Daily Dirt for Monday, Aug. 29, 2022
Before we get into today’s topic(s), where the heck did the summer go? Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 382 of The Daily Dirt.
1. It’s that time of year when the streetlights start coming on earlier.
Those evenings when the sun did not set until after 9 are long gone. Pretty soon, we’ll be watching Lester Holt and the NBC Nightly News at 5:30 p.m., and it will be dark outside.
It’s almost that time of the year when there is nothing better than spending a cozy evening in the living room with The Little Woman while watching a classic movie. Maybe it’s time to start planning a much-watch list of films as we move closer to September and those earlier sunsets that are just around the corner.
I have actually started such a list. Here are the movies I plan on watching (or, in most cases, rewatching) as the temperatures drop outside and extra time is spent in front of that living-room flatscreen. I have selected one particular film from each of the following decades:
1940s: “They Died With Their Boots On” (1941) is the finest overall western ever made. Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the Little Big Horn provide the backdrop, but there is so much more going on in this black-and-white classic. Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland are marvelous in their roles. It was the eighth (and final) time they were paired as co-stars in some of Hollywood’s finest offerings of that time. And did I mention the entire budget for the film was $1.38 million?
1950s: I first watched the “The Blackboard Jungle” (1955) probably in the early 1970s, and it’s one of those movies that not only ages well, but seems even better every time I re-watch it. It is one of Sidney Poitier’s first films, dealing with inner-city education and racism. There are several other subtle storylines that are equally effective. Have you ever seen “To Sir, With Love” (1967)? That film also stars Poitier (and pop singer Lulu) in a storyline also centered around inner-city education. If you have never seen either of these movies, make them a doubleheader some evening. You won’t regret it.
1960s: One of the elite thrillers ever made is “Psycho” (1960), which starred Anthony Perkins in one of the most defining roles of the decade. The psychological horror/thriller also features Janet Leigh. Even though the film is more than 60 years old, I guarantee your palms will be sweating at several points in this Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece.
1970s: Make no mistake about it, this was a tremendous decade for films. But I think the list of 1970s classics will always begin with “Jaws” (1975). You know … the boat, the shark, all of those teeth. Chomp. Chomp.
1980s: This is what the critics term a “dark comedy,” the incomparable “Heathers” (1989), starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. For the uninitiated, “Heathers” deals with the dark side of high school and has remained one of my all-time favorite films since first seeing it more than 30 years ago.
1990s: What better movie than “Forrest Gump” (1994) to watch and then talk about? Tom Hanks and the small multitude of equally capable co-stars makes it possible to pick up something new each time you watch this film. An often overlooked part of this classic are the special effects.
2000s: Another tough, tough decade to narrow down to one film, but for a late summer/early fall evening with a bowl of popcorn to your left and your wife to the right, what better choice than “The Notebook” (2004). Kathy and I saw this in a theater when it originally came out and absolutely loved it. Close to 20 years later, we still do. Rachel MacAdams is tremendous in this “classic romance” movie.
2010s: The reincarnation of Mad Max in the form of Tom Hardy (no, he will not be the next James Bond) was a bright spot in an otherwise blah decade. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) was a blast in both the theater and equally entertaining in the comfort of my living room. Kathy has never seen this one, and violence is not her cup of tea, so I may be watching this one by myself.
2020s: Granted, not a whole lot to choose from in this decade so far, but there have been a few dandies, First of all, outside of the latest Batman movie, I’m not big on the superhero films, so I immediately eliminated all of that genre for those who might be wondering. The one film that would be great to rewatch in my favorite recliner would be “Top Gun: Maverick” (2022). Tom Cruise. America wins. Action. Adventure. What more could you want on a late August/early September evening?
2. My oldest granddaughter, Ella, who just entered the sixth grade, was watching some college football with me over the weekend and asked, “Gramps, what are those antlers?”
That comment was followed by a major pause in the conversation.
“What are you talking about, Ella?” I asked, totally dumbfounded.
She pointed out what had drawn her attention, and it was the goal posts. (“Antlers,” get it?)
Not too long afterward, Ella informed me that her mom likes to watch football because of the tight pants the players wear.
Obviously, Ella is a source of great entertainment.
3. Another one of those little-known facts from pop music history that we owe to the wonderful world of the Billboard Hot 100:
The last four artists to debut at the No. 1 position were Taylor Hicks (2006), Carrie Underwood (2005), Fantasia (2004) and Clay Aiken (2003).
Those names sound familiar? Yep, they were all winners from the original “American Idol” television show.
Steve Thought O’ The Day — I still consider those early years of “American Idol” as the most entertaining programs in TV history, but they are followed closely by “The Walking Dead,” especially the latter years when developers decided to up the body counts.
Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. How can one man watch this much television?
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