Friday movie picks

Earlier in the week it was the birthday of character actor Martin Balsam (1919-1996) who, I was reminded, was in a lot of my favorite movies. For instance he was in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)–

MV5BNjkwMzk0NTAzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTQwNTI2._V1_SX640_SY720_playing O.J. Berman, Holly’s agent. (“Hey, Fred-baby!”)

He was in A Thousand Clowns (1965)–


as Murray’s brother Arnold. (He won an Oscar for this one.)

He was in Hombre (1967)–


playing Paul Newman’s friend Henry Mendez.

Indeed, he was all over television and movies in the sixties and seventies and all the way to end of the millennium. As an ethnically-ambiguous Jew from the Bronx he could play everything from Mexican bandits to  Wasp admirals and he did, over and over. He was like Ward Bond in an earlier generation, always popping up in random movies. What  a career!

So I suggest you watch a movie with Martin Balsam in it. There are a lot of good ones from which to choose!

I will also note that I watched Melissa McCarthy’s Spy (2015) the other night.


I am not a big fan of Ms. McCarthy–she is frequently over-the top in the vulgarity department–but I thought this movie was really funny. Besides McCarthy, the movie features Jude Law as a James Bond-type spy and Jason Statham in a parody of himself. Allison Janney is great as the Boss Lady who is a super bitch, but has been there and seen that and, in the end, understands.

The use of the f-bomb in this movie is a parody in itself. As Rose Byrne says, “What f**kery is this?”

When all is said and done, Paul Fieg (the writer) manages to make some good points about women who are ignored, stereotyped, laughed at, and generally under-appreciated because they are not traditionally beautiful, thin, assertive etc.

Anyway, I laughed non-stop to the point of embarrassment. My eyes were streaming with tears. The OM sat stone-faced throughout, of course, but he did stay for the whole movie, which is unheard of practically, and I think he smiled a few times.

So try it; you might like it.