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One Fun Main Plot vs Two Poor Sub-Plots(who's going to win?)
The show opens with Smith and Jones deciding to bed down for awhile in the one horse town of Apache Springs. An ex-mining town that's long past its gold rush boom days, and is now just a few shades above a ghost town that has far more lost, and way-ward tumble weeds, than it has merchants and customers. However, before the boys can even get a room, they're quickly approached with a financial proposition inside of the towns hotel and saloon, by a local hard drinking elderly frontier woman, and possibly insane, Caroline Rangely (played by Carmen Mathews) who delightfully steals every single scene that she appears in.
Interested by the opportunity of a huge financial pay day, our two protagonists mosey on up to the hotel bar, and poor themselves a couple of mugs from Caroline's pitcher of morning beer (hey, it's noon somewhere in the world) to discuss more specifically what the possibly insane drunken woman wants them to do for payment, and why.
Eagerly, the wild eyed woman soon begins to narrate a interesting and colorful yarn that started two years ago when she, and her late husband, collected thousands of dollars worth of gold dust from one of Apache Springs old abandoned gold mines. However, they were forced to stash it away in the nearby hills after suddenly being attacked by the Chiwacawa Indians who had recently relocated to the same area after escaping from their reservation, and have remained there ever since.
As it turns out, Caroline's husband was killed in that Indian attack, and she's been unable to return to the hills to retrieve her hidden gold dust out of fear of the Indian tribe. After some contentious haggling between Caroline and the two guys over the percentage of recovered gold dust she's willing to offer, Smith & Jones eventually come to terms with the crazy frontier lady over dinner and a bottle of bourbon. I believe Smith and Jones had a little dinner to go along with their whiskey, while Caroline focused solely on bourbon consumption.
The next morning, Caroline provides them with a map locating several sacks of gold that's sporadically hidden in the nearby hills, and it's off we go to recover lost gold while being harassed by the local renegade Indians.
While the main plot of this episode, and the colorful Caroline are enjoyable to follow along with. Unfortunately, the show gets really bogged down with its 2nd sub-plot involving a young catholic woman that Kid Curry(Ben Murphy) tries to financially assist and advise. Kid Curry's new friend, the young Sister Grace, also recently just arrived in Apache Springs with very little money, and is struggling to pay for room and board while attempting to start a new congregation after becoming disillusioned by the corruption of her last Mission.
What ever potential interest there might have been for the audience in Sister Grace's story line? It immediately died out while listening to her drone on to Kid Curry about the unfortunate reasons that she's currently stuck in the one horse town, and her unrealistic hopes of ever starting a successful congregation in Apache Springs that's practically abandoned by day, only to later erupt into a wild and ruckus drinking, fighting and gambling scene for the local ranch hands at night.
As soon as Sister Grace begins talking with Kid Curry, the whole "trying to rediscover her faith" story line appears to be completely tact on, and doesn't posses a single connective thread to the main story to justify its existence. But, that doesn't stop Kid Curry from advising Sister Grace that she's not a very talented soul saver after just meeting her. And, to put aside delivering the wild west from its own evil ways for awhile, move back to Boston, and to just "have a good time" while she's still young enough to enjoy it. Sort of the, "Tune in, turn on and drop out.", Timothy Leary approach to the problem. This poorly written and under developed story line makes our hero, Kid Curry, seem like he's temporarily freelancing as the Devil's advocate, after a hard day of taking gold from the land of dispossessed renegade Indians.
In the 3rd, and far more organically interesting sub-plot (that never really gets resolved) Smith and Jones are temporarily joined on their golden journey into Indian country by Edward Fielding, who's there to negotiate the fairest terms of a possible surrender and relocation for the local renegade Indian tribe to try and avoid the inevitable blood shed that a military action would cause.
Unfortunately, this story line isn't given the time it deserves, and we're never given much information about how Edward's negotiations with the Indians are progressing or failing, other than Edward suddenly appearing in a few scenes to mildly complain about being shot by the Indians. So, we're left to assume that the times Edward wasn't shot by the Indians was considered a successful pow-wow. Although, it's kind of hard to tell because, Edward doesn't seem to mine very much about getting shot by the Indians.
While the main plot of recovering gold in the hills occupied by renegade Indians for the colorful Caroline makes the episode worth watching. But, overall, I give the episode 6 out of 10 stars, for having too many sub-plots, where the 2nd one about the young Sister Grace needed to be completely tossed out the window, so to allow us more time to follow the 3rd story line about the Indian negotiations.
In closing, episode 7 of season 2, is one of the weaker episodes of the otherwise strong remaining few months that Peter Duel and Ben Murphy continued to star together. The entire episode is currently available on IMDb and YouTube if you're interested in checking it out for yourselves.
Dyan Cannon makes it fun to watch
While there really are no memorable, or "Classic", comedic skits and musical performances in this episode, there are a few skits worth mentioning here like "Anita Bryant attempts to pitch Florida orange juice while being held hostage in Beirut" is probably the best of the show.
Also, Dan Aykoryd's, Roy Waddmaker commercializes jars filled with water that actual stars bathed in. A skit that was humorous back in the mid-70's because of how ridicules it would be that people would want to buy jars of water just because a celebrity bathed in it. Hah, HAH, how preposterous! Right?
Well, don't laugh too hard, because after you consider how celebrity obsessed American culture is today, then the skit takes on a whole new perspective that might be considered some what prophetic. And, I'm pretty sure there's an actual market today for "Bathwater of the Stars" that people would actually buy to poor into their bathtubs, so they could Bathe with the Stars of their choice.
In fact, while writing this review, I Googled, "Celebrity Bathwater", and one of the top links was an article posted by the Bleach Report that recently the London Olympic Hero Mo Farah is selling his bathwater on a popular auction website. That I can't mention "specifically", or this review will not be posted on IMDb.
However, while Mo Farah is the only celebrity that I've heard about selling their bathwater for profit, so-far. I personally think that there is an endless amount of potential in the "Celebrity Bathwater" market for the future, early on. Before all the stars want to jump into the new money bath and wind-up driving down the value of celebrity bathwater for the general public to buy and resell at a profit.
For instance, while stars like Tom Hanks and George Clooney bathwater might always be bought and sold at a premium amount, but how can anyone expect to break even on a jar of that Jennifer Lopez bathwater they bought at its once premium value of $200, when a jar of Miley Cyrus's bathwater suddenly becomes available for only $50. Which in turn makes the whole "Bathwater of the Stars" market place far too speculative for long term investors.(but I digress)
Watching early episodes of SNL also provides the viewer an opportunity to watch movie and TV stars travel out of their comfort zones, and attempt to do things that you normally wouldn't see them do in other shows. Like actors and actresses singing for example. Which brings me to make this observation that appeared in this episode. Dyan Cannon's voice seems to just strangely disappear when ever she starts singing, then re-emerges for short while, then disappears again. I don't know if it was due to technical issues, or if Dyan's singing voice is so weak that it gets almost completely drowned out by the accompanying music? But the otherwise funny skit were a teenage Dyan Cannon sings "Johnny Angel" as her three Hell's Angels boyfriends ransack her parents home definitely suffered, because you couldn't hear what Dyan was singing.
So while the episode as a whole definitely had some problems that needed to be ironed out before show date, I think that the best reason to watch this particular episode is Dyan Cannon, who appears to be having a lot of fun working with the crew and cast members. And, reminding us why she was always the very talented and likable co-star for over 50 years in TV and movies. And not just another Hollywood blonde bombshell for a few years before disappearing into the has-been celebrity abyss.
5 Music segments, and none of them are any good
I didn't even know Raquel Welch could sing, or not, until I saw the 18th episode of SNL, and now I'm absolutely convinced that she can't. While Raquel's singing isn't horribly embarrassing to watch, but it's definitely very average at best, and instantly forgettable. Reminding us all why we never bought that "Best of Raquel Welch's Top 10 Hits of the 70's" album, because it's impossible that such a thing could possibly exist.
Which helps explain why Pheobe Snow was one of the 2 musical acts booked for this episode, because Pheobe's music is so annoyingly uncreative that there's no chance that Raquel could possibly be upstaged by the professional musical guest. I mean, Pheobe Snow performance is so bad, that it makes Raquel Welch's cover of Karen Carpenter's "Superstar" actually seem adequate.
Pheobe Snow was introduced as a talented musical genius by Raquel Welch just before her 1st performance, but does anyone remember hearing a single song by Pheobe Snow on the radio in the 70's, or any other decade? I sure don't. Which might help explain why nobody ever bought that "Best of Pheobe Snow" album either.
John Sebatian would've been easily the best musical performance of the episode, but due to microphone technical problems his performance of "Welcome Back" fell flat and was uninspired. I suspect Raquel and Pheobe of intentionally sabotaging Sebatian's microphone.
Other than a running joke about trying to get Raquel Welch to undress in front of the cameras, the comedy sketches reminded me of bad high school talent show routines. Two skits in particular that at least had a pretty good creative idea behind them like, "One Flew Over the Hornets Nest", and, "Howard Hughes new Golden Bra for Jane Russell", but ended up never going anywhere comically, and once again come off as rather amateurish.
In my opinion, there's a reason why no skits from the 18th episode are ever included in the Best of SNL broadcasts or DVD releases, because there are no skits or musical performances in this episode worth remembering.
One of the better episodes from season 1
After watching Episode 19 from season 1 with the late Madeline Kahn guest hosting, you can tell that the original cast and crew from the 1st season of SNL were still struggling a bit to find enough useable material to keep an audience entertained for a full hour-and-a-half on a live late night variety show.
Which makes any episode from the first season interesting to watch whether the episode was good, or not-so-good. Because it's interesting to watch a creative transformation take place that would eventually set a new standard for variety television.
And, of the many hits and misses of the 1st season I think Episode 19 with Madeline Kahn is definitely one of the best, if not the best. After Madeline's really annoyingly unfunny opening monologue, the most memorably best parts of EP19, like Wilderness Comedian with John Belushi, the Baba Wawa with Marlene Dietrich interview, the slumber party, impoverished families in Namibia and The Bride of Frankenstein sings "I feel Pretty", all happened with in the first half hour of the show, leaving a pretty big gap between the strong beginning of the show, and the really strong ending.
The last two skits were the best of the episode, and maybe even the season, where Madeline Kahn and John Belushi turn the movie Chinatown into a light hearted musical. Followed by Madeline Kahn portraying a drunken Pat Nixon writing about Tricky Dicks last days in the White House.
The best skits of episode 19 all seem to have John Belushi either starring, or making some type of contribution in them. John Belushi's 'Wilderness Comedian' was like a cross between Grizzly Adams and Shecky Greene, and a great parody of popular movies and TV programing of the 70's, that were often about people leaving their urban lives behind them, and starting a new life in the great untamed wilderness. Then later, Belushi as Henry Kisinger played the understated straight man to Aykroyd's hilarious Nixon impersonation.
Great episode to watch if you're a fan of Belushi.
Jaws 2 (1978)
The Shark Is Bigger This Time
Before there were Mega Cinemaplexes, we had to stand outside in the hot summer heat for hours just to get the chance to watch a disappointing sequel like JAWS 2. I think for this reason alone, I have been far too harsh in my criticism of JAWS 2 over the years.
And, I'm happy to report today that the memories of the anger and disappointment that I experienced that day has diminished enough now that I can provide a unbiased and objective review of this movie for what it was, instead of what I thought the movie ought to be.
I can finally put behind me, once and for all, my first summer movie blockbuster disappointment that left me permanently cynical of the movie industry, and temporarily sunburned at a very early age.(I was 9 years old at the time)
First, allow me to demonstrate just how far I've come since then by admitting that JAWS 2 was probably the best of the JAWS sequels. Which admittedly is like saying that a kick in the rear is a lot better than a punch in the face. Or, as in the case of JAWS 4, a hammer to the head for that matter. Not much of a compliment to heal the pains of yesteryear, but it's a start anyways.
Unlike the future sequels, JAWS 2 at least started out promisingly enough by continuing the storyline of Chief Brody and his family. And, even made a decent attempt (early in the film) of recapturing a sense of terror from the unseen ocean depths that the original movie magnificently accomplished.
However, JAWS 2 started going horribly wrong when the audience first sees the shark far too early in the movie. Maybe it was impossible for the sequel to recreate that first big scream moment when we first see the shark? But, to show the shark so early, without much build up either, leaves the audience feeling that this isn't the movie they paid to watch.
This idea to show the shark so early proves to be such a major failure for the movie, that it makes you grateful (truly grateful) that the shark in the original JAWS broke down, forcing Spielberg to use the eye of the camera, and by proxy the imagination of the audience as the substitute for the actual shark. Big difference.
Eventually, Chief Brody becomes the lone person attempting to prove that the mystery of the sudden strange deaths and disappearances on the island is the result of another giant shark in the area. Strangely, no one believes Brody that another giant shark is terrorizing the islanders again, and the town counsel becomes convinced that Brody is suffering from some type of giant great white PTSD, or something. Despite the fact that the island was terrorized by a giant great white just three years ago.
The final resolution to the story eventually develops into a teenagers-in-jeopardy movie. In a 70's exploitation flick kind of way. Strangely, the teenagers are being slowly terrorized at sea by a giant shark that has over the coarse of two movies (by my count) already taken down three boats, a Killer Whale and a helicopter. But, can't seem to figure out a way of dealing with these teenagers in tiny broken sail boats for some reason, who have no means of defending themselves.
I mean c'mon! What is the shark waiting for? Is the shark just biding his time, cruelly toying with its intended victims until he makes his final move? What ever the case maybe, the sudden uncharacteristic behavior of the mass murdering giant shark towards the teenagers destroys any sense of suspense and intrigue for the audience. And, you actually end up rooting for the Shark to just attack the teenagers to get the whole thing over with, so we don't have to spend anymore time with these people.
After the movie, I remember walking past a long line of people waiting outside in the hot summer heat in anxious anticipation of seeing the sequel to JAWS for the very first time. Just as I had done only a few hours ago. Somebody waiting in line asked me as I was passing them, "How was the movie?". I turned and replied, "The shark is bigger this time!". Admittedly, it's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but at least it was one good thing I could say about the movie at the time.
North Dallas Forty (1979)
A Retrospective Critique of a Very Good Film, and Ideas for a Sequel
I was 11 years old living in Texas, and therefore a huge football and Cowboy fan when 'North Dallas Forty' was originally released in the summer of '79. So, like a lot of fans of 'America's Team' in Texas, and across the country, I was extremely angered and offended when I first heard that a major Hollywood movie was released that was a scathing indictment of not only the Dallas Cowboy's, but professional football as well. And, I vowed then, to never ever watch that blasphemous film that dared criticized the sacred sport of football and its most important team.
I guess, I was in a rather sacrilegious mood one day when I decided to watch 'North Dallas Forty' on cable 15 years after the movies original theatrical release. And, to my surprise, I became a big fan of the movie. Watching it every chance that I could when ever it was rebroadcasted.
Unfortunately, I think the window for a potential sequel which continues the story line of Nick Nolte's character (Phil Elliot). Or, at least one of the main characters of the original film. Like Mac Davis's colorful character Seth Maxell/Don Meredith for example closed sometime in the mid-late 80's.
Therefore, I'm recommending a 'North Dallas Forty' reboot that's based on ex-Cowboy player Thomas Henderson's '87 autobiographical novel "Out of Control: Confessions of an NFL Casualty" as the main source material for a sequel to 'North Dallas Forty'.
For those of you who don't know? Thomas Henderson was the extraordinarily athletic and media-darling strong side linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys from '75-'79. Who was on the cover of Time Magazine in January of '79 for an article on Super Bowl 13. But, was later released the next season from the Cowboys in November of '79 for erratic play due to drug abuse. Then wound up playing in only a few games with other NFL teams until retiring after a career ending neck injury in '81.
So, in other words, he was at the pinnacle of success in the NFL just 7 months prior to North Dallas Forty's original release in August of '79, and at its lowest depths just 3 months afterwards.
And, let me tell you, the stuff Thomas Henderson covers in his personal account of his experience in the NFL, makes 'North Dallas Forty' controversial indictment of the Cowboy's organization and professional football as a whole, look like a white wash by comparison.
Most of the events in Thomas Henderson's book take place during the mid-late 70's, just before the over-the-top deifying worship of football players and professional athletes in general began in the 80's by means of new cable channels like ESPN and HBO for example. That served to heavily augment the local sports news and talk radio that already existed at the time, along with national magazine articles commenting on games and sports celebrities leading up to national TV broadcasts of the games of the week. Eventually growing into the constant bombardment of sports media entertainment monster that exists today.
So, one can perhaps imagine that the mine field of problems and worldly temptations that players are constantly confronted with, and have to negotiate through to maintain not only an athletic career, but a normal sense of humanity has only increased exponentially as a result of their athletic accomplishments since Peter Gent's or Thomas Henderson's NFL careers in the 60's and 70's.
The cinematic version of Thomas Henderson's "Out of Control" can also serve as an explanation for why celebrated athletes on all levels get themselves caught-up in so many controversial and tragic events ranging from the goofy, love myself behavior of Terrell Owens, to drug overdoses of young athletes in professional and collegiate sports, to murder convictions. That is if the modern mass-media actually had an interest in educating the public about the people and the sports organizations that they worship?(which, apparently they don't)
So, to sum up, I think you could still have a sequel to North Dallas Forty by staying true to the overall theme of the movies scathing indictment of the NFL, its players, coaches and the owners directly involved in putting on the weekly gladiatorial show.
Along with an indictment of the over-the-top mass media coverage that's responsible for over-hyping the importance to gigantic proportions the sporting events, without providing one iota of "REAL" insightful information concerning the actual day-to-day operations of the organizations and athletes themselves.
And, if someone was to use Thomas Henderson's "Out of Control" as the main source material for a kind of sequel to "North Dallas Forty"? Then I imagine the movie beginning with an over middle aged ex-NFL star who played for a franchise in Dallas, TX as the main character. Who, after being the keynote speaker of an anti-drug and alcohol seminar is listening to a sports talk radio program, or watching a TV satellite channel debating (ad-nausem) the most recent "controversial" conduct by the latest and greatest batch of sports celebrities. Causing him in turn, to reflect on his own conduct during his professional career back in the day.
Sort of like, "The Raging Bull" meets "Any Given Sunday". And, I hope that you're listening Hollywood?!? After all, I'm giving away these great ideas for free.
The Wanderers (1979)
A Brilliant and (dare I say?) Important Film
From the very beginning of Philip Kaufman's "The Wanderers", you're immediately transported in an orgasmic explosion of music into New York's Bronx borough of 1963. Just before the audience is introduced to some of the most original colorful characters in cinematic history, whose personal perceptions of the world are limited to the prism of their ethnocentric gang affiliations that rule their urban jungle environment.
In contrast to George Lucas' semi-autobiographical movie 'American Graffiti', that re-created his young life filled with hot rods, cruising the main street and drag racing in a small California town in 62'. Philip Kaufman adaptation of Richard Price's semi-autobiographical novel 'The Wanderers' re-creates the atmosphere of the gritty street gang life of Bronx, NY in 1963.
While George Lucas' American Graffiti enjoyed far more recognition and success than Philip Kaufman's 'The Wanderers' ever did. These two great independent films could serve as bookmarks to one another, with American Graffiti in 1973 being the main inspirational source that launched the whole 50's & 60's nostalgic retro entertainment for the rest of the 70's. While 79's 'The Wanderers' marks the end of the 50's nostalgia era. With one film about the lives of high school kids in 62' on the west coast, and the other about the daily lives of high school kids in 63' on the East coast. Both movies are similar in nostalgic form and independent style, but very different in tone and content.
Because these two movies are so interconnected to one another, it shouldn't be any surprise that Philip Kaufman and George Lucas teamed-up to create the story for a little movie called, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1980. Ever heard of it?
While it's more than likely you've already seen 'American Graffiti'. However, if you haven't ever seen Philip Kaufman's "The Wanderers"? Then you definitely want to find it and watch. I assure that you won't be disappointed.
It's truly an independent Philip Kaufman masterpiece, which includes Kaufman's trademark use of captivating cinematography while the great music of 1963 serves the movie by magnifying the films humor, tragedy, gritty realism, with an occasional touch of the truly bizarre, as we observe the daily lives of the young tough high school gang members of the Bronx in 63'. And, Alan Rosenberg's portrayal of 'Turkey' is one of the most original and uniquely funny, tragic and troubling characters that's ever been performed for the big screen.
A must see film. A+
The Best Western of the 80's
While, that may not sound like much an endorsement, you might be surprised by the overall total number of Westerns released during the 80's. There were actually quite a lot of them, but only a few 80's Westerns like Steve McQueen's Tom Horn or Silverado, Pale Rider and Young Guns are really ever mentioned. Sure, I guess you could include The Three Amigo's and Urban Cowboy in with the mix of memorable 80's westerns. But they're not western's in the "traditional" sense of old western shoot'em up movies.
The only other western worth mentioning here is 1989's Lonesome Dove. Which is one of the greatest westerns of all time, but that was a small screen 4 part mini-series, while Silverado establishes itself at the beginning credits that it's a big screen epic western. In the John Ford sense of big screen epic westerns.
Speaking of that early 80's western, 'Urban Cowboy' which co-starred Scott Glenn as the ex-con antagonist to John Travolta's marriage and mechanical bull riding career. Scott Glenn is at the center of the four protagonist horse riding gun slinging nomadic cowboys in Silverado. Which includes Kevin Kline as the soft spoken mild manner gambler (until you steal his stuff) with a murky past as an ex-member of a gang of outlaws that he's forced to eventually confront.
While Kevin Costner plays the brother of Scot Glenn, and 'A Rebel with a Two Gun Rig', who often finds himself in trouble when ever he tries to kiss a girl in a town.
The fourth member of the four protagonists is Danny Glover, who is a butcher from Chicago and on his way to Silverado to run his family's cattle ranch, but unexpectedly partners up with the other three after being run out of the small town of Turley with the rest of the boys by Sheriff Langston, played by John Cleese.
With the cowboy fab-four now firmly established, it's time for some good ol' friendship bonding stuff while west bound-and-down for Silverado. Fortunately, for the gang they run across a wagon train that was robbed while heading for (guess where?) Silverado as well. So, it's time for the 4 to save the day, and end-up getting involved with the prettiest woman (Rosanna Arquette) of any wagon train in the area, that's headed for Silverado. Which is a total of one, so you don't want to be too choosy here.
Kevin Kline immediately takes a liking to the married Rosanna Arquette upon first sight, and volunteers to track down the gang of outlaws that ran off with their stolen loot and return it to the wagon trainers.
He is quickly joined by Danny Glover and Scott Glenn, while his brother Kevin Costner stays behind to lead the wagons to safe passage. Rosanna Arquette's husband joins our heroes quest out of distrust that they'll eventually do the right thing, and return the money once they retrieve it from the outlaws who stole it. The decision doesn't turn out well for Rosanna Arquette's husband, and she quickly finds herself a widow who is now available to be pursued by Kevin Kline and Scot Glenn once they reach Silverado.
However, the 4 member cowboy dream team each goes their separate ways just before reaching Silverado. Danny Glover being the first to part by heading toward his families cattle ranch a few miles outside the town of Silverado, only to find his father hiding in the hills after Silverado's gang of Sheriff deputies burned down the families ranch.
Scott Glenn and Kevin Costner head directly into Silverado for a brief family reunion before moving on to a potential sequel that unfortunately was never made.
While Kevin Kline decides to stay with Rosanna Arquette and her fellow wagon trainers, because hangin' out with a bunch of guys and horses just ain't doing it for him anymore. Fortunately, Rosanna Arquette has quickly recovered from the death of her husband, and is curious to see if Kevin Kline can fill the husband vacancy position.
The two quickly realize that they don't share the same ambitions for their futures once they stop eyeballing one another and do some actual communicating. So, Kevin Kline decides to move on to the local saloon in Silverado where he ask for a job after befriending the wise old kind female bartender. She informs him that the job of saloon manager is already taken by her skimming thieving co-manager that the saloons owner stuck her with.
Disappointed but not completely deterred, Kevin Kline asks to speak with the owner himself just as he enters the saloon behind him. To Kevin Kline's surprise the owner of the saloon turns out to be Brian Dennehey, who was also the leader of Kevin Kline's old outlaw gang, and is now also the Sheriff of Silverado. Unfortunately, it's the late 1800's, so none of Silverado town folk saw the movie 'Rambo: First Blood' and don't realize what a bad deal they got in the sheriff department.
After Brianne Dennehey provides old buddy Kevin Kline room and board just before firing his thieving saloon partner the next day, by throwing him out into the street and shooting him, in a questionable act of self-defense. Kevin Kline becomes uneasy about accepting Brianne Dennehy's job offer to help manage his saloon. And no one can blame him.
This is when fellow Big Chill alumni' Jeff Goldbloom steps out of a stagecoach and introduces himself as a professional gambler whose mother calls him slick, and would like to run an honest game in town.
The stage is now set, and I'm coming to the 1,000 word limit for a IMDb movie review. The final showdown between Kevin Kline and Brianne Dennehey belongs among the all time classics of western showdowns.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
The Greatest Twilight Zone Ever
Why? Both Planet of the Apes and The Twilight Zone were written by Rod Serling.
While most documentaries about the making of the original Planet of the Apes in 68' downplay Rod Serling's script contributions to the final product, for some reason. It's obvious that Rod Serling's original vision for the Planet of the Apes is all over this film.
Which is why the Planet of the Apes plays like a two-hour episode of the Twilight Zone, complete with twists of reality to serve as social commentary that includes the classic Rod Serling grandiose shock ending. Rod Serling's trademark form of story telling for his Twilight Zone series.
Charlton Heston is perfectly cast as Rod Serling's protagonist astronaut Taylor for 'The Planet of the Apes' Twilight Zone episode. A character that resembles a futuristic Moses who is cynically arrogant, world weary, and idealizes the discovery of something better than a planet dominated by his own species. But, instead of talking to a burning bush for guidance, he blasts off into outer space to discover a idealized alien utopia that he desires to live in.
However, what he discovers instead is a planet ruled by a civilization of Apes, with the antagonist human hating Orangutang Dr. Zaius at the top of the Apes societal pecking order. While humans occupy the absolute bottom of Ape society, and treated no better than wild animals to be hunted for sport, killed and experimented on.
This forces Taylor to put aside his previous self-loathing cynical world views in a struggle for survival after being captured by the Apes. Taylor may not like the human species very much, but he definitely likes himself enough to prevent being lobotomized by the Apes.
Taylor rediscovers what it means to be human during his struggle for survival on his new planet that he can't run away from this time. And is forced to kind of deal with it.
However, unfortunately for Taylor, Ape society shares his previous opinion about his own species, and Dr. Zaius wants to eliminate him in order to destroy the last hope of the human race for the purpose of continuing the domination of his own Ape species on the planet. And, is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that end.
I'll let everyone else interpret the meaning of Taylor's horrible discovery at the end of the movie, and what it means for him after his rediscovered sense of humanity after being reduced to a simple nomadic ancient species. Who can talk by the way.
Truly, a Rod Serling Classic and only movie. A must see.
The Cotton Club (1984)
The Cotton Club Fizzles While Diane Lane Sizzles
I would have given this movie a 2 star review if it wasn't for Diane Lane, because back in the early 80's Dianne Lane was every young boys dream girl. I know, because I was a young boy back in the early 80's. And, if you want to see Diane Lane at her most enchanting hotness, then you might want to check out The Cotton Club?
That is, if you don't mind sitting through a mess of a movie that's over 2hrs long, and you don't care what happens to any of the multitude of characters story lines. Except, maybe Diane Lane's character, because she was just that HOT.
But, don't worry Cotton Club fans out there, I will include a few positive aspects in this review about the movie. That doesn't involve murder conspiracy's of drug dealing movie producers. Only because IMDb requires at least a 10 line minimum written review before it can be posted on their website. Which is about, 9 lines longer than I care to spend writing about The Cotton Club. But the rules are the rules.
The best thing The Cotton Club has to offer an audience is its stellar ensemble cast of actors and actresses. Even the ones that aren't Diane Lane. Some were already well established TV and Movie stars like Richard Gere, Fred Gwynne, Gwen Verdon and Gregory Hines. While others weren't house hold names yet like Nicholas Cage, Laurance Fishburne, Diane Lane and Bob Hoskins. But, would go on later to become huge Stars despite their appearance in The Cotton Club. I guess someone up there likes them?
However, despite the movies great ensemble cast, you just DO NOT care about any of the characters in the movie. It's really hard to say exactly why you don't care if Nicholas Cage's character is gun downed in a phone booth. Or if Gregory Hines, Richard Gere and Laurance Fishburn ever get the girl at the end of the movie. Maybe, it's because there were so many different characters, that you never cared about, who couldn't get the girl until the very end of the movie.
The only time I ever cared about any of the characters who didn't get me aroused while watching them, like Diane Lane for example. Is when I felt Sad that the evil Mob boss Dutz Sholtz was eventually killed, because he was the only interesting character in the entire movie.
The Cotton Clubs' writer/director Francis Ford Coppola has made some great movies and some stinkers. The Cotton Club is definitely at the top of Coppola's 'Stinker List'. I hope I finally have the required IMDb 10 line minimum to post a review this time? I really don't want to spend any more time writing about The Cotton Club. The movie gets a D- from me, but I will change my review to a C+ if someone knows if Diane Lane does any texting.