Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.
We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.
I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:
“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.
I know there was a hit version of the song in 2002. I refuse to post a video by anyone who spells cracker with a K. Take that, Uncle Kracker.
Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City with the Kinks hard rocking, Drift Away. It sounds nothing like Mentor W’s song but it’s a classic in its own right.
I hope your attention isn’t drifting away. If it is, the time is right to jump to the break.
I had almost forgotten about the Nevillized Drift Away until I searched the vast expanse of the YouTube for the song below, which comes from the same album, Uptown. It rocks more like the Kinks than Dobie Gray.
An existential question: Midnight Key rocks more than Dobie but does it rock more than the Doobies?
We begin our second act in earnest with a New York Times Magazine feature about one of the weirdest movie stars in Hollywood history. Only Joaquin Phoenix rivals Val Kilmer as an oddball. I’ll let the Times link thingamabob serve as the subject header.
Kilmer has not aged well but his mind is as sharp and quirky as when he played Doc Holiday in Tombstone. One of these days, I need to write an essay about the many big screen versions of the Earp-Clanton feud that culminated at the OK Corral. I might as well rank the Doc Holidays:
- Kirk Douglas
- Val Kilmer
- Jason Robards
- Dennis Quaid
- Victor Mature
Our next segment involves one of my teevee guilty pleasures, Survivor.
Survivor Listomania: Dr A gave up on Survivor awhile back, but I have soldiered on. I get a kick out of the treachery and backstabbing, which reminds me of my law school days. That’s why I set a murder mystery at Tulane Law. If you haven’t read Tongue In The Mail it’s still online. Those who have done so have enjoyed it. End of shameless plug. I never claimed to have any shame.
Back to Survivor, the show just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. In celebration of that landmark, the Ringer’s Mara Reinstein compiled the show’s 100 greatest moments. You know me, I love listicles. This is a good one.
I still seem to have The Kinks on my mind. Here’s why: two songs that even Johnny Fairplay or Boston Rob would enjoy.
Now that you’ve survived that segment, let’s move on to a semi-regular feature.
Documentary Of The Week: When I first heard of HBO’s true crime documentary, McMillions, I was dubious. Who gives a shit if someone ripped off Mickey D’s Monopoly money game? It turns out that I do. But only because it’s a helluva yarn, well told.
It reminds me of an Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiassen book sprung to life. That’s heady company y’all. I’m glad I’m not related to Uncle Jerry, the mastermind of the scheme. He gave with one hand and took away with the other.
Here’s the trailer:
I give McMillions 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. True crime is rarely truly funny but this 6-part docuseries is.
Since I mentioned Carl Hiassen, here’s a song he wrote with Warren Zevon:
Separated At Birth has requested the week off. It’s stuck in line at Costco. Instead we begin our third act with:
The Movie List: People seem to have enjoyed my lawyer movie list so I decided to post one about movie movies. That is, movies about the movies. It’s a very self-conscious industry.
My Favorite Films About Film:
- Sunset Boulevard
- The Bad and the Beautiful
- Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
- Sullivan’s Travels
- The Player
- Singin’ In The Rain
- The Barefoot Contessa
- Inside Daisy Clover
- In A Lonely Place
- Two Weeks In Another Town
- The Day Of The Locust
- A Star Is Born (1954)
- Barton Fink
- The Big Knife
The list is hyper-sized to fifteen, but some good movies still fell by the wayside. Sorry movie movies or is that filmy films? The list itself is not flimsy…
The last word of the segment goes to Judy Garland and James Mason.
Saturday GIF Horse: Comedy great Jerry Stiller died at the age of 92 this week. Here’s a brief tribute to his awesomeness as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld:
I’m not usually a fan of corporal punishment but who among us didn’t wanna smack George Costanza?
Before Seinfeld, there was Stiller and Meara. Here are two clips featuring that swell husband and wife comedy team:
In the What’s My Line clip, Stiller refers to his son as Benjy.
Weekly Vintage Video: I went down a Tim Finn video rabbit hole while researching the Insomniac Theatre entry that featured his tune, How’m I Gonna Sleep. Here’s one of the fruits of my “labor.”
Now that we’ve hit the ground running, let’s dash off to our last segment.
Saturday Classic: I was delighted to find this early Devo set in the KSAN archives. Are you ready to devolve or some such shit?
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to a very young Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. You may not have known that Ben’s mom was a babe. Jerry looks good without his trademark mustache too. RIP, y’all.