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Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)
Still one of the better versions
With all the remakes of "A Christmas Carol," it's nice to watch one that actually captures a warm, Christmas spirit. This animated version is short and leaves out a lot of the storyline, but it gives you the basics. Mickey Mouse makes a surprisingly good Bob Cratchit, and the Tiny Tim is the only one from any movie so far who has actually won my sympathy instead of annoying me! It helps a lot that Scrooge has a more human voice than the other Disney characters. A lot of his dialog is heartfelt and touching.
The music is nice, too, adding a lot to the feel of the movie. The animation is clean and creates a much better London than most live action movies can!
This version is great to watch with kids - it is simplified, so it is easy for them to understand, but you will enjoy it too. It makes you glad it's Christmas time :)
This is one of those movies that has a hard to believe premise, but even if you accept it, the half million or so plot holes will get you in the end. The world is completely under water. Kevin Costner wears creepy skin tight clothes and has gills - ? He's sailing around in a boat straight out of "Gilligan's Island" - everything is high tech, yet apparently made of bamboos. He's stuck with a sexy woman, whose legs magically never get hairy despite the lack of razors, and a cute little girl with dreds. He's a complete ass so I didn't really care what happened to him, and the woman was stupid, so I didn't care what happened to her either. I would have cared about the little girl, but by then I was so disenchanted with the movie that I just couldn't.
Like most bad sci-fi type movies, this one doesn't pay enough attention to details - why are there all types of different American dialects, all in tact? Wouldn't everyone be speaking some kind of water language by then? Why don't they make some water processing factories so they can drink all the salt water? I could go on, but I won't.
The only good thing about this movie was that it totally put me in the mood to watch GOOD movies that takes place in boats - "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Hook."
Serial Killing 4 Dummys (2004)
They Should've Read "Movies 4 Dummys"
Finally - here is a movie which dares to go deeper than the surface when exploring the life of a superhero-like character. No, not "Spider-man 2," but "Serial Killing 4 Dummys!" This enchanting movie takes us into the life of high school student Casey Noland, who wants nothing more than to be the world's most notorious serial killer. Fellow student Lisa 'Oops, spent all my money from the hit song' Loeb, looking as non-conformist as ever with those adorable glasses, befriends Casey and his dream.
The movie explores how serial killers are really just like you and me: They lock their keys in their cars! They suck at gym class! They're plagued by baby fat and freckles when they just want to look tough!
Like all would-be superheroes, Casey has but one tragic flaw which prevents his dreams from becoming reality. In this case, the flaw is called being a lame-ass. The audience watches in suspense, helpless, as Casey fails mission after mission as a serial killer, crawling back home to lick his wounds and practice new serial killer catch-phrases in the mirror. (I got the skill - to kill!) A high point of the movie (other than just turning it off) is the hardware store scene with Corey Feldman. Someone I was watching the movie with commented that Corey probably got the part because he was already working at the store anyway, but it's obvious to me that he snagged the role for his acting ability. In short, before subjecting yourself to this movie, find someone who is less of a lame-ass than Casey and have that person kill you, because you'll wish you were dead while viewing this piece of crap.
A Patch of Blue (1965)
A great film...touching and thought provoking
"A Patch of Blue" is a wonderful film which works on at least two levels: a romance and a social commentary. Unlike most romances, it manages to be touching without being melodramatic, and unlike most social commentaries, it subtly makes its points without manipulation or a hidden agenda.
It is the story of how Selina, a blind girl who is verbally and sometimes physically abused by her mother, discovers her independence with the help of a young, black professional, Gordon. Selina's entire life has been spent alone and indoors. She has not learned how to read Braille or how to get around on her own. She basically does not know how to live independently. She meets Gordon in the park one day, and he essentially begins to teach her how to live. A warm and trusting friendship develops. The obvious complication from their relationship is the fact that Selina's mother is a racist, and Selina does not know that Gordon is black.
Both characters are wonderful: Gordon is cautious but intrigued, knowing he is walking on dangerous ground. Selina is comically naive and eager with an unbreakable spirit.
If you get a chance, watch this movie! It is inspiring and is one of those rare films that actually makes you think.
An Unmarried Woman (1978)
An interesting, realistic portrayal of one woman
Erica is a 40-something woman who is unexpectedly transformed from New York mother and housewife into a single woman who is searching for herself and what she wants to do with the rest of her life. The movie follows her on this search, with some really interesting results.
The movie doesn't attempt to find easy answers or to close any doors. As in real life, divorce is explored as a confusing and unclear situation. There is an intensely realistic feel to the entire movie.
This type of movie can be risky. It is focused completely on Erica and her emotions. However, Jill Clayburgh makes Erica realistic and likable, so the viewer enjoys seeing the world through her eyes. Her friends are funny and likable and her relationship with her daughter is touching.
The best part about this movie is watching Erica rediscover who she is after years of marriage. She doesn't change so much as change as evolve. Her struggle to emotional independence isn't portrayed as simply a straightforward climb to the top. There are twists and many set backs. But as Erica keeps plowing on, you can sense her getting stronger.
Overall, while not a perfect movie, it was an enjoyable watch. I got very connected to the characters and was drawn into their lives. Very satisfying.
Stealing Harvard (2002)
You'll be disappointed, esp. if you're a Lee fan...
I wasn't expecting this to be a great film. But I thought, "Hey Jason Lee's in it...can't be too bad." Well...I was wrong.
The premise of "Stealing Harvard" is pretty stupid to begin with, and it doesn't get much better. When she's a little girl, John promises his niece Noreen that if she gets into college, he will pay for it. About ten years later, Noreen is accepted to Harvard and John is supposed to come up with the remaining $30,000 she doesn't have in scholarship money.
John is a very "normal" guy. (So normal in fact that Jason Lee's performance is downright boring.) So it's hard to believe that he would ever do anything outrageous. Somehow, however, he manages to listen to the crazy ideas of his inept friend Duff (Tom Green). Together, the two do all kinds of crazy things to try and make the money.
It's one of those movies where all sorts of ridiculous, unbelievable things happen. For some movies (Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore) this works, because it has that "stupid funny" feel. "Stealing Harvard" only pulls off stupid, not funny. The characters aren't likable, believable, or interesting.
To make matters worse, the movie actually tries to be serious at parts - bringing into play the fact that John's parents died when he was young and trying to get into marriage issues and a father/daughter relationship with John's wife and her father. It's not a strong enough movie to pull this off.
Simply put, "Stealing Harvard" was not funny, not enjoyable, and not even bad enough to make fun of properly. If you're looking for a great Lee performance, or even a typically outrageous Tom Green performance, don't waste your time.
The Truth About Jane (2000)
Interesting look at the family within the conflict...
First, you have to go into this knowing that it's a made for TV movie, and therefor can't go as deeply into the issues that a regular movie could. That said, it's a pretty good movie which mainly focuses on Jane's family. It was really interesting to see Jane's liberal, open-minded mother react negatively to the news that her daughter was gay. Jane's family made a descent from a strong, caring unit into a torn apart mess. This descent happens gradually and was pretty believable. Towards the end of the movie, when the situation is at it's worse, Jane's father asks her mother, "How did we get here?" Unlike many Lifetime movies, where the teenagers seem to go crazy for no good reason, it was easy to see where the family's problems stemmed from and why they were so plagued with drama. The movie isn't perfect by any means, but the acting is strong, the relationships are touching (especially between Jane and her father) and the resolutions are uplifting but more realistic than what you'd be used to seeing on TV movies. Some good performances by Jane's mother, (Stockard Channing), Jane's father, (James Naughton) and Jane herself (Ellen Muth). With an altered "TV movie scale," I'd give it 4/5 stars.
Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
Don't waste your money
I wasn't expecting much from this movie, and I didn't get much. The plot is, like most modern horror movies, thin and unrealistic. After losing their mother in a fire, a father and his 2 children, one almost grown, the other an 8 year old, inherit a house from a mysterious dead uncle. Once inside the house, they realize that "Uncle Cyrus" was not just a weird old rich guy with a cool house, but a freak with a giant machine full of dead people. (I was extremely surprised to see Oscar winning actor F. Murray Abraham as Uncle Cyrus.) Of course, they become trapped inside the machine, and of course they become separated. Maybe if I had cared about the characters at all, I would have cared when they were in mortal danger. However, the movie spent about 5 minutes developing their personalities. Additionally, the little boy was so bratty and obnoxious that I almost hoped he'd go first. Anyway, if visual images really scare you, then "Thirteen Ghosts" might, as it does have some really grotesque special effects. However, if you need a plot and intellectual stimulation to enjoy a movie, then "Thirteen Ghosts" is not for you. Also, just to rant, where the heck do they get off putting "13" in place of the "te"?
Saved by the Bell (1989)
A Great Show that Doesn't Deserve It's Bad Rap!
"Saved By the Bell".... a show about high school that is actually funny! Did all the plots accurately reflect life in high school? No. Were principals ever around that much, or that nice? No. Were skinny, nerdy kids ever in a close circle of friends that included prom queens and jocks? No. BUT-- despite it's obvious flaws, "Saved by the Bell" does demonstrate great teen humor when it pokes fun at teachers and rules in general. Also, Zack's charm and ability to get away with everything really give the show a "Ferris Buehler" feel. (Plus Mark Paul Gossalear was so cute when he was little Zack!) I do however, think that the show should have ended with graduation..."The College Years" and "The New Class" were pathetic ways to milk a dead cow.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Every Kid's Dream
It's every kid's fantasy that they can skip a day of school, have a ton of fun, not get caught, and hey, while we're at it, screw over the principal and get lots of people to think that you're deathly ill! Matthew Broderick is absolutely adorable as Ferris, and Jennifer Grey is hilarious as the understandably bitter younger sister. Though this movie is first and foremost a madcap comedy, there are some cute, sentimental (but not mushy) moments between Ferris and his girlfriend Sloane and his best friend Cameron. And of course, the best scene is hands down, when Ferris lipsynches to the Beatles' "Twist and Shout." This movie should be required viewing for all high school seniors everywhere!