Sunday, February 28, 2021

Shaun Berk's 10 Movie Recommendations- 793rd Edition


Welcome to the 793rd edition of my series.  Tonight are the Golden Globes and I will likely watch but in the end they are just the opinions of many people so I will just move on with my life when they are over.  My show is coming together very well so I hope some of you can make it out to ARSENIC AND OLD LACE in April to see me play a a man who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt.  I will get on with my selections for the week. 

Happy Accidents (2000):  I start the week out with this unusual romantic comedy which was written and directed by Brad Anderson.  Marisa Tomei stars as Ruby Weaver who continues to find the wrong men.  Soon she meets Sam Deed, played by Vincent D'Onofrio, who seems like the perfect man for her but is a bit strange as he claims to be from the future.  Holland Taylor co-stars as Ruby's therapist who tries to help her through these strange times and to understand her man.  Nadia Dajani, Tamara Jenkins, Cara Buono, Lianna Pai, Neal Huff, Sam Seder, Robert Stanton, Stephen Gevedon, Larry Fessendon, Sean Gullette, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Buscemi, Anthony Michael Hall, and many others co-star in this romantic comedy.  I tend to really enjoy romantic movies with Marisa Tomei, most notably UNTAMED HEART and where can one go wrong with Vincent D'Onofrio playing a romantic lead?  This is a very interesting story and at times moving.  

Eagle vs Shark (2007):  I follow up with another rather offbeat romantic comedy which was directed and co-written by Taika Waititi.  Loren Taylor stars as Lily who is out of a job and attracted to loser Jarrod as she accompanies him to his seacoast hometown as he gets ready to take on a guy that bullied him back in high school.  While she meets his family, Jarrod does things to drive Lily away wondering what the future will be like.  Joel Tobeck, Brian Sergent, Craig Hall, Rachel House, David Fane, Cohen Holloway, and many others co-star in this film.  Romantic comedy is really putting this mildly, more of an offbeat film of a couple outcasts falling in love.  This could be a good double feature to go along with NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.

Suburban Commando (1991):  Burt Kennedy directed this sci-fi comedy.  Former WWE World Champion Hulk Hogan stars as interstellar hero Shep Ramsey whose ship was damaged and ends up on Earth of all places until he can get his ship charged again.  He is able to rent a place right next to a suburban family, played by Christopher Lloyd and Shelley Duvall, while taking on his enemies.  Larry Miller, Jack Elam, Tony Longo, Mark Calaway, Dennis Burkley, Luis Contreras, Elizabeth Moss, and many others star in this sci-fi comedy.  Some might remember Calaway as "Mean" Mark Callous but a few others might just know him as the Undertaker.  This is very fun is not taken too seriously.  In watching this, it seems to me, Shep Ramsey could be added to the STAR WARS universe.

Fright to the Finish (1954):  This is my animated short for the week which was directed by Seymour Kneitel.  This centers around Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Bluto where as usual Popeye and Bluto are rivaling for Olive.  This takes place on Halloween where the two rivals are playing more mind games on one another than their usual physical fighting so something different and both were pretty funny.  This is available on Amazon Prime as part of the "Cartoon Classics! Volume 1".

Shanghai Express (1932):  Josef Von Sternberg directed this pre-code film based on a short story by Harry Hervey.  Marlene Dietrich stars as the notorious Shanghai Lily who is on a train ride with that includes her former lover Captain Donald Harvey, played by Clive Brook during the time of a Chinese civil war.  While this train is going, a group of Chinese Guerrillas stop the train making Harvey their hostage.  Anna May Wong, Warner Oland, Eugene Pallette, Lawrence Grant, Louise Closser Hale, Gustav Von Seyffertitz, Emile Chautard.  This has a pretty good cast of characters to make it enjoyable.  Oland plays a Chinese man so I guess he spent much of his career playing those characters as he is most known as detective Charlie Chan.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Darktown Strutters (1975):  This is my Blaxploitation movie for the week which was directed by William Witney and written by George Armitage.  Trina Parks stars as biker Syreena who leads a group of female bikers and investigates the disappearance of her mother Cinderella, and no this is not the famous fairy tale character.  Roger E. Mosley, Stan Shaw, Otis Day, Norman Bartold, Dick Miller, Milt Kogan, and many others co-star in this movie.  I learned that Parks is a more unknown Bond girl who played the role of Thumper in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER so that was kind of cool to know.  It is very tough to describe this movie beyond what I already did as I don't exactly know what I watched.  This has a lot of surrealistic imagery and I believe is a satire on racism.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Big Time Adolecence (2019):  Jason Orley wrote and directed this coming of age comedy.  Griffin Gluck stars as suburban teenager Monroe who has a lot of potential but is compromised by the guidance of his aimless college dropout friend Zeke, played by Pete Davidson, and Zeke's friends.  Emily Arlook, Michael Devine, Aiden Arthur, Jon Cryer, Julia Murney, Machine Gun Kelly, Mike Sutton, Sydney Sweeney, Thomas Barbusca, Oona Laurence, and many others co-star in this comedy.  While this is very funny, it shows the price of trying to be "cool" and trying to fit in with a certain crowd.  For Monroe, it was trying to fit in with a group of immature adults and being rather naive.  This is available to watch on Hulu and was really worth a watch.  

The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954):  This is part two of my Elizabeth Taylor trilogy.  Richard Brooks directed this film based on a story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Van Johnson stars in this film as Charles Wills who returns to Paris after a year and reminisces his times with sisters Helen and Marion Ellswirth, played by Taylor and Donna Reed.  Walter Pidgeon, Eva Gabor, Kurt Kasznar, George Dolenz, Roger Moore, Sandy Descher, Celia Lovsky, and many others co-star in this film.  This was a very young Moore making his first credited movie appearance long before he take on his most famous role of James Bond.  This was a pretty good look at the ups and downs of a relationship but if I say much more I could give it away so just give it a shot.  This is available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Uptight (1968):  Jules Dassin directed this film based on the 1935 novel by Liam O'Flaherty so it had to be re-written a bit to fit into these particular times.  This takes place right after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.  Max Julien stars as charismatic black black revolutionary Johnny Wells who leads a group of black men to steal some guns.  When going to get their member Tank, played by Julian Mayfield, they find he is drunk and sitting around his house no longer really supporting their cause.  This causes a lot of tension among this group of black revolutionaries that were not in favor of the non-violent approach of MLK.  Ruby Dee, Raymond St. Jacques, Frank Silvera, Roscoe Lee Browne, Janet MacLaughlin, Juanita Moore, Dick Anthony Williams, Michael Baseleon, John Wesley, and many others co-star in this film that is essentially about betrayal.  I had never heard of this movie until I came across it and was a very powerful film.  This is available to watch on the Criterion Channel. 

Maurice (1987):  I end another week with a movie directed by James Ivory and this time based on a novel by E.M. Forster.  This takes place in the early 1900s where James Wilby stars as Maurice Hall who falls in love with a man named Clive, played by a young Hugh Grant, in a time where this sort of love was absolutely forbidden.  Clive moves on and marries a woman not wanting to be exposed as a homosexual while Maurice is in more of a struggle to come to terms with his homosexuality.  Rupert Graves, Denholm Elliot, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw, Barry Foster, Judy Parfitt, Phoebe Nicholls, Patrick Godfrey, Mark Tandy, Ben Kingsley, Kitty Aldridge, Helena Bonham Carter, and many others co-star in this film.  Even when this movie came out, this was still a time where being gay was mostly deemed as wrong in society so this likely met some backlash.  This a good good look at Britain in this era and is also available to watch on the Criterion Channel.

Well, that is it for this week.  Tell me what you like and dislike and stay tuned for next week which so so far includes Naomi Watts, Christopher Walken, Eli Wallach, Buster Keaton, Elizabeth Taylor, Myrna Loy, and many others.

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