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8/10
Your fantasy or mine - Retiring Shrink celebrates mid life.
24 April 2009
Just saw this on DVD and thoroughly enjoyed the love story. Beautiful cinematography, fine acting, lovely women to watch in this story of embracing mid life and retirement. A couple of thoughts - Juan's story is just like he says in the meeting with the judge, Juan in fact struggles with the truth of his life with an unfaithful mother and a father who had just one claim to fame - being dance king of Astoria. An underwhelming life. It's possible Dr. Mickler (Don Octavio) becomes a replacement for Don Juan's real father. Mickler of course becomes DOn Octavio as he is drawn deeper into Don Juan's world. If your reality is not so good, we tend to fill it in with good fantasies. Or, just enjoy it like Neverland or Pirates - a fantasy - a pleasant romantic movie with Depp and a group of fine looking ladies. I prefer to accept Johnny as Don Juan, just as Dr. Mickler did, and to enjoy the fantasy ride. The irony is most of us can identify with Dr. Mickler - having lost our youthful enthusiasm in the midst of raising a family and putting kids through college, still not able to rub two nickles together in our personal life. Like Mickler, we can CHOOSE to live a more romantic, fun, lively existence - all we have to do is choose to do so, give ourselves permission to enjoy. Many middle age men still remember their "Don Juan" days, many years ago, but not out of reach. Many of us would be pleasantly surprised how our spouses are just waiting for us to rediscover the romantic side of our personality. It's still there, just a bit rusty from non-use, and buried perhaps in tuition bills, mortgage payments, car payments, the office, church and community commitments, etc. We have to give ourselves some 'breathing room' just as Don Juan tells Mickler needs. Love the movie, and love the Bryan Adams song, revived this year on Ameircan Idol with Kris Allen.
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8/10
Interesting story of patriotism and suspense.
26 December 2008
I found this film on TCM one day recently, and decided to check it out mostly because it was made during the war and had John Wayne in the cast. I'm not much of a Joan Crawford fan, but she did a very good job in this story of patriotism during German occupation of France. The lead actor was very handsome and hard to figure out until later in the movie. Wayne was not the star of the movie, and did a very good acting job as the RAF American volunteer downed pilot. While the story seems implausible, most war films do. Of course there were a lot of heroic people in WW II, on all sides, and in the 'occupied' countries such as France. The fact that the Germans were not completely one dimensional gave some depth to the movie. As any German from that time will tell you, not all the German people were in lock step with the regime, but they had to stay alive. Many fought on several levels, many of those we will never hear of. I do think the caricature of the Gestapo was perhaps a little cartoon like in the movie, and John Carradine epitomizes that caricature. From what I have read over the years, the Gestapo was a very dangerous organization and usually left nothing to chance. I love the twists and turns in the movie, and will not spoil it for others. Suffice it to say I recommend this movie for its storyline, and its acting. A great wartime film in my book.
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Gary Unmarried (2008–2010)
8/10
Great new show - love the cast!
24 December 2008
With so much junk on TV these days, and so much serious drama, it is refreshing to see good old comedy again. I loved Seinfeld, Cheers, Curb, Frasier - but this show is none of these. I watch The Office, and this is not The Office. It's a straight rapid fire comedy, no brains required, just sit back and enjoy. Gorgeous Paula Marshall has maybe found a show that will stick, and Jay Mohr is excellent as the struggling Dad, but Max Gail is the highlight for me and provides the crossover character I need. Unlike some of the other comedies on TV, the language is mainstream and not offensive. Even of we are not divorced, we can enjoy the banter between Paula Marshall and Jay Mohr, the same banter many happily married couples have. Ed Begley, Jr. adds a great foil for Mohr, and Jaime King is great to look at. Al Madrigal has a bit part, and I would love to see his character develop more. Finally the son, Ryan Malgarini has great comic timing, something many adults in comedies have trouble with. You can almost hear him thinking "Wait for it....", then deliver his line. I hope the show is renewed and catches on. Not in the same league as The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm, but much better than How I Married... or Two and a Half... IMO
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1/10
I must be showing my age.
6 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I must be an old fashioned fool. I watched this movie with my wife on DISH Network, and thought it would have a different ending. I thought Amanda and Taylor would walk together into rehab. I also thought Taylor would womp Amanda's idiot and abusive boyfriend with his broken hand. What was I thinking? A real hooker would never be the same, as described in the movie.

Anyone who was raped would of course be a troubled person. I kept wondering why Taylor didn't immediately report this crime to the authorities back home. I also wondered how Taylor could take that in stride.

So I should have seen the lousy ending coming. My wife did. Very disappointed, I guess, considering the subject matter. Guess I better stick with Turner Classic movies for the happy endings, or Disney. I couldn't wait to delete this movie from my DVR.
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Cimarron Strip (1967–1968)
10/10
Excellent writing, direction, and stories. Stuart Whitman very good.
12 April 2008
I recently discovered this show in reruns on Encore Westerns. I honestly never saw this show in its first run, and don't know how I missed it. Some of the best stories I've seen in Westerns, well directed, Stuart Whitman is very believable as Marshal Crown, tough and honest to a fault. I don't know how shows like this didn't last, yet Gunsmoke was on forever it seems. The Encore copies are around 1 hr 17 minutes each, so they appear uncut, and without commercials. The 1 1/2 hr format allows the story to be well developed and to have multiple twists. I am quite genuine in saying shows like this are non existent anymore. The prints are not great, especially when compared to Big Valley or Bonanza which appear to have been restored. Now I wish someone would run "Lancer", "High Chaparral", "Branded", "Have Gun Will Travel" among other old westerns.

Cimarron Strip is top drawer among westerns right up with my personal favorite - "The High Chaparral".
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6/10
A nice Saturday night movie
7 April 2007
I really like this movie, but I like Frank too. Sinatra had some really good movies, and some not so hot, but fun to watch like this one. Anyone who doesn't get this movie is a square. It's fantasy, it's light comedy, it's fun, and it's free. Hard to swallow Dan Blocker as someone other than Hoss, and I love the women in this one. When I was 10 and watched this, I used to think this was real life, and I couldn't wait to be just like Frank. Of course, I'm a little smarter now, but I still wish my young adulthood had had this kind of time, even once. So, the movie substitutes nicely, just like the Elvis movies do. Instead of the "swinging bachelor" life, I am married 30 years with grown kids, and quite happy. I think also having an older brother and younger brothers gives me a neat perspective on this film. Not reality, not meant to be. I also love anything New York, like the waiter who delivers the peas and potatoes because "they come with the meal." Now THAT'S New York customer service at it's best. Just a great evening watching a fun movie. Sinatra in many of his movies, kept his rat pack persona on display. Sinatra was one of a kind. Then again, so was Dean Martin, Sammy, and some of the other "cool cats". Sinatra did quite well. Not bad for a kid from Hoboken.
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10/10
Best Screwball Comedy on film, a delight!
23 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film for the first time in a University film production class, as the best example of the screwball comedies of the 1930's. There are other screwball comedies to be sure, but this is the best. Cary Grant shows his outstanding comedic timing he was to display also in Arsenic and Old Lace, Philadelphia Story, and other films. Of course the entire cast performs brilliantly, Kate Hepburn, Charlie Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Castlett, among others. I remember from the film class the professor saying that these films were a tonic for the sad reality of the Depression, seeing wealthy people with apparently nothing better to do with their time. Form a technical standpoint, this film exemplifies the beauty of black and white films. The film would not be as good in color. Being filmed in black and white one can focus more on the tremendous scene framing, use of depth of field, and of course the beautiful set designs. The script is crisp and delivered perfectly by the cast, in Catlett's case a side benefit of his years in vaudeville. Really looks like a stage play on film, which in this case works perfectly. I have seen this movie countless times since that first viewing in college, and I pick up on new dialog and nuances each time I watch it! In my opinion, a perfect film.
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The Chosen (1981)
8/10
A classic for all. A marvelous view of two different worlds and how two people can learn from each other.
30 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This film, first of all, is brilliantly acted. It is a classic that is soon to be given proper credit now that is on DVD. I saw this a few years ago, halfway through, and just recently saw it in it's entirety, without commercials.

You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy the beauty of this story of two young boys of the same faith, yet so different in their worlds. This can apply to any faith where one is primarily secular in their daily life, and one is orthodox in their daily life.

I was drawn by the sensitive presentation of both fathers and sons relationships. All fathers can seem hard and unbending to us as we grow up. Only when we have our own children do we realize how lucky we were to have such fathers. Then we try to measure up to the example our own fathers set, as we raise our own children.

This should be required viewing in schools I believe, it is a true gem, not to be missed. I never knew Robby Benson had this kind of talent!
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McHale's Navy (1964)
7/10
My WWII Navy veteran Dad's favorite show in 1960's
26 June 2006
My father didn't watch much TV in the 60's. He didn't even laugh much. Just his personality. When he watched this show, he used to laugh so hard, he'd nearly fall off his chair. Of course I laughed too, since I wasn't used to seeing him laugh. My dad was a WWII US Navy Destroyer veteran stationed in the South Pacific, and his squadron earned 11 battle stars, so they weren't on a luxury cruise. He laughed the hardest at Leadbottom - Binghamton, so I figure he had or knew a CO like Old Leadbottom. Come to think of it, my Dad acted a lot like Binghamton, so maybe he saw some of himself in old Leadbottom. Who knows, he's gone now. I love to watch this show on tape, it gives me a brief connection back to those happy times with my father. I find myself laughing still.
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Casino Royale (1967)
8/10
A delightful farce with a stellar cast in true 60's fashion
13 April 2006
IF I saw this movie when it came out, I would have not have appreciated it. Like a bottle of Scotch, it is better as it ages. I just saw this movie in High Definition, fully restored and in its original wide screen format. Is shines like a pair of patent leather shoes. Clothes, cast, music, all absolutely gorgeous. Don't ask me to judge the story, I just had a blast watching all the above mentioned assets of the film and was well rewarded by not trying to follow the storyline, and just enjoying the film. Niven, Sellers, Allen, Welles, O'Toole (in his brief cameo), and all the beautiful women! What a treat. In my opinion, the REAL Bond films could learn something from this film, and not take their Bond movies so seriously. Of course it's obvious where Mike Myers got his inspiration for "Austin Powers". Peter Sellers was certainly one of the most talented comic actors of all time. It is a great pleasure to watch him at work on the silver screen. I will be adding this to my DVD library for sure.
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8/10
Great SciFi Classic !
4 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Like most of us, I saw this movie as a kid paying 50 cents I recall. Now it is shown on Fox Movie Channel in letterbox and full-length, so I can really enjoy it again. Folks, this is 1961, before the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy was in office, and the U.S. was ready for the space age. Movies like this one showed to me a bright future for the world. It had an acute global warming problem, and a world organization arguing how best to deal with it. No one could save the world without the Seaview, and a nuclear missile. How futuristic was that! In many ways, this is in the same category as Forbidden Planet to me. Of course the story doesn't compare, but the ideas portrayed in both surely inspired some people to pursue science and technology in their lives. It is also reminiscent of Star Trek in many ways. Casting was decent using popular, safe actors of the time. Having the "mysterious" Michael Ansara, the beautiful Barbara Eden, handsome Frankie Avalon, and even Floyd the Barber from Andy Griffith ("What DID Calvin Coolidge say."). Also the mature and beautiful Joan Fontaine added to the movie. A lot has happened in the world since I first saw this movie, some good some not so good. However for me personally, I love this movie, and when it's on, like today, I'll skip the NFL games, kick my shoes off, and make some popcorn to watch this classic. Who knows, I might even get a short nap in. Great for a December afternoon.
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The High Chaparral (1967–1971)
10/10
Best of the TV Westerns
14 May 2005
The High Chaparral was the best of the many TV westerns. Bonanza was equally excellent, especially in character development. The difference for me was the quality of the writing in High Chaparral. This show compelled me to visit Tucson, Bisbee, and surrounding Southwest Arizona and Mexican locations several times. Tucson seems like a second home to me.

The use of the landscape, the development of distinct characters such as John Cannon, Victoria, Manolito, Don Sebastian, and especially Buck, and the treatment of Native Americans in story lines was the most balance I have seen in this genre. Native Americans, especially the Apaches, were presented as having good and bad people, just as the whites were presented, good and bad. I particularly think the actors were outstanding - Cameron Mitchell, Frank Silvera, and Henry Darrow especially.

This show unfortunately does not show up on TV much at all, and I'm afraid it will disappear as more years go by. I can't believe it is not on DVD, especially since there's so much bad stuff on DVD, why not put something quality like this out? Next time it is on, I'll be sure to record as many as I can for viewing later when it's gone for good. Like the old West, this show may have seen it's last sunset. Too bad.
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The Rifleman (1958–1963)
Exemplary Western from TV's Golden Age !
17 February 2005
I am so pleased this marvelous "TV Noir" from the late 1950's is back on TV re-runs (Hallmark Channel). As a kid, I watched this show because I wanted a rifle like the one Lucas McCain had. As a 50+ year old now, I enjoy the show for a different reason - the very different style of filming it used - B&W of course, but dark, with high contrasts much like film noir. As a father of two sons I also like the interaction between father and son on the show, and how Mark is taught from "The good Book" as well as from experience, and Lucas teaches by example, hard lessons and easy ones, a stern but always loving father. The depiction of a simple life with hard work, long days, and well deserved rest at supper is perhaps fantasy in today's world, but good to strive for. Micah as a no-nonsense sheriff who has lost an edge to old age, and compensates by packing a sawed-off scatter-gun and common sense to keep the peace. No blood or gore, no entry and exit wounds, who cares? That's why I like this genre of TV, it's simple and plain, but sends a good message of hard work, simple life, and good overcomes evil in the end.

Chuck Connors showed more acting in this show than he did in any other, and seems to have been made for the part. Forget all the gibberish about guns and TV. I love this show, and other westerns, and have never owned a gun, nor do I plan to (unless I take up hunting). That's not the point. The point to me is the lessons taught in these shows, good overcomes evil in the end, and justice is served. Real life? No. But that's why I like to watch these shows - good overcomes evil at least for a Saturday afternoon.

This show, and a couple of others - Virginian and High Chaparral were some of the best TV viewing for me growing up. Emphasis on character building, the Western scenery was just window-dressing to me. Even Bonanza (after Michael Landon started to influence stories more) became a great show emphasizing character building. As a father, I learned from all the fathers in these shows (as well as from my own father) how to be a good father, and help to build good character in my own sons. Who said the TV was an "idiot box". Like a computer, it's a tool, and can be used for idiot purposes, or for growing.
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6/10
Passable entry in this series, but sadly - missing Eddie
29 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This movie comes on quite often on broadcast and cable, and I enjoy watching it to relax. Favorite scenes include the camcorder thief, the shower scene with beautiful Beverly D'Angelo, and I crack up with the opening Pig In a Poke sequence, although I don't know why. John Astin just makes me laugh anytime I see him on something. Chevy Chase is marvelous as he is in all the "Vacation" movies. No Eddie in this one, too bad, it would have been great fun watching Eddie in Europe, one can only imagine. Also, the British hotel manager speaking "English" is quite good. I put this movie in the same class as the old McHale's Navy movies, I just can't resist watching them and laughing my head off. Too bad there are not making any more. A great one to watch with the kids also.
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Easy Rider (1969)
Didn't like it then, don't like it now. Yet - compelling to watch.
8 October 2004
I saw this movie as a teenager when it came out, and although compelling, I didn't care for it. I couldn't identify with any of the characters, and I didn't use drugs so it seemed like the main characters were really "bad guys".

Now at middle age, I still don't care for it. So, why watch it again after 35 years ? Good question. I wanted to see Nicholson in his younger days and to see how much Hopper has changed over the years. Now that I live in the country, and rednecks are my neighbors, I find the movie a bit over the top with the violence. However, the year was 1969, there was an unpopular war on, unrest in the good old USA, and drugs were freely used (except by me). There was an unpopular President, and the country was quite divided. Just like it is now. I guess that's why I checked it out again.

Nonetheless, it is still not my cup of tea, although I appreciate the type of film it is, and that it was meant to depict these guys as some kind of cool guys or something. But, they're still drug dealers, and that's why I couldn't connect or care about them, except George who appears to be an idealistic innocent bystander. The bad news is I suggested my 18 year old son check the movie out, and now that I've seen it again, I regret telling him that. Lastly, if you do like this movie, don't watch it on TV, they chop the heck out of it, and clean the language up. If you're gonna see it, see it as it was meant to be seen.
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Good but sugar-coated Vietnam War propaganda film.
8 August 2004
Hard to believe that this 1968 film is still easy to criticize. It isn't hard for me to watch this film, and pass the time. I think that is the best light for this film. It's message is straight forward enough, and the opening sequence with the good soldiers and their opinions on the war is full of propaganda. Of course hindsight is 20-20. I remember at the time this film was made a Marine who was a family friend who had just returned from Vietnam. I was 16 at the time, and I asked him why we were fighting a war there. He took out a map of Southeast Asia and proceeded to explain the old "Domino theory", and I thought it made sense to me; but again I was 16 at the time. (Unfortunately this young Marine veteran committed suicide a few years later, and I never knew if the war was a factor in his early death.)

As far as the film is concerned, the history is flawed, the storyline is well intentioned but too simple, and frankly you could have substituted the Old West and Native Americans as the enemy, and the same story could have been used.

Now at age 50, and with a young family friend in the Green Berets deployed overseas, I have a different take on this movie. When this movie is watched from the human perspective, the young men who fought then, and those men and women fighting now, I frankly find this movie good to watch. Yes it shows an overly optimistic light on that war, which is still so fresh it affects our 2004 Presidential election, but it can be enjoyed as a tribute to those young men and women in uniform, then and now.
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Tommy Boy (1995)
7/10
Great fun, Farley and Spade at their best!
15 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This film unfortunately comes on USA Network way too often. Unfortunate because this film is a very funny movie seen uncut and unedited. Chris Farley was a very funny man, but especially funny paired with straight man David Spade. Brian Dennehy lends a short lived but great character as Tommy's father. The scene where Big Tom cashes in his chips during the wedding reception is classic. Anyone over 50 (like me) who dances at a wedding to Motown can identify with that scene. There are so many funny scenes in this movie, I can't count them! This and Black Sheep are two movies that I can watch with my teenage sons and fall off the chair laughing - the "Meat Wagon" scene, the boat in the lake scene, are all side splitters. This film has no "Oscar" quality of course, who cares? I want to laugh after a tough week at work, and this movie fits the bill. I put this in the same class as the Rodney Dangerfield movies, but not quite up with Peter Sellers' Pink Panther series. Nonethless, it is a cathartic experience at the end of a week.

We can only assume what might have been if Farley had kept his nose clean, it just didn't happen, any more than it did with Belushi. Such a loss in both cases.

One thing, don't watch this on TV. Rent it, or buy it. The TV version is so poorly edited for commercials, and the dialogue is edited to make it totally different, and unfunny, kind of like Smokey and the Bandit, not much fun to watch on TV, so buy it or rent it.

Where are the next Chris Farley's ? There don't seem to be many funny men these days.
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Jet Pilot (1957)
Jet Pilot comments
13 May 2004
I viewed this movie today on AMC. Indeed a silly, unlikely plot, but that's not the hook. Janet Leigh is the highlight of this movie. It's obvious there is no attempt at realism, but it was a pleasure to watch a young Ms. Leigh in her younger days as a stunning beauty! This was the golden age of movie screen beauty in my view.

Her line that she liked to view the merchandise before she buys it, is as provacative as it got in 1957 movies.

John Wayne was quite wooden in this movie, but what else is new. His best performance was "The Searchers". Other cast members were hardly visible and served mostly as window dressing in this one.

BFM
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Outstanding movie, captivating, and beautifully filmed.
12 May 2003
I saw this movie just recently on DVD, and while slightly bored to start, getting used to subtitles and following the story at first, but after a short while I was taken into the movie completely. The beautiful landscapes and sets, the acting, the beauty of the two female leads was very captivating. The male leads were strong and well acted, and the scene with Yu Shu Lien and Master Li Mu Bai near the end was so rich and peaceful for anyone who has been in love but not able to express it completely. The "flying around" I know is part of the artform of martial arts movies, so I found it complemented the movie very well. All in all a fantastic movie for me.
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