At this point, I'm just past expecting MM's unit to be anything special. It's really the same schit year in and year out. And before anyone says, "well, in today's NFL how much do ST's matter?"....Exhibit A:
Well, maybe his teams are special in another way, but you get what I mean.
Hayes and Showy really do play fantastic defense, but holy hell, are they bad on offense right now. Showy is throwing bad passes and Hayes is taking bad shots. If I see Hayes petition the refs again when he needs to get back on D, I might kick the neighbors dog. On the other hand, Charlie Thomas fails to play defense or be a factor on offense. Alex Ill has disappeared completely. And speaking of disappearing, where is Vito Brown at? Iverson never fails to give good effort, but that is it today.
Welcome to another edition of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” thread, for the week of February 20-26, 2017. We're in the tedious part of the college basketball schedule when Goldie complains that the NCAA isn't rating Wisconsin high enough, and the rest of us wait for the tournament to start. What better way to deal with that tedium than a bunch of good movies? Once again I've used my good taste to select a set of films I know you'll all like. And as always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
John Wayne had to toil in Hollywood for almost a decade before Stagecoach made him a star. A good example of the indignities he had to face can be seen in The Man From Utah, which will be on StarzEncore Westerns at 6:13 AM Monday. Wayne plays John Weston, a cowboy who's actually singing at the start of the movie! He winds up in a town with Marshal Higgins (George Hayes before he was Gabby) and foils a bank robbery, which makes the marshal decide that taking Weston on as an undercover deputy might be a good thing. What he really needs Weston for is to investigate the local rodeo. Apparently it's being run by a gang, and the gang is none too happy when anybody who isn't part of the gang wins at the rodeo, as a bunch of those winners wind up dead. Obviously, they're going to be out to kill Weston too. Wayne clearly had talent, but he got stuck in a lot of low-budget stuff like this in the 1930s
31 Days of Oscar on TCM means they're not giving us any movies older than 1927, but there is The Perils of Pauline, at 10:00 AM Monday. Astute readers may recognize this title as that of a popular mid-1910s serial, with Pauline constantly being in danger and saved just in the nick of time. The movie TCM is running is very loosely based on Pearl White, the actress who played Pauline in that serial. Betty Hutton plays Pearl White, starting off life working in a Brooklyn sweatshop and performing on stage on the side, where she's discovered by actor Michael Farrington (John Lund, not the most charismatic star out there). He offers her a job in his troupe, although he doesn't really like that she's more into comedy while he wants to do serious stuff. Eventually, Pearl's notoriety gets her to Hollywood, where her talents are more suited. (Of course, a lot of film production was still being done in New Jersey at the time.) Pearl and Michael fall in love along the way, although the real-life Pearl most definitely did not live happily ever after.
The same year Ginger Rogers was winning the Best Actress Oscar in Kitty Foyle, she was putting in just as good an appearance in Primrose Path, which TCM will be running at 8:45 AM Tuesday. Rogers plays Ellie Adams, the daughter in a family of prostitutes who has decided that she'd prefer it if she didn't have to live that kind of life. It doesn't help that in addition to a prostitute mother (Marjorie Rambeau) and grandmother (Queenie Vassar), she's got an alcoholic father (Miles Mander). And then one day while digging for clams on the beach, she runs into Ed (Joel McCrea). He's from the good side of town, and the two immediately fall in love. But Ellie feels she has to hide her family from Ed because there's no way he'd ever marry her. Of course, they do get married, and only after the marriage does Ed learn the truth about Ellie's family. This breaks up the marriage, but weren't the two actually in love with each other?
I see Silver Streak is on again this week, at 6:04 AM Wednesday on StarzEncore Classics. Gene Wilder plays George, a man on a train trip from Los Angeles to Chicago because he likes the leisurely pace and needs the time. On the train he meets Hilly (Jill Clayburgh), secretary to an art professor, and begins to fall in love with her. At night, George sees a body thrown off the train, and that body just happens to be Hilly's boss! Except that there's no other evidence than George's eyewitness account that there was a body thrown off the train. He was obviously right, however, because dark forces try to disrupt George's journey; obviously they're trying to destroy the evidence. And then it turns out that the professor might in fact be alive after all, shades of Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent here. Actually, there are a lot of shades of Hitchcock, which is one of the things that makes the movie so enjoyable. And then there's the brief appearance of Richard Pryor. Part of that memorable appearance has him putting Wilder in blackface so that Wilder can evade the police. (Wilder, of course, is a thoroughly unconvincing black man.)
Somerset Maugham wrote a popular story called “Miss Thompson” (aka “Rain”) that has been turned into a film a bunch of times. The first was Sadie Thompson, which will be on TCM at 5:00 AM Thursday. Gloria Swanson plays the title role, that of a woman of ill-repute who has fled the US to make a fresh start in life, and has so far made it to Pago Pago in Samoa. She's still got that old fire that could melt any man's heart, and that fire has done so to Marine Sgt. O'Hara (Raoul Walsh, better known as a director and directing himself here). But also showing up on the island is the missionary Rev. Davidson (Lionel Barrymore), with his wife (Blanche Friderici). He's determined to reform Sadie and get her to go back to America to face punishment for her crimes. That, and he doesn't want Sadie corrupting those pure Marines. Of course, Sadie's fire has an affect on Rev. Davidson, too…. This is a silent version of the movie; a few years later we'd get Joan Crawford doing the Sadie Thompson role as the movie was renamed “Rain”.
Remember Victor French from Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven? Ever thought of him in a blaxploitation film? About the closest you'll get is The House on Skull Mountain, which FXM Retro is running at 4:30 AM and 11:30 AM Tuesday. An elderly lady dies in one of those great old southern gothic mansions, and four of her great-grandchildren are invited to the house ostensibly for the reading of the will. But when they get there, they find that the house is a strange place, and the butler is even stranger. Violent things start happening to the four cousins, and eventually, with the help of French, who plays a professor of anthropology specializing in voodoo, the four conclude that the butler and his friends are partaking in voodoo rituals, with the four great-grandchildren as the intended victims! But why, and how to stop it? One of the cousins is played by Mike Evans, best known as the first actor to play son Lionel Jefferson on the long-running TV series The Jeffersons. That, and the creator of Good Times.
For those of you who like Star Trek movies, you're in luck, as probably the best of them is on this week: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, at 11:30 AM Friday on Showtime 2. Khan (Ricardo Montalbán), is a genetically-engineered superhuman from the 20th century who was revived from cryogenic stasis 15 years previously, and fought Kirk back then. For that, Khan and his crew were exiled to a garden planet. Only now it's no longer a garden planet and Khan is pissed. Meanwhile, Captain Kirk is relegated to teaching at Starfleet Academy. Until he takes the cadets for a training mission on the Enterprise and finds that Khan and company have escaped. Not only that, but they've taken over the top-secret Project Genesis. It's up to Kirk to stop Khan. But Khan is more than willing to inflict as much damage as he can on Kirk and his merry men as possible. The cast of the original TV series is all here, along with Montalbán and a young Kirstie Alley as Vulcan Lt. Saavik.
Another biographical movie running this week is The Spirit of St. Louis, which will be on TCM at 3:30 AM Saturday. Well-read posters will recognize that the title is the name of the airplane that Charles Lindbergh flew on his famous solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic. Unsurprisingly, then, this movie is the story of that flight. Lindbergh, played here by James Stewart who was really too old for the role but is a good enough actor that that's beside the point, started off as a mail pilot, trying to raise the money to buy a plane to make the transatlantic attempt. Obviously he does raise that money, but the flight still isn't going to be easy. There are serious weight issues, considering how much fuel is necessary to make the flight, and whether that means the plane will even be able to take off. And then once the plane actually does make it into the air, the flight still isn't easy. There's weather, and the general fatigue of such a long flight. The story here has Lindbergh flashing back to points earlier in his life during the flight.
I've been recommending a lot of Alfred Hitchcock movies during 31 Days of Oscar. This week, the Hitchcock movie I'll recommend is Strangers on a Train, which you can see at 4:00 PM Saturday on TCM. Farley Granger plays Guy Haines, a tennis player in love with Anne, a Senator's daughter (Ruth Roman), but who can't marry her because he's already married and his wife won't grant him a divorce. On a train to Washington, he meets Bruno Antony (Robert Walker). Bruno admires Guy and realizes they have something in common. Guy's life would be easier if Mrs. Haines died, while Bruno has an overbearing father who would be better off dead. So Bruno has a bizarre idea: he'll kill Mrs. Haines, and Guy can kill Bruno's father in return! Guy laughs it off as bizarre, but sure enough Bruno kills Guy's wife leaving Guy no alibi, and then Bruno expects Guy to kill Bruno's father. It's filled with wonderful photography (watch the tennis match) and a truly disturbing antagonist in Bruno. Even will all this I think it's still underrated among Hitchcock's work, that's how good he is.
I didn't realize Them! was nominated for an Oscar. But it was, so TCM can show it during 31 Days of Oscar, and they're doing just that at 3:45 PM Sunday. Deaths are taking place out in the desert of New Mexico, and nobody can quite figure out why until in one case a little girl survives, but catatonic. Scientists are brought in, and Dr. Harold Medford (Edmund Gwenn) is able to figure out when he puts a bottle of formic acid under the girl's nose and she starts screaming “Them!” Formic acid means ants, and when the scientists research, they discover that nuclear testing has led to the ants mutating and becoming giant monsters. Worse, the queen is about to take flight, which means we're going to get giant ants elsewhere in the US. (Well, in reality, a queen ant wouldn't be able to fly with that much exoskeleton. The ants would have been crushed under their own weight long before the action in the movie.) So Medford goes with his daughter Patricia (Joan Weldon) and an FBI agent (James Arness) to Los Angeles to deal with the ant migration. Sure they didn't have as advanced special effects back in the 1950s, but they knew how to tell stories.
Shot in the dark here, but anybody interested in joining a Fantasy Baseball league up here in the Twin Cities? I mentioned Twin Cities because the draft in 'in person.' All other correspondence can be done online. Bawk!
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