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Republic of Doyle (2010–2014)
4/10
Tried streaming it twice! Still pretty bad
10 March 2018
The only reason I can think of for this show being really bland and tiresome is the writers have no imagination

.
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Monarch of the Glen (2000–2005)
7/10
Great for Streaming *Small Spoilers* about annoying character
10 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Thing about streaming videos from Netflix and Amazon is you get hooked. Bad thing is that the characters' incongruities get amplified and so does the recycle of plot devices.

This happens all the time in long series, but some deal better than others. An example of good handling is Last Tango in Halifax. The human foibles are logical and understandable.

But 'Monarch..' is beginning to grate about the beginning of season five. The unrequited love gambit has hit every character in the group. Now that is stretching it, but the worst and most grating character has become 'Duncan'... the one character in the series who never seems to grow or learn anything from his bumbling fails.

Sooner or later you're thinking he's stuck on stupid. A graduate of the Short Bus who MIGHT be able to graduate to driving it. This isn't the fault of the actor of course. It's the fault of the writers taking the easy way out.

Still worth the watch for as long as you can take a key character who is a cardboard cutout.
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The Killing (2011–2014)
6/10
Sets a new standard for American TV
18 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
AMC continues their quest for out of the ordinary fare and really scores with this program. Too real, too gritty, too illuminative of human faults and foibles.

I hate it.

I watched Mad Men and got hooked. The portrayal of real life highly competitive business and the effects on the characters was riveting.

I didn't like Breaking Bad at first but eventually got interested even though the main plot is hardly grounded in reality. Dead or Jailed after a couple weeks would be far more likely.. but hey, there were still facets of the plot that showed sparks of humanity and likability in the characters.

I saw none of that in the first three episodes of the Killing, so.. I quit.

Someone said it was a mix of Twin Peaks and 24 and I cant argue much with that. With the grit of the Da Vinci Inquest and City Hall thrown in. In other words it LOOKS like Vancouver production values.

And it's certainly true there's no ridiculous quick-solve CSI crap in it either. In fact it's the opposite, this is going to be drawn out so that the obligated viewer -the spouse or SO of a fan- will feel like he's been subjected to the Rack.

Will definitely appeal to those who admire Nietzsche and nihilist artistic expression. Which I don't.

There's a market for this genre but it's not me who likes to enjoy what I watch for some reason. Seriously... there was no one in the three episodes I thought would be interesting to know. Let alone would like to be around. Certainly NOT the heroine detective. And that is the departure from reality. If that character was on Law and Order, she'd be dragged off duty and assigned 5 days a week with the departmental psychologist.

My rating of it is on artistic value alone. If I was to give an overall rating it would be 3.
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8/10
It's Complicated is Complicated
10 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I don't like obvious, pandering Chick-Flicks. In fact I hate them. This isn't a 'Chick-Flick' unless your definition almost solely depends on the plot's perceived point of view.

This film is a masterpiece of social commentary because the writing and the characters allow the human relationships to develop far deeper than included in the screenplay, once you start to wonder about the real people.

In the opening scenes, I found myself wondering about the casting as much as thinking about the plot set-up.

Streep I understand. Someone has to play the role, and Diane Keaton's now a stereotypical caricature in this element.

Baldwin.. WHY? He's far from simpatico in almost every movie he's been in, exceptions being Hunt for Red October, Great Balls of Fire {he made Jimmy Swaggart human tho you have to dig it out of the script bias} and of course, Beetle Juice.

John Krasinski.. Why? Though he's getting the recognition he deserves, he plays the prospective son-in-law in what shouldn't be more than a sub-plot.

Steve Martin.. he's done small but key parts before and it seemed apparent that this would be another of those. But there's others that are more pleasing to the integration of what this movie SEEMED to be.

The answers became apparent later on.

The main characters, Streep, Baldwin and by extension Martin are ALL successful by almost any measure. Except one. That being their marital past. The scenario is that the last of the brood is about to strike out on his own, bringing the parents together and raising the question in their, especially Streep's, mind.. Where Do I go From Here!

Baldwin sees his family and wonders why he left them for a 'trophy wife' who brings the baggage of raising yet another brood. He realizes he really doesn't want to go through that again, because he doesn't relate to kids at all until they are full adults. And that's part of the plot throughout. - It's important to understand that 'Pedro' is portrayed how he's seen by the main characters, not how he really is. The kid couldn't possibly be that bratty because the glimpses we see of Agness portray a reasonably well-adjusted woman, not a self-centered narcissist. So the REAL motivator for Jake is he wishes he hadn't taken the easy way out and he doesn't want to go through all that again.

Streep's Jane is set on the need to attain the accouterments of personal success that everyone wants in Life's middle stage: A huge personal workshop to indulge her passion, which to her is an over-indulging kitchen, and a nest with a view fitting her self-image.

Martin is portrayed as Streep's counterpoint. He also was left alone and wonders what he did wrong, and spent years until he realized he did nothing wrong, Stuff Happens. He's a 'nerd' because he sees himself and his vocation as one and the same, yet he obviously is successful by understanding others' wants and needs. It just took him a long time to realize that from his personal life, and that is also key to the end of the film. -This is NO cameo or small part!

John Krasinski.. ah, deeper into the movie he becomes a key plot element because he's the indicator for family loyalty. He has a connection with the well being of the family even though he's not officially a part of it yet. And that shows that, whatever the characters' personal peccadilloes, the kids grew up as far from dysfunctional as you can get.

For the shallow, there's the obvious fun stuff.

Ewww: We have to see Baldwin nude. Ahhh: We Don't have to see Streep nude

Ewww: Old peepul have sex, and freaking THINK about having sex. Ahhhh: We don't care about young peeps having sex. In fact, according to this movie, they may not even have sex at all. - That's a delicious plot twist, isn't it!

Hahhaaaa: Old Peepul smoke dope. From the most potent joint ever made by man! Huh? Well, whatta we know about grass. The reaction's purely personal, and situation dependent. Jane takes her first hit in thirty years and immediately goes into stoner mode BECAUSE she's so nervous about her date with Adam. Hahhaaa! Turned 'Something's gotta Give' on its head. Nothing REALLY wrong with Jake, just over-excited. Take that Jack, you weenie!

There's even more little 'Easter Eggs': Martin and Streep sitting in a Swing. My kid says 'Hey! Look at that.. obviously they threw that swing up at the last minute.' Later it seems possible that the swing itself is a 'fun bit' when you see the 2 end of swing Views, vs the 2 cam views from 'Inside the Swing'. There's lots more but it would take forever and we have to see the thing several times to dig 'em out. Even the scene from the staked out 'addition' is well done and shows exactly the right elevations, though it seems stupid and wrong at first.

Summary: This is a deliciously deep romantic comedy that should be enjoyed by anyone who bothers to actually get involved. Nancy Meyers is a cinematic genius if for nothing else than her particular viewpoint and the ability to express it at so many levels, including attention to detail.

I give this film.. again FILM, not Movie!... 8.5. I just happened to see it on 'Mother's Day' and it was perfect for that.
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7/10
My Head is exploding..
27 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
... when I read some of the reviews of this movie.

The bottom line for some seems to be "I was promised a Romantic Comedy and this isn't a Romantic Comedy"

First address that: >>>>YES IT IS. Picture a Romantic comedy made by the Coen Bros.<<<<

Even the casting is parody-farcical. Maybe some would have got the plot if Geraldo Rivera was cast instead of Thomas Hayden Church. But wouldn't that have been a little obvious? And did you catch Bullock's makeup and wardrobe? THAT is also part of the plot.

What other semi-serious actress has the guts to do that?

Just because a movie has no obvious punch-lines doesn't mean it fails. And by the way, Bullock plays an 'Obsessive Compulsive' not an Autistic!

FREAKING THINK about it, people! Recall the scene where the deaf kids emerged from the woods .. to see a carnival across a verdant meadow and the kids all start running across the field. I yelled 'Sinkhole'. I truly believe the makers wanted me to see that coming. And why were they walking through the woods to get there, anyway!

Here's the thing.. if you understand Coen Brothers style humor, and understand that Bullock does not take herself all that seriously, you'll like this.
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Android Apocalypse (2006 TV Movie)
2/10
Go back to sleep or click to LMN
23 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Read the other reviews. They were optimistic. From the same channel that brings you ECW rasslin and Ghost Hunters finding weird stuff going on in creepy places, we get this crap.

Add 'Enemy Mine' to the plot sources.

I would guess 90% of the budget was spent on the flying robot bugs. In the apocalyptic future, the vehicles of choice are Jeep Wranglers and Studio prop trucks. And computers will be Acer Laptops. The GOOD thing is that we were spared the ubiquitous huge slow turning fan blades. Perhaps they were already rented.

As I write this, SKyFIE is showing a Tales from the Crypt episode. For those who think the actors in A-A did okay.. they should compare to the nobodies in 'Tales' The GOOD thing is that in ten years high school kids will be able to make better, more believable, action adventures.. or as good, anyway. Because we all played those roles before we were ten.
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4/10
Could have been SO much better.. and still can
4 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Whoever did the CGI for this movie gets a '10' but there's too much of it and too much of it's gratuitous. Effectively the idea seemed to be to beat the effects from the original.

Whoever wrote and directed it gets a '2'. The cutting director gets a 3

This movie is no more than storyboard outline strung together haphazardly.

The scenario/plot is good but it's too convoluted and suggestive of writing by committee where no one took charge and said: "Look, THIS is the track we're taking" and enforced it.

As for the poor acting, I think you can blame it on that as well. Others have remarked on how Kennedy has done so much better, and you can look at the character of Natalie Tieger on Monk to see what Traylor Howard can do with decent writing and directing. The bottom line is those principals KNEW they were making a stinkbomb.

MOST of the things wrong with it could be resolved with a re-cut. Cut out the end of the car-chase, for example. And while I love the 'Michigan J Frog' references, too much time is spent on it and the point could be made with less exposure.

I wouldn't say I'd watch it again even if it were re-cut, though.
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And now it turns out...
27 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
That this film was apparently partially funded, $400,000, by Saddam's Oil-for-Food vouchers, via a terror linked operative in the US.

Google 'al hanooti' 'ritter' I harbor doubts about Ritter in the first place. The smell of 'Judas' occurs to me every time I read anything he says or writes, since the contradictory expressions from earlier in his career.

Let's face it.. sanctions especially LONG-Term ones Don't work and encourage exactly what we found in Iraq. Looking back at the evidence compiled suggests we should have gone all the way into Baghdad the first time.

Some will always believe propaganda, especially if it fits overall political views, and Ritter did his bit.
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Lost Behind Bars (2008 TV Movie)
3/10
Oh.. Save me!
29 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It's an amazing effort by cast and crew.

The story was a first time effort; Good -if hackneyed- plot, awful execution. The screenplay was a first time effort. Passable dialogue, awful everything else! There was a third writer collaborating but he obviously asked to be uncredited. I've never written anything for public perusal and I wouldn't want people thinking I wrote the scenario either.

It's really too bad. For a chick channel production, the thing wasn't bad, especially the acting was competent, in fact saved it from being turned off. But the pointers were so obvious that the heroine looked like an idiot for not running straight to the state Attorney General after a couple days looking at the facts.

But that would have ruined the story wouldn't it. The second problem was the heroine continuing to go alone into what were perilous situations when it was obvious the killer was a psychopath and didn't seem to care whether or not he was caught.
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2/10
A neverending cinematic nightmare
20 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Others have sought out something nice to say about this piece of crap.. and most settle on the cinematography, and I have to agree if there's ANYTHING that redeems the film, that would have to be it.

Or maybe if you rated the actors on their ability to emote gibberish without breaking into laughter, then you'd have to give them credit for that... Otherwise the thing is exactly like a dreamstate entered into after eating bad shellfish... or maybe a bad acid trip.

The soundtrack, derivative of 15 or 20 other peyote mystic-westerns.. so don't give me 'it's amazing'!

Otherwise, just like any other variation on a kids' good-guy/bad-guy 'fighting' game... over and over and over and over. Which is probably why you'll only see it broadcast on the sci-fi channel, or gathering dust on the cheap rent video section.

But you know... if all the shot footage was intact and given to a new editing director, I bet he could make something watchable out of it. It would probably be a lot shorter
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9/10
Only contains what we should already know..
5 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
.... but many don't.

When a religion is hijacked by the most extreme and radical elements within it, elements which use the writings of the religion's Holy Book to justify their actions, what do we call it? When those extreme elements call for the conversion and subjugation of unbelievers by force or threats of force and death... what do we call it? When they impose religious law on believer and unbeliever alike, what do we call it? If this was medieval Europe, we might call it an "Inquisition", if this was the Western Hemisphere in the 15 and 1600's we might call it 'Conquista'.

All those were bloody repressive movements, carried out by a "True Religion" with the goal of 'Bringing Light and Justice to the World'.

This documentary may be overly preachy and ingrained with propagandistic effects but, if the core of it is true... that a very small number of the members threaten the same civilization that overcame those earlier atrocities... and that those OTHERS within it, dare not protest on fear of meeting the same fate as unbelievers, then I cannot see how there CAN be another side of the issue.

memri.org has been documenting the tide of radical Islam in the middle east for years, carrying preachers' public pronouncements advocating death to unbelievers and the subjugation of western world, then WHAT IS the moderate voice of Islam? And where are those Muslims who stand against radicalism? There are a few out there and they are very brave because, sooner or later, they have a contract put on their heads. No... it doesn't matter WHAT the artistic value of the production is, it's the truth that counts and the truth is in the fatwa's put out by those who are defended by the left and by Islam's self proclaimed spokesmen.

And THAT is what the film is about... not its production values.. or some metric of 'Fairness'. The fatwa's and preachers' sermons mean what they say or they don't.
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7/10
Out of the closet.. a little gem. And that's MAY contain..
12 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
No, I mean this movie {not FILM} is like one of those things you discover when cleaning out your closet. Maybe you didn't even recall ever having it, but a treasure of sorts.

I wont go into any plot or meanings of them..just some observations:

1. Norton in NO way played this over the top or disinterested... he captured the character perfectly: a pure idealist, neither really innocent or naive, nor stupid. He KNOWS what's what.. just wants nothing to do with it.

2. DeVito plays his favorite role... a really nasty little conniver, so what's wrong with that? 2a. Robin Williams plays yet another variation of robin williams.. and is well cast. Much better than his low point "Father's Day"

3. I'd seen Ms Keener before, but don't recall thinking, wow.. she's sexy! Well, she is.

4. Maybe the TV show scenes were a takeoff on Barney.. but, guess what! There's a polish and wit and GOOD VIBE there that Barney never ever approached.. even in the silly little songs; like an order of magnitude better than the real thing. Hear what I'm saying: this only reinforces why so much scorn is still thrown at Barney the Dinosaur, because the spoof, as often seen in Weird Al's takeoffs on MJ, is MUCH BETTER DONE!

And yes... it is not a kiddie movie, it's an adult dark comedy and has language to match, but if you've ever run across one of these kid-show personalities off the set, you wont be at all surprised.

There's only a FEW belly-laughs in the movie.. but, as others say, a smile all the way through.
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4/10
Got time on your hands? Then try all three: Book, 1939, and 1992
4 December 2005
First, rent Gary Sinise' 1992 version.

Then read the book, then watch this version of the story. You probably wont make it all the way through. I read the book, first, as a kid... and not because I was assigned to read it but because I liked to read.

Then I saw this movie on late-night TV, you know when almost every local channel ran movies on the weekend.... and I thought it was poor.

In the years since, I've seen TV adaptations and TV broadcasts of stage play versions. None carried the full flavor and emotion of the book.

It is widely accepted that thirties cinema was the peak of the art. This film, whether the exception or the model, proves otherwise.

Gary Sinise did a far better and more faithful adaptation of the book. If you were to buy one version, I suspect it will be the 1992 film.
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That '70s Show (1998–2006)
Reality based slapstick
4 December 2005
I do a lot of commenting on movies, not much on TV. But there's one thing that strikes me in reading comments on here, in either genre.

Those that pan a production that has proved a popular hit, often display more about themselves than that which they target for their brickbats.

Let's address a few criticisms:

It's not really accurate - Well, it IS a comedy, and the best comedy consists of magnifying quirks and oddities of human nature. And, being in my sixties, if I tell you my small town Midwest social life a decade before, was much like theirs, replete with the same sort of characters, would you believe it? It happened, with more beer and less weed.

The guys all are slavering for sex and the girls wield power by withholding sex - First, what is the underlying theme of male-female relationships throughout recorded social history? Get it? Second...not true. Check Kitty and Red. And why is Kelso such a dumb-ass.. because he has NO trouble getting any! And I really don't see Donna dangling her 'bait'And Yeah... Eric is constantly wanting, he IS late teens/early twenties, RIGHT? but note he doesn't skirt-chase? Jackie is the only one that might be accused of 'bait'dangling' but look how she treats the act... she never says ANYTHING about it. Because it's inconsequential to her, totally fitting for her character and don't tell me you don't know someone like that!

There have even been a few who object to the Fez character as 'stereotypical' foreigner.. get a life! Notice they treat him as if he weren't?

No... this comedic plot-line is certainly as accurate in depiction as Mary Tyler Moore's show or Murphy Brown, and, IMO, much more than Drew Carey.

So I must ask what it says about those who don't think it's funny or that the plots are ridiculous.... do force yourself to watch some reality shows that depict real people without their masks, or even have someone tie you in a chair and turn on Jerry Springer.

Then tell me if this show is ridiculous.

Believe me...I WAS Eric, and I married Donna.

And I add my kudos to the other commenters who remarked on the Turners keeping their politics out of the show; it would have died an early death, otherwise.
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A Man Apart (2003)
7/10
makes Diesel legit!
10 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I see most that have commented lately agree with me, he shows REAL acting depth and empathy on this movie.

It was a lot better than anyone had a right to expect.. As to his "being no Bronson", gimme a break! He's BETTER.. and I'm qualified because I was there when Bronson was a hack bit player.

I ALSO thought the ending wasn't right.. it did not tie anything up, and that was probably the intention, but it didn't even resolve the point that he hadn't really gained closure either. I have a feeling this was a last-minute cutting-room attempt to be "different" in setting up a sequel and the writers had packed up and left...

I also saw "Knockaround Guys" and he almost made THAT movie work, though he only had a supporting role. His was by far the most believable character.

I would right now, rather watch Diesel in an action flick than watch Stallone or ESPECIALLY the wooden van Damme.
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Retro Puppet Master (1999 Video)
2/10
Un-believable!
18 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
In the literal sense....

Reminds you of those "cops-and-robber" or cowboys-indians" role-playing games you played with your 8 year old friends.

Tedious and un-inspired, the storyline was obviously written to make bad acting and dialogue seem as part of the plot, but all it does is showcase it. I cant believe John Badham let his name be associated with this piece of crap. This could have been done better by a high school film buff who had been given the camera lighting, filmstock and editing

Destined to be a time-filler on Sci-fi channel, when they've overused everything else from their library, and barely better than the paid programming shill downstream.
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Sliding Doors (1998)
Dont watch this casually, and only from beginning!
11 April 2004
This caveat should be posted every month or so... you will be confused if you dont give it all your attention.

If you havent got the idea by now, the movie intercuts between two plot flows.

It's an excellent Paltrow exhibition, and not overly smarmy.... and I suppose the Comedy referred to in the classification is meant to be "Human Comedy"

The cast is excellent, the editing is very good - considering the scenario.

I dont care for the ending but sometimes life takes those turns.

Guys.. you had better have your life in order, and be beyond suspicion, to be watching this with your wife or GF.
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Why not make it a LITTLE believable?
10 January 2004
Hey, I've seen a lot of dumb premise movies made for kids...

The original Air Bud wasnt too bad. "Soccer Dog" STUNK.

If this had been about a PopWarner club team, there MIGHT have been a premise. But this is a SCHOOL team. Are we SURE Bud is passing his classes? But I will assume this movie was made by political progressives who would allow for their utopia in which "If you can perform" you dont need to follow rules.

Never mind that a dog cant catch even a pee-wee size football.

But maybe it's never too early to make your kid a cynic.
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NOT a Documentary,,, just propaganda, see why!
26 March 2003
Michael Moore is a Liar and a Fraud and he has CONTINUOUSLY defrauded the Academy as well as the general Public.

Guidelines prohibit inclusion of URL's but there is an excellent piece by a conservative that I DONT ask you to believe, but to use as a reference to do your OWN investigation. When you check the REAL facts made fiction you may be ill!

You can find this and other sites by going to the famous search engine, Google and entering:

truth about columbine hardylaw

You will see SEVERAL sites that debunk the very premise of this movie and there is plenty of material to use to make your own investigation ... if you are a fair-minded person, you will be sickened by the misrepresentation of fact by way of editing and outright lies.

And there are too many to even recount here but the NRA facts are total fiction made from editing speeches given over a period of months to seem as reaction to Columbine. The "rocket thru the streets in middle of the night" is whole cloth as well.

In short, if people in this movie, including Heston.. seem callous and unfeeling, it is ONLY because Moore made it that way.

So if the movie is a fraud, how can one rate it as high as it seems to be. Yep, Moores films are fun to watch but his inappropriate display at the Oscars was truly in keeping with promoting his far-left agenda at any price. \ Again I DONT ask you to believe me.. do a little work and you will see for yourself.

What a bunch of Lemmings we are!
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Soldier (I) (1998)
7/10
Saw it for the third time...
10 November 2002
I haven't read any other comments on this one yet.

And I liked this movie the first time I saw it though I thought it was sort of derivative of the other Kurt Russell apocalyptic flicks..

On the 3rd time around, I've decided it's the best of his efforts here. Better than his 2 portrayals of "Snake".

Go look at the vote distribution and you will be a little surprised that this registered highest with women, 30 and older.

I think this is because of the high degree of humanity exuded in the script and message. For the guys there's enough "action" to make it worth while... for the women it conveys that there is a spark of compassion in all of us, even the most hard-bitten military types.

Gary Busey is typically good as the military (v gestapo type) commander.
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Grand Canyon (1991)
8/10
Hidden in the stacks of tapes...
25 August 2002
At your video store, you might find this gem.

The human condition in modern times LA. No exaggerated drama, just a collapsing of events that might happen to any group of individuals over time.

Helps you understand the joys and desperation of urban life.

The direction and cutting are top class. Cinematography and music very much follows the mood and situation. And the CAST!!!

Excellent casting and excellent acting. No one out of place or out of character.

And it's NOT really as much a downer as you would expect. I gave it 7 of 10.

If you havent seen it, DO!
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If they made this movie today...
25 August 2002
It would never be released.

I saw this movie when it was released, thought it was crap then...I think it is even stupider now!

A good story/plot is ruined by artless cinematography, gimmickry and ham acting. Makeup by Neighborhood costume store.

It's significant that, whenever the thing is shown on TCM or AMC, there's a caveat apology either about production values, makeup or the gimmick itself.

watch the da** thing in terms of today's criticality, with no sentiment.. you will agree with me.
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MADE Sissy Spacek!
10 March 2002
It's hard to believe it's been 22 years since this movie came out. And it's maybe NOT so amazing that it holds up as a classic.

Spacek came to our attention through "Carrie", but it was Coal Miner's Daughter that proved she was capable of the range of dramatic parts that she's known for today.

Gotta say it pretty much elevated Tommy Lee into the big time as well.. but the SAD part is that Beverly D'Angelo is much better known as Clark's long suffering wife in the "..Vacation.." series than she is for her great acting and singing in this movie.
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Best in Show (2000)
"....Spinal Tap" for the rest of America
7 March 2002
The people that dont laugh at these character vignettes either find it too close for comfort or are so divorced from middle class environment that they believe everyone acts like this.

Plus have no appreciation of irony.

And we all do, some! Dont we?

And the dogs are beautiful.. and other than the Weim made neurotic by its owners.. very appealing.

8 of 10
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Misses all the way around...
12 January 2002
Since I cant put a finger on the real problem, the actors being adequate and not overtly bad... I have to put the blame on the Director Shankman..

Check out his credits; I see nothing that would show he could carry off this very ordinary storyline and make it palatable for anyone with the slightest critical taste.

Lopez would make a good supporting actress in a GOOD romantic comedy.

McConnaughey looks better in a western setting, cowboy hat!

Try not to fall asleep
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