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Being a sugar daddy is more than just fun and sex. It requires a certain temperament, one that Grant Zager, the sugar daddy lacks. He is pushy, possessive, and arrogant. It gives cause to wonder why anyone would want to have anything to do with him. Yet he attracts young women who are willing to cats aside all pretensions of morality to make a quick buck. It is uncertain who's is morally more repugnant, the young ladies who are opportunistic whores or the sugar daddy who pays them. Now, this moral dilemma notwithstanding, this is an entertaining movie. The plot is simple, comprehensible, and most importantly, plausible. There is nothing contrived. People are acting act their selfish desires, and, of course, gets them all into trouble. The moral of the story: if you wish to be a successful sugar daddy, treat your "girls" nicely. In turn, they will treat you nicely too, as long as you pay up. After all, call girls don't work for free.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie has two parts: Part one is basic training, and part two is war. Although, set in during the Vietnam Era, this movie is not about the Vietnam War. It is about the dehumanizing effect of institutionalized brutality. The instrument through which the brutality is inflicted is Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, played by R. Lee Ermey who delivers one of the great performances in cinema history. Sgt. Hartman is the epitome of the sadistic authority figure who represents a culture that repudiates principles of consensus and democracy in favor of instilling the urge to kill on command through the use of terror. In Sgt. Hartman's universe, the purpose of the military is not only to produce killers, but to produce killers who want to kill. The results are poor. Instead of producing well motivated soldiers who can operate effectively as a unit, Hartman's brutal methods produces grotesque caricatures of soldiers who lack any real motivation or purpose to do anything accept act out. That is, instead of being motivated, they are demoralized. Indeed, Hartman himself is killed by one of his own recruits. Ironically, he becomes a victim of his own brutality. There is a general understanding that the Vietnam War was bad for the United States and had a hugely corrupting influence on the military and more broadly on American society in general. This movie further reinforces this understanding. Sergeant Hartman is a truly bizarre character. He is a caricature of a soldier, yet he must be taken seriously. His destructiveness cannot be ignored. He is an agent of destruction. His anger is real. He is the voice of the angry American.
This movie has some funny scenes but is not a good movie. The reason: the principal character is so obnoxious that story comes off as jarring. Mayhew, played by James Franco, is affable and eccentric but is pushy, controlling, tasteless and above all stupid. The movie asks the audience to believe that he is a billionaire. That's a stretch. Fleming, played by Bryan Cranston, has legitimate cause to be offended by Mayhew. Mayhew goes out his way to offend people. Mayhew is so abrasive, so lacking in finesse, that it is virtually impossible to believe that anyone would seriously want to be around him. Yet, Fleming's daughter finds Mayhew attractive, for reasons that are never explained. Hence the title of the movie. The problem is the running gag, that Fleming's pomposity is misplaced, is not plausible. Mayhew is nasty throughout the movie. He deserves to be disliked. There is nothing endearing about him. He is a crass materialist who lacks the style. He's not even a smooth talker. He's goofy but not self-effacing. Cut through all the pseudo-street talk, bathroom humor and gratuitous use of profanities, and Mayhew is just another decadent rich guy, and not a lovable one at that. Still, the movie has funny moments, but that was because of Cranston who carries this movie. The funny scenes all involve Fleming, when he is being goofed on. The problem is that in this case the straight man is being goofed on by the comic character who comes off as being not only stupid but nasty. Cranston's performance saves this movie from immediate banishment to DVD land.
This series is a definite improvement over the original Star Trek. It has a better cast, better stories, much improved special effects and the production is much less stagy. Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner deliver superlative performances. Some episodes are especially dramatic. The problem is with the premise of the series. It's about a star ship, which is an instrument of war, going about the galaxies. It's security is constantly being breached and it's prone to break down under stress. These are literary contrivances. Ideally, the star ship should be impervious to being invaded, but if that were so, then there would be no story. Many of the crises in the series are caused by the Enterprise itself. It ventures into places that it is unwanted and is constantly a target for other alien life forms, some almost human, who want nothing to do with humans. The mere presence of the star ship provokes conflict. The star ship is not a research vessel, it is a warship, armed with an array of weapons that can destroy planets and which the crew is willing to use. This series raises a question: is it right for the human race to go to places where it is not wanted?
It's a television series with stagy acting and contrived plots. With the exception of Mr. Spock, all the main characters are hysterical, some even unlikeable. Dr. McCoy is the worst. He is shrill, argumentative, and abrasive. And that's the medical officer. Then there is Scotty, the chief engineer. He's always on the edge of having a nervous breakdown. The slightest demands on him send him into a tizzy. Then there is Captain Kirk. He has no business commanding anyone. He is temperamental, moody, easily excitable, and bossy. The only character who has any substance is Spock. That's because he's not even fully human. How he manages to tolerate the rest of the crew is a mystery. Without Spock the command structure would immediately break down. That's not saying much for human beings. Also, the mission of the star ship is murky. What is a rocket ship doing going throughout the galaxies searching for new planets? Who asked them to? The military aspect of their mission is unmistakable. They have the fire power to destroy entire planets. For what? In addition, who would let humans beings operate this craft in the first place. The ship's security is constantly being breached. The Star ship routinely transport on board all kind of alien creatures, some more humanoid then others but definitely not human, without taking any precautions against possible contamination. Also, Kirk gets himself involved in situations that a more mature, thoughtful and disciplined officer would easily avoid. In fact, the biggest drawback to this series is a Captain. His rashness stretches literary license to the limit. His decision-making is so readily influenced by emotions that it is a miracle that he makes any decisions at all. Whenever he is stumped, he invariably turns to Spock who at least demonstrates an ability to think clearly. Indeed, in almost every episode it is Spock who guides the ship out of crisis. It is not surprising that this show was cancelled after three seasons. Nor is it surprising that years in syndication later the show took on a new life, capturing a new audience that apparently was more forgiving then the network executives who probably had their fill of outlandishly ridiculous plots and corny acting that needed to be beamed out to some other place where such mediocrity could find a home.
This movie is proof that when Hollywood wants to, it can make a great movie that grabs the audience's attention and makes you care about what is transpiring in the story. The movie directly poses this question: Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor? This movie depicts what he did, explains why he did it, and leaves it to the audience to decide. Although set in a hotel room, this story is anything but static. It deals with issues that are directly relevant to every American and to all people everywhere. This movie is intense and takes the audience on a trip into the inner workings of some of the most secret agencies inside the government. One person does something that actually changed the world. His actions brought to the public's attention a whole bunch of stuff that was going on under wraps and gave them an immediate transparency that was both disturbing and refreshing. One can either resent or admire what Snowden did, but one cannot be indifferent to him, which is why this is such a good movie.
This is part 1 of a two-part episode. A re-visit to these episodes
reveal major flaws in the story. First, why is Captain Jellicoe
negotiating with anyone? His job is to prepare for the possibility of
war with the Cardassians. Second, why send Picard, a high ranking
commanding officer, on an extremely risky spy mission? Third, how could
the Federation let itself be so thoroughly duped by the Cardassians?
Fourth, why was Ryker so upset? He had no cause to be upset. He
repeatedly disobeys orders and generally behaves obnoxiously. Fifth, in
this story the Federation does not occupy high moral ground. Further,
the Federation is revealed to have major flaws. It makes strategic
decisions on faulty information,its attitude is belligerent, both
Starship captains have major issues - Jellicoe negotiates in bad-faith,
Picard is a spy, and members of the crew are willful and obstinate. Why
Ryker is not brought up on charges is a mystery.
Wow, what a strong episode. Ryker reveals himself as being a real twerp. A new captain comes on board and Ryker immediately cops an attitude. He reacts like a child. He doesn't like taking orders. He is inflexible and selfish. Instead of trying to help the new captain, Jellicoe, Ryker pouts and sulks. All this while Jellicoe has to negotiate with a belligerent alien race that is openly hostile and threatening to invade a planet. The rest of the crew isn't any better. They are serving on a warship, yet are openly annoyed and distressed at Jellicoe who wants to prepare for the possibility of war. The only way to get the aliens to back down is to show them that the Federation will not budge. Instead, Jellicoe is getting no support from the crew, which makes it even harder for him to deal with his adversary, and which puts the ship at risk. For a television sci-fi series, the dialog is excellent, and the story intense. That is surprising.
This is a great movie. It's about a regular working-class guy who does something heroic. The movie is also about New York City. It showcases New York City at its best. Sully is the kind of movie that is so good that it can't help but put you in a good mood, and make you believe that decent, caring people are still out there. A pilot is flying a plane and when confronted with impending disaster maintains his self-control resulting in a lot of lives being saved. Yet, what makes the movie even more enjoyable are the qualities of the hero himself - modest, caring, loyal, and professional. The movie manages to make you care about him as a person and in the process come to appreciate who he is and what he did. Tom Hanks warrants accolades for his fine performance has Chessley Sullenberger. The rest of the cast is excellent too. But as the title indicates, the story centers around one man who showed the world true heroism in the fullest sense of the world.
There is so much one can write about when a movie is bad, or flawed, or poorly acted, or has a contrived story, lack of continuity, no feeling, or shallow, superficial, or without any artistic value. In this case, there is little to say, so excellent is this movie. This movie warrants only superlatives, in all aspects of its production: from the production, to the direction, to the story, to the cinematography and to the acting. All those elements combined to produce a masterpiece. The movie is about life, and about people living that life. People who are vulnerable, flawed but caring. Nothing in the story is corny or contrived. It's about working class people in a working class society who want to achieve, to do something, be something, and above all to live and make a difference. This movie features Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, and Hoagy Carmichael. All delivery outstanding performances. The music is great and figures directly in the story. But most significant is the horn. To find out why, watch the movie.
This movie is great. It immediately engages and then keeps the audience's attention. The story is compact, the acting strong and ending plausible. Perhaps the strongest performance is that of Marie Bello, who plays an emotionally disturbed woman. However, all of the performances are outstanding. The movie succeeds in creating a mood of foreboding as all are engaged in a fight for survival against an unknown malevolent force. The movie avoids the pitfall of becoming just another scary movie with contrivances that inspire laughter. Instead, it succeeds in telling a story and building the tension to its inevitable climax. That is the hallmark of excellent story telling and why this movie is worth watching.
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