Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
Snowball Express (1972): I’m showing my age when I admit that I saw this film in its first theatrical run. In one of the last ultra-wholesome films he made for the Disney factory in the ’60s and ’70s, Dean Jones plays a guy who inherits a broken-down ski resort. Nancy Olson plays his wife, and Keenan Wynn plays the dastardly businessman who wants to put the resort out of business. It’s wall-to-wall silliness, but it’s also colorful, adorable and completely entertaining. It’s also easy to forget how dreamy Dean Jones was back then.
Turner Classic Movies, 2:30 a.m. Tuesday
The Mule (2018): Here’s yet another lean and mean, low-key crime drama from veteran actor/director Clint Eastwood. Clint plays a creaky old Korean Army vet who’s so down on his luck financially that he makes a poor decision to act as a courier for some shady people. When it turns out that they aren’t just shady but highly dangerous, he finds himself caught in a tightening vise between law enforcement, a drug cartel and his estranged family. Made with Eastwood’s signature economy, clarity and grace, The Mule is a treat for movie-going adults.
Now streaming on HBO GO / HBO NOW.
Meru (2015): I’ve figured out something about myself: While I don’t really approve of mountain climbing, at least for people who have families, I am really susceptible to the glories of mountain climbing filmmaking. Husband and wife team Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vesarhelyi probably do it better than anyone, and Meru is ample proof of that. It chronicles multiple attempts to climb the perhaps unclimbable “Shark’s Fin” wall of one of the toughest peaks in the Himalayas. The movie really permits you to experience the dizzying attempts vicariously. It’s so thrilling you might feel guilty for not taking any of the risks. P.S.: Vesarhelyi and Chin won the 2018 Feature Documentary Oscar for their film Free Solo.
Now streaming on Netflix.
Booksmart (2019): This ridiculously entertaining teen comedy asks the question: Can you make up for years of missed fun in one wild night? That’s what ultra-good girls Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein ask themselves in this profane, knowing journey through the last hours of high school. The cast is full of talented up-and-comers, including Skyler Gisondo, Mason Gooding, Billie Lourd, Victoria Ruesga, Diana Silvers and others. Beanie Feldstein is quickly becoming one of my favorite new comedic talents. Actress Olivia Wilde scores big directing her first feature.
Available on Amazon Video starting Tuesday.
Trivia Question No. 807: What famous Broadway musical did Dean Jones briefly star in?
Answer to Trivia Question No. 805: Director Pedro Almodovar is still alive.