Sunday, March 29, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 745th Edition

Welcome to the 745th Edition of my series.  I just want to start by saying thank you to all those essential workers out there in the front lines.  In general, I wish us all well and to anyone out there that has the Covid-19 virus, I'm just calling it as it is and not using beer or country names to nickname it, I wish a full recovery.  To everyone in general, please try to think rationally and think of others in these crazy times.  For me, it has not been easy before mostly forced to be an introvert but I hold out home one day at a time for us being able to return our everyday life where for me I'll be doing plays, singing karaoke and writing this at a coffee place.  I would also like to make an announcement.  While we unfortunately cannot go to the theater but next Sunday we can bring a little theater into out homes.  The radio play TREASURE ISLAND that I was a part of in the beginning of the year is to air on the radio next Sunday on April 5th and on Sundays April 12th and 19th.  This will be broadcast on the Richmond, Indiana station of 91.5 and their website is which has various ways to listen to it on the website and an app.  This will be at 5 pm on all three days.

Michael Collins (1996):  I start the week off with this historical biopic which was directed by Neil Jordan.  Liam Neeson stars as the Irish revolutionary who would go onto lead a guerrilla war against the UK for their freedom and help to found the Irish Free State in 1922.  Alan Rickman co-stars as Eamon De Valera who was also a very significant and controversial part of Ireland in this era.  Julia Roberts, Ian Hart, Aidan Quinn, Jer O'Leary, Mike Dwyer, Sean McGinley, Gary Whelan, Stephen Rea, Frank Laverty, Stuart Graham, Brendan Gleeson, Gerard McSorley, Owen Roe, Ian McElhinney, Charles Dance, and many others co-star in this biopic.  This was a pretty compelling biopic on someone who does not really get discussed as much as other revolutionaries.  Of course, liberties are taken for dramatic effect.  Neeson brings the role to live very well and the rest of the cast were also very good.  This was really worth a look and then maybe look into the real person after this movie.

La La Land (2016):  Now I bring this homage to the world of Hollywood and jazz music which was written and directed by Damien Chazelle.  Ryan Gosling stars as jazz musician Sebastian and Emma Stone stars as aspiring actress Mia.  They are both struggling to get where they want to be in their careers.  They soon meet and are able to relate some to one another and form a relationship.  J.K. Simmons, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend, Terry Walters, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Rothe, Sonoya Mizuno, Claudine Claudio, Jason Fuchs, Olivia Hamilton, Anna Chavelle, Marius De Vries, Finn Wittrock, Josh Pence, Nicole Coulon, Damon Gupton, Meagan Fay, Tom Everett Scott, and many others co-star in this film.  I forgot to mention that is this a musical and has some really good numbers.  It also has a very amusing opening scene that took song and dance to a new level in my opinion.  This is the third teaming of Gosling and Stone so as of now they have a trilogy.  This also takes a look at the difficulty of a relationship that happens between two very busy people who can't always see each other.  

Ocean's Eight (2018):  Gary Ross directed and co-wrote this heist comedy.  Sandra Bullock stars as Debbie Oceans who is the sister of Danny from the OCEANS trilogy that had numbers 11, 12, and 13.  Debbie is just getting paroled and forms an all female team with her friend Lou, played by Cate Blanchett, in order to pull off a heist at the Met Gala in New York City.  The rest of this gang involves Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Awkwafina, and Sarah Paulson who each have their own role in the heist.  Elliott Gould, Richard Armitage, Charlotte Kirk, Dakota Fanning, Whitney White, Damian Young, Gideon Glick, James Corden, Marlo Thomas, Dana Ivey, and many others co-star in this comedy.  I really like the original OCEAN'S 11 movie with the Rat Pack and the remake I thought was decent but was never a die-hard fan of the series.  This to me was very entertaining and in times like we are in now that is what I need.

Drug Addiction (1951):  This is my short film for the week which most can likely guess is regarding drug addiction.  The story involves a straight A student going off the deep end with drugs.  It started with Marijuana and was a gateway to Heroin.  Some of the information of what is in the drugs was pretty good but this is more entertainment as opposed to being educational at the time.  I think we know more now than we do then but does make for some entertainment and is available on Amazon Prime as part of the "Drugs Kill!" series.

Six of a Kind (1934):  Leo McCarey directed this comedy which stars Charles Ruggles and Mary Boland as married couple J. Pinkham and Flora Whinney who are going on a road trip and Flora decides to hire a couple to go along to share the expenses.  She rethinks her decision when George Burns and Gracie Allen come along with their Great Dane.  W.C. Fields and Alison Skipworth round out the six where fields plays the Sheriff and Skipworth is kind of a foil.  This movie manages to feature three different comedy teams for the era and I was surprised at how much I laughed, especially at Burns and Allen.  Most probably know Burns for in his later years but shows some really good work when he was younger.  This is just a little over an hour long and delivers so much laughs in that hour.

Cactus Flower (1969):  I follow up with another comedy that I came across that sounded interesting enough and is directed by Gene Saks.  Walter Matthau stars as dentist Dr. Julian Watson and is in a relationship with Toni Simmons, played by Goldie Hawn.  Toni is under the belief that she cannot marry Julian because he is married and has three kids but this is a lie that Julian uses so that he does not have to commit.  He finally decides he wants to be with Toni and claims he will be divorcing his wife.  While Toni likes this, she also wants to meet this "wife" so Julian enlists his loyal nurse and receptionist Stephanie Dickinson, played by Ingrid Bergman.  Jack Weston, Rick Lenz, Vito Scotti, Irene Hervey, Eve Bruce, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This was a pretty intriguing comedy which shows us the price of a lie and how far it can go.  It was with very funny results in this movie with a very early role for Hawn who won Best Supporting Actress and would go onto have a great career.  

Eddie the Eagle (2015):  This is my sports movie for the week which is based on a true story.  Dexter Fletcher directed this film which stars Taron Egerton as 1988 Winter Olympics ski jumper Eddie Edwards.  This shows how Eddie was never much of an athlete but it never let him stop him from his goals of one day being in the Olympics.  He found that what he wanted was the very difficult sport of ski jumping where most of them started at a young age in childhood but Eddie persisted.  Hugh Jackman co-stars as Bronson Peary who was a ski jumper when he was younger and reluctantly agrees to train Eddie after he Bronson sees he just will not give up no matter how unlikely it seems.  Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Tom Costello, Mark Benton, Tim McInnery, Edvin Endre, Mads Sjogard Patterson, Marc Benjamin, Iris Berben, Rune Temte, Daniel Ings, Jim Broadbent, Christopher Walken, and many others co-star in this very inspirational underdog film.  This was a very moving film and as mentioned on another one, with times like they are, sometimes we need movies like this one.  The soundtrack to this movie was great and goes along so well with the movie.  Egerton and Jackman work very well together.  This was one where it was so easy to get behind Edwards and took that difficult journey with him.  A good double feature to go along with this one could be RUDY.

Rear Window (1954):  Alfred Hitchcock directed this film based on the short story by Cornell Woolrich.  James Stewart stars as photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies who is wheelchair bound and stuck in his apartment until he gets better.  Having nothing better to do, he finds that he can spy on activities outside of the rear window.  In one of the apartments, Jeff is convinced he has witnessed a murder.  With the help of his girlfriend Lisa, played by Grace Kelly, his visiting nurse Stella, played by Thelma Ritter, and his cop friend Thomas Doyle, played by Wendell Corey, they manage to slowly put together what has happened.  Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn, Ross Bagdasarian, Sara Berner, Frank Cady, Jesslyn Fax, and many others co-star in this film.  This combines suspense with a good amount of dark humor that only the "Master of Suspense" can bring us.  I admit that I relate to Jeff just a little bit as I work from my home and am rather observant out my bedroom window seeing people go by or sometimes critters.  This is quite the classic leading up to a great climax.

The Last Picture Show (1971):  Peter Bogdanovich directed this classic coming of age film which is based on the novel by Larry McMurtry.  This centers around two good friends in Sonny and Duane, played by Timothy Bottoms and Jeff Bridges, who are about to graduate in a small West Texas town where they feel is going nowhere.  Each of them are dealing with their own relationship issues, where they are going in life and with each other.  Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, Eileen Brennan, Clu Gulager, Sam Bottoms, Sharon Ullrick, Randy Quaid, and many others co-star in this film.  This is really hard to explain as it really just centers around the characters and story.  It has a really good black and white look that goes along very well with the story of the struggle of a  small-town life that is still relevant today.  This is available to watch on Criterion Channel.

The Founder (2016):  I end the week with this biopic on Ray Kroc which was directed by John Lee Hancock.  Michael Keaton stars as Kroc who is a travelling salesman and comes across a very innovative restaurant run by a couple brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch.  This was the start of what we now know as McDonald's.  Kroc gets the idea to franchise what they are doing and in turn mostly screws over the brothers.  Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Patrick Wilson, Justin Randell Brooke, Griff Furst, Wilbur Fitzgerald, David De Vries, Andrew Benator, Cara Mantella, and many others co-star in this film.  This is really one of my favorite movies.  This is a very compelling look at the world of McDonald's and it is interesting how parallel their rise is to that of Facebook.  Keaton plays the part of hustler and salesman Ray Kroc very well.  A good companion piece to this movie is the documentary THE REAL FOUNDER which centers around Dick McDonald and is available on Amazon Prime.  A really good double feature on this one is with THE SOCIAL NETWORK where as mentioned they are very parallel to one another.

Well, that is it for this week but continue on for the return of "Fun and Useless Facts".  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Jessica Chastain, and many more.


I don't usually do this but obviously I have a little more time and I had enough people to go on to get some good facts.  Many of my selections have actors who have worked together before and after so I avoided any of those.

Julia Roberts (Michael Collins) and Dakota Fanning (Ocean's 8) were in the 2006 movie CHARLOTTE'S WEB.

Julia Roberts (Michael Collins) and J.K. Simmons (La La Land) were in the 2001 movie THE MEXICAN.

Julia Roberts (Michael Collins) and Tim McInnerny (Eddie the Eagle) were in the 1999 romantic comedy NOTTING HILL.

Liam Neeson (Michael Collins) evades Patrick Wilson (The Founder) in the 2010 movie THE A-TEAM.

Liam Neeson (Michael Collins), Josh Pence (La La Land), and Rihanna (Ocean's 8) were in the 2012 sci-fi movie BATTLESHIP.

Liam Neeson (Michael Collins), Josh Pence (La La Land) and Anne Hathaway (Ocean's 8) were in the superhero film THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  Neeson and Pence play older and younger versions of Ra's Al Ghul.

Liam Neeson (Michael Collins) and Sandra Bullock (Ocean's 8) are in the 2000 movie GUN SHY.

Liam Neeson (Michael Collins) and Jim Broadbent (Eddie the Eagle) were in the 2002 film GANGS OF NEW YORK.

Aidan Quinn (Michael Collins) and Sandra Bullock (Ocean's 8) are in the 1998 movie PRACTICAL MAGIC.

Aidan Quinn (Michael Collins), Dakota Fanning (Ocean's 8), and Christopher Walken (Eddie the Eagle) are in the 2005 movie NINE LIVES.

Aidan Quinn (Michael Collins) and Helena Bonham Carter (Ocean's 8) were in the 1994 film MARY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN.

Alan Rickman (Michael Collins) and Helena Bonham Carter (Ocean's 8) are in the 2007 musical SWEENEY TODD:  THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET.

Gerard McSorley (Michael Collins) and Cate Blanchett (Ocean's 8) are in the 2003 film VERONICA GUERIN

Stephen Rea (Michael Collins) and Jim Broadbent (Eddie the Eagle) were in the 1992 film THE CRYING GAME.

Ryan Gosling (La La Land) and Sandra Bullock (Ocean's 8) were in the 2002 movie MURDER BY NUMBERS and formed a relationship for about a year.

Emma Stone (La La Land), Damian Young (Ocean's 8) and Michael Keaton (The Founder) were in the 2014 film BIRDMAN:  OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE).

J.K. Simmons (La La Land) and Cate Blanchett (Ocean's 8) are in the 2000 film THE GIFT.

Rosemarie DeWitt (La La Land) and Anne Hathaway (Ocean's 8) are sisters in the 2008 film RACHEL GETTING MARRIED.

Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land) and Awkwafina (Ocean's 8) were in the 2018 movie CRAZY RICH ASIANS.

Anne Hathaway (Ocean's 8) asks Hugh Jackman (Eddie the Eagle) to care for her daughter in the 2012 musical LES MISERABLES.

Anne Hathaway (Ocean's 8) and Ellen Burstyn (The Last Picture Show) were in the 2014 film INTERSTELLAR.

Anne Hathaway (Ocean's 8) and Randy Quaid (The Last Picture Show) were in the 2005 film BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

Mindy Kaling (Ocean's 8) and B.J. Novak (The Founder) were in the popular sitcom THE OFFICE and were in a relationship.  They also have a child together.

Elliott Gould (Ocean's 8) was in a 1985 episode of GEORGE BURNS COMEDY WEEK which features George Burns (Six of a Kind).

Damian Young (Ocean's 8) and Hugh Jackman (Eddie the Eagle) were in last week's 2017 musical THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

George Burns (Six of a Kind) and Walther Matthau (Cactus Flower) were in the 1975 comedy THE SUNSHINE BOYS.

Walter Matthau (Cactus Flower) and James Stewart (Rear Window) served in the US Army Air Force, 8th Air Force, 453rd Bombardment Group in England.

Rick Lenz (Cactus Flower) and Raymond Burr (Rear Window) were in the tv movie PERRY MASON:  THE CASE OF THE TELLTALE TALK SHOW HOST.

Rick Lenz (Cactus Flower) and James Stewart (Rear Window) were in the 1976 western THE SHOOTIST.

Christopher Walken (Eddie the Eagle) and Michael Keaton (The Founder) were in the 1992 superhero film BATMAN RETURNS.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 744th Edition

Welcome to the 744th edition of my series.  Last week when I posted, Indiana's restaurants and bars were able to stay open of as of last Tuesday, our governor shut down dine in services.  I am fortunate that I work at my house but it is still not easy with my mostly extroverted lifestyle.  Usually when I write these things, I am at a coffee place, sometimes a bar, sometimes the library, or at other homes of friends.  This is the first one in years I wrote in my home.  I feel for those who are sick and wish them a full recovery.  I really feel for those that are unable to work because of the closings out there.  Just about all of us have had our way of life disrupted in some way.  I feel for those high school seniors that will not be able to experience the normal things that are typical for them.  This is something I would never even wish on my worst enemy.  At least I can still do this and don't think I'll run out of anything to watch on television so there's that as well.  The play I am in is being postponed indefinitely but they are determined to put it on at some point so there is something to hope for.  In all this, I will just continue to hold out for hope and wash my hands.  Now for my selections.

Shaft (2000):  John Singleton directed this updated version of the novel by Ernest Tidyman.  Samuel L. Jackson brings to life New York police detective John Shaft who is the nephew of the John Shaft from the '70s movies and Richard Roundtree reprises the role in this movie.  Shaft goes after murder suspect Walter Wade Jr., played by Christian Bale, who is very privileged and manages to always get away.  Shaft tires of the injustice and throws down his badge going after him on his terms.  Vanessa Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Busta Rhymes, Dan Hedaya, Toni Collette, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Josef Sommer, Lynne Thigpen, Philip Bosco, Pat Hingle, Lee Terguson, Daniel Von Bargen, Sonja Sohn, Peter McRobbie, Zach Grenier, Mekhi Phifer, Lawrence Taylor, and many others co-star in this film.  This does a good job of capturing the tone of the '70s movies and working it into the modern times.  Jackson is perfectly cast as Shaft.  This is very violent and vulgar but also quite fun if you can get past those two things.

Booked for Safekeeping (1960):  This is my short film for the week and is essentially a police training video from this era.  This shows how to deal with the mentally ill and being able to deal with this cases without injury or violence.  A lot of these videos are just comedic by today's standards but this actually holds up pretty well.  This is available on Amazon Prime and is part of the series "Vintage Police Films" so more could be featured in the coming weeks.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939):  Frank Capra directed this political film.  James Stewart stars as Jefferson Smith who is appointed to fill a vacancy is the senate.  Smith is a very idealistic and naive person who is the leader of a group called the Boy Rangers.  While being very excited at first to be a part of the political system, he slowly learns of the corruption that is going on.  With the help of his secretary Saunders, played by Jean Arthur, Jefferson does what he can to stand up to the corruption and get his bill passed.  Claude Rains, Edward Arnold, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Eugene Pallette, Beulah Bondi, H.B. Warner, Harry Carey, Astrid Allwyn, Ruth Donnelly, Grant Mitchell, Porter Hall, and many others co-star in this film.  This is one that still remains relevant today and is for all the everyday people in our world.  I also think politicians should be required to watch this movie every year.

Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (2018):  This is my tv movie for the week and was a live presentation of the classic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical.  John Legend takes the helm as Jesus and Brandon Victor Dixon co-stars as Judas whose view this musical is really from.  Sara Bareilles co-stars as Mary Magdalene and rock legend Alice Cooper plays King Herod.  Ben Daniels, Erik Gronwall, Jin Ha, Norm Lewis, Jason Tam, and many others co-star in this tv movie.  I did not see this when it aired and the biggest criticism I am seeing is that there were way too many commercials which I can see how hard it can be to go into a commercial break.  Most people I know were fine with Legend as our savior.  I watched it on a dvd I got from the library where there are no commercials and was very well done in my opinion with the set and performances.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953):  Jean Negulesco directed this comedy that feature the trio of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall.  They are three model friends who set out to marry men with a lot of money but gets complicated in very comical ways.  Each one have their own unique story and is quite the trio.  David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alexander D'Arcy, Fred Clark, William Powell, and many others co-star in this comedy.  These three women worked very well together.  There are a lot of very interesting inside references in this movie to the world of Hollywood.  I don't know if you'll learn much in the way of marrying millionaires but I do think you'll get some laughs.

Ballerina (2006):  This is my documentary for the week which was directed by Bertrand Normand.  This features five different Russian ballerinas and their stories of how they got where they are and where they are going.  I guess this goes well for me playing a Russian ballet instructor in a play.  This also gives a good look into the world of ballet and the discipline they have for what they do.  There is not much more I can say except that it is a very compelling documentary.

The Wiz (1978):  This is my second of three musicals this week.  This would be the ghetto version of THE WIZARD OF OZ and has an all black cast.  Diana Ross stars as Dorothy who in this situation is a Kindergarten teacher in Harlem and finds herself in the world of Oz.  While there, she meets the Scarecrow, played by Michael Jackson, the Tin Man, played by Nipsey Russell, and the Cowardly Lion, played by Ted Ross.  Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, and many others co-star in this musical.  One criticism I have is about the sparse use of the witches which were played by King and Horne.  This is referred to as "A Motown Production" and was quite a music fest with its cast.  This is not as good as the 1939 classic or the later musical WICKED but this still has some pretty fun music numbers and don't mind an occasional watch with this one.

Kicking and Screaming (2005):  Now I bring a sports comedy which centers around youth soccer and is directed by Jesse Dylan.  Will Ferrell stars as Phil Weston who did not quite get the competitive gene from his father Buck, played by Robert Duvall.  Phil's son Sam, played by Dylan McLaughlin, gets traded to another team by his own grandfather and takes over the coaching duties when the other one backs out.  As Phil tries to coach the team, he slowly becomes very overbearing like his dad.  Kate Walsh, Musetta Vander, Josh Hutcherson, Steven Anthony Lawrence, Elliott Cho, Dallas McKinney, Sammy Fine, Timmy Deters, David Herman, Rachael Harris, Laura Kightlinger, Jim Turner, Julia Campbell, Phil Lewis, David Bowe, Matt Winston, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is in some ways satire on youth sports when sometimes they get too competitive and forget the element of fun.  Ditka is amusing playing himself and Ferrell plays Phil in the way only Will Ferrell can which works very well in this movie in his rivalry with his father.  If looking for some laughs, this will give a lot.

12 Angry Men (1957):  Now I bring this classic which was directed by Sidney Lumet.  Henry Fonda stars as juror # 8 in this film where he is on a murder trial and while the eleven others were ready to find the defendant guilty, he was not convinced it was beyond reasonable doubt.  He is able to slowly get others to agree but juror #3, played by Lee J. Cobb, proves to be the most difficult.  Martin Balsam, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, John Fiedler, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Edward Binns, Joseph Sweeney, George Voskovec, and Robert Webber play the rest of the jury.  This is a very intense film that just about all of it takes place in the jury room.  This became a very popular theme in both film and television.  It is also very popular to do as a play which I would love to be in one day.  This is a classic film that will always rank in my favorites.

The Greatest Showman (2017):  I end the week with my third musical featured this week which was directed by Michael Gracey.  Hugh Jackman stars as the legendary P.T. Barnum whose vision came true starting with a museum but would become an oddities show or as we know it a freak show.  His obsession with success however complicates his marriage with his wife Charity, played by Michelle Williams.  Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Austyn Johnson, Cameron Seely, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eric Anderson, Ellis Rubin, Skylar Dunn, Paul Sparks, Will Swenson, Byron Jennings, Betsy Aidem, Damian Young, Tina Benko, and many others co-star in this musical.  This has a lot of very memorable musical numbers, two of which I have done on karaoke which include FROM NOW ON and REWRITE THE STARS but I have yet to find a guy comfortable enough to sing THE OTHER SIDE.  This was a dream project for Jackman while Efron and Zendaya really hold their own in this amazing musical.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Julia Roberts, Emma Stone, Cate Blanchett, and many others.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 743rd Edition

Welcome to the 743rd edition of my series.  While the play I am doing in Elwood YOU CAN'T IT WITH YOU will still happen, we are having to do it a little later.  I do not have exact dates as of yet but we are leaning towards the end of April to May sometime.  When the news first started coming about this Corona Virus, I never really foresaw what would happen but here we are.  I'm trying to keep an open mind about what's going on and just live my life the way I can.  To anyone that has contracted this, I wish them all well including Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at this point.  To anyone that has died from it, my thoughts go out to the family and friends.  I also feel for those who are losing work right now with all the things that are getting cancelled, suspended, or closed.  I feel for some of the kids who are being taken out of school and mostly doing the e-learning which I know is not the ideal thing for some of the teachers and children.  It is unfortunate the mass panic that is happening.  I hope that those who have bought way too much toilet paper or anything will realize what they have done and reach out to family and friends to see if they need any of the things.  I'm fortunate that I can still work as I work at home and at least I can still do these blogs.  I'm still going to rehearsals and remain hopeful things will get better.  I think I've gone on long enough so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Confirmation (2016):  I start the week off with this HBO movie which is based on a true story.  Rick Famuyiwa directed this movie which is centered around the time Clarence Thomas, played by Wendell Pierce, was nominated for a position as a Supreme Court judge.  Thomas appeared to have everything going for him but things become complicated when a former colleague in Anita Hill, played by Kerry Washington, accuses him of sexual harassment when they worked together.  A lot of this focuses around the chaos going on when disagreements in the political world happen on how to handle the situation.  Greg Kinnear, Jeffrey Wright, Eric Stonestreet, Bill Irwin, Zoe Lister-Jones, Grace Gummer, Treat Williams, Dylan Baker, Erika Christensen, Alison Wright, Malcom Gets, Peter McRobbie, Kimberly Elise, Frank Hoyt Taylor, and many others co-star in this political movie.  I did not know about any of this until I came across this movie and it happened before the "#metoo" movement.  Washington does a great job as Hill and I also really liked Treat Williams as Edward Kennedy.  It really leaves us to believe who was right and wrong. Keep in mind, Thomas would become the judge so people will have an idea on how it ends but it was interesting to see what happened to get to that point.

Now is Good (2012):  Ol Parker directed this movie which is based on the novel BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham.  Dakota Fanning stars as Tessa whose days are unfortunately numbered due to Leukemia.  She has a list of things she is wanting to do before dying and tries to live life on her terms in her last days.  Jeremy Irvine co-stars as Adam who forms a relationship with Tessa knowing her days are numbered and hoping to help her make the most of this time.  Paddy Considine, Olivia Williams, Kaya Scodelario, Julia Ford, Julain Wadham, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty moving film that is driven by the characters and script.  It does a good job showing how the people around her are trying to deal with the knowledge they do not have her much longer.

Ford V Ferrari (2019):  This is part one of a two-part Christian Bale series.  James Mangold directed this film which is based on a true story and based around the auto industry and the racing industry.  Matt Damon stars as American car designer Carroll Shelby who has to retire from auto racing but but gets the opportunity from Ford to beat the Italians at their own game.  He gets his driver friend Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, to be his driver and while his driving skills are great, his people skills are not the best.  Jon Bernthal co-stars as Ford vice president Lee Iacocca who makes it possible for them.  Caitriona Balfe, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Tracy Letts, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon, JJ Feild, Jack McMcMullen, Corrado Invernizzi, Joe Williamson, Ian Harding, Christopher Darga, and many others co-star in this film.  This leads to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1966 where as the title indicates are determined to defeat Ferrari.  Damon and Bale make a great team and Bernthal rounds it out as a good trio.  This movie goes at full force and delivers the goods.

Unaccustomed as we Are (1929):  This is my classic comedy short for the week which features the legendary duo of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.  Oliver invites Stan over for dinner but Mrs. Hardy is not having it.  Doing this leads to some some comical situations involving the neighbor and a cop.  This is the first of their talkies after having many silent shorts.  Fans of classic comedy should really enjoy this one.

Gigi (1958):  This is my musical for the week which was directed by Vincente Minnelli .  Leslie Caron stars as the title character who is part of a 1900s upper class society where her mother and aunt are trying to teach her to be proper but is far too free-spirited to be that way.  Louis Jourdan co-stars as Gaston who is part of a very wealthy family and takes interest in Gigi but must get through their differences.  Maurice Chevalier, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor, Jacques Bergerac, Isabel Jeans, John Abbott, and many others co-star in this musical.  This is a pretty fun and rather underrated musical from this era with some good numbers from Lerner and Loewe.

Norma Rae (1979):  Now I bring a more serious movie that is based on a true story.  Martin Ritt directed this film that takes a look at poor working conditions.  Sally Field stars as the title character who is a small town single mother and like most people in that town works at a textile mill.  She does not like the way people get treats and meets union organizer Reuben, played by Ron Leibman.  She immediately likes the idea of a union and agrees to work with him to organize a union much to the dismay of the higher-ups.  Beau Bridges, Pat Hingle, Barbara Baxley, Gail Strickland, Morgan Paull, and many others co-star in this film.  This is based on Crystal Lee Sutton who worked very hard to get a union in the local mill.  This is a really good look at working conditions and still can resonate today.

Sid Yiddish (2014):  This is another short film which features my fellow AMERICA'S GOT TALENT alum.  Ryan Buckley directed this short film about actor and musician Sid Yiddish who most would know by his AGT appearance as a throat singer.  This goes into months leading into his 50th birthday and part of it is singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to his mother.  He also demonstrates his throat singing ability and goes into some of his past.  We also hear from his friend Monk 9 who is very interesting himself.  I was on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT with him in the 2011 show where I probably interacted with him the most and we have kept in touch through Facebook.  This can be seen on Vimeo through the link and is only about 16 minutes long.  He is a very fascinating person so get to know him a bit through that link.

Sorry, Wrong Number (1948):  This is my film noir for the week which was directed by Anatole Litvak and based on a radio play by Lucille Fletcher.  Barbara Stanwyck stars as the invalid Leona Stevenson who is making a phone call and appears to have gotten the wrong line where she believes she is hearing a murder plot.  Her husband Henry, played by Burt Lancaster, is late and the servants have the night off leaving her all alone as she starts to piece things together through flashbacks.  Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Harold Vermilyea, Ed Begley, Leif Erickson, William Conrad, John Bromfield, Jimmy Hunt, Dorothy Neumann, and many others co-star in this film.  I had not heard of this until I found it but it is a very suspenseful and daring movie from this era.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel and could make a good double feature to go along with Hitchcock's REAR WINDOW.

Fritz the Cat (1972):  This is my animated movie for the week and is not animation for the family.  Ralph Bakshi directed this animated film which is based on characters by Robert Crumb.  Skip Hinnant provides the voice to the title cat who is a very sex-obsessed cat from the '60s.  He's a university student wandering through the town and meeting up with the Black Panthers and Hell's Angels.  Rosetta LeNoire also provides her voice.  I don't know how else to describe this as there is no real plot.  This is very politically incorrect and holds the feat of being the first ever animated movie with an X rating.  Robert Crumb hated what Bakshi brought to his creations to the point of suing for his name to be taken from the credits.  I still could not help but enjoy though watching it with a wft attitude.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime but those who offend easy probably should not watch.


Booksmart (2019):  I end the week and combine my selection with my segment.  I was over at Stephanie's house and she was looking for something to watch and asked if I wanted see this one.  This was on my list but had not seen it yet so I went along.  Olivia Wilde goes behind the camera to make her directorial debut in this comedy that Stephanie described as "SUPERBAD but with girls".  Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein star as long-time friends Amy and Molly who are approaching high school graduation.  They have the whole world in front of them and have worked hard all their lives but find they even those that did not do as much are still getting into big colleges.  This sets off Molly who advises her friend that they need to have the night of their lives before graduation.  Jason Sudeikis co-stars as the principle and turns out to be the coolest principal ever.  Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Victoria Ruesga, Mason Gooding, Skyler Gisondo, Diana Silvers, Molly Gordon, Billie Lourd, Eduardo Franco, and many others co-star in this comedy.  While this was very raunchy and may be inappropriate to some, I also felt they had a really good message about how gossip can spread.  It can really make someone understood if they do not have the full story.  Dever and Feldstein are hilarious together and has a very clever animation sequence.  This is available to watch on Hulu.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Christian Bale and James Stewart.