Daily Streaming Guide: March 15th Edition

Just as our collective world has changed around us in the past few days and will continue for the foreseeable future, so will this little movie blog of mine. Simply put – a lot of us (myself included) are going to be home for awhile. Therefore, the best use of this blog at the moment is shifting away from box office predictions and Oscar speculation.

Beginning right now, I’m going to post a Daily Streaming Guide recommending movies currently streaming on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. It’s likely that I’ll throw in Disney+ and HBO in from time to time. Hopefully this will assist my readers in identifying some worthy pictures to view at home. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Netflix

1984’s Purple Rain turned Prince into a global musical superstar. The soundtrack that accompanied it is a nine-track masterpiece in which every song demands repeat listens. Here’s a fair warning – the film itself is of its time. This is a kind way of saying that there’s some dialogue and attitudes that wouldn’t pass muster in 2020. That said, I would recommend it as a time capsule to witness a genius at a juncture of his creative peak. The performances alone with his band The Revolution that include the title tune, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Darling Nikki”, and more are worth the price of streaming.

Hulu

Keeping with the musical theme, Cameron Crowe’s 1989 teen romance Say Anything… is known mostly for a shot of John Cusack holding up a boom box blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”. It’s an iconic scene, but the picture itself is among the most intelligent and insightful experiences dealing with young love. Just as 80s icon John Hughes wrote teens as human beings as opposed to walking hormones, Crowe’s screenplay accomplishes the same.

Amazon Prime

For something more recent, Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor from 2018 belongs more in the guilty pleasure space. A charcoal black comedy starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, this twisty thriller knows it’s ridiculous and is simply a whole lot of fun. This might be best enjoyed with a dry martini or two on standby.

I’ll be back at it tomorrow, folks! Until then – be well and stay safe!

Music Biopics: The Name Game

A growing trend in movies for the past few years (and a bit beyond) is the musical biopic that incorporates one of the band or artist’s songs into the title. The latest example will come out this fall with Bohemian Rhapsody, the behind the scenes story of Queen.

2019 will bring us Rocketman with Taron Egerton as the legendary Elton John.

We’ve seen this trend in years past. For instance, the 1980s saw La Bamba about Richie Valens.

The 1990s gave us Angela Bassett in her Oscar nominated role playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?

In 2005, we had Walk the Line with Joaquin Phoenix in his Academy nominated turn as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon winning as June.

More recent ones have been in the hip hop world with Straight Outta Compton (N.W.A.) and All Eyez on Me (Tupac Shakur). There’s also Get On Up with Chadwick Boseman as the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

So this got me thinking. What would be some other movie/song titles if certain iconic musicians got their biopic? For this blog post’s purposes, I tried to focus on artists where I feel a big screen treatment on them is at least feasible. In other words, while Rico Suave might be a spectacular title, I don’t envision two hours on Gerardo coming anytime soon.

There is already a Madonna flick reportedly in the works and it takes its name not from a tune, but from one of her tours – Blond Ambition. I suppose Material Girl or Like a Prayer could have worked, but Blond Ambition is just about perfect.

Some choices seem obvious. You gotta call the Bon Jovi story Livin on a Prayer, after all. And My Way seems like the natural fit for Frank Sinatra. And Born to Run for Bruce Springsteen. And there’s Piano Man for Billy Joel.

It doesn’t end there. Respect (Aretha Franklin) and Fire and Rain (James Taylor).

When it comes to some recently dearly departed legends, Prince presents a challenge because you can’t call it Purple Rain. And a number of his other massive hits don’t fit. When Doves Cry is probably the name the studio would go for considering it’s his biggest hit. Personally, I rather like the thought of My Name is Prince, taken from his Love Symbol album of 1992.

With Michael Jackson, Thriller would work but it’s hard to imagine Man in the Mirror not being the choice.

For David Bowie, Starman seems like the winner, but that’s also the name of a fairly well-known 1980s science fiction effort starring Jeff Bridges. That may not matter, but if so, Space Oddity or simply calling it Ziggy Stardust might fit.

Tom Petty? How about Free Fallin or Runnin Down a Dream. George Michael? Faith or Freedom. Whitney Houston? Tough one. Perhaps a studio would want I Will Always Love You. Maybe So Emotional works as well.

Some bands have more than one title that seem appropriate. Aerosmith has three great ones: Dream On, Sweet Emotion, or Walk This Way. With AC/DC – Back in Black or Thunderstruck.

Guns n Roses is an interesting one. Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic, but it was just the subtitle for the blockbuster Jumanji reboot. In this matter, you might have to go with their album name Appetite for Destruction, which is ideal.

Metallica could have For Whom the Bell Tolls or Enter Sandman. Nirvana might have Smells Like Teen Spirit as the studio choice, but I’m a little partial to Come As You Are.

I like Runnin with the Devil for Van Halen and I suppose Stairway to Heaven would be the choice for Led Zeppelin.

Let’s move off rock. How about Britney Spears? That may depend on what direction the studio goes. It could be Toxic or Stronger. Maybe Baby One More Time instead.

Stevie Wonder? Superstition or Sir Duke are possibilities, but I like Higher Ground.

With Bob Marley, maybe Get Up, Stand Up or One Love.

Circling back to hip hop, Fight the Power is the clear pick for Public Enemy and the same may hold true for Mama Said Knock You Out with LL Cool J.

And then there’s my favorite… the Rick James biopic Super Freak. Why hasn’t this been made already?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Let’s see if any of these suggested titles end up playing out in the future. Maybe there will be surprises… Barbie Girl: The Aqua Story, anyone?

My Top Ten Prince Albums

Well this wasn’t easy! Prince had nearly 40 studio albums in a career that didn’t even span 40 years. Pretty much every release he put out has at least three (in most cases more) genuinely great tracks.

Yet for those looking for the starter kit on his cream of the crop works, here’s my personal top 10 Prince Albums of All Time:

10. Diamonds and Pearls (1991)

Key Tracks: “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Cream”, “Gett Off”, “Money Don’t Matter 2Nite”, “Strollin”

9. Lovesexy (1988)

Key Tracks: “Anna Stesia”, “Alphabet St”, “Glam Slam”, “When 2R In Love”, “I Wish U In Heaven”

8. Around the World in a Day (1985)

Key Tracks: “Raspberry Beret”, “Pop Life”, “Paisley Park”, “America”, “Condition of the Heart”, “The Ladder”

7. The Gold Experience (1995)

Key Tracks: “Dolphin”, “Gold”, “(Eye) Hate U”, “P. Control”, “Endorphinmachine”, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”

6. Dirty Mind (1980)

Key Tracks: “When You Were Mine”, “Uptown”, “Dirty Mind”, “Head”, “Partyup”, “Gotta Broken Heart Again”

5. The Symbol Album (1992)

Key Tracks: “Seven”, “My Name is Prince”, “Sexy MF”, “The Morning Papers”, “The Max”, “Damn U”, “The Continental”, “Love 2 the 9’s”

4. Parade (1986)

Key Tracks: “Kiss”, “Sometimes It Snows in April”, “Mountains”, “Anotherloverholenyohead”, “Girls and Boys”, “New Position”, “Under the Cherry Moon”

3. 1999 (1982)

Key Tracks: “1999”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Delirious”, “DMSR”, “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)”, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “Free”, “Lady Cab Driver”, “International Lover”

2. Purple Rain (1984)

Key Tracks: All of them… “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U”, “The Beautiful Ones”, “Computer Blue”, “Darling Nikki”, “When Doves Cry”, “I Would Die 4 U”, “Baby, I’m a Star”, “Purple Rain”

1. “Sign o’ The Times”

Key Tracks: “Sign o’ the Times”, “Housequake”, “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”, “U Got the Look”, “Forever in My Life”, “Adore”, “Hot Thing”, “Strange Relationship”, “The Cross”, “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”, “Starfish and Coffee”, “Slow Love”

 

My Love of Movies IV

Four years ago on a Thursday evening, I made the snap decision to start a movie blog. I did it without much thought and with little clue what I wanted it to be.

I knew two things: I love movies and I love writing. And so I penned my first blog post. It’s called “My Love of Movies”. Look at it. Isn’t it adorable?

https://toddmthatcher.com/2012/10/11/my-love-of-movies/

Then came the first anniversary. I wrote about that here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2013/10/10/you-could-see-that-pierre-did-truly-love-the-mademoiselle-my-blog-turns-1-years-old/

Then the second anniversary:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/10/09/my-love-of-movies-part-ii-the-blogs-second-anniversary/

And the third:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2015/10/11/the-blog-turns-3/

Yes, maybe the anniversary posts have dwindled in quality as time has passed. With every year comes the familiarity of the blog having become more of a reality. More of everyday life. What I’m writing at this moment is my 1,516th post.

Truth be told – 2016 hasn’t been the best year for movies. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There’s always those moments that I’ve described so lovingly in previous posts. A truly hilarious scene at an animated DMV run by sloths in Zootopia. A comic book adaptation in Deadpool that had moments of raunchy inspiration. And there’s a lot more for me to see in 2016.

Let’s get real for a second, friends. 2016 hasn’t been the best year for lots of things. Political discourse for one, but let us not go THERE.

Sequels. Too many of ’em. Too many we didn’t ask for.

Apparently Zoolander did say all that needed to be said fifteen years ago. Audiences weren’t ready to travel back to the Blair Witch woods. I could go on.

But I won’t. No, where 2016 has been truly sad is in the people we’ve lost. Hans Gruber of Die Hard is one of the greatest film villains in screen history. Alan Rickman brilliantly played him, along with lots of other amazing performances.

Gene Wilder may hold the record for appearing in the most flat out brilliant comedies, not to mention being a part of our collective childhoods in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Our ears have been blessed to experience the music of Prince and David Bowie and witness their contributions to film.

I know what you might be thinking… this anniversary post is a bummer, dude!

A silver lining. A consolation point. We will always have film to remind us of the aforementioned artists brilliance.

We will always have the knowledge that the cherished memories we have of them are preserved.

We will always have the knowledge, film lovers that we are, that more memories will be formed with new amazing performers.

Every week on this blog, there are more box office predictions to be estimated. More Oscar Watch movies to be discussed. More reviews to be written.

There’s always more. It’s the NeverEnding Story of film that I described here three years ago:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/02/05/the-neverending-story/

Are there times it feels stale when the latest unwanted sequel is rolled out? Sure.

Are there moments you wonder where else the superhero genre can possibly go when we get a new one every couple months now? Yes.

And then Star Wars: The Force Awakens turns out to be a pleasure… and not unwanted. And then Deadpool brings something new to the genre.

I remember four years ago tonight writing that first blog post and wondering if I’d have any ideas for a second one. Then I figured out what I wanted the blog to be… and it constantly changes.

I love doing it. I thank you for reading it and I’m humbled to report that 2016 has been the most viewed year so far already! I’ve also tremendously valued my partnership with Fantasy Movie League that began this year and continuing my history of getting out predicted by Joe Giuliano at box office numbers.

2016 has been a challenge for us who love the silver screen and love incredible music. We remember that vile antagonist of John McClane in my favorite action movie ever.

We remember that gentle and hilarious man who brought us into a world of pure imagination.

We remember bathing in the beautiful sounds of the Purple Rain.

And we wait for the next moments of inspiration and all the other emotions that the movies bring.

They’ll come. They always do.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dCuhvqmTo7c

My Top 100 Prince Songs of All Time: Nos. 10-1

It has been a tremendous joy to compile my Top 100 personal favorite songs by Prince. The best way to remember and honor this incredible genius is to press play… And there’s so much to appreciate, dance to, and inspire you. Here’s my top ten:

10. “Little Red Corvette”‘from 1999 (1982)

9. “Sign O The Times” from Sign O The Times (1987)

8. “Purple Rain” from Purple Rain (1984)

7. “Let’s Go Crazy” from Purple Rain (1984)

6. “The Beautiful Ones” from Purple Rain (1984)

5. “Erotic City” – B side (1984)

4. “When Doves Cry” from Purple Rain (1984)

3. “Adore” from Sign O The Times (1987)

2. “Controversy” from Controversy (1981)

  1. “Kiss” from Parade (1986)

Peace… And Be Wild!

Todd’s Birthday Movie Hits

Just in case you don’t read the scroll at the bottom of CNN, today is the date of birth for your trusty movie blogger. I won’t say how old I am, but as of this morning – I can officially run for President of the United States should I choose to do so (it’s doubtful). This got me thinking: what were the #1 films at the time of significant birthdays in my past. Luckily we have an Internet to retrieve that information so here goes:

On the day I was born (known to most as A.T. – After Todd), the horror flick The Amityville Horror was scaring audiences. It would spawn sequels and a 2005 remake. Amityville would end up being 1979’s second highest grosser following Kramer vs. Kramer.

On my fifth birthday, Prince ruled the box office and the music charts with Purple Rain. For those who know me personally, this may seem fitting since His Royal Badness is my favorite musical artist and I’ve seen him in concert around a dozen times. I also touched his leg during a show in Las Vegas. It happened. Let’s move on.

On birthday number ten, Turner and Hooch topped the box office. This was three years before its star Tom Hanks would become a back to back Best Actor Oscar winner and he was still starring in comedies that weren’t always great. This was one of them.

As I became a teenager, Damon Wayans scored a #1 hit with Mo’ Money.

My sweet sixteen saw Kevin Costner’s Waterworld at #1. The pic is notorious for its massive budget and troubled production yet it’s not as bad as its reputation.

As I moved into “adulthood” – Air Force One commanded the charts with Harrison Ford forcefully asking Gary Oldman to get off his plane.

When the age of 21 came (and I was predictably at a bar on the Ohio State campus) – it was Eddie Murphy playing multiple roles in The Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps that packed the multiplex.

At age 30 – G-Force. I don’t even remember this one and never saw it, but it’s a kids flick that managed to gross over $30 million in its debut weekend.

And now today – we have Scarlett Johannson’s Lucy atop the box office.

So there you have it – your Todd Thatcher birthday movie hits!