Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Otoko-tachi no Yamato (2005)
Ebracing their brave young men
Given their desire to put the humiliation of the Showa period behind them and their understandable anti-militarism, I am glad to see the Japanese put out a realistic war movie that gets away from stereotypes. The story could be about the young men of any country in any war. Although the tag lines often read that it is about the Yamato on her last mission, this is really a backdrop for the portrayal of her crew as what they were, people. Multi dimensional, brave, flawed and dedicated. It also shows that the Americans were committed to press the attack until the job was done.
Although there were (and always are in war movies) technical errors, the act of strafing gun crews is an admitted tactic of US Naval fighter pilots of the era. This made it safer for the torpedo and dive bombers. I was glad to see that they showed blood in the battle scenes (often not shown in naval battles), not because I like gore, but it helped bring to life the horror of battle.
Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977)
Worst of Hollywood on military subjects
This movie was a waste of some very talented people. I liked all of the actors but the people who wrote this movie knew nothing of ICBM security or launch protocols. Even when I was 16 it seemed to be full of holes.
First off, the missileers cannot launch missiles without a series of codes. These codes must be sent to the launch team before they can arm anything. NORAD controls that. If a missile crew got the wild idea to do an independent launch, the computers and arming systems would not work until the code was called in.
The Air Force does not have a bunch of armored vehicles ready to roll in (including the surplus USMC Ontose recoiless rifle carrier they painted blue and used).
The snipers had stock M-16s with screw-on scopes. Cheezy.
Even if you can overlook all of that by saying procedures had changed and gotten lax and we had decided to remove the external consent requirement to launch there are 2 BIG issues that were missed.
One: all the Air Force had to do was open fire on the missiles and they would have burned and probably blown up on the pads (without setting off the nukes, they have a VERY specific initiation process that is NOT triggered by heat). It is all NASA can do to keep rockets and missiles from blowing up on a perfect launch. In case you did not know, a missile is 90% pressurized fuel tank. poke a hole in it and it'll never fly, at least not far. Small arms fire could do it, but artillery or anti-tank missiles would be best.
Two: There is no way the president is ever going to be handed over as a hostage.
All of that is just technical trivia. The idea that America would enter a war and stay in it until we had lost 50,000 men just to show the evil commies we were serious is beyond absurd. To buy that requires just plain gullibility. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of American History knows that the war in Viet Nam lasted over 3 presidential administrations, yet the movie makes us believe that one decided to keep us in the until no less than 50,000 Americans died and so it became policy.
Nothing about this forgettable film is timeless or relevant. It is a piece of junk that preyed on cold war fears of nuclear missiles and government mistrust (which were very much in the public consciousness in post Viet Nam, Post Watergate America).
If you want to see Burt Lancaster and Charles Durning together in a much netter movie, see Tough Guys.
Bill Engvall: 15º Off Cool (2007)
A worthy follow on
I just saw this for the second time and it was just as good the second time around. This stand-up, one man show is a very worthy follow on to Engvall's "Blue Collar" shows. Engvall provides humor that anyone can relate to. Like any good story teller, he can really make you feel like he is talking as much about your life as his.
Engvall's new TV show uses some of the material from this routine but it is fresher on this stand-up routine. The bit on his ride in an F-16 fighter jet with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds is hilarious and personifies the title.
One of the things I like about Engvall is that he is aware of his celebrity but still comes across as "any man's every man". He still seems to get as excited by meeting celebrities as his fans get about meeting him.
As good as a sequel can be
I found this sequel to "Blue Collar Comedy Tour" to be a good DVD and I still enjoy watching it. I think the original still has a certain edge on it partly because of its extras. The Waffle House scene, the Victoria's Secret stuff and the pimp suits. David Allan Grier was good too.
That said, If you liked the first one, ya gotta git this'un! I have found these guys are at their best when the four of them just get together and poke fun. That was the best part of the first one as well.
Do not let other people tell you what is or is not funny. I love to laugh at these guys and if the humor isn't always sophisticated (if it ever is) it is good. I laughed and that really was the whole idea. You may have to watch it a few times to get all of the jokes because you are often laughing so hard that you miss the intro to the next joke. To me, that is the mark of a funny show.
As my wife likes to say, watching this kind of comedy is my guilty pleasure.
Their own kind of cool
I got this DVD after having seen bits of their humor before. I have seen it at least 5 times since. It just never gets old. Except for Larry TCG the characters do not seem to be acting. Even Larry is convincing a no-class bubba, but I have seen his early work before when he went by his give name (Dan Whitney). He is actually from Nebraska but he makes one great southern bubba (and I am from the deep south, so trust me on this one).
These guys all exude their own kind of cool. They are comfortable in their own skins and make you feel like they'd all be fun to hang out with. Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall come across as two guys that you would like to have as neighbors or co-workers. Their humor never strays far from everyday life and its unexpected twists. It doesn't have to because they know how to tell a story.
Engvall's "here's your sign" jokes (he awards people a "stupid" sign to wear when they do or say something idiotic) and Foxworthy's "You may be a redneck if....." jokes abound and are still funny. Even though the material is a staple of their respective work, they keep updating it with new ones. For the die hard fans these jokes are a must. Foxworthy has some "new" redneck words as well.
Ron white, who comes across as a somewhat more intense character, is funny but a bit darker. His shows uses what appear to be real demons from his past to make you laugh, and laugh you will.
If I were to make a movie with these guys I'd put it in a used car lot in the deep south with Foxworthy and Engvall as quasi-straight salesmen selling various autos to the same type of people they usually make fun of. White would be the dubious owner and Larry TCG as the mechanic/tow truck driver (there's a stretch). It would be like the movie "Used Cars" meets "Green Acres".
Jonny Quest (1964)
A true cold war classic cartoon
This was a hip, gutsy cartoon that didn't pull any punches. As a kid I remember thinking "Wow, these bad guys are really bad, and creepy too", but Jonny and the gang never lose their cool. I noticed how they would think their way through problems. They never picked a fight, but carried weapons just in case and they were not afraid to use them if need be. No touchy-feely crap here. Bust a head or bust a cap, whatever it takes to survive.
Jonny was the kid we wanted to be and Race Bannon was the guy we wanted to grow up to be. Dr. Quest was the archetypal workaholic dad, but still keeps Jonny close and loved him. Hadji was the friend we all need, smart, able, mysterious, good natured and most of all, loyal to a fault.
Despite the loss of his mom the four of them managed to form a working family unit despite Bannon's initial resistance to being a "baby sitter".
But most of all it was the gizmo's and adventures. Come on, hunting Pteradactyl's with a bazooka and .45 pistol from a jet pack. Running around in jets, boats, subs, snow cats, jeeps, mini bikes. Learning swimming, scuba, judo and karate from Race, science from Dr. Quest, mysterious stuff from Hadji. Oh, and don't get me started on Jade (Race Bannon's mysterious but loyal Amerasian girlfriend).
Dude, it just does not get any better than that.
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Bad, very bad
A few nice flying scenes and that is it. The romantic thing was bunk. Our two heroes were very loosely based on two real men, Ken Taylor and George Welch. Two Air Corps fighter pilots who managed to get to their planes and take off. They did shoot down some Japanese planes but the incident is much better re-enacted in the movie TORA-TORA-TORA (a much better film in all regards). Both pilots survived the war.
In one scene you see a Japanese Zero fly by with a camera mounted on it's fuselage. The Japanese planes were painted the wrong color. They were Navy gray but someone decided the green looked better on camera. Why not just remake the battle of Britain and made the Germans fly pink dive bombers.
The bit with the mechanics climbing the control tower and shooting down a passing plane with small arms was STUPID and the bit where they run 2 Japanese planes into each other is off the BS meter.
By the way, Jimmy Doolittle (played by Alec Baldwin) was bald. Doris Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr.) was an huge man. That is why he was a boxer. Miller did man a gun and shoot at shoot down 1 or 2 attacking Japanese planes for which he received the Navy Cross. I think the official record show 2 shot down and 1 damaged. He was killed later in the war. None of Doolittles Raiders were at Pearl Harbor during the attack and no fighter pilots were chosen.
Good cold war comedy
I saw this today for the first time in years and I had forgotten what a gem it was. Arkin is at his best as are Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters and the rest of the cast. Arkin and Bickell (the Russian captain) both have language skills that they used well in this film. The Russian sounded like Russian, not like guys from LA trying to mimic Russian.
At the height if the cold war this movie showed that our mortal enemy was a regular human being capable of stupidity, humanity, humor, compassion, more stupidity and forgiveness. Basically once you get to know the other guy, it's kinda hard to hate him and when we work together things usually work out.
It also showed what a bunch of gun toting citizens can do when they pull together and refuse to back down to a bunch of unwelcome "invaders". The characters are rich and well developed if not a touch cliché but then that's half the fun.
It also is the only movie to show nice footage of the old F-101 Voodoo fighter jet.
WW1 meets Top Gun
I was able to suspend reality and my knowledge of military aircraft long enough to enjoy this movie, but I had to suppress my desire to point out all that was wrong. Although the movie's makers were trying to appeal to the mass audience, they should have known that every flying buff would go see it (and there are probably millions of aviation enthusiasts who have educated themselves about WW1).
Where to begin, there was the unrealistic performance of the planes. Airplanes did not fly as fast or climb as well as portrayed until 20 years later. The German triplane was not even out at that point in the war and only 1 was painted all red...guess who's.
The use of a 7/8th scale British SE5 taxiing in the background should have definitely been left out. It was too small, had a modern engine and the SE5 wasn't even fielded yet.
The producers took 120 mile per hour, 110 horse power airplanes and tried to recreate Top Gun. Read the goofs and anachronisms page for many of the technical errors.
The entire bit with rescuing the girl from the standard issue "idiot" German infantry was a waste of film. The Germans were/are anything but stupid and savvy, battle hardened infantry on patrol are not about to let their guard down. And just how did the they get in front of moving airplane that is running away? etc, etc. This could go on so I'll let it go for now.
Ironically what the movie got unfairly blasted for (by the lesser informed) was the black fighter pilot who was, in fact, a real person. Some folks thought the bit with the suicide pistols was hokey BUT British ace Edward "Mick" Mannock carried a loaded pistol for just that reason. He died in a burning plane but it is unknown if used it or jumped to his death. The planes were often covered with nitric dope which was about the same as soaking them in gasoline. The dope stiffened the canvas skin and sealed it so that air had to pass over it, not through it (hey, it was the technology of the day). If it caught fire there was NO HOPE! In short, the movie is fun but the less you know about planes and WW1 the more you are likely to enjoy it. With some of the cool flying scenes it gets a 7. Hey. it was still a lot better than "Pearl Harbor"(Geese!! don't get me started on that one).
Being a pilot (9000+ hours) and former skydiver (216 jumps) I can tell you that this show is cool yet absurd. The actors are fine, the writing was often good, but sometimes the story lines simply departed reality. I guess the writers were just trying to come up with something exciting. To me, the best parts are the stunt work. You have to remember that to get the great aerial footage, they had to do it for real with a cameraman falling alongside. I think the cameraman were the best skydiver of them all.
when I did my first skydive from a Cessna 182 (in the 1980's) I was amazed that I flashed back to the show. The sound of that engine was exactly the same as in the show.
I wish I could find it on DVD. Get some popcorn, suspend reality and enjoy an often absurd, but always cools show!
PS: I think Larry Pannell was a better actor than Hollywood ever let him be.