My Weekend in Movies

pat garrett and billy the kid

I watch a lot of movies over my weekends. I watch movies during the week, but with work and family, and other obligations, I don’t always get to watch one every night. But on the weekends, I squeeze in as many as I can.

I don’t really have the time or energy to write full reviews so I thought it would be fun to do a weekend wrap-up.

A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973)

After watching Hellraiser (2022) Friday night I had a little more time before sleep came crashing down so I threw on this little French horror flick from Jess Franco. It is surprisingly good, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. A young woman comes home when she learns her father has died. There she finds an assortment of oddballs and freaks who either want to seduce her or kill her or both. I hope to have a real review of this for my Foreign Film February segment later this week.

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

On my way to the convenience store Saturday morning for my usual 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper, I heard Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” playing on the radio. Realizing it was from the soundtrack to this Sam Peckinpah film and that I happened to own a copy of it on DVD, and that I had never seen it caused me to rush home and pop it in.

It’s terrific. There are actually a variety of cuts of this film out there, and I’m not entirely sure which one I saw. This is one of those revisionist westerns that were popular in the 1970s. Pat and Billy are old friends, but Pat Garrett (a wonderful James Coburn) can see how the county is changing and has decided to be on the right side of the law, whereas Billy (a fascinating Kris Kristofferson) can’t do anything but be an outlaw. Neither of them wants the inevitable confrontation to come, and the film prolongs it for as long as it can in the most interesting ways. Dylan not only did the wonderful soundtrack but he has a small part too. It is a lot of fun watching him on the screen.

Fist of Fury (1972)

The Criterion Collection put out an excellent little boxed set of Bruce Lee Blu-rays sometime ago and I bought a copy last year. But I’ve been putting off watching them for one reason or another. So I decided to watch this one this weekend. I was disappointed in it. The story is forgettable. A gang of Japanese dudes keeps harassing Bruce Lee’s club. Naturally, Bruce Lee has to kick their asses. The action sequences are mostly great, but there is a lot of dull padding to get through between each fight scene.

Cujo (1983)

When I was a young teen we didn’t have cable television. Or maybe we just didn’t have the pay channels like HBO and Cinemax. Whatever, my mom’s friend Beverly had everything and she was willing to tape anything I wanted on VHS and give it to me. Each week I scoured the TV Guide looking for interesting movies for her to tape for me. One time she taped Cufo for me. I only remember this because I let my friend Justin borrow the tape and he raved about the film. I can’t remember now if he never gave me the tape back or if I just never got around to watching it, but it went unseen by me until this weekend.

I actually bought a special edition DVD of the m movie last year based on that memory. I don’t know why I decided to put it in this weekend but I did and I’m glad for it.

Like a lot of Stephen King books this film takes its time getting started. It gives us a feel for its setting. It spends time with its characters, letting us get to know them. Unlike a lot of Stephen King books this film never makes me care for any of that. I just kept waiting for the rabid dog to trap the lady and her kid in that junky old Pinto. Once the dog does trap the lady the film gets pretty terrific, but it takes it a long time to get there.

Mr. Wong, Detective (1938)

Boris Karlof plays Mr. Wong, a Chinese detective that was clearly invented to cash in on the Charlie Chan craze at the time. There is absolutely no other reason for him to be Chinese in this film, which makes it doubly unfortunate from a modern perspective. The story is rather dull.

Dark Alibi (1946)

Another white guy playing a Chinese detective. This time it is Sidney Toler playing Charlie Chan, a role he would play more than 20 times to great success. This one is actually quite good. The mystery is standard stuff but Toler is fun as the brilliant detective who throws around a lot of silly bits of wisdom and constantly puts down his son and chauffeur.

A Study in Scarlet (1933)

I guess I couldn’t get enough detective movies this weekend. This is an extremely loose adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes story. So loose in fact that it has nothing at all to do with the book other than the title. Apparently, the producers could only afford to secure the rights to the story’s title and the use of the characters, but not the actual story. Reginald Owen is so forgettable as Holmes I kept forgetting which actor was playing the character while watching. I only put it on because Anna May Wong is second-billed, but she appears in it for less than ten minutes. Completely and utterly forgettable.

2 thoughts on “My Weekend in Movies

    • I thought it was great. And Dylan is wonderful. It is a small part and so utterly and entirely a Dylan performance that it doesn’t feel like acting, but he’s definitely worth watching.

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