R.I.P. Harold Ramis 1944-2014

Harold Ramis

 

Well, for me, it’s the relationship between comedy and life – that’s the edge I live on, and maybe it’s my protection against looking at the tragedy of it all. It’s seeing life in balance. Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can’t have one without the other. I’m of the school that anything can be funny, if seen from a comedic point of view.

 

Harold Ramis, comedian extraordinaire, passed away February 24th at the age of 69. He wrote many of the best comedies from 1978-1993. Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Back to School, culminating in one of my very favorite movies, Groundhog Day. I count myself lucky to have caught Regal’s special showing of it just a few weeks ago.

Ghostbusters

Netflix has three of his movies available for streaming: Ghostbusters (writer and actor), Ice Harvest (director), and Baby Boom (actor). Ghostbusters is the obvious choice (of those) for remembering him.

Ghostbusters (1984) – Rated PG

After losing their academic posts at a prestigious college, a team of parapsychologists creates a business exterminating ghouls, hobgoblins and supernatural pests — and are soon hired by a cellist to purge her digs of a demon.

R.I.P. Harold Ramis – Thank you for making us laugh. You will be missed.

Regal Classic Film Series

Regal Cinemas

 

Kudos to Regal for bringing back their classic cinema series. Last fall they screened six classic movies. The only problem was that they were all R-rated though perhaps they identified the audience for this as skewing older. This go round the focus is on comedies.

Their classic movies are shown Sundays at 2 and Wednesdays at 2 and 7. Participating theaters are listed here.

I was sick last week so I missed posting this. It’s not too late to catch The Princess Bride on Wednesday the 15th at 2 and 7 though.

moviefasttimesatridgemonthigh

1/19 & 1/22 – Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

1/26 & 1/29 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

2/2 & 2/5 – Groundhog Day

Sleepless in Seattle

2/9 & 2/12 – Sleepless in Seattle

 

Best Buy $5 X-Men Blu-Rays and FREE Wolverine Tickets

I took advantage of Best Buy’s upgrade and save program recently. Turn in your old DVDs and receive a $5 coupon towards any Blu-Ray $9.99 and up. Normally I use this to pick up Blu-Rays for $5 and I try to stick to ones that have FREE movie cash on them. This week Best Buy has the X-Men films on sale for $5 (with the coupon) and they will have $10 towards the new Wolverine movie.

The WolverineI also picked up the limited edition steelbook of Scarface for $5. Not only did I get a Blu-Ray of Brian DePalma’s masterpiece of excess, with wonderful footage of my hometown of Miami but I also got a steelbook case, collector cards, and a DVD of the original Scarface (1932). I also got a bonus with one of my other movies.

Groundhog's Day

Groundhog Day came with a security sticker applied directly to the disc itself. Yikes! Now I have to make an extra trip to Best Buy this weekend. Groundhog Day is a comfort movie, one of those films I put in when my wife has had a particularly trying day. This will join Princess Bride, Grease, And Chicago in her cheer up box (once I get a replacement).

Fantasy Films – Top Ten List

As this is the end of the year, it seems the time for Top 10 lists. I’ll be doing Top 10 lists of films currently available on instant Netflix. I’ve disqualified all the films that show as expiring on or before 1/1/10. Today is my list of Top 10 fantasy films on instant Netflix (in no particular order though I’ll start with traditional fantasy).

Clash of the Titans

WATCH: Clash of the Titans (1981) – Rated PG.

Okay I admit this list is going to be dominated by Ray Harryhausen. The Clash of the Titans remake is slated to be released early next year and looks to be a lot of fun. Right now though you can watch the original for free. It’s worth it just for the Medusa.

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

WATCH: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958) – Rated G

Harryhausen’s first color feature is an absolute masterpiece. This is my 2nd favorite Harryhausen movie behind only Jason and the Argonauts. The villain is nefarious, the damsel is alluring and in distress, and the hero is not as wooden as the next two Sinbads.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

WATCH: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) – Rated G.

While Tom Baker (Doctor Who) is a hoot as the villain and the Kali fight is a wonderful highlight, I did not like this one as much as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (it is still excellent though).

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

WATCH: Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977) – Rated G

Harryhausen’s final Sinbad film stars Patrick Wayne (son of John), Taryn Power (daughter of Tyrone), Patrick Troughton, and the lovely Jane Seymour. The wondrous Harryhausen creations include skeleton creatures, a baboon, a troglodyte, a tiger and more.

Conan the Barbarian

WATCH: Conan the Barbarian (1982) – Rated R

This is one of the roles Arnold was born to play (or perhaps sculpted would be a better term). Conan is grand and bloody as befits Robert E. Howard’s source material. The film is flawed but it is so darned manly.

Excalibur

WATCH: Excalibur (1981) – Rated R.

Excalibur features incredible scene-stealing performances from Nicol Williamson as Merlin and Helen Mirren as Morgana. It also features mounted armored combat in rich lush forests. John Boorman’s compositions are wonderful and there are early roles from Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, and Liam Neeson.

The Princess Bride

WATCH: The Princess Bride (1987) – Rated PG for adult language and violence.

The Princess Bride is quite simply one of the best, most heartfelt movies ever made. The next time your loved one asks for something, simply reply “As you wish”.

Krull

WATCH: Krull (1983) – Rated PG for violence.

This film is all over the place. It is definitely a fantasy but the enemy are space aliens. It aims for an adult audience but there is a child protagonist and lots of cute animals for the kids. The leads are a little wooden but Freddie Jones, Francesca Annis, and Bernard Bresslaw are wonderful in secondary roles. Look for Liam Neeson in another early role.

Ghost

WATCH: Ghost (1990) – Rated PG-13.

Alrighty, plot-wise this is supernatural and not fantasy but thematically this is definitely a fantasy. It is also a romance and to maintain my standing as a man, I’m not having a Top Ten Romance list. Unlike The Princess Bride, do not try telling your loved one “ditto” after watching this film. Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg are all magnificent in this movie

Groundhog Day

WATCH: Groundhog Day (1993) – Rated PG.

Here is another film that is thematically fantasy romance while being a comedy plot-wise. Bill Murray is hysterical but also oddly vulnerable as a cynical weatherman. Andie McDowell is wonderful as his producer and Chris Elliott is quite funny as the cameraman.