She Looks Like Sunday Comics: Watching The Brenda Starr movie (1989)
January 6, 2015 3:46 PM   Subscribe

She Looks Like Sunday Comics: Watching The Brenda Starr movie (1989) (The Toast) Mefi's own The Whelk (John Leavitt) and Josh Fruhlinger of The Comics Curmudgeon [previously] discuss a glorious 80s flop-turned-cult-movie. [via mefi projects]

Excerpt from the piece:
John: It has a 35% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which I feel is uncharitable. Before we get started, this has to be mentioned: This is a movie where Brenda rides alligators as water skis. We need to get that out of the way

Josh: Of course.
The "Brenda Starr, Reporter" entry at Wikipedia; the opening credits and some of the film (Vimeo, about 10 minutes).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (33 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
For a long time, I thought that I just made up the Brenda Starr movie in my head.
posted by xingcat at 4:00 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pointless capoeira scene? I'm in!

Now, let me just add this to my Netflix queue... damnit!
posted by ckape at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]




I have never brought myself to watch it, though I suppose I should. As I mentioned in a previous comment, it was filmed in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida (much to its shame) and it would be fun to look for local landmarks.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:14 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Can you see Brenda tripping the light fantastic in San Marco?

(Another fine idea for "drunk history")
posted by clavdivs at 4:20 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I once saw this movie at 2 am in a hospital after having head surgery as a child... all of these years I thought it was the meds that made the pacing seem so weird.

NOPE.
posted by lineofsight at 4:25 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


*rips thread to shreds*
posted by jonmc at 4:54 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


I like to think I've got a pretty good handle on pop culture and then I see something like this, which I have never heard of at all. The strip or the movie.

We are watching this film this weekend. ALL OF US. No excuses, metafilter.

Oh, and just to get it out of the way: my god, is Shields ever HOT in those picks.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Brooke Shields' Costumes Designed By Bob Mackie"
posted by Flashman at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2015


Holy smokes, those opening credits are gorgeous. And that cast is incredible. Timothy Dalton, Tony Peck (looking exactly like his father) Eddie Albert. Even Diana Scarwid. (Does anyone besides me remember Diana Scarwid?)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:36 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


"I should have known [Diana Scarwid]'d know where to find the boys...AND the booze."

I'm pretty sure that gay men, at least of a certain age (though I've no idea what that age line might be) are required to remember at least one of Diana Scarwid's roles lest they risk losing their membership cards.

I was in college when B* came out, and I'm amazed to learn of its existence. Just...wow.
posted by jburka at 5:43 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, me and a bunch of gay-guys-of-a-certain-age remember Diana Scarwid? Everyday I learn something new!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:13 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have watched a lot of bad movies in the name of comics. I have watched all for movies based on The Crow more than once, for example. I've watched Catwoman. I enjoy inflicting that made-for-TV David Hasselhoff Nick Fury movie on people. I have a deep appreciation for bad movies based on comics

However, so many people (who are also aficionados of bad comic-based movies) have told me to avoid this movie. Like, it's not even going to be funny to watch it for the fun of it. I kind of disagree but it's still a line I haven't crossed yet.
posted by darksong at 6:24 PM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dale Messick said in an interview that Basil St. John was based on a real person. When she was younger and, I believe, doing some sort of advertising illustrations, her company brought in a new guy. Said new guy was the visual template for BSJ: tall, dark, handsome, even eyepatched. All the ladies in the office went wild for him.

Until he proved himself an incompetent and a moron, and got himself fired.

Gives Timothy Dalton's portrayal an extra level, does it not?
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 6:36 PM on January 6, 2015


Ooh! Do Dick Tracy (1990) next! It stars brightly colored 1940s clothing, Warren Beatty, and Madonna!
posted by ardgedee at 6:42 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lottsa buster and look here see.
posted by clavdivs at 6:56 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Filmed in 1986? Retro-pulp romance? Metafictional opening?

Any chance this was greenlit as a Romancing the Stone copycat?
posted by Iridic at 7:34 PM on January 6, 2015


I love the Brenda Starr comics. Dammit now I have to start listening to another podcast.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:13 PM on January 6, 2015


At some point Brenda Starr was exactly between Doonesbury and The Far Side. I never once understood a single frame of that strip.
posted by sammyo at 8:17 PM on January 6, 2015


I am kind of shocked that I remember seeing previews for this. I think it looked so bad it made my mother comically angry for a moment.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:28 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The old animation/comics glossy Comics Scene once had an editorial in which they explained that if a movie was under a certain budget and the still photos of it look amazing, it's going to be crap.

The stills for Brenda Starr looked amazing.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:44 PM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




How have I never heard of Brenda Starr before? We had Mary Worth, and Rex Morgan MD, and I never understood the point of either of them.

It's like hitting a rich vein of repressed memories, except I never experienced the thing I don't remember. I have to reevaluate my whole life now.
posted by tel3path at 11:45 PM on January 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Josh: BTW Apple’s chat app will NOT stop correcting “henchwoman” to “henchman,” which tells you a lot about how the patriarchy is perpetuated.

LOL
posted by chavenet at 2:18 AM on January 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, that clip... I vividly remember reading a Rex Morgan storyline where a girl smoked a joint that had been laced with PCP. And the pacing was weird and it just dragged on and on, and there was a line of dialogue where she said "YOU BETTER GET AWAY FROM ME, DOCTOR MORGAN" and I could hear it in my mind's ear, how incredibly stilted it would sound and how they would have had to cast the worst actress they could find in order to deliver that line correctly.
posted by tel3path at 2:19 AM on January 7, 2015


Never saw the movie, but as a kid in the 50s I loved the comic. It was in the New York Daily news every Sunday. I loved her outfits!
posted by mermayd at 4:16 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


How have I never heard of Brenda Starr before? We had Mary Worth, and Rex Morgan MD, and I never understood the point of either of them.

No kidding. They're like the smallest serving of what could possible be considered 'entertainment.' It's always 2-3 panels along the lines of:

"Where's Rex?"
"He's gone to the office."
"But, I thought he was with you!"

I get the sense that in the past either:
1. people's attention spans were *much* longer or
2. they had very little else in the way of entertainment options.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:47 AM on January 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ooh! Do Dick Tracy (1990) next! It stars brightly colored 1940s clothing, Warren Beatty, and Madonna!

With songs by Stephen Sondheim!
posted by theweasel at 7:33 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The movie looks terrible (allowance made for enjoyment of bad/campy art, which was never my thing), but I'm glad to have watched the clip just for how Dominic O'Shea (the stage-Irish villain in the shootout) becomes "Dominique Hochet" in the French subtitles. Accapareurs! Patapoufs! Ophicléides!

I agreed with Josh: "I sort of resented the fact that they felt like they had to do this framing story at all. It’s like 'we’re doing a movie based on a COMIC STRIP, how CRAZY, we need to SOMEHOW WORK WITH THAT or it won’t make sense to anyone'." But it is what it is, and I'm glad those who love it love it.
posted by languagehat at 8:09 AM on January 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get the sense that in the past either:
1. people's attention spans were *much* longer or
2. they had very little else in the way of entertainment options.


Rather, the comics pages were much, much bigger in the forties.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:54 AM on January 7, 2015




now, a homage to Henry.
posted by clavdivs at 4:53 PM on January 9, 2015


T
posted by clavdivs at 4:53 PM on January 9, 2015


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