Reviews

15 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Boyfriend Killer (2017 TV Movie)
7/10
Typical Lifetime movie, and a little better than some
24 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Much appreciation to a talented cast for providing an entertaining suspense yarn. The plot is not all that different in nature nor intensity from a lot of other Lifetime movies, and this is certainly not a bad thing. I especially appreciate that the villain gets what she deserves at the end, and that it is not one of those installments which attempts the movie-ending black humor of setting her sights on new prey. This technique was used to disturb multiple other such movies which were otherwise very enjoyable. Keep up the good dramatic work. The intensity, twists, and surprises are entertaining pluses. Satisfying job.
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Accused at 17 (2009)
8/10
Worth repeated viewings
22 December 2015
Ah, the teenage years. I do not miss them. "Accused at 17" largely focuses on how out of control a teenage prank can become and emphasizes this point by death as the result. The most concerning note is that something like this could occur in real life.

It is not so uncommon that different individuals involved with the scheme go on to take attitudes in different directions as the plot thickens and intensifies. I love the semi-sarcastic yet smooth way in which the detective says, "Get what's coming to you? Call me crazy, sounds like a threat" and could view this scene over and over again. It is not the best line of the movie however because later the villain's father responds to antagonism from his evil wife by saying, "I know what they call women like you." That was classic.

Considering that Columbo was absent from the situation, the accused's mother did a fine job of sleuthing to expose the truth. Although far removed from teenage years, I would want that feisty character on my side if ever in similar trouble.

"Accused at 17" succeeds in interpreting teen angst in a justifiably and appropriately serious way, with important lessons to be applied.
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8/10
Excellent messages
18 July 2015
Although not the best movie ever made, this one has wisdom beyond its time. There is a clever and debatable shift of villainy from the ruthless prank of the girls to the victim who takes revenge to extremes. It clearly labels the initial prank as wrong, yet within the course of retaliation for the main character we viewers want to see at least two of the three girls survive. Kaley was clearly the instigator and even displays unusual arrogance while in captivity. Her movie-ending fate is surprising yet perhaps appropriate.

Another note is that John, the avenging captor, during one scene delivers a brief monologue containing words which sound as if they were coming from the mouth of Elliot Rodger, the UCLA Santa Barbara mass murderer of 2014 who left behind a lengthy manifesto after taking the lives of six people and killing himself. His actions are not to be condoned, yet some of the lessons learned from his posthumous expression of thought are understandable and the tale of this movie seems to subtly reflect them.

Nice to see Alexandra Paul in another Lifetime movie too. I will always remember her from "Christine" way back when.

Repeats of "The Bride He Bought Online" and worth watching, and perhaps more worth noting.
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The Goldbergs: The Lost Boy (2015)
Season 2, Episode 16
7/10
May 11, 1980something
26 March 2015
May 11, "nineteen eighty something". The prominent presence of the Flyers Ron Hextall jersey narrows it down to 1987, 1988, or 1989. Neither of the three possible dates fell on a weekend, yet the kid and his Dad could have attended a day Phillies game during the week because they have those business person's special games occasionally.

On a trivial Philadelphia sports note, May 11, 1989 is the date on which Ron Hextall got revenge against the Montreal Canadians' Chris Chelios at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Would have been interesting if the episode takes place on the very same date. Traffic outside the Vet would be even busier because of the Flyers game, which took place at the Spectrum that night.

Not a bad episode, although I like the Ferris Bueller one better.
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Matlock: The Power Brokers: Part 1 (1987)
Season 2, Episode 5
7/10
Entertained right to (and especially at) the end
24 October 2014
Extra efforts always seem to be made in those "two-parters" within the "Matlock" series. "The Power Brokers" was particularly special, considering its unique plot and the presence of heavies such as Ralph Bellamy, George Gaynes, and "Columbo"-famed Robert Culp. There is a specific element which draws my attention time after time upon repeated viewings: the priceless conclusion of the interplay between Matlock and the judge at its very end. Considering the circumstances and more appreciated when observing their relationship throughout the story, the writers could not have scripted a better tag to the finale. Although I give this episode no more than 7 of 10, I found the humor, excitement, and overall cleverness of that final dialogue to be more entertaining and inspiring than certain scenes of other episodes which I happen to rate even higher. The writing and directorial staff, Andy Griffith, and George Gaynes deserve extra credit for making this enjoyable twist occur.
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The Assault (2014 TV Movie)
8/10
Villains are villains regardless...................
23 September 2014
Although I generally do not sympathize with those who get too drunk to remember events, "The Assault" greatly succeeds in driving home the all-too-realistic point that there are individuals who take very unfair advantage of such vulnerabilities, use it for personal gain while going way out of line, and then scapegoat-make to deflect blame.

In a perfect world, no one would get so drunk. On the other hand, society has its share of menaces and extremely bad influences regardless of states of intoxication involved. This portrayal is frighteningly accurate.

With a decent actress portraying the main character, a convincing policewoman determined to bring the wrong-doers to justice, and a no-nonsense father rightfully willing to stick up for his daughter, "The Assault" is genuinely interesting, suspenseful, and cautiously entertaining from start to finish.
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9/10
Makes you feel as if you are there
24 May 2014
The message of this movie is so authentic that it makes the viewer feel as if he or she is in the middle of the plot, regardless of whether or not that person is a pedophile. Very strong direction and acting results in achieved success. Annie Potts was simply amazing as the main character and the main message within the plot was conveyed very immediately, and the repetition of its point is far from annoying. We need more enticing movies such as this one. We should spread the lessons learned and apply them as well. This is a very serious and important issue which ought not be ignored. I have watched a lot of movies over the course of many years and few such as this one keep the viewer on the edge of the seat throughout.
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9/10
A needed jolt for Season 9
12 March 2012
The return of Charles and Albert Ingalls in "Home Again" makes us realize how lacking certain episodes during Season 9 were without them. If the characters had been exhausted and needed a break, this terrific and inspiring two-part episode shows that they were only temporarily exhausted with a huge breath of fresh air to welcome them back despite a very touchy storyline.

Perhaps it is hard to believe that Albert, the righteous hero of numerous previous episodes within the series, has allowed himself to succumb to the peer pressure of street thugs and get himself involved with such a dangerous drug. Albert is however an important central figure to highlight here and in my opinion the message is much more powerfully conveyed than if, say, Willie Oleson had become the addict.

Our interest is sparked almost immediately with the presence of Michael Landon and the knock at the door of Janes and Son by the police officer just a few minutes in. An even more immediate tastebud-tingler occurs for those of us who are "Father Murphy" fans as well: Mister Rodman has crossed over to the other show, yet is just as villainous! A classic cameo appearance by Charles Tyner.

Matthew Laborteaux is excellent as usual. Albert eventually beats the addiction and survives, although the message is clearly sent that he was lucky. That speech in the classroom near the close is worthy of memorization.

It is no coincidence that "Look Back to Yesterday" is also one of the strongest episodes as "Little House" nears its conclusion. The presence of Charles and Albert proves to be very powerful, and their chemistry with the other main characters makes the whole cast stronger.

Repeated viewings of this scary yet triumphant problem-solver rarely if ever make us sorry to go "Home Again".
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Monk: Mr. Monk and the Genius (2008)
Season 7, Episode 2
9/10
Terrific episode
17 February 2012
This is one of the best episodes of the series. The combination of brilliance and arrogance by the villain incites a powerful passion by Monk for his own game. Comparing his willingness to solve the case to his final moments with Trudy is an intelligent touch. The cat and mouse game was exciting, perhaps more so than in any other episode of "Monk". That final clue very cleverly put the cold-blooded murderer in his place.

Although somewhat different from the episode of "Columbo" years earlier in which a chess champion becomes a killer, "Mr. Monk and the Genius" is just as worthy of respect. Neither Columbo nor Monk can do much of anything on a chessboard, yet the triumphant conclusions of both respective episodes emphasize that neither hero needs to be a chess champion in order to come out a winner--good prevailing over evil.

This episode of "Monk" is priceless entertainment.
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Columbo: Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo (1990)
Season 9, Episode 4
10/10
Absolutely Fascinating, Considering Certain Elements........
29 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The feeling that something within this episode touches a nerve has proved to be persistent. Through years of time, multiple conclusions have been drawn with respect to the reasoning of that which makes "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" so special to me. Consider the 69 episodes which sit in the "Columbo bank" and then visualize making a "withdrawal" of each and every one in which the killer's spouse is the killer's victim. With the undeniable note that we would be taking away such classics as the two pilot episodes, let us focus on that which we would have remaining in that "bank". We must concede that hardly any of those stories make much reference to the villain having a loved one. Occasionally we encounter minor characters such as the daughters of Luis Montoya in "A Matter of Honor" and The Great Santini in "Now You See Him". Bart Kepple's wife is never seen although mentioned in "Double Exposure"--and in "Agenda For Murder", the very preceding episode of that which highlights this post, the wife of Oscar Finch is hardly a factor at all. Then, along comes "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo"--a treasure which greatly appears to break the aforementioned trend in a most intriguing way. Never before had a "Columbo" story seriously focused on the grief and thirst for revenge of a loved one after our Lieutenant sees to it that the villain is arrested. For example, the anger and shock of Janice Benedict during the conclusion of "Etude in Black" is toward her villainous husband for committing betrayal and then resorting to murder in order to cover it up. We do not see enough of Montoya's daughter in "A Matter of Honor" to formulate a reasonable opinion as to whether or not she resents Columbo, and it is obvious that Elizabeth Van Wyck is far too stunned by the unmasking of her own mother's killer in "Playback" to formulate much distaste for the cop who made the arrest. "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" strongly comes across as quite different. In focusing on the sinister intentions of a widow whose deep grief for her husband and the unfortunate circumstances which led to his demise lead to committing murder and planning another killing, a very tantalizing hint is planted--a strong implication that we are going to see such above-mentioned barriers very forcefully broken through. It not only focuses on the loved one of a killer arrested by our hero. The script also heavily implies that the murder of Columbo's wife--a consistently-referenced and beloved woman whom we have cherished yet never seen--is going to be the ultimate highlight and the reason for which this main character finally breaks out of his shell. Throughout our lives we have formulated thoughts and/or fantasized about ideas such as "What if Wile E. Coyote caught the Roadrunner?" or "What if Lucy ever allowed Charlie Brown to kick that football?" And during a first viewing of "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo", we are teased with that which is perhaps among the greatest fantasies within imagination--the very cagey yet clever Lieutenant Columbo losing his never-seen wife in such a villainous way after many years of adoring this invisible conversation piece. As sincere "Columbo" fans, our pleasures do not end with observing complex murder plots, comical quirks, and clever endings. We are further intrigued by that which is referenced yet not seen: traits of the brother-in-law, a military history, and--most especially--the wife. The concept of Mrs. Columbo actually being murdered is so fascinating--such an unexpected change in a pattern which has remained consistent--that it is my strong belief that we actually want this news to be true as the episode progresses. This proves to be an intense contradiction because throughout its course--especially during the build-up to its climax--we are given hints which clearly imply that this heavily-advertised death is a fake. It is my belief that above-mentioned fantasy-related thoughts result in a strong element of disappointment upon learning that Mrs. Columbo is actually still alive. Even though we wish nothing but the best for our favorite TV detective, our yearns to see his emotional, expressive, and revenge-driven sides at least temporarily make us regret that his wife did not die. On the other hand, the breakthrough from fantasy back to reality within the final lines of the episode proves to be joyfully triumphant. Despite the so-called disappointing realization that "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" does not involve the death of our Lieutenant's wife, we find ourselves emotionally charged and ready to celebrate. Columbo has nabbed a nasty cold-blooded killer--one whose icy intentions leave those of many sinister villains from preceding episodes far away in the dust. And he appropriately tops it off with a now-even-more-than-before-treasured conversation with that virtually immortal wife. I will always treasure the intrigue, thought-provocation, and sense of heroics gained from repeated viewings of this episode during a significant number of years. Although I will never again experience the intensity of watching it for the first time, the depth of the surrounding thoughts shall never be forgotten. Peter Falk deservedly won another Emmy for his portrayal of Columbo during this very season. Additionally, the script of "Rest in Peace, Mrs. Columbo" was among the best of the entire series--out-doing even most of those which are referred to as the "original 45". I very respectfully envy Helen Shaver for taking a challenging role (and one which must be a lot of fun for an actress to portray) and taking it yet much higher. She is as deserving of praise as any actor or actress who ever suited up as a "Columbo" villain. Lastly, many thanks to ABC for allowing this masterpiece to air. It is a classic which succeeds in becoming much more treasured with the passing of time.
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8/10
At Last : )
27 August 2006
November of 1985 was the first occasion on which I had the pleasure of seeing "Columbo: Forgotten Lady," the episode during which scenes from "Walking My Baby Back Home" are very prominently shown and add to the charm of the story. As unbelievable as this may sound, I very recently had to opportunity to see the movie "Walking My Baby Back Home" in its entirety--after more than 20 years of curiosity. The movie did not disappoint.

Janet Leigh and Donald O'Connor steal the show, with Buddy Hackett an excellent supporting sidekick. Although I must admit that the movie would mean very little to me if I were not such a "Columbo" fan, it is undeniable that "Walking My Baby Back Home" is a treat. I have watched it at least five times already since recently acquiring a copy from an e-bay seller and find it to be very entertaining and relaxing.

The movie has excellent musical numbers. The only negative is that the plot seems to be nothing much more than an excuse to lead into singing and dancing, which is fine with me. I wish they would make a lot more movies with the same quality, consideration, and dedication as obviously put forth in "Walking My Baby Back Home."
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Columbo: Dead Weight (1971)
Season 1, Episode 3
One of My Favorites
5 January 2005
The cool demeanor of Eddie Albert's Martin J. Hollister and his enjoyable interplay with Columbo makes "Dead Weight" a pleasure to watch multiple times. This is one of Columbo's toughest cases because Hollister has convincingly succeeded in swaying unstable Helen Stewart from what she originally thought she had witnessed. Excellent plot, excellent directing. The music score adds to this first season episode's likability. The final clue, additionally, is rather unique. It points to the villain's tragic flaw, which is exciting to discover and shows that Hollister is yet more complex with more compassion inside than we realized.
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Father Murphy (1981–1983)
Father Murphy: One of the Best TV Shows
30 December 2004
"Father Murphy" was one of the best TV show of all time, many of its episodes very touching and inspirational. I will illustrate my point with thoughts on my five favorite episodes of Season 1...... 5. "Eighty-Eight Keys to Happiness." The sparked interest of the blind orphan at the possibility of Gold Hill buying a piano transforms very well into the excitement and humor involved with Moses' willingness to compromise with the saloon. Furthermore, Rodman's annoyance at the situation, his sudden metamorphosis into gambling greed, and his pathetic mother make for one of the greatest and funniest sequences of the entire series. 4. "In God's Arms." In the spirit akin to such classics as "It's a Wonderful Life," Father Joe Parker eventually discovers a strength that he took for granted all along and affects people's lives for the better in the process. This episode perhaps causes some of us to question our own beliefs in the existence of God while suggesting that the faith and its positive effect on mankind is more important. 3. "The Horse From Heaven." The concept of a mentally challenged person who is ridiculed and made to feel inferior having a depth down inside that she can have such a wonderful relationship with animals is simply priceless. It stands to reason that Ada becomes a hero at the end, deservedly so. The adage of the meek inheriting the earth is more present at the conclusion of this episode than in any other point in the series. 2. "The Pilot Episode." Making the ending all that more charming, John Murphy is not just some guy who feels like helping orphaned children. He is a complex man with childhood-influenced problems of his own. The long ago tragic death of his father haunting him, Murphy must decide between the urge to be alone and the possibility of helping many children in a worse situation than his own. The occurrence helps Murphy re-discover the concept of love, and it is all that more appropriate that he marries Mae Woodward at the conclusion of the first season. 1. "Knights of the White Camelia." This gripping episode is my favorite of the series for several reasons. The concept of love versus hate is often very powerful, and this episode succeeds as a fine example with several lessons to learn within the hour. We generally see bigots as very evil and very worthless people. The story of runaway bugler Jeff teaches us that a so-called 'bigot' can be a nice boy with a sincere willingness to learn and be productive deep down inside. He was steered along the unrighteous path, with his father there as a solid guide to lead him back on track as the episode concludes. Speaking of which, when Moses refers to the KKK by saying "They got sons too," we are all reminded that it is not a perfect world, such problems still existing and probably always will. In my opinion, however, the greatest lesson of all is that these eerie-seeming white-hooded monsters are in reality "the townspeople" (the banker, the barber, etc.) If you think that the hateful bigots are all vicious monsters burning in hell, think again. The butcher, the baker, the lawyer, the doctor, the hairdresser, the grocery clerk, need I go on? Watch out! It is priceless for "Father Murphy: Knights of the White Camelia" to express to us such teachings in no uncertain terms. A terrific series that should have lasted many more seasons.
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Columbo: Ransom for a Dead Man (1971)
Season 1, Episode 0
10/10
A classic Columbo
22 December 2004
"Ransom For a Dead Man," one of the earliest episodes in the entire "Columbo" series, is also one of the best. Lee Grant is terrific as the arrogant and confident Leslie Williams who is sure that she has succeeded in fooling investigators into thinking that her husband was murdered by kidnappers. Even after Columbo subtly implies that he is on to her plan, she coldly and gloatingly dismisses him in true classic Columbo killer fashion.

Everything comes to a very desirable end with that incomparable seen in the airport. Columbo gives us a wonderful conclusion as he smoothly but surely makes that smile disappear from Leslie Williams' face. Her tribute to him after being nailed serves as very memorable and very uplifting to our hero.
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Columbo: Short Fuse (1972)
Season 1, Episode 6
10/10
The Best Columbo Episode!
22 December 2004
"Columbo: Short Fuse" is quite special. It is my favorite episode of my favorite TV series. Roddy McDowall helped to make it terrific, above the rest. He was greatly assisted by Edward Abroms, who did a marvelous job of direction--especially with the opening and closing scenes. The music score is awesome. Great supporting cast of Anne Francis, James Gregory, William Windom, and Ida Lupino too. McDowall especially proves to bring a very entertaining combination of villainy and boyishness to his unforgettable role of Roger Stanford. This episode helped Season One of the series to set very high standards for the show to live up to.
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