Thursday, January 9, 2014

I'm moving!!!

Instead of searching for A Christmas to Remember, try Christmas of Change instead…

Monday, April 29, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

One down…

From my second viewing checklist I am sitting down right now to watch Fat Kid Rules the World.  I am skeptical now that I've heard it's a comedy - childhood obesity is anything but a laughing matter - but am making myself press on to get inspiration for a plot point in Christmas of Change.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I can't watch The Cardinal yet, because it was on a bad tape.

It's the end of the road with me and Netflix.  I am extremely angry right now and have to calm down, because they have censored me countless times since 2010.  I was going to order it from them, but now that I've learned that they've recalled all of Ray's Apu trilogy, I thought "Forget it!"

But Amazon, maybe…

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Oh - by the way

The title of this film has been changed to Christmas of Change.

Also, once I get my website going, work on all blogs of mine will cease.  Before that happens I will give you the address.


Mary Poppins (1964) "Let's go fly a kite!" sings formerly uptight father David Tomlinson at the end of this joyous musical.  Though the source material is certainly Disneyfied, it serves as an appropriate first major film role for Julie Andrews.
Midnight Run (1988) Walsh (Robert De Niro) must track down and bring to L.A. a mob boss known as The Duke.  It's part mobster flick, part comedy, part tale of unexpected friendship.
Modern Times (1936) Charlie Chaplin's last silent film (and his fifth listed here overall) details the Tramp's joyous battle against the minor evils in society.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) A magical animated tale from Japan's Hayao Miyazaki which portrays a children's utopia, a place where you can become friends with giant, plump, cuddly creatures.  As I've been told, they're 10 times as big in Japan as Mickey Mouse could dream of being here.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) Homer's Odyssey is (considerably) reworked to take place in the American South in the thirties.
On Golden Pond (1981) Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (who won an Oscar for this one, his last) play an elderly couple whose descendants come to visit for one summer, and they look back on the pros and cons of their lives.
Ordet (1955) This Danish film concerns a man convinced to be Jesus Christ, who is written off until he performs a string of miracles.
Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985) Iconically '80s Paul "Pee-wee Herman" Rubens' bicycle is stolen.  So what to do other than reclaim it in a madcap cross-country hunt?
The Philadelphia Story (1940) Katharine Hepburn "Slipped and Fell … IN LOVE!" read the poster, so now she must choose between Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart.
Pinocchio (1940) A wooden puppet must prove himself in order to become a real boy.  The evils of untruth (with some rather scary scenes) are explored in Disney's second animated feature, which is better-looking than its predecessor.  A wonderful morality tale.

Sunday, March 3, 2013


Ikiru (1952) Akira Kurosawa's humanist masterpiece, where an older man dying of a terminal illness finally does something with his life: build a playground in Tokyo.
Intolerance (1916) The passing of time is represented by the rocking of a cradle as we progress through four enlightening showcases of human intolerance.  Director D. W. Griffith made this to counteract his previous year's Birth of a Nation; this film is similarly long, but an uplifting anthology.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) Jimmy Stewart ruins his family's credit, acts like a total jerk, and ponders suicide, before he has a change of mood from Clarence the angel, who reveals what his world would have been like without him.  Unfortunately a notorious box-office bomb, this film is the prototype of the list it's made.
Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring (1986) Gérard Depardieu plays a hunchbacked man whose neighbors seek his well's water.  Dark at times, but ultimately uplifting.
The Jungle Book (1967) "The Bare Necessities," as Baloo sings, are the things you need in life to get by.  That's just the tip of what we learn in this rollicking adventure from Disney, loosely based on the works of Rudyard Kipling.
The Kid (1921) Charlie Chaplin takes in orphan Jackie Coogan (TV's very own Uncle Fester), with results that provide plenty of pathos and a strange sense of wisdom.
The Ladykillers (1955) Ealing's acclaimed British comedy, where one bad gang is out-witted by a little old lady.  The moral, coupled with no shortage of laughs, is that "good can succeed without even trying."
The Last Laugh (1924) How to get a nice ending from a bleak tale.  In F. W. Murnau's great tragi-comedy, Emil Jannings' hotel doorman is sacked because of his age, but ultimately it is he who gets the last laugh.
Life Is Beautiful (1997) It may sound perverse to get laughs out of the Holocaust's reach in Italy, but…After Roberto Benigni's 5 year old son loses his toy tank, he promises a new one, and ultimately it's the reward for surviving a concentration camp.  Until Crouching Tiger, this was the highest-grossing movie not filmed in English.
Local Hero (1983) Likewise, this one's about a small town in Scotland that sells out to Burt Lancaster, a Big Oil CEO.  Unlike today's America, however, there's a minimum of strife and division.

Friday, March 1, 2013


The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) Roberto Rossellini's reflection on the life of the missionary, a gentle ancestor of environmentalism, even incorporates some good natured humor.
Forrest Gump (1994) Just suspend your disbelief and you'll be well on your way to appreciating this autobiography from the title character, as well as memories of a very loose time in American history.
The Freshman (1925) Harold Lloyd's romantic sports comedy about a college freshman who woos a student and must prove himself by winning a football game.
The General (1926) Buster Keaton plays the owner of a train during the Civil War, and runs after it when it is stolen.  Great slapstick, great charm, great family viewing.
The Gold Rush (1925) Quite similar to the above, except with Chaplin and taking place in a Klondike gold rush.
Grand Illusion (1937) A masterpiece of cinema itself, and particularly of pacifism in the medium, Renoir's powerful pre-World War II prison drama now seems somewhat dated.  But the message ought to carry through.
The Great Dictator (1940) The Tramp's satire of Adolf Hitler who, needless to say, banned it.  Leave it to the Führer to remain unmoved by the closing speech.
Gregory's Girl (1981) Amiable adolescent romantic comedy.
Groundhog Day (1993) Bill Murray plays a cynic who must repeat the same day of his life until he does it ethically right.
Hairspray (2007) The closing number is an irrepressible ball of energy that sums up the film's positive message on social change and positivity.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Dazed and Confused (1993) Takes place in a suburban town in Texas on the last day of high school in 1976.  Everyone tries to stay "clean"…with a classic rock soundtrack and the obligatory feel of relief.
Death in Venice (1971) Luchino Visconti's poetic, good-humored hymn to dying was made into an opera two years later by Benjamin Britten, and contains the magnificent penulminate movement of Mahler's Fifth.
Die Hard (1988) Bruce Willis's marriage is on the rocks.  It's gonna take the counter-infiltration of German terrrorists in a Japanese-owned LA skyscraper for him to win Bonnie Bedelia back.
Down by Law (1986) Two drifters are thrown in jail for crimes they didn't commit, too lazy to fight back.  Their stay, however, combined with Roberto Benigni and his poor English, allows them to see things in a different light.
Dumbo (1941) A very young elephant becomes the laughingstock of the local circus because he has freakishly large ears.  Then a mouse (of all creatures) comes to his aid and shows a use for them: flying.  Disney had previously made a cartoon short of The Ugly Duckling, but it's this one that is the rightful classic.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Steven Spielberg's heartwarming tale of an alien abandoned on Earth, who befriends Henry Thomas, may well be a great antidote to Alien from a few years back.  In fact, the same could be true of the whole stereotype surrounding extraterrestrial life.
Evil Dead II (1987) Cinema's most light-hearted and fun horror movie.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) Yes, there is a Smiths song on the soundtrack (in fact, some depressed people have adopted it as their theme song).  But the film teaches us to call in sick and kick back and relax every once in a while.  Mental health, dude!
Field of Dreams (1989) Kevin Costner becomes baseball's medium: He both creates a pitching field for ghosts and and catches up with his dead father.
Finding Nemo (2003) A film that has unjustly faded into the sands of time since it first came out.  It's a great character study as Albert Brooks' overprotective father loosens up while trying to find his only son—while we loosen up hearing Ellen DeGeneres speak Whale.