Cinema Cinema Shame

2023 Cinema [Shame] Statement

I turned the calendar over to January, which means two things. I posted my Top 100 songs of the past year on Spotify, and it’s time to take stock of my year in moviewatching for Cinema Shame.

I’m sure it should signify something else, too, like committing to being more patient with my kids or vowing to do yoga at least once week. I’ll work on those, too. I will. (I really would like to do more yoga because my back is a mess and I have to clean out the basement for some home renovation.)

That’s a post for another day. I’m redoing the home theater setup and all my physical media is currently living in boxes and I only kinda sorta know where everything is and I kept some stuff out, like stuff I needed to keep out for Cinema Shame podcasts and manuscript research but mostly I feel empty, like the bookshelves that used to house all my DVDs. [Exhale.]

I’ve gathered some old Shame that I never got around to watching and I’ve merged it with some new Shame and presto bango I’ve got a new list for 2023. Check out the 2023 Cinema Shame call for Shame here.

Old Business

2022 cinema shame statement

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1990)

It’s been on the list since 2018 and at this point not watching it might be the point.

Aguirre, The Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972)

Not even the 1972 Shamedown prompted me to put this DVD in the player.

Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988)

Since I need to write a blurb about this one for a DVD Netflix article I’ve got in the works, it’s time to watch the 4K disc I purchased last year. Seriously, guy.

Can’t Stop the Music (Nancy Walker 1980)

My co-host on the Cinema Shame podcast will probably club me like a baby seal for this one.

Tarzan, the Ape Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1933)

The variety of Shame in which I’ve watched the other Tarzan movies of the period (because pre-code swimming nudity!) but not the original? Here’s a video I recorded at the 2019 TCM Film Festival about the creation of the Tarzan yell.

The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983)

Many people consider this the best movie of 1983. I just see a very long space melodrama without any pew pew pew. I’m sure it’s good, but my boosters aren’t firing.

Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)

You can still count the number of non-samurai Kurosawas I’ve seen on one hand.

Once again I’ve consulted my favorite guide for new entries on this list. The Entertainment Weekly Guide comes out once a year when I mark off movies I’ve watched and add movies I need to watch to this list.

New Business

DODSWORTH, Walter Huston, Mary Astor, 1936

Dodsworth (William Wyler, 1946)

It’s the next man off the bench in the book’s list of Best Dramas, checking in at #30.

Hail the Conquering Hero (Preston Sturges, 1944)

I honestly can’t remember if I watched this one. It checks in at #42 on the Comedy countdown, so we’ll give it a spin. If it turns familiar, I’ve got Adam’s Rib waiting in the wings, another movie I think I might have watched at some point or another.

The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

The second Wyler comes to me courtesy of the AFI list. It’s a movie I studied in film school, but never watched all the way through. Despite that, I knew it really well. There was never a sense of discovery about it. Time has passed. I’ve forgotten everything I knew.

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

BFI says. I’ve started this one twice, late at night during Hooptober Horror marathons, and fallen asleep. Not the movie’s fault. Now I’m staring down the 1973 Shamedown episode in a month or two.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (Chantal Akerman, 1975)

Sight & Sound made a statement by making this their #1 film in 2022. That I haven’t seen the #1 movie on Sight & Sound cannot stand.

The Three Musketeers (Richard Lester, 1973)

It’s so much a movie I should have watched by now that I have to remind myself that I haven’t actually.

Slaughterhouse Five (George Roy Hill, 1972)

Noah Baumbach adapted my favorite novel, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, for the screen. I anticipated it eagerly. This made me wonder why I haven’t watched the cinematic adaptation of my other favorite novel… a movie that’s been available to me my entire life. It’s just right over there waiting to be watched.


Own up, friends. Let’s make a promise to watch some excellent movies in 2023. Not much is going right in the world, but we can definitely tend our own gardens, watch great movies and talk about them on the Internet.

31 Days of Horror Cinema

Hooptober / 31 Days of Horror 2021

Prior Hooptober/31 Days of Horror Lists on 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 

After taking a COVID-break last year (8yo being remote-schooled next to me would have received a very interesting brand of education based on some Jean Rollin I’d planned to watch), I’m refreshed and ready to Hoop it up in 2021. Not familiar with Hooptober? Here’s a primer. The Cinemonster started Hooptober on as a way for horror fans to come together during this holiest time of year. The rules of engagement? Watch 31+ horror movies during the month of October (starting September 15th because we’re adults and we can do what we want) and write a review on for each and every flick. I’ll be documenting my progress here and on Letterboxd. More words here. Short bits there. Each year The Cinemonster comes up with some specific parameters to direct viewing and highlight filmmakers and subgenres.

I always attempt to watch as many new-to-me movies as possible. Cinema Shame demands it. I must broaden my horizons… even if they’re the more unsavory horizons. It makes me a better and more respectable human to watch as much Eurotrash as possible. I will assault innocent bystanders with conversations about Jess Franco and Sergio Martino. Inevitably, some old favorites sneak into the mix because goddammit, yes, I want to watch An American Werewolf in London again, okay?!?


6 countries
8 decades
2 folk horror
4 films from 1981
2 films from your birth year
2 haunted house films
The worst Part 2 that you haven’t seen and can access. (I realize that this will take a little work)
1 film set in the woods
1 Kaiju or Kong film (not the new K v. G)
2 Hammer films
3 films with a person of color as director or lead. (excluding Asian)
3 Asian horror films.

And 1 Tobe Hooper Films (There must ALWAYS be a Hooper film)

***FOR THOSE THAT LIKE TO DO EXTRA WORK: WATCH JD’s Revenge, The Skull and The Scooby Doo Project


Prior #31DaysOfHorror Shame-a-thons: 2013 | 2014 | 2015 Part 1 | 2015 Part 2 | 2016 | 2017 | 20182019


American Werewolf in London (1981)*
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
The Black Cat (1981)
The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971)
Bones (2001)
The Boogens (1981)
Cat People (1942)*
The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)*
The Curse of the Cat People (1944)
Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
The Fly II (1989)
Gamera, the Giant Monster (1965)*
Ganja & Hess (1973)
Ghost Story (1981)
The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)
The Howling (1981)*
The Howling II (1985)
Invaders from Mars (1986)
Lake of the Dead (1958)
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
Murder Obsession (1981)
Mystics in Bali (1981)
The Old Dark House (1932)*
Patrick (1978)
The Pit (1981)
Suddenly in the Dark (1981)
Tales from the Crypt: Demon Night (1995)*
Thirst (2009)
Ugetsu (1953)
Venom (1981)
Viy (1967)
Wolfen (1981)


What’s your list? What’s your plan for horror movie watching this year? If you’re keeping a list or participating in the Hooptober challenge, I’ll link to your Letterboxd list or blog in the header for my posts. Just leave a note with a link in these comments. Together we shall overcome… or we’ll be the losers knocked off in the first act to establish the killer’s indomitable menace. It’s more comforting to know you’re not doing this alone.

Cinema Cinema Shame

The Bellboy (1960): Cinema Shame

the bellboy posterI’m playing a bit of double catch up with this viewing. Technically, I’m playing catch up on a movie I had on my Shame Statement from 2019 and I’m playing catch up because The Bellboy turns 60 this year. That’s a lot of catch up. What do you do with all that catch up? Make hot dogs, probably. But I don’t put ketchup on my hot dog, so the whole thing is moot. Sauerkraut, mustard, relish, onions. These are all acceptable hot dog toppings. Honestly, my feelings about ketchup mirror my feelings about Jerry Lewis. I’m glad they exist, but I can do without both.

My prior exposure to Jerry Lewis came with a side of Dean Martin to wash it down. That’s my preferred method of ingestion.

So Jerry Lewis is Always Jerry Lewis Even When He’s Not

The Bellboy makes me actively frustrated — not because I disliked it, but because I would have loved it had most every scene not concluded with a hammy shot of Lewis mugging facial contortions for the camera. His schtick seems to function akin to a sitcom laugh track. In case you missed the joke, here’s a face you can’t overlook. I loved the setting. Fountainbleu Miami Beach, just a few years before James Bond and Auric Goldfinger cross paths in the very same hotel. Photographed by someone named Haskell B. Boggs, the hotel becomes an omnipresent character in Lewis’ farce. The winding staircase (also seen in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), the corridors, the ins and outs, the cavernous gathering spaces where Jerry Lewis runs amuck as a bellhop named Stanley (and as a comedian named Jerry Lewis).

the bellboy 1960

I felt the influence of Jacques Tati’s Mr. Hulot through every perfectly calculated movement, every stumble down a step, every gesture, every glance. Jerry Lewis exclamation point face! He’s a meticulous performer, but that’s not an observation. There’s nothing about his performance in The Bellboy that doesn’t feel calculated and choreographed like a Fred Astaire tap number, which makes the moment that he breaks the spell all that much more aggravating. It happens as often as it doesn’t.

Lewis wrote and directed The Bellboy (his debut), and the film’s tone and precision reflects a tightly controlled production. It opens with a studio executive (played by Jack Kruschen in an uncredited role) describing the aimless exploits of a single bellboy. It feels more like a pre-apology to American audiences who wouldn’t have been expecting a plotless comedy featuring sequences of ridiculous situations stacked one on top of the other. I wouldn’t exactly classify them as “blackout gags” in the strictest sense — which I’ve always associated with Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In. Rapid-fire, vaudevillian, abruptly transitioned. Jerry Lewis spends more time developing a visual joke before abruptly moving on to another transitory vignette.

jerry lewis mugs with a sleepy lady in the bellboy

Aside from Tati (and Harpo Marx and a dash of Charlie Chaplin while we’re at it), Lewis creates an obvious through-line to Laurel and Hardy. He’d consulted his friend Stan Laurel about perfecting a kind of silent pantomime and even included a Stan Laurel lookalike character, played by Bill Richmond, who appears randomly throughout the film. Other than causing some amusing asides from the already amusing asides, the visual homage doesn’t contribute a great deal. That speaks to how I felt about most of the film.

Jerry Lewis conducts an absent orchestra
In one of the best “bits” in the Bellboy, Stanley (Jerry Lewis) conducts a persnickety and non-existent orchestra.

The Bellboy Final Verdict

Generally amiable, sometimes obvious, intermittently genius, and inevitably followed by an unwelcome round of mugging, The Bellboy succeeds and irritates in equal amounts. I did, however, cue up another viewing of Four Rooms (1995), a film obviously inspired by in part by The Bellboy. I’m happy I have more Four Rooms context and I’m happy I finally got around to giving Jerry Lewis some more of my time, but I’m just as happy that I finally get to scratch it off my list of Shame.

Watch The Bellboy on Amazon Prime.