Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Junesploitation Day 20: Sci-Fi!

There may be no tomorrow!

73 comments:

  1. SCI-FI! DYSTOPIAN DOUBLE THREAT:

    JUST IMAGINE (1930, 113 min.) on YouTube
    for the first time.

    The first American science fiction movie, one that took visual inspiration from Lang's then-new "Metropolis" to show its dystopian view of a 1980 New York in which everyone's names are codes and marriage licenses are granted by a tribunal that decides who's the best man. The plot descends into silliness when a pilot (John Garrick's J-21) flies to Mars in order to get the NYC tribunal to allow him to wed LN-18 ("Tarzan: The Ape Man's" Maureen O'Sullivan) over newspaperman tycoon MT-3 (Kenneth Thompson). And that's AFTER a man from 1930 (El Brendel's Single O) is brought back to life in '80 for the sole purpose of giving the two leads a comic relief sidekick. THEY-DIDN'T-KNOW-WHAT-THEY-WERE-DOING-SPLOITATION!

    "Just Imagine's" many lulls are tolerable because you can tell the filmmakers were experimenting with old silent era techniques (title cards) and new ones (Broadway-inspired musical numbers, none too memorable). Have fun identifying the sci-fi clichés/tropes started in this one that are still with us to this day.


    Roger Spottiswoode's THE 6TH DAY (2000, 123 min.) on Hulu for the first time.

    Apparently somebody watched Arnold Schwarzenegger having scenes with a digital double of himself in "Total Recall" and "Last Action Hero," then green-light this vanilla-flavored, neutered-by-its-'PG-13'-rating sci-fi action movie built entirely on Arnie and a clone fighting (separately at first, then together) against the corporation that is secretly cloning humans against '6th Day Laws' of the near future. Robert Duvall drops by to collect a paycheck for playing the most benign 'mad scientist' ever. Two Michaels (Rooker and Rappaport) are wasted alongside Terry Crews as henchmen to Tony-Goldwyn-playing-Steve Jobs' main bad guy. And what's better than Arnie yelling 'Get to the chopper!!!'? Two Arnies yelling that about rocket-powered choppers used to ferry extreme sports athletes to the mountains. For Schwarzenegger completists only.

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  2. Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (1968, dir. Peter Bogdanovich)

    Could've watched the Soviet sci-fi movie Planeta Bur (1962), about cosmonauts landing on Venus and encountering space monsters. Nah. Coulda seen Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet (1965), a re-edited and dubbed version of the Soviet movie that added Basil Rathbone to the mix. Yawn. Instead, I watched Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women, which is a re-edit of the re-edit, nixing Rathbone and adding Venutian minxes with blonde hair, skintight jeans and seashell bras, and constant narration from Bogdanovich (who also directed the movie under the pseudonym of Derek Thomas).

    There's no plot to speak of and the production values obviously aren't high. And since the cosmonauts are from a different movie than the Venutians, they can obviously never meet, which is a shame. Not a good movie by any standard, but it's kinda fun as a 60's curiosity. Also, I have no idea about Bogdanovich's religious views, but the ending felt like a dig at all religion.

    Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983, dir. Terry Marcel)

    Stuck in a parallel dimension, a hapless TV reporter (Kay Lenz) and an "everyman" electrician (Richard Hatch) have to find the scientist whose invention caused the transportation, and of course save everyone from the clutches of an evil warlord (John Saxon) in the process.

    Kay Lenz in pretty charming, but Apollo isn't necessarily leading man material. They make a fun couple though, so it's a shame they're separated for most of the movie. The plot doesn't offer much, tonally it flipflops between a light adventure and an OTT farce, and boringly the parallel dimension is pretty much medieval Europe. Of course, as we learned a year ago, John Saxon makes anything worth watching.

    Though I can't really recommend either, both movies are in the public domain and can be found on both archive.org and YouTube if anyone for some reason wants to see them.

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    1. Bonus: The Twilight Zone S1E18: The Last Flight (1960, dir. William Claxton)

      A pretty basic time travel plot, very well told.

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  3. Doomsday (2008)

    I have mixed feelings on this one, but if nothing else it's a very Junesploitation movie. Scenes like the Sol, the leader of a band of cannibals, dancing to "Good Thing" by the Fine Young Cannibals just feels way too on-the-nose. I can only assume that in any screenings of the movie Neil Marshall attended, nobody laughed harder at that scene than Neil Marshall. There's some decent action though, and Rhona Mitra is solid. You can see how she ended up being back-up Beckinsale the following year in an Underworld movie.

    Not of this Earth (1988)

    This is such glorious trash. Everyone knows the movie they're making and that movie is a bad remake of an old Corman film. Traci Lords gives possibly her best performance since Passion Pit or Black Throat. Or so I've heard.

    Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

    Special Effect were tricky back then so we actually only get about 6-7 minutes of an inordinately large woman. The majority of the hour prior to that is establishing husband Harry Archer as a first class douchebag even though it's made fairly clear within the first couple minutes of his introduction.

    Demon Seed (1977)

    That ghost really wants to have sex with that woman...

    Wait, wrong Demon Seed.

    That AI really wants to impregnate that woman...

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  4. Akria (1988)

    As a personal preference I usually prefer my sci-fi epic. I love it when this genre goes all out. This is a space where anything is possible.

    And Akria pulls out every stop and idea you can think of and then some. The animation is absoultely gorgeous, it just feels like layers and layers of cells to create this textured broken city of Neo-Toyko. There are too many amazing action squences to name, again it's a movie that tops it'self right to the end. And that doesn't even touch on the ideas that flow in and out of this movie. Akria feels completely organic, not just a series of set pieces. It really did get under my skin.

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    1. I agree, there is a very strong atmosphere it creates that is not in many films. That kind of punchyness. I think of everyone tried it, it would be too much. But the film holds onto you, I think. There are some cracking visuals too!

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    2. Just to make sure, this is AKIRA you're talking about (not "Akria"), right? ;-)

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    3. And is why you can't take me anywhere 🤓🤐

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  5. Timecrimes (2007)

    Whoa, one of my favorite discoveries this month! A man sitting in his backyard spies a woman getting undressed in the forest beyond his yard. Fearing for her safety, he goes to investigate only to be attacked by a masked man, forcing him to flee to a nearby research facility where a scientist convinces him to enter a time travel device that kick starts a time loop that he must navigate his way out of.

    This is an extremely tight, expertly crafted time travel flick! Keeps you guessing and thinking and forces you to consider the consequences and paradoxes of a time loop. I was thinking about the ending for several days. The 90 minute runtime makes it feel like an longer episode of Black Mirror. Highly recommend! Streaming on Shudder.

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    1. I remenber thinkig this was great fun!

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    2. It's really good. Can't believe I hadn't heard of it before!

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    3. If you enjoyed Timecrimes, which I agree is great, you should check out Time Lapse from 2014, if you haven't already. I keep meaning to give Primer another go. I tried to watch it once and couldn't wrap my head around it, which is embarrassing as I'm a science bod (yay, science!).

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    4. I think we should all pause now and then and say, 'Yay, science!', for reasons! I will try have a look for that movie :)

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  6. Lockout (2012)
    The film opens on Guy Pearce being a badass smartass, and then continues to deliver us more badass smartass. And soon you'll discover, he is awesome at badass smartass.
    Lockout is basically an unofficial Escape from NY/LA entry (so much so that a court decided it was plagiarism).
    They say ripoff, I say one hell of an homage.
    If you like those films, I say give Lockout a shot.

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    1. Nice! Glad you liked it. I'm glad this movie got made because it's pretty fun, and I'm glad John Carpenter got paid because of it!

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  7. Battle in Outer Space (1959, dir. Ishiro Honda)
    Aliens in flying saucers establish a base on the moon, and use mind control rays to try and take over the world. The United Nations(!) sends up a pair of rockets full of dudes with lightning guns to blow up their base. The point of this movie is to make miniatures explode, and the final destruction scene may be the most impressive one I've ever watched. Thanks to those scenes, if I'd seen this when I was six, I think this would've given me nightmares for a week. From the director of most of the good Godzilla movies.

    The Stranger Within (1974, dir. Lee Philips)
    Barbara Eden is pregnant with an alien's baby!!! And that's all there is too this movie. The baby starts making her ingest lots of coffee and salt, and speed-reading every scientific textbook she can get her hands on. Her husband flips out because she stops keeping the house clean, becomes a bad cook, and stops having sex. They finally get her to admit it's an alien's baby by hypnotizing her. I prefer I Dream of Jeannie to Bewitched, but like Elizabeth Montgomery's Lizzie Borden movie better than this.

    The Humanoid (1979, dir. Aldo Lado)
    Astonishingly bald-faced rip-off of Star Wars. You think Richard Kiel, of all people, is going to be the hero, but he gets brainwashed and made invincible, and kills an entire space station before they can bring him out of it to aboooout... Dougie Jones level. He's got a pet robot bulldog. Arthur Kennedy from Fantastic Voyage is nearly Cesar Romero's Joker over the top as a mad scientist, and Ivan Rassimov, who I saw portray Satan just a couple of days ago, is Darth Vader. There's also a little Asian psychic boy, and a couple of force ghosts?!? The director made this under the name George Lewis!!! (Get it?)

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    1. The Stranger Within

      I think I remember this one. I'll have to revisit it. Barbara Eden was also in a pretty good werewolf movie called A Howling in the Woods from 1971. It's also got Larry Hagman, Babs's former I Dream of Jeannie co-star, playing her husband.

      The seventies gave us a lot of really great television horror Kokchak being the most famous example. There's a great TV movie whose name I can't recall at the moment, with Ruth Gordon, about a little girl who dies in a car fire and returns to haunt her family. The final beat is absolutely terrifying and gave me nightmares for years. Little girl ghosts are the scariest of all ghosts, unless you're talking about Rings.

      Sorry, didn't mean to go off-topic. Imma try to watch something called District 9 this evening. I've heard good things on the podcast about it.

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    2. Just Googled the Ruth Gordon movie and it's called Don't Go to Sleep.

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  8. Source Code (2011):

    I have no idea what kept me from Duncan Jones' sophomore feature for so long (you guys know how much I love Moon), but it was worth the wait.

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    1. I was thinking about watching this one also! I am so British I had to google Sophomore. I also spelt it wrong. Why not just call it second year like we do? Haha. I am looking forward to seeing it! Moon is great!

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  9. THE HIDDEN (1987)

    I love this flick to a perhaps unhealthy degree. 80s cop action movie with a sci fi twist?
    Please and thank you.

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  10. Screamers (1996) (First Time Viewing):

    Screenplay by Dan O. Bannon. Based on a book by Philip K. Dick. Starring Peter Weller. Post-apocalyptic action movie about army folks vs. robotic weaponry gone awry. Basically little droids with buzz-saw attachments that slice people up. Budget: $20 million. Hard R featuring wanton gratuitous violence, profanity, and non-stop smoking. Mainly practical effects featuring one astonishing matte painting after the next. Do I need to say more? It was rad! They don’t make ‘em like this anymore!

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  11. Split Second (1992)

    Some notes I jotted down while watching this movie:

    The credits list "And Michael J. Pollard as The Rat Catcher," maybe I'm in good hands?

    Most sci-fi thing about this movie: in the far-flung future of 2008, Rutger Hauer can smoke indoors everywhere he goes.

    Hauer was more recognizably human as a Replicant in Blade Runner than he is as a clichéd cop-with-nothing-to-lose here.

    No, Kim Cattrall, don't eat the unwrapped chocolate stuck to the outside of Hauer's gross fridge. (She ate the chocolate)

    For a creature feature, there's surprisingly little onscreen creature.

    When we do see the monster, it's far too reminiscent of Giger's Alien. If he didn't sue, he should have.

    Despite the fact that this was demonstrably not very good, I had a lot of fun with it. Needed way more Michael J. Pollard, though.

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  12. Star Kid (1997)

    Started off way better than expected in the first 15-20 minutes. Then I started zoning out and never really got back into it. Like that the practical effects but not a huge fan of the design of the Cyborsuit itself.

    Bonus--MANNY "FREAKIN" COTO DIRECTED THIS!!

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  13. ROCK AND RULE (1983)
    Yet another “rock music is rebellion in the dystopian future” tale. The plot is more or less your basic Star Wars ripoff, but the animation is impressive and songs are rockin’. Think of it as a PG-rated Heavy Metal. It’s nothing I hadn’t seen before, but I liked it well enough.

    STRANGE FRAME: LOVE AND SAX (2012)
    How to describe this one? It’s an animated musical set on Ganymede, where two female musicians fall in love, are separated, and then reunited. The plot is your basic signing a record contract as metaphor for selling your soul, but it’s not about the plot. It’s all hallucinogenic visuals, far-out ideas, and moody music. Not for everyone, but I liked how hugely ambitious it is for what was obviously a tiny budget.

    LAWNMOWER MAN 2: JOBE’S WAR (1996)
    The events of the first movie led to a post-apocalyptic world, where this baffling sequel takes place. It's another of Hollywood's failed attempts to do cyberpunk. There’s little consistency from scene to scene, so that Jobe (the titular lawnmower man) is kind and childlike at times, then acting like the Joker at other times. I was hoping for B-movie fun, but this is just a mess.

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    1. That's a bummer about Lawnmower Man 2, I've been wanting to catch up with that. I always thought Matt Frewer should have had a bigger post-Max Headroom career.

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    2. I agree that Frewer is great, and he's trying in LM2, but he can't save this one. It's a real held-together-with-band-aids movie.

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  14. Metamorphosis (1990)
    A geneticist gets his funding taken away so he decides to test his unfinished work on himself. Side effect include: super strength, aggressive behavior, memory loss, sexiness and accelerated aging. It's not The Fly, but what is. Good use of practical effects and makeup. The last act drags a little bit, but makes up for it with a batshit ending.

    Oh, and a needle to the eye will never not be effective.

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    1. I jist read the short story and this description sounds very different to the story in a crazy way haha!

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    2. It's more a Jekyll/Hyde, BrundleFly thing than the Kafka story (other than, you know, the metamorphosis part)

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  15. They Live (1988)

    Brilliant sci-fi allegory that is every bit as relevant today as it was in the late 80s. Everyone talks about the back alley fight, but for me the heart of the film is that first reveal, when Roddy first puts on the glasses. Scream Factory’s Blu Ray release is a must for John Carpenter fans.

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    1. That is just an awesome film. I lpve that part. It still packs a punch today, like you said. Also such a cool vibe throughout the film!

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  16. Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow (2014): I love his movie!! I am so glad I got to see it when it came out in the cinema but hadn't seen it since. It is still every bit as exciting. Emily Blunt is just brilliant. And well, gorgeous and playing a very crush worthy, cool, dynamic, bad ass female character in a blockbuster! Woo progress!

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  17. Invaders From Mars (1953)

    This is actually a really effective piece of 50’s sci-fi/horror! Despite the script and subject matter being a but silly, the acting and direction all take it so seriously that I took it seriously too! The score really helps it have a creepy and dramatic atmosphere. I really enjoyed the special effects and that the lead character was a young kid. Sure some might laugh at how the martians look, but who’s to say martians wouldn’t look like that? Who knows whether they’d wear fuzzy green jumpsuits!

    The Invisible Man (1933)

    A rewatch for me. It’s wild, crazy, funny and so entertaining. The effects are mind blowingly amazing for the time. I love this movie!

    The New Barbarians (1983)

    Not much here in terms of plot, but the productions is so 80s, over the top, and badass that I so liked looking at it. Fred Williamson is awesome (as is his crazy costume), Anna Kanakis is so beautiful it’s unreal, and there’s some cool stunt work. I don’t love it, but I’m so glad movies like this exist.

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    1. On The Invisible Man, I really like the movie also! The short story is very effective and the film is faithful to it. There are some really great posters to the movie too!
      Here are two really good posters!
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_PQBh8B0BwU/UvIyhhunWwI/AAAAAAAAIgs/Lt-HxKjdP2w/s1600/invisible-man-mondo-poster-kevin-tong-01.jpg

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CX6TjtmUMAA7AVL.jpg

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  18. Small Soldiers (1998)

    Starts out feeling a lot like a Mr. Show sketch right down to the David Cross. This one oddly grinds to a halt whenever the impressive special effects kick in. The little doll characters are just not compbelling. Kirsten Dunst and Phil Hartman are a pretty good father and daughter. Dunst goes doll murdering with a riding lawnmower during one of the few scenes with a pulse.

    Space Jam (1996)

    I'm trying to keep the kid chill today and I let him pick a vhs tape. Alright! Something that passes as sci fi. What the fuck is this "movie" though? Seriously.

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    1. I like Small Soliders more than you but I have been asking this question about Space Jam since I first saw this. Which might have been when I was 7 or 8 years old haha!

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  19. Timecrimes (2007)

    This seemed like the right time to finally watch this #nailedit. The way they handle time travel is pretty believable. I really enjoyed Primer but I just vibed with this one a little more. And it's funny! It definitely lived up to they hype. 8 out of 10

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  20. Mysterious Two (1982) TV Movie Air date: May 31, 1982 NBC Dir. Gary Sherman

    "He" and "She" claim to be aliens from outer space known as "The People of Tomorrow". They arrive in a small town and start recruiting people to join them to live on their planet. "Jonestown" and "Heaven's Gate" certainly come to mind and the eerie atmosphere of late 70's film making (this was filmed in 79 but shelved for 3 years) makes this one of my favorite watches of the month.

    By today's standards it's pretty simple storytelling but for the time, there is a lot being said. Greg Woods, who had a short lived blog simply titled "TV Movies of the Week", said it best: "despite the 1982 premiere, this film definitely belongs in the 1970s, as it combines two pervasive, yet different, mindsets of the decade: the Utopian aspirations of counterculture, and the disillusionment of blue-collar people being screwed by the system."

    I could imagine being a 5 year old, seeing this airing on TV and being scarred for life. Pretty damn creepy with at least 4 different set pieces/visuals that are absolutely fantastic. Did anyone here see this when it aired? JB?

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    1. Holy crap. I just came from a screening of a Gary Sherman movie at Brooklyn's Nitehawk theater (proof) and he mentioned this movie as one of the reasons he eventually gave up on directing pictures and concentrated on just doing TV shows and commercials. He says he loves the movie in the end, but the production process was too painful for him to endure multiple times with every new movie he tried to get off the ground. What a coincidence. :-)

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  21. 2019: After the Fall of New York (1983, dir. Sergio Martino)

    So much of what I've watched this month has been either Italian or Code Red or both. This movie is so great. Michael Sopkiw (of Blastfighter fame!) is Fake Plissken, tasked with getting into the wasteland of New York to bring back the one fertile woman left on Earth and return her to the President (Edmund Purdom, the dean in Pieces!) so he can get her on a spaceship with the rest of the colonists and go start life new elsewhere. I was totally on board with this movie for the first half, and the fucking George Eastman shows up as a mutant named Big Ape and I fell in love completely. I'm a big fan of the Italian post-apocalyptic rip-off genre (as evidenced by my column today), and this is one of the better entries. Lots of fun. I've been having a really good run this Junesploitation.

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  22. Predator (1987, dir. John McTiernan)

    What can I say? Its fucking Predator.

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    1. #fthismoviefest #awesome #gayundertones
      Wait it's June! #Junesploitation. WHy am I awake I have a flight in the morning.

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  23. iBoy (2017)

    I really only watched this for Maisie Williams to get me through until season 7 of Game of Thrones premieres. A teenage boy gets shot in the head when he interrupts the gang rape of the girl he's crushing on. He gains the ability to control electronic devices because he was calling the police and when they shot him and pieces lodge themselves in his brain. I was pretty on board with this for the first half. The discovery of the powers and how he starts to use them to get vengeance. But the second half was not great. Finished pretty weak.

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  24. UNIVERSAL SOLDIER REGENERATION (2009)

    Oh. My. LORD. Every time. This flick kicks all the asses. Then punches them to death.

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    1. This is one of the things I'm most thankful to F This Movie for. I would have had no idea that these later sequels were a couple of the greatest action movies of this millenium. Have you seen Day of Reckoning? It's even better!

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    2. Yeah! Regeneration's very good, but for me, it, and really, all of the Universal Soldier movies before it too, are just there as set-up for Day of Reckoning. I don't know if we'll ever see another action movie similar to it.

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    3. Having played any small part in turning some people on to these movies is a genuine source of pride for me.

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    4. I've seen it, Matt. It's a crazy thing that I sort of can't believe exist but am SO glad it does.

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  25. Bad Taste (1987)
    I always love to see where successful directors started out, and this one is really entertaining. Peter Jackson's gore-fest action sci-fi about aliens (dudes in blue shirts with funny faces) that kill humans to make fast food. It's really fun, and impressively well directed even for a first time film. That Jackson kid is going places!

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  26. Heavy Metal (1981)

    Somehow had never seen and can't say I was missing a whole lot. I had no idea it was a sorta sci-fi-horrish-anthology of 'toons so my fondness for anthologies helped a little, and I was at least mildly entertained for much of it but, really, I don't get what the fuss is about. Cartoon boobies?

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  27. LIFEFORCE (1985)

    What can one say about this flick? Except: there are truly 2 types of people in the world, those who have experienced Lifeforce & those who have not.
    Once you have, you're never the same. Not really.

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  28. Life (2017)

    Martin Lawrence finally sheds his "Whats UUUUUUUUUUP!" image with a stellar performance in Life. Eddie Murphy returned to greatness with his first good movie in awhile. Hopefully this is the start of something good by having these two amazing actors working together. "Are you gonna eat that cornbread?" I couldn't stop laughing the whole time I was there. I give Life a 10 and recommend it to everyone.

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    1. You sure you didn't see the "Alien" ripoff released earlier this year under the same title? Because the only Murphy/Lawrence joint named "Life" I remember was released a century ago (1999). ;-)

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  29. Lifeforce (1985)

    Way crazier than it was hyped up to be! Dammit Hoops you've done it again!

    #hooperhype

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  30. District 9 (2009, director Neill Blomkamp)

    Ah, James Cameron, this is how you do Avatar.

    Sweet child of mine, this is fantastic. "Gobsmacked" is a word that's overused in the comments section of F This Movie, but this F-Head is well and truly gobsmacked. My mind is still reeling and I think I'll be processing the film in my brainbox for at least a few days.

    Some random, not-thought-out-yet thoughts. Sharlto Copley: genuinely fantastic as a mid-level bureaucrat who's slowly transformed into an alien and becomes more humane as his metamorphosis progresses.

    Special effects: Wonderful. You never feel like you're watching a cartoon; the "Prawns" fully inhabit their environment. Christopher, the alien that Copley's Wikus van de Merwe befriends when Wilkus becomes an outlaw, goes from a being a scary, vaguely unpleasant alien "thing" into a warm, dignified character as we get to see him through Wikus's own changing eyes. And Christopher's little son is cute as a bug... er, I mean cute as a button.

    Climactic scene: Brilliant. Superior in my opinion to the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War that everyone raves about and is undeniably great.

    Political message: Powerful; obvious to anyone who has a functioning soul and moral compass. Sadly, not everyone... ah, feck, it's a lovely sunny day and I'm not in the mood to go off on a special snowflake SJW rant.

    Awesome, awesome movie.

    I hope everyone is enjoying Junesploitation. I haven't been able to participate as much as I intended because of work commitments. I have a few days off, so I'm going to try to watch as many exploitationey movies as I can until they drag me back to the salt mines.

    As Jeremy Freedman would say, keep watching the skis...

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    1. Wherever there is mystery and the unexplained, cosmic forces shall draw me near.

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    2. You keep an eye on all the skis in the ground in June, Nonnymouse. I'll be watching the skies while you're at it. :-P

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    3. Sorry, J.M. There's an episode of The Simpsons in which the Squeaky-Voiced Teen, aka Jeremy Freedman, delivers the to-camera line "I'm Leonard Nimoy. Good night, and keep watching the skis [sic]." Nimoy has bailed at this point, and Jeremy steps in and misreads the script.

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    4. P.S. Apologies for the tardy response.

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