Monday, June 21, 2010

MOVIE DIRTY DOZEN [Cinematic Stuffs I Recommends]

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Stephen T. McCarthy to Alex J. Cavanaugh:
I most definitely wish to participate in this Blogfest, but I want to appeal to you first for special "dispensation".

… What I think I would much rather do, and what would make it more fun for me is if, rather than list my 12 all-time top favorite movies, I compiled a list of movies that I really enjoy - although not all of them would make it on a Top 12 list - and movies that are a bit more obscure, not nearly so well known to the general public. In other words, I would like to "introduce" some people to some largely overlooked or forgotten films that I think many people would really enjoy if they simply knew about them.

… In a nutshell: My list of 12 movies ... while not quite rated that highly, are still movies that I really enjoy and which I believe would be more widely appreciated if only they were better known. Is it OK with you if I arrange my list of 12 in this way?

Alex J. Cavanaugh to Stephen T. McCarthy:
Stephen, it's your list. Go for it!
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Category: “Best Actor”
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East Of Eden (1955)
Featuring: James Dean, Julie Harris

When James Dean first appeared on the screen, the little girls started screaming and a legend was born. That same year he was dead. But make no mistake about it, Dean was much more than a teen scream screen star. In fact, Dean had the most God-given acting talent ever. His inventiveness was simply off-the-charts. I’m still amazed by Dean’s performance. Despite the greater fame of his second movie “Rebel Without A Cause” (released posthumously), this one was his best.

Dean plays the part of Cal, a misunderstood youth desperately seeking his father’s love and acceptance. Watch for his rebellious reading of Psalm 32 (“Selah. EIGHT!”) And watch for the moment where he sneaks a drag off of someone else’s cigarette and drinks wine with his finger while anxiously awaiting the arrival of his Dad at the surprise birthday party. Trust me, folks, stuffs like that is NOT written into the screenplay – it originated within the fertile imagination of a great, great actor. Cal’s reaction to his father’s rejection of his birthday gift is the silver screen’s most intense scene (only the Russian roulette scene in “The Deer Hunter” comes close).

I can understand why the young girls were captivated by this young rebel. Heck, I’m an old boy and I myself am captivated by him. If you’re a female, you will want to love and mother him; if you’re a male, you will want to BE him. “East Of Eden” is one of my Top 25 all-time favorite movies.
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Category: “Black, Proud ‘N’ Hilarious”
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Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
Featuring: Robert Townsend

Townsend spent all of his money and then charged up his credit cards to pay for the making of this hilarious commentary on Blacks in the Hollywood movie-making machine. Some of the skits leave me rolling on the floor with tears in my eyes. Like that bit about ‘The Black Acting School’ where hopelessly unhip suburban Whites try to teach Black actors how to act more “Black”. My favorite, however, is probably ‘Sneakin’ In The Movies’, where two young hoods from the ‘hood sneak into movie theatres and then review the movies Siskel and Ebert-like for the young African-American community. One of my most frequently used expressions has been stolen from this laugh-out-loud segment: “That sh#t could really happen!”

Robert Townsend is the real life epitome of the “just have courage and follow your dream” story. Hollywood Shuffle was his dream, and HE MADE IT! It inspires me AND makes me laugh – how can ya beat that? Hollywood Shuffle: see it or be White.

Category: “Candied Cinematography”
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The Black Stallion (1979)
Featuring: Mickey Rooney, Kelly Reno

The Black Stallion has some of the greatest, most beautiful and imaginative cinematography I’ve ever had the pleasure to view, AND it has the single most naturalistic performance ever filmed.

Mickey Rooney is astounding! Oh, his performance is so subtle and so natural that it won’t seem like he’s acting at all. And guess what. Hellooooo! THAT is the whole goal of acting! That’s what every actor is trying to achieve, although few do!
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Watch for the scene where Rooney is playing solitaire, feels an itch on his head and reaches over to scratch it with the opposite hand because he’s holding his playing cards in the closer hand. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is fabulous, in-the-moment acting. THAT is what I spent years and lots of money trying to learn how to do. It seems like such an unnoticeable and normal action that most viewers won’t even catch it. But any serious thespian wannabe will see it and say, “Hokey-smoke and Hoo-Wee, that little man can really ACT!” It’s nearly invisible business like that which great performances are founded upon. Rooney’s entire performance was that natural and he deserved an Academy Award for it!

The photography is like a painting by one of the old masters! Gorgeous, creative. Watch for the clever way that they show the audience how the little boy has finally mounted the black stallion. It’s seen from just below the surface of the water and it’s exhilarating.

The Black Stallion, possibly the most beautiful movie I’ve ever viewed, was not even NOMINATED for an Academy Award in the cinematography category! An outrage! Rotten! Disgusting! Inexcusable! Worst snub in Oscar history! This, more than anything before or since, exposes the members of the Hollywood community for the losers that they really are. It’s 31 years later and I’M STILL PISSED! "The Black Stallion" is one of my Top 25 all-time favorite movies.
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One From The Heart (1982)
Featuring: Frederic Forrest, Teri Garr, Raul Julia, Harry Dean Stanton, Lainie Kazan

This is the movie that bankrupted Francis Ford Coppola’s new studio. Las Vegas was constructed inside sound stages. Every single shot was done indoors. Yes, even the airport was fake. Amazing! As I said to my buddy DiscConnected: “I've been to Vegas at times when the real place didn't even seem THAT real. The attention to detail just blew my mind.”

The story is too weak for all that expense, but the photography is beyond creative and is frequently breathtakingly beautiful. Someone once described One From The Heart as being “like eight courses of dessert”. The look of the movie is alone worth the price of admission, add to that the fantastic Tom Waits soundtrack (which really should have been included on my “Fifteen Fantasy Island Favorites” music album list) and you have a movie worth watching despite a fairly anemic storyline.

There are also several subtly funny moments provided by Forrest, Stanton, Kazan, and Julia. (Notice how Julia goes to the motel ice machine in his bathrobe and then heads back to his room in a desperate attempt to regain some dignity after his half-naked girl has just been stolen from him and literally carried away following a loud, unseemly public demonstration).

The story is nearly nonexistent, but the music is great and the performances are slyly funny. However, the style is the thing. Watch it for its look.
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Category: “Charming Fantasy”
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On Borrowed Time (1939)
Featuring: Bobs Watson, Lionel Barrymore, Cedric Hardwicke, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi

Hurrah! Finally released on DVD after all these years!

The movie’s Foreward states:
“We tell you a tale of everyday people in a little town of present-day America. It is an absurd, charming and stupendous story – but it is not a new one. Gossip of a similar amazing occurrence was whispered in the days when old Chaucer was writing his ‘Canterbury Tales’.

“Mr. Chaucer liked the story and believed it – and so do we. If, perchance, you don’t believe it, we respectfully insist that we [and Mr. Chaucer] must be right. Because faith still performs miracles and a good deed does find its just reward.”

Take notice all ye “It’s A Wonderful Life” fans: the cast of this old movie includes the actors who played Henry Potter; Clarence the “angel, second class”; and Jimmy Stewart’s mother. Cedric Hardwicke plays the proper and debonair grim reaper “Mr. Brink” who is magically trapped in an apple tree and prevented from making his rounds. Barrymore is loveable as cantankerous “Gramps” and Bobs Watson is totally believable as his excitable little grandson “Pud”. In my opinion, this is the all-time best performance by a child actor; I’ll be damned if I can catch Bobs "acting". He’s like a taller Mickey Rooney!

A great tearjerker fantasy movie that I have recommended to countless people, and no one yet has been left disappointed. If you like fantasy films and the old black & white movies, I personally guarantee this one to please.
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Category: “Chick Flick For Guys”
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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Featuring: Robert Mitchum, Deborah Kerr

One of the most unusual (and frustrating) love stories put on celluloid. Robert Mitchum plays an American Marine marooned on a Pacific island with a nun during World War II. I’m not a fan of war movies, but THIS is something totally different. It’s more a character study than an action movie, although it does have its action, too.

This was one of my Ma’s all-time favorite movies, and I can certainly understand why. Robert Mitchum was as cool and manly as cool and manly gets. He had great screen presence and I have always enjoyed watching him, and in my opinion, this is his best of many fine performances. If you’re a woman, you will fall in love with the big lug, and if you’re a macho kind of guy, you will fall in love with the big lug.

This is an ill-fated, heartbreaking romance story that develops amidst the BOOM of warfare. There is enough action and suspense and machismo to satisfy the guys and enough doomed love to make the ladies reach for a tissue. All is fair in love and war? Hmmm… Well, we’ll see.

Category: “Colorful Comedy”
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What A Way To Go (1964)
Featuring: Shirley MacLaine, Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, Dick Van Dyke

“All Lousia May Foster wants is a man to love – who will live! But try as she might to hang onto her husbands, she keeps meeting and marrying men with a desire to strike it rich – and a habit of dying soon thereafter.”

That’s the story in a nutshell. Now look at that all-star cast! How d’ya beat THAT? Paul Newman as a crazy, expatriate painter; Dean Martin as a callous, self-centered playboy; Dick Van Dyke as a nice guy loser (“even the losers get lucky sometimes”); Robert Mitchum as a wealthy, jet-setting, mega-businessman; and my favorite, Gene Kelly as a nearly talentless, small-time song and dance man! (“Ah, the little people! I love ‘em.”)

If you dig those zany, silly, goofball comedies, I can GUARANTEE that you will enjoy this movie – it’s a “can’t miss.” It’s filled with funny twists and turns and so much color that it looks like Walt Disney threw up on it.
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Category: “Heaven Can Wait”
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Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Featuring: Gene Tirney, Don Ameche, Charles Coburn

Funny. Fantasy. Full of color. Here we have a woman-chasing playboy who has died and taken the trip downstairs to meet his fate with the well groomed, high-styled devil. The devil asks him to explain why he believes his life warranted an enternity in hell and so the story is told in flashback. This is delightfully humorous. The cast includes Charles Coburn, my all-time favorite old-time character actor (any movie with Charles Coburn in it is definitely worth watching!) and Gene Tierney, the most gorgeous woman whom God ever invented! And not only is this the world’s most beautiful woman, but this is her at her most beautiful! Gene Tierney in that baby blue dress is just too scrumptious for words! Yum-Yum! Yow! [Alright, guess I’m going to hell.]

And then as if all that weren’t enough, this movie also features one of filmdom’s funniest scenes – my brother Nappy and I mention it and laugh about it probably every other month or so: You have Mr. and Mrs. Strable arguing with each other at the breakfast table and the sharp-minded Black butler, Jasper, trapped in the middle and trying his damndest to play the peacemaker and bring some calm to the house. (“Boss! Boss! Got good news!...”) Oh, sheesh, is that ever some funny, funny stuffs! (“I don’t see how he could have gotten out of that barrel!”...) I loves this movie! Top-notch comedy and top-notch eye candy: Gene Tierney… Mmmm… “Please, sir, may I have some more?”
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Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Featuring: Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason, Charles Grodin, Dyan Cannon

Alright, guys, you know how every weekend it’s the same thing? You have that hassle with your wife or girlfriend about what to watch? You wanna see something with some muscle to it, but she wants to watch some weepy love story. Well, guess what! With the 1978 Heaven Can Wait (same name, different story entirely) you can both get your own way.

Based on the 1941 movie titled “Here Comes Mr. Jordan”, this is the story of Joe Pendleton, a professional quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams who is involved in a bicycle/automobile accident. Unfortunately, his soul is removed from his body prematurely and so now the Powers That Be must find a new body for his soul so that he can resume his earthly life. After some searching, his soul is finally deposited into the body of a supposedly murdered ruthless, insensitive business tycoon. Joe, now in the form of this tyrant, meets a pretty female activist who is at odds with him.

Well, as Joe is falling in love with his adversary and attempting to clean up his corporate greed, he’s also trying to find a way to get back to the Los Angeles Rams and lead his team to the Super Bowl. The story is deftly handled and contains enough humor, football action and lovey-dovey stuffs to keep everyone happy. This rates high on my list of all-time favorite sports movies. This is one movie I can recommend to EVERYONE!

Category: “Mid ‘60s”
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American Graffiti (1973)
Featuring: Charles Martin Smith, Paul Le Mat, Harrison Ford, Wolfman Jack, Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard

This is a well known early George Lucas film, but if you haven’t seen it or haven’t seen it lately, I suggest you do so. American Graffiti is the movie that single-handedly gave birth to a national nostalgia craze and was spun off into an extremely popular (but really bad) long-running TV sitcom, “Happy Days”.

Forget the TV show, but the movie is great. It’s a story of innocence lost in a more innocent time in America. I loved the movie the first time I saw it, but for me, its poignancy increases with each passing year of my life and each new viewing of it. This is possibly my brother Nappy’s very favorite film and I fully understand why.

In one twelve hour period, we see the “age of innocence” coming to an end for some of the characters. During the night, these young people have fun, socializing, cruising the streets in hot rods, and trying to score a little romance, but when the dawn arrives, there is a gloomy foreboding that is palpable. Things will never be the same again. And the older I get the more that melancholia seeps into my own heart and mind.

This movie is filled with memorable characters, charming and funny moments, and one heck of a great late ‘50s / early ‘60s Rock ‘N’ Roll soundtrack. Not to be missed! “American Graffiti” is one of my Top 25 all-time favorite movies.

Now you say you're leavin' home
'Cause you want to be alone.
Ain't it funny how you feel
When you're findin' out it's real?
Oh, to live on Sugar Mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons,
You can't be twenty on Sugar Mountain
Though you're thinking that
You're leaving there too soon.
You're leaving there too soon.
~ “Sugar Mountain” by Neil Young

Category: “Mid ‘70s”
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The Spirit Of ’76 (1991)
Featuring: David Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Carl Reiner, Tommy Chong, Devo

OK, this one I recommend with great trepidation. The Spirit Of ’76 is a very goofy (and at times downright stupid) send-up of the 1970s. If you lived through that decade, you may find yourself laughing at how spot on they got it and at some of the attention to details. Remember how all the fire hydrants were painted red, white, and blue during the bicentennial year? I myself noticed how dogs stopped peeing on them because they were afraid they’d be desecrating the American flag.

And if you weren’t alive or old enough to remember the Disco Era, you’ll watch this movie and thank your lucky stars for that. The Spirit Of ’76 is one of those “guilty pleasures” for me, but I am self-confident and bold enough to publicly admit that I really like this movie. It takes me back to a time when my hair wasn’t grey and my pants were bell bottomed. Here’s a synopsis:

American time travelers from 2176 attempt to return to 1776, hoping to regain knowledge of their lost ancient heritage in order to save a dying planet. Unfortunately, a computer glitch lands them instead in . . . you guessed it . . . 1976. July fourth, nineteen seventy-six to be precise. DOH!
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2176 Time Traveler: "We've come here to retrieve the heritage of our nation. The Constitution."
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1976 Teenager: "Are you for real? You came all this way just for THAT? Duuude!"
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The movie shows or mentions just about every “artifact” from that era, including mood rings, gas lines, Grand Funk Railroad, and self-realization seminars. Pay special attention to the line that David Cassidy delivers when his character, Adam-11, sees the Partridge Family lunchbox. Ha!

This movie is certainly not for everyone, but if you find you can laugh at stupid stuffs, and if you lived through this very loud era, you might find the “trip” back down memory lane to be more fun than you would have expected.

Here are a couple of things I have written about The Spirit Of ’76 in years past:

A superstupid movie, but boy does it take me back to 1976 and my senior year at Santa Monica High School. I can't watch it without my face breaking out. I always bring soda, popcorn & Clearasil.

DON'T BOGART THAT (VERY) "GUILTY PLEASURE", DUDE
[*A Haiku Review]
Loud clothes! Fords explode!
Seventies: silly, zitful.
STILL want Susan Dey!

Ya know, the Fourth Of July is just around the corner. Renting this movie might be a good way to celebrate . . . or not.

Category: “Virgin Love Affair”
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A Little Romance (1979)
Featuring: Laurence Olivier, Diane Lane, Thelonious Bernard, Broderick Crawford

Two precocious kids meet in an unlikely way and fall in love. The American girl (Diane Lane in her first movie) is from the right side of the tracks – the child of a spoiled, wannabe socialite. And the French boy – obsessed with American movies - is from the wrong side of the tracks. It sounds a little like Romeo and Juliet only it’s better.

Our innocent little heroes accidentally “smack into” a finely cultured and talkative old gentleman named Julius who talks them into sealing their love forever by undertaking an improbable trip to Venice so they can kiss under the Bridge Of Sighs at sunset and live happily ever after, in accordance with an old legend.

Unfortunately, however, the legend isn’t really what it seems and neither is Julius.

I love this gentle movie and I probably watch it at least once every couple of years. It’s on my short list of “Greatest Romance Movies Ever”. Laurence Olivier is fabulous, Broderick Crawford makes a very funny cameo appearance playing himself, and the freeze-frame ending always leaves me on the brink of tears.

A Little Romance reminds me of a time when I too was young and innocent and sure that a meeting with my soulmate was just around the next corner. This is funny, sad, and beautifully, adorably romantic. Just writing about it, I think I’m gonna cry.
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If only life could really be like the movies!

Category: “Western Masterpiece”

What, not even one Western movie on this list? Huh? Alright, who am I really and what have they done with Stephen T. McCarthy?

~ Stephen T. McImposter

Bonus Track
My #1 favorite movie of all time is “Koyaanisqatsi”.
Here is a link to a full-length review of it:
KOYAANISQATSI

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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22 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Excellent list Stephen I have seen 5 out of your 12 which isn't too bad for me. Most informative and as always a pleasure to read.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Heaven Can Wait and A Little Romance are good recommendations. Been years since I saw either.

And Koyaanisqatsi? Wow, it's been 20 years since I heard anyone even mention that movie. Depressing, but visually and musically stunning. The last scene of the space shuttle falling is a killer.

Falen said...

Oooh! Black Stallion! I can't believe i forgot about that one. Such a great film

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

YVONNE ~
Thanks! Glad ya enjoyed the reading.

ALEX ~
Dang! I'm really impressed that you have seen "Koyaanisqatsi". It seems that 999 out of 1,000 people have never even HEARD of it!

FALEN ~
Twelve lashes with a wet noodle for you, eh? ;o)

~ Stephen
"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11

arlee bird said...

I've only seen 4 of these and there's 4 I've never heard of. This is what is good about these lists-- I can discover new things. I've added some of these to my Neflix queue and a couple were already on there. I'd say this is a pretty good list based on your reviews. New stuff for me to hopefully watch someday. Guess I need to start watching a couple movies everyday so I can catch up.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

R-LEE-B ~
1) Which four had you never heard of?

2) And which four have you already seen?

3) And of the four you have already seen, were there any that you didn't like?

The only movie on this list that I think has the potential of really turning a viewer off is "Sprit Of '76". It's a wild, goofball ride that won't appeal to everyone. But the person who likes, say, Monty Python, Benny Hill, "This Is Spinal Tap", probably has a good chance of enjoying "The Spirit Of '76"

Anybody who likes the really old black & white movies and the fantasy genre is guaranteed to love "On Borrowed Time". Most of the female viewers cry at the end. Hell, it almost makes ME cry at the end.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

arlee bird said...

never heard of:
Hollywood Shuffle

What a Way to Go

A Little Romance

Spirit of 76 -- although you had recommended it to me not long ago I believe it is one I had not heard of that I recall-- I've added it to my Netflix queue.

Already Seen:

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison -- when I was a kid and I liked it, but don't really remember it.

American Grafitti -- Seen it several times and liked it.

Heaven Can Wait (1943) --More than once but off hand don't really remember it, but I recall liking it.

On Borrowed Time-- caught this not long ago on TV and enjoyed it, but like so often with my horrible memory I don't remember much about it except that I enjoyed it.

The others I've heard of and it's possible I may have seen, but absolutely don't remember watching.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Carol Fleisher said...

I love the Black Stallion! :) I've never heard of the rest of the movies on your list but I am definitely going to check them out.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

R-LEE-B ~
Buddy, it seems as if your memory is shot through and through. Must be all those martinis I talk you into drinking. ;-)

CAROL ~
Well, if we both love 'The Black Stallion' as much as we do, ya gotta figure my list can't be too far off da track for ya, eh?

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

Stephen Tremp said...

I can honestly say I haven't seen any of these movies. But maybe you haven't seen any of mine. Oh wait, I did see Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beatty. A long time ago. I should rent that from Netflix. A pretty good film if I remember correctly. Have a great week.

Stephen Tremp

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I knew you'd have Mr K on your list. Not watching clip though as I still haven't received DVD. I think it's arrived as I've got a slip from the post office. It took it's time! I'm ashamed to say I haven't watched even one movie on your list!

Anonymous said...

...whoosh

"Hollywood Shuffle" a hood classic. When it dropped I was just turning 21 and me and my boys must have watched it a 100 times easy. I could sit and recite it word for word.

For some reason it doesn't surprise me that you know it and like it.

We have to catch up I know I've been M.I.A. Glad to see your still bloggin strong. WP
whooosh...

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

ALLIALLO ~
You haven't seen even one movie on this list? Hmmm... You must have been out having a life instead. Well, good for youz!

STEPHEN ~
I'll get a move on over to yer list and see what I've seen... or not.

MR. BREEZE II (aka KALAMATA BR-O) ~
"Hollywood Shuffle" is flippin' great, man! I own a copy on DVD.

And if you "could sit and recite it word for word", then you obviously know that line I referred to: "That sh#t could really happen!" Ha!-Ha! Nappy and I use that line ALL THE TIME!

I did notice a minor flaw in that segment though: one of the critics refers to a (zombie) dude in a yellow suit. But go back and check it out and you'll see that there isn't any zombie dude in a yellow suit.

Hardly matters though, because "that sh#t is LIVE!"

Another similar type of movie that I also really dig (and own) is "I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka". That one's really funny, too, but I like "Shuffle" a little better.

As far as blogging is concerned, I'm sure I'll never quit entirely, but I am growing increasingly bored with it. There are a few Blog Bits I feel I must write yet, but after that, my output will probably slow down CONSIDERABLY.

Glad to know you're still checking in from time to time, Bro.

"Do fifty bullets in yo' ass make your day?!"

"Where's my bitches?"


~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

Geof said...

Nice list, Stephen. I'm glad to see the love you gave to Hollywood Shuffle. The Sneakin' Into the Movies is my favorite scene in that one. And you sparked my interest with '76. Never heard of it but sounds like stupid fun.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

GEOF ~
Thanks, buddy!
Yeah, in light of some of the movies you put on your own list, I would say there's a VERY GOOD chance that you will enjoy "The Spirit Of '76".

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

mousiemarc said...

Oddly I haven't seen the majority of the films on this list. Guess I better get to work.

Ellie said...

I love Heaven Can Wait and American Graffiti...I can see I need to add some of your favs to my new watch list! Black Stallion, great...

I wonder about a few of these; the titles sound familiar. My Dad talked movies all the time, so I will check this out! Fun to read and ponder!

You always inform with a touch of humanity and humor; I love your style~

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

MOUSIEMARC ~
Who you kiddin'? You ain't got no time for movies, Brother!

ELLIE ~
Yeah, your Dad might know ALL of these.

Which "Heaven Can Wait"? It's the newer one you've seen, right?

--> "I love your style"

Gee, THANKS! Don't tell anyone, but it ain't really mine; I stole it from Sears.

--> "You always inform with a touch of humanity and humor"

That's 'cause I'm a humorous humanity.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

arlee bird said...

Watched Black Stallion the other night. I agree with many of the points you made. I liked the stuff on the island a little better than a lot of what happens after they get to civilization. After that the story started to seem very similar to Seabiscuit, which is another horse movie that I thought was very good. I don't know if one inspired the other-- the story of Seabiscuit was based on a true story but I didn't research to see how accurate it was.

All in all, my wife and I both enjoyed The Black Stallion very much. I wouldn't put in the list of my all time favorites, but it makes for a pleasant evening of film viewing.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

r-LEE-b ~
"The Black Stallion" predates the movie "Seabiscuit" by 24 years. I didn't particularly like the latter, despite a lot of rave reviews I had seen for it.

With "Stallion", I feel the fabulous cinematography carries the first half and Rooney's fabulous performance carries the second.

The cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel, was also responsible for the photography in Mel Gibson's "The Passion Of The Christ". But, in my opinion, the Academy not even nominating him for his work in "Stallion" was the greatest ripoff in Oscar history! The first half of that movie is so beautiful I want to EAT IT!

Glad ya liked it to some degree.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McD-Fens

arlee bird said...

Of course the original Story of Seabiscuit with Shirley Temple predates Black Stallion by another 20 years. I don't recall if I've seen that film and don't know if they used the same storyline. I don't even know what the real life Seabiscuit of the 1930s was about exactly.

As I recall, I really enjoyed the latter version of the Seabiscuit story, but I don't remember much about it. I may have even read the book, but I don't remember that either.

Mickey Rooney is one of my favorite actors. And I'll agree that the cinematography of the first half was pretty incredible.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

LEE ~
Well, ya got me there, Brother. I didn't even know there was a movie about Seabiscuit starring Shirley Temple.

Yeah, the horse racing angle isn't a terribly original concept. Same sort of thing was done in a movie I remember liking called "Phar Lap". Although having the boy marooned on an island with the horse for the first half may have been a new spin.

But for me, it's all about the photography and the acting, both of which are superior to the photography and the acting in any other horse story I'm familiar with.

Even the little boy was pretty good in "Stallion". And that scene where one of his female classmates is reading an overwrought poem she wrote about him at a school assembly, while he sits on the stage looking uncomfortable and disinterested, is priceless!

~ McLonesome O'Dogg