Thursday, September 15, 2016

31 Days of Oscar: Dimitri Tiomkin


Russia is known for a lot of things. Some good, some bad. One of the good things is its music and composers: Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and for cinephiles--film composer Dimitri Tiomkin. He was as prolific a composer as you'll find, and was nominated for an Academy Award a total of 22 times, winning the golden man four times-- for High Noon (Best Original Song and Best Score), The High and the Mighty, and The Old Man and the Sea. His nominations and wins may not be as numerous as those racked up by John Williams, but just looking at the "Known For" highlights that IMDB shows should be enough to convince you of his greatness nonetheless...

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Sexiest Hot Messes in Movies

Ah, the hot mess. They're! I've compiled a little list of some of my favorite hot messes in films and tried to rank them from simply hot mess to the heat from 1,000 suns kind of mess. Read on and let me know who you think I've missed down in the comments. There are some spoilers ahead, so beware.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Laurel & Hardy's Way Out West Is My Happy Place

There are few things outside of my family that give me great joy, but Laurel and Hardy are definitely on that list. They are the ultimate comedy duo, putting all others to shame. TO SHAME! And of all the L&H films and shorts, Way Out West is tops on my list.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Christopher Walken: The Anti-Christ and the Archangel

When I saw the announcement for The Great Villain Blogathon, I knew right away what I was going to do: Christopher Walken. Who else could play an Archangel just as villainous as the "Anti-Christ"? Only Walken.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Paths of Glory: A Review

There are war movies and there are movies about war. War movies have great battle scenes, tons of action, heroes (and anti-heroes), and perhaps not much for political or philosophical commentary. Hell, some war movies can even be funny. Right, 1941? Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (1957) is a movie about war--about the dirt of it, the fatigue of it, and the inhumane philosophies and ideologies of which war is comprised.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Try It, You'll Like It!: The Americanization of Emily

[Disclaimer: some of this post was written while under the fog of Percoset prescribed to me due to a massive kidney stone shortly before publishing. However, I made a commitment to have this thing up and ready, so here it is. It isn't anywhere near perfect or what I was hoping for, and I'm sure you'll be able to tell where/when the pain and drugs--and a little procrastination--got to be too much. Either way, I hope you take a little enjoyment from this. --Peter]

Getting into classic movies when you haven't really watched them before doesn't have to be a difficult prospect. You already know your own taste, so you can take it from there to decide where you want to start. But if you're looking for my advice...The Americanization of Emily (1964) is a good gateway to old movies (although I wouldn't call this movie old, per se).

It has humor; love and sex (well, 1964 sex); it has drama in the form of anti-war sentiment; an absolutely incredible cast--James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas, and James Coburn; and Mary Poppins herself gets called a bitch! Are you intrigued yet? Read on.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Whit Bissell: Uncredited but not forgotten

Everyone participating in this weekend's blogathon, whether as a contributor or as a reader, has likely watched every movie ever made. And somewhere along the way through that celluloid jungle, particular individuals start to stand out: "Hey, that woman looks familiar!", "Where have I seen him before?", "That face is so familiar; now I have to watch this horrible thing until the end just so I can see the credits!", or "Help me, IMDB!" That is the legacy left by the character actor.

Character actors are every bit as essential to a great film as the the top-billed stars. And a character actor can also make an otherwise mediocre film something that approaches watchable. I don't want to use the cliche that they are the "glue that holds a film together", but there would definitely be something missing if not for these wonderful people.

As a part of this weekend's What A Character! Blogathon, I'm going to talk about one of my favorites: Whit Bissell.

Criterion Blogathon: Fritz Lang's M

"The man in black will soon be here, whith his cleaver's blade so true, he'll make mincemeat out of you."

And that is how Fritz Lang's 1931 film M starts. Reminiscent of A Nightmare on Elm Street's "One, two, Freddie's coming for you...", the children's rhyme in M does two things: it lets you know that there is a killer on the loose, but it also speaks to the "it won't happen to me" mindset of the children. Kids being kids, they worry about nothing at their own peril.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

TCM Discoveries: My kids and The Unknown

"This is a story they tell in old's a story they say is true."

Hello, movie lovers, today is the TCM Discoveries Blogathon, hosted by Nitrate Diva. We're supposed to post about films that we first saw via one of the many platforms of TCM. However, I'm going to put a different spin on it and write about the first time my children saw a specific film on TCM. That movie? 1927's The Unknown.

Directed by Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks, The Unholy Three, London After Midnight...well, you get the idea--Browning made some startlingly good films), starring Lon Chaney and a very young Joan Crawford, The Unknown is a wickedly dark tale of love, hate, and deception. And let's just say that Vincent Van Gogh has nothing on Chaney's "Alonzo" when it comes to doing something drastic for the one he loves.

[Caution: some spoilers follow!]

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Hey, Hollywood, I got your reboot right here!

Things in Hollywood are getting a little ridiculous with all of the different re-boots/re-makes/re-tellings/re-imaginings that are being planned and made. There have been two remake announcements that have really gotten the cinephile community up in arms: Nosferatu and Mary Poppins.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Love You, M*A*S*H

Whether it's because of a memory of the family getting together at the same time each week, or you want to have something to discuss with your friends, or you just have a guilty pleasure, television shows occupy a special place in all of our hearts.

Sometimes our favorite show is not the best show on TV; at other times it is. More often than not, I find that a person's all-time favorite show isn't necessarily recognized as the best-ever. In my opinion, that best-ever spot is occupied by Breaking Bad, followed very closely by The Wire...yours may be different. This piece is about my all-time favorite show: M*A*S*H.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The New Medusa: Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine


It's time for the Anti-Damsel Blogathon, hosted by Movies Silently and The Last Drive In. Everyone who is participating is showing that women are more than helpless, needy, frightened, and objects. Women are vibrant, intelligent, and many times the better sex.

After a very lazy two-month hiatus from my fledgling blog, I'm covering someone who probably comes to mind most often when thinking of a strong woman: Katharine Hepburn, and her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 1968 film The Lion in Winter.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Classic Film Review: Seven Days in May

(Photo Courtesy:

Opening with a dramatic countdown superimposed over the Constitution, Seven Days in May is a compelling and engaging film right from the very beginning. Director John Frankenheimer immediately puts us in a position to choose a side: are you hawk, dove...or owl? 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Exorcist still scares this 40-year-old man

All movies should be watched in the dark, but this is especially true for horror films. Yet, as a 40-year-old man, I am watching The Exorcist with every light in my house on, the doors to a darkened bathroom and the basement are closed, my feet are fully and firmly on the couch, and I have a little more bourbon than usual in my glass. I am scared shitless.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Classic Film Review: The Thing from Another World

This post is part of the My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon in celebration of National Classic Movie Day (May 16th). Click here to view the schedule listing all the great posts in this blogathon. 

Chocolate and peanut butter. Milk and cookies. Batman and Robin. Those are things that are always thought of as great pairings, but let's consider another one: the 1950s and sci-fi.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), Invaders from Mars (1953), and The War of the Worlds (1953)...and 1951's The Thing from Another World.