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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This version of the Stepford Wives is played out for laughs unlike the
novel or Original Stepford Wives movie in 1975.
In this version Joanna Eberhart played by Nicole Kidman is a high powered TV mogul rather than a free lance photographer and she was born an Eberhart and kept her maiden name when she married Walter who's last name is Kresby.
Eberhart put on one too many Alternative Programs on her network, and it almost gets her killed. However it costs her job, and she falls to pieces. Walter decides to move to Stepford in hopes of starting a new life.
Eberhart is not crazy about being a stay at home wife and mother but she jumps into the role with two feet and makes the best out of it. Soon she meets the other women of Stepford and all their perfection.
Something to note here Faith Hill plays Stepford wife Sarah Sunderson and is a mixture of Patricia Cornell and Carol Van Sant in this movie.
Soon enough Eberhart runs into not only into Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler) but also Roger Bannister (Roger Bart) who is Gay and moved into Stepford with his partner. Bart is the feminine one so he bonds with Joanna and Bobbie. Meanwhile at the Men's Assocation you see the men, act more like boys with their toys (no foolin) rather than the workaholic held back men in the 75 version.
Because Bart acts like a woman he is the first of the three to be Stepfordtized and he becomes this Social Conservtive type after the change. Soon enough Bobbie gets the Stepford treatment and we see the recreation of the scenes of Joanna's face off at the men's association, but this face it have a feel of a boys club occult ceremony mixed in with a little Frankenstein on the table as Joanna sees her "replacement." You then see the recreation of the Grocery Store scene which wraps up the 75 version but in this version the movie it does not end their.
The climax is a ballroom dancing night and Walter sets things in motion that helps the Stepford Wives get the upper hand, but it also reveals a few surprises in which everyone gets the shock of their life, and leads to a commentary that goes beyond 1970's women's lib (which was the basis of The Stepford Wives). Rather a statement is made on how life in America has changed but not all for the better. Some of that is seen early in the film including Eberhart's love for black clothing, which respects the "working woman", and the open titles in which you see film clips of 1950's housewives.
If you plan on seeing this film you may want to see the original 75 version first. You might be able to appreciate this version afterwords, and if not you can see how they play and complement (or tries to) each other.
CNN's Larry King and Meredith Vieira (The View and Millionaire) have cameos in this movie.
In the height of the Women's liberation movement during early 1970's it
seemed that certain men were afraid of stronger women. Ira Levin used
that to create a novel that is not necessarily great literature, but a
novel that people are going to remember for a long time to come. The
Stepford Wives proved to be a page tuner and a book that people could
not just put down.
By 1975 William Goldman and Bryan Forbes adapted the book into a motion picture, and while the movie has not aged with grace it does have that same hook at the novel.
The movie begins with the Eberhart's moving out of New York City and into the town of Stepford, Connecticut. In this movie Joanna is a stay at home photographer. At first Joanna (Katharine Ross) is ready to began a new life, in spite of the way the woman behave, but as soon as she says how one of local women reacts after getting into a car accident she begins to have doubts.
The doubts continue to grow when Joanna's husband Walter invites the local Men's Association to their home and one of its members does a black and white sketch of her (common art style in the 1970's (Remember the early titles of the TV Daytime Drama "Young & the Restless" anyone?).
Joanna meets up with another newcomer Bobbie Markowe (Paula Prentiss) to find out what is behind the women and their attitudes about being the best housewives to their men. They turn to Charmaine Wimperis (Tina Louise) who also moved in to town with her husband, and try to get some kind of women's group going, with little success. Soon enough, Charmanie is Stepfordtized and has giving up her love of Tennis, and is willing to do the housework that Wimperis housekeeper used to do.
Bobbie thinks that the local water supply somehow connected to this but they end upshort. Eventually Bobbie becomes a Stepford wife and Joanna get even more frighten.
She now wants to move out of Stepford but her husband tells her to go see a shrink which Joanna does and the good news is she is a women. Joanna tells her that she has a strong feeling that she will be the next woman to get the Stepford treatment. Sadly Dr. Fancher tells her that she another commitment but tells Joanna to get herself and her children out of Stepford A.S.A.P. However Walter is on to her, and sent the children away which leads to the climax in which Joanna confronts Dale Coba (Patrick O'Neal) who heads the Means Association.
It seems that Coba is behind the Stepfordtizing (there are several Technological Plants in town that Joanna drives by in the film including one in Coba's name), and has the skills and the knowledge to create the perfect and submissive wife. He admitted earlier during his visit at the Eberhart home that he likes watching women doing "domestic chores." The buildup in the movie is different then the one in the book, but it has the same resolution and ending. The movie is not the greatest thriller in the world but it pulls you in and keeps you tied to your seat until the very end.
25 years before Napoleon Dynamite was released, another film about kids
coming of age in a small town was in the big screen cinema. That movie
was called "Breaking Away." Ironically both movies were released by
Like Napoleon Dynamite, Breaking Away was also shot in the same small town in which the movie took place rather than some sound stage in Hollywood. Rather than Preston, Idaho; the town ND takes place, Breaking... takes place in the town of Bloomington, Indiana.
The outcasts in this film called "Cutters" and were fair game to a group of college students that attend the local University in town, and came from other parts of the country and even the world. You see chances are that the Cutters would not go to college and would stick to their blue collar lifestyle for the rest of their days. Some collage kids look down upon this.
The Cutters would face off with these college snobs (and then some) in the town's annual bike race (Little 500). The best rider is Dave Stoller (played by Dennis Christopher) who tries to mimic the Italians (and driving his parents, neighbors, and even his friends crazy in the process) in his attempt to become one of the best cyclist in the nation if not the world. Dennis Quaid was on his way to becoming a movie star by portraying the though cutter and leader of the group Mike.
The big difference between the Napoleon Dynamite and Breaking Away is that this movie had more of a plot.
If you saw Napoleon Dynamite then I recommend you check out "Breaking Away."
Boohbah is the third series from the British children's TV production outfit
Ragdoll to be imported to America. "Tots TV" and the ever famous
"Teletubbies" were the first shows to imported to the States.
Boohbah is targeted towards the graduates of Teletubbies (ages 3-6), and focuses on movement along with leaning math, science, and problem solving. However the learning is for the most part is visual and numbers are not seen on the screen at all. The show breaks down into these segments.
Opening Titles: Shows different children around the world playing with the Boohball which travel constantly around the world responding to the call of Boohbah. The opening is different from show to show with different children.
Warm Up: Here we meet the Boohbah's (the show producers call them "atoms of light"), who come out of their "Pods" and like children are hyperactive. However when called by their names (Humbah, Zumbah, Zing Zing Zingbah, Jumbah, Jingbah), the Boohbah do a simple movement for children to follow. After awhile the Boohbah lose control again but "freeze" when their names are called.
Storyworld: To set up the segment. Children move a big wrapped present into the rainbow colored spiral. Once in place the children actually blow the present into Storyworld. As they blow the package dissolves and the shape of the present appears but not identified until the package appears in storyworld. The storypeople have names like Mr. Man, Mrs. Lady, Grandmamma appear. These people don't speak at all and are like game board pieces. The story themselves are basically puzzles in which the children help the storypeople solve a problem. The children can shout "Boohbah" to freeze the story, and blow additional gifts to the storypeople. They shout Boohbah to continue the story and a solution of some sort comes to pass.
Boohbah Dance: The Boohbah's come back to do a slightly complicated dance. The dance is inspired by the day's storyworld segment.
Look What I/We Can Do: A child or a group of children appears in an area of green and perform a simple dance on a transparent rainbow spiral. Three different dances are featured.
A few quick dances from the Boohbah's are seen before the show comes to close.
With the exception of the storyworld segment, their is very little narration in this show. The Boohbah's sole purpose is to make children happy unlike their distance cousins their is no individual personality in any of the Boohbah's. To help children learn from Boohbah the parents truly to need to watch this show with them.
Boohbah might scare certain parents away, but for those who enjoy movement might find it a decent show for kids.
For the ninth PR series Ninja Storm (based the Super Sentai counterpart
Hurricanger). The PR crew more/less made to move from the U.S. to New
Zealand to shoot the PR. This is also the very first PR series to be
produced entirely by Walt Disney which acquired the Family Channel and PR
was part of the deal.
In this series Shane Clark, Tori Hanson, and Dustin Brooks are students at the Wind Ninja Academy. However they tend to be slackers and their Sensei Kanoi Watanabe chastise them for their lack of commitment. However when an old student named Lothor return to enact his vengeance on Earth he kidnaps the students of the Wind Academy as well as other ninja schools. In process he turns Kanoi into a guinea pig
Shane, Tori, and Dustin miss the action are the only ones left, and because of that they have given Power Morphers to become the Wind Power Rangers. They are assisted by Kanoi's son Cameron who is not happy but the arrangement but still does his job well at Ninja Operations. However Lothor recruits two students from the Thunder Academy when he sees they were given to ability to become Power Rangers themselves. He tells them that Kanoi murdered their parents but so learn it's was a lie and eventually the Thunder Rangers side with the Wind Rangers in the fight against Lothor.
Cam wanting a piece of the action and to not just sitting on the sidelines goes back in time to retrieve a pendent that vanished years ago. He sees his parents in their younger years as well Kanoi's brother Kya. Cam eventually discovers that Kya would become Lothor. He also understands why his father held him back from learning the ways of the Ninja. Cam was to become the Green Samurai Ranger and does get a chance to fight with the rest of the rangers as well provide any weapons as need be.
The first weeks of Ninja Storm are good as the team was being put together. Lots of cliffhangers which make you come back to see what happens. Sadly when the team finally is completed their is a lack of story arc for a few weeks until the Lothor's Generals come into play. If their were more story arc's like their were in Wild Force then Ninja Storm could have done better than the previous PR series.
Lothor meanwhile has been made into a Dr. Evil type while some of the Generals that serve him have a darker bend. Lothor's nieces Kapri and Marah also provide the comic relief but have their moments of darkness and redemption at the very end. The heroes were great but they had to make Dustin the clown of Rangers. However he does shine with the rest at the end. Kanoi unlike Zordon is quick to discipline when the Rangers (and even Cam) get out of line, and it was seen several times during the show. That does not make Zordon bad, but Kanoi is not afraid to put his foot (or his GP body form) down. Also the creation of holographic Hip-Hop personality of Cam was a waste of time since he was not used as many hoped we would have been.
Ninja Storm was good but could have been better.
When this show came on the scene in Britain in the mid 1990's critics were
concerned about the show's target audience since its aimed for children two
and under. Eventually PBS picked it up for the American audience and it's
been with us ever since.
The show specializes in simple stories, poetry, visuals, dance, and the observation of children in the real world (via the pinwheel shaped windmill transmitting those pictures of children to the Teletubbies on their stomachs).
While the Teletubbies are the equalvent of a one year old (the way they speak is a classic example of it), they seem to have their favorite things. Tinky Winky has his red bag (some think he is Gay icon because of this but its up for debate), Dispy likes his black and white hat, Laa-Laa has her Orange ball that look like a balloon, and Poe has her blue scooter. They each have a special song is they go around their play area called Teletubby Land, but they all love spreading love to each other with their "Big Hugs."
The show also makes use of repetition frequently. Usually when the Teletubbies beg to see, hear, or act something out again, whatever it is. This gives the children to soak something in better the second time it's played out. In the recent shows produced the show begins with a segment called "Teletubbies Everywhere" were the use of a video wall is used and video tricks are used such as duplicated Laa Laa's or whatever.
The Voice Trumpets (which look like Periscopes or upside Golf clubs) seem the govern the Teletubbies. They tell its time for the show, and when to say goodbye. They also sing simple song, and tell simple poems. They can pop up anywhere in Teletubby Land even inside the house they live in.
Teletubbies has proven to be a hit worldwide, and regardless whether or not this should ever gone on the air in the first place or if children's TV is being dumbed down. It could be worse, their is that six foot purple thing. Makes you think twice about bashing the Teletubbies.
This sequel to original Carmen Sandiego game show on PBS was to focus on
historic trivia with some geography tucked in. Here are rules to this
Pre-Game: Carmen sends one of her crooks back in time to steal something of historic importance thus putting history and time in danger.
Round 1: Begins with three contestants who are called Time Pilots. Like in World they are shown skits, songs, and cast portraying important historic people. In each segment important clues are given. After which three choices are shown and now the contestants must lock in an answer on their podiums rather than using cardboard in the previous show. The first round also has tossup elements too including Data Boosts, and Global Pursuit (similar to "The Chase")
Round 2: After getting the loot back form Carmen's crook. The two top scoring players are given eight events and must put them in order of the most recent event to least recent event. The events are related to the item that was stolen earlier. The time pilots take turn in attempting to navigate though the events correctly. A mistake along the way, and the plot loss the turn and his/her opponent gets a crack but returns to square one (starting with the most recent event). Whoever completes the game restores history and has chance to chase the crooks.
The Trail of Time (End Game): In the Trail of Time the winning time pilot must go though several time portals (they resemble arcs from different time periods) within 90 seconds. In each portal the time pilot must press a button alerting Carmen Sandiego herself that they are ready for her question on history (it's usually related to what was discussed on the program already). The questions are a 50/50 multiple guess. If answered correctly the gate on the portal automatically opens and the pilot can pass and move on. If they miss the question then they must use a hand device (each portal has one just in case) to open the gate which can waste valuable time. If the pilot can beat Carmen then she will be captured and the Time Pilot wins a personal computer. Escapes into time if time runs outs. However the personal boom box is not a bad constellation prize either.
This show only ran for two seasons, and Thigpen was the only pickup from the previous World version. The game play is good but the rest of it falls show still not bad.
This was the first national televised game show for PBS. Aimed at kids
"Were in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" is a geography trivia game. Before
the game three Gumshoes (Contestants) are given a briefing by the Chief Lynn
Thigpen about an important landmark that has been stolen by one of Carmen's
henchmen/women. After all their is a crime element to this game. With the
information the game can began
Round 1: In this round their given clues to the crook's whereabouts in the would though short skits, songs, celebrity appearances etc. The Gumshoes are then shown three possible choices. They must pick the right answer using the cardboards in front of them. Other elements in the round including the Lighting Round in which the Gumshoes are asked toss up question about a certain place in world, and The Chase (beginning with season 2) in which rapid fire toss up question are asked about certain places on a continent of the world.
Round 2: The top scoring Gumshoes go into the field (well to a train station on the set) the last place the crook went to, and place a memory game of sorts. The Gumshoes face a board of important places and landmarks of a city somewhere in the world. The object is to find the Loot (what was stolen), the Warrant, and Crook in that respected order behind the landmarks to win the game.
Endgame: The winning Gumshoe gets the chance to capture crime boss Carmen Sandiego by playing on a big map that resemble some part of the world (North America, South America, Europe, or Asia). The object is place a marker (with a Red Light on top and a wheel on the bottom) on an area of the map that corresponds with the clue given. If correct the marker lights up, and the Gumshoe is given two chances per clue. If they get 7 right within 45 seconds they win a trip anywhere in the lower 48 states (expanded to include North America in season 2).
One of things that made this show popular was the A cappella group called Rockappella. The theme song was done by the group, and they also and did a short song for each of Carman's crooks. Expected for the first season they were no musical instruments used. Rockappella is still working doing commercials for Folgers, and Almond Joy/Mounds. Hopefully someone will do a revival for this show although it would have been nice to have Lynn Thigpen to play the chief. Sadly she passed away recently and she brought something to show as the chief/announcer/antagonist. You really respect her and loved her in the role she played. She was tough, but had a heart of gold
Lynn Thigpen may you rest in peace.
Kidsongs is a creation of Bruce Gowers and Carol Rosenstein both of whom
have experience in producing music videos and music TV specials.
had the ideal of Kidsongs when her daughter was one year old. Gowers had
baby son and also jumped on the Kidsongs ideal as well. Originally
was series of direct to home video program which centered on a story/theme
and had 10 to 15 songs. Some of themes included animals, silly people and
songs behind them, and automobiles.
In 1994 it was decided to produce a TV show featuring the songs from the video programs that Gowers and Rosenstein produced since the mid 1980's. In the TV show a group of neighborhood kids convince a couple of TV station managers to let them produce a television in which the kids would produce and star in. While the TV program made you think that kids did all the work on the set and on location, in reality it used video segments from the Kidsong video program, and they had adult camera people that were off camera. The TV show also had a question and answer segment in which the Kidsongs Kids would interview highly respected people and their also interviewed a few well known actors and music performers. That included Raven-Symone who started in "The Cosby Show" and "Hanging with Mr. Cooper" and smooth jazz saxophonist Dave Koz. The TV program also introduced a fantasy character called Billy Biggle, and later added a second one Ruby Biggle who was Billy's sister. The Biggles would help the Kidsongs kids during the program in anyway possible. Whether it was helping behind the scenes or leading a sing along on one of songs in the show. The Kidsongs TV Show got exposure on both cable (Disney Channel) and broadcast TV (PBS affiliates)from 1994 though 2001.
By the way at the later years of the Kidsongs music video productions, the Biggles were also featured and that included including two videos that made Billy and Ruby the main theme and bring the Kidsong Kids and the home viewers to Biggle Land were Billy and Ruby resided along with their friends. A few Kidsong Video show in their entirety got aired on public televison as well.
The TV show is gone but you can still buy all 24 videos of the Kidsong video series by going to their website at kidsongs.com. Bruce and Carol still work in creating and producing music programs for TV and video and have worked with people like Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, and 'N-Sync just to name a few. They know how to but pictures to music and Kidsongs comes out a winner.
In season 33 Sesame Street took a page from newer children's shows and
adapted their show in way the children can understand what is being
presented to them. In turn Sesame Street showed things in a series of
'segment blocks.' Most were seen everyday while other segments were seen
every other day. Season 34 sticks to that format which gave Sesame
shot in the arm that it needed much to the dismay of those who grew up on
the show in the 70's and 80's and even the early 90's. For season 34
certain elements of the program have been changed and are an improvement
from last season.
The "Street Story" is shown at the beginning of the show right after the show's opening sequence rather than aproxmently 10 minutes into the show as it was done last season. As with last season the story is done in one complete segment and has a beginning, a problem, a resolution, and end.
Grover Monster gets his own segment called "Global Grover" and Grover introduces us to children around the world and a taste of their culture. It's seen from time to time.
The daily hide and seek game "Journey to Ernie" with Big Bird and Ernie returns with new rules. The Red, Blue, and Yellow Box with a Rubber Duckie on the box has been scraped and the game is done on one segment in one animated environment with no cut aways from the game as it was done last season. The animated environments range from the beach, to a land of music. Big Bird must use his listening and observations skills to find Ernie. That can range from listen to clues, or listen for certain quarks in Ernie's personality such as his laugh or Ernie squeezing his duckie.
The "Monster Time" segment has been discontinued. However "Monster Clubhouse" shows up once an awhile.
Speaking of Monster Clubhouse their are other returning segments. That would include Number of the Day with Count Von Count, Letter of the Day with Cookie Monster, Spanish Word of the Day, and last but FAR from least Elmo's World.
Those who wish for the old times of Sesame Street will still not be happy with the changes with the show. Keep in mind that the old Sesame Street is long gone and that the current audience has gotten younger. Don't forget that Sesame Street set the standard for children's TV especially at the preschool level. With shows like Blue's Clues, and Teletubbies, that standard was taken to new levels. Sesame Street had to adapt to what those shows were during. Now the concern is that children get everything done at once rather than breaking away for commercials or cut away pieces as Sesame Street did in the past. Sesame Street has evolved and adapted to the needs of it's audience and will continue to do so. Not every show can be like "Mister Rogers Neighborhood" which was able to stick to its format for the duration if it's run. Season 34 is an improvement to its block format from last season.
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