THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON – Da Big Finish

We’re not just blowing smoke when we say that we received some great entries to conclude our summer-and-heat-wave blogathon! So let’s end on a high (note) as we present

Click on the appropriate day to read entries from Day 1 and Day 2 if you missed them. For today’s entries, click on the name of each individual blog.

Movies Silently discusses Harry Langdon’s role as a well-meaning but inept fireman in the Mack Sennett comedy His First Flame.

A divorcee dad (Gerard Depardieu) has trouble dealing with the realities of his growing-up daughter (Katherine Heigl) in My Father the Hero, as chronicled by Taking Up Room.

Moon in Gemini points out how the themes of 1961’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire eerily parallel today’s hot-button issue of global warning.

And finally, Silver Screen Classics lovingly chronicles the ways in which Marilyn Monroe gives unhappily married Tom Ewell The Seven Year Itch.

Our thanks to all the participants and readers of our hot-headed blogathon. Have a happy, safe, and cool summer!

THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON – Intermission

This was supposed to be the final day of The Hotter’nell Blogathon, but thus far, we have received only two more entries and are still awaiting entries from four other bloggers. So we’re giving them one day of clemency and hope that they’ll catch up. In the meantime, click on the appropriate day if you would like to read the ‘thon entries from Day 1 and Day 2.

THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON – Day 2 Recap

We received only two entries in the second day of our summer-and-heat-wave blogathon, but they were well worth the wait! So gather around as we present

Click here to read the entries from Day 1. To read Day 2’s entries, click on the name of each individual blog below.

Thanks to diner owner Olga’s (Aline McMahon) past, her younger sister Myra’s (Ann Dvorak) future might be in jeopardy, as Caftan Woman relates in her critique of the pre-Code thriller Heat Lightning.

Richard Moir is an aloof architect and Judy Davis is one of the few people who can get through to him in the Australian drama Heatwave, as discussed by The Stop Button.

There’s still one more day left in our hot and sticky blogathon, so be sure to come back for more tomorrow!

THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON – Day 1 Recap

We received some lively entries in our blogathon devoted to movies about summer and heat waves, so let’s do a little dance as we partake in

Click on the names of each individual blog to read their entries.

Wheelchair-bound James Stewart’s nosiness leads him to discover a murder in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, the summer fare of choice for A Shroud of Thoughts.

Why does Roy Scheider wish for a bigger boat? The Midnite Drive-In provides the answer in his critique of that thriller with bite, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.

Realweegiemidget Reviews find Vacation not much fun as a continuation of National Lampoon‘s series of Vacation comedies.

And finally, yours truly just isn’t feeling the Body Heat between William Hurt and Kathleen Turner.

We still have two more days to go in our tribute to movie hotness, so keep us bookmarked!

THE HOTTER’NELL BLOGATHON is here!

Happy summer solstice! Join us for the next three days as bloggers share their thoughts about their favorite movies related to summer or heat waves.

If you are one of our blogathon’s participants, please leave your blog’s name and the URL of your ‘thon entry in the “Comments” section below, and I will provide a link to it here ASAP. If you’re simply here for some fun reading, the entry list (below) will be updated regularly throughout the ‘thon. I will also provide daily updates to same on this blog.

Here is the list of participants. Click on the individual movie names to link to the blogathon entries. Have fun and stay cool, everybody!

Movie Movie Blog Blog II – Body Heat (1981)

Movies Silently – His First Flame (1927)

Realweegiemidget Reviews – Vacation (2015)

Caftan Woman – Heat Lightning (1934)

The Stop Button – Heatwave (1982)

A Shroud of Thoughts – Rear Window (1954)

Outspoken and Freckled – Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun (1982)

Silver Screen Classics – The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Midnite Drive-In – Jaws (1975)

Moon in Gemini – The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Julie (1956) and North West Frontier (1959)

Taking Up Room – My Father the Hero (1994)

BODY HEAT (1981) – They’re hot-blooded, check them and see

The following is my entry in The Hotter’nell Blogathon, being hosted at this blog from June 21-23, 2019. Click on the above banner, and read bloggers’ takes on a wide range of summer- and heat-wave-related movies!

Having seen a lot of movies and having read a bit of Raymond Chandler, I found Body Heat downright laughable when it was first released. Seeing it again after nearly 40 years, I liked it a little better. There’s nothing wrong with the movie that a lesser case of pretension wouldn’t cure.

The movie takes place in the heat of Florida where one night, Ned Racine (William Hurt), a well-meaning but careless lawyer, happens upon luscious Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) after the two exit from a sweltering outdoor concert. Ned tries to flirt and make snappy patter with Matty, who twice warns Ned that she’s married. Frankly, Ned is so horny, he doesn’t care — which tips us off that he’s as sloppy at love as he is at legal counsel.

Eventually, Matty allows Ned to visit her home (her husband is currently out of town), but to Ned’s chagrin, she gives him only a chaste kiss before locking him out of the house. Now, here comes the scene that provides the movie’s acid test as to whether or not you’ll buy into its noirish stylization. (Spoiler paragraph alert follows.)

Ned is about to drive away from the house, but curiosity gets the better of him. He returns to Matty’s front door, looks through its window, and see Maddie standing frozen, staring back at Ned. Ned tries to find another entranceway but cannot, always seeing Matty teasingly staring at him. Finally at his boiling point, Ned picks up a nearby chair, smashes in the front door, and rushes into Matty’s waiting arms.

This is meant to be a noir-like point, showing us that Ned is so overcome with lust that he’ll do anything to get what he wants. All I could think while watching this was, either somebody would want me or she wouldn’t — I sure wouldn’t waste a good front door to find out the answer.

Anyway, we are meant to see that Ned and Matty have sex in every possible position before we get to the main plot point. Matty tells Ned how unhappy she is with her husband Edmund (Richard Crenna), and how she cannot divorce him because everything is tipped in her husband’s favor (he made Matty sign a prenuptial agreement). After a few minutes of this brazen exposition, Ned nonchalantly informs Matty that they’re going to have to kill Edmund. Again, this is film noir, where we’re supposed to believe that Ned is so frenzied with lust that he’ll do things a rational man would not do. I wasn’t convinced that Ned’s outrageous idea was anything but a machination of the screenwriter (Lawrence Kasdan, whose directorial debut this was after co-writing The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark).

Upon its first release, film critic Pauline Kael wrote a scathing review of the movie, stating, “Kasdan has modern characters talking jive talk as if they’d been boning up on Chandler novels, and he doesn’t seem to know if he wants laughs or not.” A more generous reading of the movie is that it’s okay as an average murder mystery, but its attempts at stylized noir stick out like sore thumbs. As Kael pointed out, film noir was partially a reaction to Hollywood’s strict censorship code of the 1940’s and ’50s, meaning that filmmakers had to find unique ways of depicting sex and murder. Smashing doors in and talking jive doesn’t make much sense in a movie where four-letter words are uttered regularly and nearly all of Kathleen Turner’s physique can be put upon display.

Hurt and Turner do well enough under the circumstances, but it’s really the supporting players that stand out. Matty’s husband Edmund is supposed to come off as a self-absorbed fatcat, but Richard Crenna makes him fairly likable, probably more so than Kasdan intended. (Having appeared in an awful TV remake of Double Indemnity in 1973, Crenna should have known to steer clear of ersatz noir to start with.) As, respectively, a fellow lawyer and a local investigator, Ted Danson (in a pre-“Cheers” role) and J.A. Preston are as smooth as silk; the movie might have been more fun if the story had been told strictly from their points of view. And last but hardly least, Mickey Rourke steals the movie as an arsonist who reluctantly helps Ned with his murder plan.

The movie is watchable but hardly in the league with the film noir classics that it’s trying to emulate. By the time the movie is about halfway done, you wish someone would take Ned aside and give him back-to-back screenings of Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice in order to show Ned how poorly this kind of scheme could work out for him.

Happy 85th birthday, Donald Duck!

Donald Fauntleroy Duck (yes, that’s really his full name) made his film debut on this day in 1934 in The Wise Little Hen. But to fully honor his legacy, I’d like to present to you what is, IMHO, his finest hour (or at least, his finest seven-and-a-half minutes). Here is Donald’s glorious appearance in Fantasia 2000. (Since annual graduation ceremonies recently took place around the country, I’m sure you’ll recognize the musical score.)

A conversation between my dogs

SCENE: My two dogs, male Opie (shown above, at left) and female Lexi (at right), are taking their hourly stroll through our back yard.

OPIE: C’mon, hurry up and do your stuff!

LEXI: Nobody rushes me, not even a human. Besides, why are you always in such a hurry?

OPIE: Because the master is waiting for us!

LEXI: First off, he is not the master — we are. See him at the door, looking at us through the shades?

OPIE: Yeah. He doesn’t look very happy.

LEXI: It matters not. We can keep him waiting as long as we have to do, and he will still do our bidding.

OPIE: You mean, you really don’t need to take this long to drop a load?

LEXI: Of course not. I am merely asserting my dominance over the human — marking my territory, as it were.

OPIE: Wow, I had no idea. I’m going to start taking even longer to pee than I usually do!

LEXI: I don’t see that as a problem for you. You already have a bladder the size of a pebble. Now, it’s time to make number two.

OPIE: Yeah, I guess I could use a good dump at that.

LEXI: Not like that! Turn around so he can see your behind!

OPIE: Hee, hee. This is fun!

LEXI: I told you, no human is going to get the best of us! Well, the heat is getting a little stifling. Let’s get back inside.

OPIE: Uh-oh!

LEXI: What?

OPIE: Look at the shade. He’s not there anymore.

LEXI: That traitor! All right, let’s start barking assertively until he comes back to the door!