It’s not often that a World War II film comes my way that stirs my soul. It’s even rarer that what stirs my soul is not the personal story of an individual or a small group of people standing up for what is right against the Nazi’s or an escape from a German internment camp despite impossible odds. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good war film, but most war films have the same basic features, Read more about Monuments Men
It's that time of year where we remember who we've lost this past year.
Phil Everly (January 19, 1939 – January 3, 2014)
Phil Everly was one half of the Everly Brothers. “Bye Bye Love” in 1957 brought them fame and resulted in 15 Top 10 hits between 1957 and 1962. In 1986 the Everly Brothers were among the first 10 artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Find the Everly Brothers in our catalog here or seach on Hoopla for streaming music.
Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014)
Pete Seeger was a folk singer and social activist. His best known songs are “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song). He was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing “We Shall Overcome” during the Civil Rights Movement.
Find the Pete Seeger in our catalog here or seach on Hoopla for streaming music.
Bobby Womack (March 4, 1944-June 27, 2014)
This singer song writer began his career as a child with his brothers in Curtis Womack and the Womack brothers. Sam Cooke signed the group to his label, and after some success with the newly named Valentinos, Womack played backing musician for Cooke. Womack also wrote the Rolling Stones’ first UK number one hit “It’s All Over Now”
Check out his CDs here or log on to Hoopla and stream his CDs for free!
Tommy Ramone (January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014)
The last surviving member of the influence punk band The Ramones died July 11, 2014. Born in Hungry as Erdelyi Tamas, Tommy Ramone was a founding member and drummer of the Ramones famous for the songs “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Blitzkrieg Bop”. He played on the band’s first three studio albums before leaving the Ramones to concentrate on studio work.
Jack Bruce was Scottish musician and composer considered by many to be one of the greatest bass players of all times. Best known for his work in the band Cream, Bruce also had a successful solo career and occasionally performed in Ringo Star’s All-Star Band.
Check out Cream’s albums here or steam them on Hoopla.
Wayne Static (November 4, 1965 – November 1, 2014)
Born Wayne Richard Wells, Wayne Static is best known as the spikey haired lead vocalist of metal band Static X. Formed in 1994, Static X released six studio albums. In 2011 Wayne Static pursued a solo career and released the album Pighammer.
December began with the loss of the Saxophonist and Rolling Stones sideman Bobby Keys. A longtime friend of Keith Richards, Keys toured and played with the Rolling Stones for 40 years. His career spanned four decades and he appears on albums by Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Harrison and Joe Cocker among other prominent muscians.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011) stars Matt Damon as Senate candidate David Norris. He has been tapped by an unseen group to win a seat in the Senate . . . just not this election year. If you were to read the basic plot of the movie it would sound like a typical political thriller. An unseen group is grooming its candidate for a high office. Suddenly this candidate becomes enthralled with a woman who they believe will be detrimental to his career and the group’s agenda. This unknown organization begins to exert every effort to keep their candidate away from the woman and focused on the job at hand. As the candidate continues to try to find the woman he loves he begins to find out more about this hidden organization and begins to fight against their control and seek his own way. Read more about Adjustment Bureau
A while ago I wrote about one of my favorite John Wayne Movies, The Quiet Man. The Quiet Man was a romance and a departure from the War and Western films that John Wayne was most well known for. My second favorite John Wayne film, The Shootist is also a departure from his usual role even though it is a western, it is the story of an older gunfighter now battling a greater battle; cancer. Seeking a place to spend his last days, he takes up residence in a boarding house run by a widow who is against everything the gunfighter’s life represents while her teenage son harbors a secret desires to be just like the old shootist .
The cast for The Shootist is among the best. Besides “The Duke” as the shootist J.B. Books, the film features Lauren Bacall as boarding house owner Bond Rodgers and Ron Howard as her son Gillom. Despite the film’s title you won’t find a lot of shoot outs in the film. It’s the story a dying man, who wants to die with dignity and perhaps regain a little taste of the life he could have had if his life had not taken the violent turn it did. Yes, John Wayne is still the tough guy, but his view is now tempered as he faces his cancer and the knowledge that there is nothing he can do to win his battle against it. Each character must in the end examine themselves as they are faced with Books’ mortality and eventual death.
Here's one of my favorite American movies I've seen this year. I heard about this while it was making the rounds on the festival circuit last year and finally got a chance to check it out recently. It won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival last summer (the international critics' prize for best independent feature). While it's worth checking out for the Virgina set cinematography, it is primarily a suspense film about how revenge never goes the way you want it to. Read more about Blue Ruin
Both the American League and National Leauge Championship Series start October 10th. Whether you're disappointed your favorite team is no longer in contention for the World Series or you just can't get enough of October baseball, these films are for you!
Field of Dreams "If you build it, he will come." An Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella hears this voice in his field one day and interprets it to mean he should build a baseball field on his farm. Once built, the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other 1919 Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the World Series appear. He continues to hear voices, each time leading Ray to a different era of baseball and one step closer to his estranged father.
42 This is the story of Jackie Robinson, recruited from the Negro Leagues to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 and his historic 1947 rookie season where he broke the race barrier in Major League Baseball.
The SandlotThis coming of age movie is about Scotty Smalls a new kid in the neighborhood and struggling to make friends. After embarrassing himself in an improvised game of baseball, Scotty turns to his stepfather to teach him how to play, goes back to the sandlot to show his new skill, is befriended by the team and goes on a series of adventures with them.
Angels in the Outfield Roger wants two things from life: to live with a real family instead of in a foster home and for the California Angels to finally win the pennant even though they are the worst team in the division. One day some angels appear at a game to help Roger make this happen-but only Roger can see them and believes in them! Will the Angels win the pennant? Ya gotta believe!
Moneyball The true story of Oakland A's manager Billy Beane's sucessful attempt to build a winning baseball team by using computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.
A League of their Own This is a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Set during World War II when a shortage of men threatens to shut down major league baseball, one major league owner convinces others to finance a woman's league.
Rookie of the Year After his broken arm heals in an unexpected fashion, 12 year old little leaguer Henry finds that he now has the ability to pitch with incredible force. Signed by the Cubs and heading to the National League Championship game, Henry faces many challenges as a kid playing in the majors and playing alongside his heroes.
The Bad News Bears A down on his luck ex-Major Leaguer agrees to coach a ragtag little league team, whips them into shape, and takes on their nemisis in a super competitive Californian little leauge.
Major League The Cleveland Indian's new owner wants to move the team but the only way out of the stadium contract is poor attendence. She assembles the worst baseball players and hopes for a losing season, but when the players catch wind of her plan they start winning just to spite her.
Bull Durham Minor Leaguer "Crash" Davis is sent to the Durham Bulls to help train up coming pitcher "Nuke" LaLoosh in the way of baseball and life. The situation is even more complicated when Annie gets thrown into the mix. Annie and Crash each help to shape Nuke into a major league pitcher.