Sunday, March 11, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 643rd Edition

Welcome to the 643rd Edition of my series.  I continue with rehearsals for ON GOLDEN POND which I think will come together really well.  I have the flyer on the bottom of the page to reserve tickets if able to make it to Alexandria, Indiana.  I'm still enjoying my working from home.  I don't have much else happening so I will just get on with my selections.

The Dream Team (1989):  This is part two of my possible four-part James Remar series and plays one of the corrupt cops.  Before we put together a group of NBA's finest to compete in the Olympics, we had a great team of mental patients on the loose.  Howard Zieff directed this comedy which stars as Michael Keaton as the McMurphyesque Billy Caufield who has delusions of grandeur and some rather violent tendencies.  He is part of a group that involves Henry, played by Christopher Lloyd, Jack, played by Peter Boyle, and Albert, played by Stephen Furst, and each one of them have their own unique problems.  Dennis Boutsikaris co-stars as Dr. Weitzman who is the leader of this group of patients and decides to take them to see a baseball game only to stumble onto a murder plot which leaves him unconscious leaving the patients to band together to piece together the murder plot.  Remar, Lorraine Bracco, Milo O'Shea, Philip Bosco, Brad Sullivan, Larry Pine, and many others co-star in this comedy.  The team of four work real well together playing off their differences.  This is a fun comedy caper and good for some laughs.

Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba's 40 Thieves (1937):  This is my animated short for the week that obviously features Popey but also Olive Oyl and Wimpy.  In this one, Popeye hears about bandit Abu Hassan and his forty thieves and must rush to the rescue of Olive Oyl who has been kidnapped.  The character Hassan is essentially Bluto and is done by the same person that voices the character.  This is a pretty good Popeye short and is available on Youtube or anything else public domain.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944):  This is part two of my two-part Frank Capra series.  Capra directed the movie version of the popular play by Joseph Kesserling in which I once played Lieutenant Rooney which might have been a younger casting than usual.  Cary Grant stars as theater critic Mortimer Brewster who is a known bachelor that has expressed a lot of cynicism towards marriage only to marry Elaine, played by Priscilla Lane.  When they go to visit his aunts Abby and Martha, played by Josephine Hull and Jean Adair, who run a boarding house and tend to kill men they feel are lonely in the belief they are doing them a favor.  He comes to learn that insanity runs in the family already having a brother Teddy, played by John Alexander, who is convinced he is Theodore Roosevelt and his estranged brother Jonathan, played by Raymond Massey, who is the craziest of all.  Peter Lorre, Jack Carson, Edward Everett Horton, Peter Lorre, Grant Mitchell, and many others co-star in this film.  This is always a very enjoyable dark comedy that stays pretty faithful to the play.  This is also different from most other Capra films with this one not as moralistic and became drawn to doing this much different project.

In the Loop (2009):  In my running them of Comedy I seem to be on at least the first few selections, I bring a political comedy.  Armando Iannucci directed this war satire and I'm not even sure where to begin.  The US president and UK prime minister want a war but not everyone agrees including Simon Foster, played by Tom Hollander, but accidentally backs war on television and must do waht he can to prevent the war.  Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, Olivia Poulet, Chris Addison, James Smith, Zach Woods, Mimi Kennedy, Anna Chlumsky, Enzo Cilenti, James Doherty, David Rasche, James Gandolfini, Steve Coogan, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is a very complex comedy that is extremely difficult to really describe.  My best suggestion is to just give it a watch and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977):  Hal Needham directed and co-wrote this outlaw road comedy starring Burt Reynolds in his iconic role of Bandit who is hired to pick up a truckload of beer and from Texas and return it by a specified time.  Along with his loyal partner Cledus, played by Jerry Reed, and runaway bride Carrie, played by Sally Field, they set off for quite the trip while on the run from overzealous Sheriff Buford T. Justice, played by Jackie Gleason.  Mike Henry, Paul Williams, Pat McCormick, and many others star in this film.  Like many of my other selection this week, on the surface this is very morally wrong.  Maybe some see it as a glorification of crime but if getting past that element, this is some southern fun with Burt at his best.  As much as I'm not one to usually promote box office success, I feel it important to point out this was the second highest grossing film of 1977 only behind the first STAR WARS film.

Sleepwalk With Me (2012):  I continue with my comedy selections which is a more personal comedy.  Mike Birbiglia co-directed and co-wrote this film based on his own Off-Broadway play of the same name starring as aspiring comedian Matt, which is based on himself, trying make it in the world of comedy while having a difficult relationship and having issues with sleepwalking that he continues to ignore.  Lauren Ambrose, James Rebhorn, Carol Kane, Cristin Milioti, Aya Cash, Marylouise Burke, Loudon Wainwright III, Ben Levin, Henry Phillips, Jessi Klein, Emily Meade, Amanda Perez, Lucy Devito, Wyatt Cenac, Marc Maron, and many others co-star in this comedy.  There are funny scenes but is closer to a drama than my selections so far in that the movie is centered around people that are funny but a fairly serious story.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942):  I'm finally getting off the comedy kick for now and bringing this soap-like drama.  Orson Welles directed this film based on the novel by Booth Tarkington and provides the narration.  Joseph Cotton stars as Eugene Morgan, a rather wild and handsome man, wanting to marry Isabel Amberson, played by Dolores Costello, but she ends up marrying someone else raising a son named George, played by Tim Holt, who becomes a significant factor in the later years of the film when Eugene revisits marrying the widowed Isabel.  Anne Baxter, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Erskine Sanford, Richard Bennett, Don Dilaway, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good look at a Midwestern family through the years.  Like CITIZEN KANE, Welles had some red tape to go through with RKO productions with them doing these like editing the film when he was out of the country.

Sully (2016):  Clint Eastwood directed this film that is based on actual pilot Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks, whose plan becomes damaged and makes the judgement call to land in the water with the 155 people aboard in turn saving them.  Many considered him a hero but gets questioned by the National Transportation Safety Board on if that was necessary.  Aaron Eckhart co-stars as Sully's loyal co-pilot Jeff and Laura Linney co-stars as Sully's wife Lorrie who is also doing what she can to get through this trouble her husband has to deal with.  Valerie Mahaffey, Mike O'Malley, Delphi Harrington, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, Holt McCallany, Blake Jones, Molly Bernard, Chris Bauer, Jane Gabbert, Ann Cusack, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a very compelling and well-shot film.  It also conveys the effects of people when having to go through something so extreme like Sully's emotions not knowing his future as a pilot.  Eastwood and Hanks team for the first time and hit it out of the park.

Mr. Majestyk (1974):  Richard Fleischer directed this movie and written as a screenplay by Elmore Leonard who is more known as a novelist.  Charles Bronson stars as the title character who is a melon farmer who just wants to live in peace but is threatened by the local mob and takes action in true Bronson form.  Al Lettieri, Linda Cristal, Lee Purcell, Paul Koslo, Frank Maxwell, Alejandro Rey, Jordan Rhodes, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a more underrated action movie from this era with Bronson in good form.  It has a good low budget feel with some good action to go along.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Up in the Air (2009):  I end the week with this film directed by Jason Reitman and based on the novel by Walter Kirn.  George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham whose job is to go to other businesses in the nation and fire employees in hopes he can put a positive spin.  While he enjoys the travel element of his job, it gets threatened when new hire Natalie, played by Anna Kendrick, comes in and looks to make changes to the workplace by having the staff communicate online instead of actually traveling.  Vera Farminga co-stars as Alex who leads a similar life to Ryan and forms a relationship during their frequent flyer encounters.  Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, Melanie Lynskey, J.K Simmons, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakia=s, Sam Elliott, Chris Lowell, Steve Eastin, and many others co-star in this film.  This is more of a character driven film than anything and a lot of it was the working relationship between Ryan and Natalie and him trying to convince her that their job is better to be face to face with people than over a computer.  I also found it to be pretty unpredictable and a good blend of comedy and drama to be enjoyed.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back the "Fun and Useless Facts segment.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Robert De Niro, James Franco, Peter O'Toole, and many others.


I return with this segment where I focus mostly on actors from different movies.  I do not usually use actors from the same film like Orson Welles and Joseph Cotton.  There are also plenty of things that I probably missed so feel free to comment others you might see.

Michael Keaton (The Dream Team) and Zach Galifianakis (Up in the Air) were in the 2014 film BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF INGORANCE)

Michael Keaton (The Dream Team), Kristen Schaal (Sleepwalk With Me) and Tom Hanks (Sully) were in the 2010 animated film TOY STORY 3.

Michael Keaton co-stars in the 1997 film JACKIE BROWN which was based on the novel RUM PUNCH by Elmore Leonard (Mr. Majestyk writer)

Michael Keaton (The Dream Team) plays Batman in the 1989 film BATMAN and the 1992 film BATMAN RETURNS.  George Clooney (Up in the Air) plays Batman in the 1997 movie BATMAN AND ROBIN

Michael Keaton (The Dream Team) was cast in the 2003 film MYSTIC RIVER which was directed by Clint Eastwood (Sully director) would leave the project after having creative differences.

Michael Keaton (The Dream Team), Steve Coogan (In the Loop) and Zach Woods (In the Loop) were in the 2010 comedy THE OTHER GUYS.  Michael Keaton (The Dream Team) and Steve Coogan (In the Loop) were in the 2015 animated movie MINIONS.

Christopher Lloyd (The Dream Team) and Carol Kane (Sleepwalk With Me) were Fester and Granny Addams in the 1991 comedy THE ADDAMS FAMILY and the 1993 sequel THE ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES.  They also co-starred in the classic '80s series TAXI and had cameos in the 1999 film MAN ON THE MOON where they reprised the roles within the film.

Dennis Boutsikaris (The Dream Team), Emily Meade (Sleepwalk With Me) and George Clooney (Up in the Air) were in the 2016 movie MONEY MONSTER.

Lorraine Bracco (The Dream Team) was a psychiatrist for James Gandolfini (In the Loop) in the HBO series THE SOPRANOS.

James Remar (The Dream Team) voices Two-Face in the animated series BATMAN:  THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.  Aaron Eckhart (Sully) plays Two-Face in the 2008 film THE DARK KNIGHT though mostly focusing on him as Harvey Dent.

James Remar (The Dream Team) and Danny McBride (Up in the Air) were in the 2008 comedy PINEAPPLE EXPRESS.

Philip Bosco (The Dream Team) and James Rebhorn (Sleepwalk With Me) were in the 1991 film SHADOWS AND FOG.

Philip Bosco (The Dream Team) and Kristen Schall (Sleepwalk With Me) were in the 2001 movie KATE AND LEOPOLD

Raymond Massey (Arsenic and Old Lace) and Agnes Moorehead (The Magnificent Ambersons) were in the 1962 film HOW THE WEST WAS WON.

Peter Lorre (Arsenic and Old Lace) and Agnes Moorehead (The Magnificent Ambersons) were in the the 1957 movie THE STORY OF MANKIND.

Mimi Kennedy (In the Loop) and Zach Galifianakis (Up in the Air) were in the 2010 comedy DUE DATE.

David Rasche (In the Loop) and George Clooney (Up in the Air) were in the 2008 film BURN AFTER READING.

David Rasche (In the Loop), Chris Bauer (Sully), and Melanie Lynskey (Up in the Air) were in the 2006 war film FLAGS OF OUR FATHER which was directed by Clint Eastwood (Sully director)

James Gandolfini (In the Loop) was originally cast as Carl Hanratty in the 2002 film CATCH ME IF YOU CAN which would ultimately go to Tom Hanks (Sully).

James Gandolfini (In the Loop) and Lauren Ambrose (Sleepwalk With Me) were in the 2009 film WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.

Steve Coogan (In the Loop) and Kristen Schaal (Sleepwalk With Me) were in the 2013 animated sequel DESPICABLE ME 2.

Sally Field (Smokey and the Bandit) was the mother to Tom Hanks (Sully) in the 1994 film FOREST GUMP and also worked together in the 1988 comedy PUNCHLINE where they are love interests to each other.

Paul Williams (Smokey and the Bandit), Carol Kane (Sleepwalk With Me), and Orson Welles (The Magnificent Ambersons) were in the 1979 movie THE MUPPET MOVIE.

Mike Henry (Smokey and the Bandit) and Joseph Cotton (The Magnificent Ambersons) were in the 1973 movie SOYLENT GREEN.

Pat McCormick (Smokey and the Bandit) and Orson Welles (The Magnificent Ambersons) were in the 1981 comedy HISTORY OF THE WORLD:  Part I)

Marylouise Burke (Sleepwalk With Me) and J.K. Simmons (Up in the Air) were in the 1998 comedy CELEBRITY.

Tim Holt (The Magnificent Ambersons) plays Virgil Earp in the 1946 film MY DARLING CLEMENTINE.  Sam Elliott (Up in the Air) plays Virgil Earp in the 1993 western TOMBSTONE.

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