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A very good, even if somewhat sweet like at times..., 15 May 2001

I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago at the advice of a friend of mine who whole heartily recommended it. We both grew up in the 70's and am quite familiar w/ the 70's rock bands of varying stripes primarily during the later half of the decade but also the bands and music that came along early in the decade.

It's unfortunate that I was not old enough to directly experience the goings on at the time Almost Famous took place (1973), I was, in the 3rd grade at that time however. My memories, kind of like Cameron's, is of an innocence, albait of a much younger kind of innocence than his that comes from being a youngish child and experiencing things for the first time so my recollection of that time is a little different than his. Adolescence is a powerful time for children/pre teens in that the emotions can run rampant, take things out of proportion, and distort reality due to a simple lack of life experiences gained as one grows older. And that is what made this movie work, that wide eyed, yet cautious innocence that William posessed. I feel that is one of the movie's biggest strengths.

I found the characters, at least the main characters such as Francis McDormond (the mother), Zooey Deschanel (William's older sister), Patrick Fugit (William) to be specific, very well thought out and not overly shallow as many characters are.

The movie is about William writing for Rolling Stone for an up and coming band on tour, called Stillwater. the movie has us watching William try with all his might to get the interviews he needs and all the while learning something about himself, the life of a rock and roller and discovering love through Penny Lane. Now, Penny Lane is an interesting character herself. She always seemed to never be in the reality, always in a make believe/fantasy world. I got the sense that she was trying to not admit to the realities of life and lived her life through the glories of a groupie, even if she never admitted to being one.

I found some of the scenes, especially the scene in the bus when the group, one by one began singing the lyrics to Tiny Dancer-a little syrupy in my opinion.

But overall, I find Almost Famous well acted, and reasonably accurate-even if from the eyes of a 15 year old kid turned adult.

The soundtrack was excellent. Nancy Wilson of Heart did an incredible job of picking period accurate music, such as Tommy by the Who, Elton John etc. My favorate scene in the whole movie was when William discovers his sister's rock albums, on vinyl and pulls out Tommy, an original Decca pressing, places it on the record player and then watching the label spin and being mesmerized by the music that came forth (and I can definately relate to that).

All in all, a very good movie and reasonably accurate, not necessarily nostalgic look at the rock scene of the early 70's.

As stated earlier, I was a child in 1973 and therefore my recollection of the music and the times were a bit hazy and quite innocent and naive (what do you expect from a 3rd grader?). But to this day, I have some Aerosmith, Lynard Skynard, the Doobie Brothers, Carol King, Joni Mitchell and later on Silver Convention, Chicago, Average White Band, the Cars and of course Fleetwood Mac. The 70's actually was a good decade musically speaking and would have loved to experience, first hand, the early part of the decade as a young adult.

A somewhat sexist, but great detective show..., 3 November 2000

I used to watch the show in it's original run on TV as an adolescent (roughtly 6th through 10th grades).

My favorate original Angels were Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett and Kate Jackson. Oh the large feathered hair and bellbottoms!

They were rather sexy detectives that always managed to solve the crime in each and every episode.

Tom Bosley was great as the liaison between Charlie and the Angels. I loved the 2 piece yellow and chrome plastic speaker phone accessory that you connected to your phone which was featured prominently in the begining of each and every episode as Charlie tells of the assignment for the day.

A lot of jiggling and hair flipping to be sure, but it was definetely entertainment-70's style.

My best friend and I used to refere to this show as Chuck's Chicks...

Definetely fun in it's day.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Absurdidly funny even if the premise was a bit far fetched..., 3 November 2000

I used to watch this show w/ fervent interest back in it's original run on TV. The earliest years were the best but it still held our interests later on.

I would often watch it w/ my best friend and we'd just howl over the show, laughing, and just generally making a racket over the sometimes silly premise of an episode.

It entertained us to no end. How could it not when you had the General Lee, either a 1968 or 1969 Dodge Charger (depending on the show) jumping over creeks etc and simply running fast over the dirt country roads. I liked Daisy's original car, a yellow and black 1971 Plymouth Belvedere 2 door (I think it was actually supposed to be the Roadrunner variant). Anyway, two classic Mopar (Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth) muscle cars. Then later Daisy got a Jeep to replace the Plymouth that went off a cliff, if I remember right, about half way through the series run.

The show did suffer a bit when Bo and Luke were gone for most of a season and I think it never quite recovered after that.

But all in all, a great show, especially when you had a corrupt mayor (Boss Hogg), a dim witted sheriff and deputy who could not capture the Dukes to save their lives-only to have their cars wrecked almost everytime in the process.

Like I said, the premise of many episodes were a bit far fetched but how can you not complain about the fact that the Duke family were law abiding, honest citizens that tried to do right despite the sheriff, the deputy and the Mayor after them all the time? You even see them in church-along w/ their friend the tow truck driver.

All in all, a show that was great for it's time and definately very entertaining for young adolescent kids-especially young boys.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A great must see..., 28 September 2000

I have had a copy of this series since it originally was broadcast on my local PBS station. Watch it many a time since.

I found the entire series to be a wonderful unflinching look at the times/situations relative to the mid to late 1970's San Francisco. I've heard and read of what went on during that decade, and found what was portrayed to be accurate, but deftly done to not offend in any major way. Yes, there was nudity, sex and what not, but like I said, it was deftly dealt with.

The characters were believable and had obviously been well fleshed out in their back histories. You understand, as the series moves along, the main character's histories, rare in productions of this type.

I find I like watching this series, partly because I was old enough to remember some aspects of the late 70's. (I was in junior high at the time) but because of the stories that are woven throughout the piece. A well cast and thought out production. It's rare to see a mini series, or film for that matter, be this accurate in portraying the late 70's.

Dream House (1998) (TV)
6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
What a waste of time., 29 July 2000

I got this movie as it sounded like a cool movie, a bit on the scary side. Well, I was not amused.

For starters, Timothy Busfield's character was as shallow as they come. He is a computer geek and builds this computer that will run their home and they are the Guinea pigs. I won't go into it but I will say this much. He does spend lots of time working on it and little time w/ the rest of the family. That is pretty much all you see him do and he wears shirts and ties all the time even though you never see him leave the house. His acting here doesn't live up to his acting on Thirtysomething.

The rest of the cast of characters aren't any better. Jenny (the daughter) is the best character of them all and that isn't saying much. You get a hint of what the back history is on the parents (how they met in high school), but hardly anyone or anything else.

The acting was superficial and shallow to say the least. The premise has some plausibility, but in the end, was totally unrealistic and on the verge of farcical.

Basically, to put it mildly, it's one of those made for TV movies that's as bad as most. I actually thought it was an actual movie, but seeing how it was edited, I realized it was a made for TV movie.

I ended up fast forwarding through parts of it and basically wasted an evening watching this dumb movie.

Don't waste your time on it.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
An accurate, if a bit shallow portrait of the early 80's, 6 August 1999

After reading in the "Cool Today" email letter the other day where the Sherman Oakes Galleria was torn down in LA got me to thinking that I should watch either Valley Girl or Fast Times in Ridgmont High and decided on Valley Girls.

Having gone through High school between 1980-1983 (I'm from the class of '83), I am very familiar w/ the style, mannerism, and music of that era. I even remember listening to some of the music used in the film.

However, I felt it to be a nice film depicting a culture only to be found in the San Fernando Valley, however, it's language made it into pupular culture w/ phrases like "barf me out, gag me w/ a spoon!!!" and the Frank Zappa tune that followed but it kinda falls down in one critical area-the charactors.

The charactors depicted within the film come across rather shallow, unfortunately, much like the adolescent girls who proclaimed themselves to be Valley Girls in real life (and unfortunately like so many others too became shallow). Even the male charactors were shallow, with the exception of Nicolas Cage's charactor. He seemed to have more emotion and depth compared to the other main charactors though he needed to be fleshed out even more. And by shallow I mean, less cliqued and stereotypical.

Remember, that was a hedonistic and shallow time in our lives where wealth (or the appearence of it), big hair and flashy clothes reigned supreme. Now, I do agree with one reviewer that Frank Zappa's daughter Moon Unit would've been much better in the main role then played by Foreman. Moon Unit did an outstanding job of talking Val Speak in the Zappa 1983 classic, "Valley Girl".

Over all, I thought the film to be good for an occasional rental but not necessarily to own. If I were to own it, I'd find a better video distributor-one that used the fast SP (standard play) speed and also recorded the Hi-Fi track instead of LP (long play) speed and only the monophonic linear audio track as was the copy I rented.

Otherwise, a good teen flick that miracously depicts the early 80's fairly accuratly. Just remember, any current teen that wants to see this film should put it in it's historical context before casting dispersions on it.

Such a delightful, absurd story on a small town celebration, 5 April 1999

I first saw this film on Encore, a premium cable movie channel several years ago and have since obtained a copy. I've seen this film many times since and each time I enjoy it tremendously.

The Basic premise is about a small Texas town's celebration of "Specialness". The characters are all a bit "strange", Louise Fyne's search for love, the lying girl, The gal who lives in her bed and of course the Culvers. The whole movie is an excellent look at the material mind set of our culture with the commercials, rapid shots of materialistic images, icons and of course stereotypes.

The music is great, typical Talking Heads. The whole movie is wonderfuly absurd in it's own way without blatentely stereotyping a small Texas Town. But yet, it doesn't totaly represent a small town per say, rather, it represents any town USA in it's use of manufactured architecture, in this case, the aluminum wherehouses that have sprung up everywhere.

All in all, I find this to be a film worthy of having and watching every now and then-especialy if you are a Talking Heads Fan.

MASH (1970)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
One of my all time favorites., 18 March 1999

I first saw this movie several years ago and liked it then. Since, I've obtained a copy and have watched it many times since. It's definitely one of my favorates. Here are a few reasons why.

First of all, The story line is much better than the TV series could ever hope to be. It really does show the insanity of war, especially a war like the Korean war of the early 1950's. A war that isn't particularly popular compared to the other "more recent" wars (WW I,WW II, Vietnam et-al).

The characters, Hawkeye Pierce, Major Hotlips Hullihan and Radar etc are what make this movie such a delight.

One of the all time classic scenes from this movie that always gets me is when Major Hullihan goes to take a shower... We all know what happens next. I always anticipate it w/ glee since it's so hilarious. The second part is when Hotlips and Sergent Burns make out in her hut and it gets broadcast all over the camp as well as her reaction the next morning (very jumpy).

But to suffice it to say, the script is very well written and the characters seem to have some depth to them and all are well acted. the movie is well worth adding to your video collection for you'll want to see it again and again...

67 out of 113 people found the following review useful:
It really blows me away..., 28 January 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw Rear Window about 4 years ago in a video/film program that I was attending. At that time I was simply blown away by it.

For starters, I was simply impressed w/ the set. The fact that you can see out of Jeffries' apartment window, across the courtyard and into the other tenant's apartments to see their goings on is incredible. The music used is a musician tenant creating a piece. The fact that it ebbs and flows w/ the action, until the very end when you actualy hear the finished piece committed to vinyl is really cool.

I liked the fact that you only see what Jeffries sees and therefore have to try and guess what actually happened.

While the movie, in a way is actualy about nothing, yet it is about voyeurism and to a lesser degree about love between two apparently different people. However, that is a side line to the actual plot.

for Hitchock, this film uses suspense, rather than gross thriller, such as Psycho or the Birds did to draw you into the film. I've seen it many times and always get something out of it every time. I own a non restored copy on tape and watch it at least twice a year-or more.

It's simply one of the best movies ever made that I've seen and one of my all time favorites. A near perfect movie if I say so myself.

Hitchcock realy paid attention to detail in this movie. The fact that you see "miss Lonely Hearts" actions, Even Lars Thorwald's action is incredible. The attention to detail is simply incredible.