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625 reviews in total 
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Something So Right (1982) (TV)
So Perfect is This!, 20 April 2017

Young Ricky Schroder lives with his divorced mother, after her husband left them, or any male supervision or guidance. He seems to be on the path of a juvenile delinquent, as he's constantly in trouble and has no regard for learning. Patty feels he needs the presence of a "big brother." But when she goes for help, she's told there are more boys that need them than men volunteering for the job. One possible person comes to mind. Enter James Farentino, a middle-aged, hair-thinning character, with a vaudeville sense of humor. With practically nothing in common, James and Ricky try to connect. From beginning to end, this captured and impressed me as one of the most natural, relaxing and down-to-earth television movies I've ever seen. The people were real and relatable. I've never seen James Farentino play such a kooky character, yet endearing. At such a young age, Rick Schroder displays such matureness, and his discipline as an actor using his craft is evident. And, Patty Duke of course was perfect. They played off each other very well, and director Lou Antonio has created a world that feels like it's just down the road a bit from home. "Something So Right" is an excellent movie that enriches all those who see it.

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Easter Parade, a Movie Musical Essential!, 19 April 2017

Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Peter Lawford and Ann Miller star in this grand movie musical about a dancing team (Fred and Ann) who break up when Ann Miller decides she has bigger aspirations and leaves the act. Fred then in turn in emotional haste states that she is replaceable and that he can teach anyone to dance as well as she does. Enter Judy Garland. I can't believe I haven't reviewed this film before now, and I don't know if I can contain myself enough to write one. This is absolutely one of my top five musicals of all time, OF ALL TIME! How could I possibly be unbiased! There is not one moment, scene, song or feeling that feels false or weak. Much has been said about the "A Couple of Swells" number in this movie, but every single musical number is great, with "Steppin' Out with My Baby" arguably being the highlight. But even the slow songs that Judy Garland sings are great. There are lots of great crooners and/or vocalists in American music history, but Judy Garland had her distinctive way of reaching her listeners and making you feel in in her place. See the "Better Luck Next Time" number. It goes without saying that Fred is excellent here, and Ann Miller has always been my favorite dancer, who held a record at one time with the most taps in one minute. See her "Shakin' the Blues Away." And, Peter Lawford sings! How can you not like this film! I say it every Easter that this film is too good to only watch once a year. See it right now! See it next month! Watch it for July 4th! See for yourself why this is a great example of MGM movie musicals at their best!!

Tribute (1980)
Another Stand-Out Jack Lemmon Performance, 11 April 2017

Jack Lemmon learns he is dying and tries to finally connect with his son (played by Robby Benson), whom he pretty much abandoned when he left his ex-wife, Lee Remick. A man who has no real close relationships, he is loved by many acquaintances because of his outrageousness, his carefree attitude, his one-liners and clownish cut-ups; in short, he is "a crowd-pleaser," as someone in the film calls him. For all his love of life (and women) that comes through to the viewer, this is also one of the most depressing films I have ever seen. I have seen hundreds of films and seen a lot of somber, serious, and/or downbeat movies, and this was painstakingly real in its depiction of loneliness, regret, and in facing death. In fact, that night I dreamed of Jack Lemmon, and I never dream of movie stars. Having said that and also that this film may be flawed, I would watch this again, I think. Jack Lemmon gives another great performance and deservedly received an Oscar nomination for it. There is no real plot save for his trying to connect to Robby, whose character is unusually "old" for a boy his age, and truthfully whose mannerisms reminds me of someone I know. There is an array of supporting characters to lighten up the mood, including Kim Cattrall and an unusual nurse. "Tribute" is a special film about real people who are trying to reach out before it's too late.

Who's in a Jam? Irene or Us!, 6 April 2017

Irene Dunne is a "Lady in a Jam." She has gone bankrupt and her possessions are being sold in an auction to pay her debts. But she is oblivious to her plight and doesn't take anything serious. Her lawyer or accountant, played by Eugene Palette, has been after her about her inevitable situation. But she has done nothing to help herself, but buy stuff on whims. When Eugene goes to a psychiatrist (Patric Knowles) to get her some help, things get crazy. The situations from then on feel contrived and unrealistic, but at the same time it's bizarre enough to keep you interested, like a car wreck. It's not really that funny, but is only fairly amusing and is a disappointment as one of Irene Dunne's films. She is convinced by Patric to go back home, where her eccentric grandmother and ex-beau (Ralph Bellamy) live. "Lady in a Jam" is only for die-hard Irene Dunne fans, and even those will be only modestly entertained.

Sweet Adeline is Sweet Time with Ms .Irene!, 6 April 2017

Irene Dunne is "Sweet Adeline," who sings in a beer garden and has aspirations as a professional singer. Her father is opposed to Donald Woods, who write songs, as a suitor. Hugh Herbert plays an eccentric yet likable character (when did he not), who is trying to catch a spy, who is a famous singer. All this sounds admittedly simple-minded, undemanding and corny, but that's why I found it to be refreshing. Hugh Herbert's scenes with Nydia Westman, as Irene's sister, were very natural and were genuinely amusing/funny. Perhaps the highlights of the film are the outstanding songs written by Kern/Hammerstein, sung to perfection by Ms. Dunne. Despite the old feel of this film, I would watch this again, not expecting much except a good, easy-going time with Irene Dunne and company.

A More Thorough Study of the Mary Phagan Story, 17 February 2017

Jack Lemmon stars in this TV telling of a true incident in our history. When a young lady is killed, her employer (Peter Gallagher) is accused, because of circumstantial evidence, supposedly true testimony of others implicating him, his ladies man reputation, but mostly because he is a Yankee and a Jew in the South. He is given a trial, which isn't quite a fair one. When the sentence is hanging until death and a pardon from the Governor is possible, Governor Jack Lemmon feels the prisoner was given a bum deal, considering the community's prejudice and has qualms about letting the man hang. He goes on his own crusade and investigation to delve deeper into the story. Jack Lemmon has never given a bad performance, and in fact, everyone was very good in their role, especially Dutton in his memorable role. This was a very educational, involved and thoughtful film. "They Won't Forget" with Claude Rains and Lana Turner was another film about this, but that was a loose telling of the story, as it took place in a school setting instead a workplace. I've seen it, and it stands on its own as a good example of hard-hitting drama and movie-making if not totally accurate to the basic facts. After seeing this version though, you may not want to see the older version, as this puts the characters and their feelings first rather than serving their problems up for your entertainment.

Dress Gray - A Unique 1980s Experience, 3 February 2017

Alec Baldwin stars in this TV miniseries about the murder of a gay cadet in a military academy, and he stands accused and has to clear his name. I didn't know what to expect, but this played out more like a political thriller than a drama, especially Part 2, with the investigation and dealing with the people who were tailing Alec and his girlfriend. A lot of older celebrities star in this and are good, but some like Alexis Smith were given literally nothing to do. Hal Holbrook is very memorable, and Eddie Albert was given a rare dramatic role as the victim's father who didn't know he was gay. Some reviewers say there was too much talking and that this could have been much shorter. Maybe. But on the whole, this seemed to be an exceptional miniseries with outstanding, full-force performances by all.

Lana Turner, Teri Garr and Richard Benjamin Fans Beware!, 3 February 2017

Being a fan of Lana Turner, I had mixed feelings of seeing this film, "Witches' Brew," which is a remake of a Lon Chaney film, "Weird Woman," which I think I liked. Another remake of Lon's movie, 1962's "Burn, Witch, Burn!") I have not seen. As the film begins, three women use witchcraft! to help their professor husbands further their careers. Only one can take a new position in the university, and the wives plot against other! I've always liked Teri Garr; she can be eccentric and somewhat needy but is sweetly endearing at the same time and her pairing with Richard Benjamin is inspired casting, as he seems to act sinister yet strait-laced and down-to-earth at the same time. His expressions are too much and worth the price of admission alone. Having said all that, they are the best thing about the film. Lana isn't bad in the film, but seems to be trying too hard not to overact or embellish, as she simply speaks her lines with hardly any flair. This was her last film, and sadly it is not even campy enough (or as they say bad enough) to be good. What begins as an interesting and distinctive film really goes downhill. The scenes between Teri and Richard add some life, but by the end there's no reason to care about what's happening. Inferior material for stars who deserve better!

Marianne (1929/I)
Marion Davies at Her Best! Oui! Oui!, 11 January 2017

Marion Davies stars in her first talkie after having a prolific silent movie career with this film, "Marianne." Here she is as a simple French lass in love with a French soldier during World War I. But when American soldiers see her they fall all over themselves trying to be the one first in line, particularly Lawrence Gray and Cliff Edwards. But Cliff Edwards (and Benny Rubin) primarily provide comic relief and some great songs. Cliff Edwards was a very talented singer and entertainer of his day, and sang the classic song "When You Wish upon a Star" and was the voice of Jiminy Cricket in "Pinocchio." Lawrence Gray has a nice voice too, but Cliff had that pep and comic flair thrown in his numbers. In fact, I saw this years ago, but had forgotten how funny this was. All the songs (sung by the soldiers!) were very good, considering how most of the early musicals, once talking pictures were made, were very dated and corny. The funniest part of the movie is when Marion masquerades as an officer to get Lawrence out of jail for taking her pig! Yes, I said, her pig! This was a fun and enjoyable showcase for the talented and underrated Marion Davies who was too many times dismissed as only William Randolph Hearst's mistress, therefore being under scrutiny in Orson Welles' classic, "Citizen Kane." Forget what you may think or know about her, and enjoy her as "Marianne."

Eric Likes Brooke!, 10 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eric Mabius liked Brooke D'Orsay in high school but she never knew how much. Present day: He has no girl and no style. Feeling insecure, he's now shy and has nobody to love. A friend of his tells him about a dating coach, but that experience was terrible. He meets Brooke, when she's waitressing, but who's really an event planner and without a job currently. Long story short, you know what happens. She helps him with his approach to women and insecurity, all the while she's.... This may be predictable fluff, but it's so sweet, special, and real, that it spoke to me and I really, really enjoyed it. Katky Najimy gives great support as another waitress and friend to Brooke. And, the rivalries and feelings between Brooke and sister were handled very well. This is the kind of film you watch sick in bed, a feelgood movie for all romantics, or just anyone who likes sweet films.

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