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A decent film with some awkward dialog telling a powerful tale of the price of honor. Stacy Keach is Jess Tyler, an isolated ranch hand type who is visited by his beautiful teen-age daughter, having not seen her in 10 years. Pia Zadora plays the sexy and seductive girl a bit amateurishly, but then some of her lines are simply laughable so it may not be her fault. If she'd had more confidence and experience she might well have told the director (Matt Cimber) "I'll say these lines but they'll make me vomit in my mouth." She's convincing as an incestuous lolita and slowly played against Keach's lonesome cowboy, the story does raise some heat.
The setting is appropriate, the sun-baked and barren lands of the desolate South-West. The characters fit this rustic setting never exceeding a rural kind of sophistication.
Yet aside from the questions of production, this film raises a important issue. Jess Tyler is recognized by virtually anyone he's had dealings with that he's the most honest and honorable man they know. This meme is repeated often enough to make it a central issue. Yet, when he discovers that he might be able to finally consummate his hands on and mutually adoring relationship with this lovely nymphette, his honor seems to disappear in the hot lava of his lust.
Indeed, it's easy to lay claim to honor when it's never tested against an ultimate desire.
A real hoot for slackers
So far I've watched seasons 1 & 2.
Every episode has about 10-15 interesting minutes, the rest of which is slacker hi-jinks and ridiculous plot elements. I get the feeling that the show is geared to appeal the stoner/nerd demographic. It's Keystone Cops for the Electronic Age. So, if you're interested in action/adventure with massive doses of buffoonery, you may actually enjoy this.
Fast forwarding through the frequent and lengthy Chuck-thinks-he's-a- girl parts (it's all about his feelings) has made the show almost watchable.
Adam Baldwin as John Casey is great, a real believable character as a somewhat cliché tough-guy-with-a-rarely-seen-heart. Yvonne Strahovsky as his NSA partner is nothing more than a loser nerd's cream dream. Zachari Levi as Chuck Bartowsky is either a big ham or poorly directed. The character ranges from seeming like a stoner burnout to a skilled analyst to a big girl yet every iteration of the character seems painted in bright garish colors.
Sarah Lancaster and Ryan McPartlin (as Chuck's sister and her guy) are the only other credible characters. Most of the rest of the regular characters are more like dinner theater light comedy. An exception is Tony Hale (Buster Bluth from Arrested Development) who manages to steal the side show until he too finally succumbs to the apparently popular impressionistic style of acting as if your audience is seriously stoned.
Or maybe the cast and writers were stoned??? In any event, rare nuggets of insight or humor but mainly an insult to my intelligence.
**Possible Spoiler** The show's simple formula is frequently repeated. Chuck insists on coming along with the real spies who insist he stays out of harm's way. Yet, Chuck always manages to ignore their sensible orders and manages to entangle himself in the action where he's often captured or causes his allies to be captured. Some deus-ex-machina element allows them to win the day, though the foes are also often saved, because, you know, you can't really hurt people, right?
This is the standard government-is-evil for killing enemies of the state that the loving and compassionate Bodhisattvas of the USA are teaching us about.
Sorry, I almost threw up in my mouth there (but that might have been the Scotch anyway).
I Am (2010)
After watching 20 minutes I developed a profound sadness in realizing that the "wise" of our times have a very limited perspective of our nature, time, and place. The persistent two dimensional assumptions fail in providing a meaningful insight into the human condition.
One significant disappointment is the observations about the pursuit of ever more wealth even though it doesn't bring more happiness. Two things: Many of these people thrive on the game itself, finding inner benefits other than happiness. Additionally, in the 60's we were made acutely aware of the idea of keeping up with the Joneses - it may not make me happy, but at least it's clear that you're no better than me.
But Shadyac is telling the story he wants and while he doesn't get it all wrong, his "math" is sloppy. For example he gets the G K Chesterton quote right, but fails to understand the inherently dual nature of the answer.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Not so great, but good
When a movie is so hyped up it often tends to disappoint. But when I saw a review stating that the movie is actually up to the hype I expected an awesome ride for the money. There were indeed remarkable moments both technically and dramatically, and The Joker was an astonishing coup in concept and execution. The supporting cast was solid and at no point in the 2-1/2 hour flick did I start to muse about the actors themselves or the crew - the story (barely) managed to hold my attention throughout. Still, Burton's Batmans pale in comparison to Nolan's as the newer version is more realistic, fantastic, and dynamic. In the end I saw nothing new here, mainly a modern iteration of the Thor/Loki personae and conflict with a budget worthy of Asgard. Nice work, not great.
When Nietzsche Wept (2007)
A rare glimpse into a rare struggle
Knowing nothing of the book, and based solely on the DVD cover and description I expected a disappointingly shallow, titillating pseudo-intellectual romp through the fields of pretense. But the portrayal of the rare humanity of these characters as they confronted their obsessions and limitations drew me into rapt attention at the next plot development. Perhaps I'm just shallow and easily amused, but this story gave a fairly good look at a decent man, Joseph Breuer, and his struggle to really feel his humanity. This is an important story, one rarely told because how many story tellers have been through the fire of transformation to live for real? Where do you find an audience willing to sit through something they're desperately trying to avoid themselves? Maybe package it as a shallow and titillating pseudo-intellectual romp. Sure there were times when I saw through the weave of the story, for a moment I even saw Assante speaking lines rather than Nietzsche talking but for the most part this story was to me a real story of people really evolving right before our very eyes. That's not something you're going to see every day.