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Author Topic: Roku Adventures
Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 9, 2019, 10:14
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I watched the first several seasons of Foyle’s War. It looks like they have season one (4 episodes) for free on The Roku Channel. The rest are now available on Acorn TV (a premium channel) or for purchase on Amazon Prime Video. At the time I think I watched them (for free…that is, as part of the basic subscription price) either on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

I *believe* I watched through season 6. Season 7 just became unwatchably dull. The series is better than average but still a mixed bag at times. Michael Kitchen, as Inspector Foyle, can be self-righteous and tediously arrogant at times. Certainly he played a somewhat insipid (but still interesting) King in To Play the King the second series featuring the Francis Urguhart character.

For our home audience, the basic shtick regarding Foyle is that he is at home manning the police force during WWII. Someone has to do it. Either he was too old or had an old war injury, but there was some reason he was on the home front instead of the front lines.

As Mr. Kung noted (although my memory is fuzzy on the exact details, but I remember being annoyed from time to time), there is some PC stuff thrown in. But you sort of have to lower your standards a bit to find anything worth watching on TV these days.

I’m using that principle to try to watch some more of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries which is on a premium channel (the only one I have that I actually pay for), BritBox. The first episode, “A Great Deliverance,” was 180 minutes in total and broken into to parts. Most of it was exceedingly dull and uncreative. But this is one driven by the main characters who I like. I’ve started the second episode and I’ll see how it goes. One’s standards can be lowered only so far before it’s just not worth it.

After seeing Miranda Richardson as Queen Mab, it makes me think that they probably ought to add her to the King Arthur legends. Surely this is how characters same and went through the centuries.

As far as free channels on Roku, you need to at least start with: Tubi TV, YouTube, FilmRabbits, and then maybe the FilmRise Movie channel. A little more bottom-tier, but where you still will find some good stuff in the TV & Movie Classic channel. Some of the video quality can be quite bad on that one though. And if you want to find some bad old sci-fi movies (and more), there’s the Science Fiction and Beer channel. If you can stand the commercials, there’s the Crackle channel as well.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 19, 2019, 11:00
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I watched “Road to Bali” the other day with Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Dorothy Lamour. They have a restored version of it on Amazon Prime Video (included in their subscription price). Because I now watch all Amazon Prime stuff through my Roku Ultra, it is officially a Roku Adventure.

This style of humor is not going to reach most modern audiences, although it is rightly said that this type of movie launched an entire genre of wisecracking films (such as “Oceans Eleven” and all kinds of other surface-level comic movies that winked at the audience).

This is not even in the top 4 of the roadshow films. The one you want to start with is “Road to Morocco.” You might want to finish there as well, but it’s the best of them.

Still, you can get some laughs here and there in “Bali.” I thought the best laugh was when a romantic scene was obviously coming up between Crosby and Lamour, Hope, sitting in the bowels of the sailboat they were in, quips to the audience: “He's going to sing, folks. Now's the time to go out and get the popcorn.”

But otherwise, even for my affinity for Hope and Crosby, this movie was often pretty dull. Still, it is a historic piece of film if only because of the stars.

I then watched 1947’s ”My Favorite Brunette” with two members of the roadshow team: Hope and Lamour. It was also on Amazon Prime Video. The humor will likely not touch most audiences today, but this is one of Hope’s better films with (for its kind) a tight script.

Hope plays a child portrait photograph who is a wannabe private detective. There is a private detective who has an office right across the hall from him. This is how Hope gets involved in impersonating a private dick while the real one is off on some other business.

Yeah, it’s campy to the extreme. Lamour’s character is never defined well. She’s left drifting. Peter Lorre plays one of the bad guys. He seems slightly misused as well, but get better toward the end. It’s a dumb plot (which is part of the gag, I guess) but the old-style gumshoe narration by Hope makes the film. It’s a nice spoof of Sam Spade and company.

A slight spoiler alert, but not necessary for those who know the gist of these films. Still…if you plan to watch this, you might rather be surprised. At the very end there is a hilarious cameo of — you guessed it — Bing Crosby who plays the executioner who has to be told by the warden at the last minute that there will be no execution (of Bob Hope’s character). Crosby is very disappointed.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 19, 2019, 11:15
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I think one of the charms of these Hope and Crosby movies is such moments as Crosby's cameo as the executioner. These moments play something like an insider joke between the stars and the audience. Given that they were made for mass markets, this is a pretty amazing achievement.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 19, 2019, 11:34
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One scene I remember from the tail end of one of the road movies was Crosby going off with Lamour and a disappointed Hope calling on special effects to fix that for him -- with distinctly unsuccessful results.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 19, 2019, 12:15
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These moments play something like an insider joke between the stars and the audience. Given that they were made for mass markets, this is a pretty amazing achievement.

Yes, I think this insider stuff is something that certainly built over the years. This series of films is noteworthy for “breaking the fourth wall.” Don’t many Shakespeare characters once in a while talking directly to the audience? I think they do sometimes, so it’s an old technique, for sure.

And, over time, I think this technique was a great vehicle for the insider joke and became somewhat the raison d'être of the Hope/Crosby films. One of their famous shticks was the pattycake game they played with each other when they were really up against it and had to get out of a jam. But it doesn’t always work out. (I think at the end of this, which is cut off, Hope quips “They must have seen the first picture.”)

The Best Song of the Roadshow Series.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: Roku Adventures
on: January 19, 2019, 15:28
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One of their famous shticks was the pattycake game they played with each other when they were really up against it and had to get out of a jam.

You gave me my laugh for the day. I could just visualize those two playing pattycake and smacking the bad guys. I loved this this routine the first time I saw it as a kid.

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