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I have 5 passions: classical music, books, movies, my cats and my family - not necessarily in that order. I won't pretend to have any deep or profound knowledge of film. I just love movies.
Link to My Favorite Movies:
So many movies, so little time.
Cats rule, dogs drool!
-Sassy in "Homeard Bound: The Incredible Journey
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria.
-Dr. Peter Venkman in "Ghost Busters"
"I am proud of what I am!...I am...a librarian!"
-Evelyn in "The Mummy"
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Since that time I have seen many TV series.
Twilight Zone is still the best.
Sherlock Holmes (2010)
I have seen quite a few low budget scifi/horror movies lately and about the highest rating I gave any of them was a 3, but this Sherlock Holmes was good, very good. I had never seen or heard of any of the actors, but they were all also very good, especially Watson who did a fine job. Holmes was as usual, quirky and arrogant, but then, that's how he is supposed to be. The sets and settings were very nice and most of the outdoor scenes were beautiful. But the best were the special effects: the monsters and the Rube Goldberg machines. My husband like the dragon best, but as a dinosaur fan, my favorite was the so called raptor. I say 'so called' because it did not look at all like a raptor, but it did look like a beautifully done miniature T-Rex. We both liked all of the Rube Goldberg machinery used by the master criminal. If you get a chance, watch this Sherlock Holmes. You'll probably like it like we did.
The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
I saw Little Shop of Horrors once on TV when I was in junior high and my girlfriend saw it also. For weeks we made giggling "Feed me! I'm hungry" jokes and we both thought of it as a really bad-funny horror film. I just saw it again and realized we were wrong. It was not a 'really bad-funny horror film; it was a really really good dark comedy. The fact that Corman made it in just 2 days for $27,000 only adds to my amazement as to how good it is. Every character was an eccentric gem, especially Jack Nicolson's masochistic dental patient, better even than Bill Murray's later portrayal of the same character - and that is saying a lot. I especially liked the two cops, Fink & Stoolie with Fink doing an excellent Joe Friday. If you like black comedy - and I do - please give the 1960 version of Little Shop of Horrors a look-see. If you find it even half as funny as I did, you won't be disappointed.
Dracula's Guest (2008)
'Bad' really doesn't do it justice
I have seen many movies that are bad: bad script, bad directing, bad special effects. But what I have never seen before is such bad acting. Where did they get these people? Surely, somewhere in world they could have found better actors. The cast from one of the senior plays from a local high school would have been infinitely better. Every line was 'signifcant' and melodramatic especially from the fat Dracula. (Who ever heard of a fat vampire?) Of course, it may have been the director and if it was, he should never be allowed on the set of any production for the rest of his life. But even if it was the director, the actors should be cast out of the Actors Guild for so shamelessly degrading their craft. 'Bad' cannot possibly cover the awfulness of this so called movie.
War of the Worlds (2005)
Not quite as bad as I had heard
When the Tom Cruise version came out there was also a lot of comments on this version on the Film General message board. Everyone who saw it seemed to agree that this was one of the worst movies ever made and some said the absolute worst.
It is not a good movies, but it is not as bad as the others said. The character of George was good: a nice man in a terrible situation and the acting was good. His kid was good and his wife was good, but they were minor characters.
That being said, the rest of the movie was pretty bad. There was too much walking: they walked and walked and didn't do much: dull. The minister Victor's rants about religion were pathetic and boring. I was rather glad when he was finally killed off. The crazy officer was trying to channel one of Gary Busey's crazy characters and failed. (No one can ever do crazy as well as Gary Busey.)
Then there was the rabies vaccine. I cannot imagine how anyone could think that a small injection of rabies vaccine could start an epidemic that would kill all the Martians.
And finally six legged bugs! The Martians were tripods and the tripods were the vehicles that carried the Martians. For me, the Martians have to be in tripods or it isn't War of the Worlds. For a movie that advertised itself as being an the most " accurate" War of the Worlds ever made, it was way off the mark as anyone knows who ever read the book.
So, it wasn't the worst movie ever made. For me that was Manos, the Hands of Fate. Manos was so bad it was funny. This movie was just dull and boring. So do not waste your time on this one. Watch the Tom Cruise version, or even better, watch the 1953 version with Gene Barry.
Wolves of Wall Street (2002)
How bad is this movie? Let me count the ways:
1. It is very very boring. Nothing really happens.
2. The "hero" isn't sympathetic or likable.
3. They dress in suits that would only be worn by pimps: some kind of shinny material. Yuck.
4. There is tons of testosterone fueled talk about them being predators and in a pack, but there isn't even one scene of a pack of werewolves.
5. There is no 'transformattion.' Some of the fun of a werewolf movies is watching the transformations.
6. There is no real werewolf action and it wasn't the least bit scary -just boring.
7. There is almost no plot.
8. And I still can't figure out the creepy scenes with the guys in their jocks licking on the two girls in the chairs (two guys per girl). That scene keeps reappearing and all they they do is lick???
9. They have absolutely none of the characteristics of real wolves who mate for life and center their world around raising puppies.
10. And did I say it was boring? This isn't a bad funny movie like Robot Monster (my personal favorite), just a bad boring movie. I gave it a 2 because I consider a 1 an accolade for bad funny movies and this movie doesn't deserve a 1.
PS I wish this program had a spell check. I am a really bad speller - so sorry.:~(
The Ten Commandments (2006)
I didn't expect much when I decided to watch this thing on TV, but thought it might be entertaining enough to pass an evening. I was wrong.
It has even more inaccurate and/or made up stuff than the 1956 version. I am not a church going person, but I have read the Bible and the story of the Exodus. At least most of the made up stuff in the 1956 version is just drama and doesn't seem to change the meaning of the story that I read in the Bible. This movie seems to reflect a theological meaning that is different from what is generally believed by modern Christians and Jews. There is so much more "drama" during the course of the Exodus itself. There is very little about Moses and God but a lot about soul searching and dark nights of the soul. I don't think Moses would have given The Ten Commandments as if he wrote them himself. If God had chosen this Moses, I don't think they would have made it. Moses whines and feels sorry for himself. He does not act like a man who has had God talk to him directly. I really do feel like Charlton Heston was probably closer to the real Moses than the Moses in this movie.
Besides my religious distaste for this movie, it is a bad movie. The acting poor and melodramatic. The sets and costumes are only a few steps above a play put on at church.
The 1956 movie was so much better. It had the grandeur and the reverence this new movie lacks. Don't waste your time on it. I gave it a 2. I only give a 1 to a movie so bad it is funny. This wasn't funny.
I am not familiar with the world of "short film." Most of what I have seen is obviously amateur. So I this is my first introduction into the world of serious shorts by a film maker who is obviously not an amateur.
First, the production values (as I call them)were very good. I have seen and even paid to see many movies that were far worse. The lighting, the camera work, the sound were all professional quality. The music was good, very good. I love Villalobos.
Artistically is a quite good. Jason Britt's acting was good conveying his inner pain without any outward histrionics. I especially liked the repetitive dialog interspersed with rambling ambiguous clues about what brought him to this "rope, hang" decision.
And I liked the ambiguous end. Will the voices in his head win or will the dog, representing life, be successful? That is for each of us to decide.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
I fell asleep
I was so excited when I finally got Alice in Wonderland, I had been waiting forever - or so it seemed - on the library waiting list. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp doing Alice in Wonderland sounded so cool so perfect.
As soon as I got home, I popped it in. Well, it was pretty although some of the scenery looked like it came from The Nightmare before Christmas. And there was a lot of it, scenery I mean. Beyond that.....
I never read the books as a kid and I still haven't, but I suspect it has more substance than scenery. The action, such as it was, was minimal. Johnny Depp was just weird and not good weird, but just weird weird as the Mad Hatter. His make-up looked more out of a zombie movie than Alice. The Cheshire cat did not behave like a Cheshire cat - no disappearing a leaving just a smile. But I may be wrong because about this time, I had to fight to keep awake and I did doze off now and then. Somewhere toward the end, I did manage to wake up. It looked like there might be something developing between Alice and the Mad Hatter. In a flashback I had seen him before the red queen took over and he looked like Johnny Depp with weird hair. So I thought maybe when the white queen won he might return to being Johnny Depp and Alice might find him more attractive and interesting than the dork back home. But alas, no. He stayed a zombie and she went home, but at least she refused the dork. I told myself I would watch it again, but I couldn't. It was too boring. There are only two Tim Burton films that I didn't finish - not because they were bad, but because they bothered me in some way. Edward Sissorhands was just too sad. It was like a tragedy but without a tragic hero. Watching Edward was like watching someone torturing a puppy. Couldn't take it. The beloved Ed Wood was just too outré for me. I loved or really liked everything else, even Mars Attacks. But Alice was boring. I still can't believe that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp ruined a movie they were born to make. Go watch the Disney version. No kidding, it is better.
Shutter Island (2010)
Questions, questions and more questions
When I saw the trailers for this, I thought - Scorsese and DiCaprio - even their worst will probably be better than best by many others working today. It is far from their worst. It was mesmerizing and excellent and left me with many more questions than answers. It is not a "typical" Scorsese, but then if there really were a "typical" Scorsese, he wouldn't be the great director that he is.
It starts out in the film noir style turns into a twisting almost fractured plot that ends with far more questions than the in the beginning, Where is the missing/escaped patient, Rachel? In the end, it seems that Rachel is one of the lesser mysteries of Shutter Island. Where was the ferry and was it the only way on or off the island> Why couldn't Teddy and Chuck get any cooperation (or files) from the sinister Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow. Teddy and Chuck were the powerful and feared G-Men of the time. Why didn't they seem to have any power and were obviously threatened? How could the missing/dead/lost Rachel be living in caves on such a small island? What are the scattered Nazi flash backs throughout the film?
As the plot goes on, Teddy's actions and the plot become more irrational and more fractured. Then it all comes to an ambiguous ending that left more questions than it answered. At least for me. I intend to see it at two or more times to knit all the raveled endings together into a comprehensible finale.
I do think there is a comprehensible finale. The questions make it more fascinating. DiCaprio is brilliant as Teddy and his performance is the best I have seen by him so far and that's saying a lot. It is an excellent movie that I would recommend to anyone who anyone who likes a good mystery mixed with a little Snake Pit and a lot of psychological terror. There are no monsters in this movie and there are no ghosts or ghoulies, but it is a horror movie nonetheless. Real horror is in the mind and not in the monsters or gore.
I think it is an excellent film. I rated it 9/10, but that may go higher after I see it a couple more times.
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Be strong and see true greatness
I don't know how to start this review and I am not sure what to say. I have written reviews on other great movies. My review for The Shawshank Redemption poured out as smooth as heavy cream. Million Dollar Baby is as good as The Shawshank Redemption which I have watched over and over again, and is, in my opinion, the best movies ever made.
But I will never be able to watch Million Dollar Baby over and over again. I may watch it once every 10 years are so to reaffirm it's brilliance, it's depth and it's gut wrenching impact. I am sure I have never seen before or since such an emotionally powerful film. I avoid reading about films before I see them. I don't want to taint my first impression. I had heard it was very good and how could I go wrong with Eastwood, Swank and Freerman.
As I watched it, I was thinking it was better than Rocky, better than many many movies I had seen. I was especially impressed with Eastwood and thought it was one of the best performance I had ever seen by him - maybe the best.
Then I got to what you might call Act III. Hillary Swant's performance was brilliant: a complete fulfillment of all her potential. Clint Eastwood's performance was transcendent. It was greater than any performance I had seen by any other actor in film or theater. It was emotionally devastating. His actions reflected the greatest act of love I had ever come across in film, theater or fiction. What sacrifice could you make for love - even threaten your immortal soul and destroy your mortal heart? It is greater than The Shawshank Redemption but so much harder to watch. Greek or Shakespearian tragedy has nothing to equal it. Maybe nothing ever will.
I was about 13 when I saw this episode of "Sunday Showcase" and I never forgot it. I remembered the title, the plot and the fact that Rip Torn played the android. I remembered it so well that I was able to answer a long standing question on the "I Need to Know" board about a show with an android with a A on his forehead. That's a lot to remember after 45+ years. It was very very good. It made me think about what it means to be human, not a very common subject when you are 13. It was one of the first (along with Twilight Zone which started the same year) to use sci fi or fantasy to explore the ethical, moral, religious or philosophical problems that haunt mankind. Besides The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits always and Star Trek often did the same thing. Sci fi in both movies and books is the perfect medium for exploring these themes without the preachiness of some based on reality stories. If you ever get a chance to see it, please do. You may find it as good as I did.
Gets better every time I see it
I am just going to add my voice to the chorus of praise for this movie. It is as near to being perfect as any I have ever seen. I will not say that it is much better than Alien - which is just about near to being perfect also. But I do love all the characters in this movie. I have rarely seen a movie where all the characters were so well developed. Even most serious dramas seldom develops each character so completely. None of these characters are stereotypes even Paul Reiser as Burke, although the slimy company/government man villain is a prerequisite in disaster type movies. I would almost say that my favorite is Michael Beihn as Hicks, just because I like his work & consider him to be underrated. But I also like Lance Henriksen as Bishop, William Hope as Lt. Gorman, Bill Paxton as Hudson, and of course, Jenette Goldstein as Vasquez. I liked all of these characters. I cared about their lives & deaths. The final scene for Gorman & Vasquez still chokes me up after seeing it many times.
I am not ignoring Sigourney Weaver or Carrie Henn. Ripley is the template for the modern action heroine. In the 24 years since Alien, few have been able to measure up to Sigourney Weaver's Ripley. Even in Alien 3 & 4, Ripley was still powerful, despite the 3ed rate quality of the movies. As for Carrie Henn as Newt, she was the emotional heart of Aliens. Cameron's ability to develop well rounded characters does not detract from his ability to create great action scenes or to scare the audience out of a several years of growth.
The Badge of Marshal Brennan (1957)
Excellent "B" western
The Badge of Marshal Brennan is a "B" western starring Jim Davis who later gained fame as the Ewing patriarch in Dallas. Davis was an imposing gentleman with a rugged face and a deep commanding voice. He played villains in "A" westerns and heroes in "B" westerns. In The Badge of Marshal Brennan he plays "The Stranger", a man on the run, who comes across a dying marshal. After the marshal dies, he buries the body and takes the badge. At the next town, he is mistaken for the dead marshal. The town had sent for Marshal Brennan because of an epidemic, outlaws and panic. The Stranger sees it as a chance to hide from his pursuers. What he doesn't realize is that by taking on the badge of Marshal Brennan, he takes on the responsibilities of the dead marshal.
It is an excellent movie, one I remember well, even after many years. Davis, as always, give a strong performance as a man who has to look inside himself and finds much more there than he thought. It has mystical overtones that are interesting but do not interfere with its tough "B" western quality.
If it ever comes out on DVD, I would strongly recommend it to any western fan.
In the early 1950's, oil geologists discovered the signs of a giant tsunami, half a kilometer high, that hit a remote bay in Alaska. After research, scientists concluded that the tsunami was created by a landslide in the ocean off the coast. Since then, scientists who study tsunamis have discovered several sites around the world where major under water landslides could create giant or mega tsunamis, kilometers high. This documentary was primarily about the discovery of a large crack in a volcano in the Canary Islands that may split and cause a mega tsunami several kilometers high that would wipe out the east coast of the United States. This tsunami should penetrate at least 12 miles inland and destroy every city from Boston to the Caribbean within the next 1200 years.
Like the killer asteroid and the "big one" in California, this is not a speculation. It will happen, in time.
This is a very scary documentary. It makes you realize how fragile our life on this earth really is. If you enjoy "extreme nature" documentaries, you will probably enjoy Mega Tsunami.
The Real Eve (2002)
The "Mitochondrial" Eve
Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to children, both male and female, unchanged and it mutates at a predictable rate; i. e., the more the genetic mutations in the DNA, the more ancient the origin of the population. Using these facts, some scientists are studying mitochondrial DNA to try to trace back the origins of the human race. Using this method, the scientists have traced the human race to one female in Africa several million years ago. Then they traced the migration patters of her descendants as they spread across the earth.
The Real Eve is a fascinating documentary presenting a new and controversial theory of human evolution. It does what all good documentaries do, it makes you think, and it entertains at the same time. I enjoyed it very very much and anyone interested in human evolution would probably enjoy it also.
For all croc and dino lovers
The tag line for this excellent documentary was:
"They Didn't Walk with Dinosaurs - They Ate Them!"
Crocodiles are one of the most ancient and unchanged life forms on earth. Crocodiles evolved in the late Triassic, 200 million years ago. Anyone seeing one of these ancient crocs would immediately recognize them as crocs - they are that unchanged.
This documentary is about the discovery of a 40 foot plus fossil of an ancient crocodile, more than large enough to eat many of the dinosaurs that were their contemporaries. Anyone who likes either crocs or dinosaurs would enjoy this National Geographic Special.
I would especially like to recommend it to any parents who have run out of dinosaur documentaries to feed the insatiable appetites of their dino hungry children.
Weird and Confusing
I am relieved to know that other people found The Visitor as confusing as we did. Over the years, whenever my husband and I have had some reason to mention this movie, we always call it "That weird movie with Jesus in a turtleneck." We spent hours afterwards trying to understand the plot; we never got as far as even trying to understand the meaning.
We went to see because it had such a good cast. The previews suggested it had a supernatural theme, which appealed to us. It was a mistake. We should have stayed home and rotated the mattresses.
I can watch really bad movies without a shudder. I even rather like very bad movies. But The Visitor is in a class by itself. It made absolutely no sense - none. I have read that part of the problem is bad editing. I would hope so. I hate to think that so many fine actors would waste their time on this mess as it is.
Bad Science - but not too bad drama - Spoilers
As drama, Lightning: Bolts of Destruction wasn't too bad. It was a typical low budget TV disaster movie: fun to watch with lots of lightning fx. The story was ok and the acting was fairly good.
The science however:
*******************MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW**************************
Give me a break, please. Sun spots cause a giant super cell thunderstorm with positive lightning - more powerful than regular lightning - to form all over the world and combine into one huge storm. This will cause the jet stream to dip down to earth and cause an immediate ice age which, along with the lightning, will destroy civilization and most of humanity?????????!!!!!!!!!!!! Which is stopped by an giant EM pulse put out by a R&D power station at the magnetic north pole that reverses the earth's polarity????????????!!!!!! I may be a lit major who specialized in pre-modern British poetry - but even I see all the holes as big as the Grand Canyon in this scenario. Credulity is lying on the floor whimpering in pain. 5/10 - mostly for the pretty lightning effects and decent acting.
Key Largo (1948)
My Favorite Bogart
I have 4 Humphrey Bogart movies in list of favorites: The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The African Queen and Key Largo. I know that compared to the other three, it is considered a "lesser" work, but it is my favorite Bogart.
I am not going to write about the brilliance of all the performances in Key Large: Lionel Barrymore, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson, and Claire Trevor. Enough has been said about them all. I wish to concentrate on Bogart and the loneliness of his character in the movie.
Bogart often played damaged characters; i.e., men who had been hurt, badly hurt, at some time in the past. Frank McCloud in Key Largo is one of those characters. He is not a tough guy like Sam Spade or a "sharp" character like Rick. He is a nice man and a very lonely one. Frank has no family, he was an orphan. He was an officer in the war, but the war is over. He has no job, no family and no prospects. He is tired; tired of being alone and tired of the violence of the war.
But Frank has one dream, a borrowed dream. During the war, one of his men often told him stories of his own life with his father and wife and their small hotel in the Florida Keys. It is a tale of family closeness and love, of clean salt air and colorful characters. It is everything Frank has never had in his life. After the war and the death of his friend, Frank has nowhere to go and nothing to look forward to. So he finally drifts to Florida, to this family, to tell them how much he respected and liked his friend.
They, Nora and Father Temple, are very glad to meet Frank. Just as Frank had been told about them, they had been told about Frank in letters sent home from the war.
Into this comes Johnny Rocco and his goons and his moll. Frank is a decorated soldier and a brave man, there are too many innocent lives at stake, Nora and Mr. Temple and even Gaye Dawn, the alcoholic moll. Frank cares about these people, even Gaye, and he does not want them to be hurt and perhaps more than anyone else there, he knows the terrible devastation bullets can wreak on the human body. This sets up the conditions for all the talk while they are trapped by the hurricane. I will not say any more about twists of the plot because I do not want to include spoilers.
Let me just say that in the end, Nora and Father Temple realize that they need Frank as much as Frank needs them. And so Frank is finally able to come home. He finally "has it all ... in Key Largo."
Archetypal Western **Spoilers**
For me, Shane is the ultimate western. It is not my favorite, which is Hondo, or the one I consider the best, which is The Searchers, but more than any other, it represents the ideal, the dream, the 'mythos' of the Old West.
As Americans, we had lost our mythology. Biblical heroes still exist, but their lives, customs, manners and their world is so different from our own, that it is hard to see them as heroes for our modern world. But the men and women of the western frontier, as seen though the lens of a motion picture camera, were close enough to our modern world to become the Heroes, the archetypal Heroes, we needed. From William S. Hart to Marshall Dillon, they have provided us with the role models for what a Hero should be and Shane is the ultimate expression of that Hero and the Myth.
Shane is the stranger. We don't know his name or his origins, but we know what he is: he is the Hero, the quintessential archetypal Hero of the West.
He comes from nowhere when he is needed and he returns to nowhere when his job is done. His job is to save good, decent people from the Villain who has power to harm them.
Many movies reflect different versions of the western myth, but in Shane it comes in its purest, most simplified form. Shane, the gunfighter, drifts into the valley trying to escape his past. He meets Joe and Marian Starrett and their son, Joey. They are homesteader trying to create a life for themselves. They and the other homesteaders are threatened by Rufus and Morgan Ryker, ranchers who see the farmers along the river as a threat to their access to water in times of drought. They use their cowboys to threaten and attack the farmers. With Shane's help, the farmers are able to stand up to the Rykers and their cowboys. So the Rykers hire Jack Wilson, a vicious gunfighter, to kill Shane. In a climactic gunfight in the saloon, Shane defeats and kills Wilson and the Rykers, ten wounded, he rides from the valley, alone, as Joey calls after him: 'Shane Shane, come back Shane.'
Simple and straightforward, Shane is the ultimate expression of Hero of the Old West. We may not actually believe he exists, but we like to think he does.
Panic in the Streets (1950)
Many years ago, I saw Panic in the Streets on the late movie and it introduced me to what was to become one of my favorite sub-genres of movies, documentaries and non-fiction books: the pursuit of deadly disease.
Richard Widmark stars as a doctor in the US Public Health Service chasing down a killer (excellently played by Jack Palance) who is carrying pneumonic plague, the deadlier airborne version of bubonic plague. Widmark and Paul Douglas, as a New Orleans cop, have only 48 hours to stop the killer and everyone he meets before the plague becomes epidemic in the crowded, impoverished streets of New Orleans.
Panic in the Streets was directed by Elia Kazan just before he did A Streetcar Named Desire. Although by no means as brilliant as Streetcar or his later On the Waterfront, Panic is an excellent movie on many levels. It works well as a noir thriller, but equally well as a warning of the dangers epidemic disease long before anyone ever heard of ebola, anthrax or west Nile. Kazan himself, thought of Panic as his first "real" movie, despite the fact that he had already made Pinky and Gentleman's Agreement.
I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes Elia Kazan, or noir, or a first class medical thriller.
This is a FUN movie
Everyone trashes this movie, but I thought it was good. I've always enjoyed creature features with large reptiles eating cities and Godzilla does does it very well.
If you want profound and serious, watch something else. If you want a "great" movie, watch something else. But if you want to spend a couple hours watching something FUN with no serious side effects, watch Godzilla. Bring in the kids, load up on popcorn and enjoy.
Why Is This Movie Forgotten?
This is a really, really good movie and I don't understand why no one ever mentions it or why it is never on cable.
It has everything that I love in a movie: good story, great characters well acted, fine comedy and powerful touching drama. Ralph Macchio is a brilliant young guitar student, Eugene Martone, at Julliard (or some other equally good music school) who does not want to play Mozart. He wants to play guitar like his idol, a long dead blues guitar legend. In search of his dreams, he breaks an elderly black blues player out of a prison nursing home.
The two of them go on an odyssey to the Mississippi Delta in quest of memories and dreams. As in any odyssey, they meet a variety of fascinating and/or dangerous characters along the way. Eugene must also overcome the obstacles and tests that all those who quest must face - until it is time to face the ultimate test against the greatest blues guitarist in the Delta.
I enjoy music, but my knowledge is superficial. I probably wouldn't know a good guitar riff from a raft, but even I could recognize awesome guitar work in the final sequence of Crossroads.
So, if you like good movies and good acting and great guitar music, please check out Crossroads. If enough of us spread the word, it may no longer be a forgotten classic.
I have read that James Stewart considered Elwood P. Dowd his most personally significant role. In a career that spanned decades and included such great works at It's a Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, choosing Harvey's friend, Elwood, as his personal favorite says something about rather powerful about Mr. Stewart and Mr. Dowd.
James Stewart was a down to earth, decent man whose personal life was as honorable as the lives of George Bailey and Jefferson Smith - but he admired Elwood P. Dowd, an alcoholic dreamer with an invisible giant white rabbit as his best friend. Not what you would expect of a man who piloted B-17's and led giant raids over Germany in WWII.
Elwood's attraction for us is perhaps what attracted him so much to James Stewart. Elwood is happy with himself and his life and even more importantly, he makes others happy with their lives. That is the great magic of Elwood and Harvey: they make others happy and they bring peace and a measure of contentment to almost everyone who know them.
I have seen another version of Harvey with Art Carney and it was quite good, but lacked the sense of magic that is a benediction in this version of Harvey. In the Carney version, you can see Harvey - he is a giant white rabbit - and seeing Harvey takes much of the magic away. When you watch Jimmy Stewart, you never really know if Harvey is real or not. You know that Elwood thinks he is real and you know that Elwood's family thinks Elwood is crazy. After watching for a while, you don't really care if Harvey is real. Elwood is real and it is his belief in Harvey and what Harvey represents to him that endows him with such sweet and gentle charm. Harvey is his rejection of the harshness and materialism of the world.
Harvey is a charming, magical masterpiece of kindness and goodness that somehow never becomes maudlin. Elwood and Harvey do not feel sorry for themselves and they most certainly do not expect you to feel sorry for them either. If anything, Elwood feels sorry for the rest of the world and he does not understand how everyone can't see as clearly as he does. For in his world, we are all brothers who should love as generously and kindly as Mr. Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd.
The Final Countdown (1980)
Favorite Time Travel Movie
I like time travel movies in general and The Final Countdown in particular. I first saw it at the theater when it came out and I have seen it many times since then. It's always as good as the first time.
It is, of course, the tale of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz that goes through a strange storm and emerges on Dec. 6, 1941 a few hundred miles off Hawaii. A modern nuclear aircraft carrier carries as much fire power as the whole Pacific fleet did in 1941. The potential for ending WWII in the Pacific before it even really began was not lost on Kirk Douglas, the captain, and the other men on the Nimitz.
Their ethical and time paradox dilemmas and their meeting with some very startled inhabitants of the 1941 world makes the best time travel movie I have ever seen. But it was also a positive military movie at a time when Vietnam agonizingly fresh in the American mind. It is a tribute to the honor and integrity and professionalism of the men of the United States Navy. As a lover of science fiction it was enjoyable, but as an American still hurting from Vietnam, it was a small step in a healing process that may never end.