Thursday, July 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to Bush

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, Dear George,
Happy Birthday to you.

Yep, the Prez is 60 today. Send him a bag of pretzels.

Folks -- even those who should know better -- tend to think only of the pastoral elements when considering films made in Vermont. Covered bridges, autumn leaves, bucolic pastures and picturesque farms... sure, that's part of it, but the films actually emerging from the filmmakers who live here are often surprisingly powerful works, and hardly keyed to appeal to the tourists.

I haven't written much here about my constant VT film book research and writings, but I'll note that Vermonter Michael Burke's remarkable shot-in-VT feature The Mudge Boy quietly surfaced on DVD after years in limbo, and is well worth a screening -- but be ready, this is an uncompromising snapshot of rural life and the plight of a lad who isn't like the other kids, with a corker of an ending.

[A boy and his chicken: Emile Hirsch in The Mudge Boy]

Because he's in the film and had never seen it, I sent a copy of the DVD to my good friend George Woodard (who's currently editing and in post-production on his own debut feature, The Summer of Walter Hacks). He called me on Sunday, supremely disturbed by Mudge Boy.

That's a recommendation, and a warning.

BTW, Michael Burke's short film Fishbelly White, the potent catalyst for The Mudge Boy (Burke's work here resulted in his participation with the Sundance Institute to expand his 23-minute short into the feature script and film), is coincidentally also now on DVD -- released within a couple of weeks of Mudge Boy! -- in the gay Boys Life 5 from Strand Releasing. Unless you have an aversion to gay themes, this is highly recommended, too, and provides a unique chance to screen both short and feature back-to-back (though I recommend watching The Mudge Boy first, so you don't spoil the final act for yourself).

The titular role in Mudge Boy showcases an early (his first?) lead for Hirsch, who has been impressive in plenty of films since (The Emperor's Club, Lords of Dogtown, etc.). The "boy and his chicken" role may conjure fond memories of Squeezit Henderson in Forbidden Zone, a film light years away from this sobering drama, and one can only breathe a sigh of relief that Hirsch completed his part before the avian flu re-emerged in recent years (one of the earliest bird-to-human contraction points for the avian flu mutation was via Asian cockfighters, who sometimes clear the mucous-clogged nasal passage of their prize birds during fights by sticking the rooster's head in their mouths and sucking 'em clean -- oops, sorry, did you already have breakfast?). And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Anyhoot, check it out, but don't be looking for light entertainment when you pop the disc into your player.

Need to hack away at website-under-construction duties today, so short post here today. Besides, I posted a whopper yesterday, and concluded Marge's and my epic balloon saga.

Speaking of which -- the website, that is -- we launch soon! Missed my planned June liftoff for, but we're getting closer. However skeletal, it'll be open for your perusal around July 15th. (It has to be: my computer guru Jane Wilde is off for China until mid-August!)

More info closer to then...

Months ago, I posted about the old Hamilton's Invaders "big bug" toys of the early '60s, and my unending search for the Grand Wazoo of invaders himself, Hamilton. This was just posted as a comment onto that long-ago blog entry, so I figured I'd share it up here, 'cuz, like, who scours the old comment sections of ancient posts?

Take it away, Sherman:

"Great story. My mom bought me the delux Horrible Hamilton playset at Jefferson Store in North Miami Beach, FL in the early 1960s. Guess I was spoiled and threw one of my "I want Horrible Hamilton! I want Horrible Hamilton!". Anyhow, my mom spanked me, I cried some more, she felt guilty, and presto, she bought it for me! Helps to be an only child. Guess what, I still have Horrible Hamilton in mint conditon (he still works and scares the heck out of my mom's cat). Got all the other bugs too. However, the blue soldiers, the helicopter and tank and the box are long gone. Had the helmet too, but gave it away years ago. Great to remember the good old days, they seem alot better." [Posted by sherman to MYRANT at 7/05/2006 04:46:25 PM]

BTW, I'm still seeking a Hamilton for my collection, folks.

Today's Ragmop quote of the day, third in the series, spilling from the lips of Piltdown Man at the Pearly Gates:

"Say... is that a spear through your chest, or are you just happy to see me?"