Love old or unusual movies but never know when they're on? Here are several I recommend:
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985): This beautiful love letter to movie fans everywhere stars Mia Farrow as an unhappy waitress during the Depression. The only place she's happy is at the movies. One day, while watching her favorite movie, her favorite movie star (Jeff Daniels) simply walks out of the movie and falls in love with her. This causes plenty of problems, not only in Hollywood but also in her own life (her husband, Danny Aiello, isn't too pleased). This is director Woody Allen working at the peak of his talent, and the movie shouldn't be missed.
Turner Classic Movies, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
Robocop (1987): I think people may forget that this is a really good movie. Director Paul Verhoeven took the tropes of glossy urban science fiction and crafted a wicked satire of the unbridled fervor of the late 1980s. Peter Weller stars as the luckless cop who "volunteers" to be the human element of a new hybrid robot policeman. The movie has amazingly sharp writing and absolutely spot-on performances from Miguel Ferrer, Ronny Cox, Dan O'Herlihy, Kurtwood Smith, Ray Wise, Paul McCrane and others. The bleak futuristic Detroit is a perfect setting for this wickedly entertaining tale.
Now streaming on HBO GO / HBO NOW.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003): I've always had a fantasy of making a full-length feature without dialogue, and I've always believed that the only genre such a movie could be was a caper film. Visionary maniac Sylvain Chomet beat me to it with this remarkable, antic, weird caper about a kidnapped cyclist and his grandmother's efforts to rescue him. Driven by amazing music (including an Oscar-nominated title song), this frantic and seductive romp will work its way into your dreams.
Now streaming on the Criterion Channel.
The Laundromat (2019): Iconic director Steven Soderbergh gets into The Big Short territory with this winking, presentational look at the Panama Papers scandal. A star-studded cast led by Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas and Gary Oldman lead us through a tangled web of international money laundering. If this sounds dry as dust, it's really not. The stories are funny, alarming and infuriating. Wonderful support is provided by James Cromwell, Robert Patrick, David Schwimmer, Geoffrey Wright, Sharon Stone, Matthias Schoenaerts, Rosalind Chao and many others. This is funny, informative stuff.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Trivia Question 820: Which Steven Soderbergh film contains the deathless line, "Anyway, being happy isn't all that great. I mean, the last time I was really happy ... I got so fat."?
Answer to Trivia Question 818: Actress Gunn Wållgren, who so memorably played the grandmother in Fanny and Alexander, died two weeks before the premiere of that film in New York.