Reviews written by registered user
|288 reviews in total|
In an episode written before the departure of Pernell Roberts, but
filmed afterwards, and which was specifically for Adam to discover a
love interest in a girl eventually accused of witchcraft. Instead we
get Lorne Greene as Ben lecherously taking over the role.
It's a pretty sad thing to see him leering at the young lady, and creating situations where he can be alone with her, up to the point of trying to get her to stay in his house after a dinner drink when a boy in her travel group calls for her to return, as people in her group are ill and need her.
The dialog would have fit a thirty something like Adam just fine or even Hoss or Little Joe, but it's just out of character for Ben and makes the program an embarrassment. I suppose Lorne Greene wanted the chance to show he was still full of vitality, or something.
As great as the first Billy Jack movie, Born Losers, was, this movie is
the antithesis. Here's why:
Script not co-written by Elizabeth James, who actually wrote most of Born Losers.
Elizabeth James not the female lead, and instead we get why nepotism is bad, Laughlin's wife as the lead.
Billy Jack vs everyone in the whole town as a stereotyped bigot, rather than vs a motorcycle gang terrorizing the townspeople who were not Billy Jack haters.
Billy Jack spends too much time contemplating philosophy and rubbing his forehead rather than busting ass like he did in the first one.
Lame ending vs a great ending. Damn Billy Jack shoulda got away to the hills after laying waste to the bigots (but no cop killings).
As I said, he killed a cop who was doing his job. And Laughlin managed to kill a great character after such a great debut.
This is a great pilot episode for any Bonanza, or TV western fan, to
watch. The introduction of the Cartwrights shows them to be much less
sympathetic characters and more like a rough and tumble clan. Had this
been premiered in 1979, rather than 1959, the characters would have
likely remained the same or even gotten tougher, ala Dallas, and not
have been softened as they eventually were.
The plot is a little thin because of the exposition to setup the characters and the setting. It does its job though and the great pleasure is seeing the Cartwrights as they could have been, as real westerners and not the 1960s PC westerners that they became. This episode is much closer to the truth of the times than the later episodes. For example, the whole issue of North vs South could have been a focal point as Adam is a Yankee and Joe is a Southern sympathizer and this is shown intently here but later never amounts to much.
There's a great scene where the Chinese men in the Chinatown camp gang up on two roughnecks looking for Joe who set fire to one tent. They really go at it and give the two a clobbering.
Also, it was a smart move to exclude the final sing-song of the Bonanza theme by the family. I've seen it and it is really not too good and doesn't fit well with the rest of the program.
Pity the poor film school graduated writer, director or producer who
really liked watching those surrealistic foreign films but just has to
make it in the Hollywood movie world.
They believe that there just must be a way to make a done-by-committee Hollywood film that encompasses all the great bizarreness of a Fellini or Almodovar film and still be understood by the legion of common folks going to movies and also be commercial success.
Well here's another example that this cannot be done or, if done, will be a failure.
This terrible endeavor got it's well-deserved razzie, worst film of the year.
This is a really strange episode that just doesn't make it to the level
of any other Outer Limits episodes, even the lesser ones.
I admit that the idea is intriguing, a method discovered to alter the face and fingerprints of anyone to them look like another person. But the idea of it being a presidential candidate and how it's accomplished is just extremely outlandish, The story has so many plot holes and illogical maneuvers that it just cannot hold up to any serious review, like the following:
1. They (the enemy) replace the presidential candidate first, and nobody else, killing the real one, with the great hope that he wins. What if the opponent won?
2. He does win, and then they go about replacing other high officials and businessmen, Why not do that first?
3. A stupid attempt by a bungler to replace the VP fails and alerts the real VP to what is going on. You have to see the attempt to believe how inept it was and how ridiculous.
4. The secret service around the Pres accept wholesale that the VP is right in telling them the Pres is an impostor, no real proof needed and no skepticism, hah!
5. The murdered Pres is exhumed, and is discovered to have been cremated, how convenient.
6. The official announcement of the Pres being an impostor is done at a dinner party where nobody disputes the announcement and they just cart off the impostor after exposing him. Hah again!
The whole thing was set up by communist Asians, where did that come from? And the phony Pres, on occasion, will squint his eyes as if he were an Asian underneath the skin, which looks just dumb.
The more I think about this episode, the sillier it gets.
These guys are so out of touch with modern times it's a laugh to watch
them. They are about 20 years behind times in their designs, You could
be blindfolded and ears plugged, and you can tell exactly what's going
on in the show.
They do everything this way:
1. Trick buyers into thinking they are seeing a property for sale, but it's all a scam to get them to go into a Renovation house. Sometimes. from what's been said about the show, this is all an act, the people already bought the house, Shame on the Bros!
2. View dumps and pick two to decide about. The buyers are told a Pie in the Sky story about how wonderful it will all turn out, then always get surprised by something. Don't they have home inspectors?
3. They always pick the crappiest one.
4. Every single home is reno'ed with that 1990s open floor design. Even if the house has some sort of historical appeal, the inside has to be gutted and redone in a style that is already dated as soon as it's done.
5. Stupid timelines to create a false impression of tremendous pressure to GET IT DONE! But if it can't be, they will extend the deadline.
6. Dumbass deconstruction with sledge hammers, wrecking good stuff that can be sent to recycling centers. Don't these guys know we're already past the year 2000 and recycling is smart?
7. More dumbass deconstruction of very nice retro period designs that only need some sprucing up, and then idiotic replacement with stuff a decade past it's day, but nowhere near retro yet.
8. Always the SAME THING week after week, show after show. The buyers' faces change.
And what is this stuff about most homes being over $500,000 up to $900,000? Where are they buying these things?
Time to turn the channel to This Old House, where they do things smartly and correctly without show business baloney.
In this one, we have the Virginian being fleeced of $100,000 of Shiloh
money that was paid for cattle he delivered, and the theft is by the
very same rancher who paid the $100,000 in the first place. This
Canadian rancher also owns much of a town just across the Canadian
In order to retrieve the cash, Virginian must go to this town and devise a plan to somehow get into the rancher's safe and escape unharmed, since every hand in town is beholden to this rancher.
Well, the plan is set, but complications make Virginian have to adjust it somewhat. In this episode, one can only think of Maverick, and how several of those episodes had similar setups. It's actually a fun episode and different from the regular Virginian episodes, and a very Maverick-like ending. Virginian maintains his persona throughout, and composure at setbacks, as is within his character in most episodes, but it's easy to see Maverick replace him in this kind of story, and add some of that Maverick charm and humor.
I got this because I heard that it was a decent B-movie. Well, it might
be decent when compared to all other modern B-movie science
fiction/horror films, but it's nowhere near the level of the classic
B-movies that are much more enjoyable, and here's why: This one tries
to be both a B-movie and a parody of a classic B-movie. That's really
something that is hard to do. I can't think of any really successful
examples that did this.
In the classic B-movies, the characters were all earnest in dealing with whatever the outlandish problem/event/monster was, and in a realistic manner. The approach by the producers was, what if this could happen, and how would people deal with it? That made for a serious exposition even if the effects were subpar, and made for an enjoyable viewing. Also, the characters tended to all be working towards the same goal and with one another, not against each other. There wasn't all sorts of stupid backstabbing or personal grudge matches amongst the serious protagonists, like scientists, military men, local police, etc. They all either worked together or eventually did so due to the situation at hand. This is what makes the classic B-movies so great to watch.
In the modern B-movies, we see all sorts of stupidity surrounding the people involved. They all have a personal fiefdom to protect and all have unwarranted antagonistic feelings toward each other. Also, they tend to show major character peculiarities that are entirely unrealistic. As an example, the main scientist in this movie isn't much of a smart scientist at all, and is really ignorant around home, but not in a way that we can relate to, but in a goofball way played for laughs. I get it that the actor was channeling a Bruce Campbell type of character, but only Bruce Campbell is good at that and making it work.
The other thing so annoying in these modern B-movies is the incredibly ridiculous stereotyping of any type of authority or political figure that doesn't meet with the filmmakers' approval. This is probably because these modern ones are pretty much thought up, written by, and helmed by twenty-something comic book geeks and delayed adolescent film buffs, and the immaturity shows in the movie.
The great classic B-movies, the best ones, were all written by and produced by adults with adult sensibilities, regardless of the material presented. I'm talking about people like Jack Arnold, William Alland, writers Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, effects men like Ray Harryhausen, character actors like Jeff Morrow, Richard Carlson, and Rex Reason. This is why the modern B-movies are rarely as good as the classics.
Apparently this isn't easy to find. The new Sony/MGM digital broadcast
network dug it out of their vaults and aired it several times recently.
I saw one of those broadcasts, and found ti to be mostly an interesting adventure film whenever the main plot device of a weather tracking expedition to nearby the North Pole is involved, and the rescue of the Air Force men who end up stranded there.
It was much less interesting when dealing with the melodramatic subplot of the two major officers and their girls, and who would get which girl. That part was pretty unappealing and, in terms of being realistic, quite obtuse. It seemed added on to the major plot in order to bring ladies into the theater. Ladies of the 1950s that is, not modern girls.
Still the adventure aspect is fun, and especially the rescue of the last man on the crumbling ice island.
There are some who consider Johnathon Harris a great actor mostly based
upon his Lost in Space character, but not really. It's a
one-dimensional character that is often disagreeable and cartoonish. I
find his portrayal of Dickens here to be along the same lines. I really
don't see much more than an extended Dr Smith character without the
cowardly behavior, the scene with Hoss being the lone exception. I
really don't see Harris as anything more than mediocre or average.
If Dickens himself was as snobbish and snooty as portrayed here, he certainly doesn't have much in common with his fictitious main characters, except for the overbearing ones. If he found the US unpleasant on his trips here, and hypocritical, he forgot that it was once a British colony and that it was the British who traded in slaves for sale in the colonies, and created that whole period of hypocrisy of being a free nation with slaves. The commercialism he disdained was also an import from Britain, and something necessary to the building of the nation.
This attitude shows narrow mindedness and complete lack of understanding about the settlement of the new world. As portrayed here, Diockens is just not much more than tolerable. An educated person would have pursued copyright infringement in a legal manner and not with such overt hostility towards his hosts. He would have been able and eager to explain his position to them without such an arrogant attitude.
I really dislike this episode and find few redeeming qualities within it to make it watchable.
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