Shows 'N Tunes: Movie, Music, and Game Reviews

Spotlight: Bill Murray Comedies

72216Versatile actor Bill Murray is primarily known for his comic roles.

  • Carl Spackler, the demonic assistant groundskeeper in Caddyshack (1980)
  • Peter Venkman, a paranormal investigator in Ghostbusters (1984)
  • Bob Wiley, a needy therapy patient in What about Bob? (1991)
  • Phil Connors, a TV weatherman in Groundhog Day (1993)
  • Vincent, a grumpy next door neighbor who drinks and gambles in St. Vincent (2014)

His comedic talent helped make these movies box office successes.  Bill Murray is from the Chicago area and performed in The Second City before starring on Saturday Night Live.

Check out The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray by Robert Schnakenberg to learn more about the actor.

 

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Jersey Boys (original Broadway cast recording)

jerseyboysJersey Boys [original Broadway cast recording] (2005)
Music from the Broadway hit takes the listener back to the 1960s and the singing sensations Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. The musical tells the story of working class kids who rose to superstars in the entertainment world. The CD has all the hits, including “Sherry," “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk like a Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” and more. Their story is told, their music celebrated. If you remember the ‘60’s, don’t miss this CD.

To hear the music live, check out Jersey Boys, currently playing at the LaSalle Bank Theatre in Chicago. Visit Broadway in Chicago for a preview of the show, ticket information, and more.

Love Me or Leave Me

lovemeorleavemeLove Me or Leave Me by Doris Day (1955)
Doris Day played real life 1920s singer Ruth Etting in the movie of the same name. Here she performs great songs from the early decades of the twentieth century. Songs include the upbeat "Stay on the Right Side Sister" and "Shaking the Blues Away" and lovely ballads such as "I'll Never Stop Loving You" and "Love Me or Leave Me." You can also check out the original movie with Day and James Cagney. Find out Doris Day is more than just "Que Sera Sera."

Atypical. Seasons 1-2 (2017-2018) TV-MA

mv5bmtcynzk3mzm2of5bml5banbnxkftztgwodcwmzyxnjm-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Atypical revolves around high school senior, Sam Gardner.  He loves penguins, art, and biology and just happens to be on the autism spectrum.  Follow the Gardner family as they navigate relationships at school and home, while Sam works to gain more independence and life experience in this witty, yet heart-tugging Netflix original series.  Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream through Netflix on our Rokus.

 

A Dog’s Purpose (2017) PG

81i2yytjxl-_sy445_When we are first introduced to Bailey, the lovable narrator in A Dog’s Purpose, he’s a spunky newborn pup full of wonder and curiosity.  He asks, “What is this place and why am I here?”  As his story unfolds, these questions are answered, and we come to understand all the wonderful reasons dogs exist in our lives.  This movie weaves together the separate stories of Bailey’s nine lives and explains how the humans he accompanies on each life’s journey have a unique reason for needing and loving a dog.

I loved this sweet movie for the message it shared, but be warned, it will leave you and your children in tears.  Keep a box of tissues nearby! If you love A Dog’s Purpose as much as I did, you’ll find more movies featuring our furry, four-legged friends here.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) PG

51mtooacrwl-_sy445_Once Litwik's Family Fun Center and Arcade closes for the night, the characters of each game visit each other and meet in a power strip that connects them all.  Wreck-It Ralph, the antagonist of the game Fix-It Felix Jr., is tired of being the bad guy in his game.  When he's challenged to earn the game characters' respect by gaining a medal like Felix, Ralph enters various video games causing chaos and hilarity.

I can't believe that I missed Wreck-It Ralph when it first premiered in 2012.  I am so glad that the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet came out to remind me to find the original. This is a fantastic comedic adventure that will engage the whole family.  Kids will root for Princess Vanellope, who they will likely relate to as she's constantly told "no" and left out of the race. Ralph will make them laugh and gain their support by the end of the movie -- a "bad" guy that everyone loves.  Adults will enjoy moments like the bad guy support group meetings and the Diet Coke/mentos mountain -- a chemical reaction that yields some fantastic YouTube videos.

Definitely give this a re-watch before the sequel comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray in February.

Forbidden Island (2010)

pic646458Take on the role of a team of adventurers saving priceless artifacts from a sinking island.  Your team must work together to secure the treasures and then make it off the island before you drown.  The game play is easy to pick up while providing more complexity for seasoned players. Each player gets a special trait based on the role they choose.  One example is the Navigator, who can move other players around the board on their turn.

If you like to work with a group or enjoy family games nights that end with everyone happy, Forbidden Island: adventure...if you dare is the perfect game choice.  The game takes about an hour to play and is suitable for ages 8 and up.

 
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The Greatest Showman: Reimagined (Deluxe) (2018)

81hhv8sdrql-_sl1200_I enjoyed the movie The Greatest Showman, but I LOVED the music.  And to my delight, The Greatest Showman: Reimagined has been released.  Along with the original cast recordings, the soundtrack has been enhanced with artists including Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, Sara Bareilles, and Panic at the Disco! performing songs.

My favorites include Zac Brown Band’s rendition of “From Now On” and Kesha’s take of “This is Me.” Let this rousing album lift your spirits (listen instantly on Hoopla). And check out a Billboard article for how these artists joined forces.

 

Advise & Consent (1962)

814cscducnl-_ri_sx300_Otto Preminger directs a political story of devious and ruthless government officials trying to make backroom deals.  The president (Franchot Tone) wants to appoint a controversial man (Henry Fonda) to be Secretary of State.  The action takes place among the Senate subcommittee and the bickering leads to devious games and ruined careers.  Advise & Consent was considered to be very daring and shocking when released.  It still holds up.

Charles Laughton, Peter Lawford, Walter Pidgeon, and Gene Tierney play key roles.

 

 
 
 
 
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The Interpreter

The Interpreter (2005) PG-13

Directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, this movie of political intrigue is set at the U.N. and is a thriller. The acting is superb and this “whodunit” has many twists and turns.

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Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series

Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series (1999-2000)

If you missed this TV series when it aired, never fear! The entire 18 episodes are in one DVD set. Go back to 1980-81 and visit with the Weir family, the geeks, the freaks and the teachers of McKinley High School. Relive high school, remember everything you wanted to forget, but enjoy the terrific acting, great music and fun storylines.

5ive Days to Midnight

5ive Days to Midnight (2004)

A sharp mystery! A physicist receives a file about his murder in the future. He has five days to solve his own murder before it becomes reality. Fast paced and very suspenseful, fans of The X-Files will enjoy this miniseries.

The Ultimate Gift

The Ultimate Gift (2006) PG
Based on the bestselling novel by Jim Stovall, the movie tells the story of Jason, who was expecting to inherit millions from his grandfather Red (James Garner) when the old man dies. But as fate would have it, Jason must complete 12 assignments within a year to receive his share of his grandfather’s will. What can be best described as a “crash course in life” leads Jason to a better understanding of what it is to be a man.
--Gail

A spoiled grandson inherits a large sum of money from a cold, billionaire grandfather that he hated. Before he can get the money there’s a catch. The grandson must accomplish 12 tasks that will eventually teach him life lessons and the relationship between wealth and happiness. This movie stars Abigail Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine.
--Sandy
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H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer

H. H. Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer (2003)
A 64 minute biography of Herman Mudgett, focusing mainly on the murders committed while Mudgett used the name H. H. Holmes, but still describing Mudgett’s early life and later his trial and execution. In the late 19th century, Mudgett built what was then called a “castle,” but in what was more reminiscent of a spider web, he captured and killed visitors thronging to the Columbian Exposition of 1893. This could be thought of as the movie version of the book Depraved by Harold Schechter and could accompany a reading of The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

Wild Hogs

Wild Hogs (2007) PG-13
Have you ever been tired of your life and just wanted to take off for places unknown? Well, sit back and let the Wild Hogs take you on that trip. This is a zany story, filled with stereotypes, slapstick humor, biker wannabes and a cast of characters that work well together. A group of four suburban men (Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy) find themselves looking for adventure on the open road. They encounter a real biker group called the Del Fuegos and the fun begins.
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