In No Particular Order Except the Last
A zany, madcap comedy worthy of the descriptives. The captain of a Russian submarine orders too close an approach to a New England island because he just wants to SEE America. The sub goes aground off the coast. Terrified of getting in trouble with his superiors — not to mention starting an international incident — he sends a squad into town to steal a boat to pull the sub free. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, but SPOILER ALERT the best of human nature saves the situation when all seems lost.
In the last few years, Mom was able to pick up several channels that showed reruns. She never got tired of Barney Miller. It was one of those “filmed before a live audience” shows so popular in the 1970s, with pretty much all of every episode taking place on the same set. Funny and touching, she and I both loved the writing and the acting. Oh, and Ron Glass, who later played Shepherd Book on Firefly (see below) was a regular!
Every so often, Mom would say, “I think it’s time for us to watch Firefly again.” For a series that only ran 13 episodes, it’s had quite an impact on fandom and, more importantly to me, on Mom’s happiness. A veteran of a losing war for independence and his second-in-command fly a Firefly class spaceship as far from the Alliance Central Planets as they can get and still find work. Honest, if they can get it; mildly criminal, if necessary. Imaginative. Quirky. Strong female characters. An episode with a young Nathan Fillian in the buff. What’s not to like?
4. Boston Legal
Another one Mom asked for once a year or so. We watched most of it together when it was broadcast. After it went off the air, I joined Netflix and we went through all five seasons at least three more times. James Spader, better known now for The Black List, and William Shatner, who has never been out of work, star. The last time we watched it, it cut a little close to the bone, since Shatner’s character had Alzheimer’s and Mom had dementia. I wouldn’t have wanted to watch it again. Good show, though. Often shocked my delicate sensibilities, but Mom enjoyed it.
All-singing, some-dancing founding fathers. Sounds stupid, but damn good, actually. The dialog is taken from the participants’ writings, although out of context and dramatized. A Fourth of July (American Independence Day) tradition for Mom. [Word to the Wise: Skip “He Plays the Violin” unless you have a strong stomach. Blythe “I have osteoporosis but I don’t let it slow me down” Danner is too cute for words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.]
Better known to Mom as The Eddie Show, Eddie being Frasier’s father’s dog. I never watched this in its original run. Mom did, but she didn’t remember having seen it until she watched it in reruns. Once she found it on one of those old-show channels, that was what she watched every week night from 8 to 10, just for the scenes with Eddie in them. Some excellent acting, excellent writing, and you never knew who would turn up as a guest star.
Mom loved detective shows, and this was one of our favorites. Tony Shaloub plays an obsessive/compulsive detective who was on the police force until his beloved wife was murdered. She had been his anchor to normalcy, but her death made him non-functional. Sounds grim, but Monk is determined to solve her murder and get back on the force, so it’s really a positive show, with Monk and the aides he hires (strong, smart women) managing and improving his condition while he solves weekly crimes and works toward solving his wife’s murder. Doesn’t sound funny, but it is. Tony Shaloub is brilliant.
There’s a movie channel that runs the same movies over and over all month, and Mom would watch this one as often as she could. She saw the remake once, and I watched it with her; I liked it, but she didn’t. She only wanted to see “the real one”. I must admit, I love this one, too, it’s just that the new one is truer to the book. BUT ANYWAY, Mom and I both thought this was John Wayne’s best role. In case you don’t know what it’s about, it’s a Western. A strong-willed young girl hires a bounty hunter (Wayne) to help her track down her father’s killer and bring him back to justice. A U. S. Marshal is after the same man for a different crime, and the three enter an uneasy alliance. Wonderful movie.
Mom would watch this any time. In fact, when she was still active around the house, she would put it on and just let it play while she went about her business. Talk about a quirky movie! Three guys escape from a prison work detail, ostensibly to recover money from a robbery. The plot is based on Homer’s “Odyssey”, but you don’t need to be familiar with it to enjoy either the action or the music. Never a dull moment. “We thought you was a toaaaaaaaaad.”
Mom’s favorite movie, hands down, bar none. When Jake gets out of prison, he and his brother, Elwood, get their blues band back together to raise money to save the orphanage where they were raised. They end up chased through Chicago by all the cops, “Illinois Nazis,” Carrie Fischer with major firepower, and I forget who all else. Great music. Funny bits. Did I say great music? Mom loved, loved, loved R&B. I grew up listening to Bo Diddley and Ray Charles. Brother Ray, among many other blues greats, are IN this movie. Cab Calloway! Aretha! Mom and I watched part of this just before she started sinking. We were going to finish it when she felt better, but she never did. It’ll always be my favorite movie, because it’ll always remind me of her. Plus, it has great music!
A WRITING PROMPT BASED ON MY POST: Take five characters from your work, or make up five characters. What is each one’s favorite movie/show/entertainment and why?