A Man Called Otto (2022)

A Man Called Otto is a 2022 comedy-drama film directed by Marc Foster from a screenplay by David Magee. It is the second film adaptation of the 2012 novel A Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, and an American remake of the 2015 Swedish film of the same name written and directed by Hannes Holm. The film stars Tom Hanks, Marinana Trevino, Rachel Keller, and Manuel Garcia-Ruflo. 

Otto Anderson, a 63 year old widowe, lives in Suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After retiring from a steel company, he plans suicide, having lost his wife Sonya, a schoolteacher, six months before. 

During a suicide attempt by hanging, he is interrutedby his new neighbors: Marisol, Tommy, and their two daughters, Abby and Luna. Ottos has flashbacks to his past: years before, he tried to enlist in the army, but was unable to having hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. he meets Sonya on a train after giving her back a book she had dropped. 

Otto attempts suicide again, this time via carbon monoxide poisoning. He has another flashback of him having dinner with Sonya, telling her that he is not enlisted in the army due to his heart condition and doesn’t have a job, making Sonya kiss him. Marisol interrupts Otto’s suicide attempt, asking him to her and the kids to the hospital after Tommy falls off a ladder and breaks his leg. 

Otto has a flashback to his graduation with an engineering degree, when he asks Sonya to marry him. During a suicide attempt by train, an old man faints and falls on the railroad tracks. Otto saves the man and the good deed becomes a viral video. Otto then takes in a stray cat, which he had found to be a nuisance. Otto takes Marisol for a driving lesson and they go to Sonya’s favorite bakery, which the couple had gone to every weekend. There. he tells her about his friendship with a guy named Reuben, the two having worked together to set up rules, with Otto as chairman of the neighborhood association. The two grow apart after Reuben’s preference for Fords and Toyotas over Otto’s Chevrolets and the “coup” of replacing Otto as chairman. Reuben, who suffered a stroke, is now confined to a wheelchair and is cared for by his wife Anita and neighbor Jimmy. 

After dodging a social media Journalist named Shari Kenzie who is trying to interview Otto for his brave act in the viral video, he gets mad at both Marisol and a Dye & Merika real estate agent, not wanting to accept Sonya’s death. He tries to kill himself with a shotgun, but is interrupted by Malcolm, a local transgender teen Otto has befriended, who asks to spend the night after his father kicks him out. 

Ottos learns that Dye & Merika is planning to force Reuben into a nursing home and take their house, after illegally finding out that Anita has Parkinson’s disease. Otto agrees to help Anita and Reuben. After having a heating fight with Dye & Merika, Otto was voted out of chairmanship after the neighborhood is not accessible to Sonya after a tragic accident leaves her paralyzed and she has a miscarriage. Otto and other neighbors come together with Shari Kenzie to take down Dye & Merika to force them to not buy over the neighborhood. 

The character of Otto at times resembles Larry David’s character in “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Otto starts out like Ebeneezer Scrooge, very grumpy, never happy. Eventually, his neighbors turn him back into the fun, funny, caring man he used to be when his Sonya was still alive. They show him how to live again. He starts out so bitter and cheap, he has his electric, phone, and cable turned off. He doesn’t own a cellphone or a fancy car. He is very unhappy, as he is lonely, retired, has no friends, or close family, and nothing excites him anymore without his wife. He tries several times to kill himself but he thankfully gets interrupted every time. His neighbors and new friends show him that suicide is not the answer.

This film is pretty slow for a good portion of its runtime. Parts are laugh out loud funny, there are also heartwarming and cute scenes. There are also some very tragic moments as well. Tom Hanks is great as Otto Anderson, but that doesn’t make this movie any better. It is good at best. The Swedish version, A Man Called Ove is better, but still not great either. Both are of a man who loses the love of his life and becomes big grump, a constant eye roll, middle finger to anything that bothers them or that is remotely positive. Both men learn there is more to life and they also learn how accept the death of a loved on and move on. 

This film will likely not be winning any awards, except maybe Hanks. Scrooge type characters have been done to death. The story of a once bitter person becoming kind hearted again, that too has been done too many times. Yes, the Swedish version is better and the book is good, but overall the entire story is far too similar to many others. The sad, sad, happy, sad pattern is not original either. Had this story had something more intense than a real estate company trying to take over a neighborhood, it maight have been more enjoyable. Overall, I found myself rather bored and depressed for most of this movie. There were times I found myself laughing and smiling and some parts really warmed my heart, but those parts are so few. 

I’m glad Otto became a better man again, but his Grinch-like attitude was dragged out for too long. I wanted to like this movie, but I found it rather boring and unoriginal. Another crankypants, get of my lawn character, though well acted, was just wasted talent. This film is just a stretched out waste of time with a pretty bow tied around it for the most part, until the tragedy comes. Sweet and sad story, but not an entertaining movie much at all. 3/5 13+ 

Classic of the Week: Holiday Inn (1942)

Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, with Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Davis, and Walter Abel. It was directed by Mark Sandrich with music by Irving Berlin. Berlin wrote twelve songs especially for the film, the best known one being “White Christmas.” The film hallmarks a reuse of the song “Easter Parade”, written by Berlin for the 1933 Broadway revue As Thousands Cheer and used as a title track for the 1948 film Easter Parade starring Astaire and Judy Garland. Holiday Inn‘s choreography was by Danny Dare. 

Him Hardy, Ted Hanover, and Lila Dixon have a popular New York City song and dance ac. On Christmas Eve Jim prepares for his last performance before retiring to be husband to Lila and life on a farm in Connecticut. Lila tells jim she has fallne in love with the infamous smooth talker Ted instead; heartbroken, Jim tells them goodbye. 

He tries to take a shot at working on the farm but ends up in a santitarium instead. The following Christmas Eve Jim is back in New York City with plans to turn his farm into “Holiday Inn,” an entertainment venue open only on holidays, to the interest of Ted and his agent Danny Reed. In a flower shop Danny is coaxed by sales girl and aspiring performer Linda Mason; he directs her to Holiday Inn and Ted’s club. Later that night Linda and Jim accidentally meet at a performance by Ted and Lila. Jim pretends to own a rival club. while Linda poses as a celebrity friend of Ted’s, only to leave when Ted and Lila near. 

On New Year’s Eve Holiday Inn opens to a packed house. Back in New York City Ted learns that Lila is leaving him for a Texas millionaire. Drinkig heavily, he arrives at Holiday Inn at midnight and bumps into Linda. They dance and, and the drunk dancer and innocent young woman recieve lots of applause from the audience who believe it was all a rehearsed act. Danny arrives and and is overjoyed that Ted has found a new partner, but in the morning Ted doesn’t remember Linda. Jim hides her, scared Ted will steal her away. 

On Lincoln’s birthday Ted and Danny look for Linda, but Jim convinces Linda to play the minstrel show number “Abraham” in blackface together to fool them. While applying makeup Jim asks her to stay with him between holidays, which she comprehends as a propsal. He declares it, but explains that only when he can afford to. Leaving empty-handed, Ted and Danny plan to return. 

Rehearsing for Valentine’s Day, Jim presents Linda with a new song, “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.” Ted arrives and goes into an unchoreographed dance with Linda. Recognizing her from New Year’s Eve, he demands that Jim prepare a number for them to perform in the next show. 

At Easter romance grows between Jim and Linda. They are met by Ted, who asks to remain in Jim’s shows to experience “the true happiness” they found. Linda is charmed, but Jim is suspicious. 

Thanksgiving finds the Inn closed and Jim filled with self-pity. As he prepares to mail off his new song his housekeeper Mamie coaxes him to fight to win Linda back. 

Bing Crosby’s singing, Fred Astaire’s footwork, Marjorie Reynolds’ and Virginia Dale’s dancing, and Irving Berlin’s songs, are the only thing great about this movie. You’d think with a great story, great soundtrack, and choreography, this has to be a fantastic movie, but it’s barely that. Entertaining yes, but it just jumps from one holiday song and dance number to the next with very little story in between. You do learn about Jim working on the farm and him turning the farm into the inn, and how both Jim and Ted are in love with the same ladies, but hardly anything else. You don’t see much rehearsing of the performances, which to me, would have made the story far more interesting. 

There is racism in the “Abraham” number where blackface is used, which is offensive nowadays and many television channels choose to omit the scene, but most DVD versions still have it. Yes, the scene should have never happened, but it did and times were different then, so you have to either watch it on regular TV, skip through it, or suck it up and watch it, which is really hard to do. 

The acting is really good, but not fantastic,  but the singing and dancing overshadows that. It does have the typical 1940’s romantic musical tone, so the storyline doesn’t feel very original. The part of the story of two guys trying to woo the same women, has been done to death, even before this movie came out. 

There are some great scenes like the “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” sequence where Ted and Linda dance to Jim’s song and at the end of the routine, they jump through at big paper heart prop. Also the Independance Day scene where Ted dances with firecrackers is fabulous. 

The movie treats every holiday that shown as just musical theater productions, though some of the numbers go into the history or what they think is the history of the holiday, they don’t celebrate the holidays they way they are meant to be like having a Thanksgiving meal with family friends, opening presents with family and friends on Christmas Day, going to church on Easter Sunday, etc., which conservative Christians may find blasphemous. 

There is lots of drinking and smoking throughout and several instances where a character is drunk. Despite the racism, blasphemy, and heavy uses of booze and tobacco, it is still a really entertaining movie. Though this is considered a Christmas film, it covers most of the major holidays celebrated in America, though not Hanukkah for some reason, so I don’t call this an Xmas movie, but more of a motion picture honoring many holidays. 12+ 3.5/5 

Classic of the Week: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. It stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a temperamental marketing executive, and John Candy as Del Griffith, a kindhearted, but irritating salesman. In spite of their differences, they share three days of adventures and mishaps trying to get Neal home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving Day dinner with his family. 

Neal is advertising executive on a business trip in New York City, anxious to get back home to his family in Chicago before Thanksgiving, which is in two days’ time. After a late-running buisness meeting with a hesitant client, Neal struggles to hail a cab during rush hour. As he bribes a man to let him have a cab he has hailed, it is unintentionally taken by a third man. Neal arrives at JFK Airport just as his flight is delayed. While waiting, he meets the man who “stole” the cab, Del Griffith, a talkative man who sells shower curtain rings. To his annoyance and Del’s delight, Neal is then assigned a seat next to Del on the crowded flight to O’Hare. 

Due to a blizzard in Chicago, their plane is diverted to Witchita, where they must stay overnigt. Neal is unable to book a room, but Del has successfully reserved one. Neal hesitantly accepts Del’s promise of a room if Neal pays for their cab ride to the motel. During check-in, Del mistakenly takes Neal’s credit card. Neal loses his temper over Del’s aggravating behavior and criticizes him. Del is hurt by Neal’s insults, but they calm down and awkwardly share the only bed. As they sleep, their cash is stolen by a robber. 

The next day, with their plane trip still delayed, Neal buys them both train tickets to Chicago, but with seats in seperate cars. However, the train breaks down near Jefferson City, leaving it’s passgengers stranded. Neal feels sorry for Del struggling with his trunk, and they reunite, The ride on a crowded bus to St. Louis, where Del raises cash by selling curtain ring samples to passers-by. Neal offends Del at lunch snd the two part ways again. 

At the St. Louis airport, Neal atempts to rent a car, but it is not there when he gets back to the lot. After a long and treacherous walk back to the terminal, Neal vents his anger in a profane rage at the rental agent, but all for nothing. He tries to book a taxi to Chicago, but impatiently criticizes the dispatcher, who punches him.By chance, Del arrives with his own rental car, and takes tired Neal with him. Many catastrophes happen to them and the rental car before they get to Chicago. 

This film is equal parts laugh out loud funny and heartwarming. All the disasters the two go through are hilarious, but at the same time, you feel sorry for them and their bad luck. Martin and Candy are perfectly cast and do such a great job as the uptight career man and the easy going simple guy. Neal is definitely smarter than Del, but they end up realizing that smarts and money, are really not important when it comes to family and friendship. This is not your typical John Huges film, there is are no teenagers, no romance, just two funny men for 90 percent of the runtime. This is the actors in two of their very best roles. No other actors could play these characters better than them. 

With such a simple plotline, you’d think this movie wouldn’t be very good, but it is outstanding. It is very entertaining and wildly funny. Some will see this film as just plain silly, and yes it is a bit silly, but not over the top. The two men, who are complete opposites, learn how to deal with each other, how to get along, and they eventually become friends, despite all they went through in just three days. I believe the worst thing about this movie is the awful musical score by the band King Crimson, it just didn’t fit at all. Huey Lewis & the News or Bryan Adams might have been a better choice, but that’s just my oppinion. 

Martin and Candy aren’t the best actors, but they are two of the funniest people of all time. They can take such simple stories, and even if the film isn’t that great, they make it enjoyable. Planes probably would have turned out terrible without them. The two characters clash, but in such a way that makes this movie different than most comedies. it has hilarity and heart among the disasters of most of the runtime. You learn that sometimes you have to go through chaos in life and that it’s good to have someone to help you out along the way. This is one of, if not the best Thanksgiving and fall film(s) ever. 18+ 4.5/5 

Ticket to Paradise (2022)

Ticket to Paradise is a 2022 romantic comedy film directed by Ol Parker. The film stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts as a divorced couple who choose to destroy their daughter’s (Kaitlyn Dever) wedding. Billie Lourd, Maxime Bouttier, and Lucas Bravo also star. 

Two divorced parents, David and Georgia Cotton, travel to Bali after learning that their daughter, Lily, is planning to a man who is named Gede, whom she just met. They choose to work together to destroy the wedding to stop Lily from making the same mistake they made twenty-five years ago. 

This is definitely a chick-flick with all the cheesiness they ususally come with. Parts of this movie are laugh out funny, but most of the time, it is overly cheesy, awakward and predictable. You’d think with two award winning stars, this film would be really good, but it just wasn’t and makes me wonder if this is the kind of work they will being from now on. This one is really a disappointment. The story has been done to death. The best thing about this movie is the Bali scenery, the beautiful clothes, the few laugh out loud moments, and the romance. 

Roberts and Clooney who are normally fantastic actors, should be ashamed theat they chose to be in this film. I mean I’m sure they had a blast filming it, but with the unoriginal plot and basic rom-com humor, it seems like their award winning is behind them. Julia Roberts, who normally wows in her acting, was almost as bad as Kaitlyn Dever. George Clooney performed the best and was far funnier than any of the other actors and actresses. 

I found myself slightly bored at times and other times, rolling my eyes at the cheesy scenes. Being a hopeless romantic, I was hoping for a lot more romance and the most lovey-dovey parts, came towards and at the end. Even watching this movie with a lover, wouldn’t have made it more entertaining, it was cute at best. 

Kaitlyn Dever’s (Lily) and Maxime Bouttier’s (Gede) characters were underwritten, which makes no sense, as the film is suppose to about them as well and instead it focused on Clooney’s and Robert’s characters more. It should have been written to focus equally on all four. Also, Wren (Billie Lourd), Lily’s best friend is ignored by her for the majority of the film and that’s unfair, especially after Wren goes back to the U.S. 

Paul (Lucas Bravo) is a short-lived character in the movie. He is a much younger airplane pilot, from France, who is dating Georgia for most of the runtime. Bravo is not a very good actor and his character is sweet, but mostly he is just eye candy. The banter between David and Georgia is rather hilarious, so that does make the movie a little more engaging. 

Wren, who like Lily, were just looking for a vacation after graduating college. Neither expected to find love and the moment Lily did, it was like Wren wasn’t there anymore and you end up feeling sorry for her who spends the majority of her vaction drinking and flirting, but never hooks up. Lily is a bad friend. The only good thing about Lily is she’s cute and smart, because her personality is blah. 

This movie isn’t exactly terrible, it’s cute and funny at times, but mostly just another lackluster romantic comedy, whith nothing new to give. The location and handsome men are pretty much the best thing about this one.  13+ 2/5

Classic of the Week: Duck Soup (1933)

Duck Soup is a 1933 American pre-Code black comedy film directed by Leo McCarey. It stars the Marx Brothers: Goucho, Chico, Harpo and Zeppo in final Marx Brothers’ movie. It also features Margaret Dumont, Louis Calhern, Raquel Torres, and Edgar Kennedy. Groucho plays the newlt elected president of the mythical country of Freedonia. Zeppo is his secretary, while Harpo and Chico are Sylvanian spies. Realtions between Groucho and the Sylvanian ambassador disintegrate and they go to war. 

The wealthy Mrs. Teasdale insists that Rufus T. Firefly be appointed leader of the small, financially struggling country of Freedonia before she will continue to provide financial aid. Meanwhile, the neighboring country of Sylvania is plotting to append Freedonia. Sylvanian ambassador Trentino tries to bring about a revolution and court Mrs. Teasdale as he tries to dig up dirt on Firefly by sending in spies Chicolini and Pinky. 

After failing to collect any useful information against Firefly, Chicolini and Pinky are able to pervade the government when Chicolini is appointed Secretary of War after Firefly notices him selling peanuts outside his window. A little while later, Firefly’s secretary, Bob Roland, tells Firefly he suspects Trentino’s incentives and advises him to get rid of the touchy Tretino by insulting him. Firefly agrees and to the plan, but after a series of personal insults exchanged between Firefly and Trentino, the plan backfires when Firefly hits him. As a result, the countries go to war. Adding to international strife is the fact that Firefly is also pursuing Mrs. Teasdale, and, like Trentino, hoping to get his hands on her late husband’s fortune. 

Trentino learns from the very attractive spy Vera Marcal that Freedomia’s plans of war in Mrs. Teasdale’s safe and he tells her to assist Chicolini and Pinky in stealing them. Chicolini is eventually caught by Firefly and put on trial, during which war is officially declared, and everyone is overcome by war frenzy, breaking into song and dance. Chicolini and Pinky join Firefly and Bob Roland in anarchic battle, resulting in general mayhem. 

This film was not a box office failure, but it recieve lukewarm reception, because it was released during the Great Depression. Audiences were stunned by such absurd polical negligence, foolishness and cynicism at a time of a political and economic crisis. Some didn’t like the comedic Mussolini types in the film and found that offensive. Benito Mussolini  found the film to a personal attack at him and banned it Italy, though the Marx Brothers were delighted about it. Despite the so-so response at the time, Duck Soup is now seen as a classic politcal comedy. Many critics today see it as one of the best war comedies along with Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. The only difference with Duck Soup, is that it doesn’t seem to realize it is nothing more than  innocent drivel. 

This a hilarious political comedy and very smartly written and acted. The brothers make this film laugh out loud funny, though Groucho is the comedic ringleader as he always was in their movies. With the political theme and many of the jokes, this film most likely couldn’t be filmed in the current era. Being this was made before the Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines, it got away with a lot of things it wouldn’t have after it was really enforced. 

This film is filled with political, Jewish, flirty and random humor. The slapstick comedy and Groucho’s puns make it a really entertaining film for the most part, though this one is a tad more serious with the diplomatic theme. Though I don’t think this is the Marx Brothers’ best film, it is still a comedic masterpiece that goes down as one of the greatest films of all time. 

Groucho’s jokes will go over young childrens’ heads, but teens and adults will probably get them, so this one is better suited for older children and above. There is smoking as usual, Grouch and his signiture cigar, and others smoke cigars. There is no sex or nudity, only a woman a bra and man watching her undress. There is slapstick violence, though young kids will not understand it’s fake and for laughs. There is out of date derogatory nicknames for certain types of people used a few times, but no really foul language other than that. 

There is a very racist joke that references a hit 1931 song that satirizes racism and it is unexpected upon first watch, so you have to look out for things like that in this movie, but you also have to realize times were different then. There is sexual innuendo in the opening scene, so it starts out with adult humor, though some may find this a bit much, especially if this is their Marx Brothers movie and don’t realize this is common for the brothers. 

Some scenes are focused on too much like the scene where Chicolini is selling peanuts and tormenting another vender.  Despite the adult innuendos, it is still a great film with great musical numbers and choreography. The film is very pessimistic to the point of preachiness and that might turn viewers off, especially after seeing it many times. The film criticizes arbitrary, brutal policies that created disasters, Prohibition, World War I and The Great Depression. Some may think that this movie is making light of the issues at the time and it is, but it is also showing that it is better to sing, dance, laugh, fall in love and try to get along with your enemies, rather than fight, cause chaos, or make terrible laws that tear people apart. 

Overall, a comedy masterpiece that everyone should see at least once in their life. It has its flaws, just like any movie, but it will not cease to bore you or make you laugh. Its out of date farce can be overlooked if you see the film for what it really is. A genius musical comedy with both grit and hilarity.  10+ 4.5/5

See How They Run (2022)

See How They Run is a 2022 mystery comedy film directed by Tom George. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, Adrien Brody, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Harris Dickinson and David Oyelowo. 

In 1953 London, Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap celebrates its 100th performance, and the sleazy American director Leo Kopernick tries to convince the producer John Woolf to allow him to direct the film adaptation. After Kopernick’s drunken behavior toward’s the female lead Shelia Slim leads to a fight with her husband and co-star Richard Attenborough, Kopernick is killed backstage by an unknown assailant. 

Inspector Stoppard investigates the murder with inexperienced Constable Stalker. Everyone at the theater is declared a suspect and a potential victim, including the play’s producer Petula Spencer and Woolf’s wife Edana Romney. Stoppard tries to close the theater until the murder is solved, but the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Harold Scott, steps in, assigning Stalker to assist in the investigation. 

This film is pretty slow for much of its runtime, but the acting is really good and there are several laugh out loud moments. The plot is clever. There is murder, humor, tragedy and a tiny bit of romance in this movie. Three of the characters break the fourth wall, making the film more humorous, but only making it a little more entertaining. 

Sam Rockwell is outstanding as alcoholic Inspector Soppard, Saoirse Ronan is great as Constable Stalker. Adrien Brody, though his role is cut short is very good as Leo Kopernick. Ruth Wilson is great as well as Petula Spencer. Reece Shearsmith does a fine job as John Woolf. Harris Dickinson is good, not great as Richard Attenborough and David Oyelowo is excellent as Mervyn Cocker-Norris. 

Some may find the storyline of this film offsensive, as it a comedic murder mystery. It has the feel of a typical Agatha Christie story, but with added humor and clever bits. Though the acting is superb, the film lacks in entertainment value. The trailer makes the film look wildly entertaining and funny and it is only a tad engaging and only few times did actually laugh out loud. With a great cast and plotline, I was expecting so much more, instead I found myself very much bored for a good portion of this movie. I love a good murder mystery and comedy, so I thought this was going to be a winner, but I was let down. 

Several of the charaters are fictionalized versions of real people, like Richard Attenborough was a real actor, John Woolf was a real film producer who really did produce The African Queen, and Agatha Christie we all know is was the queen (still is) of murder mystery books. 

Of course this film is filled with violence, as well as adult humor, foul language, drinking and smoking. So this is not a family film. If you’re looking for a an entertaining whodunit, this isn’t it.  Though you’ll get a few gasps and laughs out of it, for the most part, you’ll probably be rather bored. 

The film is mostly slow, but comedic at times, then ends abruptly. The best things about this one are the acting, costumes, scenery and plot. Overall, it is a pretty much an  unhurried, yet comical at times, mediocre movie. If you want a better, funny murder mystery type film, try Clue from 1985 or Arsenic and Old Lace from 1944. I can’t imagine this as a stage production, it would be probably be even more less amusing. 13+ 3/5 

Greatest Summertime Movies of All Time

  1. The Seven Year itch – 1955
  2. Vicky Christina Barcelona – 2008
  3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – 2005
  4. Mamma Mia! – 2008
  5. Stand by Me – 1986
  6. Little Miss Sunshine – 2006
  7. The Notebook – 2004
  8. Crooklyn – 1994
  9. Real Women Have Curves – 2002
  10. Caddyshack – 1980
  11. National Lampoon’s Vacation – 1983
  12. Grease – 1978
  13. The Graduate – 1967
  14. Jaws – 1975
  15. Beaches – 1988
  16. Do the Right Thing – 1989
  17. The River Wild – 1994
  18. The Parent Trap – 1961
  19. The Parent Trap – 1998
  20. The Bridges of Madison County – 1995
  21. Summertime – 1955
  22. Summer Stock – 1950
  23. 500 Days of Summer – 2009
  24. Speed – 1994
  25. Thelma & Louise – 1991
  26. E.T. – 1982
  27. Clueless – 1995
  28. Dirty Dancing – 1987
  29. Point Break – 1991
  30. American Graffiti – 1973
  31. The Goonies – 1985
  32. What About Bob? – 1991
  33. Dazed and Confused – 1993
  34. The Endless Summer – 1966
  35. The Sandlot – 1993
  36. In the Heights – 2021
  37. Palm Springs – 2020
  38. King Richard – 2021
  39. The Talented Mr. Ripley – 1999
  40. Dope – 2015
  41. Lilo & Stitch – 2002
  42. Adventureland – 2009
  43. Sylvie’s Love – 2020
  44. Tomboy – 2011
  45. Moonrise Kingdom – 2012
  46. Everybody Wants Some! – 2016
  47. Luca – 2021
  48. Crazy Rich Asians – 2018
  49. Something’s Gotta Give – 2003
  50. Mystic Pizza – 1988
  51. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar – 2021
  52. The Way Way Back – 2013
  53. Summer of ’42 – 1971
  54. Pauline at the Beach – 1983
  55. Breaking Away – 1979
  56. Moana – 2016
  57. Soul Surfer – 2011
  58. Muppet Treasure Island – 1996
  59. Finding Nemo – 2003
  60. Charlotte’s Web – 1973
  61. Say Anything… – 1989
  62. The Kings of Summer – 2013
  63. Miss Juneteenth – 2020
  64. From Here to Eternity – 1953
  65. Shirkers – 2019
  66. Before Sunrise – 1995
  67. Weekend at Bernie’s – 1989
  68. Monsoon Wedding – 2001
  69. My Summer of Love – 2004
  70. In the Good Old Summertime – 1949
  71. Porgy and Bess – 1959
  72. Beach Rats – 2017
  73. The Florida Project – 2017
  74. Kiss Me Kate – 1953
  75. The Little Mermaid – 1989
  76. Anything Goes – 1956
  77. Damn Yankees – 1958
  78. The Music Man – 1962
  79. Carousel – 1956
  80. An Affair to Remember – 1957
  81. King Creole – 1958
  82. The Long Hot Summer – 1958
  83. Suddenly Last Summer – 1959
  84. A Summer Place – 1959
  85. Gidget – 1959
  86. The Whales of August – 1987
  87. A League of Their Own – 1992
  88. Howard’s End – 1992
  89. Cha Cha Real Smooth – 2022
  90. Dog Day Afternoon – 1975
  91. Roman Holiday – 1953
  92. Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte – 1964
  93. On Golden Pond – 1981
  94. Summer With Monika – 1953
  95. Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday – 1953
  96. Smiles of a Summer Night – 1955
  97. The Talk of the Town – 1942
  98. Early Summer – 1951
  99. Almost Famous – 2000
  100. Summer Interlude – 1951

Classic of the Week: Arthur (1981)

Arthur is a 1981 American romantic comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. It stars Dudley Moore as Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is close to an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling in love with a common working-class girl from queens, played by Liza Minelli. 

Arthur Bach is a spolied alcoholic from New York City, who likes to be chauffeured around in his Rolls Royce Silver Wraith limousine through Central Park. Arthur is heir to a portion of his family’s fortune, but only marries upper class Susan Johnson, the business aquaintance of his father. He does not love Susan, but his family feels that she will finally make him grow up. On a shopping trip with his valet Hobson, he sees a young lady, Linda Marolla, shoplifting a necktie. He negotiates with the security guard on her behalf and later asks her out. Despite his feelings for Linda, Arthur remains burdened by his family to marry Susan. 

While visiting his grandmother, Martha, Arthur shares his feelings for Linda, but is warned that he will be disowned if he doesn’t marry Susan. Hobson, who has been more like a father to Arthur than his real father, realizes that he is starting grow up and secretly invites Linda to Arthur’s engagement party. Hobson tells her that he can sense Arthur’s love for her. Linda crashes the party, held at the estate of Arthur’s father, and she and Arthur get to spend time alone, which is traced by both families. Hobson is later hospitalized and Arthur runs to be by his side. Hobson dies and Arthur, who has been sober, goes on a drinking binge. At the diner where Linda works, Arthur proposes to her. 

This film is equal parts funny, sweet and romantic. Dudley Moore is fantastic as the rich, spoiled Arthur Bach, who eventually learns wealth status is really not important in order to be happy. Liza Minelli, who we are so used to as a musical star, is great as Linda Marolla, the working-class girl that doesn’t need a lavish lifestyle to be content. 

Arthur, although rich, realizes money and expensive things don’t make a person happy, as he is still lonely and has never been married. His family thinks that forcing him to marry a wealthy lady will help him grow up and be happy, but it does the complete opposite after he meets Linda. This movie shows how lavishness does not equal satisfaction,and  that oftentimes, less is more. 

Much of the humor and lines in this movie are cheesy, but not over the top. The plot of this film is very simple, but it is still entertaining and at times, laugh out loud funny and heartwarming. There is a good amount of time spent on Arthur’s booze binge after Hobson’s death, which doe make this movie a lttle less enjoyable, but at the same time, you can understand it. 

Anyone who has never experienced love, or love in a long time can sympathize Arthur, also anyone with deep depression can too. Without the character of Linda Marolla, this would have been a dud a film. She is the breath of fresh air it needed to be really good, because I would have turned this movie off after about 20 or so minutes as it would have been nothing more than a story about a lonely, depressed, spoiled man wanting love. Although this film starts out that way, it does get a lot better when she is introduced. 

Overall, this a good, not great movie. The acting is outstanding and the story is cute, but perhaps this is too simple of a motion picture, not enough action and drama, so it lacks in entertainment value. But it’s still not terrible, just not something I can watch all the time. It is rather slow and little on the cheesy side, but that may just be because of Dudley Moore, who was known for his campy characters and humor, but at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone else in the main role. This is one of the more serious, yet, still humorous roles that Liza has played and she is not campy or annoying like Dudley’s character, although they are perfect together. 

What this film lacks in entertainment, it does make up for in being inspirational, charming and funny. 10+ 3.5/5

Classic of the Week: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Bringing Up Baby is a 1938 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The film tells the story of a paleontologist in numerous quandries involving an absentminded heiress and a leopard named Baby. 

David Huxley (Cary Grant) is a benevolent paleontologist. For the past few years, he has been trying to assemble the skeleton of a Brontosaurus but is missing a bone. Adding to his stress, is his approaching marriage to the morose Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker) and the need to impress Elizabeth Random (Mary Robson), who is considering a million-dollar donation to his museum. 

The day before his wedding, David meets Susan Vance (Katherine Hepburn) by chance on a golf course when she hits his ball. She is a scatterbrained, eccentric young lady. These qualities soon entangle Davis in sever agonizing incidents. 

Susan’s brother Mark has sent her a leopard named Baby from Brazil. Its tameness is helped by the song “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Susan thinks Davis is a zoologists and manipulates David into helping her take baby to her farm in Connecticut. Troubles arise when Susan falls in love with him and tries to keep him at her house as long as possible. 

David’s bone arrives, but Susan’s aunt’s dog George takes it and buries it somewhere. Davis founds out that the aunt is donor Elizabeth Random and that the leopard is for her, as she always wanted one. Baby and George run off and the zoo is called to help capture Baby. Susan and David run to find Baby before the zoo, mistaking a dangerous leopard from a nearby circus for Baby, they let it out of the cage. After being jailed let go after comfirming their idenities, they get Baby back to the safety of the farm. 

This a funny, cute movie that both animal and romance lovers would enjoy. It’s plot is simple enough that both older children and adults can enjoy it too. It’s equal parts, funny and romantic and has a little bit of intensity. There is some adult humor that will go over kids’ heads, but it is very mild and not to be really concerned about, unlike the fairly intense scenes involving Baby, especially the scene where Baby and George fight violently. Just because there is no blood seen, it still may frighten young children. 

This film was a commercial flop upon relaease and only made a small profit after its re-release in the 1940s. It fact, it was panned by both audiences and critics. Today it is celebrated as one of the greatest not just comedy film, but greatest films of all time. It has quite a bit of adult humor. Like a scene where Susan takes all of David’s clothes and he has nothing to wear but her negligee and her aunt walks in and sees him and asks why he is wearing it and he replies: “I just went gay all of the sudden!” Not only does this play on the two meanings of the word gay, it was the first time that gay was ever used to refer to homosexuality, even if it was being masked by the other meaning of the word. 

There are many other scenes where the literal and figurative meaning of words are used, like in the dinner with David, Mr. Applegate, Susan and Mrs. Random, Mr. Applegate is trying to get David to open up about himself, but he won’t and Mr. Applegate says: “Well at least I got a rise out of him.” Mr. Applegate was trying to get a rise out of david using the figuative meaning, but David rose out of his seat and left, using the literal meaning. This kind of play on words in the dialogue is so fast, you may miss it if you don’t pay attention, but enjoy it so much if you do. 

While this kind of writing has been around for centuries, this tounge-in-cheek kind of dialouge had limitations put on screenwriters when it came out in 1930 with the Motion Picture Production Code, which limited references to anything sexual, either audilbly, or visually in script. All of the talented writers in Hollywood had to create their dialogue to exclude sexual innuendos. Consequently, the screwball comedy was born, also known as “sex comedy without sex,” full of innuendos to cheat the code limitations and make the audience happy. Much of the punny script in this film will only appeal to adults, as young kids will not understand it. 

The acting is superb in this movie from all of the main cast, including Nissa who played Baby the leopard. It makes no sense why this film was originally panned, as it great and very entertaining from begining to end. Maybe audiences and critics were hoping for something more action packed and/or romantic. Well, to me it is the right amount of both. 

Animal lovers will likely love this movie, if they just put aside the animal abuse that ocurred. Whips and chains were used as the American Humane Association wasn’t enforced to monitor the use of animals in movies until several years later. Katherine Hepburn was pretty much fearless around the leopard, except for one time when the animal made a lunge for her and the trainer had to use a whip to calm it down. Cary Grant was less warm to the big cat and a double was used where his character and the leopard had to come in contact. 

This is not your typical rom-com, it’s not mushy gushy and laugh out loud funny throughout, which make it much more entertaining if you ask me. Had this movie been just stomach hurting funny and schmaltzy, it would have been very unenjoyable and I very likely would have turned it off or walked out of the theater had I been alive (and old enough) in 1938. 

Despite the few negatives associated with this film, it is still proably the greatest not just screwball comedies, not just comedies, but greatest movies of all time. This story feels like the screenwriter wasn’t happy with the original plot and threw it in a blender, turned it on, and decided to go with the end result, which is this chaotic masterpiece, that shouldn’t dare be remade. Sorry Peter Bagdanovich, but What’s Up Doc? is no Bringing Up Baby. 10+ 4.5/5 

Persuasion (2022)

Persuasion is a 2022 American romantic drama film directed by Carrie Cracknel and based on the novel of the same name by Jane Austen. It stars Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Nikki Amuka Bird, Mia McKenna Bruce, Richard E. Grant and Henry Golding. 

The story follows Anne Elliot when Frederick Wentworth – the one who got away – comes back into her life, she most choose between putting her past behind her or going with her heart for a second chance. 

Anne Elliot, an Englishwoman of 27, who family moves to lower their payments and lower their debt by renting their home to an admiral and his wife. The Captain Frederick Wentworth, was engaged to Anne in 1806, but their engagement was broken when Anne was convinced by family and friends to end the relationship. Ane and Captain  Wentworth, both single meet again after seven years of seperation, setting the scene for a second chance at love and mariage and many humorous meetings. 

Sometimes changing up well known stories works and sometimes it doesn’t. This film follows the story to extent but adds so much unnecessary stuff that it is hard to watch for the majority of the movie. It add humor and no Austen story is that humorous. There is also lots of drinking of red wine, lying around in bed and crying in the tub. She breaks the fouth in a “Fleabag” sort of style, making the character that was written as shy and introverted seem more talkative and extroverted. 

Dakota Johnson’s Anne Elliot is for prettier than character is supposed to be as Austen had written that Anne was once beautiful but at 27, her beauty is fading and she is nothing but plain at best. Dakota is anything but plain. Also many of the costumes are not 19th century British-esque, nor are many of the hairstyles. Much of this film feels rather satirical than a serious romantic drama. 

I’m not racist by any means and I understand that the director, casting director and producers didn’t want to come off as racist and such, but that just goes against everything Austen wrote and untrue to actual history. There were no black or half black, Asian or half Asian characters in any of her books and maybe she was racist (who knows), also her books were written as romantic dramas with very little humor. 

Captain Wentworth tries to win Anne back many times and she rebuffs him until he gives up until the end. Charles Mugrove Jr., heir to the Musgrove estate, first proposes to Anne and the tells him she doesn’t truly love him. He ends up marrying Anne’s sister Mary. After learning that Anne turned Charles down, Wentworth tries to win her over again. 

Mia McKenna Bruce is great as Anne’s dull and vain sister Mary. Newcomer Nia Towle brings a liveliness to the role to Anne’s sister in law Louisa, making the film seem more like a really long episode of Bridgerton than an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Henry Golding does a really good job as Mr. William Elliot, though it’s hard to get past the fact he’s Malaysian-British and hard to get past his good looks. Cosmo Jarvis is excellent as Captain Wentworth and probably the only realistic portrayal in the whole film. 

This like a  “Bridgerton” and “Fleabag” style retelling of an Austen work. It also feels like Shonda Rhimes wrote and directed it after reading just the Cliff Notes of the book. There is far too many differences from the real story and  too much comedy and drinking. The film is far too focused on romance and not enough on the lives of the character like in book. The movie also has a very sexual feel, though there is no sex, closest thing being kissing, one character grabbing a female character by her waist and quite a bit of flirting. 

Overall, this is not only the worst adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, but also a fiasco of a film that should’ve never been made. It is boring, hardly romantic and not the least bit funny. It seems like Netflix will greenlight just about anything these days. 10+ 2.5/5