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It's just satire, 18 October 2004

This film is not so much a political satire as much as it is a social commentary. There is a tendency among reviewers to see what side of the political fence Parker and Stone straddle more toward. However, the jabs are equally liberal and conservative.

The remarkable point that everyone seems to miss is that it points out social absurdities of the western world. It takes a jab at over-stylized Broadway plays that draw out folks in droves that want to tell all of their friends they were at the 'theatre', despite the fact that the play is drivel. It makes sport of our obsession with bad Hollywood productions by showing us, point blank, just how outrageously benign film dialog has become. Along the same lines, it shows how most modern cinema requires a gratuitous sex scene, despite the lack of need for it.

The film also points out how absurd Hollywood actors have become. Some actually think that pretending to be someone else in a blockbuster gives them immediate credibility when they decide to beak off about world issues. Only in the western world would you see a guy like the Terminator in office.

Another great issue it brings up is the uber-important way we see ourselves in a world forum. Just the title alone: "Team America:World Police" is the tip off.

Folks, we are spoiled and uninformed in the western world. These filmmakers have merely pointed out how sheltered and naive we actually are. They have not poked fun at sides of a political agenda so much as poked at those who take sides at all.

This is a funny film. Very funny. It is well executed and so over the top that it deserves a look. Be warned....if you can't laugh at yourself, don't tune in.

9/11 (2002) (TV)
1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Incredible footage/questionable film making, 25 May 2003

I applaud NYC fire fighters and their plight. I salute the incredible people of NYC and how they have risen above this horrorific day. I have an incredible amount of respect for the film makers and marvel at the bravery they demonstrated that day (staying in the tower to film, etc.).

Indeed, during a recent trip to NYC, I was taken by how the city has seemed to bounce back from 9/11. To me, the NYFD and NYPD are celebrities and heros.

However, this film is worth seeing only for the footage and hearing the tales, firsthand, from the people who were there. The glorification of this day in this film is sickening. It becomes obvious that once the brothers who originally posessed this footage handed it over to TV executives, it became something all together different than it should have. I agree with others that narraration is far too distracting and obtrusive.

Having scripted dialogue in a film like this is insulting. These firefighters are articulate, interesting men who don't need one of their own rattling off the events of that day from a script. Let their own words and pictures do the talking.

That being said, the footage that was gathered makes this movie worth seeing (I could do without the hanging of the image that we had seen all over the world a million times at this point). While I respect the patriotism that came out of this horrific event, it has very little to do with the actual event itself or the people directly involved. I'll bet that not a single person was trying to get out of those buildings for their country, or singing the national anthem while running for their lives. No, they were trying to save their lives for the sake of themselves, their families and friends. Not one firefighter in this film says anything that can be deemed political or patriotic because, for them, getting out of those buildings wasn't about America. That is, after all, what this film is about (excepting the sub-plot of the rookie firefighter)....surviving that terrible day.

It wasn't nessasary to show the flag being hung and cheered. The world was crying for America and we all know that. In Canada, the stars and stripes were hung everywhere in support of our friends to the south. What we need to see is the human element of this story, not the cheering squad.

The moral: never hand over indie footage to network big-wigs trying to drum up patriotism and anger. Let the horrific images speak for themselves for the people of America are smart enough to figure things out without having the flag shoved down their throats.

God bless America, New York and the world.

Youngblood (1986)
3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Pah-leez, 15 March 2003

Okay, let's examine the facts first: 1) Canadians are not a bunch of stereotypical goon-loving hockey nuts (Gretzky is a Canadian folks...when did he ever fight?) 2) Thunder Bay is a beautiful city populated by great people who do not wear, primarily, plaid shirts 3) If a fight breaks out on the ice, even in junior hockey, there would be serious disciplinary action taken if the benches are cleared, the coach attacks a spectator or sticks are used as a weapon 4) The game of hockey is an incredibly fast paced game and 90% of the hits and plays depicted in this laughable film would be penalized

This movie is, in a word, ridiculous. These guys are painfully slow skaters and the actual game of hockey wasn't even remotely researched before shooting began. I'm going to avoid the obvious plot flaws in my review, for I think it goes without saying that this movie was written for the teenage mentality.

But the most insulting thing about this film is it's depiction of we Canadians. The dingy streets. The rabid fans. The stupid girls in bars. Hollywood's version of Canada is a slap in the face. When the Hamilton team travels to Thunder Bay for a game, they give a 5 second flash of a bus traveling up a rural road to depict the trip. This, folks, is a 20 hour drive!!! Then, when the team's performance is questioned by the coach, he threatens to send them to (gasp!) Blind River (a beautiful waterfront town in Northern Ontario). I've travelled all over Canada and can assure you that we are far from perfect, but if we were the morons depicted in this trashy film, I'd move.

Why should I be surprised? It's fine for Hollywood to depict Canada as a dump, yet when they need a place to make a film depicting an American city, Toronto is suddenly the most beautiful place in the world. Anyone seen "Chicago"? Guess what folks, it was shot in Canada.

By the way, what's with Canada's own Keanu Reeves making an ass of himself doing what can only be deemed the worst French Canadian accent ever on screen? Hey Keanu! Haven't you ever travelled to Quebec? If I was French Canadian, I'd boycott all your films.

19 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Essential Canadian Pop-Culture Film, 9 March 2003

This film has been criticized for many things (poor acting, poor direction among them). However, it is still widely regarded in Canada as an incredibly good film. While it's true that we in Canada may keep a special place in our hearts for the film because of the subject matter (two men from rural Nova Scotia who move to Toronto to start a new life), the film still holds water even to a non-Canadian.

Like the men in the film, both of my parents moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia to start a new life in the Canadian "promises land". And like the film, they did it in the same era (1968-9). And, like the film, my father resorted to stealing food from a grocery store to eat. It is these facts that makes the film so special to me.

The plight of these two gentlemen is so common in Southern Ontario that I think it actually helped propel this film into the cult status it still maintains today. The film is earthy, gritty and has documentary-style camera work that makes it believable. The use of an actual audio clip of a distraught woman crying in the hallway of a boarding house (used in the scene when our heroes are trying to sleep their first night in their new boarding house room) and the real alcoholic war veterans interacting with the film's stars make this film so real, it's disturbing. Hollywood could take a few cues from this movie.

Frankly, I think the acting is superb. Then again, I think that the method acting and melodramatic style used in film like Gone With The Wind is disgusting and plastic. The director's role in this film was clearly leading his troops very well. I highly recommend this incredibly well done film.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
THE romantic comedy, 5 March 2003

I saw this film in the theatre in 1989. I went with a very good female friend. At the time, we had been platonic friends for a few years and did everything together. I'd like to say that our story ended the same, but, alas, she is married and has three children. That's okay though, she is still a friend. The reality of this film is, of course, that a relationship like Harry's and Sally's is next to impossible.

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a man. What's more, this film is truly my favourite. This movie is a romantic comedy defined. Is it odd that, as a man, this film should be my favourite? Well, no. I wish I could define why in terms of specifics.

Perhaps it was because Harry, throughout the movie, tells Sally the many truths about men that even most men won't admit (after sex, they just want to go home, etc). Perhaps it was because it gave hope to all men that that great woman he was friends with would eventually stop dating all the losers and choose him to be his wife. Perhaps it is because Meg Ryan is so adorable and plays the roll so convincingly. Maybe it was that, in spite of all the atrocious things Harry tells Sally about men (specifically, himself), she still falls in love with him. In the end I believe that it was just the overall picture and impression it created. This film, even with the storybook ending, was very believable because of the writing and talent of the actors.

This movie is executed perfectly on so many levels. The comedy is side-splitting, but subtle. The writing, as we know from the DVD, was based in the reality of being single in your thirties and men and women's attitudes toward it. The direction was careful not to take away from the scenes. The chemistry between Crystal and Ryan was magical (the scene where Meg is repeating Billy's statements in that strange voice is impossible to imagine with other actors). There is so much going on in this film to make it work, how could it lose?

Kudos to Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher as well for their performances. My particular scene with them is where they hail a taxi together after Harry and Sally's poor attempt at setting them up with, well, Harry and Sally.

If you are a man and can't relate to SOMETHING in this film, then you are not human. We have all been in Harry's shoes. Sally gives us hope and reminds us that being in love is not always easy, but still one of the greatest things to happen to you. It also stresses the importance of friendship. I admit it, even after several watches, I get a bit misty in the end. After 11 years of being friends, Harry finally admits to Sally that he loves her. When she asks him why he tells her this, he says "because I realize that when you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible". Brilliant.

31 out of 35 people found the following review useful:
A Classic, 6 November 2002

Forget "Woodstock". Forget "Gimme Shelter". "Let It Be'? Forget that too. This is, truly, THE greatest rock and roll film ever made. Why? Well, try for a moment to forget that the actual performance itself features the great artists it does (including The Band) and focus on the film itself.

This film is shot in 35mm format which gives the picture pristine look (as opposed to all other previous rock films, which were shot on 16mm). But it's not just a spralling work, this is also well executed as well. By that, I mean the production value is outstanding. The lighting is unlike any rock concert I've seen (and I've seen many). The camera work is top-notch (apparently it was done by the best in Hollywood at the time). It's also easy to see that a great deal of planning went into the production. Other concert films (Woodstock, Monterey Pop) suffer from a "last minute scramble" look that simply isn't there with "Waltz".

Add to that the shear magnitude of what The Band had undertaken. Imagine learning, arranging and performing so many songs in so many styles by so many artists in one night with only one take of each allowed. When that is taken into consideration, you have to have a degree of respect for them. Of course, I'm bias. I'm Canadian, as were 4/5ths of The Band.

My only critique would be a technical one. It seems Rick Danko redubbed all of his bass playing. Whether this is attributed to a technical problem or unhappiness with his performance is unclear. However, what is clear is that what you hear the bass doing in the audio and what you see on the screen are completely different.

15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Excellent, 5 November 2002

It's predictable. It's typical. It's very 80s. It's also very good. As was said before, the chemistry between the two stars is incredible. If you liked Beverly Hills Cop, you'll love this film (in fact, I just watched them both back to back, and enjoyed them both equally). It is non-stop one liners that drip with wit. As 80s cop movies go, this is among the best. There are tonnes of great scenes.

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Vintage Fun, 9 August 2002

Lookit, I know the humour is lame, and the plot is standard fare, but lets call a spade a spade. When this film came out, it had no intention of setting the world on fire, or raking in hordes of's just a teen movie.

I am a child of the 80s. In fact, Spring Break holds a very dear place in my heart as it was the first "R Rated" film I ever saw (I was 14 at the time) and it was merely fuel for my raging hormones, which was all it was supposed to be. There were millions of movies just like this in the 80s. However, as lame as this film could be considered, I strongly feel that the teen films we see now are far worse. At least the acting in this film is good (the actors did well with what they had to work with).

If nothing else, it's great to watch and remember our (fleeting) youth. I just got it on video and was afraid to watch it for fear that it was much worse than I remembered (after all, it WAS 1983 when I saw it last...19 years ago!!!). I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. What more, even through all the bad hair and a wardrobe that makes us cringe and say "What were we thinking", the girls are still very beautiful and REAL!!! Nary an implant in sight!

Another highlight: .38 Special's "Caught Up In You" used in a great spot for the soundtrack.

Yeah, it's another 80s teen-geek-gets-laid-and-becomes-cool flick, but it's a good one!