Thursday, April 21, 2022

Every Eagles Song Podcast Interview

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. In the meantime, please indulge some hype for my other blog, Every Eagles Song. Thank you to the folks at Jacked Up Review Show podcast for inviting me to chat about all things Eagles. Although the interview mostly gets into facts and figures about band history, the conversation also includes thoughts about why the group and their music have lasted. As a bonus, the chat vividly demonstrates why I should never be put in proximity to math. At one point I note the Eagles have been together much longer as a heritage touring band than they originally were together as an active recording entity, but I say the current span is approaching 20 years when of course I should have said 30 years because the reunion began in 1994. (Arithmetic, forever my mortal enemy.) Anyway, click the link to hear the podcast, which runs a little over one hour: 
Jacked Up Eagles Podcast.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Wild in the Sky (1972)

          A youth-culture riff on Dr. Strangelove (1964), Wild in the Sky has elements that might have cohered under stronger artistic leadership, but there’s a reason you’ve never heard of director William T. Naud, who also cowrote the picture. His storytelling wobbles between haphazard and inept, so he was not the guy to integrate dark sociopolitical commentary with wannabe-poignant character arcs and goofy physical comedy. It doesn’t help that the movie’s performances are all over the place, from Keenan Wynn’s blustery villainy to Brandon de Wilde’s quiet sensitivity; similarly, it doesn’t help that the picture was made on such a meager budget that all of its shots of airplanes in flight are grainy stock footage. To appreciate the picture’s meager virtues, the charitable viewer must overlook a lot of glaring flaws.
          After three young activists escape a prison-transport vehicle, they flee to an Air Force base and sneak into the belly of a B-52. Once the plane takes flight with a nuclear payload, the activists hijack the aircraft, thus causing havoc among military officials, some of whom are worried the crisis will expose a scheme involving misappropriated defense funds. Among the film’s characters are an uptight pilot hiding the fact that he’s gay, a radio operator who makes dirty phone calls, and a debauched flyer who suggests the hijackers aim the plane toward Hamburg so he can party in that city’s red-light district. Theoretically, any of these characterizations is workable for satirical purposes, but the movie also includes overly cartoonish characterizations, such as the U.S. president who spends his downtime zooming around in a dune buggy.
          The film’s eclectic cast includes many actors familiar to viewers of ’60s/’70s TV: Georg Stanford Brown, Bernie Kopell, Robert Lansing, Tim O’Connor, etc. Yet much of the screen time gets consumed by Wynn (not coincidentally a holdover from Dr. Strangelove), and his shouting gets tiresome. Plus, in a sign of true desperation, the filmmakers enlisted Dub Taylor to unleash his angry-redneck shtick during a few scenes. Arguably, the standout performance is given by Dick Gautier (of Get Smart and many other things) because his rendition of the debauched flyer achieves Lebowski levels of chill. Alas, too much of the picture gets mired in comedy bits that don’t connect. In one scene, characters play hot potato with a grenade; in another, an officer demands that an injured soldier set aside his crutches to salute, causing the injured soldier to pratfall. FYI, Wild in the Sky was re-released as Black Jack, so don’t be fooled by the Blaxploitation-style poster emphasizing Brown after his breakout success on TV show The Rookies.

Wild in the Sky: FUNKY