Six movies in two days
[Pathetic Life]

SATURDAY — BARTed to the Mission, had Chinese food for lunch, and then walked to the Roxie for a pre-Code triple feature.

I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang is a movie with a good reputation, and well-deserved. A man is victimized by the criminal justice system, and it's a dark, dramatic story. Downright bleak, but excellent.

It's exactly the kind of movie that wouldn't be made today, or would be made all wrong, though the issues at its heart are if anything more vital now than they were then. It's a riveting movie, despite the always nauseating presence of Paul Muni — he's still the worst actor ever to succeed as a movie star (see The Life of Emile Zola, if you dare).

Then came Wild Boys of the Road, in which poverty forces good kids to turn bad. Panhandling is treated as a crime in this one, but otherwise it resonates in the 1990s.

Last and least in tonight's triple feature, Mayor of Hell is set in a home for juvenile delinquents, with James Cagney again, as the kind, caring warden by day, who's a killer come nightfall. It's telling two stories at once, and the dual story lines make it a strange experience. It's not bad, but not good, and not memorable.

Here's what really struck me as I walked back to BART from the theater. Here we have three films targeted at grown-ups, three films with something to say, taking a realistic look at serious societal problems, intended to make the audience aware there's a problem out there. Off hand, I can't think of even one current Hollywood movie that aims so high.

♦ ♦ ♦

SUNDAY — I haven't bought a comic book since before I had whiskers, but on an after-work bus ride to nowhere and back, I saw a comic shop, so I got off the bus and went inside.

I always liked Batman, and there he was, but he sure looks different. The art style has gotten uglier, in my opinion, and the price has gone way up, but I bought it. The main story was complicated and "to be continued," so I'll never know whether Batman survives.

What do you think? I'm guessing Batman survives.

♦ ♦ ♦

My residential roach hotel apartment is reasonably ready for Maggie's visit, but the bed is a problem. A twin bed is wide enough for one but not nearly wide enough for two, especially two as wide as we are.

So I asked, and the management has kindly consented to rent me a second twin bed. I'll roll the second bed right up next to mine, making one bed out of two, for two consenting adults. Hope the extra bed comes with sheets.

♦ ♦ ♦

Movie time: I went to The Bridge on the River Kwai at the Castro Theater today, and it was less impressive than when I saw it at the Castro a few years ago. It's a good movie, very good, but twice is enough, and the next time it plays I'll skip it. The problem seems to be William Holden, stuck in a serious prisoner-of-war movie when he'd rather be playing some Americanized James Bond.

From the Castro, I bused downtown and caught The Hudsucker Proxy and Scorsese's delightful After Hours at the Strand. Two excellent movies, but I'm too tuckered to write about them.

I do want to ask, though — what ever happened to Rosanna Arquette? She was great in After Hours, and she was a big movie star for a few years, and then she was gone.

The answer, of course, is that she stopped being young and hot. Hollywood has no idea what to do with an actress, even a terrific actress, once she's stopped being young and hot.

  From Pathetic Life #1
Saturday - Sunday,
June 4 & 5, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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