The Muppets (2011)

The Muppets (2011) - IMDb

Continuing to find movies to pull out of the funk of Robin’s Wish, I watched the 2011 return of The Muppets with Jason Segel and Amy Adams.

This is so wonderful. I love this movie. It jumps all over the nostalgic feels of the early days of The Muppet Show. These Muppets are excellent and fit right back into the comfortable place in your heart immediately.

The old Muppet Theaters is in danger of being torn down by Tex Richman (Chris Cooper). Long time fan Walter and his brother Gary (Jason Segel) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) went to find Kermit and tell him about the evil plan of Richman. Walter convinces Kermit to put the band back together and put on one more show to raise the money to buy the theater before Richman could.

The Muppets were breaking the fourth wall all over the place and had a ton of backstage jokes. There are a bunch of great cameos, as there always are in Muppet movies. Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Black, Selena Gomez, Neil Patrick Harris, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Rashida Jones, Jim Parsons, Alan Arkin, Kristen Schaal, Donald Glover, Sarah Silverman, Emily Blunt, James Carville, Judd Hirsch, Mickey Rooney and more appear here. Celebrity cameos are a trope for Muppet movies and this one has a ton…some you may not even realize until later.

The songs are tremendous. Man or Muppet won an Oscar for best Song, but Kermit’s Pictures in My Head is one that really stirred up the emotions.

This one was magical and brought the Muppets back big time. This is one of the best Muppet movies made.

The Muppets (2011) - IMDb


I am not sure why I missed this movie in 2017. I saw a ton of movies that year and this sure seems like it would have been one to see.

However, I am very pleased that it slipped off my radar then because that meant that I got a little jewel to watch this week.

We are a little over a week from the passing of Chadwick Boseman, shockingly from colon cancer. That loss struck me hard. I was a fan of Chadwick from his performance of Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up and T’Challa in Black Panther. Every time Chadwick Boseman was on the matinee, you knew you were in for a great performance, even if the movie was just so-so.

So I knew that I had to see Marshall, the film where Chadwick portrayed Thurgood Marshall in a biopic that focused in on one specific case of rape that helped us see the man the way he truly was.

The NAACP sent Marshall into this case of a black man named Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) was accused of raping a white woman (Kate Hudson). and throwing her off a bridge to die. Once there, Marshall recruited the uncertain lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) to try the case. Marshall himself was silenced by Judge Foster (James Cromwell) and he could not speak during the trial.

The film does an excellent job of both showing the dedication and personal sacrifices from Thurgood Marshall and also provided us with a thrilling courtroom drama as well.

Chadwick Boseman gave his typical brilliant performance. He had started a career of giving voice to these iconic black men elevating the idea of a movie star to another level. Boseman has not taken roles that brought down the black community. He has not played slaves or gang members. Instead, he showed real life powerhouses such as the first black MLB player, a beloved soul musician, and here the man who would become the first black Supreme Court Justice.

To be fair, Josh Gad does a fantastic job in this film playing opposite Boseman. Gad and Boseman have an easy chemistry and you can absolutely buy them together as a lawyers battling for the rights of their clients. Josh Gad has started to carve out for himself a solid career and this is a role in which he should be proud.

It is sad to think that we will never see any more Chadwick Boseman movies after his last film comes out. You can tell from Marshall, this young man had so much talent to share with the world. He was an inspiring individual to millions. He will totally be missed. : MARSHALL MOVIE POSTER 2 Sided ORIGINAL 27x40 THURGOOD MARSHALL  CHADWICK BOSEMAN : Everything Else

Killing Hasselhoff (2017) Killing Hasselhoff Movie Poster 18 x 28 Inches ...

I started this because I thought it was a new movie that had been released on Netflix and, because of the pandemic, my list of new movies for 2020 is limited.  However, Killing Hasselhoff turned out to be from 2017 instead, which meant it went into the Doc’s Classic Movies Reviewed section.

I came into this with low expectations.  I mean, Ken Jeong and David Hasselhoff are your lead performers.  Jeong usually appears in those stupid comedies that have the lower class of humor.  That can be funny if it is done with intelligence.  That is not done much here.

However, there are some really stupid moments that are almost worth a laugh or two.  The situations are so ridiculous and over the top that it is hard not to giggle at them despite how dumb they are.

Do not misunderstand me.  This is not a good movie.  It is quite offensive at times, leans toward racist jokes way too much, and is too mean-spirited.

I have to say, the one thing that was kind of fun was how David Hasselhoff played David Hasselhoff as a big time jerk.  He overplayed every negative character trait- arrogant, rude, pampered, every terrible Hollywood actor trait.  It was refreshing to see Hasselhoff with such a good sense of self-deprecating humor.

Still, there is just too much mean-spirited humor that appeals to the low-brow.  So while I did not hate this, it is not a film to recommend.  It is on Netflix if you want to watch it for yourself.


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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Movie Poster (27 x 40 ...

There are arguments to be made that this animated version of the Dark Knight is the best Batman film ever made.  I do not think I would go that far, but it is certainly one of the most respected and entertaining Batman movies available.

The animated movie, in the vein of the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon, gives us the best example of the World’s Greatest Detective, a moniker that belongs to the Caped Crusader, though we’ve never really seen that on the big screen.  Rumors have it that the upcoming Matt Reeve’s directed The Batman is going to give us the detective which would be very cool.

In this film, crime bosses in Gotham are being killed by a shadowy, mysterious figure in a black cloak.  The police and the criminals assume it is Batman doing the deeds, but, in truth, it is a person named Phantasm, who has arrived in Gotham with an unknown motivation.  Of course, this brings the Phantasm into conflict with Batman and they wind up facing off with the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker, as well.

EYG Hall of Famers Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker, bringing the perfect blend of voice work.  Dana Delany plays Bruce Wayne’s old flame Andrea.  Stacy Keach voices Andrea’s father, Carl Beaumont.

The movie has a theme running through it focusing on revenge and how it can poison a soul.  This is an intriguing idea to deal with when looking at Batman, since an argument can be made that Bruce Wayne falls into that category.  Comparing Bruce to the Phantasm is a well done tag and carries through the film.

I remember being surprised the first time I saw this movie years ago when the reveal came on the identity of the Phantasm, so the film does a good job with that.  I do believe that if I was watching it for the first time now, I would have spotted it before the reveal.

The animation has style, but it is the choppy, 90s-like animation of the cartoon.  If there is a weakness of this film, the animation would be it.  However, at the time, this was acceptable and does not pull me out of the movie.

The back story of how Bruce Wayne takes up the costume is very well done and fits with this narrative.  Although the film adds Andrea into the mix for storyline purposes, it does not detract from our Dark Knight’s arrival.  In fact, it gives Bruce another conflict within him to struggle with.

This is a great Batman movie, for sure, although it is not my favorite ever.  It is a solid story with very good pacing that shows Batman in the style that he really should be shown.

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Spirited Away (2002) Spirited Away Poster Movie E 11x17 Rumi H?ragi Miyu ...

Ever since I began this journey through the catalog of Studio Ghibli films, I have been looking forward to one particular film.  Spirited Away has been spoken of with such reverence that I have really anticipated reaching the film in the watch.  Today was the day.

I was very excited to watch Spirited Away this morning, though I did approach it with some trepidation.  The word of mouth had been so overwhelmingly positive that it threatened to raise my anticipation levels too high.  Would Hayao Miyazaki’s reputed classic be able to reach the levels of my expectation?  It would not be the first movie that I went into with high expectations only to come out shrugging my shoulders.

That was not the case.  Spirited Away is a masterpiece.

During her families move, unhappy 10-year old Chichiro and her parents got lost and discovered a deserted amusement park.  Before too long, Chichiro learned that there was more to the amusement park than you could see.  There was magic and a world of amazing creatures.  Chichiro investigates the area as her parents hungrily eats food at a local establishment.  When she meets a young boy named Haku, she is warned that she and her parents need to get out of the place before nightfall.  Rushing back to them, Chichiro finds that she was too late and that her parents had been transformed into pigs, forcing the young girl into a world of mystery.

As with all Studio Ghibli films, the animation here is amazing, but this film takes it to another level.  The character design on every creature, character or setting is utterly breathtaking and is filled with such specific details and stunning imagery.  The characters creation informs you about the characters brilliantly, presenting both sides to these complex characters.

There are some of the best characters that I have seen yet in this series of movies, including the bathhouse owner Yubaba is a marvelous construction of imagination and creativity.  Haku and his other part fits right in with the Japanese ideals and he is a beautiful design.  Lin is another great character who helps Sen, the name given to Chichiro by Yubaba as a way to control her.  No-Face is a spirit that comes into the bathhouse and seems to be a kindly spirit…until he was not.  That moment when No-Face turns completely shocked me and created a remarkable uneasiness in my mind.

Spirited Away reminded me immediately of The Wizard of Oz, as that film seems to share many of the same themes.  Both have a young girl as the main protagonist.  This young girl finds her way to an odd and magical world where she is just trying to return to her own life, trying to avoid the witch who has power around the land.  I have also seen people understandably connected it to Alice in Wonderland.  I saw Dan Murrell review this film and he said that the parents into pig scene reminded him of the kid turns into a donkey scene from Pinocchio.   These nods to the classics of children’s fantasy and literature create a richness in the story telling that helps flesh out everything for Spirited Away.

I love the character arc for Chichiro, as she starts as a fearful and depressed girl who whined a lot into a brave and heroic figure you goes out of her way to help the people that she cares about.  You can see how Sen grows with each situation she finds herself in.

For such a hyped film, Spirited Away paid off big time.  I loved this so much and it was a masterful animated movie like few that have ever came out.  A beautiful epic.

paragon Spirited Away Poster Movie E 11x17 Rumi H?ragi Miyu ...

My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)

My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)

The next film in the Studio Ghibli list of films is My Neighbors the Yamadas.

I have to say, this one is an odd one.  It is not a typical narrative.  It is actually a group of vignettes that are strung together about the same group of characters.  The family includes Takashi and Matsuko (the father and mother), Shige (Matsuko’s mother), Noboru (aged approximately 13, the son), Nonoko (aged approximately 5, the daughter), and Pochi (the family dog).

The animation of the film is different than any of the previous Studio Ghibli films.  This has a very stylized comic strip feel to it, with a soft look and fewer details.  It was a very interesting animation to watch.

However, I have to say that I did have trouble staying interested in the film as the shorter vignettes failed to catch and maintain my attention.  There were some funny moments that made me laugh, but I just could not get into the film.

Still, there was one vignette where they sing the song “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” that I enjoyed a great deal.  There were a couple of the shorts that were better at drawing my attention, but, unfortunately, overall I could not keep the focus on the film.

There are definitely some great parts of the film, but I failed at engaging myself into the overall movie despite them.  Perhaps this is a film to revisit down the road because there were some good aspects to My Neighbors the Yamadas.


My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

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Shane Black directed this comedy/mystery film starring Robert Downey Jr, who was on the cusp of his major come back from his own personal demons, and Val Kilmer.

The film featured several techniques of storytelling that you do not see that often in major movies.  In particular, the breaking of the fourth wall with Robert Downey Jr’s character being the narrator and going through certain tropes of a detective/mystery movie and calling them to light.  This is the type of technique that could get old, but Kiss Kiss Bang Bang does it extremely well.

Harry (Robert Downey Jr), a small time thief, winds up accidentally in an audition for an acting role, a part of a detective.  The studio sends him for detective training with a real detective Perry (Val Kilmer), but the constantly unlucky Harry winds up in the middle of a murder mystery that reunites him with his old crush from high school, Harmony (Michelle Monaghan).

The plot of the movie is simply there to place these three characters into certain situations and to create the mood of a film noir.  Once there, they are masterfully funny and engaging.  Robert Downey Jr. shows the skills that would provide him the opportunity to become Tony Stark in the MCU.  He is quick-witted, snarky and snippy and very intelligent, even if the character he is playing is not quite so bright.

As I stated, I loved the technique of the narration and how RDJ would speak about individual specifics on a movie, pointing out when there are examples of that in the film that you, as an audience member, was watching.  It worked mainly because of the sarcastic nature of Downey Jr and the clever writing of Shane Black.

I enjoyed Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a lot.  This is a clever, intelligent film with a great chemistry between its stars.  This is well worth the watch.


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Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke at Regal Kaufman Astoria 14 - This is Astoria

Hayao Miyazaki returns to head up the next Studio Ghibli film and this is one of the studio’s most popular and well-known films.  Princess Mononoke is one of the first films people cite when speaking about the animation giant and it is well deserved.  The film is truly a grandiose, fantasy epic that spirals through the forests of Japan.

A small village in Japan is attacked by a demon boar.  The village’s last prince, Ashitaka, killed it, but, in the processes, was cursed by the creature.  The curse covered Ashitaka’s arm and threatened to creep across his whole body and kill him from within.

The young hero set off from his village in the hopes of finding aid from the Great Forest Spirit.  On his quest, he comes across a settlement called Irontown, led by Lady Eboshi, who was responsible for causing the boar to become a demon.

During his struggles, Ashitaka encountered the Wolf god Moro, and her adopted human daughter San.

Princess Mononoke is an amazing story filled with drama, tension and heroic actions.  Ashitaka and San are both positive and powerful models of heroism, whether or not they were on the same side.  Ashitaka’s message of trying to convince the humans and the forest to live in peace placed him in the center of the struggles of all of the forces, and he bravely did what he could to make it happen.

One of my favorite parts of this film was the fact that there was no one portrayed as evil.  These were deep and three dimensional characters who had clear and understandable motives for why they were acting as they were.  In fact, even the film’s main antagonist, Lady Eboshi, could not be considered a villain.  She committed many acts that could be considered wrong, but you understood her reasons and thus made her more human.  Just about all of the characters in the film that could be considered the “bad guys” have motivation that you can buy.  The only group that is not truly given a deeper meaning is the samurais.

Have I mentioned before how much I love the animation and the imagery used in these Studio Ghibli films?  Princess Mononoke is not an exception.  It is beautifully rendered and provide a stunning visual experience.

The only criticism I may have its that the movie is quite long for an animated movie, but it does flow well and, perhaps, the length is just one more way that Princess Mononoke breaks the expectations of animated movies.  It is an epic for sure and should be viewed as one.


Princess Mononoke at Regal Kaufman Astoria 14 - This is Astoria

Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart (1995) - IMDb

The Studio Ghibli movies got back on the right track for me with Whisper of the Heart after a couple of lesser offerings in the oeuvre of the studio.  The previous two films were not at the level that most of the prior movies had been, but Whisper of the Heart has reclaimed that Studio Ghibli magic.

Fourteen year old Shizuku is a student who loves to read.  She checks out many books from the library and, on the index card, she discovered that a boy named Seiji checked out all the same books.  The romantic in her wonders if this boy is the one she is meant to love.

On a bus, she sees a cat that she befriends and follows to an antique shop.  She meets the old man who runs the shop and he introduces her to a statue called The Baron.

This movie is a coming of age tale of the young girl and her imagination and the young boy who is following his dream of becoming a violin maker.  There are plenty of moments of typical school shenanigans, but the key point of the film is the relationship between these two main characters.  There is a real feeling to the film that brings its own magic to the story.

Of course, the animation is beautiful and the imagery in the film can be breathtaking.

One of the weird things about this movie was the use of the lyrics from the song “Country Road” by John Denver.  The song was meant to have been written by Shizuku in the story, and it worked.  It was strange though.

Whisper of the Heart was sweet and romantic.  The two characters are developed extremely well and they are easy to root for.  This was a really good film.


Whisper of the Heart (1995) - IMDb

Pom Poko (1994)

Pom Poko Movie Home Decorative Painting White Kraft Paper Poster ...

Continuing to move along in the Studio Ghibli films, I have come across Pom Poko.

Pom Poko tells the story of “raccoons” ( which apparently is an inaccurate description of these creatures, known in Japanese folklore as tanuki (though the film’s English dub referred to them as raccoons and that will be how I refer to them).  These raccoons lived in a forest and began to struggle against the humans and their suburban development in the land.  The raccoons had the ability to transform themselves into any kind of objects and they used this ability to try and scare the humans off.

Of course the animation in the movie is great, as it seems that all of the Studio Ghibli are.

After that, though, I did not find myself a fan of this one.  The comedy/drama film was odd, very strange.  There was bizarre story elements and the raccoons really were trippy.  There is a heavy theme of environmentalism, which was hardly subtle.

The film was narrated throughout the movie and I found that distracting in many ways.  The voice was unemotional and told the events in a detached manner.  For a film with so many fantastical elements, the spoken narration was very much out of place.

None of the characters spoke to me.  They were either unmemorable or so over-the-top that they did not fit in.  We did not have a main protagonist, as the characters continually switched from point of view.

Honestly, this one was not one of my favorites.  I feel as if there were way too many problems in the style or the construction of this story and that it simply does not live up to the beautiful animation in the film.  Pom Poko was difficult to watch and dragged on for much of the film.


Pom Poko Movie Home Decorative Painting White Kraft Paper Poster ...

Wag the Dog (1997) Wag the Dog Poster D 27x40 Dustin Hoffman Robert De ...

This past week, the topic on the Top 10 Show with John Rocha and Matt Knost was Best films of 1997.  During that show and my research to construct my own top 10 list, the movie Wag the Dog showed up.  I had not seen this film in a long time and I wanted to watch it again because I had remembered enjoying it.  Now that I have seen it once again, I truly loved the movie.

It certainly speaks to the unbelievable world of presidential politics and the ways that the media could be manipulated to tell the narrative that a campaign may want told.

In order to help change the topic of a sex scandal a few days prior to a presidential election, Conrad Brean (Robert DeNiro), a spin doctor, approached Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) for help in spinning a yarn about a war that they would create on their own.

Wag the Dog was extremely funny, but there is an underlying anxiety that makes one think that this is the type of situations that actually happen in the world.  Perhaps not at the level that they show in the movie, but the effort to change a certain topic or to distract from one story by having something else for the media to talk about seems to happen all the time today.

Robert DeNiro is amazing in this film.  Dustin Hoffman matches him with each scene.  Anne Heche has another side to the puzzle as Winifred Ames, an aide on the campaign.  These three create an amazing group of characters that are totally funny in situations that sure seemed to be anything but.

Woody Harrelson’s portrayal as Sgt. William Schumann, a supposed hero who turns out to be anything but one, is maybe the funniest point of the film.

The film’s pace is beautiful, nothing being wasted.  Wag the Dog is just around 90 minutes and every scene works.  Director Barry Levinson does a wonderful job creating the story and getting the images that are being created by the characters to show a nation.

The movie is a dark comedy that is extremely funny, but it speaks a truth that might make you question anything you see on the news or that comes out of the mouth of politicians.

vintage Wag the Dog Poster D 27x40 Dustin Hoffman Robert De ...

Best in Show (2000)

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Christopher Guest directed movies are different than the usual movie you see.  The group of comedic performers he has on hand include remarkably talented improvisational actors/comedians who are quick on their feet and can create stories on the spot.  There have been several Christopher Guest films in this style and Best n Show was one of the best.

Best in Show brings a group of eccentric characters and their dogs, invading the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show for the annual Best in Show dog show.

The troupe that has been in several other Christopher Guest films included Michael McKeon, Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, Catherine O’Hara, Bob Balaban, John Michael Higgins, Don Lake, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, Larry Miller, Ed Begley Jr., Linda Kash, and the recently deceased Fred Willard.  This group of actors have been in several other films of the same sort (from Waiting for Guffman to A Mighty Wind to For Your Consideration and even the Rob Reiner directed This is Spinal Tap).  In these films, the actors are giving information about their characters, but not a written script to follow.  The dialogue is created by the actors as they play off each other in a style of creativity unlike most films you see.

Filmed as it is a “mockumentary,” Best in Show follows these bizarre dog owners and their potentially zany behaviors during this high-pressure world of show dogs.  It is a hilariously funny film with these actors bringing the crazy.

There are also several beautiful dogs involved and dog owners would probably love this movie.

The late Fred Willard is amazing here as one of the announcers at the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show.  It gives him a great platform to provide his quick-wit and sharp humor.

Best in Show is a great film and it flies by quickly.  The pacing is great and the film is just laugh out loud funny.


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Blindspotting Blindspotting Movie Poster 18'' x 28'' - by ...

Blindspotting had been placed on my “to watch” list for the summer after I saw Dan Murrell’s video featuring all of his blu-rays.  It sounded interesting, but it was not until I watched Hamilton on Disney + and was awed by the performance of Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson that this film bumped to the front of the list.

Long time friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal wrote and starred in this film that dealt with some big time racial issues as well as a friendship and how far a friendship can be pushed.

Collin (Daveed Diggs) has just gotten out of prison and is on probation.  He met up with his lifelong friend Miles (Rafael Casal), whose volatile nature threatened to place Collin back in trouble.

When Collin witnessed a police shooting, the pressures of his life began to engulf him.

Daveed Diggs is a superstar in the making.  He is just spontaneous, quick-witted, charismatic and simply glows on the screen.  He is one of those actors who you cannot wait for what he does next and his performance here is powerful and poignant.

The story has so much going on that you can feel the weight each moment places on Collin.  As an audience member, you can sense how each situation drags Collin down more and more.  You are just as frustrated with Miles because you see how destructive he can be, but you know the connection between them is special.

There are some uncomfortable moments that range from feeling uncertain to downright fearful and these moments work extremely well.  You are never quite sure what was going to happen next and, while you are on this path, you are remarkably entertained.

I’m not sure how I missed this film in 2018 because I thought it was fantastic.  I remember seeing trailers for this, but it is possible that it did not come to any of the local theaters I attended.  Either way, if you have a chance to watch this, the film is tremendous and amazingly relevant.

vintage Blindspotting Movie Poster 18'' x 28'' - by ...

1776 (1972)

1776 (1972) - IMDb

Happy Fourth of July to everyone.

I had decided to revisit a film that I saw years ago, but that fit perfectly in with the intention of the day.  1776 was a comedy/drama/musical that adapted a Broadway stage play of the same name.  I can remember seeing this as a younger man and not truly understanding what was going on.

The musical details the days proceeding the approval of the resolution of independence up until the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Of course, the film takes plenty of liberties with the actual facts involved in the Continental Congress, but none of these historical inaccuracies should be worrisome.  This is not a documentary.  It is a piece of entertainment and thus is more concerned with the drama of the situation than the complete truth.

However, it was stated that much of the dialogue in the film came, over the years, from letters and correspondences from the individuals in the Congress.  Some of the characters were given traits and characteristics derived from these notes.

Our main characters involved here include John Adams (William Daniels), Dr. Benjamin Franklin (Howard Da Silva) and Thomas Jefferson (Ken Howard).  Adams, considered “obnoxious and disliked,” was the driving force behind the resolution for independence.  Adams and Franklin seemed to have a fascinating relationship played through the film with some good humor.

In opposition to the resolution was Pennsylvania Congressman John Dickinson (Donald Madden).  The film does a very good job of creating an air of conflict within the body that builds tension throughout.  I found myself unsure of the outcome despite clearly knowing my American history.

As a musical. I would venture to say that most, if not all, of the songs are catchy and entertaining, yet very unmemorable.  In fact, as I type this up, none of them are songs that remain in my head.  I did enjoy the humorous song “But, Mr. Adams”  as performed by Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Roger Sherman (Rex Robbins), and Robert Livingston (John Myhers).

With today’s world as it is, the sequence involving the debate over the slave trade language in the Declaration of Independence was an uncomfortable section to watch.  The song, “Molasses to Rum” as sung by South Carolina Congressman Edward Rutledge (John Cullum) was legitimately tragic and spoke to the long time basis for the systematic racism included in the very birth of the USA.  While this is one of the scenes that the timing of in history is inaccurate, the movie scene is undoubtedly compelling and powerful and one where the general humor found throughout most of the movie is appropriately suspended.

1776 is engaging and light-hearted, until it isn’t.  It does a solid job of balancing these tones and keeping the movie moving at a solid pace.  Unfortunately, the music is pedestrian, especially when compared to other musicals (such as Hamilton, a film placed in the same general time frame).  Still, much of the film provides a smile and a fun time.


1776 (1972) - IMDb

Cabaret (1972)

Cabaret (1972) - IMDb

One more musical tonight before the big Hamilton release tomorrow is one that I had not seen before, but had a couple of great songs that I had always liked.  It was a multiple Oscar winning musical called Cabaret.

Berlin, 1931.  Weimar Republic.  Cambridge University student Brian Roberts (Michael York) arrived to complete his German studies.  He rents a room in an inexpensive rooming house where he can teach English.  At this rooming house, Brian meets Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), a performer at the Kit Kat Club, a cabaret club run by the all-knowing Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey).  Brian and Sally hook up and drama ensues.

Liza Minnelli staked her claim in the lead role as she was just brilliant.  She showed such range and an unbelievable amount of talent.  Then, Joel Grey, who played his role on Broadway, is the Greek muse of the 1930 German with the MoC.

The film deals with a ton of topics as well, from abortion to Nazism to antisemitism.  Plus, all kinds of sexual issues.  The controversy was gigantic for Cabaret and it did not shy away from anything.

Bob Fosse directed the film in his defining style.  He did win the Academy Award for Best Director for his work.  Both Minnelli and Grey won Oscars too.  Cabaret won 8 Academy Awards and became the film to have won the most Oscars without winning the Best Picture.

I enjoyed the film considerably and I was really impressed with the talent involved.


Cabaret (1972) - IMDb