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December 22, 2006



"Cross of Iron". Directed by Sam Peckinpah, stared James Coburn, James Mason, Maxmillian Schell and others. Great WWII movie (German's getting whipped by the Russians). Right up there with "All Quiet On The Western Front", "Paths of Glory", and probably "Letters From Iwo Jima".


I liked the Mad Magazine parody of Summer of 42 better than the movie...


What about Tapeheads with Tim Robbins and john Cusack? Hardly ever see that one.

D. Daring

Ken, I think the Elliott Gould movie you're referring to is actually called GETTING STRAIGHT.Your blog is fantastic. Better than any UCLA writing course (though that's faint praise, indeed.)


Did you ever see Punishment Park? It came out around 1971 or so. I believe Peter Watkins directed it. It starred a bunch of unknowns, playing antiwar activists and dissidents who our government has arrested. They're taken to the desert and told they can earn their freedom if they survive a pursuit by law enforcement. It's sort of a "Most Dangerous Game" scenario. A great movie to fan one's paranoia. I don't believe this film is available in any form. I think they four-walled it when it first came out -- and then Nixon probably ordered all prints be destroyed...or maybe Hoover did, I don't know.I agree with you on "Chilly Scenes of Winter." Heard plays the character as a nebbish-y stalker. Despite the offbeat humor in the film, it's still a depressing story. The book's author, Ann Beattie, has a cameo as a waitress.I also find "Movie Movie" very funny. I have a 16mm print (not sure if it's available on video) that always gets laughs when I run it. I'm also fond of "Pepe," a 1960 mega-cameo musical that introduced American audiences to the Mexican comedic legend Cantinflas. The producers surrounded him with everyone from Edward G. Robinson to Ernie Kovacs (and Chevalier, Crosby, Bobby Darin, Shirley Jones, Jack Lemmon and dozens of others) who all overshadowed the Mexican star. I don't know if the film was a hit, but as a period piece it's very entertaining today.


"Cheetah," 1989, starring Keith Coogan. This movie taught me that cheetah poachers make shoes out of used tires. Also that is wasn't okay to have a crush on your sister.


Cheetahs never prosper . . .Richard Pryor & Gene Wilder made a bunch of movies together. Maybe "Silver Streak" was one of the first on video, cause it seems like we rented it alot. Have not seen any of their films in years.

Michael Zand

Ken,Am I wrong but wasn't the name of the Elliot Gould college/ protest film,"Getting Straight?" BTW, Summer of 42 got a four boner rating from me.

Ken Levine

Yes, the Elliott Gould movie was GETTING STRAIGHT. I was stoned when I wrote the post. Far out, man. It's been corrected. Thanks for the catch.

LA Guy

For some reason your post reminded me of the The Big Chill which I thought was brilliant when it was first released but just okay when I saw it again 10 years later. Apparently one of us didn't age well.Speaking of Jeff Goldblum, isn't he the most enigmatic actor of the past 30 years? I always thought he'd be a huge star but he never seems to have really caught fire. Also add The Tall Guy to the list of under appreciated films.


I keep looking for a fairly good holiday movie this time of year called The Cheaters (also known as the Castaway), but no stations seem to play it anymore. Saw this when I was twelve, on one of those round portable B&W T.V.'s and have always remembered it.


I'm not certain if it will be as funny as I remember, but it will certainly be as offensive - PARTNERS where macho cop Ryan o'Neil and gentle records clerk John Hurt must pose as a gay couple to solve a series of murders in said community.


"A thousand clowns" - yes! Jason Robards had a part to sink his teeth into, and although dated, still wonderful. I would highly recommend as an addition, find the great book written by the film's editor, which has the back story of the making of that film that is illuminating (as are all his examples in fact, check out his entry on "The Producers" too.)"Summer of 42", well...B-movie but sure, I saw that when it first came out in the cinema, and recall it was part of, or maybe the first, of what felt like a new kind of coming of age film, on the heels of "American Graffiti". They were a bit skewed to "disturbing" endings, rather than innocence per say, and became popular, also "Aloha Bobby and Rose", or "Macon County line", (by Producer Max Baer, or Jethro, who appeared in the movie as well in a bad cop role) and so on. They all made new, key use of pop soundtracks in ironic placements as well, usually with slow mo... Oh and "Punishment Park" is just great, as would be by the Oscar-winning director, but the film hardly has real actors in it. It's available on DVD now.Michael Keaton remains an enigma. I don't get what happens with his career really. Playing in a Lindsay Lohan "Herbie" film... means he was at least under-served by his agent, he must have done something wrong in Hollywood."Heartbreak Kid", I blame for Charles Grodin being known at all. Was it worth it? That TV show..


It is disappointing to me, as a child of the 80s, that so many good movies of the 70s appear to have disappeared from sight that I had no opportunity to see when I was younger.A film like 'The Friends of Eddie Coyle' is virtually unknown these days...hell, I wouldn't know about it, except that it was on AMC one day and I couldn't figure out what it was.That I only recognize half of these movies is an example of that.NOTE TO SELF: Get off your ass and get Netflix.

Bill Crider

I've seen all of those, but the one I'd really like to see again is Soldier in the Rain. After I saw it the first time, I went right out and bought the paperback. That was my first encounter with William Goldman's prose, and I still enjoy his work today, more than 40 years later.

Tom Quigley

The original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE from 1962 with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury (directed by John Frankenheimer) was my first venture into the Political/International intrigue/Action-thriller genre (and no, Angela Lansbury didn't patter around in puffy, flowing gowns and sing cute little ditties in this one). Fortunately, I've got it on DVD, but I haven't seen it broadcast in many years.

poor man

Long ago, I remember doing chores (mowing the lawn, etc.) on Saturday mornings. My dad would do his tinkering around the house/car/garage. We'd always end our work about the same time, then head to the kitchen, make lunch and relax in front of the TV to catch an afternoon movie.Today, reality TV and court room shows have effectively killed it, but back then the Saturday Afternoon Movie was always something I looked forward to. The first time I saw a Steve McQueen movie was on one such afternoon. So to get to the point...Please consider adding Papillon to your list.


Yes! on "Secaucus 7" and "Between the Lines".Another favorite along the same lines, from the early 90's- "Indian Summer".Diane Lane, Alan Arkin, and and the always hilarious Sam Raimi. Who could ask for more?

Herb Popsfarter

Absolutely love Nightshift and Tapeheads (so much so I own them on DVD) And "Summer of 42'" was great!Pharmacist: "Do you know what these (condoms) are for?"Hermy: "Sure... you fill them up with water and you throw them off the roof!"Hilarious!Here's another forgotten movie: Runaway Train with Jon Voight.

The Minstrel Boy

a thousand clowns! summer of 42!return of the secacus 7! yeah there are a bunch of them. i call the genre 2 star gems. not great movies, but very good ones that bear repeat viewings.(murray sing with me. . .yes sir, that's my baby)


I wonder how people today would react to Summer of '42, now that they put adult women in jail for sleeping with 14 year old boys.Also check out the not-as-good, but still pretty good sequel "Class of '44" (with a cameo by then-unknown John Candy)What makes Secaucus 7 superior to Big Chill is that the characters in Secaucus were regular shlubs, in Big Chill they were movie stars and successful doctors and lawyers. (Hollywood's idea of a typical everyday guy is usually a TV weatherman)


I'm glad someone else remembers "Between the Lines." Whenever I get in a discussion about the best newspaper movies, I always bring that one up and nobody's ever heard of it. It was a dead ringer for my college paper. Well, except for the sleeping around. At least from my perspective.


Seacaucus 7 was a film I took all my friends to see. I'm not usually one of those "you've got to see it" guys, but I was for that. I refused to ever see "The Big Chill" and still haven't.I loved the songs the Adam LeFevre performed, such as "I Brake for Animals".Stephen beat me to the point on Summer of '42. You couldn't make that movie today, unless you clearly passed negative judgement on Jennifer O'Neill's character.Don't hate me, but one of my favorite forgotten flicks is "Silent Running". Of course, I like Bruce Dern in almost anything.

R.A. Porter

My favorite Tony Randall film - Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? - never seems to show up anymore. I always thought this would have been a great character to revisit in the '90s.


Glad to see I'm not the only fan of "Foreign Affair". I'd put Jean Arthur against any actress who ever worked, and the actor who plays CPT Pringle, John Lund, has always baffled me. He does a terrific job in this flick, but spent the rest of his career doing stuff like "My Friend Irma". Was he the kind of actor that only has one really decent role in him, or what?What a great film.My nomination? "L.A. Story", Steve Martin's valentine to his then wife and the city he clearly loves for all its' problems... Turns up every now and then on minor cable deep in the a.m.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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