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It Happened Tomorrow
Your July Random Movie Club Results Are In!

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Preshow Entertainment: Ricky Gervais: Out Of England


IT HAPPENED TOMORROW is a little fantasy comedy about Larry Stevens (Dick Powell), a newspaperman who gets tomorrow's newspaper edition today. As with most films like this, we're hit over the head so hard with the premise it's almost a kids film. Why, Don Knotts looking into the water and saying "I wish I was a fish" or Tom Hanks' "I wish I were big" aren't as clear as this.

Larry's an obit guy for The Evening News, but starting tomorrow he's graduating to reporter. Out celebrating with the boys in a night club, Larry falls for Sylvia (Linda Darnell), a girl who is half of a Svengali act (with her uncle). But before he gets home, he bumps into Pops who gives him The Evening News...tomorrow's. Pops doesn't say it's tomorrow's, yet we know. In fact, Larry doesn't even read the paper until breakfast the next day. And that's when he realizes this is no ordinary paper.

After a few news items come true (snowing in May?), Larry decides that the hold-up at the operahouse is a fine place to begin his career. He brings Sylvia there, and moments later the operahouse is robbed. Larry had already written the story (he copied it earlier from his special edition), so he hands it to his editor ten minutes after the robbery.

Sylvia (Linda Darnell)
Well, as you would expect, the film soon fills with a suspicious policeman, a cantankerous editor (are there any other kinds?), Sylvia's fake seer uncle, and of course, a Broadway impresario. Yeah, things start getting more complicated for Larry. Can't "be careful what you wish for" ever be easy? Why oh why must there always be a lesson in it? Can't Reese Witherspoon just call me? Must I get slapped with a restraining order just so I can learn a lesson??

Anyway, Larry becomes a famous reporter overnight (I mean that...I think this movie took place in one day). And then, it hits him. Well, it didn't so much as hit him, someone had to suggest it to him (jokingly, as they don't know his secret); Why not pick all the winners at the racetrack? Now I ask you this; Who wouldn't have thought of picking winners on their own?? Though I don't think I would have thought of writing the winners' names on my sleeve like Larry did...that's really cool. Something I would have thought of, however, would be leaving town the moment I saw my name in tomorrow's paper as being the victim of a murder. Jehosephat!

Cliches abound in IHT, like Sylvia's Uncle Oscar (Jack Oakie, a vaudevillian) who wears a plaid showbiz suit or the doctor with a goatee and monocle. Not to mention the easily exasperated, histrionic copper (how many cops have you seen hit someone over the head with their hat?). This is a movie where characters can get married within 24 hours of meeting. A movie where someone can pull a gun on you and seconds later be your friend. A movie where that master of slow-burn, Edgar Kennedy, can be a cop (that's like me dancing in SWAN LAKE) and an astonished reporter can exclaim things like "Great scott!" and "Jehosephat!" (actually, he said "JEEhosephat"). But this was 1944, home of the screwball (even the title sounds vaguely familiar, no?). It was a different time...where everyone at racetracks wore suits and dresses, and women weren't allowed in the betting area. And among the end credits: "Make It Happen Tomorrow. Buy Stamps and Bonds Today!"

Pops (John Philliber)
The cast, playing it vaudeville-big, are all fine (Pops was played by John Philliber, who made his first movie at the age of 70, then made 7 more in the next two years, and then, sadly, died). Speaking of casting, this film really needed The Marx Brothers. Why, it already had character actors Sig Ruman (so wonderful in A NIGHT IN CASABLANCA) and Edgar Kennedy (so wonderfuller in DUCK SOUP). The directing is invisible-adequate, and the writing, despite the numerous people involved (sub-credits include story, screenplay, adaptation, novel, play, and even "additional dialogue" and "ideas") is just okay. That's why I believe IHT is a movie that they actually should remake. It's a great hook and I think they missed exploiting it to its fullest. It should have been more fun. There should have been more at stake. The jeopardy never felt like...jeopardy.

So if some studio suit is reading this, IT HAPPENED TOMORROW is ripe for the remaking. Just remember to cut the part about buying stamps and war bonds. Oh, and please, hire me.


Ricky Gervais is hysterical. If you disagree, well, that's okay. We just can't be friends.

This was a stand-up performance he did back in 2008, and it's simply wall-to-wall funny. From his bombastic entrance, wearing a regal robe as smoke, lights and pyrotechnics (isn't that a Guy Ritchie movie?) assault us while Queen's ONE VISION blasts (his first line? "That wasn't too over the top, was it?") to his final bow. He's hooked us right out of the gate. Hell, I'm not sure there was even a gate at all.

Ricky Gervais HBO Special: Out of England
Gervais does an interesting thing. His humour seems shocking, but you just know it isn't. Too many comics "shock". He "accidentally" shocks. You'd think making fun of cancer, obesity, aids and Hitler just screams "Oh, he's just trying to shock." But Gervais takes the shock that other comics would go for and ports it into his lovable, faux-clueless (though sometimes knowing) persona...and it comes out just right. It's like sweet and sour chicken. It's brilliant. He's brilliant. He even manages to make penis jokes, an overdone topic comics rely too heavily on, truthful and sweet. Oh, and funny. Ricky Gervais is this generation's funny. Netflix this!

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