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The Walking Dead: Here's Not Here (2015)
compelling character development
Just saw this episode for the first time, and it really knocked me out. 3 words - compelling character development. I'm not invested in the this show for the long haul, so I don't have many preconceived notions regarding the normal flow of the episodes. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at some of the negative comments here. Reminiscent of many horror movie fans who get annoyed when the slice-and-dice stops for 2 or 3 minutes to actually understand what moves a character. I was completely pulled into the police/prison psychiatrist angle, and the slow reveal of his past. It's excellent story-telling without clubbing you over the head (so to speak). John Carroll Lynch deserved and Emmy for best guest star performance for this role.
simply great in any medium
At first glance of the premise, one might think this a variation on the 'Lucy, Ricky, Fred & Ethel Put on a Show' formula, (which is usually a primary symptom of Shark-Jumping) however this episode is anything but that. Frasier & Friends stage a radio re-creation of a 1940's-type murder mystery ("Nightmare Inn") for KACL's 50th anniversary, however Frasier's Orson Welles complex takes over and he's soon directing, starring, and re-writing the script. Not to digress, but while living in Orlando, Florida, you could get the audio from the local CBS affiliate (WCPX Channel 6) on your car radio at 87.7FM, and that's where I first experienced this episode. I didn't see it on TV until years later, and the amazing thing, for me anyway, is that it completely works as a stand-alone radio play. Very tightly paced, and packed with great development moments for each character, "Ham Radio" goes like Gang-Busters, so don't blink, or you'll miss something great. Wonderful farce, with lots genuinely big laughs, this should make just about anybody's top list of great TV half-hours.
House Calls (1978)
Can't watch this film enough
Late one night on Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow" Show, I watched Tom ask his guest Henry Morgan what he considered to be 'perfect.' Morgan responded, "Anything with Glenda Jackson." And although I wouldn't consider this film to be perfect, it does bear out that notion very well. I was about to use the cliché' about Hollywood not making pictures like this anymore, but then I just saw, "Up in the Air," another intelligent film about 2 people over the age of 35 who fall in love. That's where the similarities end, though. "House Calls" is just sheer fun watching 2 pros like Matthau and Jackson hit it off and seem completely natural while they're at it. I saw this film in the theater in 1978 (at the ripe old age of 18) and it took me another 20 years to get all of the jokes. Any film that can make punch lines out of 1920's tennis great Bill Tilden, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain wouldn't play too well at the megaplex these days. One other thought: the original theatrical release featured a 'walk on the beach / fall in love' montage set to The Beatles/George Harrison tune, "Something." It seemed a bit forced at the time, but that song has since been swapped out for a rather generic Henry Mancini music cue for subsequent home video and cable release. Too bad, because that scene just lays there now, another victim of music licensing Hell.
Great Florida film
I was working in Central Florida's budding film industry at the time, and everybody in town was thrilled that this film was being shot on the local stages and at cool locations in the area. The Cocoa Village Playhouse doubled for the Key West 'Strand Theater,' and the last time I was at the Universal Orlando park, John Goodman's beautiful '59 Cadillac (that takes a head-on collision) remained un-repaired and on display in the studio boneyard. People have reported that it's not easy to find "Matinee" on home video, but as of this writing, it's tough not to turn on the HBO Comedy channel and not see this movie repeatedly. Glad it's getting some airtime, because it's a real gem, Joe Dante's true labor of love to schlock B-horror films. Great art direction and attention to detail hits the early 60's nail on the head. Halfway through, John Goodman has a brainstorm about his character's next big film. I'm just sorry we've never gotten to see Lawrence Woolsey's mutant epic, "Gal-igator!!" (in Amphibi-Vision)
If Ever I See You Again (1978)
See the ad agency scenes
Saw this movie back in the mid-80's on HBO just as I'd gone to work for a medium-sized advertising agency. The best parts of this film are the ones where Joe Brooks has to pitch his music to clients and deal with them in the recording studio along with their ignorance and complete lack of knowledge. As a jingle writer and producer, Joe knows this dynamic very well, and as portrayed here, it's dead-on - the most accurate and honest part of the film. It's extremely relatable if you're in the advertising business. Joe Brooks probably has a hundred stories that are just as funny and inane as the ones presented here, maybe enough for an entire film. That might wear thin pretty quickly, but it would more entertaining than the bulk of "If Ever I See You Again."
A rel gem!
I remember watching the NBC broadcast debut of "The Rutles: All You Need is Cash," during the spring of 1978. Even though it was highly promoted that week, and featured cameos by Lorne Michaels and nearly every member of the red-hot Not Ready for Prime Time Players, ratings for the special were abysmal, possibly even the very bottom of the Nielsen list. People I talked to had absolutely no idea what to make of it at all. Go figure. This wonderful piece, which grows better with further perspective on the 60's (and Beatlemania), paved the way for fake documentary genre pioneers, "Zelig," and "Spinal Tap," and fortunately found an audience through home video. Even though "The Rutles" is very much an Eric Idle project, it is often overlooked that this film was largely directed by Gary Weis, who was responsible for the wonderful, ground-breaking short films that appeared on the early episodes of "Saturday Night Live." Hats off to Neil Innes, whose songs and arrangements were absolutely dead-on, not just musically, but technically correct in every detail as they evolved through the Beatles chronology.