Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Safety Last! (1923): Remember that iconic image of a bespectacled Harold Lloyd hanging haplessly from the hands of a giant clock face? The scene is one of the most famous Hollywood images, and this is the movie it’s from. Poor Harold Lloyd: He’s a store clerk who helps initiate a contest to climb the outside of a skyscraper, and due to complicated comedic circumstances, he ends up having to make the climb himself. Lloyd was a master of physical comedy, and this movie gives him amazing chances to shine. Even the very last stunt (watch what happens to his shoes and socks) is dazzlingly executed. You’ll be laughing and scratching your head, saying, “How did he do that?”
Turner Classic Movies, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
The Address (2014): This intriguing documentary by the legendary Ken Burns is set in a special boarding school for boys ages 11-17 who have learning challenges. A long-standing tradition at the school is for each boy to study, memorize and recite the most famous three-minute speech in American history, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. You get to know each of the kids and some of their issues, and it’s easy to root for each of them as they struggle to master this beautiful speech. It’s a very subtle and insightful look into the educational process.
Now streaming on Kanopy.
The Family Stone (2005): The more times I watch this movie, the more I like it. Sarah Jessica Parker is very good as the fiancée Dermot Mulroney brings to his family Christmas celebration. Family members include solid-as a rock Dad (Craig T. Nelson), Mom (a marvelously prickly Diane Keaton), and siblings Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Tyrone Giordano and Elizabeth Reaser. Parker fits into the close-knit group like a smelly tennis shoe in a punch bowl, and it’s fun to watch the agendas unravel and the sparks fly. The underrated Paul Schneider also shines as an old family friend, and McAdams provides a delightful foil for the hapless Parker.
Now streaming on HBO GO/HBO NOW.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019): I loved this strange, beautiful movie from last year. It stars Jimmie Falls in a story based on his own life. His family once owned a beautiful Queen Anne home in the Fillmore District, and Jimmie cannot let the past go. He surreptitiously cares for the house, much to the annoyance of its current owner. He and his best friend (Jonathan Majors) try to figure out ways to reclaim the home. It’s odd, unsettling and weirdly compelling. It’s also a meditation on gentrification, family secrets, and even the secrets we keep from ourselves. If you are enchanted by San Francisco, as I always have been, you must check out this movie.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Trivia Question 839: Which of this week’s performers starred as Huck Finn in a Broadway revival of the musical Big River?
Answer to Trivia Question 837: Max von Sydow played Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told.