Reviews

27 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
8/10
I don't know why I like this movie
11 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This is a tremendous movie. But I don't know why. It contains a bunch of cliché story lines. A father who would do anything to find the killer of his beloved daughter. A spiritual character looking over her family. A murderer who almost gets away with it but in the end maybe not. Some nice plot twists. Some corny heaven scenes and mysterious friends guiding her to her destiny in heaven. I don't know. It's all been done before. But you know, there is something special about this movie that I can't explain.

Maybe it's the acting. The young lady playing Suzie Salmon is wonderful. Even if the part is kind of corny. She's beautiful and I think she has a great future ahead. Stanley Tucci is almost unrecognizable, and it's hard to picture him as a villain. But he sure does convince. Donny Wahlberg makes you feel the loss a father would feel in this situation. So yeah, the acting is very good.

But the story is so nicely packaged. And the spiritual and earthly characters so nicely intertwined that it's almost believable. And almost makes one believe this kind of connection exists. Personally, I don't think it does. But it's worth seeing this movie and maybe suspending your disbelief for a couple of hours to think that maybe it does exist. I recommend this movie highly.
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The Holiday (2006)
1/10
Possibly The Worst Movie I've Ever Seen
28 December 2015
And I've seen a lot of stinkers. The opening dialogue is so horrible, that I would have turned it off in the first five or ten minutes. But my wife wanted to see more of it so I didn't. From the ridiculously overdone premise to the even more ridiculously predictable conclusion, this movie just bit it. I can't think of any other way to put it. Cameron Diaz made me wonder why she ever got recognition for her acting. Let's just say this is not "Something About Mary." And Kate Winslett made me hold my breath at the possibility of her yelling out the name "JACK' at one point or another in the movie.

I usually don't beat up movies this way. I usually find something redeeming about them. But in this case, I can't come up with any reason to make this film, let alone watch it.
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The Good Wife: Nine Hours (2010)
Season 2, Episode 9
10/10
Extremely powerful episode
25 October 2015
As someone who has prosecuted and defended death penalty cases, I can tell you that this episode hits home in some very real ways. One of the few episodes of any "law" related TV show that addresses very technical issues with authority and intelligence and accuracy.

There are a lot of the behind the scene dealings and maneuvers that happen in death penalty cases. Not the least of which is the rash of last minute appeals that routinely come at the 11th hour. Defense teams frantically trying to find some reason to get the Court to reverse a decision or grant a stay. To someone who has never been directly involved in this, these delays and last minute attempts appear to be frivolous. However, when a death row inmate's life is on the line, they are far from that.

This episode brilliantly touches on this, and also gives us some insight on how the attorney's handling these cases, on both sides, feel about the pending execution. I've been there, in real time, and found it easy to relate to what was presented in this episode. Even if it brought back some memories I wish I never had to face again. If you watch one episode of The Good Wife, make sure this is the one.
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Room 237 (I) (2012)
1/10
Kubrick in the sky with Nazis?
22 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Before I get started, I have to let you know that I understand that mental masturbation is a way to earn a living. Lot's of writers and directors and film makers do it. Heck, I even did it to get through college. But this film is absolutely ridiculous. A frame by frame analysis of complete nonsense. Mr. Ullrich has a hard on when he shakes Jack's hand in the beginning of the movie? Seriously? Calumet baking soda in a large industrial kitchen pantry is a metaphor? No. It's just baking soda. And yes, the labels don't always face the same way. (You have to see this to understand that one.) The film makers have decided that the entire movie is about Kubrick's film making for the government faking the moon landing, and that he "used" making the Shining as a vehicle to expose what happened, and what he did, and how to atone for it. They exploit what are clearly problems with continuity...a chair is in one frame, but not in another...as some kind of symbolism. One woman talks extensively about how the "layout" of the hotel couldn't possible be real and draws diagrams to prove, for instance, that the bathroom scene with Grady is out of proportion and that the layout of the Gold room didn't line up with where the bathroom is in the film. HUH? Really? But the best one is that they say that in the opening credits, after Kubrick's name leaves the frame, Kubrick's face appears in the clouds. Yeah, I remember LSD too. Pure self indulgence and lunacy. Someone said they didn't give this film a "1" because at least it made them laugh. It IS laughable. But not worth more than a "1." I have NEVER given a film this kind of rating. I generally respect the effort. Can't do it here.
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Not Fade Away (2012)
8/10
Another movie about me. Sort of.
1 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
That Thing You Do could have been a movie about me. Literally. From the one hit wonder to the father with the appliance store. Of course, I didn't end up with Liv Tyler. But that's another story entirely. "Not Fade Away" features another drummer from the same era, much like me. I guess all drummers had the same experiences? This story is a little more gritty and I think more accurately reflects what it was like to "be in a band" back then. The music/soundtrack is incredible. Watching the band progress and get better brings back a ton of memories for me. To those who never experienced this, perhaps this movie will not hit home. For those of us who lived through it, I think there will be lots of smiles and memories. Maybe not all of the memories good ones. But then again, what memory is all good? The father played by James Gandolfini is spot on. As is the conflict between his "hippie fag" son and him. Watching the characters progress from the time of the Kennedy Assassination to the onset of the English band invasion, the Stones, The Beatles, The Yardbirds, then the Rascals and new stuff that came along is all too accurate. It's also very cool to see the old instruments...Gretsch guitars (double anniversary) and drums, Fender amps and guitars, Ricks, just all the stuff all of us old rock and rollers remember. It was all new then. And it still plays today.

The interaction between the musicians...who is a better singer, etc, is also spot on. And the love interest? She is one beautiful girl. Hell, she's like three beautiful girls.

I suppose I like this movie because of the buttons it pushes for me. I understand that it won't do that for everybody. But for those who it does, you're going to love it.
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7/10
Not one of Clint's best, but...
16 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has a bunch of "conflicts", the same as in life in general. The baseball scenes are not very credible, but if you love the game you'll enjoy them. The father/daughter team are trying to come to terms with their shaky relationship over the years. She's sent away after her mom dies and feels unloved. He sent her away because he doesn't think he's good for her. (We find out why toward the end.) Kind of a run of the mill story line.

The scout is losing his vision, but he still can tell a great player when he hears one. There's a hot shot #1 pick who everybody wants in the baseball draft.Everybody but Clint. A sabermetric geek working for the Braves, Clint's team, is trying to convince management that his computer is the way to tell if a player is any good, and the Clint's way of doing things is old school. There are some romantic twists and turns along the way, But it comes down to the baseball draft. Clint advises the Braves to go one way.But they go with the Sabermetric geek's recommendation. Clint says the kid can't hit the curve.

Daughter is helping Clint with his scouting and finds someone who can prove him right. Again, kind of a routine storyline here. She shows up with a kid from the ghetto who pitches like Koufax and Randy Johnson and Gibson all in one. Blows the stud hitter out of the box. Why? Because he can't hit the curve. Or anything else for that matter.

It's your classic feel good tale of redemption. Mildly entertaining. But EVERYTHING resolves itself like it's a Mary Poppins movie or something. And while I really kind of enjoyed it because it was about baseball, had Rachel Adams, Clint and John Goodman in it, I can't put this baseball movie in the Field of Dreams or Bull Durham category. Maybe a little more detail to the on field scenes. A little better explanation about why Clint sent the daughter away. And I think more detail about what goes on in upper management of a baseball team might have made it a bit more satisfying for me.

All that said, I think if you like the game, you'll enjoy the movie. So I recommend it for that reason. I'd probably watch it again too.
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9/10
Sweet story.
1 December 2012
I have to start my review by telling you all that I absolutely hate Tom Hanks. Why you might ask? Because it seems that everything he does takes a piece out of my life and he tells the story better than I could. "That Thing You Do" was about me. I was the drummer. My father had a TV store. We were one hit wonders. The list of stuff goes on. I don't really hate him by the way. He's amazing.

I don't know if Tom had anything to do with production of this movie, but it definitely has his fingerprints on it. The story of the young boy who lost his father has some twists and turns, but in essence, it's just a story about the loss of that day told by the most innocent of victims. I wrote a series of stories very much like this. (Hence the "I Hate Tom Hanks" line. This story though is much more intriguing. This little kid is an amazing actor. I think at times the dialogue is a bit too "grown up" for him though. Sometimes he gets caught in conversations that just don't seem to work for someone his age. A minor problem.

This is a tender treatment of what is undoubtedly a difficult story to tell. It always will be a very difficult story to tell. There are some points in this movie that will bring out some hate, some fear, some compassion, and some joy. After all, isn't that the kind of thing that makes you feel most alive?
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9/10
Interesting reviews. I guess ya gotta live there...
14 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I don't give tens. Just in case there is a better movie kicking around I haven't seen yet. Is The Pope a GREAT film? Probably not. But if you ever "banged around the Village for a dose of sanity" as Charlie says, you know how realistic this really is. People who live on the street...not homeless but on the street nonetheless...have a different code of ethics and loyalty that people who do, well do not. Paully and Charlie are Italian third cousins. But as Barnie the Clock guy says, that's like twin brothers in an Irish family. And this movie proves it.

Roberts is a founding member of "Overactors Annonymous." But even in that context, he pulls off one of the greatest street guy performances I've ever seen. Charley is perhaps a bit more slick and intelligent, but he's still a street guy with a bit more responsibility. There is something magic to having no place to go. Banging around in the streets, shooting the breeze with Vinnie the Cheese Man and talking about Artificual Inspiration. (You gotta see it to know what I mean.) Two losers screw around with a psycho maniac. Maybe that's the plot. But trust me, it isn't the story.

Great? I don't know. But a must see.
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The Cooler (2003)
7/10
The worst movie I ever enjoyed.
15 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is sort of like a train wreck. You have to watch it but you really don't want to. The acting is far from wonderful. Macy is just not believable in this part. Bello is beautiful and probably does the best acting job, but the character just isn't believable either. Baldwin plays all the cliché's you could think of as the Casino manager. In fact the entire movie is one big cliché on the Vegas experience.

BUT...

I really like the movie. I've actually watched it several times. So, in spite of Macy's pasty butt, Baldwin's terrible attempt at a gangster accent and Maria Bello's character's improbable attraction to Macy's, the story is entertaining enough to make the movie worth watching. Oh, and Ellen Green's cameo role as the coffee waitress is a hoot. Not a "must see" movie, but one I think you can enjoy on an otherwise slow night.
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Big Fish (2003)
10/10
I'm not a Tim Burton fan, but...
20 April 2012
I usually find Burton's films to be somewhat tedious, over done with effects and generally not that entertaining. Of course there are exceptions. I loved Ed Wood for one. But this film, well, is simply beyond description. And I mean this in the best way possible.

Performances are stunning. Danny DeVito, Jessica Lange...a cast that is at its, their best being incredible. Billy Crudup might be the most underrated actor of his generation, and he doesn't disappoint in this role. It's a fairy tale sort of. Maybe not. It's a fantasy or many fantasies or a big lie or the hard truth about a father and his son. Their journey together or alone through their life. Lot's of tales told by a master. Lot's of questions and doubt from his son. Great tales though. Incredible stories. Unbelievable characters. Or are they? I don't know how to explain this movie. Let's just say that when it ends, you just might find yourself wanting it to start all over again. Not because it has any kind of socially redeeming message or is to difficult to understand. Far from it. But simply because it is almost impossible to get the grin off your face and you just don't want that magical feeling to end.
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Serious error...
29 January 2012
The teacher who is attacked in New York find a yearbook with the number 187 written in it. This leads him to believe that his life is being threatened because penal code 187 is supposedly murder. The problem is, in New York, penal code 125 is murder. In California, where he moves, penal code 187 is murder. Using that code in New York is a serious factual error that detracts from the overall quality of the writing and research that goes into a credible movie.

Aside from that,the movie is OK, but some of the acting is extremely weak. Even from Hurt and Jackson. The student gangstah parts are particularly weak and cliché. It's a disappointing attempt at an American version of To Sir With Love, and it doesn't quite make it.
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American Horror Story: Pilot (2011)
Season 1, Episode 1
Ahhhh, OK.
11 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I gave this a 7 but I think it has potential beyond that. TV horror shows have a tendency to drift into mediocrity with regularity. Often, the first episode hooks you and the remainder keeps you looking for someone to release you. That said, I think this show has some potential. First of all, the acting so far is top notch. Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy? Yeah, I'll take that. In many ways, a peak cam in a toilet with them in it would probably garner some rave reviews for acting. They are both great.

The story starts with a somewhat typical conflict. Wife catches husband cheating in their bed. Reference to a miscarriage. Foreshadowing to an evil house far away in the "Shining" tradition, showing us why nobody should go there. The family, naturally, in an attempt to leave their old world behind and start anew goes to the house in Los Angeles. Home of ghostly maids of uncertain ages, deranged neighbors and oddly murdered teenage twins, a murder suicide, a dying three time convicted murderer warning the family to move. And some dude in a black rubber suit who apparently impregnates the wife who thinks she is having sex with her husband after a year. Lots of criss cross. Oh, and let's not forget the daughter who goes to school smoking a cigarette and ends up with her life threatened and who is attacked by some psycho bitch. Let's just say, she gets hers courtesy of the girl's psychiatrist father.

There might be too much happening without some back ground. Lots to explain and maybe not enough screen time to do it. I'll check it out and let you know.
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Identity (2003)
I still can't figure it out. Sort of.
3 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen this movie several times. Now I understand what happened and how it happened and even the final twist. But the truth is, this movie is so incredible that I find myself wanting there to be something I missed. So I can watch it and get spooked all over again. The cast is the definition of all star, and all of them gave above average to tremendous performances. Cusac was great. Amanda Peet was wonderful. Alfred Molina, who didn't really have a big part, was his old predictably incredible self. Anything this guy touches is gold as far as I'm concerned. Bottom line is, you need to see this movie, preferably with someone you know and trust. Because if you are hanging around with anyone like the characters in this movie, you should be afraid. You should be very afraid.

I want you so bad!!!
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A Mighty Wind (2003)
Just an incredible movie...
30 August 2011
Like other "mockumentaries" done by Christopher Guest and company, this movie creates a world around some "has been" folk singers who come together for a special event. Each of the performers and groups are high-lighted and we get to know a little bit about them and their history and how they got where they are. What these films by Guest are able to do is to create characters you want to hug, or sometimes hit, but ultimately love. As a musician who grew up in the early years of folk music, I feel as if I know all of these characters in one way or another. The triumphs at the end for all of them are actually pretty emotional and uplifting.

Mick and Mickey are amazing characters as are the other acts. Parker Posey and Jane Lynch steal the show for me though. But maybe that's because I love them both to death! And the music? Stands up to any great music from the era and actually even goes beyond. This is great stuff and a tremendous movie for anyone who loves good music and a fun, if not bizarre ending. Savor this one folks. (No pun intended.)I wish the grading went up to 11 though.
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Mantle (2005 TV Movie)
9/10
Almost as good as the Mick.
18 June 2011
I can't give anything a 10 until there is no choice. I have to leave that option for that time. But this is one of the greatest documentaries about the greatest ballplayer of all time. I'm about to reach the 50th anniversary of the first time I saw Mickey Mantle play at Yankee Stadium. I celebrated every inning of every game he played. I suffered through those dark days that led up to his death. And this documentary told a story that I remember just as it happened. If you never knew who Mickey Mantle was, you might not like this or understand. If you did know him, you surely will find something special about this. Either way, anyone who loves baseball needs to see this documentary. It's a little more special for me because a friend of mine did all the HBO music in the background. I recommend it highly.
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Parenthood (2010–2015)
10/10
I hate that Ron Howard
16 March 2010
Actually, that's not true. This guy seems to turn anything into gold, and he does it with subtle style and class that you just do not see very often. This show is classic Ron Howard. It's very difficult for me to really "get into" a new show. Usually takes me several episodes or more. I was hooked on this show from the very first scene. The cast is just incredible. The acting is just as incredible. These actors seem as if they've been doing this show for years. You know how it is. Sometimes they have to ease into it together. Not so here. Or if they ARE easing into it, I can't imagine what's going to happen as the show progresses.

The plot is somewhat typical. Family matters. Adults moving home. Kids behaving badly. Or sometimes very well. Some tragedy. Some comedy. Lot's of people dealing with everyday problems from all different angles. I do not want to give anything away. All I can say is that if you watch this show, you are going to fall in love with or find you hate some of the characters right away. I already started hating one of them. But now I'm not so sure. It's just that kind of show.

Watch it. Trust me, you'll like it.
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The Twilight Zone: Mirror Image (1960)
Season 1, Episode 21
10/10
Completely Freaked Me Out
31 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this when it first aired. I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old. But I guess I was old enough to understand what true terror is all about. A lonely woman waiting for a bus keeps seeing someone who looks like her double. Strange things start to happen. People tell her she did things she doesn't remember doing. Her luggage mysteriously moves from one spot to another. She is sure someone is playing tricks on her, but nobody believes her. She makes friends with another would be passenger and he tries to help. But she is too far gone. Instead of boarding the bus, she is tricked into being taken away for her own protection. The end is sheer terror. No blood. No gore. No guts. Just the concept of parallel worlds colliding at a bus stop somewhere in New York. Or was it?

If you only see one Twilight Zone, make sure this is it.
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House M.D.: House's Head (2008)
Season 4, Episode 15
10/10
Amazing
28 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes House episodes can be predictable. You know. A bunch of idiots trying to figure out what's wrong. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. But this episode is trippier than a Grateful Dead concert in 1968. The last scene, when House figures out who the mysterious woman is, may be the most compelling ten seconds of television I've ever seen. The accident is more realistic than I would like to remember. The consequences of the accident and the fate of the mysterious woman will haunt the show until its final episode.

House will never be the same. But it will continue to get better. As if that's possible.
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Homicide: Life on the Street: A Doll's Eyes (1995)
Season 4, Episode 6
10/10
A new generation of HLOTS fans?
10 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you see one episode of Homicide: Life On the Street (HLOTS,) this is the one to see. As the previous poster stated, rarely has television enjoyed such insightful drama. The series took us to the highest of highs and lowest of lows...often several times in any given episode. From "Bop Gun" with Robin Williams to "The Subway" where a doomed victim fights for his life while pinned to a subway train, HLOTS always delivered intelligent and moving drama that I feel has never been matched.

In this episode, we see two parents struggling with the ultimate decision. To take their gravely injured child off life support after a senseless attack in a mall. Marcia Gay Harden and Gary Barsabara offer stunning performances. Often so realistic that you can get lost in the fact that it's just a performance. They blame each other for the child's pending death. As is often the case, they appear to grow apart during the ordeal. We are not sure if they stay together. But one thing IS sure. The scene where they boy is taken off life support and dies in his mother's arms is the mother of all tear jerkers. ("I'm going to give yo to mommy now" Barsebara says.) If that doesn't make your blood boil, you probably have no blood.

This is possibly the greatest episode of probably the greatest drama television has ever produced. Many of us HLOTS fans have not gotten over the demise of this show. The reruns are usually on at 3:00 a.m., and we are left jonesing for a shot of HLOTS most of the time. To anyone who hasn't seen the show, wait until you do. You will know what we mean.
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1/10
Sad. Very Sad.
9 January 2008
A friend of mine is in this movie. I wont tell what part she plays because I'm sure she's as embarrassed about it as I am. But hey, she got paid. So that's a good thing.

This movie is HORRIBLE. Not horror. Jill is a jerk. The original had some really scary moments. This thing is so full of clichés it almost plays like a Mel Brooks spoof instead of a "serious" attempt a horror.

With apologies to my friend in the movie, there's an old saying about stuff like this.

"I've seen better film on teeth."

So I guess I'll have to brush mine off and try to forget the torture of watching this one.
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One Step Beyond (1959–1961)
Better, but let's not forget.
7 August 2005
One commenter offered the proposition that "The Twilight Zone" was not a very good show and "One Step Beyond" was much better. There is truth to the latter statement. Step was a truly wonderful show, and I might add, MUCH freakier and scarier to a little kid. "The Burning Girl" episode killed me. And the one they did about the San Francisco earthquake was awesome. Suffice it to say that I spent a few nights awake wondering about this stuff. Unlike the Twilight Zone, Step featured stories that were somewhat based in fact, or at least believable to people who believe. But I have to take the original poster to task. He made it sound as if Twilight Zone sucked. I can assure you, it did not.

These shows aired when television was still in it's infancy. As was the writing, the directing, the acting and all that goes with it. In both cases, there were experiments. Nobody knew how it would turn out. But one thing is certain. BOTH shows helped to create the sci-fi dramas we accept as so commonplace today. There was NOTHING commonplace about the "Willoughby" episode of the Twilight Zone. Nor was there anything commonplace about the Burning Girl episode of One Step Beyond. They were both wonderful shows that broke ground for the future. That being said, when are the One Step Beyond episodes coming back for viewing? I sure miss them.
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Goodfellas (1990)
10/10
Short and Sweet
12 February 2005
If it were not for The Godfather, this would be the best mob movie ever made. Ray Liotta as Henry Hill was fantastic. Joe Pesci plays the sickest SOB on the planet. I sometimes wonder if maybe he IS the sickest SOB on the planet. And DeNiro? He plays DeNiro. And NOBODY can play DeNiro the way he does. Paul Sorvino is the classic mob boss. And I know. I've represented these guys. And if you ever had second thoughts about Lorraine Bracco being a very hot looking woman and a great actress, look no further than this movie.

If you haven't seen this film, make it a point to see it soon. If you have seen it, make it a point to see it again.
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10/10
A Must For Any Collection
20 January 2005
My wife and I saw this movie just because the video recorder was on the wrong station when it started recording. We saw who was in it, and decided to give it a shot. What a pleasant surprise this movie turned out to be.

Woods is masterful as he plays the sardonic Joshua, the son of a stripper/hooker and an x boxer on the run from the mob or the cops or both. (Arkin) Alan Arkin is just amazing in this part. If you like him, you have to see him teaching his young son about politics, the Jewish faith and the female anatomy. The pool room scene will kill you! Joshua's mom, Linda Sorenson, always in competition with his beloved Father for Josua's affection, throws one of the greatest birthday for Joshua any kid could hope for. A total hoot.

The story follows young Josh and his buddies into their adult lives. As you would imagine, they take different paths. One becomes a doctor. One a wine snob. Josh meets the girl of his dreams and marries her. (Beautiful Gabrielle Lazur.) In classic "Romeo and Juliet" fashion, they are from two different worlds. But in this case, the adversity has a slightly more comedic ending.

I LOVE this film. Settig the VCR to the wrong station that day was one of the best things I've ever done!!!
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Lansky (1999 TV Movie)
Bad Flick
15 January 2005
There are a lot of truly great actors in this movie. Illeana Douglas. Max Perlich. Dreyfus. Eric Roberts. Lots of them. But the dialogue in this movie is horrible. The acting is stilted because of that. And the story is just not believable. It almost seems as if the writers tried to grasp onto the "mob" madness and cut and pasted other stories to come up with this one. It is not believable. Meyer Lansky was a gangster. This movie portrays him as some kind of innocent victim of circumstance. Simply untrue. He was not a victim. When you see this film, you get the impression that he was somehow compromised by the government because he was a Jew. A real look into who he was will tell a different story. And this is not it.
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OK; What do you expect???
6 October 2004
I'm kind of surprised at some of the reviews of this film. Mainly the "very poor" and "putrid" ones. This is Mel Brooks having the time of his life. The marketplace scene is hilarious. "Plumbing! Pump s**t right out of your house! Plumbing!

It's a wild romp through early history, with a few side steps into vaudeville and Broadway. I disagree that this film is not a classic. There are enough funny lines to quote out of this film to keep the average frat house laughing through three or four kegs of Bud.

"Boy, when you die at the palace, you REALLY die at the palace!"

Madeline (The Queen): "What happens to the slaves?"

Queen's Maid: "If they're captured, they're hung."

Madeline (The Queen): "Not necessarily."

So I suggest that you take of the Jeffrey Lyons face, sit down with some chips and brews, and watch this movie if you haven't already done so. Slapstick? You bet. Silly? Of course. As I asked before. It's Mel Brooks. What do you expect????

9/10
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