Monday, October 28, 2013

Inspired by the ilovedinomartin blog's wonderful reception to my past looks at the Dean Martin filmography

Hey pallies, likes as we were  goin' back through some older posts to gets ready for Dino-ween, we returned 'gain to our greatest of great Dino-diggin' pallie Ryan Ebelt's beau-ti-ful  blog, "Friends Of Junior," and likes while  there we happened to checks out if we had missed any Dino-action on Ry's part.

And, likes indeed somehow we failed to find a May 7, 2013 piece of Dino-prose scribed by Ebelt.  Likes first of all we wanna sez our regrets to Ry for missin' this post by almost 6 months....but we are so so happy to be sharin' it with all the Dino-faithful here at ilovedinomartin this very Dino-day.

Gotta 'fess up that we are deeply deeply moved by Ry's reason for doin' more Dino-reviewin'......"Inspired by the ilovedinomartin blog's wonderful reception to my past looks at the Dean Martin filmography".....likes dudes, what coulda be sweeter then that?!?!?!?!?!  How wonderful to know that ilovedinomartin is doin' our part to encourage Dino-devotion in others!!!!

As you will note below, the subject of Ry's Dino-review is that Martin and Lewis Classic "That's My Boy."
And, as usual our pallie Ry has done a supurb job of turnin' words and phrases into a very very well-crafted
review.  While Ry was not much impressed by the content of the flick, true to his Dino-hearted nature, he puts no blame on our main man or his sidekick, sayin'..."In the end, I can't really recommend That's My Boy, which is sad since I can certainly admire the talents of both performers, both together and apart."

Likes indeed we all knows that the Martin and Lewis flicks were made to cash in on the popularity of the greatest comedy team in all of history.  Here at ilovedinomartin we have come to realize that the Martin and Lewis flicks are what shall we acquired taste.....somethin' that becomes more enjoyable with more viewin' time....and we might also add that after we had read Mr. Jerry Lewis' tome of amore to our most beloved Dino, "Dean and Me: A Love Story," it gave us an even sweeter viewin' point of view of the Martin and Lewis big screen efforts.  Youse can really see how much our Dino and Jerry dug each other as you closely watch their interactions in these epic comedies.

Truly, truly ilovedinomartin wants to gratefully salute our great Dino-lovin' pallie Mr. Ry Ebelt for keepin' the Dino-light glowin' Dino-bright at his blog, "Friends Of Junior," and likes we want to 'xpress our deepest of deep Dino-appreciato for Ry's kindest of kind shout-outs helpin' his readership to checks out our humble little Dino-devotional blog.  Thanks Ry dude, likes in our Dino-book, likes you are simply the best man!
To checks out Ry's reflections directly, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram.   Dino-delightedly, DMP

TUESDAY, MAY 7, 2013

"What about Junior?"

Inspired by the ilovedinomartin blog's wonderful reception to my past looks at the Dean Martin filmography, I decided to rewind the tape even further back to Dean's early forays into cinema as half of the comedy team Martin & Lewis. I knew Martin & Lewis as one of comedy's most famous duos and perhaps as comedy's most infamous feud.  What started as a nightclub act, pairing Dean Martin's music with Jerry Lewis comedy, soon led to television appearances and then onto the silver screen with My Friend Irma(1949).  I sat down with That's My Boy (1951),  their fourth film together, and I can't  help but wonder if the couple of "Best of..." lists I looked at hadn't led me wrong.

Unfortunately NOT the exploitation movie about Siamese twin graduates...
The story concerns an overbearing tycoon and former college football star who lords over his son, Junior (Jerry Lewis) to the extent that he saddles him with all manner of psychosomatic illnesses and allergies. In a mutually beneficial deal, the tycoon pays for Bill Baker (Martin), a poor but rising football star, to pal up with Junior at his alma mater and help him to be a success on the field. Unfortunately, though Junior's got heart, he's no great athlete, and matters are further complicated by the formation of a love triangle between Bill, Junior and the lovely Terry Howard (Marion Marshall).

Jerry does a spot on imitation of me watching this movie...
The plot's essentially sitcom nature would be forgivable if not for the fact that it seems like the comedy duo has little to do. Lewis fares better than Martin in that he gets a bigger character and more face-time, but the movie suffers from long unfunny jags where neither performer is to be seen. Following the opening credits, twenty minutes pass before Jerry shows up for the first time, and almost that much more before we see Dino. The relationship between Junior and his father has more to do with Sissy Spacek's relationship with Piper Laurie in Carrie (1976) than it does with comedy. I realize that a good part of this is the difference in attitude between then and now, but Junior's dad is so loud, brutish, and relentlessly domineering that there's no surprise that any kid would turn out as nebbish as Junior. In comedy, even the bad guy still has to have some kind of relatable soft spot.

Dino thinks romance, movies...and whether he should start drinking...
The romance angle seems wedged in just to give Dino something to do, and it was this kind of thinly developed romantic lead that would eventually sour Dino on doing these pictures.  So when Dino puts in his best turn in a scene where he drunkenly expresses his regret at having taken this deal for his future, the acting is spot on and shows where Dino would eventually get dramatically, but is robbed of any resonance by the weak storytelling.  Luckily, early on, Dino gets a fun song-and-dance number with co-star Polly Bergen at a graduation dance while Jerry hams it up by himself in the corner.  (Full marks to Jerry managing to kick his own shoe into his face, which was probably my only laugh out loud moment during this viewing.) The film's initial football training sequence was also quite enjoyable, but has been done and redone in far too many sports comedy films since.

Jerry demonstrates a 50's craze: Chin Woogies...
If anything, from what I've learned of Martin & Lewis's time on-screen, it's that few things have changed in the past 50-60 years when Hollywood tries to figure out how to turn showbiz success offscreen into even bigger success onscreen. The formula's pretty simple: cook up a simple if inane plot idea, plug in hot commodity, let the chips fall where they may quality-wise, and rely on an adoring public to pay to see whatever comes out. I'm at a loss to think of one where this actually generated true movie gold, and am instead reminded of the spectacularly goofy nonsense that was KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park (1978).

In the end, I can't really recommend That's My Boy, which is sad since I can certainly admire the talents of both performers, both together and apart. What I can instead recommend was the Marx Brothers' collegiate football romp Horse Feathers (1932).  I kept thinking of it all during the runtime of this movie. It too had a story thinner than a sheet of tracing paper, but that was more because it gave the Marx's free reign to do their brand of comedic insanity.  That's exactly what I feel like was missing here: the room to let Martin & Lewis do what Martin & Lewis could do.


Always On Watch said...

Kudos on receiving such an accolade about your web site. You deserve the praise and the the notice!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes thanks ever so much for your kind words Miss AOW, but of course, I must defer all praise and notice to our most beloved Dino, 'cause without him there woulda be likes no reason for ilovedinomartin.
Truly only Dino matters!!!!! Keeps lovin' our great great man!