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The Pop 'N' Rocker Game (1983–1984)
4/10
A Game Show and Concert in One!
7 May 2013
This is one of those things you'd have a hard time convincing people really existed until the magic of the internet allowed you to prove it. The Pop 'N Rocker Game was a "Game show and Concert". Three contestants answer questions about music videos and bands and then all of a sudden, in the midst of the trivia, (generally if the answer to a question was a band you never heard of) that band would suddenly be there and come out and perform. The contestants and the audience would gather around with excitement and the game show would be interrupted for a song. The last contestant standing had to unscramble various band names to win the Big Prize. Then the guest band would come out and play again.

The part I wondered how they pulled off was any band who agreed to do the show was not a very famous band. Like the first time I ever heard of Romeo Void was on this show and I wondered what would happen if the contestants were like "I don't know the answer to this question. I never heard of Romeo Void." Would the band be stuck backstage never to come out and play? Certainly not.

Anyways, this was a cheesy artifact of the fun early '80s days when music videos were really taking over the world. So we got John "Bowser" Bauman in full '80s regalia (not retro '50s gear) as the host. Some questions involved clips from videos.

Sometimes you got two bands on one episode. Jack Mack and the Heart Attack and the post-Lionel Richie Commodores. Motley Crüe and Oingo Boingo are other bands that youtube clips show from this show.

Phil Hartman was the announcer reading about "a new color TV" and other great prizes. Watch the youtube clips to experience the magic.
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6/10
Underrated Rocker; Could Use a Deeper Look
12 October 2012
I would tell anyone who likes rock music that Rick Springfield is way more than "Jesse's Girl." Listen to "Don't Talk to Strangers," for instance, as an example of a perfectly-crafted pop song. I was interested in this documentary as a look at what he is all about and, as promised, what the people are like who still follow his every move.

There are some extremely moving stories in this movie of fans whose lives have been touched by Rick's music, and it is interesting to see how Rick comes to terms with and embraces these fans.

Where the film doesn't follow through is on the story of Rick himself. There are 2-3 times when you think we the film is going to explore a little of his dark side, and then it quickly retreats. Rick is referred to as having been a "dick" but it isn't elaborated upon. Rick cheated on his wife, but we don't really get her viewpoint, even as he is still knee-deep in women throwing themselves at him. His depression is covered mostly in a montage of clips from interviews promoting his book, rather than by the filmmaker.

This is where a slight credibility gap emerges and the piece leans toward propaganda. Rick has saved the fans, that's clear; the fans helped save Rick, but from exactly what isn't fully explored. He's written a book and maybe that's what the film's purpose is to get people to purchase. It is interesting at first when you get former MTV veejay Mark Goodman commenting positively on Rick's recent music, but less credible when it is revealed he is an employee on Rick's cruise. Several of the documentary encounters with fans are clearly events manufactured by the filmmakers: Rick showing up in fans' hotel room, fans' husbands sneaking into concert. Compare those to the airplane incident with a fan and his friendship with Dustin and I'd suggest none of the manufactured drama held a candle to the real stuff.

So that is the conflict of the film: Fascinating material and great music that I wish Rick and the filmmakers would have trusted an audience with in tandem with a less varnished look at Rick and his fans.

Lastly, wish they could have used more of his music from the mid-'70s part of his career, as the visuals from Comic Book Heroes made me want to hear some of that great album!
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Hard Knocks (1987– )
7/10
First I remember seeing Bill Maher
30 March 2011
Hard to believe this show has fallen so far down the memory hole. It was like a weird buddy cop show with Bill Maher and Tommy Hinkley. Maher was sort of the straight arrow and Hinkley was dumb and prone to erupt in violence, but it was a videotaped sitcom on Showtime. Ran sometimes in tandem with 'It's Garry Shandling's Show.' A restaurant was involved somehow.

Jim Vallely of the Funny Boys had a very funny character. He was a chef at the restaurant, and the one gag I recall from this show is him baking a cupcake that was supposed to look like Mindy Cohn from "The Facts of Life." His character was often at odds with the Renee Props character.

That's all I got, except I remember it as being a good comedy, and I remember it suddenly and unceremoniously disappearing from the schedule.
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Defy Gravity (1990)
6/10
Like an After-School Special meets "Mommie Dearest"
14 April 2010
Possible spoilers follow. Weird, weird movie. I saw this on Canadian TV in the 90s at some point, and only now was I able to finally find the name of it by typing in some key words into google. This movie is really one of a kind, part Lifetime Movie, part oddball character study, with lots of moments of intrigue and psychotic discomfort thrown in. If you are fan of cinematic strangeness, I'd seek it out, because the tone of the whole picture is quite off-kilter.

It follows a teen who really loves his lovable dad. Dad is a wacky inventor wannabe. His main invention involves these bent pieces of wire, whose purpose I do not recall. And the kid follows in the dad's footsteps of fantasy. Except, wait. The dad also has an extremely irrational and abusive side to him as well. He is prone to mad violence and the effect in the film is as if Mike Brady suddenly started beating Carol and the kids. Way unexpected. The kid copes by befriending a pretty teacher at school who takes an interest in him. Alas, he freaks out on her and makes a grab at her breasts in another "who'da thunk it?" scene, nudity included.

It's an odd mix of quirky and serious themes, and I am surprised it is not more well-known as a kind of film to both enjoy for its uniqueness and gently mock for its camp value.
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7/10
A New York Landmark
16 February 2010
I've lived in NYC for 13 years and did not know the history of the Gramercy Park Hotel, so this was eye-opening and, if, as someone quotes in the movie, every building has a story, I wouldn't mind a documentary like this for every building in the city.

The film tells the story of the once-proud Gramercy Park Hotel, once opulent enough to house Humphrey Bogart and Babe Ruth, and how it declined over the years, finding a new life as a bohemian hellhole, the drug and party HQ for a lot of punk rockers and NY nightlife luminaries. The story continues past the decline into the rebirth as Ian Schrager of Studio 54 Fame buys and renovates it into a modern and chic spot.

You follow the story of the Weissbergs, who owned the hotel into its decline, living in it through all the madness and their own family tragedies. Schrager, the perfectionist as he pulls off what he calls his most difficult job of his life. And a handful of old school tenants who decide to live in the building while it is being renovated.

A fascinating if not intensely dramatic story. The Weissbergs tale of how the hotel sort of destroyed their family is the most intriguing, although not entirely explained. That is, things that happened to the family could have happened if they didn't live in the hotel. The Schrager element is interesting in that one first thinks he is going to totally be an evil developer character, the villain of the piece, but he actually just seems like someone wanting to do the best with the property and learn from past mistakes. The people who stayed there during the renovation seem mainly a little kooky, but not overly so.

All told, a fine bit of NY history and look at how old NYC is being supplanted by new NYC all the time, for better and/or for worse.
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Clash! (1990– )
7/10
In the days before Comedy Central...
15 April 2009
There were actually two competing comedy networks. Ha! and The Comedy Channel. They started at roughly the same time, and I couldn't even tell you the differences between them anymore, but before the merger into Comedy Central, there was kind of a Wild West of programming on the two channels. A lot more cultish, live, and offbeat stuff. MST3K was one of the more popular shows. Clash! would be one of the more forgotten. Billy Kimball was the host of this show as well as Afterdrive, a talk show with Dennis Leary. Why Billy Kimball abandoned life in front of the camera, I know not, as he had a winning persona.

As for Clash!, it was a freewheeling game show on a cheap set, shot somewhere in NYC, I believe. It had a board of question topics in the Jeopardy mold, with a lot more humor thrown in. One topic I recall was "No Way, No Day." The most memorable aspect was if you won you got to spin a wheel to answer a single question. The wheel might land on the world's easiest question, which would be something like, "What is your birthday?" OR, you could get a topic like, "Obscure Maritime Law," in which case you had zero chance of answering the question.
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Sanchez of Bel Air (1986– )
3/10
Before the Fresh Prince, there was... Sanchez
24 February 2009
I can't believe nobody seems to remember Sanchez of Bel-Air. Not suggesting that the show was particularly memorable, and it certainly was not particularly good. But it was a key part of an era of cable when USA Network was getting its legs, long before they began showing "Law & Order" repeats or developing decent shows like "Monk." You could turn to USA back in the mid-80s and watch some real low-rent productions, of which "Sanchez" was one. The three that stick out in my mind — original productions of the network from this time period — are "Sanchez," "Check It Out" with Don Adams running a supermarket, and "Madame's Place" featuring puppet superstar combo Wayland Flowers and Madame. Otherwise, the network was good for "USA Up All Night" and game-show repeats before GSN came around.

As for Sanchez, I mainly remember pretty lame humor and overly excited canned laughter. But I never was able to think of "The Fresh Prince" without thinking first of you, Sanchez.
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Star of the Family (1982– )
5/10
I Remember You, Star of the Family!
14 November 2008
Apparently nobody else does. But the 1982 season was one where as a kid, I tried to sample every show before it got canceled. The premise of "Star of the Family" was Brian Dennehy as a kinda workaday guy, a fireman. His daughter wants to be a singer and getting some offers, and Brian is quite nonplussed. The show alternated between scenes set at their house and wacky hi-jinks at the fire department.

The episode I remember featured one of Dennehy's firemen saving a little boy's hamster by using mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I kid you not. They didn't show this on screen, of course. The fireman who saved the hamster became the laughingstock of the firehouse. The one good gag I recall that had my dad and I laughing quite a bit was that the kid sent the fireman a rubber ball or something as a reward for saving his hamster. In his note, he wrote, "I would have sent you my bike, but it's not like you saved my mother or something." And there you have my recollections of "Star of the Family." Except to say that the lead girl was pretty cute.
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Snipets (1972–1979)
"Snipets!!!"
9 May 2007
If you grew up in Chicagoland during the '70s, watching afternoon TV, you probably remember the sound of a bunch of kids shouting "Snipets!!!" which preceded every one of these shorts. These would show in between TV programs on WFLD-TV 32, then owned by Field Communications, the producers of "Snipets." "Snipets," in my memory anyway, ran in tandem with the similar kids shorts called "The Most Important Person." "Snipets," though, were a little more nuts-and-bolts in terms of their approach to material. The one I remember most was a guy teaching how to make a toy called a "Come Back Here!" A "Come Back Here" was a coffee can one rigged with rubber bands and washers in such a way that when you rolled it away from you, it would come rolling back. I can still hear the guy saying "Come back here!"

The other memorable thing about "Snipets" is they often utilized claymation of the same type as "Davey & Goliath," in fact, it had to be the same animator behind both because the kids in "Snipets" looked very similar to Davey and Co. in facial construction. A typical Snipets story would be a kid wanting to play basketball with some other kids, and feeling ignored, then just asking if he can play and being welcomed aboard.

Anybody else remember any of these?
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4/10
Not a great place to start
14 July 2006
As a Wheeler and Woolsey fan, I have run across a few people here and there who cannot stomach W&W at all. While the duo can be an acquired taste in general, I would imagine if this movie was my first exposure to W&W, I probably would not have looked too much further into their work. This is not a good vehicle and they seem a little tired in general. Possibly explained by Woolsey's health issue mentioned in the trivia section.

We start with the concept of the duo as enemies. Half the fun of a Wheeler and Woolsey film is watching them get out of trouble together. They occasionally stab each other in the back, but the underlying friendship is always there. From the start of On Again, Off Again, they are at odds, and their cinematic chemistry suffers as well. The comedy seems more forced than madcap.

The plot has them owning a big pharmaceutical company, but since they argue all the time, nothing gets done. They decide to wrestle for ownership of the company. Loser becomes the winners servant for a year. There have been worse premises, but this just goes nowhere.

Luckily, their next and final film, High Flyers, would end the duo's film career on a better note. Woolsey seems more like himself in that one and does some sublime dancing.
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Whoops! You made a mistake that's all!
7 April 2006
The Most Important Person cartoons were a big part of my childhood in Chicagoland. They would be shown afternoons on WFLD Channel 32 in between Spiderman episodes or Brady Bunches or whatnot. There were also educational shorts called "Snippets," but those are another story.

Only a couple of TMIPs really stand out. The most memorable was the "Whoops! You Made A Mistake" one, which kids would sing at school all the time. It was a mixture of animation and some live-action film. The animation depicted a kid screwing something up like a kid knocking down a tower of blocks that he had built. Lyrics were like:

I was building up a building Higher than the highest one I'd ever built before And then it happened Yes it happened And I felt so bad 'cause I'd really tried And I felt so bad that I cried and cried...

Whoops! You made a mistake that's all Making mistakes is never fun Whoops! You made a mistake that's all Mistakes can happen to anyone

And so on... The next was a girl setting a table and spilled some milk, etc.

The next one you might remember was a little inner city kid who couldn't get his parents to pay attention to him. His mom is busy in the kitchen, his dad is just reading the paper, and won't even look down at him. What kid can't relate to that? So he ends up sadly sulking in his room, singing a song called "I'm Lonely."

I'm lonely, I want someone to play with me etc.

Eventually a bird comes to his window.

There is only one more episode I really remember, a cartoon girl singing about friendship. A friend is someone to talk to... etc.

The theme song of the show itself was pretty memorable, and there was one cartoon animal creature who looked like a big green turkey or something. He sometimes introduced the scenes, maybe.

The most important person in the whole wide world is YOU, c'mon we'll show you!
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The Cold Room (1984 TV Movie)
3/10
It'll leave you...um...cold
19 January 2006
This was a made-for-cable affair, but is/was available on VHS. The main and overriding sense one gets in watching this film is, "Great Scott! Will somebody wake these people up?" Which is another way of saying it is boring and dreary. But more than that, it seems like the whole production is in some sort of funk. Start with George Segal. I'm a fan. He may be remembered to people now as the guy from "Just Shoot Me." But up until the early 80s, the guy was a capital-letters Movie Star, whose main asset was a sense of fun and vigor he brought into the various quirky roles he played. His star was fading when this was made and it is clear why. In THE COLD ROOM, he seems preoccupied, dazed, out of it. Just sad to see a once- vibrant person bring nothing to the table.

But he's not the only one. Pays (Mrs. Corbin Bernson), has little spark to her character. The whole plot involves people in present-day Germany, one of whom discovers a link to a past romance with a character from Germany's Nazi past. It might have helped if Pays (or anyone else) brought a little energy to the set. But since the whole thing is pretty lifeless, directed by the book, scripted with no surprises, etc...the "who cares" factor is high. The movie is inoffensive but seems almost intentionally boring. Like the people who made it wanted it to be quickly forgotten.
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5/10
Wheeler No Woolsey and Kinda Weird
8 November 2005
Bert Wheeler flies solo in this football-themed vehicle that runs only about an hour, but has enough convoluted twists for a couple more movies. Starts gamely enough with William Demarest the Chicago Packers scout who flies out to Nevada to find Wheeler, the yokel football superstar, Harry Lynn. Lynn loves his boss, Maizie (not Marie), who runs the local general store (Specializing in "Ice Cream, Pianos, Cement, and Bird Seed"!).

Demarest plays it a little low-key, which is always a plus, but his character ends up being the cause of some manipulations of the two young love birds that lead to the verge of disaster. Suffice it to say, Pete Rose has nothing on Harry Lynn.

In fact, the corruption on display in this movie kinda takes away some of the fun. Wheeler does okay as the football phenom. The rest of the cast is stellar including Eddie Foy as his roommate pal, Eddie Acuff as a pilot, and especially Trevor Bardette in a brief role as a sage Indian. The three tall villains are rather menacing too.

Music: Wheeler sneaks in a little music singing "Mother McCree" while drunk. And William Hopper gets a couple of verses of a cowboy song out.

Good for W&W completest.
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7/10
This River Runs Deeper Than You'd Expect
16 November 2004
It's funny to think that when this film was made, it was about a time in the early 1890's, only 35 years earlier than it's production. Now we are looking back almost 75 years at the film itself. I expected a light wacky comedy, but there is definitely a well-rounded plot here revolving around murder in self-defense. Will Rogers gives a very skilled and sympathetic performance, but some of the more hilarious gags in this are gifts from the writers.

The sheriff/preacher's wedding speech goes right up there with Donald Sutherland's in "Little Murders" for sheer comic value.

A great throwaway gag involves the search for the New Moses, when they accidentally run into the New Elijah instead!

Steppin Fetchit, while no great symbol for African Americans, actually plays against his lazy type in this, and his hard work and quick thinking actually save the day on a couple occasions.

A great (and uncommon) saw-playing musical interlude!

To me, the only major weakness was Ms. Shirley as the ingenue. She was quite likable, but did not seem to have lived as hard as her character was supposed to have.

All told, a winner of a film for fans of the 1930's view of the 1890's.
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5/10
Not quite
29 October 2004
I would file this with "They Live" as films where John Carpenter has great ideas that he doesn't seem quite intelligent enough to make work completely.

There are a lot of good, creepy moments in this film. The overall concept itself is good, but the payoff is not satisfying.

One real debit is the female lead, one of the least compelling actresses I've yet seen in a film of this caliber.

The good: Some really imaginative and dreamlike bits of freakiness. That scene on the highway was probably 10 times as scary in a movie theater.
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4/10
Loud!
25 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Joe E. Brown, best remembered as the guy who gets the last laugh in "Some Like it Hot" had a whole slew of movies where he was the star. This is the first I've seen, and while he is likable enough, this movie ain't that good.

He and just about everyone else in the film talks very loud all the time, and because it involves tractors, there is often the loud roar of tractors with people shouting over them. Add to this that one of the movie's recurring gags revolves around a guy who cannot hear very well, and you can see why you may end up with a headache after this.

Strong points: Crazy tractor chase through explosives at the end. Why do the people keep blasting at them with dynamite? God knows, but the scene of the tractor on the rickety bridge is quite hair-raising.

Funny bit of detail (spoiler) that the guy who beats our hero for the hand of one girl turns out to be a freeloader.

When our hero calls every person named Johnson in Chicago in an effort to find his love.
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Mr. Jealousy (1997)
10/10
Near Perfect
25 October 2004
If you haven't seen this film yet, just wait a few minutes until IFC shows it again. They seem to like it there.

And me, I like it too. I find it to be a really smart, romantic and bittersweet film with a lot of funny moments and genuinely good acting. There is a certain pretentiousness, but it is self-effacing. Eigeman, for instance does a turn on his pompous shtick, adding subtle elements that make him a level-9 fop. Stoltz and Sciorra are perfect together. Jacott is hilarious in just about every scene he's in, particularly his wedding vows.

I like movies where the central conceit of the movie does not become the entire movie. Jealousy is a theme in Stoltz's character, but it is not all of what drives him, which I guess is why some people have a problem with the title. Similarly, the plot device of invading someone's therapy group would be used as an entire basis for farce in a less subtle director's hands. Here it is merely another hilarious bit of detail off of which branch many smaller truths.

For as much as IFC shows this, I can't stop watching it any time I begin.
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3/10
Reasons to Watch
25 October 2004
As stated earlier, there are only so many times one can watch a Japanese guy fall out of a tree. The slapstick in this is of such a desperate and unpleasant quality, it'll give you a headache. BUT...

If you are looking for reasons to watch, they are as follows:

Opening credits. They are painted on giant plywood rabbits that were placed outside and then filmed. It makes for a colorful and crazy opening.

Arch Jr. The guy actually shows some star power here. Casual and cool-looking, unfortunately he isn't in it very much. He sings only one song.

Last and not least: The girl, "Jackie". She is totally cute. Just gorgeous and photographed very well. Sort of Natalie Portman-esque in her charms. Why never in another film??
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Muss 'em Up (1936)
8/10
Surprisingly Offbeat
12 April 2004
Just one of those detective movies shown during the day on TCM to pass the time, right? But Preston Foster gives such a madcap performance and creates such a unique character that they should have built a franchise around this guy, Tippecanoe "Tip" O'Neal. He's a freelancing cop, actually a Dirty Harry-type ahead of his time. Would prefer to use a garden hose to get info out of hoods.

When a dog is killed, Tip is called in by a rich guy to quietly solve the murder in this gun-obsessed house where everyone takes target practice by shooting floating plastic balls off of streams of water on which they are balanced (you have to see it to understand). When Tip attempts this, he accidentally shoots a moose head.

One of the great gags involves incredible word play. When a valet comes out to see if he can be any assistance to Tip, Tip blows him off by speaking some line of dialogue so fast it can't be understood no matter how many times one rewinds the tape. The valet can't understand it either and says, "What?" Tip replies, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and happily drives off leaving the valet muttering under his breath.

The whole cast is great, including Ward Bond in a small role. The ending is a bit convoluted, but it doesn't detract from the fun.
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7/10
Good Entertainment
12 April 2004
I guess we were allowed to only have one Shirley Temple, so there were probably a few little girls given chances who did not do the box office and thus they have been consigned to the dustheap of the forgotten.

This little girl deserved better as she was quite talented. Mainly as an actress, she really put the character across, this cute, self-assured, gregarious little gal who befriends all she meets. The trick is not making her TOO adorable, and somehow she pulls it off despite scenes where she is crying on the steps of an orphanage or when her dog is kicked by an evil gangster. She's a little robotic in her Temple-esque musical numbers, but as an actress she had the chops. Only wish she would have shared some of the earnings with the black kids after she horns in on their street act!

As the lead guy, Armstrong really shines as a character we have seen before, the no-good guy who is turned soft by a kid. He makes it fresh by never seeming like too hard a guy to begin with, and not going too soft too soon. Horton helps out a great deal.

The girl ends up being exposed to a surprising lot of violence and emotional turmoil before the whole thing winds up. But that's what you get sometimes!
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6/10
Erich Von Stro-Ham
12 April 2004
Man, he is evil in this. And he really wants you to know that. He plays a film director who directs WWI scenes where he demands such realism that people are regularly killed on set. If you are injured, he wants to hear you screaming, and these were silent movies! If you are supposed to be dead, you'd better not move or he'll probably kill you.

That aspect of the movie is overdone, although interesting for fans of movies about moviemaking. But where the movie really shines is in its opening sequence when a group of soldiers literally clock out of WWI and head back to the States, only to find their business partners have swindled 'em, their girls have cheated on 'em, and there ain't no jobs to be had. So, it's Hobo City, until they make it to Hollywood and the lives of stunt pilots.

I thought Richard Dix was good in this, Joel McCrea seems a little wimpy. The whole last 20 minutes are pretty bad with the "good guys" showing such poor judgment and idiocy that the ending is sheer nihilism.

Definitely worth a view though and watch for the middle finger!
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6/10
The title is from Shakespeare
30 March 2004
And there is definitely a Shakespearean sense of murder most foul in the air in this film. "Leave her to Heaven" is what Hamlet says regarding the fate of his mother.

The fate of Ms. Tierney in this film? Probably something less than Heaven.

A couple of comments to add: The color really is incredible in this film and the interiors so well shot, you just want to spend time curled up in these places.

The scene of the boy swimming alongside the boat is frighteningly realistic in a modern way. More like something out of a Scorcese film than a movie from the 1950s.

The ending of the film is poorly done and way too fast.
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1/10
Repulsive
21 January 2004
Generally, I like the kind of movie about which I could say, "This movie could never be made today." That is a statement true of Ace Eli, but unfortunately, this movie should never have been made in its time either.

It is thoroughly unpleasant, aimless and populated with hateful characters. The odd thing is that it seems designed as some sort of nostalgic family entertainment.

Begin with Cliff Robertson and the kid who Bobby Brady paid a half dollar to go out with Cindy. They are dad and son. The mom is killed in a plane crash with Cliff as pilot (this happens right away, so I'm not spoiling anything), and Cliff decides he's going to go fly away in his biplane and barnstorm the country. The kid is a jerk to a little girl who likes him, Cliff is a jerk to the kid and the girl's mom who he is immediately sleeping with (fun for the whole family). They burn down their house and take off. The kid smokes, Cliff sleeps with some more gals, lots of nice footage of the plane flying around, no real narrative.

The positives: Pamela Franklin is unspeakably hot as a uppity woman who is attracted to good ol' Cliff. Bernadette Peters fans can see her. Nice shots of an old biplane flying around for those who are interested in barnstorming and such.

The odd thing is that Spielberg wrote this, and it is about a time in American history about which one could write a sentimental father-son barnstorming team movie. This movie has very little sentiment (Spielberg maybe tried to make up for this with "Always"?) and NO charm despite it's unique setting.
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6/10
Ritz Brothers Unshackled
21 October 2003
Hey, finally the Ritz boys put to good use. Actual characters rather than just a backdrop for a boring love story. The Three Jolly Jesters are brought in after two killings two nights in a row at a theater in the Berkshires. They are the only ones pathetic enough to take the job replacing the dead acts. As plots go, this one is entirely idiotic. William Demarest is his usual loud and angry self, and the degree to which he puts the Ritz Boys and others in the show in harm's way in order to solve his crime is a bit offensive. Yes, it's a wacky comedy, but this plot point could have been less moronic. Plot aside, the Ritz boys get a good deal of screen time, clowning as well as singing/hoofing. They do a number saluting Charles Atlas and one mocking Ted Lewis. They get good lines and bits, including one meta-gag where they actually refer to the Ritz Brothers. Good, loud big band music all around.

Al and Jimmy, who are normally just window dressing to Harry, actually stand out a bit with their own lines. Still can't tell the two apart, but oh well. Bottom line for fans: This movie, while brief and nonsensical gives you more Ritz Brothers for your money than any film I've yet seen. I'd put it next to Kentucky Moonshine as one of their best.
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The Fat Spy (1966)
6/10
FF through the "comedy" to the tunes
10 October 2003
Let's not beat around the bush. This movie is terrible. Jack E. Leonard is just not funny. He's fat in a rather unpleasant-looking way, he tries too hard, and he's given nothing funny to do in playing TWO PARTS.

HOWEVER, for fans of the genuinely wrong-headed and insane, this movie has some appealing facets. The music is pretty doggone cool. The film begins very suddenly with two guys singing an acoustic rock number on a dock. Recorded live, they're just singing "People Sure Act Funny When They Get A Little Money", and it goes on for about 5 minutes and you don't know if it is part of the movie or what. It suddenly ends and shifts to a cool, cartoon mid-60s style of credits with a bouncy title tune.

Later the band, The Wild Ones, treat us to their song "The Turtle". It's the "slowest dance you'll ever do," replete with leering camera shots of the chicks in their skimpy suits writhing along. The song really rocks in an intense way. The lead girl character gets a song of her own, which would serve as a brilliant parody of Lesley Gore, if the filmmakers were smart enough. It is unbelievably catchy, but the basic theme is "I'm so glad I never get my way and you are a man, because you put me down the nicest way you can." On second thought, that's the actual chorus!

So these and a few other musical moments bring the movie to a level of disbelieving watchability. Fast forward through all the "comedy".
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