Sunday, June 17, 2018

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 657th Edition

Welcome to the 657th Edition of my series.  I will wish all the dads out there a Happy Father's Day and hope you all have a good day however celebrated.  I am not a dad but am going to celebrate by watching MONEY IN THE BANK tonight on the WWE Network.  This week, I have obtained a 2004 Honda Odyssey which drives really good and while I'm not a fan of car payments, I do like my vehicle.  I will get on with my selections now.

Escape Fire:  The Fight to Save American Healthcare (2012):  I start the week out with this documentary taking a look at the healthcare industry which you might have guessed by the title and the problems of healthcare here in the states.  Susan Froemke and Matthew Heineman directed this documentary where they interview various people in the health industry and the difficulty they have working in a system where the more people they see, the more money they make essentially making it difficult for them to give their patients the care they need.  This also shows ways other doctors have done in thinking outside the box.  This is a pretty eye-opening documentary on our flawed system in the United States.  This is available to watch on the Hoopla Digital website.

A Mighty Wind (2003):  I go from a documentary to a mockumentary.  Christopher Guest directs and wrote this comedy which features most of the other alums from these movies.  This centers around the folk music industry where a well-known concert promoter has died where a tribute show gets put on which includes duo Mitch and Mickey, classic troubadours the Folksmen, and the New Main Street Singers.  This is shot like a documentary showing them putting the concert together and the bands in preparation.  Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Bob Balaban, Paul Dooley, Paul Benedict, Floyd Van Buskirk, Jane Lynch, John Michael Higgins, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, Ed Begley Jr., Larry Miller, Jennifer Coolidge, Bill Cobbs, and many others co-star in this mockumentary.  This has a lot of funny moments and has a pretty good soundtrack.  My favorite stuff was between Mitch and Mickey, played by Levy and O'Hara, who are an estranged duo that was broken up and try to reconnect.  A good double feature would be to watch this with their other music mocumentary in THIS IS SPINAL TAP.

Seven Psychopaths (2012):  This is part three of my possible five part Woody Harrison series.  Martin McDonagh wrote and directed this rather violent comedy.  Colin Farrell stars as struggling screenwriter Marty who inadvertently becomes caught up in the criminal underworld when his friends Billy and Hans, played by Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell, kidnap a dog which belongs to a ruthless mobster named Charlie, played by Harrelson.  That's about the best I have to say about this film.  It was a very well-written comedy with some really good characters and performances.  Tom Waits, Gabourney Sidibe, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Pitt, Harry Dean Stanton, Kevin Corrigan, Zeljko Ivanek, Brendan Sexton III and Abbie Cornish all co-star in this film.  It is a good film on a writer struggling to write a screenplay and kind of comes to life when he does write the screenplay.  This has a lot of comedy and violence and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Joy Ride:  an Auto Theft (1976):  This is my short film for the week which is a driver's education short from this era.  This is apparently based on a real incident where teens decide to steal a car and take a joy ride which result in some really bad consequences.  This gives the message to not drive with a licence but also shows how wrong it is to steal a car.  This is very heavy handed but they wanted to pound these messages in so hopefully more people thought twice about stealing a car and driving without a license.  This is availalbe on Amazon Prime on "Driver's Education Scare Films".

Baby Doll (1956):  Elia Kazan directed this film which was written by Tennessee Williams.  Karl Malden stars as Archie Lee Meighan who is in a loveless marriage with the 19 year old "Baby Doll" Meighan, played by Carroll Baker.  Their marriage agreement has them consummating their marriage on her 20th birthday but Baby Doll does what she can to complicate things.  Eli Wallach, Mildred Dunnock, Lonny Chapman, and many others co-star in this film and Wallach makes his film debut.  This is a little too complicated for me to really explain but this plays out in typical Tennessee Williams fashion.  This was very controversial in its time and banned in many countries.  The Catholic Legion of Decency had this condemned for its "carnal suggestiveness" which ruined a lot of money for the movie at the time.  This is still a very unusual film even by today's standards and is available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Front Page (1931):  Pat O'Brien stars as newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson who is engaged to marry Peggy Grant, played by Mary Brian, and planning to move to New York for higher paying jobs.  Hildy sees an opportunity for a good story through when death row inmate Earl Williams, played by George E. Stone, escapes hanging and uses his honeymoon money for an inside scoop on the escape.  Adolphe Menjou, Edward Everett Horton, Mae Clarke, Slim Summerville, Matt Moore, Frank McHugh, and many others co-star in this comedy.  This is billed as a "screwball comedy" but is more of a look at the newspaper industry and everyone competing for that story.  This has a lot of laughs and is satire that remains rather relevant to today.  This is also available to watch on Filmstruck.

The Girl Next Door (2004):  This is my raunchy romantic comedy for the week.  Luke Greenfield directed this comedy which stars Emile Hirsch as Matthew Kidman who is about to graduate high school  and has big plans for himself.  Elisha Cuthbert co-stars as Danielle who is housesitting for their neighbors and Matthew thinks he has found the girl of his dreams.  Things get complicated for him when he learns that Danielle is a former adult film star and clouds his usual good judgment.  Timothy Olyphant, James Remar, Chris Marquette, Paul Dano, Timothy Bottoms, Olivia Wilde,  and many others co-star in this comedy.  First of all, please don't confuse this with the 2007 movie of the same name which is based on a horrible true story.  I did not really know what to expect out of this movie.  It is pretty raunchy so not for everyone but I was able to laugh quite a bit and in the end I felt it had a rather good message.  In some ways, this could be our modern day RISKY BUSINESS so could be a good double feature sometime.

Dragon Inn (1967):  This is my Asian film for the week.  King Hu wrote and directed this film where the Eunuch has ordered the commander of his army condemned for betrayal and insurrection.  The commander's family is murdered except a son and daughter who were expelled to the outlands.  From there, we get to see a lot of good action and swordplay and a really good action climax.  This is a must for fans of the Asian cinema.  This is available to watch on Filmstruck.

Senechal the Magnificent (1957):  This is my French comedy for the week which was directed by Jean Boyer.  French comedic actor Fernandel stars as theater actor Senechal whose latest play does not have the success that it deserved and partly blames the recent advent of television for "murdering" the theater.  Out of work, he is dressed up as a Foreign Legion officer and is mistaken for a real one giving him the idea to have real-life roles.  I had never heard of Fernandel before coming across this movie but I found a very pleasant surprise in this movie.  In some ways, this was a film of sketch comedy and all of them being really funny especially a trial scene.  This is also on Filmstruck but only until June 23rd.  I suggest checking out this really underrated comedic actor in Fernandel who measures up to just about anyone I have seen.

Captain Underpants:  the First Epic Movie (2017):  I end the week with this animated movie based on the children's novel series by Dav Pilkey.  David Soren directed this adaptation which revolves around 2 overly imaginative 4th grade pranksters in Harold Hutchins, voiced by Thomas Middleditch, and George Beard, voiced by Kevin Hart.  They are two best friends who just try to keep things fun and do their own comic stories like with the character of Captain Underpants.  They are always at odds with the unfriendly Mr. Krupp, voiced by Ed Helms, and manage to hypnotize him into becoming their character Captain Underpants.  They also must go against Professor Poopypants, voiced by Nick Kroll, who is trying to rid the world of laughter.  Jordan Peele, Kristen Schaal, DeeDee Rescher, Brian Posehn, Mel Rodriguez, and many others provide their voice in this animated movie.  This is mostly geared to older elementary children.  This is rated PG for the crude jokes told in the film.  This has been the subject of some controversy so maybe check out a few novels before deciding if you want your kids to watch this movie.  This is available to watch on Netflix.

Well, that is all for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Woody Harrelson, and many others.

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