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American Dreams (2002)
TV shows with historical premises have been successful in the past, but too often they descent into cornball territory. "The Waltons" had a reputation for schmaltz even when it aired, and "Little Houseon the Prairie" wasn't much better ... in fact, the last few seasons were ridiculous at best.
"America Dreams" takes a piece of the recent past, the childhood andteen years of the Baby Boomer generation, the time just before X-ers like myself were born. For the Boomers, it's nostalgia, a look at a time of tumultuous change; for the X-ers, well, for me anyway, it's a glimpse of a legendary time that we remember from our parents' anecdotes and the last few chapters of our highschool history textbooks.
The characters are well-drawn and while they have a stereotypical basis, they aren't restricted to the roles you'd expect; Meg, my favorite character, is pretty and popular, but very socially aware and actively trying to make a difference in the world around her. Reminds me, in an odd way, of Emma from Degrassi TNG in that respect.
The adults on the show are complex and interesting as well, and I got drawn into the story arc after watching just an episode or two this season. I'd really love to go back and catch the previous season at some point.
Anyway ... watchable, interesting, intelligently written, good production values. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a look.
Kukla, Fran and Ollie (1947)
This show did NOT cease production in 1957
It was in color, and the movies I remember seeing on it often included some "groovy" 60's-70's psychedelia. I just wish there was a list somewhere of the movies that were hosted back then ... I consider this show to be my introduction to foreign films, it really broadened my tastes and interested me in other cultures. Sometimes the movies were a little boring to me (sorry, but try to get a hyperactive 8-year-old to watch a movie about rugby... ), but there were a few that I'd love to track down and see again.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?
Arthur Miller certainly knows. His stories give a clearer picture of what it means to live in the United States in the 20th century than any other writer I can think of.
Focus, based on one of his novels, is no exception.
William H. Macy and Laura Dern give fantastic performances here. Emotionally bruising but ultimately rewarding, this movie is excellent.
Ginger Snaps (2000)
Best horror flick I've seen in years
This movie has the feel of the low-budget indie pic that it is, but also boasts a very engaging storyline about two girls caught up in something that they don't understand. Bridget (played to perfection by Emily Perkins) is the intelligent, insecure younger sister, trying to figure out how to put an end to some truly horrifying changes which her sister, Ginger (the lovely & talented Katherine Isabelle), are going through. Along the way, there is plenty of black humor and gore. Mimi Rodgers is ... Another reviewer referred to her as a "housewife on acid" ... That's about the best description I've heard or can come up with. The final fade-out does leave you wondering what happens when Mom gets home. Very well worth the price of a rental or purchase.