Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Movie Reviews 375 – The Day the Fish Came Out (1967)

January 5, 2019

I’ve always had a taste for the offbeat and camp movies (if you haven’t noticed) and The Day the Fish Came Out, probably one you’ve never heard of before, has always been one of my favorites. For some strange reason this was one of those films that my local TV station, CFCF-12 Montreal used to play over and over when I was a kid. But honestly, I was hooked the first time.

Part of the eccentricity lays not in just the plot itself, but the genre and setting. Believe it or not this is a Greek production of a science fiction comedy that skirts a doomsday scenario of all things . Written, directed and produced by Michael Cacoyannis (of Zorba the Greek fame) it was loosely based – and I do mean loosely – on the real life accidental dropping of hydrogen bombs on a Spanish island, the so called Palomares incident, just a year earlier. Cacoyannis took that concept, changed the island to Karos Greece, threw in lots of bikinis and made it colorful beyond belief.

The military trackers of a mission note the radar disappearance of a plane whose precarious cargo consists of two bombs and a particularly radioactive large metal container simply codenamed “Q”. When it becomes evident that the plane is lost a team a recovery team is sent to the island posing as real estate developers who want to build a hotel, despite the obvious barren landscape. Meanwhile the plane pilot and navigator (Colin Blakely and Tom Courtenay) are left scrambling and hiding with nothing but their skivvies, without any way to communicate with command. To make matters worse, “Q” is found by a peasant goat herder intent on cracking open the box dreaming of what must surely be riches within.

But the fun really starts when the locals start promoting the island and foreign touring groups, believing it to be the next hot-spot vacation destination, start sending tourists in droves to Karos. The leader of the covert military team (Sam Wanamaker) now has the added headache of keeping the tanned and toned tourists from interfering the mission to find Q.  Especially troublesome is the vivacious Electra (Candice Bergen, who was a model long before she was an actress) who has her eyes on one particular able seaman (Ian Ogilvy) who is soon ordered to keep her occupied.

Despite many flaws this movie still works on so many levels. There is the clash of cultures, the nutty characters such as a torturous dentist, the bumbling plane crew at each others nerves and scurrying like hobos throughout the film, the determination of the goat herder to try ever more powerful tools and techniques to open the container, and the frantic locals doing everything to try to cash in on the tourist trade. The backdrop transforms from a mundane archaic town to a rainbow painted settlement. The tourists that take over are a futuristic looking collection of Warhol-esque models that would look at home on a 60’s Parisian catwalk. You really have to see the outlandish garments to believe them. And when they party to a catchy heavy beat tune they flail their arms while shouting “Cooah-Cooah!” like giant multi colored birds in heat.

Perhaps the greatest appeal is how deftly the story navigates the boundary between comedy and  sombre drama. As the silliness in town gets weirder by the minute, the movie switches over to the desperation of a father sweating with every attempt to relieve the misery of his family. Title kind of gives away the ending which begs the question of whether this is really a comedy or a thinly veiled socio-politico commentary. Either way, you will be entertained.



Movie Reviews 354 – Rat (2000)

July 20, 2018

I’ve always loved a good rat movie. Already as a young kid I was captivated by the original trailers for the movies Willard and it’s sequel Ben and could not wait to watch them – which took years and the advent of cable TV. Then there was Of Unknown Origin which I stumbled upon only a few years ago and Rats: Night of Terror which was an even more recent rodent revelation. But those are all horror movies and when it comes to lighter family fair the likes of Stuart Little and the animation Ratatouille, the 2000 Irish comedy Rat stands out as an oddity that fits somewhere in between conventional films.

When Hubert (Pete Postlethwaite) the Guiness beer loving father of a dysfunctional family comes home from the local pub late one night and transforms in a scrubbly white rat, the entire family find themselves in a predicament that even wife Conchita’s (Imelda Staunton) know-it-all brother Matt (Frank Kelly) is at a loss as to solve. But when intrepid freelance reporter Phelim (David Wilmot) manages to get Conchita’s attention – and a little piece of her heart- with the promise of a book and dreams of a follow up film – the family embarks on an adventure that includes an excursion to the local pub, noisy neighbors and some very odd choices trying to take care of poor Hubert.

At least they decided not to kill him at the protestations of daughter Marietta (Kerry Condon) who seems to be the only one who really cares about Hubert. The suggestion to kill Hubert comes from son Pius, destined to join the clergy no less, and the one who raises the suggestion of euthanasia with Hubert’s every errant move.

The burning question posed by the movie is “Who are the real vermin?” and it certainly isn’t Hubert. This comedy and sometimes thinly disguised promotional piece for Guiness (it is Ireland after all) contains some fairly hilarious moments and a few good running gags but there are a few dry spots as well. Fans of Staunton who deservingly got an Oscar nomination for Vera Drake will revel in her range as she clearly steals the show. Well except for some of the live action and animatronic rat sequences provided by the “Muppet” Jim Henson company.

So is it a film worth watching? I find the film is much like the Guiness beer it espouses. It’s an acquired taste. And just like a fine Guiness it is one I myself am fond off.  If you happen to have the DVD check out the “live rat auditions” provided as a special feature. I’m not kidding.

Full disclosure, I had a Guinness while writing this review but I swear I was not unduly influenced.


Movie Reviews 353 – Infestation (2009)

July 13, 2018

Last week we endured a sweltering heat wave and to take my mind off that I sheltered myself into my nice and cool basement and watched Infestation so that my worries could switch from anxiety of global warming to global swarming. This post apocalyptic bug invasion movie does not start out in the traditional manner. Instead of taking a linear storytelling approach we begin with the camera panning over an office environment where cobwebs are strung across desks and walls and then cocooned bodies are revealed strewn across the floor. And then one of the bodies twitches…

As flashbacks we learn that Cooper (Chris Marquette) is a young undisciplined office goofball working in a telemarketing firm – largely thanks to his dad (Ray Wise) – whose lax work ethics and office hijinxs had caught up to him. It was just as he was getting fired that a high pitched sound had everyone blackout. Inexplicably awaking while others cocooned lay dormant, Cooper soon frees up some of his colleagues while running into a few giant, man-sized beetles still scurrying around the office. With communications all down, everyone else within the city encased and with wasp-like bugs plucking people off the streets, Cooper becomes the de-facto leader with a plan to head out to his father’s house and the safety of the Cold War era bomb shelter there.

The group includes an assortment from the firm as well as others who were in the area at the time of the blackout including Sara (Brooke Nevin), one of Cooper’s old highschool colleagues and the daughter of Cooper’s boss, who was plucked into the sky by one of the wasp creatures. While stopping over a few homes of family of those in the group they discern the fate of those unlucky enough to be stung by the bugs and also come across a vast mound structure the bugs are building. And when Sara decides to go there in the hopes of finding her mom, Cooper rallies the gang to help out.

Ray Wise steals the show as the Alpha, take charge, half nuts father while Cooper finally shows some backbone, standing up to Ray (sorta) and bravely faces the bugs to help Sara. The horror comedy is pure CGI, some of it decent, some of it ‘cookie cutter’, but the film does give new meaning to the term “spider-man”.

While I kind of enjoyed it, this movie is not for everyone. A lot is just not explained and not investigated by the survivors. They do find out one quirk about the bugs but in the end the tired thread of a group having to ‘go across town’ is just too predictable.

What really degrades the film to substandard fare is the idiotic and infuriating non-closure ending. While I suspect that a sequel was in mind which may account for part of it I’d say that even that excuse only goes so far and you have to deliver some sort of ending. In this case the final credits start rolling mid action and leaves viewers agape.

There are better bug movies and better horror comedies than this one. Watch it only if you find yourself in a bug infested post-apocalyptic situation and don’t have your copy of Alien Apocalypse handy.

Movie Reviews 348 – Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991)

June 9, 2018

When a single mom decides it’s high time she went on a solo outback vacation her kids thought that they would be in party mode while she’s gone.This was especially true for the eldest, Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate), about to leave high school and trying to figure out what path to follow in life. But just as mom is about to leave the kids get the shock of their lives when a surprise geriatric babysitter arrives to spoil their plans. Bad goes to worse the minute mom departs when the babysitter takes the gloves off and turns into a drill sergeant ordering the kids to chores with Nazi efficiency while she lounges.

But when the babysitter suddenly dies of a heart attack the kids are faced with a tough decision. Not wanting to dash their mother’s one chance at a well earned respite – not to mention their own plans for unsupervised fun – they creatively, but respectfully dispose of the sitter’s body. And in doing so inadvertently also tossed out the funds for food and entertainment their mom left behind.

When Sue Ellen realises the family’s penniless status she accepts the notion that she will have to find a job and believes it to be a minor setback figuring that she would easy find a cushy position in a firm that will take advantage of her fashion savvy. But reality soon sets in. After a short stint slopping swill at “Clown Dog” where she meets Gus (John Getz), another entrepreneurial kid working his way through college, her hopes are raised when she spots an ad for receptionist at a garment company. But through a series of white lies she unexpectedly ends up being the administrative assistant to Rose (Joanna Cassidy) who runs the division. This does not sit well with the current hostile and suspicious receptionist Carolyn that was pegged to get the job (Jayne Brook).

It quickly becomes a balancing act that includes creative ways to get her job done, stave off Rose’s boyfriend, keeping Carolyn at bay while developing her relationship with Gus. To make matters worse, Sue Ellen has been dipping into petty cash to keep the family afloat only to learn that her siblings have also discovered ‘petty cash’ while slacking at the few duties she has given them. All these complications come to an intersection when a clothing line fails to sell and Sue Ellen tries to save Rose, the company, and the family at an event she stages in her own home … only to have mom come home early.

Given all the talent (that includes future Scream Queen Danielle Harris and future X-Filer David Duchovny) and a decent story one could assume that this would be one of the better comedies of the era. But coming as a cross between Weekend at Bernie’s and Working Girl, with a coming-of-age premise for good measure it underperforms pretty much in every category. The comedy is mostly flat as are most of the characters. The title is misleading in that the death of the sitter is dealt with rather swiftly and is only tangentially tied in with the events that follow. Even for a comedy there is so little plausibility in all the schemes that it manages to detract and distract.

This movie has pulse as that of the dead babysitter. And you can tell that to mom.


Movie Reviews 342 – The Blues Brothers (1980)

April 26, 2018

At the peak of their popularity in the late 1970’s, The original Saturday Night Live cast had a number of favorite, recurring skits one being John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd‘s Blues Brothers duet of dark sunglass wearing, black suited blues singers. As funny as their hopping, bopping antics made us laugh, it was immediately evident that these guys could really sing. A victim of its own success, the ‘Not Ready For Prime Time Players’ soon began leaving the show for more lucrative movie roles and The Blues Brothers was one of the earliest and more successful of such big screen spinoffs.

Like many SNL fans who flocked to the movie theaters to capture the duo, I only went with the sole goal of watching a funny movie. But given the lineup of talent that included such luminaries as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway singing his signature Minnie the Moocher, John Lee Hooker and the Godfather of Soul himself James Brown, the music was clearly the essence of the film.

The plot begins muted enough with Elwood (Aykroyd) picking up just released Jake (Belushi) from famed Joliet prison. Declaring “There’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out, and we’re wearing sunglasses” their first stop is to make a promised visit to Sister Mary Stigmata (a.k.a. The Penguin), a nun who formerly taught the boys and who now finds herself in desperate need of funds to keep her orphanage running. Vowing to help, the boys decide to reunite their former band to raise the money.

As they visit their former mates on their “Mission from God” they are repeatedly attacked by a weapon toting woman (Carrie Fisher), stumble across bumbling Nazis and are pursued by cops in one of the greatest mall car chases ever to be captured on celluloid. The jokes and gags are fun but the impromptu performances by the aforementioned artists are just as enduring. At times the comedy and music collide to perfection such as when James Brown is a preacher putting on a performance that literally has his congregation flipping through the air or when the band soothes blues hating rednecks by resorting to the Rawhide TV theme song while protected from projectile beer bottles being hurled at them by chicken wire fencing.

Directed by John Landis the film was a huge success and I suspect that the music had as much to do with that as the comedy. I enjoyed the music so much that I bought the soundtrack CD before I ever got a copy of the film. Telling as I have only bought two others movie soundtracks in my life.

Watch it for the comedy, but revel in the music.

Movie Reviews 336 – Vamp (1986)

March 16, 2018

Nothing could be more emblematic of a 1980’s horror movie than including including disco diva Grace Jones in the ensemble, which is exactly what the producers of Vamp did. The danger in injecting a celebrity in the credits is that they may not have the acting talent to carry a leading role and thus destroy an otherwise fine movie. Thankfully the producers here were wise enough to capitalize on Jones’ aptitudes (aside from her vocal chops as a singer), namely her eye-popping flash and daring style, and leave the heavy lifting to more seasoned (if younger) folks.

Tired of their sleazy and dimwitted fraternity brethren, AJ (Robert Rusler) and Keith (Chris Makepeace) decide to try out for another frat run by the more refined and richer boys. But when the initiation – a very cool mock satanic ritual – goes horribly wrong, AJ makes a deal with the new frat leaders to secure their induction. He promises to deliver a stripper to the frat party to be held later that night.

But what would normally be a simple enough task in any large city is no mean feat for these boys whose school is at least a two hour drive from the nearest city to supply this particular need. A two hour drive that seems impossible given that they don’t even have a car. So to get a set of wheels they grudgingly befriend Duncan (Gedde Watanabe), the one rich kid who runs a clandestine on-campus rental empire.

The trio make their way to the city and land in the After Dark strip club, which happens to be run by a coven of vampires led by none other than the centerpiece, sensuous dancer Katrina (Jones). Keith also encounters “Amaretto” (Dedee Pfeiffer) a childhood friend working at the club who has no idea of the true nature of the club which is to identify patrons that are alone and who would not raise eyebrows if they suddenly disappeared as blood donors. But due to a misunderstanding AJ falls prey to Katrina’s summons and now Keith has to try to save himself and his friend from the vamps while also eluding a street gang led by an albino (Billy Drago) whose paths they crossed earlier in the evening.

While this is no Lost Boys it’s still a great corny but entertaining retro romp. While some of the stars don’t shine as much as they should, some of the charm comes from the smaller roles such as Vic (Sandy Baron) the club’s emcee who just wants to go to Vegas or the pathetically friendless Duncan who is blinded by the flood of sexy girls surrounding him to the point of being oblivious to the fanged threat they pose. If nothing else enjoy diva Jone’s many costumes including a coiled copper wired number more befitting telephone exchange office.

Movie Reviews 333 – 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964)

February 23, 2018

I’ve watched all kinds of bizarre and uncategorizable movies over the years but the one that always stuck out first for me was 7 Faces of Dr. Lao. Is it a western? A fantasy? A comedy? A fable? It’s all of these and more.

The movie begins with the elder chinaman Dr. Lao (Tony Randall) riding on a golden donkey who flicks his thumb to produce a flame that he then uses to light his yandaiguo pipe as a precariously balanced fishbowl rests on the saddle front. Dr. Lao, owner and operator of a travelling circus, has ridden in from the dusty great plains and enters the old western town of Abalone. His first stop is the local news printshop where he wants some of his circus event posters to be printed. As he awaits being served he overhears the first rumblings of trouble in the town as the newspaper owner/editor/writer Ed Cunningham (John Ericson) is visibly angered by a visit from Clint Stark (Arthur O’Connell) who chides the editor for some negative press he has been writing. The local business man Stark has buying up all the houses and real estate that he can lay his hands on while having the mayor in his pocket. Cunningham fears for the towns future although is isn’t quite sure what game Stark is really playing. And while Cunningham seems to be the only one who wants to hold the town together, the only person that seems to have the same mindset is Angela the lovely, widowed town librarian (Barbara Eden) who is cold to Cunningham’s advances.

The movie plays out as a sequence of scenes played out in the confines of the tent circus. The stars are Dr. Lao’s menagerie of mythical figures and creatures including the Abominable snowman, Merlin the magician from King Arthur’s court, three ancient Greek figures; Pan (god of love), Medusa the Gorgon who turns all who look at her into stone and blind fortune teller Apollonius of Tyana, and finally a slithering, talking serpent (whose face looks exactly like Stark).  Most of these play out scenes with the cast of human characters, digging deeper into their real issues and problems. Angela for example loses her inhibitions after being mentally aroused when she stumbles upon Pan, while the root of Stark’s greed is deconstructed by the serpent. Viewers will be quick to note that all of Dr. Lao’s charges are in fact played by Randall which was quite a formidable feat for the actor.

Unsurprisingly, this movie was directed by George Pal best known for his special effects laden classics of the era that include The War of the Worlds, Destination Moon and The Time Machine. Also notable is that Charles Beaumont was the writer, a man very familiar with the bizarre as a Twilight Zone regular. Alas, this is one of those movies in which my memories were better than my recent viewing experience. Most of the special effects are still fine but the overall story and the delivery now suffer a bit with my more mature adult assessment. But the movie is really a comedy which excuses the candy coated ending. Still a fun watch even if only for the the special effects and gags.

Movie Reviews 330 – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

January 26, 2018

Tobe Hooper really raised the bar when he directed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre which arguably is one of the best horror movies ever produced. The introduction of the dysfunctional family of cannibals rewrote the book on horror movies and became an instant classic.

Being one of his first movies Hooper went on to have a decent run of genre movies during the following years but never eclipsed TCM. I don’t know what motivated him to do this follow up, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, a dozen years after the first but one thing that is clear is that he did not just go back to familiar ground despite this story being presented as events and characters that supposedly follow the original TCM but takes place a number of years after.

Gone was the profound darkness and drama, biting edge horror and human depravity. And in came the … comedy?

The family, now identified as the Sawyers, are led by Drayton Sawyer (Jim Siedow) who promotes the family’s swine meat business across the state driving his winnebago while sons Bubba ‘Leatherface’ (Bill Johnson) and Chop-Top (Bill Moseley) man their cavernous underground bunker home hidden under an abandoned amusement park.

When two drunken frat boys driving their way to a college football game decide to call in to the local radio show to mess with DJ “Stretch” (Caroline Williams) during her overnight show, the Sawyer boys saddle up to them on the road for a little deadly fun. The ensuing carnage is all caught on tape in the studio and Stretch begins to investigate. Her path soon crosses that of Lieutenant “Lefty” Enright (Dennis Hopper) who has been on the Sawyer trail since the disappearance of his nephew, the wheelchair bound boy in the first movie.

At Lefty’s urging Stretch plays the explicit audio tape on-air which brings Leatherface and Chop-Top to the station where they kidnap her and her engineer L.G. (Lou Perryman) and bring them to their hangout. It is up to Enright to come and save the day as the Sawyer hold a family feast with Stretch as the guest of honour.

The comedic elements include Leatherface being taunted for having a girlfriend when he becomes reluctant to do the family’s bidding and when ‘grandpa’ who can barely move is awarded the privilege of dealing the death blow to Stretch. When Enright arrives it becomes one giant multi-chainsaw battle of wits and twits (siding more on the latter) with labyrinthine chases within the hodge podge architecture of the abode. Part of the charm in this film also lies in the elaborately decorated sets, the feature being the Sawyer ‘home’ and it’s many tunnels, funnels and garbage strewn decor. The makeup and special effects are also particularly impressive under the hands of master Tom Savini.

Don’t get me wrong this is a fan favorite for many and taken on it’s own it is a fun movie. But fun is the key word and those who watch it expecting the gruesome horror of the original will be disappointed.


Movie Reviews 314 – Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

September 15, 2017

Preceding the movie Shaft which arguably ignited the blacksploitation explosion of the 70’s and theaters subsequently being flooded with films based on the grittier aspects of African American ghetto’s, Cotton Comes to Harlem was one of the earliest efforts to test those waters. Directed by Ossie Davis (who also co-wrote the screenplay and provided some of the soundtrack) it delivers all the facets of sleaze, corruption, poverty and crime, but parcelled in the stereotypical slang and funk of the period and setting.

A slick urban preaching semi-messiah is scooping up donations from the poverty stricken residents of Harlem promising them a piece of land ‘back home’. But neighborhood cops “Gravedigger” Jones (Godfrey Cambridge) and “Coffin” Ed Johnson (Raymond St. Jacques) aren’t buying it. The police higher ups and even the municipal officials think self proclaimed “Reverend” Deke O’Malley (Calvin Lockhart) is clean, but when the money amassed is stolen by hooded thieves, Coffin and Gravedigger set their sights on O’Malley.

What follows is a twisted chase for a bale of cotton involving O’Malley’s girl Iris (Judy Pace), mobsters, bumbling cops and a ragged street scavenger (Redd Foxx), all culminating in Harlem’s famed Apollo theater.

This film brings out both the worst of the seedy New York neighborhood of that era including the crime, dingy housing, littered streets, and drugs, while at the same time exemplifying the pride and self respect of most of those living there. Their general distrust of cops and authority is cooled by the respect they have for Gravedigger and Coffin who end up showing their prophet for what he really is.

This was a movie I was looking forward to rewatching, not having seen it in over thirty years. Watching it now I found that some parts did not age as well. While the comedy works fairly well  for the most part, a number of attempts at slapstick feel visibly forced and fall flat. The message is also a mixed bag, Gravedigger and Coffin delivering on their promise to return the money but relying on a partnership with seedier elements to do so. Surprising for a comedy, Davis also injected quite a lot of nudity and sex into the story, something that was probably considered ‘de rigeur’ for audiences at the time and helping it at the box office. But that too is an indicator of how time have changed. I thought that introducing the Apollo as part of the story was probably something not given as much thought at the time, but now serves as both a great tribute and a memorial for anyone watching the movie today.

Certainly one of the better movies of the genre and worthy of viewing, but if you want to watch a more typical and representative movie, one with more flash, action and pezzaz, stick with Shaft or Coffy.

Movie Reviews 309 – The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

August 4, 2017

Recovering from the shock that her young boy-toy has just asphyxiated himself in a ‘peroxide accident’, a middle aged transsexual reluctantly accepts the offer from her best friend to join a lip-synching drag queen roadshow driving across the Australian outback to get to a gig at a remote resort. Filled with sequined gowns, vehicle breakdowns, a constant stream of bitchy prattle and cat calling, Bernadette (Terence Stamp), Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and third wheel Felicia (Guy Pearce) have the journey of a lifetime.

Endlessly forlorn and dour faced, Bernadette is the transsexual that slowly comes to terms with her recent loss and relationship anxieties. When she gets the call from Mitzi (also called “Tick”) to go on tour she mistakenly believes it will be just the two old friends only to learn that arch-nemesis Felicia will be joining them. Buying a broken down bus for the trip the trio depart for what will be a raucous, tumultuous odyssey.

From the very start Bernadette and Felicia are constantly at one’s throats and on one another’s nerves, the biggest point of contention being their staunch opposite respective views on ABBA songs. Things turn for the worse when Mitzi takes them on a shortcut across the desert where we learn secrets of his past and the real reason for taking on that particular job. When their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere and a potential rescuer flees in shock they are finally helped by aborigines they come across celebrating a night festival in the wilderness.

The aborigines lead then to a small town where they meet ‘Bob’ (Bill Hunter) who not only comes to their rescue with his mechanic skills but is so thrilled with the girls that he convinces them to put on an impromptu show at the local bar. But the show reception is not what the girls expect and they are upstaged by Bob’s wife who puts on one of the most amazing burlesque performances you can imagine. Initially Bob had her locked down in their home as the show began, declaring that she was banned to enter the bar for some past indiscretion. She is shown screaming and battering her front door hoping to join the festivities. I could not fathom why she seemed euphoric when she stumbled across a horde of hidden ping pong balls but suffice to say that it was a pivotal moment and the resulting turbulence has Bob joining the trio for the rest of the trip.

The humour is ecstatic from the endless name calling to the modified tranny version of the road song staple “100 bottles of beer on the wall”. But while the comedy is paramount this movie doesn’t shun away from the darker side faced by those living alternative lifestyles. The presence of bigotry, ranging from nuanced to overt violence are addressed in the film’s more serious scenes. Equally discoursed are the interrelationship challenges and heartaches facing the girls because of their orientation.

Fantastic story and writing aside, the picturesque canyon vistas and sunsets are second only to the colorful flamboyant wardrobe – including a flip-flop shoe dress – and all the extravagance of Vegas showgirls. I could go on and on about the many odd scenes, memorable one liners and quirky nature of the film but honestly seeing Terence Stamp in drag is worth the watch alone.