Sunday, June 4, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 604th Edition

Welcome to the 603rd Edition of my series.  Next week, I will finally be starting my rehearsals for my show BURNT PART BOYS which will be in Fortville in August.  I was about to start a "no musical rule" again after THE LITTLE MERMAID but this one intrigued me so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Fortville will be the 10th town I have done a show for community theater and look forward to this experience and hanging out with one of my dearest friends Brittany.  I will now get to my selections for the week.

I Saw the Light (2015):  I start the week out with another film based on the music industry which is my third in a row.  Marc Abraham directed this biopic based on the legendary country singer Hank Williams Sr., played by Tom Hiddleston.  This takes a look at his life both personally and professionally in trying to make to the Grand Ole Opry.  It also takes a look at his alcoholism and the toll it took on his marriage and career.  Elizabeth Olsen, Bradley Whitford, Cherry Jones, Maddie Hassan, Wrenn Schmidt, David Krumholtz, Josh Pais, and many others co-star in this film.  Hiddleston plays Williams very well and was very enjoyable to me even if I'm not really a country fan.  From Hank Williams, we also got Hank Williams Jr. who was successful in his own right and Hank Williams III who while not in the mainstream has his own following.  I got to see the 3rd a couple of times at a Muncie bar and was a very interesting concert to attend.  This is a good biopic but does not appear to hold much back in this portrait of a troubled country western singer.  We also get to learn that Loki and the Scarlet Witch are married.

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010):  This is part three of my Viola Davis series which could span into seven parts but not sure yet.  It is also part one of a two-part Emma Roberts series.  Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck wrote and directed this comedy-drama based on the novel by Ned Vizzini.  Keir Gilchrist stars as high-schooler Craig who checks himself into the psychiatric ward after having suicidal thoughts.  His assumption is they just run some tests, then let him out but that was not meant to be and had to stay for a week for evaluation.  In there, he forms an unlikely friendship with fellow resident Bobby, played by Zach Galifinakias, and forms a relationship with a girl named Noelle, played by Roberts, who is also in the ward.  Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Jared Goldstein, Alan Aisenberg, Zoe Kravitz, Thomas Mann, Jeremy Davies, and many others co-star in this coming of age film which I feel takes that phrase to a whole new level in this film.  I suppose we could call this a modern-day ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST but I feel this one is a little more inspirational than the one mentioned though could be a good double feature.

Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff (2010):  This is part one of a two-part David Hasselhoff series.  Technically this is a tv special but as the founder and writer of this blog I get to make those decisions if you do not like that I made this selection as a movie, let's discuss my pay in the future.  This is one of those roasts they have on Comedy Central on the Hoff.  Seth McFarlane hosted this roast and his fellow roasters are Whitney Cummings, Jeffrey Ross, Jerry Springer, Greg Giraldo, George Hamilton, Hulk Hogan, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, and Pamela Anderson.  As a middle school kid, I would usually get off the bus and watch a rerun of BATWATCH.  I never really foresaw that in 2009, I would had a negative encounter with David Hasselhoff to the point that he made rather derogatory remarks at me.  Through the years, I have mostly put this aside, especially since his newer song TRUE SURVIVOR from the movie KUNG FURY that I actually like to karaoke.  I have also made an annual viewing of JEKYLL AND HYDE:  THE MUSICAL which he also stars in when it was a live show and available on DVD.  I kind of admire these celebrities willing to take part in what is essentially a bashing of their career and even those doing the roasting are rather fair game to each other.  This was pretty fun to watch, especially for some amusing Hasselhoff numbers and a surprise appearance at the end which you must watch to know what I am talking about.

Cousin Wilbur (1939):  Now I bring my comedy short for the week and feature our friends in Our Gang like Alfalfa, Darla, Porky, Buckwheat, and Butch.  In this short, we meet Alfalfa's cousin Wilbur who is more high class and snobby than the gang which makes it difficult for them to accept him into the gang.  This has some pretty funny moments and is worth a look.

Days of Heaven (1978):  This is part four of my four-part series for Sam Shepard.  Terrence Malick wrote and directed this film that takes part in the turn of the century Chicago.  Richard Gere and Brooke Adams star as young couple Bill and Abby and struggle through hard labor trying to get out of poverty.  Linda Manz also co-stars as Bill's "sister" while Bill and Abby pose as brother and sister.  Their employer is a wealthy farmer, played by Shepard, and is credited as "The Farmer".  Bill soon learns that he is terminally ill and sees him taking and interest in Abby and soon encourages her to marry him for these financial reasons.  With Malick, his movies focus on just about every aspect of the film and makes the cinematography of Nestor Almendros and Ennio Morricone's music score the star just as much as the actors.  I also find that his movies sometimes require multiple viewings and are best watched on a big screen tv.  I still do really enjoy this movie of people going through extreme measures trying to get through their poverty and feel this is possibly Gere's best work.

Friendly Persuasion (1956):  William Wyler directed this film based on the novel by Jessamyn West.  This takes place during the times of the Civil War and centers around a Quaker family headed by the parents Jess and Eliza, played by Gary Cooper and Dorothy McQuire, and their three kids Josh, Mattie, and Jess, played by Anthony Perkins, Phyllis Love, and Richard Eyer.  As Quakers, they are a general peaceful family and try to stay that way but with the way things are happening around them, they find it harder to stay that way, especially for the men of the family.  Robert Middleton, Walter Catlett, Marjorie Main, and many others co-star in this film.  If you only known Perkins as Norman Bates, this this is one that you should really watch to see that he is more than the iconic character he brought to life.  This is also a good look into the Quaker life and their very strict rules that the family in general have a hard time following.  This also takes place in the south of my own state of Indiana.

In the Heart of the Sea (2015):  Ron Howard directed this film based on a non-fiction novel by Nathaniel Philbrick.  Ben Whishaw stars as Herman Melville whose name is most recognized as the author of MOBY DICK.  He sets out to interview the last survivor of the sinking of the Essex ship in Homas Nickerson, played by Brendan Gleeson and by Tom Holland in the flashback scenes., who was reluctant to give the story but finally does after his wife, played by Michelle Fairley, intervenes.  When he starts on the story, the movie then flashes back to this part of his life that would later inspire Melville's classic novel.  Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Paul Anderson, Frank Dillane, Charlotte Riley, Cillian Murphy, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good account of the inspiration of the classic story.  There were some pretty good and intense scenes on the boat.  I think my favorite scenes were those between Gleeson and Whishaw in the reluctant interview.  This could be a good double feature to follow up from watching MOBY DICK.

Perri (1957):  Last week, I featured a documentary from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Walt Disney, a man who would never be fully satisfied with his accomplishments and it touches upon this part of Disney and this was the first of the animal documentaries.  I suppose more like footage of forest creatures which is made to create a narrated story.  Winston Hibler narrates this story of a female squirrel named Perri who has encounters with many creatures in the forest.  This is a very clever film and rather groundbreaking.  This is available on and is one of the more underrated Disney entries.

The Little Shop of Horrors (1960):  I decided to visit some Roger Corman and give credit where it is due for that man-eating plant musical we all love today.  This is where it started in which Corman directed this film.  Jonathan Haze stars as the clumsy flower shop employee Seymour whose employer Mr. Mushnick is about to fire him until he learns that Seymour has a very unusual plant that he named Audrey Jr., voiced by Charles B. Griffith who wrote the screenplay, after his own co-worker Audrey, played by Jackie Joseph.  The flower shop is having more success but at a price after learning that his plant is a man-eating plant.  Jack Nicholson has an early role of Wilbur Force who is a dental patient that loves pain and Nicholson's career really started through Corman.  I do prefer the musical version but don't mind revisiting this B-movie from time to time.  This would be well-followed by Corman's BUCKET OF BLOOD, both of which feature a rather nerdy person being forced to do horrible things to deep their newfound success going.

Rambo:  First Blood Part II (1985):  I end with the sequel to the popular 1982 film FIRST BLOOD.  George Cosmatos directed the sequel which was co-written by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron who says that he wrote the first script but that Stallone made changes. Stallone reprises his iconic role of John Rambo who is now in prison and arranged a release by Colonel Trautman, reprised by Richard Crenna, to go on a top secret secret mission to go back into the jungles of Vietnam to look for possible POWs that are still alive and being held prisoner.  He is sent into this place to get pictures and then take them back but we all know that's just not the way of Rambo and goes in full force killing every enemy possible and dealing with corrupt military officials like Marshall Murdock, played by Charles Napier.  Steven Berkoff, Julia Nickson, Martin Kove, and many others co-star in this film.  This is not for everyone but is a great action fix for those that want to see some action.  Stallone is also up to the game and is very fun to watch.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Johnny Depp, Robert Mitchum, Viola Davis, Emma Roberts, and many others.

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