Welcome to the 384th Edition of my series. I have an audition on Tuesday for a paid acting gig at the Minnetrista Cultural Center in the summer called FAIRIES, LIGHTS, and SPRITES so I will give it my all to return to their in hopes of being in this show. I'm just hoping and praying to see this weather get better but no matter what I will continue to give you these. Now I will get on with my selections.
Fantasia 2000 (1999): I start this week out with this updated version of the 1940 Disney classic FANTASIA where this has new animation sequences to go along with classic forms of music including a new one with Donald Duck and shows the most famous segment from the series THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE. Originally, this was intended to be more of a yearly thing where they would put out different animation sequences but that obviously did not happen and this is a great companion piece to the original with some very good sequences like THE PINES OF ROME, RHAPSODY IN BLUE, and many others. This version has celebrities like Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury, Penn and Teller, James Earl Jones, among others to introduce us to the sequences which I enjoyed. It would have been great if they achieved what they set out to do and make this more annual but at this point I don't want one that has a bunch of computer animation. In this one, they showed that many great things can happen with paper animation and that it still has value. This along with the original would make a great double feature.
The Ides of March (2011): Last week I featured THE CANDIDATE which was a more comedic look into a political campaign. This week, I show this one that is a bit more serious. George Clooney directed and co-starred in this film based on the play FARRAGUT NORTH by Beau Willimon. Ryan Gosling stars in this film as an idealistic campaign staffer named Stephen Meyers who is working for Governor Mike Morris, played by George Clooney, who is running for president. This focuses on them in Ohio trying to win the state. Stephen believes in Morris until he learns of some possible scandalous issues that makes him question his integrity and his loyalty. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, and Max Minghella all co-star in this interesting look into one's campaign. I would like to see theaters looking into getting this as a play. It's more of a drama but it does not become a political thriller and is really worth a look.
10 Items or Less (2006): Brad Silberling wrote and directed this independent comedy. Morgan Freeman plays an actor who is preparing for an upcoming role. He ends up in a small-town grocery store where he meets a quirky cashier named Scarlet, played by Paz Vega, and form an unexpected friendship. When Freeman's ride does not show up, they strike up a road trip where he helps Scarlet with a job interview. This is a pretty good buddy comedy with the two mismatched actors working very well together. Jonah Hill, Bobby Cavanagh, Anne Dudek, and Jim Parsons all have cameo appearances to keep this film going. What I like about this movie is the well-written dialogue and how the two main characters come to understand each others background more.
One Who Came Back (1951): This is my documentary short for the week. This features a US Army Corporal named George Kritzman who recounts a combat wounding during the Korean War. This makes mention of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital which might be the first mention of the group. Kritzman recounts going from hospital to hospital but wanting to get back to his family. This is a pretty good look at the account of a soldier.
Naughty Marietta (1935): This is my musical for the week which is the first vehicle for the duo Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. MacDonald plays a rebellious French princess named Marie who is about to be forced to marry so runs away and forms a different identity. She then ends up at Colonial New Orleans and soon meets Captain Richard Warrington, played by Eddy. They are a very mismatched couple with different values but slowly fall in love but things are complicated when the royal family is looking for Marie. Frank Morgan and Elsa Lanchester co-star and are very amusing in their parts. This is a pretty decent musical from this era that is not as fluffy as many musicals from that era making me enjoy this one more than others I have seen. This has some pretty good action scenes and good music numbers.
Slap Shot (1977): George Roy Hill directed this raunchy hockey comedy. Paul Newman stars as Reggie Dunlop who is a player/coach for a minor league hockey team called the Charlestown Chiefs. They are a losing team and things do not get better when the local mill closes and the team is in danger of folding. Dunlop does not want to let this team go and finds success becoming a "goon" team becoming very violent which the fans love. His big acquisition to get this violent team going is the Hanson Brothers, played by Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, and David Hanson, who look to inflict as much violence possible. Dunlop also starts a rumor that they are negotiating with someone in Florida to buy the team which keeps the team motivated. The team is becoming more popular and successful than ever but at what cost? Strother Martin, Jennifer Warren, Lindsey Crouse, and Jerry Houser all co-star. This is a very fun one to watch. Many years later they came out with many straight to video sequels which I have never watched and I don't see them matching the greatness of this one. Also for you ECW fans out there, keep in mind that the Dudley Boys were inspired by the Hanson Brothers in this movie. I believe this is some underrated Paul Newman that needs more exposure and is available to watch on Instant Netflix as well as the sequels.
Kit Carson (1940): This is my western for the week which focuses on the real-life frontiersman. Jon Hall plays the title character who along with his men join Captain John C. Fremont, played by Dana Andrews, on his way to California. They initiate a plan to free California from Mexican control but are subject to some Indian attacks. Lynn Bari co-stars as Delores Murphy who becomes a love interest to Carson. There is a lot of action in this western and like any western, especially from this era, they take a lot of dramatic license though from what I research a lot is pretty accurate like his fights with the Indians. Ward Bond and Clayton Moore co-star in this western. I really did not know much background on Kit Carson but find he is a rather interesting historical figure and this movie does a pretty good job portraying him.
Big Miracle (2012): This is my inspirational movie for the week and is a true story that happened in a small town in Alaska during the Reagan administration. THE OFFICE alum John Krasinski stars as reporter Adam Carlson who stumbles upon three whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. When putting this story out, his ex-girlfriend Rachel, played by Drew Barrymore, decides to join him. Rachel is an animal activist who is determined to save these whales which were named Fred, Wilma, and Bam-Bam. In this, the whole community comes together hoping to save these whales. One of the things that interested me is the motives. There were some politicians who did not to help but gave in for PR reasons and the competition among the reporters to get the story. CHEERS alum Ted Danson, VERONICA MARS alum Kristen Bell, Tim Blake Nelson, PICKET FENCES alum Kathy Baker, NEWS RADIO alum Stephen Root, Vinessa Shaw, John Michael Higgins, Dermot Mulroney, and Bruce Altman all co-star. I really enjoyed this one and is good for the family.
Foxy Brown (1974): So I go from an inspirational film to one that is not so inspirational nor is it one you want want to have for the family. This is my Blaxploitation film for the week that stars Pam Grier as the title character. The story centers around her government agent boyfriend who is murdered and Foxy is out for some revenge against a group lead by Miss Katherine, played by Kathryn Loder, who puts on a front as a modeling agency. Foxy then goes on the inside to seek revenge. This movie holds nothing back. It has some pretty extreme violence and is very politically incorrect. Grier is very good as the title character which made me enjoy the movie. Like many movies of the genre, the black people are usually the good guys and most of the white people in the movie are white making for some reverse racism I guess you would call it. Sid Haig co-stars in this film. If this sounds like something you would want to watch, it is available on Instant Netflix.
Daddy Longlegs (2009): I end this edition with this independent film written and directed by Ben and Joshua Safdie. Ronald Bronstein stars as Lenny who gets his two sons for a couple weeks but is a very irresponsible single father and puts them in dangerous situations. Lenny does whatever possible to make his time with the kids memorable but must juggle his job and other parts of his life. The plot I described is about as far as I can go without really giving too much away. It is a very interesting look at single fatherhood and his obvious lack of experience in that department. The Safdies apparently based this movie on their childhood with the father. There was a lot of mixed opinions upon this film and while not great, I still found it to be quite interesting effort. Maybe people's reasons are that Lenny really has no fatherly instincts and does stupid things but this could be a realistic interpretation even if one may not like what they see. Bronstein does a pretty good job as Lenny and portrays him where he is not hated, just someone who does not have responsibility no matter how much he tries. Real-life brothers Sage and Frey Ranaldo play his kids and give a good authentic brother portrayal. I feel it is worth a look.
Well, that is it for this week. Stay tuned for next week which so far includes Mandy Patinkin, Kate Winslet, Juliette Binoche, James Cagney, Michael Caine, Jet Li, and many others.
FUN AND USELESS FACTS
Steve Martin (Fantasia 2000) plays Dr. Orin Scrivello D.D.S. in the 1986 musical LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. My Facebook friend Sean played the part in a Muncie Civic Theater production at Muncie Civic Theater.
Steve Martin (Fantasia 2000) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March) were in the 1992 movie LEAP OF FAITH.
Steve Martin (Fantasia 2000) and Melinda Dillon (Slap Shot) had cameos in the 1979 film THE MUPPET MOVIE.
Steve Martin (Fantasia 2000) and M. Emmet Walsh (Slap Shot) were in the 1979 comedy THE JERK.
Steve Martin (Fantasia 2000), Bruce Altman (Big Miracle) and John Krasinski (Big Miracle) were in the 2009 comedy IT'S COMPLICATED.
Bette Midler (Fantasia 2000) and Danny Devito (10 Items or Less) were in the 2000 movie DROWNING MONA.
Bette Midler (Fantasia 2000) plays Rose Hovick in the 1993 tv movie GYPSY. My Facebook friend Joanne played the part in the musical GYPSY at the Anderson Mainstage Theatre.
Bette Midler (Fantasia 2000) and Marisa Tomei (The Ides of March) were in the 2012 comedy PARENTAL GUIDANCE.
Bette Midler (Fantasia 2000) and Vinessa Shaw (Big Miracle) were in the 1993 witch comedy HOCUS POCUS.
James Earl Jones (Fantasia 2000) plays Genie in the 1986 episode of FAERIE TALE THEATRE called ALADDIN AND HIS WONDERFUL LAMP. My Facebook friend Ben played Genie in a production of ALADDIN at The Artist's Studio which was in Fishers, Indiana.
James Earl Jones (Fantasia 2000) and Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) were in the 2005 animated movie ROBOTS.
Angela Lansbury (Fantasia 2000) plays Mrs. Lovett in the original Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. My Facebook Friend Linda played the part in a 2011 production at Jay County Civic Theater where I played Beadle Bamford.
George Clooney (The Ides of March) and Drew Barrymore (Big Miracle) are in the 2002 film CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND.
George Clooney (The Ides of March) and Tim Blake Nelson (Big Miracle) escaped prison to pursue a hidden treasure in the 2000 film O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU. Stephen Root (Big Miracle) also appears as the radio station man.
George Clooney (The Ides of March) and Michael Ontkean (Slap Shot) are in the 2011 film THE DESCENDANTS.
George Clooney (The Ides of March), Stephen Root (Big Miracle), and John Krasinski (Big Miracle) are in the 2008 film LEATHERHEADS.
-George Clooney (The Ides of March) plays Batman in the 1997 movie BATMAN AND ROBIN.
-Morgan Freeman (10 Items or Less) plays Lucius Fox who helps Bruce Wayne with much of his costume and other things in the Christopher Nolan trilogy.
-Danny DeVito (10 Items or Less) plays the Penguin in the 1992 film BATMAN RETURNS.
-Drew Barrymore (Big Miracle) plays Sugar which was one of Two-Face's girls in the 1995 film BATMAN FOREVER.
-Stephen Root (Big Miracle) voices villains like the Penguin and Killer Croc in the animated series BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.
-John Michael Higgins (Big Miracle) voices the Riddler in the animated series BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March) and Jonah Hill (10 Items or Less) were in the 2011 film MONEYBALL.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March) and Paul Newman (Slap Shot) were in the 1994 film NOBODY'S FOOL.
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March) and Melinda Dillon (Slap Shot) were in the 1999 film MAGNOLIA.
Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Ted Danson (Big Miracle) were in the 1998 film SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.
Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Bobby Cavanale (10 Items or Less) were in the 2011 film WIN WIN.
Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Danny Devito (10 Items or Less) were in the 1999 film MAN ON THE MOON.
Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Swoosie Kurtz (Slap Shot) were in the 1994 film SINGLES.
Paul Giamatti (The Ides of March) and Sid Haig (Foxy Brown) were rivals in the 2009 animated film THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO.
Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March) will be playing my friend Ashley in my biopic THE RISE AND FALL OF SHAUN BERKEY.
Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March) and Stephen Root (Big Miracle) have both had stints on the HBO vampire series TRUE BLOOD and both were vampires.
Bobby Cannavale (10 Items or Less) and Paul Newman (Slap Shot) are part of the alumni of the Lee Strasberg acting institute.
Jim Parsons (10 Items or Less) and John Krasinski (Big Miracle) had cameos in the 2011 film THE MUPPETS.
Rhea Perlman (10 Items or Less) and Ted Danson (Big Miracle) both starred in the hit sitcom CHEERS.
Jonah Hill (10 Items or Less) and Kristen Bell (Big Miracle) were in the 2008 film FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL.
Morgan Freeman (10 Items or Less) and John Michael Higgins (Big Miracle) are in the 2007 comedy FUN WITH DICK AND JANE.
Frank Morgan (Naughty Marietta) played both the gatekeeper and the wizard in the 1939 film THE WIZARD OF OZ. My Facebook friend Gary played the Gatekeeper and my other Facebook friend Russ played the Wizard/Professor Marvel in a 2006 version at Muncie Civic Theater.
Drew Barrymore (Big Miracle) and Antonio Fargas (Foxy Brown) were in the 1984 horror film FIRESTARTER.