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Fred: The Movie (2010)
Come on people, it's really not as bad as you're saying
Just so you know where I'm coming from, here are some of my favorite films: The Browning Version. Requiem For A Heavyweight. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf. A Star Is Born (1954). Once Upon A Time In The West. The Godfather. The Exorcist. See, I do have a bit of taste in movies.
Now to Fred: The Movie. It is not a great movie. It is not a classic. Fred's voice is annoying. But it is NOT the movie that everyone seems to eager to jump on the bandwagon and trash.
Yes, the story is kinda thin and dumb but there is redeeming value. For one thing, Lucas Cruikshank (Fred) is a hundred times more talented as a young actor than COUNTLESS others I've seen in movies and on TV who are all but holding their script in their hand as they robotically and phonetically speak their lines. Cruikshank is totally non-self-conscious and puts his all into every line or scene however dumb it might admittedly be.
Jake Weary as Kevin is pretty funny, really. As funny as he could be with the lines of this admittedly not fantastic movie. But when he asks Fred 'Are you going to Judy's for a play date? Are you gonna do some of this?' and starts doing an apparent imitation of (well, some kind of sex) I have to admit I thought it was pretty funny.
The parts of Bertha and of Fred's mother were really well played - again, within the confines of the script.
Pixie Lott! Oh my gosh she is gorgeous. When Judy shows up at the pool in her bikini I thought "Wow, this is nowhere NEAR a junior high school student!" Fred has very good taste in women. And when Judy arrives at Fred's front door in the last scene and they show a close-up of her legs when she's wearing those high, high heels, I just about drooled. DANG is she hot! Too many years younger than I am, won't say what that makes me but wow she's good looking.
I have seen far better movies than this one - but I think some which get decent reviews are garbage, and there are far worse actors than Lucas Cruikshank. You might hate his Fred character, many people do, but as an actor he is in fact talented.
Chances are he has already piled up enough money off of his Fred character that he will never really have to work for a living. Hey, fine by me. The 'trash this movie' bandwagon is far too easy to jump onto, but really, it's not as awful as so many are eager to say. Hey, I am still only giving it a 3, but really I have seen much worse.
Wild Heritage (1958)
Okay, there's some nice scenery and the film is in color. And Will Rogers Jr. is in it, to some degree. That's the good stuff. All the rest is just bad. The story is weak and the characters are basically uninteresting and unlikeable. The worst tomatoes must be cast at Rod McKuen, who is so unappealing to look at or listen to, he's just got nothing positive going for him. Worse than that, if possible, is George Winslow as the youngest Breslin brother. I would have never guessed that a twelve-year-old growing up in wild territory could be so fat. Chances are in real life a kid in that situation would have been pretty stringy. Additionally, he's a terrible actor. His charm in his earlier days always escaped me and here he's even worse.
Don't waste your time. Maureen O'Sullivan sure picked a stinker here.
Hilarious episode of Dobie Gillis
This episode of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis is one of my favorites. It starts with Dobey's older brother Davey (played by his real-life older brother Darryl Hickman) being home from school between semesters, and he is just as much a pain in the neck for father Herbert Gillis as other son Dobie is.
First - Dobie wants money from his dad for cha-cha lessons. Mr. Gillis refuses the money and says instead he'll be glad to teach Dobie 'the Kangaroo Jump' ("the dance with which I won your mother's heart") Dobie is dumbfounded at this suggestion and refuses it. He leaves to go bring people to have his dad demonstrate the Kangaroo Jump - at 25 cents per person paid to Dobie. First he returns with Maynard G. Krebs who gets a demonstration of the dance from Mr. Gillis, and says 'Like wow Dobe, I'll never doubt you again! Here's your quarter' and gives Dobie a quarter. When Mr. Gillis realizes that Dobie intends to raise money for cha-cha lessons a quarter at a time by having him demonstrate his 'Kanagroo Jump' he puts a quick end to the plan.
Next, late-rising older brother Davey (home from college during a semester break) comes down from his bedroom and after some give and take with his dad about his school classes, Mr. Gillis mentions that he offered to teach Dobie 'the Kangaroo Jump' and the exchange goes like this:
Davey: The Kangaroo Jump?! You're kidding!
Mr. G: Watch what you say - that's the dance with which I won your mother's heart!
Davey: I just meant it's a very amusing dance, that's all.
Mr. G: (surprised) Where did you learn about the Kangaroo Jump?
Davey: At college.
Mr. G: At college! Oh boy, wait til Dobie hears that they're doing the Kangaroo Jump at college!
Davey: Yeah, I took Folk Dancing last year!
Mr. G flips over the fact that that his beloved dance is considered 'folk dancing'. The dialog really moves and it's very comical.
Anyhow - in this episode, Mr. Gillis is afraid to sign his will because he thinks it will seal his fate, and his sons will never survive if he dies and isn't there to support them. He takes a nap and has a dream that he's passed away and his sons have taken over his grocery store - yet despite the most ridiculous ideas being put in place (such as free cha-cha lessons for the lady customers and an honor-system cash register) the store is making far more money without him than it ever did when he was running it.
It's a great episode, and Darryl Hickman as brother Davey is a welcome visitor to the cast.
Man from Del Rio (1956)
Great little Western gets off to quick start
I re-watched this movie recently and it re-affirmed my belief that Anthony Quinn is one of the great character actors. Man From Del Rio was obviously a low-budget film - not because it looks 'cheap' but because it was shot in a simple old-West town setting, much like High Noon, and because it is in b/w and doesn't have any of the really top-name stars. None of those things detract from it because it has a very good story, an excellent, taut script and fine performances all-round. (Well, with one reservation I'll mention later.) Right at the beginning of the movie, David Robles (Quinn) approaches gunfighter Dan Ritchey (Barry Atwater). He has spent the last few years learning to shoot so he could avenge those who Ritchey and his friends killed when they shot up Robles' hometown of Del Rio. When Robles kills the noted gunfighter the town offers him the job of sheriff.
But the town is crooked, basically run behind the scenes by the former gunfighter who owns the saloon, and Robles makes it apparent from the start that he is not going to play along. The townspeople even regard Robles as little more than just a 'tool' to keep order, not wanting to afford him equal treatment as one of their own.
Katy Jurado plays Estella, the assistant to the town doctor, and Robles has eyes for her. She has been in SO many Westerns, playing mostly the same role - the detached, cool, beautiful Mexican lady - but here she speaks her lines in such wooden fashion it's like she's reading them phonetically and doesn't really know what she's saying. Her inflection doesn't go with her words sometimes. It's not too off-putting but I did notice it enough to mention.
I don't want to spoil the story, and there is a lot more to it than this, but it's an excellent little Western with a good plot, well-written script and believable dialogue. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see a less-well-known but still worthwhile Western.
All the Pretty Horses (2000)
A modern 'Western' that I really liked
I sometimes check 'contains spoilers' to protect my standing at IMDb but I will try to not give away too much of the plot of All The Pretty Horses.
I will admit two things right off... First, I tend to review movies I don't like, more than those I do. And second, I tend to dislike modern 'Western' type movies more than I like them. When I watched "All The Pretty Horses" though, I knew that it was a movie that I would have to post a review about here on IMDb - a positive review, and I was anxious to do so.
This is a "Western" in that it takes place with characters who ride horses and wear cowboy hats, and in many ways it could be set in its own era (1949) or a hundred years earlier. It is however not a formula Western (nothing wrong with those BTW, I love 'em) as much as it is a human story that takes place in that setting.
ATPH strikes some chords that always appeal to me. For one thing the characters are realistic and likable; you care about them. You get to know them and what happens to them matters enough that to a degree it also happens to you, like seeing someone belt your best buddy. It hurts you too. Well, that's how these characters are to me. You can't just sit by and watch what happens to them without feeling it. Additionally, it takes a simple story and makes it much more interesting by introducing an additional element - in this case, a brilliant element in the person of Jimmy Blevins, a free soul who claims to be sixteen years old. (Lucas Black who played the role was about seventeen at the time, so the role is credible. How many 25 year old teenagers have you seen in movies? I've seen plenty.)
Disenchanted with their lives in Texas, sixteen-year-old John Grady Cole and his lifelong buddy Lacey Rawlins set out on horseback for Mexico, hoping to find work on a ranch just like in the 'old days'. En route they encounter the eccentric young Jimmy Blevins, and while outwardly they regard him with disdain, beneath the surface they do actually come to like him. But Blevins is a loose cannon who brings about the plot twists that drive the story. In the next couple of months the trio will face dangers and hardship and other problems in Mexico which they had never anticipated. There will be a brief love affair for one of them; there will be a hellish and dangerous time spent in prison; and while three young men cross the Rio Grande into Mexico, only two will survive to return. This is not a story of violence and killing though there is some of that in it. This is a human story about several people, most of all John Grady Cole.
All the cast played their roles quite well. I think that Lucas Black, who played the 'loose cannon' Jimmy Blevins, had a couple of small advantages - the most eccentric role to play, and his own natural accent which made it possible for him to deliver all his lines in a totally believable way even when he is saying something barely above a mumble. Also, the veteran Western character actor Bruce Dern makes an appearance as a wise old judge and it may be one of the best roles he ever played.
If I can say anything negative about this movie it is only that being a movie, it was not possible to include as much of the plot as the original book contains. If you enjoy the movie, you will like the book even more. I understand that there was a 'director's cut' which was substantially longer than the released version and I know I would enjoy seeing it, if it became available.
I didn't see 'All The Pretty Horses' until it was a dozen years old, and that's too bad because I could have been enjoying it for a lot longer. It's an excellent story and a well-made movie which I recommend highly.
Late for Dinner (1991)
Leave it to Stupid Hollywood
A man returns home after being frozen for many years. He finds his daughter is grown and hears what happened to his wife. While explaining something the daughter mentions Ronald Reagan. The man, who has been frozen and unaware of the past 25 years, says "You mean Ronald Reagan the movie actor?" She says "He was the president." The man says "You mean, President of the movie people?" She replies "Worse. President of everyone."
For that insult and for the smugness of the Hollywood Left I give this movie one lousy star and IMO that is rating it far too high. I have had it up to here with having Hollywood push their smarmy views on everyone and that includes even in a lousy made for TV movie like this. The people who wrote or 'acted' that scene share in the blame for this utter lack of class.
Glen or Glenda (1953)
Come on people - it's so bad it's good but it's NOT a serious movie
I am a fan of movies that are so bad they're good. I've seen plenty, and Ed Wood is the king of cranking out such stuff. But until I saw his "Glen Or Glenda" I never new how genuinely horrific a movie could be!
First let me say that I find some of the other reviews almost as ridiculous as this movie. Calling it some sort of 'ahead of its time GLBT' classic or any sort of 'serious look' at anything is simply finding pearls among the dog doo. The storyline is very thin; some parts of the movie are not even related to the storyline and are inexplicable, such as the silent (with background music) scenes of one woman tying up another lying on a couch, or a guy whipping a woman lying on the same couch, or Ed Wood (as Glen/da) making a face that looks like he's being electrocuted while a little girl's voice echoes in the background "Puppy dog tails! Puppy dog tails! Puppy dog tails!" Now really, is this a GLBT treasure? There are obviously some men dressed as women in some scenes of the movie, none of whom are any more of a feminine nightmare than Wood himself dressed as Glenda. He looks like Fred Flintstone in drag with makeup.
Many of the cast of actors are seen in other of Wood's films. Actually they must be incredibly, fantastically talented actors to be able to utter this insane dialog without bursting into hysterical laughter:
"I guess I've seen just about everything there is for a policeman to see. Yet I wonder if we ever stop learning... learning about which we see... trying to learn more about an ounce of prevention."
"I'm a man that thrives on learning. We only have one life to live. If we throw that one away, what is there left?"
"Okay. Here's a story from fact!"
Now, most of the handful of men dressing as women in this movie are NOT good basic material. Frankly they all look more like your Uncle Ralph or someone equally non-feminine.
This movie is a riot, a howl, a scream. In some places it's a baffling mystery. "What does THAT mean? What is going on HERE?" It alternates between insanely funny and just insane. It is not some deep work as some here have tried to make it out. It cannot be described how truly and riotously AWFUL Glen or Glenda is... watch it, and try not to have your mouth full of Pepsi during the dialog lest it come shooting out your nose.
My Six Loves (1963)
Pretty good movie, oddly overlooked - why?
For some reason, My Six Loves seems to have slipped between the cracks and just doesn't get shown on TV, at least not these days. In brief, it's the story of a show business star who takes a break due to exhaustion - and finds six basically abandoned kids living in her garden shed. Of course the story is going to be about her developing a relationship (or more) with them, I don't have to tell anyone that, it's a given.
There are some rather odd things about this movie that I'd like to point out, concerning one of the kids - a youngster named Billy Hughes Jr. who plays the eldest child and sort of the 'head' of the detached sibling family. Billy Hughes was becoming known in Hollywood for being able to play darker or more intense roles, and while parts of his role here fit him - being able to carry that chip on his shoulder towards God for instance - other parts are such a bad fit that it's painful to watch. There is a musical number where the kids each have to act out something that goes with the song, and young Hughes was clearly not comfortable doing this. As I said, it's painful to watch. It would be like asking someone like Humphrey Bogart to appear in the Do Re Mi song from 'Sound of Music'.
One rather ironic flaw to the movie is that the six kids Reynolds finds in her garden shed have been dumped and are penniless, wearing shabby old clothes... yet young Billy Hughes is sporting a dandy gold ring in 2/3 of his scenes! How that got past the director I can't guess but someone must have been kicking themselves big time when they realized the huge boo-boo of an impoverished kid wearing bling.
Debbie Reynolds was great, she always is. The story is pleasant enough and there have been far worse movies made (and better too). This is a real Hollywood oddity that somehow doesn't get shown anymore. Worth watching just to see it as part of Reynolds' body of work, and for Billy Hughes in his good and not so good moments of the film.
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
Superb crime / mystery
This is a great movie. It couldn't have cost a lot to make, but if you have a really good story and cast, there's not much need for a huge budget. In this story, Laughton plays an attorney who has decided to defend a young man (Tyrone Power) who's been charged with killing an older woman. Power's character seems sincere in his denials, but is he? As the story proceeds, we learn more about Powell's character. It's simply impossible to tell whether he is guilty - and the appearance of his wife played by Marlene Dietrich does nothing to clear things up. The last five or ten minutes of the movie, the plot saws back and forth with twist after twist - all unexpected yet entirely credible and logical.
I have discovered one big flaw in the story - please overlook it as the movie is so well worth enjoying - and it is this: after the defendant is found not guilty, his wife is told that she will stand trial for perjury and probably go to prison. But if you review her testimony, what was later exposed as a lie was actually the truth! Don't worry though, you might never notice this fly in the ointment of the story, and it's a great film to watch anyhow.
Laughton plays his role with his characteristic dry wit; Powell is both a sympathetic victim and a confident charmer. Dietrich is a privilege to watch and her best scene of all is after the court case when she is alone in the courtroom talking with barrister Sir Wilfred, played by Laughton. If you enjoy a movie which has real plot and intellectual appeal as you try to figure out what happened, this is one for you. It's in black and white, and so what? Excellent movie!
In the Year 2889 (1967)
Absolutely, utterly, incredibly awful.
What a horrible movie. After watching it I can understand Paul Peterson's bitterness toward Hollywood. How on Earth did he get hooked up with this production? Frankly I never thought all that much of him as Jeff on The Donna Reed Show or anything else he ever did - he always seems to be playing the role of "Paul Peterson" no matter what role he's in, simply a poor actor - but even HE didn't deserve to be in this piece of dung. The story is ridiculous, the script is abysmal, and other than the color film and processing I think it cost about $100 total to make. When Paul Peterson is actually the high point of a movie, it's ba-a-a-d. Ah yes, good ol' Paul in his khaki slacks and velour turtleneck, one wonders when Donna Reed might turn up.
When one of the main characters realizes that Peterson's character and a young lady may be the only people left on Earth to have children and rebuild the population, he notes that it being an emergency, a ship's captain could marry them so they could start making babies. With nearly the whole planet wiped out, someone is going to care if they get married? What are they going to do, cheat on each other? Hoo boy.
I like bad movies when they're so bad they're funny, but this one just stinks.