Showing 1 - 10 of 533 posts found matching keyword: movies

128/2137. To Hell and Back (1955)
The story of the most decorated United States soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy, as told by... Audie Murphy! Murphy's participation, though wooden, is the only reason this movie works; it's just too hard to believe that such a character could exist in the real world.

129/2138. The Whistler (1944)
If you're a fan of the Golden Age of Radio — and who isn't? — you no doubt recognize The Whistler as an anthology series of suspense stories. The movie version focuses on just one story (more or less) as a well-intentioned Richard Dix at the end of his rope is drawn into a number of life-or-death situations. I actually liked it more than I like the radio show.

131/2140. McEnroe (2022)
John McEnroe and his friends and family tell his life story in this autobiographical documentary. This was done in a similar style as the Tony Hawk documentary I watched earlier this year, and I thought this one superior, largely because McEnroe is more willing (or capable) of investigating some of the worse/private aspects of his life story in addition to the happier/famous moments.

Drink Coke! (McEnroe)
You might say that archival footage doesn't count as product placement, but they didn't have to use this particular shot.

132/2141. This Is Joan Collins (2022)
Another autobiographical documentary, this time for the Dynasty star whose career had a lot of ups and downs (and #MeToo moments). She's quite charming.

133/2142. The Animal Kingdom (1932)
Speaking of charming women, Myrna Loy is herein supposed to be playing the proverbial gold-digging wife who tries to corrupt her artistically-minded husband, but I choose to interpret her character as a well-intentioned sophisticate working to save a wishy-washy gadfly from throwing away his fortune on drunks and whores. Casting is everything!

134/2143. Men in White (1934)
More Myrna Loy, here playing the exasperated fiance of Clark Gable's selfless driven doctor who has made the mistake of knocking up a nurse... and then operates to save her life after her illegal back-alley abortion goes awry. Welcome to the future, everybody!

More to come.

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It's been over a year (see: Mar 22, 2021) since I last posted pics of Coca-Cola product placement in movies I'd seen before I started tracking what I was watching. I've re-wartched quite a few films since then, so here's an update.

Drink Coke! (Beverly Hills Cop II)
Goes great with donuts. (Beverly Hills Cop II)

Drink Coke! (Blade Runner)
Taste the future! (Blade Runner)

Drink Coke! (The Blues Brothers)
It's dark, we're wearing sunglasses, and we're drinking Coca-Cola! (The Blues Brothers)

Drink Coke! (China Syndrome)
Just don't spill it! (China Syndrome)

Drink Coke! (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)
Keep your bodily fluids pure with Coke! (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Drink Coke! (The Gauntlet)
Bring her in... for a Coke. (The Gauntlet)

Drink Coke! (The Jerk)
No one hates Coke cans. (The Jerk)

Drink Coke! (Magnum Force)
A man's got to know great taste. (Magnum Force)

Drink Coke! (She's All That)
Coke looks great in glasses. (She's All That)

Drink Coke! (Superman II)
Better. (Superman II)

Drink Coke! (Superman III)
Best. (Superman III)

Drink Coke! (Tommy)
The only good thing in life. (Tommy)

I don't know about you, but I'm getting thirsty.

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125/2134. You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
W.C. Fields' misanthropic humor stands up well over time, and it works especially well here, where Fields is foiled by the equally irreverent dummy Charlie McCarthy. There has long been a rumor that MGM refused to cast Fields as the titular Wizard of Oz over his outrageous salary demands, but Wikipedia's bio of Fields seems to suggest his demands were high specifically because he wanted MGM to refuse him so he would have time to write this. True or not, there's a lot to laugh at here.

130/2139. Look Who's Laughing (1941)
I'm re-arranging my viewing order to mention this here, as it is the first movie reuniting Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy with their radio cohorts, Fibber McGee & Molly and the Great Gildersleeve. The plot is silly, sure, but this radio-sitcom-adapted-for-the-screen format will take the world by storm when the television comes along. Bergen's love-interest co-star, some actress named Lucille Ball, probably took notice.

126/2135. Here We Go Again (1942)
Look Who's Laughing must have made plenty of money to earn this follow-up. I'm really digging these Charlie McCarthy movies. In this one, Charlie is often given mobility by a midget in a mask — the original uncanny valley? — but Bergen's clever creativity and wry humor carry the day.

127/2136. Elvis (2022)
Baz Luhrmann's much ballyhooed biopic wants you to believe that the King of Rock and Roll was some sort of literal superhero (which would make The Colonel a Bondian supervillain). So long as you don't take it too seriously, it is entertaining enough. Austin Butler does a very good impression. Its heart is certainly in the right place, as you can tell by its dedication to replicating real-life product placement!

Drink Coke! (Elvis)
Drink Coke, fake Elvis!

Everyone knows Elvis really preferred Pepsi
Drink Coke, fat Elvis!

More to come.

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Some movies are so important, so incredible, so... thirsty that they deserve special attention. Which is why I'm skipping ahead in my regularly scheduled reviews to cover E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial a movie featuring a Mysterious Alien Creature:

141/2150. Mac and Me (1988)

If, like me, you're only familiar with this movie from Paul Rudd's long-running gag with Conan O'Brien, here's what you need to know about this delightful movie for children:

A family of four aliens living peacefully on a planet where Coca-Cola naturally bubbles up from the ground is accidentally captured by an automated probe and returned to Earth. Frightened by the NASA scientists, the family flees, and the smallest is thrown by the downwash of a helicopter into speeding traffic, where it splatters on a car windshield. It gets better and stows away with a mother and her two sons relocating to Los Angeles where mom has a new job at Sears.

The younger, wheelchair-bound son, Eric, discovers the alien and is attacked by drills and circular saws. After being diagnosed with schiziprehnia and drugged, Eric traps the alien in an Electrolux vaccum cleaner and earns its trust via Coca-Cola and Skittles. To protect his new "friend" from the pursuing scientists, Eric puts it inside his teddy bear and takes it to meet Ronald McDonald at a culturally-diverse football dance party.

Joined by their new next-door neighbors, the brothers take the alien to the desert in search of its family who they find in an abandoned California gold mine behind a Wickes furniture billboard. The family looks dead, but Fortunately for everyone, the kids brought two cans of Coca-Cola to revive them!

The alien family, desparate for more Coke, enter a grocery story where security guards start shooting at them, killing Eric in the crossfire.

Drink Coke! (Mac and Me)
Actual Quote: "It's like what they drink on their own planet!"

I won't spoil the ending, but it involves a United States Citizenship Oath Ceremony, a pink Cadillac, and bubble gum.

It's not overstating anything to call this is a work of genius. Obviously created with the intent of promoting the rampant consumerism of the 80s — I really don't think there's a single scene without a Coke in it — it works equally well (probably better) as an ironic take-down of American Capitalism's worst excesses. I wish I could make something like this up, and I encourage you to watch it yourself, preferably with a Coke in one hand and a Big Mac in the other.

You can thank me later.

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121/2130. Yesterday (2019)
Something about this romantic comedy, something I can't quite put my finger on, made it really hard for me to watch. And I didn't decide it was worthwhile until the scene with "John Lennon." Maybe it was because the whole thing takes place in a nightmare alternate universe without Coca-Cola. It's a horror movie!

Drink Coke! (Yesterday)
Come together. Right now. Over me.

122/2131. Two Guys from Texas (1948)
The joke here is that these fish-out-of-water stage comedians aren't *really* from Texas, see? The broad comedy of the Dennis Morgan + Jack Carson team did get a chuckle or two out of me in this one, especially in the Bugs Bunny short.

123/2132. April Showers (1948)
In this one, Jack Carson plays a mediocre vaudevillian who doesn't know... well, much of anything. The by-the-numbers melodramatic script, essentially a frame for an assortment of vaudeville-like musical numbers, doesn't do any favors for his "wife" and "son," either. But the film does have some value as being based on the real life story of the formative years of true comedic genius Buster Keaton.

124/2133. The Deep (1977)
Before watching this underwater pirate adventure movie (the sunken treasure is drugs!), I didn't like Nick Nolte, but I did like Jacqueline Bissett. (She and her white t-shirt are the whole reason I chose to watch this.) After seeing him boss her around like a soggy caveman for the duration, I still don't like Nolte.

More to come.

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114/2123. Ladies of the Jury (1932)
Think 12 Angry Men with a lot more comedy (and a Henry Fonda that looks a lot like a batty Wicked Witch of the West). The short runtime means it definitely doesn't overstay its welcome.

115/2124. The Little Minister (1934)
I'm still not sure why the adjective "little" is used for the minister, but the story is just as much about his love interest, the capricious neighbor played by Katherine Hepburn. Unlike Ladies of the Jury, this was too long to sustain my interest, and I actually fell asleep during what should have been the "exciting" climax. Yawn.

116/2125. Ride Lonesome (1959)
The first 90% of this Western is about setting up the very entertaining (but also improbable) ending. There's some real cognitive dissonance going on with James Coburn playing against type as a hapless moron cowpoke. But this is his first film role, so there was no type to play against yet.

117/2126. Meet Danny Wilson (1952)
"Danny Wilson" is Frank Sinatra playing some version of Frank Sinatra. The guy is a real asshole, and everyone in the film knows it. When mobsters (led by Raymond Burr) start shooting at him in the climax, all you can say is that he had it coming.

118/2127. High and Low (1963)
This morality play-slash-police procedural is another Akira Kurosawa masterpiece. The less I say, the better. Very highly recommended.

More to come.

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Variety reports that an upcoming Propstore auction of television and movie memorabilia will include a Batarang that is expected to sell for between 11 and 17 thousand dollars. Sure, Bruce Wayne is rich, but there's no way that he pays that much for those things; he leaves them everywhere.

What really gets me about that price is that it's not a 1960s-era Adam West Batarang (a giant blue banana grappling hook) or even a 1980s-era Michael Keaton Batarang (a snap-out palm-sized bolo), but the chest-logo machete Batarang used by Robert Pattinson in The Batman, which came out earlier this year!

Which makes now as good a time as any to do this:

120/2129. The Batman (2022)

Short review: I hated it. Yes, it's a (marginally) new take on the character in cinema, but it's a spectacularly dumb one. For more than three hours, Batman wanders through leftover Fight Club sets acting like a plainclothes detective (wearing fancy dress-up) from Se7en who breaks every law and needs his butler to feed him clues. Catwoman is in the film just so Batman can look heroic by comparison! I think Robert Pattinson got the role because Peter Sellers is dead.

That said, I really don't want to be too hard on scrawny little Pattinson here, especially in the COVID era. Like poor Christian Bale, who had to talk while his bat-cowl squeezed his lips like a toothpaste tube, Pattinson is clearly trying to do the best he can with the lackluster material he's given to work with by writer/director Matt Reeves. For example, at the climax of the film, as a determined Batman injects himself with... well, I don't know what — it's neither telegraphed nor explained, I expected to hear Boris Karloff's voice saying "Batman's heart grew three sizes that day." There's only so much craftsmanship and subtility that you can expect from the guy who co-wrote Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.

My condolences to whoever pays $15,000 for that Batarang.

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I know that it's still Football and Batman Month, but this movie rundown has no Batman or Football content in it. Sorry about that. I'll try harder next year.

109/2118. We Met in Virtual Reality (2022)
This documentary shines such a colorful spotlight on some of the most virtuous and positive aspects of the virtual reality metaverse that it often feels like a sales pitch. If I didn't already have decades of personal experience that the reality seldom matches the brochure, I might have been swept away. Still, it *is* nice to think that someday maybe we *can* build such a utopia. (If you ask me, no place can be a paradise without Coca-Cola.)

110/2119. Hollywood Shuffle (1987)
Robert Townsend created a very funny movie about the very serious problem the American movie industry has representing Black people on film. It's very good.

111/2120. Promising Young Woman (2020)
I like a good revenge movie, and this is a great revenge movie especially because instead of terrorists or mafia, the villains are apologists for boys-will-be-boys sexual misconduct. It also helps that the cast is chock full of talented comedic actors, an unusual casting choice that really underlines the theme of a two-faced society. Recommended.

112/2121. Danger Lights (1930)
The "danger lights" in the title are railroad markers that warn engineers of obstructions on the track. In this case, the danger is a love triangle. It's not a great film, but it does have some great shots of period railroads. Consider it an historical curiosity.

113/2122. Licorice Pizza (2021)
A very episodic story of a May/December romance based on actual events in early 1970s Los Angeles, Licorice Pizza gets by largely on the freshness of its lead actors. As you must know by now, I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories, even when the outcome of the love story seems completely unearned.

Drink Coke! (Licorice Pizza)
Paradise is a 1970s analog radio booth.

More to come.

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104/2113. The Green Slime (1968)
The important thing about this movie isn't that its monsters are lame and its human characters are stupid — were the first 15 minutes of this the inspiration for Armageddon? No, it's that the script was co-written by the guy who co-created Batman, Bill Finger. Viewed through the lens of a Silver Age comic book story, it's not *all* bad.

105/2114. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Should have been titled "Catharsis: The Movie." The whole point is that all characters are having the very worst weekend of their lives, and if you can laugh at that, maybe you can laugh at your own problems, too. Kudos to the entire cast for pulling this off so well.

106/2115. Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
Another movie that I'd seen in bits and pieces over the years. Well, now I've seen it all in one sitting, and it is very much just as depressing as the album (which is probably why I haven't listened to that all the way through in decades). Sadly, its key themes of the loneliness of mental illness and the seduction of fascism as a panacea to difficult problems is probably just as relevant in modern America as it was in early 80s Britain, and I'm pretty sure we don't have any better solutions now.

Drink Coke! (Pink Floyd: The Wall)
Coke is for crazies!

107/2116. In Harm's Way (1965)
John Wayne and Kirk Douglas lead an all-star cast through an epic that equal parts soap opera and war film, and in typical fashion for director Otto Preminger, it's pretty darn ambivalent about both. I've generally liked the Preminger films I've seen, this included. Maybe I should make an effort to see more.

Drink Coke! (In Harms Way)
Coke is also for rapists!

108/2117. Car Wash (1976)
"A Day in the Life of a Full Service Car Wash" is a great idea for a film and I loved it. 'Nuff said.

More to come.

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I know I just reviewed a batch of movies two days ago, but when I wrote that, these two felt like they should get a separate post. So they did.

103/2112. The Single Standard (1929)
Greta Garbo's capricious protagonist suffers through a series of romantic misadventures that illuminate how differently men and women are treated by society. There are a surprising number of suicide attempts, all of them by men, suggesting that maybe women aren't the weaker sex.

As it happens, I just a few days ago watched a surprisingly similar movie:

119/2128. The Grasshopper (1970)
Jaqueline Bisset's capricious protagonist suffers through a series of romantic misadventures that illuminate how differently men and women are treated by society, this time adding race and homosexuality and youth culture and drugs into the mix. I'm inclined to call this an exploitation film, both for its slapdash craftsmanship and overly sensational subject matter — Jim Brown beats a racist pedophile for raping his wife and is then shot to death in a revenge killing... on a basketball court!

Despite their stylistic differences (which, frankly aren't so different considering the cinema sensibilities of their eras), both The Single Standard and The Grasshopper ask their female leads to carry most of the emotional weight. The former seeks to showcase Garbo's protagonist's 1920s strength while the latter wallows in Bisset's 1960s weaknesses.

Did society change so much, or did Hollywood? Frankly, the key difference is probably that Garbo's movie was written by women, while Bisset's was written by men (including Garry Marshall of Happy Days and Pretty Woman fame). Everyone loses when their opponent is allowed to tell the story.

More to come.

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To be continued...

 

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