Friday, April 22, 2011

Worth Mentioning - The One I Need

We watch several movies a week. Every Friday, we'll talk a little about some of the movies we watched that we felt were Worth Mentioning.

This week, Cody walks the line for a handful of films while Jay roots for Eddie and the Knicks.


John Frankenheimer directed this film about a middle-aged Southern Sheriff who, despite being married and having a young child at home as well as an invalid father to take care of, encounters a younger country girl while on the job one day and finds himself instantly smitten. He embarks on an affair with the girl, which her moonshiner father encourages because he figures it will be good for business if he has a lawman on his side, or possibly even under his thumb. Unfortunately for all of them, a Federal man has also been hanging around town, looking for moonshiners to bust.

Gregory Peck, usually the hero and best known for his Oscar-winning turn as cinema's ultimate father figure in To Kill a Mockingbird, is fantastic playing against type as the troubled Sheriff, a man desperate to abandon his family and run off with this girl. The girl is played by the lovely Tuesday Weld, an actress who two years earlier also tempted Anthony Perkins into terrible situations in Pretty Poison. There are some great supporting performances in the film as well, including Ralph Meeker as the girl's hillbilly Pa, Lonny Chapman as the Federal man, Charles Durning as a racist slimeball slob Deputy who complicates the situation further by gladly helping the Fed on his anti-moonshine mission, and Estelle Parsons as the cheated-on wife.

This film is surprisingly little-known and under-seen given its director, pedigree of actors, and the fact that Johnny Cash provided the soundtrack. There's only 18 user comments on IMDb. Apparently it got lost in the drive-in shuffle when it was given an exploitation film release. It's absolutely not an exploitation film, but it is a really good drama.


Looking for a safe place for the neighborhood kids to play baseball, to get them out of the streets and to stop the balls from breaking out the windows of their favorite diner hang out, two of the Bowery Boys (a group of comedic characters who started off in a play in 1935, which led to a film career that ran until 1958) give a call to the owners of an empty lot to see about setting up a baseball diamond on their property. This phone call gets the two - Leo Gorcey as Slip and Huntz Hall as Sach - invited to the mansion of the lot owners, the Gravesend family.

The Gravesends turn out to be an odd bunch, led by two mad scientist brothers who are both looking for human brains to use in their experiments. One wants to transplant a human brain into a gorilla, another needs a brain (and the rest of the head) for his robot, and the brains of English-language-mangling Slip, who delivers some great malaprops throughout the film, and the dimwitted, child-like Sach fit the bill perfectly. Other mansion inhabitants include a Gravesend sister who has a large man-eating plant, a butler who occasionally turns into a monster, and a seductive female vampire.

Slip and Sach bumble their way through the dangerous situations in this very enjoyable, fun, fast-paced slapstick comedy.


Dennis Weaver, Estelle Parsons, Kristoffer Tabori, and Susan Dey star in this made-for-TV movie as a family of four who have been on shaky interpersonal ground lately as the two children transition into adulthood. They take a camping trip in an attempt to get back to the way things were, but their vacation, during which mom and daughter discuss the pros and cons of women's lib and father and son bicker over everything, is soon interrupted by a group of youths who deal them the titular troubles. It's kind of reminiscent of Wes Craven's 1977 The Hills Have Eyes, with ornery hippies in place of the cannibal crazies. These hippies speed circles around them in dune buggies, blast animal sounds at them over a P.A. system, and tip over their camper, among other unpleasantries, all for no reason at all, while an awesomely synthesizer-infused score plays on the soundtrack.


This film has nothing to do with the food product. It could've been one of the several comedies that have "Ski" in the title, and it would've earned it - there is a lot of skiing footage in this movie, well-shot and impressive stuff. Instead, it stands apart with a completely nonsensical but attention-grabbing title.

The story follows a misfit ski team, which includes An American Werewolf in London's David Naughton and a token '80s Japanese guy, as they party and try to beat a douchey Austrian in a competition. In between the ski sequences, things get lascivious, wet T-shirt contests and casual sex ensue. There's even a couple softcore sex scenes, one of which features Shannon Tweed having sex while Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" plays. Nice. Along the way, our lead guy picks up a female hitchhiker (I really liked Tracy Smith as this character), they almost immediately fall for each other, soon cheat on each other and part ways, but then are able to bond again over an appreciation for his ski skills. Talent trumps all troubles! It's an entertaining, easy-to-watch movie, it's always nice to lose yourself in some '80s fluff for a while.

Speaking of ski comedies, I was able to plug Dean Cameron's mp3 commentary for Ski School when I mentioned the movie a while back (he also did one for Summer School), now he's got a commentary up for Ski School 2. The commentary features Cameron and co-stars Will Sasso and Bil Dwyer, and you can get it for just $2 from

Jay's mention:

EDDIE (1996)

Director: Steve Rash
Stars: Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Langella, Rick Fox, Richard Jenkins, and John Salley

In honor of the ongoing NBA playoffs I am going to mention a childhood favorite of mine, Eddie. The 1996 film stars Whoopi Goldberg as Edwina "Eddie" Franklin, a limo driver who wins a contest and ends up as coach of the New York Knicks. The premise is ridiculous but that was never a problem for me during the multiple childhood viewings that I gave the film. Frank Langella and Richard Jenkins both co-star and turn in solid performances. I personally love Jenkins as the longtime assistant coach who has what it takes to get the job done as the go-to guy. The film also features a few performances from real NBA players and teams. Rick Fox (most known for his time with the LA Lakers) plays one of the Knick players as does John Salley (NBA champ with the Detroit Pistons), and Mark Jackson, who was actually a New York Knick in real life.

The film follows Eddie as she finally gets the lackluster Knicks to believe in her and find it in themselves to come together and play to their potential as a team instead of as individuals. It's full of some "Hollywood" style emotional moments but I recall the film having a great heart behind it. When I think of Whoopi Goldberg's success in the 1990's, Eddie and The Associate both come to mind, and were both films that I loved. As a basketball fan myself (and a Knicks fan to boot) Eddie will always hold a special place in my heart.

Interesting note: Upon researching the film for this article I learned that the home games for the Knicks were filmed in Charlotte Coliseum, home of the then Charlotte Hornets. This is disappointing as the film doesn't feature the Knicks in their true home, Madison Square Garden.

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