Movies for Mother's Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 10, 2015 08:02am | Post a Comment

Mary Cassatt's After the Bath (circa 1901)

The American Mother's Day was invented by Anna Jarvis in 1905, when her own mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Her mother's death proved the inspiration for a holiday and by 1908 others joined her in this macabre celebration.

After five years of dedication to her obsession, Mother's Day was first observed in West Virginia in 1910. Although writing "I love you" on a post-it note would be more meaningful, by the 1920s consumers dutifully purchased pre-made Mother's Day cards from the Hallmark corporation. Disgusted by this perversion of her crazy vision, Jarvis unsuccessfully tried to kill Mother's Day. 

Whatever you do this Mother's Day, please don't spend $17.95 on a Spring Multicolor Floral Infinity Scarf, $24.95 on a Bronze Metal Birdcage Lantern Wall Decoration, or $29.95 on a Coral-inspired Jewelry Tree. Instead, take her on a hike, go for a swim, eat a type of cuisine neither of you've ever had before, go to the ballet... or watch one of these films.

Mother (??, Bong Joon-ho, 2010)

steven king on dvd...misery...carrie...children of the corn...the shining...cujo...christine...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 5, 2007 10:50am | Post a Comment
Well I guess it is now officially November. But even though Halloween is over that does not mean the season of horror movies is over. As a huge long time fan of the horror film I always look forward to any excuse to watch horror movies over and over again. The horror films at the movie theater were a bit disappointing this Halloween season. The only movies at the theater last weekend were Saw IV and "30 Days of Night." I luckily already saw Rob Zombie's Halloween, since it completely disappeared from the theaters. They really released that one way too early. I had many friends that were waiting to see it close to the the actual date of Halloween. It was always exciting to go see the new Halloween movie on or around the day of Halloween. I even wanted to go see this new one again. But I did see "30 Days of Night" directed by David Slade. The brilliant man behind the very disturbing movie "Hard Candy." I still get scared thinking about that movie and it wasn't even a horror movie. Every time I go to a horror movie in the theater these days, I always expect the worse. So if the movie is even half way decent I end up really appreciating it and possibly loving it. But 30 Days of Night was actually really good. The film was based on a comic book about a town that literally experiences 30 days of night. The development of the characters and the small town they lived in was really well done. Josh Hartnett, who also starred in Halloween H20, plays the town sheriff. He actually sort of resembled the Michael Myers mask and was really well cast as the son of Jamie Lee Curtis. I was not really scared that much during 30 Days but I was really cold. They did a good job of capturing the cold of Alaska even if the vampires didn't seem to mind it.

One of my favorite book to film authors is Steven King. I have always loved his books but I often end up hating the movies that are made out of my favorite books. But there have been many Steven King stories that work brilliantly on the screen. I don't know if the credit lies with Steven King for creating such brilliant visual stories or with the directors and screenwriters who recreate the novels on the big screen. A couple of my favorites have recently been released on DVD this Halloween season. And there are already a bunch available on DVD. Here are my top 8 Steven King Movies on DVD...

Carrie (1976)
This was Stephen King's first book to be made into a movie. The movie still freaks me out in parts. I have seen it so many times that I have most of it memorized. But the prom scene and any scenes with the mother, brilliantly played by Piper Laurie, still scare me. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and along with Scarface, it is easily one of his best. The special edition DVD includes 2 great documentaries on the making of Carrie. It also includes a "Carrie the Musical" featurette and a Stephen King biography. Sissy Spacek, P.J. Soles, John Travolta, Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, Nancy Allen, and Piper Luarie are all perfect in this film.  I got to catch this movie on the big screen a couple years ago at the Castro for a "Carrie White Christmas." P.J. Soles, who also starred in the original Halloween, was the special guest celebrity.

Misery (1990)
The Collector's Edition of this was just released on DVD last month. The film looks great and is just as creepy and scary as ever. Kathy Bates got one of the best roles in the history of film. But another actress could have easily messed it up. She is simply brilliant as Annie Wilkes and completely brings Stephen King's character to life. The DVD includes 2 commentaries. One by director Rob Reiner and another by Screenwriter William Goldman. It also includes about 7 little documentaries including "Profile of a Stalker," "Celebrity Stalkers," and "Marc Shaiman's Musical Misery Tour." Yes, there is a musical version of both Carrie and Misery. Most of the movies on this list are really faithful adaptations of the books. But this movie in particular really captured the feeling I had while reading this book. You feel a little sorry for Annie and almost side with her for about a second. James Caan is also perfect as novelist Paul Sheldon.

The Shining (1980)
They just reissued all of the Stanley Kubrick films on DVD last month as well. "The Shining" is one of those great films. This two-disc special edition is not much different than the last release on DVD. This Edition includes the same commentary and documentary as the last release. But it also has 3 new featurettes including a documentary on the music composer Wendy Carlos. This is one of those movies that I grew up watching the edited version of on TV over and over again.  Stanley Kubrick again captures the brilliance of the book. And much like Kathy Bates in Misery, I can't really imagine anybody else playing Jack Torrance. The great and amazing Shelley Duvall is also perfect as his wife. The hotel in this film is also a brilliant character in the book and is realized beautifully in the film.

Children of the Corn (1984)
The 20th Anniversary Divimax special Edition was just released a couple of years ago. This movie really freaked me out when I was a kid. Along with Cujo, this was one of the first horror movies that I ever saw. The film stars Linda Hamilton and Peter Horton as two normal people who end up in the wrong town. I am sure that the idea of a town with no adults or parents was many kids fantasy. But it really does not work out so well in this Stephen King Story. The kids were also all great in this film but especially John Franklin as Isaac and Courtney Gains as Malachai. The DVD includes a great commentary with the director and stars. The documentary and interviews are also really fun to watch. Both John and Courtney are featured in the commentary and documentary.

Christine (1983)
This Special Edition DVD also came out a couple of years ago. This film was directed by the brilliant John Carpenter. Combining a Stephen King story with the brilliance of John Carpenter was bound to make the perfect film. Carpenter is on the commentary for the film along with the lead actor Keith Gordon. Keith also starred in the Legend of Billie Jean a couple of years later. The DVD also includes a bunch of extra stuff including deleted scenes and 3 featurettes. It is hard to imagine a car actually being a key character unless you have actually read the book or seen the movie. But the movie really is all about the car. And the film is actually still scary. John Carpenter always makes his films have a certain feeling that go along with them. It really is a perfect combination.

Dolores Claiborne (1995)
This was a completely different role for Kathy Bates than the one she played in Misery. But she is again brilliant. This film and novel are more suspenseful than scary. But it is still one of my favorites of the Stephen King stories. The film is directed by Taylor Hackford and also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, David Strathairn, and John C. Reilly. This DVD unfortunately has no extra features and is in serious need of a deluxe version. I really do love this movie and can't resist watching it whenever I get the chance. Stephen King's novels are just meant for the big screen. He creates such great visual stories and this film capture it perfectly. The art direction and locations are also perfect.

Cujo (1983)
Along with Misery, this film was also just recently released on DVD in a special edition. This 25th anniversary edition includes a director commentary by Lewis Teague. He also went on to direct another Stephen King film, "Cat's Eye" in 1985. The DVD also includes a 3 part documentary with interviews of the cast members. The film stars Dee Walace (The Howling, E.T.) and Danny Pintauro (Who's the Boss?). Since this was one of first horror films that I ever saw, it really scared me the most. I think I am still a bit scared of any sort of large St. Bernard. You never know when they are going to turn on you. I am sure it scared many children into never wanting a dog at all.

Firestarter (1984)
This was released on DVD in 1998 but is currently unavailable by itself. A deluxe version of this one is hopefully on the way. Maybe we will have to wait until next Halloween to hear the Drew Barrymore commentary that we all have been waiting for. It is currently only available in a stupid 2 pack with Firestarter 2. The director Mark Lester also directed Commando. Commando starred Alyssa Milano who also starred in Who's the Boss with Danny Pintauro from Cujo. And Drew Barrymore also starred in E.T. with Dee Walace from Cujo. Dee Walace can obviously be connected in some way to most horror movies. But who knew that Who's the Boss could be connected to two Stephen King movies! The film is great and was Drew's second big film and stars everybody including Heather Locklear, David Keith, Louise Fletcher, and Martin Sheen.


the best movies of the 70's

Posted by Brad Schelden, August 26, 2007 09:36pm | Post a Comment
In continuing my best of lists, here is my list of the best films of the 70s. In case you missed my list of 80s films, you can go back here and check it out. Since I was born half way through the 70s, I did not see most of these films in the theater. But through the magic of cable TV and the VCR, I watched and fell in love with these movies. The 70s still remains my favorite time for film. The style and sound of these films is something that could only be captured in the 70s. Many of these movies have been remade or are in the process of being remade. But they never live up to the 70s originals. Dawn of the Dead, Stepford Wives, The Omen, Superman, Assault on Precinct 13, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, King Kong, Poseidon Adventure, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, The Amityville Horror and The Hills Have Eyes have all been remade. There is obviously something magical about this period in cinema that Hollywood tries to recreate. I am really hoping that Rob Zombie creates a brilliant reinterpretation of Halloween. I know that versions of Logan's Run and The Warriors are already being worked on as well. Nothing can really come close to what these films are and the memories that they have created in all of us.

top 100 movies of the 70s

The Exorcist (73)
William Friedkin

                                                                                             Alien (79)
                               Ridley Scott

Halloween (78)
John Carpenter

                         Carrie (76)
                         Brian De Palma

Taxi Driver (76)
Martin Scorsese

              The Godfather (72)
               Francis Ford Coppola

Over the Edge (79)
Jonathan Kaplan

                       Jaws (75)
                       Steven Spielberg

Dawn of the Dead (78)
George A. Romero

                    Martin (77)
                    George A. Romero

Stepford Wives (75)
Bryan Forbes                      

                         Nashville (75)
                          Robert Altman

Amityville Horror (79)
Stuart Rosenberg

                    The Warriors (79)
                      Walter Hill

Desperate Living (77)
John Waters

                  Pink Flamingos (72)
                   John Waters

Last Picture Show (71)
Peter Bogdanovich

                       Star Wars (77)                        George Lucas

Woman Under the
Influence (74)
John Cassavetes

                Alice Doesn't Live
                 Here Anymore (74)
                 Martin Scorsese

Shivers (75)
David Cronenberg

                           The Omen (76)
                           Richard Donner

Play Misty for Me (71)
Clint Eastwood

                        Dirty Harry (71)
                         Don Siegel


The Muppet Movie (79)
James Frawley

A Clockwork Orange (71)
Female Trouble (74)
Mean Streets (73)
Superman (78)
Network (76)
Klute (71)
Chinatown (74)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (75)
All the President's Men (76)
Deer Hunter (78)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (71)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (72)
Five Easy Pieces (70)
Deliverance (72)
French Connection (71)
Dog Day Afternoon (75)
Assault on Precinct 13 (76)
Suspiria (77)
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (70)
Rabid (77)
Looking for Mr. Goodbar (77)
Diamonds are Forever (71)
The Man with the Golden Gun (74)
The Spy Who Loved Me (77)
Moonraker (79)

China Syndrome (79)
Coma (78)
The Conversation (74)
3 Women (77)
Sunday Bloody Sunday (71)
Death Wish (74)
Coming Home (78)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (77)
Three Days of the Condor (75)
Texas Chain Saw Massacre (74)
Rocky (76)
Herbie Rides Again (74)
Airport (70)
Cabaret (72)
The Brood (79)
Deep Red (75)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (71)
Norma Rae (79)
Rock N' Roll High School (79)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (78)
Piranha (78)
The Eyes of Laura Mars (78)
The Godfather Part II (74)
Annie Hall (77)
Interiors (78)

Abominable Dr. Phibes (71)
King Kong (76)
Mad Max (79)
Lenny (74)
Opening Night (77)
The Enforcer (76)
Foxy Brown (74)
Coffy (73)
The Wiz (78)
The Hills Have Eyes (77)
Monthy Python & the Holy Grail (75)
Life of Brian (79)
Phantom of the Paradise (74)
Logan's Run (76)
Kramer vs. Kramer (79)
Poseidon Adventure (72)
Towering Inferno (74)
Earthquake (74)
Avalanche (78)
Apocalypse Now (79)
Hardcore (79)
Bugsy Malone (76)
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes(78)
Sisters (73)
Black Christmas (75)