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Old 12-30-2018, 08:04 PM
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TVMs: The Best, The Worst, Your Favorite(s)

While posting in this thread, it occurred to me there were/are a ton of made-for-TV movies (TVM) that I'd like to see again, if possible. Some really good, some really awful.
List some and tell us why?

(Only rule: Stand alone TVMs only; no, "MacMillan & Wife," no, "Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island," you get the picture.)


The Night Stalker (1972) - They just don't get much better.

Bad Ronald (1974) - Creepy, well done. Kim Hunter sans ape make-up.

I got a million of 'em, but you do, too.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:30 PM
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How I Spent My Summer Vacation A young Robert Wagner pursues Jill St. John and ends up in a battle of wits with her father, Peter Lawford.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:37 PM
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Welcome Home, Johnny Bristol with Martin Landau as a returning Vietnam vet who stumbles on a conspiracy... or is it?

Rehearsal for Murder, a nice little murder mystery set in a theater, with a great cast.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:49 PM
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Do two-parters count? If so, I really enjoyed the TV movie version of Stephen King's "Rose Red" (which really only existed as a TV movie--there wasn't a corresponding novel, only a companion book). I know it's not considered the best or anything, but I liked it a lot.
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Old 12-30-2018, 08:57 PM
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Crash Landing: The Rescue of Flight 232 (retitled, "A Thousand Heroes") - Excellent true life story of airliner crash in Sioux City, Iowa, and the rescue team that saved almost 200 passengers. Uses real-life footage of the crash. Surprisingly non-exploitative, well acted, a few big names in cast, written by Harve (Star Trek II thru V) Bennett.

A dog of a movie: A Cry in the Wilderness (1974) - George Kennedy is a wilderness family dad bitten by a skunk, who chains himself in the barn in case Pepe Le Pew is rabid. Will his wife find a doctor before she's raped by locals? Will the local dam burst and kill them all? Can you be cured of rabies by exposure to "too much" water? Is there a more ridiculous ending to a movie?


Infovore: Sure, works for me.

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Old 12-30-2018, 09:25 PM
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"Requiem for a Heavyweight" was pretty good.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:32 PM
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I love, "Killdozer." There, I've said it.

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Old 12-30-2018, 09:42 PM
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In with the inevitable mention of Duel.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:51 PM
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Gargoyles: cheesy but enjoyable B-movie complete with meme-worthy slo-mo effects.

Last edited by blondebear; 12-30-2018 at 09:55 PM.
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Old 12-30-2018, 09:54 PM
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^ Thank you, Queeksdraw!

A Cold Night's Death - Something is really going wrong at Robert Culp's polar primate research station.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973) - Young couple inherits old house with small demon creatures supplying a twist ending.

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Old 12-30-2018, 09:57 PM
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I'll be the first to post an obvious one:

Duel (1971) Can you wring terror and suspense out of a car, an old truck, and a lonely stretch of highway? Steven Spielberg can.

Tribes (1970) What happens to a hippie marine recruit (hint: its' not a jolly as Stripes)? Darren McGavin and Jan-Michael Vincent give top notch performances.

And one that has stuck in my mind a long time, mainly because it has two Linda Ronstadt songs (available nowhere else as far as I can tell) in the soundtrack.

Maybe I'll Come Home In The Spring (1971) A somewhat balanced picture of the "hippies vs. straights" split and what it did to families. Sally Field, still struggling to break out of the Gidget stereotype and David Carradine as the siren call boyfriend.

eta: Ninja'd by El Kabong

Last edited by peccavi; 12-30-2018 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:25 PM
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Trilogy of Terror starring Karen Black. And a creepy little doll.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:40 PM
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Goodnight My Love (1972) – Richard Boone and dwarf Michael Dunn make an unlikely but amusing detective team in this enjoyable ‘40s throwback.

Frankenstein: The True Story (1973) – James Mason steals the show as Dr. Polidori, though the standout scene has the bride of the monster (Jane Seymour), uh, losing her head at a party.

The Questor Tapes (1974) – Roddenberry and Coon come up with a great concept – android looking for its creator - that was apparently too cool to become a series. See also: Genesis II (1973) and Planet Earth (1974).

Helter Skelter (1976) – Charlie and his gang abuse their 15 minutes of fame.

Scum (1977) – BBC TV movie of prison life and the different approaches taken by two newbies.

Dr. Strange (1978) – Guilty pleasure.

Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women (1979) – Guilty pleasure.

The Scarlett O’Hara War (1980) – Reasonably enjoyable story of casting the female lead of Gone with the Wind, with about a dozen impersonations of stars.

The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988) – Guilty pleasure. I recall that the dude playing Thor was really good.
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Old 12-30-2018, 10:48 PM
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The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988) Guilty pleasure. I recall that the dude playing Thor was really good.
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Old 12-30-2018, 11:09 PM
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PROMISE - James Garner protects and cares for his schizophrenic younger brother played by James Woods.

A THOUSAND MEN AND A BABY - John 'Chick' Hayward (Gerald McRaney), captain of a Korean war era US Navy destroyer shelters a mixed heritage orphan aboard his ship and transports the child to a new life and family in America. Bonus fact: Hayward's Law - "Regulations are perfect - for perfect situations. In an emergency, regulations are to be intelligently disregarded."
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:20 AM
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A great one is "Nuts in May".

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Nuts in May is a television film devised and directed by Mike Leigh, filmed in March 1975, and originally broadcast as part of the BBC's Play for Today series on 13 January 1976.[1] It is the comical story of a nature-loving and rather self-righteous couple's exhausting battle to enjoy what they perceive to be the idyllic camping holiday. Misunderstandings, awkward clashes of values and explosive conflicts occur when less high-minded guests pitch their tents nearby.
Bonus -- the entire movie is availble on Youtube:
Nuts in May
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:31 AM
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Guyana Reagedy: The Story of Jim Jones. Powers Boothe deserved wining an Emmy for thi sone.
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:34 AM
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Count Dracula (1977) - Louis Jordan is You-know-who in this British version. Great cast with Frank Finlay a stand-out as van Helsing. Arguably the version closest to the novel. Some flaws, but I'd give it 9.97/10. Beware edited version.

Dracula (1974) - Jack Palance is You-know-who in this Dan Curtis version. Some major changes from the novel, but so what? Typically well done Dan Curtis production.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:19 AM
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The Boy in the Plastic Bubble with a young John Travolta - saw it as a child and still remember most of the movie to this day.
James at 15 - I remember the movie more than the series it spawned.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:33 AM
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Brian's Song (1971) - There won't be a dry eye in the house; the ladies, either. James Caan, Billy Dee Williams; a masterpiece.
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Old 12-31-2018, 12:13 PM
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The Fighting Men. Two Canadian soldiers, one Anglophone, one Francophone, hate each other's guts. But, when their plane crashes in the middle of the wilderness, they have to work together to survive.

The Four Feathers, starring Beau Bridges and Jane Seymour. More faithful to the book than any of the theatrical films.

Another vote for Louis Jordan in Count Dracula. Low-budget, with shoddy special effects, but still good.

Vampire. Jason Miller and E.G. Marshall hunt a vampire played by Richard Lynch.

Blood Ties. A film about the Carpathian-American community. (Don't call them vampires. That's an ugly racial slur.)

Doctor Strange is also one of my guilty pleasures. Of all of Marvel's attempts at live-action movies in the 1970s, this is one of the least bad. Considering what a limited budget they had to work with, they made a valiant attempt to film Steve Ditko's astral realms. And in this film, Wong is not a stereotype!
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:11 PM
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The Killers (1964) - A remake produced for TV, but released theatrically owing to violence. Reagan plays the bad guy and it's his greatest performance as an actor until becoming president.


Nightmare in Chicago (1964) - Originally shown in two parts on Kraft Suspense Theater, this is a tense and very effective location shot thriller about a serial killer and the police manhunt for him. Directed by Robert Altman.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
I love, "Killdozer." There, I've said it.
Dude!

I shit you not- I moused over the thread title to find out what TVMs was, and after reading the first sentence, immediately thought "Killdozer".


Were we separated at birth or something?
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:50 PM
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^ What are you waiting for, Gato? You've got other faves--spill it! Or sucky ones! You're among friends!

I know this can't be, but it seemed to me a big chunk of network TVMs from late '60s to mid '70s were horror, SF, mystery; I don't remember a lot of comedies. E.g.:

Moon of the Wolf
Crowhaven Farm
Something Evil
When Michael Calls
Scream, Pretty Peggy
Dead of Night (1977)
The Norliss Tapes
She Waits
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:52 PM
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I'm trying not to hog the thread, but no one has mentioned The Day After. A big deal in its day.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:09 PM
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I have no idea whether it still holds up, and I'm guessing it doesn't, but when I was a kid, I was mesmerized by The Electric Grandmother. I guess it couldn't have been that bad, as it 7.8 on IMDB, and even won a Peabody award. How 'bout that? I don't think I've seen it since the mid-80s. Looks like it came out in 82, when I would have been 7, but I'm sure I had seen it shown again a couple of times in the 80s. ETA: Oh, wow, had no idea it was based on a Ray Bradbury story, either. I just remember the ol' electric grandmother pouring milk out of her finger!

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Old 12-31-2018, 08:13 PM
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I remember back in 1993 there were three different TV movies about the Amy Fisher case:

Casualties of Love: The "Long Island Lolita" Story---aired on CBS with Alyssa Milano as Amy Fisher.

The Amy Fisher Story----aired on ABC with Drew Barrymore as Amy Fisher.

Amy Fisher: My Story----with Noelle Parker as Amy Fisher.

For those not familiar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Fisher
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Old 01-01-2019, 04:04 AM
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Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt View Post
I'm trying not to hog the thread, but no one has mentioned The Day After. A big deal in its day.
Yeah, but do you classify it as "the best", or "the worst"? (I missed it, and from what my friends told me about it afterwards, I don't really regret missing it. People's opinions on it seemed to depend entirely on their political views before they watched it.)
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:07 AM
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Peter O'Toole and Jodie Foster in Svengali. It doesn't hold up well, but the scene where O'Toole says "When I make love to a woman, I UNWRAP her," is a panty dropper. Him with those blue bedroom eyes.

Last edited by DummyGladHands; 01-01-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:09 AM
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I'll be the first to post an obvious one:

Duel (1971) Can you wring terror and suspense out of a car, an old truck, and a lonely stretch of highway? Steven Spielberg can.

Tribes (1970) What happens to a hippie marine recruit (hint: its' not a jolly as Stripes)? Darren McGavin and Jan-Michael Vincent give top notch performances.

And one that has stuck in my mind a long time, mainly because it has two Linda Ronstadt songs (available nowhere else as far as I can tell) in the soundtrack.

Maybe I'll Come Home In The Spring (1971) A somewhat balanced picture of the "hippies vs. straights" split and what it did to families. Sally Field, still struggling to break out of the Gidget stereotype and David Carradine as the siren call boyfriend.

eta: Ninja'd by El Kabong
Oh, Tribes! It was great, could not remember the name
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:24 AM
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Let's go back to the very beginning: The Borgia Stick and The Mask of Sheba. Both starring Inger Stevens.

Then there's Evil Roy Slade of course. A favorite of many Dopers.

On the musical side there's The Point!.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:37 AM
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If I can throw in an ESPN movie, The Junction Boys was a sports movie about Bear Bryant's first training camp as Texas A&Ms head coach (no, I'm not an Aggie.) It starred Tom Berenger as was about their "camp from hell" that year. A very well-done adaptation of the book.


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On the musical side there's The Point!.
I thought I was the only one who enjoyed The Point!

Last edited by txjim; 01-01-2019 at 09:40 AM.
  #33  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:40 AM
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Yeah, but do you classify it as "the best", or "the worst"? (I missed it, and from what my friends told me about it afterwards, I don't really regret missing it. People's opinions on it seemed to depend entirely on their political views before they watched it.)
I'm afraid I have to decline; I watched it on tape a year or so later and the only part I really remember was the people and towns being vaporized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DummyGladHands View Post
Peter O'Toole and Jodie Foster in Svengali. It doesn't hold up well, but the scene where O'Toole says "When I make love to a woman, I UNWRAP her," is a panty dropper. Him with those blue bedroom eyes.
It's 8:00 in the morning; I haven't had my Rice Krispies and BP meds yet! Could you and Anton Ego get a room?

Oh, yes, Tribes was a winner.
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Old 01-01-2019, 01:11 PM
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Special Bulletin - the first time NBC aired it, it went to great lengths to make it clear that it was a movie ("DRAMATIZATION" appeared on the screen whenever there was a "live news report," and there was a disclaimer at the end of every commercial break).
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:24 PM
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I keep meaning to mention:

Five Desperate Women - This was the first thing I saw Robert Conrad in post-"Wild Wild West" and he (James West) was my hero at the time. The movie wasn't very good, despite the five women of the title being kinda popular actresses at the time. The ending
SPOILER:
The remaining women fix Conrad (the murderer)'s wagon,
brought me close to tears (I was young), which was hardly the point of the movie. Lotsa cryin' ladies; the tears flowed freely. Skip it.
  #36  
Old 01-01-2019, 09:26 PM
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Buried Alive. His wife and her boyfriend doctor don't quite kill him dead enough, so he digs himself out of his cheap coffin, and seeks revenge.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:29 PM
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Of course Special Bulletin and The Day After come to mind, but here's one appropriate for the season that we just rewatched:

The Homecoming - A Christmas Story. If it doesn't sound familiar, it's because it's often labelled as The Waltons pilot episode, although the series was ordered only after the success of the TV movie.

It stands well as a stand-alone story, bringing in lots of sentimentality in the midst of the depression, but also lots of (minor) crime and goofy characters. I especially like Cleavon Little's being a reverend at the black church and seeing a different yet still delightful Christmas Eve program. I recall watching it (as a teen) in 1971, wishing I could know more about these characters, which I think is one of the marks of a good movie.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:48 PM
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Buried Alive. His wife and her boyfriend doctor don't quite kill him dead enough, so he digs himself out of his cheap coffin, and seeks revenge.
Directed by Frank ("Walking Dead") Darabont? I gotta find it. Thanks. An aside: if you can find it, Darabont's The Woman in the Room is superb (based on the Stephen King short story and co-stars my favorite supporting actor--Brian Libby).

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
Of course Special Bulletin and The Day After come to mind, but here's one appropriate for the season that we just rewatched:

The Homecoming - A Christmas Story. If it doesn't sound familiar, it's because it's often labelled as The Waltons pilot episode, although the series was ordered only after the success of the TV movie.

It stands well as a stand-alone story, bringing in lots of sentimentality in the midst of the depression, but also lots of (minor) crime and goofy characters. I especially like Cleavon Little's being a reverend at the black church and seeing a different yet still delightful Christmas Eve program. I recall watching it (as a teen) in 1971, wishing I could know more about these characters, which I think is one of the marks of a good movie.
This made me think of Sunshine (1973) - A really good TVM that spawned a really good, though short-lived, TV series--one of the first "dramadies," a comedy-drama with no laugh-track. Also begat the TVM, Sunshine Christmas, which was also first-rate.

Last edited by burpo the wonder mutt; 01-01-2019 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:05 PM
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^ I misspelled "dramedy." It's been a long day.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:03 AM
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Gargoyles: cheesy but enjoyable B-movie complete with meme-worthy slo-mo effects.
This was the first thing I thought of when reading the OP. A long-time favorite. And recently aired on Svengoolie, too.
  #41  
Old 01-02-2019, 02:12 AM
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This made me think of Sunshine (1973) - A really good TVM that spawned a really good, though short-lived, TV series--one of the first "dramadies," a comedy-drama with no laugh-track. Also begat the TVM, Sunshine Christmas, which was also first-rate.
"Sunshine" was based on a best-selling book that was inspired by a true story.

Not long after Jessica McClure was rescued from the well, a TV movie was made about it, and even though everyone knew what happened, it was still very good. It was called "Everybody's Baby."

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097303/?ref_=nv_sr_1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_McClure

"The Betty Ford Story" was a biopic about the First Lady and her battles with alcoholism and breast cancer. It, too was very good.

"The Burning Bed" was not fun to watch, but it sure increased awareness of domestic violence, and changed Farrah Fawcett from a pinup girl to a serious actress. Its subject, Francine Hughes, died a year or two ago; she poured gasoline all over the bed where her abusive husband was passed out, and lit it, hence the name of the movie and the book that spawned it.

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 01-02-2019 at 02:14 AM.
  #42  
Old 01-02-2019, 08:23 AM
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I think that Nicholas Meyer (the guy who wrote the Sherlock Holmes-meets-Sigmund Freud pastiche The Seven per cent Solution and its sequels, ands who co-wrote and/or directed the Star Trek II through IV movies) is the Unsung KIng of TV movies. The ones he directed or produced or wrote are among the best:

The Night that Panicked America -- dramatization of the impact of the Orson Welles "War of the World" broadcast of 1938. It contained the entire actual broadcast, and showed a lot about how it happened.

Judge Dee and the Monastery Murders -- adaptation of Robert Hans van Gulik's "Judge Dee" novel with an all-Asaian Ancestry cast (except, ironically, for the title character) -- a real rarity even as late as 1974, when it was made. Clearly intended as a pilot for a Judge Dee TV series (they'd already had a six-episode series in the UK -- with a non-Asian cast), but it unfortunately never happened, the lead actor ending up playing a modern-day detective in San Francisco in "Chang!"

The Day After -- the sensational 1983 TV-movie about nuclear war.

The Odyssey -- surprisingly faithful adaptation, with pretty decent effects from the Henson people.

The Informant -- I haven't seen this one about an IRA informant, but it won an award for best teleplay. It ran on Showtime.
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Last edited by CalMeacham; 01-02-2019 at 08:27 AM.
  #43  
Old 01-03-2019, 09:25 AM
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Pre-Muppet Show Muppet Movies:

Hey, Cinderella!

The Frog Prince

as well as

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:45 AM
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Killdozer is awesome! Even my wife likes it, and she's not a hige Sci fi fan. Clint Walker! Carl Betz! Robert Urich! Caterpillar-fu!

I vote Birds of Prey, with David Janssen as a Salt Lake City traffic helicopter reporter who stumbles on an armed robbery (with hostage) and chases the crooks in his chopper. One of the best helicopter action movies ever made.
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:51 AM
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Choce number 2, (which I just now remembered) is Assault on the Wayne, one of the best non-Star Trek Star Trek movies (behind only Captain Horatio Hornblower and Forbidden Planet).

Submarine captain Leonard Nimoy is running secret AMB tests when Soviet agents infiltrate his boat and attempt to steal the tech.
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
On the musical side there's The Point!.
When I was in junior high school, somehow our teacher transcribed the script for this (no idea how she managed it back in the days before VCRs) and we did a stage play of it. Everyone (except one) running around wearing a flesh colored cone hat!
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Old 01-03-2019, 10:53 AM
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I thought I was the only one who enjoyed The Point!
I think you might be.

I watched it when it was new, remembered enjoying it, but never saw it again until a few years ago. Boy was it bad! I wanted to like it.

Me and My Arrow is still a good song, though.
  #48  
Old 01-03-2019, 11:17 AM
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Killdozer is awesome! Even my wife likes it, and she's not a hige Sci fi fan. Clint Walker! Carl Betz! Robert Urich! Caterpillar-fu!

I vote Birds of Prey, with David Janssen as a Salt Lake City traffic helicopter reporter who stumbles on an armed robbery (with hostage) and chases the crooks in his chopper. One of the best helicopter action movies ever made.
Another aside: This reminds me of a short-lived series--"Chopper One." Fantastic first episode, then pfft! Why? One of the chopper pilots said it best: (Pilot #2 was going to jump out of the bird and pursue a suspect on foot, Pilot #1 says: ) In the air, you're worth ten cops; on the ground, you're worth just one (or something). Show got boring fast. Too bad, it had promise.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Asking Questions View Post
Choce number 2, (which I just now remembered) is Assault on the Wayne, one of the best non-Star Trek Star Trek movies (behind only Captain Horatio Hornblower and Forbidden Planet).

Submarine captain Leonard Nimoy is running secret AMB tests when Soviet agents infiltrate his boat and attempt to steal the tech.
Wow! What a cast! All those guys worked together previously. First showing was up against the "All in the Family" premiere? Why didn't they just put the movie up against a wall and put it out of its misery?
  #49  
Old 01-03-2019, 11:33 AM
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!!Andy Griffith Double Feature!!:

Pray For the Wildcats - Motorcycle road-trip nonsense (co-starring Shatner!)

Savages - Yet another "Most Dangerous Game" rip-off.

I think AG was trying to "tough-guy" his image after eight decades of playing Sheriff Taylor.
  #50  
Old 01-03-2019, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by El_Kabong View Post
In with the inevitable mention of Duel.
Well yeah, a movie based on a Richard Matheson (I am Legend, etc...) with the screenplay also written by him, and then directed by Steven Spielberg ought to be awesome!
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