What is Wrong the Brewers? That's what we began asking right about this time last season.
Holy Cow! A year later they have 8 straight wins and rolling back into Milwaukee after a road trip that has seen them score runs in bunches, HRs, 99 hits, almost mistake-free ball and solid pitching! Sweep back to back series.
Funny and odd that it was a year ago that they began their historic tailspin and now this year they are climbing back out of that losing whirlpool.
Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" thread, for the week of July 6-12, 2015. We have a set of films spanning over 100 years this week, which I know will get all of you excited. There's also a new Star of the Month showing up, and more of the regular features you all know and love. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
Those of you who like shorts are in luck. We've got two blocks of them this week. The first one will be part of TCM's Silent Sunday Nights, which this week sees a look at the Thanhouser Studio. Thanhouser was a New York-based company that made films in the 1910s, which in many ways was a turbulent era for the business of moviemaking. The business had started in New Jersey because that's where Thomas Edison was based. But since the amount of light needed to make movies meant outdoor filming was best, moviemaking at the time was really better suited to a climate that had lots of sun and open space, which is why the moviemakers eventually moved out to California. There was also a patent dispute with Edison on one side and a bunch of competing moviemakers on the other. So Silent Sunday Nights starts off with a documentary at midnight tonight (ie. between Sunday and Monday; that's 11:00 PM this evening out at Lambeau) about the Thanhouser Studio and its place in the movie business of the 1910s, followed by three of the studio's shorts. I know how much you all like 100 year old movies.
Now that we're in the first full week of July, we get another Star of the Month on TCM. This time, it's Shirley Temple, who became a big child star in the 1930s playing characters with boundless optimism, something that was just right for Depression-era audiences. Temple's movies will be airing every Monday in July on TCM. This week includes Poor Little Rich Girl, at 2:00 AM Tuesday. This is a loose remake of the Mary Pickford movie, although it opens the action up quite a bit to showcase Shirley's talents. Here she plays the daughter of a widower soap magnate. Because her dad is rich, she's cared for in every way, except for the normal emotional needs a seven-year-old girl has, wanting companionship and kids her own age to play with. So when her nanny gets struck by a car at Grand Central Station, Shirley takes off, claiming to be an orphan eventually winding up with a couple of struggling dancers (Alice Faye and Jack Haley). Her spunk leads the three of them to getting a job on a radio show, where they come to her dad's attention. The problem is, the show is sponsored by a rival soap company. Shirley saves the day, and even helps dad find love again in the form of Gloria Stuart, playing an adwoman for the rival soap company.
A few hours later, TCM will start running a bunch of early Technicolor movies on Tuesday morning and afternoon. The day kicks off at 6:00 AM with the earliest surviving Technicolor movie, Toll of the Sea, at 6:00 AM. Anna May Wong plays Lotus Flower, a chinese woman living in a seaside town. One day, she finds American Allen Carver (Kenneth Harlan) washed up along the coast. She rescues him and the two fall in love despite being from different races and cultures. They get married, but Allen's white friends start to tell him there's no way bringing Lotus Flower back to America would work. Allen eventually believes them and goes back to America alone. Some time later, he returns with a new wife. Oops. Further complicating matters for Lotus Flower is that she bore a child by Allen. You'd think that because a movie is a technical first, it might not be memorable on its own merits, but Anna May Wong is good here and the movie holds up fairly well. The finale is a recreation of lost footage, filmed in the 1980s using a vintage two-strip Technicolor camera.
Up against Toll of the Sea, over on Encore Westerns, you can find Fort Worth, at 6:35 AM Tuesday. Randolph Scott stars as Ned Britt, who at the start of the movie is heading south from Kansas to San Antonio in the years just after the Civil War to start a new newspaper in the Britt chain. Along the way, however, a member of Britt's wagon train gets trampled by a cattle stampede, which leads to Britt stopping and setting up shop in Fort Worth. It turns out he has a past there, as in a former life he was a gunfighter who wants to renounce that past for the freedom of the press. However, forces are conspiring against Britt. Clevenger (Ray Teal), whose gang was responsible for that cattle stampede, seems to be trying to drive everybody out of town, while Britt's old friend Blair (David Brian) may or may not be in on the plot. Further complicating things is the presence of Flora (Phyllis Thaxter), who winds up in a love triangle between Britt and Blair.
Over on FXM Retro, you have another couple of chances to catch a Best Picture Oscar winner: How Green Was My Valley is airing at and . Young Roddy McDowall plays young Huw Morgan, the youngest child in a family in a mining couuminty in a Welsh valley. Adult Huw (voiced by Irving Pichel) looks back on that life and how there was a lot of love even if life turned out to be terribly difficult and it was the sort of place people wanted to escape from. Donald Crisp won a Supporting Actor Oscar as Huw's father; Maureen O'Hara was his oldest sister; Walter Pidgeon played the village's new minister with whom Maureen O'Hara falls in love, but who cannot reciprocate because a minister can't give her the kind of life she deserves. It's partly episodic, but as disaster hits the village, Huw is forced to grow up early. This beat out Citizen Kane for Best Picture, and as with Citizen Kane's portrayal of Marion Davies, this leads some people to give How Green Was My Valley less credit than it deserves. It's a wonderful piece of storytelling and filmmaking.
TCM will be honoring British acting patriarch Michael Redgrave (father of Lynn, Vanessa, and Colin) with several of his films on Thursday morning and afternoon even though his birthday was in March. One of his movies that I don't think I've recommended before is Time Without Pity, at 10:00 AM Thursday. Redgrave plays David Graham, a man with a lot of problems in his life. First, he's an alcolohic, and he's just gotten out from an extended stay at a sanitarium. Second, his son Alec (Alec McCowen) is going to be executed for a murder that he didn't commit, and that execution is coming up mighty soon. So Dad tries to prove his son's innocence (we know the son is in fact innocent) and find the guilty party. But of course, time is running out, as portrayed by all those clocks the way we saw in High Noon a few years earlier. And what does Stanford (Leo McKern) know about the murder? Watch for Peter Cushing, frequent costar with the recently deceased Christopher Lee, in a non-horror role, as well as future Miss Moneypenny Lois Maxwell and a young Joan Plowright.
TCM is running a bunch of cheese B science fiction movies in the Thursday night lineup. One of them is a British movie, and it's a doozy: They Came From Beyond Space, at 3:45 AM Friday. Robert Hutton stars as Dr. Temple, who's leading a group of scientists interested in the possibility of life in outer space. They're particularly intersted in a meteor shower in the English countryside, since the meteorites landed in what looks like a geometric formation, which of course implies intelligence. So the scientists go to investigat, but Dr. Temple begins to find that he's being stymied by his colleagues at every turn. Eventually, he reaches the conclusion that this alien intelligence is incorporeal, and taking over the minds of people for their own ends. They can't take over Temple's mind because he was in a car accident in the past and wound up with a steel plate in his head as a result. The idea is actually good, but the execution, involving what looks like a colander and bad fight sequences, makes the movie a bit hilarious.
Last Friday, I recommended the Charles McGraw noir The Threat. This week, I'm recommending him in Armored Car Robbery, which you can catch at 12:15 PM Friday. In some ways there's not much to this little movie. A gang of thieves led by William Talman (later prosecutor Hamilton Burger on TV's Perry Mason) robs an armored car in Los Angeles, although a cop and one of the robbers get shot during the hold-up. So the LA detectives, led by McGraw, investigate. In theory, that's all there is to it, but with a movie like this it's about the characters and the atmospher, and director Richard Fleischer, who would also do The Narrow Margin with McGraw, does a great job at providing atmosphere of the seamier side of Los Angeles here. McGraw and Talman are both also quite good.
It's retro in a different way, but FXM Retro is listing the three-year-old movie Hitchcock on the schedule for 3:00 AM Saturday. This film purports to look at what went on behind the scenes with the making of one of Hitchcock's best known movies, Psycho. Hitchcock, played here by Anthony Hopkins, is presented as needing another hit (despite just having had a string of them), and when he finds Robert Bloch's story based on Ed Gein, that's the one he wants to turn into a film. Meanwhile, Hitchcock has a rough patch in his relationship with his wife and screenwriting collaborator Alma Reville (Helen Mirren), who is presented as the real brain behind the Hitchcock magic. Alma is seeing somebody on the side, and Hitch of course has the obsession with those blondes: Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) had worked with him before, so she warns Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson) about the director's tendencies. Let's just say it's not an easy shoot, at least the way the movie presents it.
William Powell was a big star at MGM in the 1930s, but he was loaned out to Fox for The Baroness and the Butler, which TCM will be showing at 12:15 AM Sunday. The Baroness is played by Annabelle, who was brought over from Europe by David Zanuck to be the next big foreign star. The butler, Porok, is played by Powell. He works for the Baroness' parents, which is to become a source of conflict. The father, Henry Stephenson, is the Prime Minister, but in the most recent election, Porok was elected to parliament as a back-bencher -- for the opposition party! And Porok also wants to remain butler! As if any of this could happen in real life. Of course, the Baroness falls in love with the butler, which causes all sorts of problems because it's not Dad who is the Baron; she's married to the Baron (Joseph Schildkraut). He's perfectly willing to use his wife's feelings for the butler for his own ends. This is all a relatively light comedy, however.
I mentioned at the beginning that we get two blocks of shorts. The second one concludes the week, and is part of the summer Movie Camp series that has replaced Essentials Jr.. Unfortunately, TCM when it runs a block of shorts puts a bunch of shorts listed as all starting at the same time (say, three shorts all begin at 8:00 in a half hour block as with the Disney cartoons last week), so it's difficult to figure out exactly when each short will be airing. In the 8:00 block will be The Big Dog House, which is one of the "Dogville" shorts of 1930-31 in which MGM parodied some popular movies of the day using all-dog casts. This one looks at prison movies like The Big House. In the 10:00 block, you can find Quicker 'n a Wink, in which Pete Smith looks at Harold Edgerton, the man who invented the stroboscope that allowed for high-speed photography of things like cats lapping up milk or bullets shooting through balloons.
While we all knew last year's Packer team was the healthiest we've seen of the MM era, seeing that they jumped from 31 to 3 is pretty staggering.
What makes this ranking so interesting is that last year is the first in which MM jumped on the sports science bandwagon. He even took some ideas directly from Philly, including the shakeup to the practice week structure.
Is this health sustainable given the team's new approach? It just might be. It can't be entirely written off as coincidence that the face of the new school tops this list while the stubbornly old-school Coughlin finished 32 in back to back years.
There's actually quite a bit of consistency throughout the list. 17 of the teams finished within 5 spots of their previous season rankings.
As long as hitting is still legal, contact injuries will still have the final say on health. All of the smoothies in the world wouldn't have prevented the injuries to Cobb and Rodgers that almost derailed the 2013 season. But we saw firsthand the dramatic drop in "preventable" injuries that have always plagued the Pack before 2014. Words like "hamstring," "pull" and "strain" were all but removed from the injury report, and this admittedly small sample size suggests they might stay a thing of the past.
This is a HUGE signing for Milwaukee. Now they have a true scorer in the low post, and a phenomenal rebounder. The guy can pass, and plays far better defense than has been advertised around the media outlets.
Now we have a starting Center! 16 ppg, 10 TRB, 2 AST - 20ppg 13TRB when at Center last year.
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