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Your June 2010 Random Movie Club Results Are In!

Tagline: HE WAS FRESH FROM THE PRAIRIE...SHE WAS JUST FRESH!...and what a romance when this breeze-swept cowboy began putting "Yippee" into the life of a pampered darling with temper like a tommy-gun!


Pizza: Old Sicily


"This is what Random Movie Club is all about," remarked RMCer Cliff. No, he wasn't necessarily talking about the randomly selected feature, a disposable yet fun romp titled THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE (1941). He was referring to the fact that he had attended RMC three times in a row, first seeing the Harold Pinter directed film of the Broadway play BUTLEY, then THE STING, and now THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE. And he's right. That's RMC in a nutshell. You just never know what movie will pop up.

THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE is the child of 1939's THE COWBOY AND THE LADY starring Gary Cooper and Merle Oberon. Coincidentally (maybe not?), LADY's story was co-written by famous comedy helmer Leo McCarey, while BLONDE was directed by his famous yet less successful brother Ray. LADY also boasts such writing luminaries as Anita Loos, Robert (IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT) Riskin, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker.

But let's get back to the one we watched, THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE, a pleasant mix of comedy, romance, western, and Hollywood fable (apparently, the film business was as messed up then as it is now..."Gentlemen, this business is built on unheard of things."). Bratty superstar Crystal Wayne (Mary Beth Hughes) has the studio on its knees. She can throw tantrums in the commissary and people off the set. Enter hunky and not so lanky Lank Garrett (George Montgomery), a real life cowboy who was discovered by studio honcho Phineus "Phinney" Johnson (Alan Mowbray). Because Lank has no idea who Crystal is (he calls her, with cowboy respect, a palomino), he treats her like, well, any woman who he'd call a palomino. He's a Jethro, so it's a high compliment.

So Crystal doesn't like Lank, but that soon changes, despite the fact that rodeo star Lank was on the cover of Life Magazine...and Crystal wasn't. And because the cowboy makes the blonde happy, she is behaving. Gone is that temperament that is famous throughout Consolidated Studios. And in order to keep things this way, producers have to convince Phinney that Lank's screen tests aren't as shitty as they really are.

But no sooner than this shrew is tamed, Lank discovers that she and Phinney are an item in the most forced set-up scene in the movie - Soundman: Hey Lank! Wanna hear what girls talk about when guys aren't around? I hid a mic in their dressing room. Here, put these headphones on! (Not the exact dialog.) But don't get too excited, for that's about as screwball as it gets.

So first Crystal hates Lank, then she likes him, no, loves him. This is, after all, a 1941 Hollywood movie. She leaves the studio and finds Lank on his ranch in New Mexico (complete with an Indian houseboy), and after a rocky start, they reconcile. Briefly. It turns out our Lank is a stubborn and sensitive cowpoke. So Crystal goes back to Hollywood and her Christian Bale ways. Will these two ever find happiness?

At 66 minutes, THE COWBOY AND THE BLONDE is amusing, but nothing to go gaga over. It's also the second RMC in a row where they used the slang "jake," meaning "it's all good."

This was only one of countless (that's nearly true) westerns that starred strapping George Montgomery, who was married to Dinah Shore for 20 years. And because every leading man needs a Dr. Watson, Lank has an honest to goodness sidekick named Skeeter, played by Fuzzy Knight. Sure, Skeeter is well-meaning and goofy, but don't dare underestimate him. It may just be Skeeter who helps boy win back girl. That's why we all need a Skeeter. Knight was also in THE COWBOY AND THE LADY, but I haven't seen it, so I can't tell you if he's Skeeter-like.

Co-star Mary Beth Hughes had an interesting life. After retiring from showbiz, she went on to be a receptionist, owner of a beauty parlor, and a telemarketer for Sprint in Sherman Oaks in the early 90s (her early 70s). And....wait a second...a telemarketer? In Sherman Oaks?? In the 1990s??? I bet I hung up on that little bitch once or twice.

Also on screen, character actor Alan Mowbry, the Wilford Brimley of his time, and Mierva Urecal as Murphy, Crystal's ornery assistant. Urecal has 269 movie and TV credits, mostly as landladies. Also, and you have to really pay attention, playing the part of a soundman was the father of all Beavers, Hugh Beaumont.

But I ask you, who can hold a candle to Fuzzy Knight? I need me a Skeeter.


This was a fabulous, often moving (Simon & Garfunkel'll make you misty) concert that corralled some of the biggest names in music and put them in a big room. Because I had seen some of the four and a half hour show before tonight's RMC, we started somewhere in the middle, right when the Queen of Soul took the stage. Aretha sings with less effort than most people use when speaking. It's just magical, or, if you're more inclined to appreciate evil, she's possessed. Not bad for two years and change from her 70s. After smile-inducing renditions of BABY, I LOVE YOU and DON'T PLAY THAT SONG FOR ME, she invited Annie Lennox on for CHAIN OF FOOLS. Ya know, it doesn't matter who you invite on, standing next to and singing with Aretha, you have to know you'll be blown away. But Annie gave it her all anyway.

Next up, Metallica. Who knew back then that they'd be around for thirty years? Who knows now? Thirty years?? Really? I always liked who they are rather than what they do, and I'm glad they're around, I've just never been a huge fan. They opened, fittingly, with a song from 25 years ago, FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, then introduced Lou Reed for a rocked-up version of SWEET JANE. Lou left, only to replaced by Ozzy and IRON MAN and PARANOID. Ozzy really is the same performer he's been for over 100 years. Walking around the stage as if he's lost, singing flat...he's just perfect. In the audience, even Bonnie Raitt was rocking out. Metallica stayed even longer, this time to back up Ray Davies. The Kinks, who are used to having their rock songs triple-rocked with Van Halen's version of YOU REALLY GOT ME, got another dose with a Metallica-backed ALL DAY AND ALL OF THE NIGHT. With guest stars gone, Metallica ended their set with the popular (read: even I knew it) ENTER SANDMAN ("You mean, it's not called EXIT LIGHT?").

Then came U2. What do I say about U2. Years ago I was quoted as saying, "U2 are so good that I like them even though I don't like them." That still holds true today. You can't deny them who they are and what they do, and one of the things they do is put on a terrific show. They're so good on TV I can't imagine just how great they are in person. Perhaps one day I'll find out. They did VERTIGO and MAGNIFICENT (from their latest album, perhaps a misfire for a concert such as this).

The pizza arrived just when Bono was announcing Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith. Wow.

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