Posts filed under ‘Classic’

High Plains Drifter (guest)

MOVIE:  High Plains Drifter

GUEST:  Sues 57

NUTSHELL:  The Man with No Name rides into the town of Lago, and is convinced by the (rotten) townspeople to defend them against soon-to-be-relased-from-jail outlaws.

GOOD THINGS:  Clint Eastwood, great black comedy, surreal weirdness, cool midget mayor/sheriff, Clint paints the town red.

BAD THINGS:  It’s all pretty good.

FEATURES:  Clint Eastwood

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  *Very* politically incorrect rape

NOTABLE:  Eastwood’s directorial debut


BEST LINE:  “I have paying hotel guests, where are they going to go?”  “Out.”

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:13 am Leave a comment

Sunset Blvd. (guest)

MOVIE:  Sunset Blvd.

GUEST:  Sues 57

NUTSHELL:  Out of work Hollywood writer, Joe Gillis, trying to save his car from the repo guys, stumbles on a seemingly deserted mansion on Sunset Blvd. Only it’s not deserted, but occupied by the former darling of the silent era: Nora Desmond. She’s lonely, he’s broke, the fun starts.

GOOD THINGS:  Preceded Altman’s The Player as the ultimate movie “insider” flick, Norma Desmond’s now-famous campy craziness, Erich Von Stronheim as her long suffering butler, Jack Webb (a.k.a. Sgt. Joe Friday) as a menschy Jewish Asst. Director, William Holden’s noirish narration, cameos by Cecil B. DeMille and Buster Keaton, and on and on…

BAD THINGS:  New Years Eve party were everyone is supposed to be young and super hip, the fifties jokes sound pretty dated. Nora pulling Joe (Holden) into the sack (creepy, but fascinating in a nasty way.) William Holden NEVER looked “young.”

FEATURES:  Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olsen, Jack Webb

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Holden and Nancy Olsen’s “cute” conversations – really bad for such a good movie

NOTABLE:  Has had a successful run as a musical

BEST PART:  Norma coming down the stairs, of course, any scene with Max, the butler

BEST LINE:  Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close up.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

May 11, 2011 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

The Big Heat

MOVIE:  The Big Heat

NUTSHELL:  After the suicide of a fellow officer and the murder of his wife, a straight-arrow detective tries to bring down the crime lords of the city and their politician patsies.

GOOD THINGS:  Lee Marvin as one of the villains that made him so funny in out of character roles later in his career, Gloria Grahame as a carefree moll who wakes up and smells the coffee (sorry for that one), Adam Williams as a fey and really lousy gangster, those presh Army pals

BAD THINGS:  I was few minutes late and the film broke three times. (It was Friday the 13th.)

FEATURES:  Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby and his nose, Jeanette Nolan, medium rare steak, thirty-nine cent beer, the Jerry Meehan Trio

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Giggling during fight scenes.

NOTABLE:  Everyone smokes in this movie. Even the children.

BEST PART:  The closure you feel when you realize that that Beverly Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, every other cop movie plot came from somewhere good.

BEST LINE:  Shakedown? Me?

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

The General

MOVIE:  The General

NUTSHELL:  Buster Keaton’s 1927 before-its-time comedy, historical, stunt, romance extravaganza

GOOD THINGS:  Buster Keaton, train stunts, great physical comedy, prescient-ness of stunts and effects

BAD THINGS:  The tagline: “Love, Locomotives and Laughs”

FEATURES:  Marion Mack, Charles Smith, Richard Allen, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley, and my favorite (just for the name): Frederick Vroom

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Sometimes it’s hard to cheer for Confederates, even if it’s Buster Keaton.

NOTABLE:  Was overbudget about a half a million dollars in 1926. OUCH. Stunt gone awry set a good section of Oregon on fire and the crew had to return home to Los Angeles and wait for a good rain to clear the smoke.

BEST PART:  Famous shot sitting on side of train as it moves

BEST LINE:  If you lose this war, don’t blame me.

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:13 am Leave a comment

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

MOVIE:  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

NUTSHELL:  Best movie ever after Die Hard and Gidget.

GOOD THINGS:  Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, gowns

BAD THINGS:  Blah male lead

FEATURES:  Stolen tiara as a key plot point.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Prancing supposed Olympians in “Is anyone here for love?” number

NOTABLE:  “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” number ripped off for Madonna’s “Material Girl” video.

BEST PART:  Funny kid.

BEST LINE:  You DO wear it on your head. I just LOVE finding new places to wear diamonds!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:12 am Leave a comment

Go West

MOVIE:  Go West

NUTSHELL:  1925 Western parody in which a down on his luck city guy hits the frontier and falls for a cow.

GOOD THINGS:  Buster Keaton, old Los Angeles, cute cow

BAD THINGS:  Cow love

FEATURES:  Howard Truesdale, Kathleen Myers, Ray Thompson, Pasadena

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Some not too politically correct segments of the stampede

NOTABLE:  I think this is an obscure Keaton flick but it’s still super funny.

BEST PART:  Downtown cattle stampede and a guy on roller skates! That rules!

BEST LINE:  Hmmm. Nope.

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

How to Murder Your Wife

MOVIE:  How to Murder Your Wife

NUTSHELL:  A confirmed bachelor cartoonist wakes up married to an Italian beauty queen who speaks no English and only has a bathing suit, a sash and a raincoat. Strangely, this makes him unhappy and he dreams of murdering her.

GOOD THINGS:  Verna Lisi, Jack Lemmon, New York in the 60’s, hair, Verna Lisi, outfits, dogs with ribboned top knots, Verna Lisi

BAD THINGS:  Most annoying character/actor ever: Eddie Mayehoff

FEATURES:  Claire Trevor, Terry-Thomas and his hyphen, Mary Wickes, construction equipment, Jack Albertson, a poodle

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Quite a bit of Heman Womanhating going on

NOTABLE:  Proof that the HeMan Woman Haters Club makes exception if you’re a beauty queen in a bathing suit. By Allah! somehow I will work in a Jason Lee in Chasing Amy connection. Just give me a week.

BEST PART:  Beauty queen pageant recounting except what the HELL is a lasagna souffle?

BEST LINE:  I forget the lines but Verna Lisi sure is cute.

CROWNS:  3 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:09 am Leave a comment

The Misfits

MOVIE:  The Misfits

NUTSHELL:  John Huston translating Arthur Miller’s contempt for the nature of modern macho men.

GOOD THINGS:  Thelma Ritter

BAD THINGS:  Marilyn Monroe

FEATURES:  Dueling acting methods and anti-methods throughout.

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Clark Gable, horse scenes

NOTABLE:  Montgomery Clift

BEST PART:  Eli Wallach


CROWNS:  3 out of 5


January 14, 2010 at 12:07 am Leave a comment


MOVIE:  Picnic

NUTSHELL:  A handsome drifter arrives in Kansas in time for the Labor Day Picnic and the girls all go hysterical.

GOOD THINGS:  William Holden burning trash topless, William Holden dancing topless, William Holden doing some other things topless, older neighbor lady continually telling William Holden to take his shirt off (Aren’t you hot? / Let me wash that shirt. / Is that jacket too tight for you?)

BAD THINGS:  Hysterical schoolteachers, William Holden hopping a freight and leaving

FEATURES:  Kim Novak, Cliff Robertson, Beauty Queen, a lot of Grain Elevators

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Montage of various picnic competitions (girl carrying contest?)

NOTABLE:  Melodramatic score will make you almost go hysterical too

BEST PART:  Please see “Good Things.”

BEST LINE:  There’s nothing like being loose!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:06 am Leave a comment


MOVIE:  Speedy

NUTSHELL:  A ne’er do well  tries to save his girlfriend’s father’s horse cart business from ruin when the railroad comes calling.

GOOD THINGS:  The whole darn thing is great.

BAD THINGS:  Um…. nope.

FEATURES:  Ann Christy, Bert Woodruff, Brooks Benedict, Babe Ruth acting and looking quite svelte, great views of New York circa 1927

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Some of the stunts, I mean, GEEZ.

NOTABLE:  Was Harold Lloyd’s final silent film.

BEST PART:  The trip to Coney Island and the audience’s reaction to dangerous stunts that were really… well, dangerous stunts!

BEST LINE:  It’s men like you who make women afraid to wear underwear!

CROWNS:  5 out of 5

January 14, 2010 at 12:05 am Leave a comment

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