Jan 062015
 
I've been an Audie Murphy fan ever since I watched a bunch of his Westerns on TV with my dad when I was a kid. I suspect my dad felt a certain kinship with Audie, since they were both from small towns in Texas and the sons of farmers. They were close to the same age, too, although my dad was a little older. Of course, my dad didn't have the same sort of combat exploits—he arrived in Europe
Dec 302014
 
It's sort of a given that the movies I write about in this series are ones that I like, but every now and then I'll bend that rule a little to talk about a film I thought was pretty bad but at least had something of interest about it. In this case, it's the fact that here I am, 61 years old and a fan of Western B-movies for as far back as I can remember (and I mean that literally—some of my
Dec 232014
 
Like CHRISTMAS TWISTER last year, one of my daughters recommended an obscure Christmas movie to write about this year. It's BERNARD AND THE GENIE, a love-it-or-hate-it British TV movie from 1991 that seems to have developed quite a cult following. Also like CHRISTMAS TWISTER, it has a considerable amount of oddball charm, but it's a better film overall. Alan Cumming plays Bernard Bottle, a
Dec 162014
 
(This post originally appeared in different form on December 26, 2009.) This Christmas movie I'd never heard of turned out to be pretty good. It’s set in 1931 and is about a girl from Pittsburgh whose father has to send her to live with her “aunt” (really an old girlfriend) in a small town that has a local ordinance against dogs. Naturally the girl winds up with an adorable dog and makes
Dec 022014
 
(This post originally appeared on April 3, 2011) I’m no longer surprised when I wind up liking a movie that most of the critics hated. Such is the case with BURLESQUE. I’m not a big fan of musicals where the characters sing when there’s no good reason. But in a movie like this where the story centers around performing to start with, I don’t mind it. Still, I didn’t have huge high hopes for
Nov 252014
 
This movie was almost universally reviled when it came out earlier this year. Some hated it because it takes so many liberties with the Biblical story of the Flood. Others didn't like it because it's so aggressively dumb. And I'm not here to tell you that it's a good movie. But it's so goofy and over the top that if you can sit back and take it for what it is, it starts to have a certain
Nov 182014
 
(This post originally appeared in different form on August 27, 2008.) I had seen this early Tom Hanks movie, but so long ago that it might as well have been new because I didn’t remember any of it. Hanks plays a somewhat goofy concert violinist who, through no fault of his own, gets caught up in a dangerous war between two factions struggling for control of the CIA. At the same time, there’s a
Nov 112014
 
As you might expect, I'm a sucker for movies about writers. This one is a mockumentary about a small critique group of unpublished authors and what happens among them when one of their number, a rather clueless young woman, unexpectedly hits it big, getting an agent, selling her novel, and getting a movie deal all in a short period of time. Not surprisingly, the others don't take it that
Nov 042014
 
The Kickstarter campaign that raised the money for this movie broke all sorts of records at the time, and we were glad of that because all four of us were fans of the VERONICA MARS TV series. After that splash of coverage about the funding, though, the movie was made, released to theaters, and promptly vanished without a trace. That's not uncommon in this age when there don't seem to be any
Oct 282014
 
Since Halloween is later this week, I wanted to write about a horror movie, and they don't get much more overlooked and obscure than DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!, made in 1974 for an extremely low budget in Jefferson, Texas, by producer/director S.F. "Brownie" Brownrigg. It's the story of a young woman who moves in to take care of her elderly, ill grandmother, only to find that there's a crazy killer