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8/10
Quite enjoyable.
26 November 2021
"Sign Them Papers" is a Hairsbreadth Harry short, based on the cartoon character created by artist C. W. Kahles. There are other films in this series but this is the first one I've seen. When I did watch it, I saw it with my aunt and she, too, really enjoyed watching.

The best thing about this short are the very clever intertitle cards...which are quite eyecatching. As for the story, it's much like a Snidely Whiplash cartoon, though the hero of the story is a bit on the dull side, as he battles the likes of Rudolf and Madame Vampo. The story is filled with action and silliness...and made us laugh several times.
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9/10
Surprisingly entertaining.
25 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Suzannah Lipscomb discusses a variety of things about homes in post-war Britain that could be dangerous or even kill you. Among the man dangers discussed by her and various experts are home chemistry sets for kids, the many dangers posed by plastics, home DIY mistakes, smog and carbon monoxide.

While this BBC show might seem awful, it's awfully entertaining to see about the dumb things people did or dumb things that companies sold. Highly entertaining and interesting, this is the sort of history lesson I enjoy. Well worth seeing.
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Highlander: Innocent Man (1992)
Season 1, Episode 4
6/10
Duncan goes to a stereotypical hick town.
24 November 2021
Civil war flashback.

Immortal sheriff.

A friend of Duncan's was beheaded in a small town and he decides to investigate. The man being held for the murder isn't guilty...he was just found standing over the body and holding the sword used to kill him. But somehow the sheriff is involved in all this...and this, combined with a few unfriendly folks in town make it difficult for Duncan to get to the bottom of things. And, somehow, the key are a series of flashbacks to Duncan...when he fought in the US Civil War.

The small town is the standard stereotypical one...you know, the type who love lynchings and vigilante justice. To me, the accents and behavior all seemed a bit overdone...a bit broad. But otherwise a decent and enjoyable episode that takes the series out of the city and into a new locale.
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Highlander: The Road Not Taken (1992)
Season 1, Episode 3
4/10
Silly instead of tough.
24 November 2021
As I watched "The Road Not Taken", I found myself laughing. After all, the episode is supposed to include lots of tough guy with a lot of street knowledge. However, the folks were all so white bread and clean, I couldn't help but laugh at the casting and costuming. And, when folks tried to act mean and menacing, I thought they were all pretty funny instead of being intimidating.

The episode begins with an Asian guy committing a robbery and looking like the Terminator. However, after he leaves, he falls to the pavement and dies!! The cops assume he died from an overdose and that is what gave him super-human strength...but Richie knew the guy and insists he never used drugs. Much of the episode consists of him and Duncan investigating to determine who has been using Chinese dark arts and herbs to create angry zombie-like folks.

As I mentioned above the casting and costuming was dumb and looked more like a bunch of rich kids pretending to be bad...while wearing carefully coiffed hair and stylish clothing. In other words, it came off as very fake...which made this a very weak episode...the first one in the series that made me cringe just a bit.
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Highlander: Family Tree (1992)
Season 1, Episode 2
7/10
Filling in a few of the missing pieces.
24 November 2021
I was happy to see that this episode offered more than just some other sword fight with some other immortal. Instead, the episode was an origin story...both about when Duncan learned that he was immortal AND he was adopted as well as Richie trying to learn about who his biological parents were. Interestingly, a scumbag who is in trouble with bigger scumbags sees Richie's need to learn more and turns it against him. What this means, you'll need to see for yourself.

Overall a decent episode...and I didn't find Richie nearly as annoying as he was in the pilot episode. Worth seeing...especially as it emphasizes characters over action and swords.
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Highlander: The Gathering (1992)
Season 1, Episode 1
7/10
Hopefully, it will be better than some of the films.
24 November 2021
I only recently watched "Highlander" as well as "Highlander 2: The Quickening". "Highlander" is okay...and the sequel is nonsensical and pretty stupid. So, I am obviously not a huge fan of the franchise...at least so far. My problem, especially in the first film, was mostly the acting and some of the dialog...but I though the basic concept was pretty neat...which is why I decided to try the TV series. As for the second film, even like many diehard fans, I'd rather just pretend it didn't happen!

This first episode is a 'handoff'...featuring guest star Christopher Lambert essentially handing off the lead to Adrian Paul, who plays Duncan. And, while Paul is English and not Scottish, his accent is at least remotely like a Scottish one...unlike Lambert (who SHOULD have been cast as a Frenchman...not a Scot).

The story involves much of what you'd expect...a big baddie (in this case, Richard Moll...who seems very similar to the excellent villain in the first film, Clancy Brown. He intends to kill Duncan...but also terrorize and possibly kill Duncan's girlfriend. There is also an annoying teen character...one who I think will be in later episodes but who was the weakest part of this first episode.

Overall, a very watchable show...much of it because Paul was much better cast than Lambert. Interesting enough to make me tune in for more.
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12 O'Clock High: The Hunters and the Killers (1967)
Season 3, Episode 17
9/10
The final episode of the series.
23 November 2021
The Commodore (Ralph Bellamy) wants the help of the Army Air Corps. It seems he'd like the help of the B-17s to help him with sub hunting. However, there are two issues. First, the Commodore automatically hates Colonel Gallagher because the Commodore and the Colonel's father, the General, had a falling out...and the Commodore ended up losing one of his stars. Second, to increase the bombers' range, he wants them flown without bomb loads!

Such cooperation between the Navy and Army Air Corps was not too unusual. Many B-24 bombers did sub hunting duties in the Atlantic...and so having the B-17s help out isn't without precedent. However, in this episode there is a LOT of animosity...and the Commodore seems awfully paranoid and defensive.

The acting is the best thing about this final episode. Saving Ralph Bellamy for last was great...and he was very effective...and a heck of an actor. Overall, the series ended on a high note!
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12 O'Clock High: A Long Time Dead (1967)
Season 3, Episode 16
7/10
The truth isn't exactly clear in this one...
23 November 2021
This is the penultimate episode of the TV show "12 O'Clock High" and it guest stars Peter Graves as Captain Dula, a guy with a questionable record in the cockpit.

The episode begins with Captain Dula's plane getting shot up and Dula arguing with Sergeant Komansky. As we've seen in too many episodes, Komansky is a hothead and here he doesn't obey this officer's orders...and Dula plans on charging him with mutiny. While this might be a bit too severe, Komansky IS a jerk at times and he was out of line. But through the course of the show, the truth becomes cloudy...and Dula MIGHT just be a coward like Komansky thinks.

This is a very good episode as too few episodes of the series dealt with PTSD and other mental health issues...which MUST have been rampant with bomber crews! Well worth seeing and one with quite a few twists.
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12 O'Clock High: Graveyard (1966)
Season 3, Episode 15
8/10
An incredibly unusual show...and a first for "12 O'Clock High".
23 November 2021
If you watch the TV episodes of "12 O'Clock High" you might wonder why, up until one of the final episodes you never saw black soldiers or flyers. Well, this isn't because the producers of the show were bigots...it's because it's realistic. Sadly, back before the armed forces were integrated (just before the Korean War), blacks served either in all-black units OR were given menial jobs....like cooks, servers and the like. And, on an airbase you simply wouldn't have seen black men. But, "Graveyard" introduces two types of black servicemen...and it's a pretty dandy episode.

Early in the show, a bomber is shot down by a German fighter pilot (Jon Voigt). They all land on an island where two black servicemen are apparently stationed (Ossie Davis and Don Marshall--two fine actors). The Major (Davis) is a doc and patches up two of the injured men...including the General. But there are a few huge things the downed airmen don't know. First, the Major is NOT a real officer and he's a man who went AWOL!! Second, the German pilot survived and he's a VERY lethal guy...and he manages to free the Germans captured by the two black soldiers.

In addition to these two black soldiers, you see a brief appearance by members of the Tuskegee Airmen...a nice tribute to some brave men who put up with a lot of $&%@ in order to serve their country and earn respect. Well written but especially well acted...and worth seeing.
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12 O'Clock High (1964–1967)
8/10
The earlier episodes are the best.
23 November 2021
"12 O'Clock High" is an excellent series and every episode has been posted to YouTube. And, now that I finished watching it, I am doing an overall review for the series.

Season one of the show was the best for two main reasons. I liked Robert Lansing as the General, but apparently the network or sponsors didn't...and he was replaced by Paul Burke in the second and third seasons. Burke was very good...but Lansing was at least as good and tossing him off the show did NOT make me happy. The second reason I prefer the earlier episodes is that after a while, the show ran low on story ideas. After all, how many different plots can you make about men bombing Nazi-occupied Europe? As a result, many decent plots were reused to the point of absurdity. Both General Savage AND Colonel Gallagher were shot down innumerable times and managed to escape the Germans again and again...which is ridiculous. It was particularly overused in seasons two and three. Additionally, some plots (especially in season three) were utterly ridiculous...and I assume they used these scripts because they simply had used their better stuff earlier. Now this is NOT to say the later episodes were all bad...they weren't.

So what did I like about the show? Well, the plot certainly isn't typical...especially for a Quinn Martin production. There really has never been another show like it. Also, the acting is really good and the long list of great guest stars is VERY impressive.

What didn't I like...aside from the plots of some later episodes? Well, the use of bad and irrelevant stock footage is tough for folks like me. I used to be a history teacher and LOVE WWII airplanes...and know them very well. So, when they show German Bf-109 fighters attacking and suddenly you see American P-47 guns blazing from these aircraft or see Spitfire footage attacking the bombers (the Spitfire was an Allied plane), it takes me out of the experience. It was a much more severe problem starting in season two and I am almost surprised they didn't stick WWI or Vietnam War fighters into the show! Sloppy....period.

Overall, despite a lousy attention to details and some poor plots, the good ones way outweighed the bad and the show was and is amazing to watch.
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9/10
Recycling a story idea from earlier in season 3.
23 November 2021
This episode of "12 O'Clock High" must have been inspired by the assault on Monte Casino, an ancient monastery, in Italy. In both cases, Germans dug in at these sites...and the Allied advance was stalled because the buildings stand in their way. In the case of "The Duel at Mont Sainte Marie" is a bit different. With Monte Casino the Allies resisted bombing the place as long as possible because of all the treasures within...in Mont Sainte Marie in France, the treasures are a group of nuns! Not surprisingly, Gallagher is loathe to order his planes to level the place...at least until he can go on a mission there to warn the nuns.

Once again, Colonel Gallagher does something no bomber commander would have done...going off on commando or peace missions. That would have been left to people more trained for that an not so important. But, it's TV...and I guess you'll need to suspend disbelief.

Despite the improbability of the Colonel's mission, this is actually a very good episode...unusual and compelling...and with some fine acting.
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12 O'Clock High: Six Feet Under (1966)
Season 3, Episode 13
4/10
I'm surprised they didn't have Gallagher performing surgery or commanding a submarine!
23 November 2021
I like "12 O'Clock High" but must admit that the writing occasionally suffered from running low on ideas. Sometimes they had Colonel Gallagher doing things no bomber commander ever would have done...such as flying fighter plane escorts for his men, getting shot down and then escaping from German custody 1088 times as well as here, being involved in a commando raid...and this was the third time in the series they did this!!! Clearly, as the show wound down, they ran out of steam and started repeating or coming up with crazy plots.

The story finds the Colonel inexplicably in Belgium and he and a group of commandos have captured a German base filled with important documents. But, as luck would have it, the only guys in the unit would could translate the German documents were killed and the Colonel tries to get some uncooperative youths to help with the translation.

A weak premise...period. And so, it's a weak episode...one that shows the program was running on fumes.
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12 O'Clock High: The Ace (1966)
Season 3, Episode 12
7/10
While not perfect, it's pretty decent.
23 November 2021
The Germans have done something nasty...something they actually didn't do in the war. To protect their budding nuclear program, the building and scientists are housed right next to prisoner of raw camps housing the top captured Allied officers. This means they have to destroy the building without collateral damage...a near impossibility. So, to try to kill the scientists without the POWs, the plan is to send in a small bomber (a B-25) to fly in solo as B-17s fly overhead to distract the Germans.

The man chosen for the mission is Colonel Connelly (James Whitmore), a war hero and expert at this sort of thing. The problem is that although he's experienced and should be able to do it, he's just too damaged by the war and his mental health is clearly questionable. What's next? See the show.

This is a decent episode...following three poor ones. Nothing great here, but it is entertaining and nice to see a B-25 in the show.
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12 O'Clock High: Burden of Guilt (1966)
Season 3, Episode 11
6/10
Not terrible...not good.
23 November 2021
The IMDB trivia section is important here, as the Allies never destroyed nor seriously damaged the sub bases in France. They had concrete something like 20 feet thick and even atomic weapons might not have destroyed them!! But, I could look past this problem with the plot.

Colonel Hollenbeck and his bomber group were tasked with destroying German submarine bases...with no success. Oddly, instead of giving the assignment to Colonel Gallagher and his men, Hollenbeck is sent to the 189th and he takes over temporary command. Once there, it's obvious Hollenbeck has a huge chip on his shoulder and is willing to destroy anyone who gets in the way of his receiving his star. Oddly, by the end, everyone is happy and they go out for a drink...even after Hollenbeck behaves horribly.

The previous two episodes were very poor, and while "Burden of Guilt" is subpar by the show's standards, it's still an improvement over the previous pair. Worth seeing...but easy to skip.
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12 O'Clock High: To Seek and Destroy (1966)
Season 3, Episode 10
5/10
A pretty weak episode....one I'd just as soon forget.
23 November 2021
This episode and the previous ones are among the worst of the series. I think the show had about run its course and now to make new and unusual plots, they tried more outlandish material...and this was outlandish.

When the episode begins, Sergeant Komansky is provoked by a drunk British officer...but Komansky doesn't belt the guy...though he deserved it. Later, Komansky learns that the abusive drunk who hates Americans is a supposed missile expert who is to help Gallagher retrieve a German V-2 that went off course and landed in neutral Sweden.

This brings up several big issues. First, is it possible that the only expert who can help Gallagher is a drunk who obviously has a major case of PTSD?! No...and getting someone else would have been the only logical solution. Second, while IMDB talks about the V-1 program, and clearly the plot of this was written as if they were retrieving a V-1, the archival footage they showed is of a V-2....a VERY different sort of weapon. The V-1 is like a flying missile...the V-2 is a massive rocket...and never would have landed and been retrieved, as it would have crashed and exploded by the impact....a V-1 MIGHT have glided to Sweden...possibly.

Overall, the episode just seemed sloppy and I was happy when it ended.
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12 O'Clock High: The Fighter Pilot (1966)
Season 3, Episode 9
4/10
I found this one VERY hard to believe.
23 November 2021
Three hot-shot fighter pilots who are aces in the Pacific theater have just shown up in England...raring to fly and fight some more. Now at the onset, this didn't make sense to me and I am shocked that Gallagher and the rest didn't question this. After all, WHY transfer anyone from the Pacific to Europe? There were transfers the other way around, as the war in Europe ended a few months before the Pacific war. Why didn't anyone question this? And, when the pilots, particularly Captain Dejohn (Don Gordon), behaved so abominably and with such disrespect. The story just didn't make much sense...and Dejohn's behaviors later in the show...well they made even less. Overall, an incredibly weak and nonsensical episode.
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12 O'Clock High: The Pariah (1966)
Season 3, Episode 8
8/10
Komansky seems like a jerk in this one.
22 November 2021
Shortly after the episode begins, Komansky is driving back to the base and nearly runs over another soldier. The other soldier has a German accent, so Komansky belts him...which is pretty weird as I am sure many German-Americans served during the war...including some with accents. Regardless, through the rest of the episode Komansky seems to really have a chip on his shoulder concerned Sgt. Schultz (yes, this is the name he uses...just like in "Hogan's Heroes" which was airing as well in 1966. By the end, however, Komansky comes to realize what a jerk-face he'd been as Schultz proves his worth to the 918th.

It's interesting that Robert Walker played the German-American, as he also played a German in an episode from season two. He was fine in this role and although the plot unfortunately includes Gallagher (and his crew) getting captured and escaping from the Germans AGAIN (a way overused plot device), it's a very interesting episode...and well worth seeing.
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12 O'Clock High: The All-American (1966)
Season 3, Episode 7
7/10
Mr. Photo-op.
22 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
When the story begins, a pilot uses his skills to bring in a crippled B-17. Moments later, news folks arrive and start snapping photos....of a guy who wasn't even involved in order to make it appear as if he bellylanded the craft! The real pilot is, naturally, furious and you learn that the phony is an All-American athlete who has handlers turning his being in the 918th a major photo opportunity! Later, the athlete tries to get himself assigned to fly one of the bombers...but he's inexperienced and barely finished flight school. What's next? See the show.

This is a decent episode and I do wonder if this story was based on any of the celebrities who fought in WWII, such as Clark Gable who flew along on a few bomber missions. Not sure...but interesting and worth seeing.
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Pistol Whipped (2008 Video)
4/10
Matt Conlin is a real putz and has gambled and drunk his career away.
22 November 2021
I saw this film on my Amazon Fire device on the TV and must say it was a bit difficult to watch because of Steven Seagal's mumbling. Now he generally does mumble his lines...but with no closed captions, I had to crank the volume WAY up and then way down when the channel scheduled commercials.

Matt (Seagal) is a loser when the story begins. He lost his job as a cop due to his drinking and gambling. Only a bit later do you learn he owes $1,200,000 in gambling debts*!! You learn all of this when he's taken to see a mysterious man (Lance Henriksen) who has bought Matt's debts...and promises to erase them if he kills someone...someone who deserves it anyway! Little did he realize that more contract killings were on their way...and there is, of course, much more to the story than that. After all, who IS this mystery man and why does he want several criminals dead?

A friend of mine, Angelo, mentioned this film...saying it was one of Seagal's worst. Well, I've seen a few terrible films starring this martial artist and was intrigued to find out if it could REALLY be that bad. Well, I still think his "Contract to Kill" is worse. In fact, aside from Seagal's mumbling, it is passable entertainment...rather mindless at the end but watchable.

*It was odd that despite being so heavily in debt that Matt STILL drives a very expensive Range Rover--which range from $45,000-100,000.
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12 O'Clock High: Practice to Deceive (1966)
Season 3, Episode 6
6/10
Colonel Gallagher is more talented than Houdini!!
22 November 2021
I enjoy watching the reruns of "12 O'Clock High" which are posted to YouTube. However, by season three, I have noticed that a few of the plots were overused...particularly when the leader of the bomb group is shot down and taken prisoner. It happened with General Savage a couple times in season one and many more times to Colonel Gallagher in seasons two and three...too many times. Heck, he's a greater escape artist than Houdini!!!

The episode begins with Colonel Gallagher flying to Russia in a P-51 fighter. Now this is strange and he did it a few times on the show...but I just cannot imagine a bomber pilot suddenly flying fighters and vice-versa. Regardless, the Germans shoot him down and he's a prisoner of war....temporarily. Soon he's rescued...but not by the Allies or partisans but by other Germans! It seems they represent a faction which want to end the war and kill Hitler...and they hope to use Gallagher.'

Had Gallagher NOT been shot down a bazillion times before, this plot would have worked much better. It's just that I felt like I was experiencing a case of déjà vu here!

By the way, in the end Gallagher is in a Bf-110 fighter plane....and by the time it lands it's a He-111 bomber! Talk about a shoddy job of using stock footage!!
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12 O'Clock High: A Distant Cry (1966)
Season 3, Episode 5
9/10
An unusual episode!
22 November 2021
This episode sports an impressive list of guest stars...Roy Thinnes (of "The Outer Limits"), Robert Blake and Wayne Rogers. Thinnes plays Captain Pridie, a man who was a pilot trainer back in the States. He's been assigned to the 918th and his job initially is to ride with pilots to check out their ability to fly on instruments. But Pridie has changed and now he's a humorless jerk who is unnecessarily tough on the pilots. And, it turns out this is to mask his own fears of actually one day flying in combat!

The plot is original...something often missing by season three. Well worth seeing.
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12 O'Clock High: Fortress Wiesbaden (1966)
Season 3, Episode 4
7/10
Take out Wiesbaden or be replaced.
21 November 2021
Colonel Gallagher is being pressured by his superiors to destroy the factories at Wiesbaden or be replaced. Well, combined American daytime and British nighttime bombings aren't destroying their targets....and to make things worse, Gallagher gets shot down YET AGAIN and manages to escape from German territory YET AGAIN...this time with the help of British commandos.

If you can tell from the paragraph above, I think the show went to the shot down and escaped well a few times too often. I guess it's the hazard of being a weekly TV show...there are only so many plots you can use! Despite this, it is entertaining and worth your time.
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7/10
Enjoyable but mostly based on myths about the American west.
21 November 2021
Odd he's actually playing a mexican-american.

Myth of the old west gunfighter

As an ex-American History teacher, I enjoy an occasional western movie but realize that most of what you see in these films is myth. So, when you see folks say things like "I'll meet you on Main Street at high noon" for some shootout, know it's all a Hollywood invention. Shootouts were incredibly rare and more often than not, it involved someone shooting someone in the back...not two hot young gunslingers shooting it out to see who's the fastest! Keep this in mind when you see "Man from Del Rio"!

When the story begins, Dave Robles (Anthony Quinn) confronts a gunman who killed some of Robles family years ago. He wants a chance to settle the score and they have an impromptu shootout and Robles kills the infamous gunslinger....and suddenly the folks of the town where this occurred LOVE Robles and want him to stay and be their sheriff. And, like you'd expect in this Hollywood version of the old west, more shootouts will follow! But how the town reacts to him after this...that is odd.

So is it worth seeing? Absolutely. It's a pretty good film from start to finish...and especially at the finish!

By the way, this is a rare film. While Quinn was born in Mexico and his heritage was Irish/Mexican, he played 1001 different ethnicities and only a few times played Mexicans or Mexican-Americans.
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The Lost Battalion (2001 TV Movie)
8/10
I'd love it if it weren't for that accursed shaky cam!
21 November 2021
One of the worst innovations in TV and films in recent years has been the employment of the so-called 'shaky cam'. In other words, instead of trying to reduce camera shake, someone thought it was a great idea NOT to. Now there is existing technology to reduce shake and make the footage look better...but apparently some folks thought it was great to make footage look worse, perhaps to make it look more real. Well, it might...but it also might induce nausea!! One reviewer wondered why this film wasn't released first to the big screen...but with the shaky cam, they'd need to hand out Dramamine to patrons first!! This sort of shake is VERY apparently in battle scenes...and I really dislike it...which is a shame, as otherwise this is a quality film. I love how they tried to get details right...such as the Americans using French machine guns...which was common in WWI.

The story is apparently based on real situations. It's set in October, 1918...just a month before the end of the war. The Americans and French have planned a doomed offensive and the story is about a unit that was caught behind enemy lines and had to either fight its way out or wait for help.

Rick Schroder plays the lead, Major Whittlesey. He is actually very good but sadly wasn't a great choice for a reason he couldn't control. While he was about 30 when he made the film, he looked about 20...too young looking to be a major. One day he'll love looking so young!

Overall, this is an exceptionally made film...one that would earn a 9 if it weren't for that accursed shaky cam. It was so bad in spots that I found myself looking away because it was noticeable and annoying.
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7/10
Mathau plays a foul-mouthed and perennially drunk coach...and he's NOT the worst coach in the movie!
21 November 2021
Morris Buttermilk (Walter Matthau) is a foul-mouthed drunk who used to play minor league ball. For some inexplicable reason, the mayor is paying him to coach the Bears...a team made up of losers who don't have a prayer of winning. Yet, despite being a despicable man and a lousy coach, the team starts winning...mostly because it's a movie and stuff like this happens in movies.

I know that this film has a cult following and was very successful when it debuted...so much so that it spawned sequels and even a TV series! But to me, it's good and worth seeing, but not THAT good. Matthau is good and the film is enjoyable....but nothing more.

By the way, one thing I didn't love about the film is how unrealistic the umpires were. Late in the film one coach slaps the snot out of a kid and the ump does nothing...which really shows it's a movie and not real life. This isn't the only incident where the umpiring was poorly written but it was the worst.
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