered from the last one."