Moonstruck for Christmas

MoonstruckOy vey. Good grief. All the things.

I feel like I've been living in a funhouse for the last month and a half. Some of the scenes have been a complete nightmare (like the Trumpers post election still denying covid, the day when we thought we were losing my mother for good) and other things amazingly good, (like being home with my parents for Christmas today). But by the end of it, I'm not sure I'm the same person anymore.

My elderly parents both came down with Covid-19 in mid-November and have been in the hospital literally on death's door (more so for my mother with her breathing ailments).  Thankfully, miraculously they both made it back home in Ohio and are slowly on the mend. I'm now in the Cleveland area helping them out. 

So I've missed pretty much all the Cher stuff. Which has been quite a few things I will need to catch up on in the coming months: the Cher tour cancelled, Cher on The Late Late Show, the "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" video, all the Kaavan stuff,  the bobble-head movie, all the press interviews, the scam gargoyle I got on eBay in a moment of weakness, a piece that was purportedly a Sanctuary item but is nowhere in the catalogs and is assuredly nothing Cher would have in there. All the things.

But I didn't want to let Christmas go by without a Moonstruck post. It's been such a success this year.

Continue reading "Moonstruck for Christmas" »


New Criterion Moonstruck Release

MoonstruckThe Criterion Collection is releasing a new Moonstruck Blu-Ray and DVD on November 17.

Special Features

            • New 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
            • New interview with screenwriter John Patrick Shanley
            • New interview with scholar Stefano Albertini about the use of opera in the film
            • Introduction from 2013 featuring Cher
            • Interviews from 1987 with director Norman Jewison and actors Cher, Nicolas Cage, Vincent Gardenia, and Olympia Dukakis
            • Interview from 2002 with actor Danny Aiello
            • Audio interview from 1989 with Shanley about screenwriting and the development of Moonstruck
            • At the Heart of an Italian Family, a 2006 program about the making of the film
            • The Music of “Moonstruck,” a 2006 program featuring interviews with Jewison and composer Dick Hyman
            • Audio commentary from 1998 with Cher, Jewison, and Shanley
            • Trailer
            • English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
            • PLUS: An essay by critic Emily VanDerWerff

Oooh, essay. I love essays! To order: https://www.criterion.com/films/29154-moonstruck


Cher and Believe in Movies and Fundraiser Concert This Saturday

BobblecherBobblehead Cher

Cher scholar Michael notified me that Cher will star in a new BobbleHeads movie. You can see a nanosecond of her in the trailer. 

More info: https://ew.com/movies/cher-bobbleheads-trailer/

Mr. Cher Scholar expressed concerns that all the potential bobbling would give him motion-sickness like when he watched Blair Witch Project and Moulin Rouge. I'm just really hoping a literal Cher bobblehead just comes out of it.

Release date: December 8.

The Song "Believe" in Will Ferrell movies

Apparently Will Ferrell likes to sing "Believe" because two of his movies use the song.

The recent movie "Fire Saga" (about the Eurovision song contest) has some very cool mashup-fun with the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eq6IlGkxIfU

Firesagabelieve

While I was trying to find a clip of that movie, this one also came up as another Will Ferrell movie using "Believe," Land of the Lost, this time with Will himself actually singing with Danny McBride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KPQ5-9MS_k

Landofthelostbelive

Fundraisers

My friend Julie notified me about another Biden "star-studded" fundraiser coming this Saturday: https://people.com/politics/joe-biden-campaign-concert-featuring-cher-bon-jovi-more/.

    "Fans are able to donate any amount of money to the Joe Biden Victory Fund to attend the event, which will take place on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET."

To donate and attend: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/bvf2020_grfr_concert

Cher is also allegedly traveling to Arizona and Nevada to campaign according to The Hill: https://thehill.com/blogs/in-the-know/in-the-know/522231-cher-to-campaign-for-biden-in-nevada-arizona


Cher Once Did Needlepoint; Now She Valiantly Defends the United States Post Office

Cher Works to Save the Post Office

Excuse my title up there. I really didn't know how to tie all these disparate stories together.

First off, fans have been delighted to see Cher fighting for the U.S. post office in recent protests, phone calls and Twitter pics.

Cherpo3

Cherpo1Cherpo2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope if she starts volunteering for the post office, Bob Mackie designs her some "sensible shoes."

Cher and Needlepoint 

Months ago someone was requested photos of celebrity needlepointers like Dinah Shore and Rosey Grier. I found as many as I could but one photo I remembered proved elusive to locate. Then Cher scholar Drew asked me a question and I went searching for the answer to that but instead found the missing needlepoint pic. Maybe someday I'll locate the answer to Drew's question while I'm looking for something else. 

Anyway, Cher once did lots of needlpoint. She did so much she joked, "Then I took up needlepoint—my God, I needlepointed everything. I could have made a needlepoint stove!"

Cher needlepoints on airplanes:

20200815_10501820200418_173755 20200815_105018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cher needlepoints circa 1978/9.

20200418_173755

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also captured an image of Sonny pretending to needlepoint in episode #49 of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour:

Needlept

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


And here are some needlepoints of Cher:

Sandcneedles Sandcneedles

 

 

 

 

 

Time Time

 

 

 

 

The Time Magazine pillow belonged to Bob Mackie and sold for $448 on Julien's Acutions.

You can buy the Moonstruck needlepoint pattern on Etsy with a companion Nicholas Cage!

What is a Silkwood Shower?

For the Chersonian Institute, I was filing old magazines and found something interesting. Remember when Entertainment Weekly did a Bullseye pieceon the last page? Do they still do that? Anyway, one I found had a disparaging arrow regarding a rumor that Bret Michaels and Miley Cyrus’ mom were dating. ET says the rumor has sent them “running for a Silkwood shower.” Ok, that's a big rude. And I wondered if that was like…a saying. Apparently it is. Urban Dictionary has a listing for it with this example:

“I had to take a Silkwood shower when I got home from that party since I smelled like an ash tray cooked on an open flame BBQ grill covered in hot sauce.”

So "snap out of it, Moonstruck eggs and the Jack speech are not the only iconic references from a Cher movie.

Here are some shots of a Silkwood shower. It's a pretty serious and scary thing and Meryl rocks it (as did Sudie Bond earlier in the movie). 

Silkwood2 Silkwood2 Silkwood2

 

 

 

1999showCher Concert Reviews

Concert reviews have changed. I've learned this lesson over the last year from various sources from current reviewers and from the deceased reviewers. Is this overwhelming evidence of capitalism taking over PR? Probably. Which is no such a great thing. Buyer beware, there are no objective reviews in the land of corporate conglomeration. 

So it’s good to look back at a positive review and interview from 1999 (when bad reviews still existed) and this one was by T’cha Dunlevy at the Montreal Gazette is one of those. She was 30 when she reviewed the Believe-era concert and said she

“regularly feels aversion to refuse-to-die ‘60s rock acts. I had no convulsions of revulsion at the Camp Queen’s coup. Maybe it’s her synthetic, timeless beauty or her go-with-the-flow versatility, but Cher has somehow kept her proverbial cool over her three-and-a-half decades in the spotlight…a repetoir of personae, including pop-ditty princess, serious actor, 'I’m-in-love-with-a-man-half-my-age' bachelorette, reactionary mother of a lesbian [remember this was 1999] and, in her 50s. back to the top of the pops without coming off like a circus side-show act.”

“...'How many fingers and toes have you got?’ she asks, queried about whether she’s ever thought of giving up. ‘(It happens) all the time. It’s frustrating. I’m a very mercurial, emotional person, more childish sometimes than grownup. I’m not very calculating. But it’s the only think I know how to do and really love.’”

The end of the interview also notes that both Cyndi Lauper and Wild Orchid were opening for Cher at the time, the same Wild Orchid that produced Stacy Ferguson a.k.a. Fergie Duhamel a.k.a Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. 


Odds and Ends: Believe Cover, Cher Hair Care, Acting vs. Singing, Fan Stuff

OkaykayaI've been collecting quite a big of odds and ends to report. My last few weeks have been tied up with doctor appointments and electronic poems. So here's some catch-up.

Believe

There was a new "Believe" cover in 2019 from Okay Kaya – and the pattern shows there's always the temptation is to slow that sucker down in the revamp. But it's a nice cover. 

Puzzle!

Meanwhile, Cher has come out with some new "Chicquitita" merch, including a puzzle and a face mask, both a must for Cher merch collectors during Covid.

Puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit, I sought out a bootleg Cher puzzle before this one came out. I'm not at all a "puzzle person" but I'm fascinated by people who are. And since puzzles are such a rage right now, I decided I should try it again. What else could temp me to do a puzzle, but a Cher picture. I found a picture of Cher that I love (from her trip to Armenia) and it took a very long time to arrive, at which time I found out it was from the Ukraine. (I'm probably on a list now). Other puzzle solvers I know laughed at me because it was only 175 pieces. But it was hellaciously hard because it was a mostly gray and black pieces. I could have sworn there were times putting it together I actually felt dizzy. But I did it and shellacked the finished product as a testimony to my hard labor. The new sanctioned puzzle also looks challenging with all the white pieces! I'll start on it as soon as it arrives.

20200711_182927

GqfanFan Psychology

If you're a fan of Galaxy Quest (that nerdy fan is so charming) you may also appreciate parts of the movie Cruise of the Gods although the fans are way less attractive in this made-for-Brit-TV movie with an unlikable Rob Brydon, a very likable Steve Coogan, and a very young and impressive James Corden. Sadly, I felt I could relate too much to the "scholarly fan" character and the "lovelorn girl fan." I've been very wary of fan cruises (and after covid, hell no) but this movie let me experience the scene vicariously.

Cruisegods

 

 

 

 

 

 

CherhairCher Hair

Filing stuff in the Chersonian Institute I  found this email from Cher scholar Tyler from 1999! That’s back when Cher fans were just finding each other on the Internets. Anyway….it was a conversation between Cher scholars Tyler and Meghan about whether or not Cher dyes her hair black (from the warm Armenian brown original color). He paraphrased an article he had from the 1970s, an interview with early Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour hairstylist Jim Ortel about how handy Cher was with her own hair with top knots and whutnot, and how she knows what styles look good on her juxtaposed with her nose, chin and teeth. She had the ends trimmed every three weeks back then and in between salon visits, she wrapped her hair overnight occasionally in olive oil!

In Cher Zine 3, we talked about beauty fads like this. Over the last few years, the fads were avocado and coconut oil and now I’m seeing Kelp and castor oil everywhere. When they move to little baby seal oil, I’m out.

Anyway, the end of the story is funny, the interviewer asks about the olive oil night wrap, “How does this set with her husband Sonny?” And Ortel says, “He’s Italian. He didn’t notice.”

That’s somewhere between an Italian slur and the fact that during this era Sonny probably wouldn’t have noticed Cher’s hair if it had been on fire. 

Tyler, if you see this, thank you. Were there pictures with the article?

Acting V. Singing

In 1999 Entertainment Weekly posted an online argument between Dave Karger and Jessica Shaw about whether “Cher is better suited for the airwaves or the silver screen.”

Imagine! Here are the pertinent excerpts:

Dave: “Watching her strut around with her unique reckless professionalism confirmed to me that the concert stage is where she belongs.”

Jessica starts by saying “Believe” going to #1 in 23 countries was “no great feat” considering Alyssa Milano and David Hasselhoff received hits in countries like Japan and Germany. (Really?) She says, “Cher’s acting, on the other hand, is purely her own talent and skill.” And she’s looking forward to Cher’s role in Tea with Mussolini playing an eccentric Jewish American.

Dave then says Cher’s Oscar win over Holly Hunter in Broadcast News was a “travesty” [ how about over Meryl Streep in Ironweed and Sally Kirkland in Anna?] and he mentions her real bad films like Faithful. He says more people watched Divas Live 99 than will see Tea with Mussolini.

Jessica then goes off on Cher’s bad concert banter, her collagen and face lifts, her “morphing into another person.” She says high viewership means nothing and trashes the Home Improvement TV show. She ends with, “I have one word for you: Mask.”

Dave: He brings up Cher the actress who gave us hair infomercials.

Jessica: “And your hair has been looking much better since you invested." [snap] 

And the squabbling went downhill after that.


Mark Patton's 2019 Documentary

ChermarkSomeone posted a paragraph on Facebook in 2016 about Mark Patton and an upcoming novella he was outlining about his experiences working on the Broadway play and movie Come Back to the 5 and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean. He talks about Cher’s perspective being mostly about Cher-centric about Kathy Bates being dismissive of the experience. Patton was 22 at time time, he says, and Cher was 37. They were besties for a while during production. I went online this week to find out if the book came to fruition and found this cool documentary about Patton from just last year.

The movie is primarily about Patton's experiences working on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and the issues it raised in his life. But he also talks about his time working with Cher.

From syfy.com:

"In Scream, Queen!, Patton recounts his Broadway debut in Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which was directed by Robert Altman and co-starred Karen Black, Kathy Bates, and Cher. (Yes. THE Cher!) With such big names onstage and off, celebs frequented the playhouse often. And on one special occasion, David Bowie came by and kissed Patton. It's a story he mentions in the movie, but we FANGRRLS needed the full scoop.

"How that happened, actually," Patton began with a smile. "We were rehearsing. There was only one electrical outlet, right? And it was in Bob [Altman]'s office. So I had to do my James Dean hair and I needed a blow dryer. So I was just sitting there all self-involved." At this point, he mimed doing his hair into a Dean-worthy pompadour. "And Bob said, 'Oh Mark, this is my friend David. David, this is Mark.' I'm like, 'Hey, how are you doing?' Still blow-drying my hair."

In telling the story, Patton re-enacted. At this point, he paused in his pantomime of blow-drying to glance over her right shoulder. Then he said, "That's f***ing David Bowie." After this brief introduction, Bowie went out to the house to watch the show. "Many people did this, [and] then would give us notes and everything," Patton explained. "But as [Bowie] was running down the stairs, he grabbed me, kissed me and said, 'Oh, you're fabulous.' And then went off to see Cher."

Speaking of Cher, Patton had another story to share. "I had one experience," Patton began. "Me, Cher, [hockey player] Ron Duguay, [Studio 54 co-owner] Steve Rubell, and [American fashion designer] Halston, who everybody called 'Pussy,' we were in a limousine going to Liza Minnelli's house, where nobody wanted to go. They were like, 'Oh, that b*tch does nothing but talk about herself all the time.' And so we get to her house, and it's a black-and-white fantasy. It's all Liza everything and Oscars. And by the end of the night, she's dancing up a storm to 'New York, New York.' And I'm fascinated.

"And then my favorite experience ever of all of those," Patton continued, as this reporter sat jaw-dropped and deathly envious, "Was when Cher and I went to Studio 54. We were sitting in Studio 54, and again it was the same crew of people, like some ballet dancers and some famous people. And Liza came in. And the songs are playing, and she was like, 'Oh, I wish somebody would dance with me.' And she kept saying this, 'I wish somebody would dance with me.' And I was like, 'Well, I'll dance with you. Like nobody else is, so like I'll dance with you.' She says again, 'I wish somebody would dance with me.' I mean, like I didn't even exist. Right? So finally Cher leaned over, and she said, 'She wants to dance with me because she knows when we go out on the floor that every photographer will come out. And we'll be on their front page of every newspaper in the world. But I'm going to make the b*tch beg for it.' And those pictures are in the documentary."

Cherliza Cherliza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Rage Monthly

"Scream, Queen! reveals much about Patton’s personal life, including his own HIV+ status, his longtime self-imposed exile in Puerto Vallarta, and his enduring friendship with singer/actress/goddess Cher.

Speaking of gay icons, here a question some of our readers will consider the most important: Do you still speak with Cher?

I do. (Laughs) I used to live near Chaz (Bono, Cher’s son) in West Hollywood. Cher lives in a particular world, surrounded by people at her level of success, but she’s always been kind to me. We met when we did the play Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean on Broadway in 1982. We were very close and are still friends and we would go out to Studio 54 after the show. At the time, she always had a dark-haired young man she would be interested in and a blonde young man at her side, so I was her blonde “wing man” at the time. (Laughs) She remains very supportive and I really hope she comes to see the film at some point.

More info about the film in HIVPlus Mag.

Here's the movie website and trailer.  It supposedly came out in March 3 on Amazon. I will be watching for this.


Cher Scholar Digs: Mad Magazine, 1967 Interview, Moonstruck

Cher-mad1

The picture to the left is Cher reading Mad Magazine in the mid-1960s,

So I've been organizing Cher loot during the Great Shut-In and I'm finding some good stuff....and some not-so-good stuff, like this Mad Magazine spread from March of 1973, which is ironically exactly where we're up to in cataloging the TV episodes

Mad Magazine loves to take the piss out of popular things. So the tone of this isn't surprising. I don't tend to enjoy their sense of humor, although I enjoyed Spy vs. Spy as a kid. There's another clipping I once ripped out of one of my older brother's 70s-era issues that had a predictive age-progression for Cher's face. It was wildly inaccurate (looking back as it assumed she would never change her hair style) but I remember feeling a sense of dread about it (and not just because I destroyed a possible eBay sale from my brothers' future). I'll post it here if I come across it.

Here is the comic I was able to locate online. Click the thumbnails to enlarge. Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Funnyglare5 Funnyglare1 Funnyglare2-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Funnyglare3 Funnyglare4-5 Funnyglare4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I think part of the un-funnyness is knowing that the premise of the critique (Cher being a bitch who pushed Sonny around) was based on a tragically false assumption. I also think this is a macho response to an emerging feminist subtext occurring in this show. And I'm not just trying to be an academic wonk. (Liar!) This kind of response sort of proves that something unnerving was happening. It's like that disturbing quote from Chris Hodenfield in the 1973 Rolling Stone piece where the author's male friends were hoping Sonny "beat the shit out of her with a tire iron" which was also a macho-Rolling Stone-reading male response to seeing a woman (a wife, no less) like Cher on television daring to act assertive and critical when, at most, macho male audiences were used to seeing only the challenges of tentative but cautious characters like Marlo Thomas' Ann Marie or Mary Richards or Gloria on All in the Family. And then there's Maude. Look, Cher isn't even included in the list: https://www.thoughtco.com/sitcoms-of-1970s-3529025. But she got this kind of blowback. Why was that?

InsidepopThere's an interview with Sonny & Cher in the book “Inside Pop” book by David Dachs (1967). The most interesting parts describes a Cher modeling shoot for Vogue and calls out the uniquely packaged deal of Sonny being a writer, producer, provider of arrangement ideas (if not fully the arranger), music editor, and the one who chooses the master. The author says they were able to keep a lot of their royalties this way. The article also states that in his pre-music-biz life, Sonny was a masseur. I wonder if Cher got free massages during their time together. The interview also references Sonny's early compositions including “Koko Joe” Larrywilliams2 and “You Bug Me Baby," recorded by Larry Williams, which I first heard on my local oldies station a few months back.

There are also lots of mistakes in book: describing Georganne as Armenian, completely misrepresenting Sonny & Cher's age difference.

The author calls them an ingratiating couple and talks about their upcoming planned movie Ignaz (never came out)  and says the movie was concerned with “mind expansion.” The author finally concluded that they “aren’t all 'camp' and kooky clothes.”

What a hip word to use. Susan Songtag's essay "Notes on Camp" had just come out in 1964.

Moonstruck

I found an old local newspaper from when I was living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the year 2000. The American Film Institute had came out with this list of the funniest movies of all time.

Moonstruck is #47.
https://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/3372065-some-it-hot-tootsie-top-list-100-funniest-american-movies


Watch Moonstruck for Christmas

XmasmoonMeg Sheilds has a great article about Moonstruck and why it's a great holiday movie.

Although it's not about the holidays per se, it's good a holiday vibe. She calls it a “glorious late-80s comfort food” and she likes Cher’s “frumpy chic.”

First, there's the sense of cold and warmth in the movie, scenes of insight are "bathed in cold, lunar spotlight that gives [them] a chilled supernatural feeling." Alternatively, the ”inviting domesticity of the interior spaces…radiate a warmth [both] physical and emotional with coloring of “dark cherry, rosy glows and deep crimsons."

Secondly, there's an emotional abandon about the movie, “the willingness to be emotional, both in bombast ('CHRISSY BRING ME THE BIG KNIFE') and in subtler, gentler ways ('I love him awful')…”tapping into that special kind of existential upheaval that runs rampant during the holidays when your routine is shaken and you discover new parts of yourself.”

She says, “Moonstruck loves it’s characters and refuses to reduce them to punchlines.” The movie has dark, wintery parts “of hard ground, dead trees, and precipitous existential dread.”

MoonstruckeggsFinally, there's family, a family which “feels terribly, terribly real…homey as those eggs that Rose makes.”

Oooh. I love that fried egg scene. I also love how the dish formerly known as Eggs in a Hole is now very often called Moonstruck Eggs.

Cher just gets into the cracks of culture, even the food. 

Which reminds me, why isn't there a Sonny cookbook out yet?

 


The Definition of Kibitz

KibbitzRemember this scene in the movie Good Times? Sonny is playing chess with their pet monkey? This is shortly after Cher orders out for "chicken delight" while saying, "You knew when you met me I wasn't the domestic type." 

I often say this phrase at home.

Anyway, Sonny, Cher and the monkey are waiting for their takeout and Cher is watching the chess game and making suggestions for Sonny, who is losing the game to the monkey. This annoys Sonny and he complains to her, "Don't kibitz."

Well, I've always wondered what that word meant. Like from the year 1981 when I first saw this movie at age 11 until this year. So for like 38 years I've been sitting here wondering. 

Recently I was listening to a Way with Words podcast and they explained this was a Yiddish word meaning "meddlesome bird." This is awesome because I love Yiddish.

Practically, it's defined as "to speak informally, chat, kibitz with friends" or alternatively "to look on and offer unwelcome advice, especially at a card game." (Google)

Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino also use the word in a recent GQ interview:

GQ: I wonder if you guys are friends in part because so few other people can really relate to your respective life experiences.

Pacino: We get together. And there’s a trust there. There just is. We understand this thing together a little bit better. And you go there sometimes just to get some feedback. We talk about things.

De Niro: Kibitz. I don’t know if you know that word.

GQ: I do.

Pacino: We kibitz.

They kibitz. That's adorable.


Revisiting Good Times and 3614 Jackson Highway

Good-timesI totally missed this when it happened in 2017, but there's been a re-release of the movie Good Times. My friend Dave alerted me to the situation while we were in Amoeba Records in Los Angeles this spring. It's quite amazing and has me rethinking the movie.

It's extras include an interesting interview with William Friedkin describing how he came to the project and how it all came together. Friedkin talks about their guerrilla film-making (they had no permits) and how they filmed skits first in studio. Afterwards, they only had 45 minutes of film, so they padded it.

There's also a fabulous commentary track across the movie with film historian Lee Gambin who highlights things you’ve never noticed (or at least I never noticed): Friedkin’s mark on the movie, for instance with the chaotic edit of the wrestling scene, typical angles and shots, and subversive low shots. He comments on George Saunder’s "faustian" performance.

He categorizes all 1960s films into dark films, Elvis films, avant guard cinema and rock docs. He feels Good Times is very meta.

He references the western skit to the spaghetti western Ringo movies of 1965, A Pistol for Ringo and The Return of Ringo. He labels Friedken as a  documentary realist at that time, who dabbled in fantasy (The Exorcist). Sonny liked the hard edge of Friedkin and shared his sense of humor (note the Los Angeles parking signs on the Western street). He notes the crane work and says that, in fact, Good Times went crane happy.

He notes the "incredible dancing" in the western musical, saying the choreographer (who's name I couldn't catch: Andre T?) was one of the sharks in West Side Story. I like how they keep the whole body of the dancer in frame and long shots of the whole dance, which was the unfortunate issues with dances in Burlesque.

Gambin says the movie got a few good reviews. The LA Times said there were moments of Woody Allen brilliance and The Hollywood Reporter said it was the best directorial debut since Coppola. It might shock fans to hear that.

Gambin calls it a fun tributes to genre movies, full of beautiful colors. He said originally a Sonny & Cher fan was to write initial script but that took too long.

He describes he movie as a tension between artistic integrity vs. commerce, turning artists into commodities which is exactly what they don’t want to become. Cher is trying to get control of her own trajectory. S&C are reclaiming their turf. They are decidedly here not a rags to riches story, although I think it's curious that their variety show would recycle a rags to riches mythology for its “behind the scenes” fake documentary reels and skits.

Gambin relates the movie to the backstage musical similar to Vincent Minnelli's The Bandwagon, a genre about The Hollywood Machine. As always, Gambin insists that Cher owns her own presentation. He also doesn't deny the camp sensibility of the "It's the Little Things" video reel, and use of Batman iconography.

He also loves the studio lot scene where Sonny & Cher discuss their dilemma with the big studio and play with backstage costumes and props. Gambin calls this a place "where costumes have lost their meaning." The Hollywood Tzar, the studio wants to fix them." Note the part where they tell Sonny, “This nose will have to go” and remember the ongoing teasing Sonny gave Cher's nose on their variety show four years later. Interestingly, Gambin says that women in clown garb is rare. Is this true?

He equates the S&C script scene here with the one in The Exorcist.

Jungle Geno is Mikey Dolenz. I always wondered about that. Gambin notes that all Tarzan movies always had a “boy” who was young and athletic. So their elderly son is a joke on that convention. Animal trainer Ray Halfaster was used and Gambin says he was better than some (I'm assuming he means regarding abuse of his animals). Gambin reminds us that Saunders' role in this skit is a nod to the Great White Hunter and his coldness and malevolence. He notes the moving camera work in the chase scene.

He notes Sonny's interesting phrasing and chord progression in his favorite musical number, "Don’t Talk to Strangers."

Gambin says the detective story is a nod to Film Noir and was also the seed of Cher's Vamp. He likes the texture palette in this skit.

He says some Friedkin fans feel the songs in this movie drag on the momentum. But Gambin feels they give film time to breathe and are like soliloquy moments. They give the characters space to grow.

Overall, Gambin notes Cher's fiery acting performances in strong female roles (Jimmy Dean, Moonstruck, Silkwood, Mask) and says she is underappreciated as both a vocalist and an actress, having worked with many greats including Friedkin, Altman, Nichols, Bogdanovich, and Jewison. He says, "Cher songs are institutions" about race relations, the occult and people on the fringe.

After this, Gambin says, Sonny & Cher were hired to do the Speedway movie, but were replaced by Elvis and Nancy Sinatra.

I also noticed two things in rewatching this movie. First, how their LA house (in Encino) is surrounded by undeveloped land! Second, this is another movie with Cher playing herself and showing a disinterest in show business. What an amazing foreshadowing of the Cher story, as if her life were scripted. Gambin talks about how she later reinvented herself as a multi-medium business woman decades later.

20190612_144147There's also a new release of 3614 Jackson Highway on purple vinyl.

The same Ward Lamb essay from the CD re-release booklet years ago is also included in the vinyl release.