Home Film Festivals (HBO Max) July 2020

July 5, 2020

Home Film Festivals (HBO Max) July 2020

The new streaming services have proven to be a cornucopia of cinema for fans! There are so may options, generally with a free trial, that the hard part is deciding what to watch next.

I may be able to help. 🙂

As a long time film fan with eclectic tastes, I’m going to suggest some Home Film Festivals you can do. I’ll separate them by service. The same movies may appear on more than one service, of course. One last note: I’m focusing this on what you can see in the USA: even if you have the same service in a different country, it may not have the same titles due to licensing and possibly copyright reasons. For this post, I’m going to focus on HBO Max.

Note: I may add to these descriptions, but I figured you might want something to watch 5 July. 🙂

HBO MAX

National Film Registry recognized

There are many more than I’ve listed here!

  • 42nd Street (1933) (see musicals)
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938): Errol Flynn & Olivia de Havilland make a delicious Robin & Maid Marian…and Basil Rathbone is the perfect foil. You may have seen Daffy Duck and Porky Pig make fun of this one
  • Casablanca (1942): stream it, Sam
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941): it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. One of the best arguments for remakes: this was the third version
  • Rebel without a Cause (1955)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1951)

Alfred Hitchcock thrillers

  • The Lodger (1927): Ivor Novello, June Tripp
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934): Leslie Banks, Peter Lorre
  • The 39 Steps (1935): Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll
  • Sabotage (1937): Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka
  • The Lady Vanishes (1938): Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave
  • Foreign Correspondent (1940): Joel McCrea, Laraine Day
  • North by Northwest (1959): Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint

Silents Are Golden

  • City Lights (1931): Charlie Chaplin
  • Pandora’s Box (1929): Louise Brooks
  • Safety Last!: Harold Lloyd

Musicals

  • 42nd Street: (1933): it’s a Busby Berkeley musical (and how) with Ruby Keeler, Una Merkel, Warner Baxter and many. Classic backstage drama with the hoofer who is “going out there a youngster” but has to come back a star
  • An American in Paris (1951): Gene Kelly dancing, Leslie Caron…and, well, isn’t that enough?
  • Cabaret (1972): musicals aren’t all rainbows & butterflies
  • Hairspray (2007):
  • Little Shop of Horrors: suddenly, stream more
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939): Somewhere Over the Rainbow…

Classic Comedies (pre 1970)

  • Adam’s Rib (1949): Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy are husband and wife attorneys on opposite sides in a trial
  • Angels in the Outfield (1951)
  • Blithe Spirit (1945)
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938): definitely madcap with Katherine Hepburn at her wackiest, Cary Grant in full on comedy mode, and a leopard
  • I Married a Witch (1942): long before Bell, Book and Candle (or Bewitched), Veronica Lake starred in this “witch in the modern world” romcom

The Alien series

“In space no one can hear you scream.”

This is Ridley Scott’s iconic science fiction series, which is especially impressive because of the way it changes tone. The first movie is horror, with iconic moments. The second movie? Military sci-fi. Tying it together is Sigourney Weaver’s brilliant work as Ripley. You can watch these straight through without feeling like it’s too much of the same.

  • Alien (1979)
  • Aliens (1986) (often cited among the best sequels)
  • Alien 3 (1992)
  • Alien Resurrection (1997): in addition to Weaver, this cast includes Winona Ryder and Ron Perlman

These four will fill a day, although you could also spread the out over more than one day. There are reboot movies not included here, but this is the complete original series. They do have AVP: Alien vs Predator

Science Fiction

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
  • Countdown (1968)
  • Dune (1984)
  • Enemy Mine (1985)
  • Saturn 3: this is a seriously odd movie, with Farrah Fawcett & Kirk Douglas on a space station…and Harvey Keitel as a villain. The capper? Directed by musical director Stanley Donen, scripted by Martin Amis
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Star Trek (2009)
  • 12 Monkeys

In an Eighties Mood

  • Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
  • The Boy Who Could Fly (1986)
  • Commando (1985) “Get to the choppah!”
  • Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
  • Die Hard (1988) (also Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance)
  • The Goonies (1985)
  • The Hitcher (1986)
  • Lifeforce
  • Scanners (1981)
  • The Secret of My Success

Special 80s subset: directed by John Hughes

  • Weird Science (1985): Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton, Ilan Mitchell-Smith
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987) : Steve Martin, John Candy
  • Uncle Buck (1989): John Candy

Make ’em Laugh (1970+)

  • All of Me (1984)
  • Analyze This (1999)
  • Bridesmaids (2011)
  • The Bucket List (2007)
  • Crazy Rich Asians  (2018)
  • Death Becomes Her
  • Dodgeball (2004)
  • Dumb & Dumber (and Dumb and Dumberer)
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • The Flintstones (and Viva Rock Vegas)
  • Home Alone (& 2, 3, 4, The Holiday Heist)
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation (& European & Christmas)
  • Raising Arizona (1987)

Animation

  • Anastasia (1997)
  • Corpse Bride
  • Fantastic Planet (I saw this science fiction/social commentary movie in the theatre)
  • Happy Feet (2006) (and Happy Feet 2)
  • The Hobbit
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • The Iron Giant
  • The Last Unicorn
  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Princess Monokone
  • Rio
  • Spirited Away
  • Watership Down

Dramas

  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  • Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007)
  • Contagion (2011)

Superheroes

  • Aquaman
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2019)
  • Blade (1998), Blade II (2002), Blade Trinity (2004)
  • Fantastic Four (2005)
  • Green Lantern (2011)
  • Joker (this is related…it is the Batman villain, but don’t expect capes & a CGI villain)
  • Justice League
  • Shazam
  • Suicide Squad
  • Supergirl
  • Superman (&II, III, IV)
  • Superman Returns
  • Watchmen
  • Wonder Woman
  • X-Men
  • X-Men First Class
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Monster Movies

  • The Blob (1958)
  • Destroy All Monsters (1969)
  • Jaws (& 2-4) (You’ll get people who will tell you Jaws isn’t a monster movie…why, because they think it’s good? 😉 )
  • King Kong (1933)
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla (lots of Godzilla movies available on the service, but this one stands out…you won’t forget the miniature girls singing!)
  • The War of the Gargantuas
  • The X from Outer Space

Musical Biographies

  • Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
  • Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
  • Ray

Horror

  • Carnival of Souls
  • Cat People
  • Diabolique
  • The Exorcist
  • Haxan (1922)
  • The Hunger
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
  • Vampyr

Akira Kurosawa

  • The Hidden Fortress
  • Ikiru
  • Rashomon
  • Seven Samurai
  • Throne of Blood
  • Yojimbo

The Conjuring universe

  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • The Conjuring 2 (2016)
  • The Nun (2018)
  • Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

1939

  • The Four Feathers
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Pygmalion
  • Stagecoach
  • The Wizard of Oz

Some others to consider

  • Amelie (2001)
  • …And God Created Woman (1956)
  • Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  • Cradle 2 the Grave
  • Crash
  • Babe
  • Crazy Stupid Love
  • Crimson Peak
  • The Curse of La Llarona
  • Deliverance
  • Devil (2010)
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • Enter the Dragon (1973)
  • Eraserhead
  • Eyes Without a Face
  • Final Destination series
  • Free Willy (& 2&3&Pirate’s Cove)
  • The Front Page
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Gauntlet
  • Godzilla movies
  • Gold Diggers movies
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Gremlins & Gremlins 2
  • Grey Gardens (2009)
  • Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men
  • Hamlet (1948), Henry V (1944), The Merchant of Venice, Richard III
  • A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • Harry Potter (and Fantastic Beasts)
  • The Hate U Give
  • Head Office
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • The Honeymoon Killers
  • Hoop Dreams
  • The Horn Blows at Midnight
  • Horrible Bosses
  • Hostel (& II)
  • The Hot Chick
  • How Stella Got Her Groove Back
  • How the West Was Won
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • In Like Flint
  • Intermezzo
  • Jeepers Creepers (& 2)
  • Joker
  • Judge Dredd
  • Jules and Jim
  • The Jungle Book
  • Kill Bill (1&2)
  • Klute
  • La La Land
  • Lara Croft, Tomb Raider (& The Cradle of Life)
  • The Lodger
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Love Actually
  • M
  • Magic Mike
  • Magnolia
  • Mars Attacks
  • Michael
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Million Dollar Mermaid
  • Misery
  • The Most Dangerous Game
  • Mothra vs. Godzilla
  • Muriel’s Wedding
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  • My Brilliant Career
  • My Dinner with Andre
  • Network
  • The Neverending Story (& II)
  • Notting Hill
  • Now Voyager
  • Oliver Twist
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Our Man Flint
  • The Parallax View
  • Paris, Texas
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Pat and Mike
  • Patch Adams
  • A Patch of Blue
  • Paul
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Personal Best
  • Pet Sematary
  • The Philadelphia story
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • Piranha
  • Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice (Nicholson)
  • Precious
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Pygmailion
  • Reds
  • The Right Stuff
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • School of Rock
  • Seance on a Wet Afternoon
  • Seventh Seal
  • Showgirls
  • The Skulls
  • Sky High
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Soldier
  • Some Kind of Wonderful
  • Sophie’s Choice
  • Space Jam
  • Speed Racer
  • Splendor in the Grass
  • A Star is Born (4 versions)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Team America: World Police
  • Teen Witch
  • That Hamilton Woman
  • That Thing You Do
  • The Thief of Bagdad
  • Time Bandits
  • The Tin Drum
  • Tom Jones
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Unbreakable, Glass
  • Uncle Buck
  • Voyage of the Damned
  • Weird Science
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Xanadu
  • Yesterday
  • You’ve Got Mail

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HBOmax is here! Older movies for fans

May 27, 2020

HBOmax is here! Older movies for fans

HBOmax is available today, 27 May, in the USA. It’s a new streaming service which you can get as a stand-alone for $14.99 a month, or may be included with something you already have. In our case, we get it included as part of AT&T.

It is not available on Fire TV, which is how we watch pretty much all of our TV. I’m sure that will get worked out. I haven’t tested yet, but we may be able to watch it there through the browser.

While there are a lot (a lot!) of options there, and I like some of the newer things they are doing, I thought I’d focus this quick post on older movies. That’s honestly going to be one of the big draws for me…I can watch Casablanca any time! 😉

Before I list some, I’ll say that I like the interface: I always want an A-Z listing of titles, and they have that. I think I’ll make my arbitrary cut-off pre 1980 (40 years old seems old enough).

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The 39 Steps
  • The 400 Blows
  • 42nd Street
  • The 47 Ronin (both parts)
  • 8 1/2
  • Adam’s Rib
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Alien
  • An American in Paris
  • …And God Created Woman
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Ashes and Diamonds
  • Au Revoir Les Enfants
  • Autumn Sonata
  • Babette’s Feast
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)
  • Belle de Jour
  • Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Black Narcissus
  • Black Orpheus
  • Blithe Spirit
  • The Blob (1958)
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Breathless
  • Brief Encounter
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • Brute Force (1947)
  • Carnival of Souls
  • Casablanca
  • Casino Royale (1967) (and 2006)
  • Cheyenne Autumn
  • Chimes at Midnight
  • Cimmaron
  • The Circus (1928)
  • Citizen Kane
  • City Lights
  • Cleo from 5 to 7
  • Cool Hand Look
  • Countdown (1968)
  • The Cranes are Flying
  • Cries and Whispers
  • Daisies (1966)
  • A Day in the Country
  • A Day’s Pleasure
  • Deliverance
  • Destroy All Monsters
  • Diabolique
  • Divorce, Italian Style
  • Don’t Look Back
  • The Earrings of Madame De…
  • East of Eden
  • Ebirah, Horror of the Deep
  • Elevator to the Gallows
  • The Emperor Jones
  • The Entertainer
  • Equinox
  • Eraserhead
  • Europe ’51
  • Exodus
  • Eyes Without a Face
  • F for Fake
  • Faces
  • Fantastic Planet
  • First Man into Space
  • Footlight Parade
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • The Four Feathers
  • Fox and His Friends
  • Freaks
  • The Front Page
  • Germany Year Zero
  • Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
  • Giant
  • Gimme Shelter
  • Godzilla (several of the early movies, and the latest, King of the Monsters)
  • Gold Diggers of 1933
  • Gold Diggers of 1935
  • The Gold Rush (1925 and 1942
  • Gone with the Wind
  • The Great Dictator
  • Great Expectations (1946 and 1974)
  • Hamlet (1948)
  • Hanzo the Razor (3 movies)
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Harold and Maude
  • Haxan
  • The Hidden Fortress
  • The Hobit (1977)
  • How the West Was Won
  • I Married a Witch
  • I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
  • I Shot Jesse James
  • The Idle Class
  • Ikiru
  • The Immigrant
  • Intermezzo
  • Ivan the Terrible
  • Jaws (and sequels)
  • Journey to Italy
  • Jules and Jim
  • Jungle Book (1942)
  • Keeper of the Flame
  • The Kid (1921)
  • Kill!
  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  • A King in New York
  • King Kong (1933)
  • The King of Kings (1927)
  • Klute
  • Knife in the Water
  • Kwaidan
  • L’Amore
  • L’Avventura
  • La Notte
  • La Strada
  • The Lady in Red
  • Lady Snowblood
  • The Lady Vnishes
  • Last Tango in Paris
  • The Last Wave
  • Late Autumn
  • Late Spring
  • Le Samourai
  • Limelight
  • The Lodger (1927)
  • Lola Montes
  • Lone Wolf and Cub (several movies)
  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  • Look Back in Anger
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Love in the Afternoon
  • M
  • Magnum Force
  • Major Barbara
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Man Wh Knew Too Much
  • The Manchurian Candidate (1962 and 2004)
  • The Marriage of Maria Braun
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Million Dollar Mermaid
  • Modern Times
  • Mon Oncle
  • Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • Monterey Pop
  • The Most Dangerous Game
  • Mr. Arkadin (1955)
  • Multiple Maniacs
  • My Brilliant Career
  • My Night at Maud’s
  • The Naked City
  • The Naked Kiss
  • Nanook of the North
  • Nice and Friendly
  • A Night in the Show
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • The Night Porter
  • North by Northwest
  • Now, Voyager
  • The Nun’s Story
  • Of Mice and Men (1939)
  • Oliver Twist
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Onibaba
  • Orpheus
  • Osaka Elegy
  • Othello (1952 – Orson Welles)
  • Pandora’s Box (1929)
  • Pat and Mike
  • A Patch of Blue
  • Pay Day (1922)
  • Pepe Le Moko
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  • The Pilgrim
  • Piranha
  • Pride and Prejudice (1940)
  • The Private Life of Henry the VIII
  • Pygmalion (1938)
  • Quadrophenia
  • Rashomon
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • The Red Balloon
  • Red Desert
  • The Red Shoes
  • Rembrandt
  • The Return of Bulldog Drummond
  • The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Rhapsody in Blue
  • Richard III
  • The Rink
  • Rio Bravo
  • The Rise of Catherine the Great
  • The Rite
  • The River
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
  • Romance on the High Seas
  • Rome, Open City
  • The Ruling Class
  • Sabotage
  • Safety Last!
  • Salesman
  • the Samurai Trilogy
  • Satan’s Brew
  • Sawdust and Tinsel
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • Scenes from a Marriage
  • The Sea of Grass
  • Seance on a Wet Afternoon
  • The Searchers
  • Senso
  • Seven Samurai
  • The Seventh Seal
  • The Seventh Veil
  • Shadows (1959)
  • Shall We Dance
  • Shock Corridor
  • Shoot the Piano Player
  • The Shooting
  • The Shop on Main Street
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • The Singing Nun
  • Sisters
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Speedy (1928)
  • Stagecoach
  • A Star is Born (1937, 1954, 1976, 2018)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Stromboli
  • Summertime
  • A Taste of Honey
  • The Testament of Dr. Mabuse
  • That Hamilton Woman
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
  • The Threepenny Opera
  • Throne of Blood
  • Through a Glass Darkly
  • Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
  • The Tin Drum
  • Tokyo Story
  • Tom Jones
  • Tortilla Flat
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962)
  • Ugetsu
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  • Vampyr
  • Victim (1961)
  • Voyage of the Damned
  • The Wages of Fear
  • War and Peace
  • The War of the Gargantuas
  • Watership Down
  • Wattstax
  • Weekend
  • The Wild Bunch
  • Wild Strawberries
  • Wise Blood
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • A Woman of Paris
  • Woman of the Year
  • A Woman Under the Influence
  • Woodstock: The Director’s Cut
  • The X from Outer Space
  • Yojimbo
  • Young and Innocent
  • Z

Note that I may not have gotten them all, and they may change. This is also only a fraction of the content! They have a lot of post-1980 movies (Scanners!) & TV shows, too.

A few other notes:

  • I was given the option to download
  • There was a watchlist
  • It did show me what I had been watching
  • There were profiles

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All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Hundreds of episodes of 1960s sitcoms to stream

April 12, 2020

Hundreds of episodes of 1960s sitcoms to stream

During this time, some people want to see fiction that relates, some people just want to escape. I polled my readers about that in my most popular blog, I Love My Kindle:

Escape or confront?

While I’ve deliberately confronted (I rewatched The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price, my favorite version of I Am Legend…it’s really about social distancing), the majority of my readers who say their choices have been affected picked the “escape” option.

However, I also sometimes just want to put on a show that, well, makes me quietly smile without thinking about much.

One choice for me is 1960s sitcoms. I’m already familiar with them, in fact, I often have a show where I’ve seen all the episodes before…just letting it roll through, binge watching, typically while I do something else, like writing or exercising.

I realize, though, that many of you may not have ever seen the shows…may not have ever even heard of many of them. This might be a good time to educate yourself…home schooling in pop culture, right? 😉

Could you watch these with your kids?

Well, honestly, you might have some concerns, might want to talk about things.

Yes, it’s going to be a lot less diverse. That’s not just that they’ll tend to be racially homogeneous, although that’s certainly true. Is it going to be all “nuclear families”? Actually, there are quite a few one-parent families in television, even back in the 1960s…although they tended to be somewhat hapless dads who had some sort of person helping them. I happened to run a poll about that recently, although not limited to the sixties.

#BufoPolls TV single dad helpers

There may be sexist situations, although the women often are portrayed as creative, intelligent, and entrepreneurial…the show, though, may not reward them for those qualities, and portray them as naive (which they may have been about business situations, since they weren’t always exposed to the culture).

My suggestion would be to take the opportunity to discuss how things have and haven’t changed, and what it might mean.

For that, I’ll mention something I’ve said before. I’ve taught the use of humor to trainers. The key thing is that laughter is a sign that there is apparent danger, but no real danger. It can certainly be social danger. What has changed in the perception of what is dangerous, what has changed in the reality of it, what may have changed in how audiences empathize with characters?

That said, quite a bit of the humor stands up. Some of it is ahead of its time: my favorite, The Dick Van Dyke Show, addressed (in a funny way), racial perceptions and religious diversity.

My favorite moment in all of television occurs on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which is also still my favorite series.

Are you expecting me to list a lot of series…you probably don’t want to be confused with a whole lot of options, right? Well, back in the day, series had a lot more episodes per season. No thirteen episode seasons here! It was common to have 30 episodes in a season. You also only saw an episode once, and if you missed it, you missed it…except for those occasional summer reruns. That also means that series may seem pretty repetitive…they didn’t expect you to see the same show ten times in one day! You would probably forget that that character actor played three other parts this season. 😉

I’m listing shows that are available free streaming, or at least, at no additional cost if you subscribe. They may be ad-supported, or you may need to get a free trial. I’ll link to the JustWatch listing for the USA. You can change your country and the services you use there.

Let’s get to some suggestions!

The Dick Van Dyke Show
1961-1966, 158 episodes
Available on Hulu, Pluto, and 4 seasons on Prime at time of writing
JustWatch listings of availability

Carl Reiner based this show on his one life as a TV comedy writer (and appears sometimes as Alan Brady, the star of the show). Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore (in her breakthrough role), Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, and Richard Deacon star. It’s got clever writing, slapstick, song and dance, even some (not heavy-handed) social relevancy. I’d start at the beginning and just run through it. There’s also an unaired pilot with a different cast, but save that for later.

Bewitched
1964-1972, 254 episodes
Available on The Roku Channel (4 seasons), IMDb TV (3 seasons)
JustWatch listings of availability

This is a classic example of what I call a “mermaid out of water” show…like a “fish out of water”, where a lot of the humor comes from someone being unfamiliar with the situation in which they are currently placed, but the “fish” is supernatural or science fiction in some way: a witch, an alien, a robot, and so on. Starring Elizabeth Montgomery, but with a very rich supporting cast.

The Patty Duke Show
1963-1966, 104 episodes
Available on Tubi
JustWatch listings of availability

Patty Duke was already established as a great dramatic actor by playing Helen Keller on Broadway (and in a movie), but this was a chance for her (and the viewers) to have some fun. She played “identical cousins”: Cathy, who was raised as a sophisticate in Scotland and moves in with Patty, a “typical American teenager” and her family in Brooklyn. Some of it is done with special effects, some of it with a double who is shot from behind, but it’s goofy and fun. A younger brother adds to the complications, and as always, William Schallert is a welcome presence as Patty’s journalist father.

The Addams Family
1964-1966, 64 episodes
Available on Prime Video
JustWatch listings of availability

For me, still the most loving family on TV. Yes, they are weirdos, but they support each other, they support their community, they help strangers…the last term might seem ironic in this case, because who is stranger? 😉 Here’s an article I wrote about ten years ago arguing that Gomez and Morticia are the best TV parents: Gomez and Morticia: best TV parents ever?

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis
1959-1963 (okay, it started at the very end of the 1950s, but it’s really a 1960s series), 147 episodes
Available on The Roku Channel, Vudu
JustWatch listings of availability

Bob Denver was the breakout as Maynard G. Krebs, a beatnik who shivered at the word “work” and popularized people saying, “like” in the middle of a sentence, but it’s a strong cast overall. Dwayne Hickman plays Dobie, Tuesday Weld is Thalia Menninger (just really present in the beginning of the series), and Sheila James is Zelda Gilroy. This show reportedly was part of the inspiration for Scooby-Doo.

The Flintstones
1960-1966, 166 episodes
Available on Boomerang (free trial)
JustWatch listings of availability

While cartoon shows are commonly produced for adults now, The Flintstones was a breakthrough as a prime time animated series. Based on The Honeymooners, it’s safe to say that the “modern stone age family” is now better known than it’s inspiration.

The Beverly Hillbillies
1962-1971, 275 episodes
Available on Prime Video, Hulu (2 seasons each)
JustWatch listings of availability

Emmy-nominated and one of the most popular shows ever, the premise is a rural family striking it rich and moving to Beverly Hills. The characters are classic and yes, their cultural confusion is a lot of the source of the humor. While it can get slapstick, it’s a warm, if somewhat non-traditional family: widowed father, his mother-in-law, his daughter, and his cousin’s son.

The Andy Griffith Show
1960-1968, 149 episodes
Available on Prime Video
JustWatch listings of availability

Small-town, warm-hearted, and with scene-stealing Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife. Andy Griffith starred as Sheriff Andy Taylor, with Ron(ny) Howard as his young son Opie and Frances Bavier as Aunt Bee.

Those are just a few to take your mind off of things! Have other suggestions? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


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CBS ALL ACCESS 1 month free: so much more than Picard!

March 28, 2020

CBS ALL ACCESS 1 month free: so much more than Picard!

I would say that

CBS ALL ACCESS

has been using Star Trek: Picard (a sequel series to Star Trek: The Next Generation) as the main attraction for their subser (subscription service). Since they are giving away a month free right now, with no obligation, I thought I’d try it (despite having enough to watch) to see what else it has.

I was pleasantly surprised!

Let me say first that they made signing up for it easy. The “coupon code” (ALL, in this case), was already filled in for me. I pretty much just put in my contact and payment information, and that was it. I can cancel before the month is up and pay nothing. I told Alexa to remind me a couple of days…I plan to cancel.

Now, as to content:

Of course, they have their original…Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, The Twilight Zone (remake)…

I also knew they would have older shows, but that turned out to be a better selection than I thought. Some things that caught my eye:

  • Archie’s Weird Mysteries, a cartoon with the Riverdale gang
  • Beauty and the Beast (the Linda Hamilton/Ron Perlman version
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Brain Dead
  • Cheers
  • Danger Mouse
  • Danny Phantom
  • Extant
  • Family Ties
  • Fraser
  • Gunsmoke
  • Happy Days
  • The original and remake Hawaii Five-O
  • I Love Lucy
  • Inspector Gadget
  • Jericho
  • The Legend of Korra
  • The original and remake MacGyver
  • Madam Secretary
  • Medium
  • Mission: Impossible (the original series, yes, starting with the Dan Briggs episodes)
  • The original and (recent) remake The Odd Couple
  • Perry Mason
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Melissa Joan Hart)
  • Scorpion
  • Lots of Star Trek, including The Animated Sereis
  • Strange Angel
  • Taxi
  • Tell Me a Story
  • Touched By an Angel
  • The original Twilight Zone (in addition to the remake)
  • The original Twin Peaks
  • Under the Dome
  • Wings
  • Young Sheldon

Quite a bit there that is bingeable…and I didn’t mention game/reality shows.

There was also live TV, but another good opportunity during your free month is movies. I did check, and they appear to be unedited…by that I mean they haven’t had the racy/violent parts removed, such as would have happened in the old days if they were broadcast on CBS over the air.

Some of those:

  • The American President
  • Awakenings (with Robert De Niro & Robin Williams)
  • The Big Chill
  • Clockwork Orange
  • The Craft
  • Eat Pray Love
  • Escape from New York
  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  • Funny Girl
  • Gattaca
  • The Gift (with Cate Blachett)
  • Godzilla 2000
  • The Iron Giant
  • Kung Fu Hustle
  • The Mothman Prophecies
  • My Best Friend’s Wedding
  • My Girl
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • The Perfect Storm
  • Pretty in Pink
  • The Prince of Tides
  • The Professional
  • Rachel Getting Married
  • Single White Female
  • The Social Network
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • St. Elmo’s Fire
  • Stand By Me
  • Star Trek IV (the original crew…time travel to San Francisco), VIII, VIII, X
  • Starship Troopers (that’s the reason I know they didn’t bowdlerize them…that famous scene was still there)
  • Starshine Cleaning
  • Tin Cup
  • You’ve Got Mail

All in all, I don’t expect to get through everything I’d like to see in a month…but there’s still no obligation. 😉


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The “Handsomest Man in Hollywood” died from the pandemic…in 1918

March 24, 2020

The “Handsomest Man in Hollywood” died from the pandemic…in 1918

The pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have infected 500 million people (roughly a quarter of the world population…the equivalent of about two billion today) and probably killed tens of millions.

One of those is largely unknown today, but was one of the biggest movie stars of the day…the equivalent of the “Sexiest Man Alive”.

He was thirty.

Advertisement for Harold Lockwood movie

Harold Lockwood had worked his way up through the system. He had success paired with Mary Pickford, but really hit it big as a team with May Allison.

He was so popular that magazines wrote “lifestyle” articles just about him…talking about him changing a tire or having a picnic. He also became a writer himself, doing a monthly column for one of the biggest film magazines, Motion Picture.

Not only was the flu devastating the planet, there was a World War happening. We call it “World War I” now, but at the time, they didn’t expect another…it was called “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars”.

Lockwood was active in the effort to sell war bonds to help support the troops abroad…one of the most successful.

It’s now thought that it’s possible he caught the flu while working in a booth…picture George Clooney shaking hands with the public to get them to support a cause.

Thanks to the internet, it’s possible for you to see some of his movies right now. My guess is that he’d appreciate that in another pandemic, more than 100 years after the one that cut short his career, people could still get some pleasure from the work he did.

at Archive.org

Tim Lussier’s excellent article at SilentsAreGolden.com helped expand my knowledge of Harold Lockwood for this post. Please consider visiting it and the rest of that site:


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :)

Shop ’til you help! :)

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I went for a walk yesterday…but I think it was too stressful to do it again

March 22, 2020

I went for a walk yesterday…but I think it was too stressful to do it again

My Significant Other and I usually walk for a couple of hours each weekend day. That could be at the dog park (we drive quite a ways to get to a giant dog park, one of the best in the world) or around our neighborhood.

We think of it as our favorite date. 🙂 It’s a time when we get to focus on each other and talk, and also get to see other people. We “know” lots of people (and dogs) at the dog park. We love seeing them and chatting.

I’m also very into animals. At the dog park, we see many different kinds of birds, and some different mammals (we always look for the pinnipeds, and they aren’t there consistently, which makes it even more exciting).

I had a pretty intense week. I work in healthcare, although I don’t do direct patient care. I train doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, primarily on software. That does mean I’m often where patient care is happening, but I’m not doing that now. I have an additional risk factor over many people, so I’m really trying to avoid being around others…which is very hard for a super social extrovert.

However, I am doing a lot remotely. Workflows have changed (I’ve also taught change management & time management). I may have three things going on at once: actively involved in one online meeting, monitoring two others on phones.

I was looking forward to walking yesterday.

After we did, though, I was really aware of how stressful it had been.

Now, I don’t usually make decisions based on my emotions. Spock was a fictional hero of mine, and I’m a great person to have around during an emergency (because I’ll make the, yes, logical choices). It would be illogical to ignore the affect of stress hormones on my body, though.

Why was it stressful?

One element was hypervigilance. I always look around when we walk: I’m looking for animals, such as squirrels. This was different: I was looking ahead for humans to avoid.

It felt like being on The Walking Dead.

I might see someone 50 meters/yards up ahead on the path. I’d look around for a place for my SO and I to go where we could be six feet/2 meters away from them. If we could step up on a hill, great. If not, we would step out into the traffic lane (it’s a quiet area, even more so now). In more than one case, we crossed to the other side of the street.

During those interactions, there often was tension, at least at first. I get that it could look like an ambush…we were standing out there in the weeds, and we probably weren’t immediately visible.

We actually resented people who were stopping to look at nature, or walking more slowly than us. We weren’t mad at them, but it meant we had to change our pace or take another path so we didn’t overtake them.

We did end up having a nice conversation with another couple about dogs…standing far enough apart with them outside their house.

Still…

I understand stress really well: that’s an important part of time management. What’s the difference between stress and hard work? Stress is unresolved. If your job was to dig ditches and you dug three in a day, that would be hard work, but it wouldn’t be stressful. If you felt like you had to call somebody today, and never reached them, it would be stressful.

Your body can rev up its capabilities during a time of special need…but it’s costly. Think about someone who lifts a car off another person who is trapped. Their body can change what it is doing to enable that slight lifting…but hours later, the hero might be unable to stand up.

When something is unresolved, your body stays in that ready mode. That’s one reason why it is so important to set achievable goals.

Was it hard work to maintain social (actually physical) distancing? Sometimes…it wasn’t always easy to get out of the way. I have some mobility restriction which makes it a tad more challenging. Remembering all the time to judge where someone was going to be took effort.

It was certainly stressful. We couldn’t know when we got home if we’d been exposed or not (we figured we hadn’t and had done what we could). We followed recommendations: we came in, washed our hands (I know how to do that properly from my training at work), took off our “outside clothes” and put them in the washer, washed our hands again, and then each took showers.

We are close to each other: we are exposed to each other all the time. My Significant Other has been going out doing the necessary shopping and could bring it home. I jokingly say if we go, we are going together.

I should also say that joking about it is fine. Different people will deal with external threats different ways. Joking about something helps disempower it in your mind (I’ve taught humor, too…laughter is a signal that there is apparent danger, but no real danger, generally). I would never joke about it affecting other people negatively…that feels too real to me, but joking about myself is fine.

Bottom line: I know we’re better off than many. We have a backyard (our dogs can go in and out). We can exercise at home. We have more tech than most people…more books/videos/audio, and VR (although I haven’t gone into it all week, which is very unusual for me). My employer is considered essential, and (virtual fingers crossed), my job is likely to be continued. No one in our families so far has tested positive, although some are seriously affected by the economic changes.

I’ll stay home today, and then get back to work tomorrow…

Getting outside is important, and I don’t begrudge you at all for doing it, following the guidelines. It’s just not the right choice for me right now.


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The most important psychological thing about working at home: structure

March 17, 2020

The most important psychological thing about working at home: structure

While many people can’t do their jobs from home, there are also a lot of people who are now working from home for the first time.

As someone who has done that in the past, I thought I’d give you my biggest tip for adjusting to it.

It’s not something technical, like how to make sure your internet is up to the task.

It has to do with your mental framing.

I do want to say right off, this is just a layperson’s opinion. I’m not a mental health professional. If you are seriously concerned about your mental health in this situation, I’d recommend you consult someone licensed. Your work may even have resources for you.

I am, though, in my “day job”, a trainer. I enable people to do things which are new to them (or do the things they already do better), and that includes an understanding of motivation. My responsibility isn’t just to give them the capability to do it, but to help them change their behavior to meet the new workflows. I’ve taught change management.

It may seem like a great thing to be working from home, but it can feel…weird. You may have a mindset that separates very strongly work life from home life. You may be one of those people who very deliberately doesn’t bring work home, or perhaps when you do work at home, you resent it. If you are working at home for the next few weeks (or shorter or longer), you don’t want to spend all that time being angry about it.

You also want to be able to do a good job. If you felt like you weren’t producing like you were at work, that by itself could mess with your head. The vast majority of people want to feel like what they are doing is valuable, and that they are good at it.

Here is the most important thing about working at home: structure.

When you go to an office (or some other worksite), you usually go at the same time or at the direction of a boss or because your clients have a requirement. You don’t choose whether or not to go, or when to go. You get into “work clothes”. You do something different with your grooming than you do on a non-workday (a weekend, for many).

You still want to do that.

Your commute may have changed from 30 minutes to 30 steps, but still set an alarm. Still get up at the same time every day…it doesn’t have to be the same time you got up when you went “into the office”, but it should be the same time.

Change into work clothes. Does that mean you’ll be on the couch in a suit and tie or put on pantyhose? It doesn’t have to mean that, but it shouldn’t be what you would have worn for a day of leisure. Superman feels different when he changes out of his Clark Kent clothes into his supersuit. “This looks like a job for…my job!” 😉

Have a designated workplace in your home. Ideally, sit at a desk or a table, not where you hang out with the family. Check it for ergonomics and safety. It’s possible, that if you are working at home and you have your work laptop balanced on the arm of the couch, and it falls off and breaks your foot, it will be workers’ compensation (I don’t know that for sure…I’m also not a lawyer). That will help your pets/Significant Other/kids adjust to you working, too. They may not understand why they can’t interact with you if you are sitting where you normally sit, but they can (maybe, perhaps) learn to respect this.

Take a lunch! Separate your work time from your non-work time, even at home. If you are used to taking breaks at work, take them at home. Move away from your workspace. If you take lunch at the same time of day every day at work, keep taking it at that time. Be aware that you may eat more at home, with food readily available at any time.

That’s it, that’s the main thing, and once you think about it, you’ll know right away whether something fits it or not. That will help you still feel valuable, and still be productive.

Working at home isn’t as bad as not being able to work at all, of course, or being sick. To pretend it isn’t a challenge, though, isn’t realistic. You may not feel like you have control over your circumstances, but you can influence how those changes impact your mental state.

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This is a good time to try virtual reality

March 16, 2020

This is a good time to try virtual reality

I’m an early adopter of virtual reality (VR). I’ve been using it regularly for years now, bringing my headgear with me to work to use at lunch.

I’ve written about it in this blog a number of times, but I know that many people haven’t tried it, or haven’t tried It in years.

It’s now much easier to use than it used to be. It also works better than it used to work. Once you get a device on your network (which I know can be a challenge with any kind of device for some people), it’s not any harder than sending a text.

The “motion sickness” that some people felt in the past has been largely resolved for most people, I believe. That had to do with lag: as you moved your head, if the image lagged behind your eye position, it was disorienting. Devices are so much faster than they were 10 years ago, it’s less of an issue (but I won’t say it’s completely gone for everybody).

Just in the past couple of years, the option of “stand-alone” devices, which don’t need to be plugged into a computer or have you put your phone in it (the latter is how I do VR currently), have become easily available and relatively affordable. The

Oculus Go (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is a standalone which is about $200 at times of writing. I know that’s not cheap, but it’s less than a lot of options have been, and it has a 4.4 star customer rating out of 5 with 4,073 reviews at the time of writing.

If you are technically adept, you can get much less expensive devices which will work with your phone (Android or iPhone)…I’ve seen them for under $30. They work, but you don’t have the same sorts of options for content and they can be a lot harder to set-up and use.

What are you going to do with them?

Well, there are a lot of “experiences” (that’s what apps are called for VR)…sure, games, but you can also just “be” in a place by yourself, like underwater with fish swimming around you, on a train, or in space.

However, the reason I’m especially recommending them now is because of the social experiences.

That’s what many of us are going to be missing…hanging out with family, friends, or strangers.

Yes, you can do that just by voice on a phone call. Yes, you can do video calls (which devices like the Amazon Echoes with screens have made much simpler).

In VR, though, even though you are seeing an avatar (a cartoon) of the person, you can see some of their body language, and that’s crucial.

VR actually feels more natural to me than a videocall like Skype.

That seems ridiculous, right? How can a cartoon, maybe one with purple skin or cat ears, feel more realistic than an actual image of the real person?

The etiquette on a videocall is that you just stare at the screen. It’s considered to be bad form to even turn your head away to look at something else in the room. That just isn’t natural.

Let me give you an example.

I was being interviewed in VR by Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles

My interview about (and IN) VR with Len Edgerly…and giveaways!

We were virtually sitting next to each other in a forest-type scene…and, as I recall, a deer appeared across a river. Just as I would in real life, I could see Len turn his head to look at the deer, and I could follow suit.

The same thing happened when we were underwater, and a grouper swam by.

That’s the real world way things work.

You follow someone’s gaze, which you can do as the avatar moves its head the same way the person does.

Depending on the set-up, you may also be able to see hand gestures (that requires a sensor of some kind to pick up what the hand is doing, although there are some alternatives to that).

You can also look around you: off to the side, behind you, above you. That’s what people do. I’m amused when people seem to think that single-tasking is natural. If you were on the savannah making a stone axe and weren’t, at the same time, paying attention to noise in the tall grass, you wouldn’t last long. 🙂

You can watch a video together. You can go to a show or a sports event (although those may be recorded currently). You can play games.

You can use a platform like vTime to just be in a place and talk to other people (whether you know them or not). Here’s a listing of those:

Best VR Social Platforms from G2

I expect there to be a considerable increase in VR use over the next year or so…and augmented reality (where you see what is around you in the real world, but other things overlay it…and that could include people at some point) will be much bigger than that in the future.

If you have questions or comments about VR, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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The free JustWatch app can help you find free videos to watch

March 15, 2020

The free JustWatch app can help you find free videos to watch

Right now, many people are asking for recommendations for movies & TV shows to watch. Whether actually restricted to home, or staying home out of choice, adults (and children) may find themselves with more opportunity to watch.

That’s not to suggest people just become couch potatoes. I never watch TV without doing something else at the same time…writing, exercising, folding laundry… I do reference TV and movies a lot (I also reference books a lot…I used to manage a bookstore), and I used to have people tell me I’d get a lot more done if I didn’t watch TV as much.

I’m scientifically minded, so I did an experiment. 🙂 I didn’t watch TV for a year…and I didn’t get anything more done (I think I’m generally seen as pretty productive). Now, it’s up to them to do the experiment: watch more TV and see if they get less done, but somehow, I don’t think they are going to do that. 😉

I’m an eclectic consumer of content (I like 1960s TV and 19th Century literature, and don’t really see why one is more respected than the other), but there are certainly times I want to see something specific, or have something suggested to me.

For example, on Friday someone referenced a particular Twilight Zone episode. I wanted to watch it at lunch at work (in VR…my favorite way to watch videos) while I exercised, but how was I to know in just a minute where I could (legally) do that?

Easy.

I turned to one of my favorite resources, the JustWatch app.

It told me that it was available on Hulu, and I have a VR experience (that’s what apps are called in VR) for that. The Hulu app isn’t as good as the Netflix one for me, because it doesn’t let me change the orientation of the “screen” (my exercise is floor work), but it works.

I’m not connected to the JustWatch app except as a customer, but I use it quite often.

The basic concept is pretty simple: it searches streaming services for videos. It’s the execution that makes the difference.

Now, I have to say, the experience is different on different platforms. I like it better on my Android Galaxy than I do on my Fire TV. The Android app gives me a lot more choices for streaming services, but that makes sense…more apps are available. Weirdly, though, the Fire TV app won’t search Tubi, even though Fire TV itself does search Tubi…so I’m thinking it’s not an Amazon decision.

Back to the features:

You can create an account so you can sync your preferences and watchlist between devices, but it’s not necessary. If you create it, it’s free.

There are four main “tabs” (I’m going to work off the Android app for this article):

  • Home
  • New
  • Popular
  • Watchlist

New breaks it down by service (you tell it which services you watch…more on that below) and date. That can be very helpful. On March 13th, they listed 84 titles for Tubi, 2 titles for Pluto TV, one for Netflix, 1 for Prime Video, and so on. If you want to watch one, you can just tap it to see all the watch options, then tap again to launch it. Although I headlined free, this will also give you options to rent or buy it…and choices for different formats (SD/HD/4K).

Popular is actually how I can find all titles. With my filters, it is listing 8,222 titles at time of writing, but I could limit that to just movies or TV shows. I can also adjust how old it is, rating on Rotten Tomatoes and/or IMDb, price (which includes ones that are just free/free with ads/or subscription). I can also filter for genres:

  • Action & Adventure
  • Animation
  • Comedy
  • Crime
  • Documentary
  • Drama
  • Fantasy
  • History
  • Horror
  • Kids & Family
  • Music & Musical
  • Mystery & Thriller
  • Romance
  • Science-Fiction
  • Sport
  • War & Military
  • Western
  • Made in Europe
  • Age rating (MPAA)…it may be worth noting that with many services, it’s easy to find gore and nudity

You can also sort in a number of ways, and that’s important to me. I find most streaming services have really inefficient search options. That may be because they want to use algorithms to suggest content to you. One of the things I really like to do is just scroll through alphabetically. I’m familiar with a lot of movie & TV shows, and I may see one I want to rewatch or that I’ve never seen.

As to what they search if you choose it (again, on the Android app at time of writing):

  • Netflix
  • Prime Video
  • Disney+
  • Hulu
  • IMDb TV (free with ads)
  • Amazon Video (buy or rent)
  • HBO Now
  • Apple TV Plus
  • YouTube
  • YouTube Premium
  • YouTube Free
  • Google Play Movies
  • Apple iTunes
  • CBS
  • The Roku Channel
  • Hoopla (connects to public libraries)
  • The CW
  • CW Seed
  • Starz
  • Criterion Channel
  • FandangoNOW
  • Vudu
  • VUDU Free
  • Quibi
  • Showtime
  • PBS
  • Pantaflix
  • FXNow
  • DC Universe
  • Kanopy
  • Comedy Central
  • Microsoft Store
  • Crunchyroll
  • Redbox
  • Max GO
  • HBO Go
  • ABC
  • DIRECTV
  • Tribeca Shortlist
  • Crackle
  • AMC Theatres
  • AMC
  • Fandor
  • Curiosity Stream
  • NBC
  • Epi
  • Freeform
  • History
  • Syfy
  • A&E
  • Livetime
  • Shudder
  • Screambox
  • Acorn TV
  • Sundance Now
  • Popcornflix
  • BritBox
  • GuideDoc
  • realeyz
  • Mubi
  • Fandango
  • Netflix Kids
  • Pantaya
  • Boomerang
  • Sling TV
  • Pluto TV
  • FlixFling
  • TCM
  • okay, okay…etc., etc., etc! 😉

Once you’ve selected them, you can just tap to toggle one on and off, meaning you could just search Prime, for example, if you wanted.

It’s also worth noting that I’m searching the USA right now, but you can pick your country!

There you go! It’s no cost to get the app, and then you can find videos to watch.

By the way, as a bonus, here are a few free services I use:

  • Tubi: this one skews towards the geek, but even though there are commercials, it respects the original material
  • YouTube: a lot of old movies are available for free here
  • Pluto TV: there are ads, and they sometimes cut away at odd points, but it has nice streaming channels. This weekend, we’ve pretty much had the Paramount channel on (African Queen is running right now). They also have movies & TV shows on demand

Enjoy!

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Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)

Amazon’s taking on Disney+ with movies they wouldn’t carry

February 17, 2020

Amazon’s taking on Disney+ with movies they wouldn’t carry

I’ve said, and I think it’s true, that I don’t see why someone who was already paying for a video subser (subscription service) wouldn’t pay for Disney+. I’ve watched quite a bit on it, mostly older content, but also some newer items and originals.

I also watch:

  • Amazon Prime Video (PV)
  • Hulu
  • Netflix

and some others, including YouTube and Tubi.

I didn’t think many people would drop a service to pick up Disney+: some people might, but not most.

Prime Video needs to make itself valuable, though. Even if not many people are going to drop it at first (and certainly, not those who are paying for Prime for other reasons, including shipping benefits), it’s better to keep those eyeballs and thoughts on Amazon.

The are spending tons of money on originals (there is a Lord of the Rings TV series in the works), but I’ve noticed what seems to be an additional strategy.

They are offering offbeat movies, things that Disney+ wouldn’t carry. Sometimes it’s because of the content, sometimes it’s just going to be from other studios besides all the Disney varieties and what D+ has access to from Fox.

That’s a real bonus for geeks like me and exploitation/kitsch fans!

I haven’t found that any of the subsers make it easy to find things, but I do find the JustWatch app helpful. In this post, I thought I’d list ten of these “anti-Disney” movies. I should be clear: some of these may be offensive in some ways, and Amazon isn’t giving you a “trigger warning”, the way that D+ is. I’m also not saying these are the best: I’ve seen them all, though, and found them at least interesting.

Also, movies can move in and out of subser libraries at pretty much any time, so it’s possible that something I listed won’t be part of Prime when you check.

I’m going to work through the movies alphabetically, only picking a few out of the thousands. I probably won’t get very far, so I may do more recommendation posts like this (let me know if you want to see them by commenting on this post).

Okay, let’s step outside the bounds of the Magic Kingdom!

Battle Beyond the Stars (1980)
Overview: John Sayles scripted what has been called the Magnificent Seven in space. Stars in include Richard Thomas, George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, Sybil Danning, and John Saxon as the big bad. Roger Corman (he’ll show up again on this list) co-produced but this is different from his low budget efforts of a couple of decades earlier…for one thing, it’s in color. 😉 It’s a lot of fun!

Beyond the Time Barrier (1960)
Overview: Edgar G. Ullmer directs this low-budget time travel movie…it’s hokey for sure, but that’s the appeal. It’s influenced by the Cold War, with a totalitarian government and a Russia vs. USA element.

A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Overview: Don Johnson stars in this adaptation of a Harlan Ellison work. Jason Robards & Alvy Moore also appear. It has violence & sexual content, but a really clever relationship between Johnson & a dog (voiced brilliantly by Tim McIntire)…the telepathic dog is the brains of the pair in a futuristic wasteland. L.Q. Jones’ script (the actor also directed) has dark humor and surprises.

Bride of the Gorilla (1951)
Overview: Lon Chaney Jr. & Raymond Burr appear in this weird low-budget movie where someone is cursed to turn into a gorilla…it’s definitely a gorilla suit picture, and was referenced on M*A*S*H. One of the most brilliant screenwriters of all time, Curt Siodmak, both writes and directs.

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Bruce Campbell stars as Elvis Presley…wait, I need to say more? 😉 Don Coscarelli wrote and directed, Ossie Davis co-stars as John F. Kennedy (or, at least he says is), and the two of them fight an evil mummy endangering the retirement home where they live.

A Bucket of Blood (1959)
Overview: Roger Corman directed the inimitable Dick Miller is this low-budget horror comedy. It’s one of my favorite Corman works: the title is misleading, it’s really about the acting and script, with Miller as a sad sack busboy who goes to extreme measures to fit into beatnik culture.

Bug (1975)
This is a weird one. Jeannot Szwarc directs, from a script co-written by William Castle and Thomas Page. Page had written the source novel, The Hephaestus Plague. An earthquake releases bugs that can start fires. Bradford Dillman stars and ends up, well, bug-eyed at the happenings.

Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)
After the horror adaptations of the 1960s, Hammer gave screenwriter Brian Clemens a chance to direct his own original script. In the original Dracula, Van Helsing is one of the great proto-geeks, but Captain Kronos is a swashbuckling vampire hunter! R-rated in America, it features Caroline Munro.

C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979)
Overview: Hey, I had to get at least one kid-friendly one on the list! Wesley Eure (Land of the Lost) creates a robot dog in a story by Joseph Barbera of Hanna-Barbera (but this is live action). Conrad Bain and Valerie Bertinelli co-star. It’s got a bit of a Disney feel…but you don’t watch this one because you want to see an exceptionally good movie, it could be fun nostalgia for you.

C.H.U.D. (1984)
Overview: Infamous horror movie with people disappearing, and even the poster made clear that the danger was coming from underground. Daniel Stern and John Heard star. It generated a sequel…

I happened to be posting this on Presidents’ Day in the USA…if you were looking forward to watching a movie at home on this day off, there are ten for Prime Video that you’ll probably never see on Disney+! Enjoy!

Oh, and in case that’s not enough, here is a quick listing of some more…I may describe them in more detail in later posts, if there is interest.

  • Aswang (a traditional Philippine monster)
  • Attack of the Puppet People
  • Countess Dracula (Ingrid Pitt)
  • Rocky Jones, Space Ranger: Crash of the Moons
  • Creature of Destruction
  • Bad Taste (Peter Jackson)
  • Crucible of Terror
  • Cry of the Banshee
  • Cthulhu
  • Daughter of Dr. Jekyll
  • Day of the Animals
  • Dead Snow
  • Deadtime Stories
  • Deep Star Six
  • Delicatessen
  • Dementia 13
  • Demon City Shinjuku
  • Destination Moon
  • Devil Girl from Mars
  • Diabolique
  • Dog Soldiers
  • Don’t Look in the Basement
  • The Doomsday Machine
  • Double Dragon
  • Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs
  • Dr. Terror’s Gallery of Horror
  • Dragonslayer
  • Earth Girls Are Easy
  • Earth vs. the Spider
  • Eegah
  • Elvira Mistress of the Dark
  • Embryo (Rock Hudson, Barbara Carrera)
  • Encounter with the Unknown (narrated by Rod Serling)
  • Fire Maidens from Outer Space
  • Flowers in the Attic
  • Forbidden World
  • Frankenstein vs. The Space Monster
  • Frankenstein’s Great Aunt Tillie

Maybe more another time!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project (AKA Enwoven)! Join the TMCGTT Timeblazers!

Bufo’s Alexa Skills

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other organizations, begin your Amazon shopping from a link on their sites: Amazon.com (Smile.Amazon.com)


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