Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks-Small Towns

This week it is all about small towns...No blabbing away here (well, not much) so head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to find out what other movies take place in a small town. Here are my 3...


This is also known as A Christmas Wish which stars Jimmy Durante as the head of the household who move into an apartment that is attached to another home. Durante's family are down on their luck while the other family are quite wealthy. The miser dad from the wealthy family has hidden his money in the walls because he's a bit ....squirrely (sorry). His son soon falls for the poor but pretty daughter next door. The fun part comes from Rupert, a squirrel that a vaudeville man can no longer afford to keep. The squirrel doesn't like living the rough life with the other squirrels so he makes his guessed it, in the home of these 2 families. His bed...the money, but the squirrel decides he just has too much of this money so he lets it "rain down" just when the poor family pray for a break. Hijinks ensues all because of this squirrel. It is a silly but charming story with a very fun squirrel created by the Oscar winning George Pal. In fact, many people wrote in asking how someone could train the squirrel to do the stunts.


I hope everyone has seen this holiday classic with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. It is a fun musical with an over the top ending that I don't think one would ever find in an Inn. It begins  during WW2 with Bing and Kaye entertaining the troops. You meet their leader who is a stern but kindly general who treats his men right. After the war, the 2 become big entertainers who decide to see 2 sisters (at the behest of an old soldier friend of theirs) work their magic. Well, the sisters do and somehow all 4 end up going to a small inn where the sisters are to perform. The 2 men find out the Inn is run by their old general who sank all his money into it and is close to bankruptcy. Of course, they decide to put on a show. You see many dance numbers which has a Bob Fosse look about it. The ending is sweet and almost makes me cry. My favourite scene-when Bing and Kaye play the sisters and sing...Bing Crosby could not hold a straight face because of Kaye's antics so he is really laughing and it was kept in. Oh..and check out Vera-Ellen-a great dancer who only wears turtle necks and seems painfully thin. The rumours are that she had anorexia.


"You'll shoot your eye out!" This is such a fun film that brings back an era from the late 40's or 50's in a small town about a family with 2 boys. The older boy wants a BB gun but not just any BB Gun, he wants a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. He dreams about owning one but everywhere he goes, everyone, even Santa, tells him it is too dangerous. We get to know this boy, his younger brother who is too wrapped up (by mom) in his snow outfit to walk anywhere, his mom and his old man, who loves his new lamp. You have to laugh at the antics as we can all relate...I was the kid dying in my snow suit. I also put my tongue against a pole..yup, I did do that but I just cupped my hands around and kept breathing on my tongue (attached to the pole) and I was free. This movie was filmed partly in my home town:)



Come on! You know I would choose this as well since this is my favourite film and I truly believe in what it conveys. If you haven't seen it, you are living under a rock somewhere. Remember, No man is a failure who has friends.

What are your 3....


  1. I love that you went with A Christmas Story! Nice theme within a theme!

  2. A CHRISTMAS STORY -- Ha!-Ha!-Ha! I think that entire Department Store Santa Claus segment is the funniest thing ever put on film! Black Comedy at its very, very best!!

    One that came to my mind immediately is MURPHY'S ROMANCE with James Garner and Sally Field. It's a simple little love story that's utterly charming.

    Another great "Small Town" movie -- this one in Ireland -- is WAKING NED DEVINE. Everyone should see that one!

    And then, of course, I've mentioned it a couple times in the past, but I'm mentioning it again because it is without the slightest doubt one of my Top Ten Favorite Movies Ever Made: TORTILLA FLAT, starring Spencer Tracy, John Garfield, and Hedy Lamarr. Damn, what a great, great movie in every respect! Funny, touching, inspiring, and with perhaps the greatest cast of "character actors" ever assembled. Frank Morgan nearly steals the entire movie with his character, Pirate, a feeble-minded old man who loves his dogs ("good boys") more than anything else in life.

    BIRGIT, your list here has won you "a major award" from Italy. ...But, no, it's not a bowling alley.

    ~ Stephen

  3. Love the Christmas Story. One day I should watch IAWL all the way through and see what the fuss is about.

  4. Believe it or not, I've never seen A Christmas Story all the way through, nor have I seen The Great Rupert. I've never been a huge fan of Durante's, but I do enjoy watching him if I'm in the right mood.

  5. Hi, Birgit!

    Great selections! A few days ago I commented on Cathy K's post which included a clip from The Great Rupert. I will share with you what I told her. The Great Rupert immediately brought to mind not only Jimmy Durante, the comic actor who was a prominent show biz figure during my childhood (and turned in that classic performance in It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World, the film that inspired the title of my current post), but also reminded me of Terry Moore, the lovely actress who was at one time Mrs. Howard Hughes and who starred in one of my favorite scary movies Mighty Joe Young (1949) in which she was paired with a giant gorilla much like King Kong.

    A small town movie that I could recommend is Home Town Story (1951) starring Alan Hale, Jr. (the Skipper from Gilligan's Island) and featuring Marilyn Monroe in an early role. The story revolves around a small town newspaper.

    Have a wonderful week, dear friend BB!

  6. I've seen a Christmas Story and approve. Seen It's a Wonderful Life and consider it to be the most overrated movie ever.

    The American
    McCabe and Mrs. Miller (if westerns aren't eligible because so many of them take place in small towns - Whip It)

  7. I knew you would mention It's a Wonderful Life (I almost picked it myself). It's such a beautiful movie. A Christmas Story is awesome!

  8. I remember hearing that Roger Ebert really liked a christmas story but wondered if it would be a alltime classic. That's a fair thing I suppose, its takes awhile for people to don something as a classic

  9. A lot of christmas movies do take place in a small town, never really thought of that. All the cheesy Hallmark ones do too.

  10. LOL at putting your tongue on a pole. Thank goodness you got it off again!

  11. I'd never heard of the first one. I think I have seen White Christmas, although it doesn't stick in the memory. And A Christmas Story... My brother loves that. At the birthday he had right after it came out, it was the entertainment for the boys for their sleepover. His birthday's in March.

  12. OMGOSH,I've never seen any of these, although I have heard of the last two. Hanging my head in movie shame, here.

  13. Oh, Christmas. My fave is Home Alone. :)

  14. You can't do any better than The Christmas Story, so we'll leave it at that.
    Didn't Gremlins take place in a small town?

  15. LOVE the theme within the theme and I adore two of these films-White Christmas & A Christmas Story!!

    My fave is White Christmas in all its schmaltzy glitter. That last scene is both breathtaking and absurd but boy does it set the mood. Vera-Ellen was just such an amazing dancer, though it's true it looks like she could be snapped in half like a twig, and the big Mandy number where they toss her around like a feather my favorite part of the film.

    A Christmas Story is one of the few instances where the filmmakers try for homespun and succeed. Just perfect casting and performances across the board.

    The Great Rupert was cute but I never felt the need to go back to it more than once.

    I know I should feel more warmly towards Wonderful Life than I do, I think it's a case of burnout from the time it was in public domain and it was just EVERYWHERE the entirety of the season. It's a fine film but I haven't watched it in years.

    I didn't manage a theme within a theme this week but I enjoyed all three of these more than once.

    Doc Hollywood (1991)-Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) is a hotshot young doctor as well as pompous jackass who has been offered a big opportunity with a plastic surgeon in L.A. Driving across country in his sports car he tries to avoid highway traffic but causes a minor accident on a back road in the small town of Grady. Sentenced to community service assisting the town’s long time cantankerous physician Dr. Hogue (Barnard Hughes) he struggles with the slower pace of the village. At first snappish and anxious to get out of there ASAP he gradually falls for both the colorful townspeople including the mayor (David Ogden Stiers) his randy but sweet daughter Nancy Lee (a scene stealing Bridget Fonda) and pretty ambulance driver Lou (Julie Warner) whose affections he has to compete for with the cocksure insurance man Hank (Woody Harrelson). Good natured comedy is a great showcase for Fox’s boyish charm.

    All That Heaven Allows (1955)-Douglas Sirk’s masterpiece of color and skewering of class structure looks at the May/December romance of wealthy widow Cary Scott (Jane Wyman), lonely but hidebound by small town mores to a country club life full of wolfish men, disapproving children and stifling conventions, and her younger gardener Ron Kirby (Rock Hudson) a successful nurseryman with a rustic, down to earth attitude who doesn’t give a damn what others think. They are happy for a brief period but Cary, saddled with two of the most odious children (both of college age) in filmdom is pressured by them to break off the affair at which point having ruined her life they promptly forget about her. There’s plenty more drama ahead for the pair though. This heavily influenced Todd Haynes’s Far from Heaven.

    Our Town (1940)-The everyday life of small town Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire from the turn of the last century until about the time the film was made is recalled by the residents young and old. Idyllic version of life in the early 20th century where no one locks their doors and all is mostly harmonious focuses on young lovers George Gibbs (William Holden) and Emily Webb (Martha Scott) through their trials and triumphs. Thornton Wilder’s play on which this is based won the Pulitzer Prize.

  16. I've never heard of the first one. I love all the others. It's A Wonderful Life was the first one that popped into my mind.


  17. Interesting choices nicely kept in a Christmas theme. The last two are genuine classics that I have watched many times. I saw the ending of The Great Rupert not too long ago--I need to see that one from the beginning.

    Offhand I can't think of any other Christmas movies in a small town. But for other small town setting films two that immediately popped into my head were I Vitelloni and Amarcord, both by Fellini. They are similar films about life in small Italian towns. They really capture the spirit of small town existence.

    Tossing It Out

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  19. Wonderful Life and Christmas Story are classics and my favs...along with Scrooged:)
    Hope you are having a wonderful weekend and that everyone is healthy and pain free.

  20. Yay! A Christmas Story AND It's a Wonderful Life. The former is one of my all-time faves and the latter is a classic you can't go wrong with. Nice!

  21. It's hard for me to make it through a holiday season without seeing A Christmas Story.
    Enjoy the season, my friend.

  22. Rupert looks like a fun movie.
    Did your infusion do the trick?
    Have a jolly day.

  23. Oh how fun. These are hilarious. I remember how much I loved Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin and the marvelous Bob Hope when I was a kid. I'd probably even watch a Shirley Temple movie again now just for the fun of it.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year Birgit.

  24. Birgit,

    You're not going to believe this but we watched, "A Christmas Wish" on Amazon Prime a week or two ago and it was just a darling film. We bought "It's a Wonderful Life" (for $4.99) on iTunes on Christmas Eve and watched it while we had our Christmas dinner. It was a great way to spend the night, too. That's such a fabulous movie! Of course, we've seen "White Christmas" (now on Netflix) and "A Christmas Story" (now on Xfinity) many times over the year. You shared some wonderful movies. I can't believe Christmas is over, can you? Oh well...have a wonderful New Year, dear friend!

  25. I used to watch It's a Wonderful Life every year- but now realize it has been a while since I have seen it. Must watch it asap. Love A Christmas Story- I watch it at least once over the holidays- it streams 24 hours around Christmas so I usually catch parts of it too.

    I have only seen parts of White Christmas and none of the first one. So- this was pretty good for me. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that your New Year is filled with good health and joy.

  27. Our copies of A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas are on VHS tape and our VCR died this year.
    We were so disappointed. I plan to get a used VCR but I also plan to get DVD's of the movies we love.

  28. Happy New Year!

    Greetings from London.

  29. Wishing you and yours good health and happiness, Birgit, in 2018.

  30. Birgit, lovely to have a visit from you today, and Happy New Year to you as well. I have never seen #1 but Oh, I've enjoyed the remaining movies SO many times. It's a great time to watch each of these during the holidays. Gosh, they don't make 'em like this anymore, do they? Compared to today's movies, these are really tame, but I always feel good after watching one of these. Can't say the same about the ones made today. Too much bad language, dark stuff. These were 'happy' movies, my kind! Have a wonderful 2018. Hugs, TFS & Happy 2018!

  31. Hope your day is filled with sparkle and everyone is healthy.

  32. Stand by Me
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    To Kill a Mockingbird

    Does TV count? If so, Northern Exposure.

    When I was a kid growing up in the boring suburbs, small towns became a romantic ideal for me, largely inspired by movies. I live in one now. It has its perks, though I do long for urban adventures from time to time.

    However, I never, ever miss the 'burbs. Still boring. No character.