Classic Film Favorites: TCM Spotlight on Van Johnson

Every year I look forward to the Turner Classic Movies “Summer Under the Stars” because each day a different actor from the classic era is highlighted. Although I may have missed one in the past, this year I am thrilled to finally see a day dedicated to one of my favorite actors: Van Johnson. He isn’t just Lucy’s dance partner from an episode of I Love Lucy– although that is one of my favorites, don’t you agree?

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Johnson was charming, handsome, so, so talented,  and one of those rare performers who seamlessly went from genre to genre in the 40s and 50s, something that many of this era did not– or at least successfully. But Johnson could do a light romantic comedy, a melodrama, a musical, or a war story amongst others and in each one he brought his own charisma and talent. This Thursday, August 25 is a day dedicated to him and the films that have been selected demonstrate just what an amazing and versatile actor he was. Here are my personal favorites:

10 am EST, 7 am PST
Duchess of Idaho
Also Starring: Esther Williams, John Lund, Paula Raymond
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard

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This is perhaps my favorite film for both Johnson and his leading lady Esther Williams. A breezy and funny delight, it’s the kind of silly, sweet romantic comedy escapades that so many long for. While Esther’s Christine Duncan is pretending to romance ladies man Douglas Morrison (to make him realize he’s really love with her best friend Ellen) she meets Van’s charming singer Dick Layn and the two are stubborn but clearly smitten with each other. And well things get complicated as they always do. Williams and Johnson made four films together and you can see why – they have an adorable and natural chemistry together. This film is just frothy fun from start to finish – the kind of movie that just makes you smile and feel good.

12 noon EST, 9 am PST
In the Good Old Summertime
Also Starring: Judy Garland, S.Z. Sakall, Spring Byington
Directed by Robert Z. Leonard

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One of the most remade stories ever, this musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner also stars Judy Garland and takes place at the turn-of-the-century in Chicago and it’s as lovely and sweet as the original. That’s right-before You’ve Got Mail and the other musical adaptation She Loves Me came this picturesque movie. The difference here is that rather than original songs, they use famous songs of the era as the two pen pals who unknowingly fall in love with each other work in a musical shop. The similarities are also wonderful with one of the most famous scenes being nearly word for word as the original and yet just as enjoyable. This is a truly charming film.

1:45 EST, 10:45 am PST
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Also Starring: Spencer Tracy, Robert Walker, Phyllis Thaxter
Directed by Mervyn LeRoy

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This engrossing World War II drama is based on that true story of B25 pilots who volunteered for a secret mission that became known as the “Doolittle Raid.” And while that is successful, complications and tragedy arises for the crews of this mission specifically those played by Johnson and Walker. For anyone who loves history or a compelling drama, this movie is not just about a mission from the war. It’s about the individuals who served bravely, those who helped them in immeasurable ways, and the families who are left behind. Don’t worry, it does have a happy ending –but bittersweet and touching and most especially moving to those wounded in the line of duty.

10 pm EST, 7 pm PST
Miracle in the Rain
Also Starring Jane Wyman
Directed by Rudolph Maté

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A melancholy drama about two very lonely souls who meet one rainy day in New York City and soon find a kindred love between them, this is quite the tearjerker. But for those who often feel alone and long for companionship you will most certainly relate. Spiritual aspects are also quite moving and poignant as we see that what with true love miracles can indeed happen.

4:30 am EST, 1:30 am PST
Invitation
Also Starring: Dorothy McGuire, Ruth Roman, Louis Calhern
Directed by Gottfried Reinhardt

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Melodramatic but romantic and hopeful ultimately, this film is about a happily married couple whose peaceful existence is threatened when the wife learns a devastating secret about her husband. Ellen had been ill and lonely all of her life, but when her lifelong friend suddenly shows her love and an offer marriage, she finds happiness she never thought possible. I won’t spoil any more, but regardless to say it may be dramatic but it’s also real in its emotions and restores your faith in people and that love can make you stronger.

If Turner Classic Movies is not available to you, all of these films are also available on DVD for your viewing enjoyment.

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Movie Monday: Anticipated Films 0f 2016

Every year we all have a batch of movies we are really looking forward to seeing. For me, these past few years have been shorter lists than they once were and often we don’t get to the theater to see everything we wish to. I actually still have several from last year’s list still on my Netflix queue including The Man from Uncle, The Age of Adaline, Ant Man, and Far From the Madding Crowd. But this year’s list includes films that I am really excited for. Below are my top 10 plus a few others with their trailers and release dates if there are ones.

  1. Captain America: Civil War (May 6)

Without a doubt the Captain America films, and Steve Rogers are my favorite of the Marvel Universe. So in the great debate of Team Cap versus Team Iron Man, I am Team Cap. Of course this is without knowing very much of what that entails within the context of the story. I know very little and I want to keep it that way. It’s actually refreshing going into a film without preconceived notions, especially when it comes to genre or super hero films. SO PLEASE BE KIND AND DO NOT SPOIL THIS MOVIE FOR ME!!!

  1. Alice Through the Looking Glass (May 27)

I loved the Alice in Wonderland film from Tim Burton in2010, so I was very excited when I heard that a sequel was in the works. And the Trailer only amped up my excitement. Featuring the same cast and the same visually breathtaking and whimsical visuals and only Burton can do, I look forward to seeing what new story they have come up with. In many ways I am a purist but I also love taking familiar stories and creating new ones and giving the characters surprising twists. Big surprise there given my love for Once Upon a Time.

 

  1. The Dust Storm (Release Date Unknown)

Any fan of Colin O’Donoghue has been waiting to see this movie for 2 years!! With it being screened more and more at film festivals and discussion of trying their best to get a theatrical release date. I am crossing all my fingers that this happens this year. I am a big fan of the film Once, and this definitely has that vibe. Set in Nashville and featuring a great deal of all kinds of music including country and alternative, as well as what sounds like a great romantic, dramatic story, I cannot wait to see this movie. Of course being a fan of Colin makes me want to see it even more especially when watching the trailers. Just let me see this movie already!

 

  1. Albion: The Enchanted Stallion (Release Date Unknown)

I first heard about this film being a fan of Jennifer Morrison and from the brief description it sounded wonderful. I adore fantasy films, especially ones based on children’s books, that being my specialization in Graduate School. Albion is not based on a book as far as I can tell, but it sure looks like it could be, so that is a plus in my book. But when I saw the teaser that was released my excitement for this film reached the stratosphere. I crave films like this especially since there have been no new Narnia films produced.  It looks funny and colorful and has amazing actors such as Debra Messing and John Cleese. And when I saw Jennifer would be playing multiple personalities, speaking with a perfect British accent and SINGING, I was blown away. I knew she was talented but this is a whole other level. This film better come out this year because I do not want to wait any longer!

 

  1. Finding Dory (June 17)

When I list my favorite Pixar films, I always seem to name the same ones: Monsters Inc, Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo. One of the best parts of Nemo is Dory’s character and given that she still suffers from short term memory loss the possibilities for a stories are endless. It makes sense that if she was lost they would need to find her. I mean, remember when she could not remember where her family was. Pixar makes some of the greatest films, animated or otherwise, of this generation- always beautiful heartfelt, funny and meaningful and this one is sure to be another in their long line of classics.

 

  1. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (November 18)

I must admit, as big a Harry Potter fan as I am I have not read this book. But that does not mean I am not eagerly anticipating this movie. Unlike the Potter films I will go in not knowing what happens, which will be nice for a change, my only knowledge being that of the magical world. Being a period piece gives the film an allure as I love the Victorian era and that combined with this universe that I adore will make this kind of Rowling steampunk-esque fun. And the cast is absolutely fantastic including Eddy Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton.

 

  1. Rouge One: A Star Wars Story (December 16)

The first trailer for this film was recently released and it looks like the perfect film to tide us over until the next installment in the Star Wars Saga after The Force Awakens. We always know someone stole the plans for the Death Star to help aide the Rebellion and this is their story. It is a fierce and brave woman named Jyn Erso- code name (I’m assuming) is Rogue One, played by Felicity Jones. All I have to say is that I would love this story whether the character was a man or a woman, but at the same time it is great to see them continuing to give us woman in these roles. She looks to be another great hero in the same vein and Leia and Rey.

 

  1. Miss Perigrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (December 23)

In college I remember some fellow classmates reading this book. I still not have yet, but from what I know about it, it’s unsurprising that Tim Burton chose to adapt it. The trailer makes the film look wonderfully weird and whimsical. It stars Eva Green and Asa Butterfield, who was also the lead in Hugo. If you have not seen that movie do it now because it’s a masterpiece. I am not sure of this will reach that level but it does look intriguing.

 

  1. Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur (July 22)

When searching for the film coming out this year I was pleasantly surprised to see this and was instantly delighted to see those involved: director Guy Richie who brought Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law to life with vigor and excitement. This film also stars Law, as well as a wonderful cast including Charlie Hunnam, Eric Bana and Katie McGrath. I LOVE Arthurian legend stories and always am interested in new interpretations. I was a fan of the King Arthur film from 2004 so it will be nice to see another take on these characters.

  1. Star Trek: Beyond (July 22)

I do not pretend to be a “Trekie” or Star Trek expert. I have always been more of a Star Wars girl. Though I have not seen other films I am sure they are great. I have however have seen the recent Star Trek films and absolutely LOVED from the stories to the cast, and this next installment will hopefully be just as good. This is the first one not directed by J.J. Abrams but given how the foundation has already brilliant been laid with the first two films, I don’t think that should deter any of us from looking forward to this one.

 

Other films I look forward to seeing:

La La Land (July 15)

Ghostbusters (July 15)

Now You See Me 2 (June 10)

Moana (November 25th)

The BFG (July 1)

So what is on your list of anticipated movies of 2016? Does it include some of these? Are there any that you don’t see? Leave a  comment and tell me yours. I would love to hear what everyone is excited to see this year! 🙂

 

New Things Coming to The Girly Nerd

Hello my Lovelies!! First of all I want to thank everyone who has ever read anything I’ve written for The Girly Nerd. You have been so wonderful and made the first 9 months of the site amazing. The kind comments and enthusiasm means the world to me. I also want to say that I am going through some changes in my life, working to makes things better and want that to reflect on the site in a positive way. Although most of you primarily visit the site because of a shared love for Once Upon a Time, and I will continue to write about our beloved show, I want to also start adding some variety to the site as often as I can. Though I cannot promise they will be something every single week, there will definitely be some new things on specific days, as well as any random fun post I want to share.

On Mondays I want to start doing “Movie Monday” where I highlight any movie I just watched that I really loved, or, and more likely, post an excerpt of a movie that will be included in a book I have been working on the past few years. “Film From the Heart” is close to completion and I will be seeking publication options very soon, but I want to share with you all some of the movies I will include in the book. Very often sharing a love for one film or show will lead to other shared tastes. Such I suspect is the case with many of you. This book will include close to 700 films, so there is definitely many to share, discuss and recommend.

On Fridays I want to do “Fashion Friday” with variety of different types of posts from “Fabulous Finds” to “Style Inspiration.” I live on a budget like many of you and believe that you can find wonderful clothes and accessories that are affordable. We all like to splurge once in a while, but reasonable prices are a must for me. Also, like anyone else, I have many different actors, musicians, and characters that I consider my style muses so those will probably be highlighted the most. Unsurprisingly I adore Jennifer Morrison in many ways, her beautiful style being one of them. Zooey Deschanel is another whose style is a constant inspiration. Others you may see as inspiration include Lauren Conrad, Ginnifer Goodwin, Audrey Hepburn, Taylor Swift, Emma Watson, Emma Stone, as well as characters from shows and films. You may or may not find lots of Disney themed fashion for instance.

These are the first of new things coming to The Girly Nerd. As always, if you can please consider making a donation to PayPal. There is a link on the homepage sidebar. This helps keeps the site running and is most appreciated.

Much Love xoxo,
Marianne

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