“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” – Cool Hand Luke

It’s Oscar time again, so get ready for another load of political bilge as well as a raft of movies hardly anyone’s seen yet. There are several reasons for this latter problem.


Some of the movies haven’t been around long. Right now, of the nine nominated for Best Picture, five of them, Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, La La Land, Lion, and Fences are at the Waterfront. The trouble is, while you’re deciding how highbrow you’re feeling that night, you’re being swayed by stiff competition from The Lego Batman Movie (3 screens), John Wick 2 (2 screens), Fifty Shades Darker (2 screens), Fist Fight (2 screens) and The Great Wall (6 screens!) As usual, we admit we haven’t seen any of the nominated pictures. Of course, that never stopped us before.

Second, people have gotten used to watching movies at home on Netflix or HBO. This works out extremely well both for those viewers who like to talk to the characters on the screen or to their friends during the movie, and also to the people who would like to attack those people with a machete.

Again, as usual, we’ve come up with alternative movie suggestions, some with local appeal, which we herewith present in the format popularized by “Art Fern and the Teatime Movie” which some of you will remember as an ancient but popular Johnny Carson bit:

Throw Momma Over the Train – Danny DeVito, Yvonne DeCarlo, Bill Peduto – A woman desperate to reach Giant Eagle before her coupons expire recruits her reluctant children to help her pole vault over the Eastbound 4:15 at the Amity Street crossing

A Streetcar Named You’re Fired – Marlon Brando, Sal Bando, Martin Landau – A hapless Trump Administration Secretary of Transportation nominee is recalled when he declines to champion fantastic public works projects in favor of less tremendous urban transit proposals.

Manchester by the Casino – Matt Damon, Matt Dillon, Dylan McDermott – A lonely maintenance man scores a major jackpot at the nearby Rivers casino, and supports his jazz musician nephew’s quest to perform at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild

Forrest Trump – Gary Sinise, Alicia Keys, Dominic Chianese – A president’s long lost brother suddenly reappears with tales of how, as a boy, the president was a shy, withdrawn child whose favorite cartoon character was Tweety Bird.

My Fare, Laptop – Bill Gates, Tom Waits, Phoebe Cates – Tempers flare when human cabbies clash with robotic Uber vehicles at the city’s choice cab stands.

Big-ly –  Tom Hanks, Ernie Banks, Billy Blanks – A 10 year old Manhattan boy makes a wish at a Coney Island arcade and suddenly finds himself in the body of a 70 year old tycoon who runs for and is elected president on a platform of fantasticness, tremendousness and unbelievableness. When challenged, he points at his accusers and calls them lightweights, losers and poopyheads.

Saturday Night Live Fever – Lorne Michaels, Don Rickles, Travis Bickle – An overworked comedy writer is banished from his Manhattan office when he inadvertently submits a mildly pro-Trump joke.

The Egg n At – Robert Byrd, Larry Bird, Tony Hawk –  After a catastrophic accident, two despondent Pittsburgh raptors consult a therapist to help them recover from empty nest syndrome and put their scrambled lives back together.

Shumer’s List – Liam Neeson, Peabo Bryson, Ron Johnson – Hilarity ensues when a befuddled politician gets his laundry list mixed up with his Senate to-do list and ends up voting to confirm Gore-tex as Supreme Court Justice.

Planet Of The Crepes – Roddy McDowell, Colin Powell, Nelly Briles – A French astronaut crash-lands on a distant planet and is horrified to discover that the only cuisine available is served at the Intergalactic House of Pancakes.

True Brit – Cameron Diaz, John Cameron, Cam Newton – After the passage of BREXIT, a British Prime Minister resigns in disgust, then explores career opportunities in American television ranging from whispering guy on golf broadcasts to boisterous infomercial cookware demonstrator.

Comments – DickVerbo@hotmail.com  Also, Like “The Idler” on Facebook

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