Thursday, June 16, 2011

Opinionated Duo

Jeffrey Cohen is a terrific New Jersey writer (well, he'd be a terrific writer even if he didn't live in NJ, but he does and his books are set here as well), who creates laugh-out-loud (I know I do - laugh out loud, I mean ) mysteries. Check out this fantastic fiction link for a list of his books.

Anyway, Jeff is also a contributor and Monday host of a mystery writers blog with the best name ever: HEY, THERE'S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM. Yeah, great name.

Jeff is also a big movie fan (he most especially adores The Marx Brothers) and the reason why I'm going on about all this besides the fact that I hope you'll take a look at Jeff's books, is this: I want to share one of his posts - from last year, but a link turned up on Facebook today so I'm making it topical. Jeff's post features movie lists (among others) and you KNOW how I feel about movie lists. Good lists never go out of date far as I'm concerned. Of course, I will add my own favorites and tweak and adjust his lists but that's why I've called this post: Opinionated Duo.

Please note: I've omitted the last two categories Jeff listed on his post simply because I had nothing to add or detract. If you'd like to see the full and complete post, please use this link.

So, without further ado: Jeff's post from HEY, THERE'S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM - minus pix and his last two categories:

October 18, 2010


  1. Yvette, you had me until you even considered suggesting that NORTH BY NORTHWEST is overrated. Simply one of the best movies ever made. I attribute this to your dislike of short people, since Alfred Hitchcock was not tall. Other than that, I didn't get too steamed, although LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is long and boring. I do agree with you about GALAXY QUEST, though, and strongly disagree about ANNIE HALL.

  2. Jeff: Ha! While it's true I never thought much about Alfred Hitchcock as a man...He was always more of a charicature. I reiterate that I do not dislike short people. :)

    We must agree to disagree. That's the fun part of all this, I think. Opinions of films are as personal as...well, opinions of books.

    I was never a big fan of NORTH BY NORTHWEST because I've always felt it was Grant's most self-conscious portrayal. I didn't buy him in the role for one moment. I did like the stranger in a strange land aspect, I suppose. And I did like the climbing and the hanging off the Presidential faces scene near the end.

    ANNIE HALL was okay, I mean it was just that - okay. Don't remember once laughing out loud. (That's my yardstick - did I laugh out loud?) I laughed way more over your books, Jeff. I liked Diane Keaton's clothes though.

    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is, was, and always shall be my kind of movie.

  3. Okay, I have to mull over and ponder some of these categories.

    However, on top TV comedy shows, I definitely put at the top of the list two programs:

    The best was Show of Shows with Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris. My family watched these when I was young. We laughed so hard we cried. (If I see any skits now from that show, I still do that.)

    Roseanne: I can rewatch the same shows and I laugh at every episode.

    And I add:
    The Mary Tyler Moore Show (fantastic cast and lines)
    Golden Girls

    Best TV shows: I don't have recall of all going back decades, but we liked The Defenders with E.G. Marshall. My family scheduled dinner around this show.

    I liked Judging Amy and other legal shows over the years, as well as ER.

    On movies, I agree on most that were overblown, such as, Gone with the Wind and some others you list.

    On best, I must add Casablanca, Notorious, Dark Passages, Key Largo, To Have and Have Not.

  4. Yegads, how could I have forgotten YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS? I'm going to adjust the list right this minute, Kathy!

    It's great to read your choices, too. Every one of us has personal reasons I think, for choosing specific shows and movies. One reason I find lists so fascinating.

  5. I just reread this. Can't wait for your list of 100 top books, and wonder how many will be about Archie and the gang.

    On top movies, I must copy down some titles I had forgotten about. And it reminds me to see A New Leaf again and some others, too.

  6. Remember that I was using Jeff's list as the idea and the guideline, too. :)

    I'm working hard on that 100 list, but I want to make sure I get it right.

  7. What a fun post! I love getting glimpses into people's favorites (and least favorite). It's such a fun way to get to know someone better. Thanks for sharing, Yvette!

  8. Wallace: You're welcome. I think you know I'm a list fanatic by now. It IS fun to see who likes or doesn't like what. :)

  9. Lists are great! I love to read other people's. Not only does it stir up my gray matter, but I learn of movies I haven't seen and want to resee, a big plus.

    By the way, one can go to You Tube and see old Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Mel Brooks skits.

    All I have to do is hear Mel Brooks utter one line as the 2,000-year old man and I'm gone completely.

  10. I liked Annie Hall, much of it, not every word. I like NYC Jewish humor and can relate to that movie as my origins are Eastern European Jewish on one side, and Irish on the other. And lots of humor from both sides, but different.

    So I can relate to the differences in the cultures and religions and humor.

    When I told my mother some of the lines from that movie, she laughed so hard.

  11. 3 of my favorite comedies of all time are His Girl Friday, The Women, and Auntie Mame. I could also add in Baby Boom, Working Girl, and a few other 80s comedies. I can do without the Marx Brothers. I could not stand There's Something About Mary and do not like anything with Adam Sandler, Will Ferrel, or the idiot from Night at the Museum.

    I don't know how Buffy: The Vampire Slayer could not be on the best TV show list. It's a tragedy.

    I loved The Hurt Locker and thought it deserved the Oscar for best director. Other than that I agree with that list, especilly Titanic. I would add Avatar to that list as well.

  12. TITANIC is the most monumentally overrated movie of all time. Ugh. Don't get me started. Also THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT - what a ludicrous hoax of a kid's project disguised as a movie. Only teenagers could find it frightening. And people who've never been camping.

    I love your inclusions, Yvette, they're so wide spread and in some cases (dare I use the word you
    apply to my tatstes?) ESOTERIC!

    TWENTIETH CENTURY! Fantasitc movie. Ever see the musical version? Madcap and kooky. I saw it with Imogene Coca and was thrilled I got to see her on stage. I wasn't even alive when YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS was originally aired, but I saw it when PBS reran it for a while on Channel 13 back when I lived in Connecticut as a lad. Sid Caesar and Coca remain a timeless comic genius duo.

    SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISHER is a special favorite of mine. I was deeply affected by it.

    I'll add a few UNDERRATED MOVIES to the pot:

    THE FALLEN IDOL (1948) directed by Carol Reed. A young imaginative boy living in an embassy tries to protect the butler who is suspected of a murder. Amazing, heart wrenching and suspenseful.

    THE FALL (2006) directed by Tarsem Singh. The power of the imagination to hypnotize and to heal has never received a more astonishing treatment than in this movie. It was disturbing to me to see how cruelly the director treated the little girl in the lead role, but she came through with the second best performance by a child in a film I've ever seen.

    MARNIE - Hitchcock's least appreciated, most criticized (sometimes reviled) movie is truly brilliant cinema. Too many people get can't stand the "unrealistic" aspects of the movie. But that's the point!

    This last one may not be so much underrated as is it unheard of:

    NIGHT TIDE (1961) directed by Curtis Harrington. Dennis Hopper falls for a mysterious woman who may not be human. What a relief to see Hopper play someone senstive and sane. The movie is haunting.

  13. Kathy I made an adjustment on my post to allow for YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. Can't believe I forgot it. Jeez. Old lady memory, what can I say?

    I didn't dislike ANNIE HALL, I just didn't love it.

  14. Ryan: Yeah, AVATAR, an over-hyped, overrated film for awhile, but then I think the 'rating' adjusted itself. I saw it. I liked it but I didn't love it. It's just not the kind of film you want to watch over and over like the real keeper films.

    The fun of these listings is that we each get a chance to post our own favorites and be outraged over each other's choices. Ha!

  15. Esoteric is GOOD. I love being thought of as someone with esoteric tastes. I think of myself as being esoteric. HA! My brother applied the word to me and it stuck.

    I never saw (thankfully) THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT so I have no comment to make at this time. :)

    It did/does sound perfectly awful though.

    Sid Caesar and YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS. Yeah, I'm embarrassed that I forgot to list them originally. The funniest television ever. Nothing could match it. Every week we just rolled around on the floor laughing - literally. I spoke to Sid Caesar once when he appeard on the old Phil Donahue call in tv show. WHAT A THRILL! I told him what a fan I was and that his show had instilled in me, strangely enough, a love of opera. He was amazed by this bit of news. Ha! I always loved the 'gibberish' ensemble operas they used to perform. SO damn funny.

    I think Caesar is still alive, I know Carl Reiner is. But Howie and Imogene are gone.

    Underrrated movies:
    I've never seen THE FALLEN IDOL though I've heard and read about it. I definitely have to watch it sometime.

    Don't know about THE FALL or about MARNIE. Probably not. Except for REAR WINDOW, I'm just not a fan of the later Hitchcock.

    NIGHT TIDE. Right. Never heard of it. If I come across it, I'll watch it for sure. I liked Dennis Hopper before he went all wierd.

    Isn't SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER just wonderful? I think you're the only other person, John, that I know who's seen this film. The young boy in it is just perfect. And the parents are portrayed very believably.

  16. I am so glad that you added Show of Shows.

    When I was a kid, my family gathered around and watched it and we screamed and cried from laughter.

    When I see clips of the show, I just laugh my head off. And one can see some at You Tube.

    It was the funniest show of all time. And Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca had fantastic chemistry. All he had to do was double-talk or all she had to do was make a face and we'd be laughing.

    Mel Brooks is hilarious, too.

    There is a video from Writers Guild of America, called "Caesar's Writers," with comedy writers who wrote for the Show of Shows. They're telling anecdotes about the show and Sid Caesar's zany behavior on- and off-screen. It includes Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks. I have it. It's simply fall-over hilarious.

    I'll add Searching for Bobby Fisher and The Fallen Idol to my list of movies to see.

    I did and do love Roseanne. I laugh even rewatching the same shows over and over again. I did like The Mary Tyler Moore show.

  17. Yvette, in the first list of underrated comedies, I'd have to put "Night at the Opera" in INSTEAD of "Horse Feathers." I think "Duck Soup" was their funniest of the early (with Zeppo) Marx Brothers comedies, while "Night at the Opera" was the funniest by far of the later ones - the New Yorker used to describe it as "The Marx Brothers happen to Il Trovatore."

    Glad you don't really dislike short people, by the way...speaking as one! HA! indeed!

  18. Yes, Show of Show had the best loony ensemble ever. True. I'll add Mel Brooks to the mix as he was part of that grouping of comedy writers and doers.

    I had totally forgotten Playhouse 90 but it was terrific. I remember watching it all of the time. (Maybe the library has old videos of it.)

    And Phil Silvers--yes! I thought of adding it yesterday as my family watched it. My father loved it. It was funny.

    We also watched The Life of Riley around that time, and that was funny.

    And now there is barely anything funny of that ilk -- roll-around-on-the-floor, yell and cry from laughing funny.

    I do laugh out loud at reading Nero Wolfe, Andrea Camilleri and a few others.

  19. Kathy: I was never a fan of Roseanne. But to each his or her own. :)

    I did see that Writer's Guild show. It is amazing. Should be required viewing for any kid wantong to be a comedy writer.

    I think you will love the Bobby Fischer movie.

  20. Les: I'm short too. Ha!

    I was torn between two Marx Bros films. But I went with DUCK SOUP this time out. At another time, I might go with NIGHT AT THE OPERA. You know how it is. :)

    I wouldn't have chosen HORSE FEATHERS either.

    But I have a sneaking fondness for THE COCONUTS. :)

  21. Kathy: There's nothing today to match the comedy genius of early tv. That's just the way it is.


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