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Q of the day – must-watch flicks when channel surfing

When you’re surfing channels, what movie will you stop and watch, no matter what point it’s at in the film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it?

Obviously I must like political thrillers, since I almost always stop and watch The Manchurian Candidate (1962), All the President’s Men (1976) or The Parallax View (1974).

A couple of odd movies out that I always stop on — and they don’t air often — are Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992), a really interesting soapy TV movie about a very dysfunctional family with a lot of secrets, including a closeted gay son (William McNamara) who’s engaged to be married and decides to come out.

The other is All That Heaven Allows (1955), a classic Douglas Sirk soaper with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. Lots of interesting dynamics set in “perfect” suburban 50s America, as Sirk challenges the sterility of society’s values. From IMDb:

Jane Wyman plays Cary Scott, a prosperous suburban New England widow with two college-aged children. Rock Hudson plays Ron Kirby, a nurseryman and gardener. Cary and Ron meet when he’s pruning trees in her yard. She becomes intrigued by his free spirit and his romantic life. He falls for her as well and wants to be married. Cary is afraid of the social consequences of marriage to Ron, and she also fears her children’s disapproval. Cary is not only older than Ron (at the time the movie was made Jane Wyman was 38 to Rock Hudson’s 30) but is also wealthier. Cary’s friends and children are snobbish and socially conscious. Ron’s friends are eccentric and fun-loving. Cary must choose between love and convention.

Todd Haynes gave a wonderful nod to Sirk with Far From Heaven in 2002.


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding