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Belle Starr (1941)
Hollywood "history" at its best....or worst?
The first time I saw this film, being a "horse crazy" kid, it made me idolize Belle Starr--but only because I thought the movie was supposed to be about some famous horsewoman! (Like I said, I was a really horse-crazy kid!!) A few years ago, I was researching my family history and found out I was actually related to Belle Starr so this movie took on much more significance and I searched for a long time to find a copy. Then, when I watched it again, I was very disappointed by the almost complete lack of historical accuracy! To say the film is "based upon" historic figures is TECHNICALLY correct, but it is definitely NOT an accurate depiction of the "real" Myra "Belle" Shirley-Starr! In fact, ONLY the names are the same. Belle was a much stronger, darker, cruder, more troubled woman and her ties to the most notorious outlaws (like the James-Younger gang) along with her own devious, scandalous behavior make her much more fascinating than she was in this movie. In her case, the true story is MUCH more interesting!
It's a good movie, BUT, if you want to know the true story of Belle Starr, you won't find it in this one.
Sons of Anarchy (2008)
Finally, a show with the ball....I mean "GUTS" to stand out!
This show has so much going for it--and I'm glad F/X has chosen to continue this ride. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that little pun.) The writing is incredible and the characters are are so well developed that viewers can relate to them--perhaps even respect them, in spite of their obvious flaws, weaknesses, and challenges that draw us to them. The cast is incredibly talented--each actor is strong enough to be a lead and carry their own story-line but, as an ensemble, they're even stronger and they definitely bring their best performance to each and every episode. I was very skeptical about Katy Sagal ever selling me on a character other than "Peg Bundy", and I admit, I was dead wrong! She IS Gemma! (RIP Peggy....) There are so many reasons this show has viewers hooked--If I tried to list them, I'd run out of space! It only took one episode for me to be a major fan. The only thing wrong with the show is that the season is way too short!! This is a strong show with equally strong subject matter and delivery, and F/X schedules it accordingly-so if you're easily offended (or if you have children/teen viewers), perhaps you should opt for another channel (and DVR/TIVO it for later viewing).
Wholesome show that is still relevant
I admit, I loved this show because I loved the original musical, but I was sad to see it go away to be kept in some dust-covered bin in a Hollywood storage vault! Regardless of all my friends teasing me because they thought it was a "corny show", I couldn't wait to see each episode! (I was raised by my grandparents so perhaps that's why I've always been drawn to the more reserved, wholesome, and yes, sometimes "corny" stuff.) I wish some studio exec would recognize that there are plenty of networks out there now (ie: Hallmark, ABC Family, Nic....) that have the perfect format for shows like this. If there had been more than just the "Big three" networks around when the show was produced, it would have had a better chance. But it's sad to think of it wasting away when it could be entertaining and influencing a new (and not-so-new) audience.
Champions: A Love Story (1979)
Still a great story!
I remember watching this movie as a kid (who was an aspiring figure skater even before I saw it) and would LOVE to see it aired again, and often. Though the skating was not stellar, the plot definitely stands the test of time. It's still as relevant today as when it was made. Actually, I think this movie is worthy of a re-make. With the special effects and editing capabilities and the advances in the sport of skating today, it could be even better! I still go through a box of tissues watching this movie! So, if you're watching it with someone who picks on you for crying over sappy movies, you may want to send them to the store while you watch this one.