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Good example of how couples care for each other
I just saw this episode on DVD, probably for first time.
It begins with Alex and Donna leaving the house for a flight to New York for a medical convention where Alex is one of many doctors to deliver a short speech.
There is a long scene on the airplane where Donna is too excited to sleep, and thus prevents Alex from sleeping on this overnight flight--times are not mentioned. Alex learns that Donna was so excited about his speech--more so than he is--and so busy preparing for the trip that she hasn't slept at all for over a day. He gets up and gets the stewardess (that's what they were called then) and gets her to heat up some milk into which he slips a couple of sleeping pills for Donna. He returns and drifts off to sleep quickly. Not knowing about the pills in her milk, Donna takes the bottle out of Alex's pocket and decides to take the pills she refused moments ago.
So she is extremely sleepy even after they check into the hotel. Then they learn that Alex is speaking an hour earlier than they figured because they forgot about the time change.
At the convention, Alex starts to speak but Donna, seated on stage, cannot keep from drifting off to sleep, so Alex abandons his speech to take care of his sleepy wife. Later, he is not too concerned, figuring their lives back in Hilldale will go on like always and they have each other and their kids, and all.
Meanwhile, Donna accidentally gets into another embarrassing predicament when the hotel door locks her out while in her robe. Naturally, the doctor who Alex knows is next door and she gets into a scene in his room, again by accident, further embarrassing Donna.
Being the star of the show, Donna figures a way to explain how innocently things can happen to the doctor, and in doing this, she finds a way for Alex to get to deliver his speech after all.
What I liked was how they demonstrated how Donna was so excited for Alex because he was delivering a speech at a big convention. Then Alex had no qualms about abandoning the speech to take care of Donna. Finally, Donna just couldn't let it rest and worked to get Alex his second chance.
I couldn't help but think of how any of the Seinfeld characters, if they were making a big speech and their friend fell asleep on the stage, would, at most, arrange for them to be taken off stage, to sleep on the floor, while they continued their speech. Of course, none of them would be losing any sleep over another getting to make a big speech in the first place.
The funniest scenes were the ones I didn't really describe, because they only are funny in context. I think this episode is typical for the series--funny, not hilarious, with nobody really doing anything crazy or dumb. Donna didn't have all sorts of wild schemes and her family was about as normal as any TV family in history in the ways they interacted throughout the series. A good episode.
No lessons taught here on spending money
This episode entirely deals with Danny and Kathy wanting Rusty to learn how to handle money, yet not once in this episode do they do anything toward teaching him anything.
As the story goes, Rusty, unlike most youths of the era, appears to not get any sort of allowance, whether for doing chores or just to have some money. When he wants money, he asks Dad for a dollar and Danny usually gives it to him. Only when he seems to go through money too rapidly does Danny think he needs to do something.
There was a funny scene as Rusty explains to Danny what happened to the dollar he gave him yesterday. I believe it was 30¢ for three sodasexplained in that Rusty had two friends with him who didn't have their own money, so he had to treat them, and another 30¢ for lunch at school. When asked if Kathy didn't give him lunch to take, Rusty explained that he hates tuna fish, so he bought a lunch. Then he spent another 20¢ to get a friend to take the tuna sandwichbecause he hates tuna fish too. Then there was another 3¢ to his sister, Linda, for not telling Mom that Rusty didn't eat the sandwich.
Danny and Kathy get the idea that if Rusty had a lot of money, he'd learn how to spend and save it. They come up with the notion of pretending an old nickel Rusty found was valuable and that Danny sold it for $50, which he gives to Rusty, simply telling him that it's his to do what he wants with.
Rusty starts to spend like crazy, then thinks he wants to keep it to spend on really important things. But he gets paranoid about being robbed, so he takes to putting it in a triple-locked box tied to his ankle with a chain, for when he sleeps at night. He rigs a booby trap for anyone entering the roomalthough the way the pans and pots keep falling for a dozen seconds is not at all realistic. He is constantly worried about losing his fortune.
(Spoiler alert concerning the ending coming up) Near the end of the show, Rusty comes in and asks for a dollar, explaining that he doesn't have the $50 anymorethat he gave it away to charity because he was a happier boy when he didn't have so much money to worry about.
Now there was a similar plot on Andy Griffth a couple of years later when Opie finds $50 and has to wait a week to see if anyone claims to have lost that wallet and money. If they don't, the money is Opie's. Here we saw Andy explaining to Opie how the smart thing to do is put away most of the money for later and only spend a small part of it.
But on Danny Thomas, it seems the only option is to spend it all, or put it all in the bank. And nobody ever explains to Rusty that even if the bank is robbed, the money is insured by the government and he wouldn't lose any of his money, not even if the bank went out of business. Had they done this, there would have been no need of the scene with all the booby traps falling down when Danny comes in the room. Nobody ever seems to discuss the notion of putting aside most of new found money and only spending a little. And nobody ever seems to think that if Rusty got paid some allowance for doing chores around the house and had to use that money to "treat his friends" and such, that he would actually learn how to allocate money for different things, instead of just spending whatever Dad gives him, knowing he can just ask for more tomorrow.
Suddenly having a "fortune" wasn't a good way to teach him anything. Having some money coming in regularly and needing to carefully spend it, because there would not be more until his next "pay day" would have been the only logical way to teach him to wisely spend his money. But this was never mentioned. It just seemed like every good thing you can and should do to teach a growing child about money was ignored on this episode.
How Opie reacts is the key
This episode seemed more designed to make a serious point and bring out the goodness of the characters, than it was to make you laugh. Most series in the day did this on occasion, but Andy Griffth was better than most when they did this.
We see Opie shocked to bring home a report card with all A's, but extremely proud, as are his Paw and Aunt Bee. Until the next day when Miss Crump calls Opie to her desk and rather simply explains that she made some mistakes transcribing grades and his was one of the ones where she made mistakes. She puts down the correct grades and Opie is sad to learn he did poorly.
But when he gets home, he is stunned to see Andy has purchased a brand new bike for him. Andy keeps talking about how proud he is of his son "getting all A's" that Opie just doesn't know how to tell him right then.
He goes to the courthouse the next afternoon ready to tell him, but again is embarrassed by the way Andy keeps bragging about Opie's grades. Andy learns it from Miss Crump, who, to her credit, takes the blame for the mistake. Andy goes home to talk to Opie only to see a note that he is running away from home until his paw can be proud of him again.
Andy explains that he is always proud of Opie and that he's not mad about what happened.
To me, the best parts of the drama here are how Opie first reacts to the new bike, right after learning he did poorly. His thoughts are to not ride the bike but to really study hard to get the grades Paw thought he already got. Later, when Andy stops him as he is running away, he tells him right away about the mistake. There was never any lying--unlike certain other sitcoms of the era where a certain young boy seemed to never go through a day without lying--and Andy didn't overreact when he learned about Opie's real grades.
The best comedy part was probably Barney's feeble attempt to show Andy his great memory, where he once again cannot remember a single word to the passage he memorized as a kid that he thinks he still remembers.
On the serious side, it was a good episode as far as it went. But it wasn't all that funny.
The worst part is how they had to get to the main plot through the weak plot device of having the teacher copy down all the wrong grades for the boy onto his report card. Doing this all by hand, she would say (think), "O.K., next is Opie. Let's see...in history (run finger over from his name to the grade...he got an A, (repeat) in math...an A..." She would have had a grade book where each subject has all the students on a list on a different page, with all their grades in a row and the final computed grade somewhere on the right, typically. To move her hand crooked and report, say, the grade of the student right below Opie onto Opie's card, for one subject is believable. But how could she have done something like that for every subject, or even most of them? Each time she turned the page, she would have re-found Opie's name and moved to the right to get to the grade, to then copy it to his card. She could not possibly have forgotten which student's card she was recording since she has to look for his name on each page. She could not possibly have accidentally moved her hand up or down a line for each of the subjects in which she put down the wrong grade.
And she could not possibly have not thought about how Opie's card showed all A's without realizing that cannot be--she would know he didn't do nearly that well.
For that matter, a boy who did really poorly in one subject, and average or so at others--who got back all sorts of C or D grades for the last 10 weeks or so, would not possibly have thought he got all A's. A kid may not really know if he's going to get, say, a B or an A, but if he's hovering between C and D, he KNOWS an "A" on the card is incorrect. What I'm saying is that the way the writers had this "series of mistakes" happen was most unbelievable.
Spider bit fears and "rival" ministers
I always loved this episode and was prompted to write this review seeing the only other IMDb review of this show was by someone who hated it.
We get a look at the slow-paced life of the citizens of Mayberry on a Sundayslow-paced until they get inspired by a visiting preacher's message to "Slow Down" and everyone gets all worked up trying to put on a band concert that very nightdriving them all batty until the end when they return to normal.
Along the way, we see Aunt Bee unable to get off the phone despite prodding from Andy, worried she's going to make them all late for church. At the service, we see Opie catching a fly in his hands, until Andy shakes his head. Gomer falls asleep trying to listen to the preacher and Barney sort of does too, but he fights it off more. I loved the bit as they were leaving church and everyone's telling the minister about his fine sermon on taking life at a slower pace. Then Barney tries to compliment him but he was only semi-conscious for most of it so he gives a standard type of compliment, proving he didn't hear it by saying, "That's one subject you can't talk about enoughsin." After dinner, we see them sitting on the front porch, a common scene in this series and in much of America in that era, not so much now. Andy and Barney spend forever debating who's going to get ice cream without anyone actually going. Then Aunt Bee chastises them for "running down to get ice cream" ignoring the sermon about not being in a rush. They get to talking about the fine band concerts they had years ago and before you know iteveryone's frantically trying to get a concert on for that very night.
Bee and Clara try to sew up the old band uniforms, Andy gets the boys together for practice and if you remember the episode where Andy conned the mayor into financing a trip to Raleigh, you will say they sound as bad as ever. Barney and Gomer try to fix up the band stand, with Gomer quite worried about getting bitten by a spider. Everyone winds up arguing about everything and they finally give up, realizing they just can't get it done.
Back to the porch where they sit around, worn out from all their frantic work, and here comes the visiting preacher, who promised to stop by for coffee but says he can't even stay long enough because he has to rush back to New York. Andy chides him using a line from that morning's sermon, asking, "What's your hurry?" I think my favorite line came from Aunt Beewhich is perhaps the only time I can say that. Andy is going on before they leave for church about how he doesn't like having a visiting minister, saying, "We've been taking from Rev. Tucker for a long time and I don't see why we have to have this other guy
" Bee interrupts to say, "Andy
they're on the same side!" I laughed more than at most episodes, which puts this in as a 9 in my book.
Ernest T "sort of" invents Rap Music
Just caught this one again yesterday. It features the Darling family confounded by pesky Ernest T. Bass. In this one, Briscoe Darling comes to town seeking Andy's help because Ernest T. is pestering his recently married (by Andy) daughter Charlene, declaring that her marriage doesn't count because they weren't married by a preacher.
After the boys arrive at the Darlings' mountain cabin, just after a fine bluegrass song--Dooley--that features the rare singing of one of the Darling boys--Ernest T. throws a rock through a window and meets Andy and Barney. On hearing they'll have a preacher marry the couple tomorrow, he declares he has 24 hours to win Charlene over to himself.
After Ernest T. leaves, Briscoe, Andy and Barney discuss how to handle the problem, Briscoe opines "We thought of killing him, but kind of hated to go that far." That's one of the funniest lines in this series in my opinion.
One of the funnier scenes involves Andy and Barney's futile attempts to get the Darling family to stop snoring long enough for them to fall asleep, as they all share the one room cabin.
Late at night, Ernest T. wakes everyone up to serenade Charlene, which he does, from a distance, banging on a makeshift drum and chanting--basically, his rhymes and chants seem like a version of rap music today--except there was no cursing on this show.
The next morning, Andy has an idea on how to prevent the wedding with the preacher from being interrupted. It doesn't seem likely to surprise anyone reading this who hasn't seen the show, so I will reveal it here. The wedding ceremony appears to be taking place on the hillside, only after a minute or so of it, we see that Barney is wearing Charlene's wedding dress so that if--and Andy was right, it happened--Ernest T. comes with his rifle and whisks Charlene away (not knowing the veiled face being hidden was Barney), Charlene comes out and quickly gets married by the preacher before Ernest T. can learn how he was fooled.
This was a funny show, but not fabulous. The more you like the mountain characters, the more you'll like this episode.
He's from...somewhere's else
The Meeting Malcolm Merriweather episode has always been one of my favorites. Bernard Fox was a funny character in many shows of the day--the amorous night-school teacher of Laura Petrie and a few appearances as klutzy Col. Crittendon on Hogan's Heroes are two of his best remembered roles. Here he plays an Englishman taking a bike trip around the US.
He happens upon Andy outside Andy's house and asks for directions. While following the map Andy drew him, he foolishly causes a minor traffic accident and somehow doesn't have the $40 or so he is told it will cost to fix the man's truck that was damaged. I don't understand how he was going to bicycle far if his funds were already that low, let alone return to England--OK, he could have purchased a round-trip ticket to explain that part. But he seemed to be early in his exploration of our country--still didn't have the hang of riding on the right side of the road, he quipped. How could his funds already be so low? Because of the accident, Barney hauls him into the courthouse before Justice of the Peace Andy, who never lets on to Barney that he already met Malcolm a bit earlier. The highlight of the show to me was the astonished look on Barney's face when, after he told Andy that he thought the man with the heavy accent might be from Canada, then Andy slyly said he might be from Eckmundwyke, England. Andy said, "Ask him." When Barney did and Malcolm said the very town Andy just named, Barney's mouth opened as he gazed at Andy in amazement.
Since he couldn't pay for the damage he caused, Andy thought he could perform handyman chores around his house to earn enough. But Malcolm only broke a window and proved totally inept at those chores, but jumped at the chance to cook and clean for Andy and Opie, since Aunt Bee was away for a few days.
He was super at cooking and teaching Opie some magic tricks but was a bit of a pest as he insisted Andy dress up for supper and such. This led to him overhearing Andy admitting to Barney that he was not totally loving Malcolm's housekeeping, so Malcolm decides to leave right away.
But Andy found out what happened and he drives out and finds him, smiles at Malcolm and "orders" him back to continue his duties--in essence, an apology without apologizing for hurting his feelings, and Malcolm returned happily, not leaving until Aunt Bee returned.
I thought Malcolm could have been worked into the show as a regular. His few return visits were also quite funny, even a color one where he confronted Ernest T. Bass.
Landowners are considered "Royalty" in Hooterville
Uncle Joe and Janet return home late one night. Thus, Joe is getting himself a snack when Bobbie Jo and Orrin return a few minutes later from a date. Although they have been dating most of a year (this last season) Orrin only wants to shake hands with Bobbie Jo on saying goodnight, before she invites him inside for a snack. On encountering Joe, the curmudgeon gets mad when he hears again that Orrin's Jeep broke down (which we don't know to be true or not) and orders him out of the hotel and to stop dating his niece.
The next morning, Orrin shows up, ready to give away mementos as he plans to move away, since Uncle Joe will never approve of his dating Bobbie Jo. Accidentally, a paper falls out of his family Bible that turns out to be a deed to his ancestor, giving him title to the entire Hooterville Valley (since Orrin is the last in his family).
Without Orrin making any demands, everyone starts treating him like royalty, even calling him "King." (I never knew landowners in this country were "kings." Really?) Uncle Joe acts like some sort of butler for Orrin, who apparently has no desire to take possession of anyone's land or to make money on it somehow, but just likes being treated so well.
(Spoiler coming) Then Janet returns from a trip to the county seat and reports that she has learned that the deed was granted during the Civil War, when Hooterville was in the Confederacy. Somehow, this means that Orrin's ancestor was not the proper owner, so Orrin isn't either. She concocts a way for Orrin to get on Uncle Joe's good side by tearing up the deed as though he is giving everything back, and promises to keep it a secret between the two of them.
Aside from there being few laughsa couple of chuckles is about it, the plot is somewhat of a ripoff from an early Andy Griffith Show where one of the townsfolk had a bond issued during the Civil War. Only instead of being bought with Confederate money, here this deed seems to have been properly issued to someone and it makes no sense that land purchased during the war did not properly belong to Orrin's relativeand thus to Orrin. It would have made more sense to learn that after acquiring the land, Orrin's ancestor sold it to several people and that the deed simply was useless at presentwhich would explain all the people with titles to their land today.
Uncle Joe's rant made no sense to me. Since the Jeep did break down often, did Joe not believe Orrin? Bobbie Jo wasn't even asked if the Jeep broke down. Does he not trust her to tell him the truth? They are both clearly well-past 21, so why can't she come home late? I never got the whole Uncle-Joe-hates-Orrin season-long storyline. He never seemed to be against Steve dating any of his nieces a couple of years ago: Suddenly he's super-protective of one of them.
Another weak episode from the season that shouldn't have been. Out of good ideas, most of this final season was not worth watching. A 3 might be a generous score.
Killing Jesus (2015)
Mostly ignored the highlights
Along with the criticisms others have added, I wish to add my complaints about the way this film mostly ignored the high points in the life of Jesus.
The story of him comforting the lady with leprosy was presented in such a way as to appear that nothing happened to her other than that Jesus was nice to her.
Almost all the other stories considered miraculous were omitted. When we got to the Last Supper--the key part of the scene was omitted.
I couldn't help but compare this to the 11 p.m. sports reader presenting us highlights of, let's say, a Tiger 6-5 win over the Yankees. He shows 2 minutes of clips of the game, 18 plays in all: 6 pitches that were simply called "Ball Two" by the umpire, 4 pop-up outs, 3 ground-outs, 3 fly outs, one single, and one run scoring on a wild pitch. Fans would be screaming, "Where are the highlights?" The crucifixion scene presented Jesus on the right side of the trio, instead of in the middle. Didn't matter, I guess, since in this film there was no exchange of words with the other two victims.
It was almost strange at the beginning, when we saw a new-born baby, but he seemed to just be in a room--not a stable/manger of any kind, and there was nothing else about the going's on in Bethlehem.
Jesus was depicted as having no idea who he really was, at least, for almost all of his life. Since the Bible makes it clear that his earthly parents knew from the get-go, I think it would be hard to figure they never told him what they knew--if indeed he didn't already know.
The oddest thing was that, at times, Jesus and a couple of the others seemed to be speaking with a Scottish accent. Now this wasn't true throughout the film, which only makes it more bizarre.
I liked many of the settings and costumes and there were some good scenes, but if you're going to present, under any title, a film depicting someone's life...
...for the love of...you know...include the scenes that almost anyone would say were the high points of the man's life!
Terrible way to end a great series
Sadly, the final Columbo is one of the absolute weakest in the entire series.
What fans have loved since the series began consists largely, of four elements: 1) Columbo's discussing facts of the case or actions of people with the killer 2) seeing a few possible clues as we witness the murderer either commit the crime or the cover-up attempts afterward, and joyfully noting when Columbo finds those same clues; 3) humorous scenes involving the lieutenant, and 4) discovering new technologies, such as video recorders, computerized security systems, or learning about behind-the-scenes matters such as how music is scored for a film, or the making of a movie, running a military academy, a winery, a fitness club, a perfume company, or other businesses.
This Columbo focused on the owner of a nightclub, a "rave" club specifically. The characters are totally people I didn't recognize. The characters are totally people I didn't recognize. In the old days you had Jack Cassidy and Robert Conrad and Johnny Cash and William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy and other big names. Here we have Matthew Rhys and Jennifer Sky. I looked at their IMDb bios and don't recall ever seeing any of these "stars" appearances in their modest historiesand both of them did the bulk of their work AFTER this episode, making them far less famous then than they are now.
The old Columbos had famous people in lesser roles, such as Larry Storch, Tyne Daly, Valerie Harper, and more. If I ever saw one of the other actors I don't recall them at all.
There wasn't one scene in this that seemed like it was designed to make me laugh, or even chuckle. Nobody thought Columbo did anything odd, and he never had to apologize for making a mess or anything of the kind. In fact, the "old warehouse" look of this nightclub from the outside made Columbo's rumpled appearance look like he belonged there. He wasn't visiting a mansion or a magnificent office like usual.
There were two deaths in this one. Tony, a partner in this new club was just a day and a half away from collecting, legally, the money needed for the club to open when he visited Vanessa, his ex-wife. He saw a photo of her with his partner, Justin, and got enraged and grabbed her in an angry way. She shoves him a bit and he tumbles and lands on a coffee tabledead. Now in a Perry Mason, she would have run away and come back to discover he was dead and that she was charged. We would later learn that the fall onto the table didn't kill him but that someone else came in, found him unconscious and killed him. Here, he was dead. Because his family has mob connections, she didn't want to be connected at all. But if it was known that he died thenthe money that was coming would never be available. So the plan was to simply hide the body, letting the money kick in and the man become a "missing person" forever.
But somebody saw them hiding the body and blackmailed the pair. In what must be almost unprecedented, the blackmailer agreed to meet his victim in the blackmailer's own apartment, and even asked the guy to get him a "girl"which could mean a party girl or a prostitute, from the way it was presented.
I ask, who asks someone to do them a favor right in the middle of blackmailing that person? Justin shows up commits the show's first real murder.
There were no clues for us to spot. In fact, right after Justin arrives at the scene of his partner's death and he tells her they need to hide this body for 36 hours, we cut to 36 hours later and never see any of their actions. We cannot see any possible clues when this happens.
How Columbo found the first body was rather lucky and I think hard to believe. I won't give it away, but there are several other possibilities why the thing that triggered Columbo's discovery were just as likely to be the cause of the thing he observed. Furthermore, given the time frame, I find it hard to believe Justin could have changed plans in the way he did to hide the body, as depicted. There wouldn't have been time.
So we have a laugh-less Columbo, with no clues for viewers to follow, killers that only willingly killed a blackmailer, and looks at a business world that was absolutely uninteresting. As Columbo enters the place, he makes his way through the crowd of dancers as all sorts of colored lights flash on and off, making my eyes need to look away until that scene was over. It was physically hard to watch.
I thought this a terrible way for a great series to end. I give it a 3 and am probably generous.
Outwitting Mayor Stoner
Now they have a town band, comprised of about a dozen men, with Andy playing an instrument AND conducting. They are getting ready for their annual trip to Raleigh for a state-wide competition. (I phrase it like this because we never heard of or from this band on any other episode.) Barney has decided he wants to join the band. He sent away to Cymbal City in Chicago for a pair of "Andre Kostelanetz Marchers" (named after a very famous conductor whose band produced many albums over several decades). Of course, he had to surprise Andy with his new "instrument" by banging them loudly right behind his head.
As Andy headed for a meeting in the mayor's office, he spotted Freddy Fleet and his Band with a Beat. (In their earlier appearance, the same sort of traveling band with a long station wagon was headed by Bobby Fleet.) After exchanging pleasantries, including meeting a new "horn" that's trumpet player to you and me, a man named Phil who had a goatee and used all the lingo of musicians of the era, Andy went to the meeting and was stunned to hear that the mayor did not want to approve funding the band's trip tomorrow because they are "the worst band in the entire state." Andy gets the mayor to give them a chance, but rehearsal is chaotic and when the mayor sits in, the sound surely reminds old Brooklyn fans of the famous Dodger Sym-phoney Band, as they play their own sounds all separately and you can barely recognize the Stars and Stripes Forever. The mayor repeats that he won't pay for this band's trip because they are so horrible.
Andy, unable to improve the band enough, wants to preserve funding for the trip because it is an expected annual outing for the boys. So he has to con the mayor and I won't reveal how in case someone reading this wants to watch and doesn't remember/or know what happened.
Barney shakes up everyone with his loud cymbal playing and the ingenious way Andy tricks the mayor make for one of the funniest episodes in the series. So what if the mayor's actions make no political sensealienating the voters without saving the taxpayers more than a little money. I think it's too bad they didn't have more episodes where Andy outwitted the mayor.