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I am really sick and tired of arguing with idiots and morons on this website. If it isn't conspiracy theorists about Robin Williams being murdered by his wife, then it's some 20-something fresh out of grad school who knows nothing about the world, or, worse yet, someone over seas who knows even less about the United States of America. I've had it with common movie fans.
Ah, someone tried to reply to me. Regrettably you are on my ignore list for some reason. I may have placed you there intentionally, or reported one of your posts in the past.
Either way I can't see what you wrote, and, based on what I know about people on my ignore list, you deserve to be there.
I told myself I wouldn't review too many TV series with my account, but this show brings back some good memories. Aimed at my age bracket, and kids that are slightly older and kids much younger, as well as the whole family, this show really brings some decent respectable TV entertainment to all audiences. Older high school students and college and older types might get a little impatient with it or think it quaint, but really the show is meant for everyone.
It's not high drama, it's light hearted adventure that follows the adventures and misadventures of a trained time traveller and his serendipitous prodigy. We follow them to meet one historical figure after another throughout history.
The limitations are of course that we don't go to really exotic locations like the great wall of China in medieval Cathay, nor equally India, Burma or the ancient Ethiopian Empire. But we do get to visit mockups of American and European (or rather Mediterranean) historical places.
I wonder what a show like this would be like if you could have doubled or tripled the budget for sets and locations. I mean really film some of those stories in actual ruins or in authentic reproductions of ancients places. That would be something. But, regardless, the show is what it is, and should entertain the family. Or, if you're a middle aged guy like myself, then it should deliver as a respectable and enjoyable nostalgia blast.
Grab a copy and check it out again. Good stuff.
Okay overview of another scam.
I don't understand people who think they've been abducted, or rather want people to think they've been abducted by little green men from outer space. Ever since I saw my first pseudo-science documentary on TV when I was a kid the whole thing just seemed far out there and kind of creepy. But it also didn't make sense, and as a kid I couldn't tell you why.
And that's really the only short shrift I can offer about this episode of Penn and Teller's TV series, and that is only the most cursory explanation is offered as to not only the psychological reasons of why this issue is nonsense. I think exploring the whole scam was warranted, but probably meant for another show for another time.
I said I didn't understand these people who just make up stories about being molested by aliens, but the truth is, on a more fundamental level, I guess I do understand them. We all like to make up stories at some point. We tell our kids about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, you friend or husband comes home with fish stories ("You shoulda seen da one that got away!"), and a few of us have bent the truth here and there in our everyday lives ... trying to get out of a speeding ticket ... explaining why you were late to work ... stuff like that.
But these people? I'm glad Penn and Teller did this episode, but it's like with all other BS material, it doesn't deserve any more attention than it's gotten (and I guess that's part of the underlying format of Penn and Teller's premise for the show), but at times you need to expose just a bit more to help ram the point home.
Either way it's an interesting watch. It'll kill half an hour if you have nothing better to do.
Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
Torpid and Tepid
I had a friend who laughed at anything, and thought all comedies were works of genius. This thing is no exception. The only problem is that it's slow paced, unfocused, and, like old cliché goes, "It looked great on paper."
I'm sure the screenplay read as if it were an interesting project, but you really need to know what you're doing when you direct your own stuff, and one gets the impression that the writer didn't direct a whole lot of projects prior. And indeed said director has no track record of anything prior to this credit.
There are talented people out there who can make things work the first time around. And there are people for whom much talent is given to them in the form of personnel in order that they do not fail. And then there are the people who've done lots of favors for everyone else, and so they cajole others to let them handle something.
Where this film isn't a ludicrous bomb with B-movie overtones, far from it, it does lack a certain energy that was much needed and might have been injected by any other seasoned director.
I guess in the end it's a time waster. I'm glad it's not a movie I paid to see (I caught it on HBO a year after it had been in the theatres), and where it isn't horrible, it's in a solid middle gray area of mediocre.
Watch at your own risk.
Star Trek: The Cloud Minders (1969)
Interesting 3rd season episode
Star Trek goes back to form in examining social rifts caused by people dividing themselves and mistaking symptoms for causes of those same social rifts.
There's a theory that our current social divides stem back to the abundance of viral life forms that infected those living near the equator and warmer watered regions of the planet, and those that lived in more temperate or colder regions were spared the ravages of constant disease. This episode postulates a material cause for the divisions between social groups, notably the white and black populations of post 1950's US, but can be applied to any region of the world where such schisms are manifest.
Towards the end we hear familiar rhetoric of the time, citing the need to resort to civil disorder to address injustices, and the reasons the lower classes must remain in the lower classes; i.e. familiar inaccurate arguments of superior intelligence, lack of ability and so forth. Hence the collision between the two warring factions in the episode. All the while Kirk and crew must address another emergency that is held up by the conflagration.
It's an episode that takes Trek back to form of the first two seasons, though again the production values are somewhat spartan, though still very good. It feels like more money was spent on this episode, but only just. There's still a lack of extras that might have added visual weight, and the upgraded effects of the remastered special edition which are now on bluray, replace the old matte paintings and animation.
What's interesting about this episode is that not only is the script good, but we see another love interest for Spock, only on a more Vulcan (Vulcanian?) intellectual level than the biologically forced pon farr as per the Amok Time episode a couple seasons before. Spock realizes that beauty can stir his otherwise impassive self, but is curious and disappointed when he discovers something about himself.
Another positive is that the plot melds well with the basic story, although there is some plausibility issue with some of the story elements towards the end of the episode.
This is one of those episodes where if there had been a lot more money then it could have been turned into a very decent feature film. Imagine throngs of disgruntled troglodytes, thousands of citizen artists living in Stratos, imagine an escape scene from Stratos with Kirk fighting his way, imagine all kinds of things and you'll get a sense that this is really the good skeleton of a good episode hampered by third season budget cuts.
Give it a shot.
The First Wives Club (1996)
I guess the thing that strikes me about this film is that a couple decades earlier there was a film called "9 to 5" about three working ladies who had a conniving boss. They put their heads together and overcome his scheming to benefit all. And yet this film, for all the similarities in terms of the number of lead women, their commonality of circumstance and so forth, their solution only benefits them and others like them.
The other thing that hit me while watching this film is that it wasn't that funny. It was amusing in parts, it moved well, was well acted, had a decent story, but there wasn't much comedy in it. There really weren't too many clever and unexpected moments that typically make an audience laugh in the theatre. And that's the thing that's been missing from a lot of film since the early 80s. Truly. No joke.
It was nice to see Keaton, Midler, and Hawn in a very energetic film, but the script wasn't that funny. In fact it was hardly funny at all. I can't help but think of "9 to 5" again when Parton leans out from the trunk of Tomlin's car with a dead body and says "Judy, could you come here for a minute?" with a knowing bright eyed grin. That's comedy. That's humor. That's funny. But "First Wives Club"?
"First Wives Club" is about revenge and empowerment of wives who were dumped for younger men. Not having been married, also being a male, I have to say that I'm not the target audience for this thing, but even if I were I think the film could have been broader reaching in appeal. We've all been taken advantage of. It's a universal truth about both sexes. And that's the missed golden opportunity here that this film missed out on; i.e. these women may have been victims because they were married to these guys, but surely their ill behavior affected more than just them, and that any justice served by the three women would be a universal blow for all who were mistreated by these ex-husbands.
But that isn't what we get, and so the film falls flat on that score, but manages to eek out a few smiles and nods of agreement among divorced women.
The film has a certain zest to it, but it's not a very well written script. Or, better yet, the scripts focus of whom to allow to identify with these characters is way too narrowly focused, and needed a major rewrite to show the suffering from husbands with flawed characters is not just "a ladies' thing", so to speak.
Maybe give it a shot if you have nothing better to do (as I did), but there are better films out there.
Star Trek: The Lights of Zetar (1969)
Interesting but not sterling.
One of the things I really like about this episode is the lighting. There's a certain visual aesthetic that we see in both science fiction and regular film and TV as we transition from film stock that needs a lot of light to something that's a bit more natural and even.
I bring this up not because the episode is one of the less memorable episodes, but because we're seeing the crew of the starship Enterprise mature some and leave the visual doldrums of a kind of bright color late 1950s 1960's kind of visual, to something that's more realistic and business like. The result is that this episode's story and lack of money is punched up a notch.
Season three episodes are infamous for being low budget because the network wanted to pull the plug earlier. But even so the third Season of Star Trek has a kind of tacit appeal in that the episodes are more character driven than plot driven as per the previous seasons.
The basic tale is a bit of a ghost story, but even so Kirk and Spock bring starfleet's capabilities to bear to address the collective malefactor in this episode. And here's where the show comes close to derailing, because the other stories deal with negative elements in society, things we can relate to, and here we're confronted with something that comes close to being supernatural. And the bad guys are never explained, so the script fails in that regard as both a Star Trek and general science fiction story.
Another strike against the show is that the female guest star has a first and last name, but Captain Kirk and even McCoy and Spock occasionally refer to her as "the girl". Oh well.
In short it's not good science fiction, but it could have been better, and even though the actors give it their all the core premise of the episode falls a bit flat. Again, not a bad episode, but nothing to write home about.
If you're a fan of the show, then you've already made up your mind. Otherwise maybe see it once if you haven't, but there are better episodes in the series.
Take that for what it's worth.
The Money Pit (1986)
The Movie Pit
I saw this opening night with a couple of friends, and I really didn't care much for it. The timing is just off on all the gags, and the dialogue really doesn't have a whole lot of punch to it.
There's a lot of salesmanship in terms of the directing and acting, but there's little in the way of comic genius here. It reminds me of some of the old comedies in the 1960s where things were done with a kind of light heartedness but there were no jokes as such, just things framed as jokes in hopes that it would tickle the audiences' funny bone.
And that's about all you can say about this film some thirty years after the fact. I like Hanks and Long as actors, and even the rest of the cast do their best, but comedy really takes a certain kind of genius, and this thing just doesn't have that.
There's not much more to add here other than if you're looking for comedy, then check something else out. As per my previous reviews about comedies in the 1980s, something sociologically went extremely wrong in that decade when it came to making feature comedies for the commercial film market, and this film is a fit example of that.
Watch at your own risk.
Hot Lead and Cold Feet (1978)
More Disney memories
Saw this years ago when I tended to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. The Oregon forest in which this was shot looks like all of the parts of the Sierras and Rockies I ever spent time in. So when I first saw this film there was a kind of tangibleness to it that I was familiar with on a very intimate "dyed-in-the-wool" kind of way.
But even as a child I can't really say I was too amused by the antics of the characters. Oh sure, I saw and understood what they were all about, and accepted them for what they were, but I can't recall myself ever really laughing. "Hot Lead and Cold Feet" was made during a time when Disney higher-ups said that they had to re- examine their approach to film making because the kids in their focus group said that their films were corny.
Well, "Hot Lead and Cold Feet" isn't exactly "Citizen Kane" nor was it ever meant to be. And as fascinating as it was in a detached sort of almost clinical kind of way, it was still shot in that period when Disney was thinking of and needing to upgrade their feature film production. As such this 1970s film has a kind of retro-feel as if a 1950s Disney crew travelled to the 1970s and made a western. Because that's kind of how this movie feels, and in essence I'm pretty sure that's close to home.
The basic story of two brother from different sides of the tracks succumbing and overcoming the plot of a schemer is well enough, and the actors do their best to bring the script alive. Overall it's not a bad film, and unlike a lot of other live action Disney offerings at the time, this one doesn't have any split screen nor rear projection shots. It's all shot on location or on a fully dressed set, even though, again, it has that retro-feel so apparent with Disney films of that time.
It's not a bad film, but as boy for whom this film was meant, and having seen other comedies and westerns, I think this film is about average. Having seen it again after all these years, I think it's okay, but not really anything spectacular. Then again I've shot rapids, ridden horses, and been on steam trains as well as hiking and camping throughout North America, it's familiar territory to me.
I'm not sure I'd recommend it for today's school age audience, but maybe see it with your kids and see what they think.
Give it a shot.
Okay Disney romp
Ah, the Bicentennial. That crazy cool star patch that was painted on NASA buildings, and was put on this that and other thing, and I even had one for my cub scout uniform. But one of the thing I'll remember from that year is seeing Disney's "Gus", the goal kicking mule.
Truth be told I don't remember too much of the film when I first saw it, save for one line appears to be missing, but that really doesn't matter. The movie is okay entertainment, though I have to say that the store sequence dragged on perhaps a minute or two too long.
Familiar actors from both TV and film make their appearance in this film, and believe it nor there's an awful lot of SFX work, likely due to budget limitations.
One of the real pleasures of this movie however is seeing talented regular looking people in the lead and supporting roles. There are no real beautiful or pretty actors or actresses in this thing. Name talent appears in this thing. Names like Asner, Knotts, Conway, Van Patten, Craine and others who made their appearances and not just TV but also stage.
The story is pretty basic, and touches on corruption in professional sports, as well as the continuing disparity between real football and the American version (which has almost nothing to do with feet touching the ball). The antics the heavies go to torpedoing the good guys are pretty extreme, and again they do seem to drag on a bit, in particular near the end of the second act.
Otherwise it's decent family entertainment. Again, it's the kind of film no one makes anymore but should. Good clean fun, somewhat corny and drawn out in parts, but not overuse of digital inserts, no aggrandizement of scenes because you have access to digital SFX and CGI, just some rear projection, and otherwise practical effects and old fashioned stunts.
Give it a shot. If you're a younger reader, then you'll get a chance to see what us old timers used to watch in terms of clean entertainment in the 1970s.
Check it out.
Hot Stuff (1979)
I saw this with the neighbors kids in the summer of 79 at the theatre, and thought what an odd film it was. Essentially Dom Deluise and Jerry Reed reprise their Smokey and the Bandit chemistry to organize an urban fence for a police sting.
As a kid I simply didn't understand too much of the plot, but thought it was entertaining in a sort of silly-adults acting silly sort of way. It's also got a kind of happy yet "justice is served" ending for what it's worth, making all feel happy at the end.
Kind of an odd film that deals with law enforcement, stolen goods and the "human" side of crime (if you can call it that). I'm not sure it's a film I'd see again, but I didn't mind seeing it the first time, and I think I caught it a couple more times on HBO a couple years later.
Give it a shot.