An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
In my brilliant critique of the classic 2000 film "Charlie's Angels" I stated my now internationally accepted theory of cinema contending that cute girls and funny guys are all you need to produce a quality motion picture. In retrospect, I am saddened to write that in earlier times there was a third ingredient available to the genuinely on the ball filmmaker - The Great Big Scary Freakin' Monster. Unfortunately, we don't have any Great Big Scary Freakin' Monsters in movies today because Ray Harryhausen, The Ultimate Master Of The Great Big Scary Freakin' Monsters, was tragically stomped to death by a coked-up fifty foot Cyclops at Dennis Hopper's Fourth Of July party in 1978. Oh, did I just imagine that? Boy, that Hopper sure can throw a party!
Yes, Ray Harryhausen is truly Master Of The Great Big Scary Freakin' Monsters, although I doubt if he goes around calling himself that. But if there is anybody around here who could get away with stomping into a bar, jumping up on top of a table, putting his hands on his hips, and yelling "I am Master Of The Great Big Scary Freakin' Monsters!" it's Ray. Although somebody might have to help him get on top of the table. I mean, the guy's eighty two years old. There are probably younger guys in Hollywood who would make claim to the same thing, but everybody who's worked in Hollywood since the early sixties should just shut the hell up - They're a bunch of assholes. Steven Spielberg's dinosaurs try to talk to Ray Harryhausen's dinosaurs at Oscar parties and get the same reception your horny ass would trying to pick up on Cameron Diaz and Nicole Kidman - FORGET IT!
The Greatest Biggest Scariest Freakinest Monster Ever is Kong, The Eighth Wonder Of The World. There have been around eleven thousand movies about some kinda big ol' thang stompin' around some metropolis, knockin' over buildings, and steppin' on folks, but they're just trying to be like "King Kong" and should just get the hell outta here. Kong was the creation of Willis O'Brien, one of those early twentieth century self-made supermen who gave us everything we have of any lasting value and then got spit on because they couldn't get into Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane. Five years before "King Kong", using his top secret technique of Stop Motion Animation, O'Brien made "The Lost World", a silent version of pretty much the exact same story with a big dumb Brontosaurus instead of a love sick giant gorilla. "The Lost World" totally sucks compared to "King Kong" but luckily for O'Brien no one had seen "King Kong" yet so "The Lost World" was a sensation. If you thought "Schindler's List" was something just wait until we finish the Acid Logic version with sociopathic caffeine addicts who never get laid instead of Jews. (I'm The Guy In The Red Windbreaker!)
For those of you who dated in high school, Stop Motion Animation is the process of making a little rubber doll with a metal skeleton appear to look like a living, breathing being in a movie by shooting two frames of it, then moving it a little bit, shooting another two frames, moving it a little bit, shooting another two frames, moving it a little bit, shooting another two frames, moving it a little bit, and on and on and on for hours and hours and days and days until you become so deranged that getting an iguana from the pet shop and gluing some fake fins and horns all over it so it at least looks a little bit like a dinosaur seems like a good idea to you.
Ray Harryhausen was born in Los Angeles in 1920, a time when Hollywood itself was still in its childhood - As Ray was teething Charlie Chaplin was revolutionizing the art of comedy, as Ray was being toilet trained Cecil B. DeMille was inventing the really long, boring, biblical epic, and as Willis O'Brien was innovating Stop Motion Animation with "The Lost World" Ray was going "Hey, gimmee a break, Mister - I'm only eight years old awready!"
At age thirteen Ray saw "King Kong" and it had the same effect on him seeing Elvis Presley had on John Lennon and Paul McCartney - Five years later Ray was in Hamburg playing rock and roll to confused Germans and wishing he had stayed home in California to experiment with Stop Motion Animation with a home movie camera and modeling clay dinosaurs like God meant him to before he became a helpless pawn in a silly comedy routine. Then Ray's close friend Stu died from head injuries suffered in a brawl and he realized that if he had stayed home in Los Angeles he might have met Willis O'Brien's niece one day in school which might have lead to a meeting with The Master in which he might have shown his modeling clay dinosaurs to O'Brien who might have advised him to study anatomy because his dinosaur's legs looked like sausages. So Ray time traveled into the future to fire Pete Best and then back in the past to experiment with Stop Motion Animation using a home movie camera and modeling clay dinosaurs while studying anatomy. Seventy years later, due to a terrible warp in the Time - Space Continuum, reality had been turned upside down so Conan O'Brien was hosting "Late Night" while John Saleeby was writing for Acid Logic! Stupid Time Traveling Ray Harryhausen! Stupid, Stupid Ray Harryhausen!!
Young Ray continued studying and tinkering with movie special effects until O'Brien finally gave him his Big Break with a job on "Mighty Joe Young" in 1949. "Mighty Joe Young" is pretty much "King Kong" only this time the big ape is nice and friendly instead of wild and destructive which gives me ideas for plenty of "Second Wife" jokes which is weird cause I've never been married. Actually "Mighty Joe Young" is a lot better than you may have heard, it's got tons of great effects - Most of which Ray is responsible for - and won the Academy Award For Best Stuff Not Involving Cute Girls And Funny Guys.
So one day Ray was sitting around thinking his genius thoughts while everybody else was getting laid and he met a guy named Charles Schneer who had a big idea for a monster movie about a giant octopus that attacks the Golden Gate Bridge. Schneer clearly must have already obtained some pretty substantial financial backing and was riding around in a big black Cadillac with a coupla big nasty whores because Ray didn't tell him "A giant octopus attacks the Golden Gate bridge? Kiss my ass, Schneer!" Ass Schneer? Say that one out loud three times really fast and tell me you don't get really excited. These guys were screwing themselves up trying to duplicate "King Kong". More than just a noisy movie about a giant monkey, "King Kong" is Modern American Mythology from which our descendents will learn far more about what kind of people we were and how we felt about our place in this world than a thousand documentaries. But unlike O'Brien, Harryhausen had nothing of interest to say about contemporary times and would find inspiration in the myths and legends of the Golden Past like The Tales Of The Arabian Nights ('The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad", "The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad", and "Sinbad And The Eye Of The Tiger"), the Greek Gods Of Olympus ('Jason And The Argonauts" and "Clash Of The Titans"), and Nutty Writer Dudes Of The Nineteenth Century (Jules Verne's "Mysterious Island" and H.G. Welles' "First Men On The Moon"). While Harryhausen never came up with an individual creation that came close to Kong, he eventually surpassed O'Brien in sheer output as well as variety and technical virtuosity. Hhhhhmmm, Saleeby has gone all this time without a single turd joke or reminding us that he had a three way with Liv Tyler and Renee Zellwinger on the set of that crappy movie about the record store - Could he be actually writing about something he truly loves and cares about? Naw, I'm just bummed out about how Harry Belafonte and Colin Powell can't seem to get along. Anyway, before Ray made all those cool movies in the sixties he spent the fifties making a lot of tired fifties science fiction movies ripping off "King Kong"s premise of a Big Pain In The Ass running around breaking things while squarehead fifties people rush around looking for an alternate route to the office. Hey, if it ain't Martin And Lewis it ain't shit!
The problem with these monsters is that they have no meaning to us - We aren't even afraid of things that can actually kill us like drunk drivers or cigarettes - Hey, Pamela Anderson has Hepatitis but if she ever gave me a shot I'd be all over her like Bill Clinton at an Apple Pie Eating Contest on The Fourth Of July - Is anybody gonna pass up on a trip to San Francisco because they might get tentacled by a stupid octopus? And "The Beast From Twenty Thousand Fathoms" - What is the point in bringing a beast all the way up from twenty thousand fathoms if you can't be bothered to film him in color? And how can you call a movie where aliens attack Washington D.C. "Earth VS. The Flying Saucers" when you know damn well that if space men did attack the headquarters of the Federal Government most of the Earth would be on the Flying Saucer's side? And don't get me started on that goddam octopus . . . At the end of the fifties Ol' Man O'Brien would top all these silly movies with "The Giant Behemoth", pretty much the exact same movie as "The Beast From Twenty Thousand Fathoms", only O'Brien's giant radioactive dinosaur is genuinely frightening with some pretty creepy "Swimming Around Underwater" shots and a sequence in which the monster attacks a ferry boat of which "Godzilla" creator Inoshira Honda has said "Me like fuck blonde girl."
But if Harryhausen's fifties movies are to "King Kong" what Ricky Nelson and Fabian were to Elvis, his sixties masterpieces like "The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad' and "Jason And The Argonauts" are The Beach Boys and The Beatles and, yes, I have been reading Rolling Stone again. I can't help it, I just love looking at pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt! She's almost lifelike enough to be created by Stop Motion Animation - Like Gumby!
"Mysterious Island" is a particular favorite of mine because it opens as a Civil War movie with an escape from a Confederate POW camp in a hot air balloon which results in a "Gilligan's Island" castaway situation with a giant crab, a giant chicken, and a giant hive full of giant bees. I guess when you can't get Bob Denver in your castaway wang chung you really gots ta compensate. Wasn't Don Knotts available? Oh yeah, and another giant octopus. Bo - Ring! If you had eight testicles you'd be an octopud.
Ray's last feature "Clash Of The Titans" not only has a beautifully animated Pegasus The Winged Horsie, a very spooky Medusa hag shooting arrows at everybody, a wacky comedy relief mechanical owl, but Sir Lawrence Olivier playing Second Fiddle to Harry Hamlin. Yeah! That's how far that Shakespeare crap'll get you in Hollywood, ya old sissy youse - Playin' sidekick to some schmuck from "L.A. Law"! They almost had Sir John Gielgud in "Major League" with Corbin Benson but he kept pitchin' a tent in the locker room scenes.
A lotta people think "The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad" is Ray Harryhausen's best movie but I like "Jason And The Argonauts". Tom Hanks his own bad sef has cited "Jason And The Argonauts" as his very favorite movie of all time, although I doubt if that's what he says when he's hanging out with Spielberg and Geffen at Barbra Streisand's house - I guess he goes with "American Beauty". "Jason And The Argonauts" has some of Harryhausen's most amazing effects including My Absolute Number One Favorite - TALOS, a gigantic bronze statue who's mission in life is to stand guard over the treasure of , uh, either Queen Athena or Jackie Onassis, I get all them Greek broads mixed up. Hercules and his Little Buddy (They seem to have kind of a Skipper - Gilligan thing going) make off with a pearl the size of a basketball (I think Harryhausen had one of his flunkies paint a basketball silver, I tried that with a girl once and she kicked my ass. I should have known better than to try and put that one over on a black chick) and Talos suddenly comes to life. The moment when Hercules and Linus are happily bopping away with their new giant pearl - La la la, doo doo doo, look look look at our pearl pearl pearl - and suddenly hear from behind them the sickening mechanical sound of Talos turning his neck to watch them walking away is one of the most frightening moments of any movie I've ever seen - And I've seen the AC/DC concert movie on the big screen so that's really saying something. Boy, that Talos is Some Kinda Horrible! He stands up making all kinds of deafening metallic K.O. sounds and goes right after Hercules and Robin who are thoughtful enough to lead him straight to the beach where Jason and The Argonauts are about to go surfing or clam digging or whatever ancient Greeks did when they weren't bearing gifts. "Oh hey, Hercules! What are you and . . . uh . . . What are you guys doing? Uh . . . Maybe I shouldn't have asked that . . . Never mind . . . " And right when somebody is about to say something with a shitload of Xs in it, who do they see comin' around the mountain but Talos, The Living Embodiment Of The Popular Phrase "Bigger N' Shit", like that Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" only he's bronze so it's an experience that can only be presented through the art of Stop Motion Animation rather than over amplified blues based rock music - Has he lost his mind? Like some mofo done took off with some big ass pearl, bitch! The Argonauts take one look at quite possibly the scariest doll made out of latex rubber with a metal skeleton and made to be an actual living breathing being since Willis O'Brien's Immortal Kong, The Eighth Wonder Of The World, and waste no time hopping into their ship - Named the "Argos" interestingly - and commence a'paddlin' an' skeedaddlin', But, this is so exciting I am going to have to throw my pants out after I'm finished writing about it - Talos just walks right over, picks the Argos right up out of the water as easily as picking up a half eaten Quarter Pounder out of the garbage can outside of McDonalds and . . . and . . . Look, I really like this pair of pants I'm wearing and I'm sitting in a coffee shop just a couple of yards away from a couple of women I would like to at least think I would have a chance of sleeping with if I was about ten years younger and after the four cups of coffee I just drank I don't think it would be a very good idea to give away what happens with Talos and Hercules and Jason and The Argonauts. Just rent it. "Jason And The Argonauts" - It's ARGOLICIOUS!!
I probably shouldn't have written that last part, huh? You'll get no argoment from me. Sometimes argo too far with the jokes. Should I stay or should argo? Argo fly a kite!
"So long, Gargantua!" - Bugs Bunny
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - email@example.com
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