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I love watching television and movies, more than a lot of people I know, less than others.
Though I sometimes like to point out the inconsistencies I find in TV and film works, I enjoy watching them all the same. I have no training in theater, writing, film, or acting. But I am fascinated by the industry. I think I would have enjoyed working in entertainment media.
Flashback series late 1960s Manson and Cops, good show
David Duchovny, aka Det. Sam Hodiak, is good as a detective willing to bend the rules to solve homicides. Frey Damon (Officer Brian Shafe) is a young undercover officer working narcotics. He winds up working along with Det. Hodiak who is trying to find the daughter of a former lover played by Michaela McManus (still hot and beautiful) who plays Grace Karn, the wife of a lawyer named Ken Karns who once represented Charles Manson. Manson had provided a hooker to Karns law partner who has a fetish for playing rough with women. He accidentally went too far and killed the girl. Manson helped them get rid of the body and kept his mouth shut about it. So he has the lawyers over a barrel. Emma Karn is Grace and Ken's daughter. She meets Charlie Manson at a party and he recruits her to be part of his 'family' of girls and hanger on guys. So Hodiak and Shafe work off book to find the girl.
Duchovny does a good job playing a cop, a WWII vet, who holds the values of someone of that generation, for the most part. He no longer has the boyish face we saw in the X-Files. He looks and acts like an early middle aged man, still in good shape. The race relations, social issues, attitudes, etc. are represented fairly accurately. For anyone who lived during that period of time this show brings back memories of that time. For me that is enjoyable.
There are several subplots running throughout the first season which hold your interest well. There are individual cases which get solved quickly as well as the long running investigations of Shafe and Hodiak.
I really like this series. I am hoping there will be more seasons. It's a very interesting and exciting show. They can't just leave us with only one season.
Foyle's War (2002)
An Excellent Series in WWII Britain about a Detective's Work
Set in Britain in 1940 the show is about Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle, of the Hastings Police on the south coast of England, and the cases he solves. But it is about much more than those crimes.
The culture of Britain in 1940 like that in America of that time is refreshing to see and is to some extent shown to us. In general their moral and ethical behavior as well as their interpersonal conduct is superior to what is common in present times.
Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle is a man of remarkable character. He is reserved, smart, observant, and has a dry wit on occasion. His son has joined the RAF and is also a person of character. DCS Foyle has a driver, a young service girl, daughter of a minister.
The detective work is very interesting, but no more so than the glimpse back in time, to a better time I think. I know I am romanticizing a bit about things being better back then; certainly there were problems then and crime was a problem. Yet I can only see those times as superior to the present day.
Medium: Light Sleeper (2005)
Allison acting childish
In this episode Alison sleepwalks and does weird stuff like standing in the middle of a 4 lane road in heavy traffic screaming at cars to give her money, sleepdriving to the bank and withdrawing all their money, sleepwalking through the house at night looking for money, etc.
What strikes me in this episode is Alison's self centered, irresponsible, inconsiderate attitude. Joe took the money she withdrew from the bank without realizing she had done so and with no idea why she had done it, and locked it away in his safe. When Alison looked in her purse for her medicine and discovered the money was not there and Joe told her he had locked it up for safe keeping, Alison nearly screamed "you took the money out of my purse? Why would you do that? What did you think I would do with it?"
How could anyone not realize it is stupid to leave over 15 grand in their purse? And how could Alison think it unreasonable that Joe would lock it up? How could she not understand that Joe was worried about what she might do with the money? Alison was doing stuff without knowing she had done it, and with no idea why she had done it.
She herself had no idea what she might do with the money. But she acted like she was a victim when Joe did not know what she might do with the money.
Actually this is not the first time she has displayed inconsiderate behavior or acted like a victim. I don't know why the writers make her act like this. Is she this way in real life? I hope not.
God's Pocket (2014)
Strange film, good acting, dark and funny
The acting is good. I only gave it a 6 out of 10 for other reasons. The story revolves around a couple of part time criminals named Mickey and Bird. Mickey has a kind of crazy son in law who wants to be a tough guy. At work he puts his knife to an old man's throat and threatens to kill him, and breaks the skin on his neck. The old man clubs him on the back of the skull, killing him. The cops are told a crane hook came loose and hit the kid in the back of the head. The kid's mom doesn't believe it happened that way, just from intuition. Mickey and Bird both gamble, both are short on money. Bird owes about 20 grand to a bookie. I will let you see the rest for yourself.
One reviewer said this is a film about real people. I suppose. But I have to say I don't know any people like the ones depicted in this film. Just about everything these guys do is stupid and their lives are really screwed up. It's not just those two. The undertaker is screwy and a real jerk, the kid was a nut case, the journalist is an alcoholic who often fails to write his column because of his drinking. Just about every main character and most of the minor characters are screw balls. Even the hired muscle can't rough up a guy, they get their asses kicked instead. The writers use these glaring foibles to deliver the dark humor. It is very subtle. But this film is really more of a drama; to me, it isn't really a comedy. I have never run into people who screw up everything in their lives as much, make as many really stupid decisions, as the people in this film. I just don't find that funny in a drama. A lot of people do I guess. I tend not to like films with self destructing characters. So I gave it a six.
Last Man Standing: Helen Potts (2015)
LOVED this episode!!
I lost it laughing during this episode. The jokes were great as always but were made exponentially better due to references to Tim's first hit comedy series Home Improvements. Pat Richardson guest starred in this episode as a neighbor named Helen Potts whose husband "left" 6 months previously, leaving her a mess at her house which she is trying to repair. Her house is a replica of their house on Home Improvements, and there are lots of funny references to her husband which are obviously references to Tim on the old show. I laughed so hard. "Helen Potts" has 3 main segments of the show and each one was great. Tim and Pat seemed to enjoy the reunion and have the same chemistry as before, which added to the nostalgia. "Helen" and Tim discussed Helen's husband, who it turns out had actually died 6 months previously, and the dialogue makes it clear they are speaking about the Tim on Home Improvements. Helen mentioned how funny he was, much funnier than Mike Baxter, to which he replies "well, he probably had better writers".
I saw this on television and since I found it on Netflix I must have watched this episode again at least 5 more times, and I am not finished watching it, I am sure.
There is another story involving Eve and a story she is doing about heroes from the Vietnam War. She winds up doing the story about Ed after she discovers how much he helps veterans who are suffering and having difficulty getting the benefits they are owed and deserve. This is a touching story, and combined with the nostalgia we feel from the Helen Potts plot, it helps make this episode an warm, emotionally satisfying one.
I could go on but would really be repeating myself I think. Suffice it to say this is one of my favorite, if not the all time favorite episode of Last Man Standing to date.
Great Classic Western Movie, John Wayne Breakout
I love this movie. I grew up on westerns so I am partial to them I guess. But this one is special. I don't think I can explain what makes it so great. It has a good story, but it is much more than that. There was a remake done in 1966 and while it was well done with good actors turning in good performances I was disappointed in it. Of course this was the breakout movie for John Wayne. It is strange to think he was in about 70 films before this one made him a star.
He plays the Ringo Kid, a sympathetic character in this film. A disparate group of passengers wind up taking a stagecoach with an army escort due to reports of Indian trouble. The calvary is actually looking to meet up with another group of soldiers though and parts company with the stage about halfway on the journey. There is a crooked bank employee who has stolen money with him, a drunken doctor and a saloon girl who have been forced to leave town, a liquor salesman, a southern gentleman gambler, a pregnant lady, a Marshal riding shotgun and the stagecoach driver on the stage.
The crooked banker is in a hurry to reach his destination but is continually frustrated by circumstances. There is a lot of interesting give and take among the different characters. Indians attack the coach during the second half of the trip. Thats as much as I will say about the plot.
I heartily recommend this movie. It is a classic and should be seen for that reason alone. If you like westerns you will like this film
Good story good acting
A good crew of actors with a good story. It is an action story about a man who helped his brother rob a bank; their crew was betrayed and his brother was executed. He was shot and left for dead but survived and went to prison. He does his time and when he gets out goes on a spree, killing the crew which ambushed and killed his brother and shot him.
He settles the scores.There is a twist at the end. There are a couple of clues if you can catch them, tipping you off as to the twist. I don't want to give that away.
It is a story of justice and redemption. Bad guys reap what they sew, and people who repent have a chance at a new life. It is a good story, with good acting.
Drama/Comedy better than I expected
Set in Venice CA the show centers around a recovering alcoholic named Chip and his friends. Since Chip is played by Will Arnett I imagined the show would have a lot more comedy, one liners, etc. I took a shot at it on Netflix even though I was afraid it might lack enough substance to hold my attention. Sometimes comedies rely far too much on witty lines and predictable gags. But FLAKED is not just a vehicle for snappy lines and comebacks. Most of the characters have enough depth to keep me interested. There are a few which are kind of one dimensional like Cooler, a stoner type. He is shallow and not too bright and not too with it and sometimes irritating because of it. But he adds comic relief.
I like the show more than I thought I was going to like it. There is one thing I don't like about the show, and about most shows of this type. Writers make characters do and say stupid things in order to develop conflict in the story line. Viewers watching this are hit with a feeling that the plot is just too phony, too unbelievable. If it were a pure comedy it would not matter. But this show is a mix of ostensibly real life drama with comedy. It is hard to buy into the real life bit when people say things or fail to say things which real people obviously would bring up in real life. They allow their lives to crash and burn in the show by failing to simply tell someone a simple set of facts as anyone in real life would obviously do. This makes it easier for writers to develop conflict, and I suppose the writers also feel that viewers will feel anxiety when they see the characters they identify with making such really bad decisions, omissions, or foolish statements.
This is obviously a pet peeve of mine, right up there with the grade B camera work seen in some action and horror films, i.e. shaky cameras, rapidly changing camera positions and angles, and rapidly changing depth of shots. I don't know why modern film uses these cheap techniques. Many people hate that kind of camera work. In the same way we hate to see seemingly ordinary and intelligent characters behaving stupidly and ruining their lives by doing so. It is extremely common in film and television and very annoying also.
House of Cards: Chapter 45 (2016)
Selling the Fiction of Morally Upright Player
I am watching episode 45 now and just saw the exchange between Doug Stamper and the Secretary of Health. She sent him an email with a picture of a family. She tells him she wanted him to see the picture of the man and his family who got bumped off the liver recipient list in order for the President to receive a liver. Stamper tells her to delete it off her server and she says she already has done so. But she says, she just wanted him to see the man and the family who got bumped. The family which is now missing their husband and father.
What hit me about the scene is this: any appointee to a position that high would not do that. they would not call the chief of staff to lay a guilt trip on him with their crisis of conscience. If they were of a mind to do that, they would not be in that position, and they certainly would not retain it long. They are all great at rationalizing doing things like that. They don't have crises of conscience like she did. If she were the sort of person to have a crisis of conscience like she did in that scene, she never would have been given that position in the first place.
They wrote it this way in order to sell the idea that politicians really do believe in equality. They want us to believe that there are some up at the top who really believe the crap they tell us they believe. If it were a Republican administration they might not have written that way.
American Beauty (1999)
Hollywood Anti-Conservative Pro Leftist Viewpoint
This movie is a vehicle for advancing a leftist caricature of conservatives in the character of Colonel Fits. He is shown as a strict disciplinarian who is abusive to his son. He also has repressed homosexual desires. Are there really people like Colonel Fits? Not really. No one is that one dimensional. Are there conservatives with repressed homosexual urges? I am sure there are plenty. But this film intentionally makes Colonel Fits unbelievably one dimensional, unable to speak to his son except in the most rigid fashion, unable to express love or compassion (in the leftist view, conservatives lack this ability), completely out of touch with his own feelings, and emotionally retarded beyond belief. This incredible picture of the man is meant to help convey some leftist viewpoints; conservatives are uptight, screwed up people. They are incapable of feeling or expressing love or compassion, incapable of perceiving reality because of their emotional immaturity, etc. It is also meant to advance the idea that handguns, especially in the hands of uptight conservatives, are dangerous and likely to be used for murder.
These ideas are not overtly advanced. They are suggested by the story and the portrayal of the people who own the guns.
The movie has good actors, and was produced well. The story is interesting and the different plot lines converge together well. That helps the viewer buy into the movie. It also helps sell the unspoken leftist lessons. They are subtly imparted but not unnoticed.
Hollywood wants us to come away from the film saying: -why don't those uptight conservatives just accept gay people and be gay if they want to be, -people shouldn't have guns around because they will just kill people in an emotional moment of weakness, especially those uptight conservatives.
Most of us know military veterans or active servicemen and women and resent seeing how Hollywood portrays them. I can appreciate the quality of the film from a lot of perspectives, but I could do without the Hollywood politically correct life lessons every time I see a movie.