Cathy’s Guide to Netflix

My name is Cathy Salinsky. I ain’t no Hollywood insider and I certainly don’t have a film critic degree. But I love movies, always have. And if you’re like me, you can’t afford to go traipsing outside everyday to catch a flick at the cineplex. It’s like $12 for a movie ticket and then you got to get popcorn cause no movie is complete without popcorn and that’s another 15 or so dollars and it just isn’t realistic for people anymore. And the people at Netflix realize this.

I have gotten to know Netflix inside and outside. And I thought to myself, Cathy, you can’t keep all this priceless knowledge and movie recommendations to yourself. So, I thought, why not write for a movie weblog. Who better to share my expertise (I always loved that word) with people who really love movies and want to read about good movies on the internet? So this is that weblog. Welcome to my column, Cathy’s Guide to Netflix.

Cathy’s Take on ‘Turner and Hooch’

Turner and Hooch (1989) – Wacky Family Romp | Investigative Mystery

Directed by: Roger Spottywood

Starring: Tom Hanks and Hooch

How I Watched: The USA Channel, Complete with Commercial Interruptions

I am so so so sorry to all the Net-Heads and Flix-Feets out there that were so disappointed by the lack of column, especially with such great films leaving Netflix last week. Oh, boy, did I have a doozy of a week, my friends.

It started off well enough with Pam, my bank teller, introducing me in the line at the bank to this wonderful gentleman named Cash Jones, which as I write this seems like a fake name. But he was a really handsome man with a bald spot surrounded by salt-and-pepper hair. He kind of looked like Sam Elliot if Sam Elliot was a foot shorter and a hundred pounds heavier and didn’t have a mustache or cowboy hat.

We got to talking while I filled out my deposit slip and he laughed at all my jokes and anecdotes about when I worked as a receptionist for a veterinarian clinic. We planned a date after I wrote my number on a deposit slip and that evening, I waited in the parking lot of Sonic for him to show up, but he never showed up. I then tried to buy some tater tots from Sonic because they have wonderful tater tots, but my debit card was declined which I thought was strange. I am in no way a wealthy lady, but I am definitely tater tot rich.

So, I called the bank and it turns out my bank account was empty. I had no clue what was going on so I called Pam, but the bank was closed. I called the one eight-hundred number on the back of the card, and they answered and stated that all my money had been withdrawn earlier that day at four-twenty-five from the bank, which was five minutes after I left the bank. 

So, I called Cash Jones’ cell phone, both to remind him that we had a date tonight and also to warn him that there was apparently a thief among us at the bank who had stolen all of my money and could have possibly stolen his money too. But I couldn’t get a hold of him. It would seem that in my haste to write down such a beautiful man’s number, I must have jumbled some numbers, because the line I called was a dry-cleaner’s number in Des Moines.

So, I went home to settle down and watch some of the new season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix which I am over the moon about and came to find out that Netflix tried to bill my account, but since I had no money, it wouldn’t go through. There I was, pennyless and Netflixless and without a friend in the world until Penny got into the bank the next day. 

I toiled around on the cable television, watching the last part of Turner and Hooch complete with commercial interruptions. I had never seen the film before and found Tom Hanks to be delightful and the investigation very interesting, as I was going through my own investigation, albeit without a massive dog. Just me, Pam, and Carmen, my mutt puppy. 

I am still working on getting my money back, but have since got my most recent paycheck and a new bank account and a new lease on a new cautious outlook on life. Netflix is back. It is a scary world out there, kids. Change those PIN numbers and be careful when you stop at an ATM Machine.

As it turns out, Turner and Hooch just got added to Netflix. Haven’t seen all of it, but it is pretty good. You should watch it.

Cathy Gives It: I give Turner and Hooch 10 out of 10 hooches.

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Cathy’s Take on ‘The Shawshank Redemption’

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The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Great Family Romp | Total Science Fiction

Directed by: Not Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman

How I Watched: VHS Rental from the Uptown Library

Full disclosure: I have never been to prison. I live my life according to the law and have never had a run-in except for when I dropped a Dairy Queen Chocolate Cherry Blast Blizzard in my lap in front of a police officer and got pulled over. The officer said I almost swerved into the oncoming lane and he feared I’d had a stroke. I was so T.O.’d for dropping my Blizzard that I almost had an aneurysm. Those treats are seasonal and it was the last day of the season according to a Blizzard-specific Facebook group I am a member of. When I called DQ, they said they’d send me a coupon for a free one and I ended up getting Heath flavored because they were in fact out of Chocolate Cherry Blast. I got off with a warning is the point of the story, and I never went to jail. Not like Andy Dufraine, or Red, or Boggs, or the librarian with the crow. They are all characters in the 1994 classic, Shawshank Redemption.

Shawshank Redemption is a movie about a guy, named Andy Dufrayn, played by Tim Robbins, who goes to jail for killing his wife. He has a hard time, but then plans an escape thanks to getting a miniature pick-ax from Morgan Freeman, which he hides behind a poster of some scantily clad ladies. I should warn you guys, this is a prison movie so it is a bit violent. There is a scene in which he gets raped by some other people in prison. They are real bullies. But the rape is not shown and is really tastefully done. The film focuses on the whole gamut of prison life, from the rape, to the doing of income tax, to the playing of opera music on the loudspeaker. Eventually, Andy escapes prison and builds a boat and Red comes and visits him. And I know this movie doesn’t sound very good, but trust me, it really is. There is also a sad part in which the librarian with a crow gets sad about not being a librarian in prison, so he hangs himself. That really added some weight to the film.

All in all, this is a warm hearted prison movie that says that even if you are convicted of killing your wife and her lover, you can still have good times and do taxes for your buddies and even build a boat in Mexico when you get out. It is a movie about redemption and it is a movie about the prison life, but I forget the name of the prison. Close your eyes during the rape and violence, but otherwise this is a great family romp and a really good Netflix movie.
Cathy Gives It: I give it 10 out of 10 smuggled miniature pick-axes for making prison chess.

Cathy’s Take on ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – Fun Family Romp | Total Science Fiction

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Dee Wallace and E.T. The Extraterrestrial

How I Watched: The Drive Thru

If you would have told me 30 years ago that a Reeses-Pieces loving alien that looks like a penis would become a cultural sensation, I would have told you, “That sounds like E.T. The Extraterrestrial, and it did become a cultural sensation 4 years ago.” If you were to ask everyone in my apartment building the greatest movie of all time, most of them would say, “Oh yeah, that one’s pretty good,” after you mentioned E.T. The Extraterrestrial. There is perhaps not another movie more emblematic of the 1980s than the tale of a young boy and his non-earthling friend. I watched it originally in the drive thru when it came out and was instantly mesmerized by its love and friendship. It is currently on Netflix and is this week’s must see.

E.T. The Extraterrestrial is about a young boy named Elliott who discovers an alien in his backyard while taking out pizza scraps after getting in trouble by his mom (played by Dee Wallace) for cussing at his brother. He then traps the alien and they become friends. A young Drew Barrymore plays Elliott’s little sister and they have a big brother, though I don’t know his name. There is some weird stuff that happens like when E.T. The Extraterrestrial is watching The Quiet Man at home, Elliott starts sexually assaulting one of his classmates because all the frogs escape. Later on, they dress E.T. The Extraterrestrial up like a ghost and take him trick-or-treating. Then people in space suits find out that E.T. The Extraterrestrial is hiding with Elliott and they kidnap the whole family and put them into a bubble where Elliott and E.T. The Extraterrestrial almost die for some reason, but they escape and E.T. The Extraterrestrial gets picked up by his alien friends and presumably flies home.

Upon rewatching and relaying the action of E.T. The Extraterrestrial, I realize I don’t really understand what happened in that movie. But I really love the film and hope you choose to see it, if you haven’t. It is a fun family romp and deserves to be seen by all lovers of alien movies, especially the ones in which they aren’t trying to kill everyone. It has everything you would want in a science fiction movie; bicycle chases, Peter Coyote, aliens in women’s clothing, and little children flying through the air.

 
Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 phones home.

Cathy’s Take on ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’

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Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) – Family Friendly Romp | Wickedly Smart Adventure Romp

Directed by: Joe Dante

Starring: Brendan Frasier and Dharma from Dharma and Greg

How I Watched: When it was on Netflix for the first time

Everyone knows it’s summertime when I start donning my Daffy Duck windbreaker and start placing my Tweety Bird sunshade in my windshield to keep the faux leather seat of my Nissan Sentra from burning my legs. From Sylvester speaking in a lisp to Bugs Bunny saying, “What’s Up, Doc?,” summer is so completely full of Looney Tunes references. And because of the sweltering heat lately, I felt it my duty to talk about my favorite Looney Tunes movie; Looney Tunes: Back in Action, which is currently playing on Netflix. Looney Tunes: Back in Action follows the lineage of so many cartoon shows to make their way to the big screen alongside real life actors, such as Rocky and Bullwinkle, Space Jam (also featuring Looney Tunes: Back in Action characters) and the Muppets. And while these are all great movies, none of them are on Netflix this month.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action is a return to form for the characters of Looney Tunes: Back in Action. We see Bugs playing his sarcastic jokester type and Daffy (my favorite) being playfully mean and neurotic. We see Brendan Frasier being amazed and frustrated by everything that is going on, and Dharma from Dharma and Greg being rigid, but ultimately funny; reminding me of my third favorite actress, Rene Russo. The plot is that Bugs and Daffy and Dharma and Brendan Frasier are working together to save the world from being turned into monkeys. The evil villain in this movie is so funny and downright looney, that he should be a Looney Tune as well, but for the life of me, I cannot place where I have seen him before.

The movie is a laugh-a-minute with multiple jokes that are just for the adults in the audience. I first saw this movie about three years ago when it was on Netflix the first time, and I really enjoyed it. After a re-watch (and of course, because I am spending all my time studying film to help with Nick’s website), I found I got a lot of jokes that I may have missed the first time. So this is one film that I recommend watching twice on Netflix. One for the kid jokes, one for the adult jokes. Both viewings will leave you in stitches, and that’s a Cathy guarantee.

Ultimately, this film is a family friendly romp that has the lovable characters of many people’s childhood globetrotting the globe in a wickedly smart adventure tale with a great cast. Also, the film is (space) jam-packed with hilarious guest stars and cameos from famous people such as Jeff Gordon and Matthew Lillard, playing themselves. Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy this wonderful comedy.

Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 diamonds that turn people into monkeys.

Cathy’s Take on ‘A Walk to Remember’

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A Walk to Remember (2002) – Fun Family Romp That Is Fun For The Whole Family | Cancer Romance

Directed by: Adam Shankman

Starring: Mandy Moore and Shane West

How I Watched: VHS Like, 30 Times

Sweet November. Love Story. The Fate in Our Stars. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. These are all movies that take the tragedy that is cancer and turn them into a super romantic movie. All of these movies are five star affairs with great casts, but all of them pale in comparison with my all-time favorite film of all time; A Walk to Remember. I own this movie on VHS and I own this movie on a DVD-Blu-Ray combo pack that I bought at Best Buy on Black Friday 2011, though I do not own a Blu-Ray player. And now, starting June 1st, you and me and Earl and the Dying Girl can all watch A Walk to Remember on Netflix as it is the latest addition to the wonderful library of streaming films.

A Walk to Remember, like I said, is my favorite movie and I find it such a blessing to be able to share this recommendation with you loyal followers. It is about a young stallion of a guy played by Shane West as Landon Carter, also known as a modern day Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing. Though there is no dirty dancing in this. He meets a wonderful religious girl named Jamie Sullivan played by pop-star turned actress, Mandy Moore. He gets forced to work on her school play and finds his new love of acting and relationship with Jamie to be a stabilizing force as well as reinvigorates his zest for life.

As their love grows, Jamie pulls away emotionally. She has a secret. She has cancer. Which is pretty amazing considering most people I know with cancer don’t keep it a secret. They talk about it all the time. My aunt had breast cancer for a while but she passed away. Every time she’d come over, she’d just complain about my cooking, saying that the chemotherapy won’t allow her to eat chicken fried steak, so I’d have to pull out Lean Cuisine Stroganoff that I usually saved for work for her. I understand she was sick, but I wouldn’t want to be alive if I couldn’t eat chicken fried steak. But she passed away. Just like Mandy Moore does at the end of this movie.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone who loves movies about true romance. I don’t know why cancer makes romantic movies more romantic. Maybe it is the fact that when you die, you don’t give people the opportunity to get bored or disappointed by you. They can choose to remember you as they want to cause you are no longer living. Sounds pretty romantic to me. This is a pretty fun family romp that is fun for the whole family. I have seen it like thirty times, so you should see it also.
Cathy Gives It: I give this movie 10/10 of those bags they keep chemotherapy in.

Cathy’s Take on ‘Ghost’

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Ghost (1990) – Spooky Cute Lovey Dovey | Family Fun

Directed by: Jerry Zuckermanbergen

Starring: Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore

How I Watched: South Gate Retroplex in 1990

I know it isn’t Halloween but I got a spooky movie for you all. And sadly, a movie that is leaving Netflix in June, so be sure to grab at it. Believe it or not, I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe in Bigfoots and Draculas, but those make sense. Never been one to believe in ghosts, but I used to.

For a while my other nephew, Stephen, who is Donna’s 23 year old son (enough said), was living with me and while he was living with me, some strange occurrences would occur. Initially it was small stuff, like the refrigerator door left open or all the dog food would be spilled on the floor, and when I asked Stephen about it, he never knew what was going on. So I figured I had ghosts that were upset by Stephie’s presence. So much so, that I would find money missing from my wallet and once even awoke to find the condo filled with a dark and smelly mist, that originated from under Stephen’s door. I was darned scared out of my wits and tried to warn Stephen. I even went so far as to consider calling a priest or exorcist to clean out the spirits, but Stephen got a job in Denver and moved out and all the occurrences disappeared.  I realized later that it was my sneaky neighbor Dave causing all the problems. He didn’t admit to it, but he never would.

So my run-in with a ghost was less sexy than Demi Moore in the classic movie, Ghost, in which her husband dies and then still tries to keep her from dating other guys. But it is Patrick Swayze, so I can’t blame her for loving a ghost. Also there is a hilarious Whoopie Goldberg that plays a medium (My uncle said I should use the joke, “she’s awfully large to be a medium,” but I feel it is too offensive to be included, but that’s Mark for ya) who helps reuniting ghost Swayze and human being Demi Moore. It is a love tale for the ages and when I first watched it in theatres back in 1990, I am going to be honest, I joined a pottery class, but soon came to my senses. Ghosts don’t like pottery. They like Demi Moore. So I threw out my ceramics and got a pixie haircut and never looked back. But I never got another pixie haircut after that.

While it is a bit spooky, Ghost is a fun family romp that would do well either home alone on a Saturday night or in the background of a ritzy dinner party. It has a lot of really cool parts in it, including Patrick Swayze singing “Henry the Eighth, I Am.” Whoopie is hilarious and Demi Moore is beautiful. When the credits roll, you will be weeping from both happiness and sadness to know that a love like that could ever exist and that it is so fleeting. It is by far the greatest love story of all time, rivaling Kim and Kanye West and even Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Definitely check out this romantic hit before it is gone off of Netflix.
Cathy Give It: I give this movie 10/10 pottery wheels.

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Similar Films: Ghost Dad, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, R.I.P.D.

Cathy’s Take on ‘Dolphin Tale’

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Dolphin Tale (2011) – Cute Family Fun | Dolphin Gore

Directed by: Charles Martin Smith

Starring: Harry Connick Jr (hubba hubba) and Morgan Freeman

How I Watched: Netflix

I don’t have a dolphin tattoo, but by golly, I wish I did. I’d probably get it on my back or on my ankle and after seeing Dolphin Tale this weekend (I was sick in bed with strep throat), I would get a dolphin without a tail. Cause that’s what Dolphin Tale is about.

First off, when I discovered that a movie called Dolphin Tale is about a dolphin without a tail, I was super tickled pink. Cause I love dolphins and I love homonyms. Oh, and did I mention that I love Harry Connick Jr., who plays Doctor Clay Haskett? There is also Morgan Freeman who you may know as God in that God movie with Jim Carrey and the guy in Shawshank Redemption who can get things for people. I really like him a lot too. So this was setting up to be a real winner of an evening (despite my strep throat) but unfortunately, the film turns out to be pretty gruesome with the dolphin getting its tale caught early on in a crab trap.

Maybe, I was a little sick (I had strep) but it just seemed too much. Nick told me to look for themes that may be connected across films and compare that to the crew to find commonalities in perspective. So I looked into Google to see if maybe who directed this movie also directed The Passion of the Christ because they were both very violent and based on true stories, but The Passion of the Christ was directed by Mel Gibson and Dolphin Tale was directed by Chris Martin Smith.

Outside of that horrific scene, this is a family friendly romp about a young boy’s relationship with the tail-less dolphin and it reminded me in many ways to Free Willy, a film about a boy and a whale with a curly-cue fin that jumps over rocks (maybe cover your children’s eyes for that scene too. It is pretty nerve-wracking). Harry Connick Jr. delights as a very friendly doctor trying to help Winter (which is the name of the dolphin, played by real-life dolphin named Winter) and the children are very funny and amusing.

The film is very much a fish-out-of-water story, cause the dolphin can’t swim very well after its accident, but with the help of the humans, learns to swim just like a fish-in-water. It kind of reminds me of a personal story when I had to have bunion surgery and ran out of medical leave days and had to return to work. I rented a scooter, but my cubicle is real small so I would leave it by Anton’s office and hobble in. The first couple days, Anton would trip over my scooter and curse under his breath, but by Wednesday he was learning to walk around my scooter, and for that I am really proud of him.

Sorry for the late post this week. I hate to say it, but I have strep throat. If anyone has any good remedies, send them along in the comments.
Cathy Gives It: I give this film 10/10 scooters for Anton.

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Similar Films: Free Willy, Dolphin Tale 2, The Passion of the Christ