BLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1988)

blackadder's christmas carolBLACKADDER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL – Balladeer’s Blog’s 13th Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Long-time readers know what a big fan I am of Rowan Atkinson’s work – especially his Blackadder programs. Hell, I’m even an enormous fan of his more serious work in Full Throttle. And I never tire of telling anyone who will listen that I think he’d make a perfect Dikaiopolis in Aristophanes’ comedy The Acharnians

As to why it took me so long to finally get around to reviewing Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, it’s the same reason that applied to the George C Scott version: I wanted to handle some of the more obscure Carols before hitting the well-known ones.

This Christmas Special is set in Victorian England with Atkinson starring as Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop. Tony Robinson is on hand as yet another member of the Baldrick family line.

In typically perverse Blackadder fashion the storyline reverses the usual sequence of events. Ebenezer starts out as a kind-hearted and generous soul but soon the Christmas Spirit (Robbie Coltrane) shows him visions of Blackadders Past, Present and Yet-to-Come.     Continue reading

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TRANSGRESS WITH ME: DECEMBER 1st

Hello from Joe Biden’s corporate fascist kleptocracy! We need Third Parties!

orwell on the party and truthTime for another round of Balladeer’s Blog’s recurring feature Transgress with Me. As I’ve often mentioned in the past, I used to be a Democrat before their increasing intolerance and fascism drove me to leave the party and become an Independent Voter.

*** DEMOCRATS ARE NEITHER LIBERAL NOR PROGRESSIVE.

*** DEMOCRATS NOW FEEL THAT A PERSON’S VIRTUE IS REFLECTED BY THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO THE PARTY AND TO CORPORATIONS THAT DONATE MONEY TO THE PARTY. 

*** DEMOCRAT “TEACHERS” (LMAO) HAVE REPLACED CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN THE PUBLIC’S MIND WHEN IT COMES TO GROOMING AND MOLESTING CHILDREN.

*** REPUBLICANS ARE STILL DELUDED THAT THERE IS A WAY THEIR CANDIDATES CAN BEHAVE THAT WILL GET THEM POSITIVE COVERAGE FROM THE OPPOSITION PARTY’S MEDIA OUTLETS. They still don’t understand that they should have been keeping up with Democrats in the Media Arms Race.

democrats hate free speech*** YOU WON’T EVER FIND THE DEMOCRATS TYING THEMSELVES IN KNOTS WORRYING ABOUT FINDING CANDIDATES THAT WILL GET PRAISED BY FOX NEWS, ONE AMERICA NEWS, NEWSMAX, BREITBART ETC. The Democrats’ greatest advantage is that their only viable rivals are the clueless, outdated and utterly useless Republican Party.

*** The pretentiousness, pomposity and non-stop snobbery of Democrats does far more than Fox News could EVER do to turn people against Democrat Party talking points.

*** Elon Musk, like de facto Third Party President Donald Trump, was long a favorite of the Democrats until daring to disobey The Party. Now The Party wants them destroyed.

*** Democrats are only content in environments where they have a captive audience, like in schools or wherever they can use the full force of the government or other higher “authorities” to impose silence on those who disagree with them.

*** Democrats demonize and dehumanize anyone who does not support their every opinion, yet they pretend to be models of “tolerance”. Continue reading

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JUNGLE JIM ON SCREEN

jungle jim johnnyNews of the disastrous reaction to screenings of the unwanted and unneeded fifth Indiana Jones movie, starring a 136-year-old Harrison Ford, caused me to reflect on the 1980s flood of Indiana Jones imitators. Studios even revived the old H. Rider Haggard character Allan Quatermain by casting Richard Chamberlin as Quatermain in a few movies.

Conspicuously absent from that 1980s eruption was Jungle Jim, the former comic strip character who had been depicted in a film serial, several movies and a television series from the 1930s to 1950s. Obviously, the same attempts to update Allan Quatermain would have to be made in reviving Jungle Jim, but it certainly could have been pulled off.

After all, decades before Raiders of the Lost Ark, “Jungle Jim” Bradley, mercenary jungle guide and adventurer, was fighting Nazis and other menaces while finding lost cities & ancient artifacts, all while romancing lovely ladies. Throw in the occasional giant spider or huge, man-eating eel and enjoy!

A 1980s Jungle Jim series could have combined the best elements of Indiana Jones, Crocodile Dundee and Allan Quatermain.  

At any rate, all this led me to write this examination of the big and small screen escapades of Jungle Jim in all their fun, outdated, absurd and So Bad They’re Good glory. Johnny Weissmuller, the former Tarzan actor, actually had to speak in complete sentences as Jungle Jim, emphasizing his poor thespian skills.

jungle jim 1937JUNGLE JIM (1937) – This 12 episode serial from Universal starred Grant Withers as the title character in the pith helmet. The story involved Joan Redmond, a wealthy young heiress who disappeared in the African jungle with her parents years earlier.

Sightings of a white woman in command of a pride of lions have inspired media speculation that the now teenaged heiress was still alive. Two rival jungle expeditions set out to find her, one launched by the tale’s heroes and another launched by the tale’s villains. 

The good guys, guided by Jungle Jim, want to bring the young Lion Goddess back to her home country and her inheritance. The bad guys, led by the young lady’s villainous relative Bruce Redmond, want to kill Joan, thus allowing Bruce to claim the inheritance for himself. Further complicating things are two international criminals who have been stranded in the jungle with Joan for years and have been passing themselves off to her as if they are her parents. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER PART 66: JULY 1913

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE

Fool Killer wardrobePART 66 – Some of the Fool Killer’s targets on both sides of the aisle in the July of 1913 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version of the folk figure:

*** Democrat Walter Hines Page, President Woodrow Wilson’s Ambassador to Great Britain. Page was part of the plutocrat or “plute” class that Pearson and his Fool Killer despised. Page had provoked Pearson’s ire through his public claims of simple living, all while he was renting a $20,000 per year mansion in England for himself, an enormous amount for the time.

*** Modern day gun owners. Pearson and his depiction of the Fool Killer defy categorization, since the attitudes expressed would annoy people on both the political right and the political left. Going back to 1910, Pearson’s Fool Killer openly disdained gun ownership in the 20th Century, yet many of his other positions would be placed on the political right.

*** Pearson’s fellow Christians, whom he thought bestowed most of their affection to the devil with their lifestyles, rather than to God. Here we see a position usually attributed to the political right. One of the intriguing things in every installment is the way Pearson and his Fool Killer cannot be pigeon-holed as left-wing or right-wing. Continue reading

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2nd CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS (2019): CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON 2022 CONTINUES

Christmas Carol-A-Thon 2022 here at Balladeer’s Blog continues with a review of this 2019 item.

2nd Chance For Christmas2nd CHANCE FOR CHRISTMAS (2019) – (Special thanks to Balladeer’s Blog reader Lee Ann for recommending this Carol to me.)

Directed by Christopher Ray, this is an adaptation of the Dickens classic and sets the story in the present-day. The Scrooge stand-in is a Country Western singer named Chance Love (Brittany Underwood). My fellow Carol enthusiasts will immediately be put in mind of A Diva’s Christmas Carol, reviewed previously here at Balladeer’s Blog.

2nd Chance For Christmas shrewdly stakes out its own territory so that it stands out from the Vanessa Williams flick about a pop starlet named Ebony Williams. In addition the film shrewdly used a numerical designation for the first word in the title rather than spelling out “Second” ensuring it will be listed ahead of movies whose titles begin with any letters at all.

Brittany Underwood does a very good job as Chance, the mean-spirited and selfish singing starlet who abuses everyone around her. Every step of the way Underwood is up to the demands of the storyline and manages her comedic parts well, always the toughest challenge.

In fact nearly all the comedy bits in 2nd Chance For Christmas are well-written and well-executed, so I will avoid any spoilers regarding the jokes so as not to ruin them for first-time viewers.    Continue reading

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NEWS, MEMES AND MORE: NOVEMBER 27th

democrats and rinosIndependent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog presents another look at some of the latest news reports, memes and political cartoons. As ever, I criticize both major political parties in the United States.

ANOTHER BUSINESS DECLARES DEMOCRAT-RUN PORTLAND UNSAFE AND LEAVES THE CITY

pelosi enemy of the working classELON MUSK SAYS TWITTER MUST ANSWER WHY IT INTERFERED IN THE 2020 ELECTION BY COVERING UP THE BIDEN FAMILY CRIMES AND SCANDALS EXPOSED BY THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP. If only there was a competent, effective opposition political party who would fight these battles, rather than the country having to rely on random people to do it. But there isn’t such a political party.   

REPUBLICAN RONNA MCDANIEL FACING CHALLENGES OVER THEIR MONUMENTAL MISHANDLING OF THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS.  More HERE.

trump endorseesFASCIST JOE BIDEN CALLED OUT FOR PRESSURING TRUDEAU TO CRUSH THE CANADIAN TRUCKERS CONVOY.

DON SURBER ITEM BASHING REPUBLICAN BILL BARR.

EVEN MORE FALSE STORIES PEDDLED BY THE JEFF BEZOS POST.

WASHINGTON DC BECOMES THE LATEST DEMOCRAT-HELD LOCATION TO ALLOW ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND FOREIGN NATONALS TO VOTE. Continue reading

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BALLADEER’S BLOG’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF AND BOWL RESULTS FROM NOVEMBER 26th

NAIA PLAYOFFS

Keiser SeahawksFIRST QUARTERFINAL – In this game the KEISER UNIVERSITY SEAHAWKS delivered the Upset of the Playoffs so far on a visit to the defending National Champions – the MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS. The Mustangs led 21-3 in the 1st Quarter but felt their grip slipping when the Seahawks pulled to within 21-10 by Halftime. The 3rd Quarter ended with Morningside up 28-16, but in the 4th Keiser U. exploded for a 29-28 win.

northwestern ia redSECOND QUARTERFINAL – The NORTHWESTERN (IA) COLLEGE RED RAIDERS played the MARIAN UNIVERSITY KNIGHTS. The Red Raiders shut out the Knights in the opening Half, leading them 35-0 going into the locker room. Marian’s offense perked up after the break, but were in too big a hole. Northwestern won out 52-27. Continue reading

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SPIDER-WOMAN: HER EARLY STORIES

This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post will look at Marvel’s original run of the Jessica Drew version of Spider-Woman.

marv sp 32MARVEL SPOTLIGHT Vol 1 #32 (February 1977)

Title: Dark Destiny

Villains: Hydra

NOTE: The origin of the Jessica Drew character presented in this issue, which claimed she was a creation of Marvel’s hero-villain the High Evolutionary, was soon retconned. In the new version, her father was a scientist working with the High Evolutionary, who injected her with experimental chemicals and spider DNA to save her life from radiation poisoning, and that was how she gained her super-powers.

           Those powers: Spider-Man level strength, bioenergy “venom blasts” that she shot from her hands, wall-crawling abilities and limited flight through her web-wings.

spider-woman picSynopsis: Misled into working for Hydra, Spider-Woman is sent on a mission to assassinate S.H.I.E.L.D. chief Nick Fury on the Riviera. Nick survives her initial assault and then uses news and intelligence reports to show her how she was deceived into thinking that Hydra was a revolutionary organization rather than a criminal cabal.

Jessica, furious over the way she was used, leads a S.H.I.E.L.D. assault on the Hydra base from which she was sent to kill Nick Fury. After the base is shut down and all the Hydra agents are captured, the heroine declines to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and goes off to contemplate what she wants to do with her life. Continue reading

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SCROOGE IN THE HOOD (2011): CHRISTMAS CAROL-A-THON 2022 BEGINS

mascot chair and bottle picIf it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, then regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know it’s the day when I kick off my annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon in which I review several versions of A Christmas Carol. I look at movies, television shows, radio shows and books which adapt the Dickens classic. Every year I present new reviews and a few old classics since newer readers will have missed them.

scrooge in the hoodSCROOGE IN THE HOOD (2011) – This is easily the worst attempt at a comedy version of the Carol that I’ve ever seen. It’s also a failure in terms of production values. Acting is nonexistent, props are below Cable Public Access levels, dialogue is often impossible to make out and the writing is like something from a 14-year-old trying to be edgy.

The premise behind this failed comedy is that Scrooge is a pimp, and gangsters from outside the Hood are trying to muscle in on his business. They’ve already killed his colleague Marley and are gunning for him, now.

This flick has one joke – inserting profanity, bloodshed and sexual situations into A Christmas Carol – and repeats it over and over and over for 83 minutes. Even porno adaptations like Ebenezer Screwed show a more inventive approach. Continue reading

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AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL (1972): THANKSGIVING TURKEY

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy this holiday and the hope for peaceful coexistence represented by the possibly mythic meal that it commemorates. The kind of self-righteous killjoys who bash Thanksgiving are the type of sanctimonious idiots that are fun to laugh at in this hilariously bad movie.

american hippie in israelAN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL (1972) – Forget An American Werewolf in London! To hell with A Polish Vampire in Burbank! Seriously, though, it’s a shame, but this movie’s original title was The Hitch Hiker. Over the years it picked up the campier title An American Hippie in Israel.

Yes, this production was filmed in Israel and on Pharaoh’s Island in Egypt’s Gulf of Aqaba, which is up for World Heritage Site status because of the ruins of the citadel on the tiny island. That citadel is several centuries old and was at one time the residence of the Mameluke governor of Aqaba. 

I figured a Golden Turkey like this would make a nice change of pace from the usual types of Bad Movies I review. Last Thanksgiving I reviewed a similarly atypical bad movie – James Batman, a Filipino movie illegally teaming James Bond and Batman.

mike the hippieAn American Hippie in Israel was indeed an Israeli production which starred assorted young performers from the Israeli theater. Our title character is Mike (Asher Tzarfati), who has been bumming around Europe for a few years since returning from service in the Vietnam War. Having found no peace or contentment in Europe, he arrives by plane in Israel. 

steamrollerBy the way, before we met Mike, we viewers were treated to bizarre opening credits which appeared over scenes of toplessness and nudity from later in the movie. Soon, the continuing credits appeared over pictures of idyllic fields of flowers. You can play the Moshe Drinking Game to these credits, since that happens to be a VERY common name among the team behind this flick.

After the credits finally end, the idyllic fields of flowers are run over and ruined by a steamroller. So deep, dude! This is indicative of the ham-fisted approach of the entire movie, which is to say it makes Neil Breen films and Tom Laughlin’s Billy Jack Goes to Washington seem like epitomes of subtlety by comparison. Continue reading

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