Classic of the Week: The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

The Cat from Outer Space is a 1978 American science fiction comedy film directed by Norman Tokar and stars Ken Berry, Sandy Duncan, Harry Morgan, Ronnie Schell and Roddy McDowell.

An unidentified flying object makes an emergency landing on earth and is taken into custody by the U.S. government. The inhabitant of the UFO turns out to be a strange cat like alien named Zunar-J-5/9 Dori -4-7. Since the Mother Ship cannot send a rescue party before it leaves the solar system, the cat goes about investigating how to repair the ship himself. The cat’s collar amplifies telekinetic and telepathic abilities.

Being a Disney film, this one is stranger than most of their films before this one. It’s storyline is weird and if it didn’t have comedy mixed with science fiction, it wouldn’t as family friendly and probably rather scary. There are a few things that might give younger viewers a fright, like the space ship and some of the special effects. But overall, it is very “G” rated, since there is no violence or inappropriate language, only mild words.

At times this film seems a bit a silly, other times, it’s quite entertaining and only a tad bit funny. Parts are a little slow, which might not hold a younger child’s attention. Not all children will like this movie, like other Disney live action films, some older ones might though. For a sci-fi comedy, this isn’t as action packed as one might expect. For a family film, it’s a bit long too.

The acting isn’t just terrible, but some of the special effects are. This isn’t Disney’s best live action film, but it’s definitely not their worst either. It has its clever moments and rather dumb moments, but some kid’s movies are like that. Any older child that loves science or science fiction and animals will most likely enjoy this one. Younger children and adults might get bored with parts.

As a youngster, I loved this movie and I remember begging my parents for a cat. This may be not be a wonderful movie, but it’s not Mystery Science Theater 3000 awful, it’s only good, not great. Being a Disney film, one would expect for greatness, but this one is far from that. The majority of this movie takes place at night, so it’s dark and children afraid of the dark, may not like that. I too, wish it had more light. Is scary? Not really. Is it exciting? Somewhat. This is a love it or hate it film. 7+ 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

When Harry Met Sally… is a 1989 romantic comedy film written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Meg Ryan as Sally’s and Billy Crystal as Harry. The film follows the story of the title characters from the time they meet just before driving across the country and through twelve years of chance encounters in New York City.

This is a romantic comedy that isn’t cheesy or predictable. It has laugh out loud moments, as well as heartbreaking and heart warming times too. The main characters’ relationship is off and on, until they realize they were meant to be together. They fight and share laughs throughout. In the beginning, they can’t stand each other, then they warm up to each other and fall in and out of love, until the end, when can’t imagine life apart.

This is a clever film, unlike any other rom-com in history. You laugh, you get angry and you cry. You root for them to find true love. Both characters have become so iconic since this film came out. With some of the most iconic scenes in film history, like Sally’s delicatessen orgasm and the karaoke scene. They are both hilarious and priceless. Only Ryan and Crystal could have pulled off these characters so perfectly. They are goofy, yet have sweet sides as well.

This is the perfect date night movie, or if just need a good laugh, cry, or both. Not many romantic comedies today, come close to the greatness of this one. It is special in every way. Harry Connick Jr. singing popular classic jazz songs, is ideal for the storyline and mood.

This film will break your heart, then put it back together. It tugs on your heartstrings and pulls out every emotion. It is never dull, slow, or unoriginal. It is a movie that just gets better with age. It’s wonderful from beginning to end and makes you believe in true love and that sometimes, they were there all along. Don’t think this is a typical rom-com or chick flick, because it’s not, it is so much more. A delightful, fun and heartwarming movie. 18+ 5/5

Classic of the Week: Teacher’s Pet (1958)

Teacher’s Pet is a 1958 American romantic comedy film directed George Seaton, starring Clark Gable, Doris Day, Gig Young and Mamie Van Doren.

The film follows the story of night school instructor Erica Stone (Doris Day), who asks journalist James Gannon (Clark Gable) to speak in her class, but he turns her down via a mean letter to her. His managing editor, however forces him to go. He arrives late and finds Stone reading his letter to the class. Humiliated, he decides to join the class as a student. He poses as a wallpaper salesman named Jim Gallagher. He starts falling in love with her and eventually she falls for him too, making it hard for him to keep his alias.

This a fun, funny, cute, romantic and charming film. It is lighthearted at times, but also filled with mischief. Doris and Gable are a great pairing. Throughout the film they outsmart and bicker with each other. Although he was much older than her in the movie and in real life, Gable was still able to put on the charm. Doris put sass and back talking into her character, making it one of her most iconic roles.

The two main characters do fight a lot, but they eventually stop when they start falling in love, making this film or even enjoyable. Some parts are slow, others seem to have a bit too much bantering. It does take place almost entirely in the school, which, does get old. This romantic comedy isn’t super cheesy like most, it has its good and not so good.

Gig Young does a good job as psychologist Dr. Hugo Pine and Mamie Van Doren is equally good as nightclub singer and Gannon’s girlfriend Peggy DeFore. Although both characters are hardly shown throughout the movie.

This film is laugh out loud funny at times, but it is also clever in plot and sweet at times as well. Yes, there could have been less arguing and more scenes outside the school, but it is still a great film that will never cease to brighten your mood. It’s overall a very charming and fun film, though not quite as good as Doris’ “Pillow Talk.” But how can such a witty film go wrong with Doris singing theme song? Just makes it even cuter. 11+ 4/5

Little Women (2019)

Little Women is a 2019 American coming of age period drama film directed by Greta Gerwig. It is the eighth film adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott. The film star should Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothee Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel an don’t Meryl Streep. The film follows the March sisters in 1860s New England, in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Although this story has been done to death on the big screen, on TV and on stage, this is definitely one of, if not, the best productions. No, we didn’t need another’s version of Little Women, just like another Les Miserables, but this one is a close tie to the 1994 film version, as far as being the best. Saoirse Ronan is outstanding as Jo March, Emma Watson is too as Meg March, Florence Pugh is great as Amy March and Eliza Scanlen is equally great as Beth March. Laura Dern is fantastic as their mother Marmee March.

Timothee Chalamet is great a small Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, making the character so believable and realistic, you love him at first, then hate him, then forgive the character and love him again. Meryl Streep does a fine job as Aunt March, as does Tracy Letts as Mr. Dashwood. Chris Cooper does really well as Mr. Laurence, Laurie’s father. Louis Garrel does a good, not great job as Friedrich Bhaer, the German professor Jo meets while living in New York. James Norton does pretty good as John Brooke, Laurie’s tutor, who falls in love with and eventually marries Meg. Bob Odenkirk, who plays Mr. March, the girls’ father, does good, not great, but that is probably because his character is minor, because he is fighting in the war.

This film is filled with romance, struggle, friendship, family, fighting, winning and losing and even death. It shows how life was for lower middle class, upper class and dirt poor families during the Civil War. The costumes and scenery are spot on. Some of the actor’s accents aren’t perfect and with a couple of stars in particular, an almost British voice comes out. The music is beautiful, so is the majority of the backgrounds. Parts of this film are a bit slow, others a bit rushed. A few of the dancing scenes could have been longer, but that might have made the film even longer.

The casting for this movie was nearly perfect. The cinematography was fabulous. No, we didn’t need another Little Women, but we got one anyway. This one is definitely a contender for best version on the story. Louisa May Alcott would have been proud of this movie. Is this one outstanding? Not exactly, but it’s not awful either. It is really good, but nothing more. But with seven other film adaptations to compare this one to, you’d have to watch them all to really say this is the best film version. But out of the ones I’ve seen, this is one of the better ones. Greta Gerwig knew what she was doing as director. She made a very lovely film that can warm and break your heart every time you watch it. Perfect for teenage girls and women. 11+ 4/5

Classic of the Week: Bell, Book and Candle (1958)

Bell, Book and Candle is a 1958 American Technicolor romantic comedy film directed by Richard Quine, based on the successful Broadway play by John Van Druten. It stars Kim Novak as a witch that casts a spell on her neighbor, played by James Stewart. It also features Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold and Elsa Lanchester.

The film is set in the late 1950’s in Greenwich Village during the Christmas holiday season and follows Gillian Holroyd, a free spirited witch who likes going barefoot and is bored and depressed with her life. She starts to admire her new neighbor, publisher Shep Henderson, who lives above her rare African art store and ground floor apartment. She likes him, but hates his fiancé, so she casts a spell on him to make him fall in love with her instead, but the two end up falling in love for real.

This is a clever, funny and romantic film. It is slow at times, making those scenes a tad boring, but at other times, scenes seem a bit rushed. Kim Novak is fantastic as Gillian and James Stewart is good, not great as Shep Henderson, a role that he should have been outstanding in. Jack Lemmon is good as Gillian’s bongo playing brother, Nicky Holroyd. Elsa Lanchester is great as Aunt Queenie Holroyd and Hermione Gingold is also great as Bianca De Pass. This film is filled magic, mischief, music and romance. It isn’t outstanding, but it isn’t terrible either, it is only good, nothing more.

Love stories with magic have been done before and there are some that are far better, like, I Married a Witch. Kim Novak and her character are the best thing about this film, which is sad, because James Stewart is one of the greatest actors of all time, but he didn’t do so well in this one. It was like he lost his greatness in this one. But Novak was made for her role.

I really want to like this film more, but every time I try to watch it, I find it only good, but nothing real exciting, nothing special. I Married a Witch and the TV show Bewitched are far better. Maybe if there had been more action, less slow scenes, more comedy and less cheesy romance, it might have been better. Film critics and commentators have said and still say this is a wonderful movie, but I beg to differ. I was bored at times and only found portions of this motion picture entertaining. Maybe on stage it’s better. But for me, this was an overall unsatisfactory film. 11+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a 1961 American romantic comedy film directed by Blake Edwards, loosel based on the 1958 Truman Capote novella of the same name. The film stars Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal and Mickey Rooney.

The film follows Holly Golightly, a socialite and lady of the night with a love for expensive things, men and lavish parties and Paul Varjak, a writer that moves into Holly’s apartment building, who has a rich interior decorator, Mrs. Emily Eustace, who he occasionally sleeps with for extra money. Holly and Paul eventually fall in love.

Although author Truman Capote stated numerous times that Holly wasn’t exactly a call girl and Hollywood tried hard not to make her a flat out lady of the PM, that is essentially what she is. She visits a man named Sally Tomato, a mobster in jail, to give him the “weather report.” Also in the beginning of the film, after the famous scene of her eating her danish in front of the Tiffany jewelry store, she is seen fighting off the man from the night before. She also throws a party with a man she calls, “the ninth richest man in America under 50,” who she later says she’s going to marry because of his money.

Paul is a bit oblivious to Holly’s lifestyle at first, but does eventually learns about it and tries to help her, but she refuses it at first, but eventually realizes she needs help after all. Paul over time, becomes smitten with Holly and tries to woo her, but she rejects him. He confesses his love for her and she eventually does the same towards him, by kissing him in the rain.

This is a romantic comedy that is different from others, because it isn’t cheesy, boring, or predictable, it is harsh at times, sad at times, sweet and heartwarming at other moments too. Holly Golightly is Audrey Hepburn’s most famous character and it is such an iconic character that has been reproduced on stage, television, magazines, costumes and more. But no one comes close to being as spectacular as Audrey as Holly. Many people don’t realize that Holly is essentially a lady of pleasure, which is totally inappropriate when dressing a little girl up as her, which is sadly done far too often. Still Golightly is one of the greatest film characters of all time.

George Peppard is fantastic as Paul Varjak which is a huge nose thumb to the director who begged the producers not to cast him. Both Steve McQueen and Tony Curtis, although equally attractive most likely couldn’t have portrayed the rom-com role even as greatly as Peppard, even though they were great actors, they were not in romantic roles as much. George had the handsome, bright eyed, sharp as a tack dresser, look down flat in this film. He had the New York accent, that wasn’t over the top. She was cute, mischievous, sexy, yet elegant and beautiful. She mad the little black dress and kitten heels famous.

Patricia Neal is great as Mrs. Emily Eustace, Paul’s decorator who he sometimes sleeps with. She eventually finishes her work for him and he tells her they can’t see each other anymore because he is falling in love. Mickey Rooney does a good job as I. Y. Yunioshi, Holly’s landlord, although his role has always been controversial because he was a white American portaying a Japanese man, that was also dubbed offensive because of the stereotypical way the character is portrayed. Yes, the character should have been recast as an actual Japanese or at last Asian, or changed, even though that would have been different from the book, at least no controversy.

Controversy aside, this is still a wonder film, that anyone should watch at least once in their lives. It has rough scenes and adult themes, but it is done beautifully, making it a film that one will want to watch over and over. You will root for the two to fall in love and they do. An over masterpiece of cinematic history. 13+ 5/5

Greatest Animated Films of All Time

  1. Sleeping Beauty- 1959
  2. Perfect Blue – 1997
  3. The Little Mermaid – 1989
  4. Paprika- 2006
  5. Waking Life – 2001
  6. The Iron Giant – 1999
  7. Despicable Me – 2010
  8. A Monster Calls – 2016
  9. Who Framed Roger Rabbit – 1988
  10. The Little Prince- 2015
  11. Loving Vincent- 2017
  12. Paddington – 2014
  13. The Adventures of Tintin – 2011
  14. Tokyo Godfathers – 2003
  15. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – 1977
  16. Castle in the Sky – 1986
  17. Fantasia – 1940
  18. The Red Turtle – 2016
  19. Finding Nemo – 2003
  20. The Triplets of Belleville- 2003
  21. Only Yesterday – 1991
  22. Ernest & Celestine- 2012
  23. Waltz With Bashir- 2003
  24. Toy Story – 1995
  25. Howl’s Moving Castle -2004
  26. Up- 2009
  27. Mary and Max – 2009
  28. My Neighbor Totoro – 1988
  29. Inside Out – 2015
  30. Paddington 2 – 2017
  31. Persepolis- 2007
  32. The Lion King – 1994
  33. How to Train Your Dragon- 2010
  34. My Life as a Zucchini- 2016
  35. Beauty and the Beast – 1991
  36. Anomalisa- 2015
  37. Fantastic Mr. Fox – 2009
  38. Monsters Inc. – 2001
  39. The Illusionist- 2010
  40. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs- 1937
  41. Despicable Me 2 – 2013
  42. Grave of the Fireflies- 1988
  43. Spirited Away – 2001
  44. The Incredibles – 2004
  45. Wall-E – 2008
  46. The Nightmare Before Christmas- 1993
  47. Princess Mononoke- 1997
  48. Song of the Sea – 2014
  49. Tower – 2016
  50. 101 Dalmatians- 1961
  51. Chicken Run – 2000
  52. Shaun the Sheep the Movie – 2015
  53. Pinocchio – 1940
  54. Toy Story 2 – 1999
  55. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – 2005
  56. Shrek – 2001
  57. Whisper of the Heart- 1995
  58. Toy Story 3- 2010
  59. A Cat in Paris- 2011
  60. The Breadwinner – 2017
  61. Despicable Me 2- 2013
  62. From Up on Poppy Hill- 2011
  63. Tarzan – 1999
  64. Dumbo- 1941
  65. The Wind Rises – 2013
  66. Ghost in the Shell- 1996
  67. Lady and the Tramp -1955
  68. Coraline – 2009
  69. Your Name – 2016
  70. Akira – 1988
  71. Kubo and the Two Strings – 2016
  72. Allegro Non Troppo – 1976
  73. Mary Poppins – 1964
  74. Alice in Wonderland- 1961
  75. The Secret World of Arrietty – 2010
  76. Wrinkles- 2011
  77. Ethel & Ernest – 2016
  78. When the Wind Blows – 1986
  79. Aladdin- 1992
  80. Fantastic Planet – 1973
  81. Millennium Actress- 2001
  82. A Silent Voice – 2016
  83. Kiki’s Delivery Service – 1989
  84. The Tale of Princess Kaguya – 2013
  85. Wolf Children- 2012
  86. Zootopia – 2016
  87. Coco- 2017
  88. A Bug’s Life’s – 1998
  89. The Cat Returns- 2002
  90. Porko Rosso – 1992
  91. April and the Extraordinary World – 2015
  92. The Adventures of Prince Achmed – 1926
  93. It’s Such a Beautiful Day – 2012
  94. Long Way North- 2016
  95. Ponyo- 2009
  96. The Jungle Book – 1967
  97. Yellow Submarine- 1968
  98. Watership Down – 1978
  99. Bambi – 1942
  100. Wallace and Gromit Short Films – 1989-2008

Classic of the Week: Pillow Talk (1959)

Pillow Talk is a 1959 romantic comedy film directed by Michael Gordon and stars Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall, Thelma Ritter and Nick Adams.

The film tells the story of Jan Morrow (Day), an interior decorator and Brad Allen (Hudson), a womanizing bachelor and composer, who share a telephone party line. When she unsuccessfully makes a complaint about him using the line to peruse ladies, Brad decides to take a chance on Jan, by pretending to be a Texas rancher, resulting in the two falling in Love. The trick seems to work until Brad’s Mutual friend and Jan’s client Jonathan Forbes (Randall) finds out about it, causing troubles in the process.

This is a fun and funny film. It is clever too. It has moments that are laugh out loud, moments that make you make you angry and some that warm your heart. It is a rom-com that isn’t too cheesy or cutesy. It has the right amount of humor, shenanigans and romance, that make it a perfect date night watch. You start out not liking either main character, but then grow to love them as the film goes on.

Both Day and Hudson are absolutely perfect in their roles. Not many romantic comedies todays are as great as this one, because they are usually predictable, too cheesy, unoriginal and often cutesy. Although Doris Day was mostly in rom-coms, this one is by far her best. This is a film that no remake or stage production would come even close to the greatness of this one. It is special in every way, from the stars and the acting, to the story, to the set. It’s plot is unique and is nothing like any other romantic comedy film I have ever seen. It’s quirkinesses mixed with humor and mischief make it a movie that can be watched over and over again without getting old, a true masterpiece.

Doris Day and Rock Hudson are two iconic stars and this pairing of them, couldn’t have been more perfect. A wonderful movie from beginning to end. 10+ 5/5

Where’d You Go, Bernadette (2019)

Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a 2019 American mystery drama film directed by Richard Linklater, based on the novel of the same name by Maria Semple. It stars Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Emma Nelson, Judy Greer and Laurence Fishburne.

The film follows Bernadette, a retired architect, wife and mother who hates people, hates leaving her house and most of all, she hates the other parents at her daughter Bee’s school. The family decides to take a cruise to Antarctica, but Bernadette goes missing after first causing damage to their neighbor’s house, running over another mother’s foot at school and giving her and her husband’s personal information to a fake virtual assistant.

This film deals with illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder, insomnia and narcissism. It shows how other people who knows someone with these illnesses, deal with it. It also shows how a person with mental illness can get help and how important family and friends are. It proves that people still love regardless of your issues.

Cate Blanchett is absolutely perfect in the role of Bernadette Fox, so is Billy Crudup as her husband Elgin Branch. Emma Nelson does a good, not great job as Bee Branch. Kristen Wiig does great as Audrey Griffin and Judy Greer does equally great as Dr. Kurtz. Laurence Fishburne does fine as Paul Jellinek.

Overall, this film is entertaining, eye opening for its portrayal of mental illness and at times, is heartwarming. It proves how important help is for mental health problems and how to look outside yourself and how to put yourself in other’s shoes and how to get to know someone before you start trusting them.

This is a very well done film, but at times, is a bit slow and a bit rushed. But the things it teaches, are for important, because mental health issues, often get overlooked in films, books and in the real world. Not many know how to edeal or cope with it and this film is a perfect example of that. Despite being a mostly sad film, it does have some happy scenes, proving that it does have heart. It also proves that when you love someone, you love them despite their flaws and help them when they need it. Not the best film I’ve seen lately, but definitely not the worst, but pretty far from outstanding. 13+ 3/5

Classic of the Week: Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film directed by Nicholas Ray. It stars James Dean, Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Dennis Hopper. The story is is about suburban middle class rebellious teenagers.

This film was groundbreaking in its attempt to portray the social decline of American youth, analyze parenting styles and explore the troubles and differences of generations.

This film is definitely one of, if not the best teen drama films of all time. It portrays rebellious teens and strict parents in the 1950s outstandingly. It shows how life was in for these kind of people back then. The kids wanted to do things their way, as did the adults and they clashed. The kids felt they were misunderstood by grownups, who just wanted to them to straighten up and follow the rules, do as their told to. The teens did as they pleased, which got them into trouble. Jim Stark (Dean) was a newcomer and just minding his own business, when Buzz (Corey Allen), Goon (Dennis Hopper) and their gang came along and started picking on him, first with insults, then slashing his tires, then beating him up. Jim befriends John “Plato” Crawford (Mineo), first meeting on a field trip to the planetarium, then standing up for him after the gang starts bullying him.

Jim falls for Judy (Wood), the moment he sees her, but she is part of Buzz’s gang. Eventually, she turns her back on them and starts falling for Jim herself. The two of them, along with Plato, try to hide from the gang, but are eventually found, so Jim and Plato try to fight them, but this gets them all arrested. Jim says to the police that the gang was after them and were going to hurt them, so he was defending them, so he set free, along with Plato.

This film is filled with car chases, bullying, violence, disobedience and vandalism. Most of it takes place outside at night. The acting is superb from all the main stars. This is an iconic film for Dean, because it’s the film that comes to mind when most people think of him with his equally iconic outfit, red jacket, white t-shirt and jeans, an ensemble that has been recreated since the film’s release and will be recreated for decades to come.

Not many teen dramas come close to the greatness of this one. So much of the time you get the same typical story where the good looking popular character falls for the outcast in the end. This one is unique in every way, that no remake would be nearly as good, nor should there ever be one, that is how special it is.

This isn’t a humorous film at all, it is an action packed teen drama with a little romance. The story is simple, but the entire production is outstanding. It takes place in a day or so and the movie is two hours long, but feels like two days. Never once is it boring, it is intense to the very end. This is one that will never cease to amaze you with how a simple plot can make for a masterpiece. 13+ 5/5