Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Capital Classics for the Fourth of July

Summer has arrived, and the Fourth of July is just around the corner. It's too hot to be outside, so why not celebrate with some classic movies set in our nation's capital? If you haven't been feeling especially optimistic about our country's politicians lately, these films might provide some relief from the debacle of modern politics, although it's important to remember that the Hays Code helped to tint those rose-colored spectacles an even softer shade. Nonetheless, here are some classic movies that memorably depict the ideals of the American experiment if not its reality.


MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) - Frank Capra's tale of a young Senator's political education is quintessential Capra "corn" with James Stewart and Claude Rains delivering outstanding performances, especially Stewart in the famous filibuster scene. Although some in the US took offense at the depiction of Washington insiders, the film was banned in other countries precisely because of its pro-democracy stance. Capra, Stewart, Rains, and costar Harry Carey all picked up Oscar nominations for their work, and the movie earned six additional nominations, but it only won the Academy Award for Lewis R. Foster's writing for Best Original Story. The stellar cast also includes Jean Arthur, Guy Kibbee, Thomas Mitchell, Beulah Bondi, and H.B. Warner.

THE MORE THE MERRIER (1943) - This wartime romantic comedy uses a housing shortage in Washington, D.C., to bring together an unlikely trio played by Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn. George Stevens directs the stars through some hilarious situations, with sizzling fireworks going off between Arthur and McCrea, but Coburn proves the scene-stealer of the lot in a performance that earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The picture garnered five additional nominations, including nods for Stevens and Arthur. It's an absolute delight from start to finish, and fans of modern rom coms will find a lot to love in this underrated classic.


BORN YESTERDAY (1950) - George Cukor directs the brilliant Judy Holliday in her Oscar-winning performance as Billie Dawn, a former chorus girl whose domineering and crooked boyfriend (Broderick Crawford) wants her to become more respectably well-educated now that his business has him hobnobbing with Washington politicians. William Holden plays the political writer hired to tutor Billie, and the two inevitably fall in love while touring the sights of the nation's capital. Billie's personal and political awakenings drive the picture, which was adapted from the 1946 Broadway play by Garson Kanin (in which Holliday also originated the role). 

These three classics make a great triple feature for your Fourth of July holiday, but if you prefer patriotic goodwill outside the Beltway, you can always celebrate with the beloved James Cagney musical, YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942). If you prefer something darker, dive into JAWS (1975) for red blood, a Great White, and deep blue ocean with a climax that takes place over the Fourth of July weekend.

You'll find full-length reviews of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Born Yesterday, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and hundreds of other classic movies in my two books, BEYOND CASABLANCA and BEYOND CASABLANCA II, both of which are available as ebooks on Amazon. Hundreds more are posted here on my blog. Just use the labels to search for your favorite actors, directors, and genres!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Meeting Marilyn at Universal Studios

This spring has been one thing after another! Family travel, a totaled car, an actual tornado that hit my neighborhood, and a couple of bouts of minor illness have kept me away from the blog for too long. I hope to get a full movie review up soon, but to make up for my absence here's a highlight from my trip to Universal Studios Orlando in April: me cracking up the Marilyn Monroe impersonator with my impression of Jack Lemmon saying "Daphne!" 


In spite of Universal's tremendous history as a film studio, the parks really lean into the more recent blockbusters (I'm hoping the new Universal Monsters area at Epic Universe will actually honor the classic versions and not just the reboots, but we'll see). Marilyn is one of relatively few classic movie characters featured at the theme park, and she didn't have much of a line when we saw her out greeting guests. Of course I complimented her dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955). That led to a wonderful little conversation about Billy Wilder and then Some Like It Hot (1959), which I had just rewatched a few weeks before our trip.


I was impressed by the performer's knowledge of Marilyn and her films; she had clearly worked hard to know her character even though most of the guests won't be able to appreciate her efforts. If you happen to visit the Orlando parks, do take a few minutes to chat with "Marilyn" if you see her!

Friday, March 8, 2024

Rough and Dirty Girlhood in ANNIE (1982)

In his original review of the 1982 film musical, Roger Ebert offers qualified - and often rather faint - praise for Annie but says he doesn't know if kids will actually like the movie. Ebert doesn't find the story's heroine very compelling or believable, but it's noteworthy that all of the other child characters and performers he mentions in comparison are boys: Oliver Twist in Oliver! (1968), Henry Thomas in E.T. (1982), and Ricky Shroder in general. I recently rewatched Annie, and I have a very different perspective on the picture from the late, great reviewer, having actually been a ten year old girl (the same age as Annie herself) when I first saw the movie in theaters in 1982. While certain elements have aged poorly or lack the same appeal they had when I was a child, I can still see why my younger sister and I were so thoroughly charmed by the spunky heroine and her fellow orphans that we belted out "Tomorrow" incessantly and even got dolls of some of the characters. Yes, we were kids who liked Annie, and although we enjoyed the music and the adult characters very much, what really appealed to us was the depiction of girlhood as we experienced it, a rough and dirty childhood full of fights, conflict, and unbrushed hair.

Our culture as a whole has long imagined girls as more or less the opposite of boys. Girls are dear little things who play with dolls while waiting to grow up into loving wives and mothers. Even when they're protagonists and not merely supporting characters, most of them have to be pretty, kind, and generally well-behaved as models of permissible girl behavior. Shirley Temple, the quintessential "little girl" of Hollywood, wins everyone over with her dimpled sweetness, and even Alice and Dorothy are depicted as very "proper" girls in most of their film and TV adaptations (when their girlhood is not erased entirely by making them teenagers or even adults). There are exceptions, of course, like the Little House on the Prairie books and TV series, but celebrated girl-centered stories are harder to come by than stories about boys, and stories about groups of young girls (not marriageable young women) are even rarer.

Annie dispenses with all of those well-worn stereotypes about who and what girls are, replacing the usual sugar and spice with Depression era spunk. It's both a girl's version of Oliver Twist and a prepubescent take on Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), with a scrappy crew of orphan girls trying to survive by their wits, camaraderie, and sheer stubbornness. Imagine the delight my little sister and I experienced seeing these dirty, grumpy, combative girls playing tricks on Miss Hannigan (Carol Burnett) and fighting amongst themselves just like we often did, much to our mother's dismay. We were girls who played outside, got dirty, tore our clothes, and only brushed our hair under duress. Annie and her friends provided a rare chance to see girls who looked and acted like us on the big screen, and we loved them for it. It helped that they weren't preternaturally cute or beautiful, like so many of the little and big girls Hollywood showcases. Mop wig aside, Aileen Quinn's Annie seemed like a kid we'd like to know, even if we felt disappointed that she had to be rescued by adults in the final act. We were hoping she'd kick Tim Curry's Rooster right off the top of the train bridge and send him screaming to his death, but at least she tore up the ill-gotten check and made her initial escape all by herself, while her friends persevered in their race to uncover the villains' deception.

In the decades since Annie, Hollywood movies have made some progress in telling stories about girls, especially in films like Matilda (1996), but Japan's Hiyao Miyazaki has done far better with My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Spirited Away (2001), and Howl's Moving Castle (2004), just to name a few of the Studio Ghibli movies to center the experiences of young girls as interesting and not idealized characters. Women film reviewers, however, are still well aware of the dearth of great movies about young girls, as Anya Jaremko-Greenwold opines in the 2016 Atlantic essay, "Why Hollywood Doesn't Tell More Stories for - and About - Girls." Given that Hollywood still doesn't make many movies like Annie, I'm glad that today's little girls can see the 1982 version in spite of its dated elements. Maybe, at this very moment, some stubborn little girl with tangled pigtails and a dirty face is watching the movie on Netflix as the orphans sing "It's the Hard Knock Life" and delighting in the vision of girls who look and act like her.

Related Posts:

"My Life at the Movies" (2011)

"High School Movies, Then and Now" (2018)

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Modern Movies: HUNDREDS OF BEAVERS (2022)

I often tell people that I love "weird movies," and Hundreds of Beavers (2022) is definitely one of the weirdest, wackiest, and most purely delightful movies I have seen in a long time. This festival darling from Mike Cheslik (writer and director) and Ryland Brickson Cole Tews (writer and star) puts silent comedy, Looney Tunes cartoons, and modern video games into a blender to create an absurdist masterpiece with gags flying by at a breakneck pace for the entire 108 minute run of the picture. If you have the opportunity to see Hundreds of Beavers in a theater, you should skip this review and hurry out the door, but for those who - like me - have to make elaborate travel plans to see indie festival flicks, here's my review to encourage you to book the hotel and gas up the car (or at least make sure you track this one down when it hits streaming or physical media release).

Ryland Brickson Cole Tews plays the hapless Jean Kayak, whose boozy good times making and selling applejack abruptly end when beavers destroy his business. Forced to survive in the relentlessly cold winter, Jean learns by painful trial and error to hunt the beavers and other local critters (all played by actors in cartoonish costumes). He's encouraged in his efforts by an old Master Trapper (Wes Tank) and the attractive furrier (Olivia Graves), but as it turns out the beavers have much more grandiose plans than general mischief against the local humans.

There's so much going on in addition to this basic narrative that it's hard to know where to start, but try to imagine Tex Avery directing Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) with Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton in the starring role and you might begin to get the idea. The movie owes a lot to silent comedy, with many scenes evoking The Gold Rush (1925) thanks to the setting but also Modern Times (1936) and any of the Keystone Cops pictures. There are sight gags and stunts Keaton would love, especially the more meta examples like the holes that dot the landscape or the elaborate Rube Goldberg traps Jean builds. Watching the movie is often like watching someone play a puzzle game (I found myself especially thinking of the 1996 classic, The Neverhood), and the video game vibe is enhanced by action scenes that recall Frogger, Donkey Kong, and other iconic games as well as the intentionally flat and artificial backgrounds against which these scenes occur.

As funny as Cheslik and the other actors are in the human roles - and they are very funny, indeed - the "animals" in the movie are absolutely uproarious, and presenting the story this way is a brilliant stroke that effectively separates us from any expectation of a moral. I won't spoil the dozens of hilarious bits, but a few of my favorites include the two detective beavers, the melodramatic story of the rabbit family, the poker playing sled dogs, and the horse. There are also several delightful puppets to represent smaller animals, including a frog, some fish, and a very annoying woodpecker. Whenever you think the movie has surely reached peak absurdity, it raises the ante again, much to the whooping delight of the audience with whom I saw it. Because it's so maniacally silly, older children will almost certainly love it, but I should add that there's a brief pole dancing scene, a fair bit of sexual innuendo and imagery, and a lot of scatological humor, in addition to non-stop cartoon violence. It's all in service to the comedy, but it's important to consider your own tolerance or that of your children before taking anyone under 12 to see it. There was at least one kid who was about 10 in our small audience, and I could hear him laughing even louder than the adults throughout the movie.

If you want to learn more about Hundreds of Beavers or find the nearest theater screening, head over to the official website. A Blu-ray release is planned for Summer 2024, and the movie will stream on Fandor starting in the spring. I will definitely be buying a copy of the movie so that I can see it again and force all of my friends to watch it.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Classic Films in Focus: MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (1945)

Director Joseph H. Lewis is best remembered today for his influential noir classic, Gun Crazy (1950), but he also brings great tension to My Name is Julia Ross (1945), an atmospheric thriller from Columbia Pictures that stars Nina Foch as the titular heroine. Despite its modern day setting, Julia's story revels in Gothic trappings, with an imprisoned and imperiled protagonist who endures extreme gaslighting at the hands of her kidnappers. Fans of Gaslight (either the 1940 or the 1944 version) and more traditional Gothic fare will find a lot to appreciate in this tight, well-acted production, including especially sinister performances from Dame May Whitty and a barely restrained George Macready.

Foch plays the penniless but determined Julia Ross, who lands a seemingly perfect job as the live-in secretary of wealthy Mrs. Hughes (May Whitty). Julia is too relieved to worry at questions about her being absolutely without friends or family, but she realizes the awful truth when she awakens from a drugged slumber to find herself transported to Cornwall and declared to be the mentally ill wife of Ralph Hughes (George Macready). Luckily, Julia's aspiring love interest, Dennis (Roland Varno), is searching for her while Julia repeatedly tries to escape before Ralph and his mother can carry out their nefarious plans.

The success of the whole picture depends on its heroine, and Nina Foch makes Julia active and appealing in spite of her damsel in distress situation. Foch's long career included a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role in Executive Suite (1954), but she never became a top star, which seems a shame considering her energetic performance here. Foch is beautiful in a wide-eyed but spirited way, definitely not the kind of girl to surrender meekly to villainous schemes, no matter how many times the Hughes family tries to convince Julia that she's Marion Hughes. Our heroine might be naive enough to jump at the sudden job offer, but she's never passive or resigned to her fate. Ironically, Julia's constant efforts to escape and tell someone about her situation only support the Hughes' claim that she's insane, but Julia manages to outsmart them enough to get a letter out to Dennis. Part of the fun of the movie lies in waiting to see what Julia will try next, whether she's hiding in cars, looking for secret passages, or pretending that she really believes she might be Marion Hughes.

Most of the other important characters present threats to Julia's well-being, and each is interesting in his or her own fashion. Julia's chief antagonist is the unflappable Mrs. Hughes, played with sly menace by Dame May Whitty. Whitty is a fun choice for the role because she doesn't seem like a villain even when she's blatantly plotting Julia's demise. The mother provides a stark contrast to the psychopath son, Ralph, who has already murdered the original Marion and clearly yearns to kill again. Only Mrs. Hughes can control him, and one wonders how long that can last, given the number of sharp objects she has to confiscate from Ralph over the course of the picture. The criminal pair have ample assistance from their most trusted servants, especially Sparkes (Anita Bolster), who poses as the employment agent and ensures that the newer servants spread gossip about "Marion Hughes" being insane. She's a great example of the sinister housekeeper so quintessential in the Gothic genre, and Bolster has a perfect face for the role.

My only real complaint about My Name is Julia Ross relates to the abrupt and overly tidy ending, which turns a blind eye to the extremity of Julia's ordeal. Compare that with the endings of Gaslight or Notorious (1946), in which the heroines are clearly going to need to work through some heavy post-traumatic stress. For more of the lovely Nina Foch, see The Return of the Vampire (1943), in which Roland Varno also plays her love interest, An American in Paris (1951), or Illegal (1955). She also appears in both The Ten Commandments (1956) and Spartacus (1960). Dame May Whitty earned Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations for Night Must Fall (1937) and Mrs. Miniver (1942), but she has memorable roles in The Lady Vanishes (1938), Suspicion (1941), and Gaslight (1944). Don't miss George Macready in Gilda (1946), which is probably his most important film.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

The Colors of Contagion in JEZEBEL (1938)

Bette Davis won her second Academy Award for Best Actress for the Civil War melodrama, Jezebel (1938), which took advantage of the cultural mania over Gone with the Wind by using many of the same plot elements and beating the 1939 blockbuster to theaters. Like Gone with the Wind, Jezebel tells the story of a spoiled, headstrong Southern belle who pines for the love of a married man, and the two pictures also share problematic visions of the antebellum South and slavery that perpetuate fantasies about happy plantations with graceful ladies in hoop skirts. The films even share the same composer, the great Max Steiner. Gone with the Wind, however, boasts one very important advantage over Jezebel because it had the time and budget to be a lavish Technicolor spectacle, while Jezebel unfolds in cheaper, faster black and white. The lack of color onscreen is particularly ironic for Jezebel as it's very much a story about color, specifically the sexually charged red of the scandalous dress Davis' heroine wears but also the deadly yellow of the fever outbreak that dominates the film's second half. In both cases, Jezebel connects color with contagion, something that spreads and infects the simple black and white world around it and thus should be avoided at all costs.

Davis plays Julie Marsden, a wealthy and temperamental young woman living in New Orleans before the start of the Civil War. Julie loves her prim suitor, Preston (Henry Fonda), but she also loves getting her own way, and she retaliates when Pres chooses business over pleasure by making a spectacle of herself at the Olympus Ball, which causes Pres to break off their engagement. One year later, Pres returns with his Northern bride, Amy (Margaret Lindsay), and Julie is once again torn between her love for Pres and her desire to stir up trouble for the sake of revenge. Julie is finally forced to reckon with her transgressions when Pres becomes one of the thousands suffering from yellow fever and in danger of being quarantined to a desolate leper colony.

The first, and most memorable, contagious color is red, the shade of the inappropriate dress Julie wears to the Olympus Ball, where all unmarried young ladies are expected to wear white. In the movie we can't actually see a red dress, only a dark one, but the characters discuss its vulgarity and shocking color at length. The dressmaker tells Julie and her Aunt Belle (Fay Bainter) that the gown was made for a local woman of ill repute, but this information only strengthens Julie's perverse desire to wear it to a ball intended to celebrate the virginal purity of young ladies of her station. Julie's plan to punish Pres backfires when he grimly insists on parading her around the ball, where everyone recoils from her in horror. The camera looks down from above to show us Pres and Julie dancing while girls in white dresses fly away from them, fearful of being associated with such disregard for convention and the sexual knowledge that the red dress strongly suggests. In this scene, it is Julie herself who is contagious, contaminating the reputation of everyone close to her. She has very literally made herself a scarlet woman, although she is thoughtless and perhaps naive enough not to realize the implications of her appearance. Pres, who understands the extent of her transgression, dares anyone to insult her because he still feels obligated by their social code to duel to the death in her defense, but after the ball he breaks with her and leaves town. Julie is so struck by his rejection and her own humiliation that she becomes something of a hermit for the next year, waiting at home with her white dress ready for the day Pres returns, but Julie doesn't realize how permanently she has contaminated their relationship. 

In the second half of the story, yellow replaces red as the contagious color, this time a color of fever and death. New Orleans and its surrounding areas succumb to a yellow fever outbreak, which people in the 19th century believed to be spread from person to person (as opposed to being spread by infected mosquitos). The film shows the audience that Pres is, indeed, bitten by an infected mosquito in a small but crucial moment at Julie's plantation outside the city, but the other characters only know that yellow fever is highly contagious and terrifying. Their fear is compounded by the city's decree that every known sufferer be exiled to an island normally used as a leper colony, where the chance of survival is almost nonexistent. Julie rushes to New Orleans to tend Pres, even though she might be shot for sneaking across the quarantine lines, but her desire to shake off her moral contamination is stronger than her fear of viral contagion. Julie argues with Amy for the right to accompany Pres to the fatal island; although Amy is Pres' wife, Julie needs the redemption her sacrifice can offer. She begs Amy, "Help me make myself clean again as you are clean. Let me prove myself worthy of the love I bear him." Ironically, one form of contagion counteracts the other; her willingness to embrace death by yellow fever serves to atone for Julie's moral contamination as embodied by the red dress. Julie wins the argument and is last seen in a wagon rolling away toward exile, suffering, and almost certain doom, very like Sidney Carton at the end of A Tale of Two Cities. In many ways it's a conventional ending for a woman who crosses the moral and sexual boundaries of her culture, whether she exists in the 19th century or under the tight control of the Hays Code. Julie, however, makes a triumph of her martyrdom because she believes that dying with Pres is better than living without him, and her sacrifice means that she will be remembered for her heroic final act rather than her many sins. 

While neither color actually appears on the screen, red and yellow dominate the imagination of the viewer as Jezebel unfolds, and both signal danger and contagion to the inhabitants of the film's world. Director William Wyler and cinematographer Ernest Haller skillfully evoke the effects of the red dress and yellow fever, but it would have been fascinating to see how those two fatal hues could have been used in a color production. One need only think of the iconic use of red in Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948) or the way that color enhances every shot in Gone with the Wind. For more of Bette in black and white, watch Dark Victory (1939), The Letter (1940), and Now, Voyager (1942). If you're interested in seeing period melodramas in lavish color, check out Blanche Fury (1948) or Raintree County (1955). According to an interview with Robert Osborne, Bette Davis herself preferred black and white to Technicolor, but you can see her in color in movies like The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), The Virgin Queen (1955), and The Whales of August (1987).


* If you like my posts here, you can read more in my Silver Screen Standards column for Classic Movie Hub!

Monday, January 1, 2024

2023 Movie Log in Review

Happy New Year! Here's hoping that 2024 brings you good moments and many great movies. It's time again to look back at the last year of my movie viewing and make the final tally of films watched. My classic movie choices for 2023 were heavily affected by the many great collections on the Criterion Channel last year, and I'm looking forward to another year of old favorites and new discoveries there. Most of the other streaming services continue to be useless for classic films, but I watched quite a few new movies on them. Visits to the theater continue to be low compared to pre-pandemic numbers; we saw a few new releases on the big screen this year - including super hit Barbie - but in general it just wasn't worth the cost and hassle, especially after we were accosted by a drunk/high and very noisy audience member at Dungeons and Dragons. Much of my energy in 2023 went to work on a forthcoming anthology of feminist essays about Star Trek, so I spent a lot of time rewatching episodes and films from that iconic franchise (more about that later!). 

Here's the monthly breakdown for every movie I watched at home or elsewhere in 2023.


The Woman on the Beach (1947)

Francis (1950)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

The Nice Guys (2016)

Love is News (1937)

Honor Society (2023)

Theodora Goes Wild (1936)

Big Brown Eyes (1936)

The Pale Blue Eye (2023)

Dead of Night (1945)

Goldeneye (1995)


The Unknown (1927)

Pillow Talk (1959)

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

Harvey (1950)

The Suspect (1944)

The World is Not Enough (1999)

Rosaline (2022)

The Sound of 007 (2022)

Lover Come Back (1961)

Phantom Lady (1944)

A View to a Kill (1985)

Send Me No Flowers (1964)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

The Queen of Spades (1949)


Dancing Lady (1933)

The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)

The Princess Bride (1987)

42nd Street (1933)

The Heroic Trio (1993)

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

Antman: Quantumania (2023)

Clue (1985)

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (2022)

Thunder on the Hill (1951)

Prom Pact (2023)


Sky High (2005)

The Importance of Being Earnest (1951)

A Woman's Face (1941)

Grease 2 (1982)

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)

Magic (1978)


May  (my kid graduated from college and we had a big family trip to the UK!)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

The Damned Don't Cry (1950)



The Lost King (2023)

What's Love Go to Do With It? (2022)

For Me and My Gal (1942)

Monkey Business (1952)

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)



Polite Society (2023)

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

On the Town (1949)

The Woman in Question (1950)



Haunted Mansion (2023)

Barbie (2023)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)

Asteroid City (2023)

Murder, My Sweet (1944)

Ladies in Retirement (1941)

Brigadoon (1954)



Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)

Mr. Vampire (1985)

Mr. Vampire II (1986)

Mr. Vampire III (1987)

Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Jane Eyre (1943)

Mr. Vampire IV (1988)

MST3K: Beyond Atlantis (1973) - live at the Center for Puppetry Arts

Ivy (1947)

Moss Rose (1947)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2023)

Blanche Fury (1948)

Elemental (2023)

3000 Years of Longing (2022)



Red, White and Royal Blue (2023)

So Long at the Fair (1950)

Murders in the Zoo (1933)

Doctor X (1932)

Haunted Mansion (2023) - second time this year

The Old Dark House (1933)

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Corridor of Mirrors (1948)

Gaslight (1944)

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Dial M for Murder (1954)

The Monster Squad (1987)

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932)

So Evil My Love (1947)

Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

Devotion (1946)

The Lost Boys (1987)

Dead Again (1991)

Freaks (1932)

Madeline (1950)

Hocus Pocus (1993)

Haunted Spooks (1920)

Bewitched (2005)

No Hard Feelings (2023)

Casper (1995)



The Lodger (1944)

The Quick and the Dead (1995)

Johnny Guitar (1954)

Rancho Notorious (1952)

A Haunting in Venice (2023)

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)

The Marvels (2023)

The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)

High Anxiety (1977)

Dragnet (1987)

Werewolves Within (2021)

The Cheat (1931)

Three on a Match (1932)



The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Repeat Performance (1947)

Bell, Book and Candle (1958)

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

Die Hard (1988)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Hudson Hawk (1991)

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

Scrooged (1987)

White Christmas (1955)

Chicken Run 2: Dawn of the Nugget (2023)

Love, Actually (2003)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

A Christmas Story (1983)

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Glass Onion (2022)


Total for 2023: 130

I watched 23 more movies in 2023 than in 2022, so that's an improvement! As usual, it's an eclectic mix of classics, new releases, family favorites, and weeknight compromises with the spouse.