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Everybody's Doing It (2002 TV Movie)
Good if you're not expecting to much...
5 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is sort of a weird one. I Netflixed it mostly because I wanted to see an earlier lead performance from Lizzy Caplan (Mean Girls, Related, The Class). I wasn't expecting much else since it's an MTV TV movie. That being said, it's probably one of the better MTV movies.

The idea itself is an interesting concept. It's meant to be a bit of an obvious satire of public school sexual education, however it's not really as effective as it could have been. It probably would have helped if there was more actual humor involved.

Plus the ending just seems way too pat and easy. Angela gives her big speech at the school board meeting and all of a sudden all the teachers and school board officials that were so gung ho about the abstinence program being the only solution are more than willing to suddenly change their minds.

The acting is okay, nothing to write home about. Lizzy does a nice job as the wholesome Angela who actually has a mind of her own. She projects a nice every girl quality. What I do like about her character is that Angela is portrayed as someone who isn't sure whether she's ready for sex and finally decides the isn't, but refuses to sign up for the pledge regardless.

A bit preachy, but I've seen worse.
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27 August 2006
This is semi enjoyable as a piece of cheese, but that's about it.

Honestly, the dialogue and most of the acting is downright laughable. Not to mention the obvious green screens.

Thomas Gibson doesn't even attempt to sell any sort of performance whatsoever despite being the lead. The only ones who don't completely embarrass themselves in the acting department are McKeon, Dennehy, Quaid, Wiest and a few of the supporting players (the pregnant sister in law wasn't bad). Their dialogue might have been as dumb as the rest, but at least put in some sort of effort to try and rise above it.

The first half was also just sort of boring. At least in the second half I was entertained by seeing how many secondary characters they could kill off.
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Wild Hearts (2006 TV Movie)
Better Than Expected
9 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have to say I went into this with low expectations. Watched more for the actors than anything else, but I was pleasantly surprised. This was a nicely done family film. Maybe because it was Hallmark I expected it to be extra sappy, but it really wasn't. Sure some of the plot points were cliché (The big bad developer wanting to wipe out Main Street), but the writing, direction and acting made up for it.

I thought the writers did a credible job creating a believable father/teen daughter relationship. They were close, but not unbelievably so. They weren't pouring out their feelings to each other in a ridiculous manner. The direction kept things moving. They stuffed a lot into the 1 hour and 40 minutes but it never felt slow or overstuffed.

Richard Thomas, Hallee Hirsh, Nancy McKeon, AJ Trauth, and Geoffrey Lewis also all did well with their respective parts. A lot of the vets could walk through this sort of thing in their sleep, but there didn't seem to be any phoned in performances. Hallee Hirsh did a great job as the sort of rebellious headstrong teen. Richard Thomas was as you'd expect--solid. Nancy, AJ and Geoffrey all charmed in their roles. On a completely shallow note, Nancy McKeon looks pretty amazing for having turned 40 this year.

My only complaint would be in the depiction of the beginning of Bob and Emily's relationship. While I liked that they kept it light, at the beginning it was obvious there was an attraction between the two. However, Bob then sort of acted rude and distant to Emily in the early scenes. Particularly at the 4th dance. No sooner does she come over, Bob cuts her off mid sentence and walks off. I was expecting there to be some sort of explanation for Bob's rude behavior--that after his wife's death he wasn't ready to date yet or something--but it was never explained.
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Made for TV Feel
9 November 2004
I just watched this movie when it premiered on HBO this weekend and it was pretty cute. I thought it made for a pretty good watch on television. The younger kids are cute and pretty decent actors. Bonnie Hunt is charming as always. Alyson Stoner stands out as the tomboy and ringleader Sarah Baker. Steve Martin and Piper Perabo do well with the lines they have and Ashton Kutcher (who I don't usually like) made a decently funny cameo. What's funny is that my friend said after watching this movie she wants to have a lot of kids but I have to say I felt just the opposite. The kids in the Baker family are absolute complete brats who seem to have no regard for anything. While this is tolerable among the younger kids because they are still "cutesy" enough to pull it off it is not attractive among the older kids. It seemed Tom Welling and Hilary Duff were just thrown into the movie for no other reason than to attract their tween/teen demographics. Tom is appealing in Smallville but here he looks out of place as a highschooler who looks about 30 who spouts lines like "Thanks for ruining my life." Hilary's acting was so bad here that well, it made me cringe. Let's just say that. Plus there's the fact that the parents never seem to question the ability of the older kids to help out. Why do Charlie and Lorraine never get asked to pitch in around the house? Overall it was sort of cute thanks the the presence of some of the younger ones, but it's not anything I would ever buy.
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Darcy's Wild Life (2004–2006)
I'll be first to comment
9 October 2004
Okay, I've only seen two episodes of this show so far so maybe it's too quick to judge but so far I'm just not seeing the potential. This show is made by the same producers of the uber hit Lizzie McGuire and I've seen articles saying they expect the star Sara Paxton to break out similar to Hilary Duff. I am far from a Hilary fan but I do admit she has an on screen charisma and charm. Sara is okay in the role of the fish out of water city girl who is forced to move to small town America, but I'm not feeling star power. Maybe it's the weak script or the overdone premise, but I'm not buying it. What saved Lizzie McGuire is an overall decent ensemble cast which kept things lively and interesting even when the plots became absurd. Darcy's Wild Life does not have this. Shannon Collis does a good job as Lindsay and I think she is more interesting than the main character, but overall the cast has limited chemistry. As I said, it's early goings to maybe it will get better but so far, I'll pass.
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Phil of the Future (2004–2006)
Introducing Ricky Ullman
14 September 2004
Okay, I admit it. I like Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens. Those shows are guilty pleasures for me. I can't however, get into Phil of the Future. It could have been good, but instead it comes off as consistently lame and well, boring. I can't relate to any of the characters and the production values and special effects are usually subpar.

One of the sole reasons for this show's success is none other than star Ricky Ullman. He is charismatic and a decent actor for the lame lines he has to pull off. The rest of the actors are okay. I have to give some credit to Amy Bruckner playing Pim, the mean vicious little sister, and Kay Panabaker as her friend Debbie Berwick. Everyone else could be recast and I probably wouldn't even know the difference.

This show probably won't be remembered for much other than the show that gave Ricky Ullman his big break. This kid will probably be huge someday and hopefully he'll move on to better material than he has here.
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Thirteen (2003)
31 August 2004
Okay, so this movie may not be the best movie of the year. There are a few plot holes here and there, things I would have liked to have seen done differently, but overall I enjoyed it if for mostly the outstanding performances.

I love Evan Rachel Wood. I think I could watch her reading the phonebook and still be enthralled. This girl has so much raw talent and skill that she is in a class above the majority of teen actresses out there in Hollywood. I found that she managed to take an unsympathetic character and make me feel sympathy for her, despite the fact that she was the one doing damage to herself.

Holly Hunter was a standout as well. I HATED her character. The mom was so incredibly naieve and enabling. I mean, how the hell did she not know what was going on in her own house? However, Holly's performance was still incredible.

I believe that without these two lead performances I doubt the movie would have garnered much acclaim at all. Writing and otherwise, the script was nothing special.
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