Welcome to the 787th Edition of my series. I don't have a lot to say at this time so I'll just leave it at stay safe and just look for that better tomorrow I know we can all have. Now I'll just get to me selections for the week.
She's Having a Baby (1988): This is part three of my Kevin Bacon trilogy. John Hughes wrote and directed this film about newlyweds Jake and Kristy Briggs, played by Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern. As newlyweds, they appear a bit unprepared and must figure out what is best for them even though the parents have a lot of demands for what they need. Alec Baldwin, Holland Taylor, William Windom, Cathryn Damon, Bill Erwin, Paul Gleason, Dennis Dugan, John Ashton, Larry Hankin, Edie McClurg, Nancy Lenehan, Al Leong, Lili Taylor, Gail O'Grady, and many others co-star in this film. This is a little different from most John Hughes comedies at the time. It has comedy in it but is more of a drama than those teen comedies he is known for like PRETTY IN PINK and SIXTEEN CANDLES. It was also a more personal project for Hughes. This is a good look at the trials and tribulations of marriage.
Wife and Auto Trouble (1916): This is my short film for the week where I decided to go the silent route. Dell Henderson directed this silent short which stars William Collier Jr. as the credits say "the meek husband". He is bossed around a lot by his wife and mother-in-law and is also having an affair with his secretary in which is brother-in-law tries to expose and leads to some funny results. This is worth a look for those who enjoy silent films, especially silent comedy. Interesting of note that the protagonist was the one having the affair that I'm sure drew some controversy at the time.
The Godfather: Part II (1974): This is part three of my Robert De Niro series that will likely go five or six parts. Francis Ford Coppola directs possibly the best sequel of all time and even co-writes the modern era with Mario Puzo while the flashback scenes are based from his novel. This takes a look at the parallel lives of young Vito Corleone, played by De Niro, and Vito's youngest son Michael Corleone, reprised by Al Pacino. This charts the rise in the mafia for Vito in the '20s and for Michael as he tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate as he looks to expand his business to Las Vegas, Hollywood, and Cuba. Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasburg, Michael V. Gazzo, G.D. Spradlin, Richard Bright, Gastone Moschin, Tom Rosqui, Bruno Kirby, Frank Silvero, Francesca De Sapio, Morgana King, Dominic Chianese, Troy Donahue, John Aprea, Joe Spinell, Abe Vigoda, Gianni Russo, Harry Dean Stanton, Danny Aiello, Roger Corman, James Caan, and many others co-star in this sequel. This is a really good back and forth look at Vito and Michael as we see more compassion in Vito and more ruthlessness in Michael. I have come to compare Vito and Michael to the real life father and son Vincent J. McMahon and Vincent K. McMahon in the way they handled the industry and the way Vincent J. wanted the industry to stay territorial and Vincent K. went on to expand globally. Even before this, I always saw Vincent K. McMahon as a Michael Corleone. It is best to have seen the first one first and then this one though a release was made that started with the flashback scenes and went in order of the stories of parts one and two in the more modern era though it does not work as well in my opinion.
American Pop (1981): Ralph Bakshi directed this animated film which was written by Ronnie Kern. This takes a look at four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, each of which had a part in popular music in some way starting from pre-jazz to rhythm and blues, 1950s rock, and psychedelic rock. This takes a look at the ups and downs of these people. Ron Thompson, Mews Small, Lisa Jane Persky, Roz Kelly, Frank DeKova, Leonard Stone, Richard Moll, Vincent Schiavelli, and many others provide their voices in this animated film. Bakshi was more known for his dark fantasy films whereas this seemed to be a more personal project for him. This is a pretty moving film on the ups and downs of many generations of a family.
Paths of Glory (1957): Now I bring a war film which was directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel by Humphrey Cobb. Kirk Douglas stars as commanding WWI officer Colonel Dax who must defend three of his soldiers that get a court martial being accused of cowardice during an unsuccessful attack. Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready, Wayne Morris, Richard Anderson, Joe Turkel, Peter Capell, Emile Meyer, Bert Freed, Timothy Carey, and many others co-star in this anti-war film. This was probably very controversial at the time for the anti-war themes which was rather taboo in this era. Douglas had a lot to do in the making of this film which was produced by his own studio when Kubrick approached him. This takes place some during the war but mostly in the court scenes when the soldiers are on trial. This is available to watch on Amazon Prime and is of worth to see some early Kubrick.
The Legend of Rita (2000): This is my German film for the week which was directed by Volker Schlondorff. Bibiana Begau stars as Rita Vogt who is a radical West German radical fighting the capitalist system there.. She finally abandons the revolution and is given a new identity provided by the East German secret service while living in fear that she will be exposed. Martin Wuttke, Nadja Uhl, Harald Schrott, Alexander Beyer, Jenny Schily, Thomas Arnold, and many others co-star in this German film. The characters are at least somewhat based on real-life members from the RAF. This is a pretty good look at '70s Germany and is available to watch on Amazon Prime.
Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope (1977): George Lucas wrote and directed this sci-fi classic that started this big franchise. Mark Hamill stars as Luke Skywalker who works as a farm hand with his aunt and uncle. Things happen when he gets a message from Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, from one of the droids that Luke bought. He teams up with an aging Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Alec Guinness, outlaw pilot Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, a Wookie named Chewbacca, played by Peter Mayhew, a couple droids C-3PO and R2-D2, played by Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, to go rescue the princess from the empire lead by Darth Vader, played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones. Peter Cushing, Phil Brown, Shelagh Fraser, and many others co-star in this film. I don't think I really need to go much further on the plot. I don't really know where the number four came from so I'll leave that to anyone who has dug really deep into that. I think just about anyone who has wanted to see this movie has by now and those who have not seen it will proudly let everyone know they are one of the "1%" that has never seen a STAR WARS movie. This movie started a huge phenomenon when it came out and it remains that way today. This is available to watch on Disney Plus just like the rest.
Marriage Story (2019): I start the week out with the start of newlyweds, now I bring on a movie about a couple dealing with divorce which was written and directed by Noah Baumbach. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star as married couple Charlie and Nicole Barber who are going through a divorce and are trying to make things work for the sake of the 8 year old son Henry, played by Azhy Robertson. Julia Greer, Wallace Shawn, Gideon Glick, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Robert Smigel, Julie Hagerty, Laura Dern, Merritt Weaver, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and many others co-star in this film. This is a good look at a couple in the unfortunate stage of divorce and the price of having the courts involved with the divorce. Driver shows some musical talent in one scene. This is available to watch on Netflix.
Chains (1949): This is my Italian film for the week which was directed by Raffaello Matarazzo. Amedeo Nazzari and Yvonne Samson star as married couple Guglielmo and Rosa. Rosa's ex-boyfriend comes back into the picture and a killing happens that threatens to tear the family apart. Matarazzo was known for his comedies but transitions into this melodrama with a touch of Noir. I understand that this movie was pretty successful at the time it was out but has not really stayed on the radar since then. This was a pretty decent story on a family torn apart by temptation. This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.
Go For Sisters (2013): John Sayles wrote and directed this crime drama. THE PRACTICE alum LisaGay Hamilton stars as parole officer Bernice whose son is missing. She enlists the help of her old friend Fontayne, played by Yolanda Ross, who has been paroled and has Bernice as a parole officer. They also get helped by disgraced cop Freddy Suarez. Hilary Barraford, Mahershala Ali, Harold Perrineau, Mary Portser, Don Harvey, Brent Jennings, Isaiah Washington, Hector Elizondo, and many others co-star in this crime drama. This is a pretty good low-budget film with a trio of unrelated characters that really works. It also has a non-Hollywood treatment that is also refreshing.
Well, that is it for this week but I did bring back my "Fun and Useless Facts" segment so continue reading. Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so far includes Robert De Niro, Rob Reiner, Charles Chaplin, and many others.
I like to do this segment from time to time and felt this week I had enough to work with. I do limit the facts so there are plenty others that I did not cover and you are welcome to comment. I know one obvious familial one that is not on here.
Timothy Carey (Paths of Glory) was offered the role of Don Fanucci in this week's feature THE GODFATHER: PART II which would ultimately go to Gastone Moschin.
Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II) declined the role of Han Solo in this week's feature STAR WARS: EPISODE IV- A NEW HOPE which would ultimately go to Harrison Ford. What could have been.
Kevin Bacon (She's Having a Baby) and Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) were in the 1996 film SLEEPERS.
Elizabeth McGovern (She's Having a Baby) and Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) were in the 1984 film ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA.
Alec Baldwin (She's Having a Baby) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story) were in the 2018 film BLACKKKLANSMAN.
Alec Baldwin (She's Having a Baby) and Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) were in the 2006 film THE GOOD SHEPHERD which De Niro directed. Baldwin is also known to do a pretty good impression on De Niro, most notably on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
Alec Baldwin (She's Having a Baby) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars) were in the 1988 comedy WORKING GIRL. They also share the role of Jack Ryan which Baldwin played in the 1990 film THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and Ford played him in 1992 film PATRIOT GAMES and the 1994 film CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER. They apparently do not get along very well.
Holland Taylor (She's Having a Baby) and LisaGay Hamilton were in the legal drama series THE PRACTICE where Taylor was more of a recurring character as one of the judges and Hamilton was a regular.
William Windom (She's Having a Baby) and Robert Duvall (The Godfather Part II) were in the 1962 film TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
Paul Gleason (She's Having a Baby) and Robert Duvall (The Godfather Part II) were in the 1979 mini-series IKE: THE WAR YEARS, the 1979 film THE GREAT SANTINI, and the 1983 film TENDER MERCIES.
Dennis Dugan (She's Having a Baby) plays the stand-by for Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II) in the 2011 comedy JACK AND JILL in which Dugan directed.
John Ashton (She's Having a Baby) and Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) were in the 1988 comedy MIDNIGHT RUN.
Larry Hankin (She's Having a Baby) and Hector Elizondo (Go for Sisters) were in the 1990 comedy PRETTY WOMAN.
Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) and LisaGay Hamilton (Go for Sisters) were in the 1997 film JACKIE BROWN.
Harrison Ford (Star Wars) and Edward James Olmos (Go for Sisters) were in the 1982 sci-fi classic BLADE RUNNER and the 2017 sequel BLADE RUNNER 2049.
Ray Liotta (Marriage Story) and Mahershala Ali (Go For Sisters) were in the 2012 film THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES.
Alec Baldwin (She's Having a Baby) and Harold Perrineau (Go For Sisters) were in the 1997 movie THE EDGE.
Robert De Niro (The Godfather Part II) and Don Harvey (Go For Sisters) were in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES.
Harrison Ford (Star Wars) and Brent Jennings (Go For Sisters) were in the 1985 film WITNESS.
Harrison Ford (Star Wars) and Isaiah Washington (Go For Sisters) were in the 2003 movie HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE.
Ray Liotta (Marriage Story) and Hector Elizondo (Go For Sisters) were in the 1997 thriller TURBULANCE.
Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II) and Hector Elizondo (Go For Sisters) were in the 1991 movie FRANKIE AND JOHNNY.
Alec Baldwin (She's Having a Baby) and Al Pacino (The Godfather Part II) ere in the 1992 film GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
Robert Duvall (The Godfather Part II) and Harrison Ford (Star Wars) were in the 1979 film APOCALYPSE NOW.
Robert Duvall (The Godfather Part II) and James Earl Jones (Star Wars) are half-brothers in the 1996 film A FAMILY THING.