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Lost in Space (1965–1968)
1/10
Garbage TV SyFy
22 April 2018
(*Robot quote*) - "That does not compute!"

This 1967 SyFy/Family TV show was so bad that it was downright terrible.

Its story of futuristic space travel was set 30 years into the future (1997) - And, now (in 2018) - Its story belongs 20 years in the past.

This truly inept family-drama is definitely for the entertainment of those who have really super-low expectations in their choices of vintage TV programs.

I lost track of how many times the ship's circuitry got fried, yet, as it turned out, everything was fine. It really killed me that there never seemed to be anyone ever manning any controls on the Jupiter 2.

And, finally - Speaking about this show's villain, Dr. Smith - He was an utterly detestable screaming queen. His presence, alone, made this TV show almost unendurable to watch.
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1/10
V For Vucking Awful!!
22 April 2018
C'mon. There's gotta be 2 versions of this film out there. Right? There's the dismal version that I saw. And then there's that other "Wow!" version that so many others have raved about.

I mean, this film having 2 distinctly different versions is the only acceptable reason that I can think of to explain why there's such a divided opinion over this picture. Some people (like me) saw the crap version - While others enjoyed the thrill of viewing the dynamite version. What else could it be?

Anyways - The minute that "V" boasted to Evey that his all-time fave flick was, in fact, "The Count of Monte Cristo", I knew that "V For Vendetta" was gonna suck, big time. (And, I was right) I guess that "V" loved this film with all of his heart 'cause its title character probably reminded him so much of his own deluded image of himself. Like, why else would someone love such a crap movie as "The Count of Monte Cristo"?

I'd say that we (the audience) were all colossally cheated by the director/screenwriters of this disappointing film. For example - The fact that not even once were we ever given even a single glimpse of "V's" face is evidence of that. But, then again, maybe it was all just a cost-saving measure to try to save the producer a few bucks by cutting back on such things as expensive "burn-victim" make-up effects, or something like that.

All in all - "V For Vendetta" was 132 minutes of excruciatingly long and dragged out garbage.
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5/10
A Mediocre 1946 Crime-Drama
22 April 2018
1946's "The Blue Dahlia" would be the 3rd (and final) pairing of actors, Alan Ladd & Veronica Lake in a feature film. (This time around Ladd/Lake were clearly a mismatched on-screen couple)

But unlike their 2 previous films together ("This Gun For Hire" & "The Glass Key") - This decidedly mediocre crime/drama just did not measure up to its 2 classic "Noir" predecessors at all.

With its screenplay penned by famed crime-fiction writer, Raymond Chandler - You'd honestly think that "The Blue Dahlia" would have really been charged with super-sizzling excitement.

But, nope - Unfortunately - "The Blue Dahlia" was just a pedestrian-level "whodunnit" that was far too "clean-cut" for its own good.

IMO - This film's overall inadequacy only served to undermine any hope of its story ever building at all into something with a more grittier edge to it.
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Walking Tall (1973)
5/10
Only In America
22 April 2018
For anyone out there who might be thinking about "walking tall" themselves - Here's my advice - (If you carry a big stick) - You sure as hell better know how to use it!

1973's "Walking Tall" (which was a fictionalized account of real-life incidents) was truly something of a novelty for a Hollywood film. Instead of overplaying all of the violence that Sheriff, Buford Pusser encountered in McNairy County, Tennessee - This story actually downplayed it.

Anyway - This intense, hard-hitting drama (whack! whack! whack!) about revenge and cleaning up corruption and lawlessness actually suggests that the only way to do so is through the act of excessive violence. There seems to be no other way around it.

*Note* - After viewing this brutal movie - I definitely urge you to "Google" the real-life Buford Pusser in order to find out what sort of ordeal he really had to go through by taking on the white-trash folks of McNairy County.

And, what's even more interesting than that is what eventually happened to Pusser less than a year after this film was released.
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Grand Prix (1966)
5/10
(*Movie quote*) - "There's only winning."
22 April 2018
I, for one, would certainly like to know what director, John Frankenheimer's justification was for this film's absolutely gruelling 3-hour running time. It certainly made no sense to me why this film needed to be so long. No sense, at all.

I found that the more background and more personal dramas that were revealed to me about the story's characters only served to make me like them even less.

Filmed at various world locations (such as - England, France, Monaco, and the USA) - This $9 million "Gals, Guts & Glory" picture was one of the highest grossing films of 1966.

Yes. There was a lot of really exciting, "hard-driving" action in "Grand Prix" (Indeed) - But - IMO - Had this film been edited down to a reasonable 2-hour running time - I probably would have enjoyed it a whole lot more than I inevitably did.
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2/10
Yawn Of The Dead!
22 April 2018
One of my biggest beefs behind my major disappointment of "Shaun of the Dead" was that, for more than half of the goddamn time, I could not - (I repeat) - I COULD NOT understand WTF!? anyone was saying. I'm not kidding!

Yeah. OK. I know damn-well that everyone was, indeed, speaking English (or, at least, I think they were), but with all of the bloody heavy-duty British accents, and the weird/alien slang, and the annoying way that everyone was always running all their goddamn words together - Well - As you can well-imagine, it was making me so ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!!

Believe me, there were many-many times when I know for sure that I had just missed out on getting the punchline of yet another killer-diller joke. But because my ears just weren't tuned into the incomprehensible way that everyone was speaking the English language - Well - I totally missed out on yet another belly-laugh.

And besides not being able to comprehend the unbelievably garbled lingo of these British boys and girls - I detested the final climax of this film, big time. It was such a blatant rip off from "Night of the Living Dead". It was. And all that I could do while it was happening was just yawn my head off until it was all over. It was really that dreary and dull to me.
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Wings (1927)
7/10
I Say "No!" To Clara Bow!
22 April 2018
Released in 1927 - This silent-era film (with a story set during WW1) features some great battle scenes both in the air & on land. Its story is somewhat marred by actress Clara Bow who I found to be very annoying with her over-exaggerated facial expressions and cartoonish mannerisms.

None of the other actors in "Wings" carried on in such an affected way as Clara Bow did. I can't figure out why she had a tendency to over-do it so much. It only made her look really silly. But I suspect that she thought that it was cute.

"Wings" is one of the very first mainstream films to show both male and female nudity. Though these scenes are very brief, it is still surprising to see this nakedness in such an early picture as "Wings". This film's real drawing-cards were its realistic battle scenes, which took up a large part of the story. Set in France, it's the aerial dogfight scenes, in particular, that were especially impressive to watch.

"Wings" has a somewhat overlong running time of 144 minutes.
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Vera Cruz (1954)
6/10
Lancaster Had The Whitest Teeth In The West!
22 April 2018
Apparently - (As the story goes) - 1954's "Vera Cruz" was a major influence on Italian director, Sergio Leone when it came to his visual-style and direction (a decade later) of the brutally violent, Spaghetti Western "A Fistful Of Dollars" (1964).

If you have seen both "Vera Cruz" and "A Fistful Of Dollars" - You will, of course, recognize the striking similarities between these 2 films that, literally, glares at you as plain as a day in the hot, searing Mexican sunshine. (I'm not talking here about these film's stories. No. It's all about their overall presentation that's so alike, such as - camera angles, staging of actors, story setting, and so on)

Yep - Mean. Ornery. Cutthroat. Antagonistic. Trigger-Happy. Rough. Tough. (Etc., Etc.) - IMO - It's almost like these 2 films-in-question were, undoubtedly, Siamese twins, joined right at the hip.... (And, in passing - I certainly won't forget to mention Burt Lancaster here, repeatedly showing us all every tooth in his big, grinning mouth).
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On the Town (1949)
7/10
Singin'... Dancin'... Romancin'
22 April 2018
Hot-Diggity-Dog!!.... "On The Town" is (Indeed) a happy-go-lucky singin', dancin', and romancin' Musical/Comedy from 1949. It's a story about 3 gobs, 3 gals, and a 24-hour shore-leave.

If you enjoy watching top-notch musicals from Hollywood's heyday - Then - "On The Town" (filmed in fabulous Technicolour) comes highly recommended from this satisfied viewer.

In this high-energy picture everyone really kicks up their heels (especially Ann Miller) - And - As an added bonus - There is some very impressive outdoor location shooting filmed right in busy downtown Manhattan. Super-Duper!
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6/10
Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo
22 April 2018
I really like The Marx Brothers. At the height of their popularity (between 1935-1945), Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and, sometimes, Zeppo (always playing the straight man), were one of Hollywood's funniest comedy teams, ever. Their unique brand of humour (a zany mix of slapstick, absurd situations, and racy innuendo/word-play) is genuinely hilarious, even when judged by today's standards.

When The Marx Brothers were good, they were very, very, good. Indeed. But when they weren't so good - Well - Their wit and charm floundered somewhat, just as it did here in 1937's "A Day At The Races".

A good part of this flick's problem can easily be blamed on there being way too much focus put on a boring romance. And this left The Marx Brothers out of the picture's limelight far too often.

In "A Day At The Races" - Groucho, Harpo, and Chico (as characters Dr. Hackenbush, Stuffy, and Tony, respectively) try to save Judy's Health Sanatorium from being turned into a Casino by the ruthless villain, Morgan.

This flick also contains a really splendid musical number that includes about 30 black performers whose ages ranged from about 5 to 40. It really rocks.
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Harper (1966)
2/10
Pure "Neo-Noir" Slime
22 April 2018
Let me tell ya - If 1966's "Harper" was supposed to be a prime example of Hollywood "neo-noir" - IMO - It sure fell flat on its smug, little face.

Old "blue eyes" himself, Paul Newman plays irksome, apathetic, L.A. gumshoe, Lewis Harper, who has about as much charm and charisma as does a slimy slug.

Regardless of this film's "big star" cast - Its "Find-A-Missing-Millionaire" story got so complicated and convoluted that it had me repeatedly rolling my eyes to the ceiling and groaning out in total exasperation, over, and over again.... (Sheesh! Give me a break, already!)

(I won't even get into the tiresome bickering that Harper and his estranged wife regularly got into.... Ho-hum!)

Anyway - If you're like me - You're gonna absolutely hate the note that this film's story ends on, big-time. You really are.
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6/10
Sugar Cane And Her 2 Crossdressing Friends
22 April 2018
When it comes to Hollywood movies about male sexual orientation and (cringe) cross-dressing - I'm sure glad to say that 1959's "Some Like It Hot" wasn't one where the men "crossing over" ever believed themselves to be really women trapped inside a man's body.

(Phew! That was a close call!)

And when it came to all of this deliberate gender deception with musicians, Joe and Jerry - I thought that Jack Lemmon (with hilarious confidence) clearly understood his "Daphne" character so much more completely than did Tony Curtis with his "Josephine".

Of course - Having the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe (as Sugar Cane Kowalczyk) in this picture certainly did help to keep the charge of testosterone always crackling sharply just like a bolt of flash-lightning that never fails to strike in precisely the same place twice.

Anyway - I'd say that this film's humorous ending between Daphne (Lemmon) and Osgood Fielding III (Brown) was a priceless touch of well-timed genius (thanks to director, Billy Wilder).
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Predator (1987)
3/10
B-O-R-I-N-G!!
22 April 2018
1987's "Predator" is one of those ruthlessly sadistic movies that (as a cheap ploy to build suspense) doesn't clearly show this creature-in-question (in the plain light of day) until well into the story.

And, I have to tell ya - When this particular "predator" does finally step out of its visual obscurity (with its wormy hair and its "Porky Pig" roadkill face) - I, literally, burst out laughing. I really did. (Ha! What a hoot!) Talk about anti-climatic!

This utterly moronic-looking predator (with fingernails so long that it couldn't even manipulate its own high-tech gadgetry properly) was one of the most laughably cheesy creatures ever designed by famed make-up effects artist, Stan Winston.

And, speaking about Predator's soundtrack music - Man-oh-man - It was so irritatingly loud far too often and it kept inexplicably building in intensity as a sorry attempt to hopefully create some much-needed suspense in this SyFy clunker.

Oh, yeah - By the way - "Predator" stars the Austrian Oak (aka. Arnold "What's-His-Name").
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The Train (1964)
6/10
Which Is Of More Value? Art or Human Life?
22 April 2018
And, the question is this - (In the time of cold-blooded war) - Would you be willing to actually give up your life in order to stop valuable paintings (by Van Gogh, Picasso, and Gaugin) from getting into the hands of your enemies with the possibility that these irreplaceable works could be destroyed? Would you?

Skillfully directed by John Frankenheimer (of the "Manchurian Candidate" fame) - 1964's "The Train" (filmed in b&w) is a gritty, quasi-violent WW2 drama whose story proudly boasts of being based on actual events.

IMO - The one really damaging point that threatened to mar the realism of "The Train" was that even though American actor, Burt Lancaster was playing a Frenchman, he didn't have the professionalism to even try to muster up a convincing sounding French accent (unlike the rest of the cast who were all believable as Frenchmen and Germans).
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Route 66 (1960–1964)
5/10
(*Lyrics excerpt*) - "Get your kicks on Route 66!"
22 April 2018
The TV drama series called "Route 66" premiered on the CBS network on October 7, 1960.

Focusing in on the events and consequences surrounding their journeys - This program followed two, twenty-something buddies travelling across the USA in a Chevrolet Corvette convertible.

Martin Milner starred as Tod Stiles, a recent college graduate. He was joined on his travels by Buz Murdock, a friend and former employee of his father (played by George Maharis).

*Note* - This show had little connection with the U.S. Highway providing its name. Most of the locations in the series were far from "The Mother Road", which passed through only eight states, while the series was filmed in 25 American states plus (one episode) Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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Julia (1977)
6/10
What Are Friends For?
22 April 2018
When it comes to the likes of "Chick Flicks" - I'd confidently say that 1977's "Julia" rates as one from that particular genre that even men can enjoy. This well-crafted movie certainly does deliver some fine moments of storytelling.

This film's story faithfully traces the life-long relationship between real-life playwright Lillian Hellman (played by Jane Fonda) and her dear friend Julia, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman who, in her twenties, turns her back on her privileged upbringing to staunchly follow her somewhat radical political ideals.

Set in the mid-1930s - Julia and her loyal comrades battle the fierce exigencies of a Nazi regime in war-torn Germany. Wishing desperately to help her friend, Hellman arrives in Germany from the USA and soon finds herself inadvertently drawn into Julia's extreme resistance movement, which immediately poses grave danger to all involved.

"Julia" was adapted for the screen from excerpts of Lillian Hellman's memoirs titled Pentimento. Screenwriter, Alvin Sargent, and actors, Jason Robards and Venessa Redgrave each won an Oscar for their contribution to the success of Julia. This film would feature Meryl Streep in her screen debut.
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7/10
On Par With "I Love Lucy"
22 April 2018
If you really enjoy watching vintage TV Sit-Coms that go all the way back to that medium's "golden years" - Then - "The George Burns & Gracie Allen Show" should be a truly delightful treat for you.

Presented by "Carnation Condensed Milk" (from "contented" cows) - This old-time TV program certainly contains some genuinely priceless moments of absolutely uproarious comedy.

With the cigar-puffing, George Burns playing the straight man against Gracie Allen's hilarious clueless-flake shtick - The excellent rapport that took place between these two seasoned actors has got to be seen to be believed.

Filmed in b&w - This 5-disc set contains 8, half-hour episodes, spanning from the years between 1950-1958. As an added bonus - There's a 50-minute "Hollywood Couples" documentary included, too.

*Note* Gracie Allen lived to be 70 years old. George Burns lived to be 100.
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Scarface (1932)
7/10
First-Rate Gangster Film From Yesteryear
22 April 2018
Extremely violent and brutal, this original version of Scarface absolutely astounded me with its brilliantly depicted story of ruthless organized crime.

Literally defining a genre, Scarface is an excellent, 1932, Gangster film that is considered to be one of the most influential movies of all time. (And it's so easy to see why!)

Scarface's high-energy, mass-murdering story tells the bloody tale of organized crime's fierce, strangling control over the city of Chicago during the Prohibition era.

Actor Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Camonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss.

Scarface is a compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and revenge. It is a groundbreaking masterpiece that influenced all gangster films to follow.

Directed by Howard Hawks, Scarface was filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship shaped the way movies were made. This film puts everything about the 1983 remake with Al Pacino to absolute shame. It's amazing to see just how well this film holds up by today's standards, 86 years later.
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Brazil (1985)
7/10
A Retro-Future Roller-Coaster Ride
31 March 2018
When it comes to riotously insane, 1980's cinema - You've really gotta see Terry Giliam's "Brazil" for yourself to actually believe it. You really do.

This off-the-wall, cinematic roller-coaster ride into a retro-future is, without question, all about a "world-gone-mad" where endless bureaucracy has, literally, buried man, neck-deep, in a technological mess.

The hilariously convoluted script of "Brazil" was clearly written (back in 1985) with some surprising foresight - As its story still retains its relevancy in these times of technological over-load that we find ourselves living in at present.

Visually quite impressive - "Brazil" may not appeal to everyone's tastes - But, if nothing else - It is certainly a very unique movie-experience that is bound to draw the viewer into its nightmare world in no time flat.
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4/10
"Romeo & Juliet" (Cute-Vampire Style)
31 March 2018
Yeah-Yeah-Yeah - I know that this is, in fact, "just-a-kiddies-movie" - But - All the same - Hotel Transylvania's story, literally, managed to single-handedly destroy every horrific myth about every frickin' monster that you've ever heard about in no time flat.

And, then - To top that off - This movie had the absolute gall to reduce all of these monsters to the level of being nothing but cute, cuddly, sweet, little teddy bears, one and all. (Cringe-cringe)

With its storyline gleefully delivering just about every stale monster (and fart) joke in the book - This hideously predictable "Romeo & Juliet" tale really went well out of its way to be oh-so cute and oh-so clever. But, alas - It failed miserably.

And, as a result - Hotel Transylvania quickly became something of an irritating bore to watch from this annoyed viewer's perspective.
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Solaris (1972)
2/10
A Shallow Outer Space Soap Opera
31 March 2018
Here's a relevant and true-to-life story that completely validates and justifies my low opinion of 1972's "Solaris".

Of course - As we all know - "Solaris" (the film) was adapted to the screen by director, Andre Tarkovsky from Sci-Fi writer, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel of the same name.

So - As the story goes - After a 6-month collaboration - Lem and Tarkovsky's work together ended in a nasty and bitter conflict over unwarranted changes and additions that Tarkovsky was making to the original story.

When interviewed about the split - Lem angrily claimed that Tarkovsky had turned his novel into a flimsy and shallow outer space soap opera.

"He was moving in the opposite direction from my book!" Lem stated.... In other words - Tarkovsky's film ruined the whole essence and philosophical flow of Lem's book.

And, after seeing this grossly over-rated disappointment for myself - I couldn't agree more with Lem in his utter outrage towards Tarkovsky and his precious, little picture.
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5/10
The Big People and The Little People
31 March 2018
Ah, yes! - The luck of the Irish, their curios superstitions, their wee, magical leprechauns, and (get this!) a Scottish Sean Connery being passed off as an Irishman (all rolled up into one movie).

Though this 1959 Fantasy/Romance/Comedy film from Disney Studios was far from being top-notch entertainment - It was certainly notable for starring a young and very virile-looking Sean Connery (3 years before he first starred as James Bond in 1962's "Dr. No").

Anyway - Besides Connery's appearance in this decidedly quirky picture - I also thought that the "little people" pre-CG effects were actually quite impressive, considering that this film is now 60 years old.

All-in-all - I'd say that "Darby O'Gill" (and all of its merry, Irish shenanigans) was definitely well-worth a view, in the long run.
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Quadrophenia (1979)
6/10
Talkin' 'Bout My Generation!
31 March 2018
Set in London (circa 1964) - (The way I see it) - "Quadrophenia" was something of a "rebel without a cause" story (geared for the lost, 60s generation).

But, when it came to this particular wayward, little rebel (in the incarnation of Jimmy Cooper) - The emphasis on his 4-sided schizophrenia was more decidedly pronounced, yet not so seriously dangerous.

As I understand it - "Quadrophenia" was something of a biography tale closely depicting (guitarist/songwriter) Peter Townsend's nostalgic youth (as a "Rocker") in London.

And, in those glory days - It was all about dancing, romancing, drugging, and, yes, slugging it out with the "Mods" over control of territorial turf, and such.

*Note* - (singer/songwriter) Sting (of the Police) makes a cameo appearance in the story as the belligerent teen-idol, "Ace Face".
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Cocktail (1988)
2/10
Yet Another "Tom Cruise" Dud
31 March 2018
Let me tell ya - I have always believed Thomas Mapother IV.... (Oops!)... I mean, Tom Cruise to be nothing but a total no-talent pretty-boy - And, the fact that he couldn't even convincingly play a shallow, self-loving bartender in "Cocktail" confirms that belief of mine, 100%.

And this confirmation about Thomas has now prompted me to swear that I'll never, ever watch another one of his dreary films ever again. Never. I'm serious here.

Mapother IV... I mean, Cruise was so annoyingly clueless in his role as stud-muffin bartender, Brian Flanagan that I'm certain someone out of camera-range was actually continually feeding him his lines so that he would know WTF? was expected of him next. I'm not kidding here.

Anyway - To say that this formulaic "poor-boy-meets-rich-girl" story from 1988 was pure pedestrian rubbish would truly be an understatement like no other.
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5/10
"Batter Up!"
31 March 2018
Seriously, folks! - I can't seem to make up my mind which actors' character portrayal in "The Untouchables" annoyed me the most.

But, it was definitely a 50/50 toss-up between the likes of that smirking braggart, Robert De Niro, and his despicable "Al Capone" stand-up comedy schtick. - (or) - That gutless, Kevin Costner, and his goodie-2-shoes "Elliot Ness" with his sappy "Ward & June Cleaver" family life (thrown in for good measure).

Anyway - This $25 million period Crime-Drama (from 1987) certainly had both its good points, as well as its not-so-good points, too.

Set in a crime-riddled Chicago (1930) during Prohibition - I thought that some of the excellent outdoor location shooting and the wonderful vintage cars were a real welcome asset to this somewhat heavy-handed "Brian De Palma" production.

But, on the other side of the coin - I rank the painfully prolonged "baby carriage" scene as being one of the stupidest moments of ridiculously sustained drama ever recorded onto celluloid. Ever.
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