Sunday, July 12, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 760th Edition

Welcome to the 760th Edition of my series.  After performances of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU last Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I'm back to normal life for now.  I'm grateful I got to perform in these times and is one of my favorite shows I have done.  I don't know what is going on with my work as of now so I will need to take a break for now but I'm sure I'll be back.  Nothing else happening right now so I'll just get on with my selections for the week.

Man on the Moon (1999):  I start the week out with part five of my Paul Giamatti series which is my first time really noticing him.  Milos Forman directed this biopic on Andy Kaufman, played by Jim Carrey.  This takes a look at the career of comedian Andy Kaufman when he was on TAXI as well as his times as the self-named Intergender Wrestling Champion of the world that would start his legendary feud with wrestler Jerry Lawler, played by himself.  Giamatti co-stars as his co-writer Bob Zmuda who also had a cameo himself.  Courtney Love stars as Kaufman's girlfriend Lynne Margulies and Danny Devito co-stars as Kaufman's agent George Shapiro.  Vincent Schiavelli, Peter Bonerz, Reiko Aylesworth, Michael Villani, Caroline Rhea, Tracey Walter, David Koechner, Gerry Becker, Bobby Borielloe, Pamela Abdy, Patton Oswalt, Jim Ross, Mando Guerrero, Stacy Carter, Norm McDonald, Lorne Michaels, Brittany Colonna, Lance Russell, and many others co-star or have cameos in this film and many people in Andy's life play themselves.  Colonna is the real-life granddaughter of Kaufman and plays her aunt Carol as a child.  R.E.M. did the music score and the hit title song.  This is a really good look at someone who we refer to as a comedian but a comedian who was not concerned about laughs or getting liked.  Kaufman's goal was to get a reaction even if it was hatred and when I see this type of performer, I associate them with Andy Kaufman.  I put Marilyn Manson into that category.  I decided to follow this up by watching the 2016 Netflix documentary JIM AND ANDY:  THE GREAT BEYOND.  This was a behind the scenes showing of Jim Carrey getting into character and mostly was either Andy Kaufman or Kaufman's alter-ego Tony Clifton on the set.  This documentary also talks about the way Jim Carrey would try to entice Lawler behind the scenes.  Both of these were really good and great for a double feature.

Tombstone (1993):  George P. Cosmatos directed this western biopic on the iconic lawman Wyatt Earp, played by Kurt Russell.  Wyatt decides to move to Tombstone, Arizona in hopes of retiring from the law and going into business.  He is joined by his brothers Virgil, played by Sam Elliott, and Morgan, played by Bill Paxton, as well as his friend the controversial Doc Holliday, played by perfection by Val Kilmer.  A group called the Cowboys were wreaking havoc on the town which slowly brings Wyatt and his brothers to come out of retirement leading into the iconic gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Jon Tenney, Stephen Lang, Dana Delany, Thomas Haden Church, Michael Rooker, Harry Carey Jr., Billy Bob Thornton, Tomas Arena, Paul Ben-Victor, John Philbin, Robert John Burke, Billy Zane, Charlton Heston, John Corbett, Peter Sherayko, Buck Taylor, Terry O'Quinn, Frank Stallone, Pedro Armendariz Jr., Christopher Mitchum, Wyatt Earp, and many others co-star in this film.  The actor Earp is the real-life cousin of the Earp family.  Robert Mitchum does the narration in this film.  This is a western that has really become a cult classic through the years.  I did feel this movie captured Wyatt Earp's dark side better than the older presentations through the years, most notably in what they call the "Earp Vendetta Ride".  I also felt this took a closer look at some of the minor people from this era.  I decided to follow up this with a couple documentaries that included PBS documentary AMERICAN EXPERIENCE:  WYATT EARP and the documentary IN SEARCH OF DOC HOLLIDAY which was both available on Amazon Prime.  This is a great western that is available on imdb tv with commercials and is complemented well with the documentaries named.

Hamilton (2020):  I continue by biographical selections with this look at founding father Alexander Hamilton.  Thomas Kail directed this stage performance of the popular musical which was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda who also stars as Alexander Hamilton and is inspired by the novel by Ron Chernow.  This takes a look at the ups and downs of Hamilton in his days in the military and his political career.  Leslie Odom Jr. also stars as Aaron Burr and is essentially the narrator in the musical.  Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Chris Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Okieriette Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, Phillippa Soo, Sydney James Harcourt, Thayne Jasperson, Jon Rua, Ephraim Sykes, and many others co-star in this 2016 stage presentation that is the original cast.  This recently got picked up by the Disney Plus network.  This is known to have some very unusual casting where race was not a concern with the cast and much of the music has a rap/hip-hop feel.  I have never got to see this show live but I have listened to the soundtrack many times when I'm working and have always enjoyed the soundtrack.  I have also karaoked a couple of these songs.  This is not for everyone, I know some do not like the rap element of the show.  A good double feature could be this and the musical 1776.  While I enjoy 1776, it is more of a dramatization while this tries to have more historical fact.  This is available to watch on Disney Plus.

It's Not Just You, Murray! (1964):  This is my short film for the week and I decided to delve some more into the early work of Martin Scorsese.  Ira Rubin stars as Murray who is reflecting back on his life as a mobster.  He expresses gratitude to his friend Joe but oblivious that Joe is not much of a friend.  Martin's mother Catherine Scorsese also has a role in this short film.  This is pretty funny and I guess the start of Scorsese's mafia films that he would be very known for later in his career.  This and many of his other early short films are available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Don Q, Son of Zorro (1925):  Donald Crisp directed this sequel to the 1920 film THE MARK OF ZORRO and is based on the novel by Kate and Hesketh Prichard.  Douglas Fairbanks has a duel role where he reprises his role of Don Diego and plays his son Cesar.  Cesar is framed for murder so he fakes his death and takes on the persona of Don Q to solve the murder and gets some help from Zorro.  Donald Crisp, Mary Astor, Jean Hersholt, Warner Oland, Albert MacQuarrie, Lottie Pickford, Charles Stevens, and many others co-star in this silent film.  This and its predecessor are both available to watch on Amazon Prime and are some very action packed movies for their time.

The Mugger (1958):  William Berke directed this film based on a novel by Ed McBain.  A town is subject to many cases where women are being attacked, having their purses stolen and getting a cut on their left cheek.  Kent Smith stars as Dr. Pete Graham who is investigating these crimes and the mind of the mysterious mugger.  Nan Martin, James Franciscus, Stefan Schnabel, Dick O'Neill, Leonard Stone, John Alexander, Arthur Storch, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty decent low-budget mystery with a good amount of suspense.  This is also available to watch on Amazon Prime and is worth a look.

One True Thing (1998):  This is part five of my Renee Zellweger series.  Carl Franklin directed this film that is based on the novel by Anna Quindlen.  Zellweger stars as Ellen Gulden who is forming a successful career and seems to have about everything going in her life.  When she learns her mother Kate, played by Meryl Streep, has cancer, she puts everything aside to move back to her home and care for her mother.  When there, she learns some family secrets involving her father George, played by William Hurt.  Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham, Nicky Katt, James Eckhouse, Patrick Breen, Gerrit Graham, Lizbeth Mackay, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a pretty good look at a rather dysfunctional family trying to keep it together and the sacrifices that have to be made.  This is a semi-biographical story by the author.

Miss Annie Rooney (1942):  Edwin L. Marin directed this movie which stars a teenage Shirley Temple.  Temple stars as poor girl Annie Rooney who is being raised by her father and grandfather, played by William Gargan and Guy Kibbee.  She meets an upper-class boy in Marty, played by Dickie Moore, who she really likes.  Her father is also always looking for a get rich quick scheme which all play in together.  Peggy Ryan, Gloria Holden, Jonathan Hale, Mary Field, George Lloyd, Selmer Jackson, June Lockhart, and many others co-star.  Temple still had the Shirley Temple personality in her as an early teen and I learned in this movie she got her first on-screen kiss.  This was a transitional period in her life when she left Fox and was the start to her teen career as she would leave acting not long after for the most part.  I always hoped that Quentin Tarantino and her would get together for some comeback role but that never happened.  This is of worth to see Shirley as a teen and is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970):  This was kind of an audible when I learned that composer Ennio Morricone died and came across this movie when trying to find one he scored and fits into what I have done so far.  Elio Petri directed and co-wrote this Italian film.  Gian Maria Volonte stars in this film as a police detective who kills his mistress, played by Florinda Bokan, and is trying to leave clues to prove himself but the title says it all.  Orazio Orlando, Arturo Dominici, Mossimo Foschi, Vittorio Duse, and many others co-star in this film.  It is hard to describe this movie from what I already have described except very unusual.  Volante was perfect for this role and kept my attention up until the interesting ending.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Albert Nobbs (2011):  Rodrigo Garcia directed this film which is based on the 1927 novella by George Moore.  Glenn Close stars as the title character who is a woman in 19th century Dublin but posing as a man, not due to gender identity issues but to get a job as a butler in a world where it is hard for women to get good paying jobs.  Mia Wasikowska, Janet McTeer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Pauline Collins, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark Williams, James Greene, Serena Brabazon, Michael McElhatton, Phyllida Law, Brendan Gleeson, Kenneth Collard, Judy Donovan, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Phoebe Waller- Bridge, Emerald Fennell, John Light, Brenda Fricker, and many others co-star in this film.  I feel it best to not describe this any further.  Close reprised this role from an Off-Broadway play in 1982 called THE SINGULAR LIFE OF ALBERT NOBBS.  Close does a great job in this role and Janet McTeer also has a very good performance as well as the rest of the cast.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Renee Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, James Stewart, and many others.

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