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Drake & Josh (2004)
If you have low standards or time to kill.
It's not the worst show on Nickelodeon. That dubious honor goes to "Zoey 101" and "Naked Brothers Band". But this sitcom is still lacking quality in almost every aspect. The two stars (Parker and Nichols) are both graduates of the obnoxious sketch series "The Amanda Show" where they were lead to believe that in order to be funny all you have to do is over-act rather than master real comedic timing (something both boys are seriously lacking). The two leads are constantly out-shined by their supporting cast including Miranda Cosgrove, as their little sister, and Jerry Trainor, as a recurring character who works with Josh. Not surprisingly, both Miranda and Jerry would later star together in "iCarly" which is only slightly better than this show. In terms of writing, this show is completely unoriginal. A common trait amongst all of Dan Schneider's Nickelodeon shows. This man is a true hack. Literally all of his shows are nothing more than stolen "I Love Lucy" scripts reworked for kids. I'm not even trying to be mean. All of these shows regularly feature thinly disguised "Lucy" plots only without the expert staging and set-ups. And very rarely do the writers ever add their own unique spin. It's all dreadfully predictable. Sure, a lot of sitcoms recycle old stories but at least most of them can be forgiven thanks to witty dialogue and good casting. "Drake & Josh" is instead hampered down by crummy dialogue that thinks it's funnier than it actually is. Combine that with smug actors who think they're funnier than they actually are and you've got a bad show. Just to give you an idea of how bad the writing is on this show, I'll describe one episode I watched recently while babysitting (which is the only reason I'm even familiar with this series). The boys get in trouble because Josh is addicted to video games while Drake is addicted to junk food. In one scene Josh nags Drake for being so unhealthy. For those not familiar with the show, Josh is the morbidly obese one (at least when this episode was made) and Drake is the skinny, lanky one. So, yeah, they actually wrote an episode where the big fat kid scolds the skinny guy for eating too much junk. Seriously, they did that. Eventually the boys make a bet on which one of them can go longer without giving into their addiction. Sound familiar? Remember when Lucy bet Ricky that she can go longer without buying a new hat than he can without losing his temper? Same...exact...plot. So if you've never watched television before in your life, you might be amused by this pale imitation of a sitcom. Which is why it's so popular with children. They've haven't seen anything better yet. Others will most likely find the show aggravating.
Your time would be better spent watching these terrible shows instead of Tim and Eric's pretentious brand of faux-subversive humor. Seriously:
Tom Green, Shasta McNasty, She's The Sheriff, My Mother the Car, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, Lizzie Maguire, The Chevy Chase Show, The Swan, Unhappily Ever After, 7th Heaven, The Bad Girls Guide, The Mullets, Rock Me Baby, The Army Show, Blue Collar TV, Jenny, Brotherly Love, Kirk, Nick Freno, Raising Dad, Smart Guy, The Help, The Surreal Life, I Love New York, Rock of Love, South Beach, Amish in the City, Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, The Jenny McCarthy Show, Chains of Love, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Simple Life, Unhitched, Costello, girls club, Happy Hour, Method & Red, The Pitts, Quintuplets, The War at Home, Woops!, Models Inc, The American Embassy, VR Troopers, Joe Millionaire, Married by America, Playing It Straight, The Princes of Malibu, Skating with Celebrities, Trading Spouses, The 70s House, Bam's Unholy Union, FANatic, I Want a Famous Face, Dr. 90210, Next, Room Raiders, My Super Sweet 16, The Ashlee Simpson Show, Nick and Jessica, Meet the Barkers, 2ge+her, The Andy Dick Show, Spyder Games, You're in the Picture, BJ and the Bear, Joanie Loves Chachi, Cavemen, Joey, Suddenly Susan, Caroline in the City, Single Guy, Yes Dear, Saved by the Bell: The New Class, Carpoolers, Perfect Strangers, Kenan & Kel, Step by Step, You Wish, Two Guys a Girl and Pizza Place, Hope & Faith, Baby Talk, Aliens in the Family, Odd Man Out, Complete Savages, The Naked Brothers Band, iCarly, Drake and Josh and The Amanda Show.
Beta House (2007)
Considering how boring "The Naked Mile" was and how bland and unfunny the characters were, who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to do a direct sequel to what was arguably the franchise's worst entry?! Really? Did anyone really care enough about the lame Stifler cousins and their dorky friend to warrant another film about them? If they insist on killing the American Pie series with all these direct-to-DVD sequels, at least keep doing different movies with different characters. "The Naked Mile" was so disappointing that I held out hope that maybe the next one, with hopefully better characters, setting and story, will revive the series. But no. Instead they made the mistake of picking up where the last one left off. This one's even worst than the last. Forgetting that the Pie films are supposed to be sex comedies, the writers forgo the comedy part entirely and focus on the sex instead. Yes, children. If you see enough breasts you won't notice that the cast has no talent and the movie has no script or budget. Nothing new is brought to the table here. No attempt is even made to bring anything new. It's sad considering "Band Camp's" admirable attempt to bring the original theatrical film's mixture of comedy, gross-out humor and endearing characters to the made-for-DVD series. It may have not fully succeeded but at least it tried. The same can't be said for the abortions known as "Naked Mile" and "Beta House". The only good thing I can say about "Beta House" is that at least actor Ross Thomas had the good sense to stay away from this one.
The Naked Mile (2006)
The Boring Mile
Very poor entry in the Pie series. "Band Camp" didn't compare to the original trilogy but it still had some of that American Pie charm plus a semi-interesting story. It also had some funny gags and some funny lines. All that is missing from this fifth entry. "Naked Mile" had no really funny or memorable moments. No story. And a terribly bland, forgettable cast. While the original Pie films felt like a smart homage to the sex romps of the 80s (Porky's, Revenge of the Nerds, etc), this one just felt like a retread of the lame straight-to-video sex comedies of the early 90s (Ski School 2, Meatballs 4, etc). No real imagination went into making this movie. It was purely made to quickly cash in on the DVD success of "Band Camp". Of course many people will watch this just for the naked mile scene in which several naked female breasts are shown bouncing around. That's about the only watchable scene in this whole film. Sadly, by that merit alone most people will see this film as fitting for a recommendation. Trust me, it's not worth it.
Birds of Prey (2002)
This series really had a lot going for it. Too bad they couldn't hire better writers. If you saw the first episode then that's all you needed to see because every episode after it was exactly the same. They basically kept recycling the same script over and over again. Introduce lame villain-of-the-week (trust me, they were lame), one of the three girls develops a personal vendetta against the villain, against everyone's wishes she sets out to kill villain on her own, other girls swoop in and save the day, girl with personal vendetta learns her lesson (teamwork and justice not revenge and blah, blah, blah). Lesson learned until the next episode when the exact same thing happens all over again but with a new bad guy. It all got very tiring, very fast. Nothing new ever happened and character development was practically non-existent. Another flaw was that due to pressure from the teen-friendly WB network, the producers were forced to replace one of the characters from the comics with a new teenage character who was so full of angst that you wanted to smack her. She was also worthless. Think Dawn from "Buffy" only more annoying. Based on the premise alone, I really wanted to like this show but I was never given a good enough reason to like it. A wasted effort.
The Naked Brothers Band (2007)
It's funny...how bad this show is.
Seriously, even by children's television standards this show is badly produced. It's a really a shame that the same network that delivered "Ned's Declassified", which features some of the most talented young comedic actors I've ever seen, is now giving us "The Naked Brothers Band", which features THE worst child actors ever! Okay, so maybe they're not really actors, they're really a young amateur music band and that's why they're not good at acting...then why give them their own TV show that requires them to, you know, act?! Makes no sense. Even the guest cast is talentless. I'm guessing the band is getting their real-life friends parts on the show. Who knows what Nickelodeon was thinking. I'm guessing they thought the fact that these kids have been making music since they were toddlers was a cute enough of a gimmick that it warranted a movie and TV show based on them. Too bad they neglected that fact that almost everything else sucks from their music to their acting to the ridiculous name. And as someone else mentioned, why is this show on the TEENick block? Why would teenagers or even preteens want to see a show about a bunch of little kids? Because the show has rock music (if that's what you want to call it)? I really doubt older kids are going to dig their brand of music. If this show reaches any degree of success then it confirms my belief that Nickelodeon's young viewers really are as brain dead as I think they are.
Bring It On: All or Nothing (2006)
Finally! A Worthy Successor to the Original
If you have ill feelings about this movie because of its straight-to-video status then put those feelings aside and you'll be treated to a fun movie. This sequel succeeds where "Bring It On Again" miserably failed (and let me tell you, that movie failed BIG TIME!). Unlike the previous entry, this third installment gets everything right with a likable & appealing cast, killer dance routines, a terrific soundtrack, good story and better production values (most likely thanks to product tie-ins from Cingular, Teen People and Volks Wagon). While it doesn't top the original, it still comes close as a worthy companion. The film borrows the same basic premise as the original: pompous upper-class cheer squad (this time the Pacific Vista Pirates) vs urban middle-class cheer squad (Crenshaw Heights Warriors). But thanks to a new twist involving the former captain of the Pacific Vista team having to transfer to Crenshaw Heights and join their squad, the film focuses more on the racially diversified Crenshaw Heights Warriors and their point-of-view. Much credit is due to writer Alyson Fouse, a former writer for Chris Rock and Keenan Ivory Wayans, and director Steve Rash who both do an admirable job of going back to what made the first film so great without making it seem like they're trying to do the exact same movie over again. The cast, although made up of young unknowns, should also be complimented for bringing the right amount of spark and attitude to their characters so that you can't help but like them, no matter how stereotypical some of them may be. Which is more than can be said about the charmless, bland wannabes from the second film. Going through the DVD's bonus features, you'll be able to tell that the cast and filmmakers worked hard to make this movie live up to the original by having the cast go through rigorous training at cheerleader camp as well as hiring a variety of talented and innovative choreographers to come up with some unique and dazzling routines. So, put all prejudices aside, wash the awful taste of "Bring It On Again" out of your mouth, and give this fun addition to the franchise a shot.
Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005)
Nice Effort But Not Good Enough
The "Urban Legend" franchise returned with this straight-to-DVD installment but this time a supernatural spin was added to the series. While it's a decent idea, unfortunately, it didn't work. The main problem was that you never really got the sense that anything supernatural was going on to begin with. In the "Final Destination" films all the deaths were made to look like freak accidents yet you always knew that they weren't just accidents but that something supernatural was at work. It was the complete opposite in this movie. Despite constant reminders that the ghoulish Mary might be lurking about, most of the deaths still seemed like they really were just freak accidents. As if they weren't the result of something eerie but instead the result of extreme stupidity on the characters' part. It didn't help that the majority of the victims were thin stereotypes (dumb jocks and their air-headed girlfriends). Basically, I never felt like Mary was much of a threat.
Storywise, the film left a lot to be desired. For one, there's no relation between this film and the previous two UL films which was disappointing. Even "Final Cut", which had a new story and a new set of characters was still somehow connected to the original "Urban Legend". Also, the script for "Bloody Mary" felt disjointed at times. It's like they were more concerned with getting from Point A to Point B without much consideration to story. For example, a subplot early in the film where the jocks suspect a character of seeking revenge because of a prank just went nowhere and was forgotten after a few minutes. And then there are a bunch of seemingly important characters introduced during the first half of the film only to be forgotten during the second half, as if they never existed. On the acting side, the cast was barely okay. In the grand tradition of B-films, the heroine (Kate Mara) was the only one who showed any signs of promise with the rest of the cast displaying community theater performances. Especially Ed Marinaro who apparently never learned to act after his buff body and good looks faded away.
This movie was an obvious attempt at trying to revive the UL films by adding elements from such thrillers as "The Ring" and "The Grudge". But taking ideas from other films shouldn't come as a surprise for this series since the first two "Urban Legends" were ripoffs of "Scream" and "Scream 2" (what's next? An Urban Legend set in a hostel?). That wasn't entirely a bad thing since out of the dozens of "Scream" ripoffs, the UL films were the only good ones. They were fun and they added their own unique spin. Sadly, the same can't be said for "Bloody Mary" which does nothing fun or unique with the premise. And it certainly never comes close to being eerie or creepy like "The Ring" or "The Grudge" for the reasons mentioned above, the supernatural element wasn't established well enough and Mary is nowhere near as scary or even interesting as Samara or Kayako. She comes across more like a angry Goth girl with bad make-up. The film could have worked if they had a director who could have made Mary's scenes more chilling and atmospheric but instead they're just dull, uneventful and predictable.
One of the film's biggest offenses is that it completely betrays the title. The film has nothing to do with the actual legend of Bloody Mary or what she supposedly does when summoned. Rather than base the film on true Bloody Mary legends they come up with a lame story of their own involving a prom from 1969.
I didn't hate the movie like I thought I would but I also didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I will say that "Bloody Mary" is at least worth checking out for the spider scene alone. That was the film's one true highlight.
Stick to Cartoon Network
The worst problem this movie had was that it failed to remain faithful to the original idea and instead created practically brand new characters that just happened to have the same names as the ones that appeared in the cartoons. The casting was just as bad because the producers tried to capitalize on the fact that Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar and Matthew Lillard are all close friends in real life. They failed to realize that nobody cares so they ended up with Prinze, who can't act to save his life even in a children's movie, and a woefully miscast and misused Gellar. So much for her budding film career which she needs to depend on now that Buffy's over. The screenplay itself is not just insulting to Scooby fans but it's also insulting to the intelligence of any audience of any age (the lame "surprise" twist at the end proves it).
Skip this and watch the much more amusing and entertaining episodes of Johnny Bravo and Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law that featured spoofy guest appearances by Scooby and the gang. The writers of those two Cartoon Network shows knew how to parody Scooby Doo all the while remaining faithful the original concept. They were fun to watch even if you weren't a Scooby fan. The creators of this film could have learned from them.
A Sequel for True Halloween Fans.
In my opinion there are two types of fans of this series; 1. Halloween fans: Which are the true fans of the original. The ones who appreciate the suspense and intelligence of John Carpenter's classic. 2. Michael Myers fans: The ones who might as well be watching a "Friday the 13th" flick because all they want is to see Michael kill off people in the most pointless and graphicly violent manner. Halloween 4-6 were made strictly for the less discriminating Michael Myers fans, which is why they were so awful. Thankfully Kevin Williamson and his crew came along and finally made a sequel for us fans of the original and far superior Halloween. It had story, good characters, style and suspense but best of all it had the returns of Jamie Lee Curtis and Nancy Stephens who were obviously brought back to put some dignity back into this butchered series. So, Michael didn't kill a load of people and there was no gore, who cares? That's why Jason Voorhees was invented. People need to realize that Halloween was originally a suspense thriller in the tradition of Hitchcock and not a lame popcorn horror flick. That's why this is the best of all the sequels, it went back to the standards of what made the first so great. Highly recommended for fans of the original and fans of true thrillers.
Glory Days (2002)
Kevin Williamson Strikes Gold Again!
A smart and slick series from the creative man who brought us such wonderfully written thrillers as "Scream", Scream 2", "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and "The Faculty". Kevin has returned to the genre that has made him famous and he does it successfully with this excellent new series, a welcome departure from the same old thing we see on TV over and over again. "Glory Days" finds writer Mike Dolan returning home four years after writing a supposedly fictitious murder-mystery novel which was inspired by his own father's death. He hasn't written anything since so he decides to return home after receiving a creepy anonymous letter about his father. He finds that the citizens of Glory Island weren't big fans of his book, including his own family who think that his book degraded the memory of his father. The local sheriff is Mike's former childhood friend who Mike depicted as a repressed homosexual in the book. A waitress at the local diner didn't fare any better, Mike made her out to be his father's killer. Upon coming home Mike is witness to an accident on a ferry which he claims was murder. Because of his book everyone in Glory considers him to be untruthful and nobody believes him so it's up to him to uncover the truth with the help of a lovely young coroner, new to Glory she's the only one not spurned by Mike's book. Filled with Kevin's sharp humor and smart character development (the cast does a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life especially Frances Fisher as Mike's mother, who he pegged as bipolar in the novel) the series draws you in to the mystery of the island and you don't want to leave until it's over, even then you eagerly await what will happen in the next episode. Once again Kevin Williamson has taken an ageless genre and tweaked it with his familiar touch to give us and hour of great entertainment filled with suspense, comedy and drama.
Definitely not what you would expect...
This drama actually became quite intriguing minute after minute. I basically only tuned in to catch a few cast members that I enjoy thinking I was only going to be interested in the scenes that they were in but I ended up watching the whole episode and enjoying it. A teenage girl finds out that her family, one of the wealthiest in the world, has many skeletons in their closets after she finds a disturbed man committing suicide in the dining room of her home. Her family shrugs it off as a mere inconvenience but she knows better and discovers more than she could imagine with the help of the new boy in school, who's got some secrets of his own. With the teenager's narration and the "perfect" family that isn't so perfect the series plays out like "My So-Called Life" meets "American Beauty". Much more interesting than any of the dramas of the fall 2001 season this show is slick, smart and very well done. No surprise considering that Mike White, who wrote and starred in the film "Chuck and Buck", created this disturbing piece of drama. Diane Keaton did an excellent job directing the first episode. If the rest of the series can remain as provoking and addicting as the first episode than I think there's definite possibilities and promise in store.
"Undeclared" and it's perfect cast truly shine!
This is a rare television gem that relies on originality and cleverness to bring a diverse group of characters to life without using the usual sitcom gimmicks to drag it down. The series is fast-paced going quickly from one funny little scene to another all the while showing us the quirkiness of these University of North Eastern California students. One thing that makes this fun and smart show stand out even more is the fact that the show was cast first and then a pilot was written based on the personalities of the primary actors making their characters even more funny and human than any others on TV. Make time to see this wonderful show and I'm sure you won't regret it. The writing is excellent and the cast truly shines in what I'm sure will be star-making performances. I only hope people will see this great show for what it is, appreciate it and not let it suffer the same fate of producer Judd Apatow's previous effort the marvelous "Freaks and Geeks".
A stylish "Saved by the Bell"
Except for the occasional bad word and mentions of sex this show was nothing more than innocent teen fodder in the tradition of "Saved by the Bell". Though stylish it fails to match the cleverness, hipness and satire of the original 1995 hit film. The pacing of the show seems off as well and Cher's commentary, a highlight in the film, here it seems like it's coming from a completely different show. The show hardly even resembles the film, if it wasn't trying to be like the movie then they should have changed the name but since they stuck with the title "Clueless" then they should have tried to keep the spirit of the film. On it's own it's pretty lighthearted fun so if you haven't seen the film then you might enjoy it but if you're a fan of the film then this series might depress you especially considering that so many of the same people who worked on the film also worked on the show including writer/director Amy Heckerling and producers Twink Caplan, Julie Brown and Scott Rudin.
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
Two Completely different movies
First of all, although based on the same story, "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Cruel Intentions" should not be compared to each other as they are two completely different films. Personally I enjoyed both films. "Dangerous" is a wonderful piece of cinema and "Cruel" was very entertaining, I would rather teens watched both these films than the slew of ridiculous films being geared towards them these days. So please watch both films with an open mind, don't watch one expecting the other. "Dangerous Liaisons" features some very excellent performances by its gifted cast including Close and Malkovich, that should be reason enough to see this movie which also features some great costumes and set designs.
Invader ZIM (2001)
Fast Paced and Funny! Not Just for Kids.
Very strange yet very amusing and entertaining animated comedy seems a little more fitted for the MTV network. This very clever series finds trouble-making alien ZIM being sent to a "secret mission" on a "secret planet" simply because his superiors can't stand him and want to get rid of him. They give him a defective robot slave from the trash and tell him to be on his way, hoping that he'll get lost looking for the "secret planet". Six months later, ZIM comes across the planet Earth and thinks that this is were he is supposed to be, so he decides to blend in and learn about the humans so that he can bring doom to their planet. Dib, one of ZIM's classmates from skool(that's how they spell "school"), is an alien fanatic who knows ZIM is an alien. Unlike Elliot in "E.T.", Dib doesn't want to hide ZIM amongst his stuffed animals, he wants to make an alien autopsy video out of ZIM. The jokes and gags fly at fast pace and the animation and humor play like something Tim Burton would do if he worked on an animated TV series. This is a smart and hilarious cartoon that isn't just for kids and deserves a place next to other animated fare such as "Daria" and "The Simpsons".