Blog

Life is Beautiful

Life is Beautiful (1997, rated PG-13) is just that, a beautiful movie about a father who will do anything in his power to keep the horrors of WWII away from his son. I love how Roberto Benigni invents the whole game scenario for his boy and humorously wings it with every turn for the worse in their prison camp.

The ending is nothing short of brilliant, loving, and courageous. For those movie fans who shy away from foreign films because of the subtitles, I encourage you to watch this wonderful movie that proves how love will always be victorious in the end.

Watch three-time Oscar winner (actor, foreign film, original score) Life is Beautiful on Hoopla today. In Italian with English subtitles. Roberto Benigni wrote, directed, and acted in this excellent movie.


Celebrating Carl Reiner

The legendary comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer, Carl Reiner, passed away on June 29 at the age of 98. His career scanned seven decades. Carl Reiner is best known for The Dick Van Dyke Show. In 1959 he created the pilot for a TV series, Man of the House, which became The Dick Van Dyke Show. He won five Emmy Awards for writing and producing the show. It was on television for five years and then went into syndication for many generations to enjoy.

In the 1950s Carl Reiner acted in Your Show of Shows and acted and started his writing career with Caesar's Hour starring Sid Caesar. In 1960 he teamed up with Mel Brooks and their routine "The 2000 Year Old Man" was a huge success. They won a Grammy Award for the album based on this routine.

Some of his memorable movies were Ocean's Eleven, The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!, The Jerk, The End, Oh, God!, The Thrill of it All, All of Me, and Toy Story 4.

Carl Reiner won many awards and honors. In 1960 he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2000 Carl was awarded the Mark Twain for American Humor at the Kennedy Center. The Directors Guild of America awarded the talented director with the Honorary Life Member Award. Carl and his son, Rob Reiner, became the first father-son duo to have their footprints and handprints added to a concrete slab at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 2017.

Watch The Dick Van Dyke Show on Hoopla. Listen to Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks' 2000 Year Old Man routines on Hoopla.


Shazam!

An orphan in search of his mother unexpectedly obtains superpowers while at yet another foster home. Shazam! (2019, rated PG-13) is an odd mix of low-brow humor combined with typical superpower action scenes and a dramatic storyline that is ultimately very touching.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys superhero movies and silly comedies. Starring Zachary Levi as Shazam and Asher Angel as his alter ego Billy Batson.

Place a hold on the DVD or Blu-ray for pickup. Also, read Shazam! comic books on Hoopla.

Crime Scene Cleaner

This TV show is classified as a comedy, but it's much, much more than that. Heiko Schotte works with, but not for, the police, cleaning up blood and gore at the scenes of violent crimes. While he works, he becomes involved with homeowners and people visiting the places he's cleaning. Schotty, as he calls himself, doesn't get much cleaning done. Most of the episodes are Schotty and someone else just talking. It's philosophical with really thought-provoking observations on humanity and life—all with some laugh out loud moments.

There are ten 25-minute episodes in season 1. Crime Scene Cleaner (2011-2018) has some adult situations and is not for children.This series is worth a look. Start with season 1 on Hoopla. So far, Hoopla has the first two seasons of this interesting sophisticated seriesIn German with English subtitles.


3rd Rock from the Sun

When you are looking for binge-able TV to occupy your time, don't overlook the oldies but goodies, like 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001, rated TV-PG). Enjoy the familiar, though much younger, faces of John Lithgow and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this sitcom about a group of aliens on a mission to study human behavior by posing as a not-quite average family stationed in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio.

Hilarious antics ensue as the foursome navigate how to act like a family unit, form romantic relationships, and establish a sense of self in their unfamiliar bodies.

Stream all six seasons on Hoopla or place holds on the dvds!


The Yank

An Irish-American lad, Tom Murphy, and his very wacky family are expecting to have him married off very soon, but the bride must be an Irish girl. Tom travels to Ireland for his best friend's wedding and stumbles through the pubs and over the hills in his quest for a bride.

Fred Willard, Colm Meaney, and Kevin Farley all make appearances. Tom learns in the end that Ireland is not the mythical land of old movies, but a real, hardworking country moving forward.

Watch The Yank (2014, rated TV-14) on Hoopla today.

If you enjoy Irish films, check out some of the titles on this list

Tags:

The VelociPastor

I was prepared for this to be a really dumb movie, and I was not disappointed. It was quite enjoyable! If you, like I, love bad b-rated horror movies, then this is a must see. It's the age-old tale of a priest's journey to China to find deeper spirituality after a devastating family tragedy. The twist, however, is that he is blessed with an ancient ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur.

This movie checks all the boxes for a low budget horror movie for me: bad acting ✔, cheap visual effects ✔, Christian ninjas ✔, and lots of laughs. The VelociPastor (2018) is a sincere parody that is genuinely funny.

Watch it on Hoopla today!


Amelie

This quirky French comedy very loosely parallels the plot of Jane Austen's Emma. The title character is a cute young waitress with a vivid imagination who comes to realize her joy at helping others. There is no end to the outlandish stratagems that Amelie (Audrey Tautou) is plotting, but will she be able to find love for herself ?

Amelie (2001, rated R) is a fun film with plenty of computer-generated visuals, giving it a unique and farcical feel. Watch the film on Hoopla today. In French with English subtitles.


Comfort and Joy

Based upon real events, a local DJ gets involved between two rival families for the ice cream trade in Glasgow.  Bill Paterson, who plays DJ Dickie Bird, is in top form.  The introduction is rather long before you get into the reason for the film.  While it can be slow moving, it does have a good sense of humor.

Watch Comfort and Joy (1984, rated PG) on Hoopla today.


Tags:

Penelope

Penelope Wilhern is living a fairy tale. She is an heiress, living in a beautiful mansion, being pursued by a charming aristocrat…and she's tasked with breaking the curse she was born with that left her with a pig snout instead of a nose. Such a task seems hopeless when suitor after suitor run away in terror after seeing her, but when one of those suitors helps Penelope learn to take risks, she begins to see there is more to life than breaking the curse.

Penelope (2006, rated PG) is feel good, modern day fairy tale peppered with comedy, fantasy, romance, and charming performances by Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Reese Witherspoon. Watch it on Hoopla today.


800 Words

I enjoy watching the TV series, 800 Words, which has both comedy and drama.  The recently widowed George tries raising his two teenagers while starting over in New Zealand.  There is plenty for family audiences to enjoy as George often begins an episode posing a dilemma, but by the end of the show discovers something about himself and being a father.  It is also filled with plenty of sunshine and beach scenery because they live in a beautiful seaside town and George likes surfing, or at least he tries.  Also, there are several beautiful single women vying for Georges attention.  What's not to like?

Binge watch 800 Words (2015-2018) on Hoopla. The complete series (3 seasons) is available.



Impractical Jokers

Four lifelong friends compete against one another to see how they can embarrass each other.  If you refuse to do what the others tell you to say, then you lose.  If you lose the most, you have a punishment you must do.

The premise is simple, but the execution is hilarious.  They place the group in real life situations where the public has no idea what is going on, leading to fun and embarrassing interactions.  It is always a treat to see what they are going to have to do next and who is going to be the "big loser" at the end.

Binge watch Season 1 (2011-2012) of Impractical Jokers on Hoopla, then continue on to Seasons 2 and 3.

The Interpreter

This Slovakian film garnered 13 nominations and 9 wins from all over the world.  The Interpreter (2018) tells the story of 80-year-old Ali Ungar finding a book written by a former SS officer describing his wartime activities in Slovakia.  Ali discovers this person was responsible for murdering his parents.  He tries to take revenge, but instead finds the officer's 70-year-old son, Georg.  The son hires Ali, the interpreter, to travel with him to find out more about his father, with whom he never had a close relationship. These opposites travel together to interview eyewitnesses to the slayings, but along the way the very different men find out that they are not so different at all.

This movie was superb, with believable characters that will wrench at your heart.  Watch The Interpreter on Hoopla today.

In Slovak, German, and Russian with English subtitles.

David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single

This comedy is about how quickly life can change and how as a result, you change with it.  In David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single (2012), Sam (Garcelle Beauvais) is excited to move to Chicago.  Sylvester (Isaiah Washington), her husband of 17 years, receives a promotion that requires the family to move, but also affords them the luxury of living in a nicer home.

As Sam proudly packs up their apartment (which they share with their 16-year old-son), Sylvester abruptly announces that Sam will not be moving.  If that isn't bad enough, he boldly tells her he was moving into his new home with his girlfriend!

With the love of her best friend, the honesty of her son, and the pushiness of her mother, Sam decides she will survive and love again.  David E. Talbert's Suddenly Single has funny parts and several aha moments regarding love, self-respect, and family.  Watch it on Hoopla today.

Tags:

Detectorists

Why would someone create a show about amateur metal detectorists? I put aside my doubts and tuned in. These two oddball Englishmen travel all over the countryside hoping to uncover buried Saxon treasures! But it's a cutthroat hobby—who would have thought? I was hooked after the first episode of Detectorists. Share the lives, loves, and detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance. You never know what you will uncover.

Binge the whole series on Hoopla! The complete series (2014-2017) is available to watch instantly.


Tags: