Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Bull Durham


Several sources rate this as the best sports movie of all time, or at least in the top five. Part of the criteria for choosing a “best”, naturally, is how you feel about the sport in question. Many Top 10 or 25 or 50 lists have a ton of boxing movies. I don’t care for boxing, or for movies about this brutal “sport.” There’s also a lot of basketball movies, like Read more »

An Officer and a Gentleman


If you thought Marine boot camp in Full Metal Jacket was tough, take a look at Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. There are two main differences. The D.I. is not permitted to actually strike you (you are a potential gentleman), and you also have to study your ass off in a lot of subjects that never came up at Parris Island. A lot of this was familiar to me ... Read more »

Toy Story 4


By the time a franchise is tacking a 4 onto the end of the title, it is almost always burned out, recycling the same old stuff, the magic long since gone away. This is true even of Pixar, who I had hoped would know better, but they went ahead and made the entirely unnecessary Cars 2 and Cars3. But not this one. I found this entry to be ... Read more »

Toy Story 3


And so we come to what I thought would be the end of the saga of Woody, Buzz, and all their fiber and plastic friends, who endure the oddness of collapsing lifelessly whenever a human being is observing them—you think it’s a quantum mechanical phenomenon, like Schrödinger’s cat?—so they can enjoy being loved and played with, sometimes pretty roughly, by the children they love. In 1 ... Read more »

Toy Story 2


A few blocks away from where we used to live on Belmont Street in Portland, Oregon, there is one of the oddest museums I’ve ever seen. It’s Kidd’s Toy Museum, and it is housed more or less in an auto parts and repair shop. You would never find it if you didn’t know what you were looking for. Part of it is on one side of the street, and part is in another building, sort of stashed in ... Read more »

Toy Story


When I was a child my granddaddy managed the Duke & Ayres store in Corsicana, Texas. (Think Woolworth’s, but smaller.) Among the many things he sold were lots and lots of toys. As the spoiled grandson, I got to play with them behind the counters, evaluate (my word for “play with”) them for appeal, safety, and durability. A nasty job, but somebody had to do it. If a toy happened to get ... Read more »

The Buddy Holly Story


Listen to me, Buddy, and you, too, Ritchie and Big Bopper, don’t get on that plane! I have just returned to 1959 in a time machine, from a really horrible possible future where you did get on it and all of you died in a frozen Iowa cornfield … and a real monster has become President of the United States. That ... Read more »

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas


We saw a production of this by a local theater company, guest starring Russ Tamblyn as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd. He was really terrific, as was the whole production. They changed a lot of the plot here to make the movie a star vehicle for Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, which was inevitable, I guess, but it didn’t do the story any good. The music and the dancing are pretty good, though I could ... Read more »

The Smell of Success


Every once in a while a movie comes along that is almost impossible to describe adequately, and this is one of them. Maybe that’s why it seems to have done no business, and there is almost no information about it out there. Maybe no one knew how to market it. Which is a shame, in a way, because although it’s not really a good movie, it is Read more »

Roxie Hart


First there was the play, Chicago, written in 1926 by Maureen Dallas Watkins, who based it on her experiences as a reporter. It was made into a silent film in 1927. I would really like to see that. It is two hours long, and the play is dialogue heavy. It was a real challenge to adapt plays like that to silent movies.

Then it was adapted into this film for ... Read more »