Thursday, May 27, 2010

Best movies you probably haven't seen Vol. 6

It's been a while since I did up one of these columns, so I figured it was time to throw another log on the old fire (no, I have no idea how that's supposed to work as an analogy). The thing about doing post like this is that it's very subjective. I say movies you probably haven't seen knowing full well that most of these movies have been viewed by thousands if not millions of people. However in the scope of the population, that's still a minor drop in the pond.

Why am I picking at such a point? Because this time around I've chosen a TV movie from 1990. It was on a major network, which means a lot of people saw it when it originally debuted. But really, unless you were old enough to care about such things at the time, you probably didn't see it. Amongst those who do remember it, the film has a small but devoted cult following.  Now then, let's take a look at this week's film.

Now Showing:

The Dreamer of Oz (TV 1990)

Directed by:
Jack Bender (Lost, Alias)

Written by:
David Kirschner (Child's Play, Second Hand Lions) Richard Matheson (Yes that one)

 John Ritter (if you need me to tell you his credits, hide in shame) Annette O'Toole (Girl of the Limberlost. That's right, with eveything she's done, I chose that horrible adaptation. It's how I roll) Rue McClanahan (Golden Girls)

The Gist:
A biopic on the life of L. Frank Baum (Ritter) and how he came to write The Wizard of Oz series. The story is filled with many different scenarios that helped to create different elements in the book. It's a very sweet, corny, and often funny look at a brilliant man. Annette O'Toole, portrays his wife who stays with him through the insanity.

Why You Should Watch It:
It's a beautiful little forgotten gem, from a time when made for TV movies were still events that people looked forward to seeing so that they could talk about it the next day. While it's not the most accurate (what biopic doesn't take liberties?) it has many imaginative ways of showing the Oz world being created in his mind. John Ritter is excellent, and his son Jason is also in the film playing, you guessed it, his son. For anyone who loves The Wizard of Oz, it's a must see.

Why You Might Have Seen It:
Well as I stated earlier, it was on a major network. And it was promoting one of the anniversaries of The Wizard. It has also played occasionally on lifetime throughout the years.

Why You Probably Haven't Seen It:
It was 20 years ago. Until just a couple months ago the film had never been released to DVD. Heck, it hadn't even been released to VHS. I myself purchased a bootleg years back for my brother for his birthday because he loved the movie and it looked like it would never be released. It's crappy and recorded over from a version taped off TV. I look forward to purchasing it in the future.

Scene To Savor:
There's a whole lot of wonderful imagery in the film. It's both a heart warming and a heartbreaking tale. But I've always enjoyed the scene where L Frank Baum is called to duel in the street. The scene serves as the base of a well known character in the Oziverse.

From what I've read, a lot of people are complaining about the quality of the film's transfer. It's also only available as a special feature on The Wizard of Oz's 70th anniversary edition. It really deserves it's own treatment, but I'm just happy to see it's finally been released. I don't normally include links to the products but I will on this one, just in case you're curious to see it, you can find out what edition to look for. For all I know it's available through Netflix now. I hope so. I know how much you all hate it when I do up this column on movies that aren't available.

On a scale of classic TV movies, forgotten in time: 8 out of 10


  1. Off to check netflix, I really like the sounds of this one!

  2. Nope not there, but they also don't have Rags to Riches... remember that TV series from the 80's? The best!

    So what's with Rep posting in your sidebar over there?

  3. You've made it sound interesting enough for me to check out.

  4. Cotton, Rats. I was hoping it would be available. Rep did the title gag for his blog. Next time he posts the sidebars will return to normal. In the meantime I just find it funny.

  5. Oh, the ol' title gag...I should've known.
    Silly Rep@...tricks are for kids.

  6. You know I totally hate the original Wizard of Oz' I hate the characters, I hate the whole look of the thing and expecially those stupid munchkins whe made a liftime carreer over being 'Munchin Gaurd 9' for standing there with beside the Munchkin Mayor four second.

    But I did like 'Return To Oz' But that one was made 60 years later.

  7. Oooh, I've never seen this one. Thanks for the review.

  8. do you know what's scary.

    i've seen this movie.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Frist off, let me start off my saying I'm as dumb as a bag of nails.

    I created an "orginal" award" and your name was at the top of the friggin list of awardees. I just noticed that I some friggin how deleted you.

    So, at my blog, right now, there is an orginal award for you. Although I gave out quite a few of them, and they weren't necessarily in order. Your name was indeed at the top of the list, because your hilarious and genius blog is the first one I check everyday!

    SO, if you happened to see the post, I apologize...hell, I even stole the idea of an original award from you in the first place.
    So go now...

  11. I have never seen or heard of this movie! And I am a fan of all that is John Ritter. I am intrigued by this and must now find it.

  12. Another good oft-forgotten John Ritter flick: Stay Tuned. He and his wife (played by Pam Dawber, best known for...well...not much of anything) get sucked into TV hell. Literally. It's kind of hilarious and awesome. :)

  13. I love John Ritter. I will have to track it down.

  14. I can't find it anywhere!!!!! I like the Wizard of Oz and the Wiz.... I need to find the Dreamer!

  15. Id never even known this existed, if its as made for TV as you say it is, Im all in!


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