Monday, February 08, 2016

My New Podcast! "What's Your Favorite Movie?" Episode 1

I am excited to share with you all - MY FIRST PODCAST!

I've been wanting to do a podcast for years, but every time I looked into it, the process seemed way over my head. Well, a few weeks ago I decided I wasn't going to rest until I got somewhere with this podcast production dream and here I am with episode one!

The show is called "What's Your Favorite Movie?" and each podcast will have a different guest and we'll discuss their favorite movies and why those film are their favorites. Besides talking about the films themselves, I want to discover people's relationship with movies, stories and memories they have about movies, and explore the deeper role movies play in our lives.

I still have some issues to work out on the long term hosting and also distribution of the show, but for now the first episode is up and running. The first guest is my friend Grant, who I've known since we were 10 years old but I never knew he has such a passion of Star Trek, especially Star Trek II. We talk about his favorite movies and a little more on this premier episode.

I'm pretty happy with the way the first show turned out. It's a little sluggish in the middle but it picks up in the last third of the show. It's a learning process, so hopefully the show will get a little tighter and polished with each passing episode. Until then, I hope you'll take a listen and enjoy and even possibly share the show with your friends and followers.

I'll let you know when we are listed in iTunes and other Podcast Directories.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

and now...Every Movie I Saw in 2015

Life Itself (2014)
I was inspired to keep track of all the movies I've seen by seeing similar lists on other blogs, plus I've been listening to some movie podcasts and it seems to be a pretty common practice for any good film buff. While I didn't break 200 films in 2015, I did top last year's tally by 20 films. I saw 151 in all, last year. The main source of film goodness for me continues to be the DVD service of Netflix, now called DVD.Netflix,com. The streaming services of Netflix and Amazon also provide a wealth of unique films but I'm always looking around at other sources to find good movies. Anywho...enjoy the list. As requested by a reader last year, I've included the date of screening and the source.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) 1/1 DVD
2. Back to the Future Part II (1989) 1/1 DVD
3.Road to Bali (1952) 1/3 Amazon Prime
4. Mr. Deeds Goes To Town (1936) 1/6 TCM
5. Rewind This! (2013) 1/7 Netflix DVD
6. Road to Singapore (1940) 1/8 Netflix DVD
7. On The Town (1949) 1/9 TCM
8. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) 1/10 DVD
9. Let's Be Cops (2014) 1/13 Netflix DVD
10. Into the Storm (2014) 1/15 Netflix DVD
11. Trouble Along The Way (1953) 1/22 Netflix DVD
12. Road to Zanzibar (1941) 1/23 Netflix DVD
13. A Kiss For Corliss (1949) 1/24 TCM
14. Life Itself (2014) 1/25 CNN
15. Magic in the Moonlight (2014) 2/5 Netflix DVD
16. Maleficent (2014) 2/6 Redbox
17. Earth to Echo (2014) 2/7 Netflix DVD
18. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) 2/9 R/C Hanover Movies 16
19. Step Up: All In (2014) 2/10 Netflix DVD
20. Lucy (2014) 2/12 Netflix DVD
21. Road to Morocco (1942) 2/28 Netflix DVD
22. Misty (1961) 3/1 DVD
23. Airport (1970) 3/2 Netflix DVD
24. Airport 1975 (1974) 3/3 Netflix DVD
25. Call Me Bwana (1963)  3/6 MGM HD
26. Airport '77 (1977) 3/8 Netflix DVD
27. The Road to Hong Kong (1962) 3/9 Netflix DVD
28. The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown (2015) 3/10 DVD
29. Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) 3/13 R/C Hanover Movies 16
30. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953) 3/14 Sony Movie Channel
31.  Lost in Alaska (1952) 3/15 Netflix DVD
32. The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979) 3/17 Netflix DVD
33. Gone Girl (2014) 3/18 Redbox
34. The Late Shift (1996) 3/23 Amazon Prime
35. Barbie in Princess Power (2015) 3/24 Netflix DVD
36. Cinderella (2015) 3/24 R/C Hanover Movies 16
37. Marathon (1980) 3/31 DVD
38. Earthquake (1974) 4/1 Netflix DVD
39. Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) 4/2 TCM
40. Birdman (2014) 4/8 Netflix DVD
41. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) 4/11 DVD
42. The Music in Me (2015) 4/12 UP
43. Bad Words (2013) 4/13 HBO
44. Walk of Shame (2014) 4/16 HBO
45. Top Five (2014) 4/19 Netflix DVD
46. Monkey Kingdom (2015) 4/24 Regal Westminster 9
47. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 4/26 HBO
48. The Avengers (2012) 4/29 DVD
49. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) 4/30 R/C Hanover Movies 16
50. Lovelines (1984) 5/11 DVD
51. Legally Blonde (2001) 5/15 Netflix
52. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015) 5/17 R/C Hanover Movies 16
53. Stripped (2014) 5/19 Amazon Prime
54. Mortdecai (2015) 5/26 Netflix DVD
55. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) 5/27  DVD
56. Student Bodies (1981) 6/1 VHS
57. Superfast! (2015) 6/3 Netflix DVD
58. Hot Girls Wanted (2015) 6/6 Netflix
59. Tyler Perry's Madea's Tough Love (2015) 6/7 Netflix DVD
60. Barbie in A Mermaid Tale (2010) 6/9 DVD
61. Jurassic World (2015) 6/16 R/C Hanover Movies 16
62. Snoopy Come Home (1972) 6/17 DVD
63. 22 Jump Street (2014) 6/22 Netflix DVD
64. Jurassic Park III (2001) 6/23 SyFy
65. Inside Out (2015) 6/24 Frank Theaters Gettysburg 10
66. Batman vs. Robin (2015) 6/29 Netflix DVD
67. Kidco (1984) 6/30 HDNet Movies
68. Jaws (1975) 7/5 DVD
69. Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) 7/5 DVD
70. A Night at the Roxbury (1998) 7/5 DVD
71. These Amazing Shadows (2011) 7/7 HDNet Movies
72. Poison Ivy (1985) 7/12 VHS
73. Treasure Planet (2002) 7/13 DVD
74. Blue Summer (1973) 7/16 Netflix
75. Teen Witch (1989) 7/19 Netflix
76. Ant-Man (2015) 7/19 R/C Hanover Movies 16
77. Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) 7/19 Netflix DVD
78. Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) 7/20 DVD
79. Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (2015) 7/22 Crackle
80. Aquamarine (2006) 7/22 HDNet Movies
81. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (2015) 7/27 SyFy
82. Tarzan (1999) 7/28 DVD
83. Swiss Miss (1938) 7/28 DVD
84. The Pink Panther (2006) 7/28 Sony Movie Channel
85. Tom & Jerry: Spy Quest (2015) 7/30 Netflix DVD
86. Vacation (2015) 8/1 R/C Hanover Movies 16
87. Staten Island Summer (2015) 8/8 Netflix
88. Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) 8/9 Netflix
89. My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks (2014) 8/11 Frank Theaters Gettysburg 10
90. I Am Chris Farley (2015) 8/12 Spike
91. Black Sheep (1996) 8/14 Netflix
92. The Great Outdoors (1988) 8/14 DVD
93. Canadian Bacon (1995) 8/22 DVD
94. Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run (2015) 9/2 Redbox
95. A Deadly Adoption (2015) 9/3 Lifetime
96. Cinderella (1950) 9/6 DVD
97. The Longshot (1986) 9/7 Netflix
98. Plasitc Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014) 9/8 Amazon Prime
99. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde (2003) 9/9 Netflix
100. I Am Big Bird: The Carol Spinney Story (2014) 9/10 Amazon Prime
101. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) 9/13 Netflix
102. The Caddy (1953) 9/13 Netflix DVD
103. The Legend of Lobo (1962) 9/19 VHS
104. The Big Wedding (2013) 9/21 Amazon Prime
105. Scared Stiff (1953) 9/22 Netflix DVD
106. Brewster's Millions (1985) 9/24 Netflix DVD
107. Lady and the Tramp (1955) 9/28 Outdoor screening
108. Barbie in Rock 'N Royals (2015) 9/29 Netflix DVD
109. Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery (2015) 10/2 Netflix DVD
110. I Dream of Jeannie...Fifteen Years Later (1985) 10/3 Sony Movie Channel
111. Live From New York! (2015) 10/4 NBC
112. The DUFF (2015) 10/5 Netflix DVD
113. Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number! (1966) 10/6 MGM HD
114. Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988) 10/12 DVD
115. Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987) 10/13 DVD
116. Hot Pursuit (2015) 10/18 Netflix DVD
117. Little Giants (1994) 10/20 Amazon Prime
118. Back to the Future Part III (1990) 10/21 Amazon Prime
119. Get Hard (2015) 10/25 Netflix DVD
120. Robocop (1987) 10/28 HBO
121. Barbie and Her Sisters in A Pony Tale (2013) 11/1 DVD
122. I'll Take Sweden (1965) 11/1 MGM HD
123. Back in Time (2015) 11/2 Amazon Prime
124. Adjust Your Tracking (2013) 11/3 Shout Factory TV
125. Kindergarten Cop (1990) 11/7 HDNet Movies
126. The Peanuts Movie (2015) 11/6 R/C Hanover Movies 16
127. Hats Off To Christmas (2013) 11/14 Hallmark Channel
128. Volunteers (1985) 11/16 Netflix DVD
129. Blue Denim (1959) 11/18 Fox Movie Channel
130. Wild (2014) 11/19 Netflix DVD
131. Pixels (2015) 11/20 Netflix DVD
132. The Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) 11/24 Netflix DVD
133. Barbie: A Perfect Christmas (2011) 11/28 Netflix DVD
134. Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever (2014) DVD
135. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014) 12/2 Netflix
136. The Good Dinosaur (2015) 12/6 R/C Hanover Movies 16
137. A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994) 12/10 DVD
138. Sun Valley Serenade (1941) 12/13 TCM
139. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) DVD
140. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) 12/19 R/C Hanover Movies 16
141. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) 12/20 DVD
142. White Christmas (1954) 12/21 Netflix
143. Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas! (2011) 12/24 DVD
144. A Very Brady Christmas (1988) 12/26 ABC Family
145. The Shop Around The Corner (1940) 12/27 TCM
146. Ernest Saves Christmas (1989) 12/27 DVD
147. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) 12/28 DVD
148. My Boyfriend's Back (1993) 12/28 Hoopla
149. A Christmas Story (1983) 12/29 TNT
150. Road to Utopia 12/29 (1945) Hoopla
151. A Lego Brickumentary (2014) 12/30 Amazon Prime

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

10 Favorite Films I Saw in 2015

I was able to see a lot of movies this past year. From classics to new releases - popular films and obscure titles - one thing most of the movies I saw had in common: they are light hearted. At the end of the day, when I have an hour or two to sit and take in a film, the last thing I want to do is use my brain. But here's a list of 10 of the best films that I saw for the first time in 2014.

Airport (1970; dir. George Seaton)
I got into a bit of a disaster film phase earlier in the year and watched a handful of classics in the genre, including all four entries in the Airport series. The first one is a real bang up of a motion picture with about 17 different storylines going on - some of them funny, some of them serious and a whole slew of great actors that I love. Dean Martin, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes, Maureen Stapleton...and even good ol' Gary Collins show up in this nail biter about an evening at an airport where just about everything goes wrong. It was really cool to see how much the beloved Airplane! (1980) borrowed from Airport in terms of style, pacing and some of the situations and characters. This is a really good movie, it won Best Picture for the year it came out. If you can handle the slower paced action films of the early 70's, this one certainly holds up and I highly recommend it. 

Bad Words (2013; dir. Jason  Bateman)
Jason Bateman finds a loophole in the National Spelling Bee's rules that allows him to enter as an adult and get revenge on the system that made him a looser in his childhood. Painfully funny and fantastic script, this is one of the few films that lays out a really solid story while never forgetting to be laugh out loud hilarious.
 
          Cinderella (2015; dir. Kenneth Branagh)
Kenneth Branagh makes awesome high culture Shakespeare pictures and he is an absolute master at making fantastic popcorn movies. This live-action translation of Disney's beloved animated Cinderella (1950) is both luxurious and playful. So many modern updates of fairytales and cartoons try to deviate from the original source material. Branagh's Cinderella delights in bringing the memories of the cartoon movie to life while filling in some holes and offering alternate vantage points on some of the key story elements. The result is a fresh take on an old tale that is every bit and magical and Disney as the animated film we all grew up with.  

Gone Girl (2014; dir. David Fincher)
Every year, one or two Oscar-worthy films make it into my DVD player. Gone Girl was just an intense thriller with twists and turns and surprises all over the place. A really well made movie that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was also cool to see supporting players Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and Casey Wilson in such a high caliber dramatic production.


Inside Out (2015; dirs. Pete Docter & Ronnie Del Carmen)
Inside Out is Pixar running full throttle and doing everything right. Hysterical, touching and wildly creative, this film has everything going for it. There's also perfect cartoon casting with Amy Poehler as the optimistic Joy, The Office's Phyllis Smith as Sadness and even Mindy Kaling (who I usually cant stand) was really good as Disgust. Lewis Black as the fiery haired Anger is one of those rare moments when a comic's physical and creative voice are matched perfectly with an animated character. As with any really good animated film, this one plays equally to children and adults.
 
 
Jurassic World (2105; dir. Colin Trevorrow)
I was never really a fan of the original Jurassic Park but something about this movie looked like it would be a fun Summer afternoon with my kids and boy was I right. I really liked how they completely fleshed out the idea of a theme park this time, showing how a real working tourist attraction with living dinosaurs might actually work out. The performances are great, not only Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard but the really solid comedic pairing of Jake Johnson and Lauren Lapkus as well.

On The Town (1949; dirs. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly)
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and some other dude are sailors with 24 hours of shore leave in New York City. They step off the boat and then just go at it singing and dancing and chasing girls for two solid hours of entertainment. Unrelenting in it's energy, this was one of the first musicals to be shot on location and it's packed with great shots documenting what The Big Apple looked like in the late 40's. Man, I just enjoyed the hell out of every minute of this film.

 
The Peanuts Movie (2015; dir. Steve Martino)
This was my Facebook post the night I saw The Peanuts Movie: "When they announced years ago that they were making a computer animated Charlie Brown movie, I immediately thought of all the ways they were going to screw it up - like making them look like real kids and farting and crude humor. And then the teaser and eventually the trailer came out....and they relieved my worries somewhat but I still had no faith that a modern movie was going to do justice to a group of friends that have been so near and dear to my heart my entire life. I went into The Peanuts Movie tonight with very high expectations and very little confidence that I would be satisfied. I'm happy to report that every single frame of The Peanuts Movie is wonderful and magical. My boys (who have also grown up with these characters) laughed and giggled with glee throughout the entire movie. I was really proud that my kids loved a movie so simple and wholesome and that somebody created a movie worthy of the legacy of Charles Schulz."
 
Road to Bali (1952; dir. Hal Walker)
This is the year I discovered "the Road pictures," a series of seven super lightweight comedies made between 1940 and 1962. The films don't have much to do with each other but all star Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorthy Lamour. Hope and Crosby always play some sort of scam artists, Lamour is always a beautiful woman they run into somewhere along the way who helps them out of a pickle. The boys always come to blows over the heart of Lamour, there is always singing and dancing and there is never too much of a story. But if I had seen these movies when I was younger, my head would have exploded! There's ad-libbing, breaking the fourth wall, jokes about the movie studio, insults lobbed at each other, super corny bits and gags...they are all just great fun! I managed to track down 6 of the 7 films this past year. They were all really fun, but Bali is the one I saw first so it took me by surprise the most. 
 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015; dir. J.J. Abrams)
The new Star Wars did so many things perfectly. It took key ingredients from the first film, reshuffled them and dealt them out with a deck of new ingredients which resulted in a movie which serves as a nice souvenir of all our childhood Star Wars memories and paves the way for new adventures (and merchandising) to come. Force Awakens needed to do about 50 things to live up to it's own hype and serve as a worthy sequel to what is easily the most loved film of all time. It delivered on all 50 of those points, added in another 30 things you didn't even realize you were looking for and then topped it off with about 50 things that made itself a unique and entertaining movie all it's own. Not only has Star Wars: The Force Awakens become the highest grossing movie of all time, it has set the stage for a new wave of nostalgia films that will pay homage to film franchises of the past while attempting to move forward with new chapters. The ripples of the film go far beyond the box office numbers and toy isle sales.
 
 
Honorable Mentions/Almost Made The List: Let's Be Cops (2014) was nothing new, but it was just about the laugh out loud, gut busting, funniest movie I've seen in a long time! Tina Fey narrating the Disneynature documentary Monkey Kingdom (2015) is an inspired idea that accompanies a compelling and fascinating story about a group of monkeys in Asia. Another documentary, I Am Big Bird: The Carol Spinney Story (2014) traces the amazingly cool life of the guy inside the Big Bird suit. And while at 58 minutes it's hardly a movie, but of course I ate up every minute of The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown (2015) even if professional wresting wouldn't by first choice of subject matter for the first new piece of Flintstones animation in 14 years.
 
 
What were your favorites that you saw in 2015?


Friday, December 11, 2015

White Christmas

Why isn't this version on the radio every 20 minutes?

Marilyn McCoo and the incomparable John Davidson nailing WHITE CHRISTMAS on a 1983 episode of SOLID GOLD!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Marshmallow World

There is nobody on the planet today even half as cool as these two guys.  Watch Dean Martin and his pal Frank Sinatra breeze through a performance of A MARSHMALLOW WORLD on a December 21, 1967 episode of THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW.

Legend has it that NBC wanted Dean Martin for a show so badly, that they only made him work one afternoon a week. He would come in a record the show without any rehearsal and it ended up working quite well for the show. The laid back feeling rolled over to the guests too! Watch Frank just go ahead and pull up his socks while singing on national television:



Compare that to this next clip, which I assume is from a few years later...I'm not sure ol' Dean even knows where he is:


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Christmas Song

This is the real deal, right here...Nat King Cole singing his signature holiday tune - The Christmas Song.



Nat King Cole believed that smoking cigarettes gave his voice the nice crisp, low tone he was known for. He was known to chain smoke several cigarettes in a row before recording, often smoking three packs a day. He died in 1965, just a few months after being diagnosed with lung cancer.



Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A Christmas To Remember

In 1984, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton were both huge mega stars at the top of their game. When they got together, people just couldn't get enough of it. One of the many specials they did together was the peculiar KENNY & DOLLY: A CHRISTMAS TOGETHER.  The entire special is on YouTube, I've watched it - and I'm not sure why. But here's Kenny, dressed as Handy Smurf, and Dolly, dressed as a 5 year old's Christmas arts and crafts project, singing their huge hit A Christmas To Remember along with a cast of 20 some store window mannequins...

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