Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Forgotten Book, Film, & Song: 4th of July Edition

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I decided that a forgotten post was warranted (plus giving credit to blogger pattinase's excellent Friday Forgotten Books series). Because we're into the second half of the year, and have a three-day weekend, I thought this one should be a triple-header, as well:

Book: During my earlier Stephen King-reading years, if it had his name on it, even in reference, it got my attention. Whatever it was. In the early 80's I came across a recommendation by Mr. King about a certain book he thought was pretty ferocious. It was titled Red Dragon. Later, the publisher would begin advertising it with this quote by the famed writer of horror:
"The Best Popular Novel to be Published in America Since The Godfather"
As Vincent Vega would put it, "That's a bold statement." Its author, Thomas Harris, I recognized as the one who wrote the thriller Black Sunday (I'd seen the 1977 film and subsequently read the book it was based upon). Hmm... If it piqued the horror-meister's awareness, perhaps that 1981 book was worth reading... I innocently thought.

This segment has been updated and moved to its own post on my current blog, found here.


Film: During the mid-70's, in my condensed stint as a movie theater projectionist, I had the pleasure to show The Great Waldo Pepper for a one-week period in '76. I've never forgotten it. Since someone in their right mind over at Universal is finally releasing this underrated film in a widescreen version come August (fans have had to live with the crappily cropped Goodtimes Home Video disc for years), I'm spotlighting it here. This is director George Roy Hill's homage to the aerial barnstormers of yesteryear, as told through another remarkable William Goldman screenplay. The film's wonderful story also contains some of the best aerial photography around, and more than a few of its stunt flying sequences have got to be seen to be believed. Plus, it's great to watch the results of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid collaborators Hill, Goldman, and Redford again. For me, director Hill really knew how best to deploy Robert Redford on film (perhaps, even better than Sidney Pollack did). It's well worth catching.


Song: You're a Friend of Mine remains one of my favorite One Hit Wonders. Written by Narada Michael Walden/Jeffrey Cohen and released in 1985, I appreciate this unlikely duet (Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne) for its sheer joy and exuberance with regard to friendship (one of the good qualities of the blogosphere, too). Not to mention, it has that telltale and unashamedly 80's vibe to it that makes it one infectious tune to listen to. Having Jackson Browne's then girlfriend singing in the music video is not a bad thing, either. If you're interested, the song's lyrics can be found here.



I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.




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21 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, RED DRAGON. Fantastic book! I actually prefer it over Harris' subsequent Lector novels and, for that matter films. I agree that Mann's take is waaaay better than Ratner's who gets it all wrong in so many ways and squanders an all-star cast. But your review reminds me that I really should check out RED DRAGON again.

    I haven't read BLACK SUNDAY but I quite enjoyed the film version. How does it compare to Harris' book?

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  2. Red Dragon really is a fantastic book, J.D. Black Sunday remains a solid thriller read (but the Dragon [as Elizabeth called it] is on another level. The original ending was changed for the Black Sunday film, but it's an very good debut novel by Harris. Thanks so much for your comment, my friend.

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  3. Excellent round-up! Thanks for the heads up on the book. The 2002 movie did not exactly inspire me to rush out and get the book.

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  4. Yeah, if you had to go by Ratner's film, you wouldn't want to read it. But, it's a great book and you can see where many writers got their ideas from in the years since. Thanks, Rachel.

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  5. Just got back to find this....excellent, an homage to Harris and "Red Dragon," the author and work that kicked off the Hannibal Lecter cycle!  Outstanding!  Thanks for the shout-out and thanks for remembering "the source!" of all things Lecter!

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  6. This was really freaky timing, John. I started to draft this post on Tuesday, and was really getting into it by Wednesday, when your wonderfully in-depth Hannibal Lecter piece came out. Adding your link to it just seemed like good karma.

    Thanks, my friend.

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  7. I like this "Friday Forgotten" theme.  I'm far too scaredy-cat for Red Dragon, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Robert Redford's charisma in The Great Waldo Pepper trailer.  Egads, what a smile!  And I admit, I was having a little chair-bop along to "You're a Friend of Mine."  Thanks, le0pard13!

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  8. Very kind of you to say, Shell. The Great Waldo Pepper with Redford is a classic, but it's little seen and highly underrated. If you haven't seen it, I really recommend it. Thank you very much for your comment, my friend.

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  9. THE GREAT WALDO PEPPER!  I saw that flick on TV when I was a kid. Loved it, but I haven't seen it in years.

    When I lived in Barstow (89-90), there was a place called Waldo's: The Great Flying Pizza Company.  The place had a WWI biplane motif. They had pretty good pizza and a killer tune selection on the jukebox (heavy on the classic rock).  It's closed now. Bummer, but nothing lasts forever, I guess.

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  10. It's been a good long time since I've watched The Great Waldo Pepper, maybe almost 20 years, too. I've held off viewing the initial DVD release since all of its widescreen glory would have been mangled. I'm really looking forward to the new release.

    The place you describe sounds familiar. Barstow has always been a regular stop every time whenever going to Vega$. Sorry to hear of its closing. Thanks very much, John, for adding to this.

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  11. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

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  12. My second favorite harris novel after Silence of The lambs. Don't care for any of the others. I'm told that the movie of Hannibal actually improved on the book, but since the book was such dreck, I've never watched the movie.

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  13. Leopard13.  I must tell you.  I am a huge fan of 80s music. It can pretty much do no wrong.  While I loved Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band I was never a huge Clarence fan as a solo artist.  You are right though, that is a highly infection song of happiness.  :^) 
    And while it has certainly captures those sax-inflected moments of the 80s [like John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band], it only one dimension of that classic 80s decade of sound.

    You inspire me to want to start writing my own reviews on my favorite CD classics perhaps beginning with The Cutting Crew's Broadcast.  All the be4st my friend.

    Oh- thank you for putting me on your blog list. I sincerely thank you.  It's an honor.

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  14. Sorry my friend.- That Guest spot was me.  Just learning how to use your comments section.  : )

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  15. One final thing.  Sad to see Clarence Clemons struggling with his health last I saw.  I also love Jackson Browne.  I love his girlfriend Daryl Hannah even more.  A total babe who also appeared in his Tender Is The Night video.

    I know as much about 80s music as science fiction eh? ha!

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  16. Welcome, Randy. The first two novels in the series are definitely the best, IMO. I'd agree with the statement that film adaptation of Hannibal was an improvement. I'd also recommend the film to you for director Ridley Scott accomplishing it (and actually making a decent movie of the unfilmable). That, and Julianne Moore's portrayal of the older agent Starling. She's really quite good in the role. Thanks very much for your comment.

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  17. That's great to hear, SFF. I appreciate your thoughts about the music from that distinctive decade and look forward to future posts on the subject, my friend. Thanks.

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  18. I'm glad you logged in to the comments (it certainly helped in my reply on your comment).  ;)

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  19. Yeah, I'm sorry to hear CC is not doing well. I appreciate both Jackson Browne and Daryl Hannah, too. Good catch on the Tender is the Night video -- and I just spotted that Daryl is coming back as Elle Driver for Kill Bill, Vol 3. I loved her in KB!

    Anyway, it's my pleasure to have you on my Blog Roll as your writing is always informative and enjoyable. Thanks, SFF.

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