Remember Shamedowns? I haven’t done any of these posts in a couple of years, but they’re coming back for 2022 and just as penitent as ever.
For those of you who are new to Taking Up Room and don’t know what a Shamedown is, it’s simply this: Every year the fine folks at Cinema Shame ask the film blogging world to name and review films we’re ashamed to admit we’ve never seen before. It’s fun, of course, but it’s also inspiring. We’ve all got stuff sitting around on our watchlists, some of it for years, that we’re always meaning to look at but never do, and a Shame List gives us a little push (See past Shamedown lists here and here.).
Speaking of which, my theme for this year’s Shamedowns is my Prime watchlist. I have stuff on this thing that I added on a whim, probably because they looked intriguing or maybe they were just there. Who knows, but there they sit for who knows how long, gathering virtual dust while they wait to be seen.
As a matter of fact, and if it’s all right with the proprietors of this Shame extravaganza, I’d like to work in my Pick My Movie Tag as part of the proceedings. Every month I will tag in some unsuspecting blogger to pick and review something from their watchlist, whether streaming or physical media. Look alive, y’all, because you never know when the tag will point your way…
Now we come to the all-important list, and some of these films are so generically named you could swear they were working titles:
Lake Michigan Monster (2018)
I picked this indie because it looks like camp on the line of a Beatles movie, but apparently it’s cleverly underrated in its own right. A group of friends find a monster washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan and hijinks ensue.
That Uncertain Feeling (1941)
Starring Merle Oberon, Melvyn Douglas, Burgess Meredith, and Alan Mowbray, That Uncertain Feeling is an Ernst Lubitsch outing about a woman who goes to a psychologist for stress hiccups and starts questioning everything about her life, especially after meeting an eccentric pianist in the waiting room.
Sky Racket (1937)
Government agents, airmail bandits who blow planes out of the sky with death rays, and a runaway bride…intriguing, yes? And ludicrous. And probably hilarious in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way.
Bank Alarm (1937)
Bank Alarm deals in a string of robberies, counterfeit money, and the inevitable paper trail. Is there anything to recommend this film beyond its starring Conrad Nagel? I’m gonna find out.
The Beautician and the Beast (1997)
Although it’s the most well-known of these Shamedowns (which isn’t saying much), Beautician doesn’t seem to be talked about all that often nowadays–a DuckDuckGo search nets mostly Beauty and the Beast images. I tried watching Beautician years ago and couldn’t get through it for whatever reason, so 2022 will be its time to shine.
Telephone Operator (1937)
Yet another offering from 1937, Telephone Operator is the story of a, well, telephone operator who finds herself to be her town’s sole source for communication after a flood hits. It doesn’t have any big names, although its director, Scott Pembroke had a respectable career, but it apparently sports some nifty stock footage of floods.
Underworld Scandal (1948)
Also called Big Town Scandal, Underworld is sometimes considered film noir, but it’s really about juvenile delinquents. There were so many of these JD movies made in the late forties and fifties and they were mostly disposable, but they can still be worth a look. Underworld Scandal stars Stanley Clements, Darryl Hickman, and Carl Switzer, as well as its two adult leads, Hillary Brooks and Phillip Reed.
A salesman doesn’t know his wife, who also works in his department store, is the granddaughter of a mattress mogul and a former party girl. As this salesman doesn’t like rich women or want his wife to work, feathers will no doubt fly.
I Want You (1951)
Set during the Korean War, the film follows the story of a small town dealing with the draft and boasts a respectable cast: Dana Andrews, Dorothy McGuire, and Ray Collins to name a few. The Korean War is kind of an untapped subject in film and not discussed much offscreen, so it’ll be interesting to see how this film handles the time period.
Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954)
Monster‘s plot is often summarized as “A sea-monster terrorizes a Mexican cove.” Okeydokey, that’s pretty simple. The movie not only has the distinction of being Roger Corman’s first production credit, but the creature looks a wee bit like Grimace from McDonald’s, and its Spanish title is El Pulpo Fantasma. I have an inkling it’s going to be quite an experience.
Mary believes her missing Marine husband has been killed, but then she appears to find him performing in a Shanghai night club. Missing identity antics and espionage ensue, but apparently the Marines are set to save the day. It might be good, I guess.
The Crystal Ball (1943)
The Crystal Ball stars Paulette Goddard and Ray Milland and sports a pretty simple plot: Romance-seeking woman poses as a fortune teller to attract guys. I like Paulette Goddard and I like Ray Milland, so this should be a fun one.
So there we have it. There are a lot of Poverty Row movies on this list, but I’m good with that. With one exception, all of these films are black and white, but I’m good with that, too.
(Oh, and if anyone feels like using the banner I made for this post, that’s totally fine. Just thought I’d mention it.)
All right, here’s to a great 2022! This is going to be cool. Probably cringe-y as heck, but really cool. As always, thanks for reading, and see you on Thursday with another post…
If you’re enjoying what you see on Taking Up Room, please consider supporting the site on Patreon, where you’ll find extra content, behind the scenes tidbits, and exclusive merch for qualified subscribers.