Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Five Guilty Pleasures...

Martinex1: I was recently pondering works of entertainment that I really enjoy despite feeling that these are probably not held in high regard.  At least I don't think they are...

And I realized that maybe we all have "guilty pleasures" that others may relish if we pointed folks in the right direction.   Or we may find that some of us already enjoy the exact same thing.  On the other hand, we may get feedback that our elevator doesn't quite reach the second floor. 

Here at Bronze Age Babies we share a lot about our favorite things from movies to candy bars, but I am curious if we talk much about the ripples just below the surface, the things that wouldn't be our first recommendations but are still impactful to us in some way, our guilty pleasures. 

So I've devised a way of quickly conversing on 5 things we have a hidden passion for in the categories of:  COMICS, FILM & TV, BOOKS, MUSIC, and FOOD.  It is similar to the games of "what I would take to a desert island" or "what I would do on my last day," but with a guilty pleasure twist.  Today I will share my five selections and  see if we have any commonality out there.  And I hope in the future others will compose similar posts.  I am sure we can all create multiple lists that at the very least may be fun to investigate.

So without further ado... Martinex1's 5 Guilty Pleasures for June 2016:

COMIC:   I recently mentioned a comic that actually started me down this post's thought process.  A lot of our regulars name the Avengers as one of their favorite teams and comics,  but I bet few think that Avengers Volume 1, #86 "Brain-Child to the Dark Tower Came" is a masterpiece.  I consistently name this comic in my top five favorites (and often I think of it fondly enough to be #1).  Roy Thomas and Sal Buscema craft a very succinct conclusion to a two-parter in which the Kooky Quartet Part Deux (Vision, Scarlet Witch, Goliath, and Quicksilver) travel to the Squadron Supreme world and face an innocent child turned madman intent on burning up the world.  The little tyrant's motivation is simply to stop the taunts and teases he gets from the public for his radiation enlarged cranium.   This issue reads like a B-Movie. It has everything from Robert Browning poetry references and JSA style team-ups to parallel world sci-fi innuendo and Sal Buscema blasts.   A classic scene involves Goliath using his archery skills with an unconscious Hyperion as his arrow!  I believe this Avengers foursome is an underrated roster as they have a lot of familial interaction and banter.  And what can be better than the infant terrible calling out the "costumed cretins" on the very wordy John Buscema cover?   Brilliant!

FILM & TV: I am a big Alfred Hitchcock fan.  Having attended school with a focus on Cinema, I have seen a lot of movies and I still enjoy the classics, the black and white films, and the old Hollywood stars.   Although I would put a number of Hitchcock films in my top 100 list (as did the American Film Institute with Vertigo, Psycho, Rear Window, and North by Northwest), I would say that I most look forward to viewing Shadow of a Doubt.   It is a lesser known film starring Joseph Cotton and Theresa Wright.  Cotton plays worldly Uncle Charlie to Wright's impressionable but wise teenager.  Uncle Charlie, however, may not be what he seems as the Merry Widow Murderer is making his rounds.  Or is the mystery just a result of the youngster's vivid imagination?  Full of humor and suspense, this movie is worth finding. 

BOOK:  The Secret History by Donna Tarrt was indeed a best seller  and critically acclaimed in 1992 but may be less recognized today.   The story follows six intelligent but dysfunctional classics students at fictional Hampden College who spiral into disarray following a bacchanal and a sequence of murder.  From the beginning it is revealed who is dead and who did it, yet the unfolding of the story is surprisingly suspenseful as the motivations and madness play out.   Interesting characters position themselves in a novel full of references to Greek mythology as it sets it's own stage for a modern tragedy.  Not quite to the level of Flannery O'Connor or Harper Lee to which early assessments compared, and some may say it is just a beach book, but there is some real merit here.

 MUSIC:  Following the departure of leader and vocalist Stan Ridgway from the original lineup of Wall of Voodoo, Andy Prieboy joined the band and took them on a slightly different wild ride of storytelling and musical experimentation on their 1985 album Seven Days in Sammystown.  More popular in Australia than in the States, this offering was full of humor, odd beats, and lyrical craziness.   The Marc Moreland penned "Museums" is one of my favorite songs, and there is nothing like the rhythm and guitar as the band crossed from classic quirk to more radio friendly fare.  Is Wall of Voodoo in your top ten list?

FOOD: Chicago has the best pizza!  Is that hyperbole from a local boy?  Perhaps. But I can name a dozen pizza joints that will knock your socks off.   Thick crust, thin crust, corn meal crust, stuffed, sausage, pepperoni, green peppers, onions - we've got it all.   And we won't skimp on the real Italian sausage here in the Windy City!  But if you don't live nearby or have unlimited travel miles for a quick bite, try Home Run Inn's frozen pizza.   That's right, I am recommending a frozen pizza!  It is surprisingly close to the real thing.  Home Run Inn is a tradition for some Chicago South Siders with their original tiny restaurant just a couple of miles from the White Sox' stomping grounds.  Their recipe has been a family secret for decades, and the crust and sausage seasoning are like no other.

So those are my five oddball recommendations.   If I was stuck on a remote island and all I had were these five items of comfort I would be completely content.   Cheers!


Redartz said...

Love this new topic, Martinex1! No doubt we all have a few of these 'guilty pleasures'. Regarding yours: that Avengers issue is pretty new to me. The first thing I noted from your description, though, was the title reference to Robert Browning. Or, more honestly, it recalled Steven King's Dark Tower, and Roland the Gunslinger.
I too am a big Hitchcock fan, but haven't seen "Shadow of a Doubt". Nor have I read "Secret History", but I do like me some Wall of Voodoo. And your pizza looks intriguing- I've noticed it on shelf, but never gave it a try (for frozen, I usually go with Freschetta). You have given me several things to check out today...

For my 'guilty pleasures':
Comic= "Archie Meets the Punisher". As a longtime Archie reader, I couldn't resist picking that up when I saw it on the shelf. As a matter of fact, I'm considering doing a review of this very comic...
Film and TV= "Viva Las Vegas". My wife introduced me to this movie, previously never having seen an Elvis flick. But the title song, the Vegas scenes and Ann Margaret really put this high on my list!
Book= science textbooks. Yes, I kept some of my college texts, particularly the Geology book. Still love to browse through it, and by extension the Earths' history.
Music= ABBA. Yes, they are pretty popular, but not really considered edgy or progressive. Some of my friends back in school looked at me sideways when they saw those ABBA lp's within my record collection, but I didn't care. Some of the best pure pop music ever made...
Food= Texas Cinnamon Rolls, usually picked up from the convenience store on the way to work. Not healthy, but very tasty (and hey, I eat yogurt and shredded wheat frequently for breakfast, so the occasional Roll can't be too bad.

Edo Bosnar said...

This is a great topic, Martinex, although I have to say, some of your guilty pleasures are probably not something that should give you any reason to fear ridicule. I'm referring to pretty much everything on your list with the possible exception of frozen pizza. Seriously, most filmophiles would not fault you at all for preferring one of Hitchcock's lesser known works. And unless we stand back and realize that being a reader of superhero comics in general can be seen by many of the more effete types as something to be ashamed of, I see nothing particularly questionable about that Avengers tale you cite. The Roy Thomas era in the Avengers was one of the best, with hardly a dud in the lot!

Some of my guilty pleasures, following your categories, would be:

Comic: With the caveat mentioned above, I'd say within comics something I quite like that most other serious comic fans deride is Marv Wolfman's run on Fantastic Four, especially everything from issue #200 onward, which includes that sprawling Skrull/Xandar/Galactus space opera.

Film & TV: huge category. I'll probably think of tons of other stuff in the coming days (I tend to be one of those guys who likes those "so bad they're good" features - as I've mentioned here on a number of occasions, I rather like laughing my way through "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park"). Even so, a few movies spring to mind right away: "Fletch" and "Fletch Lives" - oddly, Chevy Chase really makes these work for me; "Zorro, the Gay Blade" - George Hamilton and Ron Liebman speaking with Spanish accents, so wrong yet so funny; and finally, one that is universally reviled, Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes." Not saying it's great or anything, but I've watched it all the way through twice the last half of it twice more, and I find it oddly watchable and even enjoyable.

Book(s): Can't think of one in particular I should be ashamed of liking, but I really like a lot of that pulpy SF and sword & sorcery stuff (yeah, so shocking for a comics fan to admit that). One writer whose work I enjoy reading on occasion is the late Lin Carter. He wrote tons of derivative, formulaic stuff over the course of his career, none of it considered remarkable by most readers and critics, but damned if he couldn't spin a good, engaging yarn. Perfect reading material for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Music: Among the many things I should probably not admit I like listening to, I'll single out Missing Persons and their album "Spring Session M." This music is so dated and oh-so early '80s, but I just love it. I bought a used copy of the CD sometime in the late '90s, and I love to pop it in and give it a listen every now and then.

Food: McDonald's French fries. Love them. You could put an entire tray full of them in front of me and I'd have no problem scarfing them all down...

Anonymous said...

Martinex, in 1986 Stan Ridgeway's song "Camouflage" was a British Top 10 hit - set in Vietnam in 1965 it was about a G.I. under fire who is rescued by a soldier called Camouflage. In the spooky, Twilight Zone-ish ending it's revealed that Camouflage had died the previous evening - he was a ghost !

Anonymous said...

I think Shadow of a doubt is one of those movies that is rated more highly in Europe than the US. It often comes up as an ‘undiscovered gem’ which surprises us. Welles ‘Touch of Evil’ is another one of those.

My list.

Comic – Captain Marvel. Unloved, underrated, and often cancelled. This comic’s raison d’etre was purely that Stan hated Fawcett having the name ‘Captain Marvel’ and wanted something on the newsstands to steal it while it was out of copyright. The first 16 issues are a wild, directionless ride, but so many great ideas. Mostly left unexplored due to multiple cancellations. Love it. Then Thomas/Kane/Adkins, then Starlin. Wow.

Film – I have to pick a Carpenter movie here. Cheap & cheesy, but made by a genius. Maybe the first half of They Live or In the Mouth of Madness, which I haven’t seen for 20 years, but I remember liking it although everyone hated it.

TV – Sapphire & Steel. A creaky competitor to Dr. Who about a mysterious duo of time police. Superbly imagined and realised, though it needed a way bigger budget.

Book – I love Dante’s Divine Comedy. His imagination is incredible. I mean genuinely horrifying. But that’s probably not a guilty pleasure, so I’ll pick Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I like books that challenge my viewpoint rather than just reinforce it, and she is, basically, a Nazi.

Music. ELO. The Electric Light Orchestra. Hugely successful in their day and experiencing a renaissance here in Europe thanks to a sold out arena tour. I went. It was a gig I had waited 40 years to see and it was worth the wait.

Food – just for you yanks, I’m choosing Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Crème Pies. It’s rare that a foodstuff is so bad for you that you can actually TASTE the E numbers, but such is the case with Little Debbie’s. Not a single ingredient found in nature. Yummy.


Martinex1 said...

Hi guys. Really enjoy your comments. Yes to ABBA and ELO. Never heard about Sapphire and Steel; not sure if that has appeared in the States. Ridgeway's Camoflauge is indeed awesome. It is one of my favorites. And McDonalds fries are addictive. Sorry for short response. Just one of those days at work. Cheers all!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, well I'm not sure about the "guilty pleasure" part, since none of the suggestions I've seen so far seem all that bad (except maybe ABBA...just kidding, Redartz :)), but I'll add some of my favourites that aren't necessarily on everyone's radar. (By the way, I agree about Shadow of a Doubt...really good movie; Teresa Wright has been great in everything I've seen her in: Mrs. Miniver, Best Years of Our Lives, The Little Foxes...great actress.)

COMICS: Ron Randall's Trekker is great; he's doing it as a webcomic, but has released TPBs of all the story arcs so far. It's about a galactic bounty hunter...lots of action but some great character stuff too.
TV: I loved Lost Girl, which just wrapped up not too long ago (at least here in Canada...it may still be running elsewhere); it's a cool show about a succubus trying to figure out who she really is while walking a fine line between the human and Fae worlds. Great characters, humour, action, and "adult" without being prurient.
BOOKS: You know, I can still pick up a Three Investigators, Hardy Boys, or Encyclopedia Brown book and get a kick out of it, no matter how many times I've read it before.
MUSIC: I was really into all the metal bands in the 80s and maybe it's just the cranky old man in me, but I still think a lot of that stuff sounds better than what passes for metal these days.
FOOD: I don't really indulge much these days, but I used to love chocolate bars with a passion!

Mike Wilson

Edo Bosnar said...

Richard, I respect your point about why you would read Rand's, er, prose (for lack of a better term), but do you really take pleasure in doing so?
As for ELO, I'd count that as another guilty music pleasure; I used to love them as a kid, and had several of their albums (actual LPs), but then got sick of them when I hit my teens, but in recent years I've grown to appreciate them again.

William said...

Nice one Martinex. This was not that easy, but it was fun to think about.

COMICS: When I was a kid I used to have just about every issue of "The Freedom Fighters". The team that consisted of Uncle Sam, The Ray, The Black Condor, The Human Bomb, Doll Man, and Phantom Lady. I don't know why I liked that particular book, but it had a huge influence on me as a kid. The first super team I ever made up was based on them. I guess I've always had a thing for kind of offbeat and obscure superheroes.

MOVIES: This was a tough one because there are just so many to choose from. But I guess the one that I get the most flack for liking is the first American made Godzilla movie. (Yes, the one with Matthew Broderick). While I'll admit it wasn't a really great "Godzilla" movie, I thought it was an excellent "giant monster attacks New York City" movie. I've watched it at least 5 or 6 times.

TV: I don't know if this would really be a "guilty pleasure" but I love to watch old episodes of "Columbo". It's one of my all-time favorite TV shows. I think it's one of the most perfect TV shows ever made in fact. You can watch every episode on Netflix (which I do) and I think it still holds up extremely well to this day.

BOOK: I really like reading biographies. Especially about professional tennis players. I love all the "trashy" behind the scenes stuff. You'd be surprised at how crazy (and raunchy) it can get on the pro tennis tour. It's hard to choose a favorite but I guess I'd pick "OPEN" by Andre Agassi. He gets pretty honest about a lot of things, including smoking meth and admitting (over and over again) that he actually hated playing tennis. Good stuff.

MUSIC: Much to my wife's chagrin I love Marty Robbins. If you don't know who he is he's famous for singing gunfighter ballads like "El Paso" and "Big Iron", etc. One of my favorite albums is a greatest hits of his called "Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs". Sometimes I'll sing them while driving the car and my wife (who pretty much only likes hard rock and roll) will sigh loudly. (But I think she secretly finds it amusing).

FOOD: Ahhh where to begin… I have a lot of guilty pleasure foods. (In fact it accounts for almost everything I eat, LOL). But I guess my most guilty pleasure food would be double dipped chocolate covered peanuts. I usually only eat them at Christmas or some other special occasion, because if I buy a bag (even a really big bag) I will literally eat the whole thing in one sitting.

William said...

Just realized that was actually 6 guilty pleasures (not 5), but hey, Movies and TV are really two separate categories.

Doug said...

For music, and I've said this before, I love the Carpenters. My mom had a few albums when I was a kid and I have just always loved their AM pop. I often pull them up on my iPhone and shuffle the entire catalog.

My wife and I have been known to watch the Brady Bunch when we come by it on the channel guide. We still like that show.

Food -- too numerous to mention.

Sorry, but I can't think of any books or movies that would fit the category.


Martinex1 said...

Karen Carpenter had such a wonderful and unique voice. I like them as well. Many songs that just stick with you. Sad to think she was only 32 when she died. Always thought she was much older.

Re Brady Bunch, a couple of decades ago there was a theatrical show in Chicago called the Real Live Brady Bunch where they reenacted Brady shows live on stage word for word. I cannot even explain how hilarious that show was,,,a ton of fun.

Anonymous said...

In 1990 there was a big Carpenters revival in the UK because of a TV movie starring Karen Allen (of Indiana Jones fame) which had been broadcast at Christmas 1989. "Only Yesterday: Their Greatest Hits" was released and was the best selling album of 1990 in Britain.

Humanbelly said...

Man, I hate comin' in late on a post like this-- great job, Teammates!
HBWife would probably be the first to point out that, as far as she's concerned, the entirety of my waking existence is composed of countless, wildly disparate, always-room-for-one-more guilty pleasures. I probably suffer from a chronic lack of "serious, justifiable, legitimate" pleasures, really. . .

Comics: Hunh. All of 'em? No, no. So many possible directions, BUT-- for today let's say THE TICK's original run from New England Comics. The early issues especially were so rough at times. . . very Small Press, y'know? But the energy and the joy and even the edge with love behind it was there right from the beginning, and made that first 12 or 13 (I think) issue run feel like something that had been made by a pal just for your own amusement.

Film & TV: Ah, what the heck-- GILLIGAN'S ISLAND has never, ever failed me! There may not be a guiltier pleasure to be had in TV Land. I will never forsake it.

Book: That's a tough nail-down. Terry Pratchett and PG Wodehouse are both my favorite authors-- but they were so successful that it's hard to feel guilty about them. I've REALLY fallen in love with Agatha Christie over the last couple of years, though-- which is about as un-cool as a body can get-- so let's go with the Dame for the score, yeah? (I do prefer Poirot over the venerable Miss Marple, btw--)

Music: Well-- I'm a Beatles extremist, but there's no guilt to be found in that. Oh! We have a local, looooooooong-running pirate music/folk group called Pyrates Royal that captured my heart and fancy, like, 15 years ago and never gave them back. HBSon then became, if anything, an even bigger than me-- I'm pretty sure he could step right into one of their sets at this point on vocals, ocarina, or bodhran--. At their best, they are utterly brilliant. . . at their drunkenest they are still wildly entertaining. . . !

Food: Mmmmmmy own cooking? Which I love the most? We have an anecdote in our family about "Spaghetti 32 days in a row"-- so if any pleasure were to make a person feel guilty. . . Other than that, ONLY AT CHRISTMAS do HBWife & HBGirl make me up a batch of. . ooooo. . . home-assembled chocolate covered potato chips. . . always waitin' under the tree. . . hey, and we're almost halfway to Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Funny, most of the guilty pleasures listed so far don't seem all that bad to me. I mean, seriously, "Shadow of a Doubt" is freakin' BRILLIANT. ABBA?ELO? Gorgeous pop, nothing to be ashamed of there. You guys aren't trying hard enough...

Book(s): I have a real soft spot for those 70s-era Men's Adventure series. The Executioner, The Destroyer, Black Samurai, The Sharpshooter, The Marksman, etc.

TV : "Storage Wars".

Music: KISS

Comics: Atlas comics. Yeah, I know, the Scorpion is actually really solid, as is The Destructor. But I love ALL of those things -- Morlock 2001, Planet of Vampires, The Brute, Demon Hunter, The Tarantula, Iron-Jaw,Tiger-Man. God, just saying the names is making me tingle all over...

Movies: "Moonraker". Mic drop.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to list a "g.p." food -- man, there's so many horrible-but-oh-so-yummy choices -- heck with it, I'm just gonna go with fried pork rinds.

Rip Jagger said...

Five guilty pleasures:

Comics = Enjoyed many issues of Marvel's Star Comics (Royal Roy, Wally the Wizard, Top Dog, etc.).
Movies = A sucker for anything with "Piranha" in the title.
Television = Indie Wrestling (blush).
Music = Enjoy ABBA (no really I do).
Food = Danish Wedding Cookies (I'm actually addicted).

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

William's right, by the way, TV should actually be a separate category. (Although, William, Columbo is an entirely legitimate - and not guilty - pleasure. That is a truly awesome show. You're right, the old episodes are excellent and still hold up to this day, and personally I also like the newer ones and the specials made in the late '80s and early '90s.)
HB, Gilligan's Island is a great pick - I loved and still love that show, and although I probably should, I don't think of it as a guilty pleasure.

My own pick for a guilty TV pleasure is the Saturday morning live action shows - ever since I found out a lot of them have been put up on YouTube (sometimes entire seasons), I occasionally watch them. I watched all of Isis a few years ago, and now I occasionally watch stuff like Ark II - objectively, these are not very good shows at all, but I find it oddly comforting to watch them sometimes..

Anonymous said...

Some great lists here, everyone.

HI Colin – I remember that film because KC’s death still felt so recent & tragic and her angelic voice and death-by-self-harming made it seem like we had all failed her.
(But I think it was Cynthia Gibb (of Fame fame) rather than Karen Allen).

Hi Edo – Ayn Rand is a guilty pleasure because you get wrapped up in the story. Her characterisation is terrible because everyone is so one-dimensional, and either an ubermensch or a snivelling wimp, but her choice of narrative to support her (insupportable) opinions is brilliant. I think anyone can dismiss a foaming-at-the-mouth ultra-right-winger, but when you’ve stared her down, you’ve really met the beast.

Hi William – double dipped, chocolate covered peanuts! When one-dipping just won’t cut it. I am assuming that it’s double dipped in chocolate, and not chocolate covered and then double dipped in something else? Because you can go too far, you know.

Hi Anonymous – Moonraker? Wow. I mean James Bond would be a guilty pleasure, but you really went for the gold standard of guilt there.


William said...

Ahhh Edo, a fellow Columbo-phile. You are correct that no one should feel guilty for watching it, even though it's like 40 years old. You know I almost picked the Brady Bunch as my guilty pleasure TV show, but I don't really watch it much anymore because I never see it on anywhere. Come to think of it that would actually make a good guilty pleasure movie as well. I love the "Brady Bunch Movie" and have seen it 4 or 5 times and as recently as 6 months ago. (Such guilt).

And Richard, those are indeed salted peanuts that are dipped in chocolate and then DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE AGAIN!! Damn!! Now I want me some. Must… be… strong.

Dougie said...

I love this post since I ordered a Guilty Pleasures cd for my birthday next week. My understanding is that we're looking for gold in other people's trash.
I was delighted to see Lin Carter mentioned above. I have read one of his ERB pastiches every summer for the last five years. My favourites are the Green Star and Jandar of Callisto stories.

Comics: actually very difficult because most have been featured in this blog before. I would really like to read all the Marvel Team-Up comics from 15-50, which is largely a blank spot in my Bronze Age Marvel Odyssey ( not a bad blog title in itself!)

Film: Warlords of Atlantis, a late-70s family fantasy adventure starring Doug McLure. Rivalled only in my affections by At The Earth's Core and Daleks Invasion Earth:2150 AD.

TV: last summer I was mad about The Wild, Wild West which I'd never seen before. I'm also fond of Alias Smith and Jones. I'm really keen to see the Girl from UNCLE but Australian daytime teen soap Neighbours is probably my Guiltiest Pleasure.

Book: The Dandy Gilver novels by Catriona McPherson; a series of murder mysteries set in the 20s and 30s in various parts of Scotland.

Music: Lindsay Buckingham's first solo lp or all of his tracks on Tusk.

Food: the humble Scotch Egg, a hard-boiled egg coated in sausage meat and breadcrumbs.Then deep-fried. A picnic or buffet essential.

Humanbelly said...

Omigod Dougie-- I have never heard of a Scotch Egg ever. And I almost fell off my chair upon reading the description. I mean sure, it sounds like if you eat three at a sitting you simply die immediately. . . but what a way to go. . . At the risk of creating a gastro-cultural fox-pass-- are there variations? Like, wrapping bacon, say, instead of sausage? Are there any preferred sauces or condiments to go with it? Honestly, ketchup doesn't sound like a bad start there. Oo-- or spicy brown mustard!!

And Wild, Wild West-- yes, perfect choice here. The show was sacrificed to a MAJOR societal push to town down egregious violence on network television. By some metric it was, in fact, the most violent one on the air-- which was particularly tough since its fan base skewed 'way toward adolescent boys (Me! Me!).

Hey, I agree with whomever above suggested that maybe a television-only edition of this post would be a spiffy idea-!


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