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The Crusaders (1993)
Novel idea that never took off
The idea behind The Crusaders was that journalists could do more than just report a story. In this show the reporters did something about the problems they reported. For example, making sure a disabled man was able to live in assisted living rather than a nursing home, putting phones on the Golden Gate bridge to stop people from committing suicide, or helping flood victims.
It was neat to see a show where the media did something to fix bad news rather than just reporting it to us. Granted, it did do have some cheesy lines: "we hope this time we made a difference for you" and the show patted itself on the back too much. A weekday version was planned but the weekly ratings were never high enough to justify it.
Unfortunately, it never took off and viewers had to be forced to watching terrible news and feeling hopeless, just like before.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
A great movie!
I've always enjoyed Michael's Moore's work. His goal is to make people think but to do in a way that is entertaining enough to make you pay attention.
In this movie Moore (Roger and Me) takes on the issue of why America has such violent crime and why Americans are so violent. Moore does this by looking at all aspects of the subject in a humorous way (Could it be this? No that doesn't seem right). Therefore, when it seems like he is being contradictory he is actually looking at the subject in an exhaustive way. He looks at every possible answer. Conclusion: There probably isn't an answer. In my view, the only time he comes close is when a Canadian tells him that Americans are too impulsive and react more than think and he connects it with fear and having too easy of ability to get guns.
Before going into the theatre I expected a biased view (I'm a moderate Democrat.). However, I was struck by how balanced the film was. Moore criticized liberal thinking as well as conservative thinking. I was with two other people one who is an independent with libertarian tendences, and another Democrat who is basically apolitical. All three of us agreed this movie was very fair. By the way, Moore also mentions that he grew up using guns, another example of balance.
It strikes me that the people who are criticizing this film are using an incredible amount of name calling instead of saying what they specifically do not like about it. If you choose to give an opinion on this forum please make it substantive. Calling Moore a fat liberal does not count.
In conclusion, it struck me that the people in America who really need to see this movie would not go near it. That is unfortunate.
A great, enjoyable, funny, sobering film. I give it a 10 out of 10.
Aaron's Way: The Harvest (1988)
Really, Really Good. A beautiful program.
This unfortunate little gem from the production team of Jerry and William Blinn (Our House) did not not get paid much attention to and quietly disappeared. PAX did re-show the pilot the weekend they went on the air but again, I don't think many people saw it.
This show was not really about religion. It was about two different worlds and value systems colliding. Merlin Olson played Aaron Miller, a simple, wise, patient patriarch of a PA Amish family. In the story line, Aaron's son had went to California forsaking his family's traditions. He started a grape orchard, met a girl and took up surfing. When the pilot starts, Aaron's son is killed in a surfing accident leaving a pregnant girlfriend and a orchard that needs harvesting. Aaron and his family decide to leave Amish country and come to California to help.
The program shows us how Aaron's family (traditional clothing and all) react when dealing with a very different and very alien environment. Sparks certainly flew between Aaron and his son's girlfriend but underneath you could see mutual love and respect.
This show had great writing, beautiful scenery, incredible music and a great cast (including Belinda Montgomery.) NBC had scheduling problems with this show and could never find the time slot and audience it needed.
Pax should at least air the unaired episodes if it would be impossible to revive the series. Those who have enjoyed "Dr. Quinn", or "I'll Fly" Away"
should get another chance to relish this one.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
Did I miss something? Good but not Oscar good.
I've seen this movie and while it is a good movie I didn't see anything spectacular about it. It is a standard Disney film in my opinion. Good animation, music and characters. It ranks with many other Disney films under the very good category. Nice fairy tale.
It is a nice animated but Oscar worthy? When I compare this film with other Oscar nominated films, (American Beauty, Forrest Gump, Schndlier's List)I just don't see it.
Stuart Saves His Family (1995)
Nice Film Best of the SNL's!
This is probably the best of the SNL films simply because there is a back story behind the film. (Unlike the terrible "It's Pat!")
Those who watched SNL while Al Franken was on it saw the Smalley character. (His adage: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and gosh darn it people like me!) In these skits, Smalley (who obviously had had a very difficult life) described his family. (On Halloween "I thought of going as a feeling but what does dread look like really? Other than my mother.") The skits would give the viewer images and makes us wonder how bad this family actually was. Now we know.
So many SNL films fail because they stretch a 2 minute skit into ninety minutes. One reviewer called it "Trying to stretch a piece of chewing gum across I-25, sometimes it makes it, most times it doesn't." This movie had great fully developed characters. There was no reason to stretch anything.
Al Franken plays the character with such sensitivity and such love and such heart that you can't help feeling for the poor guy. You can tell that this character is a sweet, kind human being who simply never got a decent start in life and is trying to do things right.
The scenes going back to Smalley's childhood complete the story. Including the funny scene about the family's trip to California.
To those who that this movie is as bad as "It's Pat" I beg to differ.
"It's Pat" never worked because it was never meant to work.
My only regret is that it failed so miserably box office wise and we'll never see a sequel. Al Franken is also no longer on SNL. I miss Stuart.
This movie gets an 8 out of 10. It's a great movie. A great movie to watch when you feel sorry for yourself or having a bad day.