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Is he wearing slacks?
5 May 2004
Funny funny movie, although this is my favorite tv show, so I'm biased. It's always nice to see Trace (Crow/Dr. Forrester), who left the show soon after this movie was released. It's nice to see the guys at all, since Sci Fi took the show off the air.

But I digress. The movie is almost exactly like the show, except shot on better film and with better effects. Jokes abound, and the victim is fairly awful. I thought they would have picked a worse movie to mock, though, as This Island Earth was a relatively harmless piece of 50's sci fi fluff. They have dealt with much more dangerous and evil pieces of celluloid than this one. But a good introduction for the novice Mystie. They can always find out about the horror that is Mandos later.

The humor has recently been called juvenile and aimed at teenage boys, but I must disagree, as I am a 25 year old woman with a Master's degree in English and still find the show hilarious. The movie is only a taste of the overall genius that is (or was) MST, and if you at all liked the film, immediately go out and get what DVDs of the show are available. It's worth it.
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Class and the Great War
19 September 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I had to watch this movie as part of my graduate film class, and I didn't have terribly high hopes. I took French classes for five years, and my experience with French movies mostly involved Gerard Depardieu in some state of undress and many cameo appearances by disrobed ladies.

But this wasn't bad...perhaps partly because it was made in 1937, before taking your clothes off onscreen was such a common occurence.

This is, ultimately, a class picture. If you know anything about World War I, you know that a lot of the class ideals about upper class gentility and the way an aristocrat behaves died in the trenches. The war was a great leveller, and that leveling is what is showcased here.

You never see the actual war. This isn't All Quiet on the Western Front. You only see some of the French officer POWs, and their treatment at the hands of their German captors. If you're familiar with war movies, you might be surprised at how cushy these prisoners have it--World War II certainly did not exhibit this kind of easy-going "don't escape now, you said you wouldn't" kind of attitude. But this was a different time, remember, when gentlemen still behaved as such, and those of your social standing were your equals, regardless of nationality.

The unlikely friendship that develops between the Frenchman de Boeldieu and the German von Rauffenstein comes out of this class mentality. They are the upper class that is slowly dying out, due to the large number of lower and working class men that are entering the army and gaining some amount of money and respectability. It is the true emergence of the middle class, and the end of the "grand illusion" that was the importance of "old money". Fellow Frenchmen Marechal and de Boeldieu can never truly be friends, even though their nationality would lead you to accept their friendship over one between supposed enemies--Marechal is working-class, a mechanic. "Your gloves, your tobacco, everything seems to come between us," he tells de Boeldieu.

De Boeldieu does, in the end, sacrifice himself for his countryman, but not simply because it is the patriotic and French thing to do. "For a man of the people, it is terrible to die in war. For you, for me, it's a good solution," he says to von Rauffenstien. For the upper classes, this was truly the way they, and their way of life, died. The men that emerged, like Marechal, were the ones who would go on to shape the world we inhabit today.

Wonderful performances all around, especially from von Stroheim. Truly overall a fairly great movie, and much preferable to seeing Gerard with no clothes.
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The Impostors (1998)
8/10
Love this movie!
20 August 2002
I rented this knowing nothing about it (not much of this kind of thing makes it to Kentucky). I just really like Oliver Platt. So I rented it one night in college, having nothing better to do...

And I loved it. It's really not like any movie I've ever seen. I'm not really a connoisseur of Laurel and Hardy or anyone like that--I'm just your average college kid, I guess. I don't like most American comedy, though, because it's a little too dependent on violence and switching one's brain off. But this movie was so different and so funny! It was silly, sure, but it was smart and really amusing. I love Steve Buscemi in everything he's in, and he was just TOO funny here. I was rolling in the floor.

And Campbell Scott was just great, I loved how he kept popping up at the most inopportune times. But my favorite part, I think, was that little bit with the Hamlet play. I've seen productions like this and known actors like that and it was just PERFECT! The archetypical actor who can't fit his inflated head through the backstage door. It was truly hilarious all the way through, and I don't know anything about what it could be based on. I just liked it a lot. But it's not your average American comedy, and it might inspire a love/hate response in many viewers. I think it's probably an acquired taste.
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My favorite movie
20 August 2002
If you've made it to college and haven't yet seen this movie, YOU MUST GO OUT AND FIND IT! This was the quintessential college experience at my school--we would have Monty Python initiation nights. While I first saw it in high school French class (?!), it was in college that I really developed my love of the film.

There are many seemingly unrelated things in this world that owe directly to this movie--one that immediately comes to mind are the French Peas in a few of the Veggietales episodes. Hugely influential and the funniest movie ever ever ever.

Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt...of ELDERBERRIES! How can you get better than that?
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Reading Rainbow (1983– )
My favorite show
14 June 2002
I grew up watching this show, it first appeared when I was 4 years old. I watched it as I learned to read and as I progressed through school. I still watch it on the occasions I find it on PBS, and I'm now a 22 year old grad student in Literature. I think this show really helps instill the value of reading in young kids--values that will follow them throughout life. I can't think of a better show for kids. And unlike most children's programs, it doesn't lose its charm no matter how old you get. A great great show, one of my personal favorites and a big reason I'm studying English and Literature today.
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Freakazoid! (1995–1997)
Only my favorite cartoon EVER
10 June 2002
Why wasn't this on longer? All I have now are the insanely late showings on the Cartoon Network at 5 in the morning. I love this show. As someone who was late into my teens when this debuted, I could appreciate the obscure pop culture humor that makes this cartoon well above the average Saturday morning fare. This is not a show for kids, this is a cartoon for grownups who actually KNOW what Lost in Space was and get the vast numbers of jokes that go over the heads of most of our younger counterparts.

Oh, I miss this show. The script was so good, terribly well-written and ever so funny. Between this and them taking MST3K away, I really can't think of anything to live for anymore... *sigh*. At least they still rerun them.
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Darn my age and nationality!
26 December 1999
I'm only sad that I'm 20 and American and wasn't born until after these guys stopped the Flying Circus on the other side of the pond. This movie is a classic on college campuses everywhere, including mine. This was my first exposure to Monty Python. I don't remember the first time I saw it, sometime in high school I think, but since then I've seen it several times (a ballpark figure would be around 6 million) and I still laugh as I'm quoting the lines along with the actors. For fans of British comedy, or sketch comedy in general, here is a fine pick for an evening in. These guys made what came later--Kids in the Hall, In Living Color, The State, Mad TV, and even the grandaddy of sketch comedy, Saturday Night Live--hip, cool, and frankly, possible. Of COURSE I recommend this movie to anyone who would like to have a better acquaintance with the beginnings of modern sketch comedy and five guys who are quoted about as often as Shakespeare by people who haven't actually ever seen the show. Sidenote/additional plug: Run out and get your mitts on a couple tapes of The Flying Circus.
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My only complaint is being too young and too American to remember.
26 December 1999
And now for something completely different...Thinking that this was basically the Mercury Mission of sketch comedy, how could it NOT be completely different? They hit the ground running and never slowed down. Every episode is a classic, every episode has at least one sketch that has something quotable in it. There are a few sketches entered into the history books--Dead Parrot, Cheeseshop, Dirty Fork--but even if you yourself have been quoting this stuff for years sight unseen, it's worth a look. These guys were funny. They were the forerunners for what is usual tv today. If you've ever laughed at a Kids in the Hall sketch, if you miss Mtv's The State, if you're a fan of Mad TV or love SNL, you have these five insanity cases to thank. They were cross-dressing twenty years before The Kids in the Hall ever donned frocks. For any college age kid raised on a steady diet of sketch, watching these episodes is a must. Warning: general irreverence, a mildly disturbing amount of animated nudes and scenes of Carol Cleveland in various states of undress (second only to the amount of scenes featuring Terry Jones in various states of undress) abound, so it's not for the young and/or impressionable viewer.
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Sleepy Hollow (1999)
A bit too gory for me.
25 November 1999
This movie had so many good points, when heads weren't flying everywhere. The acting is first rate, the filming is so beautiful, the costuming is amazing, and whatever they did to the scenery I want to live there. And if that's all it was, with just a few incidents of the Horseman doing his thing (enough to be good and scary), it would have been a perfect movie. I enjoy being scared, but I can't deal with being grossed out repeatedly during the span of two hours. Call me queasy, call me girly, call me Ichabod, but I came close to fainting as many times as he did. Okay, there *was* less blood than what there could have been, thank you for that. But a few scenes were just disgusting for the sake of being disgusting. I won't go so far as to say which ones, but there were a few things that happened that didn't really need to--they certainly didn't add anything. Sometimes just because you have the special effects capabilities *to* do something doesn't mean you have to, or maybe even *should*. Pass on this one if you've got a weak stomach, or for that matter, even a reasonably strong one. I wish the plotline had had a few less severed heads and a few more shots of Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci's acting, or maybe some more of that glorious landscape. I usually love Tim Burton's movies...they're creepy and unsettling and bizarre. This one was all of those but also way too gross.
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Fight Club (1999)
THIS was a fun ride.
25 November 1999
Up-Front Admission: My initial desire to see this movie was based solely upon Edward Norton's merit. However, after seeing it, I left with a head rush much akin to the kind of feeling you get after riding a roller coaster after two or three turns on the Tilt a Whirl--very disorienting and highly addictive. This film comes out of nowhere and smacks you on the skull so that you see stars. It's completely disturbing, but you can't look away. Needless to say, it kind of messed with my brain a bit. The acting is first rate, the shots are bizarrely beautiful and the plot line left me reeling and with a strange sense that I had been sleepwalking. Huzzahs and kudos all 'round, as this is a film that yeah, *could* have been about guys pummeling each other senseless and nothing else, but instead rose to a level of macabre and psychologically twisting intensity that I've rarely seen in a film. And this is speaking as the ONLY chick in the theater at the showing that I went to. Not just a guy flick, smart girls with a decent stomach can take the plunge as well.
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The Impostors (1998)
8/10
Why can't Americans make more movies like this?
25 November 1999
This is old school film-making at its finest. Plenty of sight gags, a fast moving script, witty jokes (one involving a mirror and captioning is absolutely inspired), and never once does it pander to a low level sense of humor. HERE is a full-on comedy for smart people. Bravo Stanley Tucci, may more people follow your example. It gives hope to those of us lost in a sea of movies geared toward people who find multiple serious injuries amusing. Instead of flying paint cans and people falling downstairs, we have here actual dialogue, a plot, and gags of a less gratuitous nature. A first-class movie all 'round--the team of Tucci and Platt is terrific (Tucci lends a hyperactive genius, and Platt a charming puppy-ish grace that seems so out of proportion with his height). One of my favorite movies upon first viewing.
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Merlin (1998)
A better version than most--maybe not for staunch purists, but a good telling with excellent visuals.
13 August 1999
This telling of an old tale made me happy, and I am definitely not easy to please when it comes to reworkings of legends from places where I have a direct heritage--to wit, I was doing everything but spitting at the screen when I saw the dismal First Knight. What tweaking did take place in this miniseries was mostly forgivable, given show slots and audience and whatnot. It's never easy to adapt a legend like King Arthur to the screen, and more problems arise when the screen is a small one. What could have been an overambitious flop was really a visual masterpiece, fully capturing the magical elements that I always pictured running along with the Arthurian time period. The effects were incredible and the color was amazing. In a lot of movies you wouldn't notice a thing like color, but this was like a Pre-Raphaelite painting for the screen--it was gorgeous. The acting was charming, I loved Martin Short. His character, which could easily have been all mugging and silliness, actually had depth to it. Helena Bonham Carter was wonderful, and Sam Niell--I've not been able to say a bad thing about him yet. *This* is the Camelot, the Merlin, the magic I think of when I read those old books. While some characters may have been a trifle static (Nimue might have been developed more, more time could have been focused on others), the name of the series *is* Merlin, after all, and it does a good job in telling his story. For those who were disappointed, all I can say is if you want something to compare it to, go out and rent First Knight and I guarantee you'll come back to this grateful. It's all a matter of perspective.
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Good intro for new viewers, a change of venue for the fans.
13 August 1999
As a fan of this show from a good way back, I loved this movie. The premise was somewhat hard to understand and bizarre to friends who weren't familiar with the show ("They just talk through movies? Where's the humor?"), but even *they* got it after a while. Indeed, while "This Island Earth" was not nearly as unwatchably hideous as some of the stinkbombs they've done in the past (thoughts of Mitchell still make me faintly nauseous to this day), it provides quite enough camp to riff on (the slacks wearing toad-alien was a favorite). It's a good introduction to the show for people who don't know of it, and it served as an excellent way to get the hard-core MSTies out of the house and into some sort of public activity for at least one night. Basically an episode on a larger screen? Sure, but why not? And for a note of supreme irony, and one which I think Mike and Co. would appreciate, in the theater during my showing there were people sitting ahead of me riffing on the movie of people riffing on a movie. Only in MST. We shall not see its like again, I'm afraid.
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First Knight (1995)
Call me a purist, but this telling was not up to the original standard.
13 August 1999
I wanted so badly to like this movie. I've read so many versions of the Arthurian chronicles and I've liked all of them; the Mallory telling remains my favorite. But this. This was an insult to anyone who paid attention in their British/World Literature class, and was most definitely a slap in the face to anyone familiar with the Arthurian Legend in any form. Each and every scene is a direct contradiction to anything recorded. Sure, it's supposedly a "legend," and therefore open to artistic license, but this dismal rewrite becomes nothing more than a good idea gone horribly and terribly wrong. They could have at least gotten the names right. And maybe one or two events? Again, call me a purist, but I refuse to believe Arthur died in anything close to that manner, and I'll go to my end defending it. And this "Malagant" (whoever the heck *he* was, I recall his name nowhere in anything I've ever read) becomes nothing more than a plot device to spice things up when the dialogue starts to get slow again. You can't just bring in the villain because the lines are petering out! By the end of the movie you can just about time his entrances by the steady breakdown of whatever plot is left. And just where was Merlin? Shame on Sean Connery for doing this farce of a movie; I expected much more from an actor of his stature and talent. The chemistry between Gere and Ormond is at absolute zero; he should really stick to movies with Julia Roberts if he'd like to succeed at the box office. Connery is a decent Arthur for all that, but he cannot save this movie. Nothing, not even King Arthur himself, could save this movie. You want magic and interest and Camelot the way most people picture it? Rent "Merlin," the NBC miniseries that came out in 1997 or so.
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A beautiful new tale of an old Irish fable
13 August 1999
To honestly enjoy this movie, you have to be at least dimly aware some of the finer points of Irish mythology, or be willing to acquaint yourself with them. This is not the stereotypical American view of an Ireland possessed by banshees and leprechauns. This film is a beautiful adaptation of a legend that is not too widely spread. The story reveals the legend of the Selkie--the fairy creatures who were half human, half seal. It is an old tale, probably originally out of Scotland and coming into Ireland through County Donegal, which is also the setting of this movie. The actors are mostly unknown to American audiences but their performances are wonderful. The music is all traditional Irish folksong, and you'll hear a bit of the old language (Irish Gaelic) in the film as well. This movie is perfect for all of us Irish and Scots transplants and emigrants' children who are or want to be in touch with our roots. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and it'll make you want to move home in a hurry. The story might be a tad difficult to follow unless you concentrate, and unless you have an ear for the dialect, I'd suggest leaving the closed captioning on the first time you view it, as the Donegal Irish speech is not an easy one to decipher at first. Once you get past those small hurdles, however, you will find yourself in possession of a true gem of a film that treats a wonderful old legend with the respect and wonder it deserves. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in their Irish stock.
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Dragonworld (1994)
A sweet and gentle kids' movie
13 August 1999
If you're big on deep plotlines and hate predictability, I cannot recommend this movie. This is basically a children's film where good triumphs over evil and everyone ends up happily. The effects aren't nearly what today's modern kid is used to (no Jurassic Park/Star Wars I caliber computer animation here), but it is a gentle and sweet story that sucked *me* in, and I'm 20. It's a good movie for children to see--no violence, no language--and it introduces them to the beauty and a wee bit of the mythology of Scotland in a way that they will probably find entertaining. Parents might find the movie a bit tedious, but at least it doesn't pander to that obvious kind of low humor where people are repeatedly getting hit with various objects. Stick around for the lovely scenery and Sam MacKenzie's beautiful Scots brogue (why my roommate and I remained glued to the screen). In an era when heros are all-too-often covered in blood and even the cartoons are cursing like sailors, it's a nice little film that, while predictable, you can at least trust not to pollute any minds.
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10/10
Stunning and witty--Shakespeare at his best
13 August 1999
Kenneth Branagh has done so much for Shakespeare...I've almost become a complete zealot of his work. This screen adaptation of one of Shakespeare's lesser-known comedies is absolutely divine. The lovers Claudio and Hero are completely and wonderfully upstaged by Benedick and Beatrice, the most perfectly mismatched pair in the history of love, exactly as they were meant to be. The chemistry between Ken and Emma is so believable (after all, this was filmed before their marriage ended), the lines are so cunningly delivered, and the plot is so beautifully twisted and resolved that this movie is at the very top of my list of favorites. The setting is absolutely gorgeous--Italy in all its Summer glory. You can fairly taste the sunshine. Each part is completely delightful (Michael Keaton is perfect in one of the most bizarrely comedic roles I've ever seen, and as far as Keanu Reeves' performance, all I can say is that the part was written to be played in that manner. Don John was a bad guy of necessity--every comedy must have a foil). I found the entire production to be beautifully done and quite up to the professional standards that I've come to expect under Branagh's excellent direction. The wit sparkles and cracks between Beatrice and Benedick; a direct counter to the more traditional and borderline sappy form of Elizabethan love exhibited between Hero and Claudio. *This* is how the wise woo, and no, it is never peaceably! A smart, funny and visually stunning gem of a film to add to Branagh's already distinguished repertoire. I'm waiting for his MacBeth.
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Great Expectations (1999 TV Movie)
Captivating and beautiful
2 August 1999
I've seen some three or four adaptations of this classic novel, and I honestly think that this is one of the best out there. The settings are appropriately dark and in keeping with Dickens' bleak writing, a shining example being Miss Havisham's mansion. The acting is perfectly superb; Ioan Gruffudd is most definitely one of the best finds of the past few years. Ian McDiaramid is wonderful as usual, and Gruffudd's Titanic castmate Bernard Hill (that movie's Captain EJ Smith) is a great Magwitch. Keep your eye on Ioan, I predict great things! His performance is outstanding, down to the replacing of his own Welsh accent with Pip's distinctive lower-class English one. Lovely filming, great direction and wonderful acting make this a great addition to the already distinguished collection of the BBC.
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