Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Haven't Seen These, Either

"Jerry Falwell can go to Hell." - Jimmy Carter

I don't claim any special knowledge of the Reverend Falwell's post-mortal destination, but I think we have a right to be dubious about anyone who claims a cozy relationship with the Almighty, especially when that person gets fast and loose with the truth of things mortals can observe. It wouldn't surprise me if his first acquaintance on the Other Side was a pitchfork wielding dude who says, "Please allow me to introduce myself..."

About six months ago in this space I listed some older, not necessarily very famous movies that I have enjoyed. Here's a follow-up list, still old, still somewhat under appreciated and in different movie categories. The list is aimed at consumers who want something other than the usual "new releases", which as often as not simply make up the dreck of NEXT year. Some of these, I warn, would be difficult to find even in stores with LOTS of titles, but they're worth looking for.
The Grey Fox - Great story setup of an old stagecoach robber who is released from prison in the age of the steam train. Great scenery of the Canadian Rockies.
The Natural - OK, you've seen it, but the music alone is worth a repeat, and the DVD has an interesting interview all about baseball with Cal Ripken.
Forbidden Planet - A lot better than the dorky title. It proves my thesis that you always learn more about the decade a movie was made in than you do about the time that's depicted.
Eye of the Needle - If Germany had any supply of nasty spies like the one played by Donald Sutherland in this thriller, then our side was lucky to win.
The Boat/Das Boot - In either English or German you sure get the idea that U-Boat life was no cruise.
Hotel Rwanda - Saw this one more recently. A good man does his best under impossible circumstances.
The Family Man - It's like "It's a Wonderful Life" turned inside out. Which Nicholas Cage would we want to be?
Elmer Gantry - Burt Lancaster movies have to be on every list. This one's a sendup of the preaching biz.
Bingo Long's Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings - Most black actors you can recall from about 20 years ago. A can't miss baseball comedy without the vulgarity that would have been in it if it had been made later. Catch the Richard Pryor character figuring his batting average.
Radio Days - Not much of a story line, but my favorite Woody Allen movie based on his sympathy for the characters in an extended Jewish family. Good music, too.
What About Bob? - We know every line of this Bill Murray movie. Surprisingly pro-family.
The Man Who Would Be King - The Kipling story featuring Michael Caine and Sean Connery. A fun, not entirely serious adventure movie from the 70's.
Quiz Show - An eye-opening look back at the 50's and TV's infancy. I liked the suits.
Pinocchio - You've got to love all the characters in this Disney classic. Walt sure had lots on geniuses on his payroll.
The Black Stallion - One of the great G-rated movies ever. Ageless Mickey Rooney, a huge thoroughbred and some great scenes at the beach and the racetrack.
The Right Stuff - The 1980's look back at the late 1950's when the Space Age was getting launched.
Avalon - Takes a little patience to watch, but shows the American story from the standpoint of a single family of European Jews. Worth the time and (lack of) action.
That's enough for now. I won't do another one of these unless someone has something to say about the ones already mentioned. Hope your veggies are planted and that you've got time for your chosen outdoor sport.


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