May 28, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast!

Streaming All the Way…

We’re still social distancing and movie theaters are still closed, so streaming options have been a movie mainstay again over the past week.

  • Just launched is the new HBO Max streaming service from Warner Media that has a ton of movie options.
  • Also worth checking out is the We Are One: A Global Film Festival happening on YouTube May 29-June 7. More info and schedule is here.

More Disney+

New on the Disney+ streaming service are a couple of interesting 20th Century Fox titles worth checking out: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Hello, Dolly! (1969).

I also discuss on the podcast 10 comfort films currently on Disney+. (And I meant to say that The Emperor’s New Groove was initially titled Kingdom of the Sun, not Empire of the Sun, the Steven Spielberg film…my bad.)


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TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for April 2020

I am still having fun with and learning a lot with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in April (courtesy of my Instagram feed; and sorry to be slow in posting this).

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957)

The Fly (1958)

The Blob (1958)

The Time Machine (1960)

May 19, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast!

New on Video on Demand

Scoob! (Warner Bros.)

Drive-ins Are Back!

Social distancing (and some enterprising movie exhibitors) have brought back the drive-in! Search online for a drive-in near you. In the Salt Lake City area, visit the Redwood Drive-in.

Classic Films to Watch at Home

While we’re still sheltering in place somewhat, here are some more watch at home movie idea.

“The Wonderful World of Disney” on ABC – The ABC television network is bringing back the “The Wonderful World of Disney” programming block on Wednesday nights for the next four weeks.

On Wednesday, May 20, the first film in the series will be Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana (2016). Check out this Instagram post from the voice of Moana herself, actress Auli’i Cravalho.

Look for Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World (2013) on May 27, Pixar Animation Studios’ Up (2009) on June 3, and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Big Hero 6 (2014) on June 10 all on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET (check your local listings). (Also, all four of these films are also available on the Disney+ subscription streaming service if you would just rather watch them right now commercial-free…just sayin’.)

“Sunday Night at the Movies” on CBS – The CBS television network has been broadcasting movies from the Paramount Pictures library every Sunday in May.

Two more films are left. From “Titanic [1997] will tug at your heartstrings once again on Sunday, May 24 at 7/6c, while Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [1989] rounds out the lineup on Sunday, May 31 at 8/7c.”

AFI Movie Club – The American Film Institute (AFI) is continuing their ongoing “Movie Club” where they daily pick a film to watch at home. The AFI selections have been eclectic and interesting and run the gamut from family friendly films (The Sound of Music) to more adult fare (Straight Outta Compton). It’s a great way to increase your film knowledge and experience, too! Details are at

D23 Pollyanna Watching Party on May 22 – D23, the official fan club of The Walt Disney Company, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Disney film Pollyanna (1960) with some at-home events and an online viewing party. Below are a couple of tweets from D23 about their plans this week. More details are on the D23 website.

TCM Memorial Day Marathon – This Memorial Day weekend, from Saturday, May 23 to actual the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 25, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is honoring “those who have lost their lives serving our country by showcasing a marathon of movies covering conflicts that range from the Civil War to Vietnam.” I am hoping to check out as many of these as possible, including Glory (1989), Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), Where Eagles Dare (1968), and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). More info and the complete schedule is on the official TCM website.

Thank You for Tuning In!

Subscribe to the Movies Past and Present podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

May 1, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s podcast where we’re talking all about the great Disney+ streaming service.

New on Disney+

Three films of note are being added to the Disney+ streaming service during the first week of May 2020.

10 Academy Award-Winning Films to Consider Watching on Disney+

I discuss 10 Academy Award-winning films currently playing on Disney+ that you might want to consider watching. Let me know if you check out any of these titles.

One of the films is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), which won an honorary Academy Award which you need to see to believe.

(©️Disney, AMPAS)

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

My “Bond 25” Viewing Project

Since I’ve got some extra time at home these days (like most of us do) courtesy of COVID-19, I’ve added another movie watching project to my calendar. I’m going to watch in order all 24 of the James Bond 007 films in preparation for the 25th Bond film (aka “Bond 25”), No Time to Die, which is now scheduled to open in theaters in November 2020. (It was scheduled to open in theaters this month, but was moved, again courtesy of COVID-19.)

Here’s the latest trailer for No Time to Die.

The character of British secret agent James Bond was created by British author Ian Fleming. Fleming’s first Bond book was Casino Royale, published in 1953.

In 1961, film producers Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman put plans in motion to turn Ian Fleming’s Bond books into movies, casting Scottish actor Sean Connery as Agent 007.

L-R: Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli, Sean Connery, Ian Fleming, and Harry Saltzman, ca. 1961 (courtesy of

The first of Ian Fleming’s books that was adapted for the screen was actually his sixth Bond book, Dr. No, published in 1958. The film version of Dr. No was released in 1962. I had a blast watching it again last week. I put a mini-review on the Movies Past and Present Instagram feed.

I also enjoyed watching the second Bond film this week, From Russia with Love (1963).

More reviews to follow! Follow my Movies Past and Present Instagram feed for the latest.

Albert R. Broccoli went on to produce Bond films up until his death in 1996 (his last credited film as consulting producer was 1995’s GoldenEye). His daughter Barbara Broccoli, who began as an associate producer of the Bond film The Living Daylights (1987), carries the torch as producer for the Bond movies up to this day.

Here’s a complete list of the films I’ll be watching (I’m hoping to watch one a week). I’m not including Casino Royale (1967) or Never Say Never Again (1983) since neither of them are official films of the James Bond 007 canon produced by the Broccoli family.

  1. Dr. No (1962)
  2. From Russia with Love (1963)
  3. Goldfinger (1964) 
  4. Thunderball (1965)
  5. You Only Live Twice (1967)
  6. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
  7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  8. Live and Let Die (1973)
  9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  11. Moonraker (1979)
  12. For Your Eyes Only (1981)
  13. Octopussy (1983)
  14. A View to a Kill (1985)
  15. The Living Daylights (1987)
  16. License to Kill (1989)
  17. Goldeneye (1995)
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
  19. The World Is Not Enough (1999)
  20. Die Another Day (2002)
  21. Casino Royale (2006)
  22. Quantum of Solace (2008)
  23. Skyfall (2012)
  24. Spectre (2015)
  25. No Time to Die (2020)

All Images ©️ Eon Productions

2020 TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition Recap

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the good folks at Turner Classic Movies (TCM) had to cancel this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival that was scheduled to take place in Hollywood, California on April 16-19, 2020. I was scheduled to attend this event and felt quite sad when it inevitably was called off.

However, TCM turned lemons into lemonade and they decided to turn this year’s festival into a “remote, stay the heck at home celebration” (to quote TCM host Ben Mankiewicz) by programming four days of great films along with a lot of special features that they played on the TCM network and on the TCM social media channels.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz recorded this ad for this year’s festival.

As they do every year, TCM created passes for the festival. Here’s mine.

©️ TCM

Even though it was really a bum deal not to be able to travel this year to California (or anywhere for that matter), the festival weekend ending up being a total blast. I watched 16 films (14 features and two documentaries) over the four days and it was such a happy diversion during such an unsettling time.

Here’s a rundown of the films I watched, courtesy of my Instagram and Twitter feeds.

The Good Earth (1937)

Neptune’s Daughter (1949)

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

North by Northwest (1959)

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015)

Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)

They Live by Night (1949)

Safety Last! (1923)

Night Flight (1933)

Casablanca (1942)

Double Harness (1933)

Red-Headed Woman (1932)

Auntie Mame (1958)

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Floyd Norman An Animated Life (2016)

And one final sentimental tweet.

A huge thanks to all of the TCM team for giving this gift to classic movies fans everywhere. I hope to see you (and thank you) in person in Hollywood in 2021 at next year’s TCM Classic Film Festival.

TCM “Must-See Sci-Fi” Update for March 2020

I am still carrying on with my 2020 movie project of watching all 50 movies listed in the cool book from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) called Must-See Sci-Fi: 50 Movies that Are Out of This World by Sloan De Forest (Running Press, 2018; available at and Shop TCM). The complete list of 50 films is here.

Here’s the current rundown on the films I watched in March (courtesy of my Instagram feed; and sorry to be slow in posting this). Most of the March movies were alien invasion or monster movies (or both)…not necessarily comforting viewing during the COVID-19 pandemic currently happening, but these are still great sci-fi films.

The War of the Worlds (1953)

Them! (1954)

Godzilla (1954)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954)

Forbidden Planet (1956)

April 16, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to another “Social Distancing” episode of the podcast where we discuss more films that you can watch from home.

New on Video on Demand

Trolls World Tour (DreamWorks Animation)

“Bond 25” Project

Now that the theatrical release date for No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond 007 film, has been moved to November 2020, I thought it might be fun to watch all 24 of the James Bond films in order. First up is Dr. No (1962) and it’s great.

And here are some other interesting James Bond links:

10 Unique Films on Disney+

I discuss 10 under-the-radar films currently available on the Disney+ streaming service.

Here’s a link to the article about Walt Disney’s involvement with the U.S. government’s Good Neighbor Policy:

A Few More Options for this Weekend and Beyond

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

April 6, 2020 Podcast

Welcome to this week’s COVID-19 “Social Distancing” podcast!

Since all movie theaters are closed right now (or should be), here are some home viewing movie options for your viewing pleasure.

AFI Movie Club

The American Film Institute (AFI) has recently established the AFI Movie Club where every day for the foreseeable future they will select a film for people across the country to virtually watch together. The club’s tagline is “movies to watch together while we’re apart.” More info and a complete list of the films and where to stream them is available on the AFI web site.

TCM Classic Film Festival: Special Home Edition

Sadly, this year’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, California has been officially cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. But TCM has turned lemons into lemonade and is bringing a home version of the festival to the TCM network. Save the dates of April 16-19, 2020 (the same dates of the now cancelled festival) for some great films and commentary from past festivals. More details and a complete schedule are available on the TCM website.

Walt Disney Animation Studios on Disney+

I’ve picked 10 of my favorite films (and it was really hard just to pick 10…I really love these films) from Walt Disney Animation Studios that are all playing on the Disney+ streaming service. Learn more about Disney+ at

Thanks for Tuning In!

Listen to the podcast below or subscribe on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts. I hope that watching some great movies will bring you peace and comfort this week. Be safe out there! Thanks again.

Review: “Onward”

Two elf brothers go on a magical quest in their world where magic has been pushed aside in Pixar Animation Studios’ latest wonderment Onward.

Onward is the type of high concept movie that is a hallmark of Pixar. A film that sounds so bizarre and audacious, yet while you’re watching it, you feel completely at home. I call the filmmakers at Pixar “magicians” because that’s what they do so well—they create magical, unique film experiences using beautiful art, impressive technology, and real emotional resonance.

And magic is really what Onward is all about. The magical world where the film takes place is populated with nothing but magical creatures—mermaids, dwarfs, unicorns, dragons, wizards, etc.—but over time, the magic of their lives has given way to technology, suburban sprawl, and “progress.”

Our two protagonists, teenage elf brothers Barley (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Ian (voiced by Tom Holland), are given a gift by their mother (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who has been a single parent ever since her husband, and the boys’ father, tragically passed away. (The dad died when Barley was very young and Ian was in utero.)

The gift is a magician’s staff and a magic crystal with a spell which supposedly will bring the father back to life for a day. While Barley is a major player of a “Dungeons & Dragons”-style of role-playing game and big believer in the past magical lore of the world they live in (again, mostly tied in with the D&D game), Ian, who turns 16 at the beginning of the film, is more practical and is just trying to find his place with his peer group and in his life.

Barley and Ian keep trying the spell and they begin to conjure up their dad’s body; however, the magic crystal breaks halfway through and only the lower half of their dad makes it back to the world. So, the boys, along with their deceased father’s legs, set out on a quest to try to find another crystal to finish the spell so they can spend some time with their dad before sunset causes the magic spell to end.

Onward at its core is really a buddy movie where the two brothers go on big adventure as they try to work together towards the common goal of spending time with their father. The film is a personal one for director Dan Scanlon, who lost his father at a young age and decided to pose the question of what it would be like to meet up with a deceased parent, if only briefly. Wrapping this emotional concept up in a buddy/fantasy movie was definitely a magic trick and overall the filmmakers really succeed.

Ultimately, the main part of the Pixar “magic,” and where Onward truly delivers, is in its emotional authenticity. I won’t give anything away, but during the final third of the film when everything starts coming together, the film really delivers a satisfying and meaningful emotional experience which speaks serious truth about family relationships. (You might want to bring a Kleenex or two with you to the theater.)

And just as a side note, a new Pixar short is not included in front of Onward (check out the plethora of great Pixar shorts now playing on Disney+); instead, we get a short starring The Simpsons (yes, those Simpsons) which are now part of the Disney family thanks to The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The short is called Playdate with Destiny and it prominently features Maggie Simpson who gets smitten by a baby boy her age that she meets at the park. It felt a bit strange but not necessarily completely out of place to be watching a Simpsons short at a Disney movie. I guess it’s just where and how things are today.

Onward is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association for “action/peril and some mild thematic elements.”

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As an added bonus, check out these cool Onward posters.

All images ©️ Disney/Pixar