I'd like to offer my apologies for the light posting around here lately. I've been ill, you see, and haven't watched a hell of a lot of movies, at least not ones I cared to write about. I watched that miniseries The Hatfields and the McCoys over the weekend -- that was pretty good, I thought. What a nasty feud! "Come on, guys, don't feud like that!" is what I kept shouting at the TV. The McCoys clearly got the short end of the stick when it came to vengeance, though, so from their point of view it's probably easy for me to say.
I also watched, or rewatched, for the umpteenth time, both Quick Change and Let It Ride. Both films had been favorites back when they were released, and both held up rather nicely. But here's the interesting thing, or kind of an interesting thing -- both films are based on books by Jay Cronley, a writer of comic novels. Quick Change was based on Quick Change, and Let It Ride was based on his book Good Vibes. The films came out in 1989 and 1990, respectively. In 1988, another Cronley novel was adapted into the Chevy Chase film Funny Farm, which I also remember being quite a solid piece of work. That's three Cronley adaptations in as many years, and then nothing. I don't suppose any of these, save maybe Funny Farm, did much business, but unless it's all just a coincidence somebody or some group of people thought Cronley's stuff offered some strong material. I remember Bill Murray, who co-directed, co-wrote, and starred in Quick Change doing the publicity rounds at the time and praising Cronley's books. So what was going on? And what happened? I don't believe Cronley found himself pelted with offers to profile him in The New Yorker or the LA Times or any other publication that might have wanted to do such a thing, and while I still haven't read one of his novels I suspect this is too bad. Clearly he has a knack for something, and the movies are funny. In 1985, Quick Change was turned into a Canadian film called Hold Up, and another Cronley novel, called Cheap Shot, was adapted into a French film called Nos Amis les Flics. Interesting.
In my time of illness, I also read a horror novel called Carpathia by Matt Forbeck. It's about the survivors of the Titanic disaster being rescued by the titular ship, and then being prayed upon by vampires. Carpathia, Carpathian Mountains, Dracula -- you guys know the score. Anyway, I admit to being sucked in by that premise, and even thinking the whole "Carpathia" thing was clever. My mistake. All I'll say about Forbeck's novel is that a little over halfway through, a character named Dr. Griffiths suddenly starts being referred to as Dr. Cherryman. When he got eaten by a vampire, I didn't know who to mourn.
Regular posting to resume shortly, I hope.