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Chico and the Man (1974)
Looking REAL good!
Finally, the show is on DVD. So far, just a one disc set, but it contains six great episodes, including the pilot and important episodes that really focus on the relationship between Chico and Ed Brown, and the personalities of both men to help explain how two such different people could care so much for each other. This was a terrific show and had Freddie not died, it could have run for a decade, if Freddie wasn't a movie star by then. Let's hope we can see more episodes released in the future. This was a show that Chicanos could be proud of and that still entertained everyone else.
And yes, the "Cousin Pepe" episode is in there!
The Starfighters (1964)
The worst line in movie history
Never mind the idea of making Bob Dornan and action movie star, but this boring snoozefest contains what has to be the worst line ever said in movie history.
Dornan is "romancing" a typical Midwest farmgirl and listening to her talk about raising corn. At the end, Dornan tries to make time with her by saying...
...ready for this?
Are you sure?
Seriously, you can stop now.
OK, I warned ya...
"...I always knew sex could be corny, but who knew corn could be so sexy?"
Just a piece of advice for film makers. The day-to-day operations of the typical military base or unit usually doesn't make very riveting viewing. Trust me, I know firsthand.
Death in Hollywood (1990)
Hard to find, but worth it
I first encountered this tape, along with its companion, "When The Applause Died," in a video store in North Dakota and rented it often because the archival footage and plain-speaking accounts of the deaths of some of Hollywood's greats were just irresistible to me for their historic value.
I moved away from the Peace Garden State and for years couldn't find this title. Thank goodness for Ebay, that's all I can say. I eventually won both (and if there's a third part to this series, I'd love to find that, too!), and I hope that eventually this will come onto DVD, perhaps updated.
I like this documentary and I think you will too.
When the Applause Died (1990)
Very hard to find, but well worth it
I discovered this title, along with companion title "Death In Hollywood," in a video store in Minot, ND. They're both great documentaries, with plenty of classic scenes, movie trailer, clips of performances and pulls no punches in describing and showing the destruction that substance abuse wreaked upon some of the industry's top stars and their families.
Beginning with Fatty Arbuckle and ending with Janis Joplin, the tragic consequences of alcohol and drug abuse are shown, with no attempt to romanticize their affects rather showing the waste and pain that they brought to the performers and their fans.
Perhaps the two titles will one day be updated and put on DVD. Until then, check Ebay often and bid aggressively.
Little Bill (1999)
The hat trick for Bill Cosby!
First, Fat Albert. Then, Picture Pages (I know he didn't create it, but do you think of anyone else when the topic comes up?). Then, Bill Cosby creates Little Bill, and cements his legend as not only an entertainer, but and educator. Except for Fat Albert (which I recommend highly), my son has seen both of these works and also catches "The Cosby Show." Believe me, if I had to pick one entertainer that ends up my son's favorite TV star, thank goodness it's Bill Cosby. Even his bad films, like Leonard Part 6 and Ghost Dad, are pretty OK for kids as entertainment. And knowing him, there's been a positive message of some sort in both those films for kids all along that we've been missing.
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Do yourself a big favor...
Pay the three bucks or so to rent this at your local store. I have seen this on TV a few times this year, and every time, it gets mutilated to cut anything that might be considered not politically correct. Wasn't being offensive the whole point of the film? To show the ugly side of people's blind greed, hatred and hypocrisy? Instead, and ABC Family is the worst of the bunch, the cable networks just try to milquetoast Mel Brooks' vision down for family viewing. Hello! When did Mel Brooks ever care about being "family" when he had a point to make?
Rent the movie, it is the funniest thing! And network programmers, if you can't handle Mel Brooks trying to point out reality and truth to you, don't even bother showing his films.
Morton & Hayes (1991)
I don't get it to this day. One week, I'm watching a show doing a brilliant parody of those old "lost jungle goddess" films in flawless Abbott and Costello style, the next week, it's gone.
Any show with Rob Reiner directing and Christopher Guest and Joe Flaherty writing should be the biggest thing on television. The episodes I saw were sure funny enough to compete with anything I ever saw. Sadly, it's been reduced to a quick mention in Rob Reiner's resume, which is sad because I could tell that Rob really loved this one.
Any chance there's a video of this floating around somewhere?
Santa Claus (1959)
As nice as it is to see any film still trying to remember the true origins of Christmas, I get a little creeped out when I see a film trying to fuse Santa, Jesus and Merlin into the same story. The moment I see Santa praying for guidance from Jesus, I keep wondering why he doesn't just let Him handle the devil. Head to head, I think Jesus has a pretty good record against the Mangoat. Why does the devil even care about Santa to begin with? And what does Merlin have to do Christmas to begin with?
And why do we only see secular mascots (Santa, Easter Bunny) for Christian holidays? Why isn't there a Passover Dragonfly or a Kwanza Polar Bear or something?
The Big Comfy Couch (1992)
A promising show that got no respect
It's sad that Allison Court is going to be known more for doing the voice of Jubilee on "X-Men" (yes, that's her!) than for this show, which is one of dozens of promising and solid children's shows that never got enough of a chance to catch on. Maybe in its native Canada it gets more respect, but here on the other side of the falls, an educational show is judged more by how much merchandise it sells than how much children learn from it.
For an adult, the show may look at times silly and cheesy, but to toddlers and pre-schoolers, who these shows are aimed at, it's a show that is at the same time exciting and soothing.
The story of two young boys and their love for their country and their weiners
Hey, remember when MTV original programming actually had plots and writers, and weren't just cameras aimed at teenagers hoping they'd take their clothes off? Or even when MTV actually played VIDEOS? By bands that weren't talented, but not top 40 pop acts?
Just barely? Well, there once was a time that MTV cared about the products they put their name on, and Beavis and Butthead were the last of that era.
At least MTV decided to pull the plug before running this into the ground, though not before they produced the truly awful spin-off, "Daria". Sure, let's take the most annoying, uninteresting character and build a whole show around her (C'mon, weren't you all just praying for someone to one day toss her in a car trunk and drive it into the lake?).
Huh huh. I said "hole".
But before it ended, MTV made this movie, which was amazingly good, since people had doubts that their schtick could play out for two hours with no videos. They did get a lot of help from a solid cast of supporting characters, such as those played by Robert Stack, Cloris Leachman and Bruce Willis, and a wild plot that needed the whole movie to tie together, but was worth the wait.
And the scene where the whiny hippie got beaten to a pulp was a nice touch, too.