Classic of the Week: Summer Stock (1950)

Summer Stock is a 1950 American Technicolor musical film directed by Charles Walters and stars Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken, Gloria DeHaven, Marjorie Main and Phil Silvers. Judy struggled with many personal problems during filming and Summer Stock proved to be her final film with MGM, as well as her last onscreen paring with Kelly. By mutual agreement MGM terminated her contract by September 1950, something the head of studio, L.B. Mayer said he later regretted doing. 

Jane Falbury (Garland) is a farm owner whose actress sister, Abigail (DeHaven), arrives at the family farm with her theater troupe. They need a place to rehearse, and Jane and her housekeeper Esme (Main), hesitantly agree to let them use their barn. The actors and actresses, including the director, Joe Ross (Kelly), pay back her hospitality by doing chores around the farm. Although Joe is engaged to Abigail, he begins to fall in love with Jane after Abigail leaves him in a rage. Likewise, even though Jane is enaged to Orville (Bracken), she falls in love with Joe. 

Although this is not Garland’s or Kelly’s best work, it is still a really fun film, filled with laughter, fun songs, dancing and romance, their best is perhaps 1942’s For Me and My Gal. But Summer Stock is still worth seeing for the songs, choreography and romance. Some of the songs are a bit cheesy like so many classic musicals and Gene Kelly is a typecast again as the romantic song and dance man, but he does a great job regardless. Judy Garland is fantastic in her role, and though she was a tiny 4’11,” she seems much taller with her wide voice range and her excellent dancing skills. 

This film will have you singing and dancing and it will warm your heart. Warning, there is a scene that might make you tear up. There are many great songs throughout this musical such as “Wonderful You,” “If You Feel Like Singing, Sing” and “Get Happy” (One of Judy’s signature songs). The choreography by Nicholas Castle Sr. is so much fun, it’ll have you either tapping your foot, or dancing right along. 

There is no foul language, drinking or smoking shown and there is only one scene where Jane is shown showering and putting on clothes, but she is shown from shoulders up, so this is a very family friendly film. This is a feel good movie, one that can brighten you right up if you’re feeling sad or angry. Just the “Get Happy” scene alone will have you smiling ear to ear. Yes, this musical is a bit cheesy, but not as cheesy as Oklahoma! or Easter Parade, and many others from back in the day. That still does not make this one bad.

This is definitely not as a good as Singin’ in Rain or An American in Paris, but it’s not terrible. It is wildly entertaining from begining to end, though the plot is very simple. Would I have paid to see this on the big screen or on stage? Probably not, but if I found it on TV or streaming, I may or may not watch it. Having seen this film already, I can say, this is not one I could watch over and over again like Singin’ in the Rain. It’s a cute movie, very enjoyable, but the over the top cheesiness could have been dialed back a lot. Overall, this a very good, not great movie, though it is a joyous watch. 9+ 3.5/5

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

Greatest Film Songs of All Time

  1. All That Jazz – Chicago (2002)
  2. Lose Yourself – 8 Mile (2002)
  3. Seems Like Old Times – Annie Hall (1977)
  4. (I’ve Had ) The Time of My Life – Dirty Dancing (1987)
  5. Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do) – Arthur (1981)
  6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  7. Isn’t It Romantic? – Love Me Tonight (1932
  8. Summer Nights – Grease (1978)
  9. Streets of Philadelphia – Philadelphia (1993)
  10. My Favorite Things – The Sound of Music (1965)
  11. Tonight – West Side Story (1961)
  12. Suicide is Painless – M*A*S*H (1970)
  13. (I’m a) Yankee Doodle Dandy – Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  14. Rainbow Connection – The Muppet Movie (1979)
  15. The Shadow of Your Smile – The Sandpiper (1965)
  16. I’m Easy – Nashville (1975)
  17. The Rose – The Rose (1979)
  18. Buttons and Bows – The Paleface (1948)
  19. Let the River Run – Working Girl (1988)
  20. Long Ago (and Far Away) – Cover Girl (1944)
  21. Do Ri Me – The Sound of Music (1965)
  22. Put the Blame on Mame – Gilda (1946)
  23. 9 to 5 – Nine to Five (1980)
  24. Up Where We Belong – An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  25. Good Morning – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  26. On the Good Ship Lollipop – Bright Eyes (1934)
  27. No Body Does It Better – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  28. Thanks for the Memories -The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  29. Get Happy – Summer Stock (1950)
  30. Flashdance… What a Feeling – Flashdance (1983)
  31. Goldfinger – Goldfinger (1964)
  32. Fame – Fame (1980)
  33. Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  34. Don’t Rain on My Parade – Funny Girl (1968)
  35. Wind Beneath My Wings – Beaches (1988)
  36. New York, New York – On the Town (1949)
  37. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins (1964)
  38. Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off – Shall We Dance (1937)
  39. Stormy Weather – Stormy Weather (1943)
  40. Some Enchanted Evening – South Pacific (1958)
  41. ‘Ol Man River – Show Boat (1936)
  42. Everybody’s Talkin’ – Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  43. Caberet – Caberet (1972)
  44. Evergreen (Love Theme from ‘A Star is Born’) – A Star is Born (1976)
  45. My Heart Will Go On – Titanic (1997)
  46. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  47. The Sound of Music – The Sound of Music (1965)
  48. When You Wish Upon a Star – Pinocchio (1940)
  49. Moon River – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
  50. As TIme Goes By – Casablanca (1942)
  51. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’) – High Noon (1952)
  52. America – West Side Story (1961)
  53. Make ‘Em Laugh – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  54. Summertime – Porgy and Bess (1959)
  55. Get Happy – Summer Stock (1950)
  56. Beauty and the Beast – Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  57. The Windmills of Your Mind – The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  58. Shall We Dance? – The King and I (1956)
  59. Rock Around the Clock – Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  60. That’s Entertainment – The Bandwagon (1953)
  61. The Way You Look Tonight – Swing Time (1936)
  62. Fight the Power – Do the Right Thing (1989)
  63. Theme from Shaft – Shaft (1971)
  64. Aquarius – Hair (1979)
  65. Born to be Wild – Easy Rider (1969)
  66. The Trolley Song – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  67. Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  68. Jailhouse Rock – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  69. Someday My Prince Will Come – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  70. I Could Have Danced All Night – My Fair Lady (1964)
  71. Cheek to CHeek – Top Hat (1935)
  72. People – Funny Girl (1968)
  73. The Man That Got Away – A Star is Born (1954)
  74. Stayin’ Alive – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  75. Mrs. Robinson – The Graduate (1967)
  76. Singin’ in the Rain – Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  77. Over the Rainbow – The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  78. The Way We Were – The Way We Were (1973)
  79. Somewhere – West Side Story (1961)
  80. I Got Rhythm – An American in Paris (1951)
  81. Swinging on a Star – Going My Way (1944)
  82. Days of Wine and Roses – Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  83. Luck Be a Lady – Guys and Dolls (1955)
  84. Hakuna Matata – The Lion King (1994)
  85. To Sir, With Love – To Sir, With Love (1967)
  86. Purple Rain – Purple Rain (1984)
  87. In Your Eyes – Say Anything (1989)
  88. White Christmas – Holiday Inn (1942)
  89. A Whole New World – Aladdin (1992)
  90. Gangsta’s Paradise – Dangerous Minds (1995)
  91. You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story (1995)
  92. Stuck in the Middle With You – Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  93. I Have Nothing – The Bodyguard (1992)
  94. Skyfall – Skyfall (2012)
  95. Against All Odds – Against All odds (1984)
  96. St. Elmo’s Fire – St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
  97. Gonna Fly Now – Rocky (1976)
  98. Can You Feel the Love Tonight – The Lion King (1994)
  99. Live and Let Die – Live and Let Die (1973)
  100. Shallow – A Star is Born (2018)
  101. Hopelessly Devoted – Grease (1978)
  102. Unhained Melody – Ghost (1990)
  103. The Power of Love – Back to the Future (1985)
  104. Footloose – Footloose (1984)
  105. Circle of Life – The Lion King (1994)
  106. Don’t You Forget Abour Me – The Breakfast Club (1985)
  107. Maniac – Flashdance (1983)
  108. They Can’t Take That Away from Me – Shall We Dance (1937)
  109. Jeepers Creepers – Going Places (1938)
  110. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy – Buck Privates (1941)
  111. Baby Mine – Dumbo (1941)
  112. Chattanooga Choo Choo – Sun Valley Serenade (1941)
  113. I Fall In Love Too Easily – Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  114. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Neptune’s Daughter (1949)
  115. In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening – Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  116. Secret Love – Calamity Jane (1953)
  117. Three Coins in the Fountain – Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  118. Love is a Many Splendored Thing – Love is a Many Splebdored Thing (1955)
  119. High Hopes – A Hole in the Head (1959)
  120. Alfie – Alfie (1966)
  121. The Look of Love – Casino Royale (1967)
  122. The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book (1967)
  123. I Just Called to Say I Love You – The Woman in Red (1984)
  124. Let’s Hear it for the Boy – Footloose (1984)
  125. Take My Breath Away – Top Gun (1986)
  126. Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  127. Be Our Guest – Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  128. A Wink and a Smile – Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
  129. Colors of the Wind – Pochahontas (1995)
  130. Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid (1989)
  131. You’ll Be in My Heart – Tarzan (1999)
  132. Strangers Like Me – Tarzan (1999)
  133. Save Me – Magnolia (1999)
  134. If I Didn’t Have You – Monsters Inc. (2001)
  135. The Hands That Built America – Gangs of New York (2001)
  136. Scarlet Tide – Cold Mountain (2003)
  137. Falling Slowly – Once (2007)
  138. Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  139. The Weary Kind – Crazy Heart (2009)
  140. Down in New Orleans – The Princess and the Frog (2009)
  141. We Belong Together – Toy Story 3 (2010)
  142. Let It Go – Frozen (2013)
  143. Glory – Selma (2014)
  144. Writing’s on the Wall – Spectre (2015)
  145. City of Stars – La La Land (2016)
  146. How Far I’ll Go – Moana (2016)
  147. Remember Me – Coco (2017)
  148. When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)
  149. Stand Up – Harriet (2019)
  150. I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away – Toy Story 4 (2019)
  151. Fight for You – Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
  152. No Time to Die – No Time to DIe (2021)
  153. Down to Joy – Belfast (2021)
  154. Be Alive – King Richard (2021)
  155. When She Loved Me – Toy Story 2 (1999)
  156. Wise Up – Magnolia (1999)
  157. Eye of the Tiger – Rocky III (1982)
  158. It Might Be You – Tootsie (1982)
  159. I’ll Wait For You – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
  160. Charade – Charade (1963)
  161. A Kiss to Build a Dream on – The Strip (1951)
  162. Pennies from Heaven – Pennies from Heaven (1936)
  163. I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Born to Dance (1936)
  164. It Might as Well be Spring – State Fair (1945)
  165. That Old Black Magic – Star Spangled Rhythm (1942)
  166. Whatever Lola Wants – Damn Yankees (1958)
  167. Steam Heat – The Pajama Game (1957)
  168. Bewitched (Bothered and Bewildered) – Pal Joey (1957)
  169. Oh What a Beautiful Morning – Oklahoma! (1955)
  170. Getting to Know You – The King and I (1956)
  171. If I Were a Rich Man – Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
  172. And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going – Dreamgirls (2006)
  173. I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning – Annie Get Your Gun (1950)
  174. I Enjoy Being a Girl – Flower Drum Song (1961)
  175. Put on Your Sunday Clothes – Hello, Dolly! (1969)
  176. Le Jazz Hot – Victor/Victoria (1982)
  177. Mein Herr – Cabaret (1972)
  178. People Will Say We’re in Love – Oklahoma! (1955)
  179. A Hard Day’s Night – A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
  180. Pure Imagination – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  181. Where the Lost Things Go – Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
  182. The Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  183. 76 Trombones – The Music Man (1962)
  184. Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
  185. Easter Parade – Easter Parade (1948)
  186. Put on a Happy Face – Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
  187. Help! – Help! (1965)
  188. Too Darn Hot – Kiss Me Kate (1953)
  189. Pinball Wizard – Tommy (1975)
  190. Love, Rein O’re Me – Quadrophenia (1979)
  191. (You Gotta) Have Heart – Damn Yankees (1958)
  192. The Real Me – Quadrophenia (1979)
  193. You Only Live Twice – You Only Live Twice (1967)
  194. Diamonds Are Forever – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  195. Nobody Does it Better – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  196. Rich Man’s Frug – Sweet Charity (1969)
  197. Big Spender – Sweet Charity (1969)
  198. Earned It – 50 Shades of Grey (2015)
  199. The Empty Chair – Jim: The James Foley Story (2016)
  200. See You Again – Furious 7 (2015)

150 Greatest Musical Films of All Time

  1. The Greatest Showman – 2017
  2. West Side Story – 2021
  3. Beauty & the Beast – 1991
  4. Funny Face – 1957
  5. Love Me Tonight – 1932
  6. The Jungle Book – 1967
  7. Mama Mia! – 2008
  8. Fame – 1980
  9. Bye Bye Birdie – 1963
  10. On the Town – 1949
  11. Pennies from Heaven – 1981
  12. The Bandwagon – 1953
  13. In the Heights – 2021
  14. Rocketman – 2019
  15. The King and I – 1956
  16. Dreamgirls – 2006
  17. The Blues Brothers – 1980
  18. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers – 1954
  19. Oliver! – 1968
  20. Funny Girl – 1968
  21. Chicago – 2002
  22. Dancer in the Dark – 2000
  23. Tick, Tick… Tick… Boom! – 2021
  24. Hedwig and the Angry Inch – 2001
  25. A Hard Day’s Night – 1964
  26. Guys and Dolls – 1955
  27. Meet Me in St. Louis – 1944
  28. Fiddler on the Roof – 1971
  29. My Fair Lady – 1964
  30. Top Hat – 1935
  31. A Star is Born – 1954
  32. An American in Paris – 1951
  33. Oklahoma! – 1955
  34. Mary Poppins – 1964
  35. Grease – 1978
  36. All That Jazz – 1979
  37. The Wizard of Oz – 1939
  38. Cabaret – 1972
  39. Singin’ in the Rain – 1952
  40. The Sound of Music – 1965
  41. La La Land – 2016
  42. A Star is Born – 2018
  43. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – 1964
  44. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 1971
  45. West Side Story – 1961
  46. 42nd Street – 1933
  47. Yankee Doodle Dandy – 1942
  48. Show Boat – 1936
  49. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – 1953
  50. The Young Girls of Rochefort – 1967
  51. A Night at the Opera – 1935
  52. Sing Street – 2016
  53. Enchanted – 2007
  54. The Sapphires 2012
  55. Topsy-Turvy – 1999
  56. Sunshine on Leith – 2013
  57. Cyrano – 2021
  58. Hair – 1979
  59. Mary Poppins Returns – 2018
  60. 8 Women – 2002
  61. White Christmas – 1954
  62. French Cancan – 1955
  63. Swing Time – 1936
  64. The Music Man – 1962
  65. Royal Wedding 1951
  66. Help! – 1965
  67. Phantom of the Paradise – 1974
  68. Going My Way – 1944
  69. The Jazz Singer – 1927
  70. Carmen Jones – 1954
  71. Annette – 2021
  72. Cry Baby – 1990
  73. The Wayward Cloud – 2005
  74. Bugsy Malone – 1976
  75. Viva Las Vegas – 1964
  76. King Creole 1958
  77. Easter Parade 1948
  78. The Cocoanuts – 1929
  79. Victor/Victoria – 1982
  80. The Court Jester – 1955
  81. Everyone Says I Love You – 1996
  82. The Saddest Music in the World – 2003
  83. Hairspray – 1988
  84. Alexander’s Ragtime Band – 1938
  85. Annie Get Your Gun – 1950
  86. Hello, Dolly! – 1969
  87. 1776 – 1972
  88. Take Me Out to the Ball Game – 1949
  89. Brigadoon – 1954
  90. Carousel – 1956
  91. The Great Ziegfeld – 1936
  92. Kiss Me Kate – 1953
  93. Porgy and Bess – 1959
  94. Thoroughly Modern Millie – 1967
  95. State Fair – 1945
  96. The Lion King – 1994
  97. The Gang’s All Here – 1943
  98. Damn Yankees! – 1958
  99. Bells Are Ringing – 1960
  100. March of the Wooden Soldiers – 1934
  101. The Harvey Girls – 1943
  102. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – 1968
  103. Cover GIrl – 1944
  104. Footlight Parade – 1933
  105. Sweet Charity – 1969
  106. The Girl Can’t Help It – 1956
  107. High Society – 1956
  108. Jailhouse Rock – 1957
  109. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – 1967
  110. It’s Always Fair Weather – 1955
  111. The Jolson Story – 1946
  112. Lady and the Tramp – 1955
  113. Neptune’s Daughter – 1949
  114. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever – 1970
  115. On Moonlight Bay – 1951
  116. The Pajama Game – 1957
  117. Pal Joey – 1967
  118. Purple Rain – 1984
  119. Royal Wedding – 1951
  120. Shall We Dance – 1937
  121. Silk Stockings – 1957
  122. South Pacific – 1958
  123. Summer Stock – 1950
  124. There’s No Business Like Show Business – 1954
  125. Till the Clouds Roll By – 1946
  126. The Unsinkable Mollie Brown – 1964
  127. Holiday Inn – 1942
  128. Whoopee! – 1930
  129. Yentl – 1983
  130. You Were Never Lovelier – 1942
  131. Ziegfeld Follies – 1945
  132. Les Girls – 1957
  133. Girl Crazy – 1943
  134. Cabin in the Sky – 1943
  135. Once – 2007
  136. Elvis – 2022
  137. The Producers – 1967
  138. Nashville – 1975
  139. Coco – 2017
  140. The Nightmare Before Christmas – 1993
  141. Jersey Boys – 2014
  142. Rent – 2005
  143. Les Miserables – 2012
  144. Little Shop of Horrors – 1986
  145. The Broadway Melody of 1938 – 1937
  146. The Broadway Melody of 1936 – 1935
  147. The Broadway Melody of 1940 – 1940
  148. For Me and My Gal – 1942
  149. Anna and the Apocalypse – 2017
  150. School of Rock – 2003

Classic of the Week: Harold and Maude (1971)

Harold and Maude is an American black-comedy drama film directed by Hal Ashby. It incorporates themes of dark humor and existentialst drama. The story follows the adventures of Harold Chasen (Bud Court), a young man who is obsessed with death, and who rejects the life his disconnected mother (Vivian Pickles) gives to him. Harold develops a friendship and then romatic relationship, with 79 year old Maude (Ruth Gordon) who teaches Harold about the importance of living life gto the fullest. 

Harold is so intrigued with death, he reenacts suicides, drives a hearse, reads obituaries and goes to funerals of random people, most of whom he doesn’t know. Maude is elderly, but doesn’t act like it all. She loves funerals too, but also steals, drives too fast, breaks the law by speeding, running stop signs and red lights and blasting music. She is young at heart, which is why Harold falls in love with her. Harold wants to marry her, but his mother refuses to allow him, given Harold and Maude’s 60 year age gap and the fact she doesn’t have many years left in her life, despite her seemingly perfect health. 

This is film is billed as a dark comedy, but I see almost no humor. I don’t think suicide is something to laugh at, real or not. I also don’t think someone’s loved one dying is funny either. I see this movie as more of a drama with romance thrown in. The scene where Maude coaxes Harold into them stealing a car and she speeding away is pretty funny, but other than that, no humor. 

This movie is a bit disturbing. Just the fact the lead character is obsessed with dying and ways to die is unsettling and the fact he falls for an elderly woman. This silm is far too dark for a PG rating. I can’t imagine letting an eight year old watch it and them understanding and enjoying it. Too dark, or really just plain inappropriate for kids. 

Harold should have been institutionalized, as his love for death is deeply disturbing. Maude should not have been allowed to drive, or even let outside, since she likes to prey on much younger fellows. The acting is great throughout. But this film is far too dark. Had there had been more light, more sun, it would likely been  at least a little more enjoyable. I just don’t understand all the hoopla with this movie and why it is a film school staple. It has hardly any redeeming qualities aside from the excellent acting and Cat Stevens soundtrack. It is slow, dark, boring and depressing. No wonder it was a box-office bomb when it was first released. 

The movie’s soundtrack is by singer-songwriter Cat Stevens. The theme song is the feel good “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Stevens and after seeing this film, one will never hear this song the same way again. They will only associate this song with the film and it dark themes and sad scenes. 

Great acting and music doesn’t help in the enjoyment department, as this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I found myself feeling so uneasy and so bored, I was glad when it was over.  

Don’t waste your time on this movie. It may be a classic, but it is far from being a masterpiece. 13+ 1.5/5 

Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Where the Crawdads Sing is a 2022 American coming of age crime film directed by Olivia Newman, based on the 2018 novel of the same name by Delia Owens. It stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Michael Hyatt, Sterling Macer Jr. and David Strathairn. 

Catherine “Kya” Clark is an imagainative girl grwing up in a North Carolina marsh on the coast during the 1950’s. Her poor family live in a shack with their alcoholic and abusive father who gambles their money away. After her mother and sibling leave one by one, due to the abuse, Kya is left alone with him. Over time he softens up and then leaves her without word, a fews after the only day she spends in school. Now at the age of seven, she is completely alone, but learns how to survive, and the only way she makes any money to buy gas for her boat and food is to sell mussels she digs up herself. The other residents of Barkley Cove know little about Kya, nicknaming her “The Marsh Girl.” 

On the same day her father leaves her, Kya takes his boat as far as the ocean and gets lost trying to find her way home. Luckily she runs into an older boy named Tate Walker who shows her the way home safely. He was a friend of her older brother, Jodie and had known Kya since she was very little. Tate begins visiting her in the marsh and they become good friends as teenagers. He teaches her to read, write and even loans her books. Both share an interest in natures and they eventually start a romantic relationship. However, she gets left behind when Tate goes away to college and fails to keep his promise of visiting her on the fourth of July. 

Over the next few years, as her knowledge and skills of biology grow, Kya sends her artwork and research to a publisher, as Tate encouraged previously and the payment from the book helps her keep her family’s property. The publishing of the book leads her to seeing her brother Jodie again, now a military veteran. He tells her that her mother wanted to reunite with her children became sick leukemia and died. Jodie promises to visit her when he can. 

By 1965, now 19 years old, Kya gets into a tryst with Chase Andrews, Barkley Cove’s popular quaterback, who promises her marriage. When Kya finds out that Chase is already engaged to another girl, furious, she ends their relationship. Meanwhile Tate returns to town wanting to appologize to Kyra for leaving her behind and rekindle their relationship, but she is unsure. Chase keeps to get Kya back and wants to contunue their sexual relationship, but she rejects him. He then violently hits her and tries to rape her but Kya successfully fights him off and threatens to kill him if he messes with her again. The threat is overheard by a local fisherman. 

Later Chase is found dead at the bottom of a fire tower, from which he had fallen. The tower is located in a muddy and wet bog that gets flooded at high tide. The surrounding area had no tracks from the killer and no fingerprints were found on the tower. A shell necklace Kya had given Chase was missing and he had be wearing it the evening of his death. The next day Kya is charged with murder and the townpeople jump to the conclusion that she is guilty. 

This film is like Fried Green Tomatoes meets To Kill a Mockingbird, which makes it sound like it would be a great movie, but it is good at best. Based off a bestselling novel that is actually really good, you’d think the film version would be too. The acting is eqally great from all the main cast, the scenery is absolutely beautiful and they costumes are period and setting perfect. The soundtrack is also really good. The main problem with this one is it is really slow for much of the movie. Many scenes seem to drag on and I found myself getting rather bored many times throughout. 

Had this film not been so slow, it would have been more enjoyable. Also, their is lots of kissing and sex, which I know this is also a romantic movie, but the director could have dialed that back a little, as we already knew the characters were in love without so much of that. This being mainly a murder myster film, made it fairly entertaining, but not captivating, though I love a good mystery and I like romance, as I am a hopeless romantic. 

I really wanted to love this movie as much as I loved the book, but I just didn’t. With the book, I couldn’t put it down, with this film adaptation, I was thoroughly bored for a good bit of it. I am so disappointed I couldn’t like the movie as much as novel. I just don’t understand why it had to be so slow, why so much making out and sex and unlike the novel, why such little time was spent investigating the death of Chase. This film will very likely not win any Best Picture awards, probably not any Best Director awards either, but could possibly win a Best Actress or Actor trophy or Best Original Song for Taylor Swift’s “Carolina.” 

Do I recommend this movie? Don’t waste your time and money with this one in theater. If you really want to see it, wait for it to go to Redbox or streaming. Another pretty disappointing film based on a phenominal book. 18+ 3.5/5 

Elvis (2022)

Elvis is a 2022 epic biographical musical drama film directed by Baz Luhrmann. It stars Austin Butler as Elvis Presley with Tom Hanks, Helen Thomson, Richard Roxburgh, Olivia DeJonge, Luke Bracey, Natash Bassett, David Wenham, Keven Harrison Jr. and Kodi Smit-McPhee in supporting roles. 

In 1997, Elvis Presley’s manager, Coloner Tom Parker is on his deathbed looking back at how he met the future King of Rock and Roll. In the early days Elvis has bettled a poverty-stricken childhood with his parents Vernon and Gladys. He finds music to be his redemption, even though he his picked on by his friends because of his love for African American music od Memhis’ Beale Street. Parker is a carnival peddler who calls himself a modern day PT Barnum. 

Although Parker is already managing country singer Hank Snow, as soon as he hears Elivs on the radio, he is impressed by what he hears and has dreams of becoming his manager. He eventually meets and coaxes Elvis to let him take control of his career. However, not all of the public is impressed with the young performer. Many parents believe that his ruining their children and racist politicians also attack him. After a violent incident at a concert, Elvis is faced with a possible jail term. However, Parker persuades the government to draft Elvis into the US Army as a way of avoiding anymore legal compications. During his time in the service, Elvis suffers the sadness of his mother dreaking herself to death. 

While stationed in Germany, Elvis meets Priscilla Beaulieu, and upon his discharge, he resumes his career making concert tours and movies while Parker’s control of his life grows stronger. After Parker locks him into a long contract at a Las Vegas hotel, Elvis starts to grow tired of his deceitful manager and tried to fire him, only to be sued by Parker for a substantial amount that will leave him broke and he will lose everything from his house, to his cars, to all his Elvis merchandise. A brutal argument develops, where Elvis has to admit that he has no choice but to keep Parker, although they grow apart and rarely see each other afterwards. Elvis’ life eventually goes downhill as Priscilla takes their daughter Lisa Marie and leaves him over his prescription drug addiction, which grows even more after she is gone. 

When I saw a preview for this film for the first time. I couldn’t see Austin Butler as Presley, but after watching it, I do see it one-hundred percent. The fact that he acts, sings, dances and plays the music is amazing. He brings the King of Rock and Roll back to life and you learn so much about Elvis’ life. The Elvis voice, singing, music playing and dancing done by Butler is spot on. He does the bouncy voice, the shaking and gyrating so perfectly, you forget you’re watching an actor and you feel like you have stepped back in time with the real Elvis. 

Oliva DeJonge does an outstanding job as Priscilla Presley. She looks the part perfectly and you’d never believe she’s actually Australian. Tom Hanks does a great job as Colone Tom Parker, though his accent does get pretty annoying and makes you wonder if Parker actually talked like that (if you didn’t already know). Helen Thomson does a great job too as Elvis’ mother Gladys Presley. Richard Roxburgh does a fine job as his father Vernon Presley. Luke Bracey is really good as talent manager Jerry Schilling. 

The story, acting, costumes and makeup and scenery and props are all spot on, period perfect. This film introduces young(er) generations to Elvis’ music and other music of the 50’s to 70’s. You learn so many things about the life of Mr. Presley, his childhood, his music, his relationships, fandom and addictions. The movie is really long at a nearly three hour runtime and could have been quite a bit shorter, as some scenes are really drawn out. You do wonder if the film is ever going to end, but other than that, it is extremely entertaining and makes you love Elvis’ music, either for the first time or all over again. 

This movie is as shocking as it is entertaining and Butler, DeJonge and Hanks all deserve awards for roles. Fantastic film from begining to end! 18+ 4.5/5 

tick…tick…Boom! (2021)

Tick…Tick…Boom! is a 2021 American biographical musical drama film directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and is written by Steven Levenson, based on the stage musical of the same name by Jonathan Larson, it is a semi-autobiographical film story about Larson writing a musical to try to enter into the theater industry. The film stars Andrew Garfield as Larson, alongside Vanessa Hudgens, Robin de Jesus, Alexandra Shipp, Joshua Henry and Judith Light. 

In 1992, Jonathan Larson performs his rock monologue Tick…Tick…Boom! at New Theater Workshop with his friends Roger and Karessa. He describes an annoying ticking sound he hears in his head and begins to tell his story. An unseen narrator explains the films is the true story of Larson, “except the parts Jonathan made up.” 

In early 1990, Jonathan balances work at the Moondance Diner in SoHo with getting ready for a workshop for his musical Superbia. He feels pressure to be successful before he turns 30: with his birthday just over a week away, he sees the workshop as his last chance. He has a party at his apartment with his friends, including his former roommate Michael and his girlfriend Susan. Susan tells Jonathan about a teaching job at Jacob’s Pillow and asks him to come. Michael, who recently left theater for a mediocre advertising career, sees Susan’s offer as a chance for Jonathan to consider a serious future and invites him to join an advertising focus group at his company. Jonathan’s producer asks him to write a new song for Superbia because the story needs it. This depresses him, as his idol Stephen Sondheim told him the same thing at a composong workshop several years prior, but can’t come up with anything and he only has a week. 

Jonathan finds himself unable to concentrate on getting ready for the workshop as he thinks about Michael and Susan’s offers. His worries grow when he learns from Carolyn (friend from the diner) that Freddy (also works at the diner), is HIV-positive, has been hospitalized. Susan angry at Jonathan’s hesitance to make a decision and obsession with his career, breaks up with him. 

To get money for a full band for the workshop, Jonathan attends the advertising focus group. However, he purposefully ruins it, making Michael mad, who feels Jonathan is wasting the chance to have a life with the person he loves on an unstable theater career, something Michael can’t do as a homosexual man in the AIDS crisis. After getting a promising call from his agent Rosa, Jonathan tries to write the new song, but his power get cut off. He goes to a swimming pool to rant his frustrations over his personal life and the workshop, before coming up with the new song at last. At the workshop are friends, family, industry professionals, including Sondheim. Jonathan recieves praise but no offers to produce Superbia. Discouraged, Jonathan begs Michael for a job in his company, but Michael changes his mind after seeing the workshop and urges Jonathan to continue with his theater career, revealing that he is HIV-positive. 

Though I haven’t seen Tick…Tick..Boom! on stage, I did enjoy Larson’s Rent on stage and the film version, though it was not as good as the stage production. Rent is a wonderful story filled with wonderful music. I thought it was terribly cheesy and depressing at first, but once I saw both the movie one and the stage one, I fell in love with it and I now wish this musical could continue on stages forever just like other greats like Chicago and Fiddler on the Roof. 

Andrew Garfield does an outstanding job as Jonathan Larson, giving him a perfect New York accent, as well as acting, singing and playing the piano and keyboard himself. Most of the songs are super cheesy, but that’s musical theater for you and Garfield performs the songs with the perfect cheese factor with song and in several scenes with dancing too. Most of the songs, besides being corny, don’t sound like a mature adult wrote them and since the movie is filled with those kind of songs, it does get a bit annoying and makes the film almost unenjoyable at times. 

Alexandra Shipp is great as Susan Wilson, based on the real life Janet Charleston, Jonathan’s girlfriend, a former dancer. Robin de Jesus does a fine job as Michael, Jonathan’s best friend, based on the real life Matt O’ Grady, who left theater to work in advertising. Vanessa Hudgens is also great as Karessa Johnson, although she has very little dialogue and mostly sings and dances. Joshua Henry is very good as Roger Bart, Jonathan’s friend and performer in Superbia and Tick…Tick…Boom! Bradley Whitford is superb as Stephen Sondheim. 

This film does a splendid job telling of Larson’s journey to become the next great musical theater sensation, even though it is a bit of a cheeseball at times. The songs, choreography, and acting are all eqaully fantastic. This is drama filled, song filled movie that will have you tapping your feet at times, getting angry at moments and also crying at times too. It teaches you to never give up on your dreams and that the great things you do will live on forever after you die. 

There is song and dance, drama, heart and passion in this film that make it such an entertaining watch. There is fighting, sex, rejection, drinking, smoking, disease, cursing and selfishness that make this movie inappropriate for really young viewers. Teenagers and adults will enjoy this one much more. Tremendous film!  13+ 4/5 

Is Cinderella Weak or Strong?

Cinderella or The Glass Slipper is a folk tale with thousands of adaptations and no one really knows where the story comes from or when it was first written. The protagonist is a young woman living in poor circumstances that are suddenly changed to surprising serendipity. There are many different origin stories about this story, all claming to be the real one. 

The story is often said to be a folk tale for children, though many versions are anything but child friendly. In many versions of the tale, Cinderella is a teenager with fairly wealthy parents. First her mother dies of an illness, then her father remarries and suddenly he dies, but we are left questioning whether he died of a disease or if his second wife murdered him. In the Grimm Brothers’ Aschenputtel, which came out in their fairytale compilation  in 1812, Cinderella goes to her mother’s grave every day and weeps, but remains pious and good, despite her circumstances. It has the same story of her stepsisters ripping her homemade ball gown to shreds and her godmother giving her a new one and telling her to go and have fun at the ball, but the spell is broken at midnight, but with darker parts. 

In one scene, one stepsister cuts off her toes to make the glass sipper fit. Also the stepsisters and stepmother are more than just verbally abusive to Cinderella, they are also physically abusive and only feed her enough to keep her alive enough to abuse more. In the scene where Cinderella marries the prince after the slipper fits her, she rides off in the carriage to the castle with her new husband and though the stepsisters and stepmother are invited to the wedding, the birds claw their eyes out, pull their hair and rip up their clothes and scratch their faces bloody as well. How is this a children’s story? 

In the Chinese version, the godmother is replaced by a fish and Cinderella doesn’t mope around waiting for her happily ever after, she is actually a witch who can disappear. Charles Perrault’s Cinderella, is the closest to what we know and what Disney used as the basis for the 1950 animated movie. But Grimms read his tale and added their own twists of Germanic folktale tradition and came up with an equally weird and more disturbing version. 

But there have been arguments for decades and centuries about whether Cinderella is weak, strong, a feminist character, or not. In the Perrault version of the story and Disney films, she is nineteen years old and maybe that was still considered a child in that day and age, but by today’s standards, that’s legally an adult. Actually eighteen means you are finally legally an adult in today’s society (at least in America). So if that had been case and she were legally a grown up, why didn’t she get her share of her parents’ money and get her own place? Why did she choose to stay behind with her evil stepmother and stepsisters? Why did she allow them to abuse her? Why didn’t she stand up for herself? Why didn’t she run away when she had the chance? 

If she was legally still a child, I guess she didn’t legally have a choice, orphanages didn’t exist then, so she couldn’t have just gone and gotten adopted by a hopefully loving family. I guess living with her steps was better than being homeless, at least she got a roof over her head, a bed, food and water. But even if she was rightfully a woman, women in her time had little to no rights. Only men could be lawyers, judges, rulers of kingdoms and oftentimes married first. Women usually did whatever men told to them do without question. Men also made more money. Women seemed to only be there to be wives and mothers, maids, seamstresses or governesses. Cinderella maybe valued herself more or just had no choice but to stay at home with the three devils. 

Oftentimes Cinderella is said to be strong and a role model character for females. But how is she a role model if she doesn’t even stand up herself and/or fight back or go get herself some help? What screams heroine about her? She just stands there taking all their mistreatment of her, she is pretty much a human punching bag. Either she was weak, stupid or both. She doesn’t enjoy the treatment she goes through, but does nothing about it. It makes no sense at all, because a real hero doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she does. 

She accepts sleeping in a cold dirty attic without a bed, no soap, only freezing cold water to bathe with, eating scraps and doing chores all the time and being taken advantage of badly. I’m sure, had she gotten out of that situatuation, someone would have taken her in and given her a better life. But I guess the strong can come from how she takes all the abuse and still remains strong, nice and hopeful. But can she be both fierce and weak? In my opinion she is. She remains tough through the daily bullying she receives, but doesn’t do a damn thing to stop it at the same time. 

Cinderella isn’t exactly a positive role model, especially for girls and young ladies, but she isn’t exactly the worst either. She’s not one that I would want my daughter, granddaughter, niece or even friend’s daughter to be like. I’d want them to not take any crap from anyone. I’d want them try and avoid abuse and if they can’t to get help immediately. There are positive messages that come from the story we know of Cinderella, like being positive and staying strong, but there are negative ones too like, it’s okay to be miserable and do nothing about it and you can only find true love when you’re dolled up, because they won’t love you any other way. 

Overall, this story is not one that should be used as a teaching lesson in staying strong, feminism or finding your soulmate, but can be used cautiously to teach being positive. Don’t use her full blast since she does let herself get hurt 24/7, until her fairy godmother comes along. But why then, why wasn’t the godmother there earlier? Why just for the ball and why just until midnight? Who knows. This is another twisted folktale that makes little sense. Is Cinderella strong, weak, or both? What’s your opinion? 

The Fallout (2021)

The Fallout is a 2021 American high school drama film written directed by Megan Park in directorial debut. The film stars Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Julie Bowen, John Oritz, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp and Shailene Woodley.

High school student Vada Cavell goes to the restroom in the middle of class after her younger sister Amelia calls her when she has her first period. While in the restroom, a school shooting accurs and Vada hides in a stall with her classmates Mia, a dancer, and Quinton, whose brother is killed in the shooting. In the following weeks after the incident, Vada’s trama causes her to become depressed and isolated from her family. She also isolates herself from her friend Nick, since she cannot relate to the gun control activism he has been coaxed to do. Instead, she becomes closer to Mia and begins to spend lots of time at her house.

Vada’s parents put her in therapy and returns to school, but finds the situation uncomfortable. She cannot bring herself to go to the restroom where she hid, resulting in her peeing on herself when she hears a soda can being crushed. To cope with the stress, she takes ecstasy, resulting in Nick having to help her through the high. She and Nick argue about her weak coping skills, resulting in her venting to Quinton and trying to kiss him. Quinton rejects her, as he is not emotionally ready for a relationship yet. She isolates herself more from her family and friends, including Mia.

Later, Amelia admits to Vada that she assumed Vada was mad at her for the call that has put her in more danger. Vada tells her that is not the case and they make up. Vada recconnects with her parents and Mia, with the two of them agreeing to remain friends. Vada makes progress with her therapy, in coming to terms with what happened, though she admits that she and Nick might not make up. Vada waits for Mia outside of the studio she takes lessons at. She recieves a notification of another school shooting in the country.

The story of a school shooting is both powerful and disturbing and this film does cover that part, but it spends far too much time on Vada withdrawing from others in her life and her depression as well as her relationship with Mia. Not enough of this film is spent on the actual shooting, mostly just the aftermath and the students, school staff and the students’ parents’ reactions. Had the film focused more on the incident and not the feedback of the school community, I would have enjoyed it more. The acting from all the main stars is great. The soundtrack by Finneas O’Connell was also great.

The character of Vada Cavell is a tomboy with no real sense of fashion, dressing like a cross between a female basketball player, a rapper, hippie and Billie Eilish and had very little as far as personality, making her a rather boring protagonist. Mia Reed, the rich girl Vada becomes best friends with, also has very little perosnality and does underage and inappriate things, even with Vada like drink wine, skip school, smoke weed, have sex and listen to unedited music, making her not a likable character much at all either. Vada’s mother Patricia is overprotective of her daughters and her father is more likable as he is more lenient, fun and not afraid to curse (though some may not like that).

Overall, I found this film to be anything but spectacular. It is good and that is all. You’d think for a story about school gun violence, it would’ve been great, but I found myself rather bored for a good portion of this movie. Also the abrupt ending, just made it worse to me. Powerful story, not executed powerfully enough. 18+ 3/5