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Welcome to another house arrest version of Fedya's “Movies to Tivo” thread, for the week of March 30-April 5, 2020. With a lot of time on your hands, there are a lot of interesting movies out there. One thing this week is that there is no TCM Star of the Month, because the March star was on Wednesday nights and the April star doesn't begin until next week. But there's a lot of good stuff on TCM and various other channels anyway, and I've used my good taste to select several for you. As always, all times are in Eastern unless otherwise mentioned, which is important to note this week because I picked a movie that begins at midnight ET.

 

We get one more Monday of movies at sea on TCM, including one that might sound similar but I don't think I've mentioned in a long time, Three Daring Daughters at 10:45 AM. Jeannette McDonald plays Louise Morgan. a divorcée with three daughters who is also an overworked magazine editor. It's gotten to the point that Louise's doctor orders her to take a vacation, which she does by going on a cruise to Cuba, where she meets pianist José Iturbi, who is played by the famous pianist José Iturbi. Meanwhile, the three daughters, led by Tess (Jane Powell), believe the lies their mother told them about Dad actually being a good guy foreign correspondent who was away all the time, and think that if Dad can return home, Mom will be happy again. So they go to his boss Nelson (Edward Arnold) to find out what's going on, and them Mom returns home with José, with whom she's now in love although she's playing hard to get with José. Can everybody (well, except for the unseen dad) overcome their differences and live happily ever after? Yes, with a bunch of songs thrown in.

 

Up against Three Daring Daughters is a movie that has been in the FXM rotation for a couple of months now: French Connection II, at 9:45 AM Monday. As you may recall from the original French Connection, drug dealer Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey) was able to get away from the confrontation with New York police, and make it back to his native Marseilles, France. He's still distributing to America, so the Americans send Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) over to Marseilles, even though he doesn't speak French, as he's the only one who can actually identify Charnier and isn't corrupt. (no mention of what happened to Doyle's partner Russo; Roy Scheider is not in the movie). Doyle is to work with Henri Barthélémy (Bernard Fresson), with Barthélémy being strictly in charge. Of course, the two wind up clashing all the time. Further complicating matters is that Charnier's men capture Popeye, holding him captive long enough and injecting him with enough heroin that he's going to go through withdrawal before the cops can get to the final showdown. Not bad, but not quite as good as the original.

 

TCM's Tuesday night lineup is a night of movies looking at suffragettes. Among the movies is what appears to be the TCM premiere of The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, at 8:00 PM. Betty Grable plays Miss Pilgrim, a woman in late 19th century Boston who has just graduated business school as a stenographer, which really means that she's going to be using the new technology of the typewriter. At that time, all the clerks were still men, so when she goes to work at a Boston shipping company, everybody is, well, shocked. But of course since this is Betty Grable everybody winds up liking her, especially her boss John Pritchard (Dick Haymes), who winds up falling in love with her. They could get married, but the women in the suffrage movement want her to be a role model considering the trail she's blazed. She's somewhat open to the idea, but that doesn't make John happy since he wants her to settle down. The movie has a score of lesser George and Ira Gershwin songs.

 

How would you like to see Leslie Nielsen in a western? You've got a chance to do just that this week, if you watch Gunfight in Abilene at 5:05 AM Wednesday on StarzEncore Westerns. Nielsen is the co-star here, the actual star being singer Bobby Darin who made a fair number of movies. Darin plays Cal Wayne, who went off to fight in the Civil War and accidentally shot his best friend Evers to death. Nielsen plays the dead Evers' brother Grant, and when Cal returns home from the war, he finds that Grant has fallen in love with Cal's old girlfriend Amy (Emily Banks). Cal feels so guilty about having killed Grant's brother that he's willing to give up Amy and not carry a gun any more. But as in so many westerns, there's also a range war going on between the ranchers and the settlers flowing in, and the town needs a marshal. Evers impresses on a very reluctant Cal that perhaps he should take on the job of marshal, which Cal does, leading to the ultimate showdown.

 

Wednesday is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, who made a bunch of movies with famed director Akira Kurosawa. TCM is showing Mifune's movies all day and night Wednesday, starting at 6:00 AM with Drunken Angel. Mifune does not play the title role; that goes to Takashi Shimura as Dr. Sanada, an alcoholic doctor in a small Japanese town just after World War II. Mifune plays Matsunaga, the interim head of the local yakuza, who has been in charge because his boss was in prison and because of the disruptions from the war. Matsunaga got shot and goes to Sanada for treatment, but Sanada quickly diagnoses that Matsunaga has a much bigger problem in a raging case of tuberculosis that needs treatment. So the good doctor starts treating the gangster, and the two form an uneasy, dysfunctional friendship. But things get complicated when Matsunaga's old boss Okada gets out of prison and clearly wants his old authority back.

 

One of the TCM spotlights in April is on New York City in the 1970s. It'll be on every Thursday in April (well, one Thursday is getting preempted). Among the movies this Thursday is Klute, at midnight Friday (ie. 11:00 PM Thursday LFT). Donald Sutherland plays John Klute, a detective in Pennsylvania who is approached by executive Peter Cable (Charles Cioffi) for help in a case. Apparently, Cable's colleague Tom Gruneman has disappeared, and the only evidence they can find is of a letter Tom wrote addressed to Bree Daniels (Jane Fonda), a prostitute in New York; further evidence reveals Tom has been going back and forth to New York to see Bree. So Klute goes to New York to try to find Tom, seeing Bree since that's the obvious first place to start. Bree isn't prepared to help Klute at first but eventually does, in part because as Klute investigates people around Bree start being in terrible danger. Bree also begins to develop feelings for Klute, which she isn't at all certain she wants.

 

For a different sort of crime movie, you could watch Problem Child, on StarzEncore Classics at 9:04 AM Friday. John Ritter and Amy Yasbeck are Ben and Flo Healey, a couple with problems in that Ben's father won't let him inherit the family business, while both spouses are infertile. So they meet adoption agent Mr. Peabody (Gilbert Gottfried). Peabody gets them to adopt Junior (Michael Oliver), a 7-year-old “problem child” who is a little hell raiser, causing all sorts of problems with his terrible behavior. Worse, he's been pen pals with Martin Beck (Michael Richards), a serial killer trying to break out of prison. Martin, known as the “Bow Tie killer”, eventually does get out of prison and, thinking that “Junior” is an adult and fellow prisoner, decides to seek out Junior, who is of course just a kid and hadn't told the parents about Martin, now lying that Martin is in fact his uncle. Martin takes Flo and Junior hostage and Ben might finally have a chance to redeem himself.

 

If you liked Three Daring Daughters, you might be interested in a movie with some similar themes presented very differently, Father Is a Bachelor, at 11:45 PM Friday on TCM. William Holden plays the father/bachelor here, a man named Johnny Rutledge working in a turn-of-the-century medicine show with the “Professor” (Charles Winninger). When the Professor is arrested, Johnny has to settle down, and finds a cabin out in the middle of nowhere. Except that there are five orphaned children living in the cabin. In fact, they've been orphaned for some time, but don't want the local school teacher Miss Millett (Coleen Gray) to know because that would mean the breakup of the siblings. So Johnny agrees to let the kids pass him off as their uncle because it's convenient in keeping him from getting arrested along with the professor. But you know he's going to start to fit in in the small town, especially as he begins to fall for Millett, and the dilemma will come when the Professor gets out of jail. This was Holden's last movie before Sunset Blvd. made him a big star.

 

TCM is doing a spotlight on director Peter Bogdanovich on three of the four Saturday nights in April, showing a pair of his films before Noir Alley. This first Saturday kicks off with his first feature film, Targets, at 8:00 PM. Boris Karloff plays Orlok, a horror actor who has just completed what he says is going to be his final movie. He doesn't even want to attend a special screening of it at a local drive-in. Meanwhile, Bobby (Tim O'Kelly) buys a high-power sniper's rifle, with the scenes edited in such a way that you expect Bobby to shoot Orlok. However, that's not what happens. Bobby goes home, shoots up his family, and then goes out in public to an oil tank at an industrial site from which he starts shooting people in the cars on the streets below. Eventually the authorities arrive, but Bobby is able to get away to… the drive-in theater where that showing of one of Orlok's movies is going to take place. This might be Orlok's chance at one final act. This was Karloff's final American movie, although a few quickies he made in Mexico would be released after his death.

 

We'll conclude with one more 1990s movie, In the Line of Fire, which is going to be on several times, including at 1:35 AM Sunday on StarzEncore Action. Clint Eastwood plays Horrigan, a career Secret Service agent who was assigned a security detail in Dallas in November 1963; if you know your history you know that means the assassination of President Kennedy. So Horrigan has been feeling guilt over having been unable to prevent that killing. Thirty years on, and the current president (Jim Curley) is running for reelection. There's an ex-CIA agent, Mitch Leary (John Malkovich), who got fired from the agency and is convinced that the CIA is trying to kill him. So he's plotting to kill the president, and rather stupidly doesn't keep it a secret, instead sending death threats and beginning to taunt Horrigan over it once Horrigan gets assigned to the case. Leary is able to kill one of Horrigan's Secret Service colleagues, but will he be able to get the president? Watch also for Fred Thompson just before he left acting to go back into politics.

So, while it's easy to bitch about everything going on right now, and there's more than enough people deserving of your wrath... Have you found any positives with this situation. Better/improved relationships with loved ones? Taking up a hobby/craft/etc? Learn an Instrument?

I think the biggest one I've found has to do with cooking.  When we realized that we should be avoiding large groups, and assuming a shelter in place was eventually going to happen, we took inventory of all the stuff we have in the freezer in the garage, like literally wrote it down so we know what we have/don't have.  So much stuff that we end up throwing in there and forget about and being "oh that chicken is frozen, we'll just go buy some fresh" etc. Over the past two weeks we've taken the proteins, veggies, etc that we have out there and planned ahead and made some really nice meals out of them. For example.

At Thanksgiving, I cook all the various sections of the turkey at different temps/times so we can have breasts that aren't dry as hell, and thighs that aren't going to kill us. And, for whatever reason, we never eat the legs the day of, and always seem to end up freezing the legs, thinking we'll use them "some time".  Well, now is "some time" with all that stuff. So yesterday morning I took 4 legs from the past 2 years of Thanksgiving, threw them in the sous vide for 24 hours, shredded them up, roasted the bones under the broiler over lunch, and am now making a stock as we speak for turkey rice soup tonight using up whatever veggies we close done with...

So, doing a better job on tracking what we have and using it, instead of defaulting to the easy "meh, I'll just go to the store and find something" or "let's just go out"  Better use of what we have, better meal planning, and I love cooking, so it's been really nice.  

Have there been any unexpected side benefits of this for you?

 seedlings?

All the tomatoes have germinated and are showing their first vegetative leaves. I even planted some 5 year old seeds, just to see what happens. About half have sprouted, though I doubt I'll be able to give all of them away.

Serranos still haven't showed. Poblanos were old seeds so I don't expect much. I tried some from a grocery purchase but again, not much hope.

Impatiens, coleus, gazania sprouted well so my bedding annuals (my 'pot' plants) are set. I planted a bunch of coneflower that haven't sprouted yet but they're perennials so I'm gonna be patient with those.

4 straight days in the 50's predicted. There's hope for spring yet.

Tulips and daffodils showing leaves but no bloom yet.

 

 

Lord knows we need some diversions...

My daughter and son-in-law gifted me a very cool 60th birthday present: A compilation of Packer articles that appeared in the New York Times going back to the late 20's.

A fun read (it came with a magnifying glass) on Packer history, as well as the journalistic styles of long ago. I was struck by one thing in particular, the mention of the term "Super Bowl". 

Hasn't the narrative always been that the game was not even called that until at least the 2nd Super Bowl vs the Raiders? The stories I have, show many mentions of the term even before the game.

Super Bowl

The Big Ten dominates ESPN Way Too Early Top 25.   #7 is Iowa, #9 Michigan State, #13 Ohio State, #15 Wisconsin, and #19 Michigan.   Re-markedly absent, to me anyway is Maryland and Penn State.  Did they both lose that much to graduation? 

Welcome to another edition of Fedya's "Movies to Tivo" Thread, for the week of March 23-29, 2020.  I hope that you're not stuck inside due to government edict and are in a place where society isn't panicking for no good reason and trying to create a worldwide bankruptcy.  We can't rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic since it already sank, but we can watch some good movies instead.  There's a lot of interesting stuff on TV this week, and I've used my good taste to select some of them for you.  As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.

 

We'll start off with this week's TCM Import, Death of a Cyclist, at 2:00 AM Monday. Juan (Alberto Closas) is a university professor who isn't particularly happy with his job or life. He's having an affair with Maria José (Lucia Bose), a wealthy woman who's got a husband. They've been having trysts well away from their university town. Unfortunately for them, on the way back from one of those meetings they run into a cyclist, killing him. It's an accident, except that if they were to go to the police to report it, the affair that they've been having would become public, which is the last thing they want. So they leave him to die. It doesn't help that Maria cares as much about her place in society, having married up, as she does about Juan, or about what's right. Juan, for his part, has a conscience, and that may just bring matters to a head. There's also the issue of Rafael, a student who seems to know that Juan and Maria have some sort of secret between them. It's somewhat amazing that this got made in Franco's Spain considering the social commentary it's making.

 

A movie that showed up recently in the FXM rotation is Peeper. It's going to be on again this week, at 3:00 AM Tuesday. Michael Caine plays the titular “peeper”, a private eye named Tucker who's left Britain after World War II and wound up in 1947 Los Angeles. One day, into his office comes Anglich (Michael Constantine). His story is that he knocked a woman up 30 years ago and the child was given up for adoption, whereupon he left for Florida and made a fortune; now, he wants to do something for the daughter. Tucker's investigation leads to the wealthy Prendergast family, and the elder daughter Ellen (Natalie Wood). But as Tucker continues to investigate, there are goons trying to stop him, and perhaps Ellen isn't quite what she seems. Bodies start piling up, and Tucker is in danger. This one was designed as a spoof of the old 40s noirs, and everybody looks like they're having a lot of fun making it. But it's also rather convoluted.

 

I notice that my selections this week are skewing more recent, with most of it being from the 1950s and beyond. So I have to make note of the Tuesday night lineup on TCM. There's a recent documentary on Alice Guy-Blaché that's getting its premiere at 8:00 PM Tuesday, with a repeat at midnight Wednesday (ie. 11:00 PM Tuesday LFT). Guy-Blaché was a pioneering director, having made her first silent movie in 1896, working through the teens, an era when pretty much every director was a pioneer but especially a woman. Around the airings of the documentary there are a bunch of her movies, most of which are two-reelers. There's also the longer “epic” The Birth, Life, and Death of Christ, which tells the story of Jesus in about 20 chapters running an epic… 34 minutes! Well, that was quite long for 1906.

 

Earlier on Tuesday is one of the selections from the 1990s, Housesitter, at 5:40 PM on HBO Signature. Steve Martin plays Newton Davis, an architect in love with Becky (Dana Delany) to the point that he's designed and built a house just for her as a gift to propose to her. Becky, however rejects the proposal. A despondent Newton meets struggling waitress Gwen (Goldie Hawn) at a restaurant and tells her the story of that house and losing his girlfriend. Since Gwen is now in need of a house, she does some digging (pre-Internet), finds the house, and moves in, telling everybody that she's the girlfriend Newton was planning on getting married to! All of the townsfolk like her, and even Newton's parents do. But Newton still wants to reconcile with Becky, and trying to break off the relationship with his “wife” is going to be difficult since everybody thinks she's the right one for him, and even tries to prevent the two from breaking things off so Newton can marry Becky. Perhaps Gwen's lies are better for everybody than the truth.

 

TCM is running a day of Sterling Hayden movies on Thursday, which includes another airing of the worthy Suddenly, at 8:45 AM. Hayden plays Tod Shaw, sheriff of the town of Suddenly, CA. He's courting Ellen Benson (Nancy Gates), a widow living with her father (James Gleason) and son. Their house overlooks the local train station. This is important because word transpires that the President is going to be getting off a train at the station so he can continue on to the middle of nowhere for a fishing trip. This is supposed to be highly secret, with Tod making certain everything remains secret and secure. But, of course, the bad guys have already heard about the President's plans, and they send John Baron (Frank Sinatra) to Suddenly as a hired assassin to scope out the town and figure out how to kill the President. The obvious solution is to commandeer the Benson house and use it as a sniper's nest to shoot the President, so Baron and his men invade and hold the Bensons hostage until that train comes. Can Tod stop them?

 

Up against Suddenly is Column South, over on StarzEncore Westerns at 9:20 AM Thursday. This one sounds like I might have posted about it here before, but a search of the site says no, I haven't. This is another Audie Murphy western, with a theme similar to to some of his other westerns. Murphy plays Lt. Sayre, who's stationed with the cavalry at Ft. Union out in the New Mexico territory in the era just before the Civil War. There are Navajo out there, and as with the Apache later in Arizona, there were attacks on incoming settlers. But he still has a more realistic view of the Navajo than Capt. Whitlock (Robert Sterling), who has only recently showed up at the fort. After a settler gets killed and the Navajo are accused, Lt. Sayre believes that the Navajo weren't responsible for this attack, but Whitlock seems to have his own motivations for going after the Navajo, which might have something to do with the fact that he's a southerner and there's all that tension between the North and South back east. Joan Evans plays Capt. Whitlock's sister who becomes Lt. Sayre's love interest.

 

Thursday night on TCM brings another night of movies looking at the portrayal of blacks on film. One of the movies that I've never mentioned before is Nothing But a Man, at 11:30 PM Thursday. Ivan Dixon plays Duff, a man who's been working on a railway construction crew, moving from place to place in the South as the railroad rebuilds various lines. In one town, he meets teacher Josie (Abbey Lincoln), daughter of the local minister. The two fall in love even though her dad thinks she needs somebody with better prospects in life, especially when it turns out that Duff already fathered a child by another woman who migrated north with a different man and without the child. That, and Duff has an alcoholic father. But Duff and Josie get married, and Josie even gets pregnant. But Duff's attempts to provide for Josie are fraught with difficulties, as there's no work as good as the itinerant railroad work and there's the omnipresent racism too. Perhaps they should go north as well?

 

If you want to have fun watching a really bad movie, you could do a lot worse than to catch The Brain That Wouldn't Die, which you can see at noon Friday on TCM. Jason Evers plays Dr. Bill Cortner, who's been doing some experimental work in organ transplantation. He's about to take his girlfriend Jan (Virginia Leith) for a weekend getaway, but unfortunately they get in a car accident that leaves poor Jan decapitated. However, Bill has a great idea. He can continue work on his experiments by keeping Jan's disembodied head alive in an out-of-the-way laboratory while he finds a suitable body for the first head transplant. Of course, this means that he's going to have to find a body, and he has some very specific ideas about what sort of body he wants as he goes to strip clubs looking for just the right body. Then there are the problems of the woman in question not wanting to donate her body to science, while Jan is growing increasingly snarky toward Bill. And there's a locked door in the laboratory with something behind it – and Jan seems to have a psychic connection with whatever is behind that door. Tremedously tacky, but so much fun.

 

I was actually in a movie theater at the beginning of the year to watch a current movie. One of the previews was for a new version of The Invisible Man, and watching the trailer made me think, “Blithe Spirit meets Sleeping With the Enemy”. The latter movie is on this week, at 9:24 AM Saturday on StarzEncore Classics. Julia Roberts plays Laura, a housewife living what looks like a great life out on Cape Cod with her wealthy husband Martin (Patrick Bergin). The only thing is, he beats the crap out of her and is utterly controlling. So she finally decides to take matters into her own hands and fake her death in a boating accident a la Natalie Wood, swimming to shore and escaping west to Iowa, where she's moved her nursing home-bound mother. She gets a nice house in a small town and even has a nice neighbor in Ben (Kevin Anderson) whom she might be able to love if she can get over the psychological scars of having lived with Martin. Martin, for his part, receives information that Laura didn't actually die, so he starts looking for her, and you just know he's going to show up in the final reel.

 

I have a feeling that I've recommended the movie Countdown before, but I can't remember the last time I did. It's going to be on TCM again this Saturday at 4:00 PM. It's the late 1960s, and NASA has been running the Apollo program to get to the moon; Chiz (Robert Duvall) is one of the mission commanders. However, one of the training exercises is cut short when news is released that the Soviets have a manned mission to the moon set to go in a couple of weeks. Apollo can't ramp up that fast, but fortunately NASA has had a secret emergency program prepared, called Pilgrim. This would allow for one astronaut to go up with a previously-launched shelter pod, find that pod once he lands on the moon, and then wait several weeks for Apollo to send a full crew. It's audacious, and matters are made worse when the Soviets launch a civilian into space. Chiz would have been the perfect person to go to the moon, but now NASA feel they need to send a civilian, so they pick NASA geologist Lee Stegler (James Caan). Will he be able to get to the moon safely and find the shelter? And will they beat the Soviets?

 

We have one feature from before 1950 this week, and that's Biography of a Bachelor Girl, which will be on TCM at 6:00 AM Sunday. Ann Harding plays the bachelor girl, an artist named Marion who is more famous for being famous and is returning from Europe. Magazine editor Dick Kurt (Robert Montgomery with odd glasses) thinks that a serialized version of her life story would sell well, so he's trying to buy the rights before anybody else can. He runs into Bunny Nolan (Edward Everett Horton), who is running for US Senator and engaged to the daughter (Una Merkel) of a newspaper publisher. He sees Marion and realizes that both of them are from the same home town and had a relationship before either of them became famous. And, if Marion were to publish that biography, it might sink Nolan's electoral chances. So he's trying to impress on Marion and Kurt not to publish the story. Edward Arnold shows up as an Austrian but disappears from the story for no good reason.

I know there’s a lot of talk about a cancelled season- but I don’t buy that for a second. The NBA was already thinking about pushing the season from DEC-AUG anyway- this may be exactly what they can use to push that. So I think they play. I have no interest in being the ‘94 Expos. 

So this down time is interesting. The Bucks are the oldest team in the NBA- 3-4 weeks out gives these guys a chance to heal, recharge, and come back fresh for a run at the Title. Matthews was dragging out there- that why his shooting was so bad. Brook Lopez was dealing with a sore back. Middleton didn’t look right. Bledsoe was having trouble holding onto the ball. They were showing signs of fatigue. 

So the team we saw in November- the one that went 15-1 for the month- could be what we see from here on. Here’s to hoping the season returns sooner rather than later. 

So I was reading about the ongoing trainwreck that is Chicago Bears FA and ran into a comment about Malort.  *Shiver*  Here's a breakdown and hilarity derived hence.

Things you didn't know (or want to know) about Malort

Fan slogans:

  • Malort, kick your mouth in the balls!
  • Malort, when you need to unfriend someone IN PERSON.
  • Malort, tonight's the night you fight your dad.
  • Malort, the Champagne of pain.
  • Malort, turning taste-buds into taste-foes for generations.
  • Drink Malort, it's easier than telling people you have nothing to live for.
  • Malort, what soap washes its mouth out with.
  • Malort, these pants aren't going to sh** themselves.
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