Tag Archives: Conan the Barbarian

Whatever Happened to Sandahl Bergman?

14 Sep

My wife has an addiction, and it is called Outlander. I would have watched it with her, but she binged the first season before I could catch up. That is fine. Now, she cannot make fun of me for being addicted Game of Thrones. By the way, Outlander is tiddlywinks compared to Game of Thrones.

Anyway, I am sitting in one room watching Conan the Barbarian while she sits in another room watching her show. Actually, I am listening to Conan the Barbarian while I type this post. Without a doubt, the best scene in the entire movie is when James Earl Jones turns into a giant snake.

When I was at work, something entered my mind that I wanted to write about. Now, I cannot remember it. I reckon that is what getting older does. Hopefully, that thought will come back before the typing stops. There is nothing worse than having a blogging idea and having it disappear. Well, there are worse things, but that is the worst thing that happened today.

Whatever happened to Sandahl Bergman? She played Valeria, Conan’s love interest. Man, she was something. In fact, she was so great that I included her in one of this blog’s earliest posts.

That is all I have for now. My mind needs to prepare itself for tomorrow’s classes and the test I have to create for next week. I wonder how difficult I can make it. Perhaps I should ask them whatever happened to Sandahl Bergman.

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Movie Wisdom – Max von Sydow Edition

21 Nov

I was reading an article about Max von Sydow and his appearance in the new Star Wars movie. It talked about his greatness as an actor and his long career. After reading the article, I decided to write a Movie Wisdom post based on the movies of Max von Sydow, and that is when I discovered something disturbing.

I have not seen as many of his movies as I thought. This is a void in my movie-watching experience that will be filled. However, I thought I had seen a bunch of them. That misconception may come from the impact that he had in the movies that I have seen.

Anyway, this is not going to prevent me from completing my original idea. Here is some wisdom that can be gained from the movies of Max von Sydow.Ming

From The Exorcist

There are no experts.

If certain British doctors never asked “What is this fungus?” we wouldn’t today have penicillin.

From Three Days of the Condor

Someone is always willing to pay.

From Flash Gordon

Live and let live.

From Victory

Anything you say in your sleep can’t be held against you.

From Conan the Barbarian

There comes a time when the jewels cease to sparkle, when the gold loses its luster, when the throne room becomes a prison, and all that is left is a father’s love for his child.

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one’s mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.

From Ghostbusters II

Death is but a door. Time is but a window.

Better late than never.

From Needful Things

Everybody is insane.

From Minority Report

Sometimes, in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.

Dig up the past, all you get is dirty.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

We don’t choose the things we believe in; they choose us.

From Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

If things were easy to find they wouldn’t be worth finding.

 

Which Witch is Which

7 Feb

The other night, we, like a ton of other people, went to a Super Bowl party. It was a fun gathering with great food and great friends. As often happens, I learned a few things while I was there.

First, people at Super Bowl parties do not watch the Super Bowl. During the game, they eat, talk, mingle and all sorts of other things. I was guilty of this because I did not care who won the game. It was background music for what was happening within the room. However, the same people got quiet and paid attention to the halftime show.

In short, I learned that a lot of people watch a concert and a football game breaks out.

Secondly, I learned that Katy Perry, the halftime performer, is a witch. At least, this is what folks on social media were saying. Of course, that would be a pretty sharp turn for someone who used to be a Christian singer and likes to dance with Jabberjaw.Shark

A halftime show being performed by a witch follows a line of Super Bowl halftime shows that sent dark forces through our television screens.

Madonna’s performance was designed by the Illuminati and announced the arrival of the Antichrist. If you do not believe it, then look around the Internet. It is all right there.

Not to be outdone, Beyonce’s performance was also filled with Illuminati symbolism. I am not sure what message they were trying to get across, but Beyonce did all she could to get everyone’s attention. Heck, she even knocked out the lights, which allowed the field to be brought from the dark to the light. Illuminati was written all over it.

With all of the symbolism during these shows, I wonder if they used the symbol himself, Prince. That purple guitar has to mean something.

To honor Katy Perry’s witchiness and all of these performers for their service to the dark forces, here are a few of my favorite witches.

Samantha Stevens – She tried to hide her powers, but they always saved the day.Bewitched

However, I do not understand why someone with her skills did not notice when her husband turned into another person.

Stevie Nicks – My favorite witch of all time.Stevie

The dressed like a witch. She sang about witches. She is the coolest witch of all time.

The Bell Witch – I have to include some local lore. I will not go into the entire story, but she is the only witch to be officially recognized by the United States government.Bell Witch

Any kid who grows up in Tennessee knows that you never stand in front of a mirror and say her name three times.

Broom Hilda – We had a high school teacher that we called Broom Hilda.Broom Hilda

It was not nice, but she earned it.

Melisandre – Anyone who watches Game of Thrones knows all about her.Melisandre

She can convince kings to burn people at the stake, and she can give birth to smoke monsters.

Rhea of the Coos – There cannot be a list of witches without including one created by Stephen King.Rhea

The Dark Tower series is filled with dangerous characters, but Rhea of the Coos is one of the most dangerous.

The Witch – She does not need a name. She only needs her feminine ways to lure Conan the Barbarian into her lair.Conan

He threw her into a fire, but she came a lot closer to killing him than James Earl Jones ever did.

Marie Laveau – She was the Witch Queen of New Orleans and was said to remain forever young. Redbone recorded a great song about her, and people visit her grave.Marie

I have been there and drawn three X’s on her tomb. That is supposed to wake her up to offer some black magic help for anyone who needs it.

There are plenty of more witches out there casting spells and dancing in the woods. I wonder which one the Illuminati will get to perform at next year’s Super Bowl.

Mourning in the Movies

29 Jun

This past week, I watched The Godfather on the big screen with my dad and my nephew. Obviously, it is a great movie, and I have seen it many times. However, this time was different. In a dark theater with no distractions, I was able to focus on details  that I had missed and also fully enjoy some of my favorite scenes.

One of those scenes is the funeral of Don Corleone. Movie funerals have always fascinated me. Usually, they are essential to the plot, but that does not have to be the case. For me, a well filmed funeral scene stands out, and I do not know why. Perhaps, it is because a movie funeral makes the film more realistic. It could be because it provides the ceremony of a funeral without a person really being dead. It could simply be the drama of it all. Whatever the case, some of my favorite scenes are funerals.

The funeral of Don Corleone is especially good because of all the underlying consequences. The heads of the other families get out of their limousines for the burial of the Godfather while they are plotting to bury the entire Corleone empire. Michael knows a betrayal is coming but does not know who the culprit will be. As people mourn his father, Michael is set up to be assassinated by Sgt. Fish from Barney Miller.Godfather

Another great movie funeral actually involves an assassination. Before Paul McCartney sings the iconic theme song. Before Jane Seymour makes her appearance as a Bond Girl. Before Roger Moore makes his debut as James Bond. Before all of that, an American agent is killed in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He watches as a jazzy funeral procession passes by and does not realize until too late that it is his funeral.Jazz

With that, Paul McCartney is cued to sing, and Live and Let Die begins.

Before the death of the agent, the jazz band is playing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee,” a traditional gospel song. Other movies have also used well-known religious songs to great effect. This is where I have something to confess. In my mind, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is “Amazing Grace” being played on a bagpipe, and no movie does this better than Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. As Spock is buried in space, Scotty plays the pipes.Spock

Then, Spock is shot into a dead planet that immediately springs to life.

I guess that you could say Spock went out in a Blaze of Glory. That can also be said Valeria, Conan’s girlfriend in Conan the Barbarian. After being killed by a poison snake arrow fired by James Earl Jones, Valeria is mourned by Conan and burned on a funeral pyre. The wizard thinks the pyre will not burn, but the fury of Arnold makes it burn.Funeral Pyre

Another dramatic exit took place in V for Vendetta, the graphic novel inspired story of a masked terrorist. When he dies, his muse, played by Natalie Portman, puts him on a train filled with explosives and flowers.Vendetta

She then sends it down the tracks toward Parliament. Once there, he finishes what Guy Fawkes started way back in 1605.

As far as funerals for graphic novel anti-heroes go, V has nothing on The Comedian from The Watchmen. His death drives the plot of the movie, but there is more greatness. It is a miserably rainy day.Comedian

The other anti-heroes show up.  Dr. Manhattan even wears a suit. However, those are not even the best parts. “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel plays over the scene to greater effect than it did that scene in The Graduate.

Then, there is the mourner who hides during the service. My favorite movie funeral scenes have someone watching from the distance who feels like they should stay away. Once everyone leaves, they go to the grave for their own private ceremony. In The Watchmen, Rorschach is the outsider who moves in after the fact.

In Cooley High, it is Preach who comes upon Chochise’s grave after everyone else has gone. This is another awesome scene. A drunken Preach reads a poem over the grave as a classic tune plays over the scene.Preach

Then, he wads up the paper and takes off into the gloom. This movie is also cool because it tells what happens to the characters as they grow older.

Alright, those are cool, but my favorite funeral scene with a distant viewer is in a western called The Sons of Katie Elder. The sons have come back home for the funeral of their mother. There preacher says some great words, and mourners tell the sons how great their mother was. However, one son is missing. He is a gunslinger who does not need to make a public appearance. He is John Wayne, and he is standing in the rocks looking down on the funeral.Katie Elder

John Wayne is also part of another great movie funeral. As his family is being buried in The Searchers, the Duke shuts down the ceremony because the time for praying is over.Searchers

The time for vengeance has arrived.

The time to end this post has also arrived.

Brains, Brawn and Beauty

5 Feb

I was reading an article about the disappointing box office performance of Haywire, a movie that I can’t explain very well because I haven’t seen it. But, the previews looked cool as a secret agent-type is double-crossed by her organization, and she has to fight her way to the top. This is typical fare for the genre, but critics gave good reviews and felt that the movie would be a hit. Apparently it wasn’t, and the article looked into the reasons why. Most felt that it was due to the fact that it was the first movie for the female lead. Perhaps they are correct, but it immediately reminded me of a conversation with some guys I eat lunch with every week . When I said that Haywire looked cool, the general reply was that it was stupid because they put a woman in a man’s role. It wouldn’t be realistic. As if anything Sylvester Stallone did was realistic.

That conversation and article made me start thinking. Do men, who are the target audience for action movies, not want to see a woman in a strong lead role? Do they want them to be eye candy as the bullets fly? Surely not. Some of the best characters have been women who could kiss a man and kick his ass just as well. I decided to list some of my favorites, which I believe handle any situation with brains, brawn and beauty.

Pam Grier as Coffy –

70s Heaven

Actually, I could pick any character played by the Queen of Blaxploitation. Friday Foster. Foxy Brown. Sheba, Baby. She was the baddest woman around. As Coffy, she is a nurse whose sister becomes addicted to heroin. For revenge, Grier goes undercover as a prostitute for King George. Along the way, she kills mobsters, drug dealers and pimps. However, she shows her true talents while fighting one of George’s women. When the woman grabs Coffy’s hair, she finds that it is filled with razor blades.

Wonder Woman as herself –

Robin, you're next.

I am not talking about the Linda Carter version. This is a tribute to the Wonder Woman from Superfriends. She’s like a patriotic dominatrix with the boots, the bustier, the metal arm bands and the rope. But, it’s not just any rope. It makes the person tied up with it tell the complete truth. Who couldn’t use a bondage instrument like that? Somehow, I got the feeling that Superman, Batman and all the rest were afraid of her. Robin (Holy Safe Word, Batman!) definitely was.

Angie Dickinson as Pepper Anderson –

Anyone named Pepper has to be hot and spicy.

I must admit that I barely remember Police Woman, but my dad always had a thing for Angie Dickinson. So, in honor of him, I am placing her on the list as Sgt. Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson. She has the looks, the gun and, obviously, the brains. However, Dickinson had all of this before she ever played a cop.

Jillian Michaels as, well, Jillian Michaels –

One way or another, I will make you cry.

If I met Jillian Michaels I wouldn’t know whether shake her hand or beg her not to put me on a treadmill. She gained fame by helping people get physically healthy but affecting their emotional health at the same time. Obviously, she is a driven woman who resculpted her body and believes everyone can do the same. Robin, I don’t know what the safe word with Jillian is, but I hope it’s not pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

Deidre Hall and Judy Strangis as Electra Woman and Dyna Girl –

Look, It's Wonder Woman and that dumb jet that she thinks is invisible.

From the minds of Sid and Marty Krofft, the superhero pair fought the likes of Glitter Rock and the Empress of Evil while wearing brightly colored spandex. They operated from Electrabase and drove the Electracar. The whole point was to make fun of Batman and Robin, which wasn’t difficult in those days. All I know is that the little people in Dr. Shrinker and the people in The Land of the Lost could have definitely used the services of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.

Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura –

Not red skirt! Red alert!

Most female characters on the original Star Trek were there to walk around in short skirts and go-go boots. Nichols could do that as well as any of them, but she also played a vital role as a member of the deck crew. Kirk could not have pulled off many of his famous bluffs without Uhura as his communications officer. She was also one half of television’s first interracial kiss, even though the writers tempered it by having an alien force it upon her and the captain.

Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing –

Well J.R., it looks like you got exactly what you deserved.

Sue Ellen is not an action oriented character like the others, but she is tough nonetheless. Anyone who can stand toe-to-toe with J.R. Ewing may be the toughest person on the list. Gray brought grace and strength to a character who faced weekly travails caused by her ruthless husband. She didn’t shoot J.R., but it was probably because sister beat her to the trigger.

Sandahl Bergman as Valeria –

I'll be ok as long as they don't shoot any snake arrows.

Weilding a sword and her sexiness, Valeria fought alongside Conan the Barbarian and took his heart in the process. After being killed by a poisonous snake arrow, she continued to haunt Conan’s dreams and inspired him to decapitate James Earl Jones and destroy a cult that convinced people to wear robes, have orgies and jump to their deaths. Conan the Destroyer is a far worse movie than Conan the Barbarian, and the reason is obvious. Bergman wasn’t in it. Arnold may have become the star, but Sandahl was a better warrior.

Salma Hayek as Santanico Pandemonium –

She can strip while balancing feathers on her head and handling an obvious phalanx symbol.

From Dusk Till Dawn finds criminals played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino heading to a Mexico tavern to meet Cheech and discuss whatever happened to Chong. Instead of running into Cheech, the pair is mesmerized by the dancing of Santanico. And, what puts her on this list? She is a stripper that moonlights as the queen of the vampire colony that they have stumbled into. With Hayek putting a new definition on vamp, this is the coolest vampire movie ever.

Princess Ariel as herself –

Thundarr, you make my hands glow.

“Demon Dogs! I’ve screwed myself again!” How many times did Thundarr the Barbarian say that? It’s a good thing he had Princess Ariel around because her sorcery got him out of many a jam. Raven hair. Ruby lips. Sparks fly from her fingertips. She could have been a song by The Eagles. Instead, she spent her days being the smart member of a trio trying to make their way through a destroyed Earth. “Lords of Light! I must be an idiot for not hooking up with you!” Thundarr said that a lot too.

There you have it. My list of female characters who have brains, brawn and beauty. Any man who doesn’t like them is plain scared.