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MARTA in the movies

12 Feb

MARTA has played a bit part in a few films over the years, whether Atlanta is a cheap location for a film set in some other city or explicitly acknowledged. There’s the very memorable hijacking of a MARTA bus at the beginning of Burt Reynolds’ Sharky’s Machine (1978), memorable mainly in the sense that everything that happens after this point is excruciatingly unmemorable. sharkys machine

Kim Bassinger takes it in The Real McCoy (1993) after she’s just been released from jail where she was doing time for a botched bank robbery, now on MARTA and on her way to new life, a fresh start. We’ve all been there before.
the real mccoy

MARTA is hilariously rebranded as “NARTA” in Livin’ Large! (1991). Livin’ Large was shot all over the city, so if you’re really into that, be our guest.
livin large

The most felicitous use of MARTA, however, is in the truly terrible 1985 movie you’ve never heard of, The Heavenly Kid. Continue reading

Into the crystal

20 Oct

Happy Halloween! Almost! Please spend some time working through the six short episodes of Diligent Witches, written/directed by Dave Bonawits.

We saw episode 4 (“Wicked Dance”) at something at the Plaza Theater earlier this year where a bunch of people who hung out at the Plaza frequently when they were at GSU as art/film students showed their comedic short films and web episodes that they have been making as successful young adults. (Well, the event was much more professional and put-together than we’re making it sound here but you know what we mean.) Diligent Witches was one of our favorites, among many high-quality and funny pieces.

Speaking of being a witch, somehow this very blog “won” a “Best of Atlanta 2012” nod from Creative Loafing in the fake sounding category of “Best recap by a local blogger of a 1990s educational series.” Clearly no one fact checked the date stamp on those recap posts of ours, but if you are here to read about The Making of Modern Atlanta, you should start on this post. If you are here and work for Creative Loafing, we want one of those plaques all the restaurants and businesses have.

The gay ’90s

18 Apr

Imagine, if you will, that there are these Atlanta cops, and they find out there are drugs possibly being dealt at this gay bar, so they go to bust up the bar…

…only to fall in love.

Real life? No, we’re talking about In the Flesh, an independent gay film shot in 1997 Atlanta.
It is so gay, it is so ’90s, it is so Atlanta. Eat your heart out, Gregg Araki!

The first thing that tipped us off that In the Flesh was no ordinary movie was the really intensely detailed Wikipedia entry, in which the section summarizing the movie’s plot is longer than the same section for The Godfather‘s Wikipedia page. Then there are the polarized Netflix reviews. Naturally, we needed to see this for ourselves. (Please watch the trailer here to really get a “feel” for the movie before proceeding.) Continue reading

A brief filmography of Xernona Clayton

6 Jun

The street renaming controversy has gotten everyone in a lather over what constitutes a boulevard, if things should be named for living people, if Centennial Olympic Park should be renamed Thomas Patrick Wheatley Contemplative Park and redesigned as a traditional Irish garden/a potato field, etc., etc., etc. But the biggest question in the comments of every local internet news source is, “Who is Xernona Clayton?” Since people do not curse Ms. Clayton’s name whenever they get lost in Downtown Atlanta trying to find Trader Vic’s but instead just keep running into one block of loading docks and parking garage entrances after another, and since she has a first name that starts with an X, everyone is curious about this future namesake of some sort of City of Atlanta property (a plaza). However, one correct answer to this popular query about her identity that I haven’t yet seen is, “Co-star of the 1974 horror film The House on Skull Mountain.”
(Senator Leroy Johnson also makes a brief appearance as “Mr. Ledoux”, an attorney.)

Well, this is just leading us to more questions; specifically, what is the house on Skull Mountain? Obviously, guys, this is it:
Continue reading

Little Darlings

9 May

It’s almost summer camp time, which means for adults, watching movies about summer camp with deep nostalgia and sentimentality and pretending that summer camp was like that for us. One of the most famous of the camp genre was 1980’s Little Darlings, which still languishes in VHS-only purgatory. However, the summer is a great time to catch it edited for television audiences, whether on TBS, TNT, or one of those other channels.

Little Darlings was filmed at Hard Labor Creek State Park (terrible name, wonderful place) in Rutledge, Georgia but the pre- and post-camp scenes were shot in Atlanta. The generic poor person apartments where Angel (Kristy McNichols) lives have likely been demolished…

…but we know Ferris (Tatum O’Neal) is rich because she lives at the Swan House and shows up for camp in a smart linen suit and a Rolls-Royce.
Continue reading

Alma mater

30 Mar

Any fans of the documentary Alma in the house tonight? The film shows little clips of Margie Thorpe’s band Miss Margie and the Tall Boys performing, but here’s a full song – gospel hymn “I Saw the Light,” live at Austin Avenue Cafe (was this in Inman Park?).

Here’s the part where we would normally tell you to go rent Alma (set mostly in Hapeville and, I think, the West End; IMDb key words: “Exhibitionism,” “Southern U.S.,” “Mother Daughter”) at Movies Worth Seeing as we were once also wisely instructed to do, but now there’s a special urgency to that assignment because they’re closing soon forever!! And all the movies are not only for rent, but for sale!

(Don’t worry, WEEKS AGO we bought all the VHS documentaries that had anything to do with Georgia or food, if only to spite the person who tried to throw away our VCR last month.)

Previously: Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

18 Nov

Dust-to-Digital is releasing the 20th anniversary edition of Ten Thousand Points of Lights, a documentary (directed by George King) that introduces us to the Townsends, a chain-smoking, Divorce Court-addicted Stone Mountain family and their modest little ranch home which is a year-round homage to Elvis but, at a Christmas, becomes a kitschy fantasy land of twinkling colored lights, decaying tinsel garlands, Santa potholders, and a nativity scene made from s’more ingredients. For 17 years, they opened their home every holiday season to strangers who would come from all over to admire and tour “the Christmas house” (if the guests could follow Uncle Ray’s rules and not ask stupid questions about the power bill). The documentary follows the Christmas house’s last season in the public eye – after 1990, the whole family moved to Charlotte.
I don’t want to try to describe any of the special and hilarious moments and the marvelous characters in this film because I won’t do them justice – just get your hands on this beautiful Dust-to-Digital packaging and special features that include commentary and “where are they now?” interviews of three of the family members. The interview with granddaughter Gloria mentions the conspiracy theories around the appearance of an Elvis-loving nun in the Christmas house when the cameras were rolling. (Rumors were flying that the nun was a plant!)

This would make a very festive stocking stuffer, I might add!

(UPDATE: And here’s the video promo. Cute!)

Nowadays, the closest thing we have to this in that part of town is Stone Mountain Park’s creepy snow angel, which you have to PAY to see.

Previously: Atlanta Singles Celebrate! the Holidays

The Slugger’s Wife

26 Oct

Imagine this: a film that teams Hal Ashby’s direction with Neil Simon’s screenwriting with Quincy Jones’ executive music producing with Rebecca De Mornay singing Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”! A real “home run,” right? What could be better?

A lot of things, actually, because The Slugger’s Wife is a nightmare. The only reason it merits any sort of attention here is because it was filmed in Atlanta in the mid-’80s – its primary locations were Limelight and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium so it truly is a period piece.
Continue reading

From part of a screenplay found on Moreland Avenue

17 Jun

Aye e

My name’s Isaiah

Shut up abay

Man stop! MOMMY!

I’m going to whip your buttox if you dont shut up.

Let’s do it again!

8 Jun

Still on a kick to see scenes of Atlanta caught on film a couple of decades ago, I watched Let’s Do It Again, one of Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby’s three blaxploitation/caper films of the mid-70s directed by Poitier. Released in 1975 (Maynard’s first year as mayor), Let’s Do It Again was set in Atlanta and New Orleans, so I didn’t really pay attention during the majority of the action set in the latter city, but the plot isn’t too complicated – Clyde (Poitier) and Billy (Cosby) want to get the money to pay for a new building for their secret society, so they hypnotize a shrimpy boxer into thinking he is really good and they bet on him, but then the bad guys figure out the scam! I can say that it is a cute movie with fantastic ’70s clothing, a star-studded cast, inventive character names (Bubbletop, Fish ‘n’ Chips), a Curtis Mayfield/Staple Singers soundtrack, and Bill Cosby’s body hair.

The first 15 minutes or so are set in Atlanta. Halfway through and six months later, the story returns to Atlanta but only very briefly (right before they go back to New Orleans to “do it again”).

Let’s find out about Clyde and Billy! Clyde is a milk man for old Atlanta Dairies.
Continue reading

We got scooped

5 Mar

The ever-helpful Thomas Wheatley mentioned the 1992 sci-fi action film Freejack in the comments of one of the countless things I’ve written about Dowtown, but I didn’t notice until someone stole the clip for post fodder at Atlanta Metblogs. Fair enough! But I’m still using Thomas’ tip since I was just talking about Sharky’s Machine not so long ago.

Freejack, starring Emilio Estevez, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, and Mick Jagger, is supposed to take place in the Bronx and Manhattan in 2009, but they shot this particular scene in Downtown Atlanta in the very early 1990s. The Civic Center MARTA station and the old Atlanta Constitution building have cameos.

This is basically no different than how people drive on West Peachtree now.

According to Thomas, this is the only scene filmed in Downtown Atlanta, but there are probably plenty of scenes like this:

Previously: Vintage violence

Vintage violence

28 Feb

Friday night we watched Sharky’s Machine. This is 100% a Burt Reynolds vanity vehicle – directed by and starring Burt, he has maybe three spoken lines and spends most of the movie smoking silently in a hotel room on stakeout watching a high-class prostitute.

So why would we even bother to watch this poorly-edited, poorly-acted cop film? Because it was shot primarily in Downtown in the late ’70s. There are some cool scenes of Five Points, Kenny’s Alley, Trinity Avenue, the Westin, Peachtree Center, and the old viaducts. The only time the story leaves Downtown is an outside shot of Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, which in the film is a heroin binge den/prostitution ring hub. Everyone speaks with cliched NYPD accents even though the film is set in Georgia. (Well, everyone except for Ralph, a tranny prostitute.) But I would rather be confused by Brooklyn accents in the APD’s vice squad than hear terrible forced, fake Southern accents, so we let that inconsistency go.

Here are the first ten minutes of Sharky’s Machine to get you hooked. Recognize anything? (It’s easier to spot familiar buildings and sights when watching on non-pixelated DVD.)

Warning: Swear words and violence! Someone gets murdered on a MARTA bus.

There are also cameos from Atlanta’s star newscasters of that era: Monica (Kaufman) Pearson, Wes Sarginson, Dave Michaels, and Forrest Sawyer.

We watched it at the invitation of “Kaneharvest,” noted Downtown expert and inventor of the parking deck tour. If you don’t know the C&S building from a hole in the ground then be sure you screen this film with someone who does, otherwise it won’t be fun.

(According to some sources, Mark Wahlberg is remaking Sharky’s Machine. It supposedly won’t be set in Atlanta so who cares?)

Previously: Fact, fiction, and mystery


21 May

The documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor is playing a limited engagement in Atlanta starting tomorrow at Tara. I have it on good authority (the film’s website) that director and Vanity Fair special correspondent Matt Tyrnauer will be holding Q&A sessions after Friday’s 7:15 p.m. screening as well as following all the Saturday shows. You can see the trailer here.

Miss Darrow will probably be in attendance at all showings with a million questions about what it’s like to travel with Valentino’s half-dozen pugs.

Additionally, Anvil! The Story of Anvil, also a documentary, opens tomorrow at Midtown Art Cinema. I had the opportunity to see it last weekend and it is so good – hilarious and human and sad and redeeming. To top off how endearing the film is, Lips and Robb from the band Anvil will actually be there opening night!

According to the theater: Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner of the band ANVIL will be at the Midtown on Friday, 5/22 for a Q&A following the 7:55pm showing. They will perform following the 10:05pm show. Anyone who has purchased a ticket for the 10:05 show will be allowed to remain for the performance. Do not miss this! These guys are incredible! Then go thrash at the Highlander afterward.

Ding Dong- Where the hell is Tom Selleck in all this?

15 May

TomSelleck2While everyone has been carrying on about Ashton Kutcher is  “ding dong dicking” everyone, I have not been able to stop wondering where Tom Selleck has been in all of this. While Ashton has been busy showing off how many Twitter friends he has, Tom Selleck has been hovering in the background with aging heartthrobs all over Atlanta.

Filming for their Five Killers movie has been going on all over Atlanta in various office buildings for weeks now but still there is no sign of Magnum outside of reruns on A&E. Has anyone seen him?

March: What your neighbors are watching

31 Mar

March 2009
Continue reading

If anyone picks Paul Blart, you are banned forever

24 Mar

I’m not sure if this is supposed to be open to everyone, but whatever, now it is: you can vote for what you think Georgia Tech’s summer film series Flicks on 5th should screen! We hope Pecanne Log readers are as classy as we like to think they are and all write in Brideshead Revisited.

The scheduled dates for Flicks on 5th are June 10, 17, 24, July 8, 15, and 22. Now that Screen on the Green is at Centennial Olympic Park possibly forever, Flicks on 5th is your only Midtown option for outdoor summer films.

rudoycursi3378665789_b639ecc402But first, it’s almost Atlanta Film Festival time! This year they are featuring some incredible films from Mexico; the closing night is Rudo y Cursi (a marvelous quién es quien of Mexican cinema). As usual, I am desperate to make it to all of the AFF films and events but will be lucky if I make it to one movie.

But first, the cult-celluloid-inspired We Are Going To Eat You opens at Mint Gallery Saturday, April 4. The show is curated by Turner Classic Movies’ Eric Weber and Millie De Chirico. Oooh, this looks so good. There are over 20 artists involved (see Jon Walters’ flyer on the right).

But first, Whitespace Gallery hosts At Loose Ends, three evenings of underground film curated by Brad Lapin. Friday nights are free screenings of documentaries that follow the art and lives of unconventional filmmakers Guy Maddin (April 3), Jack Smith (March 27), Nick Zedd, and Richard Kern (April 27).

AJC’s biased coverage of Atlanta’s Indian restaurants

17 Feb
Anil Kapoor stands up for Panahar.

Anil Kapoor stands up for Panahar.

I have previously written about my love for Buford’s Highway’s Indian darling, Panahar, so my outrage at the AJC‘s article this morning about Atlanta’s Indian cuisine may come as little surprise. In their on-going attempts to be the cutest paper in Atlanta, the AJC has formulated a list of the best Indian restaurants in Atlanta according to what Oscar category they should win. Sure “Best Short Film” award to Udipi Cafe is acceptable, but not when Panahar has been left off the list. I now understand how Bruce Springsteen and Clint Eastwood must have felt when their much deserved and expected nominations didn’t  arrive. I can just see Mirza, owner of Panahar, in the back of the restaurant crying into his delicious Tikka Masala. They at least deserve a Best Director awards for his customer service.

Clint Eastwood unsure about the AJC's picks for Indian in Atlanta.

Clint Eastwood unsure about the AJC's picks for Indian in Atlanta.

I hate to think that they have encouraged anyone who has seen Slumdog Millionaire to go to one of their suggestions without knowing that better exists. There is no way that Danny Boyle would have let Aja do the catering for his set over Panahar. No way. The AJC needs to do some soul searching and a little research before putting out lists like that. They should be ashamed of themselves.

My suggestions for Indian in Atlanta, in order of superiority-without doling out Oscar-related awards-would have been as follows: Panahar, Vatica, Upidi Cafe, Rose of India, and Bhojanic.

Fuzzy Business

15 Feb

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Have you never seen a Bearplane flying over Piedmont Park? Then immediately watch “Fuzzy Business“, Bark Bark‘s animated entry into the 48 Hour International Shootout Competition. Here’s the gist: “Happy and Strickly are poor garbage collectors when they find a suitcase full of money. They invest it wisely in the lucrative Anthropomorphic Travel Industry.” It’s adorable, and distinctly from the same mind as the creator of Mr. Children-for-Hands.

(via Midnight Mailman)

January: What your neighbors are watching

27 Jan

I came face to face with one of the Netflix patrons who is possibly the reason that Atlanta’s local favorites are, well, the way they are. After observing Naked Boys Singing! hover at the top of the local favorites for the earlier half of last year, thanks to this person, I might finally get to watch it for myself now that everyone else in Atlanta already has and already moved on to A Good Man is Hard to Find (no relation to Flannery O’Connor).

Back Soon: In the wake of his wife’s death, Logan (Windham Beacham) becomes fast friends with Gil (Matthew Montgomery). But after a drunken night together ends with the two straight men sharing a steamy bed, the two must reexamine their sexual identities as they forge a new relationship.
Save Me: Mark (Chad Allen) is a young gay man who’s hit rock bottom. Gayle (Judith Light) and her husband, Ted (Stephen Lang), welcome him to Genesis House, a Christian haven for men like Mark to get on the right path — the straight path. When Mark’s mentor, Scott (Robert Gant), becomes too intimate, Gayle and Ted must face some uncomfortable realities. Only Mark and Scott know where their future lives will take them beyond Genesis House.

Previously: October: What your neighbors are watching

MJH is here!

29 Oct

I have to show you the following conversation that just took place to express the complete exhilaration and surprise at what is happening right now:

Matt: Clarissa is filming a movie outside my window
me: Clarissa? Like, Clarissa Explains It All?
Matt: yea. I just watched them do a scene. Looks gay.
me: NO FUCKING WAY. I used to love that show!
me: are you sure its melissa joan hart
Matt: yes I am not retarded…

This is big ladies and gentlemen. Joey Lawrence had been filming at the Botanical Gardens as well last week and apparently this is all for the same movie, Your Presence is Requested. Ever since New Kids on the Block started touring again producers from the early 90’s are deciding to resurrect any possible means of cashing in on a now mid-twenties crowd who are gluttons for nostalgia.

Speaking of NKOTB, apparently they are at the Gwinnett Center tonight, so for those of you who still have photos of Donnie and Joey on your wall you can go try to relive the moments of prepubescence.


Filming in action thanks to Matt

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