The Great Outdoors (1988) Do yourself a favor and go back and watch an old John Candy movie that you haven't seen in a while. Man, he was a great talent who is missed. We really don't have anyone like him anymore. I hadn't seen this summer vacation picture since it came out and don't remember it too fondly but rewatching it now I enjoyed the heck out of it. John Candy and Dan Aykroid take their families on vacation in a cabin in the woods. It's all the standard B-grade storylines running, but it's just innocent, silly fun that all works together.
Mannequin (1987) I hadn't seen this one in a long time either. What a great cast, in addition to the two stars Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall there's also Meshac Taylor, G.W. Bailey, James Spader and the always great Estelle Getty. This is another round of silly 80's fun with a department story mannequin coming to life in the form of Cattrall and romancing store employee McCarthy. As with every 80's comedy, there is an extending music video scene where she tries on different outfits. That scene is always a winner.
Rascal (1969) My kids are on a big kick about raccoons right now, so we watched this vintage Disney comedy about a young boy who adopts a raccoon as a pet even though the whole town tells him a varmint can't make a good pet. Not much time is spent on the relationship between the boy and his new pet, instead there is a storyline involving the town pastor and teacher getting involved with the boy's upbringing and a totally odd and tacked on side story about a car race. Not a very engaging film even for a die hard Disney fan like myself. (The kids fell asleep within the first 30 minutes.)
Stop! Look! And Laugh (1960) I love movies that serve as odd time capsules. At one time, ventriloquist Paul Winchell hosted a Saturday morning kid's show featuring Three Stooges shorts. So, somebody decided to make a movie version of the show. Paul lives at home with a couple of his dummies and he tells them various stories which end up just dissolving into a greatest hits collection of Three Stooges shorts. It's very strange, but both the vintage shorts and the new material work...and work well. My kids were howling at the puppet bits and enjoyed the Three Stooges shorts as well.
Madea's Big Happy Family (2011) This was my first venture into the world of Tyler Perry and Madea. If you're not familiar with Madea, she's a large elderly black woman played by a large younger black man in minimal drag. She's stared in a dozen or so plays and a more recently a handful of movies. I'm always intrigued by characters moving from film to film (a la' Ernest) so I gave this Madea entry a try on Netflix Instant. I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. The writing isn't that great, and alot of the characters are more style than substance...but overall, the film doesn't shoot too high and it works at it's own level. A woman discovers she has only a few weeks to live and she wants to gather her family together to tell them all at once. Everybody in the family has their own dysfunctional story and every attempt at a get together falls apart before the news is sprung. So, the woman asks Madea to gather everyone up for her. I like a good simple story with some heart and big laughs, Madea's Big Happy Family provided in all departments.
Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971) I wasn't really sure what was going on in this charming western comedy, but everybody on screen looked like they were having so much fun that it was hard not to enjoy myself too. James Garner arrives in town and gets mixed up in a plot to...well, I honestly really don't know. But it's fun. The great Jack Elm (who is in my all-time favorite The Cannonball Run) is awesome in this movie, as well as Suzanne Pleshette and Harry Morgan. This movie also features the most well lighted town in the wild west.
Man of the House (2005) Big studio comedies don't get much worse than this horrible attempt at laughter with Tommy Lee Jones playing his Tommy Lee Jones character assigned to protect a cheerleading squad who have witnessed a murder. Any film that explores the wonderful world of cheerleading and can't come up entertaining is a very sad story indeed. I think I laughed once during the painful 100 minutes of film I subjected myself to. Bad.