Sunday, February 11, 2024

If you don’t feel like watching the Super Bowl today…

Assuming you are not already glued to your TV and watching all the warmups to the run-ups to the pre-game shows for today’s Super Bowl, here are three movies you might want to check out. Depending on your frame of mind, we recommend:

Black Sunday (1977)


If you’re in the mood for gratuitous violence, political intrigue, heroic Mossad and FBI agents chasing evil Middle Eastern terrorists, and then more violence, may we suggest Black Sunday. Based on the novel by Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal), directed by action movie master John Frankenheimer, this movie features Bruce Dern at his bat-guano craziest and tells the story of a disgruntled ex-Navy blimp pilot (!) who has been seduced by a beautiful Palestinian terrorist (Marthe Keller) as part of a plot to hijack the Goodyear blimp, turn it into a giant flying suicide bomb, and crash it into the stadium during the Super Bowl! Robert Shaw plays the intrepid and heroic Mossad agent who has been on the trail of the terrorists ever since Chapter 1 and saves the day in the final reel, and just all the way around, if you love thrillers, hate football, and don’t mind characters who have all the depth of cartoon characters, this one is great fun. Watch it!

Heaven Can Wait (1978)


If you’re more in the mood for a romantic comedy, may we suggest Heaven Can Wait. This 1978 remake of the 1941 adaptation (filmed as Here Comes Mr. Jordan) of the 1938 stage play (titled Heaven Can Wait and written by Harry Segall) stars Warren Beatty as Joe Pendleton, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, who is accidentally taken to Heaven by his overzealous guardian angel (Buck Henry) and to correct the problem must be returned to Earth in a new body, whereupon much romantic comedy ensues before a wonderful happy ending. The casting is superb, the movie was nominated for nine Academy Awards, and if you’ve ever wondered why Warren Beatty was considered the heartthrob of a generation—or why it was such a pity he kept trying to play those kinds of roles long after he was way too old to get away with it—this is the one to watch. Highly recommended.

Wag the Dog (1997)

On the other other hand, if you really can’t stand to watch another thing about football and are far more interested in mankind’s oldest full-contact sport—war—may we suggest Wag the Dog. The story of an American president whose spin team gins up an imaginary war in the Balkans in order to distract the public from a presidential sex scandal, this is a wonderfully dark, cynical, and sadistically funny movie. If I was teaching political science and trying to get my students to understand the American politico-media complex, this movie would be required watching. The script is first-rate; the casting is flawless—Woody Harrelson is particularly good as Sergeant Schumann—and just all the way around, this one is worth a look. It is of course pure fantasy, and has nothing to do with anything that might be happening in contemporary reality.

Have a great day, and see you tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

As movie critic you are an outdated, depressing bore.