Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Brian's Song (2001)
A worthy Remake
I, for one, found this version of BRIAN'S SONG better than the original. While the original is well worth watching, and deserves its reputation as one of the best MADE FOR TV movies ever made, this one is at least it's equal. In the approximately the same length of time, it develops the friendship between Brian Piccalo and Gale Sayers a whole lot better, and the impact of Brian's illness is much clearer here. When I saw Ben Gazzara was starring as Coach Halas, I had my doubts, but Gazzara played the role well. Paula Cale, one of most underrated actresses around today, plays Joy Piccalo with such emotion and feeling that you can actually get caught up in the story. The friendship she develops with Linda Sayers, played by the beautiful Elise Neal, is really believable and much more detailed than in the original. Sean Maher's performance as Brian Picallo is just as good, if not even better, than James Caan's portrayal in the original. That's not to say that Caan didn't do a good job, by Maher just shows the frustration and pain Piccalo was going through.
If I have one complaint about this version, it would be that it is too politically correct. In the 1971 version, the use of racial epithets, such as the N-word, really shows the racism prevalent of the times. Here, the most racist comment is when Pic is reading a hate letter that refers to Sayers as a "Darkie". While not wanting to focus on the racism, that was part of the reason Picallo and Sayers developed such a close bond as friends, being the first black and white roommates in the NFL. We should not try to cover up or forget our racist, oppressive past. In the 1960's and 1970's the USA was going through a much needed change and struggle with racial identities and roles. This movie should have shown a clearer representation of that.
Still, over-all this was an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it, not just for Bears fans, or Football fans, but for fans of great and inspiring entertainment.
Home Run Derby (1959)
One of the best
If you are looking for the glitz and glamor of Today's HOME RUN hitting contests, then you better look elsewhere. This charming little series is nothing more than two guys hitting baseballs on a summer day, trying to best the other guy. It's relaxed, and relaxing. Although the competition is serious, and for serious (well, serious for the day!) cash, no one seems to take it too seriously. It's all in the spirit of good clean fun. It's baseball the way baseball was meant to be.
The rules of the game are simple. Step up to the plate, and hit the ball out of the park. If it doesn't go out of the park, it's an out. 3 outs per inning, 9 innings per game. Score more Home Runs than the other fella, and win some money. When you are not batting, talk baseball with the host while the other takes his licks.
Not a lot of exciting on the edge of your seat action, just good, clean fun. It is strangely interesting, and nothing but pure baseball entertainment. I can just imagine watching this on Saturday mornings before listening to Vin Scully and the GAME OF THE WEEK. It takes us back to a simpler time when baseball was a game, and not the big business is today.
True Grit (2010)
It's not a retelling, it's a remake, Plain and Simple
Back in the day, most households only had the TV, and you watched everything as a family. My Mother was a big John Wayne fan. So, whenever there was a John Wayne movie on, I was forced to watch it. Well, not forced, but I knew there would be nothing else on the family set. From the time I was a little child, I remember watching The Duke, and realizing I was watching something special.
Of course, like any true Duke fan, my favorite John Wayne flick is THE QUIET MAN. I have had meaningful, deep, conversations about this movie with friends over beers in what passes for an Irish pub on the Westside of town. But that is a subject for another day. I want to talk about the ultimate John Wayne Western: True Grit.
True Grit features The Scene. The scene that makes John Wayne The Duke! We all know the scene. It's the scene towards the end of the movie, when he meets Lucky Ned Pepper in the open field and tells him he is either going to arrest him, or kill him. Ned politely declines to be taken in, and insults Marshall Cogburn. And Rooster yells, "Fill your hand you son of a bitch!!" and the big climatic gun battle ensues.
It's just not the line, which is probably the best line in any western, but also the way the Duke delivers it. The look on his face after being insulted by Ned,and the determination on his face during the charge. It is truly an inspirational moment.
So, naturally, when I first read online that they were remaking (okay, retelling) True Grit, I had many, many reservations. And when I heard that Jeff Bridges would be playing Rooster Cogburn, and Matt Damon as LaBoeuf, I was worried. Jeff Bridges? Starman? The guy from Tron? As Rooster Cogburn? Blasphemy! And MATT DAMON? That guy in all the Kevin Smith movies? Double Blashphemy!! Well, of course, he would be an improvement over Glen Campbell. Who wouldn't be? And just who the hell is Hailee Steinfeld? Kim Darby was never a favorite, and this role did nothing to change that impression, but I had no idea who this Hailee Steinfeld was. It was the Duke that made the original a great flick. And of course, the story was fantastic. And they kept saying this wasn't a remake, but a retelling of the book. Sure.
To say I was under impressed with the new cast would be an understatement. I was not looking forward to this at all. The last time I was so not looking forward to a movie was The Lovely Bones, and that proved I was right to be concerned. And besides, most remakes, well, suck. There just is no other way to describe them. So it goes.
Then, I saw the trailer. My curiosity was peaked. It actually looked good. Could they actually remake a classic like True Grit worth watching? Then I saw the trailer again. Wait, was this actually going to be a good movie? With Matt Damon? Would miracles never cease? I was actually looking forward to see this thing.
Well, I did see it. Like I said, I wasn't expecting much, but maybe I should have been. This actually turned out to be a pretty great movie. Yeah, great. Jeff Bridges is a worthy successor to the Duke, at least as far as ROOSTER COGBURN goes. He will never replace the Duke, nor do I think he wants to. He wants to play Rooster the way he wants to play Rooster. And he does play Rooster well. Matt Damon, just by appearing on the screen, takes command of the LeBoeuff role. And Hailee Steinfeld played Mattie great. The three of them had great on screen chemistry.
There were one or two scenes that were not in the Original version, but for the most part, it was a remake, not a retelling. The "new scenes" could have been left off, and not effected the storyline at all. I will have to get a copy of the novel to see how those scenes fit into the story, as it looks like they might have a little more to do with the plot than what is revealed in the movie version. That is often the case. You watch a movie version of your favorite book, and you see nothing wrong with it, but someone who has never the read the book will look at a certain scene and say it didn't belong in movie. There are several cases of this in The Lovely Bones, and I am curious to see if this is the case with True Grit.
Then there is The Scene. Like I said earlier, The Duke aced it. Jeff Bridges just misses that mark. A great scene, and great acting, but the facial expressions just fail to make the same impression. The impact just is not there. So it goes.
The ending to this remake is just flat. It was like the producers looked up at the Camera and noticed they were running out of film and decided they had to wind this thing up pretty quick before the spool ran out.
They just left some very important plot items just hanging, and tried to explain it away with a voice-over in the final scene. It just didn't work. It was a let down, a disappointment in what turned out to be a pretty good flick.
Other than that, my personal opinion is that the Duke would be pleased with the remake. Again, I make it a point to call it a remake and not a retelling, as both movies are very similar on a lot of points. There are differences, just not enough to call it a re-telling. Check it out on the big screen.
A fine remake, but really can't hold a candle to the Original
One of the best war movies of all time, if not one of the best movies of any kind, is the 1930 version of Erich Maria Remarque's excellent novel, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, featuring Lew Ayers. All remakes should be judged against that great film. As such, this remake, featuring Richard Thomas, comes close to matching the original in making a person think and feel about war in general, but somehow leaves the viewer a little flat in the end.
There are some scenes which are underplayed in this remake. For instance, in the 1930's version, Corporal Himmelstoss is known to the recruits before the war and basic training as the town postman. This is a central point to there feeling about him and their treatment of him, both during boot camp and afterward. By not including this small fact, something is lost to the over point of the movie. In the original, Himmelstoss is a character whose actions, especially during training, allow the viewer to feel more deeply towards him, and helps explain his actions on the field of battle later on.
Towards the beginning of the film, Paul is explaining that it is a good day because they have each received double rations. In the 1930 version, the reason behind the double rations is more evident and poignant.
But for these small drawbacks, this is still one hell of a good film, and should be seen by all war movie fans, and even fans of novel from which it was made.
Quite possibly the worst movie ever made
This movies plays out like a poorly made YOU-TUBE video. It would not even pass for a low budget, low grade bondage movie. The only thing "special" about the Special Effects is how extremely poor they are. The "ghosts" and the "beast" are straight out of a kindergarten recital. I have enjoyed watching the grass grow more than I have enjoyed this so-called movie.
To make things worse, in the special features section of the DVD is the obligatory "MAKING OF" feature, and the director speaks of how this was a major production with great special effects. He even goes into detail on the effects were created. He should have spent more time hiring actors with a little more talent, and maybe invest a little time in a directing class.
Avoid this "horror" flick like the plague. The real "horror" here is the amount of cash you lose when you purchase or rent this horrid excuse for a movie.
The Hamiltons (2006)
Just another Horror Movie
This movie is not a bad movie. It's not a good one either. You just watch it, expecting something, ANYTHING, to happen, and nothing ever really happens. At least nothing you didn't see coming ten minuted before. Any true horror fan should have been able to figure out the entire plot in the first 30 minutes of the film. It adds nothing new the the genre. The acting is not terrible, nor could you call it Acadamy Award winning either. Much like the plot the characters just seem to lie there and recite the lines. The older brother tries to hard to bring some life to another wise ordinary and dull script. It's interesting. Don't buy it, simply rent it, and then only if you a half off coupon or rent one, get one free coupon.
Family: Pilot: The Best Years (1976)
Great Pilot Episode
I just finished watching the PILOT episode of FAMILY for the first time since it was aired all those years ago. All those years ago, as an Adolescent boy right around Kristy McNichol's age, I fell in love with her, and watching the episode again brought all those good memories flooding back.
Kristy (or Kristie, as she is credited in the opening credits!) just looked so darn cute, and her acting was brilliant. In one scene, she overhears her Mother and Father fighting and her mother mentions that while pregnant with Buddy, she wasn't sure she wanted to go thru with the pregnancy. The hurt look on Kristy's face at that moment was so real and convincing. I think it was at that point that I bonded with Kristy, because what little kid, at one time or another, hasn't thought that his/her parents really didn't want them? And to hear you parents actually admit something like that (even though deep down you know they really DO love you) is a traumatic experience, and Kristy portrayed that experience wonderfully. Not many child stars could have pulled it off as sincerely.
A little bit later in the plot, just after she is caught by the caretaker, and he is threatening to call the cops on her for breaking the windows of the greenhouse, she has the cutest little pout on her face as she sits there wondering what her next move should be. Seeing it after all these years just re-affirms my admiration for Kristy and her talent. No wonder she won the EMMY AWARD three years in a row.
For me, watching FAMILY is all about KRISTY!! I can't wait to finish watching the first and second season, and hope for the release of the rest of the seasons!!
The Very Best Episode of the Series
With Charles Levin, Colleen Camp and Kareem Abdul Jabar.
Every series has their high, and this episode is way better than any others. This episode is funny,to be sure, and it's really quite campy. It deals with a couple (Levine and Camp) channeling Woody Allen or something. They go to a little shop that appears out of nowhere, and vanishes just as quick, and buy a lamp, inhabited by a genie (voiced and played by Jabar) that is mean and likes to make fun of them. The whole episode is being told by Charles Levine in a mental hospital. The ending has a predictable twist, but other than that, it's the funniest episode of the series. I'm just plain sad that such a great episode would be panned by other viewers.
Closed Captioned in English!!
Not being a fan of Soap Operas in General, and Spanish Soap Operas in particular (I don't speak Spanish!), I would have never thought I would never watch, much less enjoy, a Spanish Language TeleNovela. When I heard that TELEMUNDO was closing captioning some of it's programs in English (NBC captions some of it's programs (Jay Leno for one) in Spanish) I thought it might be interesting to see how it works. LA PRISIONERA was one of the programs closed-captioned. As it turns out, it is a highly entertaining show to watch and read. Although it can be rather predictable and relies on a well-used plot, it is well acted and enjoyable. The tension between sisters Guadalupe (played by the beautiful Gabriela Spanic) and her sister, Milagros (Gabriela Roel), can be cut with a knife and makes for some interesting viewing. Libertiad, played by the young and lovely Genesis Rodriquez, is a typical teen-ager with all the typical and predictable teen-age problems, complicated by the situation between the Mother that raised her (Roel), and her escaped ex-con (falsely accused!) Birth mother (Spanic). If you want to escape your everyday life for an hour a day, I recommend watching this great show.
Not the greatest Movie
This Movie has one redeeming feature, and that is the incredible beauty of Daneen Boone in the title role. It's too bad she can't act, though. The plot is tepid at best, which it is often not. Hard to believe they actually made sequels to this.