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Cowboy and the Senorita (1944)
pretty good western
This was actually a fun movie to watch. Mary Lee was a little more grown up from her Gene Autry days and got higher billing than Dale Evans. There were a couple nice songs, a decent story, pretty good action, and of course a happy ending. Fuzzy and Big Boy Williams had a pretty funny bit of friction between them which made the movie more enjoyable. A funny scene with Big Boy was when he tried to swing from the chandelier like Roy and pulled it right out of the ceiling. Take a look at the plot summary on this page. It describes Dale as Mary Lee's cousin - but she was her half-sister. It says the mine was going to be sold on her 17th birthday, but it was her 16th. It calls Big Boy Williams 'Bad Boy'. It calls out a couple songs that weren't in the picture. Not exactly sure it was describing the same movie.
When Things Were Rotten (1975)
it could have been another Get Smart
It killed me that this show was canceled so quickly. I remember laughing my head off during every episode. Most of the other comments have described the premise and the cast, so I'll just describe one of the scenes I remember best. King Richard, who was off at the crusades, was required to set foot on English soil once a year or else lose the crown, so word got out that he was sailing to England. Of course his brother, Prince John, was plotting to prevent the king from reaching shore, while Robin Hood was determined to help the king. At dawn, a ship appears near shore and the king begins wading toward the beach. The prince is then shown running down the beach and then Robin Hood starts running up the beach from the other direction. The camera keeps shifting to each man as they converge. Finally the king reaches the beach and steps on a home plate in the sand and immediately does a U-turn and heads back to the ship while an umpire screams "Safe." Then the prince runs at the umpire and starts to argue. The ump says he was safe and the prince says "Well I say kill the umpire" and pulls out his sword. Then Robin Hood shows up and battles him. Typical Mel Brooks craziness.
The Gunfighter (1950)
i could watch this every night
This is maybe the best western I've ever seen, with the possible exception of Stagecoach. I'd even rate it better than High Noon. The acting is so good that you can easily believe these guys are for real and not just actors. The story is terrific and the pace is almost in real time. There are no dead spots to make it drag, which is remarkable considering that there is very little "action". It moves so well and all the characters are so interesting that the movie seems to fly by. Even the bit players like the guys playing cards in the barbershop seem genuine. I really think that the Marshal makes the movie. He's a tough, no-nonsense guy who doesn't overdo the role. He shows a sense of humor with the ladies of the town, and he shows a sensitive side with the gunfighter's wife, and he puts the cheap punk who ambushes the gunfighter in his place in exactly the way he deserved. If he didn't win an Oscar for that movie, he was robbed.
Lady for a Day (1933)
this is why the old movies are the best movies
An old apple woman has a daughter coming back from overseas to visit and she is bringing her fiancé with her so his family can assess the merits of hers before they will approve of the marriage. Of course, the daughter has been led to believe that her mother is a high society lady. Not an original story line (although it might have been in the 1930's when it came out), but like most old movies, the predictable outcome is still thoroughly enjoyable because of first rate acting and direction. A terrific cast from top to bottom and perfect way to spend a couple hours. It is a truly feel-good movie. Lots of smart, funny lines spice up the touching story of people going out of their way to help others less fortunate.
The Rifleman (1958)
a western action show worthy of the hallmark channel
The Rifleman has always been my favorite western TV serial and it holds up perfectly well after all these years. Most of the stories led to a gunfight at the end and that is what attracted the viewers to the show, but there is no way I would classify it as a violent show. Lucas McCain never failed to preach to his son that his gun was a last resort - fortunately for us, it usually came down to it anyway. It was almost a letdown when he was able to resolve the episode's problems without using the rifle, although those shows usually drove home the lesson that there are always better ways to deal with your issues. Sometimes the show was almost too preachy, but for kids growing up in the late 50's and early 60's it was terrific wholesome entertainment. Lucas McCain taught his son (and all of us) that it's not OK to make fun of people who are different, that sometimes it's better to walk away from trouble, and that the strong should defend the weak. Rarely was anyone shot who not only deserved it but left no other way out. This kind of violence does not, in my opinion, leave any kind of bad impression on youth. What does cause most of the violence in society today is the bad language and 'insult comedy' typical of almost all sitcoms since the mid 70's. Violence is bred from total lack of respect for others, and nothing shows disrespect more than bad language and insults. There was a very clear message of respect for others in the Rifleman series.
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
a wonderful feel-good movie
It's interesting to read some of the comments about this movie. Since it's rated highly, obviously most of the comments are positive, but I find the negative comments pretty funny. Most people rave about Lionel Barrymore, while a few people thought he was terrible. Most people thought the movie was hilarious, others claimed it was un-funny. The story was either relevant or contrived. Certain scenes were either superfluous or poignant. The rest of the cast was either adorable or annoying. Most of the really critical comments come from people who saw the play first. It's quite common for fans of a book (or in this case, a play) to be disappointed in the movie. Maybe it's a good thing for me that I never saw the play. I happened to think the movie was terrific. It wasn't hysterical, but it was very amusing. It may have been preachy, but the message is as relevant today as it ever was. The acting was as good as it gets, at least from the main players - Lionel Barrymore, Eddie Albert, Jean Arthur, and Jimmy Stewart. If you don't enjoy this movie, you either have a heart of stone or you're analyzing it too much. Movies today that rely on potty humor (or worse) to get laughs, or special effects rather than truly talented performances to make points, can't begin to compare to this one. There's not an actor or actress around anymore (at least in Hollywood) who can deliver lines like Jean Arthur or Lionel Barrymore. It is a great film that makes you feel good all over. Who cares if every single aspect isn't 100% believable. If you can't tolerate anything less, watch a documentary.
Old Los Angeles (1948)
more like a B+ western
This movie had plenty of action and a great plot with much better acting than a typical B western. Although the audience is aware of who the bad guys are almost right from the start, Bill (Elliott) Stockton has to figure it out and it's a pretty well played out story. Andy Devine is great as usual. He was always one of my favorite sidekicks because he was funny, but still a pretty useful guy in a fight despite his round physique. As always, Grant Withers and Roy Barcroft are the bad guys. And as always, they are terrific in the roles. The unfortunate love affair between the bad guy and the senorita makes for an interesting subplot and also provides an ironic ending. This is a top notch Bill Elliott movie.
Billy Jack (1971)
a 70's classic
Billy Jack had a little of everything, and a lot of exaggerated stereotypes to make it easy to take sides. It also doled out a lot of thought-provoking ideas - almost like hippie propaganda. But it was a great action movie with a lead character you had to respect, not just because he could kick everyone's butt as he defended the weak from the evil, corrupt townies, but because he seemed sincere in his spiritual Indian way of life. The fight scene in the town square is a classic and it also contains one of the greatest movie lines I ever heard. It's listed in the quotes for this movie. It's where the deputy says he will kill the girl he's holding. And then, when Billy points his rifle at him, he asks, 'you mean you'd kill her, just like that?" Then Billy says, "no, you will. And then I'll kill you, just like that." I enjoyed the action, the improv comedy skits, the music, and the story. The bad guys were easy to hate and the good guys were easy to love. I never get tired of watching it.
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
a nice fun movie, but nothing more
I like Reese Witherspoon and she is sweet in this movie about a girl torn between her future engagement to and new life as a New Yorker versus her old hometown roots and ex-husband (although she's not exactly divorced and that's why she returns to Alabama). The plot and the outcome are predictable, but so what. Most movies are and they are still fun if done well. Movies are meant to be a form of escapism....and when you escape, you want a happy ending. My only problem with the movie is the lack of character development typical of most modern movies. We know that Melanie is supposed to be torn between the 2 men in her lives, but nothing that happens makes me understand what she sees in her ex-husband. You want her to make the right decision and be happy, but for the life of me I can't get the feeling that staying in Alabama is the right decision. If the story were told better, I would have felt that she would be happier in reconciling with her ex and moving back home, but I just didn't care. In any case, I just took their word for it that that was the best thing and everyone lived happily ever after.
A Night at the Opera (1935)
My favorite movie ever of any kind
I think this movie has everything that makes a movie great in just the right amounts. It's hilariously funny throughout with some truly classic scenes. It has an actual plot, moves at a steady pace, the good guys win in the end, and the music is exceptional. Most of the reviews I have read are quite favorable, but I have to wonder about some of the criticism. There are a few who just didn't like it, and that's merely a matter of taste, but I was surprised to see complaints about the opera music since it was after all a movie centered around opera singers. I'm no fan of opera, but I like the way older movies are able to develop characters and stories and make you really want the predictable outcome to occur. If it takes having opera singers singing, then so be it. The songs generally just define the goodness of the good guy (Ricardo) and the arrogance of the bad guy (Laspari). It seems most modern movies have the same formulaic plots, but when the predictable outcome occurs, it's just that, predictable.