Friday, August 29, 2008


Boy, this is some hiatus! I’ve been on “hiatus” now for two weekends, and with this entry I’ve posted as many times.

Well, I did say I’d “delurk” from time to time if a movie of interest came up.

Wouldn’t you know that this Sunday, Channel 7 is yet again playing a movie that’s of interest to me?

Well, maybe not the movie itself (the movies on this blog rarely are the subject of interest but rather the people who star in them). But I’d be terribly remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to laud a man you’ve seen mega-jillions of times and at this point may even be bloody well sick of or none too impressed with.

I’m speaking of Dabney Coleman. He stars in “Taken,” being shown this Sunday night on Channel 7. This one has all the Landfill hallmarks, but I won’t go into that – you’ll enjoy its heightened, cheesey, over-the-top intensity when you watch the trailer.

But first I want to remind some who may have forgotten of not only how consummate an actor Mr. Coleman is, but that he also appeared in two very significant television series. Like most shows that were ahead of their time, they had cult followings and critical acclaim but not enough ratings to stay on the air.

The first was “Buffalo Bill,” wherein Coleman played the title role. It’s significant as being one of the first, if not the first “edgy” sitcoms with a character who audiences couldn’t really embrace – one who would do and say outrageous things of the “I can’t believe he just…” variety, but without the occasional turns to pathos and sentimentality that predecessors like Archie Bunker, George Jefferson and Maude Findlay often lapsed into. And without the sometimes obvious, broad humor that sometimes infiltrated those shows. “Buffalo Bill” was very sharp, well-written material at a time where such shows were in short supply. It revolved around daytime talk-show host Bill Bittinger, whose name was probably inspired by his biting wit which could be not only caustic, but vitriolic as well. Bill truly was a viper.

And as an extra bonus, it featured a top-notch supporting cast with the likes of Joanna Cassidy, John Fieldler, Max Wright and a young, vivacious Geena Davis. Check out this scene:

The next important show Coleman was involved in was “The Slap Maxwell Story.” If you thought his Bill Bittinger character was hard to like, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The sports writer character Coleman essays in this show gives vultures a bad name. Again, great writing and supporting cast, with Coleman acting his heart out once again. And very significant as one of the first “dramady” programs, also known as “sitdrams,” where the comedy and drama are doled out in equal doses. There have been many such shows since, although the monikers above have faded from view. David E. Kelley in particular seems to have been inspired by the short lived “dramady/sitdram” trend, incorporating similar elements into his signature shows “Ally McBeal” and “Boston Legal.”

Watch Coleman act his heart out in this rather dramatic and uncomfortable scene from “The Slap Maxwell Story,” which leads into the show’s opening credits:

Like most of the other actors we laud here on the Landfill, Coleman has worked continuously through the years, and he hasn’t always turned up in the best projects. But he always turns in a great performance. He is probably best remembered as the nasty boss in “9 to 5.” These days, the roles seem to be more tailored to his age, while the types of roles he used to get seem to be going to the equally brilliant Jeffrey Tambor.

So back to “Taken”: it looks totally like a by-the-numbers Landfill flick about true confessions and betrayals, but even in the trailer you can see that Coleman’s abilities elevate this tired hash higher than it has a right to be elevated.

View the trailer here:

Or watch the entire movie on WABC-TV Channel 7 on Sunday, August 31st, 2008... if you dare!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Angels Don't Sleep Here"

I know, I know – I said I was on hiatus.

But I also said that I’d pop up from time to time when there was something of interest.

How was I to know the very first weekend I’d be on hiatus there’d be a movie of interest?

This Sunday, Channel 7 is running “Angels Don’t Sleep Here.” It stars one of my all-time favorites, Robert Patrick. He’s had a wonderful career as a character actor. He’s mostly been in action-oriented films playing people on either side of the law, but he has managed a few choice roles in romantic comedies and serious dramas, too.

But that’s not what you’ve come to the Landfill for. No, you’ve come to hear yours truly, The Phantom remind you that Robert Patrick is the ultra-cool co-star of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” playing the T-1000 robot determined to incinerate Ahnuld’s original model. If you don’t know Patrick from that (and really, you’d have to be living under a rock not to), then you know him for his lead role of Agent John Doggett in the last two seasons of “X-Files.”

So, Patrick is one of those journeyman actors who likes to work. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re okay with the fact that you’ll often be showing up in direct-to-cable or direct-to-video projects alongside the higher profile roles. And if you stick around long enough, those higher profile roles come back around to you (as I recently mentioned, Eric Roberts toiled in a bunch of DTV dreck but can now be seen on the big screen in a great role in the film of the year, “The Dark Knight.”)

Unfortunately, based on the imdb user comments for “Angels Don’t Sleep Here,” it appears to be from the “dreck” category. But Patrick is always fun to watch, even in dreck.

Check Robert Patrick out in this quick clip from “Angels Don’t Sleep Here”:

Or watch the entire movie on WABC-TV Channel 7 on Sunday, August 24th, 2008 at 11:35 PM... if you dare!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Landfill on "semi-hiatus"

Okay, in my previous post I used the expression “swampy Landfill.”

Well, it’s more like yours truly, the Phantom of the Landfill is swamped.

I just have a bunch of stuff going on right now. Most of it good; some of it challenging. All of it time-consuming.

Something had to give, and this is it. Starting with this post, the Late Nite Landfill is going on semi-hiatus. What does that mean?

That means until the smoke clears from all that’s going on, I won’t be reporting on Channel 7’s weekend late night movies every week. I may occasionally post if there’s a movie of particular note, but for the most part, this space will gather dust and crickets for a while. Just has to be that way for now.

I can’t just leave you without some entertainment though, so here’s a random selection of trailers and movie scenes I think you’ll appreciate (and as I implored you in my previous post, visit the links at the bottom of my page, too). Enjoy, and Lord willing I’ll see you all again soon!

Goofy mobsters, stalked jurors, awesome links & a swampy Landfill

What in the world does the title of this post even mean?

You’ll have to read the whole post to find out.

So let’s start with the movie Channel 7 has scheduled for Saturday night. It’s called “Crime Spree.”

Out of all the films I’ve covered so far, this is only the second one I can say I would probably enjoy (the other being the Mark Dacasos actioner, “Drive” – click on the triangle next to “February” in the blog archive for my review of that one).

In this one, Gerard Depardieu heads up a gang of French mobsters who rob Harvey Keitel. They soon learn that Harvey is a Chicago mobster under surveillance by the FBI. Needless to say, they are now being pursued by both sides of the law. This one looks like it has a lot of energy and humor to it, and a simple-yet-fun premise (many of the most fun premises are the most simple – Pixar has practically crafted their entire empire on that notion).

I doubt I’ll be awake when it airs though, as so much is happening with me (one of the reasons I’m not providing extra links in this post – but again, you’ll have to read the rest of this post to find out more).

Anyway, you can watch the trailer here:

Or watch the entire movie on WABC-TV Channel 7 on Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 11:35 PM… if you dare!


If you tune in on Sunday night, you’ll see “Fatal Affair” (aka “Stalker).

This of course is one of the bazillion films that came out in the wake of “Fatal Attraction”’s success. What’s funny about these films is that many of them tried to copy the title – the use of two words, the kind of words used, the tones of the words – and some of those copies were so blatant that they come off almost as parody. And within that mix, at least a couple of them actually were parodies. The rest were just unintentionally funny.

You get C. Thomas Howell, Maxim Roy and Jay Underwood in this one. The plot: a juror realizes that the victim of a murder is someone he had an affair with… and apparently someone involved in the murder realizes it, too and stalks the juror.

Yeah, makes perfect sense. Like he wouldn’t just get himself removed from the jury. But what do I know?...

Anyway, this one sounds like it’s definitely in the “must-miss” category. But decide for yourself. You can view the trailer here:

Or watch the entire movie on Sunday, August 17th, 2008 at 11:35 PM… if you dare.

BUT WAIT… there’s more!!!

I want you to do me a favor. I want you to scroll down to the bottom of my page and get yourself lost in the “Other excavations you might dig” list of links. There are many sites there that are just too good to ignore.

My favorite on the list has to be “Trailers from Hell,” where prominent movie directors give audio commentaries to trailers.

The site “New York Monster Movie Memories” is indispensable for anyone who grew up on the east coast in the ‘70s, or for anyone who just loves classic (and not-so-classic) horror flicks from the 1930s through the 1970s.

I’ve also linked to a site where the inimitable (except maybe by Jerry Lewis) Sammy Petrillo is interviewed by the interminable Dave the Spaz. A keeper!

And you can learn a lot from two of the greatest perpetrators of popcorn cinema, screenwriters William C. Martell and Mark Verheiden, so be sure to check them out.

And check out every other link, too!

Okay, so by now you’re wondering why this rather schizoid post is all over the place. And why the Landfill is swampy.

Well, you’re about to find out, when you read the next post entitled “Landfill on semi-hiatus.”

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's a "Women on a Rampage" weekend! (“Sweet Evil” and “The Perfect Marriage”)

This weekend, you get two posts in one from the Late Nite Landfill. The reasons are simple:

• This has been a crazier week than usual for yours truly, The Phantom. Time is in short supply for me.
• The themes of this weekend’s movies both involve women behaving badly, making it easy to pair them together.

So let’s start with Saturday night’s movie, “Sweet Evil,” a 1996 release also known as “Final Vendetta.” As one TV listing described it, this direct-to-video jaunt features “a psychotic surrogate mother” causing trouble for the couple she’s moved in with.

Since this one comes from the “relative or houseguest secretly plans to rip apart the family and do us harm” genre which I covered in depth before, it affords me the opportunity of simply providing the link to my post on “The Stranger Game” which you can read by clicking here.

Since I’m on a time-crunch, I’ll only mention a few cast members. And just for this week I’m eschewing the usual links to video clips for each (perhaps when the smoke clears and I have more time I’ll add those links at a later date):

• You know Scott Cohen from a bunch of recurring TV roles including Max Medina on “Gilmore Girls,” and his detective characters Chris Ravell on “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and Harry Denby on “NYPD Blue.”
• The late Peter Boyle – do you really need me to tell you? Tip-of-the-iceberg highlights include the monster in “Young Frankenstein,” patriarch Frank Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and as the brutal Wizard in “Taxi Driver.” Oh, and John Lennon was his best man at his wedding.
• Oh yeah, there’s a lead actress in this – Bridgette Wilson. She was Adam Sandler’s love interest in “Billy Madison,” a horror victim scream queen in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and the remake of “House on Haunted Hill,” and she’s the real-life wife of 7-time Wimbledon champ Pete Sampras.

View the trailer to “Sweet Evil” here:

Or watch the entire movie on Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 11:35 PM... if you dare!

NOW... onto Sunday night’s movie, “The Perfect Marriage.”

In this one, an adulterous woman schemes with her lover to murder her husband and collect a huge inheritance.

This plot is older than Hollywood, has been done to death, and quite frankly no one’s really improved upon the classics like “Double Indemnity” or “The Postman Always Rings Twice.” But that doesn’t stop these movies from getting made by the dumpster-ful.

Again, I’ll single just a few folks out:

• The femme fatale is played by Jamie Luner, who like Scott Cohen from the previous night’s movie has tons of recurring TV roles including one of the clan in “Just the 10 of Us,” a pair of seductress sirens in the prime-time soaps “Savannah” and “Melrose Place,” and as the title investigator in the 4th season of “Profiler.”
• William R. Moses played major recurring roles in two series of made-for-TV mystery movies, the “Jane Doe” series and the 1990’s “Perry Mason” series.

The rest of the cast features the usual quotient of TV actors, mostly from Canada, who have had guest-roles on TV series and in TV movies.

The trailer I found for this one is not of the embeddable kind, so you'll have to click here to view it.

Or watch the entire movie on Sunday, August 10th, 2008 at 11:35 PM... if you dare!