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The Battle of Gettysburg (1955)
Who needs actors when you've got statues!
This bizarre little educational short attempts to tell the story of the battle of Gettysburg without a single live actor appearing on screen. Leslie Nielsen narrates as we are treated to footage of empty fields, cannons, and statues of Civil War Heroes. Some sequences are quite informative, though a long way from being entertaining. This is probably a film better suited to Civil War enthusiasts than the average viewer.
The Screwy Truant (1945)
As good a Screwy gets
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't really care for the character of Screwy Squirrel. Of all of Tex Avery's wonderful cartoon creations, he is the one I could really do without. That being said, The Screwy Truant has to be one of, if not the best cartoon featuring this extremely annoying character. In this one Screwy is chased by a truant officer dog. The result is some very funny gags that remain fresh due to the fact that they have not been over used in other cartoons. My favorite bit involves Red Riding Hood and the Wolf getting lost in the wrong cartoon.
Don't go along for this ride
In 'Quicksilver,' Kevin Bacon is a stock market big shot who loses everything and ends up a bicycle messenger. From there, the film can't make up it's mind what on earth it's about. Drug dealers, rival bike riders...they're all here. This film just coasts around for awhile, but there's nothing interesting along the way. About the only thing this film has going for it is it's synthesizer score by Genesis keyboardist Tony Banks.
Happy Days with swearing and nudity
In "Mischief" we have the awkward teenage boy, who's never had a date, taken under the wing of the new kid in town, a delinquent with a heart of gold. He helps the kid win the girl of his dream, etc, blah blah blah. Haven't we seen this a million times before? The chicken race, the evil ex-boyfriend, the half naked kid climbing out of the his girlfriends bedroom window...it's all here. Not an original idea to be seen! On the good side, the performances are quite good...that still can't save this dud.
Bedtime for Sniffles (1940)
In this short, Sniffles the mouse is trying not to fall asleep so he won't miss the arrival of Santa Claus. Needless to say, he doesn't have much success...and neither did I. I found the images and sounds that made Sniffles droopy eyed had the same effect on me. This isn't a bad short, just don't view it late at night.
Alias St. Nick (1935)
...or Santa Claws.
In 'Alias St. Nick' a cat tries to get his Christmas dinner by playing Santa Claus for a family of mice. This short is pretty low on humor, it goes for cuteness instead and suffers for it. Some fun voice characterizations is about all this short has going for it.
School Daze (1988)
I am a big fan of Spike Lee's work. No matter what his subject matter, he has consistently been able to create films populated with vivid and intriguing characters. Such can not be said of his second feature 'School Daze.' In fact, if there was a great big dictionary of film terminology, the entry for "Sophomore Slump" should say "...See 'School Daze.' I think the biggest problem here is that there is no focus. One minute it's a frat house comedy, the next it's a musical, the next it's a drama. The film only dwells on the negative sides of all it's characters, thus we have no one to root for. A brief appearance by Samuel L. Jackson is fun, however. But the ending of the film is one of the worst endings I've ever seen on screen. I know I'm being pretty harsh, perhaps it's because I expect so much more from Spike Lee. Of course, this was his second feature, and he did follow it up with 'Do the Right Thing.' So I guess we can forgive him.
Seasin's Greetinks! (1933)
I just couldn't help but laugh at this silly little Popeye short. In this one, Popeye buys Olive some ice skates for Christmas. Of course, Bluto tries to cut in on their winter wonderland. How can you not laugh at this. I mean, it's Christmas day, yet Popeye and Bluto can still find it in their hearts to beat each other to a pulp.
One Ham's Family (1943)
One nasty pig
'One Ham's Family' is a twist on the Three Little Pigs story. Here the wolf attempts to catch the pigs on Christmas Eve by dressing up as Santa Claus. There are some funny bits here, I mean it is Tex Avery...you were expecting a tear-jerker? However, the little pig that does battle with the wolf is a thoroughly unlikeable character with a voice that is at times very difficult to understand. I guess I've always felt that Avery was more successful with characters who, though they did some nasty things, still had a sense of innocence to them...like Droopy. Here, the pig is just plain nasty.
Free Wheeling (1932)
It's all downhill
In 'Free Wheeling,' Dickie is one sick little boy. Or at least his mother thinks so. Turns out, though, that the cure is some time out with the gang. So Stymie and Breezy take him for a ride in their cab which ends up sailing down the road, out of control. Most of 'Free Wheeling' is build up to the final downhill chase, which ends up being only mildly amusing. Spanky, of course, has some great lines and a wonderful scene with a monkey. 'Free Wheeling' will leave you with a smile on your face, but the gang has been much funnier than they are here.