Welcome to another edition of Fedya’s “Movies to Tivo” Thread, for the week of September 2026, 2021. Apparently, the Packers must have lost since the last time I posted one of these, judging by the vitriol and bickering on the boards. I originally started these threads back during the disastrous 2005 season to give everybody something to take their mind off the woeful state of the Packers. With that in mind, we’re continuing this week with another set of movies. I’ve been moving forward with the times, and Blair Kiel will be happy to see that there are no 1930s movies this week, with the earliest thing being from the early 1940s. As always, all times are in Eastern, unless otherwise mentioned.
If you want a silly 1980s movie, you could do worse than to watch Critters, which will be on StarzEncore Classics at 4:58 PM Monday. The Browns: dad Jay (Billy Green Bush), mom Helen (Dee Wallace), and kids Brad and April, are a Kansas farming family who don’t realize just how much their lives are about to change. In outer space, a group of prisoners from an alien race called the Krites are in an asteroid-based prison, but are able to break out when they’re scheduled to be transported to another prison. They hijack a ship which, as you can probably guess, is going to take them to Earth and crash-land on the Brown family farm, which the Browns mistake for a meteorite because, well, who really believes in UFOs and alien abductions. Meanwhile, two alien bounty hunters who have the ability to shape-shift have been hired by the space warden to go find the Krites and bring them back, and they show up in the Browns’ home town, leaving a similar amount of havoc in their wake. A cult classic that spawned several sequels.
TCM is running a bunch of Shakespeare-themed movies on Tuesday morning and afternoon. These include Kiss Me Kate at 11:45 AM. Howard Keel, more talented than and no relation to Blair, plays Fred Graham, who’s got an idea for a great new play together with his friend Cole Porter (Ron Randell): Kiss Me Kate, a musical take on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. The only problem is that the actress who would be best for the Katherine role opposite Fred’s Petruchio is Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson), who just happens to be Fred’s ex-wife. Throw in an ingenue Fred is promoting, Lois (Ann Miller), whom Fred may love but who has another man pursuing her in Bill (Tommy Rall), and you’ve got all sorts of complications. Kathryn does agree to do the show, at least until she gets a bouquet from Fred that she thinks is to make up, but was actually intended for Lois. Meanwhile, Bill has gambling debts that he signed Fred’s name to, and a pair of gangsters (Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore) show up on opening night to collect.
I’ve mentioned quite a few Audie Murphy westerns over the years. Another actor who made a lot of westerns is Randolph Scott, and this week I’ll mention one of his westerns: Riding Shotgun, at 8:45 AM Wednesday on TCM. Scott plays Larry Delong, who has been pursuing outlaw Dan Marady (James Millican) for years by signing on with stagecoach companies and riding shotgun. Marady’s men trick Larry, waylay him, and leave him for dead while they go off and rob the stagecoach Larry was supposed to be riding shotgun on. The coach, with a dead driver, makes its way into town by sheer momentum, and Larry is an obvious suspect when he shows up even though we know he’s innocent. Worse, Larry knows that this was a ruse for the town to send out a posse so there would be fewer men in town when the Marady gang comes in and lays waste to the town. But since the townsfolk are threatening to string Larry up without benefit of a trial, there’s no way he can leave town to find Marady himself, or even get the people to believe what’s about to happen to them. Wayne Morris plays the sheriff’s deputy who’s the closest thing to a friend Larry has, while a young Charles Bronson (still using the name Charles Buchinsky) plays one of Marady’s henchmen.
For a more recent movie, here’s one from the 1990s: Malice, at 9:52 AM Thursday on Cinemax (and three hours later if you only have the west coast feed). Andy Safian (Bill Pullman) is a dean at a women’s college in the western half of Massachusetts, who has recently married one of his former students Tracy (Nicole Kidman). They’ve moved into a big old house that’s slightly above their financial means, but more on that later. More important is that there is a serial rapist on the loose, understandably leaving all of the students terrified. One of the rape victims is operated on by Dr. Jed Hill (Alec Baldwin), and Andy learns that he and Jed went to high school together. Andy and Tracy, needing some extra money, invite Jed to rent the third floor of their house, although they quickly find that they might have made a mistake. Worse, Jed might not be the best of doctors, and this could lead to Andy and Tracy’s lives being in danger.
Val Lewton produced a series of really interesting horror films at RKO in the early and mid-1940s, with Cat People being probably the best known of them. One that doesn’t show up so often is The Ghost Ship, but it’s got an airing this week at 7:30 AM Thursday. Tom Merriam plays Russell Wade, a sailor in the merchant marine who joins on with the crew of the Altair, which is captained by Will Stone (Richard Dix). Tom quickly discovers that things aren’t quite up to snuff on board, with one sailor getting crushed by the anchor chain, possibly deliberately. Tom tries to call a maritime board of inquiry, but none of the other sailors will back him up, leading Tom to quit the ship. But the other crewmen bring him back on board after a bar fight, and now Tom has to deal with the possibility that Capt. Stone is going insane, and that Stone has something to hold against him. If Stone murdered that other guy, what’s Stone going to do to Tom? And it’s not as if anybody else in the crew will lift a finger to help him.
Another new-to-me movie that started showing up on FXM recently is A Nice Little Bank that Should Be Robbed. It’s getting another airing this week, at 9:45 AM Friday. Tom Ewell plays Max, a mechanic who’s been engaged to Margie (Dina Merrill) for years but doesn’t have the money to marry her, wasting it on playing the horses along with his friend Gus (Mickey Rooney), who has dreams of becoming a horse trainer. Gus hears a news story that gives him an idea: they can get the money they need by robbing a bank! The robbery goes off without a hitch, and the two even buy a horse, but the horse gets disqualified in a race, leaving the two broke again. When another friend, Rocky (Mickey Shaughnessy) figures out they were the bank robbers, he gets in on the action, leading to the three trying to rob a second bank to solve their financial problems. Needless to say, it’s one bank too many, as the robbery doesn’t quite go to plan. There’s a reason I had never heard of this movie before.
TCM is running an evening of Marlon Brando movies on Friday. A search of the site suggests I haven’t mentioned The Fugitive Kind here before, so I’ll point out that it’s airing at 8:00 PM Friday. Brando plays Snakeskin Xavier, a drifter and musician who, having been kicked out of New Orleans, winds up in a small town in Mississippi. His intention is to try to start a new life by getting a job, but Vee Talbot (Maureen Stapleton), wife of the sheriff can only help him so much. There’s the immigrant Mrs. Torrance (Anna Magnani), who runs the general store that her now bedridden husband Jabe (Victor Jory) owns, however. Snakeskin has an effect on both of these women, as well as the licentious and unstable Carol Cutrere (Joanne Woodward). All three of the women develop feelings for Snakeskin, but a relationship with any of them could be disastrous. Of course, since all of this is based on a play by Tennessee Williams, you know that it’s going to be overheated and disastrous in the end.
Gregory Peck was a talented enough actor that he could play almost any genre. This includes horror, as you can see in The Omen, which will be on Epix at 12:50 PM Friday. Peck plays Robert Thorn, an American diplomat now stationed in London. Some years back, he was in Rome with his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) when she was pregnant. Unfortunately, the baby was stillborn, but there was another child whose single mother died in childhood, and the hospital lets the Thorns adopt that baby boy, Damien, not telling Katherine the truth. However, strange things start happening, first when a maid hangs herself and then when Damien starts having malevolent things happen around him. A priest approaches Mr. Thorn claiming to have been in Rome at the time of Damien’s birth and claims that Damien is really the anti-Christ, which Thorn obviously doesn’t believe. But a photographer has some photos with really odd photographic evidence. And then people related to the whole case start dying in really bizarre ways. But if Damien is the anti-Christ, what are the Thorns to do?
Joan Crawford went increasingly over the top, but in a fun way, after winning the Oscar for Mildred Pierce. A good example of this is the 1950 version of Harriet Craig, on TCM at 10:00 PM Saturday. Crawford plays Harriet, an upper-middle-class housewife married Walter (Wendell Corey). She keeps a perfect house and wants everybody in the community to think highly of her. So much so that she’s willing to go to great lengths to control the people around her to keep the perfect life she has. Walter is in line for a promotion at work, but unfortunately, the promotion would require a fair amount of business travel. So Harriet lies about her own husband to his boss so that he won’t get the promotion! Harriet also tries to keep her cousin Claire (K.T. Stevens) from getting married because of how it would leave Harriet alone. Eventually, however, Walter, who has heretofore always put his wife on a pedestal, begins to cotton on to how much of a manipulative blankety-blank he married and confronts her in a memorable scene involving a vase.
With football season here, it’s the perfect time to mention that Easy Livingis getting another airing. It’ll be on at 11:30 AM Sunday, so just before your Sunday football starts. Victor Mature plays Pete Wilson, the aging quarterback for the New York Chiefs, a professional football team. He’s getting near the end of his career, and that end is going to be hastened when he finds out from his doctor that he’s got a heart condition that could kill him before the CTE does. Moving on to the next part of his life is something he could do, but he’s got a grasping wife in Liza (Lizabeth Scott) who has glommed on to the fame and relative fortune in professional football and doesn’t want to lose that which is what she expects to happen once her husband retires. (What did she expect when she married him?) He’s got a friend Tim (Sonny Tufts) who is a college coach and could get Pete a good assistant coach’s job, but does Liza really want to be the wife of an assistant coach? Lloyd Nolan provides his usual excellent support as the owner of the Chiefs, with Lucille Ball showing she could do drama as the owner’s widowed daughter-in-law.