I love a good movie. I really do. Today’s offerings, however, rarely pique my interest enough to get me to the theater, or even rent the DVD. The movies Hollywood cranks out nowadays are recycled one hundred ways and repackaged to make them palatable to the masses. Comedies are rarely funny anymore. Horror movies are all about trying to out-gore the last movie (the Saw franchise, anyone?). As for action films, the template is the same: blow some stuff up, cast a hot babe in a latex catsuit (because that’s all guys want to see, right?), and “WRAP IT!”
What happened to the great story lines? What happened to the horror movies that really scared us? When did comedy become fart jokes, bodily functions and F-bombs?
Well if you’re tired of the same, tired, worn-out themes of today’s movies you need to keep reading. These five movies have what today’s movies do not: great story lines, great acting, no CGI, no sex (well, perhaps a little innuendo) and no F-bombs so you can watch them with your kids (if you can get them interested, that is). Check these out:
1. How To Murder Your Wife (1965)
The movie is not what the title implies. Starring Jack Lemmon and Virna Lisi this is a great comedic tale with a romantic twist. Jack Lemmon stars as cartoonist Stanley Ford, a playboy bachelor living the perfect life. All this comes to a screeching, comical halt when he wakes up the morning after a bachelor party with the gorgeous blond who popped out of the cake: his wife! To make matters worse, she speaks no English and insists they got married the night before!
Soon he begins to hatch a plot to kill his wife: in his comic. She disappears, the police get involved, and he is put on trial for the murder of his wife, and his comics are used as evidence against him at the trial!
A great comedy that you will definitely enjoy.
2. Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
Another great comedy starring Tony Curtis as Bob Weston, a womanizing tabloid reporter; Henry Fonda as his hen-pecked neighbor Frank and Natalie Wood as Dr. Helen Gurley Brown, the target of the tabloid.
Frank and his wife have issues. Frank is a panty-hose salesman and his wife (played by Lauren Bacall) is sure he is having an affair on the side, but Frank refuses to go to counseling. Enter Bob, who offers to go to counseling for him. When he meets Dr. Helen Gurley Brown, however, he is enchanted, but he’s married, right?
Natalie Wood gives a great performance as Dr. Brown, as do Curtis, Fonda, and Bacall. A comic caper you must see if you want a good chuckle.
3. Here Comes Mr. Jordan(1941)
Robert Montgomery (the father of Elizabeth Montgomery, of the 1960s TV show Bewitched) plays boxer Joe Pendleton. Due to a Heavenly bureaucratic mix-up Joe is taken off this mortal coil a whopping fifty years before he is due to expire! The supervising angel, played by Claude Raines, is in a fix as he tries to find a new body for Joe to occupy to finish out his life. Surprisingly funny and very heartwarming, this movie is sure to become a favorite for you as it has for me.
4. Duck Soup (1933)
Remember Groucho Marx and the Marx Brothers? Ever heard of them? If not, shame on you! One of the greatest comedy teams of all time and much funnier than a lot of what passes for comedy today.
In Duck Soup Groucho and his brothers Harpo, Chico and Zeppo wreak havoc in the land of the bankrupt country of Freedonia. Groucho is cast in the role of Rufus T. Firefly, a con-man who works his way into the position of the country’s president/dictator. Hilarity ensues as he declares war with Freedonia’s neighbor Sylvania over the love of the wealthy Ms. Teasdale. Great slapstick and some great humor come together to make this charming movie a must-see.
The last Marx Brothers movie to feature Zeppo, and the last movie the Marx Brothers made with Paramount pictures, this classic is regarded by many to be their finest work. You will too!
5. Operation Petticoat (1959)
With a cast that includes Carey Grant and Tony Curtis how can you go wrong? Lt. Cmdr. Matt T. Sherman (Grant) is assigned to take the sub he commanded during WWII, the Sea Tiger, on its last voyage: decommissioning and, ultimately, the scrap yard. He reminisces about a battle near the Philippines that nearly destroyed his boat. He gets permission to make repairs enough to get her to port, but there are no supplies. Enter Lt. Nick Holden (Curtis), a clean-pressed officer who has never set foot on a ship, let alone a sub. Lt. Holden has other skills, however, that will prove crucial to the sub’s, and the crew’s, survival as they are towed back to port.
During the trip the sub is forced to dock at an island due to a leak in the hull. Here the crew encounter Navy nurses who were stranded on the island en route to Manila in the Philippines. With no other options, Lt. Cmdr. Sherman must take them aboard.
Grant is excellent in the role of the Sea Tiger’s commander, and Curtis turns a hilarious performance as the shady Lt. Holden.
That wraps up this session of great classic movies. Check back later for more great movies you’ve missed!