Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Three Stooges Bio Pic Project in Limbo!

August 23, 2009

Three Stooges 001 Producers/Directors/Writers Peter and Bobby Farrelly have been trying to put together a biographical movie on the lives and careers of the infamous “Three Stooges” for about ten years now. Just when it appeared that they had nailed down their cast and were ready to go into August 2009 production in time to make a 2010 release date, the cast commitments are falling apart. First to back out was Sean Penn, who had been set to play “Larry,” the bald-on-top, fuzzy-on-the -sides character in the right of our photo. Penn cited personal reasons and a desire to spend more time with his family as the causes behind his decision.

On the heels of Penn’s back-out, Jim Carrey, who had signed on to play the bald and stout “Curly,” our guy in the far left of our photo by putting on fifty pounds for the role, is now rumored as the second actor who will be pulling away from the production. Only Benecio Del Toro, the great Spanish actor who signed up to play the dominant “Mo” character in this crazy mix is still on board, but that could change also with the departure of the two big name stars. The Farrelly Brothers have their script and other production needs in place, they are just stopped for now by a scattering, escaping cast of big star chicken outs! I understand that Paul Giammati is the probable replacement for Penn as Larry, but there is no word on the street about who may replace Carrey as Curly.

Like many of you, I grew up watching the Stooges and their inane physical assaults upon each other through all those countless episodes of “dumb and dumber” adventures with wine, women, and work. It’s undoubtedly no coincidence that the Farrelly Brothers are behind the Stooges movie. These are the same guys who brought us that “Dumb and Dumber” movie series a few years ago.

Moe (Moe Howard) was always my favorite Stooge because of his early behavioral resemblance to some of the grocery store managers I encountered as a kid worker, just starting out. To my profound surprise, I later encountered “Moe” again on my doctoral dissertation committee, and also at insurance agencies, banks, repair shops, and even in the presence of some traffic cops and co-workers. Do you remember “Moe”? He was the guy who was forever pretending to be smart enough to do the job that was always over his head.

Curly (Jerome Howard) was Moe’s real life brother – the idiot child who usally caught the brunt of Moe’s displaced anger and aggression for everything bad that happens. Totally hapless in his ability to immediatelystand up for himself, Curly absorbed the pain with a frustrated cry of “NYUK! NYUK!” and a rapid-fire, self-inflicted hand slap of his own face.  His memory for passive-aggressive revenge wasn’t bad, however. A few minutes after each absorbed asault, whenever Moe had returned to his total state of unawareness, Curly would then get him back in some equally painful physical way. – Hammers to Moe’s head were effective, but Curly’s “floating hands butterfly slap” was the real bomb. Moe fell for it every time.

Larry (Larry Fine) was the non-descript, non-relative member of the original Stooges trio. Larry always gave you the impression that he might escape the fate of the Stooges by taking these two easy steps: comb his hair and get far away from Curly and Moe. He was just too dumb to ever do it. As a result, he got his hair pulled, his nose sawed, and his eyes poked on a regular basis by the two Howard boys – and in whatever comibination they came after him.

When Curly Howard had a stroke, he was replaced on screen by brother Shemp Howard, who then played (What do you know?) a character called “Shemp.” (Sadly, Curly later died.) Shemp brought his own brand of creative physical idiocy to the screen. On the broadest band of description, however, Shemp was the guy who looked like Moe and acted like Curly. When Shemp Howard also died and was then serially replaced by the characters named “Joe” and “Curly Joe,” I never watched again. The Three Stooges were then dead to me after the passing of Shemp. Plus, I was older then – and too cool for a while to watch anything like the Three Stooges. Now that I’ve rounded third and am headed for home, I’m a Stooges fan again all the way!

I hope the Farrelly Brothers can get this Stooges movie act finally off the ground and through the force field of all the human egos that are bound to get in the way of making a film of this nature. If they don’t, somebody needs to grab a saw and put it to good use on each of their Farrelly noses.

Editorial Note, 10/01/09: I want to thank Paul Groner for “gently” writing to point out three  errors of fact in my original article: (1) I misspelled Moe Howard’s name as “Mo”; and (2) I neglected to note that Curly Howard’s birth name was “Jerome,” not “Curly;” and (3) I stated that Shemp Howard replaced Curly Howard as one of the Three Stooges upon the death of the latter. In reality, Curly left the ensemble after he suffered a stroke. Shemp replaced him as the result of Curly’s illness. – Curly died later, after Shemp was already established in his replacement role.

Those of you who really know me undertsand how important “getting it right” is to me – and how unimportant “being right” is to my psyche. As a result, I have corrected those mistakes today in the piece above in the hope that they will straighten out these facts to any readers I may have misinformed. My apologies also go out to any Stooges fans who were offended by my mistakes.

I may not remember the Three Stooges perfectly, but the perfect joy they brought to my childhood shall live forever. Next time you find I’ve made a mistake, and I will make some,  just let me know, matter of factly. I listen a lot better to reasonably expressed opinions snd information.

Gandhi at the Bat!

August 11, 2009

Gandhi 001 BASEBALL FILM FESTIVAL IN WAXAHACHIE THIS WEEKEND, AUG. 14-16. Thanks to vintage 19th century base ballist Wendel Dickason, we are now advised of a benefit baseball film festival that is scheduled for the classic Tower Theatre in Waxahachie, Texas this coming Friday through Sunday, August 14-16. Proceeds from the event are all dedicated to the support of the Waxahachie High Shool baseball team.

Cost of this little trip back in time is nominal: The price is $5 per each of the three featured movies – or $10 for a three-day pass to all. Friday features Eight Men Out at 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM. The Saturday show is Bull Durham at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, and 9:00 PM. The Sunday bill features Field of Dreams at 1:00, 3:00, and 5:00 pm. Each feature film will be preceded by a ten minute documentary entitled Gandhi at the Bat. Wendel Dickason will also be on hand all weekend to serve as your historical guide to the history of Waxahachie baseball, including information on the time way back there in 1919 when the little north Texas city served as the spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds “won” the World Series that year when they “defeated” the tainted Chicago Black Sox, five games to three.

For more information on the theater event and Gandhi at the Bat, check out these two websites:

It’s for a good cause, if you can make it. Besides, if you’re a baseball history fan, what better time could you find to visit the birthsite of the great Paul Richards, former major league catcher, manager, and the second general manager in the history of Houston major league baseball?

We also understand that Waxahachie is home to one of the world’s most haunted restaurants. I can’t remember the name of the place, but I recently learned about it on one of those little “ghost doc films” you find so easily on cable TV these days. I’ll bet Mr. Dickason can point all gastrospiritually inclined diners in the right direction at suppertime, once they reach town.

As for the notion of  Mahatma Gandhi ever playing baseball, that prospect may be as real as those cafe ghosts up there in Waxahachie. If Gandhi, indeed, played baseball, and based on his slight and slender body type, I’m guessing he had to be a middle infielder, and most probably a second baseman. I don’t think he had the arm to handle shortstop.

Enjoy your trip to Waxahachie, everybody!

What’s the Deal with Harry Potter, Anyway?

July 22, 2009

Harry Potter Doin' His Thing!

Monday night is “seniors night” at Memorial City Mall Cinemark so my wife Norma and I, plus our grown son Neal, went to see “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” as our weekly family evening out. We’ve seen all the previous Potter flicks, but none of us have ever read any of the J.K. Rowling books about this band of young British magic people. As the probable result of that shortfall on background, I always end up going to the newest Potter movie long on memories of people flying on broomsticks, but very short on recollections of what it is they are trying to accomplish. Usually I end up walking away from each new Potter movie vowing never to see another because … because why? …. because I either never quite get or care about what I just saw on the screen.  The Half-Blood Prince proved no exception.

In short. here’s what I think the movie was about:

Now a young man, the movie starts with Harry Potter about to score a pick up on a cute young waitress at a late night grill in damp old London town. All of a sudden, Harry’s old mentor at the magic school, Professor Dumblebunny, shows up and literally whisks Harry away to go see another old dementia-case dude who once taught at the magic school. Dumblebunny talks “old dude” into returning to the magic school, but he’s really trying to find out what the guy lied about that made him go away in the first place. In some unclear way, Dumblebunny expects Harry to help uncover the secret and the latter is forced to return early to the magic school where old dude will again teach.

Old dude’s secret has something to do with another male  student from much earlier (and that fact alone always makes you wonder!). Through flashbacks, we learn that the earlier student had some special dark and evil powers and a depressed mood that didn’t exactly fast track him as a future good guy, but we still don’t know his identity.

Once he’s reunited with his friends at school (Emma and the redheaded guy), Harry and his pals go through some of the usual teenage/young adult angst over relationships, they experience serious conflct with a violent blonde-headed male student, and they do a a lot of flying around on broomsticks for the sake of playing a game that resembles airborne soccer or hockey.

I never did get what the secret was, but Potter and Dumblebunny keep finding a lot of new clues in little pools of steaming liquid that is apparently powerful enough to produce video flashbacks of what has happened in the past. It’s just that the people in these flashbacks speak British-English in low voice tones – making it impossible for people like me to get what they are revealing – even with my hearing aid turned all the way up!

Dumblebunny and the Potter trio get lost in a big cave while searching for something (the truth, I presume) – and Harry is pulled into a deep underground pond of water that is inhabited by hundreds of swimming, grabbing zombie people. Dumblebunny rescues Harry, but the whole bunch is soon confronted again back at the top of the school by all the bad guys, including the blonde kid and that creepy professor with the long black hair that’s in all the Potter shows.

The creepy black-haired prof then kills Professor Dumblebunny and reveals that he, indeed, was the half-blood prince all the time, a bit of news that fell upon me and my going-numb backside with all the energy evoked by a very loud sigh of “so what???”

I left the theatre with the same resolution to never again see another Harry Potter movie. Maybe if I had read all the books by the time I was age ten I’d feel differently, but some things are hard to recapture in the land of the long tooth.