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A Pink Christmas (1978 TV Short)
10/10
I adored this
18 December 2009
I watched "The Pink Panther" when I was young, but had almost forgotten about it until my sister lent me her DVD of this special...and special it was. The entire story was about the homeless Pink Panther (was this made before or after he was an Olympic skier?) wanting just to eat and getting thwarted along the way. It's a sad story and I very much "felt" for the Pink Panther along the way (an old woman compassionate enough to feed birds couldn't recognize that the Panther was hungry? The man angry about the snow on his steps couldn't have hired The Pink Panther to shovel his steps?)there were many wonderful moments of (well done) slapstick humor that kept the story from becoming depressing. The ending was wonderful and even the singing children didn't completely distract.

Wonderfully moving, "A Pink Christmas" sends an unexpectedly powerful message about hunger and poverty and the lengths somebody will go to to provide for himself. It more than exceeded my expectations and I will make a point to watch it every Christmas.
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2/10
It's no comedy, and to be a tragedy would probably require emotion, which this movie has none
5 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This was not a movie I chose to see, but rather agreed to sit in the room while it played. My biggest fear was that it would be stupid, or grating, or annoying, seeing as Will Ferrell is the star. Of course, another alternative was that it might have been a work of genius. Little did I know(the not-very-inspired phrase that is repeated in this movie) was how hideously boring this movie would turn out to be.

If I had seen Will Ferrell in any other movies, he hasn't made enough of an impression on me to... know that I have. His acting style appears grating in the trailers of his movies I have chosen not to see. I wouldn't say it was in this movie. Yet, little did I know, I would have actually Preferred that to the completely emotionless performance he turns in as Harold Crick, the lonely IRS agent whose routine life is disrupted by the sudden overhearing of a British-accented voice who seems to know what will happen next in Harold's dull little life (which wouldn't be that hard to figure out, considering he brushes his teeth the same amount of stroke, walks the same amount of steps to the bus stop.. etc). At first Harold thinks he's crazy, but somehow realizes it's not some mental impairment he's suffering from, some British lady is actually mapping out Harold's life for a story. Somehow this confirms Harold's sanity and makes him the focus of interest for a literature professor who's really hung up on the phrase "little did he know." Instead of trying to figure out WHY HAROLD CAN SUDDENLY HEAR HER, or why Harold is COMPLETELY ACCEPTING OF HER NARRATING PRESENCE, Harold just tries to figure out if it's a comedy or tragedy she's writing about him.

I remember this movie being marketed as a comedy and the few attempts at humor making it into the trailer, but it much more seems to be aiming at the "tragedy" angle with the feel-good "live like you were dying" moral thrown in, minus any inspiration or warm feelings. This movie is essentially without any feeling, particularly as it plods along at its annoying slow pace in its annoyingly bland colors, with its annoyingly limited background sound. I'm not a fan of endless soundtracks, but music can add to a movie and it might have woken this one up a little.

Instead, "Stranger Than Fiction" drags along with it's not-that-original-as-it-thinks concept of boring, narrated Harold, who, little did he know, finds the voice narrating him belongs to a real-life author (which "we" knew thanks to the random scenes of her trying to get an understanding of death) who just happens to live in the same city and finds her contact information. Little did she know, EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS WRITING OUT THE PHONE CALL HE WOULD MAKE TO HER, Harold Crick is real, as well. Instead of wondering, say, HOW she had been able to narrate Harold, or wondering if she wasn't completely insane, or HE wasn't some complete nut who had somehow caught wind of her book and was trying to get to her, she completely accepts that he must be the Harold Crick she was writing about and feels bad because she's written some death scene for him that's apparently so wonderful she can't change it. (Harold also completely accepts this, though he has the ability to invade her apartment and even READS her book, he doesn't think to destroy it or "make" her change it.) Considering it seemed to take an eternity for the characters to even meet (Harold should have learned about her LONG before he did, especially about her "little quirk" of always killing her characters. It comes so late in the movie, after he "knows" he is going to die and the audience knows the author likes to think about death, that it really feels redundant) another eternity follows with the author having a nagging conscience and Harold having a creepy, emotionless acceptance of his impending doom. We also see "why" a kid on a bike and a lady bus driver kept appearing in this movie in the first place (er, why else would they keep showing them if they were not to have played a role in "the end") and Harold's Mentioned So Often You Know It Will Be Significant in the End wristwatch... also has a significant "role" (you would think she was writing a kiddie novel about "Harold and the Amazing Wristwatch." It seems to be almost as bright as Herbie the Lovebug). Oh yes, and then the movie goes on for another about fifteen minutes or so. Instead of being "inspired" by the not-very-good narration of the author, I felt about as alert and invigorated as Will Ferrell appears to be throughout the movie.
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Firewall (2006)
5/10
This isn't exactly a showcase of brilliant performances, but they're not all bad....
4 September 2006
Harrison Ford appears in this movie as the same type of "family man in duress" character he's played in... a lot of other movies. I never thought he was all that diverse. If you can't play a whole range of roles, pick one and do it well. He's perfectly inoffensive in this movie and I actually liked this character more than the ... similar ones he has played.

Speaking of similar characters, there's "Chloe from 24" playing... er, Chloe from '24' only her name is Janet and her 'assistant to a man named Jack' job is not as impressive. I haven't seen Mary Lynn Rajskab enough to know the extent of her range, but if she can play little more than Chloe O'Brien (that's basically what this character is), she does it well.

The rest of the performances run more along the course of average. Virginia Madsen as the generic wife-in-peril is generically 'fine.' She somewhat resembles "Audrey Ranes" from "24" in the promo pictures and to be honest, Kim Raver could have played the role without a hint of difference... Paul Bettany was also 'fine' as the villain. As Paul Bettany seems to be in every other movie that is released, I ... expected more... It could be that I found his character rather one-dimensional and stupid, but still... What I noticed the most about Paul Bettany is that he looks like Anthony Michael Hall meets my mental picture of what Nicolae Carpathia, the anti Christ in the "Left Behind" series would look like. To be honest, they could have cast Anthony Michael Hall as the villain, and like the wife... their probably wouldn't have been a difference (and this doesn't exactly leave me wanting Paul Bettany as Carpathia should they ever do a movie version of "Left Behind" that would be more to the authors' liking...) ANYWAY, so the not multi-dimensional characters take us through the not exactly groundbreaking plot of Jack (Stanfield, not Bauer...) and Chloe... I mean Janet, having to save... not the world, but Jack's family from aspiring bank robbers who have kidnapped Jack's family because they would like Jack to rob the bank for them. The bank robber, whose name for some reason morphs from William Rayburn to William Cox and his rather useless gang of accomplices (who really serve as little more than babysitters) essentially move into the Stanfield house (which in usual movie fashion is about ten times the size of regular family home, as though "Hollywood people" think that because they live in mansions, everybody else must live in mansions) and ... more-or-less leave the family alone save for the fact that nobody but Jack can leave the house. I live in Washington and one of my 'gripes' is that people seem a little too wrapped up in their own business. "Firewall" is a good testament to this: absolutely none of the Stanfield's neighbors seem to notice or care about all of the extra guests, the lack of action from the Stanfield's house, gunfire... etc..

Anyway, Jack of course refuses at first... until villain Bill 'baits' him into helping, but of course there's no way Jack would just help without some catch... some way to make things right and keep his family safe in the process.

I won't bother with spoilers, it's not that hard to figure out what happens. It's certainly not the movie to watch for anybody looking for something new... or really unique performances. Jack and "Chloe" are entertaining together (Harrison Ford and Kiefer Sutherland are extremely comparable as actors and Kiefer Sutherland is another who could have played this Jack just as well as Harrison Ford) and while the movie definitely seemed longer than it's running time, I wouldn't say it lulled me to sleep.

If all else, it's 'fun' to watch "Firewall" to see how many other actors could play these roles.
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8/10
It's no 'Nicolae." but it's pretty good for what it is
23 July 2006
I actually saw this movie months before I had read any of the "Left Behind" books, so I give it props for not, say, turning me off of the Tim Lahaye/Jerry B. Jenkins series, which I really, really enjoy.

I had ... not bothered with the first two movies (and still have yet to see them, though I am more curious having since read the books) and since what I had heard about them was less than positive, I expected absolutely nothing from this movie. I think that perhaps I should go into EVERY movie expecting nothing, because I actually rather liked "Left Behind 3." Revelations is "scary (but it has a great ending)," but has always been one of my favorite passages in the Bible, so it was nice to see it depicted. I thought Louis Gosset, as President Fitzhugh was quite good, I enjoyed seeing Charles Martin Smith (for the about two seconds he was in there). Kirk Cameron bears the curse of having appeared in a show I watched as a child, which means I can never really take him seriously in any other role (the casts of such shows as "Saved By the Bell" and "Just the Ten of Us" share the same fate), but he was fine as Buck, "Chloe," "Ray," and Mrs. Kirk Cameron as "Hattie" were fine, as well(although, "there's just no other way to say this," Mrs. Cameron is a little too old to be Hattie, who was supposed to be about 27). Considering I had heard less-than-complimentary remarks about the acting, I was rather satisfied with the performances of everybody and actually rather pleasantly surprised with Gordan Currie ,who I knew from the oh-so-distinguished guest starring role of paralyzed Cousin Bobby in "Beverly Hills 90210," and has... come a long way since then. Before reading the books, I considered his performance (besides Gosset's, who, with all due respect, was clearly in another league) the most impressive, and now having read the books.. his eerily smooth portrayal is the most how I would imagine Nicolae from the books would like and act like.

What's not really faithful to the series is the script. Part 3 of the series is definitely not one-in-the-same as "Nicolae," the third book in the series. Instead of the Wrath of the Lamb and Tsion Ben-Judah, President Fitzhugh, who is the film's main character, joining in the militia-lead resistance movement against the Supreme Regional Potentate ('sadly,' I don't think he was referred to by that title) Nicolae "Jetty" Carpathia, while newlyweds Chloe and Buck and Rayford and Amanda (and Pastor Bruce Barnes) are faced with assisting the President in the resistance (and in changing his non-religious ways) and dealing with a mysterious virus that seems to be hitting the churches... The story more than passes the time and included some meaningful scenes that made me (and hopefully others) 'think.' While I wouldn't have minded if they had stuck more to the books (why were there no witnesses at the Wailing Wall, for example) and they'd best not do any more of these movies without including Tsion Ben-Judah, who is only one of the most pivotal characters for the rest of the series, I thought they well with this movie. I was pleased with the direction of Craig Baxley (who directed "The Storm of the Century," which, while not a masterpiece by any account, was entertaining and well worth a viewing) and I hope that as long as they make these, they will bring in some more strong performers, not stray so far from the stories that they are not being faithful to Revelations, and that they will not "leave behind" such important characters as Chaim Rosenweig, Moishe and Eli, and especially Tsion Ben-Judah.
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7/10
I wasn't expecting much, so it wasn't too bad
23 July 2006
Movies are terrible anymore, but I still occasionally like to go to theaters (especially when the weather is forecast at 96 degrees) so I have been reduced to seeing movies like "Superman," even though I don't like action films, or read comic books, and two hour and 49 minute running times are not exactly a turn on, either...

In spite of that, this wasn't the worst movie ever made. Like about 90% of the movie going public, I had never heard of Brandon Routh, and since he's a young "pretty boy," I was expecting him to be pretty awful, so while I don't exactly expect him to clean up at that Academy Awards (as if that's really a measure of talent anymore, anyway) he wasn't that bad. Kevin Spacey, as evil Lex Luthor, was a little happy and over-the-top, but was kind of written as such and I enjoyed the 'team' of Parker Posey and him. (I think the film could have saved a couple of million dollars in the budget by eliminating Luthor's other friends, however (except perhaps that man with the skeleton tattoo) as they mostly just stood around and scowled.) As for Kate Bosworth... I didn't exactly find her endearing, though a little of that may have been the character of Lois Lane. This wasn't exactly my first exposure to "Superman," but it came close enough, and, well... I can only hope Lois Lane was more likable in the older versions. I couldn't imagine why one man would find her appealing, let alone two...

As I cannot judge a movie on acting and characters alone, this one was fair. Movies like "Superman" are never made for their wonderful scripts and this one... wasn't the best, my biggest complaint being lack of development. While I will credit "Superman" above such films as "War of the Worlds" with having at least SOME development and continuity, there were definitely a lot of things that went unanswered. I didn't especially care for all of the past tense referrals in the beginning, which, combined with the somewhat strange title of what is assumingly part one of a series made me feel like I was actually seeing a sequel first. I also would have liked to have seen more Clark Kent, who I felt was hideously underdeveloped. I would have gladly traded the numerous scenes of rocks flying through the sky (what was with that?) for more scenes of Clark and "Earth" mother(especially an explanation of his first scene where he came falling into the farmhouse yard appearing on the verge of death... and was completely fine and suddenly in "Metropolis" in the next scene.) I wouldn't have minded learning more about the Lex Luthor character, who vaguely moved about with no rhyme or reason. While I was entertained enough by Lex Luthor, and I don't exactly mind 'not' being scared by a villain, the character was almost a little bit too silly and not exactly a role Kevin Spacey is going to get taken seriously for.

I don't think "Superman Returns" will ever be taken seriously by anybody and it doesn't exactly have the makings of a film that will even be much remembered in years to come. With it's (needlessly) long running time, I honestly don't even know if I'll be watching it again (at least not in its entirety), but it was likely better than most of the other junk that's out these days and was a perfectly inoffensive way to spend a 90+ degree afternoon.
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Left Luggage (1998)
10/10
one of the best movies I've seen in a long time
28 January 2006
I wanted to see this when it came out in the late 1990s, but thanks to the ridiculously limited distribution this movie had in the United States, I was unable to do so until late 2005 (it was my first 'netflick'). Be as it may, it was well worth the wait.

In short: there was really nothing about this movie I didn't like (except the nudity was not necessary and keeps this from being a movie the whole family could watch) Excellent characters (and I was NOT expecting to like "Chaya" at all!),excellent acting, excellent story teller, wonderful, brilliantly subtle film-making (especially the "window shot" towards the end)...overall, a wonderful, meaningful film that I am quite glad I was finally able to see!
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1/10
possibly one of the worst movies I have ever seen
28 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
*likely to contain a spoiler* If this movie weren't so over-rated I would almost feel sorry for it. It is one of those movies that seems to earnestly try to be exciting, dramatic, and entertaining...and fails to be any of them.

The "excitement" comes from the impending threat of aliens invading the town of Tom Cruise and his two estranged children. "Drama" abounds as they steal a car, have it stolen from them, ride on a really crowded boat, have the brooding son leave them (for virtually no reason), hide in a hole and on and on.... "Entertainment" comes from, well...

"War of the Worlds" does not prove to be that entertaining of a movie. The closest thing coming to viewing pleasure is pointing out the ASTONISHING lack of plot and character development (a woman named Carol and her daughter Nora are "introduced" when getting on the boat. There is no room for Carol to get on the boat. Carol is never seen or mentioned again...); the poor pacing, the amateurish lighting choice, the fact that the "aliens roaming the basement" scene was right out of "Jurassic Park (only it was kind of scary then); the fact that the aliens are not frightening in the absolute LEAST (the little silver eye..thing that scanned the basement practically looked like a happy face, and the "sick" alien could almost be described as cute)and on and on...

In short: there is nothing about this movie I found well-done. The grade-Z sci fi channel movies are literal MASTERPIECES in comparison... and yet, those remain relegated as kitschy grade-Z films, while this so-called blockbuster bizarrely gets fawned over, for reasons absolutely...alien to me.
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976-EVIL (1988)
1/10
Horrible!
21 March 2005
I wasn't expecting this to be a good movie and I don't think anybody involved in it was either, or else they would have--for one--called it something else. At the very least, I was expecting this movie to be amusing in a campy way. Instead it was dreary, boring, and downright OFFENSIVE in its extremely gratuitous attack on religion.

Yes, yes, it was the 80s and with Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, I could see what it would be tempting to Hollywood to portray televangelists in a not-so-positive light. The aunt? No excuse. Maybe she was supposed to be "amusing" and "over the top," but I didn't see it at all. It was just disgusting.

The best thing about this movie was that I saw it at home for "free." If I had paid even a CENT, I probably would have demanded my money back.
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One Christmas (1994 TV Movie)
Buddy is a brat!
20 December 2004
I can't really enjoy a film if I do not care for the main character. This one is a bratty little kid named Buddy who gets sent to live with his father during the Depression-era Christmas season. Buddy had previously been living with some older-by-about-60-years cousin(the only character I kind of liked) due to the fact that his father is basically a scheming criminal. The father(Henry Winkler) pretends to be some great success for Buddy, but Buddy doesn't really buy it and neither does the rest of the town, which looks down on the dad. Although the father makes an enormous effort with Buddy, Buddy the monster never really accepts his father or his new living situation. This means Buddy yells, complains and has outbursts similar to annoying Kevin Arnold's at the end of a Wonder Years episode. Instead of people yelling at Buddy and teaching him to appreciate his life, constant praise is heaped upon him and it is clear that Buddy is supposed to be some wonderful, charming child. I didn't buy it and did not appreciate being subjected to the little brat! (for the record, the rest of the film is disinteresting, slow-moving and not worth investing one's time in)
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Like most films involving Heaven, this one is to be avoided *may contain spoilers*
3 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Hollywood's take on religion is usually not that nice, and this film, about a dead dog who gets bored with Heaven, is no exception, especially since the character is supposed to be the likable hero of the bunch.

The dog ends up getting sent back to Earth to rescue the Angel Gabriel's horn, which a very bad dog, who also somehow managed to make it to Heaven (they're obviously not kidding when they say ALL dogs go to Heaven)stole before HE somehow managed to float back down to Earth. The good dog finds he enjoys the Earthly life that he missed. He even meets a girlfriend and a potential new owner. Audiences are supposed to be very happy for him, especially when.....

*SPOILER*











In the end of the film, the dog is casually allowed to live back on Earth....













*End spoiler*



Nice way to confuse and trouble any little church-going children that might stumble across this film. What kind of a moral message is that, anyway? Basically people are being told that it's far more pleasurable to live however carelessly and selfishly they want on thrilling old Earth. Far better that than stifling old Heaven. It doesn't help that the Angel whom the "good dog" occasionally communicates with (and rudely snubs) is made for audiences to laugh at. I wasn't laughing. I was more thinking about Michael Medved's book, "Hollywood Versus America," which this movie would have fit in very well as a discussion piece.
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Curly Sue (1991)
This movie tends to receive poor reviews...whatever for
3 April 2004
Basically the only reason I turned it to nauseating-sounding "Curly Sue" is because I saw that it only had a rating of one-star and I was kind of curious as to why. It wasn't too hard to figure out:

I admit to missing some of "Curly Sue" (rather sappily titled, since it is about a girl named Susan with curly hair), but what I did see basically had no plot. Various little situations happened, including Jim Belushi's character and Susan going to some fancy restaraunt with his lawyer girlfriend, who somehow managed to offend them both; a Very Bad man filing a false report of abuse against Jim Belushi's character; a Mean Man pointlessly giving Susan a haircut(this is not even shown and to this second, I still don't know WHICH man it was) and Belushi involved in some ridiculous conflict at a jail, where he is trying to locate a ring.

Without giving away the movie, I feel I can say that these various problems amount to absolutely nothing and have nothing to do with the film's ending, which is so predictable I knew what was going to happen the second I turned it there. To give this silly movie "credit," at least its plotlessness and predictability made it amusing in a *bad* way, but it was still very, very easy to see why critics might give this film one-star.
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Pretty dumb
12 February 2004
I was stuck seeing this and I don't consider my viewing to be some surprise treat. All in all, this is a pretty dumb movie. Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett(who--I'm sorry to say--have absolutely, positively NO chemistry together)lumber around,in some weird plot I never even "got" that involves rap stars, psychics, and ...uh, career-change longings(Ford's character wants to sell real estate and Hartnett's character wants to be an actor... "It's my bliss..." he says, a line that was repeated aloud in disgust by someone else who had the "pleasure" of seeing this).

Ford's and Hartnett's characters are also in trouble themselves, for some reason I also did not quite "get," except that I know it involved what has to be one of the most UN-creative conflicts for a police-themed movie of Hartnett seeking revenge against some bad guy who killed his father, who was also a cop...

The climax/ending has all of the usual conclusions one would expect to see in a movie like this, as well as a lot of weird, slap-stick resulting from Ford's hot pursuit of a suspect. Somehow Ford ends up riding a kid's bike. It sounds dumb, and is, but was actually more amusing that just about anything else.

All in all, "Hollywood Homicide" was basically a waste of time.
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Cute, Charming
12 February 2004
I happen to think Disney is overdoing it a bit in the animated sequels department. There's "The Little Mermaid 2," "Cinderella 2," "The Lion King 2(and "1 1/2"), and there's..."The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2," which has Quasimodo, the "hideous"(I think he's cute) bell-ringer looking for love, and providing guidance to Zephyr, the young son of his friends Phoebus and Esmeralda. Quasimodo befriends Madeline, a troubled young woman, who secretly has ties with a very bad man(whose name I do not recall) who wants to steal the bell of Notre Dame. Quasi and Madeline's friendship hints at becoming...more than that, but there are obstacles along the way, such as her dealing with Quasi's looks, and--of course--her criminal ties. It's all pretty cute and more interesting than one would think with a good performance from the always talented Tom Hulce,who apparently hasn't acted in a movie since."The Hunchback 2" is sort of a strange film to mark an actor's last cinematic performance, but ...at least it's charming.
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I did not care for this movie...*may contain spoilers*
12 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
"Once Were Warriors" is an allegedly "great" film about a Maori(sp?) family facing many troubles. Jake, the husband, is an alcoholic, who turns to abuse when "under the influence." Beth, the wife, is...the victim, both of Jake's rage and of her the misgivings relating to her children. Beth's eldest son, for example, is so jilted and misguided he ends up in a rehabilitation center and her oldest daughter has the burden of caring for all of her siblings(there are a couple of extremely pointless younger children)and....

*spoilers*



(the daughter)eventually kills herself. It's not a happy story, but it's not one of those films that especially *wowed* me with its sadness and poignancy. I found Beth to be a little TOO passive, and--on occasion--utterly grating. Her treatment of the husband(who started out mildly interesting, and became boorishly stupid in the end) was ridiculous and I would imagine that abused women would find it unsatisfying. The entire reason I had to watch this movie(it was an assignment in my victimology class) was to write about how it applied to domestic violence. As a "DV" film, though, it just did not work, particularly the end, when Beth "stands up" to Jake. I can't imagine many women suffering from domestic violence would find that inspiring.

Thus, what I ended up writing, more or less, was that people should study this film in relation to alcoholism instead. When the husband was not drinking(as far as I remember) he was no prince, but I recall the family getting along a lot better. Instead of the family helping Jake DEAL with this problem, they casually turn their backs on him in the end. An alcoholic watching this film could certainly see the effects of alcohol on families, but the lousy ending of this film provides them with no help or support. What does this all mean...that as a movie attempting to tackle issues(whether they be flat-out or subtle)"Once Were Warriors" does not make the grade.

"OWW" also fails to make the grade with its subplot involving the Maori culture. The film ATTEMPTS to tie the culture to the rest of the story is that Beth is a Maori, while Jake is...not. I don't recall this being mentioned more than scarcely at first, but then these references start creeping up, like Beth and Jake's extremely irritating son joining what appeared to be some Maori gang and getting a lot of tattoos(it would have been nice if they'd explained those further), and Beth seeming to turn more to her culture as the film progresses. I think this is supposed to be inspiring, especially the ending, when she calls Jake a "peasant" (or something) and says that he'll never be anything more, while she is "the superior" race. She...doesn't condemn what Jake has done to her or the family or even confront it(not that I recall, anyway), she states she's better than Jake because she's a Maori and he's not... Right, Beth, make the Maori's look like elitist snobs. Great.

I'm sure the Maori's are a nice and honorable tribe. I can recognize that this film was probably TRYING to show that Maori's have an honor that helps them rise above even the most dire situations. I just did think that the film did even a sub-par job of showing this. In honesty, the Maori-influenced scenes--overall--were so utterly distracting that I had to wonder if they--and that plot angle--were only included at all because some Maori group had helped provide the funding, or something. I know that's a little bit mean, but I honestly would have felt the same way if it had been any other religion or race. It was just not needed for the movie.

All in all, when it came to being a film on domestic violence, alcoholism, and the Maori culture, I felt "Once Were Warriors"----- failed on all counts.
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It's actually not that bad
12 February 2004
"White Water Summer" is far from perfect. The kids are kind of bratty(they swear a lot), the last twenty or so minutes are a little weak, and there are a few things that I think they could have done better.

One of them is the narration that is interspersed throughout the film c/o of its star, a young Sean Astin, who...does not look quite as young in the narration scenes as he does in the rest of the film. I did miss about the first seven minutes, which might have "explained" his aging, though I doubt it. What it suggests is that this film sat on the shelf for some time, and the narration was some bizarre editing condition that...helped it get released? I don't know. Whatever the case, that alone is a little distracting. The narration is also kind of silly and does not explain anything that the average viewer could have figured out.

Another thing that might have really helped this film was to not have sold the character of Vic(Kevin Bacon) as such an obvious sadist. The film makers could have played Vic in a different way(without making that much of an effort) of "IS Vic a bad guy," because in a lot of his scenes, Vic's "meanness" is in the eyes of Astin's character(a spoiled city boy) and the beholder. Astin's character, Allen, thinks Vic is evil and mean because Vic "pushes" Allen to do weird things like climb a rickety suspension bridge, and swing on a rope from one side of a cliff to another. Allen whines and complains and acts like Vic's the devil for making him participate in such activities, but of course when he DOES, he gets all brave and bold and learns to enjoy himself. In that essence, Vic is actually GOOD for Allen, not bad.

Instead Vic's making Allen do all of these tasks is portrayed as very, very bad. Vic is no angel(he leaves Allen ALONE to do these things, and does things like yell at the boys and...gasp...pushes one of them), and if he was real, he probably would have lost his job. Despite his weird, strange methods, though, Allen and the boys always come out stronger after his tasks, so if he's so much of some villain, why are they learning valuable lessons from him?

I actually like that "White Water Summer" made me THINK about these things. I would have liked better if they were more clearly defined in the film, but I'll still give the thing credit for letting it "exercise my mind."
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Freaky Friday (2003)
really, it's not that great
9 February 2004
Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsey Lohan are Tess and Anna Coleman, a mother and teenaged daughter who are having trouble getting along. Why is that? Tess is a successful psychiatrist, which means she is so very busy that she needs a plethora of electronic devices to plan her day. She is also engaged to a man named Ryan, who seems to be lacking in personality, but apparently makes her happy. Along with that, she has a little son named Harry whom she loves so very much she overlooks his many faults. All in all, this leaves little time for her to spend with Anna, a typical teenager who is sullen and moody; who is smart, but misunderstood by her peers and mean teacher; who is confused about her older-boy crush, who likes her back; and who's also a guitar player in a band, that has an audition on the night of Tess's wedding rehersal dinner. Tess doesn't understand Anna and doesn't take her band seriously, so she doesn't want her to go. They fight at a Chinese restaraunt. A creepy staff member overhears and brings them magic fortune cookies(in the bathroom, no less), which ... make the mother and daughter switch places(their minds...or inner souls, or whatever) and they cannot switch back until they learn to understand each other.

That hardly sounds like a masterpiece, and ...wasn't, in my opinion, which is apparently different from the opinions of a lot of critics and filmgoers, who just LOVED it. I'm not sure why. The first twenty or so minutes, pre the mother and daughter switch, border between dull(the mothers's scenes) and GRATING(particularly the "hijinks" between the daughter and rather irritating little son, and the obnoxiously loud soundtrack). The movie picks up a LITTLE bit during the switch(the daughter acting all motherly toward the son), but almost immediately plummets back down again as the mother and daughter don't act like THEMSELVES trapped in the other one's bodies, but rather like cliche's of overworked mothers and teenagers.

This is especially annoying with the "daughter in the mother's body" character, who does things like spend her mother's credit cards, utter cutesy expressions like "ew" and "dude," and act all giggly and "funloving." There is one teenage girl character in the movie whom the daughter is feuding with. If THAT girl had switched places with the mother, it might have worked. Did the writer not remember that pre- the big switch, the daughter was all whiny and antisocial and actually acted, oh, NOTHING like she does when she is in her mother's body?

That incredible plot inconsistancy is the overall worst part of the movie, which also suffers from an annoying soundtrack(did "we" need to hear two entire songs from the daughter's cheesy band?), over-rated acting(did Jamie Lee Curtis really deserve an award nomination) and a very contrived ending. It's really not great, so why was it treated as such by critics and audiences alike? I have been stuck seeing this two-and-a-half times and I am still trying to figure this out.
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Radio Flyer (1992)
*Spoiler* I will discuss the ending because I hate the ending
11 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The basic premise of this movie: two boys build a magical flying machine out of an old Radio Flyer wagon so that the younger boy, who is abused by his stepfather, can escape the abuse. In the end, the machine works, and Bobby, the little boy, is able to get away, abandoning his mother, older brother, school, and life in the process.

Also, before he gets away, his evil stepfather (Adam Baldwin gets the "honor") finds out about their escape plan and tries to stop them. The family dog, who typically is able to spot a bad guy, stops him by biting him and the cops capture the stepfather. However, the little boy goes anyway, even though he is now really leaving just his mother and brother, both of whom he apparently loved. The point of that is what...?

Also, if he loved his brother and mother so much, why did he leave them in the first place? Couldn't they have built a flying machine large enough to fit all three of them, or something? If the stepfather wasn't hauled away, did it not occur to them that he might have taken out his aggression over the younger boy's disappearance on the older brother, or the mother for that matter?

This is one of those sickening, schmaltzy movies that produced and directed people with "big names" (Richard Donner, Lauren Schuller Donner, and Michael Douglas all worked behind the scenes. Tom Hanks also narrates the movie and appears as the older version of the big brother. Elijah Wood is the younger version. How much do Tom Hanks and Elijah Wood NOT look alike? It's ridiculous)trying to make some sort of point about child abuse, drinking and, um, the joys of being a kid... or something. Basically, whatever points they were trying to make, whatever messages, they fail... big time.

If I was a real victim of abuse, I'd practically find this movie OFFENSIVE. The only realistic shred of hope provided to actual victims is in the end, when a number for a hotline is given. As for the rest, well, if the only way out for this kids was to build an unrealistic flying machine, what kind of message of hope does THAT send? That there is no hope. And what's with all of the "you have to be a kid to understand" lines? What's that there for, to encourage children to--again--seek unrealistic escapes instead of talking out their problems with an adult?

I appreciate when issues like abuse are brought forth through some form of mass media when the issue is WELL PRESENTED. In this, "Radio Flyer" fails completely.

Along with that are brief gripes like manipulative scenes put in the film just to elicit a reaction (exp: when Shane the dog is found bloody, even though he revives himself seconds later. I think this was a device to get Shane in the flyer so he could bite the stepdad later), and some scenes are just plain dumb, such as one where Mike and Bobby, the boys, run home with stomach aches(this is done in slow motion as they are clutching their stomachs--a scene that is almost embarrassing to watch), this coinciding with their stepdad returning. Um, are they psychic? What happened to their stomach aches once they were home, anyway? The very end, where Bobby continues flying is also dumb. As if this is a realistic film to begin with, but still, like some unidentified aircraft would be allowed to fly. He'd probably get shot down. I also can't resist repeating WHY WAS TOM HANKS CAST AS AN OLDER ELIJAH WOOD? I don't care if he's Tom Hanks. Get actors who look alike. Along with all of that, the script is so syrupy and predictable in places that I was "beating" Tom Hanks to all of the cheesy metaphors about the Radio Flyer that I knew he would say--and did (the radio flyer stands for freedom and escape, OBVIOUSLY, but the way Hanks says it, you can tell the audience is supposed to ooh and ah at the cleverness.)

All in all, this is a film that I more or less hate, but will occasionally watch just for the sheer stupidity of it.
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I Dream of Jeannie (1965–1970)
Silly at times, but overall--great fun
11 September 2003
I am officially now probably the only person in my family who likes this show. For whatever reason, though, it always seemed to be on. People in my family are not the best at turning off the television sometimes, I guess. Whatever the case may be, I'm GLAD "Jeannie" was left on. I "lazily" began watching it and gradually began liking it quite a bit.

Basically, "Jeannie" is a genie who ended up in the custody of NASA astronaut Tony Nelson. As some TV Land commercial points out, most men with a genie would wish for greedy things like riches and ...probably more than that, but Tony mostly just seems to like Jeannie for her companionship. Jeannie and Tony do have a nice friendship (they eventually get married), but it isn't always an easy one. Jeannie gets Tony in trouble a lot, whether he's with friends, other girls, or even at NASA--particularly, in fact, at NASA, where suspicious psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Bellows always seems to be a witness of Tony and Jeannie's strange antics, though nobody ever believes him when he tries to report what he sees.

Some of Jeannie's tricks make the show silly, dull, or just plain boring. I don't, for example, care for when Jeannie blinks (that is how she gets things done, by folding her arms and blinking) Tony back in time, to Persia (where Jeannie is "from," although she's about as non-Arabic looking as it gets) into some silly situation like making Tony wear no pants or something. Jeannie also has things like a "jealous streak" that make her occasionally downright unlikable. She "blinked" Tony into a jail cell once, keeping him from seeing an old friend, and once wanted to KILL some foreign princess.

However, "Jeannie" lasted for five years, so not ALL of the episodes involved the above-mentioned situations. Many are downright amusing, particularly episodes involving Dr. and Mrs. Bellows, the uptight NASA psychiatrist and his nosy wife who tend to be the only witnesses of Jeannie's tricks. Bill Daily, as Tony's best friend, fellow NASA astronaut and resident womanizer Roger Healy, is also amusing, and I actually prefer him in "Jeannie," to "The Bob Newhart Show." As "Jeannie" and "Tony" Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman are also extremely good--both together (I hate it when actors playing TV couples have no chemistry)and in individual scenes. "Jeannie" may be unlikable when she is acting jealous, but the rest of the time she's bubbly and clueless and has a sort of charm (which is why I don't like when she acts jealous). Scenes where Jeannie ends up doing conventional things like going to the market, buying a dress, or going to the beauty parlor, are some of the more amusing.

As for Larry Hagman, well, I didn't grow up in the 1960's, but if I had, he sort of seems like an actor whose career I would have followed with some interest, even though I'm not sure if I've seen him in anything else. As Tony, Hagman is put into numerous silly and embarrassing situations (I've read about actors complaining about the scripts, which is something I occasionally dislike hearing. I would say Hagman had good cause to do so) from having about every costume imaginable "blinked" onto him, to running around screaming (and cursing? It sure sounds like it) after being "blinked" mouse-high (I personally didn't care for this episode, but I was watching it as somebody was painting the front door and I kept hearing them snickering), and numerous other slap-stick situations that vary in levels of amusement. At first glance, especially in his astronaut's uniform, Hagman SEEMS like an actor who...couldn't pull that off, but he does, and is able to maintain Tony Nelson's super-serious demeanor with it. It is a nice achievement, but sometimes as I watch, I think silly things to myself like "poor Larry Hagman." Tony's still fun to watch, and I especially like his interactions with Dr. Bellows and with Jeannie, as the two, as I have mentioned have wonderful chemistry together. I can very much imagine people speculating as to whether or not they were an "item" in real life, due to how convincing they are.

I think it's the high quality of acting that really makes this show "work" for me. Even in the silliest of situations, the acting quality doesn't lessen. It's just that occasionally goofy scripts that might sometimes turn me off.
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John and Tom should not have done what they did. Nevertheless...(may contain spoilers for people who fail to read descriptions and don't know the ending)
18 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I had to watch this one for my victimology class's "hate crime" unit, as my teacher tends to assign relevent movies to go with things like reading. In this case, I wish she had stuck to simply assigning reading, though. Personally, I think people can learn much more about hate crimes from reading books or magazine articles and they don't get If this movie makes an impression on anybody at all, it will be for the three scenes involving Teena Brandon (or Brandon Teena, as she went by when masquerading as a boy) getting "dealt with" by two white-trash thugs named John and Tom who are...not happy to find out that "he" was really a "she." John and Tom go from quite disgustingly "confirming" Brandon's femininess in a bathroom and forcing "his" girlfriend, Lana, to see for herself (this scene is disgusting, but probably the most well-done and logical in the film), to raping Teena, to eventually murdering her. These are the scenes that will get people talking and determining the effectiveness of the film, which is um, well, really not that effective.

Honestly, if somebody's going to make a film about a hate crime victim, at least focus on somebody who was honest and hard working and didn't even deserve to get yelled at, let alone killed. Teena Brandon's story is unusual, but not exactly deserving of a motion picture, as she was a criminal, dead beat, and a chronic liar. While I don't condone what Tom and John DID to her, I find it strange for character's like Lana(especially Lana) NOT to have been angry or...horrified at Teena's antics, but of course those who were were looked at like villians.

And like another tragic, true story, "B*stard out of Carolina," these, of course rurally located characters, suffer from severe lacks of brain power. Why, for example, didn't Teena ("the great" Hilary Swank, whose potrayal is really not that different from the girl in "Just one of the Guys") GET OUT of that town? Maybe she was on her way after "the bathroom scene" (but got stopped by John and Tom), but there was still no need to hang around and mooch off Candice after her rape. Esepcially when she was less than well-received by the (stereotypically) bad cops...

As for John and Tom, if they were so horrified by Teena, why DID they rape her and constantly persue her, until her final death? Basically, after John and Tom were revealed as Terrible Villians, whatever personalities they had flew out the window. And why, by the way, was Candice shot and why (as somebody else pointed out) wasn't any information provided on what happened to her. Did she live or die? Did they get convicted for her murder. What happened to her baby? The more I think about it, the more I realized that a story about Teena Brandon might have been more interesting if told from the point of view of somebody like Candice (who was the one to first reveal to Tom and Lana her suspicions of Brandon ...not really being Brandon) than from Teena.

Instead, "we" get to watch Teena and her dumb criminal past (why did that paper, which was apparently lacking in news to report her not THAT severe crime in the first place, look as though it listed her age as 19, when very boring scenes involving Brandon's twenty-first birthday had practicailly just happened), and same-sex scenes (some one with Lana sitting topless for about ten-minutes and having a very loud orgasm was not only disgusting but EMBARRASSING to watch, considering I live in one of those apartments where you can "hear everything") and her useless high-speed car chase, and a bunch of other garbage that does not amount to much besides the aforementioned scenes with John and Tom. I don't think John and Tom should have done any of the things they did to Teena, but I don't necessarily think she was somebody worthy of having a motion picture AND a documentary (which I also get to watch) made about her, either.
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Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990 TV Movie)
Uh, Norman's a murderer, now he's a saint? (spoilers)
18 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
About thirty years after the original "Pyscho" (the best horror film ever!) came out, Norman Bates is back... at his home wanting to kill again. Yes, in the two sequels I haven't seen, the crazy, mother-obsessed murderer has apparently been deemed "sane" enough to go back to living in the real world. He has even found a wife who loves him "in spite of his past." Anyway, as if this film (and apparently the other sequals) was made to speak against the insanity defense, Norman proves to be apparently not THAT sane...he wants to kill again...this time his wife, Connie, ...because she is pregnant and Norman doesn't want a "bad seed."

We find this all out because Norman, for WHATEVER reason, announces this over a radio show, much to the astonishment of the host ("The Shield's" CCH Pounder), who really doesn't know WHAT to do, except keep Norman(who for some reason first goes by Ed, but is later "figured out" to be Norman) talking. What comes out is a not-that-interesting story about Norman's mother, the cornily named Norma Bates(Olivia Hussey, who certainly...acts like one here), her dull lover, and a "young" Norman (Henry Thomas, who lacks "that certain something" that Perkins has always brought to the role)and all of the bad stuff that happened with all of them that eventually led Norman to murdering his mother and the lover and ...becoming the nut that he is. Why all of that? Because killing his mother and her lover was the last killing that Norman did "with his own hands" (as opposed to killing people "as his mother"), which is something viewers of "Psycho II," at least, might disagree with, but whatever. So, "Pounder" and a lot of radio show listeners learn all about Norman's bad life , and apparently just accept if as great fun, since nobody but nobody calls the cops or anybody that could--I don't know--haul Norman away before he murders his wife.

Instead, Norman and his wife casually go back to the still-there Victorian house that was so pivotal to the first film, for a whole "will he or won't he kill her" sequence, which involves Norman clearing aside a lot of cobwebs and dust(er, didn't at least "Psycho 2" take place there) and carrying around his trusty butcher knife, which nobody thought to confiscate, even though he(or "Mother") almost used it to kill Lila Crane in the first film.







***SPOILER****

Norman...doesn't kill Connie. Instead, he burns down his house in a climax that is a mix between creepy and laugh-aloud bad, particularly when "mother" (the most obvious dummy I have ever seen... not that I expected a real person, but this was Ed Wood bad) burst into flames, only to resurface at the end(would there have been a "Psycho 5: The Bad Seed" if Tony Perkins hadn't died?). And Norman leaving all jovial and redeemed, saying "I'm free." I'm surprised the film didn't end with a statue of Norman being erected somewhere, or--since it was pretty dumb--Norman growing wings and a halo. This IS a man who has murdered numerous times, after all.

Nevertheless, the intrigue of Norman has always been (to me, at least) that despite the fact that he is this insane murderer, he is also dorky, charming and LIKEABLE in spite of that (I got a kick out of such lines as "just me and my trusty umbrella")... at least the older Norman is, and while Perkins' Norman is a lot more hardened this time around (the ever-present smile from the first film is gone),he still plays him with such charisma that his Norman is interesting enough to watch right up to the end, just to see what becomes of him and how he handles it, despite the fact that a lot of silly and pointless scenes have to be endured in order to discover this.
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The Chase (1991 TV Movie)
Too Many People!
11 November 2002
About the last thing I expected "The Chase" to be was some ensemble piece. I just thought it was going to be some run-of-the-mill TVM about er, police embarking in a chase of a dangerous felon(Casey Siemaszko, who by the way, is great in his role) and maybe a little bit leading up to that like why the villian did the thing he did.

Yes, "The Chase" has a chase that Phillip Hutchinson, a dangerous escapee from a Texas prison who has come to Denver(for whatever reason) causes. It has a little bit of pre-'chase' information on Phillip, like the police discussing his violent history, Phil engaging in some small crimes(he passes a bad check, robs a couple of places and steals cars), and even Phil trying to have some vague social life(under the alias of "Mark") and hanging around with a "trailer trash" couple and getting a vague 'love interest' (Sheila Kelly, who was Siemaszko's love interest in the film "Breaking In") who questions "Mark's" odd behavior and the fact that he hides his pictures.

In honesty, that would have been enough to make the movie itself. Huthcinson is an interesting character, and I liked watching his gradual descent into madness, which is basically what caused the actual chase in the first place. Yet, in an odd move, Hutchinson's story is only one of about seven. Not only do we learn about him, we also get lead into the lives of a soon to retire cop(Ben Johnson) and his son who wants to be just like him(Anthony Tyler Quinn); a pregnant, abused, drug addict(Megan Follows) trying to better her life; a shy, overweight bank clerk (Ricki Lake) dealing with her self-image problems (Nada Dispovitch, who is seriously underbilled, appears as Lake's fellow employee in confidante and is quite good); a news crew, complete with a helicophter (sp?) pilot who wants to be a weather man; and a poor old man and his retarded daughter trying to make ends meet. What ties these characters together is that they all come in contact with Hutchinson in one way or the other and it does impact their lives.

The only problem with this is that some of these connections, particularly that of Ms. Follows, are extremely weak, so why is so much of the plot devoted to her? I would have liked to see a few of her scenes given away to the old man(who is far more relevant) or to Hutchinson, who has many unexplained actions(at least it is more-or-less stated that nobody knows why he does the things he does, but I still would have liked to have learned a little more about him, like why he was so defensive about his pictures, and why he lied about his mother). It would have been a little more benefitial to learn more about the police's developing investigation, and why Hutchinson was able to alude them(they weren't the brightest, the fact becoming apparent when they described Hutchinson as "5'11," which, without meaning to get all nauseating, is not even close), or I don't know. What I think would have worked best would have either been turning this into a 2-part miniseries, or trimming some of the plotlines down so that the more important characters had more time. Nevertheless, it was an interesting concept and the movie wasn't "ruined" by the many characters. It helped that the acting was good, with Siemaszko, especially, who just got better and better and Hutchinson got worse; and Johnson, Quinn, Fellows, the "trailer trash" friend(I did not catch who played him) and the aforementioned Dispovitch were all quite effective. The only other weak link a few cliches thrown into the script(some movie in the world has the silly line "there are better ways of going about this than by stripping away the dignity of your fellow man..." It is not "The Chase," but I wouldn't have been surprised, had it been), but they were forgiven when all of the characters finally began to fall into place.

Anyway, no matter what shortcomings it might have had, "The Chase" is still better than the average TV movie and is worth watching.
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a waste of my time
20 September 2002
Alright, I gave this film no chance, watched it only because it was on and Joe Jackson did the score and knew I wouldn't even keep it on the whole time, but still... sometimes films I intend to dislike ("Signs" is one) turn out to be quite good. This one was not.

William Baldwin, Kelly Lynch and Sherilyn Fenn play three annoying city patrons whose lives intertwine in the fact that Kelly Lynch(the most irritating of them all), a lesbian, broke up with her girlfriend (Fenn) and wants her friend (Baldwin who appears totally bored) to pretend to love her ex so that somehow Ms. Fenn will come racing back to her. Or something like that.

Watching this movie is about as exciting as reading the phonebook. The lines are dull; I've already singled out Herr Baldwin, but all of the actors seem rather listless and lackluster; the lighting is annoying; and the score that I tuned into the dumb thing exclusively to hear is HARD to hear(but sounded good) because the sound quality was not too hot, either. Finally, I just gave up watching. What a waste it was.
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How not-at-all stupid!!!!
17 May 2002
I wrote with sarcasm... For the one tortorous viewing I had of this show, simply because on a Monday eveningI was...watching the network of which this show is currently airing in reruns one hour earlier and just hadn't gotten around to turning off the TV. How lazy, and how wasteful the time was that I spent watching this mess... which I THINK was either about two red-haired boys named Pete Wrigley (different kids with the same name? Brothers with stupid parents? One kid and his younger self? I had no idea.) One Pete was a high school student who was on the wrestling team. He had to face a very annoying boy named "Endless Mike" (whom I thought was Jason Schwartzman, but wasn't, and I didn't really care anyway)and was trying as best as he could to avoid this. "Fortunatly" Pete was a fourth-string wrestler and Endless Mike was a first-stringer... but for some reason he wanted so badly to face wimpy Pete that he did whatever he could to eliminate the other wrestlers just so they could have their confrontation. And when I say whatever... I mean whatever. One of Endless Mike's tricks was attatching a magnet(or something) to an automatic hand dryer, which an unfortunate wrestler chose to use...and the wrestler was sucked inside. Another wrestler met an untimely death after Endless Mike somehow made their vibrating bed electrocute them...and on it goes.

Considering "Pete and Pete" was a kiddie show made for Nickelodeon, uh, why didn't anyone ever complain about it, especially if the episodes I saw were typical? Was it "alright" to have a bunch of killing and violence that all of the other characters reacted to in a rather "ho-hum" manner because it was "cartoonish?" What if REAL kids had tried to imitate Endless Mike, who was never arrested or anything. The horror!!

Shortly before Pete and Mike had their wrestling match...to which Pete thought he would be able to avoid by losing enough weight to get into a lighter division, but stupid Mike (who wasn't even "skinny") fouled that up to, by losing something like an ounce less than Pete but "made up for it" by pulling a filling out of his tooth with a wrench some character just HAPPENED to have. It was very gruesome and horrifying and really made me wonder why such a junky, disturbing show had even made it past this episode (which, to top everything off, was really just a bad variation of "Three O'Clock High"), much less lasted three years!!!!
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The Bradys (1990)
the point being...
17 May 2002
Completely unexpectantly, the two-hour pilot of this uh, series, casually began to play on my television set. For reasons beyond me, it was called "The Brady 500," which was quite cutesy, but I could still tell it was the 'movie' that led to "The Brady's," a very dramatic one hour drama that reunites the they're together so often I'm surprised they're NOT a real family family of the Brady's... you know, Mike, Carol, Greg, Marica (a faux Marcia, not Maureen McCormack)... yes, THOSE Brady's from the corny sitcom "The Brady Bunch," only their lives are not so funny anymore.

In "The Brady 500" Mike and Carol are basically the same, as is Alice, the "goofy" housekeeper, whom I think is either still working for them, or just hangs out at their house too often. Greg is married with child (a young Johnathan Taylor Thomas...which was not thrilling news to discover) and is an Obstitrician; Marcia is still married to Wally (from "The Brady Brides"), who's main talent seems to be losing jobs. His last one cost them their house, so they and their two precious children must move in with Mike and Carol; Peter is some womanizer (of all characters) who's been engaged four times, but can never find the right girl; Jan does not seem to enjoy communicating with her family much (stubborn middle child) unless it involves telling them all of her problems, which involve she and hubby Phillip (also of "The Brady Brides") and their inablity to have children; Cindy is a deejay, who is attracted to her older, widowed boss, and Bobby...well, he WAS a budding race car driver who gets PARALYZED during some big, important race. Oh, the horror. How will the rest of the Brady's cope with this dramatic struggle.

Actually, Bobby's paralysis really seemed to take a back burner as the last forty minutes or so seemed to involve his love life with a jilted fiance, Tracy...whom he ends up marrying; as well as Wally's casually getting a new job (truly, nobody seemed to care when he announced it), and Jan and Phillip deciding to adopt and ending up with not a baby, but a young Korean girl, who seemed to only communicate by whispering in her new mommy's or daddy's ear. I guess other episodes probably dealt with Bobby CONTINUING to deal with his handicap--as well as a new wife; Jan and Phil's adjustments; Wally's new job, etc. I believe other plots also involved Mike running for--and winning--a seat on Congress; Marcia *howl with laughter* being an alcoholic, and many other dramatic, tensing situations. I think the Brady's even had to (oh dear) MOVE!!!!!

Quality-wise, I found "The Brady 500" about on par with "A Very Brady Christmas," which means it passed the time, but wasn't all that great. The thing I had to wonder was, what was the point of reuniting the Brady family for a dramatic series, when everyone knows them as the corny, "comedic" Brady's. It presents a concept too hard to swallow (the three flashbacks to the original series did not help...and Dabs "Reverand Alden" Greer as the minister in Bobby's wedding cornily referring to Mike and Carol's wedding did not do much to help me take it seriously, either), which is probably why it didn't exactly go on to last for YEARS or even one year, I believe.
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A Kiss So Deadly (1996 TV Movie)
The sense it made....
17 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
For those who CARE... this may contain spoilers

Oh, why must my mother watch Lifetime? I will never know, but she does... and, well, for whatever reason, I ended up watching much of it, too. Lucky me...

Charles Shaughnessy is Tom, a successful factory owner with a wife and college-aged daughter (allegedly college-aged...she is played by Deedee "Michelle's sister" Pfeiffer, who looks like she was done with college awhile before this was made, and sports a very annoying coloring job...annoying enough for me to notice such a stupid detail.) Tom might have been satisfied with his life, but when he meets his daughter's new roommate Amanda(Charlotte Ross...NOT Jeri Ryan, as I thought for the entire run of the movie. To give her credit, though, she was probably the best one in this) that all changes. He thinks he is falling in love with Amanda and finds every excuse to come and see her. Amanda is all casual and accepting of this at first, but finally tells Tommy-boy that their love has to stop. Tom acts shocked and upset and for some reason staggers away, assumingly out of Amanda's life. However, that night, Amanda is murdered.

Was it Tom? Well, one might think so, but see--Amanda is just so beautiful and wonderful that she has ANOTHER admirer, some creepy man who ogles her at some club she likes to go to. In fact, after her altercation with Tom, Amanda went to that club and had a run-in with the man, whom the bartender kicked out. Did he really leave, though? When Amanda goes to her car--and it is patently obvious that somebody is lurking in the back seat, well, is it that man or is it Tom?

I guess the rest of the movie exists to sort out these details, as well as Tom's daughter discovering his romance with Amanda and Tom stupidly going after his daughter's OTHER roommate, because I guess he just has some THING for college chicks, or something.

Is the second half of this movie suspensful? Is it worth the viewing? Well, here is where the spoilers may come on, because the plot becomes so literally ABSURD that it practically becames a waste of ones time to watch it. Still, I should be polite and not COMPLETELY give away Amanda's killer, so I will just say this: why would that creepy other guy be IN this movie if he didn't kill Amanda? He wouldn't have a point, unless he was inserted as some cheapo device of false suspense. Well, guess what

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT













he is....





So, um, Tom somehow snuck to the club, CHANGED HIS APPEARANCE and "pretended" to be this creepy other guy? Because it was soooooooooooooooooooooo that other man who was waiting for Amanda in the backseat of her car, the one who murdered her in some truley disgusting pseudo-porno scene that practically looked worthy of "Red Shoe Diaries 4: Auto Erotica." I did miss about the first ten or twenty minutes and perhaps missed Tom HIRING this man to go after Amanda, but I don't know. The creepy guy eventually went after Tom and his family, and stupid Tom acted like he didn't even know him, so don't ask me...

Also, don't ask me why the event of Amanda's death suddenly brought out a British accent in Tom, why he MAILED HIS DAUGHTER PICTURES OF AMANDA'S MURDERED BODY, why he took pictures of Amanda's murdered body in the first place, why the movie seemed to be so anti-police, potraying them as maniacs who would shoot anybody for any reason. And why did they...



Uh oh, spoiler alert.....













kill off the two men who would have perhaps had some answers to this inanity. Basically, that stalker-character was just stupid and pointlessness, right down to his death... but check out Tom's(hey, I WARNED of spoilers)...the editing looks like a flipbook. Weird. And why did the writers, or whomever, off him, anyway? Were they sick of him? What was sickening, was that I think the audience was somewhat supposed to care, like Tom was a sympathetic, "troubled" figure. Which is about as ridiculous as everything else in this TV movie.
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