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Ladybug Ladybug (1963)
More Paranoid Propaganda
Another movie about the "Bad Guys" blowing up the U.S..This is the kind of material that made the "Twilight Zone" great.It packed all that fright and paranoia into a half hour.But there was no need to extend it to 90 minutes.The movie centers on a group of children being led home by their teacher(Nancy Marchand)after the reports that a possible nuclear war was imminent.As far as every adult is concerned,the end of the world is at hand and there's no hope to stop it or prevent it.This,of course, rubs off on the children,who believe everything they're told.The climax comes when(ala"The Twilight Zone")one girl refuses to let another into the bomb shelter due to lack of room.The whole thing reeks of someone's over paranoid,foolish imagination.As a child in the 60's,I cannot remember ever hearing that we were on the brink of war the way it's portrayed in this movie.
Man's Best Friend (1993)
Ally Sheedy kidnaps an experimental dog from a research lab run by Lance Henriksen.The dog,"Max",is a genetic combination of different animals,designed to create the perfect animal.Max builds an attachment to Sheedy,"protecting" her from the harm he believes is befalling her.He gnaws away at her boyfriend's brake lines,and also kills a mailman and mugger.Henriksen,who has tried to explain Max to the police,just gets the runaround until they turn him into the bad guy.The plot itself begins to turn on Henriksen,making him into some lunatic rather than the victim of theft.By the tone of the movie,you're supposed to feel sorry for Sheedy,who's only trying to help.The movie ends with Sheedy cuddling a new puppy,rather than in jail for the dog's theft,which is why people died.But this movie blames it on Henriksen and his research rather Sheedy and her theft.The whole plot sounds like it was developed by a radical member of PETA.
The Simpsons (1989)
The Greatest Show On Earth
Every show has a time when the writing tends to slack off.If that day ever comes for The Simpsons,it might be about the time when Bart has grandkids."It's only a cartoon" does not apply to this show.I just hope that I'll still be watching a new episode when I'm with Abe Simpson at the retirement home,maybe some 40 years from now.
Tony Shalhoub plays Adrian Monk,a mild mannered San Francisco Police Detective suspended because of personal and psychological problems.He can't get over his wife's death and he's obsessive compulsive.(Sort of a Felix Unger to the 10th power).It's Monk's compulsions that create most of the comedy.While's he's been off the force,he's been acting as a consultant at the request of the mayor.Monk has a knack for taking one look at a crime scene and determining that whatever theory the police come up with,is wrong.This,of course,irks Captain Stottlemeyer(Ted Levine),who,although he still remains Monk's friend,tends to resent his interference.Monk's assistant,Sharona(Bitty Schram),shadows him day and night.She hands him wipes after he shakes hands and explains Monk's problems to others.Without her,Monk would have been in a straight jacket.The show has gotten off to an excellent first season,with Shalhoub winning a Golden Globe Award(and should be on his way to an Emmy). The show is never overdone,has a good mix of comedy and seriousness,and each character is well played by the respective actor.
Good Film,Lousy Idea
The acting is very good.Excellent cast gives an excellent performance.The premise of the movie is not bad,either.It's the ending that's terrible.The movie builds you up to see what the president(Henry Fonda) will do to respond to make amends with the U.S.S.R..Give the Soviets a few billion dollars?Offer to give back Alaska?Any other possible ending would be more believable than how this movie ended.
Red Dawn (1984)
Decent cast,sort of a pseudo Brat Pack.But the idea that the Soviets could enter Cuba,work their way into Mexico and then invade Colorado without U.S.intelligence knowing anything about it borders on the ridiculous.