Risky Business (1983)

DailyView: Day 89, Movie 153

One of the earliest movies in the Tom Cruise filmography is the teen coming of age/sex movie Risky Business, directed by Paul Brickman. This is the next film in the DailyView binge.

With his parents are away for the weekend, Joel (Tom Cruise) decided that he would have some fun. Contacting a call girl Lana (Rebecca De Mornay), Joel found himself in all kinds of trouble.

More mature and deep than American Pie or Porky’s, Risky Business is the story of high school kids behaving badly and dealing with the overabundance of teen angst as well as the proclivity of sex. There are dark themes in examination here in a satire that does have some solid laughs to it.

Of course, the most iconic scene in the film is one that nearly everybody has seen… the Bob Seger “Old Time Rock-n-Roll” scene with Cruise dancing in his underwear. It happened early in the movie, but there are several other classic 80s songs in the film’s soundtrack as well.

You can see the actor that Tom Cruise would become here with his youthful and carefree performance.

There were distractions for me as well. They were in the form of Balki from Perfect Strangers and Herbert Viola from Moonlighting. Bronson Pinchot and Curtis Armstrong are the actors and they were playing Cruise’s best friends, but they are too recognizable for me to not be pulled out of the film. As I have said before, this is not the film’s fault, but my own biases. Plus, I have an unnatural dislike of Herbert Viola because of how much I blame him unreasonably for the decline in Moonlighting quality.

There is a Ferris Bueller vibe here too as Joel goes to great distances to avoid being caught and it seemed as if things always worked out in the end.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions

I had not intended to go to this movie, but I decided to go to it today anyway. I’m glad I did.

Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is the continuing sequel to the 2019 low budget horror hit Escape Room, picking up a few weeks after the events of the first film. The sole survivors from the last film, Taylor Russell, playing Zoey Davis and Logan Miller, playing Ben Miller, return and are trying to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, Zoe is having a difficult time doing that.

Since law enforcement is not believing their story of events, Zoey convinces Ben to head to New York to go after Minos, the evil company behind the escape rooms so they could bring them to justice.

Once in the city, they find their way trapped in a subway train with a group of other people who were also survivors of previous escape rooms by Minos. The group tries to work together to be able to escape the escape room with their lives still intact.

Let me start off with this. The movie is dumb. Yes, it is improbable. The escape rooms are fairly impossible to pull off, even for a multi-billion dollar corporation. But here is the undeniable fact. I had fun watching the characters attempt to survive the encounters.

Taylor Russell is a star. I think she is just beautiful and I enjoy her as the brains behind the survivors and the main protagonist that Minos seems to be after. I kept thinking that she could be a great actress for the MCU (Kitty Pryde, perhaps?). She made it easy to support the characters. I think the chemistry and relatability with Zoey and Ben is off the charts. Logan Miller is another actor here who I would love to see more of in the future.

Some of the other characters that were brought in for the sequel were very one dimensional, but I did enjoy Rachel (Holland Roden) who I found engagingly sassy and a nice addition to the group. I could have used more for the actors Indya Moore and Thomas Cocquerel, who had some basic flavor but were meant as sacrifices to the concept. Although, Cocquerel’s character Nathan did pull off a Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride save, so there was that (No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Nathan!)

The escape rooms themselves are the major stars of the franchise and these are all pretty good, building suspense as clocks ticked down to the doomsday part of the room. Sure it is improbable, but F9 sent a car into space. You suspend disbelief that there are possible and hope for the heroes to escape.

There were a couple of ending twists that did not hit well, the second one especially. The first surprise was interesting, though hard to accept because of the timeline. Still, I like that they are trying.

I had some laughs. I was nervous for the characters. I tried to find the answers to the puzzles before the characters did. I had a good time. Dumb, yes, but dumb fun for sure.

3.3 stars

Frailty (2001)

DailyView: Day 89, Movie 152

Today’s DailyView is a tense and suspenseful thriller frim the early 2000s called Frailty, starring and directed by the late, great Bill Paxton.

A man (Matthew McConaughey) walked into the FBI offices claiming to know the identity of the God’s Hand Killer, a infamous serial killer the FBI had been searching for. He then started to recount an account of his childhood where his father (Bill Paxton) said he was spoken to by God to start to destroy demons. The two boys, Fenton (Matt O’Leary) and Adam (Jeremey Sumpter), struggled with the mission their father had undertaken.

I am not sure how I feel about this one. I would say 3/4th of the film was intense and anxiety filled. Watching the two boys, especially Matt O’Leary who is excellent here, going through such a horrible childhood, I was filled with dread. I was hoping for something to work out.

However, with the way the movie ended, there was a twist ending that completely reconfigured how the audience would look at the film, I had some real problems with it. I can’t really go into it without spoiling the twist, but I was disappointed with what happened.

This is an example of a movie that had been doing extremely well only to go off the rails with the third act. It felt like one of the M. Night Shyamalan twists that did not fit with the story they had been telling, like it was tacked on afterwards. It was a disappointment.

Bill Paxton was outstanding as the crazy father. Both young boys were excellent. Powers Boothe played the FBI Agent Wesley Doyle and he made a really strong foil for McConaughey. It started with a True Detective vibe to it for sure.

I enjoyed a good chunk of this movie, but I was not a fan of how it wrapped up which tainted the whole movie.

Dragonwyck (1946)

DailyView: Day 88, Movie 151

TCM has been a nice resource for me to see some movies that I may not have been able to find on streaming services during the DailyView. Tonight on TCM, they played a 1946 Gothic romance movie called Dragonwyck. I had never heard of this, but the synopsis sounded intriguing and featured the classic Vincent Price. It is the debut of director Joseph Mankiewicz.

A young woman Miranda (Gene Tierney) was recruited by a distant relative, Nicholas Van Ryn (Vincent Price), to come to his mansion Dragonwyck to be the governess to his daughter. During this time, Nicholas’s wife (Vivienne Osborne) had taken ill and suddenly died. Nicholas had created a connection with Miranda and would wind up marrying her.

The local doctor Jeff Turner (Glenn Langan), who was there the night of Nicholas’s wife’s death, had also found feelings for Miranda, but he understood how she was in love with Nicholas.

Vincent Price is excellent as the proper, regal patroon. The film deals with several themes involving religion, karma, mental illness. There are some powerful scenes about the legend that the Van Ryn family are the only people who could hear the playing of the harpsichord played by the ghost of Nicholas’s great-grandmother Azilde whenever misfortune befell the family.

It was a weird sensation in the film. When Nicholas was having the meeting of the farmers working his land, there was a character named Klaas Bleecker. Bleecker was angry with Nicholas about having to give him the product and he attacked him. The weird things was… I knew the voice. He did not look familiar, but I knew the voice. It was Sherman T. Potter from MASH, Harry Morgan. I would not have recognized him at all since he had a heavy black beard, but that voice was recognizable. It was strange hearing Potter’s voice coming out of this unknown person.

This was very creepy of a film, with some tragic events. You kind of thought you knew what was happening, but you could never quite be sure. It was dark and mysterious. Vincent Price was excellent.

I was happy to have the chance to see a movie like this. I have to continue to keep my eye on TCM.

Jolt

This weekend saw the debut on Amazon Prime of a new movie called Jolt. It looked kind of interesting so I decided I would give it a try. I was enjoying it a great deal so I thought I’d heck on where it was on Rotten Tomatoes and I was disappointed to see it only at 36%. I thought maybe it got worse as it continued, but I enjoyed this all the way through (with the exception of one scene).

Lindy (Kate Beckinsale) has a problem. Despite being beautiful, funny, smart, she suffered from a rare condition that leads to her having impulse control to the max. Her violent and homicidal reactions could only be controlled by a shock vest that she was given by her therapist, Dr. Munchin (Stanley Tucci), where she can self-shock herself when she feels the bloodlust overcoming her.

Munchin had been encouraging Lindy to get out and find a relationship where she could invest her feelings, helping to replace the anger. Against her better judgement, she gets hooked up with Justin (Jai Courtney), who seemed to be perfect for her, and everything started going great. Until, that is, when Justin is found dead, shot in the head in an alley. Lindy, angry at the loss of someone she was starting to have feelings for, dedicated her life to tracking down Justin’s killer. The cops assigned the case, Detectives Vicars (Bobby Cannavale) and Nevin (Laverne Cox), were a hurdle in Lindy’s path.

Kate Beckinsale is fantastic here. She is funny, witty, and seriously bad ass. Over the years trying to prevent the homicidal impulses, she had picked up several ‘skills’ of the trade so she was a top notch fighter as well as other items that helped her in the mission of revenge she was on. Beckinsale dominated every scene with her presences and witty repartee.

The few scenes between Beckinsale and Courtney were charming and sweet. Even though you had not known Lindy for long in the movie sense, you see just how patient and caring Justin was with her which made his death all the more painful.

There is a surprise in act three, and I had thought about it earlier in the film. Although I did not come out and say that I knew exactly what was happening, I did read the signs that were there. That did not bother me here because the twist was not as important as the journey was for Lindy.

The film used a technique that took us into Lindy’s head to see how she was imagining what she was going to do to these people who annoyed her and that was very effective and funny. There were a couple times when I was not sure if it was images in her head or if she was really doing the action. That made the whole thing feel compelling.

There was only one scene that I hated and it took place in a nursery with Lindy and Detective Nevin. I would have preferred for this scene to not be in the movie because it through too much shade onto Lindy and made me question her motives.

With that exception out of the way, the rest of the movie was fantastic and I had a blast watching it. Kate Beckinsale carried the film and she was a huge star here. The surprise cameo at the end was also weird. Oh, and there is a mid-credit scene.

4.1 stars

The Wiz (1978)

DailyView: Day 88, Movie 150

The film I watched today for the DailyView is one that is infamous, considered a financial and critical flop. The film, starring Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Richard Pryor, was The Wiz, a black adaptation of the classic L. Frank Baum novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and a Broadway musical. Having watched the film, I am unsure why this turned out to be such a failure. It was a wonderful piece of entertainment.

Dorothy (Diana Ross) lived with her family in Harlem with as much drama as one would believe. During a snowstorm, her dog Toto ran outside and Dorothy desperately followed him. When she caught up with Toto, a magical snowstorm swept the two of them off to the mystical world of Oz, which shared several characteristics with New York itself.

Once in Oz, Dorothy was shown that she had accidentally killed the Witch, some special silver shoes appeared on her feet and she was being celebrated by the Munchkins. They sent her down the Yellow Brick Road to go and see the Wiz (Richard Pryor), but Dorothy could not find the start of the road. Along her travels she meets up with the Scarecrow (Michael Jackson), the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell) and the Lion (Ted Ross) and the four of them (five if you count that dog too) continued to ease on down the Yellow Brick Road.

If you know the story of The Wizard of Oz, you would have known The Wiz. It follows the main structure very closely, with only some general specifics being altered. It plays very much like a Broadway show in the way it is shot and presented which is part of the charm.

Diana Ross and Michael Jackson are both wonderful in their roles. Who thought Jackson could have provided such as in depth performance, so sweet and soft.

The music was rousing too. Quincy Jones was involved in crafting the music from the Broadway show and writing some new music for the film, along with married couple Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. You had the voices of Ross and Jackson to play with, as well as Lena Horne, who played Glinda the Good Witch.

Surprisingly though, the standout for me was Nipsey Russell. I only knew Russell from his days on The Match Game, but he showed off his acting skills, his dancing skills and his singing ability. As the Tin Man, Russell brought such humor, passion and so much skill. The scene where Dorothy and Scarecrow found Tin Man in the broken down amusement park is just masterful.

The Wiz is too long with a few of the scenes, in particular the underground subway scene with the Lion, potentially being shortened. However, there is an energy in the music and the dance. I enjoyed watching The Wiz and would put it among the solid films of the late 70s.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

This one is a real mixed bag. On one hand, this is heads and shoulders better than any of those other G.I. Joe movies from 2009 and 2013. On the other hand, the bar was really low for those films so Snake Eyes had to really stumble badly to not exceed those.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins tells the background of one of the most popular of the characters from the G.I. Joe franchise Snake Eyes, even though it felt more of a story of Stormshadow than Snake Eyes at times.

We started out with young Snake Eyes as a child (not called Snake Eyes yet.. played here by Max Archibald) who was with his father (Steven Allerick) in a cabin. Giving a real Mortal Combat (2021) feel to it (you could almost have photocopied the scene), people arrived to try to kill his father and little Snake Eyes had to escape to save himself. His father does not make it out and Snakey had to watch the cabin burn with his father inside.

I was impressed with the performance of Max Archibald as the younger version of Snake Eyes. He had to deliver several different emotional beats and he does an excellent job.

Years later, we met underground fighter Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) who was beating the crap out of other fighters. He was approached by Kenta (Taskehiro Hira) who wanted Snake Eyes to work for him. Snake Eyes took him up on the offer and was involved in cutting up fish to hide gun shipments inside. Then, there was a traitor in their midst and Snake Eyes was given a gun to kill Tommy, the said traitor. Snake Eyes can’t do it and the two of them fought their way through all of the gang. After escaping from their clutches, Tommy (Andrew Koji, doing his best Tommy, the Green Ranger impression) offered Snake Eyes t come with him to his clan.

Tommy was the next in line to rule the clan, currently run by his grandmother (Eri Ishida), and he wanted Snake Eyes to join the clan so he could fight by his side. There are three challenges that Snake Eyes has to complete to pass the test and if he couldn’t pass it, he would die.

Snake Eyes struggled with his anger, his need for vengeance and his guilt during these trials.

I did not know this was going to happen, but we got some other members of the G.I. Joe cast making appearances here. From the Joes, Scarlett (Samara Weaving) was here and we also got the Cobra villainess, The Baroness (Úrsula Corberó) These two women were fun, but seemed out of place for a good chunk of the film.

Some positives. Henry Golding was fantastic as Snake Eyes. He is a great actor and really worked in the role. Although the character of Snake Eyes in G.I. Joe never spoke and Golding talked all the time, I feel that may be a future development for the character. I really liked Golding.

Even better was Andrew Koji, who was the perfect casting for Stormshadow. I believed in this character the entire movie. Of course, this brings up one issue I had with the film. This felt like Snake Eyes was the antagonist of his own movie. It felt like Tommy was the protagonist and he was the character who had the most story arc. I did not quite understand why the film was setting them up as such. Were we to be cheering for Snake Eyes? Because that felt wrong. Also, when Tommy turned to the dark side, that felt a bit rushed. Either way, both castings were excellent and I liked their interactions.

I have seen this criticism elsewhere and it is 100% the biggest flaw of the film. This being an action film with a lot of fighting…HOLD THE DAMN CAMERA STILL!!!! I have never felt as if I needed a Dramamine before as much as I did during EVERY fight scene in Snake Eyes. You could not see anything happening during EVERY fight. If this was a stylistic choice, it was a bad one. I have seen shaky cam before, but never as much as we see in Snake Eyes. The inability to see action scenes in an action movie ruined what could have been a passable movie. There are times when I came to dread the next fight.

As I said, this is better than The Rise of Cobra or Retaliation, but it does not reach the level that it could have been. It may be a positive step forward and maybe a sequel will imporve.

2.8 stars

Old

M. Night Shyamalan is back again with his next trip into the bizarre world of movie making with Old, a horror/thriller with that definitive Shyamalan flavor. M. Night has had some tremendous successes, specifically early in his career with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. He followed those up in the middle with some horrendous films such as The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth. The last few years, Shyamalan has righted the ship with The Visit and the Split/Glass films. I no longer look at a film with the name M. Night Shyamalan attached to it as something I desperately want to avoid.

In fact, even with the films that he failed with, you can generally consider Shyamalan’s film, at the very least, original and creative. They may not always be good, but he takes a swing.

So I did approach the new film, Old, with a hopeful thought. I knew the premise of the film from the trailers (which give away too much) that a group of people are stranded on a beach where they are aging rapidly. Unfortunately, I came our of Old feeling underwhelmed. I did not hate the movie, but it seemed to be missing some important parts to it.

The early film spends some time with a family of four, Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal), his wife Prisca (Vicky Krieps), their 11-year old daughter Maddox (Alexa Swinton) and 6-year old Trent (Nolan River). Guy and Prisca were having problems but wanted to give the kids one more weekend before they told them about whatever the trouble was. So they went to this special resort. The resort manager (Gustaf Hammarsten) met them and offered them a special trip to a hidden beach. The family took him up on it. They were joined by several other characters who had less character development than our family of four on the trip.

They had to hike through some strange rock formations to reach the beach, but once there, everyone seemed happy. That would not last.

Honestly, the acting performances were not top level. I actually found the young version of Trent, Nolan River, to be cute and charming, especially when he was paired with another young actor named Kailen Jude who played Idlib. Of course, he would eventually age into Alex Wolff and Maddox would age into Thomasin McKenzie. As I said, the acting was not great, but I do not think they were given a great script to work with. The dialogue, in particular, felt really clunky and not realistic. Even Alex Wolff, who I have really enjoyed in past films, did not standout in a positive manner. To be fair, Wolff was trying to act as a 15 year old kid with the mind of a 6 year old. The problem was this was not shown well enough. Trent as Nolan did not act in the manner that Alex did and so we had nothing to compare it with.

Another issue was that the time on the beach did not lead to anything. It was like we saw a laundry list of things happen but they had no lasting implications outside of the ones that led to a specific character death. Those deaths did not factor into the plot much either. It was more like a slasher movie than a psychological thriller.

Ken Jeong was in the movie and he distracted me. It is not his fault, but he was on LOST and I spent ever second of the time he was on screen trying to remember his LOST character’s name (it’s Miles, by the way. I don’t know why I can never remember that). That is my issue, not the movie’s, of course.

There was another scene, which I will not spoil, that has to be considered weirdly icky. I am not saying that it couldn’t have worked, but the execution on it just was missing and there was zero consequences of the situation.

Oh, and there was a famous rapper already on the beach when they arrived. The character’s name was… Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre). I’m not even kidding. It was not played for a joke. I actually liked the character, the actor gave one of the better performances and there were some good things done with him, but Mid-Sized Sedan???

There were some good part as well. Some of the middle section scenes were decent and did build some tension and confusion. There were some good scares, one in particular involving the stunningly beautiful Madrid (Francesca Eastwood) in a cave with Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie.

The ‘Shyamalan ending twist’ was one of the best parts of the movie. I wish that this was shown earlier in the film and that we developed it more because this could have changed the idea of the film.

Old is based on the Swiss graphic novel called Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters and there are some interesting ideas here, but, unfortunately, it is just not tied together well enough to be effective. The film has some moments but it feels as if the negatives outweigh the positives. It is better than those really bad Shyamalan movies, but does not hold up to the best of the director, either.

2.8 stars

Spy Game (2001)

DailyView: Day 87, Movie 149

Decided that this morning would be a great time for the DailyView to dive into a little espionage. Spy Game is a thriller starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt, directed by Tony Scott.

According to IMDB, “CIA operative Nathan Muir (Redford) is on the brink of retirement when he finds out that his protégé Tom Bishop (Pitt) has been arrested in China for espionage. No stranger to the machinations of the CIA’s top echelon, Muir hones all his skills and irreverent manner in order to find a way to free Bishop. As he embarks on his mission to free Bishop, Muir recalls how he recruited and trained the young rookie, at that time a sergeant in Vietnam, their turbulent times together as operatives and the woman who threatened their friendship

This was a lot of fun. While it was fun, there are the typical spy movie clichés here. All of the CIA agents seemed to be nowhere nearly as competent as you would expect they should be. Robert Redford just kind of ran rings around them. There was a countdown clock until Bishop was going to be executed that popped up on the screen every once in awhile (the first time the four hour time variance seemed to be really quick). These are thriller tropes we have seen before.

However, Redford is so charming and Brad Pitt is excellent that they overcome any minor plot contrivances that might be in place. You do enjoy watching the supposedly retiring Redford work his magic on the others in the CIA and get away with it. I would have liked a little more of a conclusion to the story as I wondered what Redford was going to do next.

Catherine McCormack made a short, but significant appearance here as a connection for Brad Pitt that made him question what he was doing. She was very good too and she did have some good chemistry with Pitt.

Overall, Spy Game is a flawed movie, but one that is an enjoyable watch if you do not allow yourself to be bogged down with some of the issues the film has. Redford and Pitt are tremendous together as a sort of Hollywood generational pairing.

The Comedy of Terrors (1963)

DailyView: Day 86, Movie 148

Boy, do we have a wild one for the DailyView today.

The Comedy of Terrors is a horror/comedy featuring the iconic Vincent Price and Peter Lorre. Vincent Price plays Waldo Trumbull who is an undertaker whose business has been failing. Trumbull was blackmailing former thief Felix Gillie, played by Peter Lorre, to be his assistant. Since the funeral business has ben slow, Trumbull and Gillie go out at night and kill old men to increase business.

Trumbull is a mean-spirited, drunken, cruel man, unhappily married to a wannabe opera singer who lacked any ability to sing Amaryllis (Joyce Jameson). Her father (Boris Karloff) lives there too, barely competent and nearly senile. Trumbull is always unsuccessfully trying to give the old man his “medicine” which is actually poison.

Major problems occur for Trumbull and Gillie when they go to try to kill their landlord John F. Black (Basil Rathbone). Chaos then ensued.

I don’t think I would have ever believed that Vincent Price and Peter Lorre would turn out to be a perfect slapstick comedic pairing, but that is exactly what has happened here. They both exhibit a tremendous amount of comedic timing and there were a few times where they reminded me of a dark Abbott and Costello. Price and Lorre were really great here.

Basil Rathbone is as over-the-top as I think I have seen in a long time. His performance has to be seen to be believed.

I loved the ending of the movie too. It is such an ironic twist to the end of the film that is really satisfying and works extremely well.

Joyce Jameson’s “singing” is unbelievably funny and about as hard to listen to as possible.

This is a dark movie with some sarcastic and evil people that is really funny.

Munster, Go Home (1966)

DailyView: Day 85, Movie 147

1966 must have been an odd year. This is the year where we got the Batman movie from the TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward. Now, I have found another TV show adapted into a movie from 1966 for the DailyView. It is based on the TV show the Munsters. It is called Munster, Go Home.

Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) and his family head to England to claim an estate willed to him by a relative, an inheritance that would make him Lord Munster. However, the English Munsters, Freddie (Terry-Thomas) and Grace (Jeanne Arnold) and Lady Effigie Munster (Hermione Gingold), were not happy about it.

This was very much like the TV show, extended to the length of a movie. It had the same type of humor from the show and was very easy to watch.

Nearly the whole cast from the TV show returned for the film including Yvonne De Carlo as Lily, Al Lewis as Grandpa and Butch Patrick as Eddie. However, the role of Marilyn Munster was played by Debbie Watson instead of Pat Priest. Apparently Universal wanted to go with the younger Watson to build up her career. According to IMDB, this recast angered a lot of the show’s fans.

There were few other familiar faces found in Munster, Go Home. Richard Dawson was here playing Joey, a man who would pick up “boxes” from Munster Hall every month. Bernard Fox, who appeared in several sitcoms such as Bewitched, Hogan’s Heroes and Mash, was Squire Lester Moresby, who had a running rivalry with the English Munsters. John Carradine played Munster Hall’s butler Cruikshank.

This is not great, but if you liked the Munsters, then this would be a fun movie to watch. It plays like a longer version of the TV show. The story is simple and the laughs are cute.

The Big Chill (1983)

DailyView: Day 85, Movie 146

Next up on DailyView is the ultimate 1980s film, The Big Chill, directed by Lawrence Kasdan.

A group of 8 tight college friends reunited for a weekend after another one of their friends of their group had committed suicide. The friends spent the weekend reconnecting, talking with each other, and discovering what the group dynamic was now.

There is not much of a plot here, but the film depends on the strength of the cast. The cast is filled with a bunch of the actors of the 80s such as Kevin Kline, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, JoBeth Williams, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and Don Galloway. The ensemble works well together and carries the movie. The interplay between characters was a fascinating aspect of the film.

The dialogue was well constructed and helped us learn more about the characters. It also had a definite feel of improv here as well. The group dynamic is delivered through the words they said and it felt natural.

The soundtrack to the film was outstanding with a variety of great songs such as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Wouldn’t it Be Nice.” One of my favorite scenes was when the whole ensemble was dancing in the kitchen to “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Splash (1984)

DailyView: Day 85, Movie 145

Splash has been on the DailyView list from the beginning, but I was not sure if I had seen it before. I mean, I was aware of the movie and the general plot, but I was not sure if I had ever actually seen it. So I decided to give it a chance on Disney + this morning. I did not recognize much of anything in the movie so I feel comfortable that this meets the criteria for the DailyView.

Directed by Ron Howard, Splash starred Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah in one of the most oddball love stories in the Disney canon. Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks) was reunited with a mermaid (Darryl Hannah) who had saved him from drowning as a child. However, he did not know that she was a mermaid. The mermaid, who took the name Madison, could, for a short period, come on land and walk around with legs. Unaware of the surface culture, Madison learned about it by watching TV.

Allen and Madison fell in love during these few days, but Madison worried about telling him the truth. As this romance is blossoming, scientist Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy) is desperately trying to prove that mermaids exist and he pursued Madison.

Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah had good chemistry and it was great to see John Candy here too. Candy played Allen Bauer’s older brother who was full of troublesome behavior. It was just the same role that John Candy always played and he was really good at it.

I did not like the way the film concluded, though. The chase scene which proceeded it was average at best.

Tom Hanks showed here that he was on his way to stardom. He threw himself into the bizarreness of the plot and filled up the screen.

Harvey (1950)

DailyView: Day 84, Movies 144

During the DailyView, I have been watching several of the films in the filmography of Jimmy Stewart and the latest is the off-beat comedy, Harvey.

Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) was an affable and charming gentleman, friendly and kind-hearted, who seemed to have one problem, he talked to a 6’3″ white invisible rabbit named Harvey. Elwood’s sister, Veta (Josephine Hull) was becoming tired of the impropriety of the situation and wanted to have him committed to the mental institution.

All manner of chaos and shenanigans ensued after this with Elwood unaffected by any of it. He just went about the day engaging with every person he met and passing out his card.

Harvey is a funny, light-hearted movie that shows how likeable Jimmy Stewart can be. Even with everything going crazy around him, Elwood just continued to see the goodness and the sweetness of everyone.

There would be a question if this movie is making light of the serious business of mental illness, but there are also parts where you, as the audience, believe that Harvey is real. They refer to him as a Pooka, a spirit, which could be considered the way around any actual illness. Of course, it can also be referring to how you can take control of your own life by letting go of the worries or the stress and just basking in the warmth of life.

Jimmy Stewart is wonderful in Harvey, showing the warmth and the whimsical side of his personality. The performance of Josephine Hull was so great that she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. There are lots of solid comedic performances, including Jesse White as the sanatorium’s orderly. Cecil Kellaway takes his character, Dr. Chumley in many different paths as the film moved along.

Based on a play by Mary Chase, Harvey is a wondrous romp through the world of acceptance and finding the light in the dark. Harvey could have been a much darker film dealing with themes of alcoholism and mental illness, but instead, it chooses to find the joy life gives. We should all have a Harvey in our lives.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

DailyView: Day 83, Movie 144

I looked at the schedule for TCM tonight, and they were showing Rebel Without a Cause, which has been on the DailyView watchlist for awhile now. It was one that I had on the HBO Max queue for awhile too, but I had not gotten around to it so when it was there on TCM, it would work out perfectly.

James Dean was only in three movies, and his tragic death came just before the release of Rebel Without a Cause. You can tell how charismatic he was in this movie. You could see just how big of a star he was on his way to becoming with his performance here.

Having said that, I had to laugh when he did the “You’re tearing me apart” line because I immediately pictured Tommy Wiseau in The Room with his line for Lisa. Wiseau was inspired in that line delivery from Dean in this movie.

According to Rotten Tomatoes: “After moving to a new town, troublemaking teen Jim Stark (James Dean) is supposed to have a clean slate, although being the new kid in town brings its own problems. While searching for some stability, Stark forms a bond with a disturbed classmate, Plato (Sal Mineo), and falls for local girl Judy (Natalie Wood). However, Judy is the girlfriend of neighborhood tough, Buzz (Corey Allen). When Buzz violently confronts Jim and challenges him to a drag race, the new kid’s real troubles begin.”

I enjoyed a lot of this movie, in particular the ending with Plato. This was a very enjoyable watch and I would recommend it to anybody. However, I am going to focus on a few of my problems with it. I just want to stress that I liked this movie a lot, but these were my thoughts.

I was distracted by Thurston Howell the Third being James Dean’s father in this movie. That is not the movie’s problem, it is mine issue. I know that, but every time I saw Jim Backus, all I could do was think “Where is Lovey?” To be fair, by the third act, I was more accepting of him as the father. Backus gave a good performance and was able to shake me out of the Gilligan’s Isle thoughts I was having. Again, that is not a fault of the film.

One of the things that was the fault of the film was that I did not believe the relationship between Jim and Judy. SPOILER Buzz, who was Judy’s boyfriend, just died earlier that night and suddenly Jim and Judy were professing their love. They dumped that story really quickly and I had a problem with that. END OF SPOILERS

The last thing I will bring up is how much of a dick Buzz is at the beginning and how his gang of jerks were just following him no matter what. Pull out a knife? Fine. Be an a-hole for no reason? No problem. Then, at the end, the others are out to take it to another level. I just did not understand why these kids were acting the way they were. Plus, Judy was there and seemingly happy to be part of the insanity.

Beside those issues with Rebel Without a Cause, I did like this very much.