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House of D (2004)
They say David Duchovny took six days to write the script for this movie. That sounds about right.
This movie is one of the worst films I've ever seen and I've seen Gigli. It's not as bad as Gigli, but that's like saying Saddam Hussein wasn't as bad as Adolf Hitler.
Tom Warshaw has been living in France with his French wife and 13-year old son. He has been pretending to be French all this time. He reveals to his wife that he is actually American. For some reason, this comes as an earth-shattering reveal for her, despite the fact that she always commented on her husband's American accent. Also, their son - remember, he was born in France and never knew his father was American - speaks perfect American English without a hint of French accent. That's just one of several huge plot holes in this movie.
The main bulk of the movie is a flashback to Tommy's youth in New York City during the 1970's, as he explains to his wife why he has been hiding in France. His best friend as a boy was Pappas, a retarded adult played terribly by Robin Williams. I assume Duchovny thinks that "retarded" is someone who is just sort of dumb, because Pappas comes off only mildly slow at times, while other times he comes off as just Robin Williams. Yes, Williams actually fits in his tired improv schtick although he is supposed to play a person who is mentally slow.
Tommy's mother, played by Duchovny's wife Tea Leoni, is a pill-popping nurse who is distraught over the recent death of her husband. Leoni does a good job, but she mainly just smokes a lot and yells at Tommy for things that don't seem to be too important. The script didn't give her much to work with. Tommy also befriends a lady (whom he calls "Lady") who is in prison and offers him advice through her jail window (this house of detention is called "House of D" for short, thus the title). Tommy has no qualms yelling his personal problems out loud on a city street so this incarcerated felon can offer him advice, and he does so many times without care.
I don't want to bore you with the entire summary of the movie, but plot holes are abound in this film that tries way too hard to be touching but comes off as, well, bad. Real bad. Real real bad. Near the end of this train wreck, the script gets cornier and cornier and ends with a laughably crappy ending.
Critics tore "House of D" apart and rightfully so. I can't believe some people actually like this movie. It is a painful film to sit through and I felt weak afterwards - not from emotion, but from how terrible it was.
Shin kidô senki Gundam W (1995)
Good for its time, bad in retrospect
When Gundam Wing first came out on Toonami, it was groundbreaking. The audience never saw an anime so untouched before. Other anime series on Toonami, such as Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, were heavily-edited and even "Americanized" (changing last names to American last names, for example). They even had the original music replaced. Gundam Wing did not do that. Those of Toonami's audience who were new to anime - and there were a lot, myself included - saw what anime truly was for the first time (minus the original voices, of course). This is why Gundam Wing is so beloved in the eyes of many.
Once one delved further into Gundam fandom, they will realize that they had been kind of duped. While not the worst Gundam series by far (*ahem* SEED DESTINY *ahem*), most of the other Gundam series are much better and much different. The Gundam series is supposed to be about the horrors and heroics of war, usually seen through the eyes of one young prodigy pilot. Gundam Wing is about five boys with their own indestructible mobile suits fighting against evil, which seems too Justice League-like and ridiculous for most fans (how can one stage guerrilla warfare with a towering robot that can be seen miles away?). Of course the Gundam Wing plot is a bit more complicated than that, but when it tries to be philosophical, it just gets confusing and pointless.
The original Gundam, Zeta Gundam and Victory Gundam (maybe ZZ Gundam's latter half) seem better to me, but I still like Gundam Wing for introducing me to "real" anime, so to speak.
Not that bad. I'm shocked
Keep in mind, I'm not basing this on the horrific original pilot, but the first episode that aired on ABC. "Cavemen," which I was expecting to suck hard and long, was actually not that bad. It took me by surprise. I laughed quite a number of times and I liked how there are other cavemen apart from the main characters, like the Caveman weatherman. It's an odd little side joke in the background which tickled my fancy. Wow, who says that anymore...?
It wasn't great, though. The episode ended out of nowhere, Maurice (one of the actual cavemen from the commercials) is a minor character despite being the funniest caveman, and the main flaw that gnaws at you is...who cares if they're cavemen? Yeah, they look funny, but how long can that last? The show itself was funny because of the dialogue, but take away the hairy Neanderthals in polo shirts, you just have yet another sitcom about single friends in the city. The first episode was good enough for me to give it another shot.
School Rumble (2004)
As a moderate American anime watcher, I have to say that "School Rumble" is a fantastic series. I mean, I was honestly shocked by how good it was. If you think this is just another school romance anime, you're wrong. This is actually a very comedic show. Yeah, it has teenagers in love, but the humor totally trumps it. Usually each episode is split into three small stories and the format worked for me. The humor in "School Rumble" is appealing because a good amount of it is funny no matter what language you speak. Apart from the usual Japanese pun jokes one finds in anime - which aren't even that funny when it's explained - "School Rumble" has gags which can be appreciated by anyone. The female lead, Tenma, is the most cartoon-like and off-the-wall of all the characters. I was really impressed by whoever did her voice. Usually I don't care much about the delivery of the Japanese voices since I don't know the language, but Tenma's actress really brought energy to the character. It kind of transcended the language barrier, I guess. The male lead, Harima, is totally different than most leading guys because he's a hulking biker brute who looks 20-something, but he's only 17. You don't see a character like that take the lead in a genre like "School Rumble" but it works and it's really funny.
What's great is how the supporting characters give life to the series. As the season progresses, more time is focused on them and they contribute greatly for more stories. Yeah, you have the typical girl-obsessed pervert, the tomboy, the rich blonde girl...but you also have the turtle-loving loner, the quiet girl who may be an international assassin during summer vacation, the shy girl who for some reason has hulk-like strength, and the kid who dreams of being the top bully at the school but is too much of a wimp/has too much bad luck to actually do it. And those are just a few characters out of many. Having a huge cast of varied characters is what made "The Simpsons" popular, and it works for "School Rumble." The best part? There is another series ("School Rumble: 2nd Semester") after this one. That's a little over 50 episodes of hilarious goodness. Even if you're not a hardcore anime lover, give "School Rumble" a try.
Fainaru fantajî XII (2006)
Great (once you get the hang of it)
Final Fantasy XII is a really great game with a lot of extras to keep you busy for a long time. The fighting system itself has been overhauled - instead of running into random encounters and being transported to a battle screen, the enemies are on the field and you fight them right there. The system does take some getting used to, especially in the beginning when you only have one person in your party. The system works best later on, when the enemies (and you and your party) are quicker, stronger, and smarter, resulting in fast, amazing battles. Any fan of World of Warcraft or other MMORPGs will adapt to this game in two seconds, as it's basically the same fighting system.
I found the weakest link was the story, which is odd because Final Fantasy is known for great stories. It never felt epic to me, and it didn't feel like the fate of the world was hanging in the balance. It had to do more with politics and war (probably because the head guy of this game was the same guy behind Final Fantasy Tactics, which focused less on fantasy and more on warring kingdoms). Also, while the game advertises Vaan as the main character, it's not really so. It makes you wonder why they didn't just scrap him and go with some other party member as the main character, as there are three others with more "main character" story lines than Vaan. The music is also nothing compared to past games. Finally, the only way to make serious money is by selling the "loot" you find off dead monsters. You will find yourself broke often because everything - weapons, armor, magic, Gambits, technicks, EVERYTHING - costs a lot of money.
But those are actually minor grievances once you start playing the game. The sidequests in this game, mainly hunting Marks, are incredibly fun. There are great bosses, the Judge Magisters are cool and intimidating, the voice acting is superb, the cutscenes are excellent, the graphics push to the PS2 to its limit, there are tons of different weapons and spells, the cities are large and sprawling with life, and Gambits - if you like 'em - can be mastered to perfection.
All in all, a great game and a great addition to the series
Don't believe the hype
This show is no good. This show is only for people who are devoted fans of Aaron Sorkin, who claim that people who don't get the show are not intelligent.
It has nothing to do with intelligence. Studio 60 is sub-par at best, and devoted Sorkinites should stop and realize that their emperor, to quote the old saying, has no clothes.
A lot of comments on this board have ratings of 10 stars - but those were posted immediately after the pilot episode aired, which was indeed very good TV. Everything after the pilot went downhill, much like this show's ratings.
1. Studio 60 suffers from an overdose of "Sorkin dialogue" (fast-paced talking about numerous subjects at once while seeming to be in a rush, sprinkled with witty metaphors aka "walk and talk"). The dialogue is not hard to follow, but it comes off as smug, like a "I'm smart and I know it" kind of way. Also, every single character talks that way. There is no diversity among the way they talk, so you don't believe any of the characters - you just see them speaking lines from Sorkin's script. They're all the same, even DL Hughley, and we know he doesn't really talk like that.
2. The show-within-a-show is not funny. Many claim it isn't supposed to be, as if in the world where Studio 60 takes place, it's considered good. That is a poor excuse at best. When we're slammed over the head with characters always saying how great a writer Matt Albie (Matthew Perry) is, we expect to see great writing. We don't. When we're slammed over the head saying how talented and brilliant comedy-wise the "big three" are (Sarah Paulson, DL Hughley, Nate Corrdry), we expect to see their characters be hilarious on the sketch show. We don't. We can't just be told they're hilarious. We have to see it to believe it. It's TV. Having actors play fantastic comedic actors is a very difficult thing to pull off for anyone. Something like that just doesn't work.
3. Amanda Peet is miscast, mainly because of her age. She's like 35 and already president of a major television network? Other than that, she's the only character you want to root for because she has to prove herself and fight censors. Matt and Danny already won - they returned triumphant to the show. Why root for them? They're already golden. What's the big deal if they screw up? Crises on the show don't seem to matter much because of that. Only Peet's character will get in trouble, but she's not the main focus of the show.
Also miscast is Sarah Paulson as Harriet, Matt's ex-flame. Everyone on the show fawns over her - how much they respect her talents, her beauty - everything about her. Huh? Where is that? When a bad joke was written, Matt says, "It's bad...but she will pull it off. She always does." She can? From what we - the audience - has seen, Harriet isn't that amazing. Like above, we're told that she is, but we just don't see it. And Sorkin spends A LOT of time focusing on her and Matt, and it's clearly the weakest point of the show.
4. Lastly, I'm liberal and have no love for the Religious Right, but for the love of cupcakes, I get it, Sorkin - you don't love the Religious Right, either. Stop rubbing our noses in it. We know you have beef with them, but I'm trying to be entertained by your show, not view your personal anger at the Right. I agree with your views, but just like when I hate it when conservatives put their views in the media, I hate it when liberals do it, too. Just let me watch TV.
Ai yori aoshi (2002)
Sweet and addicting series, but...
To sum it up quickly, Ai Yori Aoshi is about a college student named Kaoru who meets a sweet, kimono-wearing girl named Aoi. Aoi is looking for a boy from her past whom she has been in love with all her life. Kaoru helps the lost Aoi in her search, and they both eventually realize that he is the boy from her past. There is MUCH more to it than that, but let's get down to brass tacks: the first four episodes of this show rule. They are sweet and touching, and the relationship between Kaoru and Aoi becomes solid in merely these four episodes. If they kept the series with just them as characters, I would be thrilled.
But they don't.
Eventually, Kaoru and Aoi are moved to a big mansion, and this great romance series becomes another typical "harem" anime. Don't get me wrong - the series still rocks, but it GREATLY loses its punch when this happens. More beautiful females with their own personalities move in, and the relationship between Kaoru and Aoi is mentioned less. Normally, the harem motif is awesome, but it slowed down this series. That proves how good this show is. If only the relationship between just two fictional anime characters can draw you in, that means that Ai Yori Aoshi is a winner.
Not as powerful as Best Boy but...
Everyone who has seen Best Boy should see Best Man. It's interesting to see how Philly has aged in 20 years! However, this documentary lacks the emotional punch of Best Boy. I feel Ira Wohl simply made it because, as he mentions at the start of the film, so many people asked him how Philly was doing. Which is not a bad thing, but it clearly shows. Philly is alive and well in the film, and he is 72 (I think). He lives in a nice group home in New York. With his parents long gone, his sister Fran (who is now the age her mother was in Best Boy!) takes care of him the most.
Ira decides to give Philly a Bar Mitzvah, which is kind of the main premise of the movie. You see Philly fly on an airplane to California, you see him make his own coffee with ease, and, which I think is the best scene in the whole film, he talks about his departed mother. Although he giggles when talking in front of the camera, he finally sighs and goes, "Oooh, I miss her..."
Although Best Man is not as good as Best Boy, every fan of Philly should see it.
Kidô senshi Z Gundam (1985)
Fantastic! The best Gundam series!
Z Gundam is an excellent Gundam series, and considered among fans to be the best and most serious. Unlike Gundam Wing or G Gundam (which debuted on Cartoon Network) this one takes place in the same "universe" as the original Gundam (which was also on Cartoon Network for a time). It is 8 years after the war against Zeon, but during this time, the Earth Federation has become corrupt. In fear of other Zeon-like uprisings, they create a police force known as the Titans. However, the Titans are mere bullies, and the law doesn't apply to them (think the Nazi SS during WWII). A rebel faction, the Anti-Earth Union Group(AEUG) are the good guys in this series.
Among the AEUG is ace pilot Quatro Bagina, (who is really a disguised Char Aznable, villain from the original Gundam), and 17-year old Camille Vidan, who is the main character of this series. Camille is a powerful Newtype, and what happens to him and his family in the first few episodes will prove to you how dark this show is. Even Amuro Ray returns and plays a big role in Z Gundam. The best part? ZZ Gundam, which has a whole new set of characters and takes place one day after Z Gundam ends, begins.
Bar Hopping (2000)
This movie S U C K E D
A friend of mine rented this movie, and I have to admit, I thought it would be good. It has Kevin Nealon and John Henson, so it should be funny, right?
NO! This movie sucked! Let's set up the movie: It's a bunch of characters on a Saturday night at different bars. Simple enough, but the movie never finishes some of their stories! This one character goes to a bar with her boyfriend and his 9 cousins...and it never tells you what happens!
Also, what is the deal with cutting to the bartender (Tom Arnold) who is narrating? His narration was utterly pointless! It shouldn't even had been in the movie. Then sometimes, this one woman looks at the camera and narrates! She wasn't even a main character, and she only does that two times the entire movie during the few scenes she was in! I must also bring up Sally Kellerman in the tub. At that point, I wasn't paying attention, but I saw some old man, fully clothed, get into the tub with her. Who the hell knows?
The only bright spots in this entire movie were Kevin Nealon and Nicole Sullivan. He played his depressed character well. I only liked Nicole's performance because she kissed another woman. Even THAT wasn't enough to save this stinker. Do yourself a favor and don't rent it. If you do rent it, do me a favor and light yourself on fire.