Vagabond Joe: American Movie Crap


clas·sic [ klas-ik ]

1. n. A) Belonging to the highest rank or class.
B) Serving as the established model or standard. C) Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.

2. n. An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance



It is a well known fact that I am a night owl. From time to time, I use the late hours to do something constructive, like pay bills online, or start yet another of my seemingly infinite supply of screenplays that will never be finished. There are great projects that can be begun and abandoned in the wee hours of the morning. But, most nights, I just flip through channel after channel of infomercials and late night movies, hoping that something will spring up to make my insomnia a little more bearable.

Well, the other night, was one of these nights. It was the perfect night to “channel-surf.” I have a general stable of channels which i normally look to first, then a second tier, a third, and so on. Channels can often be bumped from tier to tier over the course of years depending on programming direction, renewal or cancelation of current shows, my personal ever-changing interests, etc. For instance when I was in high school and college, I used to watch movie channels, especially the old black and white ones, moreso than any other channels. I loved old movies. Heck, I studied them in college and even got a degree…in…old…movies… Anyway, I loved Turner Classic Movies and American Movie Classics (or AMC, to its friends.) These were the channels out there that I could rely on to show me a great movie, like Casablanca, or Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  You know, the classics.

A few years ago, AMC started playing commercials during their programming. An issue with which, at the time, I had a huge problem. It’s not just that it’s selling out to interrupt some of the greatest films ever made to sell All-Temperature Cheer, but it’s just annoying to break up the flow. HBO would never air commercials during their movies. Why should AMC? Why now?

As time passed, I forgave AMC for this, and moved on toward other interests in television mostly consisting of cartoons and Baywatch reruns. But my forgiveness was about to be completely and unequivocally retracted. Late at night just a few nights ago, to my HORROR, on the once grand American Movie “Classics,” I channel-surfed to

“Harry and the Hendersons.” “HARRY AND THE FRICKIN’ HENDERSONS!!!”


clas·sic [ klas-ik ]

Syn: Characterized by enduring excellence, appeal, and importance: classical, vintage.

See also: good.

An: Deplorable, filthy, insipid, ponderous, rude, shoddy, terrible, unfortunate, unpleasant, unspeakable

See also:


I have an ENORMOUS problem with this movie being considered a “classic.” I like John Lithgow. I think he has a definite place in American cinema. But a movie about a family and their 7-foot sasquatch living in suburban America circa 1987, does not belong next to Some Like It Hot.

The worst part is that I have done some research and discovered that it’s not an isolated case. AM”C”s schedule is full of these kind of movies. I realize that there is a need to “contemporize,” but have NONE of the execs at AM”C” heard of Braveheart or Dead Poets Society? The list of movies currently carried on AM”C” is so startling, I can’t even bring myself to notate them here.

Are you freaking KIDDING me?

Suffice it to say that “classic” apparently doesn’t mean quite what it did even a few years ago. At this rate, the classic movies of the Olsen twins should be queued for their chance to be seen by the countless film aficionados who enjoy the simpler, dignified stories of generations past on a once dignified television channel. At least there is still TMC. I never thought I would say this, but, thank you Ted Turner for getting it right.

originally published on 05-04-2004

0 thoughts on “Vagabond Joe: American Movie Crap

  1. Pingback: Confession of a Self-Loathing Mad Men Non-Watcher « The Elitist Jerks' Sports Information Collective

  2. Harry and the Hendersons is a classic. The first film to truly put sasquatch on the map. Well, besides the Patterson film. And then at the end, when he sends Harry back to the woods for his own good, despite the internal turmoil it caused. You aren’t human if you aren’t touched by that scene.

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