I wasn't allowed to watch "The A-Team" as a child because my father was afraid we'd catch second-hand stupid, although we may have been exposed to plenty of stupid as we watched "Diff'rent Strokes" every Saturday night. Had we been watching "The A-Team", we would have been exposed to the acting talents of one Dirk Benedict.
Which brings me to last night's feature--the 1973 film starring a young Dirk Benedict, about a man being turned into a snake, called "S-s-s-s-s." (I may have left out a couple "ses". Also, I now see that there's no good way to write "s" in plural). It also featured Strother Martin, famous for his "Cool Hand Luke" heavy who says "what we have here is a failure to communicate!" By the time of "S-s-s-s" came out, Martin was in the sad "please pay me something, I have a family to support" phase of his career. Dirk Benedict was still in his "someday I hope to be upstaged by Mr. T" phase of his career.
What the film lacked in sensible plot developments, it made up for in using many real (and venemous!) snakes. Warning, don't watch this film if you can't stand a King Cobra in its full glory! The cobra basically says "yeah I'm a cobra, go make me a sandwich" and I have to say, he's so compelling I was reaching for the rye and corned beef before I had to tell myself it's just a movie. Apparently the only fake snake used in the movie was for a cut where Martin's character (the hilariously named "Dr. Stoner") grabs the King Cobra by the head. Good use for the fake snake--otherwise, the actor might have died and never gone on to play Tommy Chong's father in "Up in Smoke".
The film also featured--death by boa constrictor, death by cobra bite, death by mamba bite, and a great cobra vs. mongoose battle which makes me think "mongoose" is just way too cool a name for what looks like a weasel. There is also a completely gratuitous skinny dipping scene, which apparently the censors (to avoid the R rating) had to edit by adding some hilariously out-of-place superimposed plant leaves over the actors' naughty bits when it would have made more sense to cut the scene entirely.
What was the overall lesson of the film? It's this--next time you're in a crazy snake-doctor's lab, and he tells you he's going to inject you with serums to make you safe from snakebites, and you find yourself gradually turning into a snake yourself, fire your agent.
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