Friday, October 3, 2014
By MICHAEL WALSH
One year ago, at the opening ceremonies of VCON, I officially announced the birth of reelingback.com. I felt pretty good about the fact that its home page (designed to look like an old newspaper because, well, I'm an old newspaper guy) linked to 20 different postings.
The idea was to offer a selection of items representing each one of the 12 categories included in my grand plan for this evolving archive of my years as a film critic and entertainment reporter. The overall theme that day was newspapering in the movies because, well, I'm an old newspaper guy.
On reflection, that may not have been the best choice for the VCON membership, a community based on a shared interest in science fiction and fantasy. Today, for my many friends and acquaintances within that community, Reeling Back is wall-to-wall sci-fi.
By the end of this year's VCON, there will be 300 items to choose among in the site's Archive and past Blog File. Of that number, at least 75 currently fit into the broad category of science fiction and fantasy. The Search box (located in the right-hand corner of the Reeling Back nameplate) makes it possible to find just about anything on the site by typing in a few key words (title, performer name, subject area) and clicking on the magnifying glass (search) symbol.
And, of course, bright blue hyperlinks abound within the postings themselves. Site visitors are encouraged to explore, perhaps starting with my ten most recent postings:
S.O.B — There is something positively blasphemous about the idea of Julie Andrews topless on the big theatre screen. Fortunately, when her husband Blake Edwards directed her to play just such a scene in his angry 1981 comic attack on the American film industry, the filmgoing public averted its eyes. (Posted October 1)
OKLAHOMA CRUDE — For many years he was Hollywood's most effective militant moderate, but producer-director Stanley Kramer was much mellowed in his 1973 attack on the criminality of Big Oil, working harder at its gross-out comedy than at delivering a hard-hitting message. (Posted September 29)
THE MISSOURI BREAKS — Arthur Penn, one of the most influential directors of the 1960s, lost his way a decade later in the attempt to maintain control over both Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando in this 1976 revisionist Western. (Posted September 27)
FALLING DOWN — Michael Douglas plays a laid-off defence worker driven around the bend by the "freelance economy" that was the glory of the Reagan years in this 1993 serio-comic feature, a film that could have been called "The Real Revenge of the Nerds." (Posted September 25)
HARRY IN YOUR POCKET — Excitement was in the air in 1973. Hollywood's filmmakers were looking north, features shot in B.C. were opening in local theatres, and expatriate stars such as Walter Pidgeon were telling me in interviews that they were happy to work here because "Canada is home." (Posted September 23)
THE BAY BOY — Entering into the family business, Gordon Pinsent's daughter Leah and Donald Sutherland's son Kiefer made solid first impressions in director Daniel Petrie's 1984 feature, filmed on location in Nova Scotia. (Posted September 20)
MAN OF LA MANCHA — Sophia Loren's Dulcinea inspires Peter O'Toole's Don Quixote with, among other things, her ability to sing, in director Arthur Hiller's 1972 adaptation of the Broadway musical. (Posted September 20)
ROB ROY — Though the Scottish independence movement fell short of a majority vote in 2014's historic referendum, it will always have director Michael Caton-Jones's 1995 tale of the MacGregor rebel's historic besting of the English. (Posted September 18)
SHADOW OF THE WOLF — An international cast went to the Northwest Territories to film this 1992 feature, a tale of love and conflict among Inuit attempting to maintain a traditional way of life in the face of white "civilization." (Posted September 16)
PLATOON — Drawing upon his own experience of combat in Vietnam, writer/director Oliver Stone offered filmgoers a devastatingly authentic recollection of the war in his Oscar-winning 1986 feature. (Posted September 15)