New from Peter Spedale on Be Movie See Movie: Covid Classics: It’s ‘S’ WORDS!!!!

Not Swords. Celebrity Jeopardy is just the gift that keeps on giving.

The theme of this covid classics is the letter S. That plentiful letter.

So sub this sandscript are six spectacular stories scribed with S words. See them and smile!

Movie Title Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Movie Rating
The Hook A blue collar Brooklyn store clerk comes alive at night, dancing to stardom in the club scene.
Why It’s Good John Travolta became a star because of this film. On its surface, this movie sounds stupid: a guy is a local celeb because of how spirited he dances in the local bars? But we’re in the 1970s movie renaissance, which gussies up this story into something special. Travolta’s Tony Manero needs those nights; they are his refuge. As we see, Tony is stuck in his place in life: doomed to have every day be the same over and over again with no chance of getting out. His friends know too, equally trapped in their sedentary jobs/lives. But not on that dance floor, with the Bee Gees pumping out one of the great movie soundtracks to shake everyone out of their malaise.
Movie Title Shane (1953)
Movie Rating
The Hook A Wyoming homesteader takes in a mysterious gunslinging farmhand just as a cattle baron tries to use his power on the fledgling town
Why It’s Good This movie so easily could have been preachy and condescending. The movie is sanctimonious yes, but in a much more clever way. While Alan Ladd’s Shane is doing all these Western heroics, the really interesting part of the story is watching these homesteaders try to build a community out of nothing. Emile Meyer’s cattle baron uses his power to lord over these simple, sweet folk who want to build something for their families. Plus, Van Heflin and Alan Ladd provide dueling father figures for little impressionable Joey, who admires Shane, but learns in the brilliant ending, Shane’s not a long term solution for a happy life homesteading.
Movie Title Super Fly (1972)
Movie Rating
The Hook A drug dealer wants to get one big last score, then get out of the trade and live comfortably
Why It’s Good One of the big hits of the Blaxsploitation era. Driven by Curtis Mayfield’s banger of a soundtrack, stylish Ron O’Neal’s Preist is a force of nature here, the big man in the big city. The shaggy story meanders through a common tale: the “one last job” movie, taking us to bars and hook ups along the way. There’s double crosses, conspiracies, action, amazing costumes. Just badass fun!
Movie Title Stripes (1981)
Movie Rating
The Hook A cab driver and teacher enlist in the army, working their way up the ranks to help America fight its next war, via the Urban Assault Vehicle.
Why It’s Good This Bill Murray comedy is a tale of two halves. The first half is one of the most stupidly smart films about the army ever made. Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman look deep into the institutional no nonsense training and inject Murray’s sarcastic smartass into the proceedings. The first hour is comedy perfection, as Murray and Ramis skewer everything the military values with humorous aplomb, culminating in the amazing presentation in front of the generals. The 2nd half drops all the funny for some reason, and becomes a war movie replete with explosions aplenty, but that first half is so good you don’t really care. Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do!
Movie Title Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Movie Rating
The Hook When their father dies, two sisters go about caring for his estate, and trying to balance the need for love and money
Why It’s Good There’s something wonderfully simple and complex in Jane Austen’s writing, no better on display than in this adaptation. While Kate Winslet gets to wear her heart on her sleeve at all times here, it’s Emma Thompson’s steadfast emotional restraint that captivates most, always sacrificing her personal happiness, sacrosanct in her devotion to her family. Thompson’s acting and writing skills help bring Austen’s book to life, making you long for happiness for all of these well meaning people. Except Willoughby, screw that guy.
Movie Title Slap Shot (1977)
Movie Rating
The Hook A struggling minor league hockey team takes up more barbaric tactics to increase attendance to keep their team alive
Why It’s Good Major League bascially ripped off Slap Shot’s plot because of how good it is, and Goon owes its entire movie to this gem. Paul Newman is a comedic delight playing/coaching the Charleston Chiefs, and apparently a saucy suave love interest, inside a 1970s town that is laying off most of its workforce. Desperate to keep attendance high, the spry Newman unleashes the Hanson brothers to basically turn the hockey games into gladiator sports on ice, to the delight of everyone except Michael Ontkean’s decent hockey player. Being a 70s movie, the film also moonlights as an interesting expose on sports entertainment and conspiratorial owners, elevating a delight of an R Rated comedy into something with a little bit of a point as well.

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