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Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Pilot (2006)
Season 1, Episode 1
Pilot episodes don't get any better than this!!!
19 September 2006
Usually when there is as much buildup to a premiere episode it doesn't live up to the hype. This show is the notable exception. Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme have done it again. Now the challenge is to do keep on doing it as they did with Sports Night and The West Wing.

The cast comprises a mini-The West Wing reunion (Matthew Perry, Bradley Whitford, and Timothy Busfield) along with many familiar and not so familiar faces. In typical Sorkin fashion the dialog is both witty and snappy in its delivery. The humor is sarcastic, cutting edge, biting, and rapid and we get an insight into the background of a live television show modeled eerily after Saturday Night Live.

The pilot does what a good pilot should do, and that is set the stage for the why we are at where we are at. It introduces us not only to the characters but to the whole premise and reason for the show. It grabs the viewer and made me say "I can't wait for next week to see how this storyline takes shape".

Based on the pilot I make the following observations about the cast. Steven Weber is superb as the hard ass corporate exec. who straddles the fence between the corporate suits and the network hierarchy. For me the jury is out on Amanda Peet. I normally like her very much but I am having a tough time seeing her as Network President. Both Perry and Busfield have an unmistakable chemistry and play well off one another. Their characters are those of an extraordinary duo that produce high end material and superb judgment. They are co-dependent and the perfect yin-yang for the show. We'll see how D.L.Hugely's character, along with the others, develops but I have a feeling there are a lot of good places this show can go.

So bring it on NBC, I'm already a new fan...just keep the material fresh and the story lines crisp.
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Don't look for administration talking points here!
14 September 2006
Whether you agree with his point of view or not Maher does offer a forum for rebuttal. Instead of the usual bashing of his show, as some conservatives are want to do, some people have accepted invites to appear either in interviews or on the panel. I have found the show provocative and superb at times. Often times I find, as with most sarcastic humor, strings of truth when Maher does his opening or closing remarks. The "New Rules" segment is a terrific part of the show and one fans look forward to every week.

I have also found Maher to be especially tough on Democrats whether Republicans believe it or not. He is as cynical about Democrats ability to offer an alternative message as he is biting in his critique of Pres. Bush and Republicans. However, the one thing he is right on the money about is his criticism and dismay at the way Americans excuse this president's affliction with Webster's Dictionary. Whether you favor our actions in Iraq or not, the handling of terrorism, the secret spy program, Katrina etc. or not I think all are fair game and I believe Maher offers an opportunity for all viewpoints.

I think the biggest problem conservatives (Republicans) have with Maher is that they don't get the free pass they get with conservative talk radio. Maher will eviscerate liberals and democrats if he thinks they are full of it. He will, as we know, go after Republicans with guns blazing. Conservative talk radio tends to be submissive to Republicans and smash away at Democrats that they label liberal.

Overall I only wish more Americans would watch these highly watchable shows like Real Time, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report. At least, if they did, we would not have almost 43% of Americans polled almost four years after the fact( and after both Bush and Cheney openly admit there was no direct link to 9/11 from Iraq) still believing Iraqi's were behind the attacks!
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Wings (1990–1997)
Lots of laughs at a small regional airport
14 September 2006
One of my absolute favorite sitcoms of all time. A cleverly written and extremely well acted show revolving around 8 people's lives and their jobs which are based at the airport. The cast is terrific and I won't bore you with each character's nuances other than to say all the roles were very well cast. The comedy is ironic, sarcastic, sardonic, slapstick, politically incorrect, and sexist. And those are but a handful of reasons I loved this show. Now that the show has gone to DVD I would recommend it highly whether you were a fan or would like to see smart comedy. If you weren't a fan you'll see many familiar faces and it was, after all, the show that launched the career of Tony Shalhoub (MONK). Hope you love it the way I did!
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Entourage: Strange Days (2006)
Season 3, Episode 7
What really happened to "E" in the threesome?
24 July 2006
Probably the weakest of the new shows so far but after the opening of the new season there was bound to be a bit of a let down. The major themes here are getting Vince moving forward after being "fired" from the AQUAMAN sequel, Ari trying to settle with Terrance regarding what Ari is owed from the old agency, and most urgently is how does "E" feel about spooning with his girlfriend's best friend during their threesome.

There are some small plot twists you can see here but for the most part this show seemed to serve as the table setter for how the show moves forward with the arc of the characters. There is one seemingly minor twist here having to do with Ari and a former junior agent that could play into future events.
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Annie Hall (1977)
"La di da, la di da" says it all !!!
22 July 2006
Quite frankly one of the best comedies ever. Superb performances, terrific writing, and Allen's acerbic wit, self deprecation, and biting sarcasm about relationships and love make this "Best Picture" a classic and timeless.

From Diane Keaton's clothing (which caused a trend in women's fashion), to the scene with Woody cooking a lobster, to Tony Roberts in his Alpha Rays protection suit, to the scene of a very young Christopher Walken driving Allen and Keaton in a driving rain after confessing to Allen (Alvie Singer) his dreams of a glorious death this film contains scenes and dialog you'll use in everyday life.

Sometimes, in Woody Allen films, he can go a bit over the top with his penchant for satirizing dysfunctional love relationships. In this movie you find he has blended just the right touch of all elements of his humor, his view of relationships, and his bias in favor of the culture and insanity that is New York versus his distaste for the pretentious plastic LA, Hollywood environment.

In looking at the voting record I was astounded to see any votes under a FIVE. I respect my fellow IMDb viewers but anyone going below a FOUR for this movie either doesn't like Woody Allen personally, doesn't get his humor, or somehow cannot wrap their arms around the kind of comedy that can poke fun at everything from religion, to politics, to education, and toward themselves. This film should be required viewing in any film study class in college.
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Annie Hall (1977)
"La di da, la di da" says it all !!!
22 July 2006
Quite frankly one of the best comedies ever. Superb performances, terrific writing, and Allen's acerbic wit, self deprecation, and biting sarcasm about relationships and love make this "Best Picture" a classic and timeless.

From Diane Keaton's clothing (which caused a trend in women's fashion), to the scene with Woody cooking a lobster, to Tony Roberts in his Alpha Rays protection suit, to the scene of a very young Christopher Walken driving Allen and Keaton in a driving rain after confessing to Allen (Alvie Singer) his dreams of a glorious death this film contains scenes and dialog you'll use in everyday life.

Sometimes, in Woody Allen films, he can go a bit over the top with his penchant for satirizing dysfunctional love relationships. In this movie you find he has blended just the right touch of all elements of his humor, his view of relationships, and his bias in favor of the culture and insanity that is New York versus his distaste for the pretentious plastic LA, Hollywood environment.

In looking at the voting record I was astounded to see any votes under a FIVE. I respect my fellow IMDb viewers but anyone going below a FOUR for this movie either doesn't like Woody Allen personally, doesn't get his humor, or somehow cannot wrap their arms around the kind of comedy that can poke fun at everything from religion, to politics, to education, and toward themselves. This film should be required viewing in any film study class in college.
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Another Woody Allen masterpiece
22 July 2006
Most fans of Woody Allen have come to love and appreciate his movies for their neurotic psycho sexual themes revolving around psychiatric visits, mass psychosis, and usually with Woody as the main character. This deviates a bit from the Allen model. Not that there aren't sexual innuendos and insecurity but it is not the main theme. For one thing this Allen comedy is not contemporary but is set in the late 1920's to early 1930's. Of course the movie takes place in the only true love Woody has ever known and that is NYC.

The cast is superb here and each player does their job with aplomb and grace. To site one particular performance does the cast an injustice but the Academy Awards did so by awarding Diane Weist the Supporting Actress award as an aging grand dame of Broadway caught somewhere between her fading star and her need to be adored and revered. Weist really was incredible and her signature line of "Don't speak" resonates throughout with perfect timing.

As for the storyline it is simple. Young playwright and veteran producer need backing for their script and make a deal with the top mob boss in NY to back the play. The only hitch is that in order for the mob boss to back the play his sexy, younger former stripper girlfriend must have a featured role. By the way I probably should mention the girlfriend (played by Jennifer Tilly) has absolutely no talent! The movie takes many turns and highlights the considerable talents of the cast along with classic Allen humor in the writing. This is just a very funny movie, with a terrific soundtrack of early 20th Century music. For anyone seeking to watch a comedy that relies on wit rather than pranks or slapstick this movie will make it for you.
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A fine coming of age movie
15 July 2006
An excellent cast guides this periodic drama of working class brothers of a widowed mother and their relationships with the daughters of a society family in a small Illinois town in 1957. Joaquin Phoenix and Billy Crudup are superb as the brothers while Liv Tyler is excellent as the youngest Abbott daughter.

The main theme of the movie seems to be the obsession of older brother Jace (Crudup) for everything the Abbotts have that he feels was denied him after his father's death years earlier. Seems there isn't any Abbott girl Jace won't go after in an effort to show he can rise above his middle class upbringing.

Excellent performances are also on display here by Kathy Baker, Will Patton, Joanna Going, and special mention of the future Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly. Connelly has an incredible allure as the very sexy, very promiscuous, and playful hedonistic middle Abbott daughter, Elinore.

A really fine character study, excellent casting, and a movie that moves along at a nice pace. I recommend it and think, after seeing it, you will as well.
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The West Wing: Tomorrow (2006)
Season 7, Episode 22
A Fitting Exit For a Superb Show
15 May 2006
My only regret and disappointment on the finale was that NBC did not pay the proper homage to this landmark show. A winner of three Emmy's for Best Dramatic Show, and countless other Emmy statues for individual and group excellence The West Wing showed us the inner workings, frailties of character, and gut wrenching decisions that go on every day. I am sure many Republicans and Conservatives are none too upset at the end of this Democratic administration. I'm sure their collective scorn reached epic heights when the underdog Democrat, Mathew Santos, edged out stalwart Republican Senator Arnold Vinick in the general election. However, an objective viewer such as myself found purity, brilliance, hope, and yes...sometimes a different slant on things as this show developed over the years.

I thought the writers showed remarkable restraint from doing the typical Hollywood ending which would have had us seeing Josh and Donna getting married, Charley and Zoe together, Will and Kate hand in hand, Sam in a reunion with Mallory etc. etc. etc. Realism won the day and for that I was glad. Even when Bartlett took his final goodbye walk through the staff he made it personal but dignified. There were no screams and tears, no excessive hugging, just stoic thanks to a staff that served him well for two terms.

What NBC did not do, and my only regret, was a show such as this deserved a two hour finale. As we all know a one hour show is but a mere 42-43 minutes and that was not a long enough goodbye. Many more things could have been embellished in the storyline with some flashback scenes thrown in for the characters there throughout. I would have also liked to have seen a small brief tribute to John Spencer for the style in which he brought two great NBC characters to the screen.(Leo McGarry & Tommy Mullaney-LA Law).
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The old west as only Mel brooks could see it!
31 March 2006
Nine out of ten is a very healthy number considering the history and breath of film making the last 100 years. I'll qualify my vote as a nine out of ten for landmark and timeless comedy. Mel Brooks is a comedic genius and it doesn't take a genius to say that. His lifetime scope of work, the characters created, and the view of the world he has lives on in his two greatest motion picture parodies, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein. Many younger people today are well aware of Brooks' smash Broadway play, The Producers, and it would serve them well to see the above two movies as a further testimonial to his artistry.

I won't even go player by player, including Brooks himself, other than to say the characters played by this all-star cast will live on in movie history. Everything from the writing, to the concept, to the homage paid to the westerns of past movie generations, and to poking fun at our own view of history is wrapped up in this thoroughly enjoyable film. See it and I dare you to swear you didn't laugh out loud. Listen carefully though cause like an old Marx Brothers film if you laugh too loudly you'll miss the next classic line.
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Entourage (2004–2011)
Ride of a Lifetime
30 March 2006
Entourage follows the great HBO series tradition of sharp cutting edge comedy and, as other HBO shows have been, addictive. The first season was a trial balloon for this very hip, and hip hop, version of life in the fast lane. It succeeded better than HBO envisioned. The second season was a full 15 episodes and now fans are eagerly awaiting Season 3 in June.

The storyline is not new, just well conceived in this fast paced and energetic venue. Vincent Chase, played very well by Adrian Grenier, is the "IT" new actor in Hollywood. Surrounded by his "entourage" including his brother Johnny "Drama" Chase(played by Kevin Dillon), the erstwhile Turtle (played by Jerry Ferrara), and Eric "E" (played by Kevin Connolly. Like most modern day posse's these boys serve specific roles in their support of their guy. Vince is, after all, the meal ticket and these guys know it to varying degrees. "E" has assumed the role of Vince's Manager since he is quick witted, knows people, and has Vince's undying trust. As a former manager of a Sbarro's Restaurant in Queens, NY he has all the qualifications, at least for Vince! Yet "E" is intuitive and handles himself well among the sharks in LA. "Drama" preceded Vince to Hollywood having starred in the 90's TV show Viking Quest. But Johnnie's career never took off and hit the skids a while back but with Vince's help he'll get the chance to show his stuff as a bit player in all of Vince's projects. He also serves as the family cook. Turtle is the ultimate hanger-on. His role is that of "gopher" or a man servant who does all the menial chores around the house. However, toward the end of the second season Turtle begins to spread his wings and shows he may have some real street smarts as well.

Keeping this vehicle moving in the right direction is Ari Gold, Vince's agent, played brilliantly by Jeremy Piven. Ari is a fast talking, on top of the game and industry action agent who has finally found his actor that can catapult him to the top of the agent game. He resents "E" because they have diametrically opposite backgrounds in as much as Ari has an MBA and J.D. from Harvard and has paid his dues while "E" was born in the right neighborhood near Vince. But Ari learns that he can't steamroll "E" as Vince ultimately trusts his best friend more than anyone in the world.

Other characters of note are Shauna, played by Debi Mazur. Shauna is, like Ari, very sarcastic and witty and clearly has a vision as Vince's publicist as to what and how she wishes Vince to be shown in the public. A myriad of Hollywood A,B, and C list people show their faces in cameo's as they interact with Vince and the guys. Romance, ego, opportunity, greed, and family love all play out in the fastest paced half hour ride you'll have in a long time.

HBO is now replaying Season 1 and then Season 2 before premiering the third season and if you have not yet experienced this show you owe it to yourself. See if you don't get hooked by it as well................a quick hint as to one of the hooks that got the first episode the guys are wondering if they're gonna go back to Queen's for their High School reunion. They decide to do so and at the end of the show we see them getting ready to depart for the airport. We see Turtle wearing a Bayside High School letterman jacket and Vince is wearing a hooded sweatshirt with BAYSIDE written across the front. That is where I went to High School so my connection was set.
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Weeds (2005–2012)
Great ensemble cast scores in this dark horse series
29 March 2006
WEEDS is the anti-Christ type show for the people lobbying for wholesome story lines. The title only begins to tell all the things about this program that would have it on a Jerry Falwell morals hit list. Maybe that is why I like the show so much.

Mary-Louise Parker leads a great cast with superb veteran performers such as Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Nealon. The premise of the show is Nancy Botwin (Parker) has to figure out how to keep together her family in an upscale Calif. neighborhood after he early 40's husband, whom we never meet, dies of a heart attack while out running around with his youngest son. This boy now has issues and doesn't quite fit in with his peers. Her older son is discovering his hormones are raging and the brother-in-law has come to visit and he is a horrible influence on the boys, the housekeeper, and Nancy despite her attempts to keep him in check. Despite it all she really loves her brother-in-law as he is her family reminder of the husband she loved and lost.

What she does to keep the roof over her house is to sell weed...pot...marijuana. She gets the stuff from a thoroughly outrageous and hysterical black family on the poor side of town. She sells in the community of Agrestic, where she lives, and she sells to her lawyer/neighbor, a guy on the city council (Nealon), and anyone else that will take, which in this community seems to be almost everyone.

Great part for Parker as she is the consummate actress. She is always a bit understated, never overacts, has a great sly smile, does dry comedy very well, and delivers her lines convincingly. Nealon is great as the burnout councilman/accountant who can't seem to be high enough of the day yet covers his bases so as not to be discovered. But I think it is Perkins who just might steal this show. She plays a very bright yet vapid wife and mother of two girls. She is an overbearing parent who chastises and spy's on her 15 yr. old and harasses her youngest because of the poor girl's weight. Her shallow nature is shown as a defense mechanism for a woman whose own mother (Conchetta Tomei) is even more overbearing than her daughter and toward her husband whom she verbally spars with when they are together.

From the opening song, a reprise of the great Pete Seger song "Little Boxes", to the weekly dilemmas for the characters of coping in suburbia the show scores. Usually HBO has the standard for cable comedy series but this one is as good as any.
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Love is better what, the fourth time around?
8 March 2006
I cannot understand why the ratings and comments on this movie are as mediocre to poor as they are. This was a fun movie. Sure, it's a bit silly and it plays with history and facts but it's essentially just fun and harmless yet fast moving and entertaining. Does every movie have to be The English Patient? Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger do a really good job of lite hearted comedy about a couple that keeps finding each other, over and over again! Baldwin's pals, Paul Reiser, Fisher Stevens, Peter Dobson, and Steve Hytner, are great support players as they are funny and engaging about the trials and tribulations of this love affair.

Robert Logia is terrific as Baldwin's ex-fiancé's father, a power broker in Hollywood hell bent on destroying Baldwin's characters life after he jilts not once but TWICE his daughter played by Elizabeth Shue. But in many ways it is Armand Assante who steals the movie with his portrayal of Bugsy Siegel. Assante is so controlled and smooth, yet so believable as a cold blooded gangster/killer. He plays the role with a true sense of comedic timing.

The cast is first rate, the movie has some good twists and turns, and it'll go by quickly which every good movie will do. I liked it and I'm betting if you like lite hearted comedy you'll like it too.
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"American Graffitti" it's not...but it is funny
8 March 2006
American Graffitti became a classic because of it delved into issues of high school graduation, the Vietnam War, and moving on from your roots and comfort in a small California town in the early 1960's. The Hollywood Knights (HK), in many ways, examines similar issues at a similar time except it departs any semblance of maturity and seriousness.

HK touches all the silliness a film can muster yet the cast here pulls it off in a fun way. The situation is this...we're in Beverly Hills, CA. in the mid sixties and Tubby's Drive-In, the local hang out for teens, is closing its doors for good when it closes that night. The members of the "gang" Hollywood Knights are determined to cram into one night all the pranks and mayhem they can. Their ringleader is Newbomb Turk, played wonderfully by Robert Wuhl long before he created the character of ARLI$$ for HBO.

You'll get to see some very notable actors and actresses here. Following in the fine tradition of real Hollywood a movie such as this tends to bring to the public some terrific future talent. Among the people you'll recognize are Michelle Pheiffer, Tony Danza, and Fran Drescher. Danza had already been discovered as a boxer turned cab driver in the great TV series "TAXI". Pheiffer is so young and beautiful here that it is easy to see the star potential movie makers saw in her. Drescher, shortly before developing her signature role as "The Nanny" for TV, plays her role with the same nasal Brooklyn charm that made her endearing to audiences.

One final note about HK...some of the scenes are slapstick funny. As in Animal House this movie will have you remembering pranks you tried and moronic silly things you laughed at yet it will take you back, I'm betting, in a good way.
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A Great Story About Honor and Truth
5 March 2006
Kevin Kline movies are an easy sell for me. He is that good an actor. He translates well into almost any role. This movie surprised me for the reaction I had regarding this very special teacher. I think a movie such as this, and Dead Poets Society, tap into that feeling of remembering a teacher that changed your life. There is no greater honor a teacher can have than the knowledge that they made a positive impression on a student. The only better time for a teacher is when those students, in admiration for their teacher, let him know years later.

The lessons taught in this movie are about honesty, integrity, and self examination. It is not so naive that the individual who compromises all of that loses in the end. Sedgewick Bell is too powerful and his breeding allows him to not have to follow the rules but, in some ways, write the rules. He does however suffer in the end when the person he least wants to find out about his unethical behavior finds out. The look on that person's face, and Sedgewick's, really tells it all.

In the end Kline realizes his lack of abilities for promotion are not failure but rather a validation of his principles of what is important in life. Just because some others cannot see it doesn't make him out of touch. There are many threads to a fabric as there are in life. I highly recommend The Emperor's Club.
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Pulp Fiction (1994)
QuentinTarantino at his best
4 March 2006
Pulp Fiction is gaining that special status as time goes by. It is becoming a film classic and a must see for generations now coming of age. A metaphor for what Tarantino does here with the storyline is what a magician does with torn paper. We all know the trick...the magician has a participant from the crowd take a piece of paper and tear it up in front of the audience. He places the paper into a top hat, waves the magic wand, and voilà...the paper is whole again.

Tarantino does that with the storyline. Scenes shift to different time sequences yet all tie together at the end. The genius is that the viewer must now take the scenes and rearrange them to understand the true sequence. It is, by all accounts, brilliant.

The film is responsible for resurrecting the career of John Travolta. At this time Travolta was somewhat of a failed commodity in Hollywood. His performance here proved he could do some seriously good acting. Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhimes, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman all provide standout performances as do all the other actors. Of special note are two of the greatest actors in Hollywood who had somewhat small roles. As Shakespeare said "there are no small parts, just small actors". That is why Harvey Keitel is so memorable in his role, and Christopher Walkin in his.

Rent the movie, buy the movie, tape it from cable (do not see it on network TV you'll hate yourself if that is the way you see it) but see this movie. After you've seen it once, think about it a little bit and then wait a little while and see it again...that is how good this flick is!
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Arli$$ (1996–2002)
25 Sports Agents Dead In The Road?...a good start!
8 February 2006
I borrowed the lawyer's joke to make a point about Arliss, the agent. Devoid of real consistent ethics Arli$$ Michaels is the epitome of the complex character who treads equally on the honorable side and the ethically challenged. Mix in a bit of conscience with a dash of capitalistic greed and that describes Arli$$ and the AMM Management team.

As for the players they are (were) first rate. Robert Wuhl is phenomenal as the namesake character Arliss Michaels. Combining terrific story lines with a real sense of what and how an agent thinks this comedian turned actor hits a bullseye. The show was, after all, his idea and creation. Jim Turner is ideal as the former jock, first round draft pick and first Arli$$ client, playboy burnout Kirby Carlisle. Michael Boatman is superb as Stanley Babson, the erstwhile V.P. of Finance who often attempts to induce some morality and class into the organization. Occasionally Stanley is faced with the perplexing situation of doing what is right or what is best for the client?, AMM?, or Stanley? Finally there is Sandra Oh as Rita Wu, Arli$$' long suffering secretary. Forever loyal Rita is underpaid, under-appreciated, and under-minded by Arli$$ and almost always Kirby. Rita has her dilemma's of conscience as well but she is insightful yet gullible and always longing to meet Mr. Right so she can quit her job which she really loves. Sound confusing? It is because the show displayed all the nuances of good character development and story lines.

Mix this all in with great guest stars from sports and entertainment and you get a rapid, fast paced 1/2 hour show never wanting for a good laugh or a tear. Arliss has been gone since 2002 and is now a regular late night entry onto ESPN Classic's repertoire. The only problem is this show, like many made for cable, does not have points at which commercial breaks are accounted for and language is censored thereby lessening the fun for those of us fans. Yet, for the newcomer, a whole new generation can enjoy the comic timing and plot lines. Some of the athletes are now dated in time but it is easy to follow. A highly recommended show!!!
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The Time Tunnel (1966–1967)
A show way ahead of its time
7 December 2004
Saw the show this morning on the Encore network. I remember being 14 when it came out and loved it then. Today was the first episode (Titanic) and I enjoyed it all over again. Yes, much has changed in technology as far as broadcasting is concerned but the mystery and intrigue of time travel will always be there. The concept of the big time tunnel whereby Doug and Tony are visible on a large screen probably was a forerunner to big screen TV's of today. What I really found intriguing is that when the show was produced in 1968 the budget for the fictional project was $7 billion. What an enormous amount then and yet today that amount for a budgeted gov't project is still huge.

Some of the episodes, as I remember, get a little corny (especially when they travel to the future) but shows where they try to effect great events in history are integral to our desire that if we could change history we would seek to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg, persuade Lincoln not to go to Ford's Theatre, and re-route JFK in the motorcade...
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I liked it just as it is.....
6 August 2003
A delightful romp through one year of a young woman clearly looking for the right man and the love she's been missing. Renee Zelleweger is terrific as Bridget and is equally complimented by Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. But the whole cast works here...from Bridget's parents played by the versatile Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones, to her supportive and somewhat dysfunctional friends, to her work colleagues.

In this case the American actress, Zelleweger, clearly has to prove she can perform alongside the dry wit and humor of a thoroughly wonderful British ensemble cast. Does she ever!!! I thought she should have gotten the Oscar...she was that good. Ordinarily an American actor trying to come off authentic in a British accent doesn't work very well (see Brando's Fletcher Christian/Mutiny On The Bounty-1962) but Zelleweger not only does it well she sounds downright genuine.

Everything about this film works and word is out that they begin a sequel in Nov.'03 to be released in 2004. Usually I cringe when sequels are made, especially when comedy is involved, but my hopes are high here. Let's see where do they take it...does Bridget marry Mark Darcy, how does Daniel Clever re-enter Bridget's life...humm?
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School Ties (1992)
"Is it worth breaking tradition"?
6 August 2003
It's a line the headmaster of the school asks the star quarterback David Greene when he catches him praying at church after curfew but praying in observance of the Jewish new year. Greene's reply to the Headmaster of this Christian Prep Academy is..."mine or yours". This is the essence of the storyline. A Christian Prep Academy in New England is tired of mediocrity in football and losing to their arch rival so they compromise their admission standards by recruiting a brilliant student athlete from Pa. The problem isn't that David Greene doesn't measure up academically, it is that he is Jewish.

Soon after coming to school Greene realizes his classmates disdain and ridicule for Jews. They scorn them and make stereotype remarks that bother Greene but he is determined to fit in. Eventually his classmates and friends discover his secret and this is as far as I go. See the movie and see how David and his friends handle the situation.

Fine performances are put in by Brendan Fraser, as David Greene. You'll be astonished at the youthful talent in the movie as really good performances are put in by Matt Damon, his real life buddy Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell, and all the others. I really enjoyed the story, the time setting, and the substance of the message.
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Sports Night (1998–2000)
You can tell it is an Aaron Sorkin project!
8 January 2003
If you love the snappy fast paced dialogue of The West Wing then understand Sorkin got his feet wet with this light hearted comedy about an all sports station competing with ESPN and FOX Sports.

I for one found this show in mid flight when ABC had it and was sorry to see it canceled. I was also gratified many tv critics complained that intelligent and fast paced humor could not survive the rating wars. It was just recently on Comedy Central and I would set my VCR to record it at 3:30 am each night (morning). I looked forward to the twenty plus minutes a day to watch it (I skipped commercials!). I found the show went by far quicker than the regular sit-coms on tv now and that told me one thing...this was a well done show with good performances from some really excellent actors. For those that did not like the show...have you really taken stock of the pool of talent this show had?

Peter Krause is now a bedrock performer on HBO's Six Feet Under. Robert Guillaume, whom we all got to love as Benson from the original "take it to edge" comedy SOAP and then the Benson spin off is terrific. Integrating his real life stroke into the fabric of a show's Managing Director's stroke was brilliant. Josh Charles did a good job, Sabrina Lloyd will be heard from, and we discovered a fine young actor in Joshua Molina who has gone on to play good roles in The American President and has now emerged as a character that will endure in The West Wing. Felicity Huffman also does an outstanding job as Dana, the show's producer.

For you naysayers take a look at the guests on this show. Can one quibble with William H. Macy, Ted McGinley, Terri Polo, and Lisa Edelstein? This show had sass, verve, energy, and dealt with some very real subjects such as the one where Natalie (Lloyd) is accosted in the locker room of a pro football team by one of it's star players. Does the name Lisa Olson ring a bell? Or how about the one where the star running back (African-American) at a Tenn. college refuses to play so long as the school flies the Confederate flag. Was this not a current and highly charged issue?

I cannot tell people that were not fans of the show what to like. What I can say is if you like very fast wit, quick "you gotta be on your toes or you might miss the next sarcastic or sardonic line" dialogue, or if you just want to see 1/2 hour go by in a flash then see this show when (if) it comes back on. My advice is tape it if it shows again at the 3ish in the morning time slot OR it is now on DVD (the entire two seasons.
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Gains in legend every year
5 July 2002
Could anyone have known all the nuances of the truth 40 years ago, nor predicted the impending events, when Marilyn Monroe came on stage at Madison Sq. Garden to sing Happy Birthday to JFK? It was late May of 1962.

In a little less than 18 months Marilyn Monroe would be dead from suspicious circumstances that arouse conjecture and controversy 40 years later still. Peter Lawford will have set the rest of his life into a tailspin cause his brother-in-laws, President John Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy thought it unwise for the president to stay with Frank Sinatra at his California home. Sinatra blamed much of it on his "Ratpack" buddy Lawford and exiled him from the group thereby setting Lawford's career afloat. And by late Nov.'63 JFK himself would be dead, the victim of one of the most controversial and debated assassinations in history.

Behind the scenes JFK had had an affair with Marilyn, Bobby was reportedly next in line with the ultra sexy blonde bombshell, Monroe's career was spinning out of control with alcohol, pain killers, a reputation in Hollywood as unreliable, and Jackie Kennedy seethed while Monroe pranced out in an evening dress so custom made for her that it had to be peeled off and one which she wore with no undergarments!

Still and all this event would not hold our collective fascinations if not for the incredibly sexy and breathy delivery of perhaps the single greatest fantasy girl Hollywood has ever known. Through the years there have been many impersonations of Monroe's version of Happy Birthday but maybe none funnier than the priceless version Mike Myers delivered to Tia Carrere in the original Wayne's World.

The original recorded version floats on the internet and can be downloaded. For any fan of collector item events you need to find it!!! You'll even get a kick after Monroe finishes her rendition and JFK is introduced to a rousing ovation he comments somewhat tongue in cheek that "now I can retire from politics after having happy birthday sung to me in such a sweet and wholesome fashion".
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Gets better with time
27 May 2002
Most movies that show periodic dress and hair styles tend to make us cringe as we see ourselves way back when. Midnight Cowboy is so provocative and compelling it takes us beyond that point.

A terrifically acted, directed, and written movie it is the story of a naive young man from the southwest who meets up with the cold hard truth of New York City street life. Joe Buck (brilliantly played by Jon Voight) comes to NY seeking his fortune. The product of a broken home, brought up by his grandmother, he has no real marketable work skills other than a penchant for pleasing women in bed.

He meets up with Ratzo Rizzo (played to perfection by Dustin Hoffman) a homeless street hustler who has been knocked down repeatedly by the harsh elements of the street and the NY winters. But he still is looking to hustle and hustle he does. He cons young Joe, after they meet initially, and when Joe realizes he's been had he seeks revenge.

Through it all a sense of compassion and even friendship grows out of this unlikely pairing as they embark on NY's seedier side of life eventually hoping to get out of NY to Florida and warmer climes.

Through it all the film holds the viewers attention and strikes at our compassionate side. One of the true skills of a great writer is to have the viewer identify with a character(s) whose makeup is entirely different than that of the viewer. In this Midnight Cowboy does it very well.

Supporting acting by John McGiver, Brenda Vacarro, and the rest of the cast is superb. This film would be on my "must see" list for anyone looking to see timeless classic movies.
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Laugh-In (1967–1973)
Mod, decadent, and reflective of the times!
27 March 2002
In the evolution of television humor Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In was probably the forerunner of Saturday Night Live. It's relevant social commentary combined with incredibly adroit acerbic wit allowed this show to cover social, personal, political, and moral territory no show had ever dared attempt on prime time television.

For those who watched regularly the catch phrases were priceless and introduced them into our mainstream lexicon. Sayings such as "sock it to me" were not only uttered by business execs, secretary's, hosuewives, and everyday working people wishing to emulate the awakening of social moree's but also spoken freely by media and political types wishing to be thought of as in touch with the younger hip generation.

Laugh-In spared no one in it's sarcasm and very often stepped dangerously close to the edge with network execs. Once the show caught fire with TV viewers it became sheik for actors, actresses, and politicians to lobby for a position on next week's show.

Unlike SNL Laugh-In could not sustain and reinvent itself and by 1973 the nations TV watchers were ready to move on. Most of the regulars on the show fell into guest shots on other shows and eventually drifted out of site of the public. A couple of the alumni went on to great success in movies and tv. Goldie Hawn was a "graduate" of the show and went on to win an Academy Award for Cactus Flower in 1969 and has become a certifiable star in Hollywood. Lily Tomlin, and who can forget her priceless portrayal of Ernestine the telephone operator at the switchboard, went on to become one of America's most beloved and cherished comedic performers who also showed her acting agility in dramatic roles as well.

All in all Laugh-In is a part of television history and deserves its place as a cherished memory and deserving of re-run time on TV Land.
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Conspiracy (2001 TV Movie)
An incredible account of the moment European Jews' fate was sealed
5 March 2002
I want to comment on two things here. As a movie this is an incredible depiction of the meeting which set in motion the systematic extermination of Europe's Jewish population. The acting is superb, the visuals of winter, darkness, and the house the meeting took place in is precise in its detail. Hooray that HBO did it again. That is to say having it on HBO allowed for very candid and real language while allowing the flow of the production to go uninterrupted without commercials.

On the historical front we have heard for years the protests of some claiming the holocaust never happened. The revelation of the existing record of the meeting (Martin Luther's copy) in 1947 should dispel that notion. However, when a people or persons wish to deny they will deny! This was an important film to make and gave the production a very real and undeniably chilling impact.

I was entirely transfixed as the film held my attention from the beginning to the end.
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