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Law & Order: Homesick (1996)
The Baby Didn't Have A Chance
What was sad about this episode was that no one in this baby's life cared for him properly. The prosecution focused on the Au pair and the baby's mother but everyone in this baby's life was focused on something else. When they did focus on the baby, they saw someone else.
In the very first scene, the father expected behavior and ability that no 5 month old could achieve. Even the Au pair pointed knew this. Neither parent thought that perhaps someone other than an Au pair art student from another country should care full time for a baby. The agency did not match the abilities of this particular Au pair with the right family. The ex-wife had no love for the new baby. Interestingly, no one asked the son from the first marriage how the divorce and new family affected him.
Too bad the two sons couldn't have become brothers.
I was moved by this film. I was aware of Kate Nelligan's performance as Susan Traherne in the original stage version, a lusty, glowing former Resistance heroine with a shattered psyche. In the film, Meryl Streep focused on a beautiful, disarming character's inconsistent control of the crazy energy lurking underneath.
Plenty could be re-released today on a double bill with the recently released Brothers. Both show the long-term effects of war, fought overtly and covertly, on combatants and those who love them. It is no secret that the soldier in Brothers wreaks havoc on his family after returning from one tour of duty too many in Iraq. "People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal and feel emotionally numb, especially with people they were once close to."
So, one way to view and appreciate Susan Traherne and her effect on her husband, friends and co-workers is from this perspective within the context of their cultures.
The Fugitive: Brass Ring (1965)
Guest Star Gems
With three great guest stars, future Best Actor Oscar Nominee, a female member of the Rat Pack, and soon-to-be right hand man of Honey West's , this episode is an example of how much fun viewing old TV series can be. Robert Duvall was great as the crippled but hopeful brother. Angie Dickinson played a femme fatal worthy of the films noir of yore. John Erickson was certainly the type of guy you would run off with. The stairway leading to the living quarters above the gift shop was lit as the symbol it was. The camera angles on Angie as she looked out the window watching the Doctor leave, waiting for her lover to arrive show her duplicity, a true film noir conundrum. I hope to catch this episode again. I know you will enjoy it.
The Last Days of Left Eye (2007)
Gifted, talented, beautiful, tormented
I saw this on VH-1. I was aware of TLC but their episode of "Behind the Music" enabled me to get to know them better. I liked how, unlike the Supremes, all three entertainers played an equal role. But, Left Eye always struck me as gifted but a little disturbed. She made you look. By watching "Last Days", what struck me about her and her family was all of that talent was constantly butting up against torment and turmoil. Her talent also enabled her to express that torment in innovative ways. The show also showed what a leader she was, managing Egypt, bringing them and her family with her to Honduras. What made that vehicle swerve and turn over? That spirit or her whole family tree?
On Our Own (1977)
Size of TV audiences amazing in the '70's
You can tell from the posts on this page that On Our Own was not a big hit. But, the audience for this show would be phenomenally large for any show today. I watched a few episodes but millions of others must have, too. I looked and acted a lot like Lynne Greene. Everywhere I went, parties, discos, total strangers told me I looked and acted like this actress (who was an inch taller and ten pounds thinner than me.) Even my family, living 1,500 miles away, called me long distance telling me to turn on the TV to watch my double. Not just because I look like her, I thought the character was a good one, really funny. In the second season, the characters were no longer roommates. One night, the Bess Armstrong character got sick. Being out of town and young, she did not have a doctor in NYC, so she called Maria, the New Yorker. Of course, Maria had the phone number of a cousin who was a doctor. When reading the number to Bess, she began, "Area code...." Back then, that meant long distance! What a trip.
The Big Street (1942)
a big impression on me
I saw this film in the late '60's on our local TV station. It was not unusual to catch B movies starring our television personalities back in the day. What a film! I cried at the end. What shines through is the portrayal of the class levels within American society then. Lucille Ball's dame certainly internalized the idea that she was above the class of Henry Fonda's Pinky even while she subsisted on the food he brought home for her after she was no longer a gangster's moll. Henry Fonda's Pinky was a true codependent, picking her up from the floor, keeping her alive, even moving her from cold, icy New York City to the east coast Eden of Miami (shades of Midnight Cowboy!)with nary a thank you from this ungrateful woman. Through a plot device, Pinky and the busboys don tuxedos at the end so she condescends to be carried up the stairs by one of their own, enabling her self deceit that she is an upper class lady. Someone wrote it was too much of a downer to have been successful when released and couldn't be made today as the bit players do not exist to round out the cast. Rise above the limitations of both eras and enjoy this film.
The Long Riders (1980)
This film was historically correct in how it showed the attitudes of the times. I saw this film finally after reading a book attempting to explain why American history, including the Wild West years, has been so violent. I was amazed how accurately the film showed those reasons in the Wild West. Mostly men, few women, lived in that part of the country then. The West was spacious and spectacular but also boring, leaving men with little to do but get drunk and play a mouth harp. Also, many of the tough guys hailed from the post-Confederate South. In the film, after taking the long, boring train ride north to a town in Minnesota (to the tune of a mouth harp,) they encountered well-dressed, prosperous Scandinavian-Americans in the streets. These people were barely intelligible as they mocked the long riders. When our anti-heroes arrived at the bank, they discovered what the townsfolk were saying. What they said to the lone teller revealed they were from the South. I was mesmerized by this part of the film and hope others were, too.
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
The great characters in this sweeping saga
I love this movie, too. To me, it is almost a guilty pleasure, considering its flat characterizations. But, they have some redeeming qualities. Although the character actors who play the German military(Anton Diffring) and SS command (Derren Nesbitt) in the castle play to the German stereotype, their spats reveal the antagonism that existed between these two groups. Richard Burton's character gave the impression of really enjoying the mission. Clint played his straight-man from the American heartland who is somewhat shocked by Burton's over-the-top character, similar to Eli Wallach in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Watching Mary Ure and the actress who played Heidi play an active role in the dangerous mission made an impression on me when I was younger. Neither woman cowers, but instead contributes to the action and helps to drive the plot on to the end. Their characters also deal more intimately with the male characters. The adult relationship between Mary Ure's capable character and Richard Burton's commando leader is light years from the tense, immature marriage they portrayed in "Look Back in Anger" ten years before. Mary Ure's character has a nerve-wracking conversation with the dangerous SS officer minutes after arriving at the castle. Again, an entertaining movie.
a long movie made as an independent film
I was amazed this film was made today. It was a long movie made as an independent film with no regard for the box office. There must have been a lot of international financiers contributing to the expense of this film. Although I never saw the film in the theater, I gave the DVD to my husband for his birthday. Later, I liked Rosario Dawson in Clerks II and wondered how she acted in Alexander. (I know enough not to say "appeared".) She was great! I started to watch the DVD whenever I could, a few scenes at a time, and found that worked for me. I liked the flashbacks. They were absorbing, footnoted what had just happened, what was about to happen. Colin Farrel and Jared Leto inhabited what must have been arduous roles. I hate saying this but I remember Jared Leto from his Camryn Diaz days, left adrift on the red carpet as flashbulbs burst around Camryn. But, in this film, Jared shows he has acting chops, playing a tortured, sad character. The film's sociology was interesting. I liked how the film showed life on the road, how Macedonian soldiers started families and spawned kids along the way. Alexander cared for them, too.
Strangers When We Meet (1960)
What a girl wants, what a girl needs
The film was noteworthy because it showed how Maggie (Kim Novak) was ripe for infidelity: her spouse was cold to her and her mother knew it. It was interesting how her mother said "told you so", having warned her not to marry her conventionally-handsome husband. Maggie's mother caught on to the chemistry between her daughter and her passionate neighbor at once, because it was what she wanted for Maggie all along. Kim's longing for love was also revealed by her confession about a dalliance with an outspoken truck driver. Wouldn't you know the driver catches the twosome dining at an out-of-the-way restaurant, hurling insults at her for dropping him. Kim Novak took the cold facade/hot interior combination so beloved by Alfred Hitchcock to another level. It is significant that that the story took place at the end of the conservative Fifties, just in time for the turbulent Sixties.