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A little disappointing
Overall, the Pee Wee Herman Show on Broadway was a disappointment. It was 30 years since the original PWH Show which really put him on the comedy map, but with the exception of the Captain Karl character (played by the late Phil Hartman in the original special) being eliminated, this show was pretty much a replay of the original 1981 show. You would think after 30 years they would have written more material to make it completely fresh, but they simply recycled the same jokes and gags. They even replayed the Mr. Bungle film, although this time it had sound effects added which was an improvement. About the only segment in the original show that was not a part of this show was the hypnosis segment.
It did include a lot of the characters from the Pee Wee's Playhouse show, including The King of Cartoons. It also had Cowboy Curtis, who took over the position Captain Karl filled in the original as the love interest of Miss Yvonne. And there was the secret word, which was another skit from his TV show.
Pee Wee doesn't look like he aged a day over the past 30 years.
The Astronaut (1972)
Well done MFTVM
From the title, you might think The Astronaut was a sci-fi movie, but it wasn't. It was a very good made for TV movie which focused more on people than special effects, and dealt with the human cost of living a lie.
The basic plot is that on the first manned mission to Mars, the first man to step on the Martian surface dies of poisoning due to mysterious gases in the Martian atmosphere that permeated his spacesuit. The head of the space program, fearing that this disaster could end the space program, covered it up and found a pilot who bore an uncanny resemblance to the deceased Astronaut and trained the lookalike to be the first man to step on Mars once the spacecraft returned to Earth. The deal was that after a period of time, the Astronaut would be killed in a pre-arranged boating accident with the body never found, giving the lookalike his life back.
The Astronaut's wife soon figured out he was a fraud, but, over time, began to fall in love with the lookalike. She chose to join him on the boat so she also would be "killed" and have her identity changed to be with him. As they were getting ready to board the boat, they were informed that the Soviets had just announced that they had launched their mission to Mars. Knowing the same fate that befell the American Astronaut would also happen to the Soviet Astronauts, and the scam they pulled would be revealed, they decided not to board the boat, and instead decided to come clean. The Space Program Administrator, coming to the same conclusion, decided that he too had to come clean to the President and tell the truth about what happened on Mars.
The acting was a notch above your run of the mill MFTVM, with Monte Markham playing the Astronaut and his doppleganger, Susan Clark as the Astronaut's wife, and Jackie Cooper as the Space Program head. The movie was predictable, but it was well done by TV standards.
Casino Royale (2006)
Back to basics
Casino Royale may have been the best Bond film since On Her Majesty's Secret Service. It was clear after Die Another Day that the franchise (while still raking in lots of dough) needed an overhaul, and they pretty much scrapped the concept of a Bond movie as it had become and started over. They took away all the futuristic gadgets, the corny puns he would use after he killed somebody, the fancy sports car with the ejector seat, and the megalomaniacal uber-villains trying to take over the world. The only weapons Bond has are his fists and his gun; he is also very handy with a computer. In short, they went back to Ian Fleming's books and made this quite possibly the most realistic Bond film ever. Daniel Craig is easily the best Bond since Sean Connery, and he will grow into the Bond film well. This movie has the best chase sequence of any Bond film, and it's not in fancy sports cars but on foot. Casino Royale has single-handedly resurrected the James Bond franchise, and for the first time in several decades I am eagerly awaiting the next Bond movie.
Special Bulletin (1983)
Years ahead of its time
I think Special Bulletin has to rank amongst the half dozen finest made for TV movies of all time; this movie won several Emmy awards in 1983. This movie was years ahead of its time in showing how the media would handle a live breaking story, including catchy graphics and theme music, and lots of experts giving their opinions as the crisis unfolds. It was clearly inspired by Orson Welles' 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast, and NBC had to run disclaimers to let people know that this was a realistic depiction of a fictional event.
A group of disgruntled American nuclear scientists build their own nuclear device and tow it into Charleston, SC, Harbor on a tugboat. Their motive was to get the US Government to dismantle all the nuclear weapons in all the military bases and ships in the Charleston area, hundreds of missiles in all. In a gunfight with the authorities, the terrorists kidnapped a reporter and cameraman who were covering the gunfight and got a little too close to the action. With threats of killing the journalists, the terrorists are able to get their message across on live TV and we the viewers are suddenly inside the tugboat watching the events inside the boat unfold as well as seeing the news network covering the story in a way that has become familiar in this era of instant 24/7 news.
This movie makes a sly condemnation of TV news in general in the way live breaking news is covered and sensationalized, some would say over-sensationalized. I highly recommend this movie.