Free Movie Suggestions: 3 Movies for the Holiday Weekend
“The balls roll funny for everybody, kiddo.” – Eddie Felson
I’m happy to say I survived my camp trip and am safely home in the mild greens and blues of Michigan. Maybe it’s the absence of smog, or the lack of a severe drought, but for some reason Michigan just feels healthy to me. Anyway, we had ourselves a time at Sequoia national park and I have many stories to tell, which I will do in the future as I’m too busy at the moment to do any of them justice. What I will do is suggest three movies I’ve managed to watch since I left Los Angeles. All of them were unexpected pleasures to me and two were just serendipitous moments of turning on TCM at the right time.
As many of you head up north to your respective cabins, I understand it may not be the best weekend for movies, but you never know. That being said, I certainly hope you all enjoy the Fourth of July and take a moment to not only celebrate our freedom, but our vast ecosystems and rich film history. Enjoy, and God bless America.
3. The Color of Money (1986)
What’s more American than watching a movie starring Paul Newman and directed by Martin Scorsese, the greatest American director alive? If you answered that question with the new Transformers movie, then I kindly ask you to find a new blog to read.
Fast Eddie Felson is back (Paul Newman more or less reprises his role from 1961s The Hustler) and he’s ready to make some money. Is he going to work hard and move up the ladder? Of course not. He’s going to hustle the old fashioned way, by taking the show on the road. Though he’s more than capable to make $10,000 grand in any sticky dive bar, Fast Eddie leaves the playing up to a new stud on the scene, Vincent Lauria played brilliantly by a young Tom Cruise. Yes, I said brilliantly. Tom Cruise is a good actor and I’ll gladly argue anyone who feels otherwise.
- Martin Scorsese can visualize a scene like nobody else. I remember hearing an interview with director Alexander Payne talking about how he admires directors who can capture a scene’s beginning, middle, and end effortlessly and smartly. You’ll notice what I’m talking about right away, as an early scene featuring John Turturro is given life thanks to a some inventive camerawork and editing.
- Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is a little hushed as Carmen, thanks to powerful performances by Cruise and Newman, but she’s so naturally seductive it’s okay.
- Iggy Pop plays a very skinny pool player.
- Paul Newman with a mustache and aviators.
2. Atlantic City (1980)
A movie about drugs, betrayal, and hidden identities, Atlantic City is, at its heart, a captivating story. When I found out this film was directed by the iconic Louis Malle (one of my all time favorites) I wasn’t surprised. Similar to his other films, Atlantic City is primarily a character study of lost dreams and putting on fronts. Further, Malle utilizes some beautiful cinematography to turn the decaying city into a character itself. Finally, as silly as this sounds, Atlantic City is a great movie to have under your belt if you want to be the kind of film fan that doesn’t only watch movies from a “100 movies you have to see” list.
- Burt Lancaster plays Lou, a tragic small time gangster who’s in love with his neighbor.
- Susan Sarandon’s performance as Sally lingers; you can’t help but fall in love with her too.
- Lots and lots of balding, overweight men in funny clothes litter the screen.
1. The Pawnbroker
A very sad and anxious film about a Jewish pawnbroker losing faith in humanity after not being able to make sense of his past in a Nazi concentration camp. With the intensity of a brilliantly crafted novella, The Pawnbroker is one of director Sidney Lumet’s best.
- Understated B&W photography of 1960s Harlem
- A powerful jazz score by Quincy Jones
- The use of space to emphasize Sol Nazerman’s breakdown
What are you watching?