Thursday, August 17, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Rescue

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Join in the fun and take part yourself by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

This week on Thursday Movie Picks, we're off on a mission to rescue these three movies from obscurity! Or maybe not, since most of them have a pretty decent following, but I couldn't resist that opening.


The Rescuers (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1977) Not exactly a high point in Disney animation, but one of my favorites all the same, because of fond childhood memories and a sterling voice cast including Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart as a pair of intrepid mice on a mission to rescue a young girl from the clutches of Geraldine Page's Madame Medusa, who needs the young girl to retrieve the Devil's Eye, the world's largest diamond. It's standard, silly Disney stuff, but the voice performances really do make it.

The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984) A soldier is sent back in time to save the mother of the man leading him in the resistance against machines, after an invincible cyborg assassin was sent back in time to kill her. I know it sounds ridiculous, but in the hands of action wizard James Cameron and stars Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's a breathless rollercoaster ride of a movie, as relentless as its title character.

Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012) The true story of a CIA rescue mission to save six Americans caught in the middle of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. How'd they do it? By saying they were filming a sci-fi film and disguising the escapees as the crew. A fine winner of the Best Picture Oscar, Affleck's film is entertaining throughout, but the best part is the escape from the country - even though I knew the ending to the story (because, you know, history), I was on the edge of my seat (which was in the front row of a sold out theater, which I never do because I HATE IT, but it was worth it to see this opening night) the whole time. Truly suspenseful, thrilling stuff, anchored by such a terrific cast of character actors that it doesn't much matter that Affleck is a bit of a dud in the central role of the agent leading the rescue mission.

12 comments:

  1. Great picks! But only two? Oh well they are good ones for sure. I know I am usually the voice of animation hate but I love The Rescuers!! For exactly the reason you stated-it's the voice performances that make it such a pleasure. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are so diametrically opposite personalities but they mesh together so well here. I read an interview with Newhart where he said that Eva showed up the first day to record her part dressed just as Miss Bianca is in the film and the animators loved it so much they modeled the character on her sense of fashion. Eva and Bob also hit it off and remained friends until her death which adds a little something to their chemistry here. Then of course the great Geraldine Page just tears it up as Madame Medusa. She obviously had fun doing it.

    Argo is wonderfully tense, one of those films like Hidden Figures and my first pick that manages to present the details so well that even though the outcome is a known the audience still remains rapt.

    Which brings me to mine, as I said the first is similar to one of yours but the other two look at rescue from wildly different angles!

    Apollo 13 (1995)-Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) has been bumped up to command the Apollo 13 mission to the moon along with Fred Haise (Bill Paxton) and Ken Mattingly (Gary Sinise). Days away from launch Mattingly is pulled due to the risk of an infection and Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon) takes his place and the launch proceeds. Everything seems to be going according to schedule until there is a sudden explosion and the three astronauts are suddenly facing a life and death situation in deep space with the only hope of rescue Mission Control back at NASA. The bulk of the film is taken up with those efforts lead by Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) while Lovell’s wife (Kathleen Quinlan), the other’s family members and the world watch anxiously. Despite the known outcome incredibly gripping film was justly nominated for a slew of Oscars.

    Outrageous Fortune (1987)-Two struggling actresses-the hoity toity Lauren (Shelley Long) and brassy Sandy (Bette Midler) receive scholarships to a prestigious acting class conducted by a legendary Russian teacher Stanislav Korzenowski (Robert Prosky) and despise each other on sight. At the same time they both become involved with a handsome laconic teacher Michael Santers (Peter Coyote) unbeknownst to each other. When it appears that Michael has been killed the pair realize that’s not so and surmise he’s in trouble and needs rescuing. They reluctantly team up to save him, sniping at each other all the way. It does NOT go as expected but they are off on a merry chase across the country aided at times by the stoned out Frank (a hilarious George Carlin). Boisterous comedy with sensational silk and sandpaper chemistry between odd couple Long and Midler.

    Ace in the Hole (1951)-Once successful reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) has landed at a small Albuquerque newspaper due both to his drinking and bad abrasive attitude. Sent on a nothing assignment he stumbles across what he senses is a headline story that could return him to the big leagues, a man has become trapped in a cave-in. Opportunistically manipulating the situation, with the collusion of the sheriff and the man’s greedy wife Lorraine (Jan Sterling) for their advantage more than the safety of the trapped man they find ways to delay the rescue without appearing to do just that. As the news spreads the quiet remote area begins to resemble a carnival atmosphere (the reissue title of the film was The Big Carnival) and the delaying tactics start to endanger the trapped man’s life. Awesome performances but this terribly cynical film is a disturbingly prescient example of the news reporting ethos “If it bleeds, it leads” culture. May be Wilder’s darkest film, that’s saying something for someone who directed Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd.

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    1. WOOPS! I had meant to add my third pick this morning before this was set to auto-post (I was REALLY tired when I wrote it), but completely forgot! It's updated now with my third pick.

      As for your picks, I LOVE Apollo 13, even though watching it as a kid made me seriously reconsider my lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut! I've not seen the other two, although both have been on my list for a while. Strangely I don't think I've ever seen anything Shelley Long has ever done - at the very least, not any of her most well-known films.

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    2. Terminator! Great catch, I don't think it would have come to me but it makes so much sense now. The first was amazing and intense and the second wasn't bad but then they started rebooting and reinventing basically beating a dead horse. But that doesn't take the shine off the original. And of course prime Michael Biehn makes anything better.

      Outrageous Fortune is the best feature Shelley Long made, though she and Bette Midler did not hit it off behind the scenes-a common occurrence for Shelley apparently. It's light and breezy.

      Can't recommend Ace in the Hole highly enough! It's dark and hard but great.

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  2. We matched on two! Rescuers and Argo. The Terminator is a great choice as well.

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    1. You know what they say about great minds!

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  3. I also went with Argo for this week. I have seen the sequel of The Rescuers, but I will try to watch the first movie.

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    1. The Rescuers Down Under is also fun - it's been too long since I've seen either to really say which one I prefer.

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  4. I also went with Argo. That movie is great.

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  5. Argo is a popular pick this week and it is an excellent film and that ending is on the edge of your seat stuff. I am a Canadian and was not offended by the film because it centered on the film crew getting them out. The Canadian embassy, Ken Taylor, is one heroic man and he came to our high school after all this went down. I shook his hand! There is a movie that came out in 1980 or so about how much the Canadians were involved in helping these 6 and how Taylor saved these people as well. If it wasn't for him, the rescue would never have happened. The Terminator was a good film that stated a huge franchise. I have yet to see The Rescuers and so want to...love Eva Gabor

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    1. How cool that you got to shake Ken Taylor's hand!! I do love that even though Argo is focused on the CIA "film crew" getting them out, it's very even-handed and gives the Canadian Ambassador and Embassy a lot of credit - without them, those people surely would have died a lot sooner.

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  6. The Terminator is one of those movies that I can never be sure I've seen because it's just referenced so much that it probably feels like I've seen even though I haven't...so yeah it's one of those I want to see especially after seeing the most recent one.

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