S.O.B. (1981)

Blake Edwards was mad at Hollywood. He’d gone through some things, man, and now he had a whole lot of beef with the entire cynical, money-grubbing, back-stabbing lot. In 1981, after making a comeback with mega-hits The Pink Panther and 10, he started on a nasty little poison pen letter to Tinseltown called S.O.B., short for “standard operational bullshit,” otherwise known as the way Hollywood always works. Continue reading

The Delinquents (1957)

What sets The Delinquents apart from other low-budget teen flicks of the time is its professional look. It’s clean, even sleek, and without the (usually hilarious) errors one would find in something meant to basically be background noise while teenagers necked in the back seat. Continue reading

Flamingo Road (1949)

Joan Crawford is Lane Bellamy, a hoochie dancer with a heart of gold, who runs the gamut from fallen woman to girl trying to make good to rich society dame, with all the requisite melodrama that entails. Continue reading

Torch Song (1953)

If you had to pick one best thing about the camp classic Torch Song (1953) — as if it’s even possible to do so, but let’s pretend — it’s that Joan Crawford’s Broadway diva Jenny Stewart is a stone cold monster. Continue reading

Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed, previously available only on DVD, is now also available in Blu-ray from Warner Archive. It’s a heady mix of frightening and campy, the kind of film that would do equally well in a double feature with Alien or with Terrorvision (go go Gerrit Graham film marathon!) Continue reading

Finian’s Rainbow (1968)

Finian’s Rainbow wasn’t a box office smash, but it’s a fun film, family friendly, the songs are unabashed standards, and it’s part of Hollywood history. Continue reading

Phaedra (1962)

Jules Dassin’s Phaedra, a sexy, noirish reworking of the Greek tragedy Hippolytus, is one of his lesser-known and least understood films. Continue reading

A Game of Death (1945)

A Game of Death, RKO’s remake of their 1932 classic The Most Dangerous Game, was one of Robert Wise’s earliest directorial efforts, and was praised by critics on its release. Continue reading

The Yakuza (1974)

The Yakuza is a strange little mash-up of neo-noir and yakuza-eiga. It didn’t do well at the box office, but has become a cult classic in the years since. Continue reading

The Last Best Year (1990)

When Jane, a career woman and quiet loner (Bernadette Peters), discovers she has a terminal illness, she has no one to turn to. Her doctor recommends psychologist and friend Wendy Haller (Mary Tyler Moore) to help her come to terms with her diagnosis, and in doing so, helps her open up to others. Soon she has a small but solid group of friends and relatives there with her as she fights against cancer. The Last Best Year originally aired on ABC in November of 1990, just at the beginning of the golden era of made-for-TV movies, and was well-received by critics on its release. That said, Ken Tucker’s review makes a good point: it’s fantasy to the point of improbability, and for most people faced with terminal illness, they don’t get pat resolutions or unlimited financial and emotional support. Have you ever wondered what happens to the other patients of the doctors in these films? Wendy spends so much time with Jane that I can’t imagine she has time for anyone else.   It’s how we would want to deal with terminal illness if we had the choice, and somehow Jane has that choice, though there is never any explanation why. In real life, how do you even explain something like that? You don’t. In cinema, however, there is always some kind of explanation, usually that the person in question is deserving of a reprieve from death or, at the least, a good death. The Last Best Year is somewhat … Continue reading