Category: Deep In The Dial

Deep In The Dial:

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Tonight in Deep In The Dial has its first color film! Tapeheads will air on FLIX at 9:45 p.m., EST. Set your DVR or have your popcorn ready at 9:30 p.m. for this 1988 John Cusack and Tim Robbins comedy.

John Cusack and Tim Robbins play two best friends who start a music video production company after they’re fired from their jobs as security guards. Among their adventures is running afoul of hitmen, hijacking a Menudo concert to promote their favorite group, and getting kicked out of a label office by Ted Nugent.

The film is also notable for a fake ad for Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles and its cameos: Courtney Love, Doug E. Fresh, Don Cornelius, Fishbone (who provide the score), and Jello Biafra.

Here’s the preserved trailer:

Pairs nicely with AirheadsReality Bites, and High Fidelity.

Deep In The Dial: How Green Was My Valley

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Sometimes we remember better the films that undeservedly lost Best Picture (Brokeback Mountain). Some years, such as 1939, are packed with fine films, and only one can win (so The Wizard of Oz, Love Affair, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington lost to Gone With the Wind).

With modern hindsight, the 1941 Best Picture is an enormous upset—Citizen Kane, largely considered The Greatest Film of All Time, did not win. How Green Was My Valley, the John Ford-directed drama about a Welsh mining family, did. (Also nominated that year was The Maltese Falcon and Suspicion.)

Ford also won Best Director; Orson Welles lost Best Actor to Gary Cooper for Sargeant YorkValley was awarded Best Supporting Actor, Best Black-and-White Art Direction, and Best Black-and-White Cinematography. Today’s entry-level film classes expound on the virtue of Kane’s depth-of-field and cinematography.

But was How Green Was My Valley the Crash of its time? Probably not. Rated “Fresh” at Rotten Tomatoes with a 90% rating, the film is considered one of Ford’s best. The 1939 novel was awarded the National Book Award (after author Richard Llewellyn’s death it was revealed that he based his novels on interviews and had, in fact, spent very little time in Wales).

See for yourself and set your DVR: Valley airs tomorrow on Movies! at 5:20 a.m. and again on Sunday at 8 a.m.

Deep In The Dial: The Littlest Rebel (1935)

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Film lovers can count on MOVIES! to show classic movies. On Sunday night MOVIES! graced us with the honor of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. For reasons that we may never discern, MOVIES! is airing a dark mark on Shirley Temple’s career with The Littlest Rebel.

The film will air tomorrow at 6:20 a.m. and again on Saturday, February 27, at 1:15 p.m.

Released in 1935, Temple stars as 6-year-old Virginie, the daughter of a Confederate spy jailed for treason. Virginie and her slave, Uncle Billy (Bill Robinson), dance through the streets to earn money so she can visit with President Lincoln and convince him to pardon her sack-of-crap father.

“My daddy couldn’t have done anything bad,” she promises Lincoln. Yeah, well, you own another human being, and your daddy owns a plantation, so I find your assertion hard to believe, kid. Your daddy fought for the Confederates so he could keep his Union plantation and all its slaves, so actually, your daddy doesn’t deserve the pardon a fictional Lincoln grants you at the end of this film.

In colorized clips posted on YouTube, the acting is over-the-top. Temple is disappointingly more akin to cardboard than the engaging child star she is remembered as so fondly.

If a viewing leaves you thirsty for vengeance, Django Unchained is streaming on Netflix and Nate Parker’s historical drama Birth of A Nation is likely to see an Oscars-season release at the end of the year.

Deep In the Dial: Imitation of Life (1939)

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Welcome to Deep In the Dial, where we highlight films and television that satisfies, surprises, and wasn’t developed in a writer’s room this year. Tonight I heartily recommend Imitation of Life, with a side of flapjacks (I’m serious).

TCM airs the first adaptation of Fanny Hurst’s weepy story of mothers and daughters tonight at 8 p.m. (The best known adaptation, the Lana Turner-starring 1959 film by Douglas Sirk is absolutely worth your time.)

Claudette Colbert is single, white widow Bea, who befriends and takes in black widow Delilah as a boarder. They become fast friends and find success on the Atlantic City boardwalk thanks to Delilah’s pancakes. Many years later Bea’s spoiled daughter falls in love with her mother’s boyfriend, a plot conflict I only understand thanks to Jane to Virgin (because Xo’s love for Jane is communicated so gracefully, not because Jane is after Xo’s boyfriend).

But more significant is the story of Delilah and her daughter Peola, who struggles to navigate a racist world while passing and denying her parentage. I hope you’re ready for a good cry, because the film’s finale will destroy you.