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Kitchen Nightmares (2007)
Total Trash TV
It's sad to see what has happened to this show in its American incarnation.
Typical of American television, and of Fox in particular, the wonderful BBC original "Kitchen Nightmares" has been Jerry Springer-ized for the U.S. market.
Let's review each show, shall we? There's the:
1. short intro of troubled restaurant
2. Gordon arrives, eats, makes catty remarks about the food
3. confronts chef/owner, initiates shouting match
4. more shouting in the kitchen ("it's rotten!" ."the kitchen is closed!" .."you're going to kill people!")
5 Totally phony "drama" as Gordon morphs into Dr. Phil and holds a family therapy session for the beleaguered owners. Lots of phony tears, lots of phony "concern" from Gordon.
6. chef/owner resists Gordon's changes, more shouting
7. Gordon's people remodel restaurant, Gordon introduces new menu
(repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 here, then cue the...)
8. happy ending, chef/owner admits how right Gordon was and they were wrong
The change in tone from the British version is jarring -- in the BBC incarnation, Gordon's critiques of the food are exactly what you'd expect from a professional chef who genuinely wants to help get a troubled eating establishment back on its feet.
In the American version, his comments are rude, crass, and boorish -- obviously meant to elicit the kind of hooting and howling reaction that you see from an audience on the Jerry Springer Show. Would any true professional, when tasting a not-so-great meal, call it "a big pile of pubic hair"? But at least it gets the mouth-breathers who watch Fox hooting, right on cue. Add to that, it now seems every restaurant is now family owned, which gives the dullards at Fox the chance to give us fake, phony, staged family therapy sessions. Anyone who really thinks they're seeing anything "real" on this show needs to have their head examined.
And EVERY show has him saying "this is the worst meal I've ever had in my entire life!" Yeah, right. Phony.
There seems to be a conscious effort to get people screaming at each other as quickly as possible (this way, the idiot narrator can say "next week's show is Gordon's biggest...challenge...YET!"). His favorite method is to call the chef/manager/owner "a fake", and that usually does the trick (which is kind or ironic, since that's exactly what this show is), then when the person gets angry and argues back (or storms off), Gordon acts shocked (shocked! that there's gambling in Casablanca ).
The British version was informative and entertaining.
This American version is absolute garbage. Which is just par for the course on Fox.
Or, rather, IT'S ROTTEN!!!!!
Final film not what the director intended
It was said in another review:
"The film is presented to us as a flashback, with McCarthy explaining the take-over of his town to the extremely skeptical authorities. This is a brilliant device..."
Unfortunately, the director, Don Siegel was *forced* to add the opening and closing mental hospital scenes plus the narration, and HATED those scenes and the narration. As Siegel originally intended it, the film should have opened at the train station, with NO narration, allowing the story to unfold for the viewer naturally. The narration basically kills the suspense, since from the outset we're "helpfully" told by Kevin McCarthy that there's something seriously wrong, when it would have been much more suspenseful to let us find out for ourselves.
My "9" vote is for the film with the opening and closing scenes removed. With those scenes, it's about a "5".
C'era una volta il West (1968)
*the* best western
This is not a film for people with short attention spans, so those of you who have grown up on MTV, don't bother with this one. You won't like it.
Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the greatest westerns because instead of showing us unrealistic hero-type characters (um, Clint Eastwood, anyone?) it gives us regular people living their lives in realistic situations.
This film proves Roger Ebert's saying "no good film is too long" -- yes, it unfolds at a snails pace, but, like Leone's wonderful shot of Monument Valley, you have to pull back and look at the big picture. If you're expecting a Jerry Bruckheimer "film", this movie will drive you nuts. But if you like good long movies, you can't do better than this. After 165 minutes, I could go back to the beginning and watch it all over again. How many movies can you say that about?
St. Elsewhere (1982)
Hasn't aged well...
As groundbreaking as it was for the early 80s, unfortunately, St. Elsewhere hasn't aged well, especially compared to ER. Viewing them side by side, St. Elsewhere is quite a cheesy-type soap opera (yeah, ER has soap-like aspects, but it's a TON more realistic than St. Elsewhere ever was), with stilted, cliched plots.
Too bad, though, that they can't work a way to get Dr. Craig to transfer to Chicago to replace Romano on ER -- that was one character worth saving :)
Lincoln in the White House (1939)
Typical Hollywood treatment
This short gives Honest Abe the typical Hollywood treatment: deep voice (Lincoln actually had a high-pitched voice), broad theatrical motions when giving speeches, and every line out of his mouth is basically an historical sound-bite from his best speeches. Interesting as a curiosity (how people viewed Lincoln on the eve of WW II), but don't expect to learn anything about Lincoln (or history in general) from watching it.