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The Voice (2011)
Yet another overwrought reality television show.
With the cancellation of American Idol, The Voice is now the premier "find a new recording artist to market to the adolescents" show on network T.V. Unfortunately, it is still garbage just like all of reality television.
Other than the ridiculously convoluted way they pick a winner (which seems to take ages to go through) the show relies on the same reality television formula that has been done to death. You have your typical stereotypical wannabes who probably were found butchering songs on YouTube, flashing skin on Facebook or prostituting themselves on Instagram. They have judges and mentors (some of which are terrible singers with personalities as noxious as a sewer or faker than a $3 bill) trying to teach these stiffs how to "sing" better. It's like Chinese Water Torture.
Hosted by Ryan Seacrest wannabe Carson Daly, the current judges include hack country singer Blake Shelton, his boyish, flat-butted girlfriend Gwen Stefani, douchebag of the decade Adam Levine and Casting Couch Connoisseur Alicia Keys. If you wish to see people make an embarrassment of themselves, watch The Gong Show. On the other hand, if you need a cure for insomnia...
Match Game (2016)
Not-so-good reboot of the classic 70's game show.
I am a big fan of Match Game from the 1970's. I watched the show as a kid from 1975-1982, watched reruns on The Game Show Network or whatever it's now called and YT is full of episodes and classic moments. It is tough for a reboot to match (no pun intended) the classic Match Game hosted by Gene Rayburn and this one just doesn't make the grade.
I watched episodes from both the summer of 2016 and the new episodes being aired in 2017.
I actually think Alec Baldwin is a great host for the show. I'm no fan of the guy but he fits in perfectly with his sleazy, douche-y persona and he pays homage to Gene by using a microphone like the one Mr. Rayburn built for the show. I have zero issues with him.
I do have some issues with some of the panelists they bring in. Some of them look like they drank a case of Red Bull before coming in for the taping. Niecy Nash overplays the sassy black woman to the hilt that it becomes annoying. Mario Cantone is your typical unfunny stock flaming queen who is no Charles Nelson Reilly. I'd rather have a guy who only implies he's gay than somebody who is loud and proud such as Cantone. Some panelists even have contempt for the contestants and gave purposely wrong answers.
The contestants can be annoyances as well. They love bringing in brainwashed female religious fanatics from Jesusland or other stereotypical flaming queens with the big flashy smile and the limp- wristed clapping.
The blanks are typically about sex or politics and people in the summer got their panties in a bunch when Donald Trump was the topic and you had Alec Baldwin (who is known for his portrayal of him on Saturday Night Live) and Rosie O'Donnell (who hates Trump) taking shots at him. Are people not aware that Mr. Trump isn't exactly a normal human being?
Way too often in the Head-to-Head Match, the other panelists stick their noses where they don't belong. Could you imagine if the late, great Richard Dawson had every other panelist in his face every time he was picked?
It's an OK show but the more you watch it, the less you like it. Hopefully, Neil DeGrasse Tyson appears again as he was great in his one appearance.
Dancing with the Stars (2005)
Dancing With The Trainwrecks.
It's no secret that I loathe reality television and this show really needs to do what American Idol did and go away. It's yet another rigged contest where the winner is pretty much decided the day they announce the participants.
First of all, these aren't exactly who I would call "stars". While they might bring in relevant NFL football players such as Von Miller, most of their "stars" are has-beens and never wills. They love to bring in brainwashed religious fanatics such as Sadie Robertson, Candice Cameron Bure and former Texas Governor Rick Perry who spew their silly beliefs to appeal to the uneducated Bible Belters in the South or people who have had "adversity" affect their lives. The audience has to see long and pointless "talking head vignettes" full of sobbing. You won't be seeing Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone or even Christopher Walken on this claptrap.
Second, after the "star" and their partner have done their dance routine, the annoying judges scream at the top of their lungs sounding desperate for attention while the coached audience reacts. The judges then scream out their scores as an announcer says their name. If you have seen Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America then you know what I'm talking about. A normal person would only loathe the entire set-up.
Hosted by failed game show host Tom Bergeron and Casting Couch Connoisseur Erin Andrews, we see endless interviews during the show that are painful to watch.
Put it all together and what results is the worst kind of television imaginable. Only the truly desperate or those devoid of intelligence would even watch this crud. It gets a 1/10.
What's Up, Doc? (1972)
Babs throws a screwball.
While I'm not a fan of Pierre Elliot Trudeau's ex-girlfriend, there's no question Barbra Streisand is a superlative talent as an actress, singer and composer. She has more talent in her pinkie finger than Jennifer Lawrence has in her whole body. She owns What's Up Doc? fully and delivers a tour-de-force performance. Streisand sings, acts, showcases her comedic chops and even sizzles with her understated sensuousness throughout the zany proceedings.
Peter Bogdanovich's delicious take-off of the classic screwball comedies of yesteryear is spiced up with references to iconic Bugs Bunny cartoons. Bab's Judy Maxwell is a wisecracking, confident go- getter who is attracted to mousy scientist-musician Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal), who has come to San Francisco with his frigid fiancée Eunice (the late great Madeline Kahn in her film debut) to compete for a grant.
You also have a hilarious game of cat-and-mouse involving four exactly alike duffel bags being stolen and re-stolen by various shady characters (one of whom is future Boss Hogg Sorrell Booke) without them looking inside of them. These individuals and Maxwell reek havoc on the posh hotel in uproarious fashion.
Eventually, these two story lines mesh in a crazy chase through the streets of San Francisco where the screwball also meshes with Bugs Bunny.
I really enjoyed WUD. It actually is a funny film and the references to the classic film shorts are spliced in at the right time. Like so many other Warner Brothers films of the last Golden Age of Cinema, you will never see anything like this today. It's family-friendly but adults will find plenty to tickle their funny bone. In a day of fart jokes, blue humor and sexual tastelessness, there is always the classics to turn to and WUD is a fine film.
If only there were more Judy Maxwells in Ottawa...
Saving Christmas (2014)
Razzie Award winning Christmas nonsense.
I don't know what the story is behind Kirk Cameron's over 25 year run as a Fundamentalist Christian. Gay rumours, a concussion, alienating the cast of Growing Pains, who knows? The last two decades as a Hope Dope Dealer have made him a laughingstock to mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics and of course, atheists like myself. However, he is making a decent living preaching to the converted with his twisted ideologies.
Saving Christmas is a truly awful film. It's nothing more than Kirk playing himself as he rattles on about hot chocolate and his ridiculous views about Christmas. He pushes the "reason for the season" to his nutty brother-in-law Christian (played in excruciating manner by Darren Doane, who also directed) in a car. We also see stereotypical black men talking ebonics.
This is the slowest 80 minutes you'll ever encounter. Kirk and his buddies at the ironically named Liberty University padded this film with tons of slow motion and idiotic dancing from brainwashed people who believe in fairy tales. This is pure torture.
The acting is brutal throughout. Kirk is probably the least annoying yet he won two Razzies when Doane should have won one for playing a stammering nincompoop who looks like Al Snow.
I'll be nice and say that they made St. Nicholas look like a total boss and the human beatbox old school rapping during the purposely overlong credits are good (I like old school freestyle rap) but the ridiculous myths about swaddling clothes, Christmas gifts looking like New Jerusalem and seeing a bunch of white people making Emily Ratajkowski look like Mikhail Baryshnikov when it comes to dancing will overwhelm any good bits this bore offers. If you want to laugh at a Fundie film, stick with A Thief In The Night. If you want a cure for insomnia, on the other hand...
Screen Test (1985)
The prototype that The Asylum has made a fortune with.
Screen Test is a film that has become unfairly obscure in a huge sea of horny guy teen flicks. Among the Private Schools, Porky's and Bachelor Parties it is Screen Test's story line that is still used and re-used by studios such as The Asylum.
A bunch of horny men concoct a scheme in order to get some action by pretending that they are porn film directors and then find out that their plan might lead them to an early death when they cross the mob.
The real reason to see this film is for the Goddess that is Monique Gabrielle. She appears three times and shows everybody her goods. There are a few funny scenes in this low budget film such as the two guys pretending to be the Siskel & Ebert of sex toys or seeing the kids watching an accidental broadcast of the porn movie and then the boy telling the two girls that he wants them to join him in bed but it's not really anything special outside of the plot. None of the actors ever did anything of note before or after this. However, if you're a fan of the nudie films of The Asylum you should try to find this film to see where they got all their ideas for a few of their films such as Celebrity Sex Tape.
Naked News (1999)
Pure cringe-worthy cheese.
From some dank basement in downtown Toronto, The Naked News has been delivering pop-culture cheddar to the Internet since 1999. For a monthly or yearly subscription fee, people can see lipstick feminists shaking their moneymakers all in the name of Girl Power.
Imagine Entertainment Tonight or some lurid sex show with nude women...that's The Naked News. 20-25 minutes, 6 times a week of "sexy" women reading off of a telestrator. You should see these women as a lot of them have massive egos and think they are worthy of having shrines built to them. The good and beautiful anchors are the ones who realize the whole racket is just to be tongue-and-cheek and not to be taken seriously (Eila Adams, Madison Banes, Angie Heyward, Carli Bei, Isabella Rossini) but the women who shove their agendas down people's throats are unbearable.
First, we have Katherine Curtis. Ms. Curtis is a self-proclaimed nerd and humorless ultra-leftist bitch who acts like she is above everyone. The entire time she shows up on camera she flaunts her massive ego and spews her ridiculous ultra leftist beliefs to everybody while thinking she still has a killer body. Back in 2007 she was hot stuff, now, not so much with the flabby backside. She is also a co-writer and co-producer (as is Eila) but you can tell what segments she wrote.
Next is Peyton Priestly, Ms. "I only eat organic food and support animal rights". Certainly a great all-natural body but a nasally and annoying voice and sporting a massive ego to boot.
Then we have her identical twin sister Whitney St. John, who is only there when school is out. She has fake bosoms, wears nerd glasses to show how "smart" she is and thinks she's a big deal. She talks like a school professor.
Finally we have Natasha Olenski and Andrea Sully, two women from the Eastern Bloc. Olenski is not beautiful at all unless you like bad breast augmentation and while Sully's work is better, her behind is as flat as a board and both have voices that grate on my ears.
Despite the motto "The Program With Nothing To Hide" the location of their studio is a guarded secret. Of course, they do come out and do topless interviews made possible by my province's Topfree laws. They do lame man-on-the-street interviews about trivial stuff to bemused people embarrassed to be on camera.
The real kicker is the forced repartee between the ladies. It's painful to watch. It sounds like a conversation between women who deep down hate each other's guts but must pretend to be buddies. When you watch the local news, you can tell there's camaraderie between the anchors. Not here. Then again, I wouldn't want to be near Ms. Curtis, Ms. Priestly or Ms. St. John, either. Nothing like being told what to do with you life, eh?
If you want to pay for an overpriced subscription to be bored to death half the time by women spewing leftist policies on their audiences just to see those anchors that don't take themselves seriously then go on ahead.
Wonder Bar (1934)
Maybe Will Hays was right...
Wonder Bar is one of the most notorious films ever released. One of the last Pre-Code films, Wonder Bar is mostly tame by today's standards. The story of a night at Al Wonder's (Al Jolson) Paris nightclub (named after the film) is full of dark humor, crazy cougars, love triangles and crimes of passion. Sadly, it's quite forgettable and these parts of the movie aren't really why anybody would watch Wonder Bar today.
The two reasons to view Wonder Bar is first to see Al Jolson sing and he puts on a terrific show. My favorite part is when he talks to the Russian Count and he goes back to his roots (Jolson was born in present- day Lithuania) and develops a Russian accent. Yes, he's playing himself but that's good enough for everybody.
The second are the two Busby Berkeley numbers. Don't Say Goodnight is an amazing showcase of his choreography skills with tons of blondes and mesmerizing visuals.
Going' To Heaven On A Mule over the years has aged worse and worse. Every time I think of all those kids in blackface I cringe. I find it hard to believe the producers would think Going' To Heaven On A Mule would be listed among the greatest movie musical numbers ever. The idea of hundreds of whites dancing in blackface with Jolson still disturbs me. Maybe Hays was right in this case that having a Code would at least prevent this kind of overt racist humor for a period of time. You would figure back in 1934 Hollywood was liberal enough to discard the watermelon stereotype but apparently not.
Wonder Bar is nothing special outside of Jolson and the two big Berkeley numbers. It's definitely a must-watch for serious cinephiles but that's about it.
Frozen? More like Slush!
Frozen is a mystery to me. How an average run-of-the-mill Disney film has become a sensation for a year and a half has puzzled me. I feel this film pales in comparison to Snow White, Bambi, Fantasia, Beauty & The Beast, Toy Story and other animated/CGI films often lauded as the best from The House Of The Mouse. I sat through the film twice, looked for hidden meanings (and found none) and tried to understand what was going on and just didn't understand the hype or why people are ridiculously obsessed with the film, its songs or its characters. Was it because of the cold winters the last two years, the standout track Let It Go (honestly, a pretty good song) or the done-to-death oppression theme? Why are so many people crazy about this film? It's a mystery to me.
Frozen has top of the line CGI and one good song but nothing more. The script is painfully lame and isn't worthy of a PG rating, the voice acting is hammy, the characters are annoying to anybody who isn't a tween girl (Disney's biggest audience by far) and it's simply not like Disney films of the past that could appeal to all ages. Only tween girls will find Frozen a joy. Everybody else should just see it as another Bob Iger cash grab but strangely, they don't. They are mesmerized by this mediocre film for reasons I'll never know. As Prince once opined, it's The Sign O' The Times...and not one I like.
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Nothing but a bad chick flick version of BDSM
I didn't know about 50 Shades Of Grey until February, when it was shoved onto everybody's face. I never heard of the wildly popular book, either. Of course, that's because any book that is wildly popular is usually some scribble geared to teenagers. Not to say that I haven't indulged in schlock as my brothers and I read Sidney Sheldon books in the 1990's. These days, I am a lot more careful about my reading material.
So going into this movie, I knew nothing about the contents of the book or what it was all about. After viewing it, I can't understand why anybody would want to see this crud in a theater. 50 Shades Of Grey represents the nadir of Hollywood. Proof positive that crap can draw money because people will pay to watch mediocrity (which this film isn't even) and praise it because they refuse to bother looking for the much better in years past. Films from 1975 explored BDSM way more explicitly and honestly than this fluff.
All this film offers are Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) doing G-rated versions of BDSM. That's it. Add in horrible acting from the entire cast, a insipid script written by Kelly Marcel in which she channels a 7th grader's mindset and terrible direction from Sam Taylor-Johnson and you have a multi Razzie Award winner come to life. Boring, unerotic and sterile is all I can say. There's much better out there in regards to films exploring BDSM. If they make a sequel, boycott it. Tell Hollywood that you're not going to get your intelligence insulted any longer.