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Playing with Fire (1985) (TV)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Hilarious!, 10 August 2003

This one is up there with "Star Wars Holiday Special" only not that bad. I remember watching this as a kid and being bored and amused at the same time. I think Gary Coleman was attempting to actually do "drama" in this ill-written attempt to enlighten the world about arson and it just didn't work.

Basically, you have Coleman's character who is having trouble in school, friends and family (obviously) and the more stress he comes under, the more fires he sets to public property. No, he doesn't turn to drugs or alcohol or teen suicide... he's got a disease that causes him to set fires! How dramatic! His parents seems incredibly stupid, not realizing that he's mentally anguished and no one suspects Coleman as the arsonist until he gets spotted, blah, blah, blah. It's pretty obvious how the plotline goes as well as the ending.

Probably one of the funniest parts is Coleman's "evil" expression during one of the blazes, his eyes lit up from the flames in front of him with this "burn you bastard, burn!" expression. Can you imagine Arnold as evil? Yeah, I laughed my ass off, too.

If you ever see this on TV again, which you probably won't, watch it if you want to kill two hours of your life. It's incredibly bad, stupid and absurdly funny at the same time.

Swept Away (2002)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
It really wasn't THAT bad..., 26 December 2002

Alright, first thing I'm going to do is establish my credibility. Yes, I have been a Madonna fan since 1983 and NO I do not think everything she makes is fantastic which I find annoying and cultish (you know, that glazed eyed look of her fanatic fans.) In fact, she's put out some real doozies (ahem... "Next Best Thing" anyone? What garbage!) Plus, I hated her album "Music" so this is to let you know I'm trying to be a fair viewer.

Okay, the movie. Well, I watched it out of morbid curiosity. I had heard so much bad stuff about this movie I just really wanted to see why it was so horrible. You know what? It wasn't that bad.

The storyline was somewhat interesting... facinating really... take two opposite persons with different morals and values that defy the other and put each one in a place of power over the other and watch what happens. It is somewhat masochistic in a sense. In other words, it really is a clashing of morals and defying them until the other gets fed up. The lower class Italian worker simply rebels more and more when he is being dominated by Amber... interestingly enough, Amber, the rich nasty woman, submits completely when she is in the passive position. She really doesn't even fight. Why? Because her place of power really is an illusion whereas his isn't.

Regardless, all philosophical musings aside, you probably want the dirt on the flick. Alright, it's totally Guy all the way when it comes to filming and directing. You get his humor and camera angles from "Lock, Stock..." So if you liked that movie, you might get a kick out of this one.

How was Madonna? Not bad. She was actually interesting in her character. She's starting to really loosen as an actress and beginning to forget the camera. Remember, I said BEGINNING.

She's getting there. Also, it seems like she trusts her husband as a director so she relaxes a bit. She delivers her lines softer, but without as much emotion in the first half of the film. I truly believe Madonna should take acting lessons. She's too conscious of the camera and we as the audience are too conscious of the most famous woman in the world. And she's aware of this.

Is this a problem? Yes, mostly due to the fact that she has a HUGE obstacle to overcome in order for her audience to believe her as an actress; she has to make her audience forget who she is in order for them to like her character that she's portraying. She did this 100% in "Desperately Seeking Susan" and 75% in "Evita."

If she took lessons in acting, like she did with singing, I think she could go somewhere. Otherwise, her marketable product is what's truly knocking her down. What an oxymoron.

Otherwise, the film was interesting. The scenery was just beautiful, especially the nighttime scenes. There are moments between the two main characters that are genuinely fun and tender. I liked the interaction between the two of them and how loving they are towards each other. The ending is truly sad which makes it more of an art film than a good movie.

Still, I plan on renting it when it comes out. I wouldn't mind looking at it again. Recommendations: big bang viewers, don't bother. Insight to an artflick, something to chat about.

30 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
She still can't act, 15 April 2002

I had high hopes for this -- really, I did. I thought it would be a sweet, charming and tugging-at-the-heartstrings comedy. But I was TOO hopeful.

Story in one sentence: two best friends (one gay, one straight) end up in bed together, have a son, raise him together, everything hunky-dory until she wants to marry someone else and the little family gets screwed up.

Let's talk about what's the worst: the script, hands down. Everything is so spliced in or cut out it's just terrible. The transitions are so choppy, that we barely have enough time to understand the undeveloped characters -- they're just thrown at us and next thing you know, it's years later. It's unrealistic and it's too fictional to really understand or get into. Madonna is suffering from never finding Mr. Right, Rupert is the gay buddy that "somewhat" turns into the bad guy and poor Benjamin is just caught in the middle. We don't know WHO to hate in this movie -- that's pretty much the hard part. Everyone is in the bad guy role, they just don't fit it due to the fact they all need sympathy.

As for Madonna, yes, it's obvious she took lessons. The problem would be that she is way too conscious of the camera. Her husband commented once that she needs to let the director direct -- and I think that's a huge problem with her performance. She is just "too beautiful" in this movie. I mean, she's supposed to be sobbing her eyes out and she looks up and is all glistening and pretty. Sorry, but in order for me to believe her I want to see it on her face that she's worried -- you know, red eyes, puffy cheeks, smeared makeup -- the works. Madonna had too much creative control in this and it's obvious. Her expressions don't fit her tone of voice either; she seems to blink consciously and doesn't have much expression -- but hey, close your eyes and listen to her and you'll see that she's making progress.

All in all, a good storyline put to a bad script and bad performances. Anyone who tells you this is a great movie is obviously a star-struck Madonna fan.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This was what high school in the 80s was like..., 9 January 2002

It blows me away when I read the nasty comments about this movie. From what I remember when I first saw it, it hit home in a number of areas for me -- as it did for plenty of teens that I knew. Remember, this was a HUGE hit back in '85 and that was because kids related. This wasn't just another teen romance -- it actually attempted to dig deeper into the crud we knew as high school cliques.

Don't get me wrong, it has it's shallow moments and I cringe when I watch chunks of it but that's because I couldn't stand being a teenager. Who on earth did? Think about it... each cliche in the movie existed somewhere in your high school in some relatable form. John Hughes knew what he was doing when he took a person from every major clique in high school and said, "What would happen if you put them all in a locked up room together for a Saturday afternoon?" He succeeded somewhat. Each clique member eventually revealed that they were a person underneath the label. That was the whole point of the movie.

As for where Hughes got his inspirations and writings, it was very simple: he talked to teenagers and plenty of them. Sure, he didn't capture it entirely, but he got pretty close. I remember watching this with friends and my mother saying that high school wasn't anything like that and all of us replying: "Yes, it is." I remember my local church posting a bulletin that they were playing it for the kids that attended that evening (despite the language) because it had a good lesson. I remember that it made such an impact on my high school that they actually performed it onstage in a play. Why? That's because John Hughes somehow captured underneath the unbelievable crashing windows and ceilings collapsing how crappy it is to be a teenager.

Still think it's a bad movie? Or did you possibly want to forget how much you hated high school? Think about it.