Retro Remote #34: Forget "Man of Steel". Five perfectly dopey ways to love Superman - PopMatters, 30 July 2013.After last column's angst about an angsty Superman, it's time to talk about more important things, like rainbow fingers and laconic Australian radio Superman.
Retro Remote #33: Superman and the War Against Anachronism - PopMatters, 29 May 2013.
Ever want to see a grown man write a love letter to Superman? Here you go.
Retro Remote #32: Retro Future: Reviving Have Gun -- Will Travel and The Rifleman - PopMatters, 26 February 2013.
Keeping positive about possible upcoming remakes of two key 50s/60s TV Westerns.
Retro Remote #31: Crime Classics, "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln", 9 December 1953 - PopMatters, 13 February 2013.
off Spielberg's Lincoln to talk about the portrayal of political
compromise, a great old time radio series, and a Lincoln assassination
movie where he comes out OK at the end.
Retro Remote #30: Love-Drenched Gunfighters in The Guns of Will Sonnett, "Ride the Long Trail", 8 September 1967 - PopMatters, 10 December 2012.
For a couple of gunfighters, these guys sure do talk about love a lot.
Retro Remote #29: The Three Stooges' Chaotic Neutrality in 'I Can Hardly Wait' (1943) - PopMatters, 9 August 2012.
An early appeal for the next Stooges movie to be "The Three Stooges Meet Emile Zola".
Retro Remote #28: No Contract for Old Men: Five "Old Folks" in Pop Culture That are 5Xs Tougher Than You - PopMatters, 1 June 2012.
old-folks follow-up to last column's "Go Play in Traffic" kid-list,
that makes me seem like an old curmudgeon. Only half of which is true.
Retro Remote #27: Go Play in Traffic: 5 Movies About Kids That Are Better Than Hugo and True Grit - PopMatters, 29 March 2012.
shots at the universally loved 'Hugo' and the Coen Brothers remake of
'True Grit' and some rare examples of kids in movies that aren't
Retro Remote #26: Kafka Noir: Serge Marcotte's The Sickroom and Franz Kafka's 'A Country Doctor' - PopMatters, 3 Feb 2012.
Four adaptations of 'A Country Doctor', and making a claim for Kafka's new image as hard-boiled film noir tough guy.
Retro Remote #25: Tough Guys Recite: The Top Five Poetry Spittin' TV Characters - PopMatters, 26 October 2011.
Well, four tough guys and one bank ad. Plus some subtle cross promotion for the poetry conference "The Poetry and Poetics of Popular Culture".
Retro Remote #24: Jean-Teddy Filippe's "Forbidden Files": Found Footage Lost (and Found Again) - PopMatters, 7 October 2011.
ten-years-too-late attempt to reclaim a borrowed VHS tape lent to my
high school drama teacher, disguised as a discussion of the "found
footage" genre and Jean-Teddy Filippe's creepy and under-appreciated
"Forbidden Files" or "Documents Interdits".
Retro Remote #23: Robot Dreams: Transformers 3 and Sex Kittens Go to College - PopMatters, 28 July 2011.
Bay's misogynist robot heroes: not quite as classy as the
cigar-smoking, chimp-friending, stripper-dreaming frat-boy robot from
Albert Zugsmith's 1960 'Sex Kittens Go to College'.
Retro Remote #22: Killing Osama bin Laden, and David Mamet's 'The Unit' - 'Old Home Week', 31 October 2006 - PopMatters, 20 May 2011.
response to any criticism of major military action, David Mamet's 'The
Unit' makes sure we target two threats to global security: 1) terrorists
who would disrupt the democratic world, 2) the democratic world. (Plus:
Jon Hamm as Bizarro peacenik Don Draper).
Retro Remote #21: Betty Boop and Bimbo Get into a Sexual Tangle in 'Barnacle Bill', 31 August 1930 - PopMatters, 31 March 2011.
interest, the joys of punishment, dog-eared maidens, and the pleasures
of the perpetrator in pre-code Fleischer Studios animation.
Retro Remote #20: La Femme Nikita, 'End Game' 30 August 1998 - PopMatters, 22 February 2011.
'La Femme Nikita' is still one of the toughest shows around, and what
its oddly blunt season 2 finale has to say about unrest in the Middle
East and US support of brutal dictators.
Retro Remote #19: Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Ocean Software, 1985
- PopMatters, 11 January 2011. The Commodore 64's 'Frankie Goes to
Hollywood' offered the prize of aponia, the Epicurean philosophical
state of freedom from pain, complete with kickin' soundtrack. Beat that,
Retro Remote #18: Paul Robeson in Australia: 50 years later - PopMatters, 10 November 2010.
years since Paul Robeson came to Australia, became the first
international performer to sing at (or on) the Sydney Opera House, and
swore he'd make the Australian government 'sit up and listen'.
Retro Remote #17: Medic, 'A Flash of Darkness', 14 February 1955 - PopMatters, 22 October 2010.
Valentine's Day PSA from doctor drama 'Medic', reminding us to eat
well, floss regularly, and await the inevitable doom of mutually assured
Retro Remote #16: Motion Comics, Newspaper Strikes, and Mayor LaGuardia reading the funnies - '17 Days' 1945
- PopMatters, 17 September 2010. Who needs downloadable digital
motion-comics when 1945 New York Mayor LaGuardia can read the funny
pages to ya over the wireless fer nuttin'?
Remote #15: 'Leave It To Beaver' is probably closer to real life than
plenty of people would like to admit - 'Beaver's Short Pants', 13
December 1957 - PopMatters, 10 August 2010.
God forbid a
modern hipster should let loose a chuckle at one of Wally and Beaver’s
brotherly mishaps and thus irrefutably acknowledge dull suburban roots
Retro Remote #14: Crime Classics, 'The Seven-Layered Arsenic Cake of Madame LaFarge' 14 October 1953 - PopMatters, 1 July 2010.
a smarmy radio reminder of the futility of existence and pointlessness
of human suffering seemingly didn't help Plymouth sell a bunch of shiny
new cars. (Marketing students, take note.)
Retro Remote #13: Pete Seeger's 'Rainbow Quest': The Anti-TV TV - PopMatters, 26 May 2010.
an awkward 'Auld Lang Syne' sing-along around a fake kitchen table on
low budget UHF television is still one of the best music moments ever.
Retro Remote #12: Robert Culp, from 'I Spy' to 'Hickey & Boggs' - PopMatters, 29 April 2010.
Culp dies, 'Hickey & Boggs' is not on dvd, but the 2002 film
version of 'I Spy' continues to exist. There is no justice.
Retro Remote #11: Beyond Barthes, Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker, Wrestlemania XXV - PopMatters, 25 March 2010.
Bringing healthy doses of sensitivity and spooning to professional wrestling.
Retro Remote #9 and #10: The Simpsons, 'Radio Bart', January 9, 1992 - Part 1 and Part 2 - PopMatters, Feb 4 and 15, 2010.
O'Toole, Floyd Collins, Kathy Fiscus, KTLA, Billy Wilder, 'Ace in the
Hole', Jessica McClure, Peter Singer, Beaconsfield, Balloon Boy. No, not
a new verse of 'We Didn't Start the Fire', it's a Simpsons reference so
big it needed two articles.
Retro Remote #8: Amos 'n' Andy, 'Mister 1943', December 31, 1943
- PopMatters, January 4, 2010. Spending New Years Eve with Edward G.
Robinson and a couple of white guys pretending to be a couple of black
Retro Remote #7: The Prisoner, 'Fall Out', February 1, 1968 - PopMatters, November 12, 2009.
Multiple analyses of an inaudible speech from Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner' finale, and a needless dig at Ian McKellen.
Retro Remote #6: Pete Kelly's Blues, 'Dr Jonathan Budd', September 19, 1951 - PopMatters, October 20, 2009.
my attempt to 'strip music of any real personal or cultural power'
disguised as a review of Jack Webb's great jazz radio show. Retro
Remote: 1, 'Music as Transcendental Entity': 0.
Retro Remote #5: Frontier Doctor, 'Queen of the Cimarron, September 26, 1958 - PopMatters, September 23, 2009.
Actress Jean Willes' best part, tough bad-gal Miss Fancy, gets what's coming to her: a solid dose of gumdrops and church.
Retro Remote #4: All in the Family, 'Gloria Sings the Blues', March 2, 1974 - PopMatters, August 27, 2009.
to compress a nine-hour Ingmar Bergman marriage-angst film into a
halfbqcrWOKjmmbB0gS1ZVOve3psbl6YkWXtund phrases to copy-and-paste into
your college essays, kids).
Retro Remote #3: Ric Flair v Kerry Von Erich, WCCW Heavyweight Title Match - December 25, 1982 - PopMatters, July 21, 2009.
article is probably the greatest thing to happen to professional
wrestling since Georg Hackenschmidt submitted to Frank Gotch's ankle
lock in 1908.
Retro Remote #2: Have Gun - Will Travel, 'Return to Fort Benjamin', January 30, 1960 - PopMatters, June 18, 2009.
cowboy Paladin tries to shut down US military torture shack in the
1880s (complete with Guantanamo Bay style pep and Dick Cheney style
nutcase). Coincidentally published on what would have been star Richard
Boone's 92nd birthday.
Retro Remote #1: Gidget, 'Dear Diary -- et al.', episode 1, September 15, 1965 - PopMatters, May 8, 2009.
which I find an academic excuse for watching 'Gidget'. It's the same
old Lacanian psychoanalytic media theory, but 15% more adorable.