Reviews written by registered user
|20 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Talk is cheap. In the case of producing television shows, talk is
incredibly cheap. No CGI, no music budget, no additional sets, no
stuntmen/women, fight choreographers. Just actors on a sound stage
talking. Soap operas are incredibly cheap to make because they're
typically all talk.
Not that there's anything wrong with dialog. If Aaron Sorkin is writing it, I could watch it all day. But this melodramatic drivel is no West Wing. It's not even Scandal- which succeeds by not taking itself too seriously. Unlike this, which is so deathly serious, it borders on self parody.
As a standalone episode, the pilot isn't the worst I've ever seen. But because TV shows these days put most of their resources into pilots, quality after the pilot suffers. Talky shows get even talkier.
Clichéd. Saccharine. Melodramatic. Exhibit A for the inescapable end of network television.
I've never had a poster of anyone on my wall. I went to a couple
concerts in high school, like U2 and the Ramones, and had a shirt or
two, but never wore them. I've always viewed that kind of celebrity
worship as being kind of infantile. So when I do fall head over heels
in love with a celebrity, it's kind of a big deal. And there's no
celebrity, past or present, that I cherished as much as I cherished
There's a guy on a late night talk show that looks like you, sounds like you and even has your name, but this doppelganger doesn't have your soul. This grinning, unconfrontational Stepford Wife is a hollow shell of you. You were punk rock, this guy's Disneyland. You changed the world. He sells some hummus.
It's unbelievably difficult to imagine a life without you. I know that nothing lasts forever, so our time together was always going to come to an end, but it was a day I never wanted to see- and a day that came far too soon.
I love you, I miss you.
Sure, HBO is only footing part of the bill, and it's HBO Canada, but
HBO (and Showtime) and other pay TV channels have set such a high bar
for intelligent television, that when something this blatantly ignorant
comes along, it's pretty jarring.
This makes Burn Notice look like Downton Abbey.
Strike Back isn't targeted at an audience of rocket scientists, but it's definitely smarter than this. I would put this on par with later season XIII, which, imo, is some of the worst action television ever produced.
Blatantly dumb action television (such as Burn Notice) succeeds because it's generally targeted towards adolescent boys and doesn't take itself too seriously. Maybe a handful of kids will trick their babysitters into letting them watch this and be thoroughly thrilled, but for an adult with some college experience (your average pay TV subscriber), this is an insult.
At some point in time, someone read this script. Somewhere along the
line there were dailies of the pilot. Somebody pitched this.
How, on God's green earth did five episodes get made? I'm flabbergasted. Someones's got to be related or having sex with somebody. Hopefully not both :) Let's face it, a LOT of mediocre pilots get made, fail, and then are quickly forgotten. I could see network brass saying to themselves, 'House is popular and this is a little similar, so let's greenlight a pilot.'
But five episodes?!?
Walk a bull into a China shop and who's fault is the outcome? The bull? Of course not. I just can't nail the creators to the wall here. They'd probably be the first ones to tell you that their abilities are limited. The fault of this lies squarely on the shoulders of the network. Whatever exec greenlit this- they shouldn't have a job. Period.
With the cold climate and attempts at dark humor, I could definitely
see that a Fargo-like picture was this filmmaker's goal. Unfortunately,
desire to be like Fargo doesn't necessarily result in a movie that's
anywhere near the same league as Fargo. In fact, mentioning Just Buried
and Fargo in the same sentence is an enormous cinematic sacrilege.
Some actors transcend horrible writing. Jay Baruchel is not one of those actors. I can see how, with Judd Apatow pulling the strings in Undeclared, Baruchel might have appeared as brilliant to a prospective casting agent. For a while I was quite enamored. If you could actually sit through this entirely movie like I did, though, you'd see how painfully unbrilliant Jay Baruchel really is.
Ultimately, though, at the end of the day, this isn't Jay's fault. The fault lies squarely in the hands of one of the most hackneyed writers to come along in quite some time. This script has the mental acuity of a 6 old. At first you groan at the hideous choices the writer makes, but, by the end, you're laughing- a lot. It's just so stupid and so far-fetched- there's nothing left to do but laugh.
Boring, predictable and dumb. This is in my top 10 most miserable movie going experiences. Rose Byrne, shame on you for accepting this role. If this is indicative of your ability to weed out good scripts from the bad, you're in heaps of trouble. At no point in time could this script ever have looked like a viable project.
Unless, of course, you have a 6 year old reading scripts for you.
Nolé Marin. Vanessa Minnillo. Cheryl Tiegs. One troll, one ditzy hotty
and one plastic surgery disaster. And that's on the outside. On the
inside, the picture gets worse. All three have varying levels of
Pretentiousness -- Superficiality -- Vanity -- Selfishness -- Dishonesty -- Ignorance -- Promiscuity -- Laziness -- Arrogance -- Hypocrisy
Nolé seems the most comfortable with his black soul, while Vanessa tries the hardest to hide hers. Cheryl's so busy trying to stay lucid that I don't think she even understands the extent of her evilness.
I love it when they all feign horror when the contestant fails to pick up the litter, when you know, in real life, none of them have touched litter in years- possibly ever. Just talk to any of their assistants. They'll be more than happy to reveal the full extent of their inner ugliness.
With the right judges, this show could have been phenomenal. It could have sent a message that you'd find no where else on TV. An original thought. As it's stands, it's just repulsive people passing judgment on other repulsive people. For a show about inner beauty I find it mind boggling that not one single character has the slightest bit of it.
And yet... when all it said and done... I can't look away. This is the car wreck that I have to drive by and look at over and over again. Repulsive celebrities and wannabe repulsive celebrities are still a pretty fascinating watch. But, just like you're average sports fan who yells at the TV, you'll find me equally as agitated, screaming things like
"Nolé, you are SUCH a slut!" -- "Vanessa, grow a brain!" -- "Cheryl, hellooooo, is anybody in there?!?!"
It's all John Steinbeck's fault. He's to blame. Well, Steinbeck and the
educational system that validates his works. News flash. Mice and Men
is crap. There's nothing poetic about stupid people doing stupid
things. Not 65 years ago, not ever. If you're writing a movie and the
only substantiation you can find for a particular character making a
particular choice is that he's a nitwit, it's time to choose another
profession. Dumb characters making idiotic choices do not good cinema
One would think that with 5 years of reading some of the best scripts television has to offer, Kevin Connolly would be able to tell the difference between a good and a bad script.
With this film, it's quite obvious that he cannot. Take Clerks, subtract the humorous dialog, and to that add Unbreakable, but without M. Night Shyamalan's brilliant cinematography and engrossing story. To all this, add a suffocating dose of dreariness and... voilà, you've got Gardener of Eden.
On the bright side, the acting was very strong by everyone involved. They did the best that they could with what they had to work with. And although it lacked the artistry of Unbreakable, it wasn't aesthetically challenged. Connolly executed a vision. You could definitely see that both cast and crew were very earnest in their attempt. I give it an A+ for effort.
Unfortunately, though, a good script is the foundation from which everything is built. Without it, the whole structure crumbles.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you're looking for a glimpse into lower class English youth
sadism... this is it. In that sense it almost plays like a documentary.
If you're looking for more than that, though, I'd go elsewhere. A
Clockwork Orange, for instance, covers similar territory, but, thanks
to the brilliance of Kubrick, ventures so much farther. That
brilliance, alas, cannot be found here.
Spoiler: A naive dimwitted couple vacationing in a remote area stirs up a hornet's nest of sadistic youth. The kids kill the man, the girl kills a couple kids, makes her way to civilization, only to be killed by the kid's parents.
They stretch it out with plenty of tiresome chases and even more gratuitous sadism, but that's the core. Does that sound like a fantastic movie to you? This kind of movie could only be made in Britain, as any Hollywood producer listening to this pitch would laugh in their face.
If you need a dose of locals gone loco, go check out Deliverance. If you need sadism (or therapy), it's not the best movie, but Hostel is better than this. To be honest, just about any woods based horror flick is better than this- even Wrong Turn.
I will give it credit for one thing. It's very simple. A ten year old could probably follow the plot. There's no B story, no humor, no soundtrack, no CGI and no sets. And the acting is somewhat believable.
Overall, though, it's a 15 minute story trapped in a 90 minute movie.
Jerry Bruckheimer used to be my hero. If you add up the box office
receipts from all his films, you'd probably exceed any other producer
by a factor of at least 4. No, none of his stuff won any Cannes awards
or achieved a great deal of artistic recognition, but, he put bodies in
seats, and, for the most part, provided a thrilling ride. The man knew
how to please the masses.
TV has been no different. The first season of CSI, was, by far, the best TV of it's time. When the screen went black and "Executive Producer Jerry Bruckheimer" flashed, it would send a shiver down my spine. I'll admit it, I worshiped at the man's altar.
Like all great runs, though, it has come to an end. Either he's lending his name to other people's projects or his Midas touch has vanished. Whatever the reason, the magic is gone. There is no better proof of this than the epic failure of Eleventh Hour.
I say epic, not because the show is completely horrible, but because of the exalted expectations of a Bruckheimer production and the heightened buzz of the TV press- who would have us believe that this would be the THE show to watch this season.
How did it fail? Well, quite simply, it plays a lot like the UK original- a show that, although it has it's fans across the pond, is pretty mediocre when compared to big budget American TV standards. UK TV has it's strengths- great acting and solid writing, but, for the most part, it just isn't thrilling. I think a part of the lack of thrills is a shortage of resources/money, but another factor is a more conservative/older UK audience. It's just a different animal. Comedies can successfully make the jump to the American market, but in order for British dramas to be successful here, they need substantial reworking. Needless to say, this was almost a carbon copy.
Canadian dramas- same thing. Regenesis (another very similar show), as popular as it was there, would fail miserably in the US. Sorry Regenesis fans, but that's the truth.
I'll still continue to watch, but with far diminished expectations. Like I said before, the show isn't horrible, just not up to the Bruckheimer mold. Sewell and Shelton both have the potential for some great performances and it's possible that after they've completely mined the 4 episodes of UK material it might get more original/thrilling. I'm not holding my breath, but anything is possible.
As far as other Bruckheimer productions are concerned, my excitement is considerably tempered. He may not be down for the count, but achieving his former glory, at least from my perspective, might be impossible.
Mr. Bruckheimer, you're one of the greatest movie/TV producers of all time, but if this show is indicative of the quality of work you're going to put out in the future, your era is at an end.
Matthew Aldrich. This is a name worthy of remembrance. This is the
individual that took fingers to keyboard and came up with one of the
worst scripts of all time. Cliché. Predictable. An insult to the
Is he the sole beneficiary of blame? Of course not. Renny Harlin took this abysmal excuse for a script and made it into a movie. Sam Jackson and Ed Harris actually read it (or not) and chose to star in it. Culpability abounds.
This is the Denise Richards of film scripts. There aren't enough Razzies in the universe to give proper recognition to how truly horrible this writing really is.
In all fairness, Samuel Jackson's profession is incredibly novel and the manner in which it's presented is highly creative, but, at the end of the day, it's all just trimmings. Pretty trimmings.
Package it any way you want- garbage writing is still garbage writing.
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