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Tribulation (2000)
Awful. Truly awful.
12 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
What else can you say about a movie where one baddie finds the protagonist's bible and turns to his partner with an evil grin and says, "He's... unarmed"? This abomination makes "Manos, the Hands of Fate" look like "Citizen Kane". Why MST3K never lampooned it is beyond me.
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19 January 2015
I was forced to watch this one night when I was home sick with the flu. I only watched it because I was too weak to get up and change the channel. I have never seen a bigger load of unsubstantiated and outright fraudulent horsepucky. The good news is that I have since started getting vaccinated for influenza on a regular basis so that I'll never be in the position of being a captive audience to a pile of crap like this again. So that at least is a good thing.

That said, I absolutely loved watching Darren McGavin's masterful performances in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, A Christmas Story, and Murphy Brown.
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The Outer Limits: The Sixth Finger (1963)
Season 1, Episode 5
I loved this episode, but...
18 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this episode again recently, and have always enjoyed it immensely. The acting and characterizations were superb. (I was also a boyhood fan of David McCallum in "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."). However, there have always been some questions that bothered me about it based on my (admittedly limited) understanding of evolution.

First, evolution is not an immutable genetic program. The primary mechanism of evolution is natural selection--small, random mutations occur over generations; those mutations that improve the organism's chance to survive and procreate are passed on to future generations and become the new baseline, as it were, of the species. Individual mutations that reduce the chance of survival and procreation simply die off.

There is nothing in genetics, at least to my knowledge, that predisposes us to develop six fingers in the distant future. If that were true, then by the same logic, four-fingered cartoon characters are humans from the distant past. All of our protohuman ancestors had five fingers, as do modern apes. In our modern society, having a sixth finger might make one a more versatile concert pianist (see _Gattaca_), or be able to spear one additional olive, but I doubt it would help him get more women.

Second, the enormous cranium of future Gwyllim (McCallum). Any woman who has given birth and any man who has been in the delivery room knows what I mean. For humans to develop a larger cranium would require women to simultaneously develop a larger birth canal. Otherwise, the only humans who survived would be those relative few with access to hospitals and Caesarian sections. The fact is, homo sapiens has not evolved genetically in probably 100,000 years. We are the same basic humans as the Cro-Magnon man. Our modern society has largely eliminated the genetic pressure to evolve. We no longer need to outrun predators or outwit our prey. Children who are born with life-threatening genetic defects are now given a chance at life by advanced medical procedures. (I'm not a eugenist--as the parent of a child with asthma, I wouldn't have it any other way--but the point is that those genes can now survive and be passed on to future generations.)

So as interesting as it is to speculate about what future humans might look like, I suspect it will be quite different: (sarcastic social commentary begins) a species that can tolerate higher average ambient temperatures, that can breathe air with elevated carbon dioxide and monoxide levels, that can possibly live underwater as well as on land, that has a more robust immune system, and that is resistant to radiation and environmental toxins such as mercury. (sarcastic social commentary ends)

The other plot hole I found is at the very end, when Gwyllim asks Cathy to help him move into the infinite future, why doesn't he activate the machine himself with his telekinetic abilities, and can't he read her mind to find out that she's going to send him backwards, and mentally force her hand in the forward direction? Does something in the chamber block his mental powers?
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13 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I think it's safe to say that this is one of the greatest episodes of Star Trek ever. Sadly, it is also a prophetic commentary on the present state of the human race. Three hundred years ago, Jonathan Swift wrote in Gulliver's Travels about the Big-endians and the Little-endians, making war over which end of an egg to break before eating it. In 1969 the Cold War was raging, the somewhat peaceful manifestation being the race to the moon, and the bloody manifestation being Vietnam. The civil rights battle was ongoing, and the feminist movement was gathering steam. In 2006, the Cold War is long over, but now the "war on terror" has taken its place. Racism is still alive and well. With the current debate over immigration and the use of English as the official language of the United States, we manage to find even more ways to distinguish ourselves from "the other". We have Red States vs. Blue States, black vs. white, Anglo vs. Hispanic, Catholic vs. Protestant, liberal vs. conservative, gay vs. straight, pro-choice vs. pro-life, evolution vs. creationism. Some of these conflicts have resulted in bloodshed, others haven't, but they continue to divide us. Worldwide, it's no longer just Christian vs. Jew or Muslim vs. Hindu. In many cases our conflicts involve Christian vs. Christian, as in Northern Ireland or Muslim vs. Muslim, as in Iraq. The worldwide Anglican Communion threatens to split in two over the appointment of a gay bishop. Someone once said there are two kinds of people in the world, those who classify everybody into two kinds, and those who don't. I suspect the latter group is thinning out. God help us.
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I'm a sucker for films like this...
3 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
A love triangle with no villains, just three sympathetic victims of bad timing and outside circumstances. My wife is from the Philippines and we watch Filipino films together quite often. This one was a little easier than most for me to follow thanks to the English subtitles--I wish our family visits had subtitles! :-) My one observation on this is that it has elements of several other romantic films, including Arthur, Casablanca and The Fountainhead (and a touch of I Love You Alice B. Toklas!). This is not a criticism, since I love all of the other films. The color is fabulous and the mountain scenes are breathtaking. I enjoyed this film immensely.
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The Good Guys (1968–1970)
A funny show for a 12-year-old perspective
27 November 2004
I started watching this show because I remembered and had enjoyed Bob Denver from his Gilligan days (and even as Maynard G. Krebs)

Unfortunately, I only remember a couple of gags from this show. One was when Rufus was trying to promote the diner as a truck stop. He told Bert that one of the truck drivers "pushes reefer" (a term meaning to sell marijuana). But before Burt could protest that he didn't want drug dealers frequenting his diner, Rufus explained that he drives a refrigerator truck.

In another episode, Rufus had taken a loaf of bread and sliced it the long way instead of across. When Bert asked him why he did it that way, Rufus explained that slicing it across cuts against the grain. Bert told him, "There is NO GRAIN in bread," realized what he had just said, and then gave up trying to argue.
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3 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I know Citizen Kane. I watched Citizen Kane. This movie is no Citizen Kane. But I knew that going into it. Before writing this review, I read the discussion threads trashing this movie for its improbability and plot holes. So I'll bet those folks also hate "Ghost", "Wings of Desire" and its remake "City of Angels", "Titanic", all science fiction, and the Bible. To them I say, go watch a documentary.

This is a goofy, improbable comedy. For what it is, I thought this film was hilarious. Folks who watch this expecting a Casablanca, or even Dr. Strangelove, will be sadly disappointed. But if you want to suspend disbelief and just sit and be entertained, by all means, see this film!

I do feel that Marisa Tomei was relegated to a minor role in this film. But then I find it hard to watch her in anything and not remember her biological clock ticking demonstration from "My Cousin Vinny". On the other hand, how does *anyone* outdo Jack Nicholson?

*** SPOILER ALERT *** (for anyone who has been living in a cave)

Seeing Nicholson and Sandler's duet to "I Feel Pretty" was alone worth the price of admission.

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The 700 Club (1966– )
Pure garbage
7 April 2003
If you believe that the earth was created in only six days, that there really was a flood that wiped out almost all human life on earth except for a drunk and a few family members, that a big fish swallowed a man alive and spat him out just as alive three days later, and that the God who could do all of these amazing deeds needs YOUR money to keep doing them, this is the show for you!

Or maybe you want to watch this smarmy weasel just for laughs, to see what outrageous idiocy is going to come out of his mouth next. Whatever you do, don't send him money.
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The P.T.L. Club (1976– )
Pass The Loot
7 April 2003
I watched this show once in the early 1980s, long before Jim and Tammy Faye's fall from grace, and that was about all I could take. I remember thinking, what a load of garbage. The whole show consisted of Jim and Tammy weeping crocodile tears (with Tammy's now-famous running mascara) about how they needed more money to continue their so-called ministry. As we found out later, this "ministry" included gold bathroom fixtures and an air-conditioned doghouse. Like most corporate swindlers of today, Jim got off with only a few years in a white-collar prison. This in exchange for making off with countless widows' life savings.

It's a shame they split up during Jim's prison term. Nowadays they make waterproof mascara. Need I say more?
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Earth: Final Conflict (1997–2002)
A disappointing end to a promising idea
26 November 2002
I really enjoyed this series when it first came out. Although the idea of benevolent-seeming aliens with ulterior motives is not new (see the original Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man"), EFC gave it a new and fresh approach. Add to that the intrigue between Da'an and Zo'or and the other Taelons, the power struggles within the Resistance, and the Machiavellian Sandoval, and you had a story with some real promise.

Unfortunately, the loss of Kevin Kilner as Boone towards the end of the first season, signaled the beginning of a string of cast changes that disrupted the continuity of the series and the story line (to paraphrase a line from "The Outlaw Josey Wales": when I get to liking a character, they don't stay around very long). Robert Leeshock put in a fine performance as Liam Kincaid; but I felt Liam became less interesting the more "human" he became. As part alien, he straddled both sides of the fence and could bond with Da'an in ways that no human ever could; but as a human, he was just one more resistance fighter.

Another disturbing trend--and maybe it's my own imagination--was the tendency to cast women based on their brassiere sizes. I thought nothing of it with Lisa Howard--I thought her portrayal of Lili Marquette was first-rate--but then with the introduction, shortly after Lili's disappearance, of Jayne Heitmeyer as Renee Palmer, I became more suspicious. The final straw was Lori Alter's well-endowed and scantily-camisoled Ehrengraf wrestling with Liam in the final moments of "Emancipation". All we needed was the Jell-O. Were they TRYING for the adolescent male audience? I'm not criticizing the acting abilities of any of these women; I'm just saying that it was hard to take the series seriously after that.

Finally, would it have been rocket science to choose a less transparent name than Doors International? Jonathan DOORS--Bill GATES??? (Not to mention Microsoft WINDOWS(R)!)

I can't comment at all on the fifth season--once I saw the Atavus appear and started reading some of the story lines, it just became too painful to bear.
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