17 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Great Documentary
10 September 2007
I totally disagree with the characterization that Billy Mitchell is made the villain and Steve Weibe the heroic underdog. This film did a great job of just letting each person fill in the colors for themselves. At the end, when Billy Mitchell's finally turning hypocrisy inside out, there are a few shots inserted finally that show that the filmmakers notice what is going on, but that is the extent of it.

This is a great film. Like the film American Movie, it is a whirlwind in which the power and depth of the material is remarkable, and yet it is incredibly compelling to watch, start to finish.

Another important point is that the film is not only a great treatise on individual psychology and what our winning-obsessed culture has wrought, but a great meditation on how the various types are fostered by and then fuel their immediate relations.
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Cobra (1986)
Watch Only if Your Hemlock Supply Turns Up Empty
28 July 2007
This movie will make you want to die. Horrible film, script insanely bad, performances that are pathetically lame. Not even fun in its horrid incompetence. How did Sly Stallone end up worth a gazillion dollars? You are going to be wondering how he ever got another job after watching 10m of this. And his wife (at the time) can't even play the role of mannequin to which she was so lovingly cast.

The only people who would like this film are the same ones who spent their youth plucking the wings off of flies and squashing tadpoles. Ingesting pesticide, or snorting aerosolized asbestos makes more sense. Hard to make it through. You'll wish you hadn't.
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Insane Greatness
8 June 2007
I ran into this film the first time maybe 8 years ago. I had read the play in HS, and at first found it plodding and boring, then was drawn into it very intensely, and went on and read a bunch of other O'Neill, but had never seen any of his work performed. Apparently, there was talk amongst actors about making time disappear when works are really great. This work does that for me, the 3h go by in no time, the whole rest of the world just recedes while it's on.

This is the greatest filmed play I've ever seen. I love the direction (Sidney Lumet is one of the most underrated directors of all time), and the 4 performances are superb.) KH is from another planet, gliding in and out of the deluded, once-beautiful Midwestern bud, into the paranoid, addicted victim. I love Ralph Richardson as the father; he perfectly blends the haminess of the actor with the male chuminess, trying to be a father, but also a friend to his sons. Jason Robards is one of the great actors of all time. The first time I saw this movie, the loudest aspects of his part, because they were most in my face, seemed to be where the meat was. Having just seen it again, his whole story of choosing Fat Vi for his night of debauched tenderness in town became the kind of epic poetic center of the film with everything else in orbit about it (looking back all the way to Aeschylus and forward/sideways to Faulkner). Interestingly, O'Neill himself is the least interesting character. That, in itself, speaks volumes about the work.
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Coulda Been Great
19 November 2006
This is a worthwhile film in a lot of ways, but ultimately, it loses itself, completely. All films are a gaggle of threads these days that collide in some dramatic denouement. This film is an example of how the process can become nothing but device. It's literally as though the authors forgot they had spent 2+h developing a story and characters. Ultimately, the ending is both unsatisfying, and disturbingly status quo affirming.

There are also some preposterous things in this film. We are meant to believe that Jennifer Connelly is 'beautiful' but Kate Winslet is lesser? Sorry, that one does not come off. Kate Winslet is very beautiful and Jennifer Connelly looks like a starved, pancaked up mannequin with bangs that belong on an 8 year old.
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Mystery Diagnosis (2005– )
Great Medical Show
9 September 2006
If you like House, you will like this show. And as is so often he case, the real version makes the non-real aspects of the other appear completely superfluous. These guys cover 3 cases in an hour, w/no stupid love interest sidelights. The only thing I don't like about this show is that it rips off Errol Morris so ruthlessly they should be paying him a royalty.

One of the other points to make here is that the real show has a diametrically opposite message from the fiction one. In House, the formula is the patient always lies and the genius doctor pieces together the truth by finding the lies. In this show, reality is much uglier: the doctors are INSANELY incompetent, and invariably, in the face of incompetence, the patients and/or their parents, put up with an unbelievable amount of grief. Countless cases result in people enduring torturous chronic illnesses for years, and in some cases, having their lives ruined because some jackass doctor couldn't be bothered to fill in the whole picture.

House is the happy, status quo version of this world, making you feel better because the genius figures out how to undope the problem. This is much more troubling, but ultimately, also much more rewarding.
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The Bad Seed (1956)
One of the Great 50s Films
4 September 2006
There are things wrong with this film, but there is so much that's good about it, it doesn't matter. Nevermind that the ending was mandated, the film is still dark enough that it is undiminished. Parts of this film reach levels of chilling electrification that rival the greatest noir films (particularly the interactions between the daughter and the slow handyman).

The philosophical questions raised are equally dark: the eponymous indictment is particularly pointed in a world that has gone mad for genetic determination.

A must see.
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Best Friends (2005 TV Movie)
Hilariously Bad, Noteworthy for Woman Villain
14 November 2005
Generally, a second cousin's involvement in a film like this would have been career-ending a few decades ago. Now that schlocking for a paycheck is practiced from top to bottom of the industry, these things are just popping out like bear claws at the donut shop. If you make the mistake of watching this thing, your IQ will drop faster than if you dined on paint chips for a year. There is no continuity. The plot is the construct of an 8 year old. The murder as mr. toad cliché requires increasing amounts of stupidity to keep it going. By the end, it's so thick one imagines the writers and continuity guys are just hoping that we've all slipped off into a stupor, like the zombies in the film.
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Numb3rs (2005–2010)
Pilot Has No Lift
23 January 2005
This is Good Will Hunting meets CSI. 'Everything is numbers....' The characters are pretty much uniformly cardboard cutout clichés. Instead of psychobabble, boy wonder goes marching into the police statement to trot out his equations. At least with pyschobabble, there is something that can be communicated. The ending of the pilot is hilarious when the cop brother says to the math genius brother 'that was some equation....' Nice capper, fellas. (Almost as pathetic as the love interest running her hand over the chalkboard; who knew math was sexy AND tactile!) Wonder what the next episode is going to be, given that this one was an equation based on something like 20 killings. Even the logical basis for this thing is preposterous: let's forget all the pieces of information we have that could help narrow the search, let's stick to the idea that subconsciously, the crime sites are all equally distributed in space. Are these guys serious? Maybe this could survive if they changed it into a comedy.
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Elf (2003)
Horrendous, Stupid, NOT Funny
25 December 2004
It is incomprehensible that this film garners a 7.1 on here. It's sappy, stupid and obnoxious. Used to be that stars who had a name would be worried about being involved in a film that was totally vapid. That day is long gone. The story is so stupid. The ending is so sentimental and dumb. As the sputtering blunderbus flew off during the climax of this piece of crap, I could only think of the scores of starving people who could have been fed instead of spending millions on this useless pablum. And John Favreau doing this is all the more hilarious. The way he chomps his cigar while waxing unpoetic about the biz on Bravo, you'd actually think he had more in mind than just cashing in on pieces of garbage like this. The whole cast looks like they are attending a wake except for Will Ferrell who turns in another classic post-SNL performance: one dimensional, schticky idiocy that might work in a 2m skit, but leaves you numb after an hour and a half.
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House M.D. (2004–2012)
Horrendously Bad
27 November 2004
There are a few conditions that could occur that would lead to me watching this show again, like stepping on a rusty nail, having to do a few weeks w/tetanus in a place where Fox was the only channel. This show is so poorly written and done that it boggles at nearly every turn. Can we please get off of this incessant cliché of having a crusty but lovable jerk as the center of all shows that have men? Of course this is Fox, so the head guy is white and orders his "team" around like a potato farmer on his serfs in a dacha circa 1450. He says inappropriate things constantly, he wears his wizened cynicism as a badge of his brilliance (he knows more than we) and his gaze has the authority of a weather vane (his profile is extremely reminiscent of a chicken). Where does this all lead? Nowhere, of course. Fox gets to float a show that is perfect for the seals who lap up their 'news'; this is Bill O'Reilly as a doctor (woops, that's an unintentionally scary image). The whole construct of the plot in the pilot was of course that all but our lovable genius are wrong with a capital dubya (the parents are even called idiots (or fools, can't remember which, but come on, minor difference in the Fox world)). If you like your drama drenched in half-assed polemic and recast by a charter of conservative corporate stooges, step right up!
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