Sunday , April 14 2024
What do Michael Cera, Andy Griffith, and Jack Lord have in common? Nothing — except that they’re all waiting for you at the video store.

Sexual Kicks, Private Dicks, and an Old Man Bearing A Crucifix

There are some things in life that are completely unavoidable — things such as awkward sexual experiences, private eyes, police officers, and overly-religious people that try to make you reach out and touch faith. OK, so that’s a really shitty introduction. I wholeheartedly admit that. Well, the truth is, people, I had an oddball mixture of movies and TV shows to wade through, so I’ve assembled this entry of “Catching Up At The Video Store” accordingly.

Deal with it.

Youth In Revolt (2009) (Sony Pictures) – Based on the novel by C.D. Payne, Youth In Revolt brings us another awkward coming-of-age story. It also brings us another Michael Cera film that upsets anyone hoping for a movie with the words “Arrested” and “Development” in the title. Nick Twisp (Cera) is a socially dorky teenager who is uncomfortable in his own skin. He wants to get laid — or, at the very least, fall in love. And so, when he meets Sheeni (Porita Doubleday), a good girl in search of a bad boy, Nick creates an alter-ego named Francois Dillinger (also played by Cera, who sports blue eyes, a wispy-thin moustache, and a cigarette) to help him achieve his goals. Or are they her goals? Aw, to hell with it: even with its all-star cast (Jean Smart, Justin Long, Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Ray Liotta, and Zach Galifianakis also star), Youth In Revolt doesn’t succeed in being much more than a conceited film that makes you want to re-watch A Life Less Ordinary again instead. The short version: it wasn’t what I expected. But then, I expected something good. Also available on Blu-ray.

Play The Game (2008) (Phase 4 Films) – The game of love is never easy. Widowed elder Joe (Andy Griffith) is getting up there in age. However, he’s definitely not getting anything else up. But all that changes once his player grandson, David (Paul Campbell), decides to start giving the old codger some modern-day tricks on how to score some tricks of his own. Soon, Joe is the desire of every lady in the convalescent home. Meanwhile, David’s attempts to woo a young hottie Julie (Marla Sokoloff) via his previously-surefire methods start to fail — and it’s up to Grandpa Joe to save the day with some good ol’ fashioned tips about love. If you’ve ever wanted to see an aging Andy Griffith get down and dirty with elderly actresses such as Doris Roberts and Liz Sheridan, your ship has just sailed into the harbor. Rance Howard and his son, Clint, are also featured (they couldn’t get Ron, I guess).

TiMER (2009) (Phase 4 Films) – Well, since we’re on the subject of love and sex, this is as good of a time as any to bring up TiMER. In this day and age of lackluster romantic comedy blockbusters, it’s nice to see an Indie film can outweigh the competition. Garnished with just a hint of sci-fi, TiMER introduces us to the concept of TiMERs: these nifty l’il digital, surgically-implanted wrist thingies that tell you how long you have before you meet the true love of your life. Oona (Emma Caulfield, whom I have fallen in lust with after viewing this film), is an almost-30-year-old orthodontist waiting for her TiMER to activate. Taking advice from her step-sister Steph (Michelle Borth, whom I have also fallen in lust with since viewing this film), Oona decides to get a little on the side while she’s waiting for something that may never happen. But who says you have to rely on modern technology to find love? Definitely one of the better rom-coms I’ve seen in a while.

Matt Houston: The First Season (1982-1983) (CBS/Paramount) – After years of waiting, we Generation X-ers can finally relax, because Matt Houston is at long last on DVD. The series — one of several kajillion produced by the Aaron Spelling Factory — tells the humorous exploits of Matt Houston (Lee Horsley), a millionaire Texas oil magnate (and former college football all-star!), who loves to dabble in solving mysteries. With the loyal assistance of his drop-dead gorgeous sidekick C.J. (Pamela Hensley), Matt never misses the chance to dive head first into the treacherous waters of kidnappings, murders, and so forth. And with his flawless execution of tough-guy to comic, the great Lee Horsley never fails to entertain. The series also features George Wyner (as Houston’s tortured business manager), and an incredibly antiquated computer. Better cock your pistols, kids.

Hawaii Five-O: The Eighth Season (1975-1976) (CBS/Paramount) – While the rest of the television-viewing world waits to see whether the remake series will make it or not, the rest of us can relive the glory days of the original Steve McGarrett and Company. Once again, the godlike Jack Lord shows us how much of a bad-ass a man can really be, while still managing to scare the entire island with his horrific driving skills, chasing bad guys all around town, along with series regulars James MacArthur and Kam Fong. This season also introduces audiences to Five-O’s newest fourth man, the recently-promoted Edward “Duke” Lukela (Herman Wedemeyer), who had been a regular ol’ HPD officer throughout four previous seasons. Guest stars in this season include George Takei, Ed Asner, Susan Dey, Harold Gould (reprising his role as crime-boss Honore Vashon), Helen Hayes, Harry Guardino, Richard Hatch (again), and the one and only Khigh Dhiegh (as Commie rat Wo Fat).

The Secrets Of Jonathan Sperry (2008) (Phase 4 Films) – Well, after all of the dirty filthy sexual debauchery and detective stuff featured, some of you might feel an inkling to go to church. Failing that, pick up The Secrets Of Jonathan Sperry, a decidedly Christian-faith-based flick featuring Gavin MacLeod and Robert (Benson) Guillaume. In the story, 12-year-old Dustin (Jansen Panettiere) befriends an elderly gentleman (MacLeod), who gives him steady work mowing lawns during the summer of 1970. He also gives him some strong spiritual advice via that Bible book that those unwanted guests at my doorstep always try to tell me about. OK, so there aren’t a whole lot of secrets to be found in Mr. Sperry’s closet (except for the fact that Jonathan used to be the captain of the Pacific Princess), but some of the more Conservative families out there will probably appreciate this one. I’d rather watch Youth In Revolt again, personally.

Happy viewing, kids!

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the alter-ego of a feller who loves an eclectic variety of classic (and sometimes not-so-classic) film and television. He currently lives in Northern California with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.

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