When a comedy has 6 sequels, each of which got progressively worse until the final in the series hardly even made it onto a theater screen, it’s hard to judge the first one fairly, especially since it never would’ve happened without the classic film “The Right Stuff”.
“Another Take on Film” - Movies you may have seen before that are worth “another take” – watch them again and maybe notice some things differently the second time around. I’ll be continuously adding reviews of films from my personal library of thousands and thousands of titles and sharing what I think is special about each one. Every good film deserves another take.
Every once in a while, you find a film from youth that is full of great scenes with great actors who most people didn’t know at the time, but today has the makings of a classic.
“Heaven Help Us” follows a group of Catholic School boys through pranks, dates and other shenanigans under the supervision of the Brothers order who provide instruction. Absolutely amazing scenes making fun of life in a religious school abound here. Just a few:
In 1982, I was a big fan of movies I couldn’t possibly have seen from the 30s and 40s. We actually had a VHS VCR in the house, but the small video store near my house had very few movies from that era. But I read about them in tons of books at the library.
The first chance I had to see scenes from movies like “Suspicion”, “Notorious”, “Double Indemnity”, “White Heat” or “The Big Sleep” was a comedy called “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.”
I became a fan of rom-coms because of “When Harry Met Sally.” For once, the guy was a smart alec who didn’t look like a Ken doll. One of those “He could be me” situations.
And Meg Ryan was everybody’s high-maintenance but sweet girl next door.
In fact, I think that without this movie, Billy Crystal doesn’t host the Oscars. Nope. Not even a presenter without this film.
I can’t tell you how many times I saw “The Incredible Shrinking Man” on television as a kid, but it was a lot. This film is emblazoned on my childhood.
Oddly, it gets very little respect. It wasn’t a huge hit, and took a few re-releases to make a profit. It had no real stars. The lead, Grant Williams, went straight from this film to a decades-long television career playing bit parts in episodes of “The Munsters”, “Bonanza”, and “Perry Mason.”
How the hell did this cost $65 million?
That’s almost as much as it cost to make “The Rock” the same year, and that got us Sean Connery, Nicholas Cage and Ed Harris, and it got the studio more than twice that at the box office.
But darn it, I love “The Long Kiss Goodnight”.
There’s hardly any part of “Witness” I don’t love. In fact, I wonder how a film like this even got green-lit. Much of the supporting cast and the two writers were perennial television workers, the director had never directed an American film, and films about the Amish weren’t known to be blockbusters.
I’ll admit it. Many of the films I enjoyed as a child were supremely influenced by a PBS show called “Sneak Previews” with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, who left the show in 1982 and went to network syndication with “At the Movies”. “Sneak Previews” continued without them and never really clicked with me. Siskel and Ebert were it.
If they liked a movie, I was seeing it. That made for some odd requests from an 11-year old asking to go see “Halloween” or “My Dinner with Andre”.
The early 1990s were a good time to do husband and wife thrillers, and “Malice” is just about the best. Coming of his hit play-turned-movie “A Few Good Men”, Aaron Sorkin pens this story of intrigue, after which he veered off into politics with “The American President”, “The West Wing” and “Charlie Wilson’s War.”
This is one of those films that you’d think would have a pretty select audience. I grew up with and around Italians in Philadelphia where every discussion was at a dinner table, everything was debated at a higher decibel level than average, and someone was making some kind of gravy (now known as sauce) or an egg fried in the middle of a slice of Italian bread.