Category Archives: Fantastic Movie Reviews

KID RUSSELL: THE TELEVISION SERIES – EPISODE ONE

Kid Russell

Self-portrait by Kid Russell

With the Frontierado Holiday coming up in just over a month and a half, Balladeer’s Blog decided to whet readers’ appetites with this look at a gritty cable western series based on the real-life gunslinger turned artist Kid Russell (Charles Marion Russell).

As always, Frontierado is about the myth of the American West, not the grinding reality. This ties it in with Balladeer’s Blog’s examinations of myth and folklore and the ways in which the human tendency toward embellishment crafts everything from religious lore to heroic legends.

Even in the 1800s the exploits of real-life gunslingers were being exaggerated in Dime Novels or overblown newspaper accounts to the degree that the surviving tales of Western figures often bear little resemblance to their actual lives. Television added another layer of distortion as the need for weekly stories saw Western shows presenting the likes of Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickok, Bat Masterson and many others in adventures that dropped all pretense of being based on anything “real.”

Even a figure like Annie Oakley, who actually saw no action against outlaws, was depicted fighting crime out west in a weekly series. In that same spirit here’s my presentation of how the framework of fictional adventures can be used to familiarize modern audiences with occasional facts about the adventurers themselves.

William Smith good Kid RussellKID RUSSELL (Cable Series) – “Before he made the art, he LIVED it!” would be the kind of eye-rolling advertising tagline that one could picture being used for a show like this. I’m not implying any disrespect to Kid Russell or his artistic legacy. Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my regard for the man. (FOR MY LOOK AT THE KID RUSSELL LEGEND CLICK HERE )

I can’t help but speculate that the Kid’s fondness for “windies” would make him smile at the kind of concentrated embellishment I’m about to bring to his real-life adventures. Russell’s famously coy line about how he “… never said how law-abiding I was or wasn’t” made many of the wildest legends about the man seem like there might be more than a kernel or two of truth to them.     Continue reading

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Filed under Fantastic Movie Reviews, FRONTIERADO

GLADIATOR: AN OPERA VERSION OF PHILIP WYLIE’S NOVEL

GladiatorEven though there are signs here and there that audiences are getting fatigued with the oversaturation of superhero adaptations for the big and small screens, there still doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

What better time for an OPERA version of Philip Wylie’s science fiction novel Gladiator, from 1930? Wylie’s work is often credited with inspiring the creation of Superman and every other superhero that followed.

Long before the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore wrote The Watchmen, this very first look at a superhero presented the figure struggling with the moral issues regarding the use of his superior abilities.

Gladiator 2The central character uses his powers in World War One but afterward must cope with the limits of “super-powers” when it comes to dealing with political corruption and other problems that can’t be solved with violence. Or in which flexing his super-muscles would be counter-productive, maybe even ushering in a dictatorship.

In other words, the same type of stories which today are praised as “innovative” for “deconstructing the superhero mythos” WERE ALREADY EXPLORED IN THIS NOVEL EIGHTY-NINE YEARS AGO! 

As a break from movie and television superhero tales I think an Opera format would be an intriguing and unexpected way of adapting Gladiator. Let’s face it – if it was done for television or movies today it would be criticized as “derivative” (irony of ironies) and “talky.”

Gladiator 4 Man God

Marvel Comics’ 1976 adaptation

That talkyness would slide nicely into a staged opera since, as I often point out in my examinations of 1970s Marvel stories, operas – like many comic books – are filled with lengthy expository monologues, but in song form. (There are countless “senses-shattering” origin stories and villain rants that are sung in operas.) 

Think of this piece as a way of using the familiar superhero formula to encourage more people to “give opera a chance.” I love sharing my enthusiasms and I was very happy with the reception of those blog posts where I wrote about Ancient Greek Comedies to make them seem relevant. I want to try doing the same with operas.

Many people may disagree, but operas and superheroics are made for each other. Look at all the operas adapted from tales of ancient gods or other mythical supernatural figures. When you get right down to it, every larger-than life hero or heroine in any given story can be interpreted from a superhero angle. Continue reading

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ASK BALLADEER: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO “AGENTS OF I.S.L.A.M?”

Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

As ever I’m all about you readers, so here’s another edition of Ask Balladeer. Many of you have been asking whatever happened to my mock t.v. series Agents of I.S.L.A.M.

Now that’ll take ya back!

Actually, that non-existent program was just a maneuver of mine years ago when my blog posts about Muslim fanatics were temporarily being shadow-banned. That conflict has been over and done with for a long time now, so I won’t dredge it back up by mentioning specific sites that were doing it.

What happened was they had started screening and blocking any blog posts from me which included the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” Since they thought I was being “controversial” by writing about those violent attacks I then played a game of being even MORE outrageous, getting the point across but without ever using the words “Muslim” or “Islam.”

The result was my series of mock reviews about episodes of a non-existent television series called Agents of I.S.L.A.M. (Intolerant Savages Loathing All Modernity)

Without using the two trigger words I would go on and on describing these Agents of I.S.L.A.M. and their attacks on innocent people. With tongue in cheek I even used to pretend to be baffled about what particular religion, if any, the deadly agents of the title belonged to.

In the end a compromise was reached. The offending sites agreed not to shadow-ban EVERY post I made regardless of subject matter as long as I went back to my usual, less sensational Muslim Fascist Atrocity Roundup format. They also agreed not to shadow-ban THOSE blog posts anymore. And we’ve all kept our ends of the bargain since. 

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Filed under Fantastic Movie Reviews, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, opinion

A GOLEM BATTLES HAMAS: 21st CENTURY GOLEM

It seemed like a good time for a quick take on each individual episode of the cableGolem of Prague series 21st Century Golem. For two seasons that edgy, irreverent show presented Jewish folklore’s clay monster the Golem defending Israeli children and the elderly from blood-crazed Hamas butchers with time out to battle the Muslim Brotherhood and Boko Haram for good measure.

The pro-Hamas Barack Obama was the blustering comic-relief villain of the series and the actor portraying him has since been subjected to an IRS audit. Here’s a look at the highest-rated cable series in history!

EPISODE ONE – “21st Century Golem” – In the premier episode a Rabbi in Israel brings the clay monster called the Golem to life to fulfill its usual mission of protecting Jews from the hatemongers who always want them dead.

The Golem heroically fights off dozens of murderous Hamas child-killers, but Pallywood – the Hamas propoganda arm – tries to make it seem like the Golem is to blame for all the violence. Barack Obama is the only world leader fooled by this and he calls on the U.N. to denounce Israel, which it does with giddy abandon. FOR THE FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/2013/10/25/twenty-first-century-golem-new-cable-tv-series/

EPISODE TWO – “Tears Fall From the Sky” – A group of delusional college students from America show up to show their solidarity with Hamas despite Hamas’ misogyny and homophobia. In a possible reference to the real-life Rachel Corrie incident the episode featured the college students summoning up the ghost of a naive young woman who died showing her devotion to terrorism. Continue reading

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ZOMBIES OF MONTICELLO (2013)

Thomas JeffersonBy reader request here’s my semi-regular Halloween Season blog post Zombies of Monticello, my mock movie review. I first ran this in 2013, but it may not seem as irreverent this year in the wake of the large-scale criticism of Thomas Jefferson.

ZOMBIES OF MONTICELLO (2013) – Halloween month continues at Balladeer’s Blog with this review of cult director Eddie Wozniak’s blood-soaked combination of horror and commentary.

Learn the REAL cause of Thomas Jefferson’s death on July 4th, 1826! On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence the zombified corpses of all of Jefferson’s dead slaves rise from their graves and besiege him and his extended family in the Jefferson mansion at Monticello!

The pompous hypocrite who penned noble words about freedom and equality while OWNING other human beings tries everything to wipe out the undead legions pressing in on all sides. Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Fantastic Movie Reviews, Halloween Season, humor

NOW ON BLU-RAY: THINGS AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM (2013)

Kansas mapTHINGS AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM (2013) – A Liberal college professor finds her hatred of all Christian Conservatives to be ill-founded when she winds up interacting with her new neighbors from Kansas.

By movie’s end she has abandoned her condescending attitude toward them and has resolved to relate to all human beings as individuals instead of as simplistic stereotypes.

Freed from the snobbery of her political prejudices she finds herself on the outs with her slavishly conformist colleagues at the university and must choose between career advancement and standing up for what she believes is right. Continue reading

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FANTASTIC FILMS TO SHOCK HOLLYWOOD

Hollywoodland

Hollywoodland

Welcome back to Balladeer’s Blog, the only site on the web that is truly non-partisan in its criticism of Liberals and Conservatives.

As I have often pointed out in the past there are no such things as right and wrong, there are simply things that a culture finds acceptable and things that a culture frowns upon. Six decades ago Hollywood films conformed to the tired Conservative cliches of Eisenhower’s America and earlier years. Today Hollywood films conform to the tired Liberal cliches of the Political Correctness Police.

As always fringe filmmaking is where the courageous storytelling is to be found. The gutless, pandering Hollywood studios all make cookie- cutter movies lacking any sort of diversity in their worldview. Long ago it was uniformly mindless Conservative films being churned out by the dozens. In recent decades it’s been uniformly mindless Liberal films being churned out by the dozens. So let’s proceed with this light- hearted look at movies no Hollywood studio would touch today.

Crimson ImamNot Coming Soon – THE CRIMSON IMAM – A heroic Muslim woman dons a red costume and mask, then takes to the streets of her Muslim community punishing men who physically abuse women in the name of the outdated dictates of their religion.

Calling herself the Crimson Imam she becomes a nationwide role model and inspires a large-scale feminist movement within Islam. Eventually women and gay people are embraced by Islam, with female clergy and gay marriages commonplace and with abortion rights a new Muslim priority.

What You’d See Instead – THE CRIMSON NUN – A heroic Christian woman dons a red habit and mask, then takes to the streets of her Christian community punishing priests who molest children and Continue reading

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Filed under Fantastic Movie Reviews, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES