Sunday, March 10, 2019

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 695th Edition

Welcome to the 695th Edition of my series.  It's been a pretty busy week with my show and a road trip I took over the weekend but I still bring the blog.  A FEW GOOD MEN is going very well and on the bottom has date information so check that out and come see my show if in the area.  I don't have much else happening so I'll just get on with my selections.

On the Road (2012):  This is part three of my three-part Elizabeth Moss trilogy, part one of a possible two-part Viggo Mortensen series, and part one of a possible four-part Steve Buscemi series.  Walter Salles directed this film based on the novel by Jack Kerouac.  Sam Riley stars as young writer Sal Paradise who is a struggling young writer and as the title implies goes on the road.  While on the road, he is befriended by the charismatic Dean Moriarty, played by Garrett Hedlund, and his free-spirited young wife Marylou, played by Kristen Stewart.  They travel the American southwest together in the search for the unknown.  Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Alice Braga, Danny Morgan, Kirsten Dunst, Terrence Howard, Michael Sarrazin, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good low-budget film that is driven by the characters.

So You Want to Give Up Smoking (1942):  This is my older comedy short film for the week which is based on the Joe McDoakes series.  George O'Hanlon stars as Joe who is an everyday American dealing with the aspects of everyday life.  In this one, he looks to give up smoking and tries multiple methods.  There is also some informative narration that take a look at the effects of smoking in a time when it was more on the rise and promoted a lot more.

Two-Lane Blacktop (1971):  This is part one of my two-part Warren Oates series.  This is another road movie that involves drag racing and was directed by Monte Hellman.  A couple musicians in James Taylor and Beach Boys member Brian Wilson take a stab at acting as the Driver and the Mechanic of a '55 Chevy and meet the arrogant G.T.O, played by Oates, where they agree to a drag race where the winner gets the loser's car.  Laurie Bird and H.D. Stanton co-star in this film.  H.D. Stanton would become more known as Harry Dean Stanton.  Another movie that does not have much in the way of special effects and is minimal on the dialogue.  Our two starring musicians make the most of their lack of acting experience.  A rather popular genre from this era and a good look at Americana and the dark side of the American Dream.

Mystery, Alaska (1999):  This is part one of a possible Russell Crowe trilogy.  Jay Roach directed this sports film which is loosely based on the 1905 Stanley Cup game between the Dawson City Nuggets and the Ottawa Senators though the movie does not take place in that year.  This takes place in the small Alaskan town of Mystery as the title implies.  The biggest thing happening in the town is for many years a group of hockey amateurs come together every Saturday to play a game of hockey.  Crowe stars as John Biebe who is the most tenured player and is trying to get past the fact that he is an aging player.  They soon get some publicity and learn that the New York Rangers want to play the team and the members of the small town must put their differences aside for this big event while the players prepare.  Hank Azaria, Burt Reynolds, Mary McCormack, Colm Meaney, Lolita Davidovich, Maury Chaykin, Ron Eldard, Ryan Northcott, Michael Buie, Kevin Durand, Jason Gray-Stanford, Brent Stait, Adam Beach, Cameron Bancroft, Michael McKean, Judith Ivey, Mike Myers, and many others co-star in this film.  This is really more of a movie about small town life and the people in it.  Hockey just happens to be what is loved in the town.  It is a pretty good look at small town life and a rather inspirational movie.

The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938):  Anatole Litvak directed this this film based on the play by Barre Lyndon.  Edward G. Robinson stars as the title character who is very fascinated with the criminal mind and decides that in order to understand it he must become one himself.  He manages to make his way into a criminal gang and is accepted by all but Rocks Valentine, played by Humphrey Bogart.  Claire Trevor, Allen Jenkins, Donald Crisp, Gale Page, Henry O'Neill, John Litel, Thurston Hall, Maxie Rosenbloom, Ward Bond, and many others co-star in this crime drama.  This was a very common genre from this era but this put a clever angle to it with someone going to extremes to understand his fascination.  This is a pretty underrated entry from the genre which deserves a look.

Bad Words (2013):  Jason Bateman directed this comedy and also stars in the film.  Bateman stars as Guy Trilby who is a school dropout and manages to find a loophole in the regulations of the spelling bee the Golden Quill in order for him to join.  He meets a lot of dismay among the board and parents but still does what he can.  He also forms an unlikely friendship with his opponent Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand.  Kathryn Hahn, Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Steve Witting, Beth Grant, and many others co-star in this film.  While the plot is rather absurd, it still manages to work with the comedy and the deep reasoning of the protagonist to enter the spelling bee.  This is not a spelling bee movie for the family to watch and as the title implies there are a lot of what many would call bad words.

Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar (1967):  This is my Disney film of the week.  This centers around Charlie the Cougar who gets taken in by logger Jess Bradley, played by Ron Brown, in the Pacific Northwest.  Charlie is torn between his domesticated lifestyle and his own natural instincts.  Rex Allen narrates this film with the animals.  Disney did a lot of movies centering around wildlife usually having Allen do narration and this was his last one.  While Walt Disney approved this movie, the filming did not happen until after his death making this the first Disney movie to come out after his death.  This has some really good nature footage with entertaining narration that the family can enjoy.  This is available to watch on Hoopla.

The Florida Project (2017):  Sean Baker directs this independent film which takes place in the shadows of Walt Disney World.  Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince star as mother and daughter Halley and Mooney who live in the Budget Motel near Disney World and barely survive.  Halley does what she can to make money and survive while the six year old Mooney is very mischievous and causes some trouble.  Willem Dafoe co-stars as hotel manager Charlie who is not supposed to allow people to live there long-term but tries to be compassionate knowing many of them have nowhere to go.  Christopher Rivera, Aiden Malik, Valeria Cotto, Mela Murder, and many others co-star in this film.  Dafoe is the only person in this movie that is a really known actor but the rest of the cast makes the most of their inexperience in acting.  This is not an upbeat film by any means but has a lot of authenticity to it and while the selection before this one is family oriented, this does not qualify.  This is a very compelling film that really deserves more exposure.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

High Noon (1952):  This is my western for the week which was directed by Fred Zinneman and one of my favorites of a genre I am not huge with.  Gary Cooper stars in this western as Marshall Will Kane who has just gotten married to the beautiful Amy and is set to be leaving the town and walking away from his dangerous life as a Marshall. Things begin to change when Will is informed that a man he put in prison named Frank Miller, played by Ian MacDonald, has been pardoned and feels obligated to stay much to the dismay of his wife and help when three other men roll into town obviously waiting for Miller.  Things do not go as planned for Kane though when the town refuses to help, including an all-talk deputy Marshall in Harvey Pell, played by Lloyd Bridges.  Thomas Mitchell, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lee Van Cleef, Lon Chaney Jr., Harry Morgan, and many others co-star in this film.  Van Cleef makes his film debut who is in the movie a lot but does not have any dialogue while he does play the harmonica a lot.  This is more of a psychological western and the movie mostly deals with the characters and their preparation for what is to happen.  It leads to a really good action climax at the end.  This was written as a statement towards the blacklisting happening at the time and the Joseph McCarthy era.  John Wayne made it very clear that he did not like this movie as he ran an anti-communist organization for the film industry and was aware of the statement this movie was conveying.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Odessa (2013):  I end the movie with this sci-fi short film.  Cidney Hue wrote and directed this short film.  Cat Walleck stars as Shannon who is a mission specialist and agrees to a long sleep in a 135 year journey to the distant planet of Gliese 581g.  On her last day, she spends one last night in New York City with a stranger, played by Ken Fuller, she met at the bar.  There is not much else I can say to describe this but conveys a lot in 14 minutes with a good story and performances.  This is also available to watch on Amazon 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 Laurence Fishburne.

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