Saturday, August 04, 2012

Dorks of Yore

Gostbusters From the addled mind of David Arquette, a movie so stupid it nuked an entire genre.... 

KeyMasters Three: The Reckoning

(Rated R) After losing their jobs as janitors at the urinal cake outlet, three bumbling cinephiles team up to fight crime and confuse females along the sun-bleached streets of Myrtle Beach. Working as third rate celebrity imposters, the tubby trio befriend a young TV news shooter - who can't be convinced they're NOT the real Ghostbusters. Hilarity ensues until the four stumble into the den of a local meth lab kingpin, who mistakes their constant use of movie quotes as some kind of DEA doublespeak. Certain the sweaty strangers are the first wave of an anti-drug task force, the kingpin (a heavily moustachioed Howie Mandel) resorts to sorcery, summoning an underworld demon so cheaply rendered that critics later compared it to "a confused poodle retching on an Etch a Sketch".

Shot with cameras purloined from The Lenslinger Institute, KeyMasters Three: The Reckoning ("K3TR" to its half dozen fan-boys) languished in the vault for years as producers tried to distance themselves from this seriously skeevy vehicle. When eventually dumped to the dollar theater college circuit, the movie sparked outrage among indie film critics for its unintentional mimicking of shitty art-house production techniques. Sliced together by editors thought to be hard at work on the Sling Blade reboot, Keymasters Three signaled the the end of the self-referential gross-out bromantic comedy paranormal escape caper flick. Thank. God. Soon after its release, fans of the original Ghostbusters picketed Arquette's offices for dragging the Ivan Reitman classic into a film so piss poor and derivative that not even Ray Parker, Jr. wanted his name on the soundtrack.

You have to admit, that song really sucked.

(Special Thanks, JD Angel)   

Friday, August 03, 2012

His Cross to Wear


You might question his fashion sense (shower shoes and soiled khakis? How Two Thousand and late!), but news shooters everywhere will agree Doug Richards is sporting the PERFECT accessory: a fully erect tripod. Now, I know what you're thinking ... it barely matches his belt. But when a field reporter of any persuasion latches onto a set of sticks, he (or she) transcends convention, surpasses fad and strikes a singularly noble pose. Sadly, it's a look not many young reporters go for. They're far too busy juggling status updates to grope anything as lowly as a camera stand. That's their every right, I guess. But as a guy who often schleps solo, I have to wince whenever a partner departs the car empty-handed. Don't get me wrong. I can drag along every tool I got and still run circles around the penny-loafer set. But damn if a little assistance doesn't go along way when you're rushing headlong into the void. Or even when you're just trying to get through a set of double doors without reconfiguring your biscuits!

Sooo, if you're a talking hair-do under thirty and are lucky enough to even have a photographer, do us all a favor and lend some assistance once in awhile. That surly guy with all the press-passes dangling from his rear-view mirror will appreciate it, your story will look better and (s)he may even tell you the next time you have bits of guacamole dip stuck to your teeth.  Who knows? You might even work up a callous or two. Those will come in damn handy at your next shop, when your new boss offers YOU a trunk full of tools and his hearty congratulations on being the Middle Valley's newest video-ninja slash multimedia marauder.

Do yourself a favor, though: hold out for the jet-pack. You'll need it the next time you're gettin' wild with a turnstile while balancing all kinds of pricey gizmos you don't own. Trust me.

Monday, July 30, 2012

One Hump or Two?


All too often, those of us living under glass think we invented occupational suffrage, that nobody ever weathered the vagaries of the chase until WE took up the lens. Or maybe it's just me. Either way, I'm heartened by broadcast archivist Amanda Emily's latest find: a mysterious frame in which a lowly photog tries to avoid being stomped by a camel who's being goaded by a couple of dunderheads. At least that's MY interpretation. For a more accurate take, let's examine the actual photo description, also unearthed by Amanda Emily.
"Ken Maynard's ranch goes agricultural, with elephants, buffaloes, zebras and other normally wild beasts hitched to plows and cultivators. The camel becomes so ornery he nearly kills the cameraman."
You'd be ornery too, if Indiana Jones' inbred cousins were trying to domesticate you in front of God and everybody. As for that cameraman, you'd think dodging hooves and loogies all day would at least get your name in the paper. Apparently not. Hmmm? What's that, Amanda? His name was Mervyn Freeman and he was a total bad-ass? If you say so. All I know is he must have had real grapes to set up sticks beneath a raging ungulate. Me, I'd shoot it from the car. Then again, I've never been accused of being a bad-ass - which is why I'll try to keep my bitchin' to a minimum now that I've seen how tough my predecessors had it.  Not that I'll stop complaining. It's part of my DNA. That and the deep seeded knowledge that even before color came into the picture, hump days have ALWAYS sucked.


Hey, you know what DOESN'T suck? A reasonably priced paperback detailing the dawn of moving picture news gathering. That's exactly what Amanda Emily has accomplished with her first book, From Behind the Lens: Short Stories of the News Photographers From the Pre-War Newsreel Era. Pick up a copy and hear from the men who invented a medium on the fly and looked damn cool doing it. Order NOW and get a free ice crusher! (Okay, I made up that last part.)