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Watch now: Bill's Pandemic Movie Recommendations

June 9, 2020

Let's say you're in the mood for a science fiction movie...

By the title of this film – A Boy and His Dog – you would probably think this movie is a heartwarming tale made by Walt Disney. WRONG! This Boy and his Dog is a politically incorrect tale that takes place in post-apocalyptic America in the year 2024. Based on a novella written by Harlan Ellison, this off-beat tale is about Vic (Don Johnson) and his dog Blood who wander through the wasteland looking for food and women...and by the way the dog Blood is a telepath and that's how he communicates with Vic. Blood the dog is the smarter and wittier of the two. The movie was directed by veteran character actor L.Q. Jones (The Wild Bunch) and is produced by Alvy Moore who played the ever-forgetful Hank Kimball on Green Acres. The ending still has the power to shock. It ain't Star Wars.

How about a cinematic adventure?

In 117 A.D. a group of Roman Centurions are betrayed and attacked behind enemy lines. The few remaining survivors must take a perilous journey to make it back to safety. I'm always surprised this movie is not better known. It's one of the best action movies I've seen in years, and I've watched a lot of them, trust me. Also, the cast is incredible: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Liam Cunningham, David Morrissey, and Imogen Poots are all at the top of their acting game. Centurion is written and directed by Neil Marshall who creates an intense chase movie from beginning to end.  Please listen to my Legends of Film podcast with Neil Marshall. We discuss not only Centurion but other movies he has worked on.

Bill, give me a recommendation that satisfies my love of both Shakespeare and murder mysteries.

Theater of Blood stars Vincent Price as Shakespearen actor Edward Lionheart who murders theatrical critics who have wronged him, using methods in Shakespeare's plays to dispose of the critics. As the British would say "it's a bloody good show!" and I mean bloody. One tends to forget how violent Mr. Shakespeare's plays can be. However, this movie has a fine dark sense of humor. Vincent Price has said Theater of Blood was his favorite movie. I can see why – he got to play great Shakespearean parts he was never able to do before. Mr Price has a great supporting cast including Diana Rigg as his daughter, Michael Horden, Robert Morley, Jack Hawkins and Vincent Price's future wife in real life, Coral Browne. Browne portrays one of the critics that Lionheart murders by (spoiler alert) electrocution. Isn't it Romantic!

So far, your recommended movies sound somewhat intense. What about a nice romantic movie, Bill?

Who Am I This Time? is based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut and directed by Jonathan (The Silence of the Lambs) Demme for  American Playhouse on PBS in 1982. The story deals with Harry Nash (Christopher Walken) a shy hardware store clerk who comes alive when he performs in the local community theater. A romance begins when Helene Shaw (Susan Sarandon) is cast opposite Harry in a production of A Streetcar Named Desire. This winning television movie is only 53 minutes long but what a great 53 minutes. It captures the joy of theater and the power of written words of the playwright.

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