Arts & Life
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It’s a summer evening.
Headway has been made on the summer home project. You’ve somehow beaten the rabbits to your garden’s greens.
Or maybe it was an excellent day at the lake, hiking that favourite trail, boating around or casting your line into that favourite cove where the fish are hungriest.
Or perhaps you’re one of the pandemic’s front-line workers, whether in health care or working at the supermarket, so often overworked and so often overlooked.
In other words, it’s time to chill.
Anyone up for a movie? Here are 10 classics that are ideal for a quiet summer evening.
Sharks, and our attitudes and fear about them, have never been the same since Sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider), Quint (Robert Shaw) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) set out to catch the giant great white that had tormented Amity Island swimmers and its tourist-based economy. Countless shark movies, even its sequels, failed to match its suspense, which is so timeless that when Manitoba cinemas reopened in late July, Jaws was front-and-centre at Grant Park and Silver City St. Vital.
The thrilling action sequences and the tense situations made director Steven Spielberg a household name. Quint’s telling of the desperate story of the USS Indianapolis and its crew during the Second World War sets an ominous tone for film’s explosive finale.
Famous quote: "You’re gonna need a bigger boat."
It’s been impossible to have never seen even a bit of this movie since it came out 33 years ago this month. Like The Shawshank Redemption, Dirty Dancing has been on TV so often that it has become its own genre and has created its own legend.
Johnny (Patrick Swayze) is the dance instructor at a Catskills resort during the 1960s and he catches the eye of Baby (Jennifer Grey), who has tagged along with her rich parents on a vacation there. Turns of events — including an illegal abortion — put Baby and Johnny at centre stage. But a conflict between Baby and her father, a doctor, threatens to pull the curtain on the whole thing.
What’s rarely noted about dance movies is the enormous amount of training and rehearsal it takes to make the sequences look just right. Swayze and Grey look fabulous together and the training they have helps Dirty Dancing stick the landing.
Famous quote: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
Coming to Crave (Starz tier) Aug. 21
Wine was wine, but the fascination with vintages, varietals and tasting notes boomed with this release of what is a buddy comedy that becomes a romantic comedy set in the vineyards near Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dumpy writer Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes soon-to-be-wed Jack (Thomas Haden Church) on what amounts to a stag weekend. Miles hopes for some good wine and bad golf; Jack seeks one more weekend of sowing his wild oats before he becomes a kept man. They bump into wine pourer Stephanie (Sandra Oh) and her pal, Maya, (Virginia Madsen) at the Hitching Post. Wine-soaked hijinks ensue.
Famous quote: "Do not drink too much. Do you hear me? I don’t want you passing out or going in the dark side. No going in the dark side!"
The true story of a professional women’s baseball league established during the Second World War gets put under the Hollywood spotlight in this classic starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell, among others.
It’s easy to roll your eyes over the 1940s-era sexism the teams must put up with but the story of sisters Dottie (Davis) and Kit (Petty) help create a big finish.
The film proved to be a comeback for Tom Hanks, who plays Jimmy Dugan, a washed-up and boozy manager of the Rockford Peaches and Dottie’s antagonist. Hanks bombed in 1990’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, but after A League of Their Own, which helped him transition into dramas, he hasn’t struck out since.
Famous quote: "There’s no crying in baseball!"
The visuals, the dialogue and the performances are so rich in this most famous of the Spaghetti westerns by Sergio Leone. You think you were sweaty on that beach? That nothing compared to the sweat dripping down the faces of Clint Eastwood (Blondie, the Good), Lee Van Cleef (Angel Eyes, the Bad) and Eli Wallach (Tuco, the Ugly) during their extreme closeups that are a trademark of Leone’s cinematic style.
The plot revolves around a mysterious trunk of gold coins that goes missing during the U.S. Civil War. All three are bandits and have their beady eyes on the cache of cash, and they all use their ruthless ways to get it. Wallach steals the show with his outrageous portayal of Tuco, who has never met a man he couldn’t betray.
Some scenes were added for the film’s 40th anniversary and they help the plot, but they had no sound. Eastwood and Wallach voiced the parts again, but they really stick out because nobody’s voice stays the same after four decades.
Famous quote: "You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig."
Sweaty and tense moments also abound in this Spike Lee joint, which grows more relevant every year, especially this summer. The film is often alluded to during coverage of the rallies and demonstrations held around the world in the wake of the death of George Floyd during a confrontation with Minneapolis police officers on May 25.
It’s set in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer, which ratchets up racial resentment between Black and white area residents. The bitterness, and later violence, revolves around a pizza parlour owned by Sal (Danny Aiello) and his African-American customers who wonder why Sal has Italian-American photos on the wall even though his customers are Black.
Famous quote: The Internet Movie Database website, imdb.com, says the f-word is spoken about 240 times in Do the Right Thing, so while there are some great quotes in the film, they just can’t be printed here.
Movies about bachelor parties gone wrong have always been banner box office, and in 2011, Bridesmaids proved that female actors could be just as loud, drunken, boorish — and ferociously funny — as their male counterparts.
The upcoming wedding of Lillian (Maya Rudolph) sends her best friend, Annie, into a tailspin and she takes fellow bridesmaids, including a particularly raunchy Melissa McCarthy, on a stagette party in Vegas to remember.
With so many weddings put on hold or drastically tapered down owing to COVID-19, many will wonder how social distancing popped the balloon on many a big bash with close friends in 2020.
Famous quote: "I’m life, Annie, and I’m biting you in the ass!"
Golf’s many sacred cows, from clubs being a haven for the rich to its genteel pretensions are slaughtered one by one in this Harold Ramis-directed comedy, which marked the 40th anniversary of its release to theatres on July 25.
The film includes a who’s who of comedians, from Bill Murray’s dopey greenskeeper, Chevy Chase playing Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield playing Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight, who brings the film together by being the rich golfer that’s so easy to despise.
It’s available to buy or rent on YouTube, but show a little patience. It will turn up on a movie channel sooner or later and you can save it on your PVR for all eternity.
Famous quote: "Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh?... Oh, it looks good on you though."
Amazon Prime, with the Starz add-on
There’s always room for silly in the movies, and this is a prime example. Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are two stoners from San Dimas, Calif., whose high school history project is far beyond their ability. Rufus (George Carlin), a god-like figure, comes from the future in a phone booth and says Bill and Ted must save the future.
Bill and Ted meeting Abraham Lincoln, Socrates and Napoleon (who we learn is a terrible bowler) takes ridiculous into the stratosphere. It worked so well that Reeves and Winter did a sequel two years later (Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey) and will be in another one (Bill and Ted Face the Music), which is set to come out in theatres and video-on-demand Sept. 1.
Famous quote: "Be excellent to each other. And party on dudes!"
What better way to end the list with the latest film to win the Oscar for best picture.
Two families — one rich beyond belief in a stunning high-tech mansion, another living in such desperate squalor — cross paths in this film that skewers the naivete of the rich while praising the street smarts of poor people — to a point. It’s comical to watch how the Kims, the poor family, worm their way into the lives of the well-to-do Parks.
Parasite may not be typical summer viewing — unless you know Korean, you’ll need to focus on the subtitles which might be a bit much after day on the golf course — but your attention will be worth it. Parasite is the funniest film to win best picture in many years.
Famous quote: "You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all."
Arts and Life Editor
Alan Small was named the editor of the Free Press Arts and Life section in January 2013 after almost 15 years at the paper in a variety of editing roles.
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