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Granite Flats (2013– )
Monotonous and plastic..
19 June 2015
A 2 because of an apparently honest attempt at capturing the 60s. Everything about this is probably the result of honest attempts at all manner of things. Honest but contrived at almost every turn. Each line is delivered so as to impress the viewer with it's cleverness. I watched 3 seasons on Netflix, but was creep-ed out at some point in every episode. I don't think that I watched it as much for content as I did to see if it would continue to creep me out. The attempt at portraying a small town Christian atmosphere was plastic and again, creepy. I was surprised at Christopher Lloyd's over dramatizations. I tried really hard to like it, I think the actors tried really hard, except for aunt Whosit... she tried way too hard. The thirteen year old in me might watch additional seasons should Netflix air them, but not because of any expectation that they will get better. You know, the creepiness thing. Oh, and Aunt Whosit, she really should be detained by some governmental entity... for impersonating an actress.
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Slow, slow, slow, stop
17 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This was a very unbalanced film. A very young Chevy Chase not being very funny. In fact often trying to make something funny, with his goofy faces, that just wasn't funny. The spans between spots where laughs should have been were consistently long and tedious, and then... no laughs. I almost laughed once in the film, but I don't remember when, it's not worth expending the energy required to remember. Kept watching, waiting for a customary Chase side splitter that never came. Slow, slow, slow. Only because Chase was in it did I keep watching. It got more interesting towards the end when Chase starts doling out revenge, but that was only interesting because, who doesn't like seeing someone getting what's coming to them. If you liked any of the vacation films, don't expect this one to live up to the marks set by those. I had the sensation throughout that just having Chevy Chase in a film was suppose to be enough to satisfy the viewer. It wasn't.
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17 June 2014
I was very fortunate to DVR a pristine copy of this many years ago on TCM and I have watched it probably 30 times since.

My dad made several auto trips across the US in the twenties and earlier. Though this was 1934, it provides me with a visual perspective on some of what he may have encountered before there was a national system of highways, or many paved roads for that matter.

My enjoyment of this film comes mostly from the glimpses into early motoring. As a kid in the early fifties I made many a trip from California to Iowa with my folks on route 66. Motoring was not all that sophisticated even in the early fifties and that plays into it as well.

This review/comment is not so much about the finer points of the movie as it is a statement on how enjoyable it is for me because of the time in which it was made.

The fact that there is a great little drama playing out and lots of ventures into quirky personalities and side plots, is just icing on the cake.
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It's about disturbances, reading between the lines...
13 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Mom and dad get divorced. Mom finds a new hubby. Daniel starts having trouble with all the changes. Mom and new dad have leanings toward the supernatural, probably what brought them together. New dad has some financial issues that he hasn't disclosed. Soon after moving into the new home mom and dad come to the realization that they are in over their heads, need to get out of the predicament they have created for themselves. Hey, there were people killed in this house, I'll bet spooks could help us out of this predicament. They may have picked this particular house specifically because people were killed in it, their plans may have had deeper roots. We haven't been given enough info to know for sure. Dad sets up an already disturbed Daniel by feeding him ghost stories, Daniel finds them a great release for his unresolved anger. It's working out for everyone. Mom and dad start making some bucks off of the notoriety and ghosts have gotten them off the hot seat. Daniels anger builds and after a while he has started believing his own stuff. Bring in someone who wants to make a documentary, lets squeeze some more cash out of this if we can. Daniel picks up a few bucks by embarrassing himself in front of the camera and his inability to separate fact from fiction becomes known to the world. The siblings are tired of the fiasco and would probably like to get as far from this mess as possible. It's about disturbances, but not the supernatural kind. Actually a pretty sad affair.
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Love (I) (2011)
Bad investment....
7 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes you make an investment of time watching a film and even though half way through the film you still have no idea what your watching, you have to keep watching to protect your investment. LOVE? I don't get the connection. This was to love what cheese is to penguins. I really don't like thinking I must be really stupid when I miss what's going on and later learn that nothing was going on. Double stupid. Or stupid canceled by stupid. The movie was stupid. I am always drawn in by what seems obvious. I was hoping that what the soldiers saw was some amazing object in the desert from the future. Kept hoping for that almost to the end. I was hoping the guy would time travel back to the Civil War era. I really hate it when I get caught up in something that turns out to be something else. Or in this case nothing at all. Bad investment.
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Marked Men (1940)
Fun for several reasons
28 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are several things that endear this film to me. It's a fun little movie that packs a lot of plot into slightly over an hour. First there's a dog, a smart dog, and then another cute little dog who becomes his bud, and neither one gets killed. Second Wolves in Tempe, we've got Coyotes in the hills, but Wolves? Third, filmed on location in Tempe, AZ in the 40's. I don't remember one outdoor scene that appeared to be filmed in a studio setting. Well maybe some desert backdrops, but no phony desert shots. Fourth, good guy is vindicated, bad guys loose out in the end. Fifth, a simplistic story of right's triumph over wrong, with lots of opening gunfire. Sixth, A town full of people who don't hesitate to turn on a hero at a perceived indiscretion, you gotta love that. I always get a kick out the portrayal of survival in the desert in movies, especially older films. Laying down on the desert floor on a blistering day isn't much different than laying down on that proverbial sidewalk that folks fry eggs on. A small canteen of water is good for a couple hours when it's 115 and you don't have shade, at least for me.
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The absurd zone... where disinterest reigns supreme.
27 July 2013
At every turn the extraordinary is dismissed with casual abandon. I think a formula was used to determine the dialog in this film, especially where interaction between the boy and his parents are concerned. What would a normal person be to expected to say in a given situation, use an opposite response. I focus on dialog because dialog is what I have the most trouble with in this film. The few times I have seen this I have wondered at what seems to be totally disconnected reactions to strikingly bizarre situations, and I have come to the conclusion that it was done on purpose. I have no insight into the minds of writers or directors, but considering the weak story, something needed to be done to make a potentially really boring plot engender at least a little interest. Even at the risk of making a silly movie. Another possibility is that everyone came to work loaded every day. I don't know how to rate it. I will need a time machine to go into the past and become invisible so that I can sit in on the planning of this one.
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A quality surprise...
27 July 2013
As of this writing, the ratings of people who "hated" this movie never got lower than 5 stars. I have rated films that I like as 5 on occasion. Monsters that you can't "hate" because they aren't living adds a unique twist. The special effects are very nicely done and the acting is good. The film has a special interest to me because of the filming locations. In my twenties I spent a lot of time in the high desert near Victorville and many scenes appear familiar. I only discovered Monolith Monsters within the last year and was very pleasantly surprised to find a quality sleeper from the 50's. A lot of 50's Sci-Fi films contained cheesy elements that are fun to poke fun at. This film holds the distinction of not displaying any of those elements. I don't find anything to ridicule (in fun). I sincerely hope that there are many "sleepers" of this quality out there.
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Scouts Honor (2009)
I would hang my head in shame...
15 March 2013
Was it me or was everybody in this film trying to be Tim Conway? If so, they all failed, miserably. The ones who weren't trying to be Tim Conway, were trying to be Jim Carrey. I was challenged to watch the whole thing just to see if there was even one laugh. The fart jokes almost made it, because it's really hard to screw up a fart joke. They did. What is really amazing, apart from the fact that people were actually paid to be in this, is that these were adults, and they allowed themselves the embarrassment. I can't imagine having this on your resume. I had to stop watching and started just listening, because I was embarrassed. The guy who played the son with all the merit badges, I don't know or care who he was, was just obnoxious, no other way to put it. Not that the rest of the crew wasn't. there's no good reason for writing this other than to vent out of frustration. If you haven't seen it, proceed with extreme caution. You have been warned. It is beyond bad.
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They covered everything... Badly.
8 March 2013
They covered everything... Badly. From special effects to facts. I kept watching because it was so bad. There's something to be said for bad, but not enough to make me want to watch part 2. I probably will though, just to see if it is as bad. Everybody was over the top. Actors that I usually like count on for good performances were terrible in this. Had any of the writers ever actually observe a real relationship between real people? I had a little trouble understanding how people in a city that was totally blacked out were able to watch news updates. Big business is bad. Government is good. The only people you can count on for honesty is the media. Throw everything you can think of at a camera and you've got yourself a movie. I think that must have been the philosophy behind this one.
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Turbulent Skies (2010 TV Movie)
A disaster in every sense of the word
27 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I was actually hoping the plane would go down, just to end the dreadful mess. Every conceivable cliché ever used in an air disaster film was present in this one. I kept watching simply in anticipation of the next over acted scene, thinking at some point it would have to show a sign of something loosely plausible. The hole just kept getting deeper, right up to the end. Were all flight safety rules set aside by the FAA for this particular flight? I'm not an air safety expert, but shouldn't there be at least a co-pilot at the controls at all times. I gave it a two because even if for all the wrong reasons I did purpose to sit through it. It could have almost been a comedy. I often flashed back to one of the AIRPLANE movies of the seventies expecting a laugh. Watch it for it's goofiness. That's the only entertaining thing about it.
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I was there...
19 January 2012
I've noticed that some of the reviewers that hated this actually love to watch it. Over and over. I have to separate the different levels of like and dislike with a film like this. Cheesy? That's a word that popped up several times, Yes it was cheesy, but lovable. Silly story line? yes. Less than stellar acting? Yes. Simplistic? Yes. Fun to watch? Yes. Like one reviewer said, "They don't make em like this any more". I'm glad they don't. It was an era in film making that has passed and I appreciate films like this because they exemplified a time when we weren't very sophisticated. I'm happy to have grown up in a time like that, and that's why I watch movies like this one. Sophistication isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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Casino Royale (1967)
Gives junk a bad name...
2 January 2012
I remember seeing this in a theater when it came out. I got up and left before 30 minutes had passed. I tried watching it on Netflix a couple weeks ago, hoping that I had just been in a bad mood the first time. I bailed after 15 minutes. There is nothing good to be said about this film. It was a mess in 1967 and it hasn't improved with age. I don't watch movies for any other reason than to be entertained, and to say that there was anything entertaining about this movie would be a bold faced lie. I'll leave the sophisticated analysis to the experts. My simplistic opinion rates it at less than junk. Unless you've got 15 minutes to waste, let this one pass. UPDATE: For fun I recently started reading reviews of this mess starting with HATED IT. I noticed that as the ratings began to rise above 1, the FOUND HELPFUL numbers started coming up. Not sure what that proves, but it's interesting.
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Destination Mars (2006 Video)
Boy is my face red...
1 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this thinking that it actually was a bad 50's Sci-Fi film. I hadn't read the brief synopsis on Netflix, and got hauled in hook line and stinker. Reading the first two reviews on this site had me wondering if we were all writing about the same movie and it sent me in search of more information. How could anyone think this was a good film. Boy was my face red. I was prepared to give it a one. I fell asleep half way through it, a really good sign of really bad 50's cinema. A scene that showed some cops running to the bushes for cover from multiple atomic bombs being dropped on Martian robots a few yards away, should have given me a clue, but hey, it would have worked for Ed Wood. We were really gullible in the fifties, but not that gullible. I just racked it up to Ed Woodianess and moved on. I was feeling sooo bad for "Gloria Fremont" the drug addicted daughter of "Joseph P McDonald" and "Darla Baxter" that I wanted to jump off of something tall. Actually, it really is a terrible 50's film... made in 2002. I'm so glad.
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Panic (2002)
Okay to not so okay
13 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen worse films. The story line was decent. The acting ranged from okay to not so okay. Dialog was amateurish and forced to appear sophisticated, a little embarrassing in spots. The computer graphics were 1999 video game quality. It was hard to believe that they would have made it to the big screen, and they must have been embarrassing on the big screen. Most of the budget must have been spent on graphics and special effects. The whole time I was watching it the action was the only thing that kept me watching. Over the top and beyond reason in many places, but like I said, I've seen worse. I don't know of any reason to recommend it other than for the obvious and over used CGI.
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2012 Doomsday (2008 Video)
Wow... what a terrible movie.
19 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was beyond awful. A score of one is way too generous. Put a little Mayan legend, Bible prophecy, really bad acting, a scientist(of sorts) and a perpetually grinning mom in a blender, spin it on high for an hour and fifteen minutes and you've got yourself a movie about... something. Yes I watched the whole thing, just to see if they could maintain the level terribleness to the end.

Some highlights:

The scenes of the interior of the ambulance were reminiscent of the cockpit in "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Someone put them together from a flawed memory, or had never actually seen the inside of an ambulance. They may have seen the inside of a plumbers truck and confused it with an ambulance.

The tiny airplane that was able to fly right through an apocalyptic tornado, land at a peaceful suburban airport in the middle of apocalypticville and appear as though it had just been detailed for an air show.

A ride with mom. A mom who never blinks and creeps you out with her demonic stare, and nauseating platitudes. She didn't get raptured a second too soon.

There's a scene where the couple, whose names you have no reason to want to know, are having a deep conversation about nothing of major importance and the camera keeps whirling around them. I got the impression that the cameraman had always wanted to do one of these shots and didn't want or know how to stop it. He almost didn't. He may have run out of film. I got motion sickness... really.

I should mention the car that is noisily pelted with very large hail stones, but never actually gets a dent or a strike by a hail stone.

Oh, and the typewriter. Every few minutes you would be updated on the hours left until dooms day. An annoying typed update.

This was a film that made very little sense from the beginning through the middle, and escalated to the point of making absolutely no sense by it's end. I don't think this was one of the films that will gain a reputation for being so bad that it's good. It's just bad. It should have been "left behind"... in the canister.
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Night Fright (1967)
I've seen worse... maybe
20 April 2010
Why film a movie if you are not going to provide light for the cameras. The film would have been about seven minutes long if it were not for the shots of people walking through the woods. I enjoyed seeing the typical sixties dress and the 60's cars. I couldn't help but ask myself what self respecting kid would drive a Tornado, though they were neat cars. The music was tedious and repetitive. Ten minutes of people dancing in the dark was too much. I've seen worse acting, but the manikin should have had top billing. At least it kept it's mouth closed. I think the motivation for making the movie must have been that someone had a lot of film available that had gone beyond the expiration date and they didn't want to see it go to waste. It went to waste.
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Eegah (1962)
Not eegah to see this again...
11 April 2010
I'm giving this a 2 because it is not the worst movie I have ever seen. The following are some observations that might aid the unsuspecting viewer: I wasn't quite sure why the rich girl was driving a bug-eye Sprite and the service station attendant was driving a late model Corvette. I also noticed that her car shifted gears auto-magically. I didn't see Tom Nelson's hair in the credits, but it should have been. Dad's two-tone shoes showed up on several different guys, maybe it was the style in 1962. Everybody who was cool wanted to be just like dad. I noticed that the helicopter landed on some tractor tracks in the remote part of the desert where the prehisteric cave man held up. Dad's black shoes and black socks with shorts were a bad fashion statement even in 1962. They also attract Gila Monsters and really dense film producers. The helicopter pilot seems to think dad's instructions on getting back to pick him up are funny, that was a hoot, why would you want to rescue that guy out of the desert? The giants beard is long and graying at first, shorter and black later. Grecian Formula for cavemen? I wonder if Tom wrote his own lyrics, they didn't deserve a 1. Heck, they were the worst lyrics I ever heard. Be sure to check out the giant speakers by the pool, the background vocalists may have been inside them. I guess the water in the tires was for emergency drinking. Desert survival tip, always put plenty of drinking water in your tires, why clutter up the desert with those unsightly canteens. How many times do you need to yell whee, actually it was some of the best dialog. Great action shots of a beat up old radiator and fan assembly. Always drive deep into the desert in a piece of junk. Then if you die because it broke down, you die happy because the bank won't have to repossess it from a surviving family member. Make sure you don't take any communication devices into the desert, contaminates the sand. In this particular part of the desert the wind blows loudly but doesn't rustle bushes, or tom's hair. Roxy faints a lot. Why does Eegah have such smooth skin and no tan? How did dad become such an expert on the cave man? The cave man's hair is parted on the left and he talks without moving his lips, must be a hidden connection there. Eegah actually had the better lines. Why did Tom choose to sleep in a bush? Isn't that an obvious place for creeping desert creatures to hide. oops, I answered that one myself. I distinctly heard Eegah say the following words: Cordoba, ducks, ou mow mow, tom toborah, oh sheets ow, turkey bladder, I made that one up, howdy, mulumna, odd soup, mahogany, aw ugly, see chuck, so ugly. I stopped keeping track when it started making sense. Can you actually get shot 7 or 8 times and not leak any blood into the pool you jump in to? Like I said, this was not the worst movie I have ever seen. I may actually watch it again sometime. Maybe I'll wait for Eegah II.
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Pajama Party (1964)
60's junk
19 November 2009
I'm embarrassed by this film, mostly because I was a teenager in SoCal in 64. It's a good example of what you get if you stand back and throw stuff at a camera. I suppose some feel obligated to say nice things about it because Annette is in it. There is not a good reason to say anything nice about it. How anyone could find it entertaining escapes me. I've tried to watch it about five times and have had to leave it before the end each time. I really don't understand who the intended audience was. I was in HS in 64 and no one I knew would have sat through this, even at a drive-in on a hot date. I've got it playing on Hulu as I write this and the audio is annoying by itself. I can't stand it any longer, I've got to stop Hulu. Didn't make it even half way through this time. I understand that taste in old films runs the gamut, this one I just don't get.
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Just a clunk...
27 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
It would be hard to spoil this gem. I'm watching it as I write. I DVR'd it on TCM last night , because it was the first movie I attended with a date in the 6th grade. I was so nervous during the movie (when I was a kid) that I didn't see any of it, but remembered the title. and thinking as a kid that the bird was a rip-off. You knew from the first time Pierre showed up that he was going to get it. I'm watching Tweety break off chunks of the UN building, and it's pretty pathetic. It's a good thing they destroyed the egg, or there would have been two of these sorry monsters. I thought birds of prey had talons, not claws. I guess this wasn't all bird. It was not only as "big as a battleship", it had similar flight characteristics. Of particular interest was the "crunch" as each parachutist was devoured. I think the bird was patterned after whichever was the bird of Kukla Fran and Ollie fame. I would like to say it was so bad it was good, but I just can't. On no, Charlie just got eaten... no crunch this time. Just a clunk...
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A very cute movie
19 August 2008
"The kids in the gorilla cage". The three stooges are alive and well. Three goof balls abduct a toddler and the fun begins. In a world where nobody but three persons of limited IQ have peripheral vision, this could happen. You would also have to suspend some of the laws of physics, such as; a broom handle used as a lever to catapult a 200 pound man 20 feet into the air, a cigarette lighter that takes 5 minutes to burn through a man's pants, all the while inflicting horrifying pain to the nether regions, and people surviving several 40 foot falls in one day with only minor aches and pains. If you love cute little kids, can suspend any sense of reality, and enjoy silly slapstick humor, you will love this movie. "Radio Rogers, tell him we're going back to the tick-tock to get the boo boo".
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Saps at Sea (1940)
What plot?
22 April 2008
I can't believe people are looking for a plot in this film. This is Laural and Hardy. Lighten up already. These two were a riot. Their comic genius is as funny today as it was 70 years ago. Not a filthy word out of either mouth and they were able to keep audiences in stitches. Their comedy wasn't sophisticated by any stretch. If a whoopee cushion can't make you grin, there's no reason to watch any of the stuff these guys did. It was a simpler time, and people laughed at stuff that was funny without a plot. I guess it takes a simple mind to enjoy this stuff, so I qualify. Two man comedy teams don't compute, We're just too sophisticated... Aren't we fortunate?
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A smell emanated from my cheese and burning insulation.
8 March 2008
In 1965 girls had big hair. Guys who were cool had jelly rolls.This movie is about the effects of big hair and jelly rolls on people who want to direct films. If massive oil spots on a driveway are any indicator of movie quality, well there you have it. I remember the last time my girl friend was mad at me and I went over to her house and she twirled an umbrella in my face, and I started walking and hearing this really distorted ballad and elevated street cars passed over head. I hate it when that happens. I hated it when it happened in this movie. What would really have helped this movie would have been some continuity. What would have helped it even more would have been a gallon of gasoline and a match. The nightmare scene was the only thing that made any sense. The movie was a nightmare and the dream was a glimpse into the soul of the person who did the casting. I have heard through the grape vine that some of the actors were zombies in real life. The ones who were not were reported to have hung themselves with the grapevine. The police department should have received some kind of commendation for training their officers in the use of restraint while shooting people in the back. There were at least two people in town that they did not shoot in the back. I can't say enough bad things about this movie. It has every thing that should never be in a movie, and more. A better name for the film would have been "Family Affair". Everyone in it had to be a member of the director's family. It was probably one of those movies that should have only been played in outdoor theaters... where the smell can dissipate before it hits the viewer.
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The Train (1964)
It's on again and I can't resist
10 November 2007
Well, it's showing on TCM again and here I sit watching it for about the 30th time. If this film is being shown, I will watch it. The photography is excellent. The story is captivating, even if it didn't happen that way. The special effects are outstanding, where did they get all of those trains? I detected the possible use of miniatures in a couple scenes, but I say possible because I can't tell for sure. I think this is Burt Lancaster's finest performance ever. It's like the man was made for the part. The fact that there are lots of trains has a lot to do with my interest. I would love to see a documentary on it's production. My favorite scene is the ground level shot of the massive locomotive sliding toward the camera in the big crash. Did they destroy those locomotives for the film? If I could rate it higher I would.
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Sahara... as a western
5 September 2007
I couldn't get over the fact that a lot of this film was "Sahara" as a western. I have read some negative comments, but I don't think it was too bad. Gary Cooper was definitely too old for the part. The characters were not very real. A lot of the dialog seemed forced and out of place. I got the impression that money was available to make a movie and someone decided that Gary Cooper was a good box office draw. Like I said, it's an OK movie, it didn't look like anyone was actually directing it. A trek across the desert will always appeal to me, and most of the desert scenes were convincing. It's good enough to have on while you're doing something else, like cruising the internet or cleaning your Glock.
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