For, Friday, June 26, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Salt Lake Tribune runs a daily item on page A-2 labeled ‘Odd News,’ with a story or two that relate incidents that are either goofy or funny or just plain weird. It’s often a highlight of the daily newspaper … for those of us who still read daily newspapers as actual papers. I was recently reminded that back in the day I would similarly gather offbeat Hollywood-related stories for a ‘Hicks on Flicks’ column of brief items, like this one, published in the Deseret News on Aug. 25, 1985.

I know, I know, enough about “Rambo” already.

But there’s always something more. I may have to get a special logo made up for a weekly update on “Rambo” phenomena.

Anyway, the latest is the “Rambo-gram.”

That’s right, “Rambo-gram.”

And, as you might guess, it consists of a “Rambo” lookalike delivering your best … or worst … wishes to a friend … or enemy.

But the scheme, in Buffalo, N.Y., backfired Monday.

An actor delivering a “Rambo-gram” apparently frightened people on the street, as he marched along with a fake Russian assault rifle in hand, and after delivering his message in an office building, found himself in the waiting arms of a police dragnet.

Meanwhile, a 21-year veteran cop who was part of the dragnet slipped on an escalator and shot himself in the foot.

The actor was charged with disorderly conduct.

The policeman was recovering in a local hospital.

Which only goes to prove that violence in the movies can lead to violence in real life.


—A LETTER I HAVE neglected for a few weeks came in from Benjamin Urrutia, who asks why I gave “D.A.R.Y.L.” two-and-a-half stars, the same number I gave “The Goonies,” and yet I say in the context of the review that “D.A.R.Y.L.” is a better movie than “The Goonies.”

Good question. I wish I had a good answer.

Actually, I don’t compare movies in terms of the number of stars I give them. Each film is rated entirely on its own merits, and though I thought “D.A.R.Y.L.” had an overall edge over “The Goonies,” I didn’t think it deserved any more stars. Both films have a multitude of problems but the feeling I had as I came out of “D.A.R.Y.L.” was that it just worked a little better.

On the other hand, I gave “Cocoon” only three stars, yet at this point it may appear on my top 10 list at the end of the year — which is favorite films, as opposed to best films.

But in the end it comes down to this: A movie critic’s star-rating system is as subjective as his entire review. It’s just a personal evaluation and others are bound to disagree.

One other thing that Urrutia mentioned in his letter was that he thought “D.A.R.Y.L.” worked as sort of offbeat prequel to “The Terminator.”

In a way he might be right. But then we could only wonder about how sweet little computerized Daryl turned into the killing machine portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Maybe he saw “Rambo” too many times.

—WHEN I GO TO THE movies I usually sit on the aisle. The reason is simple — quick escape when it’s over. Otherwise I have 40 people asking what I thought of the picture as I try to leave the theater.

But a story over the wires this week indicates there may be another reason.

Dr. Robert Israel, a Manhattan sports-medicine specialist, says people who always sit on the aisle probably do so to stretch their legs, because they are potential victims of what he calls “cinema sign,” which results from putting pressure on the knee and can lead to permanent arthritis.

“Cinema sign” is not untreatable, however. Israel says all you have to do is isometric and “flex” exercises, such as bringing the knee up to the chest.

Uh, oh, I’m done for. The only way I could get my knee up to my chest would be to remove it first.

—LAST WEEK IN MY review of “Volunteers,” as I listed earlier credits of director Nicholas Meyer, I gave away the fact that I’m occasionally running on empty when I wrote that one of Meyer’s films was “Star Trek II: The Search for Spock.”

Actually, as any Trekkie can tell you, “Star Trek II” was subtitled “The Wrath of Khan,” and that’s the film Meyer directed.

“The Search for Spock” was, of course, “Star Trek III,” directed by Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.

Never write a review when you’ve put your brain on hold.

—AND IN THIS COLUMN last week, I mentioned that “Warning Sign,” filmed in Utah County, would be opening on Aug. 23rd.

You may have noticed that it did not.

“Warning Sign” will open wide (across the country) on a future “undetermined” date, 20th Century-Fox now says, after it plays in a few big cities first.

Interpreted, that means if it does well “Warning Sign” will go out nationally in a couple of weeks. But if it does poorly we may not get it at all.

EDITOR’S ENDNOTE: ‘Warning Sign’ did eventually open around the country, on Oct. 9 OF 1985, and it garnered abysmal reviews and did very poorly at the box office. ‘Cocoon’ didn’t make my end-of-the-year 10-best list but it was No. 12 as a runner-up. ‘Warning Sign,’ however, landed at No. 1 … on the 10-worst list.