It's almost that time of year again . . . you all know what I'm talking about, so I won't bother to elaborate . . . except to say that for all of those searching and hankering for a good movie to watch on Valentine's Day, you've come to the right place!
As many of you know, romance isn't my favorite genre in the world, but the movies below fit my strict criteria - sweet with minimal drama - and lots humor. So let us begin!
It Started With Eve: After Johnny Reynolds Jr. (Robert Cummings) arrives at the home of his very ill father, Jonathan (Charles Laughton), his father requests to meet his fiancée, Gloria. Unable to find her on short notice, Johnny desperately convinces a hatcheck girl and aspiring singer, Anne (Deanna Durbin), to pose as Gloria. Jonathan likes her very much, and, when his condition suddenly improves, Johnny is torn. If he admits the truth, he risks upsetting his father and his fragile health.
Aside from being perfect for Valentine's Day, this is probably one of my favorite films; the humorous comedy of errors had me laughing out loud for almost the entire movie. Plus, it features one of my favorite actresses of all time. In my opinion, the lovely Deanna Durbin epitomized charm. kindness, and femininity; without compromising her uniquely quirky and feisty personality.
This movie is perfectly cast; there is no room for improvement whatsoever. Cummings has a wonderful charisma with Durbin, and is hysterical with every single character he encounters in the film. Durbin is of course lovely in every scene, perfect with every player, pulling off drama and humor with effortless charm, and Charles Laughton steals every single scene he is in with his bombastic and lovable personality. Even the bit characters - the horrible 'Gloria' and her even less appealing mother, the newsmen, the doctor . . . they're all perfect . . . and perfectly hilarious.
On top of that we have a wonderful 1940s script, full of rapid-fire dialogue and one-liners that put modern scripts to shame.
But my very favorite part about this movie is a romance that might be overlooked by some . . . the father/daughter relationship between Deanna Durbin and Charles Laughton, and how a father and daughter - can indeed - be 'head over heels' for one another.
This movie is actually one of my Dad's favorites, and because of the wonderful and lively father/daughter theme, I bought it for him for Father's Day. My favorite scene in the whole movie is when Deanna Durbin and Charles Laughton dance the 'La Conga' - in my opinion, it is one of the best father/daughter moments ever committed to the silver screen, they're joyous enjoyment of each other's company - and their complete disregard for what everyone else thinks of them - never fails to make me laugh . . . .and yes, it does remind me a lot of my Dad and I.
This is a lovely movie that I highly recommend - it will make you smile.
Content: During one scene, Robert Cummings is angry at Deanna Durbin, so he tries to embarrass her in front of his father by chasing her around the room, occasionally catching her to either kiss her passionately, or pinch her. In another scene, Deanna Durbin and Charles Laughton go to a club, and several waitresses in skimpy outfits are shown; causing Charles Laughton to stare at them once or twice. There is also some social drinking and smoking.
I Love You Again: Larry Wilson (William Powell) is a wealthy businessman. He's also so incredibly boring that his wife, Kay (Myrna Loy), wants a divorce. But when Larry gets knocked on the head, he discovers that he isn't Larry Wilson at all. He's actually George Carey, a con artist, and his life as Larry has really been a case of amnesia. Now back to his old ways, George plans a con to rob an entire town of their money. But George's fiery ways make Kay reconsider the divorce.
Yet another wonderful 1940s script; a crazy scenario, eccentric characterization, crazy developments and witty dialogue. But not even the exceptional script could have worked without the superb cast. Nothing can beat William Powell's and Myrna Loy's interaction. There is a reason they were one of the most famous couples of the silver screen - their repartee is truly superb.
"How did you learn to dance like this?" Myrna Loy asks William Powell, snidely as he glides with her across the dance floor. He responds with studied casualness: "Oh . . . by mail."
Only Myrna Loy could pull off a role that is really rather unlikable, and yet still seem like a worthy 'prize' for her husband to pursue, her pert humor is always spot on. Frank McHugh as William Powell's partner in crime is hysterical, and the other side characters are well played, but no one can touch William Powell...he steals every single scene he's in. He is the only actor I can think of that can spend 99 minutes groveling at a woman's feet, and still have his charm and ego completely intact. He proved to leading men everywhere that suaveness does not exclude humor, or even slapstick.
The scenario itself is irresistibly funny - and the fact that the main character is trying to woo his wife, (instead of some random female) makes it sweeter. This film contains one scene in particular that had me laughing so hard I was sobbing, literally unable to breath, it was so ridiculously absurd. To quote the trailer: 'The Laughs Come So Fast - You'll Have to Watch It Twice To Catch Them All.'
Content: Some passionate kissing between a husband and wife. Myrna Loy wears several very low cut gowns through out the film. She is also contemplating divorce in this film and kind of has a 'hopeful' boyfriend who hangs around her all the time. They never outright romance one another, but he is present throughout the film as a rival for her affections. During another scene, she and William Powell go negligee shopping, and there is a small amount of innuendo involved.
Spring Parade: In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman Ilonka (Deanna Durbin) attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important and is destined for a happy marriage. Afterward she gets a job as a baker's assistant. She then meets a handsome army drummer (Robert Cummings) who secretly dreams of becoming a famous composer and conductor. Unfortunately the military forbids the young corporal to create his own music. Ilonka secretly sends one of the drummer's waltzes to the Austrian Emperor with his weekly order of pastries. Her act paves the way toward the tuneful and joyous fulfillment of the gypsy's prediction.
Is it saccharine? Yes - but the charming performances make up for it, more than that, they make this fairy tale believable. In my opinion, Deanna Durbin was closer to a living, breathing 'Disney Princess' than any other actress I have ever seen. Everything about her was perfect for fairy tale roles, her appearance, her personality, her speaking and singing voice . . . she's lovely, an absolute treat to watch. The rest of the cast is perfect as well, Cummings as the goofy but lovable drummer, Stephenson as the kindly and genteel Emperor . . . and it even features two of my favorite B&W character actors, S. Z. Sakall as the huggable and grandfatherly baker that takes Durbin in, and Mischa Auer in a very brief role of the scoundrelly but dubiously charming shyster.
The filmmaker's did an excellent job of making Vienna seem like a magical and fantastical location, this movie almost seemed like a live action folktale than a historical piece, and the rich backdrop is sweetened even more by the beautiful music. If I was forced to choose, Strauss would be my favorite 'classical' composer, and his music is woven seamlessly and beautifully throughout the movie . . . even the original songs pay tribute to the famous Viennese waltzes, sung only as Deanna Durbin could sing them . . . gorgeously. Like the Viennese waltzes featured in this film, this movie sweeps up the audience in a whimsical and energetic fairy tale that is sure to delight it's viewers. It makes Cinderella pale in comparison.
Spring Parade is actually a very rare film - but you can watch it here on Youtube. It's a little grainy and the sound is a little off in spots, but watch it on your phone! You won't be able to tell it's off. Believe me, you won't be disappointed!
Content: Some kissing. Two mischievous little boys try to ruin Deanna Durbin's relationship with Robert Cummings by telling him 'rumors', which are never really elaborated. Deanna Durbin's character visits a 'fortune teller' in the beginning and receives a card predicting her future . . . predictably, things play out according to the card. This is such a light comedy, and the scenario is played out with such humor - i doubt it would bother many people.
And There You Have It - a B&W Valentine's Day . . . full of color!
What are some of your favorite romantic comedies? I would love to hear about them! Have you seen any of these movies before? Leave a comment! Are you planning on watching one or all of them? I can't wait to hear what you think about it!
I don’t know about you guys, but January can be a little ‘blah’ for me. The holidays are over, it’s back to the old grindstone, and the weather is dreary and cold.
Because of this, I like to do something special and out of the ordinary in January. Organize a family outing, read a new book… But usually I’m in a semi shocked state in January (you mean I have to go back to work?!) and in those dark chilly shocking evenings, I want nothing more than to curl up with a good movie.
Which brings me to this post. Thrillers seemed like an appropriate genre to shake us out of our January doldrums and I have lined up some doozies for your viewing pleasure!
The Man Who Knew Too Much: 1956
A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering….by kidnapping their young son.
When I first watched this movie, I was a nervous wreck…but it was such a wonderful, tingly, kind of experience. During the end finale, I was literally hugging and biting a pillow to keep myself from completely losing it.
My favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie of all time, this movie is masterful. There’s a reason Alfred Hitchcock is called the King of Suspense, certain scenes will forever be indelibly imprinted on my brain, the way bombs leave craters behind. Jimmy Stewart thumbing through the phone book over and over and over again as he waits for a phone call to get through…that endless walk down the alley way towards the taxidermist…the dark paint coming off on Jimmy Stewarts fingers as the dead man slides free of his grasp and hits the grounds…and of course, that end scene…will she or will she not scream?
Known as a man who was ‘suspicious of words’…Alfred Hitchcock proves that words are often superfluous…instead, he thrills us with images and feelings that are utterly unforgettable.
Content: If you have high blood pressure, don’t want this movie…there is a lot of stress and one shock after another. When I first watched it I was nearly overwhelmed, imagining the danger that the little boy is placed in throughout this movie.
The Golden Salamander: 1950
British archaeologist David Redfern comes to Tunisia to catalog a collection of art relics and stumbles into evidence of a gun-smuggling racket. Hesitant at first to get involved or even to report the information, he becomes convinced he must do the right thing after a young man is murdered. By then, though, the smugglers know Redfern knows too much and they target him for death.
The Golden Salamander has every ingredient that I love; exotic locales, great acting, good dialogue, intriguing characters and a suspenseful story…all culminating in an action sequence that had me shrieking in horror. But its not over after the finale…we are given yet one more shocking reveal, in a move that keeps this film flying to the very last frame.
Of special note is Trevor Howard’s moral struggle through out this movie, which is an interesting and welcome addition to an adventure thriller. Trevor Howard has suspicions about what’s really going on around him, but he tries to turn his back on it. He has a job to do and he doesn’t want to get involved. But after reading an inscription on one of the artifacts he unearths from his archeological dig, he is convicted and jumps back into the mystery.
‘Not by ignoring evil does one overcome it, but by going to meet it.’
It’s actually quite a sobering and thought provoking moment and provides a wonderful balance of wisdom to this adventurous film.
Content: One very brief scene where the main guy and girl are lying on a beach and kissing passionately. Lots of peril and tension.
Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Who can she trust?
Called ‘the best Alfred Hitchcock film that Hitchcock never made’, this movie does not disappoint. Aside from starring the amazing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, the movie is spot on in every other area. From the very beginning, we are trapped in the nerve wracking hamster ball of Audrey Hepburn’s out of control life as the events keep on escalating into one of the most thrilling end finales of all time. Audrey Hepburn’s ability to portray terror is so convincing, we feel ourselves hyperventilating with her, wondering who’s telling the truth….is anyone telling the truth?
Another movie highlight is the amazing Henry Mancini score, featuring one of my favorite songs, ‘Charade’, played hauntingly throughout the movie, often sounding like the theme from a dark, twisted, carousel ride…adding a farcical sound to this nail biting thriller, as if the score is mocking the viewer, telling you that your going as crazy as Audrey Hepburn.
The fight scene between Cary Grant and ‘The Hook’ on top of the apartment building is another favorite scene of mine because of the music…the scores simplicity is absolutely spine tingling. Instead of high octane action music…we are given long drawn out strings, a slow progression of chords…the music strains with Cary Grant as he struggles against his opponent…the music makes our own muscles burn, our own heart thud with strain…and then Cary Grant’s opponent, breaks free and lashes out with his hook…once, twice, three times…each swipe accentuated by startling piano chords. It is one beautiful case in point for how to do a suspenseful action sequence and less subtle filmmakers could learn from it.
Content: In the movie opening, Audrey’s friends says she doesn’t have to get a divorce, she can just ‘make new friends’. Audrey quickly dismisses this idea. There’s quite a bit of passionate kissing. There are several murder scenes that can be a little disturbing for some viewers (most of it is cut around, but corpses are occasional shown, but there isn’t any blood). There’s one scene in a restaurant where guests play a ‘neck game’, trying to pass another orange they have tucked under their chin to another guest without using their hands. This scene is stupid, adds nothing to the movie and is easily skipped. Audrey is tormented and frightened through out this whole movie…one scene has her trapped in a phone booth while James Coburn lights matches, holds them against her face then drops them into her lap.
There’s also a bit of macabre type humor throughout the movie. During the funeral…one of the villains walks into the church to make sure Audrey’s husband is really dead. He looks into the open casket, than jabs the corpse with a pin. The scene is actually funny and played for humor, but squeamish viewers might not appreciate it.
Take My Life: 1947
A woman races against time to clear her husband of a murder he did not commit. While she works on getting proof, the prosecution is doing all it can to force a conviction.
When we first started watching this, it was a bit of a slow start, but the longer I watched it the more I found it impossible to tear myself away from the screen, as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the nightmare that was tearing apart Greta Gynt’s life. Greta Gynt’s luminous and intelligent eyes quickly draw us into her nail biting struggle to save her husbands life, a role well played by British actor Hugh Williams.
As the stakes get higher and higher, so do our own nerves. The scene where she is playing the organ is enough to turn me into a pile of jelly, but the end finale on the train is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling sequences I have ever seen. Greta Gynt is locked in a train compartment with the murderer, but there is another traveler sitting opposite her, reading a newspaper. She thinks she is safe, that the man reading the newspaper will hear the murderer threatening her....but than she realizes that the man is deaf and he neither hears nor sees her being dragged, screaming, to the window as the murderer prepares to throw her off the train.
She reaches for the emergency brake….will she reach it…will the man with the newspaper look up….if she is thrown off the train and killed, what will happen to her husband?
It’s a 79 minute thrill ride you won’t soon forget.
Content: It is referenced that the husband had a few ‘flings’ with other women before he married Greta Gynt. A women in the movie is killed, in a scene that is quite dramatic but not overly violent. The same woman had an affair with a man and had a baby as a result, but that plot point is touched upon very briefly and with the tact typical of the time period.
The Lady Vanishes: 1938
While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.
The true highlight of this movie is the wonderful acting and the amusing repartee between the lovely Margaret Lockwood and the charming Michael Redgrave. These two actors truly ‘clicked’, and the charmingly witty dialogue suits both of them perfectly.
Dame Mae Whitty is perfect as ‘The Vanishing Lady’, a combination of a huggable grandmother…and something else.
“Charters and Caldicott” are a duo of cricket obsessed gentleman onboard, bumbling their way through Europe, hoping (in vain) that they return to England in time to see an important match. Their preposterously vague interchange is hysterically funny and apparently was so popular, that the duo was used again in another movie, highlighting their unique performances.
I love ‘closed door’ situations and I am enamored with books or movies that take place on trains. This is the kind of movie that has spawned every wonderful cliché we have about intrigue on trains. It is a must see.
Content: Two other characters on the train are in the middle of an affair and the man is married. It’s all dialogue and very subtlety done, very young viewers might miss it entirely. At the beginning of the movie, Margaret Lockwood orders room service in her hotel room. The waiter enters to find all the girls lounging around in their slips. Through a strange mix up, Charters and Caldicott find themselves taking the only available room at the same hotel, realizing that it’s a maids room. She undresses in front of them (down to her slip) before leaving with her things to sleep somewhere else. In this opening hotel sequence, Margaret Lockwood bribes the management to throw Michael Redgrave out of his attic room because he was too noisy. Michael Redgrave walks into her room and prepares to ‘share’ the room with her. Margaret Lockwood finally caves and says he can have his attic room back and he leaves. The scene is played for humor, but it might bother some viewers.
And there you have it! Five chilling, thrilling, spine tingling movies to jazz up anybody’s January.
Do you have any favorite suspense movies? Do you not even like suspense movies? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Here we are ladies and gentlemen, reaching the midpoint of December! The Christmas loving elves are just getting their second wind, while some of us more Grinch-like counterparts might need a little something to get them in a festive mood again. What better way to celebrate or cheer yourself up than by watching a good old fashioned Christmas movie?
Aside from two …you will find very few ‘classic’ Christmas movies on this list. My family and I have a tendency to like the oddities and less run of the mill alternatives to just about everything!
1. Jingle All the Way. Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, however, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.
It’s crazy, it’s ridiculous, and it’s probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time, simply because it's one long series of laughs. Who would have thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger could be so hysterically funny? But it’s Sinbad that steals the show with his character of Marvin the Mailman. This zany type of humor really appeals to me and who could not relate to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dilemma of not being able to find the perfect gift in time for Christmas? This movie takes place in two days, and the frantic energy never stops, rocketing from one fall down funny moment to another. My favorite line would probably be between two moments. 1. When the giant Santa is going to clobber Schwarzenegger and he snaps his suspenders and says: 'I’m gonna deck your halls, bub!' 2. When Marvin the Mailman’s bomb goes off. Er....It's complicated.
I’m invariably laughing my head off at this scene, no matter how many times I see it. Every time I hear Sinbad say: "This is a SICK world we're living in, sick people!" I crack up.
This is a fun movie no matter what time of the year it is, but if you're feeling stressed as you gear up for the Christmas rush, this is a good movie to unwind with and remember that all those traditions and plans aren’t as important as we make them out to be.
Content: The next door neighbor has designs on Schwarzenegger's wife (Rita Wilson) and it is implied that he’s a bit of a ‘man about town’. He flirts with Rita Wilson throughout the movie but at the end when he attempts to seduce her, she quickly deals with the problem by hitting him with a thermos. There are several crude/curse words and two inappropriate lines, one from Sinbad one from Booster, Turbo Man's sidekick. Several people get beat up, but it is done in a humorous way.
2. A Royal Christmas. The queen (Jane Seymour) of Cordinia schemes to break up her royal son's (Stephen Hagan) romance with a seamstress (Lacey Chabert) from Philadelphia.
I don’t usually like Hallmark movies, but this one won me over, mostly because of Lacey Chabert’s and Stephen Hagan’s incredible acting and chemistry. Their relationship is so believable; it almost feels like you are watching two old and dear friends. These types of films can often be implausible, trying to save a bad set up by piling on more sentimentality--but not this movie. This is a sweet, happy, story with the perfect happily ever after. Chabert’s and Hagan’s romance is probably one of the best romances I have ever seen in a movie, mostly because they seem like best friends who just happen to want to spend the rest of their lives together. All the rest of the casting is also perfect. Jane Seymour is perfect as the cold, but ultimately likeable queen and Simon Dutton and Mitchell Mullen add a great deal of charm and heart in their roles of Victor the Butler and Bud Taylor (Chabert’s father). This is really a wonderful film...and a great one to watch with your mom or sisters!
Content: The romantic rival for Prince Leo’s affections mentions how they went ‘skinny dipping’ years ago.
3. Ernest Saves Christmas. A bumbling but well-meaning taxi driver named Ernest P Worrell (Jim Varney) attempts to help Santa Claus find a successor. Failure would mean that there would be no Christmas.
Yet another unconventional choice. In my opinion, Jim Varney was one of the funniest comedians ever captured on the silver screen. One facial expression from him is enough to put me in tears. Douglas Seale is perfect as Santa Claus, his twinkling eyes and whisker-y voice completely convince us that he is the "real' Santa Claus. A sweer and hilarious movie for the whole family to enjoy.
Content: Several scenes are featured at a movie studio and Santa ogles at some skimpily clad girls. In another scene at the movie studio, a horror movie is being filmed, featuring some curse words and a violent struggle between the fictional hero and an ugly monster.
4. A Christmas Carol: Crotchety Victorian businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) has no use for festivity, even at Christmas. The ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, appears, warning that Ebenezer will be visited by three more spirits who will show the cold-hearted man the error of his ways.
And here’s a classic…it’s pretty obvious why everybody loves this movie so much, the message of redemption, of ensuring that you live your present hour to the fullest, remembering Who gives every moment to us....these are themes that are imprinted on every human heart. I have seen several remakes of the Christmas Carol (including the Muppets….er…shall we say...unique take) but nothing can beat this version. Good scripting + good effects + good music + good acting + good story = good movie.
Content: I almost don’t even need to include this since everybody and their pet hamster has probably seen this movie…but in case there is a human...or a hamster...on this planet (or rather on this blog) that hasn’t watched this movie…this film can be pretty scary. It scared me when I was little, and I still find moments a little creepy. 'hides under blankets'
5. It’s A Wonderful Life. After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.
I would probably be unfriended by every one of my online acquaintances I hadn’t included this one! .I’m just kidding, I did like this movie. It’s a little more somber and stressful than my other Christmas movie selections, but the message is quite powerful and moving and the acting is excellent. My absolute favorite in this movie is Clarence the 'Angel'! His interaction with Jimmy Stewart is perfect.
Content: After falling into a swimming pool, Reed is walking home with Stewart and she falls into a bush, inadvertently losing her robe. Stewart pretends to debate on whether to return the robe to her or not, but the scene ends quickly and nothing ever happens.
So what about you guys? What are your favorite Xmas movies? What great films did I neglect to include on this list? I would love to hear all about them in the comments!
My Three Sons: Hands down, this is one of my favorite TV shows. This show holds some of the most honest and heartfelt representations of family that the television world has ever seen. The crazy, rollicking lifestyle is something nearly any rowdy family can relate to. This show was a master at having three conversations going on at one time, perfectly capturing the happy chaos of a busy home.
The real high point in this series is William Frawley as Bub – without him, the series would have lost half of its charm. William Frawley’s alternately broad and subtle acting skills adds a class and dry hilarity to the show.
Fred MacMurray’s gentle approach balances nicely with William Frawley’s bombastic gruffness, and shows us that everyone has a different way of showing their loved ones that they care.
The three boys, Tim Considine, Don Grady and Stanley Livingstone are also outstanding. Never once do we think of them as child starlets – they are real boys, encapsulating all the wonder and woes of any normal kid.
The strong moral content and the old fashioned values are never too preachy and are a wonderful relief from most modern entertainment. Unfortunately, William Frawley retired due to health reasons at the end of season 4 and Tim Consindine left the show for other work. In my opinion it is only the first four seasons that are ‘My Three Son’s’ - everything that followed paled in comparison to these wonderful 1st four years.
Nanny and the Professor: A wonderful and hysterical series of how a magical nanny turns a family’s world upside down. Created by one of my favorite screen writers A.J Carothers, who knew how to write believable children like no one else.
The lovely Juliet Mills plays the title role to perfection – there was never a doubt in my mind that she is magical. You can almost see the pixie dust flowing off of her. This character could have been annoying because she is almost always right, but Juliet Mills adds so much graciousness to her performance that you can’t help but cheer Nanny’s victories.
Even more than Nanny, the real mark or break character in this show was the father, Professor Everett. You could have had another actress in the title part, going through the motions of being sweet and magical and it would have worked. It wouldn't have been as good, but it would have still worked since Professor Everett is the character that this show really hinges on. The subtle balance of doubt and humor in his friendship with Nanny is a very narrow tightrope to walk but the scriptwriters and Richard Long nailed it and unlike a lot of TV fathers, Richard Long portrays Pr. Everett as intelligent and attentive to his family.
The scene steal-er of the kids is Prudence. Prudence could have very easily been regulated to being ‘the cute one’, but the script writers did not skimp on any of the details and created a quirky, unique little girl that is played perfectly by the wonderful child actress, Kim Richards. This actress was so cute, she could have gotten away with just standing there, but aside from being adorable she was bursting with talent and personality.
Of all the kids, Butch, is probably the least talented actor, but he’s cute enough and his character is developed enough to make it work.
Hal, is the oldest and is played by a talented actor. In a brilliant move, the script writers made Hal the main antagonist of the show, instead of Professor Everett. Pr. Everett is distracted, and ultimately easy going in his acceptance of Nanny and mature enough to accept that there are some things that we will never understand. The analytical Hal is much more pugnacious towards Nanny, but he is cute enough to get away with it. He is young enough to never give up trying to discover her secrets...and young enough to be fooled every time. Making the kid character as the one always casting doubt on Nanny, instead of having the two adults bicker was a genius decision. Ultimately, Nanny is the mother figure and this would not have been a good family show if they had made her and the father character constantly at odds.
A warm, sweet series. None of that stuff where the Dad shakes hands with his twelve year old son because his child is ‘too old’ for affection. Professor Everett lovingly gathers all three of his children, ranging from 4 to 13 into his arms with such sincerity, it makes me smile just to watch it. The only way they could have improved this show would be to have had Nanny marry Professor Everett in the series finale and become an ‘official’ member of the family.
Content: The availability of this TV is spotty and I have only watched the 1st season. Nanny is shown as having ‘magical abilities’ such as being able to predict/foresee events, read people’s thoughts or even control the weather. Her magical ability is cued only by a bright smile and a twinkly sound effect. The magic is more of a vehicle and is never delved into at great length. Professor Everett dates occasionally and there is one very brief moment of innuendo. There also might have been one or two mentions of Evolution or other world views.
Family Ties: A hysterical show featuring the always wonderful Michael J Fox. Whether he’s falling in love, battling insomnia or buying stock – Michael J. Fox makes us buy every single scene he is in. His performance is simply brilliant and he outshines almost everyone in the show. The only other character that can touch him are his sister, Mallory Keaton and her boyfriend Nick Moore.
Nick was a brilliant edition to the show and the actor did a superb job of developing his initially gruff character into the sweet, slow witted, Neanderthal that invaded the Keaton's lives on a daily basis.
Justine Bateman is absolutely perfect as Mallory and added so much to her character. You can see the actress gradually change Mallory through the first season, developing her from a more sarcastic, simplistic character to her classic, ‘dumb’, sweet, stylish self.
This series brilliantly portrays how there are all different kinds of ways of being smart. Alex, Mallory and Nick are all talented, just in different ways.
My other favorite part of this show was that the script writers took a character that would be considered boring by most audiences—a business/economics major—and made him so interesting and multi faceted. You could accuse Alex P. Keaton of a lot of things, but you could never accuse him of being boring.
Mr. Keaton, played by Michael Gross, is funny and plays well off of Alex and Mallory, but he is somewhat hampered by being the butt of the joke in the show, constantly one upped and beleaguered by his wife (Meredith Baxter) and kids.
Skippy, the luckless and lovelorn next door neighbor could have been excellent but unfortunately was never fully developed and relegated to being the goofy side kick.
In my opinion, the real touching part of the show is Alex’s relationship with Mallory and Andy. Having a big brother of my own, it makes me smile to see Alex’s tenderness with Andy. And no matter how much he and Mallory drive one another crazy, he always takes care of her.
Content: Mr and Mrs. Keaton are quite liberal in their views on gender roles, child rearing, dating and other subjects. Mrs. Keaton is portrayed as the real hub of the family, while the father is portrayed as foolish or is spoken to disrespectfully. Jennifer’s sarcastic attitude is portrayed as being cute while Alex’s conservative views are portrayed as ridiculous.
There’s a few swear words and a lot of inappropriate episodes. Reading the episode list, it is pretty obvious which episodes need to be skipped over entirely. Some of the good episodes, still have sex related dialogue and scenarios that need to be edited.
The Dick Van Dyke: A hilarious show with a cast that can not be beat. This isn’t really a ‘family show’, as Ritchie is conveniently shuffled out of the way at every opportunity – but it’s a good show about a young married couple who are working at the daily mechanics of living together. Full of laugh out loud acting and rapid fire dialogue. If you need an instant pick me up, Dick Van Dyke will rarely fail.
Content: There were a few episodes that could be skipped – a quick look at an episode guide is pretty self explanatory.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo: I enjoy watching other nations' TV shows, because it is a fascinating look into other cultures, allowing me to experience, in a very small way, the differences--and the amazing similarities--of people from all over the world.
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was extremely popular in its time. It was dubbed into 25 languages and was shown in 128 countries. It is a fun, decent show of family friendly adventures in a wonderful setting…and I just love their accents!
In my opinion, aside from the youngest boy Sonny—who had a natural screen presence—there isn’t really any outstanding acting - but it's still a good show. The script writers showed a functional, loving family. There is a strong authority figure who instills a moral code in his children, who not only can cooperate but like each other.
A lot of the episodes are slow paced but certain episodes—specifically the ones that focus on Sonny—are surprisingly exciting, full of real peril and adventure that put me on the edge of my seat. Three episodes in particularly had me yelling at the computer screen, afraid that Sonny was either going to be eaten by sharks, drowned, or killed in a helicopter crash. I didn’t go into this show expecting nail biting moments, but when the episodes called for it, the show delivered.
Some of the episodes could be a little hokey, but if you could believe Flipper, you can believe this. Skippy the Kangaroo can understand commands as specific as ‘bring me the jar of grape jelly on the lower right hand shelf’, has a strong connection to the Force that lets her know when one of her humans are in trouble, and possesses an uncanny dexterity that enables her to untie knots and pick up objects of all shapes. But hey, people/kids weren’t as jaded back then as they are now. Just think of Skippy as a superhero, sit back and enjoy the show.
Content: There’s one episode that features a couple that might be living together. Several skimpy bathing suits are featured.
What are some of your favorite TV shows about families? I would love to hear about your favorites. Comment below!