Jayne Mansfield’s Car

It seemed rather outrageous that we were having a hot day during the second week of February. I went out to do my laundry. I made my way over to the library to get some work done. I couldn’t get to the office because the building was closed until Tuesday. It took all morning to get a few tasks done on the computer, which was extremely frustrating. I went out for lunch and returned in the afternoon, attempting to do a little research. I was glad to leave. I heard the news about the death of Gary Owens. I watched the NUMB3RS episode called “One Hour.” Don wasn’t part of the action because he was talking to a psychiatrist. I watched “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.” Billy Bob Thornton was a co-writer and the director. It didn’t reach the level of “Sling Blade,” but it was rather interesting, and it had some funny moments. The cast was pretty good. Besides Billy Bob, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, and Kevin Bacon were in the movie. Tippi Hedren was in the cast, too, but her scenes were cut. The mother of this Southern family died in England, but the funeral was to be held in Alabama. We see a culture clash of sorts when the two families met. There was some humor in it, too, as a conversation about football has to arise. It’s 1969, so war protests and LSD are part of the culture, though not pervasive in this part of the country. Duvall is still a good actor, but it’s hard to see as an old man so many years after “Apocalypse Now” and “Tender Mercies.” Billy Bob is pretty good as other character who is unusual, although his humorous side is much more convincing than his serious side. It was hilarious when he brought up masturbation, but it was uncomfortable to listen to him talk about the horrors of war and nearly getting burned alive. The differences between the British and the Americans made me think back to “A Fish Called Wanda.” I could believe in Kevin Bacon as part of the generation that opposed the Vietnam War, but it did look like he was wearing a wig. I liked him in “Footloose.” John Hurt didn’t show himself to be the great actor that he was in “The Elephant Man.” I wasn’t sure why the movie was called “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” but one of the scenes had Duvall and Hurt going out to see the car in which Jayne Mansfield died. It was a traveling attraction, although I couldn’t see why people who buy tickets to see a wrecked car. I didn’t see any blood stains on the front seat. The urban legend is that Jayne was decapitated in the accident. Apparently, she did suffer a gruesome fatal injury to the head, though. There is some sex and eating and drinking here in the South. One scene had a character on an LSD trip played for laughs. I haven’t seen anything like that in the movies since Oliver Stone’s “Salvador.” I remember hearing stories about The Beatles taking LSD for the first time. The relationship that Billy Bob had with cars remembered me of what he once said about “Smokey and the Bandit.” Billy Bob’s character had a few wacky moments, but he seemed so convincing when he said the wrong things. “It just felt right.” What I thought was funny was the British people eating the food in their last scene. The comment about bad British food was funny to me, and in fact one of the funniest things in the movie. The last scene goes back to Kevin Bacon. I couldn’t help thinking about Jon Voight in “Coming Home.” I thought the movie ended on a flat note. Young people didn’t know what they were doing in 1969. They still don’t know what they’re doing all these years later. I’m not sure if Billy Bob can produce work that is on the level of “Sling Blade” ever again. I have to give him credit for a good effort, though. I watched the Partridge Family episode “Old Scrapmouth,” which had Laurie getting braces and Mark Hamill hanging around the Partridge house for the chance to talk with her. Laurie heard the Rolling Stones in her mouth, and Hamill kept listening to a transistor radio. What I noticed about the featured song, “The Love Song,” was that we’d heard it before in Episode 10, “Go Directly to Jail.” At the end, Laurie was supposed to wear night braces for two years, but we never saw them again. I don’t think we saw as many tears in any other episode. I saw the Saturday Night Live skit with Susan Dey in it. One of the other news items I saw on the Internet was about David Cassidy filing for bankruptcy. It seemed like he was counting on getting something from that Partridge Family merchandising lawsuit to help him out. The mortgage on his house was a tough expense on his books. His marriage has crumbled, and he has no money. He’s going to turn 65 this year. He’s going to have to do more concerts and other things besides concerts. The situation reminds me of Episode 21 of The Partridge Family, “Partridge Up a Pear Tree,” which has Keith desperate for money because of his old car. I wonder what Danny Bonaduce and Shirley Jones have to say about the situation. I watched the episode of Hawaii Five-O. Danny had a 12-year-old daughter. When the ten o’clock news came on, I began to get too sleepy to stay up and watch television any longer. On the news, they talked about more warm weather. Some of the people who died on February 14 include David Hilbert (1943), P.G. Wodehouse (1975), McLean Stevenson (1996), Doug Fieger (2010), Dick Francis (2010), and George Shearing (2011). Today is a birthday for Simon Pegg (45), Meg Tilly (55), Teller (67), and Florence Henderson (81). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 14, “Grease” opened off Broadway at the Eden Theatre in 1972. Also in 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono began their week-long appearance on The Mike Douglas Show. In 1984, Elton John married Renate Blauel.

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