Posted On: Thursday - December 30th 2021 9:36PM MST
In Topics:   TV, aka Gov't Media  Movies  Curmudgeonry
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There I was, trying to watch a movie at home, and I get to this one part ... OK, I'm not going to beat this dead horse here. Peak Stupidity readers could have already read at least twice our complaints of how much of a bear it is to obtain a decent non-PC/woke movie to watch*. This post will be about curmudgeonry and nostalgia rather than relating another saga about having to bail out on one.
I will mention it though. Nights in Rodanthe, from 2008, looked liked a chick flick from the box. Well, they're "free" from the library, see, and I did have some back-ups, as I'm very careful to have nowadays. Yeah, strangers Richard Gere and this decent-looking but not nearly 1990s Cameron Diaz-level chick ended up sharing a large beach house in Rodanthe, NC (a real town on the outer banks north of Hatteras), a hurricane was coming, they were both divorced or separated, and man, I really think LarvaeMan, prequel to Spiderman, would have a more creative plot.
I give these people the benefit of the doubt ... for a while. I noted that early in the movie, the owner of the nice piece of property was a black lady who had her act together like, sorry, no black lady of the look that I've ever seen or heard of in my life. She had to go off though (hence the main actress taking care of the beach house and the one guest), so I knew I'd be free from hard-core wokeness. Yea! Ahh, but you know what's going to happen, and then the hurricane came with high winds but no storm surge (really?). That additional suspension-of-belief along with the typical modern behavior of our leading lady who could do no wrong as a single Mom** had me realizing that I'd rather watch The Rockford Files.
After a conversation in the unz.com comments about it, I checked and saw I could watch my favorite old detective show off library DVDs. Season 1 had 21 to 23 episodes (depending on how you count doubles, I think), and there were 6 seasons, so this will hold me for a while. I had watched some of the original episodes on the TV back in the day, but I remember more watching re-runs nightly a decade later.
I guess this show's having the ex-con private detective showing up the cops, and its not showing the cops as someone we must all look up to, is what got me liking it. Yeah, and there was the 2nd generation Pontiac Firebird. I like the Jim Rockford J-turns***, the chases, and the LA scenery of the 1970s is great. There's the great Mike Post/Pete Carpenter theme song. There are running jokes, such as Jim Rockford seemingly never ever getting paid any of his $200 a day plus expenses, the funny phone answering machine (newest thing around in '74) messages, and then, Angel is hilarious,
I had never seen this first, 2-part, episode - maybe I've never seen the 1st season - we'll see. Lindsey Wagner was Mr. Rockford's first client, and, no, she didn't pay him, though there was some deal in which she was going to pay $25/week on the installment plan. Yeah, right, she was pretty hot back then, and it was assumed they did get it on... by me anyway.
This nostalgia here does have me noticing action in the show that is not as believable to me as it was many years ago. This first episode had a car chase scene out in the desert (per the show, out of Las Vegas). Well, it wasn't quite a car chase scene. The bad guys took off in a single-engine Cessna, N9487M****, and used it to strafe Jim Rockford and Lindsey Wagner in that Firebird about 4 or 5 passes with a full-auto rifle of some sort. OK, that's not so easy. Of course they didn't hurt Jim or the girl, but the Firebird, sorry, blown to bits, on the first show, no less!
Well, Jim Rockford, doing his best George-Patton-taking-charge-after-Kasserine-Pass imitation, used his Colt revolver to shoot at this Cessna. After his Firebird bought the farm, he took more shots as the plane was hauling ass directly away from him and somehow managed to punch 2 holes in the middle of the right side of the cowling, upon which oil started pouring out, from exactly where (not the oil pan) I can't tell you. At least, the plane didn't blow up (wait!), and, seeing as this was flat desert, the pilot came around, put the gear down, and landed it.
Then, the 2 bad guys got out and ran like hell. I first thought they were running after Jim, but I guess their familiarity with Hollywood saved their butts, as they knew this plane was going to blow to smithereens. It did. Why it did is another thing I can't explain, seeing as they had accomplished a decent forced landing.
That was fun, but yeah, not too realistic in the action scenes. The point of this post is to analyze whether these old TV shows are actually better than the modern stuff. This brings me back to Peak Stupidity's very first post Am I a curmudgeon?. Is the problem just that I don't want anything new anymore, or is the new stuff truly crappier. I have to say the latter again here, but it has nothing to do with cool unrealistic chase scenes and great Los Angeles scenery (I forgot to mention all the great cars just in the real-life background).
It may have been right at this time of Season 1 of The Rockford Files when Archie and Edith started off their show with a song with the lyrics "... goils were goils, and men were men."***** That was in nostalgia of the time of Herbert Hoover - going back almost 100 years now, but only 50 then. In The Rockford Files, I would say it was still that way. Contrary to what his Dad Rocky****** wanted, Jim didn't ever settle down, but at least the relationships were more natural per natural sex roles. He's not the sensitive guy, as it was really insensitive of him to keep bugging his first client multiple times about his fee! (Well, in fairness, she would have bounced her first check.)
I can compare that now to the movie that I watched half of, Nights in Rodanthe. In the movie, the guy has to be the sensitive one to have a chance with the always-in-control single Mom. It's just a movie, but there are guys who will think what works in the movies (and TV) is what works in real life, and this kind of crap will steer them wrong.
Yeah, enough of the modern cultural crap - it's Peak Rockford Files time for me.
PS: I've featured the musical artist Ben Folds and his 3-man band The Ben Folds Five before, but I'll put in one out of many cynical songs with some really great lyrics, saying "you think the Rockford Files is cool". The song is called Whatever and Ever, Amen.
* See our recent post Nine Days to Patton - movie non-review and the much older post Tried to watch a movie - here's 3 reviews in one!.
** The Dad had only been gone from the family a few months, yet he failed to give his12 y/o (estimated) sone his inhaler as a bumbling TV/movie Dad is wont to do, etc ...
*** Ha, upon looking up something, on wiki, I see that I'd independently come up with the same term for this turn (makes sense anyway). James Garner did lots of the driving for the show.
**** It's no longer in the FAA database. I can't imagine why, after seeing the end of the airplane/car chase scene. ;-} I did want to make sure it was a Cessna 210, because it looked a bit sleeker, though the windscreen still wasn't as sloped as in a Cardinal (177).
***** That'd be All in the Family, and "goils" is my interpretation of how the Queens (Brooklyn?) resident Archie Bunker pronounced "girls".
****** This first episode had a difference actor as Rocky.