Hello again, Ladies and Gentlenerds! By now, you’ve all diligently viewed the entirety of our oh-so-meticulously compiled lists of lockdown-killing shows. You’ve behaved yourself, stayed at home, spent time with the spouse/rugrats/parents/pets/dust bunnies. You’ve developed new and fascinating ways to prepare Ramen. You were good to go.
And now (at least in Wisconsin), we find out it’s gonna be at least another month.
We at the Pullbox feel your pain…and so we’re back, with more safer-at-home commiserating goodness. This time through, it’s our Silver Screen Edition: one staff member per day will offer up their list of three, somewhat to very under the radar films we’ve enjoyed in forestalling our own boredom.
So without further ado, here’s Editor In Chief/Chief Executive Officer/Grand Poobah Eric, with today’s picks:
The Big Lebowski (1998; rated R; Jeff Bridges & John Goodman; directed by Joel & Ethan Coen; available on STARZ) This is a Coen Brothers film so either you understand the subtle genius to it… or you are wrong. I believe at some point in some small way everyone can relate to all three of the main characters: the abiding Dude, the confrontational Walter and the unaware but happily content Donny. This wild and epic tale of mistaken identity and misplaced understanding to me is nothing short of a modern revised take on Shakespere’s “Much Ado About Nothing”. This movie is filled with talent and who all precisely and perfectly placed in their roles. It is R rated, so no tone to bring your younglings to, but is still for me one of the best movies ever.
My Blue Heaven (1990; rated PG-13; Steve Martin & Rick Moranis; directed by Herbert Ross; available to rent on Prime Video) What happens when a big town mobster, Vinnie Antonelli, is put under FBI witness protection and gets a new identity at “number one, Happy Street” in the middle of suburbs?… Only pure comic gold! Nothing brings a bigger smile to my face (as it relates to movies) as seeing Steve Martin in the role of Vinnie (originally written for Arnold Schwarzenegger and then later revised for John Travolta). Once again, a brilliant cast and a phenomenal script. This is a family favorite of ours…and should be of yours!
1941 (1979; rated PG; John Belushi & Dan Akroyd; directed by Steven Spielberg; available for rent on Prime Video) This is a forgotten gem from Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemekis starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Ned Beatty, Christopher Lee, John Candy… and the list goes on. This is a dark horse (and edgy for 1979) comedy about the eve of WWII so this is the antithesis of the bright and colorful romcom. The writing team put the large and complex cast of characters in the middle of historical facts with some (nay, perhaps a lot of) creative licensing (Perhaps, this is what really happened during the Zoot Suit Riots). There are reasons why this movie is not better well-known… uneven pacing, overtly racial characters, sexist situations (what is a patriotic USO girl to do?)… this movie definitely is from a certain place and time as far as it’s voice (1979 looking back and speaking about patriotism 40 years in the past)… but well worth checking out!
So there you go—track down some classics, and we’ll be back soon with Monkey’s picks! Until then, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars!