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Temple (2019– )
6/10
Really Struggling to Continue with This
15 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
... cough...Story painfully slow...don't know how much longer I can hold on...please send help in the form of quicker story pacing...tell my woman I love her (She gave up after the second episode).

Episode #1: When you consider that the whole premise of the show is built upon a really stupid idea, Temple isn't all bad. The acting is top-notch and Mark Strong can definitely carry a movie or a TV series with little in the way of entourage.

So, his wife is dying of some disease (antibiotic-resistant syphilis, I think), and on man working in a moldy, dank metro tunnel is going to find the cure? With only the help of one half-wit, and little in the way of monetary resources. He performs rogue medical treatments. How much could that net him? Answer: not enough to run his own medical lab.

Just to give an idea of the sometimes tedious and pointless nature of the dialogue, here is one exchange:

  • Lee, this is Daniel Milton.
  • Oh, right. How are you?
  • Oh, fine. Look, I was just wondering whether that offer you made is still on the table, by any chance.
  • Why? Have you changed your mind?
  • Well, that depends.
  • Tell me a little bit about this private location you have.
  • What do you wanna know?
  • Well, how private is it?
  • Oh, very private?
  • How private is very private?
  • Oh, well...


Jesús, as we say in Spanish. This could have been replaced by a single question, "Is your place private?" This sort of thing litters the script again and again. This tells me that the series should have only been four episodes. This is one of my biggest complaints about film and TV, they often take way too long to tell a story. I understand that they want to stretch things out for advertising money or whatever, but that doesn't help the quality of the product.

The skewed storyline confused me at times and questions weren't answered directly, causing me to just think it was stupid.

The side-story with the robbers really takes forever to get off the ground, and getting off the ground was hugely boring as well as slow-a bad combination as most would agree. By episode #4 we have heard nothing about the two million pounds the idiot robber, and instead we're being fed a romance story concerning his half-witted assistant.
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1/10
What Lies Far Beneath the Bottom of the Barrel in Entertainment
14 September 2019
This is not fit entertainment for adults. It's billed as a comedy, but the completely hackneyed attempts at humor wouldn't pass muster on an episode of Sponge Bob (which can actually be sort of funny). People acting awkward and stupid in the presence of their boss, like serfs in a medieval village, is painful to watch.

The premise is paper-thin: some nitwit coward freaks out on a plane because of a little turbulence and spills her guts out to a complete stranger next to her...but get this, he is her new boss! Wow, I just think that idea should have been left on the cocktail napkin it was written on, but what do I know? It was the subject of a book and a bestseller, further proof than most people have nothing in the way of critical thinking skills.

Yet another story that tells us how cool it is to work in marketing and sell crap to people that they don't want and definitely don't need. In about 90% of movies, people are either ad people or lawyers.

The only surprise in the entire film, and something I found hilarious, was the handsome guy dumping her after a few rounds in the sack, telling her she is just too stupid and shallow for him. I'm kidding, I didn't make it to the end.

Every scene will make you cringe, it's that stupid. As I said. it's not fit for adults.
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The Firm (1993)
9/10
A Thoroughly Nuts-and-Bolts Hollywood Thriller Very Competently Executed
13 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The adaptation was much better than the novel. I remember when it came out and it seemed like everyone in the world had read it. In the book he sails away with loads of mob money. The movie ending is a lot smarter.

2:34 is just too long. If you're looking for something to cut, I'd start with him admitting to his infidelity. It's so boring and soap opera. There was more than enough intrigue in the story that they didn't need to heap this on. His wife working as the honey-pot was just stupid. Once again, there was enough going on in the story to include this bit of forced tension.

The weakest link in the film was his wife. Everyone else was excellent.

I especially liked the part where Cruise beat the crap out of Wilford Brimley. He should have kept beating on him for a lot longer. It's a good way to release stress.
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1/10
From the School of "If a Movie Is Entertaining, It Must not Be Good"
13 September 2019
I can't even believe that this topped The Guardian's list of best films of this century. Overall, it was the worse "Best of" list I had ever read, and I thought this well before I reached the final, number one movie. This movie is loved by those who think that if a movie has no plot, it must be a masterpiece.

I love how there are so many reviews which basically state that if you don't like this movie, you have flunked some sort of IQ test. I realize that everything is about personal tastes, but just look at how many 1 Star ratings this movie inspired. Overwhelming. Compare the 1 Star rating of TWBB and Michael Clayton, an excellent movie that didn't make The Guardian's list.

Not only does the movie fail to entertain, it bored the living daylights out of lots of people. At 2:38 it's way too long for having not much story to tell, something the director couldn't be bothered with. Instead of story, we get long uninterrupted shots that tell us nothing more at the end than when they began 30, 40, 50 seconds earlier, sometimes longer. Ponderous. Tedious. Endless. Pointless.
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The Weekly (2019– )
10/10
If There Is a Better Newspaper in America than the New York Times, Please Tell Me What It Is
12 September 2019
Great reporting and great stories from America's bulwark against ignorance and one of the final bastions of journalism. If you don't read this newspaper regularly, I doubt that you can consider yourself to be a well-informed adult. I have my complaints about the newspaper, but I won't voice them here.

If you don't read The New York Times, perhaps this series will spur you to take a look at the paper. I promise that this will be a good use of your time.
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Late Night (2019)
6/10
Better than I Expected, but I Expected Nothing
9 September 2019
So, it's better than awful? How's that for a ringing endorsement? The problem with this film, which many people have pointed out, is that it wasn't funny, which is a problem seeing how it's about a big table of supposed comedy writers brainstorming for jokes on a nightly TV talk show.

There literally wasn't a single good joke in the film. Not one.

The whole sex angle was strange in this story. The little ingenue should have been having more sex instead of playing the part of the good girl, or whatever. She has a fit because the guy she is after is with someone else? They weren't even really dating. If she wants to be celibate, that's her business, but you can't expect that from everyone. If that's what you want, maybe you would be more comfortable in some other country, but here in America, it's OK for a gal to not be a virgin. Actually, we see virginity as a ridiculous state for an adult man or woman.

One more thing. This is yet another example of how we Americans feel inferior to people who speak our language with a British accent. Where I live, more people speak British English than the American variety and yet I don't feel that they are superior in any way. I'm very proud of my accent.
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1/10
Begins With a Horrible Pun and Gets Much Worse
30 August 2019
Netflix is obviously dying for content. This was just terrible from start to finish...not that I finished. If there was anything that wasn't predictable, I didn't catch it. You could see every plot turn months in advance. I think that it would be impossible for anyone to enjoy this film.

Is it so difficult to find good, semi-original stories to tell?
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Designated Survivor (2016–2019)
5/10
As a Short Series (4-5 episodes) This May Have Been Less Ridiculous
30 August 2019
Just got around to watching a bit of Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland. Stupid, I know, but that's summer in Spain. I have a lot of time. I hated 24 with a passion, so I don't know why I would expect anything better from this show. The difficult thing for me is understanding how so many people loved this show (like 24). To each his own.

Of course, this is fiction so I can forgive the absurdity of the premise. A bombing in which there is only a single survivor who got off with barely a scratch? I haven't watched many episodes but I'm sure there is some enormous conspiracy afloat which will be picked apart week by week, something almost as farfetched as the bombing with only one survivor. In addition, to have all members of congress present at one time is also ridiculous.

Just the military uniforms they use are enough to sink the show for any ex-military person. They all look like people dressing up as South American dictators for a Halloween party. Couldn't they find any drum majorette uniforms? They should have given the evil general a different uniform every time he was on camera. Here are his costume choices: girl scout dress, cub scout, ice cream truck driver, pest control, a little cowboy suit, sexy stewardess, and diner waitress, all of these with a full array of medals.

Then there is the whole mood of seriousness which is ridiculous coming from bad actors. This would have worked well as a comedy, and it is a comedy without trying to be. The more they tried to lay on the extreme seriousness, the more comic it became.

I was waiting for a tall, not-very-convincing female impersonator wearing a bellhop uniform to walk in screeching the threat level every minute or two.

"Mr. President, we are at Threat Level Smegma."

"What's that?"

"Smegma is a sebaceous secretion in the folds of the skin, especially under a man's foreskin, sir"

"I know what 'smegma' is, you idiot. What is Threat Level Smegma?"

"It's one level above Threat Level Chancre."

"Well, why didn't you just say that the first time?"

The producers of DS demand that all viewers stand at attention and salute while watching every episode. Anyone not following this edict will be deemed a national security threats.
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1/10
Absurdist Tripe
28 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was so bad on so many different levels.

First of all, I never believed any of it from the very beginning. I was in Europe in the military in the 1980s, and nothing in this movie seemed real.

So, he has a new roommate who he hates...and suddenly the new kid is working for him cooking heroin? How did that happen? He gets a severe beating on a military base? Why wouldn't he report it? They would all be in jail the next morning.

A tank with a junkie crew runs through a German village terrorizing everyone? Yeah, that would really happen. There was so much ridiculously stupid stuff going on in this movie to even keep track.

I never knew of a single person who was mainlining heroin, not one, never even heard of it. Marijuana, maybe. Heroin?

This was a cool idea that just went way over the top. Critics loved the book because it criticized the military and for no other reason. It didn't matter to them that this was an completely absurdist tale with zero basis in reality.
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10/10
America's Best President's Last Year
28 August 2019
Intelligent people working hard to make America a world leader in many areas. The Paris Climate Accords sent European nations scrambling to meet the lofty goals set forth in the summit. Meanwhile, Trump has done nothing but try to undo these policies. The same is true of health care and the Iran nuclear treaty.

We need a serious president again.
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10/10
A Blast from the Past
27 August 2019
This was an excellent bit of propaganda for the newspaper that had been a part of my life during my time in the military. I highly recommend it to all vets.

Like I remember the newspaper, this documentary on The Stars and Stripes is all gung-ho, yay rah, and shouts of U-S-A U-S-A! I suppose that I should preface this by admitting that although I did serve honorably in the Untied States military, it was in the Air Force. We actually had maids when I was in training school. No joke. The food in the mess halls was better than you get in lots of decent restaurants. On top of that, the three years I spent at my duty station were in Athens, Greece, and I had a two-bedroom penthouse apartment overlooking the Saronic Gulf islands. Don't hate me.

The Stars and Stripes was as much a part of my life back then as anyone serving in the military. The difference was that I read a lot of other stuff, too. I had subscriptions to The Atlantic, Harpers, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and I picked up the Herald Tribune very often, so I wasn't relying on the SS for my news. For most of the people in my social circle, the newspaper was mainly to get our dose of Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side comics. No joke. We lived for those.

I didn't follow U.S. sports when I lived overseas, and didn't care. I never remember the S&S being my go-to source for news. I never really trusted it, to be truthful. The good news is that I didn't have to because I got my news elsewhere. However, this was the mid-1980s and before the internet or telephones, so the S&S was a good way to feel connected to...something. When I say "before phones" I'm speaking of Greece at this time when almost none of my friends had a phone at home, as crazy as that sounds today. In my three years in Greece, I called home maybe 3-4 times, tops. I wrote letters to my mother and no one else. It was a different era, definitely.

With all that said, I still read it, cover-to-cover almost every day (usually on company time). I even read the jerk-off right-wing columnists that I despised (know your enemy).

As far as the Brian Williams scandal goes, that wasn't a scoop, as they say in the film. It was a completely stupid and unimportant detail of a TV star whom we should have never venerated in the first place. He reads the news. So what?

To my knowledge, SS never reported much on the multi-billion dollar scandals of the various weapons systems that never worked. The B1 Bomber was the biggest piece of crap ever imagines (until the F35, that is) yet I don't remember SS ever covering this story.
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Unknown (I) (2011)
1/10
The Steven Seagal Awards
27 August 2019
This award recognizes the lowest depths of acting in the genre of action movies, in honor of the master of horrifically terrible action films, Steven Seagal. This is a lifetime achievement award and we regret that there can only be a single winner, and we've had the impossible task of choosing only one actor with so many to choose from.

In fact, after narrowing it down to two people, we will ask the general public to vote for their favorite actor responsible for making truly godawful and forgettable movies.

Nicolas Cage or Liam Neeson

After viewing this horrendously stupid movie, we have decided, by a unanimous vote, to present the award to Mr. Neeson. This in no way takes away from the miserable films in the Nicolas Cage oeuvre, but Unknown went to the lowest common denominator, and then dug several kilometers deeper into stupidity heretofore unknown in cinema.

This film also wins the award for the worst chase scene ever to make it on film.
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Green Frontier (2019– )
6/10
I Want To Like This, But It's Way Too Slow
27 August 2019
A cool idea, and I love the photography, but the pace of this is just too slow. The episodes could be 30 minutes or less. There were so many long takes of people walking, or sleeping, or things that the viewer really doesn't need to see. I could tell from the very beginning that this was going to have issues with pacing.

Pacing, something the creators of this series need to understand and implement. I'm going to stick with it...for at least another episode, but if it's anything like E01, I'll tune out.
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Vantage Point (2008)
1/10
Make It Stupid Enough, And They Will Come
26 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
With 50-100 people murdered (a guess, probably lots more), and countless car crashes, and enough insane coincidences to fill an Olympic swimming pool, this has to rank as one of the dumbest "thrillers" I've ever sat through. It's like they just decided to keep piling on shoot-outs, chase scenes, foot chases, explosions, murders, knifings, and double-crosses in hope that viewers will not even try to think and just accept all of this rubbish. Sorry, I'm not ready to give up my common sense.

The writer said that he was inspired by the JFK assassination. He probably still thinks it was all some huge conspiracy, like Oliver "The Idiot" Stone. Like Vincent Bugliosi asked in his book which completely debunked all of the JFK myths, where did these people meet to plan the assassination? Shea Stadium? There must have been hundreds of people involved in this caper. Try keeping that a secret. The more complicated the operation, the stupider and more preposterous it all seems.

On top of the insane amount of planning and logistics involved in their operation, they rely on a man that they have to threaten to carry out the plan. Yes, people always do their best work for you when you threaten to kill a family member.

Among the countess stupid things in the movie was how the terrorists mow down highly trained secret service agents like they are the keystone cops, or the hapless opponents in a Harlem Globetrotters game. Just to illustrate this in one scene, two agents are standing ready with their weapons drawn. The assassin walks into the hallway and cuts them both down, and then another. Wow, that's some real Annie Oakley stuff there. Yet he couldn't shoot Barnes trailing them in their cop car, not a particularly tough shot since he is trapped behind the wheel driving.

The character's motivation for the terrorist was incredibly stupid and derivative. Once again, I blame it on a writer or writers who do nothing but watch movies so they all sound and look alike.

"Nothing had better happen to him," he says to another terrorist. Or what? He was forced to kill at least a half dozen people to save his precious brother, what about the brothers and sisters and children and parents and friends of those people?

So, they ambulance has been speeding away for a while, and they just happen to pass the cop who sees them? How does that happen, except in a lousy movie? Then Barnes spots the cop car stolen by his partner, right out of the blue. How many ridiculous coincidences do you need to propel your plot forward? There are other, more outrageous coincidences to come--the hallmark of lazy writing.

A chase scene through a street in Spain? LOL. You could walk faster than most traffic. Going down a flight of stairs in a piece-of-crap car? Already been done in The Bourne Identity.

In another mind-numbingly stupid coincidence, the Forest Whittaker character just happens to be there filming at the underpass...and the little girl...and her mother. By the way, Forest Whittaker is a horrible actor, just in case I haven't mentioned that recently.
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Hoax (2019)
1/10
Bigfoot: Up Close and Very Personal
20 August 2019
Sure, Bigfoot slaughters lots of innocent kids camping out in the woods, but did you know that he also paints watercolor landscapes? Something the "lame-stream" media never mentions. He also enjoys watching figure skating on TV and playing with model trains. The most shocking truth is that his feet aren't really that big, at least not for his size. They are just normal feet, but that doesn't make much of a nickname.

Average-size Foot. That doesn't exactly instill terror, does it? How about Huge Foot? I'm just thinking out loud here so bear with me, no pun intended.

This may be the best movie about Bigfoot that you will see this month, but there's still more than a week left so this accolade may not stand up.

I can't believe this was made.
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1/10
A Slice of Barcelona Trash
19 August 2019
A new level of bad and pointless cinema. Ugly, stupid people drifting around with nothing much of a story. Tattoos, piercings, and bad haircuts don't make you cool, in fact, these are usually the props people fall back on when they are too stupid and illiterate to define themselves as individuals. Become part of the tribe, wear their uniform, and then do drugs to make yourself even more of a halfwit. EVen the sex in this was boring.
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9/10
Fatalist Femme Fatale of All Time
18 August 2019
"She can't be all bad; no one is."

"She comes the closest."

If someone asks me to give an example of counterpoint in piano, I would suggest the Goldberg Variations or the Two-Part Inventions by J.S. Bach. If you want an example of cinema noir, this little film does nicely.

My introduction of Robert Mitchum came in the Peter Yates film, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. He was excellent, as he is in this classic.
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8/10
Old Gil from The Simpsons is Born
18 August 2019
So, I'm plowing my way through these old noir crime dramas of the 1940s and 50s. Not really my cup of tea. In my opinion, the don't age well. The dialogue is phony and stuff normal people would never say. I rate all of these as the stand on IMDb as I don't care enough to rock the boat.

Night and the City at least served to show me the origins of The Simpsons' character Old Gil, the down on his luck salesman played by Richard Widmark in this film.
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The Hustle (2019)
1/10
No One Could Be Bored Enough to Watch All of this Movie
16 August 2019
The third remake of this film that was forgettable, at best, the first time. Instead of men, we have two women, or one bad actress and an overweight moron. Oops! Mustn't say "overweight." What about "moron,' can I still use that word? She's like a real, live Ruprecht...except she was horrible playing the role.

Another of those films in which it's hard to believe they actually paid someone to write the script. I could almost forgive this (and ignore it) had they simply been ad-libbing each and every line. Even the scams were incredibly stupid and ham-fisted. Speaking of ham-fisted, this was like listening to an ape bang on a piano. It that music? Was this a movie?
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1/10
Do Yourself a Big Favor and Go to Bed Early
16 August 2019
I really wanted to like this show, I swear. There was nothing to like. C or D List guests, tired, unfunny attempts at humor, and nothing in the way of entertainment. As if the show could sink any further, he had Dennis Miller on one night who is like anti-humor, he's like Rush Limbaugh's nephew. Spade is trying for some sort of burlesque atmosphere but it comes across as just seedy and vulgar.

Vulgar. I'm not one to get offended, and this show didn't offend me, but vulgar isn't my cup of tea, not now, not ever. Pop culture references aren't sophistication, dude. Try reading a book. Try travel. Try learning another language. I'm not trying to be a life coach, I'm just trying to make David Spade a more interesting human being.

He does his opening monologue with a plastic beer cup in his hand so it's obvious he's still working his snarky frat-boy angle. Is this really how you want to play out your mid 50s?

I watched another episode to give it one more chance. Nope. Not funny.
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Night Hunter (2018)
1/10
Way Too Many Things Going On in this Mess
15 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This was so confusing as they tried to put way too many pots on the burner. It begins with the cop who is separated from his wife and estranged form his daughter. He brings his adolescent kid to his house and he has gruesome crime scene photos on the wall. Is this supposed to be some sort of parenting technique?

And why does he have a non-American accent? Ditto with Ben Kinsley. He's a former judge and he's English? I don't get it. Either get American actors or have these people learn to speak with an American accent. Then there's another policewoman who is also British. WTF? Is this a small Midwest police department or Interpol? The potpourri of accents added to the general confusion.

The Rachael character Was thoroughly annoying. She acted like the psycho was an abused toddler she needed to cuddle.

And then it got really, really stupid.

The police are going to allow a defendant to face a mob? Just completely freaking stupid.

And then it got stupider, stupid like "Are you kidding?" stupid.
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6/10
Could Have Been a Contender
14 August 2019
Jeff Bridges at his youngest and handsomest, James Wood at his creepiest, and a few other decent performances (not Rachel Ward who never really should have been left out of TV films) keep this from hitting the rating it has here on IMDb. It deserves a bit more for the above-mentioned reasons and the beautiful scenery in Mexico. Make the story about ten times less complicated, and this would have been a really good film. Just keep it with the ex-jock, the bookie, and the woman.
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And the Sea Will Tell (1991 TV Movie)
10/10
28 Years Later, I Finally Watched the TV Movie
12 August 2019
I read the book a few years after it was published, but I just discovered that they had made this TV movie only recently. It was difficult to track down, but I got a copy. It was worth the time and effort and money.

The story of And the Sea Will Tell is completely fascinating. I read most of the long book on a long flight (I'd love to read it again, but no longer have my copy). The movie does a terrific job of telling this story from start to finish. I would suggest reading the book first.

There are a lot of TV movie screw-ups in the film bit they don't take away from such a great story. For example, when they first see land in Palmyra, there are mountains when the island is a tiny atoll just above sea level. And obviously, there was no diction coach on set to steer Rachael Ward through some American vowels. She had many moments revealing her English roots. Once again, the story survives.

P.S. There is no way the girlfriend was innocent. She should still be in prison. I would imagine that Bugliosi was doing her. It shows once again, if you have money in America, you can literally get away with murder.
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1/10
Weak on Facts and Reporting, Heavy on Lies and Opinions
9 August 2019
I must begin by saying that I'm no supporter of Israel and that I hate all religions, but this film is pure propaganda and is almost completely devoid of documentation. I wish that AlJazeera would shine a little or their investigative light on the way Palestinians have been shooting themselves in the foot for decades. Instead of helping their own people, Hamas has spent tens of millions building tunnels to attack Israel when they know that they have no chance of a military solution to their problems.

AlJazeera does the same sort of anti-journalism with respect to the lives of Muslims living in Europe, as if all of their problems are the result of racism on the part of Europeans and have nothing to do with their own refusal to integrate into European life.

The entire documentary revolves around the opinions of two AlJazeera reporters who are incredibly biased and not very bright but sufficiently telegenic.
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Giants (2018–2019)
6/10
I Apllaud the Effort, But Not a Very Strong Story
7 August 2019
I'm watching this just to learn some new Spanish slang. The series isn't very good and certainly nothing even remotely original.

Excruciatingly slow pacing and the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense. One brother attempts to kill the wife of his other brother because she "molesta" and that is about all the explanation we are given. The gippo tries to thwart his own hit and fails, gets shot, and then doesn't pay any consequences for his action? This made zero sense.

The other brother has less skill at boxing than he has intelligence, and he's probably too stupid to drive legally. In episode 2 he's doing back-room fights for the head of the gippo clan which makes no sense.

It's like the writers just took clichés from the crime drama genre and threw them into a hat, pulled them out one-by-one, and cobbled together this mess of a story.

And then we have the cliché of the snotty teenager who could use one of the beatings they throw around so casually in this series. If I had a kid who told me to go screw myself, I would throw them out of the house. You have completely failed as a parent. Give the kid up for adoption and let someone else have a go at it. Whatever you do, don't try to shoe-horn this behavior into a TV show because it has zero entertainment value.

The two brothers fighting makes zero sense. Why would the try to kill each other? If they only wanted to settled up with the gippo king they could have done it without doing permanent damage to each other. Being in a desperate fight is not something you would ever take lightly, unless it's just on a movie. Make me believe it isn't a movie.

It's like the writers put in conflict where none is warranted, once again, just pulling things out of a hat.
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