By Jason Harris
If you’re a big Bruce Campbell fan like me, you’ll probably be tempted to watch Man with the Screaming Brain (2005). Written and directed by and starring Campbell, it sounds like a safe bet. I mean, Bubba Ho Tep was funny, right?
Let me gently remind you that nobody can be funny ALL of the time. And for the first thirty minutes of this movie, you will find yourself thinking this very same thought several hundred times.
Campbell plays William Cole, a shady corporate industrialist traveling in Bulgaria to set up a tax scam. He’s traveling with his wife Jackie Cole, played stiltingly by Antoinette Byron, who might be wearing that hideous blond wig in the hopes that nobody will recognize her in this stinker.
Bruce Campbell is trying too hard to play the obnoxious American, and the result is boring and unfunny at the start. The banter between Campbell, Byron, and Russian cab driver Yegor (played by Vladimir Kolev) is forced and hokey. The relief comes when a mysterious Gypsy woman murders the three of them, but it takes much too long to get to this major plot point.
Good news for the Coles and Yegor: there’s a mad scientist in the neighborhood looking for hapless victims to conduct experiments on. Said scientist transplants Yegor’s brain in to William Cole’s body, presumably with the expectation that hilarity will ensue. We are treated to ten minutes of Cole and Yegor battling for control of Cole’s body, until they realize they were both murdered by the same woman, and decide to work together to hunt her down. In the meantime, Jackie Cole’s brain is transplanted in to a robot. I wish I could tell you I was making this sucky plot up, but sadly, this is really what the movie is about. My heart breaks for all of the Campbell fans out there who will try to stab out their own eyeballs with knitting needles in an effort to stop watching this crapfest.
The highlight of this movie is Ted Raimi, who plays the mad scientist’s assistant, Pavel. It’ll warm your heart to see that he’s still finding work, and that he isn’t the worst thing about this movie (that honor goes to the Jackie robot, which malfunctions much easier than any terminator I’ve ever seen in the movies, and at the worst possible times). Raimi is—dare I say it?—actually kind of entertaining in this role, and helps make the film almost bearable. Almost.
Overall, this movie reminded me of a hilarious comedy with Lily Tomlin and Steve Martin battling for control of a body that I saw once. Only All of Me (1984) was funny. Man with the Screaming Brain, with the standout exception of Ted Raimi, is not.
Books & Boos, which closed its physical location at the end of May, is continuing to do events like it was doing when the bookstore was still open. This weekend will give people two opportunities to visit the traveling bookstore.
The first opportunity to visit the bookstore will be Saturday at the Connecticut Horrorfest. Along with used books, people will be able to meet authors Stacey Longo and G. Elmer Munson and get them to sign one of their books. The horrorfest takes place at the Courtyard Waterbury Marriott located at 63 Grand Street in Waterbury, CT. It runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The second opportunity happens on Sunday when Books & Boos takes part in the Open Air Market and Festival at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown, Connecticut. This will be the bookstore’s second appearance at this event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Wadsworth Mansion is located at 421 Wadsworth St. in Middletown, CT. Longo will also be signing her books at this event as well. She is joined by authors Dan Foley, Dale T. Phillips, and Joseph Ross.
The death of comedic genius Robin Williams hits especially hard, because he was a part of all of our lives. My parents’ generation remembers him getting his start as an alien on Mork & Mindy. Gen-Xers remember him as an inspirational teacher in Dead Poets Society, an inspirational therapist in Good Will Hunting, and an inspirational doctor in Patch Adams. For younger generations—for all of us—he will always be Aladdin’s genie. The loss of Robin Williams hurts as much as losing an old friend.
As children, my sister and I laughed right along with my parents at Mork & Mindy, though we didn’t always get the jokes. For us, the monumental moment when Robin Williams really became somebody in our minds was watching his poignant portrayal of the title character in The World According to Garp. Williams’s work in this film showcased his ability not only to be funny, but to be able to portray the struggles and achievements that we all face: hope, betrayal, loss, and redemption. His talent was limitless.
Robin Williams was so interwoven into our daily lives that it will take time to adjust to his absence. Besides his numerous film roles, he sometimes popped up on popular television shows like Saturday Night Live, Happy Days, The Larry Sanders Show, and Friends, among others. Imagine my delight when watching my favorite holiday special, A Wish For Wings That Work, and realizing the voice of the kiwi was someone very familiar to me. Robin Williams was like a well-worn blanket, something to wrap us in comfort on a rainy day.
His death, a suspected suicide, is unthinkable. How could this funnyman, who brought such joy to so many people, kill himself? For those who suffer from depression, it’s particularly hard: if Robin Williams couldn’t handle it, how can I? His drug problems were well documented—his cameo in Bob Woodward’s scandalous Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi was the first indication I saw, about 30 years ago. Williams also made no secret at his attempts, successes, and failures at sobriety, an open book for all to read. Those left behind have to wonder: how could someone so good at making us laugh be so unhappy inside?
It’s a question to which we will never have an answer. Though angry at his method of death, this is not how I choose to remember the beloved comedian. I’m sorry he was so miserable that he felt suicide was the best answer. But I am thankful for the sweet entertainment, the moving portrayals, and above all, the laughs he gave me while he lived.
As a blue genie once said, a woman appreciates a man who can make her laugh. And Robin Williams did that for me, countless times.
This past Tuesday evening author Stacey Longo read a story from her current collection, Secret Things, to a responsive crowd at the Saxton B Little Public Library in Columbia, CT. She even read the prologue of her recently sold novel, Ordinary Boy, which will be published by Dark Alley Press in early 2015.
There will be a second chance to meet Longo when all the authors on the trail participate at the finale event to be held at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret on Thursday, Sept. 4 from 6:15 to 9 p.m. Find out more here.
Find out about the Connecticut Authors Trail here.
For more information on the Southcoast Toy and Comic Show, click here.
Author Dale T. Phillips has posted pictures from his time at the New England Author Expo, which was created and organized by Christopher Obert of Pear Tree Publishing. Click here to read and see the pictures.
Welcome to the second entry with pictures from the 2014 New England Author Expo, which happened this past Wednesday night (July 30) in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA.
Find out more about Madore on her website here.
Find out more about Phillips on his website here.
Find out more about Hastings on his website here.
Find out more about Boudreau on her website here.
Find out more about Illebode on her website here.
Find out more about Dimbleby on his website here.
Find out more about Ross on his website here.
Find out more about deNapoli on her website here.
Find out more about Swiss on her website here.
Find out more about Mason and his books on his website here.
Find out more about Stephens on his website here.
Find out more about Barker on her website here.
Find out Greig’s book, A Dog to Remember, here.
Find out more about Greenleaf on her website here.
Find out more about Johnson on her website here.
Find out more about Castle on her website here.
Find out more about Wilkerson on her website here.
Find out more about Feitelberg on his website here.
Find out more about Lassiter on her website here.
Find out more about Chase on her website here.
Find out more about Maxwell on her website here.
Find out more about Doyan on her Amazon page here.
Find out more about Hambley on her website here.
For the people who I didn’t get your picture, I do apologize. I hope to see you at the next event so I can take your picture at that time.
The 2014 New England Author Expo happened this past Wednesday night (July 30) in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA.
Find out about McCombs and his work here.
Find about Fava at her website here.
Find out more about DeLorenzo and here books here.
Find out more about Rice’s book here.
Find out about Tighe’s books on her Amazon page here.
Find out more about Watts on his website here.
Find out more about Silva and her books on her website here.
Find out more about Goncarous on his website here.
Find out more about Fechenda on her Amazon page here.
Find out more about Ann and her book on her website here.
Find out more about the Brodeur family and Lisa’s memoir, A Mother’s Journey, at her website here.
Find out more information about Samson here.
Find out more about Kane on her website here.
Find out more about D’Amico at her website here.
Find out more about Conley on his website here.
Find out more about Sawyer on her website here.
Find out more about Smales on his website here.
Find out more about Wong on her website here.
The New England Authors Expo will be attended by authors, artists, booksellers, publishers, and many more guests, companies and organizations, which makes it the perfect time for readers to meet and talk to authors and others in the publishing world about books and the written word. For an entire list of who will be there, click here.
Some of the authors and artists in attendance are Stacey Longo, Rob Watts, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., Michele McPhee, Nicholas Conley, Eric Dimbleby, Guntis Goncarovs, Edith Maxwell, Ursula Wong, A.J. Kane, and S.L. Johnson.
The Expo operates from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and takes place in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club. The yacht club is located at 161 Elliott Street (Rt. 62) in Danvers, MA. There will be a free gift bag to the first 100 visitors. This event is FREE.