Fantastic Feel Good Films: A Survival Guide By Grosse Point Geek

Fantastic Feel Good Films: A Survival Guide By Grosse Point Geek

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Other Cr*p

In these rather strange and troubling times we are living in at the moment it is of course very easy to get depressed and down in the dumps.  Many of us are naturally struggling to fill the time in the absence of being able to do normal things – like visit family and friends, go to the pubs, restaurants, theatres or cinemas. So what to do to stave off the COVID19 blues? Some people are playing board games, some are listening to music, others are on their play stations or Xboxes.

 

However if you are like me (a notoriously obsessed film geek) you may be raiding your dvd/blu ray collection or trawling though Netflix and Amazon Prime in search of some thing to watch. So to help you all out I have compiled a few lists of films and box sets to see you though the coming weeks.

 

List 1 – Fantastic feel good films that will be assured to cheer you all up and make you feel better about life in general (FYI some of these can be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime – some u may have to buy on dvd)

 

  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. Good Will Hunting
  3. Escape To Victory
  4. Warrior (I encourage ALL of you to watch this film – Tom Hardy/Joel Edgerton and Nick Nolte – brilliant)
  5. Rocky 1, 2 3 4 and Rocky Balboa
  6. Wimbledon
  7. Fisherman’s Friends
  8. Shaun The Sheep Movie
  9. Wallace and Gromit – Curse of The Were-Rabbit/The Wrong Trousers/A Close Shave/A Grand Day Out
  10. Babe
  11. Shrek
  12. The Green Mile
  13. Forrest Gump
  14. The Full Monty
  15. Home Alone
  16. Back to The Future
  17. The Lion King (not the remake the proper 1994 original)
  18. Notting Hill
  19. Field Of Dreams
  20. Shakespeare In Love

I’ll be back with more lists to help get you through the current Film shortage!

 


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5: The Great Escape (1963) – Phil’s Top 10 Films

5: The Great Escape (1963) – Phil’s Top 10 Films

Hall of Fame Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
The Great Escape is a perennial bank holiday favourite that’s been repeated almost annually since time began.  Well TV anyway.  What make it special?  It could be the story – loosely based on the true escape of POW’s at the end of WW2.  It could be the cast – a whose who of 60’s talent such as Steve McQueen, James Coburn, David McCallum, Charles Bronson, James Garner, Donald Pleasence, Richard Attenborough – the list goes on.  Or it could just be they just don’t make them like this anymore – true ensembles where the cast is on fire from start to end.   Whatever it is, The Great Escape has it in spades and throws in drama, humour and pathos alongside some cracking direction.  Yup it may be over 50 years old (and then some) but The Great Escape is filmmaking at it’s finest.

Best Bit: McQueen and the bike.  Iconic.

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Dambusters, Escape To Victory, Bullet 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phil’s Top 5… War Movies

Phil’s Top 5… War Movies

Other Cr*p Top 5

Each week Phil, from Phil’s Quick Capsule Review, takes a look at a different movie or TV related Top Five.  This time out: War Films! (And these are proper war films rather than films set in War time…)

Close but no cigar: The Deer Hunter, The Hurt Locker, Three Kings, Escape To Victory, Hamburger Hill

5 – Saving Private Ryan
Spielberg delivers a brutal, grown up and visually stunning look into the horrors of World War 2.  With cracking central performances and THAT opening sequences, Saving private Ryan stays with you long after.


4 – Apocalypse Now
Coppola’s classic and personal heart of darkness, Apocalypse Now almost broke him as a filmmaker and almost killed it’s lead actor.  Brando phoned it in, the film was massively over budget and yet… it’s a work of near genius


3 – Platoon
Oliver Stone’s Vietnam story of a young man’s first tour of duty in the hell of the war torn jungle has held up well.  Brutal, harrowing and expertly directed it’s one of Stone’s best works.


2 – Black Hawk Down
Ridley Scott chucks subtlety out the window in his everything but the kitchen sink modern day war film. A great cast, some amazing particle effects and a relentless pace makes this a true stand out.


1 – Full Metal Jacket
Kubrick’s film may not be for everyone (and his London Dockland’s shot finale a poor stand in) but Full Metal Jacket breaks down the horrors of war unlike any other film. Intense if the word here and this stands out as one of the few Kubrick films I can watch time and time again.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9f6JaaX7Wg

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Top Ten Best Sports Movies Ever Made

Blog: Grosse Point Geek – The Top Ten Best Sports Movies Ever Made

A Blog Grosse Point Geek Uncategorized

As you are aware, this month sees the start of the 2014 World Cup, that 4 yearly footballing tournament that makes temporary widows out of our wives and girlfriends,  turns normal peace loving males into raging right wing xenophobes and is the source of untold misery for any and all England fans (myself included).

So in the light of the fact that Roy’s men will most likely have been unjustly dumped out of the tournament within the next 3 weeks and we will all require cheering up as a result,  I have compiled a list of the top ten best sports movies ever made  – all guaranteed to alleviate those familiar feelings of crushing disappointment and the desperate need to purchase extra strength lager or illegal narcotics to dull the inevitable pain of another failed England penalty shootout.

* * * * * *

Slapshot (1977)

Director: George Roy Hill

Actors: Paul Newman, Strother Martin,)

George Roy Hill’s film of a down on their luck Ice Hockey Team who resort to extreme violence to win games is possibly one of the funniest movies ever made. With hilarious sight gags (the mad as cheese Hanson Brothers are a standout) extreme profanity and Paul Newman in one of his greatest roles – if you haven’t seen this one then you should be ashamed of yourself

Best Bit:  Too many to choose from – Strother Martin ranting down the phone at Paul Newman(“you cant put a bounty on a man’s head!!”), the Hanson’s first game where they proceed to beat up and /or mercilessly scythe down half  the opposing team (plus the ref) and Newman’s classic parting insult to the Charlestown Chiefs uppity lady owner – which is far too rude to repeat  – even on this website!

* * * * * *

Rocky 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6

Directors: John G Avildsen (Rocky) Sylvester Stallone (Rocky’s 2, 3, 4 and 6)

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, Talia Shire, Mr T, Burt Ward, Carl Weathers, Dolph Lundgren.

The first entry  bagged a handful of Oscars, and made Stallone a star, the rest got more even preposterous as they went on  – but did we care?  – like hell we did.

Full of one liners, fantastic  training montages, the greatest music score ever written and  amazing  boxing matches that, despite being completely daft, never fail to thrill with each repeated viewing.

Best bits: Again – too many to choose from  -however my personal favourite has to be Stallone’s hilarious  one liner to Burgess Meredith in Rocky 2:

Rocky: “Its Apollo”

Mickey: “Who’d ya expect??”

Rocky: “I was hopin’ he wouldn’t show!”

 

* * * * * *

Any Given Sunday (1999)

Director: Oliver Stone

Actors: Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, Jamie Foxx

One of Stone’s best. Cleverly highlighting the rampant commercialism that turned American Football into less of a team sport and more of a business governed in the boardrooms, featuring career best performances from Pacino, Diaz and especially Foxx – this is one of those faultless movies that just begs to be seen again and again.

Best Bit: Pacino’s incredible  dressing room speech to his players before their do or die final game of the season. Without doubt one of the greatest, most uplifting and most astoundingly performed bits of acting you will witness on film. Safe to say  messrs’ Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard etc. could do a lot worse than watch this scene before they play the Italians on Saturday night!

* * * * * *

Warrior (2011)

Director: Gavin O’Connor

Actors: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, Frank Grillo

A must for all fans of Rocky and UFC cage fighting.  Hardy and Edgerton play estranged brothers (one is a dedicated a family man facing bankruptcy, the other an emotionally damaged gulf war veteran) who both enter a brutal multi million dollar cage fighting contest in Atlantic City.  Superb film with real depth, bone crunching  fights, brilliant acting and wonderful jump for joy moments  – it doesn’t get much better than this – and if your not in tears by the end then there’s no hope for you!

Best Bits: The training montage and all the cage fights.

* * * * * *

Days Of Thunder (1990)

Director: Tony Scott

Actors: Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Nicole Kidman.

Otherwise known as “Top Gun 2” due to its shameless similarity to the 1986 Tom Cruise starring fighter plane film. Days of Thunder is pure mindless Hollywood excess – massive budget, Simpson and Bruckheimer producing and zero plot. Nevertheless its extremely enjoyable, with genuinely exciting race sequences and great turns from both Cruise and Duvall.

Best Bit: The thrilling final race at Daytona.

* * * * * *

Wimbledon (2004)

Director: Richard Loncraine

Actors: Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Neil, Jon Favreau

One for us Brits. Bettany is very good as aging tennis pro Peter Colt, given a million to one shot at the Wimbledon championships, Dunst is his love interest with Favreau  as his long suffering sports agent.

A  proper feel good movie , very funny, well written and featuring some great tennis sequences  – if this one doesn’t cheer you up nothing will!

Best bit: The nail biting Wimbledon final between Colt and his arrogant US opponent  – real edge of your seat stuff.

 

 * * * * * *

The Replacements (2000)

Director: Howard Deutch

Actors: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Rhys Ifans

When the players of pro football team The Washington Sentinels, go on strike over a salary dispute, the club owner (Jack Warden) hires former coach Gene Hackman to assemble a misfit team of replacement players to finish out the rest of the season. This consists of Reeves as a long past it quarterback, Ifans as a Welsh former pro Rugby player, a deaf mute and egg guzzling Japanese giant.

Not exactly Shakespeare, but extremely enjoyable, with a wonderful final 20 minutes that will warm even the hardest of hearts.

Best Bit: honestly? – all of it – its that great.

* * * * * *

Real Steel (2011)

Director: Shawn levy

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lily.

Set in the very near future where remote controlled robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring, Hugh Jackman is the lovable rogue who rebuilds an obsolete ‘bot called Atom and turns it into a world title contender, all the while trying to reconnect with the son he hasn’t seen in years. Yes I know there isn’t no such thing as robot boxing –however Jackman is great value as ever, Atom is adorable, the SFX are superb and despite the fact that its basically Rocky with Robots, its so much good fun that it doesn’t matter.

Best Bit: The epic title fight showdown between Atom and world champion Zeus.

* * * * * *

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Director: Cameron Crowe

Actors: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding jr.

A total classic. Zellweger is superb as the single mum who falls for Cruise’s morally dubious sports agent, as is Cuba Gooding jr. who thoroughly deserved his best supporting actor Oscar win as loud mouthed football pro Rod Tidwell. Superbly directed by Cameron Crowe, very sharply written with a standout performance from Tom Cruise, who successfully manages to ditch his usual clean cut all American hero image and create a wonderfully layered character who, in the end you just cant help rooting for.

Best Bit: “Show me the MONEY!”

* * * * * *

Escape To Victory  (1981)

Director: John Huston

Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Max Von Sydow, Bobby Moore.

Generally shown by the BBC on rain soaked Sunday afternoons or after England win a match . Featuring  Sly Stallone as the worst goalkeeper to ever grace a football pitch, a somewhat out of breath Michael Caine, a wooden Pele, plus Bobby Moore and half the Ipswich FC team (yes that is John Wark – porn star moustache and all). Safe to say that this footballing version of the Great Escape is absolutely terrible and completely bloody wonderful all at the same time.

Best Bit: The climactic football match–especially the scene  just before half time where the Allied team have had enough of being mercilessly fouled by the Germans (ring any bells??) and score a superbly orchestrated goal.

Please God let this happen with England!!!!

 

So there we are  – the top ten best sports movies ever made  – all should still be available on dvd, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 
Author: Will Strong