“If Ever I See You Again …” (1978) dir. Joseph Brooks

13 Oct

Holy restraining orders!!!   When the tagline of the poster reads:  “Call someone you loved and lost a long time ago and ask them to see a movie. Maybe it’s not too late,”  you know you’re in for the “The Human Centipede” of romance films.  Watching the 10-minute anthology of clips above, you’d probably think this was a really bad late 1970s romance film that’s not particularly well-acted, written, or directed. And you’d be correct. But when you consider that the male romantic lead (Joseph Brooks) is a ghoulish-looking middle-aged nerd in big glasses who (big surprise!) also directed and co-wrote this atrocity, you really want to know what brain damaged studio executive green-lit this narcissistic mess.   I can only imagine it’s because Brooks had just won an Oscar for composing the gazillion-selling song “You Light Up My Life” the year before that he was getting a chit returned of some kind.  Only someone with their head lodged so far up their own ass could make something this weird and think it looked great (especially that slow-motion final kiss to the strains of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”).   The sincerity Brooks conveys in making this film is apparent … which makes this so embarrassing, so awful, and really funny on multiple levels.  It’s like Ed Wood directing “Love Story,” … the “Sharknado” of romance films.

Now, here’s where things get really creepy. Brooks committed suicide in 2011 while awaiting trial for allegedly luring women to his apartment via a Craigslist ad and then drugging/sexually assaulting them.  The whole sordid story can be found in this article from New York magazine from February 2011:


“Head Over Feet” – Alanis Morissette

16 Apr

I’m always shocked by a certain familiar theme in certain “love” songs … the one where the singer discovers that the person who has pining for them all along is FINALLY for them … and they “graciously” offer themselves to the pine-er. Gee … thanks.

Funny, but you never hear this from the pine-er’s perspective. Are they grateful? Or are they a little insulted? It should prompt the questions: “Why me? Why now?” Or, they should at least be asking themselves: “What makes me (and that arrogant jerk offering themselves to me) think it would suddenly work now when it didn’t before?” But of course, that doesn’t matter … it’s all about the singer’s feelings because they’re obviously the one in control.

There’s a whole gaggle of these songs and it was tough picking one. The worst include “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” by Elvin Bishop and “The Search is Over” by Surviror. But Morrssette’s “Head Over Feet” is probably the most annoying of all of them. Not that it’s necessarily any worse than the others. It’s just that this one is the worst of all the hideously immature songs on “Jagged Little Pill.” And no, I don’t think ANY of the songs were supposed to “ironic,” no pun intended.

P.S. “You Oughta Know” is kind of cool as a teenage version of Marianne Faithfull’s deranged “Why D’Ya Do It?” until you realize that she wrote the song for that goofy Jeff Daniels-lookalike from “Full House.” That’s where the needle goes off the record in my brain.


It’s Morning Again! … or Government approved pop of the 1980s

24 Feb

The 1980s are often thought of as a decade of excess and to a certain degree, it was. However, after nearly two decades of people doing their own thing, man, many people were ready to be taught how to be responsible adults. Or at the very least, new parents (who very likely didn’t lead responsible lives before then) wanted to have the federal government and pop culture do the job for them because doing it themselves would take them away from watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” This was a bipartisan movement by Republicans and Democrats (remember it was Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore, who was the most visible founder/member of the Parents Music Resource Center – PMRC).

On a side note, yes naysayers, the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” message of a lot of music is pretty stupid when applied to the real world. Of course it seems fun at first, until you factor in hangovers, DUI arrests, vehicular manslaughter convictions, the cost of rehab, STDs, unwanted pregnancies, the emotional fallout when one partner in a casual hookup takes it more seriously than the other, jail, having to adopt a relative’s multiple kids (of different fathers) during said relative’s rehab or jail stint, etc.

On the other hand, if you are over the age of 12 and actively enjoy listening to music whose main message is to show up on time for work, eat right, brush your teeth, clean your room, walk the dog, etc. you are a dolt who probably should still be wearing diapers.

Without further ado, here’s the 1980s government-approved hit parade of hell:

1. We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off – Jermaine Stewart

2. I Want a New Drug – Huey Lewis and the News

3. Hip to Be Square – Huey Lewis and the News

4. Let’s Work – Mick Jagger

5. Modern Love – David Bowie

6. New Attitude – Patti LaBelle

7.  Living Right – Glenn Frey

I can’t find a video for this, but this was a song he composed for a fitness commercial that he included on an album back in the late 1980s.

Feel free to add more below…


“Crazy Horses” – The Osmond Brothers

19 Jan

I can’t tell if this is the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen … or one of the coolest. The Osmonds go hard funk, borderline metal on a song that’s supposed to be a screed against pollution. I don’t know. I can’t get past the gay cowboy pimp look they seem to be conveying on the video, which I have to admit is a damn original look.


“C.B. Savage” – Rod Hart

19 Jan

Ah, those politically incorrect 70s … Here’s an interesting take on the trucker song genre by Rod Hart from the album “Breakeroo!” Hart throws some good old fashioned homophobia into the mix, including a glockenspiel that plays when the lisping truck driver throws an invitation to his “diesel demons.”  Um-kay.   And, of course, there’s a surprise ending which you may or may not see coming. Yikes! For this song alone, Harvey Milk’s birthday should be a national holiday.


“Sir Lancelot and the Black Knight” – Rick Wakeman

19 Jan

One of the unfortunate myths perpetrated by punk rock was that 1970s progressive rock was the worst music on the planet. It’s not only untrue, but some of it was quite good (i.e. King Crimson, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, Can, Neu!). However, if there was ever a bad apple to spoil an entire genre … well, if you need evidence for why punk had to happen, here is People’s Exhibit A …

This is the tale of King Arthur, as imagined by Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and performed … on ice. The horror … the horror …


“The Pot Smoker’s Song” – Neil Diamond

13 Jan

Every time I utter the phrase “I actually like Neil Diamond” a flash of an unspeakably awful event enters my brain like a recovered memory of ritual abuse. Neil’s late 1960s anti-drug song from his album “Velvet Gloves and Spit” (?!?) was the horrible memory this morning. Let’s just say that it makes “Forever in Blue Jeans” sound like Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.”


“The Apple” (1980) dir. Menahem Golan

11 Jan

In honor of Oscar nominations being announced today, I want to talk about a very special film from long ago that wasn’t appreciated in its time and deserves your attention.

We need to go back to 1980. Hollywood was cashing in big time on a pop culture trend known as “disco” and poured major bucks into mega-budget disco musicals, the Olivia Newton-John epic “Xanadu” and “Can’t Stop the Music” starring the Village People. Unfortunately, for Hollywood, they were not only late to the disco party (disco was dying by 1980), but also completely clueless as to how to celebrate a pop culture trend without completely missing the boat on what made that trend significant to begin with. Needless to say, “Xanadu” and “Can’t Stop the Music” flopped tremendously with the public and were on the shortlist for worst films of year. Now, of course, both films are held up as camp masterpieces, to be endlessly laughed at and celebrated for their sheer tastelessness.

However, there’s a poor forgotten stepchild in that genre of tasteless disco musicals. That stepchild is “The Apple.” Directed by Cannon Studios maestro Menahem Golan, “The Apple” is the “Citizen Kane” of awesomely hideous disco musicals. It was so poorly received by audiences that legend has it that a preview audience threw their free souvenir soundtrack albums at the screen in protest.

We could argue endlessly over what disco musical is more heinous, but I can win this argument in under 3 minutes by having you watch this trailer. However, please be aware that once you see this, you can’t unsee it.

“Let’s Put the X in Sex” – KISS

5 Jan

Look, I like big, dumb, crude, knuckle-dragging songs about the garden of Earthly delights like anyone else.  Montrose’s “Rock Candy” and Warrant’s “Cherry Pie” are wonderfully stoopid, Neanderthal, and headbangin’.  And then … there’s … “Let’s Put the X in Sex” by KISS.   This must be the most awkward big dumb sex song I’ve ever heard, especially the chorus “Let’s  … put … the  X in sex / Love’s like a muscle and it makes me want to flex.”  I’m sorry … what?!?  And the video is about what you would expect.  The first 45 seconds alone contains multiple vertical shots of a skyscraper superimposed with shots of sighing women and the band.  Paul struts his stuff as normal, but the look on Gene’s face is priceless.  At best, he looks bored.  At worst, he looks like he literally woke up seconds before some stagehand pushed him in front of the camera.


“I Dreamed a Dream” – Neil Diamond

5 Jan

OK, we can argue about the merits (or demerits) of “Les Miserables” the musical. But if there’s one thing that “Les Mis” fans and detractors would most likely agree on is how totally f–king atrocious this cover is.

Let me clarify, I actually like Neil Diamond. Granted, he’s always been more than a little cheesy a lot of the time, but the man has a great voice and his Rick Rubin-produced album “12 Songs” is pretty terrific. Having said that, this cover of “I Dreamed a Dream” is Diamond at his absolute tackiest and tasteless. He not only paints the song with greasy, sleazy Vegas-style arrangement, but changes the gender of the protagonist from female to male. Sorry, there’s some songs that should NEVER be sung by a tripod. Even more significant, Diamond changes the final line of the song, so that it ends on an optimistic note. You can call this warhorse from “Les Mis” shamlelessly manipulative, but give it it’s due as an important emotional highlight of the musical.

If you want to hear how a cover can go completely wrong, here’s one of the best examples I can think of. But remember, life can’t kill the dream I dreamed.