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Most Amazing Series Ever
Who would ever guess that so much more lies behind this seemingly innocuous 1960's sitcom? It's easy to overlook the sheer quality of the acting and the writing of this series. Elizabeth Montgomery was such an incredibly talented actress, a complete natural, and her acting style so understated that sometimes you can tell how much she loves Darin just through the her little glances. How could Emmy have overlooked her? A complete travesty. And the writing. Substitute Black/White for Witch/Mortal and you bring a new subtext to this mixed marriage. As somewhat of an outcast in suburban Westport, Samantha was constantly butting heads against her uptight suburban counterparts. Lots of subtlety in the writing. Endora liked her opium. Just watched an episode on TV Land where she said she preferred Alice B. Toklas' recipes for baked goods to Darin's mother's, an obscure drug reference. As Getrude Stein's lover, Toklas' specialty was opiate laced brownies, marijuana in the Peter Seller's movie.
Dysfunctional Family Picnic
Amityville 2 is fun to watch in a number of ways. Burt Young and Rutanya Alda bring their Method acting talents to a film that is frankly run of the mill horror, and it is amusing to watch them chew the scenery and their over emoting is almost as out of place as Lee Grant's was in Airport 77. A quasi prequel to The Amityville Horror, Amityville 2 portends to be what happened in the famous Ocean Avenue house before the Lutz's moved in, ie. the notorious DeFeo murders, but evidently the story of a son slaughtering his entire family was not scary enough so the producers throw in everything but the kitchen sink, including demonic possession and extreme family abuse including incest. Amityville 2 was not produced by AIP, as was The Amityville Horror (AIP was sold and eventually merged into Orion Pictures I believe) so MGM has not released this on DVD, but this film is certainly due for a DVD transfer. By all means, watch it on video tape, and skip the heavily edited version on SciFi.
Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
I had been waiting to see this film for a long time, and I finally watched it on cable the other night, and all I can say is Eight Legged Freaks is a major disappointment. I could not believe how boring this film was. Maybe I can put the blame on the PG-13 violence (I have seen more blood shed on the Disney Channel). I can only imagine what a producer like Roger Corman could have done with this material (think The Nest, a fun film on many levels), with high campiness, lots of cartoon gore, and a couple of gratuitous shots of naked female flesh. This film seemed like an homage to the old films of the 1950's and Bert I Gordon, and Gordon may be regarded as a auteur of bad cinema, but at least his films were fun, which I can not say about Eight Legged Freaks.
CSI: Miami (2002)
David Caruso: Leave The Ego At the Door
I started out really liking this show, but the more I watch it, the more I dislike it. As David Caruso, who should be praying everyday for getting another chance at a hit show (I heard he was selling vintage clothes in Miami before this) gets more power and leverage with the ratings success of the show, the show is slowly turning from an extension of the CSI franchise, into a star driven melodrama. Caruso somehow manages to chew the scenery with an ego driven intensity not since since the likes of Marlon Brando in the first Superman movie. And Kim Delaney, moving slowly from a strong character to doing just lab work in one episode, then disappearing completely 30 minutes later. Before her announced departure, you could actually see the boredom and unhappiness in her later performances. Stronger writing can "save" this show, but does it matter? This is the breakout hit of the 2002-03 season.
Six Feet Under (2001)
A brilliant downbeat look at one f---ed up family
I just can't seem to stop watching this show despite the fact that I always feel the same way 60 minutes later, very depressed. There is not one character on Six Feet Under that does not suffer from some sort of dysfunction. The writing may be brilliant, but can at least one good thing happen to any character on this show? The writers seem to take pride in inflicting the Fisher family with one setback upon another. In you took out the sex, the rough language and the casual drug use, this might just be a daytime soap opera. So much pathos for one TV show. And the all the conversations with the dead. Poor Richard Jenkins aka Nate Fisher, Sr. I can imagine the audition for this show. You are going to have a recurring character, but there is one exception. You are going to be dead. The show is great, but just because everything revolves around a funeral business, does everything have to be so dark?
An overhyped movie that does not live up to its notoriety
You gotta love Howard Stern. He received a videotape of Vulgar and started talking about how bad it was and how disturbing he found it, and before you know it, this film that would have hardly been noticed, just a bleep on the radar screen of filmdom, develops a morbid curiosity factor. Well, I got sucked into the hype, and saw it, and the version I saw, must have been heavily edited, because I kept on telling myself, where is the explicit, graphic brutal clown rape that is the centerpiece of the entire film, and the reason people are running to see it? I am thinking that there are scenes from HBO's Oz that are more disturbing and more explicit. As for rape revenge films, I Spit on Yor Grave? Try I Spit on Your Retarded Brother's Corpse. Cheaply shot on 16mm film, with a script that fails to pull you in, this film sat on the shelf for two years and for good reason. It definitely helps to have Kevin Smith as friend and a greenlighter.
Explotation at its worst
Just watched this flick for the upteenth time the other night, on Christmas Eve, and I must say that it does not get any better with time. With flashbacks to the first movie filling up the first half of the film, this is a lesson of a production company trying to make an easy buck, thinking that enough people knew about Silent Night Deadly Night 1, but would not care about literally seeing the same movie over again. Even the big payoff, the murder of Mother Superior is a big letdown because actress Lilyan Chauvin, who originated the role, wisely backed out of this "sequel" and Jean Miller (who was tragically murdered in real life) took over the role with the worst make-up job in Hollywood history. Strangely, different actors play the young couple having sex in the orphanage. SO what you basically get is a very unsatisfying movie. Do not see it directly after watching Part 1, because it is an exercise in extreme tedium.
The George Carlin Show (1994)
Funny, Funny Show, FOX never gave a chance
This is one of the funniest shows to appear on network television in a long time. Unlke current hit shows like Friends and Will and Grace which just scream out pretension, like "look at us,we are beautiful, we are funny, and the critics love us!," The George Carlin Show was straight forward, down to earth comedy mainly because George Carlin is the most unpretentious down to earth, humble guy working in show biz today. With a top notch suppporting cast, Alex Rocco, Christopher Rich, Anthony Starke, this comedy delivered fall down on the floor laughs week after week, during its extremely short run. And that damn dog was so cute too. If this show ever runs on TV again, check out the episode with Tommy Chong and you will see what I mean. Susan Sullivan playing against type as George's blue collar girlfriend. This show came out around the same time that Friends did and it deserved a better shot at attracting an audience. The execs at FOX blew it big time. Cheers and Seinfeld started off very slow. Hopefully someone will release this on home video soon.