90 Movies in 90 Days: Little Fugitive (1953)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Little Fugitive
Release Date: October 6, 1953
Director:  Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, and Ruth Orkin
Production Company: Little Fugitive Production Company


Joey (Richie Andrusco) is a 7-year-old growing up in a working class neighborhood in Brooklyn who likes Westerns and loves horses.  When his widowed mother has to go away to care for his grandmother, he’s left in the care of his older brother, Lennie (Richard Brewster).  Lennie’s friends don’t like having little Joey tagging along.  So the play a prank that makes Joey think he’s killed Lennie.  Then Joey runs away to Coney Island and pretty much has the best day of his life.

The plot is minimal, but this movie delights on it’s naturalistic, largely unscripted performances by non-professional child actors.  Morris Engel developed a special camera that could be strapped to the body allowing the directors to film on location amid crowds of daytripping New Yorkers. It’s also a great document of Coney Island in the 1950s, when the parachute jump still worked and before Fred Trump demolished many of the amusements for real estate development.

It’s a form of neorealism that feels lighter and funnier than the movements in Italy and France and makes me wish a larger American neorealist movement grew out of it.  But François Truffaut loved Little Fugitives and said it inspired The 400 Blows! But really the most mindblowing thing about this movie is that my father was a 7-year-old in a working class neighborhood in 1953.  I wish he were around so I could watch this movie with him and ask him if he recognizes anyone.

Rating: ****1/2

90 Movies in 90 Days: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, most of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Ghost in the Shell
Release Date: 18 November 1995
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Production Company: Production I.G | Bandai Visual | Manga Entertainment

In a cyberpunk future Japan, Major Motoko Kusanag (Mimi Woods) is an assault squadron leader for a public security agency with cybernetic enhancements.  She and her partner Batou (Richard Epcar)investigate an entity known as the Puppet Master (Tom Wyner) who is suspected of hacking into various cyborgs.  The more she learns of the Puppet Master the more Motoko questions her own identity.

This movie is brutally violent, but also has long periods that are almost meditative.  The animation is stunning and must’ve been mind-blowing in 1995.  The score is also magnificent.  Buuuut, there are also segments with characters providing lengthy exposition dumps and dry philosophical conversations.  For some reason Motoko has to be nude to fight and the animators are really into depicting her erect nipples, which is really sexist.  So, this is obviously an innovative and groundbreaking movie (and one that is part of a progression from Blade Runner to The Matrix), but I recommend it with reservations.

Rating: ***

#FridayFictioneers – Right Here At Home



Maurice a retired as an aerospace engineer at NASA and settled down on a farm. Wasn’t much, just a dozen head of cattle and a few acres of peach trees. But it was home.

This morning while driving his tractor through the orchard to check if the peaches were ripe for picking, he saw his aging hippie neighbor Johnny.

“Hey Maurice, ya hear that weed is legal startin’ at midnight?”

“I heard…”

“Well, I got some good stuff. Meet me in the orchard at the stroke of 12 and we’ll celebrate. Bring your guitar.”

“Nah, I only play in daylight.”

This story is a little bit weird, but I hope somebody gets it. Friday Fictioneers is a weekly photo prompt flash fiction challenge on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Addicted to Purple blog.  See additional stories from the prompt by other writers here!