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Just Another Bunch of Pretty Faces
I was a huge fan of the original series, and as a proud native Texan, always got goose bumps when the camera scanned Texas Stadium during the opening credits. I also confess to being glued to my television to find out 'Who Shot J.R.?', along with the rest of the human race. Perhaps 16 minutes is not enough time to accurately judge the new "Dallas", but in those few moments we discover Bobby Ewing with fatal colon cancer; J.R. in a nursing home; John Ross discovering a $100 billion oil deposit under South Fork; and Bobby's adopted son discovering a limitless source of alternative fuel. Spliced into this mega-drama are two gorgeous couples, one making out in a swank country club's women's dressing room and the other pair frolicking in an oil well gusher a la some 1940s black and white movie western. When Bobby steadfastly insists on selling the ranch and prohibiting drilling, I grabbed the clicker, unfortunately not before hearing his self-righteous soliloquy about how oil destroyed the Ewing family and the wishes of his dead mother Miss Ellie. Life is far too short for me to waste another 16 minutes to see how this mess developed. I gave "Dallas" two stars only because so many pretty faces deserve more than one.
Mad Men (2007)
R.I.P. - Spoiler Alert
Having grown up in the 1960s, I quickly became a big Mad Men fan as the characters reminded me of my parents and their friends. From an historical aspect, many bittersweet memories were aroused as the Madison Avenue advertising agency dealt with the Nixon vs. Kennedy election, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Dealy Plaza assassination, in addition to the drama and crises in their own personal lives. I was dismayed when the series took a long sabbatical after three seasons. Unfortunately, the extra long wait for what was advertised as the "last season" was hardly worth it.The reviewer who characterized episodes as "gut wrenching"must get apoplectic watching grass grow. While there were a few good scenes among the myriad of plots, subplots and sub- subplots, as a whole, Season 4 was a jumbled mess and rehashing of earlier scripts. As a member of the minuscule fan base of this series, I can only hope that the show's producers allow it to rest in peace, and allow us to remember Don Draper as the most successful heavy smoking, drinking, skirt-chasing, non-working hero that we have ever known.
2 hours 38 minutes too long!
First the good news, Daniel Craig is better as a Swedish journalist than as James Bond, and, Christopher Plummer is still an imposing character actor at age 82. Now the bad news. Having read and enjoyed the book and Swedish movie, I waited to see this film on pay-per-view, which is kind of good news considering ticket prices these days. Unfortunately, my familiarity with the story was of little help as I spent over two and a half hours scratching my head watching a complex mess that bore only a slight resemblance to the novel or foreign film. I felt sorry for anyone who had neither read the book nor seen the movie, and sorrier for those who had. Swedish names and towns with double-digit letter length and difficult pronunciations only made following the dialog and story more difficult. I have not watched many foreign films with English subtitles, so, if you haven't already read the book or seen the American film version, I highly recommend the Swedish movie.
I Like Whitney!!!
Shame on those reviewers that gave this cute new show a rating of "1". These are probably the same artsy snobs that rant and rave about horrible movies that they call "films". After turning "Up All Night" off after three minutes, I was a bit skeptical about another attempt at "Whitney", and was actually standing to leave the room when I was immediately attracted to a very likable young lady. I sat back down, and thoroughly enjoyed the pilot episode and the fresh and quirky Whitney Cummings. Her supporting cast was equally likable, and I think this new series deserves a chance. The naysayers can go back to watching AMC.
Best Musical Since Funny Girl
Growing up in the 60's I went to see "Burlesque" because of Cher. I walked out hopelessly in love with Christina Aguilera. For over a decade now I have wrongfully categorized this beautiful and talented young women in a group with the likes of other blonde paparazzi favorites like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Lady Gaga, et al. To atone for this sin, I immediately ordered three of her albums. I can add little to the earlier rave reviews of this film, other than to say it was 100 minutes of sheer joy. Anyone complaining about this movie's plot should never, ever be allowed into a musical. I wouldn't be surprised to see numerous Oscar nominations for musical score, art direction, editing, costumes, and yes, even acting. We can only pray for more of these "Cabaret" and "Chicago" type films.
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Spoiler - A Movive Not for Everyone - Spoiler
If you love Quentin Tarantino, or, if you think it's cool to love Quentin Tarantino (I'm in neither category); and, if you are "Pulp Fiction" worshiper (I'm not), and if think that long, drawn out senseless sub-titled dialog somehow makes a boring movie more artsy and 'chi chi' (which I don't), and you are spellbound by excessive close-ups of inanimate objects, including several of a bowl of whipped cream (I do, however, like whipped cream), then, and only then is this movie for you. I should have known that weak movies advertise the only decent scenes in the film. When I forked over 3.99 at Blockbuster, I expected to see an over-acting Brad Pitt win World War II with the help of some Jewish commandos, ie. Clint Eastwood. While playing a big part of the movie's relentless commercial advertisements, the almost comical scenes with Pitt are all too scarce. The one saving member of this international cast was Christoph Waltz whose portrayal of a remorseless Nazi SS officer, rivals Ralph Fiennes', characterization of Amon Goeth in "Schindler's List", and is worthy of awards and praise. Otherwise this Tarantino mish-mash of a movie is worth a mere three stars, which I consider generous, and makes me glad that it was a rental.
The Cleveland Show (2009)
Possibly the Worst of All Time
Shortly after the second episode, I sat down to write a scathingly bad review, but, there were so many others that I thought it a waste of time to share my views about a soon-to-be-canceled show. Also, like trying to fairly judge a new restaurant on opening night, I thought that my negative opinion may have been premature. I have since recorded and attempted to watch portions of several other episodes. Last evenings Christmas show absolutely crossed the line and established a new personal definition of "awful". I am a huge "Family Guy" fan and near-famous for my warped, sick and twisted sense of humor. I just find nothing funny in a constant and disgusting reference to genitalia and perverted sex. The attempted African American humor is lame, racist, and sexist to an almost criminal degree. I have noticed that there have been some recent rave reviews about this comedic abomination, and while respecting the right of everyone to express an opinion, these sick bastards will not be invited to sip eggnog this holiday season.
Sorry...Not me, the show
I attempted to watch the first two episodes of this unfunny mishmash of a sitcom, but was compelled to quickly find my "clicker" lest what's left of my 'baby boomer' brain disintegrate. My mother taught me to try and find the good in everything. Okay. Gillian Jacobs is easy on the eyes. That said, the rest of the show is just plain stupid. Set on a community college run by a cartoon-like dean, there is a politically correct group of losers comprising a Spanish study group formed by a film-flam disbarred lawyer whose sole goal in life is to score with the lovely albeit icy Ms. Jacobs. Chevy Chase, whom I haven't yet forgiven for 1997's "Vegas Vacation", plays a moronic, clueless-faced, senior citizen turned student. It only gets worse, as Joel McHale's character gives new meaning to 'sleeze' and has the warmth of a frozen rattlesnake. It's not that I don't like off-the-wall comedies, as "Scrubs", "Arrested Development" and "The Office" are among my all-time favorites. It's just that I do not find stupidity very funny. I must confess to a triple digit IQ, so "Community" will in all likelihood be a smash hit. I mean if "Parks and Recreation" can make it to a second season while "Arrested Development" gets canceled, anything is possible today's idiocracy.
Iron Man (2008)
Finally Something to Rave About
I was very skeptical when I purchased my 'senior' discount ticket. I mean, Robert Downey, Jr. as an action hero? Was this going to be another two hours of special effects and endless explosions, fights and chases? Much to my delight I found a well acted, directed, edited and written film. "Iron Man" is by far the best movie I've seen in at least two years. It had everything. A story line! An absolutely stunning Gwyneth Paltrow. An Jeff Bridges without his trademark mane of long, greasy, dirty hair. I'll say a little prayer that Downey stays off the booze and drugs as the clever ending surely implies sequels. Bravo to the whole crew for a rare cinema surprise.
Raiders of the Last Buck......
*** This comment may contain spoilers *** With senior tickets approaching ten dollars, how could Steven and George do this to their aging fan base? I suggest a retitling as "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the NUMB Skull". I mean, really, do Spielburg and Lucas have large gambling debts to pay off? IRS problems? Why else would they drag our hero Indiana Jones out of retirement and slop together such a concoction of special effects and overlong, senseless fight and chase scenes? I haven't been this disappointed since "Ocean's Twelve" scriptless travesty of a film. However, not to be called the consummate naysayer, there is some good news to go with the bad news. Good news - Harrison Ford was NOT too old for the role. Just too stupid in taking the part. Good news - The incomparable Cate Blanchett. Too bad her contrived Russian accent sounded more like Natasha of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. Good news - 57 year old Karen Allen's character of Marion Ravenwood looked pretty good after a 27 year hiatus. Unfortunately, Spielburg preferred goofiness over feistiness. Good news - Shia LaBeouf as Indy, Jr. Too bad he had little to work with. From the senseless slaughter and atomic bombing in the opening scenes to the "gag me" wedding ending, I was confused, bored, and disappointed. The hundreds of other reviews of this film pretty well describe just how horrible it was, so I'll not be repetitious. Suffice to say that Speilburg and Lucas are off my "must see" list, and WalMart CDs, cheaper than two tickets, will replace my theater going habits.