Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-The Ernest Green Story (1993)

To be the first in anything is to become a hero. It is also a difficult journey that tests the strongest among us. Ernest Green is a part of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who were chosen to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is also the first African-American student to graduate from  the school in 1958.

In 1993, his story was told in The Ernest Green Story.  Morris Chestnut played the title role in the television movie.

I feel like this is one of those movies we should all see, regardless of race or ethnicity. America in 2018 is not the same America of the late 1950’s. But we are also, not so far away from the period. If nothing else, this film is not only a reminder of how far we have come, it is also a reminder that the battle for civil rights and true equality still needs to be fought.

I recommend it.

 

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Throwback Thursday-One Day At A Time (1975-1984)

In the 1970’s, the world was changing. Women were starting to throw off the chains that kept their foremothers in literal slavery and were blazing new paths of their own making. Just as he did with his previous series, show runner Norman Lear looked to the changing culture to add to his list of hit shows.

In 1975, One Day At A Time premiered. On the air for nine years, the premise of the show centered around Anne Romano (Bonnie Franklin), a single divorced mother raising her teenage daughters by herself. Julie (Mackenzie Phillips) is the drama queen. Barbara (Valerie Bertinelli) is the tomboy. The man in their lives is Dwayne F. Schneider (Pat Harrington Jr.), their building’s super who becomes one of the family.

For it’s time, One Day At A Time was quite progressive. It was and still is very funny. It was also a show where the lead characters were mostly female and not dependent on the male characters to define who they were. Beloved by television audiences, it was one of the staples of the television schedule while it was on the air.

I recommend it.

 

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Flashback Friday-A Dangerous Method (2011)

Compared to other forms of medical treatment, psychoanalysis is a relatively modern form of treatment.

The 2011 film, A Dangerous Method, is the story of how psychoanalysis was born. Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) is suffering from hysteria and under the care of Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender). Dr. Jung is following in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who pioneered the methodology of talk therapy to deal with mental illness and anxiety. Sabina aspires to sit on the other side of the couch and becomes a psychiatrist. Then things get interesting when the personal and professional relationships between the characters begin to shift and crack.

What I like about this movie is that it not only humanizes the very large figures of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, but it also introduces the audience to Sabina Spielrein, who, for the most part, has been forgotten, despite her contributions to the fields of psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-That’s My Bush! (2001)

One of the hallmarks of a true democracy is the ability to openly satirize those in power without fear of persecution. From my perspective, political satire is the best way to relieve stress, especially when the stress comes from the halls of power.

In 2001, the creators of South Park decided to add another show to their satirical television empire: That’s My Bush!.  The show was a sitcom-y view (complete with a pre-recorded laugh track) of then President George W. Bush (Timothy Bottoms), his wife Laura Bush (Carrie Quinn Dolan), his Presidency and the staff who worked in the White House.

Though the show was on the air for only one season, it was incredibly funny. Unfortunately, it was one of those shows that was not given the time to gain an audience and last beyond the initial episodes that the network agreed to.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Saved (2004)

Growth often comes when we step out of our comfort zones. The question is, do we step out of our comfort zones by choice or are we forced out by unforeseen circumstances?

In the 2004 movie, Saved,  Mary (Jena Malone), thinks she has life figured out. A senior at American Eagle Christian High School, she is part of the popular crowd. When her closeted boyfriend tells her that he is gay, she sleeps with him, hoping that will make him straight. Mary soon finds out that she is pregnant and everything she was so certain of before, she is not so certain about anymore.

What I appreciate about this movie is the black comedy that is woven skillfully into the narrative.  It’s not just the typical coming of age story, but it is also funny with biting satire.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

 

 

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Throwback Thursday- Lucy (Television Movie)-2003

I Love Lucy is one of those television shows. We have all seen (and laughed hysterically) at least one episode. But the image of the happy television marriage of the Ricardo’s was not the exact truth of the lives of the then IRL married actors who played them, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The 2003 television movie, Lucy, stars Rachel York as Lucille Ball and Danny Pino as Desi Arnaz. Taking the audience behind the camera to the real lives of actors who would become television icons, the movie tells the story of their stormy marriage and the television show they would create to keep their marriage and their family from falling apart.

As biopics go, this one is not bad. While some biopics try to gloss over the negative traits of their subjects, this one doesn’t. What I like about this movie and the characterization of Lucy and Desi, is that it is simply the story of a couple trying to make their marriage work. Regardless of our marital states, we can all relate to trying to make our relationships work, whether it is with a significant other, a parent, a friend, etc.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

 

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Throwback Thursday-Wit (Television Movie)-2001

Cancer has a unique way of forcing us to re-asses our lives.

In 2001, the Margaret Edson play Wit, was adapted for television. Starring Emma Thompson as Dr. Vivian Bearing, an English professor diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer and Audra McDonald, one of Dr. Bearing’s nurses, the play is a unique and eye-opening take on how life changes when we battle cancer.

Sometimes, when the focus of a narrative is a character battling cancer, sometimes the writer(s) had a tendency to go overboard on the sadness or the what if thoughts that the character or their loved ones might be entertaining. But the writers found a way to balance the reality of battling cancer with humor and a sarcastic bite that helps to lighten the mood and help the audience release some of the emotional tension coming from the story.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday-Forever Young (1992)

Love, especially romantic love, often pushes us into decisions we might not have otherwise made.

In the 1992 movie Forever Young, Daniel McCormick (Mel Gibson) is a test pilot in pre World War II America. His sweetheart, Helen (Isabel Glasser) is injured and comatose due to an accident. The doctors are not confident that she will wake up from the coma. Not wanting to watch Helen die, Daniel agrees to be the guinea pig in a newly built cryogenic freezing chamber. The plan is that Daniel is to be woken up in a year, after Helen has passed away.  Instead of waking up a year later, Daniel wakes up 53 years later, in 1992.

He is woken up by Nat Cooper (Elijah Wood), a young boy living with his single mother, Claire Cooper (Jamie Lee Curtis).  While Daniel is trying to adjust to the fact that he woke up in 1992, his body is also aging rapidly. Can he find Helen in this new era or will he die, not knowing her fate?

Written by  J.J. Abrams, this film is the perfect blend of science fiction and romance.  Neither genre overtakes the other, allowing the best elements of both romance and science fiction to come together and gel into the best of both worlds.

I recommend it.

 

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Late Throwback Thursday-A Goofy Movie (1995)

When you’re a teenager, the last thing many of us want is to be hauled halfway across the country by our parents.

In 1995’s A Goofy Movie, Max Goof (voiced by Jason Marsden) hates nothing more than to be embarrassed by his father, Goofy (voice by Bill Farmer). He also has a crush on Roxanne (voiced by Kellie Martin). To impress Roxanne, Max makes a promise that seems impossible to keep. In addition to the promise that will probably never become reality, Max is also dragged by his father on a cross-country road trip.

Goofy has always been on of those Disney characters that has always seemed to be on the periphery. It’s nice to see that he was given the spotlight without having to share it. I commend the creative team for trying to reach an older audience by creating a new character that they can relate to. My view of the film is this: if you’re a pre-teen or a early teenager, the movie is fine.  It’s not exactly intellectually stimulating, but not every movie has to be. But if your adult, this film feels too simple and too predictable.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Susie Q (1996)

The genre of teen fantasy romance is an interesting one. Depending on the writer(s), the narrative and character arc can be either predictable/boring or compelling/different.

In the 1996 television movie Susie Q, Susie Q (Amy Jo Johnson) is a teenager in the 1950’s. She and her boyfriend are killed in a car crash. Decades later Zach Sands (Justin Whalin) moves into Susie’s former house with his sister and widowed mother, Penny (Shelley Long). Zach will soon discover that not only are they are not alone, but Susie’s ghost still haunts the property and he is the only one who can see her. In her own way, Susie tries to help Zach’s family and of course, it goes without saying that a romance develops between Zach and Susie.

Does this movie require a lot of thinking on the part of the audience? No. But it’s harmless and mildly entertaining.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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