Wednesday, January 31, 2007


When it comes to interpreting modern history, I am a proponent of the James Lileks school. That is, everything was trundling along quite nicely until 1962, possibly 1963... and then it all just went to hell. We were swinging along with martinis, Peggy Lee and E-Type Jaguars, then fifteen years later we had saccharine-sweetened soft drinks, The Captain & Tennille and the 1977 AMC Gremlin. Saints preserve us all.

As we struggle to repress our involuntary shudders, it's worth noting that Hollywood followed this strange but identifiable transition from cool to ghastly. Thus, twenty years after the elegant film noir darkness of 'A Kiss Before Dying' and 'The Night of the Hunter', audiences were lumbered with Joe Don Baker in 'Mitchell'. Smack dab in the middle of the hideous 70s, a plus-sized numbskull whose main skill is shooting unarmed people was presented as our hero.

What's that you say? I shouldn't be judging Mitchell just because he has a little weight problem and gets stuck doing the Junior Jumble on fast food restaurant placemats? Well, my friend, these are the least of his problems.

Top 10 Things That Are Wrong With 'Mitchell' and His Mid-70s World

10. Old flabby men squeezed into tight three-piece suits. There's nothing to stir the senses quite like the sight of a plaid polyester waistcoat with little bulging gaps between the buttons, through which someone's gut is straining to be free.

9. The chase scene, in which the villain is a soft, balding man in a mauve turtleneck, trying to kill a fat slob who last washed his hair during the Johnson Administration.

8. Sportscoats that look like they were made from the Care Bear family tartan.

7. Cars that you buy by the yard. Big, pointless, blocky, ugly vehicles with the braking distance of a 747 and the aerodynamics of Stonehenge. All of them painted in colours that a) never really look clean and b) feature prominently in the toilet bowls of very sick octogenarians.

6. More turtlenecks, this time with chunky gold jewellery on top of them. That necklace cost over $50 - there's no sense in hiding it under your clothes!

5. Table lamps that are bigger than the characters, in colours and fabrics that clash with everything, including themselves.

4. Women for whom "equality" is a new, strange and not entirely understood concept.

3. Curtains of mustard yellow and burnt orange... on a boat.

2. Hair styled by sleeping on it.

And the most obnoxious sign of 'Mitchell''s essential wrongness...

1. Our hero goes around shooting villains in the back and mistreating his woman, because, apparently, that's the kind of loveable goofball he is.


Blogger an9ie said...

I have never understood that "wearing a necklace over a turtleneck thing". It's like wearing socks with stilettos. Or having pants slung low to show off your underpants. Or pulling your jeans/skirt down to show off your g-string. Or being Britney.


11:04 AM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

I've never understood the whole "being Britney" thing either. I tried flashing my naked crotch at the paparazzi, and yet the photos didn't appear on E! the next day. Weird.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...

And now my descent into utter tastelessness is complete

2:31 PM  

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