Movie #13 – Alfie

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

13.  Alfie

The original 1966 “Alfie” starred Michael Caine as priapric young man in newly swinging London, in the time just before the Beatles, when Engliand was finally shaking off the dreariness that followed World War II.  Alfie demonstrates but fails to see for himself the hollowness resulting from getting caught in the cross-currents of the sexual revolution. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards. Its great Bert Bacharach and Hal David theme song was sung unforgettably by Dionne Warwick. It’s nothing like the flashy but shallow and forgettable remake with Jude Law.

“What’s it all about, Alfie?”


Watch the trailer.


Great Movie #13 – Murphy’s Romance

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

Hearing of James Garner’s recent death reminded me of “Murphy’s Romance”, the only role which garnered Garner an Oscar nomination.  It is the story of Emma, a down-on-her-luck single mother played by Sally Fields who meets Murphy (Garner’s character), a successful but much older druggist in a small town in the West.  It is a love story for adults but suitable for all ages. Carole King sings the theme song, “Love for the Last Time”.

Murphy, referring to a plumbing problem:  “It might be the ball cock.”
Emma: “Most problems start there.”

Here’s the trailer.

Murphy's Romance

Murphy’s Romance

Great Movie #12 – Going in Style

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

12. Going in Style  Going in Style This understated 1979 comedy stars George Burns (then 83), Art Carney (then 61) and Lee Strasburg (then 78) as three senior citizens who, out of boredom and lack of money, decide to rob a bank.  Burns’ and Carney’s characters then take the cash to Las Vegas where they grow it at the craps table.  Great ensemble piece. “No tinhorn joint like this could ever hold me.” Watch the trailer.

Great Movie #11 – Gettysburg

Another in a series of overlooked movies…


11. Gettysburg

On the anniversary of the July, 1863, battle, I  like to watch “Gettysburg”. It features a cast of thousands, including Tom Berenger, Jeff Daniels, Sam Elliott and Martin Sheen.  The movie, which was adapted from Michael Shaara’s great book “The Killer Angels”, confines itself to the story of the three-day battle.  It takes cinematic liberties with facts but provides insight into the minds of the men who participated in this turning point of the Civil War.  Anyone interested in American history should watch it.

“General Pickett, you must see to your brigade.”
“General Lee, I have no brigade”.

Watch the trailer.

Great Movie #10 – Paper Moon

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

Paper Moon10. Paper Moon 

This black and white Peter Bogdanovich movie was widely applauded when it came out in 1973.  It stars Ryan O’Neal and daughter Tatum at their most charming, backed up by Madeleine Kahn and John Hillerman.  Ryan is con man Moses Pray roaming the depression-era countryside upon whom an unacknowledged daughter, Addie (played by Tatum), is foisted.  Tatum, then 10, won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Despite a couple of oblique sexual references, it’s good for the entire family.

Moses: I won’t do it “. . . because I’ve got scruples.  You know what they are?”
Addie: “No, but if you’ve got ’em, it’s a sure bet they belong to somebody else.”

Watch the trailer.




Great Movie #9 – The Man Who Would Be King

This 1975 movie, adapted from a Kipling story and directed by John Huston, stars Michael Caine and Sean Connery at their best. It’s a beautifully realized buddy film that follows the twosome as they travel from India during the Raj to the Northwest through the Khyber Pass and seek to use their experience as British soldiers to become kings in Kafiristan.  As in a classical Greek play, just as the goal is in their grasp, hubris proves their undoing.  Christopher Plummer plays Rudyard Kipling. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards.

man who would be king

“But Peachy did come back and in all that time Danny never left his side.”

Watch the trailer.

Underappreciated Movie #8 – Glengarry Glen Ross

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

8. Glengarry Glen Ross

Taut film of the David Mamet play about boiler room real estate fraudsters and their empty lives.  Watch these masters at work:  AlanArkin, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Jack Lemon, Al Pacino, Jonathan Pryce and Keven Spacey.  Too strong for children.  See the trailer.

Kin to this movie is Mamet’s “American Buffalo” with Dennis Frantz and Dustin Hoffman which frankly was  too intense for me to watch twice, so I have a hard time recommending it, but if you like “Glengarry Glen Ross”, you might give it a look.

“ABC” – always be closing.




Underappreciated Movie #7 – Breaker Morant

Another in a series of overlooked movies…

7.  Breaker Morant

Excellent adventure movie from 1980 starring Brian Brown, Edward Woodward and Jack Taylor as Australian soldiers who in 1901 get caught up in the great international game of the Boer War.  They pay the ultimate price to advance the goals of politicians and generals.  Indelible performances from all.  Directed by Bruce Beresford who also directed “Driving Miss Daisy” and the under appreciated “Tender Mercies”. “Gripping” is an over-used adjective, but in this case it’s well deserved. Based on a true story called “Scapegoats of Empire“. Watch the trailer.

Listen for lines:

“A slice off a cut loaf is never missed.”

“But, General, what should I say?”
“Oh, I think you know what to say, Johnny.”

“This is what comes of empire building.

Breaker Morant

Breaker Morant

Underappreciated Movie #6 – Man on Wire

Another in a series of overlooked but unforgettable movies…

6.  Man on Wire

“At some point you have to shift your weight from the building onto the wire.”

Many people, including me, tend to shy away from documentaries.  However, often they turn out to be wonderful, unforgettable viewing experiences, like Young@Heart or Harlan County, U.S.A. or Man on Wire.  Man on Wire (2008) recounts the story of French aerialist Phillipe Petit who in 1974 managed to rig a wire between the tops of the two towers of the World Trade Center and then without a safety harness walked from one tower to the other. You will have your heart in  your throat even though you know the outcome.  Man on Wire won the 2009 documentary Academy Award and is suitable for all ages. Watch the trailer.

Man on Wire

Man on Wire

Underappreciated Movie #5 – Cinema Paradiso

Another in a series of overlooked but unforgettable movies …

5.  Cinema Paradiso

This Italian Academy Award winner from 1988 focuses on a small-town movie theater to tell the story of a fatherless boy who loves movies, befriends the movie projectionist and grows up to become a movie director.  Great bittersweet story of time gone by.  Perfect haunting theme song by Ennio Morricone.  Watch the trailer.

Cinema Paradiso

Cinema Paradiso