Beach Blanket Bingo
How could I resist watching a film starring everybody’s favorite Hollywood Square, Mr. Paul Lynde? Anything starring the homosexual, nasal-voiced, Ohio-born star of Charlotte’s Web has to be good. I mean, the man even had his own TV show at one point in which he attempted to play a heterosexual lawyer. Talk about acting! I’ve always been obsessed with watching cheesy Hollywood musicals, and adding in feeble attempts at comedy mixed with characters named “Bullets” (Mr. Lynde), “Big Drop,” “Sugar Cane,” and “Butch” only made this title even more attractive to me. And of course, the movie is filled with overly-groomed actors playing stereotypically dumb bimbos, and stereotypically conniving businessmen. Bingo trips over itself with some minor technical issues, though. Apparently, the lip synch coach was out of town for this one, or maybe modern post-production didn’t exist then. Either way, I was not for a second fooled into believing that these lovely actors were actually singing for the camera. Going that “extra mile” that teeny-bopper movies rarely go, Bingo treads new ground and does something that I have seen in no other films. It makes use of slapstick comedy sound effects even when no actual comedy is taking place! I could only hope to be so creative. The film even includes a good-natured rib at Mr. Lynde’s home state, brought on by none other than Mr. Lynde himself. His character, while watching the teenagers dance, asks his friend, “Have you ever done anything like that?” The truly witty response? “Once, back in Ohio. When I got caught in a swarm of bees.” Oh, how I laughed. Not. In the end, though, the entertainment value of this film far exceeded the 20 minutes of my time I actually spent watching it. And the rest of the excruciating 1 hour, 38 minute runtime I spent on more productive things, such as writing this review.
Archive for March, 2005
Beach Blanket Bingo
The Valley of the Dolls
I happen to record this one off of the Fox Movie Channel last month, and – against my father’s advice - finally sat down to watch it. My dad had seen the movie back around the time it first came out (1967), and told me he thought it was pretty lame and a waste of time. Not one to heed to reason, I perservered anyway and was pleasantly surprised. Admittedly I knew almost nothing about the movie before watching it, so I guess some form of surprise was inevitable.
From what little I did know, I was certainly not expecting a half-assed attempt at a garish Hollywood musical, and this attempt was half-assed at best. The film contains at most four distinct musical numbers, but they tried damn hard to pretend like there were more. Songs were performed by different artists or, failing that, at least performed at different tempos to change the “mood.” Yawn.
Our “heroine,” Neely, moves from New England to New York. She gets a job with some showbiz types, and two hours of trite film is made. Really.
Now, if I was going to make a film that is supposedly anti-drug (or rather, anti-sleeping pill), I think I could do better than to turn it into a Disney musical. It reaches the point of absurdity in a “dramatic” scene where our heroine is stumbling like a drunkard (sleeping pills make you drunk in this film) with the obscenely delightful title music blaring at the audience. Am I supposed to be happy that she is in a “doll”-induced state of obliteration? I was happy that it meant the end of the film was near.
As much as it may seem otherwise, I genuinely enjoyed watching this one. Not because it was a piece of quality cinema, or anything like that. It is, however, definitely a glimpse back into a different time, both in Hollywood, and in Hollywood’s interpretation of reality.