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Shapster11

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55 reviews in total 
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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Pilot episodes don't get any better than this!!!, 19 September 2006

Usually when there is as much buildup to a premiere episode it doesn't live up to the hype. This show is the notable exception. Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme have done it again. Now the challenge is to do keep on doing it as they did with Sports Night and The West Wing.

The cast comprises a mini-The West Wing reunion (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, and Timothy Busfield) along with many familiar and not so familiar faces. In typical Sorkin fashion the dialog is both witty and snappy in its delivery. The humor is sarcastic, cutting edge, biting, and rapid and we get an insight into the background of a live television show modeled eerily after Saturday Night Live.

The pilot does what a good pilot should do, and that is set the stage for the why we are at where we are at. It introduces us not only to the characters but to the whole premise and reason for the show. It grabs the viewer and made me say "I can't wait for next week to see how this storyline takes shape".

Based on the pilot I make the following observations about the cast. Steven Weber is superb as the hard ass corporate exec. who straddles the fence between the corporate suits and the network hierarchy. For me the jury is out on Amanda Peet. I normally like her very much but I am having a tough time seeing her as Network President. Both Perry and Busfield have an unmistakable chemistry and play well off one another. Their characters are those of an extraordinary duo that produce high end material and superb judgment. They are co-dependent and the perfect yin-yang for the show. We'll see how D.L.Hugely's character, along with the others, develops but I have a feeling there are a lot of good places this show can go.

So bring it on NBC, I'm already a new fan...just keep the material fresh and the story lines crisp.

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Don't look for administration talking points here!, 14 September 2006

Whether you agree with his point of view or not Maher does offer a forum for rebuttal. Instead of the usual bashing of his show, as some conservatives are want to do, some people have accepted invites to appear either in interviews or on the panel. I have found the show provocative and superb at times. Often times I find, as with most sarcastic humor, strings of truth when Maher does his opening or closing remarks. The "New Rules" segment is a terrific part of the show and one fans look forward to every week.

I have also found Maher to be especially tough on Democrats whether Republicans believe it or not. He is as cynical about Democrats ability to offer an alternative message as he is biting in his critique of Pres. Bush and Republicans. However, the one thing he is right on the money about is his criticism and dismay at the way Americans excuse this president's affliction with Webster's Dictionary. Whether you favor our actions in Iraq or not, the handling of terrorism, the secret spy program, Katrina etc. or not I think all are fair game and I believe Maher offers an opportunity for all viewpoints.

I think the biggest problem conservatives (Republicans) have with Maher is that they don't get the free pass they get with conservative talk radio. Maher will eviscerate liberals and democrats if he thinks they are full of it. He will, as we know, go after Republicans with guns blazing. Conservative talk radio tends to be submissive to Republicans and smash away at Democrats that they label liberal.

Overall I only wish more Americans would watch these highly watchable shows like Real Time, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. At least, if they did, we would not have almost 43% of Americans polled almost four years after the fact( and after both Bush and Cheney openly admit there was no direct link to 9/11 from Iraq) still believing Iraqi's were behind the attacks!

"Wings" (1990)
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Lots of laughs at a small regional airport, 14 September 2006

One of my absolute favorite sitcoms of all time. A cleverly written and extremely well acted show revolving around 8 people's lives and their jobs which are based at the airport. The cast is terrific and I won't bore you with each character's nuances other than to say all the roles were very well cast. The comedy is ironic, sarcastic, sardonic, slapstick, politically incorrect, and sexist. And those are but a handful of reasons I loved this show. Now that the show has gone to DVD I would recommend it highly whether you were a fan or would like to see smart comedy. If you weren't a fan you'll see many familiar faces and it was, after all, the show that launched the career of Tony Shalhoub (MONK). Hope you love it the way I did!

7 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
What really happened to "E" in the threesome?, 24 July 2006

Probably the weakest of the new shows so far but after the opening of the new season there was bound to be a bit of a let down. The major themes here are getting Vince moving forward after being "fired" from the AQUAMAN sequel, Ari trying to settle with Terrance regarding what Ari is owed from the old agency, and most urgently is how does "E" feel about spooning with his girlfriend's best friend during their threesome.

There are some small plot twists you can see here but for the most part this show seemed to serve as the table setter for how the show moves forward with the arc of the characters. There is one seemingly minor twist here having to do with Ari and a former junior agent that could play into future events.

Annie Hall (1977)
"La di da, la di da" says it all !!!, 22 July 2006

Quite frankly one of the best comedies ever. Superb performances, terrific writing, and Allen's acerbic wit, self deprecation, and biting sarcasm about relationships and love make this "Best Picture" a classic and timeless.

From Diane Keaton's clothing (which caused a trend in women's fashion), to the scene with Woody cooking a lobster, to Tony Roberts in his Alpha Rays protection suit, to the scene of a very young Christopher Walken driving Allen and Keaton in a driving rain after confessing to Allen (Alvie Singer) his dreams of a glorious death this film contains scenes and dialog you'll use in everyday life.

Sometimes, in Woody Allen films, he can go a bit over the top with his penchant for satirizing dysfunctional love relationships. In this movie you find he has blended just the right touch of all elements of his humor, his view of relationships, and his bias in favor of the culture and insanity that is New York versus his distaste for the pretentious plastic LA, Hollywood environment.

In looking at the voting record I was astounded to see any votes under a FIVE. I respect my fellow IMDb viewers but anyone going below a FOUR for this movie either doesn't like Woody Allen personally, doesn't get his humor, or somehow cannot wrap their arms around the kind of comedy that can poke fun at everything from religion, to politics, to education, and toward themselves. This film should be required viewing in any film study class in college.

Annie Hall (1977)
"La di da, la di da" says it all !!!, 22 July 2006

Quite frankly one of the best comedies ever. Superb performances, terrific writing, and Allen's acerbic wit, self deprecation, and biting sarcasm about relationships and love make this "Best Picture" a classic and timeless.

From Diane Keaton's clothing (which caused a trend in women's fashion), to the scene with Woody cooking a lobster, to Tony Roberts in his Alpha Rays protection suit, to the scene of a very young Christopher Walken driving Allen and Keaton in a driving rain after confessing to Allen (Alvie Singer) his dreams of a glorious death this film contains scenes and dialog you'll use in everyday life.

Sometimes, in Woody Allen films, he can go a bit over the top with his penchant for satirizing dysfunctional love relationships. In this movie you find he has blended just the right touch of all elements of his humor, his view of relationships, and his bias in favor of the culture and insanity that is New York versus his distaste for the pretentious plastic LA, Hollywood environment.

In looking at the voting record I was astounded to see any votes under a FIVE. I respect my fellow IMDb viewers but anyone going below a FOUR for this movie either doesn't like Woody Allen personally, doesn't get his humor, or somehow cannot wrap their arms around the kind of comedy that can poke fun at everything from religion, to politics, to education, and toward themselves. This film should be required viewing in any film study class in college.

Another Woody Allen masterpiece, 22 July 2006

Most fans of Woody Allen have come to love and appreciate his movies for their neurotic psycho sexual themes revolving around psychiatric visits, mass psychosis, and usually with Woody as the main character. This deviates a bit from the Allen model. Not that there aren't sexual innuendos and insecurity but it is not the main theme. For one thing this Allen comedy is not contemporary but is set in the late 1920's to early 1930's. Of course the movie takes place in the only true love Woody has ever known and that is NYC.

The cast is superb here and each player does their job with aplomb and grace. To site one particular performance does the cast an injustice but the Academy Awards did so by awarding Diane Weist the Supporting Actress award as an aging grand dame of Broadway caught somewhere between her fading star and her need to be adored and revered. Weist really was incredible and her signature line of "Don't speak" resonates throughout with perfect timing.

As for the storyline it is simple. Young playwright and veteran producer need backing for their script and make a deal with the top mob boss in NY to back the play. The only hitch is that in order for the mob boss to back the play his sexy, younger former stripper girlfriend must have a featured role. By the way I probably should mention the girlfriend (played by Jennifer Tilly) has absolutely no talent! The movie takes many turns and highlights the considerable talents of the cast along with classic Allen humor in the writing. This is just a very funny movie, with a terrific soundtrack of early 20th Century music. For anyone seeking to watch a comedy that relies on wit rather than pranks or slapstick this movie will make it for you.

A fine coming of age movie, 15 July 2006

An excellent cast guides this periodic drama of working class brothers of a widowed mother and their relationships with the daughters of a society family in a small Illinois town in 1957. Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup are superb as the brothers while Liv Tyler is excellent as the youngest Abbott daughter.

The main theme of the movie seems to be the obsession of older brother Jace (Crudup) for everything the Abbotts have that he feels was denied him after his father's death years earlier. Seems there isn't any Abbott girl Jace won't go after in an effort to show he can rise above his middle class upbringing.

Excellent performances are also on display here by Kathy Baker, Will Patton, Joanna Going, and special mention of the future Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly. Connelly has an incredible allure as the very sexy, very promiscuous, and playful hedonistic middle Abbott daughter, Elinore.

A really fine character study, excellent casting, and a movie that moves along at a nice pace. I recommend it and think, after seeing it, you will as well.

41 out of 46 people found the following review useful:
A Fitting Exit For a Superb Show, 15 May 2006

My only regret and disappointment on the finale was that NBC did not pay the proper homage to this landmark show. A winner of three Emmy's for Best Dramatic Show, and countless other Emmy statues for individual and group excellence The West Wing showed us the inner workings, frailties of character, and gut wrenching decisions that go on every day. I am sure many Republicans and Conservatives are none too upset at the end of this Democratic administration. I'm sure their collective scorn reached epic heights when the underdog Democrat, Mathew Santos, edged out stalwart Republican Senator Arnold Vinick in the general election. However, an objective viewer such as myself found purity, brilliance, hope, and yes...sometimes a different slant on things as this show developed over the years.

I thought the writers showed remarkable restraint from doing the typical Hollywood ending which would have had us seeing Josh and Donna getting married, Charley and Zoe together, Will and Kate hand in hand, Sam in a reunion with Mallory etc. etc. etc. Realism won the day and for that I was glad. Even when Bartlett took his final goodbye walk through the staff he made it personal but dignified. There were no screams and tears, no excessive hugging, just stoic thanks to a staff that served him well for two terms.

What NBC did not do, and my only regret, was a show such as this deserved a two hour finale. As we all know a one hour show is but a mere 42-43 minutes and that was not a long enough goodbye. Many more things could have been embellished in the storyline with some flashback scenes thrown in for the characters there throughout. I would have also liked to have seen a small brief tribute to John Spencer for the style in which he brought two great NBC characters to the screen.(Leo McGarry & Tommy Mullaney-LA Law).

The old west as only Mel brooks could see it!, 31 March 2006

Nine out of ten is a very healthy number considering the history and breath of film making the last 100 years. I'll qualify my vote as a nine out of ten for landmark and timeless comedy. Mel Brooks is a comedic genius and it doesn't take a genius to say that. His lifetime scope of work, the characters created, and the view of the world he has lives on in his two greatest motion picture parodies, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Many younger people today are well aware of Brooks' smash Broadway play, The Producers, and it would serve them well to see the above two movies as a further testimonial to his artistry.

I won't even go player by player, including Brooks himself, other than to say the characters played by this all-star cast will live on in movie history. Everything from the writing, to the concept, to the homage paid to the westerns of past movie generations, and to poking fun at our own view of history is wrapped up in this thoroughly enjoyable film. See it and I dare you to swear you didn't laugh out loud. Listen carefully though cause like an old Marx Brothers film if you laugh too loudly you'll miss the next classic line.


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