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1/10
''No Good Reason'' for this colossal waste of time.
23 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This episode and the one that proceeded it have convinced me that there is "no good reason" to watch this show anymore unless you are either (1) the type of person who is fascinated by the aftermath of serious automobile accidents or (2)someone like me who developed so much appreciation for the clever writing, plot twists, and character development in this series over the years that I can't quite bring myself to take the logical step of putting the decaying carcass of a once graceful gazelle in my rear view mirror and not looking back.

I'm the "reviewer" who, in response to the previous episode, "Contrapasso" "scathingly notes the insulting preachiness of episodes since star Mariska Hargitay assumed more of an executive producer role." However, in "rereading" that review, I'm compelled to make three adjustments:

1) Calling Mariska a "man hater" was unjustifiably hyperbolic. I have no idea whether she is or not. What I do know is that her relentless campaign to turn the presumption of innocence on its head in the sexual assault arena and similar efforts by others are largely responsible for the appalling number of innocent Americans who are serving draconian prison sentences for crimes they did not commit.

Hell, the presumption of innocence is even alive and well in Iran. But it is gasping for air in this country's sexual assault arena thanks to blindly driven ideologues like Mariska who believe every sexual assault accusation is sacrosanct, and every denial is merely the desperate, transparent attempt of a violent sex criminal to avoid the consequences of his unspeakable misconduct.

There is no question that many sexual assault victims are denied justice in our courts. But this does not justify dispensing with the protections of the Bill of Rights and making the leveling of an accusation tantamount to conviction and sentence.

(2)I contended that, with "Contrapasso," SVU had "hit absolute rock bottom." I now see that I jumped the gun on that one. "No Good Reason" sunk several fathoms beneath the previous week's fiasco.

This episode ends with Olivia actually leading a large group therapy session in which victims of sex crimes and bullying are encouraged to stand up and admit their victimization thereby beginning the healing process.

Encouraging victims to take the first step toward recovery and empowerment is an admirable concept, and I appreciate the catharsis it obviously provided to the reviewer who labeled their review, "Me Too." But, last I looked, the 9:00 p.m. slot on Wednesday evenings is supposed to be reserved for shows that provide their viewers with entertainment, not counseling and therapy.

Everyone who feels victimized has access to trained counselors and licensed therapists in the area in which they live. Those of us who tune in to see prime time entertainment on NBC should not be subjected to sermonizing on a subject that may or may not apply to us.

In fact, I am appalled that the executive producer(s) of a prime time alleged "entertainment" vehicle would treat their viewers with such high handed contempt and condescension.

(3)In my previous review, I wrote that I was "Sorry to kiss one of my very favorite programs goodbye." Obviously, I didn't mean that literally, at least not then.

But one or two more clunkers like the last two episodes will leave me with no choice, and, judging by some of the other reviews, I am apparently not alone.

Let me put it this way: If I lived near the studio where they film "SVU," I would be seriously tempted to open a pet shop that specialized in shark sales.

Because there is absolutely "No Good Reason" to be a member of an audience that that the executive producer regards as captive listeners to her personal crusade.
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1/10
Mariska's prime time Preach-a-thons finally hit rick bottom.
11 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I have been a huge fan of the entire "Law and Order" franchise since the mid-90s and SVU was my favorite of its various incarnations. That was until Mariska decided to use the show's preferred time slot as a personal soapbox from which to preach her "Women are always helpless victims while men are always unspeakably hideous pigs" blather. Okay, despite the downward plunge this series took when Chris Meloni departed(and Richard Belzer and Dann Florek subsequently retired), it was still worth watching for the occasional clever scripts and unexpected twists. However, as soon as Mariska became an executive producer and decided to flex her apparent man-hating muscles, coupled with her embarrassingly ignorant or, more probably, intentional disregard of the law, to jettison entertainment value in favor of unending sermonizing, the series sunk to previously unimaginably levels. But tonight's forced, contorted episode finally hit absolute rock bottom. Having practiced law for 40 years, let me assure you that the plot point of tonight's episode - that a prosecutor would even pause to consider filing a 20-year old forcible rape charge on the word of a woman who had just been arrested for committing and admitting a vile, unspeakable act of mayhem redefines the term, "suspension of disbelief." Sorry, Mariska, advocating for women's empowerment is an admirable, commendable enterprise, but using a prime, network slot to preach your personal, prejudiced views to a (previously) captive audience is unforgivable. Sorry to kiss one of my very favorite programs goodbye, but, when my subconscious reaction to the final scene of an episode is to immediately lunge for the shower, I know the shark has just taken a giant leap. And by the way, I don't know of anyone who could care less about whether Olivia keeps Noah or not.
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The Hot Scots (1948)
8/10
"Here Comes Your Lunch"
5 January 2017
This is one of the very best Stooges shorts with Shemp. I had to write this to correct a reviewer who wrote, "I would like to try out Ted Lorch's great line, 'The E-r-r-r-r-r-el will see ye noo!'"

Ted Lorch ("McPherson") did not say that line; Charles Knight ("Angus") did, and he later ended the scene in which the Stooges are shown to their room with a very menacing, albeit obviously tongue-in-cheek, "If you need anything, just WAIL!" and then laughs (intentionally or unintentionally, we'll never know).

The title of this review comes from an early scene in which the Stooges are picking up the "missing papers" in Scotland Yard's back "yard." When he hands the apparent last piece of trash paper to Moe, he says, with a sigh of relief,"If there's another piece of paper in this yard, I'll eat it." Of course, at that exact moment,a gust of wind carries a piece of paper from the inspector's desk out his open office window, and, as it slowly floats downward into the yard, Moe cracks, "Here comes your lunch."

I also thought the Stooges' introduction of themselves to the Earl was hilarious. First Moe says,"He's MacLarry; he's MacShemp; and I'm MacMoe." Then they vigorously shake hands with each other while exclaiming,"Hiya, Mac. Hiya, Mac. Glad to MacMeet you."

It blows me away that Christine McIntryre never became what we now refer to as an "A-list celebrity." She had it all: She was gorgeous. She had marvelous comedic timing. And, of course, that angelic voice.
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6/10
Ida Lupino a homely widow?
27 November 2012
I saw this film yesterday for the first time, and I guess it shows that one's opinions of beauty (and the caliber of acting) really are in the "eyes of the beholder." I decided to write this "review" for one primary reason: The writer of the first review referred to Ida Lupino's role as that of "a homely widow." Homely? If Ida was "homely" in this film, then my taste in women must be flat ass backwards. I thought she was gorgeous, quite possibly the best I've ever seen her look. The other reviewers with whom I strongly disagree are those who criticized the acting. Say what you will about the film (it undeniably had it's flaws as well as its strengths), IMHO, the acting of the two principals was absolutely spectacular. Robert Ryan's expressions changed almost by the second as he slipped into, and out of, reality. And Ida was magnificent from beginning to end. I agree that the ending was a major disappointment. My immediate reaction to it was to say to myself, "THAT'S the end?" Nevertheless, the experience of watching those two performers play off each other for an hour and a half is definitely one that I would strongly recommend.
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Maverick: Shady Deal at Sunny Acres (1958)
Season 2, Episode 10
10/10
"Just workin' on it."
14 June 2006
THE most entertaining episode of "Maverick" ever made, and that's saying a whole bunch. Brother Bret (James Garner) gets fleeced by John Dehner and summons just about every marvelous, larcenous Warner Brother's stock character actor who ever appeared on the show to implement an elaborate scheme to get his money back. Throughout the entire program, all Bret does is rock on a rocking chair on his front porch and whittle. Whenever the townsfolk stop by to inquire on his progress, he simply says, "I'm workin' on it." In the meantime, a rogues' gallery of, well, rogues, initiate a convoluted scam worthy of "The Sting" to con the con artist out of the money he stole from Bret. Dandy Jim Buckley (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.), Gentleman Jack Darby (Richard Long), Big Mike McComb (Leo Gordon), Samantha Crawford (Diane Brewster), and, of course, Brother Bart (Jack Kelly) are all in town for this one. How did they forget Peter Breck and Andrew Duggan?? Best of all, it's available on DVD! And it holds up as if time has stood still.
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Thriller: The Prisoner in the Mirror (1961)
Season 1, Episode 34
7/10
Listen to your parents, but don't listen to your neighborhood sorcerer
13 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Lloyd Bochner, having apparently miraculously escaped from the Kanamites' spaceship, shows up in Paris bound and determined to purchase a most unusual mirror fashioned by 18th century sorcerer, Count Alexander Cagliostro (Henry Daniell, who else?) Unwilling to be dissuaded from his foolhardy endeavor by none other than Peter Brocco (who similarly failed to dent Charles McGraw's determination in "The Narrow Margin"), Bochner finds and purchases the mysterious item. Needless to say, bad move. Very bad move. The concept is chilling, and Bochner provides a marvelous, over the top, dual performance. However, the story is unfortunately spoiled by the unrealistic gullibility of its lead character and an extremely disappointing, hokey ending. One intriguing aside: Bochner, holding a drink, toasts his girlfriend, Marian Ross(!), with, of all phrases: "Happy Days!"
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The Twilight Zone: The Chaser (1960)
Season 1, Episode 31
10/10
A dollar for the potion, but $100 for the antidote
13 June 2006
One of Rod Serling's most frequently recurring themes was, "Be careful what you ask for; you may get it." Along with "A Nice Place to Visit," this theme is on full display in "The Chaser," as George Grizzard pines for the breathtakingly beautiful Patricia Barry, who pays him no mind at all. At least until Mr. Grizzard obtains a rather unusual elixir from the aptly named "Professor A. Daemon" (John McIntire whose wife, Jeanette Nolan was the penultimate witch of all our nightmares in the "La Strega" episode of "Thriller.") Then, in vintage Twilight Zone fashion, everything, of course, begins to go awry with the predictable twist at the end. Another showcase for the unparalleled beauty of Ms. Barry, who makes Mr. Grizzard's obsession all too believable. If she were still around, I would buy the potion myself.
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Playhouse 90: Invitation to a Gunfighter (1957)
Season 1, Episode 23
10/10
Be careful what you ask for ...
31 May 2006
I saw this episode as a 10-year old child, and it has lived with me ever since, even though I never saw it again.

High O'Brian is a gunfighter who has an entire town in his grip. The townsfolk pool their resources so that they can pay another gunfighter (Gilbert Roland) to end O'Brian's reign of terror.

The plan works, and he is driven out of town.

But guess what? If the townspeople thought they had it bad when O'Brian was terrorizing their town, that was child's play by comparison to what Gilbert Roland carries on once he assumes control.

On the off chance that anyone is able to see this show, I won't spoil the ending, although you can probably figure it out.

Just promise to please alert this site if you should hear a rumor that this marvelous program will be shown after a mere 49 years in storage (hopefully).
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Whirlpool (1949)
One of the most senseless and dullest noirs ever made
28 May 2006
As a lover of film noir, I can say without hesitation that this is one of the worst ever. Joe Ferrer's hypnosis of Gene Tierney to allow her to sleep is nothing compared to the yawns which are brought about by the slow pace, lack of action, and interminable pauses between lines. At one point, Gene Tierney swears that she hasn't be lying, and you want to respond: "Of course, you haven't. You haven't said anything of import." The storyline makes absolutely no sense. Jose Ferrer has set up the perfect crime so what does he do? Return to the scene for no good reason so that he can be caught. He hypnotizes Gene Tierney to steal incriminating evidence and then has her place the items where they will undoubtedly discovered in just a matter of time. A complete waste of wonderful performers. Cross this one off the list.
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The Twilight Zone: A Stop at Willoughby (1960)
Season 1, Episode 30
10/10
The best episode of "The Twilight Zone"
14 May 2006
Gart Williams is a harried, miserable Madison Avenue ad exec with a social climber of a wife, a relentlessly demanding boss, and an ulcer that won't quit. Riding the commuter train home to Connecticut one evening, he falls asleep and awakens on an 1890's train stopping at "Willoughby," a bucolic village where "a man can live his life full measure." He quickly returns to the present, but can't stop dreaming of the simple life for which he longs in a place where a band plays in the town square and kids carry fishing poles. There is little doubt that, when the pressures of modern day life become truly unbearable, Gart Williams will pay a visit to the place of his dreams. Rod Serling's most personal episode. When I had the privilege of seeing him in person in 1970, he described it, along with "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street," as his two personal favorites. The final scene drew multiple gasps from the audience.
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The Big Sleep (1946)
Just average for a grafter.
18 February 2006
Yes, the plot is incredibly convoluted, but so was the source material. In fact, they say that Hawks contacted Chandler directly to find out who killed Owen Taylor, the Sternwoods' chauffeur, and even Chandler couldn't figure it out. I am convinced that it was Joe Brody.

I will not repeat what the other commentators have said, but I think that the best scene of all has been largely overlooked. Bogart grilling Joe Brody (Louis Jean Heydt) about his activities during the evening of Arthur Gwynn Geiger's murder. Brody squirming in his seat desperately trying to avoid eye contact with Marlowe as Marlowe follows him around the couch saying "Try looking at me, Joe."

A couple of great lines were also omitted from the list of great lines at the beginning of the thread.

Eddie Mars pulls a gun on Marlowe and says, "Do you mind?" Marlowe: "No, I'm used to it."

Mars to Marlowe: "Open the door." Marlowe: "Open it yourself. I've already got a client."

Brody to Marlowe: "I guess you think I'm dumb, huh?" Marlowe: "Just average for a grafter."

Plus the traditional Hawks overlapping dialogue in which Agnes twice says, "He gives me a pain in my ---," and each time she is interrupted before she can finish the sentence.

There are two ways to make more sense of the incomprehensible plot. One is to read the novel; the other is to see the far inferior remake. For example, both explain what happened to Sean Regan ("Rusty Regan" in the book) while this version does not.

In the book, Carmen sneaks into Marlowe's apartment and is waiting in his bed in the raw when he returns. However, he resists her offer and throws her out causing her to become unhinged. Marlowe figures out that the same thing happened when Regan refused her advances and that she killed him because Carmen does not like being told "no". This is impossible to figure out from the 1945 version, probably because of the Code that was in effect at the time.

I agree that Bogart's Marlowe and Spade are totally different characters. Sam Spade was a pure reflection of John Houston. Tough, hardboiled, sardonic, dismissive of women, totally in charge, and laden with a sense of vague morality at best.

By contrast. Bogart's Marlowe is a far more realistic, less glamorized, version of the private eye: Ex-DA investigator; knowledgeable about things that only cops know; a lone wolf with his own code of morality; and the desire to do the right thing barely hidden under a veneer of cynicism and world weariness.

Also, even though only 3 years elapsed between the making of the "Falcon" and "The Big Sleep," Bogie aged dramatically in those three years.

This movie truly has it all: vintage 40's noir; the Bogart-Bacall mystique; superb supporting performers; an engrossing mystery populated with intriguing characters; and a marvelous capturing of the feel of old L.A.

This one should be firmly ensconced in everyone's all time Top 10.
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Very entertaining, fast paced, and a marvelous cast
16 June 2003
Just one more movie that highlights how much better movies were 30+ years ago than they are now. If this story were told today, the gore would overwhelm most of the plot and all of the entertainment.

As is, even the shlock Roger Corman produces a highly enjoyable, rapid paced vehicle. The scene with George Segal and Jean Hale is reminiscent of the one between Glenn Ford and Hope Lange in "Pocketful of Miracles." And, after watching it, one wonders why Jean Hale's filmography is so short.

Only Jason Robards, Jr. really overdoes it, but who's to say that Capone himself didn't overact a bit? Certainly no one who's alive to write a review here.

More entertaining than many other 60's gangster flicks, including "Bonnie and Clyde," "Dillinger," and the depressing "Murder, Inc."

While "The Godfather" series and "Goodfellas" were much higher budget and quality productions, both had parts which were overextended or just downright dull (for example, the long drawn out day of Henry Hill's arrest in "Goodfellas").

This one doesn't. It rocks from beginning to end. And most of the cast (such as the ubiquitous Charlie Dierkop) look more like hoodlums than real hoodlums do. (I think.)

Very high marks for sheer entertainment value.
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