Sunday, August 27, 2017

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 615th Edition

Welcome to the 615th Edition of my series.  I am glad to say that I finally have a fantasy football team together in a paid league that I have struggled to find.  I am also still trying to get my murder mystery all the way cast but I still have some time.  Not much else happening so I'll just get on with my selections.

BASEketball (1998):  I start the week off with this comedy and parody of professional sports which was directed and co-written by David Zucker.  SOUTH PARK and THE BOOK OF MORMON writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone star as Milwaukee losers Coop and Remer who invent a new sport that combines basketball and baseball to be called Baseketball.  It starts to become a successful league but a greedy owner, played by Robert Vaughn, wants to do more which causes tension between the childhood friends that got it started.  Dian Bachar, Yasmine Bleeth, Ernest Borgnine, Jenny McCarthy, Trevor Einhorn, Greg Grunberg, Kevin Michael Richardson, Iqbal Theba, and many others co-star in this film.  Many people play themselves like people in the sports world and Robert Stack has a cameo in an UNSOLVED MYSTERIES segment.  Parker and Stone did some rewrites when getting this project which was right around the time SOUTH PARK started and became an unexpected success.  For me, this movie always delivers a lot of laughs and it is also cool to see my childhood crushes of Yasmine Bleeth and Jenny McCarthy.  This is available to watch on Starz On-Demand.

Mr. Nice (2010):  I go from a professional sports parody to a biopic on a drug dealer.  Bernard Rose directed this film based on the book by British drug smuggler Howard Marks, played by Rhys Ifans.  Marks starts out as someone born into a coal mining family and went to Oxford for nuclear physics.  While at Oxford, along with a group of students would build what would become a worldwide marijuana smuggling network.  Chloe Sevigny, David Thewlis, Luis Tosar, Crispin Glover, Omid Djalili, Christian McKay, Elsa Pataky, Jack Huston, Jamie Harris, Sara Sugarman, William Thomas, Andrew Tiernan, and many others co-star in this film.  I had never heard of this person before I watched this film and found him to be a very fascinating person.  I also liked the way they presented this is a rather comedic way at times.  Ifans was great as Marks and was actual friends with Howard Marks even before the movie was made.  This is available to watch on

Carnival Magic (1981):  This is my MST3K episode for the week and episode 12 of the new series on Netflix.  As you might guess, this takes place at a carnival where a magician named Markov, played by Don Stewart, who can actually read minds and not only that, he has a chimp that talks, although does not say a lot.  He tries to keep the chimp a secret but when the daughter of the carny owner discovers this, they become the main attraction, much to the dismay of a jealous tiger tamer who works to get the chimp kidnapped.  The acting, dialogue and everything else makes this truly qualified to be on MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.  The episode has a cameo from Mark Hamill.  This like the rest of the series is available on Netflix.

Baby Be Good (1935):  This is my animated short for the week.  Long before wrestler Rtruth had a friend but sometimes enemy Little Jimmy, he was actually a cartoon character and in this short is being watched by Betty Boop and not being a very good boy when she tries to get him to bed.  She tells him a lesson story of a little boy who was being bad and the consequences.  I must say, Jimmy was pretty mean before finally seeing the error of his ways.  This is a pretty good few minutes and is available on Amazon Prime in CARTOON CLASSICS which have a lot of other classic cartoons to be featured in the coming weeks.

Big Jake (1971):  This is my western for the week which was directed by George Sherman.  John Wayne stars as Jacob McCandles who learns his grandson, played by his real-life son Ethan Wayne has been kidnapped by the by the evil John Fain, played by Richard Boone.  Along with his Rough Collie named Dog and his estranged sons James, played by his John's other son Patrick Wayne, and Michael, played by Christopher Mitchum, they set out to rescue the boy.  Maureen O'Hara, Bobby Vinton, Bruce Cabot, Glenn Corbett, Harry Carey Jr., and many others co-star in this film.  This is one of John Wayne's later and more violent westerns which I think is what I liked about the movie.  The action and tension in this film never lets up and is a pretty enjoyable western in my opinion while maybe being one of John Wayne's underrated.  This is available on Amazon Prime.

Cry, the Beloved Country (1951):  Zoltan Korda directed this film based on the novel by Alan Paton.  Canada Lee stars as Reverend Stephen Kumalo who is a black minister that journeys to South Africa to find his missing son, only to find that he is a criminal and does what he can to help his son and get him back home.  A young Sidney Poitier co-stars as Reverend Msimangu who helps Stephen find his son in the slums of Johannesburg.  Charles Carson, Joyce Carey, Geoffrey Keen, and many others co-star in this film.  This is unfortunately Lee's last film as he died of a heart attack shortly after this film.  There is not much I can say to explain this film.  It is a very compelling look at South Africa and a good early look at a black family.

Other People (2016):  Chris Kelly wrote and directed this film.  Jesse Plemons takes a starring role as struggling writer David who returns to his home to care for his dying mother Joanne, played by Molly Shannon, and he is fresh of a breakup.  While there, he also deals with his father Norman, played by Bradley Whitford, who has never been able to accept his son's homosexuality.  Maude Apatow, Madison Beaty, Deb Hiett, June Squibb, Paul Dooley, and many others co-star in this comedy about making the most of a bad situation.  Plemons and Shannon work very well together as son and mother.  I guess I'll give this the coming-of-age age label and is a pretty moving film driven by the actors.  It is also a good look at a struggle with cancer and the way everyone around her deals with it in different ways.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

The Loyal 47 Ronin (1958):  This is my Japanese film for the week which was directed by Kunio Watanabe.  This is based on a true story of a group of samurai, I guess 47 of them, that become Ronin, which are referred to as masterless samurai, when their Lord was forced to commit Seppeku which is a ritual suicide among the samarai.  They band together to avenge their master after planning the event for a year and go after Lord Kira who forced their lord to kill himself.  This is a rather legendary story in Japan that has been adapted quite a few times including 2013 in a film starring Keanu Reeves.  This is a really good version that is a little less than three hours.  This is available on

Morgan! (1966):  I know last week I said I did part three of a Vanessa Redgrave trilogy but coming across this one made me compelled to do part four.  Now this time I'm pretty sure I'm done with the Vanessa Redgrave series, at least for now.  Karel Reisz directed this rather strange British comedy which stars David Warner as a struggling London artist Morgan Delt who is going through a breakup with his wife Leonie, played by Redgrave, and has a descent into madness in trying to win her back.  He deals with the breakup within his own fantasy world.  Robert Stephens, Irene Handl, Peter Collingwood, and many others co-star in this film.  Warner was absolutely hilarious in his role as a man dealing with a bad situation of a divorce.  This is a dark comedy to the core and maybe the best of the British comedies in my mind.

Crazy Heart (2009):  I end the week with this music oriented film. Scott Cooper directed this film based on the novel by Thomas Cobb.  Jeff Bridges stars as faded country star Bad Blake who is trying to find salvation and forms a relationship with journalist Jean, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, as well as trying to make a comeback but his drinking problem continues to get into the way of any comeback hope.  Colin Farrell co-stars as Tommy who was mentored by Bad Blake and went onto more success later in life.  Ryan Bingham, Beth Grant, Rick Dial, Robert Duvall, and many others co-star in this film.  I remember seeing this in theaters and as much as I don't usually like country music, I really liked the soundtrack in this one.  Bridges was amazing in this film where he shows his music side very well and is a really good portrait of a singer past their prime.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes William Holden, Sally Field, Liam Neeson, Angela Lansbury, Annette Bening, Idris Elba, and many other.

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