A Capital 4th 2024!

A Capital 4th 2024!

Posted on July 4, 2024 at 6:10 am

Don’t miss the fireworks over the Capitol Building in Washington DC tonight on PBS!  A Returning host Alfonso Ribeiro will be accompanied by an all-star lineup of broadway, pop, R&B and classical performances, with Smokey Robinson celebrating Motown’s 65th anniversary, the U.S. Army Chorus performing a Salute to American Heroes Past and Present, and The Color Purple’s Fantasia and Darren Criss of Glee

Copyright 2024 PBS
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Holidays Television
Movies for July 4 2024!

Movies for July 4 2024!

Posted on July 3, 2024 at 7:40 am

Hamilton” is LIn-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Broadway musical about Alexander Hamilton has the original Broadway cast.

Independence Day Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum star in one of the all-time great popcorn pleasures. Aliens attack the earth and it takes a quirky engineer, a plucky President, and a heroic military pilot to save the day. What does that have to do with the 4th of July? Listen to the President’s stirring pep talk.

The Patriot There are many films about the Civil War, but not many about the Revolutionary War. Mel Gibson stars in this uneven but stirring film about a farmer pulled into the rebellion.

There are excellent miniseries about our founding fathers, including Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin. Ken Burns’ excellent documentary series about Benjamin Franklin is streaming online, and the History Channel’s Bloody Struggle for Freedom tells the story of the Revolutionary War.

1776 I love this film, based on the Broadway musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, with almost all of the stars from the acclaimed stage production, including William Daniels as the “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams, Ken Howard as a dashing Thomas Jefferson, and Howard Da Silva as Benjamin Franklin.

And don’t forget Schoolhouse Rock!

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Memorial Day 2024: Movies to Pay Tribute to Our Troops

Memorial Day 2024: Movies to Pay Tribute to Our Troops

Posted on May 23, 2024 at 7:14 am

Copyright 1987 Tristar

Memorial Day is more than the beginning of summer; it is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I hope you can take some time over the weekend to think of those we have lost. Some movies to pay your respects:

The Outpost was on my top ten list for 2020, a movie that was sadly overlooked because it came out in the early weeks of the pandemic shutdown. It is based on the book by Jake Tapper. There are war stories that are about strategy and courage and triumph over evil that let us channel the heroism of the characters on screen. And then there are war stories that are all of that but also engage in the most visceral terms with questions of purpose and meaning that touch us all. “The Outpost” is that rare film in the second category, an intimate, immersive drama from director Rod Lurie, a West Point graduate and Army veteran who knows this world inside out and brings us from the outside in.

The Blue Angels Glen Powell, who played a pilot in “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Devotion” is also a real-life pilot who has flown with “the best of the best,” the Navy’s Blue Angels. He produced this documentary that takes us behind the scenes and into the sky, even “inverted” (upside down!) with the Blues.

Gardens of Stone James Caan and James Earl Jones star in a film about the 1st Battalion 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at Fort Myer, Virginia, the U.S. Army’s Honor Guard. They conduct the funerals of fallen soldiers and guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Francis Ford Coppola directed this touching, elegiac story.

Taking Chance An officer (Kevin Bacon) escorts the body of a young Marine killed in Iraq. Each stop along the way is meaningful.

Mr. Roberts is a WWII story about a Navy cargo ship, based on the experiences of author Thomas Heggen. Henry Fonda stars in the title role or an executive officer who tries to protect the men from a tyrannical captain. Broadway, and the outstanding cast includes William Powell, James Cagney, and Oscar-winner Jack Lemmon.

Band of Brothers is the extraordinary series from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks about ordinary men who came together to do extraordinary things as soldiers in Easy Company in WWII.

Red Tails is the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary heroes who risked their lives for a country that did its best to hold them back.

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Happy Passover 2024/5784

Happy Passover 2024/5784

Posted on April 21, 2024 at 9:08 pm

Have a blessed Passover!  Whether you’re on Zoom or socially distant in person, enjoy the holiday devoted to family, freedom, and courage. Dayanu!

The story of the exodus to freedom is for all ages. Alex Edelman has thoughts. (If you have not watched his special , “Just for Us” on HBO, please check it out.)

For family viewing: try It’s Passover Grover!, The Prince of Egypt, Rugrats Passover,  and The Ten Commandments

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Holidays
Christmas Movies About Dysfunctional Families

Christmas Movies About Dysfunctional Families

Posted on December 13, 2023 at 5:09 pm

Copyright Universal 2016
We all love the sweet holiday movies with snowflakes gently falling on the upturned faces of happy families, where any conflict is minor enough to be resolved in 90 minutes and there are lots of hugs and cookies. But there are also a lot of holiday movies about dysfunctional families, some comic, some darkly comic, and some bittersweet. Here are some that may not be classic but are favorites for a lot of people.

“The Family Stone” and “Love the Coopers”
These two dysfunctional family perennials sometimes get mixed up because Diane Keaton plays the family mother and grandmother in both of them and both are about families that keep secrets, disappoint each other, get mad about disappointing each other, and get on each other’s nerves. In “The Family Stone,” Sarah Jessica Parker plays a woman who is spending Christmas with her brother’s family. In “Love the Coopers,” Olivia Wilde impulsively asks a solider she meets in the airport (Jake Lacy) to pretend to be her boyfriend. The most entertaining part of that film may be the chance to see very early appearances from big stars Timothee Chalamet and Molly Gordon.

“The Holly and the Ivy”

One of the earliest of the film in this genre is a 1952 British film about a clergyman whose adult children are all hiding secrets from him. The outstanding cast makes this a very touching story.

“The Ref”

The darkest comedy on this list has Denis Leary as a thief who takes a bickering couple (Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey) as hostages. They start to drive him crazy and then things really get out of hand when the family shows up, including Glynis Johns and Christine Baranski.

“Nothing Like the Holidays”

A Puerto Rican family is thrown into a tizzy when they get together at Christmas and the parents (Alfred Molina and Elizabeth Pena) announce they are getting a divorce.

Almost Christmas

A widower gathers his family for Christmas. They drive each other crazy, but — spoiler alert — it all works out. The terrific cast includes Danny Glover, Mo’Nique, Omar Epps, JB Smoove, Romany Malco, and John Michael Higgins.

“This Christmas”

A secret wife. A loan shark’s goons on the trail. A sleepover with Santa. A cheating husband. These are just a few of the issues that arise in a big California family celebrating the holidays. The terrific cast includes Loretta Devine. Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Idris Elba, Lauren London, and Columbus Short.

Also: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Home Alone,” “Almost Christmas,” and this year’s “Family Switch”

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