Friday, April 19, 2019

Before the Rain Came

Started off a cloudy, warm day with breakfast, then making coconut muffins for lunch. Watched Hot Shots! Part Deux while I worked. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is called back into the war by Colonel Denton Walters (Richard Crenna) and government official Michelle Huddleston (Brenda Bakke) to help rescue hostages in the Middle East. He's reluctant at first, but changes his mind when Walters goes missing. He's joined in Iraq by the remaining soldiers lead by his former lover Ramada (Valerie Golino)...and when he and the others are attacked by Iraq forces, President Tug Benson (Lloyd Bridges) goes after them. When the mission goes awry, Topper has to figure out who did it and why...and why Ramada left him.

I like this one even more than the first one. Yes, some of the cracks at the First Gulf War and the bloody action movies of the 80's and early 90's are dated, but some of the gags still work, especially in the second half. If you're a fan of the first movie or spoofs, you'll have a lot of fun with this one.

Headed off to work about ten minutes after the movie ended. Work was an absolute pain in the rear. I kept trying to get outside to help with vanishing carts...and I kept getting pulled inside to take a register. While it was never overwhelmingly busy, two people called out. I didn't really get to the carts until almost an hour before I finished. All I did all day was panic.

I'm even less happy with my schedule. In good news, more hours. In frustrating news, not only do I work Easter, but my next day off is Wednesday. I'm working for over a week....and I only have that day off because of my phone appointment with Camden County for my food stamps. (I'm also off Saturday.) While I work early enough to have a nice lunch out on Easter and get things done in the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, it's still going to be exhausting. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Did better with the grocery shopping. I've decided to keep my Easter dinner simple and have a ham slice, broccoli with cheese sauce, and pasta salad. Grabbed the ham and a tomato for the pasta salad, and broccoli was on a good sale with an online coupon. There were decent sales on chicken and seafood, too. Went with drumsticks and flounder fillets, respectively. Restocked skim milk, bananas, yogurt, pears, clementines, breakfast cookies, peanut butter, unbleached white flour, cake mix, and asparagus. Treated myself to a vanilla cream-filled doughnut, thanks to a free coupon from the Monopoly game.

Went straight home after work. I changed, put everything away, then had dinner. Played some Kirby's Epic Yarn around 7, but I didn't get far. Couldn't find the items in the two rounds I went back through, and I just could not gather all the beads in 30 seconds in Beadrix's mini-game, no matter how hard I tried.

Watched Hot Blood before and after the game and a shower. Though it came with my Columbia 20 Musicals set, this is really more of a drama. Marco (Luther Adler), king of the gypsies in 1956 southern California, is dying and wants his brother Stephano (Cornel Wilde) to take over his role as king. Stephano has no interest in ruling and would rather pursue his dream of becoming a dancer with his blond partner Velma (Helen Westcott). Hoping to get his brother to settle down, Marco arranges a marriage between him and Annie (Jane Russell), a beautiful gypsy woman from Chicago, but Stephano refuses. Annie convinces Stephano to stage a phony wedding...but she doesn't go through with it, and they get married for real. Angry, Stephano takes off with Velma, dancing in clubs in San Diego...but being away from Annie makes him realize how much he misses her. When he sees her being chummy with his brother on his return, he begins to wonder just what he's lost.

This was really interesting. Usually, when gypsies turn up in cinema, they're seen in historical costume movies, or as background color. This is the first time I've seen them used in a modern setting. Wilde and especially a tough-minded Russell were excellent as the lovers who live up to the title of the film; Adler was also excellent as the wily Marco. The CinemaScope cinematography and colorful costumes do a wonderful job of bringing this story to life. The music sequences are mainly there for cultural color rather than to move the story along, including Wilde and Russell's incredibly sexy wedding dance.

Is it cliched? Oh yes. It's basically "Flower Drum Song with gypsies." Some of the older folks seem more than a little stereotypical today, including most of Annie's family. The unusual setting and a culture you just don't see represented that often go a long way to making up for the melodrama. If you love the cast or want to try a different type of soap opera, give this one a try.

(Oh, and I got incredibly lucky. It was cloudy, warm, and humid all day. The rain didn't start coming down until a half-hour after I got home. It's been raining off and on, sometimes heavily, ever since.)

No comments: