30 entertaining movies to hold us at bay until this virus is gone.
I just heard from the AMC Theaters CEO that theaters may reopen sometime between May and June, in time for the summer season. That is if we keep our social distancing at a strict level. So until, we can go back to the movie theaters, and back in the normal world, I have a list of some more movies from the past to keep us at bay.
“North by Northwest”
Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” involves mistaken identity, murder, femme fatales, and mystery. If you so much as try to remake this movie, then it will probably end up like Guy Ritchie’s “Swept Away” or Gus Van Sant’s “Psycho,” and I saw none of those dreadful remakes.
Cary Grant stars as Roger Thornbill, a NY advertising executive, who is mistaken for a man named George Kaplan by two men, and ends up being wrongfully accused of murder. Now, he must head to Chicago to clear his nam, and on the train, he meets a seductive young woman named Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who may or may not be involved with this whole game.
“North by Northwest” isn’t irritating or stressful, unlike most thrillers these days. Hitchcock and writer Ernest Lehman both add the kind of mystery, thrills, and humor to keep you entertained from start to finish. You couldn’t ask for finer acting from Grant with the right intentions, Saint with the radiant passion, or James Mason with the fresh kind of villainy. And I hope you can find Martin Landau as Vandamm’s main henchman, because he is both riveting and scary. If today’s generation hasn’t seen “North by Northwest” yet, then please do so.
The new “Ghostbusters” movie, which was supposed to come out this summer, will now come out next year, because of the corona virus. That doesn’t mean we should appreciate the 1984 comedy with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, the late Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson as the heroes, and Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts as the supporting characters.
Director Ivan Reitman and writers Aykroyd and Ramis have all delivered a comedy hit, complete with remarkable special effects, memorable ghosts, delightful characters, and sly wit. You have to love that green, hungry Slimer, the giant Stay Puft Marshmallow man, and the evil spirit Gozer (voiced by Paddi Edwards) as the antagonists. And you must also giggle at the wise guy tone Murray sets at his character Peter Venkman.
The female version of “Ghostbusters” was a bomb, and I’m not sure how exactly we’re going to take on the new version directed by Ivan’s son Jason Reitman. But until then, we must appreciate the original Sci-Fi movie for allowing the actors to have a sense of humor and for providing movie-goers with nonstop thrills and excitement without being too extreme.
Based on a comic book series, this was an R-rated animated movie from 1981, and serves as an anthology with different stories, all of which have something to do with an evil green sphere, known as the Loc-Nar. Today’s generation may recall that “South Park” episode “Major Boobage,” where Kenny gets high on cat urine, and find himself in an alternative universe. This movie is why that episode was made.
You have some very talented voice actors from John Candy as a robot and a buff guy to Eugene Levy as a dashing criminal and a stoned alien to Harold Ramis as another stoned alien. To the kids, even Roger Bumpass (the voice of Squidward on “SpongeBob SquarePants”) has a role as a wimp-turned-Hulk. But why am I telling them that? This movie is rated R. And you also get a hot soundtrack with hits from Stevie Nicks, Riggs, Journey, Don Felder, and Devo, among others.
“Heavy Metal” deserves to be a cult classic for taking us to worlds we may or may not have seen before, and for using an adult theme without being mean-spirited or obvious. You get sex, violence, and Sci-Fi spliced together with a riveting intensity. It also has a comic book style quality that makes the characters and narrative flexible and entertaining, and the hot soundtrack keeps them rolling along. Granted it’s not Disney, but not every animated movie has to be at that exact quality. This is something for adults, teens, and any nostalgic 80s fan.
Christopher Nolan’s 2001 thriller “Memento” is based on the short story “Memento Mori” by Christopher’s brother Jonathan Nolan. Since it goes backwards, I can’t really tell you how it starts, because I’d be giving away the story. But I can tell you this: Leonard (Guy Pearce) has a condition, which prevents him from making new memories, and the last thing he remembers is his wife (Jorja Fox) getting raped and murdered. Ever since, he is out to find her killer, and in order to keep his puzzle in tact, he must take pictures with written notes on them, and having tattoos all over his body.
What a cast! We have Carrie Ann Moss as a bartender, who helps Leonard find his killer, if he drives a man named Dodd out of town; Joe Pantoliano as a sleazy cop, whom Leonard shouldn’t believe (photo of him says: “Teddy. Don’t Believe His Lies”); and Stephen Tobolowsky as another anterograde amnesiac, whose wife (Harriet Sansom Harris) ponders on whether or not he is faking his condition. Leonard recalls him in the black and white segments, which move forward.
“Memento” is a thriller so unique, it deserves to be seen more than once. Before “The Dark Knight” trilogy, “Interstellar,” and “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan has outdone himself by explaining the plot in reverse order, while making sure we grasp the movie’s concept. Pearce gives his best performance as man investigating the people around him, and forgetting what he did the previous moment/day, depending on how long the memory lasts. This is a puzzle you really must revisit, before Nolan’s upcoming “Tenet” comes out. That is unless they don’t reschedule that film.
“Back to the Future”
Because of this classic Robert Zemeckis film, I use Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love” to help me get to places as fast as possible. The way Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) rides on his skateboard when he’s late for school is fun, and the music gives it a fresh beat. And that also goes for the closing song “Back in Time.”
You also see Marty in a lousy present with the scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) being one of his only few friends; and you also see him travel back in the 1950s to save himself from being erased. To put it bluntly, if he doesn’t get his parents (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson) together, he and his siblings won’t exist. And let’s not forget their arch rival Biff (Tom Wilson) threatening to destroy their self-esteem.
This is a fun Sci-Fi family movie with Fox and Lloyd providing such fresh chemistry and challenges that makes them resonate with fans young and old. The special effects, sets, and gizmos help guide our heroes on their time-travel mission, and they never go bombastic. Director Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale both splice the 50s and 80s very well, and kudos to them for making such an iconic flick.
Cameron Crowe has made his directorial debut of “Say Anything,” following his first screenplay for “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” In it, we meet Diane Court (Ione Skye), a valedictorian high school graduate and underachieving optimist named Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack). Since she can’t be social, he decides to make themselves “Friends with Potential.” But his lady friends Corey (Lili Taylor) and DC (Amy Brooks) convince him to take their love tale to the next level.
I love how the soundtrack keeps “Say Anything” on a steady and lovable mood. The best in particular would be Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” which plays when Lloyd and Diane have sex in a car, and when he holds a boombox outside her window. Crowe doesn’t just pick songs at random. He studies them, and matches them at the right moments.
Cameron Crowe writes Cusack and Skye’s characters with love and honesty. They aren’t formulaic; they’re characters with ambitions and choices of their own. Women are given brains in movies most of the time, as long as they’re given potential material, and they don’t deserve to be treated like pieces of meats. Nobody in “Say Anything” is a piece of meat, and everyone associated with the movie acknowledges that.
The scene when the kid gets pulled underwater by the shark started my dislike for small kids getting killed in movies. But does that mean I hate Steven Spielberg’s 1975 horror classic “Jaws?” No!
This is the best shark movie of all time with Roy Scheider as police chief Michael Brody, Richard Dreyfus as marine biologist Matt Hooper, and Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint. Every scene with the shark is thrilling and provocative, especially since the machine version of the sea creature looks fantastic and convincing. And the actors give their characters their complexity and I.Q., which makes them memorable and riveting.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Brody says. You’re gonna need a bigger theater to see this classic film. I’ve seen it on an inflatable screen on a beach in the summer of 2018, and while I don’t mean to brag about it (given our corona nightmare), seeing it on that was such an honorable experience for me. So before you got “Shark Week,” “Deep Blue Sea,” or that “Sharknado” fad, you got “Jaws.”
“Boyz in the Hood”
Ice Cube’s “How to Survive in South Central” is a song, which helps me ease my tensions when I’m in a stressful and confusing situation. But it’s also represents the violence in California, and this was in the rapper/actor’s earlier days, after he was part of the group N.W.A. And this movie is where I heard the song from.
In the late John Singleton’s “Boyz in the Hood,” he stars in it, along with Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Morris Chestnut as a couple of friends, who are just trying to survive in the ghettos. It’s a poetic film about where select African-Americans come from, and where they’ll go, unless they find ways to better themselves.
Leave it to Singleton to deliver a powerful and iconic motion picture about society in the ghettos, and I feel horrible that he fatally had to get that stroke. We’re all going to miss that legend, and we should also pay tribute to his movies, starting with “Boyz in the Hood.” You really must also enjoy Cube, Gooding, Jr., and Chestnut for providing such fantastic performances. And you also have Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Regina King, and Angela Bassett in the supporting cast.
This Coen Brothers classic inspired the television mini-series.
Here is what the opening shot says: “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of the respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.” It is fictional, but the Coen brothers added true events to make one big story.
The movie starts off at a bar, where a man named Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) requires the help of two criminals, Carl (Steve Buscemi) and Gaear (Peter Stormare), to kidnap his wife Jean (Kristin Rudrud) in order to fix his financial problems. She and her father (Harve Presnell) are both well-off, so the father would have to pay a random fee of $80,000. Carl and Gaear manage kidnap Jean, but Gaesar has to kill a few witnesses, which draw the attention of a pregnant police chief named Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand). Carl becomes infuriated by this whole mess that he ends up threatening Jerry.
“Fargo” is at a level you never thought would be reachable. McDormand gives one of the best performances in her film career. Buscemi and Stormare are pulsating villains with sly wit and devious intentions. Macy’s character has a smart reason for his wife’s kidnapping. And Rudrud is convincing as a scared kidnapped woman. The overcome of “Fargo” is so dark, it’s wonderful. The Coen Brothers have outdone themselves with this movie.
Some of you were peeved off that “White Chicks” is my choice the worst movie of all time. I respect everyone’s own opinions, but I want to show you a film that knows how to have a man play a woman. “Toostie” came out between “Some Like It Hot” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and managed to give women the respect they deserve. And the main protagonist actually uses convincing make-up and lipstick.
Dustin Hoffman is Michael Dorsey, an out-of-work actor, who must play a woman named Dorothy Michaels in order to land a soap opera role, and the fact that he doesn’t want to kiss the leading man (George Gaynes) leads him on a path that helps women keep their independence. His crush Julie (Jessica Lange) is in an unhealthy relationship with the show’s sexist director (Dabney Coleman), and she also develops a friendship with Dorothy, because of his/her words of wisdom.
Director Sydney Pollack (who also plays Michael’s agent) provides fresh characters, honest comedy, and sincere heart to make “Tootsie” one of the best 80s movies. Hoffman is charming and whimsical as both Michael and Dorothy, and Lange adds a sweet touch to her character. You also have Bill Murray (as Michael’s roommate), Teri Garr (as Michael’s would-be girlfriend), and the late Charles Durning (as Julie’s widowed father) in the cast to help keep them on track. This is one of these comedies that treats everyone as people and not stupid aliens, if you know what I mean.
“Some Like It Hot”
“Some Like it Hot” is another opposite “White Chicks,” as Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon manage to pull off their feminine disguises without a single dead giveaway. It’s a 1959 comedy with a fresh premise, wonderful performances, and memorable dialogue (“Well, nobody’s perfect”). If you haven’t seen this movie, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
The movie is set in 1929 during the Prohibition Era. Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) are two friends and musicians, who are looking for a gig in order to survive the cold winter. Inspired by the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, they witness the mobster Spats (George Raft) murdering an informant (George E. Stone), and they must leave Chicago by dressing up as female musicians for a gig in Florida. Joe is now known as Josephine and Jerry is known as Daphne.
Among the girls in the band, the one that sticks out is the young and beautiful Candy (Marilyn Monroe), who wants to marry a rich guy with a yacht. She is easily convinced Joe and Jerry as women; and then Joe dresses up like a Shell Oil heir in order to sweep her off her feet. Jerry, on the other hand, ends up becoming the love target of an older billionaire (Joe E. Brown).
Written, produced, and directed by Billy Wilder, “Some Like it Hot” is smart, funny, gorgeous, and well-acted on all accounts. Curtis and Lemmon make a great team, Monroe is passionate, and Brown gives a fresh, clean performance. You also get thrills when the gangsters arrive in Florida, music with some help by Monroe, and a closing you just love to see.
The late Robin Williams gives one of his best and funniest roles as Daniel Hillard, a voice actor, whose comical behavior gets the best of him. His wife (Sally Field) is at her wits end with him, so she demands a divorce, taking custody of their three kids (Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, and Mara Wilson). He is only able to see them once a week on Saturdays, but it’s not enough.
His wife is hiring a nanny to watch he kids, so with his voice expertise and his make-up artist brother (Harvey Fierstein), he has to disguise himself as an old woman by the name of Mrs Doubtfire. He is able to get closer to his kids, but even for his comic scheme, mayhem ensues. Daniel has to change his disguise everytime he has meeting with a television producer (the late Robert Prosky) and his case worker (Anne Haney). These moments are very thrilling and very funny. And even more agonizing is his wife’s new lover (Pierce Brosnan).
Directed by Chris Columbus, “Mrs. Doubtfire” is a comedy masterpiece. Williams is perfect in every way, whether he is a cartoon or a father. Field is delightful as the long suffering wife, and I guess, in her case, not every person and every cartoon character go together. Brosnan is also charming as the new dream guy, and it is sharp to see Williams loathe him. The movie is filled with enough heart and laughs to keep you going.
“The King of Comedy”
Shame on you for letting this Martin Scorsese comedy let away back in the 1983. You get Robert De Niro as would-be comedy star Rupert Pupkin (not pumpkin) and Jerry Lewis as talk show legend Jerry Langford. One fantasies about being his colleague, and the other just wants him out of his hair. That’s when Pupkin devises a kidnapping plot to get his name on television.
“The King of Comedy” has a broad sense of humor and a likable style all its own. It starts with the autograph hounds (which I originally called “The Memorabilia Squad”), continues with the King of Comedy’s stress and attitude, and delves with how a schmuck decides to jump off the deep end in order to get what he wants. De Niro is brilliant as that nobody, who wants to be somebody, and he seems to have a fun time doing so with his verbal gimmicks and tone. And Lewis is patient and wise as that comedy star, and I admire how he keeps his cool, even in his most aggravating situations.
There are some negatives, like some long stand-up sequences, but the film still has an energy that keeps you going, and Scorsese is able to use his filming techniques to show us his views of the comedy universe. And he also does a perfect job casting De Niro and Lewis in roles that help you stay interested.
This Dalton Trumbo written classic made Audrey Hepburn a household name, by making it her first major role, to which she won the Oscar for. She plays Princess Ann, who travels in Rome for a press conference, and escapes her room to mingle with the normal people. And Gregory Peck is American journalist Joe Bradley, who is set to interview the Princess, and ends up being her date in the city.
“Roman Holiday” has Peck and Hepburn in perfect and funny roles as people with different goals and ambitions, and watching them together was such a treat. And Eddie Albert is a real charmer as a photographer, whose camera is disguised as a lighter, and forms a running gag in which whenever he is about to spill the beans about the secret interview, Joe must knock him down.
Most romantic comedies these days rely on the most obvious endings, whereas this one makes you question on how it goes on or whether or not it goes on. Producer/director William Wyler has done a fabulous job adapting Dalton Trumbo’s work on the screen with the black and white scenery, the radiant views of Rome, and the storytelling the film offers.
This was such a wonderful Pixar animated film from 2003, I was it twice, and then a third time with its 3D re-release. Not matter what format, I see it in, I just love it for its wonder, heart, sweetness, and humor. It is one of my favorite animated movies, period.
You gets an overprotective clownfish father named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), his lost son Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould), and a new friend named Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), who suffers from short-term memory loss. Marlin and Dory must venture into the ocean to find Nemo, who was taken to a dentist’s fish tank in Sydney, Australia. Meanwhile, Nemo makes friends with the other fish in the fish tank, including the Moorish Idol Gill (voiced by Willem Dafoe), who has a plan to get him and everyone out of the tank.
This was the first movie that introduced me to the wonderful talents of Brooks and DeGeneres, both whom I give my praise to for their voice acting. But it’s not just the voice acting; it’s the heart the movie offers. It has a father-son relationship so touching, it’s impossible to resist. The animation here is just beautiful. You feel like you’re swimming in the ocean, thanks to miracle of art and animation. I loved this movie in every way possible.
“Dumb and Dumber”
In this Farrelly Brothers comedy hit, you get Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd and Harry, best friends, who are so idiotic, that they both want to open up a pet store called “I Got Worms,” but they both lose their jobs, because of their stupidity. Boy, am I being insulting?
Anyway, they end up going on a road trip from Providence, RI, to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase to a woman named Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly). They are unaware that the briefcase is filled with ransom money. The villains are played by Mike Starr, Karren Duffy, and the late Charles Rocket.
“Dumb and Dumber” is very dumb, and yet, it’s very smart and funny. Carrey has a bowl haircut, which I accidentally gave myself once, so no, I wasn’t promoting its upcoming sequel. He plays Lloyd with the kind of flexibility and energy he always gives. Daniels is just right as Harry, and I can’t even tell which of these two is dumber. Urinating in beer bottles, feeding hotdogs to prized show dogs, and practically everything they do is brilliantly idiotic. The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby) have both expressed these kind of characters with the right elements.
In this 1993 guilty pleasure, Sylvester Stallone as a cop and Wesley Snipes as a criminal have both been sentenced to be frozen and awaken in the future. And this future has peace, prohibition, Taco Bell being the only surviving food chain, and fines for cursing.
You also have Sandra Bullock as a plucky cop and Denis Leary as a resistance leader. And you also have a lot of fun with the genre as it combines comedy, action, and Sci-Fi, especially since violence as been eradicated. Well, at least it has until the bad guy from the past shows up.
“Demolition Man” does annoy me with some of its future rules, but it is still a funny and visually impressive action movie. I enjoyed the action sequences and performances from Stallone, Snipes, and Bullock. As bland as the future sounds in this movie, it is quite interesting, and I still can’t get over the fact that you can get fined for cursing like sailor.
Penny Marshall’s “Big” is the iconic comedy about a boy who makes a wish in a fortune teller machine at a carnival about being big, and the next morning, he wakes inside a grown-up body in the form of Tom Hanks. This is a movie you should have seen, instead of that reversed plot in “Little,” which you may remember with Regina Hall turning into the child actress Marsha Martin. That movie was a lazy downer, compared to a sweet-hearted comedy like this.
“Big” allows Hanks to portray a kid in an adult body without over-doing the kid bit, and he’s able to add a sweetness to his character. He has to make a choice between being a kid or staying an adult, and that brings tears to your eyes. He also has a tender relationship with his best friend Billy, nicely played by Rushton Rushton, and his would-be girlfriend Susan, charmingly portrayed by Elizabeth Perkins. Both sides are conflicted, and that’s understandable.
I was aggravated by the cliche that nobody would believe a kid turned into an adult, because they live in reality. Aside from that, “Big” is lovable and entertaining, and it’s all thanks to director Penny Marshall, writers Anne Spielberg and Gary Ross, and Tom Hanks’ lively performance.
This wasn’t a major 1980s hit, but some of us have declared it an iconic film with brilliant work from Dennis Quaid, Martin Short, and Meg Ryan. You get Quaid as a soldier, who gets shrunken and placed in a syringe, Short as a stressed-out grocery man, who gets Quaid injected in him, and Ryan as the soldier’s girlfriend, who too become involved with their adventures.
Director Joe Dante gives this movie an upbeat and energetic tone that uses its sense of humor and body functions in the right places. You’re just dazzled by the film’s look of bloodstreams and functions, instead of being queasy. It looks fun, and the actors seem to be enjoying themselves.
Yes, it gets annoying when Ryan has trouble believing Short has Quaid in his body, but outside those moments, “Innerspace” uses the actors for their flexibility and style. And I especially admire its soundtrack (with songs by Rod Stewart, Berlin, Wang Chung, and Narada Michael Walden), which helps keeps things bouncing along. It uses its special effects and humor wisely, and you should check back on this flick.
Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” was made in the 1950s, a time when movies weren’t commercial objects, and barely relied on the same formulaic characters and drama. It takes its baby steps in order to allow us to meet the people and their environment, which happens to be in the form of an apartment complex.
We meet Jimmy Stewart as a newspaper photographer named L.B. Jefferies, anxiously waiting for his leg cast to come off. He wears his blue pajamas, spends all his time starring at his whimsical neighbors’ apartments in his wheelchair. And he starts to suspect that his jewelry salesman neighbor Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) is a murderer, because he finds him with a knife and a saw, and his wife hasn’t been home in a while.
“Rear Window” is another Hitchcock gem that doesn’t jump to conclusions and gives the main protagonists his concerns and ambitions. Each scene is drawn with such complexity and style, that you want to get involved with the main characters and their aspects on life. And Stewart is flat-out perfect in the role of a photographer, trying to unfold a mystery, and keeping his timing straight.
Most thrillers these days could use dramatic music and flashy shots to keep the thrills in line. Again, this was from the 50s when movies were movies. Never once was I irritated and that’s quite relaxing. This is a mystery thriller for the ages, in any generation, and you don’t know how lucky you are to find one like “Rear Window” in the movie history books.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
This is one of my favorite Disney animated films of the 90s, and it was made by the two geniuses behind “Beauty and the Beast,” Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. It’s another film version of Victor Hugo’s story of a deformed young man, who hides in the church of Notre Dame, and longs for freedom and acceptance. Tom Hulce wins us over with his emotional vocal performance as that hunchback Quasimodo.
The voice cast also features the late Tony Jay as the evil Judge Frollo, who plans to eradicate all gypsies from Paris; Demi Moore as the beautiful gypsy Esmerelda; Kevin Kline as the soldier Phoebus, whose character has been altered from being originally being an antagonist to a protagonist; and Jason Alexander, the late Charles Kimbrough, and the late Mary Wickes as Quasi’s three gargoyle companions.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” has some of the best songs (written by Alan Menkin), the most beautiful animation, and the finest characters in the Disney name. It provides a powerful nature to the animated version of Victor Hugo’s story, and it gives off some strong themes about acceptance and courage. It’s whimsical, heartfelt, and dazzling on all accounts.
You know what’s better than watching a millennial trying to save his/her skin with social media? Watching a smart 1930s kid and a wisenheimer con artist. That would happen to go to Ryan O’Neal and his real-life daughter Tatum O’Neal. They play two strangers, who find themselves on the road in the Great Depression.
Made in 1973 by director Peter Bogdanovich, this movie is the exact reason why we critics would pan some lousy adult-kid buddy comedies like “Cop and a Half.” It gives us people in believable situations with believable attitudes, and looking at this movie in this decade really makes me feel good inside.
Tatum O’Neal became the youngest actress to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and why wouldn’t see win it? She was fresh and profound, and her disposition makes her character Addie a feisty, but lovable kid. And she also has some brilliant chemistry with her own father as the conman Moze. They bicker and make money at the same time, and their antics and adventures are sweet and flexible. This is a 70s classic you must never let get away.
This was the biggest movie hit the late Prince has ever starred in, and he provided such iconic and memorable moments as an actor and a singer. You just love seeing him perform “Let’s Go Crazy,” “The Beautiful Ones,” “Computer Blue,” “Darling Nikki,” “Purple Rain,” “I Would Die 4U,” and “Baby, I’m a Star” on stage, and you’re also able to see his dramatic side.
He plays The Kid, the talented frontman of The Revolution band, who wants to escape his hard family life (Clarence Williams III as his unhappy father and Olga Karlatos as his victimized mother). You also get Morris Day of The Time scheming to come up with an all girls group to replace The Revolution; and Appolonia Kotero as the Kid’s aspiring singer girlfriend, who gets caught in Morris’ clutches.
It doesn’t deliver a fully interesting narrative, but it does provide enough music and heart to keep “Purple Rain’s” spirit floating and flying. The musical numbers are photographed and shot in colorful formats, Prince is able to have a character study as a musician caught in the wrong place, and it provides fans with all the nostalgia and fun they deserve.
So, “Let’s Go Crazy” with this one!
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
This iconic comedy follows the perfect plan for playing sick on a school day. You need to have cold hands, a dummy to cover for you in bed, convincing impressions in case of phone calls, and disguises to hide yourself from the authorities. Written and directed by John Hughes, who redefined the adolescents of the 1980s, this is the kind of teen comedy that most movies these days barely catch up on.
Matthew Broderick, 23 at the time, stars as Ferris Buller, who appears to be sick as a dog to his parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett), and all according to plan, he is free from school for the day. He and his friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) manage to pull his girlfriend Sloan (Mia Sara) out of school, and together, they hit the streets of Chicago for a day they’ll never forget. But the only people who don’t buy Bueller’s “illness” are Principal Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) and Bueller’s sister Jeannie (Jennifer Grey).
“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is very funny in the way Bueller knows the game on ditching school without getting caught. No matter what surprise pops up, he knows the doorbell, his voice recorder, and his friends, who can provide the impressions. Broderick is brilliant in that role in every way possible. And his support is given by Ruck and Sara. Other than some unnecessary situations, this is the kind of teen comedy I am talking about.
You all remember this Tom Cruise movie right? You also know that PreCrime is the special police force, which can see the future, and prevent crimes before they even happen. How? They have humans, known as “Precogs,” to predict the future. That’s the general idea for Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” an entertaining Sci-Fi picture that’s filled with twists and turns.
Cruise plays PreCrime’s leader John Anderton, who finds out about a prediction, which claims he will kill a man by the name of Leo Crowe (Mike Binder) within 36 hours. He has no idea who he is, but DOJ agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) renders him a fugitive from justice. Not just that, but Anderton finds out that the company is flawed, and the only way to stop it is to find a minority report from one of the precogs. The most gifted is the female, and so, receiving a new pair of eyes, Anderton breaks into the lab, and takes Agatha (Samantha Morton). From that point, secrets will be revealed.
“Minority Report,” based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story, is one of the most intelligent Cruise and Spielberg movies ever to hit the 2000s. They both have chemistry in showing us a hero in futuristic world, and the co-stars (Farrell, Morton, and Max Von Sydow as PreCrime’s head) help keep the main protagonist in check. And you must also appreciate the special effects used for the vehicles and the spider robots, which examine people’s eyes. Spielberg manages to bring it all together-the acting, the look, and the story.
This 1994 action hit stars Keanu Reeves as Officer Jack Tavern, who manages to thwart a bomb threat brought upon by Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), who fakes his death during the threat. That same man wants $3.7 million, and he plants another bomb in a city bus which will detonate if it either goes below 50mph or if people try to get off. Tavern makes his way on to the bus, and has to deactivate the bomb, only to find it more complicated than usual.
Sandra Bullock plays a passenger, who got her license revoked for speeding. She is forced to take the wheel, when the driver accidentally gets shot, and a relationship develops between her and Tavern. Of course, there are gaps in the road, gas leakage, and car crashes, all of which make things difficult. Every action scene kept me at the edge of my seat.
“Speed” is start-to-finish fun with its action sequences, smartly written plot by Graham Yost, and performances from Reeves, Hopper, and Bullock. Directed by Jan de Boot, the movie has enough danger and suspense to keep fans entertained.
“Stand By Me”
“Stand by Me” may be, without a doubt, my most favorite Rob Reiner movie growing up. In addition, this may be one of my favorite films adapted from a Stephen King novel (“The Body”), along with “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Shining.” There is lots heart, lots of laughs, and lots of thrills. In fact, there’s lots of everything.
Narrated by Richard Dreyfus, the movie is set in 1959, as a group of young boys-Gordie LaChance (Will Wheaton), Chris Chambers (River Phoenix, the late older brother of Joaquin), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and Vern Tessio (Jerry O’Connell)-begin an odyssey in the wilderness to find a dead body, and maybe become famous.
“Stand by Me” has lots of great scenes. One in particular that scares you is when the boys have to dodge a train on a long bridge. They don’t have the schedule of when it is coming, so they walk on it, and then the running begins. Keifer Sutherland, at the age of 22, plays Ace, a local bully, who eventually comes across on their mission to retrieve the body. Again, another serious moment. The actors, Stephen King, and Rob Reiner have all outdone themselves.
“Million Dollar Baby”
Director Clint Eastwood and screenplay writer Paul Haggis both made 2004 sports drama, which won 4 Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress (Hilary Swank), Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman), and Best Director.
Freeman as Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris (an ex-fighter gone blind in one eye) narrates the film as a young waitress from Missouri named Maggie Fitzgerald (Swank) asks boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) to give her a shot. He doesn’t train women, and he constantly tells her to back off, but when his prized prospect (Mike Colter) signs with another coach, he has no choice but to train her. Not only does Maggie become a hit in the ring, but she also earns the name “Mo cuishle.” The film even focuses on the tender relationship between Frankie and Maggie, especially since Frankie is an estranged father.
“Million Dollar Baby” continues Eastwood’s greatness in many ways. One way is the acting. Eastwood, Swank, and Freeman all play their roles with enough iron to hold my attention. We, the audience, feel awful for the characters in their most dramatic situations. Haggis did a great job with the screenplay, which is actually based on short stories F.X. Toole wrote, and Eastwood brings it all together with the seriousness and ambition he has always offered.
Paul Haggis’ 2005 drama drama “Crash” won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. It is all about crime, ethnic behaviors, and dirty cops.
Don Cheadle and Jennifer Esposito play two detectives on a shootout case between two drivers. Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges and Larenz Tate play two African-American characters, who carjack a couple (Sandra Bullock and Brendan Fraser as a district attorney) and accidentally run over a Chinese man. Matt Dillion plays a cop, worrying about his sick father (Bruce Kirby) and pulling over an African-American couple (Terence Howard as a TV director and Thandie Newton). He molests Newton, but he rescues her from a car explosion. Ryan Philippe plays Dillion’s ex-partner, who reasons with Howard regarding his fight with Bridges. Shaun Toub plays a Persian shop owner, who buys a gun, finds out his shop has been robbed, and briefly blames it on his locksmith (Michael Pena).
“Crash” is powerhouse movie with how its stories intertwine with one another. To begin, it has wonderful performances from Cheadle, Bridges, Dillion, Newton, Fraser, Bullock, Philippe, and Tate, all whom rip you apart limb from limb. This has a serious portrayal of how African-Americans are sometimes treated in society, and Haggis shows the right intentions of giving out that message. This, too, happens for other ethnic groups. They feel discriminated, and others discriminate them, and that is beyond serious. In other words, “Crash” is a movie about racism at a Grade-A level.
“An American in Paris”
If you loved “Singin’ in the Rain,” then you’ll love how Gene Kelly dances around so colorful in Vincente Minnelli’s Oscar-winning for Best Picture film. Some of my favorite numbers from him include “I Got Rhythm” and “Tra-la-la (This Time It’s Really Love).” George Gershwin wrote those lyrics very well.
Jerry Mulligan (Kelly) is a WWII veteran, who moves to Paris to become a painter. His friend Adam Cook (Oscar Levant) is a pianist, who is good friends with French singer Henri Baurel (Georges Guetary). What’s amazing about these three characters is that whenever a different person comes on screen when they are introducing themselves, they say “No, that’s not me. That’s me.” And there’s also a complicated love story between Jerry and a 19-year-old French girl named Lise Bouvier (Leslie Caron), who is dating Adam.
“An American in Paris” allows the actors to sing and dance without anyone getting in their way. It appears that they are goofing around, but they really mean their songs. Kelly was a legend who crafted some of the best dance sequences and delivered such colorful characters, and this movie is on par with “Singin’ in the Rain.” Credit must also go to Vincente Minnelli for making such a delightful movie and George Gershwin who wrote the danceable songs.
Hopefully these movies can hold our attention spans, until this virus decreases into less or nothing.