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15 reviews in total 
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7 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
I read the original story, 31 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I haven't seen the film yet, but I will. The original story, which was in the L.A. Times magazine, was some of the best journalism I ever read. "A story in 15 rounds." The themes are profound, and it revolves around pretending to be someone, and who the real champ is. The way the character of the man, or men -- and that includes the journalist -- peel open like an onion, and make men especially meditate on what it is to be a father, to have a father, and to be and have a son -- it's probably the only magazine article ever that made me cry like a baby. I hope the real reporter got a little bread for his effort.

There's one thing especially that sticks out, all these years later, and that's the pivotal scene where the reporter describes his meetings with his own divorced father, which usually were in airports and the like, and it's so intriguing how the search for the truth about this hobo reveals so much about us all.

23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
We're losing our soul, 21 July 2004

Somebody brought up the Simpson's in this context. It's true: the same narrow minds that fought the Simpsons for Bart's "rebellious attitude" fought this one too. How stupid can you get. While not the greatest show in the world, this was clever, fun, and quite wise on a theological level. In fact, I can't really figure out why a religious person would be against this, unless they are simply looking for something to be offended by, because it makes them happy to get in a paroxysm of moral outrage, regardless of the matter before them.

I'll tell you the difference between the Simpson's and this quick cancellation: we've had a great increase in power, over the last 15 years, of the narrow-minded and censorious. This trend must be fought, or we won't have much culture left.

40 out of 41 people found the following review useful:
TV for adults: what a concept, 27 May 2004

I can see why this show only went two seasons: it's smart, and it doesn't give you a case of ADHD. You actually had to figure out who was who, and follow characters over an entire year. The writing was good, smart and funny; a lot of it took place in a courtroom. Sort of a truer and grittier L.A. Law.

It, and many other worthwhile shows, had to move out of the way so we could all get to see "American Idol," "The Swan" and "The Apprentice." Yes, our culture is headed downhill, but not in the way conservatives ofter say. An appetite for the fast buck and a contempt for the audience go a very long way.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Naive and charmingly dumb, 10 February 2004

I have to admit, this film has nothing much to recommend it except for the fact that it was among the very first movies I ever saw. I believe it was in the Fox Theater in New Orleans, off Elysee Blvd. way, way back there. I know I was young enough to be mightily impressed at how on earth they got a mule to talk! I'm still not sure.

Anyway, Donald O'Connor is one of the more underrated musical comedy guys from back then, and the show as a whole is pleasantly sawdust-brained. It's part of my education in films, and I love it just for that.

4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Unbelievably crude, 27 December 2003

It was amusing to see the first criticism of this really empty, schlocky garbage, but then alarming to read the attacks on the guy for telling the truth. I hope the defenders of this show are at most 12 years old, so there's some excuse. And the very suggestion that guys have to like this show because "cars are cool" needs to be kept after school for about 15 years. Then again, we elected Reagan (twice) during this time, so maybe we get what we deserve.

9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Childhood's Empire, 11 August 2003

For somebody who wasn't about six when he first saw this serial, it's really pretty clunky and corny. For somebody who was (they reshowed it once on early TV, on one of those shows that had a local Uncle Bob type playing old westerns and cartoons, and promoting the station's shows in between. Even now, when I think of the juxtaposition of the aboveground world of the singing cowboy, the "Thunder Riders" and their bizarre, futuristic city under the mountain, I get goosebumps. The best occasion I had to see this was one summer, when I went to the local Y every Saturday morning to see a bunch of old movies with 3-400 other kids my age; the title would roll up, and the kids would scream.

Also, I think I could prove that Freud was right about infantile sexuality when I think of the way I felt about the underground queen, clad in silvery, clinging clothes.

Bad acting except by the pects, 10 August 2003

Let's see: acting? Can't even understand what he says! Brainless plot, bad camerawork. Hmm, forget the acting, Arnold. Let's make you governor, where you won't be able to harm anybody-- oh, maybe not.

0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
The '30s Left, 7 May 2003

Marxism was the undercurrent of the '30s, just as libertarianism is the subtext of the '80s and '90s. It's a bit of a shock at first to see a Hollywood movie with these concerns in these days, as the "people" in right-wing culture are either Us or the ones We feel scorn for, the inferior ones. The federal government sponsoring theaters? Right-wingers would sooner drive pins in their eyes. (Forget the huge amount of employment and amusement it would bring in the dirty '30s, it's more important that it would perhaps be overrun with leftists.) Nowadays, we have a totally privatized artistic universe, and see what wonders it brings: cheap non-fiction entertainment and fictionalized tabloid news.

That being said, it does seeem a bit preachy as a script, but it's pretty hard to imagine this kind of piece not being preachy and still being a historical piece. Don't worry, go back to the dramas that become popular in right-wing times: superhero revenge dramas where the square-jawed hero cannot lose. And you wonder why these times are so empty.

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful, my dear, but shallow, 5 May 2003

I know you can go long analyzing a film, but I don't think you need to here. Juliette Binoche is (surprise) a beautiful young woman who is going tragically but mysteriously blind. She may or may not (not!) have shot her lover. Her boyfriend is a drunk who lives on the Pont-Neuf as it's being repaired. They meet, quarrel, and meet again. A classic film melodrama with a happy ending, about as substantial as a meringue. Beautifully photographed, and the young Ms. Binoche is radiant, even in grungy jeans and an eyepatch.

The only serious problem, and the thing that makes the film so problematic is this: since the characters and setting make us think, "Dark Victory meets Gigi", there is really no need for the leaden pace. Sighs are profound, and the camera lingers on everything for way too long. There's no suspense driving the pace, and no profound meditation on the nature of reality; so the pace is what tips the whole thing over into pretentiousness.

Federal Protection (2002) (TV)
2 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Not horrible, just cliched, 26 April 2003

I agree with the above comments. The films made up in the Great White North are an accounting trick, caused by a) the dirt-cheap Canadian dollar, and the availabilty of subsidies -- though this may have changed recently, I'm not sure. For this, what happens is that a producer based in NY or Los Angeles takes a project written with some US locale in mind and either shoots Montreal as "New York" or "Paris". It is neither, though it is a beautiful city in its own right. This way of structuring the Deal puts story, local color, regional accents, all of that way down at the bottom of consideration, when it should be near the top. (That's why a movie -- Woody Allen's Manhattan is just an example -- can evoke a time and place better than any other art form, and why all these transplanted cheapies look like they're shot in Vinyl Palookaville.) Americans and Canadians both deserve a better cinema.

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