Pick your movie of the week: A24 (May 28 – June 3, 2023)

A24 is a great production company that supports independent films. Some companies, especially when making big budget films, keep inserting themselves into the process, making decisions for the director and telling them what to do. A24 lets them pursue their own vision. Some notable titles to come from them since 2013 are Room (2015), Moonlight (2016), Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), and Uncut Gems (2019). But the top three highest rated A24 movies on Rotten Tomatoes are our nominees for this week’s movies. Take your pick and comment with a vote:




Disney Animated Trivia, Second Edition

Let’s see how you can do with 20 questions. Multiply your total by 5 to get a percentage.

  1. Which Disney animated movie has characters named Clayton, Jane, and Kerchak?
    1. The Aristocats
    2. Oliver and Company
    3. Tarzan

  2. Which movie was released on March 6, 2020, just as the world was locking down (and therefore was released for digital download while it was still in theaters, the first ever Disney movie to do so)?
    1. Onward
    2. Luca
    3. Soul

  3. Which is the only Disney animated movie to feature the voice talent of Oprah Winfrey?
    1. Wreck-It Ralph
    2. Home on the Range
    3. The Princess and the Frog

  4. Which movie featured the voice talent of Phyllis Smith (Phyllis from the TV show The Office)
    1. Tangled
    2. Inside Out
    3. Soul
  5. What is the name of the computer piloting the humans’ spaceship in Wall-E?
    1. Auto
    2. Hal
    3. V.I.N.CENT

  6. Dumbo had such a tight budget in 1941, it went down in history as the least expensive of all the Disney animated feature films. Why did they have to cut costs so much?
    1. Pinocchio and Fantasia were expensive failures
    2. The company was donating large sums of money to the US government for the war effort (WWII).
    3. The entire company nearly went bankrupt the previous year at their first attempt to create a Disneyland, which was in San Diego

  7. Which Disney character transforms into a bee and tells the main character, “Beeee yourself!”
    1. Merlin from The Sword and the Stone
    2. Mushu the dragon from Mulan
    3. The Genie from Aladdin

  8. The original child actor voicing Mowgli in The Jungle Book had to be let go and he was replaced by Bruce Reitherman. Why?
    1. His parents threatened to sue the company for what they saw as poor treatment of their son
    2. His voice cracked during recording
    3. He broke out in chicken pox

  9. Screenslaver is the villain of this action-packed Disney movie:
    1. Toy Story 2
    2. Incredibles 2
    3. Cars 2

  10. Of all of Disney’s animated movies, which one has the most characters and the most songs?
    1. Beauty and the Beast
    2. The Jungle Book
    3. Alice in Wonderland

  11. In 1970’s The Aristocats, who voiced “Scat Cat”?
    1. Scatman Crothers
    2. Tony Bennet
    3. Ray Charles
  12. Which Disney Princess sang “Some Day My Prince Will Come”?
    1. Cinderella
    2. Sleeping Beauty
    3. Snow White

  13. The first animated feature film from Disney after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Pinocchio. But the intended follow-up was going to be this classic: 
    1. Peter Pan 
    2. Fantasia
    3. Sleeping Beauty

  14. Which movie has characters named Mayor Turkey Lurkey, Abby Mallard, Foxy Loxy, and Morkupine Porcupine?
    1. Home on the Range
    2. Chicken Little
    3. Bolt

  15. Most are familiar with Medusa from Greek mythology who has live snakes for hair and who turns people to stone when they look into her eyes. But which Disney film actually has a character named Medusa?
    1. The Rescuers
    2. Fantasia
    3. The Black Cauldron

  16. Which Disney movie has Kurt Russell voicing a dog?
    1. 101 Dalmatians
    2. Lady and the Tramp
    3. The Fox and the Hound
  17. In Monsters, Inc., what is the name of the city the monsters live in?
    1. Monstropolis
    2. Horrorsburgh
    3. San Scramcisco

  18. Which Disney animated movie has a fictional rockstar character named Powerline?
    1. Oliver & Company
    2. Toy Story 2
    3. A Goofy Movie

  19. Which movie will you find a group of characters attending what strongly resembles an AA meeting?
    1. Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet
    2. Finding Nemo
    3. Dumbo

  20. Which Disney film featured two Saturday Night Live cast members, Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman, as voice talents?
    1. The Brave Little Toaster
    2. The Great Mouse Detective
    3. Pocahontas

Congratulations Peter Pan. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Mary Costa as Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty

Best Actor: Hans Conried as Captain Hook in Peter Pan

Best Quote:It would be so nice if something would make sense for a change.” – Kathryn Beaumont as Alice in Alice in Wonderland


  1. C. Tarzan
  2. A. Onward
  3. C. The Princess and the Frog. She played Eudora. Its cast also includes John Goodman and Terrance Howard (Crash, Iron Man 2)
  4. B. Inside Out
  5. A. Auto. V.I.N.CENT was a little robot in the 1979 movie The Black Hole. Hal is the robot in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  6. A. Pinocchio and Fantasia were expensive failures. It worked too. Dumbo cost $813,000 to make and brought in $2.5M, more than the original releases of Pinocchio and Fantasia combined.
  7. C. The Genie from Aladdin
  8. B. His voice cracked during recording
  9. B. Incredibles 2
  10. C. Alice in Wonderland
  11. A. Scatman Crothers
  12. C. Snow White
  13. A. Peter Pan. Disney was always eager to make this movie because he fell in love with the story after seeing a travelling play production on it as a child. He also played Peter Pan as a child in a school function. But it wasn’t released until 13 years later in 1953.
  14. B. Chicken Little (They are Don Knotts, Joan Cusack, Amy Sedaris and Mark Dindal respectively)
  15. A. The Rescuers. Medusa was evidently her surname as she is referred to as Madame Medusa. No snake hair though.
  16. C. The Fox and the Hound
  17. A. Monstropolis
  18. C. A Goofy Movie
  19. B. Finding Nemo. “Fish are friends. Not food.”
  20. A. The Brave Little Toaster. Lovitz was the radio. Hartman the air conditioner.


Pick your movie of the week: Animated 50’s (May 21-27, 2023)

Imagine children going to see Cinderella in the theatre when it was a brand new movie. Or maybe Lady and the Tramp. Those kids are now senior citizens. Many more children grew up with those animated classics from the 50’s, so it’s hard to believe they were made that long ago. You choose from the following animated movies of the nifty decade to be our movie of the week. Vote with a comment.





To Pass the Bechdel Test

Back in the 80’s, a lesbian woman named Alison Bechdel started a series of comics that would last until 2008. In a 1985 issue she had two characters talking about going out to see a movie. One says in frustration that she only wants to watch one if it has 1) at least two female characters, 2) who talk to each other, 3) about something other than a man. This, of course, is what led to what we now know to be “The Bechdel Test.” As I stated in the previous post, an enormous majority of movies in the last 100 years do not pass this test. So here is a quick walk-through the past century of movies that made the grade, even if just barely:


The Most Famous: Broadway Melody (1929)
The Most Surprising: None (too little known titles to choose from)


The Most Famous: Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931)
The Most Surprising: The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)


The Most Famous: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Most Surprising: Abbott and Costello Meet Franskenstein (1948)


The Most Famous: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The Most Surprising: Ben-Hur (1959)
Other Notables: All About Eve (1950); Rear Window (1954); The Searchers (1956)


The Most Famous: Psycho (1960)
The Most Surprising: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Other Notables: West Side Story (1961); To Kill a Mockingbird (1962); The Sound of Music (1965)


The Most Famous: Jaws (1975)
The Most Surprising: Slap Shot (1977)
Other Notables: The Exorcist (1973); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975); Halloween (1978); Grease (1978); Mad Max (1979); Alien (1979)


The Most Famous: <TIE> E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Die Hard (1988)
Most Surprising: Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Other Notables: The Terminator (1984); The Karate Kid (1984); The Goonies (1985); The Breakfast Club (1985)


The Most Famous: <TIE> Titanic (1997) and Schindler’s List (1993)
The Most Surprising: Goodfellas (1990)
Other Notables: The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Tombstone (1993); Pulp Fiction (1994); Apollo 13 (1995); South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut (1999); The Matrix (1999)


The Most Famous: Transformers (2007)
The Most Surprising: Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Other Notables: Zoolander (2001); Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and 2 (2003-04); The Cat in the Hat (2003); The Passion of the Christ (2004)


The Most Famous: Joker (2019)The Most Surprising: The Hateful Eight (2015)
Other Notables: True Grit (2010) [The 1969 version also passes the test.]; Sharknado (2013); Mad Max: Fury Road (2015); Arrival (2016); Rocketman (2018); Jo Jo Rabbit (2019)


  • There are two genres that seem to be good at passing: animated and horror.
  • From the prequels and up, Star Wars movies do well at passing.
  • The earliest movie to pass the test is Cinderella from 1899. It would take 11 years for another to come along, Tilly the Tomboy Visits the Poor (1910)
  • I left out a lot of big movies, but they were ones where it was either obvious or close to obvious that it would pass the test. I was often surprised at some of the titles that passed, only to find out that so many of them just manage to squeak by for merely one scene that barely crosses the line.
  • The most famous movie I left out was Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). It is listed as passing the test on bechdeltest.com, but it’s very arguable, especially in a movie that is pretty much one female character amoungst a large group of male characters.
  • If one were to say of movies today, “They keep making movies with either an all female cast or at least a lot of them. It feels forced,” then this statement could only make sense if one were to add, “Back in the day, they kept making movies with either an all male cast or at least a lot of them. Maybe that was forced.”

Congratulations Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes too…

Best Actress: Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actor: Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men

Best Quote:I know you. You know you. And I know you know that I know you.” – Ben Stiller as White Goodman in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend, and my mother said in her vote comment that she loves a good underdog story. So here are my top 10 favourite underdog movies:

  1. Rudy (1993)
  2. Miracle (2004)
  3. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  4. The Karate Kid (1984)
  5. Wall-E (2008)
  6. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  7. Dumbo (1941)
  8. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  9. Jerry Maguire (1997)
  10. Rocky (1976)


Pick your movie of the week: The Bechdel Test (May 14-20, 2023)

It is a very simple test. It requires a movie to have 1) at least two women characters, 2) who talk to each other, 3) about something other than a man. Today there are more that pass than ever before, but the fact that it’s such a low bar and that most of any movie that comes to your mind right now would fail, makes one realize just how unequal things can be in Hollywood movies. The following titles do pass, and they were selected because they seem surprising to be in this category. Comment with which one you want to be our movie of the week:

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)

No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Busy Intersection Beggars

“Yeah man, hard times in the Maritimes.” It was a very brief and rare moment when I had an opportunity to talk to a man who was walking the long narrow triangle of concrete separating four lanes at a stoplight. If he wasn’t genuine in his attitude, approach, and humble appreciation, he’d be one great method actor, putting De Niro to shame. I’m sure you’ve seen them. Since the pandemic started there seems to be more people asking for spare change in the midst of busy traffic.

For as long as I can remember, the rule of thumb was to not give them any money. It’s the advice I’ve both given and received. The reasoning was that it would only make them dependent on your charity, and that they’d only use that money for alcohol and drugs. If you have food, give that. But not money. I’m not sure whether that’s the best course of action or not. I really don’t. But I’ve been exploring this issue a lot lately. Some of the ideas I’m wrestling with:

DRUGS. “They’re just going to buy drugs with it.” It’s true that drug abuse is a giant problem amoungst people who are living below the poverty line. For many of the homeless, drugs are either the reason they’re on the streets, or it’s what gets them through being in such dire straits. But let’s remember that drug addiction is a disease. Homeless beggars aren’t frat boys wanting to party so badly that they dress as bums to get their meth money. A disease is a disease and needs to be met with compassion. It would be nice if it was as simple as “get off those drugs.” It would also be nice if people with heart disease could just make their blood flow to their heart better. Having the power to deal with the disease, let alone become cured of it, is something even the best of us would feel helpless in doing.

WORK. For anyone who has a job that requires being on your feet all day, you know how taxing it is. I’d sooner take a job requiring me to give me sore muscles every day than one where I do little work but stand or walk all day. This should remind us to 1) be kind and appreciate to the Walmart greeters, and 2) realize how hard that work can be standing on concrete in the middle of four lanes of traffic (One woman I saw in Saint John was taking a break and sleeping on one.).

FOOD. Whether or not they use the alms for drugs, they still need to eat. Pure and simple. 

Again, I’m not trying to convince anyone to give their money to street beggars. I also can only speak for my own community, New Brunswick. Maybe things are very different in cities like Toronto, Tokyo, or Mumbai. I do, however, want to remind myself and anyone else who may care to listen that the people we are seeing are more than likely having a very difficult time in their life.

And the worst of it is that most of us, like me, are not giving actively to charities helping the homeless. We’re not fundraising, we’re not joining the effort in trying to make a difference for people who are struggling to survive. So who are we to say whether or not they deserve our loonies?

Again, these are just musings. I don’t have any answers, but I’ve learned enough in life to know that it’s always a good idea to at least question our own status quo.

Congratulations Slumdog Millionaire. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Cho Yeo-jeong as Yeon Kyo in Parasite

Best Actor: Dev Patel as Older Jamal in Slumdog Millionaire

Best Quote:Sun is for everyone, beach for a few.” – Luis Otávio as young Rocket in City of God


My top 10 favourite movies that deal with poverty

  1. The Colour Purple (1985)
  2. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
  3. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  4. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  5. Children of Heaven (1997)
  6. City of God (2002)
  7. 13th (2016)
  8. Parasite (2019)
  9. Capernaum (2018)
  10. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Honourable Mentions: Moonlight (2016); Tangerine (2015); The Florida Project (2017); Precious (2009); The Grapes of Wrath (1940)


Pick your movie of the week: Poverty (May 7-13, 2023)

These are tough times we are all facing these last few years in North America. You have probably noticed, especially in cities, the increase in people hanging around at busy traffic intersections asking for change. So this week we’ll pick from three very good movies that spend a good deal of time on poverty. Here they are, vote with a comment:

City of God (2002)

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

Parasite (2019)


Puke Fiction

Graded on levels of 1) disgusting, 2) funny, and 3) disturbing, here are your top 10 vomit scenes in movies: 

10. APOLLO 13 (1995)

  • Disgusting: 4
  • Funny: 7
  • Disturbing: 0
    [If there was an “interesting” rating, this would be at least an 8. Space spew is a thing to behold.]

9. THE SANDLOT (1993)

  • Disgusting: 7
  • Funny: 7
  • Disturbing: 3

8. SUPERSIZE ME (2004)

  • Disgusting: 6
  • Funny: 0
  • Disturbing: 8


  • Disgusting: 10
  • Funny: 5 [Some would have this at a 10. I just wasn’t digging it.]
  • Disturbing: 6


  • Disgusting: 10 [I continue to be impressed by how real they make it in this movie. Still gross…]
  • Funny: 7
  • Disturbing: 7


  • Disgusting: 10
  • Funny: 0
  • Disturbing: 10

4. I LOVE YOU MAN (2009)

  • Disgusting: 5
  • Funny: 10
  • Disturbing: 0

3. THE EXORCIST (1973)

  • Disgusting: 8 [Some would say it’s a 10 here, but considering its age and, therefore, its ability to make it look real, it can be taken down a notch or two.]
  • Funny: 0
  • Disturbing: Between 5-10 [Depending on the viewer’s beliefs in the supernatural.]

2. STAND BY ME (1986)

  • Disgusting: 6 [Some would say it’s more disgusting than this, but like #3, in some scenes you see how fake it is.]
  • Funny: 9
  • Disturbing: 0


  • Disgusting: 7
  • Funny: 11!
  • Disturbing: 1 [I don’t find it disturbing at all, but if anyone’s about to attend a wedding party meal, it could be. Hence, the 1 rating.]

It’s not a spoiler to say that vomit has anything to do with our movie of the week. It’s an element of the plot, but its level of disgusting is low, and level of disturbing is a big, fat 0. So no warnings of queasiness for viewers is issued here.

Congratulations Knives Out. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes too…

Best Actress: Rita Moreno as Valentina in West Side Story

Best Actor: Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out

Best Quote:I can’t believe this airport has a butterfly garden and a movie theatre. JFK is just salmonella and despair.” – Constance Wu as Rachel Chu in Crazy Rich Asians

Impressive Septuagenarians, Octogenarians, and Nonagenarians in Movies:

  • Maggie Smith, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part II (2011), age 77. Currently age 88.
  • Alan Arkin, Argo (2012), age 78. Currently age 89.
  • Al Pacino, The Irishman (2019) and Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019), age 79. Currently age 83.
  • Alan Alda, Marriage Story (2019), age 83. Currently age 87.
  • Gloria Stewart, Titanic (1997), age 87. Deceased at age 100.
  • Judy Dench, Belfast (2021), age 87. Currently 88.
  • Michael Caine, Tenet (2020), age 87. Currently 90.
  • Robert Duvall, Widows (2018), age 87. Currently 92.
  • Christopher Plummer, Knives Out (2019), age 90. Deceased at age 91.
  • James Earl Jones, Coming 2 America (2021), age 90. Currently 92.
  • Rita Moreno, West Side Story (2021), age 90. Currently 91.
  • Lisa Lu, Crazy Rich Asians (2018), age 91. Currently 96.
  • Dick van Dyke, Mary Poppins Returns (2018), age 91. Currently 97.


Pick your movie of the week: Nonagenarians (June 30-May 6 /23)

This week, all of our nominees are actors who performed either in their 90’s or shortly before turning 90. In each of our nominations below, the number by their name indicates how old they were when the film was released. Choose your favourite movie of the four, favourite actor, or the movie you’d most like to see. Whatever way you choose, comment to vote:

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
Lisa Lou, 91

Knives Out (2019)
Christopher Plummer, 90

West Side Story (2021)
Rita Moreno, 90

Coming 2 America (2021)
James Earl Jones, 90


They Call Him Bruce: A Tribute to Bruce Willis

  • As a child, Willis had a severe stutter. He was amazed when to find that when he memorized lines for theater in high school, the stutter was gone when he recited them. He couldn’t believe it. So not only did acting bring him fame and fortune, it also mostly cured him of a debilitating handicap.
  • Today it’s common to see video games in an actor’s filmography. Bruce Willis was the actor to blaze this trail. 1998’s Apocalypse game used Bruce Willis’s likeness, voice, and movements (captured digitally) and gave him “top billing” on the game’s cover.
  • Once filled in for David Letterman as host of The Late Show.
  • We know him as an American actor, though Germany could also claim him. His mother is German and he was born on a military base in Germany. Gudentag!
  • Usually an actor’s filmography has 1-5 movies per year. This was true for Bruce Willis, until 2019 when he appeared in 6. In 2022, he appeared in 12. Yippy kai yay!
  • Ally Sheady was a bridesmaid in the wedding ceremony for him and ex-wife Demi Moore. Little Richard presided. After their divorce and her subsequent pairing with Ashton Kutcher, it was Will Smith who helped him deal with it. In 2009, when he married his girlfriend Emma Heming, Moore and Kutcher were both in attendance.
  • He is left handed, and in many of his films you can see his character writing with his left, with the exception of The Sixth Sense. He practiced writing with his right hand to keep from bringing attention to his left. If first-time viewers noticed that hand, the twist could be spoiled. I’ll just leave it at that…
  • The last 26 movies he starred in were direct-to-video.
  • Not too many people supported the war in Iraq, but Willis did. In 2003 he visited the troops and offered $1M reward for anyone who captured Sadam Hussein. The dictator was captured of course, but Willis wasn’t allowed to make the payment. The military has rules in place to prevent rewards like that being offered and paid out.
  • Before he made a name for himself in acting, Willis worked in food service, and it was apparently a time of his life that wasn’t easy for him. As a result, he is known as being one of the best celebrity tippers.
  • Maxim Magazine made a list of the greatest sex scenes in movie history. It was Willis’ sex scenes in Color of Night (1994) that topped the list at #1.
  • We all heard the sad news in 2022 that he was diagnosed with Aphasia. If you’re not familiar with it, imagine having both a high degree of difficulty in getting your words out when speaking to people, and a difficulty in understanding them in their speech to you. I was sad to see Assassin (2023) listed as his “final film role” in his Wikipedia filmography. If there is anything good that can come of this, I hope it’s that his retirement adds heat to the spotlight on diseases like his, including dementia. Finding a cure would be such a victory for all of us around the world. 

Congratulations The Last Boy Scout. This is your week.

And the Oscar goes to…

Best Actress: Halle Berry as Ororo Monroe aka Storm in X-Men: The Last Stand

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland

Best Quote:I’m gonna need a light. You touch me again, I’ll kill ya.” – Bruce Willis as Joe Hallenbeck in The Last Boy Scout (One of the best “badass” scenes in movies!)

My top 10 favourite Bruce Willis movies:

  1. Die Hard 2 (1990)
  2. Beavis and Butthead Do America (1996)
  3. 12 Monkeys (1995)
  4. Sin City (2005)
  5. Tears of the Sun (2003)
  6. The Fifth Element (1997)
  7. Unbreakable (2000)
  8. Die Hard (1988)
  9. The Sixth Sense (1998)
  10. Pulp Fiction (1994)