Friday, May 31, 2019

Movie Review: Godzilla King of the Monsters

Michael’s Movie Grade: B-

Review: This film is not going to revolutionize the Godzilla franchise or action movies in any way but it is fun and isn’t that what you want from a movie like this.

What I surprisingly liked about this movie was the human characters. They are not the most complex or fleshed out but they are likable. The daughter, Maddie is especially likable here and often serves as the heart of the film. She is a good hearted person who is in some ways torn between the conflicts of her parents, only wanting to be there for both of them. Her parents are interesting characters themselves who are struggling with seeing what is right to do in the situation. However the reason we all came to this movie was the monsters themselves. They are pretty darn awesome. The look, presence and the way way characters react to them giving them a larger than life almost mythical quality that is hard to resist. The final action scene is fantastic. The cutting between the monsters fighting and the humans trying to survive creates a great sense of excitement.

However it should be noted that every plot point here is something we have seen a bunch of times in movies. Anyone who has seen enough movies will see certain things coming from a mile away, even the supposed to be shocking ending.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Movie Review: Booksmart

Michael's Movie Grade: B

Review: Quite funny comedy and with all the raunchiness surprisingly warm hearted.

People who read this blog often will know that I am often not a fan of raunchy comedies and might be surprised that I am giving this movie a good review. The thing is I am not opposed to a raunchy comedy, if it is well done. While there are moments that are simply raunchy for the sake of being raunchy (these are often the least funny moments in the film), there are plenty of times when the comedy comes out of the characters just as much as the raunchiness. Moments like talk about masturbating with a stuffed panda and the girls watching porn in a Lyft are funny not because they are crude but because they come out of the characters. Speaking of the characters our two main characters are extremely likable here, as well as magnificently played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever. Underneath all the over the top humor, this is a movie about the friendship between these two girls. This is held together by the perfect chemistry between the characters and actresses. You completely believe that these two are besties and inseparable. The relationship is so natural and unforced they remind us of the closest friendships we have had in our lives. I want to hug them both right now, just writing this. Because the characters are so likable and the humor centers around them, this movie successeds where many raunchy comedies fail. This is that the serious emotional moments actually work. Most raunchy comedies have such a hard time balancing these moments with the raunchiness, just making them seem forced. However since both the comedy and drama fully revolve around the characters both work together very well.

None of this is to say this is a perfect movie. Not ever joke hits and it takes a bit for the movie to truly get going. There are also some scenes that essentially feel like padding and should have been on the cutting room floor (a stop motion sequence for example).

I had my reservations about this movie. Looking at the previews I thought I wasn't going to care much for it. I was very pleasantly surprised and I hope that some of you who had the same reservations will be similarly surprised.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Silent Films on TCM for This June

Hello once again my friends. As many of you are like me lovers of silent films and of TCM, I will once again provide you with a list of the silent films that will play on TCM this June. There are less silent films this month than there have been the last few months, but the selection of films is very good.

Sunday, June 2nd

The Better 'Ole
(1926) Director: Charles Reisner. Starring Sydney Chaplin and Doris Hill. 9pm Pacific. 12am Eastern.

Monday, June 3rd

Pandora's Box
(1929) Director: G.W. Pabst. Starring Louise Brooks and Fritz Kortner. 5pm Pacific. 8pm Eastern.

Sunday, June 16th

Tell it to the Marines
(1927) Director: George Hill. Starring Lon Chaney and William Haines. 9pm Pacific. 12am Eastern.

Sunday, June 23rd

An Eastern Westerner
(1920) Director: Hal Roach. Starring Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. 8:45pm Pacific. 11:45pm Eastern.

The Rag Man (1925) Director: Edward F. Cline. Starring Lydia Yeamans Titus and Ethel Wales. 9:30pm Pacific. 12:30am Eastern.

Monday, June 24th

The Kid
(1921) Director: Charlie Chaplin. Starring Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan. 5pm Pacific. 8pm Eastern.

Sunday, June 30th

The Thief of Bagdad
(1924) Director: Raoul Walsh. Starring Douglas Fairbanks and Anna May Wong. 9pm Pacific. 12am Eastern.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Movie Review: Aladdin

Michael's Movie Grade: D-

Review: Everything that is wrong with this movie can be summed up in the character of the genie. This character is trying to find his own personality separate from the character in the 1992, but fails for the simple reason that he spends too much time copying the previous Genie. He sings the same songs, says lines directly from the 1992 film and redoes various comedy bits. The problem is this cannot be replicated here. Much of the original Genie's charm comes from two places. The first is the vocal performance of Robin Williams, and the second is the high energy animation (supervised by Eric Goldberg). Since neither of those are possible in a live action remake after Robin Williams passed away, the scene copying what the Genie did in the first version is bound to fall way short. When the Genie is allowed to be a different character from the 1992 version, it is often too little and feels out of place. It is hard to picture the Genie you see in these scenes as the same character that was in the You Never Had a Friend Like Me or Prince Ali musical numbers.

The rest of the film's problems come from the exact same situation. The movie cannot have it both ways. In other words it can't be both a carbon copy of the 1992 film and have its own identity as well. Whenever this movie tries to add something new to the story it is unbelievably forced in. Ideas like Jasmine wanting to be Sultan or Genie having a love interest are not bad ideas at all. In fact if done right they could be quite interesting. They are not done right though. They are given too little time to be fleshed out or leave much of an impact, and add nothing to the story whatsoever. These interesting ideas simply feel out of place and like they are simply there to make the movie longer than the 1992 version (why this would be necessary is a mystery to me). A new musical number called Speechless on the other hand doesn't try to give the film any different identity. Instead it sounds like songwriters trying too hard to sound just like the songs you hear in the Disney films of the 1990's. When the film takes scenes directly from the 1992 movie, it is often done in a very lifeless way, falling way short of the 1992 movie. The musical numbers lack energy, the comedy lacks real laughs, the romance feels generic and the whole film lacks a sense of heart or magic.

Movies like this beg the simple question, "why?" There is no reason for this movie to exist besides money. It is simply a weaker version of the 1992 film, with no reason to recommend it over that film.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Monday, May 27, 2019

Movie Review: A Dog's Journey

Michael's Movie Grade: C+

Review: I did not like A Dog's Purpose much at all. I found it forced, emotional uninvolving and terribly unfunny. With this I did not go into this movie expecting to even like it a little. I was pleasantly surprised. Don't get me wrong, in no way do I think this is a great movie, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

One thing that I think makes this movie better than the first movie is that it spends more time focusing on the human characters. To be honest Bailey is not that great of a character. He is simply a stereotype of dogs with little unique about him. More than that his narration in the previous film as well as this film is annoyingly cutesy and unfunny. So shifting the focus to other characters was a definite plus. I really like CJ. She is a good hearted person, who knows what she wants out of life, but has some very real and understandable fears tying her down, as well as making some understandably human mistakes. Her relationship with her best friend Trent is very charming. I like seeing these two together as they have a natural unforced chemistry. As many of you know after movies another passion of mine is music, so I could easily relate to her love and passion for music (plus I liked seeing a poster of my favorite singer, Johnny Cash, on her wall). Also while I am not a huge dog person, I am a horse lover for life. Due to this I fully understand how an animal can touch the inside of your soul and make you feel less alone in this world. Because of this I fully get why having a dog is such a comfort to a child who is always alone.

The story is very cliché and while I like CJ a lot of the other characters are as well. The movie can also feel a bit overlong and respective. Certain parts (such as Big Dog) could have easily been left on the cutting room floor and the movie would have flowed much better for it. Also with the clichés, you know what is going to happen before it does many times. However if you have seen the preview you would know what is going to happen often before seeing the movie, as it gives way too much away.

This is not a great movie by any means, but for a sequel to a movie I didn't like, it was a very pleasant surprise.

-Michael J. Ruhland        

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Cowboy Church #11

Hello my friends and welcome back to Cowboy Church. 

We start our musical selection off with Gene Autry preforming the song Cowboy's Heaven on a 1952 episode of his TV show. Gene cowrote this beautiful song himself. Next we have the Sons of the Pioneers 1935 recording of When I Leave This World Behind. This was a Sons original written by the group's own Bob Nolan. Leonard Syle (later to be renamed Roy Rogers) was still a member of the group at this time. Now comes Tennessee Ernie Ford performing the gospel classic Just a Closer Walk With Thee. Next comes Johnny Cash performing Gospel Road. This song was written by Christopher Wren. This song served as the title song for Johnny's feature film Gospel Road: The Story of Jesus (1973, he narrated, co-wrote and produced the film). Next comes the overlooked country music group The Cass County Boys performing Ezekiel Saw the Wheel in the Gene Autry feature film, Barbed Wire (1952). This is followed by George Jones and Patti Page performing the gospel classic Precious Memories. We end our musical selection off with Hank Williams performing When God Dips His Love in Heart on a 1951 episode of the Mother's Best radio show.  

Now for the sixth episode of The Roy Rogers Show. This episode, Badman's Brother original aired February 10, 1952.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. Psalms 106:3Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 6:25- 34

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

Thank you for joining me for this installment of Cowboy Church, see you again next Sunday. Until then Happy Trails until we meet again.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #18

Hello my friends and happy Saturday Morning. Once again it is time to look at some classic cartoons. 

We start our cartoons off with one of Disney's classic Silly Symphony cartoons and one of the most important ones. This cartoon, Babes in the Woods (1932) was Disney's first real fairytale adaption. Walt had done some films in the silent era that transported fairy tales to modern day for broad comedy, but that was not the same thing. According to JB Kaufman and Russell Merritt's indispensable book Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series this cartoon possibly marks the first Silly Symphony for legendary animator Art Babbitt, who here animates a dwarf sticking his tongue out at the witch and her chasing him immediately after. Also animating here is one of the future Nine Old Men, Les Clark who animates the early scenes of the dwarfs in their village. The look of this film is certainly simplistic when compared with later Symphonies, but it is delightful on its own merits. However that simple-ness  is completely understandable as they had been very few Disney cartoons starring human characters before this one.                     The film was directed by Burt Gillett, who the very next year would direct the most famous Silly Symphony The Three Little Pigs (1933). 

Next comes one of the strangest, funniest, most creative and all around best Felix the Cat cartoons. To say this is one of the best Felix the Cat cartoons is to say it is one of the best cartoons of the silent era. So enjoy, Comicalamities (1928). By the way the title of this cartoon would later be reused as an episode title for The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat (1995-1997) TV series.

Next comes the one of the great Warner Brothers cartoons featuring a little African boy named Inki. These films were all directed by Chuck Jones and were enhanced by the presence of one of his most other worldly characters, the Minah Bird. He posses almost superhuman powers yet always looks unassuming walking around slowly to the tune of Mendelson's Fingal's Cave Overture, Op. 26. Around this time Chuck had not yet begun his own style of directing, so while the characters and humor are unique the pacing and look of the film still feels like a Disney cartoon from the era. According to Chuck Jones when he made his first Inki cartoon (The Little Lion Hunter (1939)), producer Leon Schlesinger hated it. However it ended up going over well with audiences, so Leon would tell Chuck to make another one saying that he changed his mind about the first film. The third cartoon in the series is possibly my favorite and here is that film. So enjoy Inki and the Minah Bird (1943).

Now is one of my favorite of the Fleischer Brothers silent Out of the Inkwell cartoons. The best of these cartoons hold their own with any of the great fully live action comedy shorts being made during the silent era. Still this film does mix animation and live action well before Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). The live action animator Koko the clown is combating with is producer Max Fleischer himself, who has proven in these films to be quite a good silent comedian in his own right. So enjoy  

Invisible Ink (1921).


We end with a short from The New Three Stooges (1965-1966) TV show. The Stooges themselves provide their own voices and appear in the live action wrap around segments. So enjoy The Three Nuts.

Thanks for joining me, come back next week for more classic cartoons. Until then peace, love and cartoons.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Friday, May 24, 2019

Bob Dylan Songs From the Movies

Today marks the 78th birthday of Bob Dylan, one of the most influential songwriters in the history of music. His music and lyrics have touched many of us so much and continue to do so today. To celebrate today let us enjoy some of his songs from the movies.

 First up is the classic Subterranean Homesick Blues from the brilliant D.A. Pennebaker documentary Don't Look Back (1967). This documentary redefined the way we look at music documentaries, proving that they could be just as much of works of art as the music itself. One of the best remembered parts of this movie was that before the actual documentary bulk of the film came a sort of precursor to music videos, with Bob holding cards with lyrics and dropping them as the song plays. Next up comes one of the best examples of Bob fully rocking out. He is performing a song he didn't write here, but one that was instead written by blues artist Eric Von Schmidt. Bob recorded it as an acoustic folk song on his 1963 album, The Freewheelin Bob Dylan. Here he is preforming it as a full on rock and roll song with his one time backing group The Band, who by this time had gone solo long ago. This performance comes from what is considered to be the greatest rock and roll movie ever made, The Last Waltz (1978). This concert film/documentary was directed by none other than Martin Scorsese, and highlights The Band's last concert (which featured many special guests). Last comes a song Bob Dylan wrote for the Western movie Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), Knocking on Heaven's Door.

      -Michael J. Ruhland

Movie Review: The Cold Blue

Michael's Movie Grade: A

Review: This incredible documentary takes vintage footage of World War Two pilots in action shot by William Wyler and his crew, restores it and adds a new soundtrack. This footage was original shot completely silently, so to make the film feel more real, the sound effects were created by a real B-17 plane and the effect makes one feel like they are right there. Also added to the soundtrack is audio of the surviving men talking about their lives back then. This makes it feel so much more real and personal than anything even the most knowledgeable historian could bring to the table. There was also a breathtaking new score by Richard Thomson. Though this is a folk rock score it does not feel out of place with the 1940's footage. There is an air of looking back and reembrace all throughout this music that truly enhances the feel of the film though. More important than any of the audio though is the actual vintage footage from William Wyler and his crew. It is obvious that the crew truly put themselves in harm's way to get this footage. The effect can be felt and truly highlights the heroics of the men who flew these planes and fought in the war. I don't think its possible to look at this footage and not gain at least a little more respect for young men who fought in this war. There is a completely a reason they are called the greatest generation and if anyone who fought in World War 2 is reading this, thank you for everything. This is all even highlighted greater than it has been in a long time due to some incredible restoration work. If you are like me you have seen some of this footage before, but it was faded and in poor quality. Looking at the footage as it appears in this film is a new revelation. It does not even look like the same footage.

As the film ends we see some now 90-something year old veterans viewing this newly restored footage, and giving their thoughts and insights to the experience. This is indispensable and powerful documentary filmmaking at its best. It made me feeling like I was watching this footage with them and that was an incredible experience.

If you have any interest at all in World War 2 history, this film is a must watch.

-Michael J. Ruhland.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love" Trailer

I have been a huge fan of Leonard Cohen's music for quite some time. To anyone who has listened to Leonard's music the reason for this should be obvious. Leonard's lyrics are in a class all by themselves. They are beautiful, poetic and highly intelligent. Add to this the simple but lovely melodies that often accompanied these lyrics and the result is incredible. 

Well good news for my fellow Leonard Cohen fans, there is a new Leonard Cohen documentary coming to select theaters on July 5. This documentary is directed by Nick Broomfield (Whitney: Can I Be Me, Biggie and Tupac, Solider Girls) and will be titled Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love. It will focus on the relationship between Leonard and Marianne Iheln (the woman who inspired such songs as So Long Marianne and Bird on a Wire. Here is the preview. 

-Michael J. Ruhland 


Monday, May 20, 2019

Movie Review: Long Shot

Michael's Movie Grade: F

Review: A horribly unfunny comedy and an even worse political commentary.

My main desire out of a comedy is to laugh. However not a single joke in this movie made me laugh in the slightest or even smile. To be honest I am at a complete loss as to how anything in this movie was supposed to be even the slightest bit funny. This movie employed mainly two types of comedy and failed miserably at both. The first of these comedy types was of the vulgar variety. The problem here is the problem that exists in too many vulgar comedies. The movie is convinced that vulgarity in and of its self is hilarious. With this in mind the movie ups the vulgarity by throwing in constant sex jokes and F-bombs, thinking that the more vulgar it gets the funnier it is. Instead of funny though, the humor comes off as immature and a little embarrassing. The other type of humor employed here is political satire. Believe it or not this is actually worse than the vulgar humor. The political jokes are neither funny or thought provoking, but tired and lazy. Have you ever heard a Fox News is bigoted joke before? Of course you have, because we all have and to this many jokes about that nothing is different. This film offers no new insight into how Fox News is bigoted, but instead just tells us what we have heard people say about it a million times. Since we are so familiar with hearing this, as political commentary this is simply lazy and pointless. The humor of these scenes comes from people on a thinly disguised Fox News like channel saying something bigoted. As humor this is just as lazy and it is hard to imagine anyone actually laughing at it.

With how bad the humor is the story and characters are hardly better. These are also tired and cliché. This is basically an opposites attract story and it is true that opposites often do attract. However besides being opposites, there is little else to say about these characters. They simply feel to be stereotypes of movie characters rather than actual movie characters. The storyline is a typical romantic comedy story, and feels like it is simply going through the motions.

Avoid this movie.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Movie Review: John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum

Michael's Movie Grade: B

Review: Really fun, pure escapist entertainment, and who can't like an action movie that features the hero running down the highway with motorcycles chasing him.

This movie is so much fun because it never takes itself seriously. It has no pretentions of being anything more than a fun action film and it successeds quite well at this. The action is extremely over the top and fits in much dark slapstick in these scenes. For instance I love a scene taking place at a horse stable and the pure over the top-ness of an early scene involving throwing knives almost reminds one of an ultraviolent version of a Three Stooges pie fight in the best way possible. This is not the only humor in this movie. There is some great humor to appear in the characters and dialogue, and one villain (who fanboys a bit over John Wick) had me laughing multiple times. With the absurdity of each scene this movie was meant just as much of a Mack Sennett or Three Stooges style comedy as it was as an action film, and as a fan of slapstick over the top comedy I had a ball watching this. Besides just being funny the action scenes are perfectly choregraphed and at times the film almost feels like a very macho version of a ballet (heck we even see a ballerina do a very impressive dance). Despite all this over the top-ness the story as slight as it can be, still managed to connect with me, because I like the character of John Wick. This is not a character of great depth, but he is likable and often times relatable. This made it easy for me to root for him and therefore made the action scenes more exciting. This movie also offers us some very visually impressive environments that are a joy to look at.

This movie is naturally not without its faults. While I liked John Wick, many of the side characters where rather bland. Also as well done as it is, the final action scene is overlong and can get repetitive.

Just turn your mind off and enjoy an over the top silly movie.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cowboy Church #10

Hello again my friends and welcome to another installment of Cowboy Church. 

We begin or musical selection off with an original song from The Sons of the Pioneers called The Sea Walker. This song was written by one of the group's founding members Tim Spencer and the group recorded it in 1947. The next song is Johnny Cash's Man in White. This song is told from the perceptive from the Apostle Paul. Like how Paul had a huge influence on John (and on me as well). John would even write a Christian book about Paul which was also called Man in White. Next comes a rare often unheard of song. This song is called My God and I and performed by Waylon Jennings and Buck Wilkin (of Ronny & the Daytonas, and the writer of this song). Next comes Charley Pride performing Time Out For Jesus from his 1971 gospel album Did You Think to Pray. Next comes The Statler Brothers performing the Gospel classic When the Roll is Called Up Yonder. Next is Gene Autry performing God's Little Candles in a clip from the feature film, Pack Train (1953). Last but not least is Roy Rogers and Dale Evans performing the classic gospel song, How Great Thou Art from their 1962 album The Bible Tells Me So

Now enjoy a silent short western starring the one and only Broncho Billy Anderson, Broncho Billy and the Greaser.

“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:13“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Matthew 25:21“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
"“For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; for the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” Isaiah 25:4

So Happy Trails to you until we meet again and god bless.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Some Cartoons For Saturday Morning #17

Hello again my friends and happy Saturday morning. Of course we all know that means time for more cartoons. 

To start off we have a classic Donald Duck cartoon, Donald's Dilemma (1947). This cartoon was directed by Jack King. King was hired as an animator at the Disney studio in 1929. During that time he mostly worked as an animator. He would leave the studio in 1933 and would become a director at Warner Brothers. What is interesting about his Warner Brothers cartoons is that they were less filled with humor than most of the other Warner Brothers cartoons where. A cartoon like Shanghaied Shipmates (1936) starring Porky Pig couldn't be called a comedy at all. What is more fascinating is that when he came back to Disney and became the director for many Donald Duck shorts, his cartoons would become some of the most slapstick filled Disney was putting out at the time. These Donald Ducks took nothing seriously and instead everything in them was just for the sake of making one laugh. This is especially strange considering that Disney made a greater number of serious cartoons than Warner Brothers ever did. This cartoon was written by Roy Williams who would go on to become a regular cast member on The Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1956) TV show. In his book The Disney Films Leonard Maltin would describe this cartoon as "Perhaps the best Donald Duck of all..." I don't know if I would go that far, but this certainly is an excellent cartoon. 

Next up comes a Hokey Wolf cartoon from The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958-1961) called Hokey's Missing Millions. The story involves a billionaire giving Hokey a billion dollars. This story makes me think of the Top Cat (1961-1962) episode The Tycoon, in which a billionaire gives TC a million dollars. Interestingly both episodes were released in 1961. Hokey Wolf trying to sneak past a butler to see a rich man, makes me think of the Daffy Duck cartoon, Daffy Dilly (1948). I always love in these Hanna-Barbera cartoons when a character references another Hanna-Barbera character and here Hokey references Snagglepuss.

Next comes one of the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons, Fresh Hare (1942). One thing you may notice quickly about this cartoon is that Elmer Fudd is fatter than we usually see him. This was done for a brief time during the early 1940's. The came from director Bob Clampett, who felt Elmer should look more like his voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan. This new design appeared in a few cartoons not only directed by Clampett, but Friz Freleng as well (this one was directed by Friz). This cartoon features an impolitically correct gag that has been cut out from TV showings. This cut was done very poorly and left the ending feeling abrupt. For those of you who have only seen it on TV, you can now see how the film actually ends and no this ending would not fly today.


I have stated before on this blog that I think Earl Hurd's Bobby Bumps cartoons are some of the finest animated films during the silent era. Well here is another classic Bobby Bumps cartoon, Bobby Bumps Starts for School (1917).

Let us end with an episode from The New Three Stooges (1965-1966) TV show. This series would feature cartoons staring the famous trio, where they would provide their own voices and star in live action segments introducing the cartoons. So enjoy, Flatheads.

So stay tooned for more animated treats next Saturday morning. Until then peace, love and cartoons.

-Michael J. Ruhland

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Donate to a Worthy Cause. Help a Horse Help Kids

Ok this post is an advertisement for something that has nothing to do with film. Still it is something very important to me and I hope important to you as well. Ride to Fly is an incredible organization that does much good (I don't only say that because I volunteer there). Ride to Fly offers therapeutic horseback riding for those with disabilities. To see what this has accomplished and what is has been capable of doing with those you have ridden here is incredible For an excellent video on Ride to Fly click here.

No what we are trying to do at ride to fly is to purchase a beautiful horse named Big Bird (pictured above) to help give our students an incredible experience. That does take money though and any of you who are willing to donate it would be greatly appreciated. To donate click here. If you know anybody who would like to donate let them know as well.

Thank you and God Bless.

Update: We raised the money and were able to get him. I’m so excited to work with him. Thank you and God bless you all.

-Michael J. Ruhland

And the Blue Ribbon Goes to "One Hundred and One Dalmatians"

As mentioned before in this blog during the 1960's Disney movies would often win Boxoffice magazine's Blue Ribbon Award which each month went to a film based on "outstanding merit and suitability for family entertainment." In March of 1961 this award went to the animated feature One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961). Here is a page from the magazine announcing it as the winner.

If you are having trouble making this out try this link.

-Michael J. Ruhland 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Que Sera Sera

Doris Day has passed away early this week. As many of you may have heard she is not going to have a funeral, headstone or memorial service. It seems that though she did not write the song Que Sera Sera that the song in many ways reflected her philosophy on life. We shouldn't dwell on what we can't change, but instead just enjoy life for what it is. Also a funeral service is never fully needed. Though she may have passed from this earth, due to her films and music, she will last eternally. So lets celebrate the incredible talent of Doris Day right now and watch her perform her signature song in the movie she introduced it, Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). 

-Michael J. Ruhland 

Movie Review: Poms

Michael's Movie Grade: C+

Review: This film may not be a great movie, but I personally still had fun watching it.

What works best about this movie is that we root for the main characters. This is achieved in various ways. One way is the A Night at the Opera principal, where our antagonists are such jerks to our main characters we automatically want them to prove these jerks wrong. Another way this is done is because we hope when we grow old, we can do so without giving up on life, still enjoying ourselves and fighting for what we want to do. So in a way this movie is a bit of wish fulfillment. Probably the most important factor is the cast. Everyone in this movie puts out such great energy and seems to be having a lot of fun. This spirit goes a long way and makes the audience have fun as well. The of this film is not as consistently laugh out loud funny as one may want. However that does not mean there are no laugh out loud moments as well as some good chuckles. This is not a hilarious comedy, but it does have its moments.

However you have to have seen very few movies not to recognize various plot points. There is nothing in this movie that we have not seen before and while this movie certainly does not do a bad job with the story, there are still other movies that have done this better. You can tell what is going to happen from the start and there are no surprises along the way at all. Though much of the time the movie is charming despite this there are a few times when this can feel tedious and it feels like the movie might be going through the motions more than a little.

This is not great cinema by any means, but if you are like me and sometimes just enjoy a nice time out at the movies, than this is a fun choice. Not every movie needs to be great sometimes fun and charming are enough.

Plus as a country music fan, I am always happy to hear Tammy Wynette song in a movie. :)

-Michael J. Ruhland

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Cowboy Church #9

Hello my friends and welcome back to another installment of Cowboy Church. 

We begin our musical selection off with another 1937 recording from The Sons of the Pioneers, There's Power in the Blood. At this time Leonard Slye (later to be renamed Roy Rogers) was still a member of the group. It is incredible how many great songs, Tom T. Hall has written. With this it should be no shocker that he could write a fantastic gospel song, and Me and Jesus shows this perfectly. This incredible song is from his 1972 album, We All Got Together and Then.... Next comes the very first song Johnny Cash played when he auditioned for Sun Records in 1955. Producer Sam Philips was not interested saying that gospel would not sell. John would later audition again this time advertising himself as a rock and roll singer. With this he got a contract with Sun Records. He would record very little gospel music there which was sad for Johnny who wanted to be a gospel singer above all. One of the reasons later that decade he would move to Columbia records was to record gospel music more frequently. One of his first albums for Columbia was 1959's Hymns by Johnny Cash. This song based on a old testament story about Daniel has been one I've always loved. So enjoy Belshazzar. Following comes The Carter Family's 1930 recording of On the Rock Where Moses Stood. Next comes Roy Rogers and Dale Evans performing Take My Hand Precious Lord from their 1962 album, The Bible Tells Me So. We end with Alison Krauss performing Down to the River to Pray, which she originally sang for the movie O Brother Where Art Thou (2000).

The following is a 1957 article about Roy Rogers.


2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Isaiah 40:28-31 – Do you not know? Have you not heart? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.Philippians 4:6-7 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Thanks for joining me and Happy Trails until we meet again.

-Michael J. Ruhland