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My Top Twenty Favorite Films



Great films create memorable characters and interesting worlds of their own. I chose the twenty films ‘worlds’ that I enjoy visiting again and again. The order is somewhat haphazard, but I included twenty films worth exploring.  There are many more.   These films have made an impact on me, on the movies and the people who watch them. That’s My Entertainment? What’s yours?

1. The Godfather 1972
The original is one of the finest films I’ve ever seen. The sequel is almost as good. It has left a lasting impression on me, and helped me admire the power of film. A compelling story with beautiful cinematography, the Godfather takes us to a world that is as much about family as it is about crime. A young man who wanted nothing to do with the family business, and loses his soul in the process.

2. Marty 1955
Ernest Borgnine stars in this black and white study of a lonely butcher in search of love. Borgnine gives the performance of a lifetime in this classic. You may not know this film, you may never see it on a 10 greatest list, but it is very, very, good.

3. E.T.   1982
Spielberg bares his a little of himself as he tells a story of the Extra Terrestrial that just wants to go home. Deep, spiritual themes run throughout the film.

4. Psycho 1960
There are a lot of scary movies, but very few can touch the madness of Psycho. The shower scene still makes people prefer the bathtub!

5. The Wizard of Oz 1939
This color masterpiece didn’t become a true classic until it was released on TV. Judy Garland will always be remembered for Oz, a place “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

6. Goodfellas 1990
Everyone at the top of their game when this was made. Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta’s performances made this one of Scorsese’s greatest films.

7. The Great Dictator 1941
Probably Charlie Chaplin’s most personal film. Timely today as it was in 1941. His marvelous speech rejecting power and violence still resonates with audiences today.

8. The Shawshank Redemption 1994
This sleeper film hit audiences where they live: justice and freedom. Two great actors, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, carry this story from the prison depths to the hope of redemption and freedom. It also made Morgan Freeman the go-to-guy for movie narration.

9. A River Runs Through It 1992
Every film and story asks, ‘What is the world like?’ In River, the world is both incredibly beautiful and sadly disappointing. A young Brad Pitt is tremendous as the brother who could have it all, but he just can’t hold on to it. A supporting cast includes Tom Skerritt and Craig Sheffer.

10. Schindler’s List 1993
Some movies remind us of the power of film, and Schindler’s List is one of them. In this story, based on World War II and the Holocaust, Oskar Schindler tries to find some meaning and redemption with the lives he holds in his hands. Spielberg and the film became symbols of Shoah, and the reason to keep these stories alive.

11. Casablanca 1944

Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in what was considered a B film at best. Still, the crisp writing, directing and acting makes it one of the most beloved films of all time.

12. Lawrence of Arabia 1962
Yes, it’s a very long film, but it is one of the most beautifully photographed films of all time. It’s hard to take your eyes off the performance of Peter O’Toole as Lawrence. Omar Sharif is equally magnificent. Greatness or madness? Yes.

13. West Side Story 1961
What can I say? It’s one of my favorite musicals, and I could watch it any time. Yes, I know, Natalie Wood is not Puerto Rican, but she is Maria.

14. The Bridge on the River Kwai  1956
This is the movie that Alec Guinness should be remembered for. Yes, another prison movie, but also a film of triumph and failure, dignity and humiliation. Best line: “Oh my God, what have I done?” What indeed.

15. Titanic 1997
James Cameron’s enormous film tells a compelling story, even if we know the ending. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet are perfectly cast.

16. Patton 1970
The opening scene with the giant American flag is priceless. George C. Scott is Patton. World War II was his destiny. Karl Malden his conscience.

17. Jaws 1975
The shark didn’t work when they wanted it to, and so they went on to create one of the first true blockbusters. Spielberg again, I know, and someday I’ll create a list of greatest films, just his.

18. The Apartment 1955
This Billy Wilder film was billed as a comedy, but the laugh is on the studio. Jack Lemon and Shirley MacLaine battle for right and wrong and every where in between when it comes to men and women. Fred MacMurray was an inspired choice for the womanizing boss.

19. Fargo 1996
I loved Fargo and I love it still because it is so quirky, thanks to William H. Macey and Frances McDormand. I think it gave other filmmakers permission to try new things.

20. Pulp Fiction 1994
Quentin Tarantino takes us on quite a ride with Pulp Fiction. John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis all give strong performances. You may get to the end of the film and say, “Huh?” But, you might just say, “Let’s watch it again.

And that’s what all great films make you want to do!

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‘Abigail’: Bite Me Harder Tiny Dancer



A gang of misfit kidnappers find their tiny target far more bloodthirsty than they bargained for! 

So, unfortunately, the trailers gave it away and let’s be real that’s why most of us are here, the knowledge that the kidnap victim Abigail (Alisha Weir), codenamed by the would-be kidnappers appropriately as ‘tiny dancer’, is in fact, a vampire. Not a spoiler, point of fact, one of the film’s actual great selling points. And the reactions from the misfit club when faced with a real actual f*cking vampire, range hilariously from the blunt “no such thing as vampires” all the way to, “Are we talking True Blood or Twilight rules or what?” all while covered in buckets and buckets of blood. 

Anyway, the gang manages to subdue and abscond with the aforementioned Abigail, in a pre-prepared duffle bag, like you do, and converge to a new location, a house oddly similar to the one she was just taken from. Welcomed and given codenames by a man who introduces himself as Lambert (Giancarlo Esposito), our misfit club is told to simply hold down the fort in this strange old house with the girl chained up in a room and one person to attend her, for twenty-four hours, and they’ll all get paid. 

As inevitable as the tides, the dopey druggie Dean (Angus Cloud) is the first to die, and we’re going to give that death-style points for inspiring terror right off the bat. The very controlling Frank (Dan Stevens, holy crap yes that is the guy from FXs Legion) is also of course the most suspicious – of everyone around him, sure, but also he himself is totes sus. We don’t learn terribly much about the musclebound tank who gets dubbed Peter (Kevin Durand), he’s your pretty typical little-brains-heart-of-gold muscle-for-hire any proper gang needs, right down to the bottle problem. Sammy (Kathryn Newton), well, even for being a purported hacker-type, she has, like, reality issues. Rickles (William Catlett), he’s arguably the most dangerous among them, ex-military and yet somehow here and involved in kidnapping for a few mills. Joey (Melissa Barrera) is our Final Girl, and though she has the inevitable problems in her recent past, she seems more capable of doing the hard thing and still somehow empathizing at the end of the day. Must be her burning desire to get back with her son. 

The fit hits the shan pretty quickly, and Abigail morphs from tiny dancer to tiny monster, though honestly, the way Abigail spoke the entire time in the film, if the ‘nappers had been paying close enough attention, would have been a solid clue. The performance from Alisha Weir as Abigail is incredible, as she literally dances a fine line between comedy, tragedy, and outright monstrosity. With a face full of makeup and the force of a tiny tornado to back it up, Weir brings to mind the great performances of the vampires in 30 Days of Night who saw the practicality in the need to trap their food, but also, play with it a bit first before feasting! Anything else would give away the absolute fun time that is Abigail, so you should go see it, out in theaters now!

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Scrubs Reunion: The Band Gets Back Together



Fans of the beloved medical comedy series Scrubs were recently treated to a thrilling surprise when John C. McGinley, who portrayed the iconic Dr. Perry Cox, dropped a photo on Twitter hinting at a potential reunion project. The image, showing McGinley alongside his former co-stars, sparked a wave of excitement and speculation among fans who have been longing for more adventures with the beloved Sacred Heart Hospital staff.

While details about the reunion project are still scarce, the mere possibility of seeing the gang back together again has sent waves of nostalgia through fans who fondly remember the show’s original run from 2001 to 2010. Scrubs was not just a sitcom; it was a heartfelt exploration of friendship, love, and the chaotic world of medicine, all wrapped up in a quirky and often hilarious package.

At the heart of the show was the bromance between JD (played by Zach Braff) and Turk (played by Donald Faison), whose antics and deep bond served as the emotional anchor for the series. Their dynamic, along with the sage wisdom (and relentless sarcasm) of Dr. Cox, provided viewers with memorable moments that have stood the test of time.

As we eagerly await more news about the Scrubs reunion project, one thing is for sure: it’s time to dust off those old DVDs, rewatch our favorite episodes, and get ready to welcome back our favorite gang of doctors, nurses, and janitors for what promises to be a memorable reunion.

But Scrubs was more than just its main characters. The supporting cast, including the eccentric Janitor (played by Neil Flynn), the neurotic Elliot (played by Sarah Chalke), and the wise-cracking nurse Carla (played by Judy Reyes), each brought their own unique flavor to the show, creating a rich tapestry of characters that fans grew to love.

While the photo shared by McGinley has fueled speculation about what the reunion project might entail, whether it’s a one-off special, a new season, or something else entirely, one thing is certain: fans are eagerly awaiting any opportunity to dive back into the world of Sacred Heart Hospital.

In an age where reboots and revivals are commonplace, Scrubs stands out as a series that has the potential to recapture the magic that made it a fan favorite in the first place. With its blend of humor, heart, and unforgettable characters, a reunion project has the opportunity to not only satisfy longtime fans but also introduce a new generation to the joys of life at Sacred Heart.

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‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’: Rebellion with a cause



The story of the rise of Coriolanus Snow, from teenage Capital City pawn to rising Dictator of the Hunger Games! 

Apparently no one out here in post-apocalyptic Panem has heard of irony and so they name their children things like Coriolanus (Tom Blyth), Tigress, and further off in Hunger Games lore, after swamp plants like Katniss. Corio’s father was a legendary general and that is pretty much the only reason young Snow and his meager family of grandmother called Grandma’am (Fionnula Flanagan) and sister Tigress (Hunter Schafer) are tolerated here in the Capital City at all. 

Most of the snotty youngsters at the academy won’t let Snow forget how far his family has fallen, but he’s generally not concerned with them. What is concerning is the strong disapproval of the drugged-up Dean Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage) and the creepy attention of Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis) as she lurks in the classroom sniffing out talent. The Dean feels very strongly the annual Hunger Games should end, while Gaul is violently adamant that not only do the Games continue, but that they get as much more attention as possible. And young Snow is stuck in the middle, when the yearly prize money normally awarded to the academy student with the best grades gets switched out for, you guessed it, the student that can make this years’ Hunger Games as entertaining as possible. 

Whilst the students are protesting this sudden change, the annual Reaping is about to commence, and big shock and surprise, Corio’s candidate from District 12 Lucy Grey Baird (Rachel Zegler) is chosen as a Tribute. This is where the film begins to really take off on musical wings, for as it turns out, Lucy Grey can sing. Boy, can that gal sing! She can sing, she can play guitar, she can work a crowd, she can calm things down, she can fire ‘em up too! And Corio, being no dummy himself, instantly plots ways to use his Tributes amazing voice to draw attention to her, and admittedly his own, plight! 

Though far too many people sneer at the idea, Corio takes his position as Mentor to his Tribute seriously enough to sneak onto the tram taking the Tributes to their habitat, which turns out to be a completely appropriate moniker, as this year the Tributes are held before the Hunger Games in a large zoo habitat so the weatherman ‘Lucky’ Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman), host of this years games, can MC the hell out of everything up close and personal! 

What happens at this years Hunger Games and the subsequent consequences to both Corio and Lucy Grey is actually only half the story, and the movie. Coriolanus has always had to be opportunistic, but learning to be absolutely ruthless when necessary under the tutelage of Dr. Gaul, who basically thinks it’s always best to be merciless, is an eye-opening education indeed.  Even after they’ve both been consigned to military service and his friend Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andres Rivera) decides to finally rebel, Corio and Sejanus continue to deceive each other and themselves, to accomplish their separate goals. Not even the love Corio swears he feels for Lucy Grey can save him, or them, from the adamant absolute necessity of the Hunger Games continuing. And after all that’s happened, Coriolanus Snow has gotten a terrific education in the best way to be the absolutely ruthless next Hunger Games advocate, and oh yeah, President of Panem. 

The movie does itself no favors by trying to stuff not one but two major storylines and a bunch of side storylines sadly introduced and then ignored, into the film. It would have been entirely possible to turn Ballads of Songbirds and Snakes into two different movies, separated between feathers and scales if you like, and do justice to the major storylines in both. Blyth gives a fine  performance as a young Coriolanus Snow, but the fact that President Snow is played by Donald Sutherland in all three of the Hunger Games films means Blyth has incredibly large shoes to fill. Rachel Zegler as Lucy Grey is absolute fire, and yes the actress did sing the songs in the film herself, including the Hunger Games franchise epic song, ‘The Hanging Tree’. Every time Lucy Grey opens her mouth and sheer soul-searing music comes out, it provides a distinct counterpoint to the soul-crushing ambition of Coriolanus Snow and further demonstrates the District and Caste separation Hunger Games is known for. And if, by the end of the film, Coriolanus Snow has come to agree that the Hunger Games must continue but perhaps under his own auspices, he has no one but himself to blame when another younger but still rebellious female blows it all up in his face! 

Choose rebellion or conformity for yourself in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

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