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The Catered Affair (1956)
Davis and Borgnine at their best.
Bette Davis perhaps the best actress that Hollywood ever produced pared with one of the best and most under-appreciated actors of all time Ernest Borgnine are man and wife in the wonderful small story about a mother wanting to throw a big wedding for her only daughter that they really can't afford. Borgnine a cab driver who has saved for years to buy his own cab sees his life savings along with his dreams being sunk into the wedding. Debbie Reynolds as the daughter who never wanted a big wedding feels caught in the middle. This movie is a must see for any fans of the cast and of classic Hollywood. Davis, never afraid to play as she later put it "a frump" and is what sets her apart from other Hollywood female actors who once played glamorous parts early in their careers is particularly good in this roll. This paring with Borgnine is what makes this movie a classic.
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Imagine a furnished penthouse apartment with terraces on Sutton place for $1000.00 a month. You couldn't rent a closet in New York for that these days. This movie is one of my favorites. It's full of memorable lines which my wife and I use all the time. The cast is first rate. None better than Lauren Bacall when she was at her most beautiful. Also Monroe and Grable also in the prime of their careers. Monroe perhaps more than Grable but she holds her own. Fred Clark, Rory Calhoun, and William Powell round out this stellar cast. Showcasing N.Y.C. when it was considered the coolest place on Earth makes the location one of the stars of the film.
'Til Death (2006)
Getting better every week.
Brad Garret was the funniest actor on Everybody loves Raymond. I believe he's one of the finest comic actors in television. I very much anticipated his new show Till Death. The first few episodes were a disappointment only because the relationship between the couple seemed to caustic to be believable. I suppose it was meant to contrast with the newlyweds next door. Others must have thought the same way because later episodes have toned it down a bit and you can now believe that like most real couples they may not always get along but actually love each other. The actress who plays the wife seems to have been given the go ahead to show a lot more femininity. I believe she's about the only comic actress they could have found that could hold her own with Garrett. She great in the roll. The couple next door are perfectly cast and a great foil for the older couple. They've resisted the temptation (unlike "Back to You")to introduce too many characters into the cast. I'd really like to see Garret again in the movie roll her was born to play, the Jackie Gleason biography from a few years back. I can't help thinking that this show reminds me a lot of THE HONEYMOONERS, a classic worth emulating.
El laberinto del fauno (2006)
Not for children
Warning warning warning. This movie is not for children. Not in any way, shape, or form. It's not for some adults either. There are numerous execution style killings. There is even a scene with a leg amputation although it cuts away at the last minute. No pun intended. Plenty of brains being blown out and torture. Despite the fairy tale theme this excellent movie is not even for children who you might think have seen it all. It's also all in Spanish with English subtitles for those of you who might not know. I recommend this movie highly but as I said it is not for every viewer. I read that when this movie came out a few people brought their very young tykes and were shocked by the content. It's rated R and for very good reasons.
The Duke's best
I remember reading somewhere that Katherine Ross was so embarrassed to be in this movie that she refused to ever see it. She was riding high at the time just coming off Butch Cassidy. Her star would fade again within a couple of years after she did THE SPEPFORD WIVES.
Although this is a typical John Wayne movie in some respects (they always had a fight scene) but this one is better than most because it's based on a real person and a real company. I watch it whenever it comes on not because I think it's great cinema but it's above all entertaining. Vera Miles gave a very good performance despite the fact that this role was perhaps below her considering her Hollywood credentials. Personally, I'm not into westerns so I think this is John Wayne's best movie. I'm surprised they never tried to make a TV series out of this. It was perfect for TV, with a different fire every week.
Seaview was the star
I was a kid back in the 60s and Voyage was one of my favorites. The plot lines followed the typical pattern of the day like other sci-fi shows back then. Every week a different undersea monster. The star of the show was the Seaview, a sleek nuclear sub with windows in the nose and fins designed after the 58 Cadillac. There were plenty of TV themed toys available back then I had to have my own Seaview. I got it one Christmas, It was yellow, about a foot long but I was disappointed to find a handle sticking out of the front so you could wind the rubber bands that made it go. Kinda ruined the aesthetics of the model. I also had the plastic model that was put together with glue like an airplane model. although it was much smaller. The closest I ever got to run it was in the bathtub and I had to make my own ping noises. My family must have thought I was nuts. The Seaview got a remodel in the last season with new windows in the nose and a docking birth underneath for the Flying Sub. I recently rented some DVDs from the series. As I expected they had not stood the test of time but back then it was all we had. Three channels if you were lucky. I kinda hope they don't try to do a remake because those things never work like that awful remake of Lost in Space.
Dr. Kildare: The Mask Makers (1962)
Art imitates life
This episode was the first time I remember seeing Carolyn Jones. She played a young girl with a big nose. She gets a nose job and becomes a real beauty. Oddly Carolyn Jones had a very painful nose job done on herself. This was when she was preparing herself for the movie industry. She was known mostly as Mortisha Addams. That show, THE ADAMS FAMILY. Although well remembered that show lasted only two seasons. She received very good reviews for some of her previous work. She played opposite Elvis in KING CREOLE. Hers was the standout role and performance in an otherwise simple rights of youth story. I remember even a a little kid I fell in love with her. Whoever did her procedure did a very good job because her nose although perhaps a little turned up was very feminine. Sorry to go on like this but they make you write at least ten lines.
Halfway Home (2007)
I've laughed out loud several times while watching this show. The characters are stereotypical sure, but that's the joke. The Hispanic male prostitute cracks me up. MANgina is what he calls his "undercarriage". On family day his father arrived to say "the men in our family have been male prostitutes for generations and my son is the first one to be arrested" His makeover tips get him a job offer at the local make-up counter. C-BASS is the would be tough guy and black activist that grew up in Bel Air. Serenity is the plus sized inmate who operates on the premise that all white people are afraid of blacks. This is a COMEDY CENTRAL after all and if it is to have a chance at all in the vast wasteland of comedy show it's got to be over the top. That's what we've come to expect from COMEDY CENTRAL. Humor we can't find on the networks.
I remember enjoying the TOMMY album when it came out. I also remember hating this movie when it came out. Seeing it again today in 2007 it seems like a silly idea. To try and wrap a movie around a couple of hit songs was dumb. In those days everything got made into a movie. Seeing it today I am surprised it was released at all. It's tedious, overblown, and Ann Margaret can't sing. Daltry looked goofy. A lot of this movie looks like it shares the same production values as an episode of THE MONKEYS. I think a lot of people felt ripped off when they came out of the movie. It's 2007 and I've often wondered why this movie doesn't play much on TV but now I know why. Probably one of the worst movies of all time. I've never seen that Sgt. Pepper's movie but I suspect they are a lot alike.
The Cape (1996)
The Cape was a good show but never given the chance to find an audience or should I say the audience couldn't find the show. In my area it played at 1:30am on Saturday nights. The networks probably would have done it in even faster. Later I saw one of the actors selling real estate on HGTV House Hunters. With a large cast and a lot of location shooting it was probably and expensive show to do. The success of SPACE COWBOYS (AWFUL) tells me that a show about the US space program could have been successful if it had been given a good time slot. I wish the one season was available of DVD. Since it involved NASA the show had a real feeling about it. The theme music was also very good. One of the final shows that involved a Russian capsule with dead Cosmonauts aboard was excellent.