Thursday, June 27, 2019

Your Movies

            This week’s easy-to-write blog consists of your movie recommendations. Thanks.

            The process of writing this, and previous requests for favorite movies, led me to wonder how well the same process would work for books. I suspect that books are, in a way, less public than movies, and so the sharing of favorites would not be as much fun. But that is material for a future post.

            Back to your movies:

Steve Smith:
We like BBC stuff: Peaky Blinders(we saw all episodes twice, cheering for nasty Birmingham gypsy group).  Also try the following:
“Shetland,” a Scottish crime drama television series
“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society,” set in 1946
“Last Tango in Halifax”

Probably too much about my strange tastes . . ..
All on Netflix and all episodic.
Rex Rowan:
We don't share many favorite movies, so I'll only make a few recommendations. I've added the trailers to give you a taste of what they're like - though, sadly, the trailers don't always succeed in doing that.

“That Thing You Do”: To my mind a perfect movie - not great but perfect - about an early 60s rock n' roll band from Erie, Pennsylvania, and their exhilarating ride to the top. Written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also wrote some of the songs, it's a light, funny, innocent homage to the period and its musical styles. Hanks also wrote the liner notes to the soundtrack CD, describing the history of all the songs and performers in the movie - all of them fictional. Here's the trailer:

(In case you're wondering, the only other perfect movie that I can think of, off the top of my head, is Emma Thompson's “Sense and Sensibility.”)

“In Bruges”: A dim-witted hit man (Colin Farrell, brilliant) is hustled off to Bruges by a colleague after a job goes catastrophically wrong. As a fellow English major, I know you're familiar with the envy that's inspired by a screenplay that - funny and clever though you may be - you know you're not funny enough or clever enough to have written yourself. It's what I feel every time I watch this. Trailer:

On the subject of Colin Farrell, he's equally good in “The Lobster,” a quiet, funny, and deeply weird movie about a man who goes to a resort where he must find a mate or be turned into an animal. Trailer:

A couple of your commenters recommended movies starring Bill Nighy, my favorite English actor. I did see “Pirate Radio,” but he didn't have a large role and didn't really shine as he does in “The Girl in the Café,” in which he plays a movingly humane bureaucrat at a political conference (a little hokey, because it's by the wretched Richard Curtis of “Love, Actually” infamy), and “Wild Target,” where he's at his comic best. There's no good trailer for “The Girl in the Café,” but here's the trailer for “WildTarget”:

Barb Woodmansee:
“Master and Commander” - magnificent!
“Chocolat” - probably spelled it wrong
‘Rob Roy’ - one of my all-time Faves
“Damage” - Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche
“Alice in Wonderland” - Johnny Depp
“Sophie’s Choice” - hard to watch but brilliant 
“Jeremiah Johnson” - I have to watch it every 5 years
I didn’t like “Roma” either...

Charmaine Stangl:
We loved “Doubt” too -- a perfect movie. Great performances by everyone.  Also loved “The Birdcage.”  Here are three others we loved: “Rambling Rose” (Robert Duvall & Laura Dern), “Affliction” (Nick Nolte -- a crime that he didn't win an academy award) and “The Way, Way Back” (Steve Carrell).  We'll send more as we think of them.

Cary Bell:
Have you seen Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace”?

John Perkins:
A must-watch: “Hopscotch,” with Glenda Jackson, Walter Matthau, Ned Beatty; 1980.  A priceless satire about the CIA.

And dare I say, a must-watch for easily impressed 10-year-olds: “Red Skies of Montana,” 1952, a drama about a tragic forest fire.  (Those of us in the West are seeing a lot of tragic forest fires these days.)

            This just in: our television has been replaced! Now is the time to start in on your suggestions.

1 comment:

  1. I second "Hopscotch." I like Walter Matthau a lot. Two other excellent Matthau movies: "A New Leaf" co-stars Elaine May (who also wrote and directed) in the story of a playboy who has run through all his money and so targets a geeky botanist who happens to be rich and unmarried with the intention of marrying her and then killing her as soon as possible. "Charlie Varrick" is a caper movie directed by Don Siegel, who had directed "Dirty Harry" two years previously. Matthau plays a criminal who robs a bank, only to find that he's accidentally stolen some mob money - which the mob wants back. At one point in the movie, Varrick finds himself in bed with an attractive younger woman named Sybil Fort. The following bit of dialogue ensues:
    Charley: I like your bed. You may find this hard to believe but I've never slept on a round bed.
    Sybil: Is that so?
    Charley: What's the best way? North, south, east, or west?
    Sybil: That depends on what you had in mind.
    Charley: What I had in mind was boxing the compass.

    I'm also a huge fan of Robert Downey, Jr. One of his best performances - it fits him like a glove - is "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," in which he plays a jittery lowlife named Harry Lockhart who finds himself, through a series of unlikely events, auditioning to be the star of a TV series about a private eye. Doing research with a real private eye, Val Kilmer, he finds himself being framed for a real murder. The Shane Black script is great. Here at home we still ask each other, "Who taught you math?!" The trailer gives a pretty good idea of it:

    Speaking of trailers, Shane Black, who wrote "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," also wrote and directed "The Nice Guys," and I'll just leave you with the trailer, which is pretty amusing all by itself, even if you never see the movie: