This has been a particularly frigid winter here in Ohio, with temperatures often dipping well into the negative numbers and staying there for weeks. While I usually love all of the seasons, I will admit the cold has been a little too brutal even for me. Thus we’ve been spending tons of time indoors, which definitely has it’s own delights. Lots of snuggling, blanket forts, silly dancing, baking treats, sewing and crafts, puzzles and books…and, of course, binge-watching all the best tv shows and movies we can find.
One of my favorite companies for binge-worthy releases is Mill Creek Entertainment. They truly have something for the whole family, plus they bring back shows from the past that might otherwise be overlooked and forgotten.
Here’s my current list of must-haves from their lineup, including some upcoming releases! Grab some blankets and popcorn and cuddle in close for a viewing extravaganza.
This gem from the late ’80s that I had somehow never heard of has aged pretty well. It’s still completely relevant to today’s horse-crazy kids. It features a group of kids living and working at a boarding school for horse riding. Each child has their own talking horse that suits their personality- though the kids can’t understand the horses. There’s also a cute cast of talking farm animals (a dog, a pig and cat) who help provide commentary as each episode unfolds. The kids each come from different backgrounds and throughout the series face difficult situations which help teach them about teamwork and cooperation, as well as personal integrity.
The complete series includes three discs and almost 14 hours of horsey hijinks.
In this series, which feels like something only the mid-90s could have dreamed up, four brothers are transformed into mutant half-shark-half-man hybrids through nefarious DNA experimentation. The bothers must work to stop a mad scientist and his minions, the Seaviates (the puns! I know!) before they transform the entire world into mindless sea creatures. Wildly nonsensical fun that kids will enjoy.
For the Whole Family
This is an all-new 35mm film restoration and transfer of one of the most beloved classic family films of all time.
Benji is the gripping story of a vagabond dog struggling to communicate something he’s seen to humans. Humans who need to know but cannot grasp the concept that a dog could possibly help. A story of frustration and persistence, of love and suspense. And the first time ever that a dog has actually acted on the screen. Expressed emotion. And done it so very well that we, the audience, completely understand everything Benji is thinking and doing, every turn and twist, without a word of dialog being spoken.
This isn’t a new release, but one I’ve just started working my way through. This was a ’90s family drama that follows the lives of the Salinger kids who are left to raise themselves after the death of their parents. Struggling to still be young while taking on adult responsibilities far too soon, the series is an emotional rollercoaster. Through all the struggles and lessons, what always shines through is the notion that family is everything- and always worth fighting for.
I plan to do a longer, in-depth review of this one soon, especially amidst news that a series reboot is in the works. The timely twist in the remake? The kids are the children of illegal immigrants who get deported, leaving them to fend for themselves.
This is a huge treat for Lucille Ball fans. It combines two documentaries with four feature-length films, plus ten television episodes. They even throw in some classic tv commercials. Modern tv just can’t compare to this!
This features over 20 hours of biographies documenting 50 of the biggest stars in Hollywood history. The sheer amount of glamour and sparkle contained in this collection will blow you away. From Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Marylin, Audrey, Bette, Mae West, Ginger Rogers to Bogart, Astaire, Errol Flynn, Jams Dean and so many more- all of the early greats are represented. Watching the clips of films included in the documentaries had me longing to see all of the movies themselves!
This series from the ’60s has that bow-chick-a-wow-wow factor that the era specialized in. It covers the story of a group of men in the elite covert operations unit of the L.A.P.D. The storylines are highly topical of events at the time. It’s interesting to see the sheer animosity and mistrust the public had towards the police, and how vocal they were about it. There are episodes featuring cults reminiscent of the Manson clan and you can feel the slow-boiling racial tension underlying the entire decade. Oddly enough, for how manly-man-centric this show is known to be, its the few and far between female characters who bring some light and depth.
This collection of ten horror films ranges from the mid-’60s to the mid-’80s. They start off with the creepy clown film Out of the Dark starring Karen Black. It also stars Divine in an out-of-drag role, in what was apparently his last movie appearance. There’s a ton of cheesy nudity in this one, but it’s so tame by today’s HBO full-frontal and anything-goes internet standards that they might as well be fully clothed. We are also treated to Happy Birthday to Me with Glenn Ford; Eyes of Laura Mars (possibly the best-known film of the bunch) starring Faye Dunaway and Tommy Lee Jones; Don’t Answer The Phone; Nightmare in Wax; Bloody Pit of Horror; Silent night, Bloody Night with John Carradine; Funeral Home; Don’t Open Til Christmas; and The Driller Killer. Basically each one features a deranged killer out for blood. A perfect late-night scarefest for after the kids have gone to bed.
I have received samples of some of these items to facilitate my post, but all opinions are my own.