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Suburgatory: Pilot (2011)
"Family" comedy fails miserably
I watched this because I like a lot of the actors involved (Jeremy Sisto, Alan Tudyk, Ana Gasteyer) but it's a hot mess.
There really shouldn't be so much unintentional sexual tension between a father & daughter in a sitcom - just saying! Sisto & Levy give OK performances, but their interactions as father & daughter are simply not believable.
The premise is a sort of live-action Daria meets Mean Girls, but it lacks any genuine heart. Cheryl Hines & Alan Tudyk probably were the highlights of this episode, but everyone involved deserves a better quality project, stat!
This is a truly awful film with a good cast (CONTAINS SPOILERS)
The actors & actresses are fairly talented & well-cast, but the plot is just stupid & played out. SPOILER ALERT: someone has DADDY ISSUES!
My favorite parts of this film, aside from Benjamin Bratt's beauty, were the supporting college students. They're all types, so much so that you can almost see the cookie cutter scars. But I didn't even recognize Zooey Deschanel & I loved her party-girl character - you don't often see them in films without an unnecessary layer of judgement. Gabrielle Union is a flawless human being and does well in a thankless part. She should have been rewarded with a long makeout session w/Bratt... but she already got to make out with John Cho, so maybe that' just my jealousy talking.
It's sort of like Poison Ivy (the Drew Barrymore "thriller") with less camp; I would have enjoyed the film more if it didn't take itself seriously. Unfortunately, it does, so it's not worth watching unless you're a fan of one of the actors.
Our Fathers (2005)
For a TV movie, impressively sensitive without being sentimental
I think this is the second film I have bothered to review on IMDb, and I've been a member for years. Partly because I was moved, and partly because I was surprised that it was such a quality production.
I can't speak to the accuracy of this film, as I did not follow this story when it was happening in Boston. But I was truly amazed that this film managed to cover the ground that it did without ever dipping into the typical sensationalism of made-for-TV films about child abuse, sex scandals, and other "ripped from the headlines" fare.
Every performance is remarkably nuanced - no scenery chewing, yet you deeply care for the majority of the characters. Excellent casting. My only complaint is that there were so many characters, it became hard to keep track, and I wanted to know more about some of them than others (although I imagine some characters were "composites").
Difficult topics such as the victimization of children by adult authority figures are rarely done as well as this movie. Law and Order SVU and other crime shows should take a few hints from this film.