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No Holds Barred (1989)
The first real Hulk Hogan movie....and a harbinger of what was to come for hogan's acting career.
Ah 1989: we were coming to the end of the "go-go 80's" Reagan had been booted from office by term limits Rescue 911 debuted the slasher flick genre was winding down and WWF (now know as WWE) was the undisputed king of televised pro wrestling in most of north America.
Anyone who was a child during the 80's and early 90's knows how popular Hulk Hogan was but did he really need this seventeenth rate vanity project.
While he was WWF champion on and off (mostly on) for eight years feuding with such legends as Andre The Giant Randy Savage "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and many other mainstays of 1980's WWF his popularity and ability to draw huge money was undisputed then Vince McMahon decided that it would be a good idea to make No Holds Barred as a way to further Hulk Hogans career popularity and wring just a little more money out of the cash cow that was Hulkamanina.
Unfortunately this decision would backfire even further when after the release of this movie they actually brought "Zeus" (AKA Tommy Lister) into the WWF for cross promotion purposes in the form of a "real life feud' between Hogan and the movie villain Zeus which had it not failed so spectacularly (it died a quick death very shortly after Survivor Series 89) would have most likely led to a Zeus VS Hogan match at Wrestlemania 6 which supposedly would have been billed as "No Holds Barred-The Final Showdown" or some other silly name.
The movie itself is pure 80's schlock at its worst with hammy over and underacting (especially from Hogan and Lister) hideous writing exceptionally low production qualities (which is not a surprise considering they had a reported budget of between $8-9.000.000).
I saw this in theaters when I was seven years old and I thought it was stupid then, unfortunately after more than twenty years it hasn't gotten any better and probably never will.
Red Dawn (1984)
A tribute to the paranoia of the far right in the 1980's
I've seen this "movie" on TV a few times (although it would be better described as propaganda) and have to honestly say that there are so many problems with it's basic premise and message that it stands more as a tribute to the paranoia of the far right in the early 1980's than anything else.
Just starting with the basic premise of how the events that lead to what happens in the movie is so out there and nonsensical that it beggars belief.
Here a just a few examples of how ridiculous this movie is: The Russians achieve their initial invasion by commandeering thousands of commercial jets and flying then into US airspace.
Okay, the problem with this is that even though the FAA and air traffic controllers are rather overworked but I'd still think that someone somewhere working in an air traffic control tower would notice SEVERAL THOUSAND UNSCHEDULED AIRCRAFT JUST SUDDENLY APPEARING OUT OF NOWHERE.
"West Germany elects the greens to power and they demand that all nuclear weapons be removed from European soil which leads N.A.T.O dissolves and leaves America to "stand alone" with only Britain at it's side".
Aside from this being little more than a cheap dig at the peace and anti-nuclear weapons movements that were gaining influence at that time there is no way short of those other countries being nuked into oblivion that that would happen.
"Russian forces invaded Alaska and came down through Canada" And no one in Alaska or Canada noticed thousands of Russian troops and pieces of equipment rolling through the streets and thought to notify the Canadian or American government to tell them the Russians were coming.
Lastly that a meat headed high school football quarterback who's only previous experience in a leadership role of any kind is being a high school football team quarterback and goes hunting with dad somehow qualifies him with advanced knowledge of military maneuvers and tactics especially considering the fact that he and his "Wolverines" going up against SPEZNAZ Troopers who are the elite forces of the Russian Army (although in this movie they are depicted as being bumbling fools who can't hit the broadside of a barn with a machine gun)and can organize to engage them in battle and win.
Those are just some of the biggest implausibilities in this movie.
Not to mention the fact that the overall message of this movie is that it's fun to watch teenagers kill people as long as they're big bad commies one character even says without an ounce of remorse when asked what it felt like to murder in cold blood a drunken Russian soldier who was unarmed and he say's "it felt good".
Director John Milius has admitted that he wrote this pathetic exercise in jingoism in response to the 1983 TV movie The Day After (which was a far superior film about the aftermath of nuclear war on a small Kansas town and the people living there)because he was angered by the way war and the aftermath of a nuclear attack was presented in a negative light and he felt that it was "just a hippie peacenik movie designed to unfairly influence the youth of America away from liking war and towards both peace and nuclear disarmament".
This movie is little more than cheap far right propaganda designed to feed the paranoia of the far right and a chance to feed their lust for blood.
One of my favorites as a kid but parts of it haven't aged well.
As a child of the early 80's I distinctly remember watching new episodes of this show every week along with watching reruns after school every day, to me as a seven year old in 1990 this was one of my favorite shows and I was disappointed when it was canceled but looking back at it twenty years later and after watching some episodes on youtube some parts of it have not aged very well.
The family dynamic of the Tanners was always a big part of what made the story's work, no matter what stupid outlandish thing happened either because of Alf or something one of them did or said they still always managed to come back together as a family at the end.
The acting was always really well done and believable especially considering the sheer absurdity of the situation their characters were placed into and the lengths they took to try and hide Alf.
The writing started out fairly strong in the first couple of seasons but once the show became exceedingly popular with kids (around the third season) they started focusing on much more kid friendly stories and the show lost some of it's sharpness in favor of light silly kid friendly humor and sometimes awkward attempts at topical humor and did so at the expense at the expense of any real character development for certain members of the family especially Brian who was growing up (by the end of the series he was 11-12 years old) but was still being written as a cute little boy who spoke with a cute squeaky little voice and said and did cute kid things.
Looking at the series last two seasons now it's more than obvious that by the end the writers were running out of good new ideas and were beginning to recycle old themes and ideas which was am awkward attempt at trying to keep the show off of life support (including that staple of 80's sit-coms that was pulled out when they had no good ideas for an episode: the dreaded clip show)as a result by the series end in 1990 it had truly run it's course despite the to be continued season four finale cliffhanger which was a transparent attempt at keeping the show on the air for another season but ultimately failed and left us wondering just what had happened to Alf until all the questions were sort of answered in the series wrap up 1996 TV movie.
Alf was sort of a Rodney Dangerfield for the little kiddie set and I will admit that as a child the jokes made me laugh almost all the time and to a degree they still do now the problem is that some of the topical humor that was current in the mid to late 80's has been out of fashion for twenty plus years and those jokes kind of fall on their face now even with the context of the times they were written in taken into account.
The other problem is that the character of Alf which was past his prime after the 1996 TV movie that tied up the loose ends that were left after the show was abruptly put out of it's misery in 1990 never truly went away for a while like he should have, he was still appearing in TV commercials all throughout the 90's including selling telephone long distance services chewing gum clothing and other products even as late as 2003 and even got a second shot at fame in 2004 in a talk show format that only lasted a few weeks before being pulled off the air, in essence I was exposed to Alf for most of my life (at least fifteen to twenty years) even after I was too old to like him anymore and actually became annoyed when I saw the character in advertisements.
Perhaps it was overexposure that soured me to the Alf character and his alien smart-alec shtick or perhaps the passage of time has hardened my heart a little but this show will always have a special place in my childhood memories of time spent with friends after school and family on the weekends laughing at his antics on TV.
Although the 2007 "interview" that he did with Bill O'Reily was rather funny just because you could tell that Bill was thinking "what did I do to deserve this?.....Oh right I told my bosses wife that she looked like a tree in that dress she was wearing at that reception a couple of months ago." all while desperately trying to keep from bursting out into laughter at the absurdity of what he was doing by trying to have a serious conversation with a puppet.
In the end I give ALF a six out of ten, and no I don't hate the show in any way, it was always intended to be mindless entertainment for kids which is what it did best back in the 1980's but looking at it today some of the jokes really are dated and don't work while the lack of character development for the human cast really hindered the direction the show took and most likely led to the eventual cancellation of it.
Lord of the Flies (1990)
Not great but reasonably watchable
I read the novel in tenth grade English class and remember watching both of the movies in class the week after finishing the book, but it had been several years since I'd seen this version and when it came on TV last weekend I decided to watch it.
The first thing that I noticed was that so much of the symbolic imagery was either lost or heavily modified, I'm not sure if the writer really understood the story's themes or got the meaning of some of the imagery of the story with important scenes changed and a great deal of the character development was left out entirely which makes the script feels like the cole's notes version of the story.
Among the more glaring changes were:
In the book Simon was an allegory for Jesus while in the movie he's looked at as being "weird", they completely ignored the mystical almost Buddha like qualities of the character.
In the book Jack represented the darkness that exists within us all and our hidden desire to pretend to be what we aren't while in this movie he's just an arrogant jerk.
In the book the pigs head represented the pure evil of Satan (lord of the flies is a translation from a Hebrew word that literally means the devil)while in this version of the movie it's really just set dressing that does not convey the horror that it's supposed to.
In the book Roger starts out as a minor character but slowly builds into being a sadistic psychopath who represents the pure evil that we all possess but control, in this movie he is portrayed as being sick and twisted monster who revels in the pain of others almost right from the start and in the novel he's first described very subtly as being dark (meaning evil not African American)but in this version of the movie he's written as the stereotypical violent black kid.
The whole scene of Simon's death was presented in the book in a subtle way as a semi-satanic right (the whole setting was indicative of an ancient pagan right of animal/human sacrifice)while being described as "accidental" it's left up to the imagination of the reader as to what happened, in this movie it comes off as being a frenzied accident.
In the book Piggy's intellect is the glue that holds Ralph's civilization together, in this movie he 's written to be a whiny simpering sort of buffoon.
But the biggest changes that actually hurt the movie the most were a combination of two things first changing the time setting and second making the boys American,
The thing that made the novel so shocking was the idea that prim and proper English school boys in the late forties or early fifties could become uncivilized savages capable of horrific acts of brutality and violence committed against each other.
Updating the time setting and making the boys American really took away from the shock value of the novel because by the late eighties and early nineties it wasn't so uncommon to hear stories on the evening news about preteen gang bangers shooting people or middle school kids violently attacking each other on the school yard, these factors really desensitized the audience to the violence that the boys are doing to each other in the story and make it much less impactful to the viewer.
The acting is alright, it's nothing terribly special but watchable it's obvious that the director wasn't going to pull Oscar winning performances out of the kids but the leads manage to put in convincing performances and bring some life to their characters despite being saddled with a relatively flat script that omits much of the character development from the novel.
The direction and photography are good, although the bright lush colors sort of take away from the darkness of the story and make it seem like a tourism Hawaii commercial at times.
The negatives slightly outweigh the positives but it's a decent movie and is at least watchable which is more than I can say for some movies today.
Total Drama Island (2007)
This has been done better on other shows
The idea of skewering reality shows has already been done (and to much better effect) just check out Life's A Zoo or some episodes of Robot Chicken (they have done a much better job on Life's A Zoo of "taking the wind out of the sails" of "reality" TV shows).
The things that I hate about this show are the animation and the writing, none of the "jokes" are that funny all of the characters are just stereotypes the animation is poorly drawn and the color palate they chose to use with all of it's bright pastel colors and shading hurts the eyes after awhile.
This show must have been conceived by Teletoon (the Canadian version of Cartoon Network)to fill the mandatory Cancon requirements that state a certain portion of what they broadcast has to be Canadian produced, everything about this show and it's sister show total drama action just scream at the viewer "This was done on the cheap and nasty and we don't care".
Boring unoriginal trash
This show is little more than a really cheap knockoff of a much better older show called Johnny Bravo.
The animation is "stylized" meaning done on the cheap and nasty (and it does look quite amateurish)everything is colored in bright pastel tones that actually hurt the eyes after a while and the writing is so stereotypical with every character being flat and uni-dimensional along with being poor variations on the "surfer dude" stereotype that went out of style in 1987 and are voiced in the broadest "surfer dude" stereotypes there are (the two worst are a Californian surfer guy who constantly uses the word "dude" and an Australian surfer who is the broadest generalization of the Aussie Surfer dude stereotype that I've even seen, the one runner up is the character who is supposed to be South African but sounds more like a white guy from Kansas doing a bad impression of a South African accent) .
Combine that with an overbearing soundtrack filled with bad 90's bands that have somehow managed to stay around until today when they are no longer relevant and their music just grates on the viewers nerves and you have a show that is really bad.
Beta House (2007)
What the hell were they thinking????
First off to get my own personal feelings out of the way let me start by saying that I hate so called comedies where every single character is written and played as being so stupid that you wounder if they're all the result of inbreeding.
Now I will say this I did see the first three American Pie movies and while they weren't the most amazing movies that I'd ever seen they were all right (and outright masterpieces compared to the three "American Pie Presents" films), I still feel compelled to ask what the hell were they thinking when they made this movie?
I also have a few other questions too.
Who thought that this was an acceptable use of studio funds and production resources?
who approved the final script (and what was that person smoking when they approved it)?
And lastly why did anyone think that it deserved to be released into theaters where the average cost of admission is between 10 and 15 dollars depending on where you live when it should have gone straight to the discount bin at Blockbuster or Wal Mart?
There is so much wrong with this movie that I can't write a really comprehensive review of it because it would exceed the maximum allowed words on this forum so I'll just touch on the biggest things wrong with it.
The plot is generic uninspired and stupid and characters are all about as interesting as watching paint dry for eighty minutes but the biggest thing that I can see wrong with this movie is the acting.
While most of the cast are talentless no namers who will probably be forgotten in a few years,
the one and only big name in this movie is Eugene Levy who spends almost all of the time he is on screen with this knowing smirk on his face that says to the viewer "I know this isn't funny and I'm wasting my talents but hey I'm getting payed for it so who cares" he doesn't even try to make any of his jokes funny (he really deserves better than this garbage).
As I mentioned above most of the rest of the cast are horrible even though some of them have been in some really great TV shows, Tyrone Savage (from the classic Canadian series Wind At My Back) plays a character who is so unbearable unlikeable and irritating (there are things that he could teach to tropical skin diseases)that you almost wish he'd die a slow and painful death on screen, Christopher McDonald (NCIS, Law & Order) just hangs around on screen and wastes what talent he does have by being in this film.
Maybe the next film in this series will just be a soft core porn with a story line so they can get around the MPAA and get an R rating this movie goes all out with pointless nudity vulgarity and pointlessly offencive sexual content that it should have gotten the X rating (the ratings board must have been drunk or on drugs when they reviewed this film for its rating).
It's interesting that twenty five years ago when Wes Craven submitted A Nightmare On Elm Street to the MPAA for a rating review they forced him to cut twenty five seconds of footage (I believe that it was part of a death scene that had a silicone casting of a breast in it) to avoid getting an X rating and he had no other choice but to do it or the film wouldn't have been released,
but this kind of needlessly offensive trash can get the R rating today because it's all done in the name of comedy, if this movie was a drama or horror film with this kind of content there would have been a huge stink over the content and it would havegotten the dreaded X rating.
The last thing that really annoys me is the writing, this movie is written to play out like the wet dream of some twelve year old kid with an extremely overactive sexual imagination its quite juvenile and extraordinarily crass, nearly every expository situation that is supposed to move the corpse that this movie calls a plot along is so telegraphed that any intelligent viewer can see it coming a mile away and and the so called characters are just stereotypes of stereotypes of stereotypes, never mind the often repulsive sexual references and constant unnecessary scenes of deviant sexual behavior it feels like this film was written by some incompetent first year hack in a low rent film school script writing class.
the long and short of it is its time to kill this series before it gets any stupider more crass and offensive, this pie is filled with road apples.
Jesus Camp (2006)
This is a perfect example of what is wrong with fanatical organized religion of any kind
The witch that runs this camp is little more than a pseudo David Koresh wannabe who targets the most vulnerable and impressionable members of society the children. The thing that disgusted me the most was the white trash woman at the very beginning who was brainwashing her son who couldn't be more than twelve years old by "home schooling" him and making him watch and read religious garbage about intelligent design that presented it as fact rather than what it really is a pleasant story that placates dimwitted people who aren't smart enough to think for themselves. And what could a five year old possibly have to be saved from anyways what possible sin could he have committed that caused his soul to be damned: spilling his orange juice, stealing a cookie. It's a good thing that this stupid camp had to be closed down and I sincerely hope that there was a state investigation into Becky's treatment of the kids.