Sunday, November 8, 2020

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations and the 15 Year Anniversary


Welcome to this week's edition of my series which is the 15 year anniversary.  I know, I can't believe it either.  What I did with this one is I used a selection for each wild card for this year's Madness and came across some interesting selections that I was able to make count for a horror movie and tv contest.  It has been quite a year for just about everyone I think in some form or another.  I am glad to have this to keep me going and thankful to those that have supported me in these 15 years both old and new.  Here are my selections.

Worthless (2018):  The wild card for this selection is Tara Reid.  Chris Cardillo Sr. wrote and directed this thriller that takes a look at the price of bullying.  He also co-stars as Talia's father.  Tara stars as Talia Medici though played by Alexandra Grossi in the high school scenes.  Talia was mostly the lead bully in her high school days and her personality has not changed much.  She is forced to relive her high school ways in a CHRISTMAS CAROL sort of way though much darker.  Quinton Aaron, Erin O'Brien, Tanya Christiansen, Cabrina Collesides, Fallon Maressa, Laura Hine, Chris Cardillo, Jamie Houk, Rachel Chelsea Foster, Danielle Driscoll, and many others co-star in this film.  This is a really good look at bullying and the effects.  It also shows how the way Talia was treated at home did not help who she was in school.  This seems like a rather personal project for Cardillo and Tara must have been very interested as she is an executive producer.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

1941 (1979):  The wild card for this selection is Steven Spielberg who directed this comedy that is a parody of WWII.  This takes place days after the Pearl Harbor attack where a group of Californians prepare for an attack on the Japanese.  The Japanese and Germans, lead by Toshiro Mifune and Christopher Lee, have plans of their own.  Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Tim Matheson, Warren Oates, Robert Stack, Treat Williams, Nancy Allen, John Candy, Lucille Benson, Elisha Cook Jr., Eddie Deezen, Bobby Di Cicco, Dianne Kay, Perry Lang, Patti Lupone, J. Patrick McNamara, Frank McRae, Steven Mond, Slim Pickens, Wendie Jo Sperber, Lionel Stander, Dub Taylor, Joe Flaherty, Michael McKean, Samuel Fuller, John Landis, Mickey Rourke, Andy Tennant, and many others co-star or have bit roles.  This movie has multiple storylines and I thought it was kind of a cross between FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and MASH.  As you can also see, this has quite the cast.  Rourke makes his feature film debut in the minor role of Reese as well as Dan Aykroyd who had been established in television before this movie. 

A Countess from Hong Kong (1967):  The wild card for this selection is Tippi Hedren.  Charles Chaplin wrote and directed this romantic comedy which was his last movie and after years of starring in his films, he would only make a cameo in this one.  Marlon Brando stars as ambassador Ogden Mears who is travelling in a boat and meets stowaway Natascha, played by Sophia Loren.  At first Ogden does what he can to get rid of her while slowly falling in love with her.  Hedren co-stars as Ogden's estranged wife Martha who kind of complicates things for Ogden and Natascha.  Sydney Chaplin, Patrick Cargill, Michael Medwin, Oliver Johnston, Margaret Rutherford, Bill Nagy, Geraldine Chaplin, Josephine Chaplin, Victoria Chaplin and many others co-star in this film.  As you can see, Chaplin put a lot of his family in this movie including his son Sydney who co-starred as Brando's friend and three of his daughters in bit roles.  This is not Chaplin's best movie by any means but is of interest.  Both Chaplin and Brando have spoken negatively of one another in their autobiographies.  

Groove (2000):  The wild card for this selection is Rachel True.  Greg Harrison wrote and directed this independent film on the San Francisco rave scene.  Word gets out that a rave is happening and preparation is happening at an abandoned warehouse.  This mostly centers around the character David, played by Hamish Linklater, who has moved into town hoping to start a career as an novelist but has gone nowhere after four years.  His brother Colin, played by Denny Kirkwood, talks him into going to the rave.  Chris Ferreira, Steve Van Wormer, Elizabeth Sun, Ari Gold, Jeff Witzke, Lola Glaudini, Rachel True Angelo Spizzirri, Vincent Riverside, Nick Offerman, Danielle Renfrew Behrens, Brian Benson, and many others co-star in this film.  This is hard to explain beyond what I already have.  This is a good look at the rave scene and have seen people praise its accuracy.  This also has a few real life west coast djs, at least from that era.

Turn the Key Softly (1953):  The wild card for this selection is Joan Collins.  Jack Lee directed this film that is based on the novel by John Brophy.  Joan Collins, Yvonne Mitchell, and Kathleen Harrison play women from different walks of life that are being released from prison.  This takes a look at how things are going for them in their first day and they all struggle in some way.  Terence Morgan, Thora Hird, Dorothy Alison, Glyn Houston, Geoffrey Keen, Clive Morton, and many others co-star in this film.  This has kind of a BEST YEAR OF OUR LIVES FEEL to it having people struggle with the start of their new lives after being used to different world.  This has gone on to be a very underrated movie that deserves more attention.

The Memory Book (2014):  The wild card for this selection is Adrienne Barbeau.  Paul A. Kaufman directed this Hallmark movie.  Meghan Ory stars as budding photographer Chloe Davenport who is at local flea market and comes across a photo album from the '70s that looked like a perfect couple.  She sets out to find the people in this album to understand the "true love" she is out to find.  Luke Macfarlane co-stars as Gabe who has a chance meeting with Chloe and decides to help her on her journey while slowly forming a relationship.  Art Hindle, John Cassini, Stephanie Van Dyck, Adrienne Barbeau, Amitai Marmonstein, Michael Coleman, Lisa MacFadden, Stephen Miers, and many others co-star in this Hallmark movie.  I know the word Hallmark will make some run for the hills but I know it has its audience.  This was mostly predictable but I did find it pretty enjoyable with the well-written characters.

Tammy and the Bachelor (1957):  The wild card for this selection is Leslie Nielsen.  Joseph Pevney directed this film based on the novel by Cid Ricketts Sumner.  Leslie Nielsen stars as Peter Brent whose plane crashes in a swamp where he is nursed back to health by Tammy, played by Debbie Reynolds, and her grandpa, played by Walter Brennan.  Pete becomes amused with Tammy's naive but outgoing personality.  When Tammy's grandpa is arrested for bootlegging, Tammy goes to Pete's upper-class home to live.  Mala Powers, Sidney Blackmer, Mildred Natwick, Fay Wray, Philip Ober, Craig Hill, Louise Beavers, April Ken, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy.  Reynolds is perfectly cast as Tammy whose education is on living and enjoying life and is able to educate the very educated family and friends of Pete.   This was a pretty funny movie combining the lower and upper classes.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994):  The wild card for this selection is Bruce Campbell.  The Coen Brothers directed and co-wrote this Capra-esque comedy along with Sam Raimi.  Tim Robbins stars as business graduate Norville Barnes who leaves the town of Muncie, Indiana, which is where I live, to go to New York hoping for big things.  He finally finds work at a manufacturing plant and is promoted to president by the head of the board of directors Sidney Mussburger whose idea for a scam is to promote a moron for president.  The ideal Norville looks to make the most of his position and becomes more successful than expected with his invention.  Jennifer Jason Leigh co-stars as Amy Archer who investigates the company and Barnes.  Charles Durning, John Mahoney, Jim True-Frost, Bill Cobbs, Bruce Campbell, Joe Grifasi, Peter Gallagher, Noble Willingham, Steve Buscemi, Anna Nicole Smith, Jon Polito, John Goodman, Mike Starr, and many others co-star in this comedy.  If you have seen enough Capra films you will understand what I'm saying with Capra-esque.  It was cool to see my town get referenced in a Coen Brothers movie and was a great comedy.

High Noon (1952):  The wild card for this selection is Lee Van Cleef who makes his film debut in this western.  Fred Zinneman directed this western which is based on a magazine story called THE TIN STAR by John W. Cunningham.  Gary Cooper stars as lawman Will Kane who is turning in his badge and about to leave town after marrying Amy Fowler, played by future Princess Grace Kelly.  This gets delayed when he learns about the release of the dangerous Frank Miller, played by Ian MacDonald, who Will put in prison and fears Miller will terrorize the town.  He stays in town to put a stop to Miller and his other henchman who are waiting around despite the town's refusal to help and his newlywed's anti-violence beliefs.  Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges, Katy Jurado, Otto Kruger, Lon Chaney Jr., Harry Morgan, Eve McVeagh, Morgan Farley, Harry Shannon, Robert J. Wilke, Sheb Wooley, and many others co-star in this western.  This is one of my favorite westerns.  This has some great lead up to a great climax.  This is also meant to be a statement towards the McCarthy Era where people were getting blacklisted for supposed communism.  

River's Edge (1986):  The wild card for this selection is Crispin Glover.  Tim Hunter directed this film on morality and the reactions of people on how to handle when a friend does something horrible.  Daniel Roebuck stars as high school student Samson who commits a murder and his group of friends that are also friends with the victim are torn on how to handle it.  Layne, played by Glover, is determined to protect Samson while Matt, played by Keanu Reeves, is more torn on what to do.  Ione Skye, Dennis Hopper, Joshua John Miller, Roxana Zal, Phillip Brock, Tom Bower, Constance Forslund, Jim Metzler, Danyi Deats, Taylor Negron, Christopher Peters, and many others co-star in this film.  This is not a very upbeat film by any means.  This was a breakthrough role for Reeves.  Roebuck is very good in a much darker role for him and would go onto be quite the character actor in both film and television.

Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back the "Fun and Useless Facts" segment so read on.  Thanks again to all who have supported me through the years and stay tuned for next week.


I decided on this one to only use selections that involve the ten wild cards for this year's Madness which are listed on the photo above.

Tara Reid (Worthless), Steve Buscemi (The Hudsucker Proxy), and John Goodman (The Hudsucker Proxy) were in the 1998 cult classic THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

Tara Reid (Worthless) and Tippi Hedren (A Countess from Hong Kong) were in the 1998 movie I WOKE UP EARLY THE DAY I DIED which was from a script that Edward D. Wood Jr. wrote.  I was actually looking for this but could not find a way to obtain it.

Tara Reid (Worthless) and Rachel True (Groove) were in the 2014 movie SHARKNADO 2:  THE SECOND ONE.

Tara Reid (Worthless) and Tim Matheson (1941) were in the 2002 comedy VAN WILDER:  PARTY LIAISON.

Ned Beatty (1941) and Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) were in the 1990 horror spoof REPOSSESSED.

Christopher Lee (1941) plays Dracula on many occasions from the '50s to the '70s.  Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) plays Dracula in the 1995 spoof DRACULA:  DEAD AND LOVING IT.

Christopher Lee (1941) and Crispin Glover (River's Edge) were in the 2009 animated film 9 and 2010 movie ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Robert Stack (1941), Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) and Lloyd Bridges (High Noon) were all in the 1980 classic comedy AIRPLANE!

Eddie Deezen (1941) and Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) were in the 1996 comedy SPY HARD.

John Landis (1941) and Bruce Campbell (The Hudsucker Proxy) have cameos in the 2004 superhero film SPIDER-MAN 2.

Wendie Jo Sperber (1941) and Crispin Glover (River's Edge) were in the popular BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy

Joan Collins (Turn the Key Slowly) and Lee Van Cleef (High Noon) were in the 1958 western THE BRAVADOS.

Adrienne Barbeau (The Memory Book) and Lee Van Cleef (High Noon) were in the 1981 sci-fi classic ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK.

Adrienne Barbeau (The Memory Book) and Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) were in the 1982 film CREEPSHOW.

Leslie Nielsen (Tammy and the Bachelor) and Anna Nicole Smith (The Hudsucker Proxy) were in the 1994 comedy NAKED GUN 33 1/3:  THE FINAL INSULT.

Bruce Campbell (The Hudsucker Proxy) and Daniel Roebuck (River's Edge) were in the 2002 classic BUBBA HO-TEP.

Bruce Campbell (The Hudsucker Proxy) was considered for the role of Jack Traven in the 1994 action movie SPEED which would ultimately go to Keanu Reeves (River's Edge).

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