Love old or unusual movies but never know when they’re on? Here are several I recommend:
The Loved One (1965): Take a novel by satirist Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited) and wild man writer Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove), and you get The Loved One, a deeply strange comedy about Hollywood, the funeral business, love, sex and death. Robert Morse stars as a newly transplanted Brit in Los Angeles who gets involved with the creepy and monolithic Whispering Pines funeral home. The plot defies description, and it is helped along by an amazing array of stars, including Jonathan Winters (in two roles), John Gielgud, Milton Berle, Robert Morley and many more. Rod Steiger is unforgettable as the creepy, love-obsessed embalmer with the fantastic name of Mr. Joyboy. You’ve got to see this movie to believe it.
Turner Classic Movies, 8:45 a.m. Thursday
Arctic (2019): I’m a big admirer of this stark, ultra-minimalist survival thriller from director Joe Penna. Mads Mikkelsen stars as man stranded in the icy north after surviving a plane crash. After connecting with another survivor, he has to decide whether to risk a perilous journey toward a possible rescue. The filmmaking is lean and scary, and I swear you can feel the cold in your bones as you watch. You’ll even have complex thoughts about the morality of his situation. Bundle up and don’t miss Arctic.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Bad Education (2004): Oh, boy, this one is difficult to describe, but I can’t just tell you to do what I say and watch it, right? First, it’s by maverick Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, which is practically the only reason anyone needs to watch a movie. Second, it features two actors I greatly admire: Gael Garcia Bernal and Fele Martínez. Third, it combines two of my favorite genres: film noir and films with stories that take place over decades. It centers on two Spanish boys, Ignacio and Enrique, who are friends at Catholic school. Over the decades they change, and secrets are revealed. It’s a naughty, heady puzzle of a movie. Let me know what you think of it.
Now streaming on The Criterion Channel.
Boy Erased (2018): This was one of two films about gay conversion therapy last year. This one stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as fundamentalist parents in Oklahoma whose son (Lucas Hedges) has a problem they think this special camp can fix. The talented Joel Edgerton wrote and directed the movie, as well as co-starring as the man who runs the conversion therapy camp. It’s horrifying to watch the damaging mind games the young people are put through, particularly if you’ve known people who have been through it. Flea (from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is particularly good as Edgerton’s fearsome lieutenant.
Now streaming on HBO GO / HBO NOW.
Trivia Question 804: Which of this week’s films has more producers credited than actors?
Answer to Trivia Question 802: Reader Howard Paul Burgess knew that Pedro Almodovar (director of Volver) won an Oscar for the screenplay of Talk to Her (2003).