Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
I was really looking forward to this show because of the great cast, but it just didn't seemed to catch on with the the first couple of episodes so I supposed it might get cancelled. After the holidays I gave it another chance and in the last couple of weeks and I saw two episodes worth watching. With the focus off the mom/dad haranguing, I saw a sitcom with scenes and line deliveries which kept me laughing. One of the episodes involved the sister's hidden diary, but I thought better of tonight's episode about Nathan stealing his mother's rants to fuel his own TV segments. It certainly had some real belly laughs. Lately it seems the pacing and use of the supporting cast is improved. No hamming or mugging from anyone, just enough well timed involvement to keep the laughs coming. It is easy to see the cast is loaded with talent and let's hope the scripts are worthy of them.
One can never expect too much from a novel to film, but the producers and cast of this film HAVE made a film which brings to life the grittiness and the emotions of Sara Gruen's best seller. Watching the great production design and cinematography, it was the shabby, faded, patched, mended, and not so Hollywood glamorous which I found so effective in conveying the desperation and live for this moment Depression era. The reactions of the circus audiences were well captured, since we now are so high tech we need to remember the shock and awe of the hooch dancers tent and the chance to see exotic Rosie the elephant veer so close to the audience benches. The main and supportingcharacters, by the way, were wonderful in scenes with the horses andthe elephant, it never looked unnatural or too artfully posed with the animal trainers just a hair out of the shot. I thought Witherspoon and Pattinson were well cast and though some of her costumes were outwardly glamorous, she always conjured up the real pain, weariness, and cynicism born of her own bad choices. Her circus costumes were appropriate for a struggling circus, not Hollywood flashy and sexy. Its fair to say Waltz does quite well with another brutal, unsympathetic character (always in uniform, so to speak, with a subtler accent) and I really hope to see him cast in perhaps a contemporary role that will offer facets beyond the danger lurking under the charm surface. Don't worry about having read the novel--you will find this movie transports you to another time and place with some Old Hollywood magic but with even more attention to the timeless themes of hard worn love and loyalty
You'd want to see this show because of the household names, Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Chris Kattan, Brian Doyle Murray, and you'd be pleasantly surprised by the writing. We all "know" the harried mom, laid back dad, "under achiever" kids, but within a twenty minute episode I realize how really well the writers capture the frustration and absurdity that goes with life in "the middle". This program doesn't fit the "oh poor hapless daddy" sitcoms, the kind Bob Newhart would NEVER do, and that's why I've been watching it. Because they have a real mess of a home and wear clothes you do see in the newspaper insert ads, these are some real people dealing with some way out there kinds of characters in situations which are hilarious and sometimes heartwarming, without being mushy. This is one show I look forward to each week!!
When I saw summer promos of this sit com I thought it looked forced and very predictable. As Cam would exclaim, "Surprise!" It is well cast, written, and consistently laugh out loud funny. The documentary camera bit is actually as well done, no, even better than one of the best, The Office. I recognized most of the talented adult cast, they have great chemistry, and it was so hilarious when Shelley Long guest starred as the ex wife. But it is the kid actors on the show who are amazingly well directed in their parts- Manny, as a son, stepson, brother, uncle, and cousin is a hoot: he can wisecrack with the best of them, and then break your heart when dad isn't able to fulfill his promise for the weekend. I always thought Steve Levitan did agreat job with "Just Shoot Me", on NBC and I think he and ChristopherLloyd have got a hit show for ABC. Take a look at this so ABC won't cash in on some more ridiculous reality shows.
I was lucky to catch this on TCM last year and this year on DVD. It is so powerful and I agree with those who comment on the strength of Wayne's performance, not one false note as he works with one of the finest casts assembled by John Ford (his scenes with M. Natwick were so simple, so natural) I had just seen Ward Bond as John L. Sullivan in Gentlemen Jim and I see what a difference the direction of John Ford can bring to his performances. Thomas Mitchell is better known for some other roles (GWTW and IAWL), but the range of emotions he conveys as he reads some letters aloud...wow! The cinematography and haunting music are astonishing, so catch this one if you have not seen John Wayne's early work.