Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: The Last Days (1998)

The only way to learn from our past is to not repeat it. Sometimes, that requires reliving it, as painful as it sounds.

The 1998 documentary, The Last Days, was released on Netflix back in May. The film follows five Hungarian Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. During the last year of World War II, the Jews of Hungary were the last intact Jewish community in Europe. That would quickly change. Within six weeks, hundreds of thousands were deported to Auschwitz. Only a handful would survive. Containing interviews with survivors, a SS doctor, and American soldiers who helped to liberate Dachau, it is powerful and haunting reminder of both the light and the darkness in humanity.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It was riveting, emotional, and a punch to the gut that is absolutely necessary. Hearing about this time in history from the people who lived through this nightmare reminds us all that the Holocaust is not a myth and not strictly relegated to the world of literature. It is an event that happened in the lifetimes of many people who are still alive. While we cannot bring back those who were murdered, we can honor their memory by remembering them, and open our eyes to the negative energy and destruction that hate drags behind it.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies, Netflix

Flashback Friday: America’s Funniest Home Videos (1989-Present)

There is something personal about home movies. They give us an insight into the family as only one made by a loved one can. It can also be incredibly funny.

America’s Funniest Home Videos has been on the ABC schedule since its premiere in 1989. It was originally hosted by Bob Saget (Full House). The program’s current host is Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Viewers send in funny videos of pranks and unplanned physical comedy. Every week, the producers choose the best of the submissions and the inhouse audience votes on the top three. The winner receives a cash prize.

I haven’t watched this show in a long time, but it still makes me laugh. It is one of those programs that you can sit down with the family and watch without having to explain adult concepts to young children.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: American Pie 2 (2001)

The difference between high school and college is night and day. Though we may not feel it right away, it is a transformation that will soon become obvious.

The 2001 film, American Pie 2, is the sequel to the 1999 film, American Pie. Jim (Jason Biggs) and crew have just finished their first year of college. Renting a beach house for the summer, they plan a end of summer party that will last forever in their memories. Along the way, shenanigans will ensue and a few lessons will be learned.

First of all, the fact that this film is twenty years old is mind-blowing. I feels like yesterday when I saw in the theater. This is The Empire Strikes Back of the franchise. It is raunchiest and funniest of the three original movies. It is also a love letter to that time in our lives when we are growing, but it is not felt until we can see it in hindsight.

My favorite scene, though it wouldn’t fly today if it was released, is the scene with the “lesbians“.

Warning: this clip has language and imagery that might be be a turnoff to some people.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

2 Comments

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, Star Wars

Flashback Friday: Three to Tango (1999)

Love triangles have for the most part, been a staple of the romantic comedy or romantic drama. For this narrative to succeed, the screenwriter(s) have to make this very basic and predictable story their own.

The 1999 movie Three to Tango stars three 1990’s television stars in the lead roles. Charles Newman (Dylan McDermott) is a businessman who asks Oscar Novak (Matthew Perry) to be a companion of sorts for his mistress, Amy Post (Neve Campbell). Charles thinks that Oscar is gay. But Oscar is straight. As Oscar spends more time with Amy, he begins to fall in love with her.

As rom-coms go, there is almost nothing revolutionary about this film. Charles is a dick, Oscar is a nice guy, and Amy is the woman in between them. I certainly appreciate that it is a small step in the direction of a realistic portrayal of LGBTQ characters. But in 2021 terms, its not exactly the ground breaking moment it could have been. My major issue is that Amy has no agency or life other than being a figure of romantic and sexual attraction. Granted, this movie is twenty two years old, but it has not aged well in my opinion.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

1 Comment

Filed under Feminism, Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)

Success breeds success. But that does not mean that there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way.

The sequel to The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks was released in 1994. After the success of his underdog team in the first film, Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has returned to rink playing for a minor league team. When a knee injury sidelines his career, he is hired to coach the Team USA for the Goodwill Games held in Los Angeles. Taking most of the original Ducks with him and adding a few new players to the roster, it looks like they are heading to an easy win. But when Hollywood comes calling and Team Iceland stands in the way of their championship, the Bombay and the Ducks realize that they have work to do.

As sequels go, this film is pretty good. Granted, I haven’t seen it in a very long time, but based on what I remember, its not bad. The bar is that might higher, forcing to the characters to deal with new challenges in order to reach their goals. I also appreciated the additional diversity of the newer cast members.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

2 Comments

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Masterpiece (1971-Present)

Good TV is sometimes hard to find. It’s easy to turn on a reality show or a rerun that you’ve seen a dozen times over.

In 1971, Masterpiece premiered on PBS. Importing British drama from the UK to the US for fifty years, this program has been a hit with audiences for decades.

Masterpiece has been my Sunday night must see TV for quite a few years now. Most of their programming I find to be intelligent, entertaining, and perhaps a bit educational without realizing it.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: The New Yorker Radio Hour (2015-Present)

These days, it is hard to listen to and watch the news without feeling like your views are being twisted to match the perspective of that particular organization.

The New Yorker Radio Hour has been a part of the WNYC podcast family since 2015. Hosted by The New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick, the topics covered are that of popular culture, news, and politics.

I really enjoy this podcast. Remnick and his team of reporters present different perspectives in a way that gives the listener the opportunity to hear the facts and make a decision for themselves. Which is how journalism should be. They also venture into subjects that are not the easiest to discuss and require an open mind. Which in our current cultural and political state, is sometimes hard to find.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The New Yorker Radio Hour releases new episodes every Friday Night.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, New York City, WNYC

Flashback Friday: Doctor Strange (2016)

It has been said that when we enjoy our jobs, it does not feel like work. But that does not mean that we cannot get cocky.

In the 2016 MCU film, Doctor Strange (based on the comic book of the same name), Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a respected and egotistical New York City surgeon. After a debilitating car accident, he goes on a journey to seek out dimensions and ideas that go beyond the boundaries that humanity has created. Along the way, he becomes a hero, saving the world from Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen).

I enjoyed this movie. I have not read the comic book, so I cannot speak to what may have been altered from the source material. What I did like was this version of the hero’s journey, the main character lives both within the world of superhero’s and the everyday person, who is flawed and fallible.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, New York City

Flashback Friday: My Girl 2 (1994)

Growing up is complicated and confusing. It was for many (as it was when I was that age) a day to day experience that has the potential to stay with us long after childhood is over.

In the 1994 film My Girl 2, (the sequel to My Girl) Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) is now a full fledged teenager. Her father, Harry (Dan Aykroyd) is trying to pretend that his little girl is not growing up, but it is a fruitless endeavor. Summer is on the horizon. Vada’s pregnant stepmother Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis) convinces her husband to send Vada to Los Angeles for a vacation.

In California, Vada is staying with her uncle, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend’s son Nick (Austin O’Brien). Over break, she has to fulfill a school assignment: write an essay on someone whom she admires, but has never met. The easy answer is Vada’s late mother. Nick is unhappily tasked with being Vada’s tour guide. As they begin to look in her mother’s past, the job that seemed easy reveals itself to be more difficult than expected.

I adore this movie. It is funny, charming, adorable, and instantly takes me back to that time in my life. Though Vada is living in the early 1970’s, the experiences and the questions she has are universal.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

1 Comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Frost/Nixon (2008)

In a democracy, an interview between a reporter and a political figure is a normal event.

The 2008 film, Frost/Nixon, written by Peter Morgan (The Crown), is based on the play of the same name. In 1977, the late American President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) sat down to a televised interview with British television host David Frost (Michael Sheen). It has been three years since the Watergate scandal and his ouster from the highest political office in the land. Over that period, he has not spoken publicly about his misconduct and its aftermath.

Up until that point, Frost’s reputation is not exactly that of a journalistic heavy hitter. Nixon hopes to use that reputation to revive his public perception and earn a hefty check in the process. For his part, Frost has to overcome the doubts that his team has in his ability to succeed. What neither knows is the game that the other will play and how challenging it will be.

This movie is fantastic. The acting is top notch and the story immediately pulls the audience in. Langella almost disappears into the character of Nixon. Though the makeup and prothesis helps, it is the actor who does the heavy lifting. For his part, Sheen as Frost, has the more difficult job. He has to prove that his character has the chops to take on one of the most infamous men in American history.

If there is one takeaway from this movie, it is that politics never changes. Though the narrative takes place nearly fifty years ago, it is a relevant today as it was then.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Frost/Nixon is available for streaming on Peacock.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies, Politics, Television