Police Squad is full of high-brow humor. Not!
Find out how to mark Mickey's birthday, why Hef was a visionary and what wine goes with turkey.
Double Indemnity contains many elements of a classic film-noir.
Boxer Jack Johnson's life is captured in Ken Burns' documentary Unforgivable Blackness
Add any of these DVDs to your weekend viewing and you won't be disappointed. From slapstick to film noir, there's a film here for every movie buff.
Don't Call Me Shirley, Shirley
The short-lived TV show Police Squad (1982) is one of the smartest television series ever made. Not only does it set the standard for absurdist, rapid-fire comedy, but it achieves perhaps the ultimate street cred — cult-classic status, after ABC canceled the series. No matter, because the creators –- Jim Abrahams and the Zucker Brothers –- took the material from Police Squad and created the hilarious Naked Gun series. In both, Leslie Nielsen plays Lt. Frank Drebin, a bumbling detective running an incompetent police squad. Sight-gags and puns abound.
Fall into the Missile Gap
After the United States and the Soviet Union are locked in a missile crisis, the president decides to disengage rather than chase a growing missile gap. Instead of agreeing, the U.S. military attempts a coup. There's almost no action on screen, but the pacing in John Frankenheimer's political thriller, Seven Days in May (1964) makes the film seem like an edge-of-your-seat thriller every step of the way.
Film Noir Film Noir
An iconic film-noir before film noir existed, James Cain's Double Indemnity (1944) features a superb cast and material written by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder. Fred MacMurray, best known as the father in My Three Sons plays an everyman-turned-killer. Edward G. Robinson, a life-long character gangster, plays it straight as an insurance investigator. Barbara Stanwyck is the femme fatale stuck between the two men -– their triangular relationship gives the movie more than a hint of homoeroticism, adding another layer to this introspective classic.
Self-Identity, Violence and Sex in the City
A David Mamet film, Edmond (2005) features an all-star cast, including William H. Macy and Julia Stiles, exploring elements of racial and class inequality in the underbelly of New York City. After Macy's character has a midlife crisis, he sets off on a journey of self-identity, violence and sex in the city. It's the Mamet style -– the staccato speech and the lack of fear -– that make this film like Crash, but better.
Unforgivable Blackness (2005) is one of Ken Burns' best documentaries. The subject is a man unfamiliar to most people, but his story is both historic and inspiring. Unforgivable is the story of boxer Jack Johnson, a heavyweight crown contender who literally chased the heavyweight crown around the world, finally winning in Australia. But it was the racial battles Johnson faced at home -– with both blacks and whites –- that make his story so remarkable.