Monthly Archives: July 2010

If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother

Leah and I just finished playing through Tender Loving Care, a mid-nineties example of the largely defunct genre of Interactive Movies — essentially a B-movie wherein you’re given occasional chances to interact with events in a limited sort of way. It’s a genre that flopped pretty hardcore due to a combination of high prices, limited interactivity (Though realistically speaking, only a little lower than your average adventure game of the time; this was an era where shallow, underimplemented games outnumbered the really good ones several billion to one), and bad acting.
Tender Loving Care has the distinction of starring William Hurt, featuring a a bit of nudity roughly comparable to what you’d see on Cinemax around midnight, coming from the minds behind The Seventh Guest, and being released on DVD — not DVD-ROM (It was released on DVD-ROM, but that edition is well out of print), but an actual stick-it-in-the-box-under-your-TV DVD. The DVD edition is even more limited in its interactivity than the PC version (which used The Seventh Guest’s “Groovie” engine), but your expectations are lower for a pure DVD. We found it a fun play all the same.
Baf recently played through the PC version to completion, so I won’t bother with interrupting the Moriartython for a full review, but I thought I’d like to share with you a couple of scenes from this game’s gimmick: the Thematic Apperception Test. It’s the closest thing this game has to puzzles — their purpose is to generate a ersatz psychological profile for you, on the basis of which the game chooses between various alternate scenes and edits — indicate that you’re not in the mood for a little spicyness, the camera cuts away a few seconds early when the nurse changes her top. If you’re into harsh punishment, one character uses a hammer instead of his fist at a key moment.
Occasionally throughout the game, the questions get a little… Surprising:

Four Foot Penis

… And why is she shoving a laurel in it?
Welcome to the Penis Farm!

… Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had a penis, E-I-E-I-O
Because daddy put peanut butter on his balls

… Because it’s your dog!
I have hardly ever...

… What never? No, never! What never? Hardly ever!
I Feel Fresh

… Those eighties chicks were always getting this “Mmm, not-so-fresh” feeling. I’m not exactly sure what the solution was, but it seemed to involve vinegar and water, and may have been some kind of salad dressing.
Badly battered kangaroo

Look at the smile on that Kangaroo’s face and tell me you don’t want some of what he’s on.
Mr. Puss in Boots

… Damnit, deputy, I told you to round me up a little POSSE!
Sliding Board

This game has issues.
It happens to a lot of guys

… Don’t worry. Temporary Rondo Hattenism happens to a lot of guys…
Operation!

… Don’t worry little boy, the librarian with the rifle will shoot the doctor before he can use that phallus on you!
Addendum: If you happen to have a copy of this game and would like to see the version of the story Leah and I made, use the code
76, 80, 35, 8F, 75, 42, 61, 9A, 6C

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important Michael Moriarties (Moriartython Part 2: Blood Link)

Greetings again, mellow readers, and welcome to A Mind Occasionally Voyaging, where my ceaseless efforts to recapture my long-lost youth will take me to the very depths of terrible old movies I dimly recollect from childhood. This week we’re going to look at an old classic from–

OW:Rosebud.

Huh?

OW:Rosebud.

Ghost

EEEGAH! It’s– Um. It’s. Okay, No idea.

OW:Roseb– Oh. Sorry. Is this better? I forget what I look like to morals sometimes.

Ghost of Orson WellesEEEGAH! It’s the ghost of Orson Welles!

OW:Yes. Long ago, I shuffled off this mortal coil, and since then, my meanderings in the great beyond have led me to acquire deepest knowledge of the great mysteries of the universe.

Wow. And you’re going to share them with me?

OW:Of course not. Why, the merest sentence of the infinite knowledge I possess would cause your thyroid gland to dissolve into delicious frozen peas. Mmm… Peas…

Right. So then, what brings you here, former Mr. Welles?

OW:It recently came to my attention that you expressed concern over my later carer in a conversation with a Mr. Prime.

Oh, that. Yeah. I thought it was really a shame how you never got the respect you really deserved in your later years.

OW:That’s why I have appeared to you now. I wanted you to understand that here in the afterlife, I am beyond all such material concerns. I can see all the days of my life laid out before me, and I realize that, all in all, I had a pretty good run and I regret nothing.

Not even Future ShockFuture Shock, Bitches?

OW:Not even Future Shock.

Wow. The afterlife sounds awesome.

OW:Yes. But I have come to you with a grave warning.

Oh crap. Am I going to be visited by three spirits?

OW:Probably. But that’s not really relevant to my warning. As the maker of what is unarguably the greatest film ever made, I have come to warn you: your choice of films to review lacks any sort of cohesion. Why, it’s as if you’re choosing films entirely at random without any thought to how your body of reviews work as a whole.

My God, you’re right Former Mr. Welles! If I don’t clean up my act and fly right, will I be doomed to wander the earth after my death, bound in chains, never stopping, never knowing a minute’s peace?

OW:No. You’ll just go to hell. But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. You’re pretty much damned anyway for practicing the wrong religion.

What? But I thought all religions were paths to God!

OW:Nope. The only true religion is Frooblintarianism. Unfortunately, the great prophet Froblintar was born on the planet Gelgamar IV in the year 500,023 BC.

Oh. Sucks to be us then.

OW:Quite.

So I guess there’s really only one thing for it. One way to make my reviews more coherently themed. I need to do… A miniseries. A movie-thon all bound together by the common thread of one man. A man whose contribution to modern film is unquestionable. A man whose name is already famous in the annals of cinematographic history.

OW:Good to see you’ve come to your senses.

Yes! I can see it now. There’s no other choice. I shall do a marathon. A marathon dedicated to the greatest star of film history. A marathon of the film masterpieces of… Michael Moriarty!

OW:Yes! No, wait. Who?

Michael MoriartyMichael Moriarty! Isn’t it obvious, Former Mr. Welles?

OW:Um…

I mean, with last time’s The Stuff, I’m already one film in. There must be ones, nay, tens of ones of fine films starring the most fantastically-foreheaded man of action that the 1980s ever produced.

OW:I think I’ll be leaving now.

Oh no you don’t, Former Mr. Welles. You got me into this, and you’re going to see it through with me. Now, let’s pull up IMDB and see what we’ve got…

Oh. Huh. That’s… Okay. Well, maybe we’ll have a spot of luck with this one..

Blood Link
1982
Starring Michael Moriarty (and Michael Moriarty)
Directed by Alberto de Martino

We open from a peeping-tom shot looking in on a freeze-framed ballroom as the credits run, gently reassuring us tht this film will indeed star Michael Moriarty and — HOLY CRAP!


Cameron Mitchell I mentioned once before that Moriarty, during this phase of his career, bore a striking resemblance to a doughier Ben Browder. Cameron Mitchell is, of course, the recklessly loveable Air Force Colonel who replaced General Jack O’Neill in Stargate SG-1′s final seasons. And he was played by none other than Professional Michael-Moriarty-Impersonator Ben Browder. And now we find mention of a Cameron Mitchell in a Michael Moriarty film. Clearly this can be no mere coincidence, and must point to some kind of deep occult link between the two, like how Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had one named Lincoln.

The action finally starts up and we are treated to the back of Michael Moriarty’s head as he dances with a slightly older womanWho kinda looks like but is not Ma’am from Web*Ster to no music. Bystanders comment on how the couple seem so happy, what with the continuing to dance even after the music stops. Moriarty courts his date using his seductively honeyed southern accent (Michael Moriarty is from Michigan, I think). She is clearly smitten, and a little flabbergasted by the fact that someone so rich, so handsome, and so full of forehead as Michael Moriarty could be so loving to a woman so hideously wizened as her, what with her advanced age of perhaps 35 or 40. The music starts up again, maybe. I can’t tell. The music sounds like incidental music and while the other dancers take the floor, they aren’t moving anything like in time to the music the audience hears.


Hug of Death!Michael Moriarty thanks the aged crone for the beautiful gold watch she gave him, then dances her into an empty area and apparently hugs her to death. It takes only a second. One good squeeze and she’s dead. I’m reminded of the Cybermen in Revenge of the Cybermen, who similarly like to kill people with what’s meant to be a show of cyber-strength, but look like they’re administering death in the I Wish I Could Quit Youform of a vigorous shoulder massage

As Michael nonchalantly leaves the part, his date’s body slumps forward a bit, showing what I’m guessing is a small scratch on her shoulder, which is no where even close to where Michael Moriarty’s hands were when he killed her.


Suddenly, Michael Moriarty wakes up in bed to a phone call. Ah, the first scene must have been a dream — surely the great Michael Moriarty couldn’t be a murderer! OH GOD MORIARTY'S GONE OFF SCRIPT AGAIN!On his way to work, he stops to apologize to his maid for not gathering up his laundry for her. And then he kisses her. Given the reaction it gets, I’m going to guess that this was an unscripted addition by Moriarty.

OW:Entirely unprofessional. I would never have kissed a woman in a film. Utter rubbish!

Moriarty next encounters the maid’s husband, Santa Claus, so they can get off some exposition to let us know that Michael Moriarty is a doctor and is in a sort of relationship with another doctor named Julie Warren. As he walks to work, he has a flash of Moriartyvision in a dome mirror, seeing the tuxedo’d Moriarty of the previous night.


And Starring Michael Moriarty as The Killer His drive to work is punctuated by several beer-goggle’d visions of himself picking up a trashy blonde in a fur coat and nothing else. She seductively removes her coat, then puts it back on, and then Moriarty sees himself in a gray coat, murdering the blonde. Black-coated Moriarty cuts his hand on some window glass trying to run away, giving us a good chance to notice that he’s not wearing a watch.


When he arrives at work, he gets cuddly with Julie and explains how he’s had one nightmare and one hallucination of himself killing women, and he’s worried that his new experimental therapy technique has unlocked some kind of evil Mr. Hyde side to his personality. He also plays with the hair at his temple, so that Julie can point out the the audience that it’s a very distinctive mannerism that he has.Foreshadowing!

A board meeting expositions to us that Moriarty (Whose name is “Dr. Craig Mannings”, but I object to that, so instead I will continue to call him Michael Moriarty for as long as possible) is working on a new therapy tehnique which can control dreams, memory, fear, depression, and all personality flaws using a combination of accupuncture, electrocution, and “courage”.

Moriarty has another vision during his next self-therapizing session, and it prompts him to fly to Cleveland.

OW:While I am forbidden to hand out the secrets of the universe, I do feel compelled to tell you that nearly two thirds of all electo-therapy-induced visions lead people directly to Cleveland.

Normally, the birth of siamese twins is a joyus occasion...In Cleveland, he visits a senile old woman in a nursing home, who recognizes him, but calls him “Keith”, prompting Michael Moriarty to reveal that he is, in fact, Keith Mannings’s identical twin brother! More, Craig (grr) and Keith were… Siamese Twins!. His parents had died, and, I gather, as is the usual practice in movies, the state made a concerted effort to separate the twins and ensure that they never ever met again. Does this ever happen in real life? I mean, I know that, in spite of their attempts, it’s not always possible to keep families together in foster care, but even when they end up having to break upfamilies, they’ve got to make an effort to keep siblings at least in contact with one another?

OW:Well, they never tried to keep you in touch with your Siamese twin brother.

I don’t have a Siamese twin brother. And also, I think “conjoined” is the polite term for that.

OW:That’s what you think. Didn’t you ever wonder about that strange scar on your hip?

I don’t have a scar on my hip. I — HOLY CRAP HOW LONG HAVE I HAD THAT SCAR?

OW:I’ve said too much already.

Y.e.a.h… The senile old lady tells Michael Moriarty #1, thinking that he is Michael Moriarty #2, that she’d been kind to him by keeping him out of is court-ordered therapy for his nacient insanity. Moriarty notes that both his own caretaker and the senile old woman both are unwilling to admit to their respective wards that they’d had a conjoined twin, and the old woman reveals that Moriarty #2 had not, as Moriarty #1 thought, died in a fire when he was 17.

Back home, Moriarty #1 enjoys a gratuitous topless scene from Julie as and explains that he didn’t really need to go to Cleveland, because he’d intitively known the entire time that his long-lost brother was still alive and that his recent visions had been him seeing through his brother’s eyes. Rendering most of Good Moriarty’s scenes so far entirely pointless. Still, I guess it was polite of him to take the audience with him as he demonstrated all these things he already knew. Julie is understandably worried that the effect might work both ways, allowing Evil Moriarty to see her moderately nice breasts. Neither one of them is especially concerned by the fact that they’ve just discovered the secret to psychic remote viewing powers, or that Good Moriarty’s brother is a serial killer. I think the idea here is that Julie doesn’t really believe Good Moriarty, but as the alternative is that her boyfriend and research partner is insane, she seems to be taking it in stride.


Incoming message from the big giant forehead Good Moriarty gets another message from the Big Giant Forehead, leding him to a harbor in Germany, and he’s off on the trail! Evil Moriarty sets his eyes on a new victim, but is cockblocked by a Cam MitchellCameron Mitchell. No, not him: himCameron Mitchell, who I now remember is the guy who played the santa-like captain of the space ship in Space MutinyCameron Mitchell in Space Mutiny and the heavy in that Fugitive-In-Space pilot that they did on MST3K. Cameron Mitchell is a washed up prize figher who mistakes Evil Moriary for Good Moriarty, who’d fixed his broken arm some years back. (Wait. He’s that kind of doctor? That makes no sense. I thought he was some kind of psychiatric researcher.), Evil Moriary plays along. Meanwhile. I think Good Moriarty visits the ballroom from the opening scene and meets the dour majordomo. But it’s hard to tell when you’ve got your main character in a double role and don’t ahve the decency to give one of them a goatee.

(Continued after the jump…)

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Three thoughts from a Lake George Hotel

1. Lake George, NY looks exactly like what it is: a resort town most of which was built in the 50s, with a huge social gap between the poor townies and the fantabulously wealthy families who come up here for the summer and vacation in extravagant summer homes. I keep expecting a John Hughes movie to break out any minute.
2. Of the cars I have seen in this town, about 30% have been Subarus, and 30% have been Corvettes.
3. I just saw a commercial for PF Chang’s new line of prepackaged meals for home use. Their version of General Tso’s Chicken is called “General Chang’s Chicken”. I’m pretty sure that General Chang was the bad guy from Star Trek VI.

How many XP is that?

The other day, Leah gave me a ride to work, which gave me the chance to give the scenery a more thorough look-over than usual. As we passed a church, I noticed this sign, lovingly recreated via internet church sign generator:

PREPARE FOR THE NEXT LEVEL OF BLESSING


When I saw this, several things instantly popped into my head…
Thank you Mario, but our savior is in another castle


You can also pretend it’s a fortune cookie: Prepare for the next level of blessing — in bed!
It's over nine thousand!


Prepare for the next level of blessing, SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! With TRUCKZILLA!.