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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A must for a psychology and social services students..., 31 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first season of this show was a view of completely vacuous women and their children in the 'Coto' Estates of Orange County, California. For many watching, (including myself) the actions and decisions of these women were hard to stomach because it all seemed very plastic and cash-oriented. The women appeared as refurbished sun drenched street walkers and the men appeared as over-extended Banks of America. Very over the top, and entertaining to many. So, a second season was inevitable.

This second season happens to be better, because it is actually diving into why these women are appearing as they do and why they are as desperate as hell to keep what they have - at any costs. In this season, you should get past the "gold digging" aspect. That's a given. This season looks more towards the human aspects.

For example: One woman is battling her 'Coto' world with her enjoyment for her unpretentious friends down by the river - if you watch carefully, you'll see that she HAS to go and hang out with these others "ever so often", just to be herself. After a weekend with these folks, she's ready to go back pretending at 'Coto'. In inviting other women from 'Coto' to join her, they decline for they know - they don't want to be or see where they may actually belong.

One woman has finally found the rich man of her dreams - the trips, the money, the THRILL...her new prison. Her independence - gone. Although she has been married before, she's stepped right back into the prison she's convinced herself she wanted to avoid. Her 'Prince of Rich' has bought and paid for his plastic OC doll baby, and she is at his beck and call to be all shiny-ed up when needed. Even with that, her children are not as responsible as she'd like them to be and she can't quite understand why. What can she do? What WILL she do?

One woman is in a relationship with an insecure man/child. She is a child/woman herself, and at this stage of that child/woman transition in her life she has no idea which way she wants to go. She loves the IDEA of being with this man, but when the man tries to rule her every move, she's confused. He belittles her, he makes fun of her, he slams her, he's her shadow ---But she WONT leave him. Why is that? She tried, but he called her right back in ...and she WENT. Why is that? This is a typical behavior of abused women (and abused women do not always need to be hit/struck as abused.) Will she ever get enough strength to leave? But if she does leave, WHO is she leaving – him or "Coto'?

One woman who had everything in the "celebrity life": ex-Playboy Centerfold with star sports hubby, had to take on 'reality' because of a devastating injury to her hubby - and she makes a good living in her job. But she needs to control someone -- and it's her kids. They're lost, competitive, confused...and she doesn't listen 'to' them when they clearly open up and need her. What's going to happen?

And in this season, there is the new woman. This woman has had all the "regular" problems of many women her age: Divorce, act of god loss of home (flood) and raising children. She happens to love the 'Coto' area, and she should. She used to have the largest gated estate in 'Coto', but her husband lost his 380 Million Dollar Business and they got divorced. The divorce leaves her with two daughters: One, who obviously will do anything opposite of what her mother wants and the other, a 17 year old who is lost and trying to find her way. You can see that the 17 year old is even more affected by the divorce, and her father's re-marriage to an Asian woman - something she is really bitter about that seems to be the trend for older men like her father and his equally as old friends in Orange County (et al) nowadays.

These women have so much more going on that the Channel Sunglasses, The Botox, the Plastic Surgeries, the hair weaves and tans. These women are quite aware it will all be gone in a flash, and what we are watching in this "reality" series is these women preparing for the next phase - whatever that may be.

Not all women are like this in Orange County, California and for many watching this may be a fun, guilty pleasure. And that may be true for the first season. But in this season, I see it as a sad commentary on how some women see their place in the world and what some think they MUST do to survive. Sure it outwardly seems like its about the million dollar homes, the cars, the plastic surgery and houses - but look closer. The series is beginning to unveil itself similar to the movie "American Beauty", and I hope it continues on this trend and not fall back on the schlock it began with.

Remove the area of "Coto", remove the money and materialism and what you have are the stories of many women, men and children - anywhere at anytime.

5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
"The Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County", 28 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first time I saw "Cherry 2000", I saw it on the Los Angeles area "Z" Channel and if I remember correctly when they showed this film, it was not scheduled for theatrical release. I think they were showing movies of Melanie Griffith because "Working Girl" had become so popular at the time, and they were showing what a range this actress had from action-adventure to abused secretary. And Melanie Griffith does have that range.

Cherry 2000 didn't look finished when I saw it, but what I loved about ti was it's story. I've all but forgotten about it until recently when one of the premiere movie channels showed it. In looking at it now, it could easily be renamed "The Real Desperate Housewives of Orange County" - this film was really perceptive for 1987 - and it's only 20 years later! There is a running joke in the film that makes me review Cherry 2000 this way - back then, I didn't catch it. Today, it's really funny.

The joke: They ask the man looking to replace his robot where is he from? He replies: Anaheim. That's in Orange County. Why is it a joke? Well...Cherry 2000 was a female robot that was made as a companion for men. She was blonde, pretty, perfect breasts, perfect hips, very attentive to her man, had an A.I. chip of all the right things to say, all the right things to do.

Cherry 2000 was perfect for coming home to when he had such a long day at work. This man was used to his Cherry 2000 and his A.I. Cherry 2000 program that was programmed to look, sound and do whatever he wanted. Unfortunately, Cherry 2000 short circuited and he needed to get a new one. In trying to replace his Cherry 2000, he found that it was obsolete. The body, but not the chip. Newer models of female robots were available but he was really into his Cherry 2000 (Another running joke is the line: "Ah, yes, a Cherry 2000! Great hip action!") so it was suggested that there might be a Cherry 2000 model out in the wastelands of robots. He could take his pre programmed chip and insert it into one of those Cherry's. Only way to get there was to find a 'tracker' to take him in to the Wasteland and get one.

The only sane and semi-honest tracker he could find was a woman - gasp - a real woman, Played by Melanie Griffith. Melanie was skilled, tough and also...feminine. So, this man had to go into dangerous robotic wasteland territory with a real flesh and blood woman to find a Cherry 2000 robot that he thought was the only woman that could make him happy.

As I pointed out, the story was a good story, the acting was fine, the production and post production values were light which took away from a lot for me as I watched it. It was kinda on the "Mad Max" level of production but for this story it needed more production values to succeed.

It is a cautionary tale - and it looks as though it was perceptive. We are there, especially in Orange County with the pre-fabricated, programmed woman. This is not a "Stepford Wife", per ce. But it is an ideal and a manipulation of what some men think a woman should be, say and do all by the flick of a control - easy to control as flipping on a light switch. That is, until - you re-insert yourself among real humans, real women, non altered flesh and blood and find out what you're really missing, which our male does.

A funny, nice, low-key production, cautionary tale, action, love story film.

4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
The forgotten generation, kinda remembers, 25 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have been looking for this show on IMDb for quite sometime. I'm glad I found it and have the opportunity to comment on it. When this cartoon/live action series appeared, it was not up to the intelligence of cartoons that came from Hanna-Barbera. This was Ruby-Spears and although they made interesting cartoons and specials, there always seemed to be a little something missing. For lack of a better term, I'll call it "magic".

You see, at the tail end of the baby boom generation, we were born. And I've noticed many tried to lump us into the "baby boomers" but we are the "just missed it by a hair" group - although we can adapt. And we came into some pretty monumental pieces of animation lead by two sides: Hanna Barbara and Japanese Anime. Everything else kinda fell into the middle.

This cartoon/live action series had several things against it for our generation and the generation it was intended for: Disco for one - the television was saturated with that influence in everything from Burger King Commericals to toys in 1979, but old cartoons made from a few years before were placed into the rotation of "Saturday Morning" fare that captured children's attention more than this. You had cartoon and live action.

The Plastic Man/Comedy Adventure show had a little something going for it: Plastic man. He came before "Stretch Armstrong" for all you Gen X'ers - and that's the point. This cartoon character (and subsequent merchandise based on this that didn't sell too well either) could bend and stretch and wrap like the rest of them, he just wasn't interesting in this telling.

The problem - it was NEVER explained HOW Plastic man came to be. I think this was on purpose, which is why I used the word "intelligence" in describing cartoons. (I mean, "Fat Albert" was still on!) This one dumbed down the character, possibly because of the live action portions and the technology just wasn't quite there yet. He was interesting on his own, you just would never know it from this.

Besides many folks got "Plastic Man" confused /or thought he was a "rip-off" of Mr. Fantastic. He wasn't, really. According to his comic series he was a criminal who was shot by a security guard - he fell into some substance that entered his wound and gave him these powers. I don't think you'd ever get that from this working. And besides it wasn't just Plastic Man's Show. This has other cartoons and one and one I remember vividly: Friggin'Rickety Rocket.

Being that I was beyond the little child's age and into the teen years when this aired, the first thing we remarked in school about the cartoon "Rickety Rocket" was: who's brilliant idea was this? As I think back now, I think the same folks who came up with the UPN live action show "Homeboys From Outerspace" decades later were probably the same folks who had something to do with this. The name alone should give you some idea of that this cartoon was about. I'll make it short and sweet: Four black teen agers running a detective agency with their rocket. Sounds neat. Shoulda been neat - but "Rickety Rocket"??? Well, it was the 70's. But that kinda hit what was wrong with this series as a whole.

Much of the Plastic Man Adventure Comedy Hour DID sound neat on previews and paper, the show came at the end of a decade - preceding it were monumental cartoons and animation, after it came imaginative mind lasting cartoons and animations. (The Transformers, Jem, He Man and the Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, She-Ra Mistress of Power, Rainbow Brite, Voltron and my personal favorite: Thundercats). Plastic man has so much animation potential in watching this you may be disappointed in his limitations -- and that was due to the imagination of this series creators, not to the character of Plastic man himself.

Who knows...somewhere out there a brain is brewing to bring Plastic Man to the big screen -- and give him the tale he deserves. If so, please do so without Rickety Rocket.

22 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
Not as Bad as 'Flavor of Love', but just as degrading, 20 January 2007

"I Love New York" is another entry by VH-1 (MTV Networks) showing the entertaining side of dating a shrill, obnoxious, woman. It must have been an easy decision to take the most wildest, Ebonics speaking, craziest contestant - and her mother - and give them a show on this network. Many will argue, "this is a show". True, it's not as bad as it's previous show, "Flavor of Love" - but it's just as bad.

It reminds me of a skit from the 90's show "In Living Color" where Keenan Ivory Wayans was imitating the boxer Mike Tyson on "The Love Connection" dating show and he picked "Robin Givens" for a date. Mike talked of how the date was okay, but how the obnoxious mother kept butting in. This show reminds me of that.

The men are chosen and given names to degrade themselves and the woman that they are dating more - (I would think an intelligent man looking to date an intelligent woman would NOT allow her - and her mother - to give you a name that is so ghetto, you'll embarrass yourself every time you appear on TV.) but these are professional reality actors, so why bother.

It escapes me to discover what is so entertaining about all of this. The fact that this is as fake as her newly implanted additions? 15 Minutes of fame and hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad time for the network? (Well, you can't hate them for trying to make a buck.) Maybe the wonder is - who would want to be with this woman past an hour? Or wonder if she and her mother's next show would be on the WWF! Any way you slice it, it's a train wreck you've seen countless times before so by now the shock value is down to nil.

No twist or turn will make this a more interesting train wreck, or any different from any of the others. Appeals to the lowest common denominator and for those calling an "end" to reality shows, this is just another nail in the coffin as to why they should end, immediately.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Gosh awful excuse for a "comedy", 20 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved the poster. And that's the ONLY thing I liked about this hapless farce. When I saw the billboards and posters, it was the funniest thing I've ever seen so I was looking forward to this film. Just like with "Wedding Crashers" there is too much hype to what is an non-funny film.

The premise is funny: a 40-something year old man who works at a "Best Buy" knock-off shop never had premarital sex. How can that be in this day and time? That's what his friends want to know and try to fix him up with every woman they can find in an 'easy' situation think of doing to help him -- but he just doesn't connect with anyone until he meets the woman who works across the street. He's clumsy around her, goofy - and they fall in love.

So why is this film awful in this reviewer's view? Well, the actors were not comedic - I never laughed - ONCE. Very stiff, very unfunny. I found that with most of the movie, the actors played everything out...pathetically. Instead of laughing with the group, I felt sorry for them all. Somber and displaced looking actors, Steve Carrell being the most somber trying to be "funny". You would think being that a virgin the character would be a bit more nervous, but he was just CREEPY. Not 'funny' creepy, not even 40 year old virgin creepy - just creepy. Every time I see Paul Rudd in a film, I cringe for I'm not completely convinced that he can BE comedic - he can be a smart-Aleck, and to some that can mean funny, but not to me. Then there is Catherine Keener - she just does not move me in any film I've seen her in, lately. She seems as though she may be waiting for lines, nervous about delivering lines, surprised when she gives most lines - but regardless when she talks, they are just lines to me. I didn't feel her character here.

There could have been many other hilarious ways to go with this film, but they all would entail better writers and better actors. If this is what "comedy" is now...start giving it a wake.

Bubble Boy (2001)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Goofy, fun spoof, 20 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is not academy award winning material here. This is not a film for you to think and analyze too deeply. This is a goofy, silly movie that is a spoof of the TV movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble", and spoofs quite a few other things as well.

Jake Gyllenhaall plays the main character - a boy who was born without a working immune system. He spends his life in the house with this piously religious, over protective mother played by Swoosie Kurtz and his quite father played by John Carroll Lynch. One of his only friends is his next door neighbor played by Marlie Shelton who decides to get married to the worst guy ever played by Dave Sheridan - and this is where Bubble boys decides to take he and his Bubble on the road to stop the wedding which is to be held in Niagra Falls. This is where the adventure begins. Bubble Boy hasn't had any other contact with humans except for in his room and once out in the world, he meets the most craziest of characters and experiences things he never had before as he is on his quest to Niagra Falls to stop the wedding of the girl he loves.

Fun, very silly, lampoons and goofy as all get up - this is a film for those days you feel like that type of entertainment.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Comedy -- at it's best low brow!, 20 January 2007

Years ago, a little fledgling network called 'Fox' experimented with several pieces of programming which are now - legendary. No one thought this network would make it past a year, but it went straight for new, young and different shows than the other BIG networks were showing. In the beginning "The Tracey Ullman Show", "The Ben Stiller Show" are little known gems that come to mind - but "The Simpsons" and "Married WIth Children" put Fox on the map.

This show was ridiculously funny! It's blue collar, lowbrow, loads of fun! Many critics predicted it's demise after just a few episodes but the ensemble cast and the warped situations made this show a cut above many at it's time, even against the big network programming. And it had an audience - still does. Now it's in syndication and still is funny as all get up.

There are many episodes that are classics but they all revolve around one premise: a shoe salesman (Al Bundy) who can never reach that top break. He's your everyman, works for minimum wage but with his stay at home wife (Peggy Bundy), you'd never know! She spends his little money like buckets. His son (Bud Bundy)is academically brilliant, but he can't get a girl - his daughter (Kelly BUndy) is academically challenged, but is very pretty and that always puts her in demand with men and boys.

The initial seasons had a the perfect yuppie couple move next door (Steve and Marcy)who were the complete opposite of this family. They were greedy, money hungry and snotty. This also provided a great contrast to this lower income family. That was until in later seasons, the husband walked out on the wife, and she woke up married to a gigolo (Jefferson Darcy) - in complete contrast to all of her hopes and desires.

There's only one thing I did not like about the series - and that is when they tried to make a spin-off. Ruined it for me, the characters were annoying right from the start and didn't have the on sceen charisma as the Bundy's had - they were trying to hard to BE the Bundys. We already had one, no need for more.

Every actor played their parts well - so well that type casting came quick and folks forgot that everyone one of them had careers before this show and were versatile in their craft - such as Ed O'Neill. But to his credit, he created an icon - "Al Bundy" and will forever be associated with it, because he did it so well.

Funny, rude, crude, many jokes about "fat" women that even made some fat women chuckle at (and some jokes about fat women, yes they did go TOO far) but everyone was a target at one point or another on this show. A great cornerstone for FOX, a funny comedy about the most dysfunctional family ever (note: no cursing, just serious punch lines!) one of the best comedies of the 20th Century.

Dreamgirls (2006)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
See it, and make up your own mind., 6 January 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before anyone should make any comment about anything, they should have some experience with it. With "Dreamgirls", my comment is for YOU to go see it and make up your own mind based on your own taste. These comments just another view in helping you to decide. My advice: See it. On the BIG screen.

The character "Effie" says this in the film: "You pick her to be out front only because she looks good? I have the talent! I can sing! Why do that?" This is the entertainment industry, and "Dreamgirls" gives you a look. Even within its own cast.

The production quality is the best on film for a musical this year. The ensemble cast is one of the best ensemble casts of this year. If you loved "Dreamgirls" on Broadway 25 years ago, you'll tip your hat to what a wonderful film and film adaption production this is. It's as faithful to the production as possible with a few changes, and a few additions, but because this is "film" and not "stage", you can sit back and enjoy.

As far as the performances: Jennifer Hudson as "Effie" steals the film. Talented as anything, but dismissed for her looks and her strength. You miss her when she is not on screen, you feel for her when she is. This part is a star making role and Jennifer Hudson is a star in the role. It's almost a shame to call her role "supporting actress", she's just that good and attention grabbing.

Anika Noni Rose as "Lorrell" is the surprise here. She is simply adorable! You watch her mature right before your eyes, and mature she does. She fits perfect as a "supporting actress" and does a darn good job of her role. On screen, you are interested in her, wonder about her and is humored by her.

Beyonce Knowles has the hardest role of the film - "Deena" - one that everyone will eventually loathe at some point and because of which, she'll fade away in the role. In watching Beyonce you cannot escape her beauty, how great she appears in costumes and how she can carry a tune -how she is supposed to be a lead -- but her role becomes second banana almost immediately to the stronger role of "Effie" and Jennifer Husdon nailing it. In watching Beyonce get a solo song, "Listen", it was like watching a performance that was thrown in as if to say, "Look at me, I can sing and be heartfelt too!". Yes, Beyonce can. But it was NOWHERE near the showstopper tune "Effie" has and unfortunately "Listen" me feel as if there WAS a singing competition going on between Beyonce and Jennifer - not "Deena" and "Effie". Jennifer won. But this is NOT to say Beyonce Knowles doesn't have an acting future and she doesn't have acting talent and that she was horrid in this role. On the contrary, Beyonce Knowles was perfect as Deena.

The surprise to me was Eddie Murphy...Eddie Murphy...EDDIE MURPHY(!) as "James Thunder Early". Those that have followed Eddie's career from the beginning will be able to see that this is the role he has been working towards - and he knocks it out. What another perfect cast. Those that know of Eddie's later performances here and there will find much to nit pick about, but there is no mistaking his exemplary performance as a star that rises and falls with all of its joys and pitfalls.

Danny Glover was also cast wonderfully in the quiet role as the beaten music manager "Marty Madison". It is a quiet role for it interweaves through so many lives. Jamie Foxx as "Curtis Taylor, Jr." was done well although I thought there was something more 'supporting' than 'leading' about his character. Keith Robinson as "C.C. White" is an important role that gets lost somewhere in transition - maybe because they waited until late in the film to expose his background.

The plot has been told much here: "Dreamgirls" is loosely based on the make-up of The Supremes, but it has so much more make ups of so many other African American artists of that time - Motown based or NOT ... and it gives you a look into the history of music - of the racial differences of crossovers and payola of the 60's and to the 70's during turbulent times and to free wheeling "disco". Each character has a bit of ALL of these musicians mixed in, and this production isn't too shy with being forward about influences of many.

You don't have to like musicals to like this, but it helps. You don't have to like girl groups and music cat fights of the 60's and music/history of that time to like this film, but it helps. "Dreamgirls" is lively, dramatic, musical, touching, a wonderful ensemble of actors and musicians, gorgeously produced, will have you clapping and yes, could very well be "Best Picture" front runner at the Oscar race. A very enjoyable experience.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A Human Nature and Nature Study, 28 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was a toddler when this film came out in the 70's and didn't get to see it until I was over 21 in the 80's - on TV. Then, I didn't understand it. A few years later it turned up on one of the Cable movie channels and I watched it uncut.

After seeing it the way it was intended, I found this to be a film of human nature against nature plunged to the very depths of horror. Four men who wanted to go on a innocent canoe trip before the stream became home to industrialism, endure the worst weekend of their lives.

First of all, I've gotta comment on Burt Reynolds as the Alpha male. He was perfect for this role - his manner, his dress, his style. Ronny Cox seemed to be the one who strategized his horrors by having the law outside of where they were take care of the problems. Jon Voight proved to be more than the fair haired boy, the family man who had to reach deep in his soul to make decisions and survive, and Ned Beatty was obviously the weakest and got the worst of the ordeal - on the trip and after.

Second there is John Boorman, the director. Everything he directs has a backdrop of nature, environment and humans interactions in it. This piece is no different - but it's something you wouldn't know unless you watch other John Boorman films, and you should. Then go back and watch this one uncut. He has a knack for exposing the deepest darkest roots of nature and man's fascination with it.

Third, there are the quotable phrases I heard for years and had no idea they came from this movie. "You gotta real pretty mouth" and "Squeal like a pig" are in the top 10 of quotable lines. And music? Well, I used to like "Dueling Banjos" but now I've got this image in my head so now when I hear it, I get chills now that I know where it got it's popularity and I laugh earnestly when I see comedians and writers use this in their spoof skits.

Here is a film that is violent, sexually explicit, makes you question the depths of humanity - the law - a call of adventurism - trying to rule nature - makes you wonder what would YOU do? - makes you think about how much can you take and remain "normal" after trauma - and will have you questioning your next weekend canoe trip with friends to "parts unknown".

15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
The Richest, Selfish One Percent for Our Entertainment, 27 December 2006

In some cultures reaching 16 is a right of passage. This show is showing you those who are going WAY overboard to impress their friends families with lavish, senseless things. It's all about their world, and their world is one day of excitement and flash.

Don't mistake the traditional "Sweet 16 party" for this. Many of my friends have had Sweet 16 parties as well with food, cakes, friends, DJ's and the renting of the neighborhood hall. I don't think it cost them over a few hundred dollars, and many of them worked and paid for it themselves. Some worked and had people pay at the door. Some parents actually cooked in the kitchen at these halls for us party goers! Fun times for all. But for MTV - boring.

This is reality television at it's finest - excess while the looker-ons are judge and jury. And gee, how many kids are BUGGING their parents RIGHT NOW to throw an over the top Sweet 16 party so that they can GET on MTV?!?!?! Ah-ha!

My Sweet 16 shows us these sad, meaningless, and yes - very lonely children in life who think money will give them the adulation they need. MTV may be trying to get this across: Parents, it's up to you to teach your children that this kinda thing is easily forgotten even after you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make your sweetie "Queen" or "King" for a few hours, and they aren't really "entitled" to a thing at 16. At 16, they should be throwing YOU the party.

This is an awful program for the morals, manners, and self-worth of teens and their push-over baby boomer parents...but someone has to show the rest of the world how brain-dead the other one percent really are.

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