AndyM108

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About AndyM108

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    Kensington, MD
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    sports, movies, political issues

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  1. AndyM108

    "MOWTOWN"?

    This just arrived in my inbox today. How could anyone not have corrected it before it went out? Fortunately this embarrassing misspelling wasn't repeated in the article it linked to, but c'mon.....
  2. AndyM108

    Noir Alley

    Funny, but though I'm a lifelong baseball fan and only marginally interested in real world boxing, I can think of at least 8 or 10 boxing films (plus The Wrestler) I'd gladly watch again, but other than Eight Men Out (which is realistic) and Death on the Diamond (which is so over the top absurd that it's a neverending delight), and maybe the ones with Joe E. Brown, I find nearly every baseball movie either terminally sappy (Field of Dreams, Bang the Drum Slowly, etc.) or at best mildly amusing (It Happens Every Spring). I have no idea why this is, other than maybe boxing action is so much easier to present on the screen than baseball, or because so few actors are remotely capable of emulating a professional batting swing or pitching motion. But whatever the reason, I can't think of a single boxing movie that was completely unwatchable, and in fact it might even nice for TCM to devote a day to them just for a change of pace. The Harder They Fall is one of the best, but there are plenty of others that could fill out the schedule.
  3. AndyM108

    Your Essential Scorsese PIcks

    Scorsese's far and away my favorite purely Hollywood director, and even if you widen the pool to bring in the rest of the world I can't think of anyone other than Kurosawa and Fritz Lang who I'd put above him. Hard to rate my favorites with any degree of precision, but I guess it'd roughly be something like this: 1. Goodfellas 2. The Departed 3. Casino 4. Mean Streets 5. Raging Bull 6. The Color of Money 7. Gangs of New York 8. Cape Fear 9. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore 10. The Wolf of Wall Street And when I get to see The Irishman, I suspect that'll be somewhere up there, too. The only Scorsese film I didn't particularly care for was New York, New York, though ever since Sinatra re-recorded the title song, that movie will never lose a certain place in my heart. (You can probably infer I'm a Yankees fan.😎)
  4. Hell, in Durham, NC in the mid-1960's, a carton of brand name cigarettes was but $1.80. I only smoked intermittently for a few months, so I didn't keep up with the price after that. I stopped smoking quite suddenly on one hot evening in college, when I was in a closed meeting room with no A/C and everyone also puffing away. And then God sent me a message, or something like that, because I felt sick as a dog, ran down the stairs, ran across the street to Walgreen's, bought a roll of Rolaids, chewed the whole roll in one sitting, somehow didn't lose it, and after that I've never taken another puff. I was up to about half a pack a day before that little epiphany.
  5. Here's another advert that I hope someone can help me track down, because so far I've had no success. It may be my favorite TV ad of all time, dating from circa 1955. It's for White Owl cigars, and it shows a typical button-downed preppie type sitting across a checkerclothed restaurant table from Fernandel, the then-famous horsefaced French comic actor, star of The Sheep Has Five Legs and other sublime comedies. I'll re-create the dialogue as best I can, or I should say monologue, since Fernandel does all the talking. Fernandel, with a big toothy grin: Ah, monsieur, a woman, she is but a woman, but a goot cigar is a smoke....(takes a puff) Fernandel (continuing): And the best of the cigars ees the White OWL.....(takes a big, satisfying puff).. Ah, yes (blows smoke towards his dinner companion for emphasis).....A woman ees but a woman (takes another big puff).....but a goot CIGAR, HO, HO..... (Smokus interruptus! A shapely pair of Charissean legs goes promenading by the table. Our hero jumps up, throws his cigar on the floor, steps on said cigar, and takes off in the general direction of the gams with a hasty "Pardon..." to his companion. To this day this may be the only commercial I've ever seen where the product is willfully destroyed in the name of a higher pursuit, and I'm still laughing 64 years later whenever I think of it. Anyone else remember it, or have any idea where to track it down? I've seen one other Fernandel commercial for White Owl online, but never this one.
  6. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the first filtered cigarettes were either Viceroys or Salems, both of which date from the mid-1950's. After that the other brands quickly followed suit, with the most deadly of them being Kent's "Micronite" filter, with traces of asbestos.
  7. Here's an actor whose movies I've never watched: Elvis Presley. Did he smoke in his movies?
  8. A quick googling reveals that Paul Newman, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan,Suzanne Pleschette, John Cazale, Zeppo Marx, Patricia Neal, Anne Shirley, Woody Strode, Franchot Tone, E. G. Marshall, Lloyd Nolan, Dean Martin, Vincent Price, Gary Cooper, Chuck Conners, Don Knotts, Buster Keaton, Audrey Meadows, Glenda Farrell, Lionel Stander, Gary Merrill, Yul Brenner, Betty Grable, Jean Simmons, Ray Milland, Robert Taylor, Roddy McDowell, Desi Arnaz, Moe Howard, Jason Robards, Jr., James Whitmore, Signe Hasso, Louis Hayward, Duncan Renaldo, Allan Jones, George Peppard, Steve McQueen, and I Think You Get The Message all died of lung cancer. ---Carl Sandburg
  9. Thanks, and I'll try to be more of a presence. I stayed away for a long time because I was blocked from posting for reasons that were never explained, and when I finally got restored (again without notice) I'd simply gotten out of the habit of visiting. The other reason is simply that I've now seen nearly every classic movie I've cared to see more than a few times, and I've just about run out of anything new to say about them. 😎
  10. I just watched the dark comedy Thank You For Smoking, and the arch-villain Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) makes the (correct) observation that the smoking boom in the 1910's and 1920's had three primary causes: 1. World War I, where the free cigarettes shipped to soldiers created a whole new generation of youngish male smokers 2. Dieting, where George Washington Hill's "Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet" campaign scared a whole generation of women into substituting smokes for bon bons. 3. Movies, where cigarettes in the hands of gangsters and society swells alike cemented the idea that Smoking Is Cool and Smoking Is Sophisticated into the minds of millions of moviegoers. That last point, though, got me to thinking, and I'm throwing this question out to the Forum: Were there ANY prominent leading actors or actresses in the first 30-odd years of sound films who you'd NEVER see smoking? I'm scratching my head, and about the only one I can think of, and even there I'm not 100% sure, was James Cagney. Any others that anyone can think of?
  11. AndyM108

    'The Hustler': THR's 1961 Review

    As someone who's spent WAY too much time in pool rooms, I always thought that The Hustler was an overrated movie in terms of realism. Getting down to specifics, Paul Newman's pool stroke was to a real pool player about what Gary Cooper's batting swing was to Lou Gehrig's----jerky and awkward. If I'd never set foot in a pool room I probably wouldn't have noticed, but I can't stuff the genie back into the bottle. Jackie Gleason, however, was an actual pool player of fair reputation in real life, and it shows. Gleason and George C. Scott, along with the interior shots of Ames, were The Hustler's saving graces. As for the subplot with Newman and Piper Laurie, it was just a distraction, whereas the relationship between Tom Cruise and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in The Color of Money was much closer to the sort of relationships I've observed among the many road players I've known. As an aside, it's too bad Fred Astaire wasn't in his 20's when The Hustler came out, as he was always considered by far the best cue artist among actors. One of the reasons I liked The Color of Money more than The Hustler is because the cast included so many actual pool players, including one I've played against (and lost to, of course), Keith "Earthquake" McCready, whose "Grady Seasons" delivered the memorable "It's like a nightmare" line. In hindsight, though, the best thing about both of those movies is that 25 years apart, they each spurred a revival of pool. I only wish Hollywood could come up with another film that would rescue American pool from its current state of doldrums.
  12. I have the same reaction to Gigi that I have with the three Big Time comedies that Hepburn made with Tracy. Love Leslie Caron, and love Katharine Hepburn, but Maurice Chevalier's act wears thin immediately, and AFAIC Hepburn should've stuck with Cary Grant. I think I stopped counting somewhere between 3000 and 4000, though I've recorded over 5000 and haven't stopped yet. And if you've actually liked every "classic" you've seen, then you're a better man than I am. But I kind of get where you're coming from, since I can't think of a single noir I genuinely loathe, unless Shadow of a Doubt or The Stranger fall into that category. And if they all came with Eddie Muller's introductions and commentaries, I could watch them over and over again, whether they were considered "classics" or just "B" movie fillers. Eddie Muller is TCM's genuine superstar.
  13. GWTW goes down best with a big bowl of turnip stew. 😎
  14. There's something seriously wrong if you've watched several thousand movies and you can't find plenty of high-rated classics you don't like. Here are a few of my all time fingernails on a blackboard: Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (Post-1933 musicals in general are godawful, but this is the worst of the worst. Howard Keel's singing is almost as unnerving as Donald Trump's tweeting.) The Graduate (generational pandering on steroids) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Right, this is just how things work in Washington!) Shadow of a Doubt (How dense can all those relatives be? Does Uncle Charlie have to wear a sign around his neck saying "I AM A PSYCHOPATH WHO DOESN'T LIKE ANSWERING QUESTIONS" for them to figure him out?) The Stranger (see comment for Shadow of a Doubt) Bonnie and Clyde (Oh, those poor, misunderstood fashionista gangsters!) Easy Rider (Oh, those poor, misunderstood drug dealers!) Touch of Evil (Charlton Heston should have stuck to his six hour Bible movies) Woman of the Year (A more appropriate title would be Masochist of the Year, meaning in this case Tess.) My Dinner With Andre (It's like eavesdropping on Marianne Williamson having dinner with David Brooks.) I guess ten is enough. I could've just listed pretty much every Hollywood biopic, every sappy musical, and any movie featuring Mickey Rooney where he didn't wind up either dead or in jail, but my momma always told me it's not nice to pick the wings off flies. 😎

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