Hey, Paulington! Is a new Cinephile advice column that looks at life, love, and the movies. Anyone can send in a question, and Paulington will answer it. Sure, it's a really cryptic, cliched concept that has been around since the dawn of time. But we're going to spice it up a little bit. Topics can range from anything: Sex, violence, haints and taints, your favorite movie! Paulington doesn't care. He's basically doing it for a paycheck. He's not really an expert on anything. But he sure does know a lot about movies and human nature. You can send your questions to (as in, click on the giant red letters and you will automatically be sent to his email, you big dummy):
And he will be sure to answer all of them in a very timely manner. Here are this week's letters. Enjoy!
My wife and I can't agree on 1960's and 1970's children's' programming. I believe The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was the superior live action/animated grab bag children's television program of all time. But my wife disagrees. She maintains that The Skatebirds was better, even though it only ran for one season. I mean, there's no comparison! The Splits had Danger Island and "Uh Oh Chongo!" All the The Skatebirds had was three crappy Robonic Stooges and the voice of Mickey Dolenz. We argue about this frequently, and I fear for our relationship. I don't want us to say something that we can't take back. I don't want to end up only seeing my two children every other weekend. All because my wife doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. How can I help her see the error of her ways? - Signed, "Going Bananas!"
Dear B-A-N-A-N-A-S. There are worse things to fight about, and I certainly don't want to see you sharpening knives in a hotel room while your wife and kids foreclose on your goodwill. First step to enjoying married life (which you know you know at this point): Tell her she wins! Embrace those fucking awful Skatebirds with every ounce of your being. But know in your heart and soul, you are right. How could you not be? The Banana Splits Adventure Hour is the single best children's show ever produced, and certainly one of the best programs of all time, period! It is the first and only time in history that Hanna-Barbara and The Kroffts joined forces. What they created is nothing short of a television miracle. Their theme song also wins, hands down, as the most humable ditty to ever wax itself across Saturday morning. That said, your argument is null and void. Comparing The Splits to The Skatebirds is like trying to decide between a White Strips CD and a Raconteurs album. Pointless. Only in this case, Sid and Marty are Meg White (though I refuse to watch their sex tape; ick!). Even Will and Joe admit that The Birds was a direct rip-off of The Splits, and that they were only trying to recapture some of that original Banana magic. By 1977, when The Birds premiered on September 10th (my birthday!), Sid and Marty had gone on to create their own Saturday morning empire. The ten year old Splits were experiencing a popularity resurgence due to copious affiliate reruns, and like they did with Scooby-Doo, Joe and Will wanted to bring them back for a new generation. But they couldn't, because the costumes all belonged to The Kroffts, who, at the time, were embroiled in a lawsuit with the McDonald corporation. Have you ever wondered why you don't see Mayor McCheese, Officer Big Mac, and fish sandwich pirate Captain Crook or McDonaldland anymore? It's because McDonald's ripped off the Krofft aesthetic, and lost those beloved characters in court. Hanna-Barbara didn't want to go down that same road, so they created a whole new batch of childhood Ids for their skating bird show. The concept is the same, though. A bunch of grown men in animal costumes dance around, get into highjinks, and then introduce a series of short animated and live action serials. Banana's Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky were sixties hipsters, and certainly the cooler members of this crowd. Satchel, Knock-Knock, and Scooter were fey flippin' birds! The Hannah Montana's of their time. And because of that, they mostly appealed to girls. One show is geared towards the feminine mindset, the other is clearly marketed to young males. No wonder you are fighting over which one you like better. In naming The Skatebirds a lesser show, you failed to mention some of its highlights. There was more to this messy rip-off than just a couple of robot stooges and Mickey Dolenz. The Great Scatman Crothers voices Scat-Cat, the bird-hungry feline. Mystery Island rivals Danger Island (again, a cheap knock-off, but still fun), and then there's Clue Club, which was spun-off into its own show! Come on, those are all pretty great! Sadly, neither show is available on DVD at this time. But The Splits are currently making a comeback via WB Kids. Hooray! Let's see if those pesky Skatebirds get the same treatment! I'm assuming these arguments arose because you have kids? Some might find it odd that parents continue to choke their children with musty, dust covered nostalgia. But I get it. I fully understand the conceit. My folks made me watch The Gumby Show and Beany and Cecil, and I will probably subject my kids to 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, H.R. Pufnstuf, and The Banana Splits Adventure Hour at a young age, too. These old, odd outings insure that your offspring won't to turn into a gelatinous imagination-deficient robot. But, as upstanding parental units, you must let the child watch both The Splits and The Skatebirds. Let them decide which one they like the best. Also, don't suffocate them with programming from the 70s and 80s. I know that children's' programming came under attack in the 90s, with new government regulations placed on how much educational material needed to be included in each half hour segment. This movement stifled a lot of creative minds (just listen to the commentary tracks on The Weird Al Show: The Complete Series), but we are once again seeing a surge in electrifying kid shows. Let your two little ones discover some of these gems on their own. Let them have a crack at that nostalgia bat. Gustafer Yellowgold is as trippy as anything the Kroffts ever produced, Yo Gabba Gabba! already has a pretty huge following amongst kids and hipsters alike, and Wow Wow Wubbzy is fucking infectious. There's hope yet that your kids might have fond memories of their own childhood shows when they grow up. And that's cool.
I'm getting pretty jazzed about this summer's film line-up. Nearly every single weekend sees something awesome coming out at our local theater. A couple of old friends from college just moved to town, and I want to celebrate by organizing a weekly "dinner and a movie" outing. Do you have any ideas about which meals go best with which movies? Signed - "Starving Marvin"
Dear Marvin. You just made me hungry. Why not start off this weekend by organizing a trip to your local Italian eatery for a traditional spaghetti and meatballs dinner served with a vintage red wine. Preferably a '96. This will go very well with a late night screening of Obsessed. On May 1st, you'll want to hit your favorite steakhouse for a tender and juicy aged prime rib, Aussie fries, and an oilcan of Fosters before attending an evening show of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The following weekend, you and your buddies will have to hit the near-by Japanese establishment for some sushi and sake before attending the futuristic sci-fi adventure Star Trek. On May 15th, you'll want to have your friends over to the house for homemade pepper and parmesan crusted scarlet snapper, served with passion fruit vinaigrette and a nice house salad. You'll also want to pick up a fairly inexpensive bottle of white wine. Then, when you are all filled-up, why not hit the Cineplex for a screening of Ron Howard's Angels & Demons. Terminator Salvation should be followed by a good old fashion hobo meal of beans and corn out of a can, some cabbage cooked on an open grill, and a bottle of Maddog 20/20. Why not discuss the awesomeness of Up with a trip to Baskin and Robbins afterwards? On June 5th, you should all have a raging, alcohol-infused party. Then get up the next morning, go to your favorite dumpster bar, and indulge in some hot wings and bloody maries before heading off to see The Hangover. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 will be best enjoyed with a trio of New York pizza pies beforehand. Year One definitely calls for some good ol' fashion southern fried chicken with a side of greens. And Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen? Fast food, of course. You should really hit up Burger King, since they are doing a commercial tie-in, and the movie will more than likely be on par with the food being served there. Then, on July 15th, make sure you head down to your favorite English pub for some Shepard's pie, bangers and mash, peas, and a pint of Guinness before heading off to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
To round out the summer "dinner and a movie" experience, you'll definitely want to plan a picnic before heading off to see G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Make it American: Hamburgers, hotdogs, chips, and sodas. The works. Invite the entire neighborhood. And only serve Pabst Blue Ribbon and Miller High Life if you are going the beer route. Hope those suggestions help. I'm off to get a snack!
I notice you do a lot of interviews there at your little website. I always wonder if you ask for autographs when you do them. If so, can i request a couple? - Signed, "Timbuck Two"
Dear Dimbuck. No, you may absolutely not request a couple of autographs. What do I look like? Your little sack lunch monkey? This is a job, and I try to remain as professional as possible. Sure, most actors are gracious enough to jot out their name when approached in a confined space such as an interview. But it goes against my moral code as a journalist. Plus, it gives whatever bloated celebrity seen pimping there shit in a given week the upper hand in our conversation. An interview is a promotional tool, not a fanboy autograph hound solicitation arena. If you want an autograph, go to a collectibles show, or attend Comic Con. Hit up your favorite celebrity on the red carpet of their latest premier. If they waltz over to the drooling fan stand bleachers, you'll know its okay to ask. Or pony up the bucks on Ebay. I'm not going to risk my livelihood so you can have Joe Pesci's scribble on a piece of worn out notebook paper. If I get you one, then my niece will want one. Then her friends down at the playground will want one. Then I'm up to my neck in autograph requests. There are places designated for autograph seekers. A junket is not one of them. Dick. And don't ask me again. Or you'll get my autograph sprayed on the side of your studio shoebox apartment in dunkle brown.
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Hope you have a great week! See you next time. (If you click on the big red letters, you will be taken to an email address where you will be able to leave your questions.)