Thursday, February 22, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks: TV Edition-Law Shows

Wandering Through The Shelves has such great themes and the tv editions are fun. This week is all about law shows and we know that, aside from doctor shows, law shows are the next popular theme for TV shows. I have so many to choose from but I am picking 2 that most people don’t know and 2 that are/were very popular. Here are my mean 4...

1. HAWKINS-1973-1974

Jimmy Stewart was the star of this low ratings but critically acclaimed show where he plays a lawyer who uses his down home style to solve a crime and defend his client..and yes, he usually won. I was so young when this came out but I remember it and fell in love with Jimmy Stewart because of this show. In fact, I think His style of being a humble lawyer was the precursor for my 3rd choice.

2. PETROCELLI-1974-1976

I watched this show with my mom when it came out and we both loved it because he was a lawyer for the underdog(insert laugh here because we know these lawyers don’t exist). He always tried to find out the real killer with his trusty aide and his wife while trying never having to pay for parking. It was interesting because the case was shown in flashback-first the way cops see it, second how his client recalled it and, lastly, how it may have really happened with the new evidence found at the last minute. He was a great lawyer but drove a beat up truck and he and his wife lived in a trailer waiting for their dream home to be built.

3. MATLOCK-1986-1995

This, as well as Murder She Wrote, seems to be the show all 75+ people watched. Andy Griffith plays a common sense type lawyer who only seems to own one suit and eats at the local hot dog corner. He has a trusty aide to investigate who actually killed the victim and another aide to do whatever she did:) it was formulaic but I enjoyed watching how he always got his man. If only lawyers and the justice system really worked this way.


Will it be L.A. Law, Law and Order or any of those spin offs, any of the newer shows? Nope, I went comedy with....

4. NIGHT COURT-1984-1992

I loved this show and watched it on that famous Thursday night line up of comedies. It all took place in a court house that worked the grave yard shift. The lead was played by Harry Anderson who was the judge with a Mel Torme obsession but everyone took a back seat to John Larroquette who played a prosecuting lawyer. John was so funny as the cad who was slimy but you still cheered for the guy. In fact, the actor won many Emmys for this career defining role. The other misfits was a female defense lawyer where she and the judge like each other but never talk about it, the clerk who helps out the judge and 2 policemen, one a tall, bald idiot and the other, a cynical woman who you don’t mess with. I always found this show funny.

Which Law shows would you choose?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks-movies with songs in them but not musicals

Well, there’s a mouthful....and I was a bit lost with this but then a lightbulb went off, mind you it is only 40 Watts, and I came up with some movies that fit the bill. Head over to the brainchild, Wandering Through The Shelves and see what the others have chosen.

1. BALL OF FIRE-1941

This is a funny yet sweet screwball comedy that stars Gary Cooper as a very innocent (HA!) professor who ventures into a nightclub to learn about American Slang,-research for his book. In enters Sugarpuss, played by Barbara Stanwyck who sings a song and sees how much the young professor is taken with her. She soon needs a hideout because her mobster boyfriend is wanted by the cops and they want to question her. What’s Snow Not So White to do but go home with the be-smitten professor and she does just that not realizing he lives with 7 elderly professors. Little does she know how much these old gents take her heart and same for the innocent(HA!) prof whom she teaches the art of yum yum. A great movie that has some very funny moments in it along with sweet ones. An interesting take on Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.


Now this is a burlesque farce in the best sense of the word. You have the best that actually worked in burlesque and vaudeville-Phil Silvers, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford and the great Buster Keaton. You also have the young Michael Crawford who created the role of the Phantom on the  broadway version of the Phantom of the Opera. This film takes place in Ancient Rome where Zero plays a slave who tries to become a free person. He gets involved with his owner’s son who loves a girl who is trying to find her long lost brother and father. You have vestal virgins, bordellos (not sure I could tell the difference), an army looking for the slave, and Buster doing his thing. This film has more than one musical number but it is more a comedy than a musical. Even the musical numbers make me laugh. Interesting that both Zero Mostel and Jack Gilford were blacklisted during the McCarthy witch hunts.


If you want a politically correct western with little offence....then this is not the movie for you because this is Mel Brooks so that means anything but politically correct which is just how I love it. First...Cleavon Little was perfectly cast as the young sheriff riding into town to begin a new life except the townsfolk are not happy that this man is their new lawman because they are a bunch of bigoted idiots. Poor Cleavon ends up meeting the Ringo Kid played so well by Gene Wilder who helps him see the light while Cleavon helps Gene become sober. In comes Madeleine Kahn with a hilarious send up of Marlene Dietrich who is hired by the evil Harvey Korman to seduce the sheriff since the town is to be blown up to make way for a new railroad. Things don’t go as planned for Mr. Evil and everyone starts beating up on everyone where they end up on a musical set directed by Dom Deluise. There are more than one musical number like the send up of Marlene but this is so much a great comedy despite some crudeness( men eating beans at the campfire). This is one of the best Mel Brooks movies and one that always makes me laugh.

What are your 3...

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day

I ....can't think of anything snarky because I am thinking about my mom whom I loved deeply and miss her since her passing January 15th. When I was young, I remember coming for dinner, my mom had lit candles and, on each of our plates, was a heart shaped box filled with chocolates. She made a special meal for all of us to enjoy. She did this most years and it always filled me warmth, love...and chocolate. This Valentine's Day is for my mom and I am filled with love today as corny as that sounds.  Back in September, my cousin Dieter, came for a visit to see his Tante Fiti (Say as Feetee). I asked her what she used to sing to her nephew and she started to sing. Here it is and I hope it is not upside down...

at her funeral, We played 2 songs that we thought my mom would love to have for her day. One is done by Andre Rieu whom she called "her boyfriend". The other song was at the end of the ceremony-The Battle Hymn of the Republic was very close to her heart and it is sung by John McDermott whom we saw in concert and loved him as well. If you care to are the 2..

I Dreamed a Dream

So this is the whole CD I bought and we decided on track 5 so just scroll through until you get to the right one....about 22 min. into it. She loved this guy and he is excellent...we saw him twice

The second song, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, we asked everyone to stay and listen as this song was very close to our mom's heart.

So, to everyone, Happy Valentine's Day...hope it is wonderful no matter what.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks-Romance this theme is huge because we could go epic to small to sappy and crappy. I am not one for typical Romance films because I find them kind of boring or irritating because I want to slap one or the other for not just communicating what they feel or mean. Sorry, but I find the Notebook both, except when James Garner and Gena Rowlands are on... Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams bored me to tears and I wanted to slap them. Head over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have are my 3....


Sublime! I love this film and consider it brilliant and a realistic portrayal of an affair. No one is evil, no one is wrong even if one should not have an affair, you understand how it comes to be and how guilt comes into power as it usually does. The people are not the beautiful types of Hollywood but a bit more normal. You want someone to be a villain but there are none just a woman who is lonely and a bit bored, a husband who loves her but is absent and the man who enters her life who is also a good man. The 2 would be lovers meet on a train station when she has something in her eye and the doctor helps her out. They start to talk and over time, they keep meeting at the train station until they realize they would like something more. Well written and acted, it is an intelligent film that stands the test of time.


This is pure romance with the stunning locale of Venice, David Lean as the director, Katherine Hepburn as a, you guessed it, spinster and Rossano Brazzi(who??) in his typical pursed romantic lips as the man who woos Kate. She comes to Venice on a once in a life time vacation to experience Venice in all its romantic splendour never mind the people who throw out their garbage (my mom went there, after the war,  and hated the smell, the garbage and the rats in the is not like that now). She meets Rosanno who sweeps her off her feet for a once in a life time romantic experience. There is one scene where she does the stunt-she falls back into a canal, this gave her an eye infection that she suffered with for the rest of her life so...never swim or dip your toe in Venice. Oh and I love it when she gets her hair done...and it looks the same as before...hahahaaa

3. RETURN TO ME-2000

I can’t remember if I chose this before but I don’t care as I really like this small movie that was a dud at the box office. David Duchovney, of X-Files fame, plays a happily married man to a zoologist and Minnie Driver plays a young woman in need of a heart. David’s beloved wife is killed in a car accident which sends David into a deep abyss and his dog waiting by the door for his mom. Minnie can now do things and live again much to her dad’s happiness. Her dad(Carroll O’Connor) owns a restaurant where his daughter helps out and, a year later, David and his friend go to this restaurant for a bite to eat. David meets Minnie and is smitten but, of course, neither know the true connection even when his dog loves her and the zoo animals take to her as well. It is a sweet movie that I think is well written with a fun supporting cast.



I love musicals and heard this was great so I saw it last summer and....I was not enamoured with it. Maybe I was wanting more like the great musicals of the 1930s to the 50s but it didn’t work for me. I liked the costumes and the cinematography as well as some of the songs but I found something missing. The leads were not dramatic enough for me which might be the wrong word to use. Emma Stone was good although her voice was thin but ok, but Ryan Gosling can’t sing worth beans. He hits the notes but big deal. He is excellent with playing the piano but he can’t dance and can’t sing and he might be balding a Little:) I hope you got my little Fred Astaire reference. I wanted to like it more but I can’t.

What would you choose?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks-A story within a story

I'm trying to get back slowly as, many of you know, January has been a rough month. The bathroom is gutted and will stay that way for a while. My mom's funeral was beautiful, this past Saturday, and many commented on how well I spoke as well as my brother Baron. They loved the slideshow and the music we chose which I might place on here in the near future. My car accident, the day before the funeral, was an unfortunate surprise and which I still beat myself up. I am feeling it a bit in the neck and shoulders but I am ok which is a good thing. We bought a car! It is the newest car I ever owned, a 2013 Honda Civic and it comes with snow tires and has other extras. So, at least we are now moving forward and, since I am a believer that everything happens for a reason, time will let me know the answers. Now on with my movie list which I had a tough time thinking up films that fit this theme...A story within a story. Head on over to Wandering Through The Shelves to see what the others have chosen...


I had to find a Hitchcock film because I think Hitchcock often chose a story within a story. Ingrid Bergman plays a doctor at an insane asylum with the new head of the asylum played by (hubba, Hubba) Gregory Peck. The problem is that Gregory Peck is not a doctor but is an amnesiac and may have even killed the doctor he is impersonating. It is a romance, suspense and quite advanced for its day since the dream sequence was created by Salavdor Dali who, I think, is a great artist. Through dreams we see Peck's story evolve and learn who he is. Layers are being pulled away until we finally get to the truth. Love everything about this film.


I have no idea why I don't own this movie because it is one of my favourites. The director is Terry Gilliam from Monty Python fame and one who always creates fun, dark films with many themes. This film has a young boy, neglected by his parents, who travels with a bunch of dwarves that came out of his wardrobe cupboard. They stole a map from their employer, the Supreme being, and now travel with the young boy through time on their quest to find treasure. They end up singing to Napoleon, travelling through the middle ages meeting Robin Hood, and land on the Titanic. At one point, the boy is separated from the tiny group and feels right at home with Agamemnon, played by Sean Connery. Throughout his adventure, the young boy takes photos including when they all end up in the grasps of Mr. Evil, played wonderfully by David Warner. I loved the whole adventure, the time travel and the characters.


Love, love, love these films! I can't say enough about this epic journey that starts with the Hobbits and ends up at the evil place of Mordor. Frodo with his best friend Samwise, Pippin and Merry head out with Gandolf, the old Wizard, to start the epic journey of bringing the ring back to Mordor and throw it into the volcano from whence it came since the ring is evil. They meet Fairies, dwarves, ogres, men and talking trees. Many try to help and many try to stop them. It is epic and worth understanding how Tolkien, a World War One vet, hated war, hated what was happening to the world and decided to create a masterpiece. Tolkien was a strong believer in nature, forests, animals and peace. he was opposed to the destruction of land in the name of progress and in war since he had seen and experienced the horrors of it. I loved The fairy worlds, the epic scale of the production design, the cinematography, the costumes, the great score, the acting and their story. We see Merry and Pippin become men and lead an army. We see Frodo change from an idealistic Hobbit to one changed forever due to the power of the ring. Also, I love that Christopher Lee, who played Saruman, had met Tolkein, read the trilogy every year and became an expert for Peter Jackson and others on the set.

What films can you think of that fit this theme?