Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Best Picture Project – Oliver! (1968)

Directed by Carol Reed

Written by Vernon Harris

Based upon the stage show by Lionel Bart

Taken from the novel by Charles Dickens

Starring Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Mark Lester, Shani Wallis and Jack Wild 

Oliver! is a movie musical made in the tradition of the great movie musicals of the 1950s, but coming out in 1968, when the world had just about turned its back on them – at least the traditional musicals – it was instantly a curiosity, the last gasp of the studio system trying to stay alive before more independent based producers and stars really upended the system in favor of smaller and more personal films – see TCM’s Moguls and Movie Stars:  A History of Hollywood for more. Continue reading

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Watch This, Not That: A Christmas Carol

File:Scrooge1951Film.jpgUnless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, or just conveniently ignored the tinsel and tree-lightings and hordes of insane shoppers at the mall, you’ve figured out we’re coming up on Christmas, that annual holiday that hardcore Christians – there are more than a few in my family – want to reclaim from the secular world, and get everybody to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, but which the rest of us consumers don’t see as any way religious.  It’s a time when most of us want to splurge on ourselves, not wonder if baby Jesus really was born on December 25.

This is also the time of year when people turn to a certain handful of movies that, because they are Christmas oriented, don’t seem appropriate to watch at other times of the years.  Sometimes I wonder if anybody would even remember any of these movies if it weren’t for network and cable TV dusting them off every year for a movie marathon that runs right up until the big day.  Practically every night you get to choose between the old classics, Miracle on 34th Street and It’s  A Wonderful Life, and such new classics as A Christmas Story – 24 hours worth of it on TBS – and Elf. Continue reading

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The Best Picture Project – Grand Hotel (1932)

Directed by Edmund Golding

Screenplay by William A. Drake and Bela Balazs, from the play of the same name by Drake, adapted from the Novel by Vicki Baum

Starring Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore

Before I started The Best Picture Project Grand Hotel was never a movie I would have bothered to see.  But it wouldn’t be because I was some kind of snob, because I’m not.  No, it’s because I’ve already tried to see it, three times, and failed every time.  I don’t remember when I first had a go at it, because who remembers those kinds of things.  But I do remember the exact copy of the DVD I made the attempt with because it was still there at the video store a couple years later when I tried again and is probably still there to this day.  The only reason I didn’t rent it again for this little project, and therefore finishing paying as much in rental fees as if I’d just bought the damn thing in the first place, is because Grand Hotel finally came around on TCM and DVR saved me the rental charge.  Thank you, Robert Osborne. Continue reading

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Coming Soon…this is not a chick flick

A new, proper, post is on its way shortly – I just finished watching Grand Hotel for the Best Picture Project – but until then I thought I’d share one of the things that’s distracted me a little bit.

As any loyal reader knows from the advertisement along the right side of the front page of this blog, I wrote a novel called Girl Band, which is currently available for purchase at and

Recently I’ve neared completion on the followup to this novel, a quasi-sequel called this is not a chick flick.  You can watch the trailer for this novel below and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the release of this novel as well.

If the video below doesn’t want to work just follow this link:


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