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Open Water (2003)
2/10
Terribly Overrated
4 January 2005
I have just finished watching "Open Water," which I rented today. From all of the reviews and advertisements, I thought I was in for a rip-roaring shocker! This has to be one of the dullest and most insomnia-inducing movies that I have ever witnessed. Boring in the extreme, although it is a better film than "Jaws: The Revenge." (Then again, anything is better than "Jaws: The Revenge.") I am a serious film lover, and I was extremely let down by "Open Water." Who thought that this was scary? NOTHING HAPPENED! It would be a terrifying situation to be stranded in the middle of the sea and be surrounded by sharks, but we must witness scene after scene of dialogue that seems to have been stolen from "Days Of Our Lives." The critical praising that was heaped on this film staggers me.
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Even Good Directors Get The Blues
18 December 2004
Gus Van Sant has directed some truly brilliant films. His directorial credits include "My Own Private Idaho," "To Die For," "Drugstore Cowboy," and, most recently, the audacious and thought-provoking allegory of school violence, "Elephant." He also was the executive producer of the infamous, eye-opening "Kids." However, his reputation took a tumble with the needless, colorized shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," with Vince Vaughn standing in for Anthony Perkins! However, "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" goes down in history as one of the most witless, undramatic, incoherent, dumbest, laziest, and plot less films ever to be released upon the public. The counter-culture novel by Tom Robbins is 100% trashed here. The novel shouldn't have been filmed at such a late date anyway. Or, perhaps, it shouldn't have been filmed at all.

Uma Thurman stars as Sissy Hankshaw, who somehow is a professional hitch-hiker (remember the book is set in the 60's; the movie makes no attempt to let us know exactly what time period this is supposed to be) who manages to get easy rides by sticking out her bulging, grossly large thumb. Yeah, that pulls the guys over every time.

Sissy meets up with an insane slew of Hollywood stars who seem to be doing a special favor for Van Sandt. Meandering around are Roseanne Barr, John Hurt, Keanu Reeves, Crispin Glover, Carol Kane, and...are you ready...Angie Dickinson! For unknown reasons, Sissy hitches a ride to a "feminist ranch" that pampers spa services to rich women. For further unknown reasons, there's a gaggle of "cowgirls" living and working on the ranch, led by Rain Phoenix as "Bonanza Jellybean." What results is nothing...nothing at all. There is not even the slightest story to speak of. The film seems to have been edited with duct tape. Van Sandt reportedly re-edited this film furiously after it was "booed" off of the screen at various premieres. I would love to see what he cut out. He would have been better off just completely scrapping this project.

But Van Sant is all forgiven for this travesty. He has gone on to prove himself as a solid director/producer. "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" is probably the only Gus Van Sant film that you can get for $2.00 out of a bargain bin at Family Dollar.
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Another Movie From A
17 December 2004
I'll just cut to the chase. The main problem with "The Basketball Diaries" is that viewers of the film are never certain as to exactly what time period this story takes place. If you have read Jim Carrol's staggering memoirs, "Basketball Diaries," you will know that he was writing his totally drug-drenched 70's and 80's memoirs.

This film version doesn't know quite how to play it. There are times when the characters act like 1990's kids, and other scenes that seem to be stuck in the 60's.

As the film opens, Jim (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friends are getting plastered by sniffing cleaning fluid. What day and age is this? In the next scene, we see Jim and all of his friends getting prepared for a big game. Mark Wahlberg (formerly "Marky Mark") is astonishing as Mickey, Jim's best friend, who provides pills to the team, resulting in a scene that has become a classic...everyone on drugs attempting to play basketball to the tune of The Doors classic "The End." What destroys this film is that the script falls apart early on and the characters leap from one personality to another..from one situation to another...with no development.

Tons of futile plot twists and confusing musical decades are packed into this film. Neutron (Patrick MacGaw) seems to be the most sensible of the group. He shouts angrily at the ball team for using drugs, YET.. in the scene JUST BEFORE THIS, Neutron is wearing a ski-mask and helps his friends assault an older lady so that they can get cash for heroin. The editing and art direction are deliriously wrong. Before it's all over, Juliette Lewis shows up as a heroin whore, who becomes pure and clean (with no explanation) and tosses pretzels at Leonardo; Ernie Hudson is a black man who plays basketball with Jim, and later tries to come to the rescue when he declares, "You were frozen in the snow like a goddamn fuge-sicle!" Lorraine Bracco ("The Sopranos") goes nuts in the few scenes that she is in. She's screaming at Leo about the pills she found in his room. Bracco wails, "What are you gonna tell me? That they're VITAMINS???" It all ends with Jim going to prison and learning his lesson. There is nothing really wrong with this movie unless you know the real story. Jim Caroll's stunning memoir, "Basketball Diaries," takes you deep into a harrowing world. This movie just barely scratches the surface.
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Quintuplets (2004–2005)
This Is HILARIOUS!
26 November 2004
I have always been a critic of movies and television. Ever since I was a small child, I could watch a TV show or a movie and decide for myself if it was "GOOD" or "BAD" or "Just O.K." In this intense, scary world that we live in, "QUINTUPLETS" is the perfect remedy for the blues! Why the "reviews" for this show have been so bad, I'll never know. Andy Richter's hilarity is used to perfect effect, especially in his scenes with Patton (Ryan Pinkston) and Pierce (Johnny Lewis), who are the funniest of the Quints, which also includes Penny, Paige, and Parker. I think that people who write in and trash this show are either depressed and unhappy in their own lives, or they are wide-eyed right-wing fanatics wondering what happened to "Leave It To Beaver." Didn't you love the episode where Patton joined the cheerleading squad so that he could be close to the girls, but later quit because he got an erection during every practice? PRICELESS! If you don't find humor in this show, switch over to PAX and watch repeats of "DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN."
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Narrow Minded Idiots Hate This Movie
26 November 2004
How could any rational, sensible, educated, Christian person support George W. Bush? I'm sure God and Jesus are 100% on our side for bombing families and babies that never posed any threat to the United States. Bush was just re-elected by screaming that he was a man of God, that he knew where the FAITH of Americans stood, and blah-blah-blah-blah. Yes, all you Bush supporters...I think it is GREAT that thousands of our poor, uneducated teen boys are being slaughtered on a daily basis..and for what? Bush freaks love to say that "our boys are fighting for our freedom." BULL! When was the FREEDOM of the United States ever in question? George W. Bush is an uneducated, thoughtless, murdering WAR DODGER. He was too much of a sissy to fight in Vietnam, so he gets Daddy Bush to take care of it. Now, he's sending all of our (DUMB, BRAINWASHED) kids over there to get murdered! Why doesn't he send those pill-popping, boozing daughters of his over to Iraq? I can not believe that we are stuck with this dumb hick for four more years. Why did Bush win again? Because so many American people are SHEEP...bah,bah,bah,bah... we must follow! Pathetic.
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Life as We Know It (2004–2005)
Hope It Lasts!
15 October 2004
There have only been two episodes of this so far, but I am hooked already! Kudos to ABC for presenting a teenage drama that does not sugarcoat teenage issues or pretend to moralize. I look forward to seeing what develops in the future. I knew guys (and girls) just like this when I was in high school. Sex, drugs, drinking, parties...yes, parents, it all happens. This is very well-written and developed, and I hope it can escape the axe. ABC needs to give this show a chance to build a fan base. I also enjoy "The O.C.," but it is more fantasy escapism. "Life As We Know It" is more edgy and real. Also, Kelly Osbourne is such a natural actress! I am impressed with her acting and I love her character.
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L.I.E. (2001)
Staggering Film Packs A Wallop SPOILER!!!
5 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
LIE is an absorbing, gut-wrenching film that follows the shallow, delinquent lives of four teen buddies. Alas, the reason that these kids do whatever they please is because their parents are completely blind ("Not MY child!") Howie Blitzer (Paul Franklin Dano, who is amazing) has had a hard time dealing with the death of his mother, who was killed in a car wreck on the Long Island Expressway. (Howie says that he hopes that the LIE doesn't take him. As Howie puts it, "LIE..Long Island Expressway..you got your lanes going west, you got your lanes going north, and you got your lanes going straight to hell.") Howie's dad is a total prick. He's a construction worker who is in big trouble because buildings that he supervised have burned down; turns out that Howie's dad used cheap aluminum wire to save costs. To escape from his crazy dad, Howie finds comfort in his best friend, Gary, (Billy Kay.) Howie has always been "unsure" of his sexuality, and he has always had a crush on Gary, who is a blue-eyed, blonde-haired charmer. Howie, however, does not know that Gary is a male prostitute. Gary suggests to Howie that they break into a luxurious house and steal all the valuables. Howie and Gary bust out a basement window, and grab some guns, while the owner of the house, child molester Big John, runs to the basement and leaps at Howie, only managing to rip off a piece of Howie's back pocket. The plot thickens when we learn that Gary has been having sex with Big John for years. Seems Gary has run home with both of the guns, and calls a cab to drive him to California. Gary;s got both guns. Howie is nervous when he tells Big John that he doesn't have either of the guns. Howie's dad is in prison and will be there for a while. Will Big John become a father figure for little Howie Blitzer? At the end of the film, Howie goes to visit his dad in prison - BRIEFLY and RELUCTANTLY. Howie's last word to his dad - "I love you,dad. But don't ever f***ing hit me again." In the final scene, pedophile Big John is brutally murdered to death by an ex-teen lover. THESE ARE OUR KIDS AND PARENTS!
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I Just Felt Sorry For Carol
21 September 2004
Carol Burnett is so talented! She can be dramatic, silly, downright hilarious. I am a huge fan of Carol's 70's variety show. However, this movie is a terrible load of crap. You won't believe how bad this is unless you have seen it. Burnett is street entertainer "Chu Chu" (a "Charo" imitation that Burnett got loads of laughs for on her television show, but it is strangely unfunny in this debacle.) Chu Chu meets up with a homeless bum, (Alan Arkin), who is known on the streets as the "Philly Flash" because he was once a professional baseball player. Somehow, these two stumble upon a brief case that contains secret government documents...and, well, I can't write anymore. This has to be seen to be believed.
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Funny! Funny! Funny!
15 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I can't understand why this film got such bad reviews. This is a knee-slapping riot! I have just about memorized the script. I was a teen in the 80's and grew up with John Hughes movies..."Breakfast Club," "Sixteen Candles," "Pretty In Pink," etc. "Not Another Teen Movie" is absolutely hilarious. The high school in the film is "John Hughes High," complete with the cafeteria named "The Anthony Michael Dining Hall." Most all of the dialogue is priceless. There's an undercover narc who is a 70 year-old woman. The foreign exchange student is always completely nude; she explains to the principal that she is not in America to study, she just wants to be "an object of lust for nerds who can not get American pussy." There are many classic bits, such as when the popular school jock, Jake, tries to woo nerdy Janie Briggs by belting out "Janie's Got A Gun" by Aerosmith. Jake means well, but cops attack Janie with a stun gun and scream at her to surrender her weapon. There's also a hilarious spoof of "Grease" in which all of the characters sing and perform a highly choreographed dance to "Prom Tonight!" ("I'm gonna get pussy no matter what..even if it's with dirty slut!") In a wicked parody of "Cruel Intentions," Mia Kirshner, as Catherine, is always trying to have sex with her brother Jake. (She wails "So what if we have the same mother! Tonight I'm gonna f**k my brother!) No teen film is spared. This hilarious movie lampoons all of the classic teenage films. Slutty Catherine gets tipsy at the prom, slugging booze out of her flask, while kids look at her and say "Does she go to this school?" Catherine hooks up with one of the nerds and she cries as she exclaims that "all she wants is for a guy to take a dump on her chest." The nerd tells her that he is shocked that no guy has ever taken a dump on her chest and tells Catherine that he would be honored to do so. I could go on and on, but trust me, NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE is HILARIOUS! Deleriously funny! And watch for Randy Quaid as an alcoholic father who loves to have sex with pies. A COMEDY CLASSIC!
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Grease 2 (1982)
Mind-Boggling Sequel
26 July 2004
This film is most certainly in the Top 5 listing for one of the most needless sequels in the history of cinema. There was absolutely no reason that this film was made, except to try and grab a few dollars from the fans of the wonderful original "Grease," who stayed away from this sequel in droves. "Grease 2" is not just bad; it seems to bask in its own badness. The "plot" is what sinks this film. "Grease 2" begins with a new year at Rydell High, and I must say that Eve Arden and Dody Goodman ("Miss Mcgee" and "Blanche") are hilarious. The extremely dull Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) shows up at Rydell as a foreign exchange student, greeted by Frenchy (Didi Conn), who is back at Rydell to get her chemistry credit. Michael then tells Frenchy that his cousin "Sandy" (Olivia Newton-John, from the original) told him that Frenchy was the one who "knew the ropes around here." Frenchy replies, "Oh, ropes are my specialty." (????) Michael gets the hots for Stephanie Zinone (Michelle Pfeiffer, who has come a long way) but she informs him that she'll only date a "cool rider," which means a guy with a motorycle. Michelle Pfeiffer actually sings a solo, "Cool Rider", which sounds like a cross between Belinda Carlisle and Pat Benetar, even though this is supposedly set in the 60's. What happens next in the story is ludicrous, ridiculous, implausible, and EXTREMELY contrived. Michael drives up on a motorcycle, wearing all black leather and GOGGLES on his eyes, kisses Stephanie, drives away, and then Stephanie whines the rest of the movie about her mystery love. Pfeiffer exclaims, "Just when I found you, I lost you!" I must say that I enjoy this film for its cult status and its absolute awfulness. The closing number, "We'll Be Together," becomes jaw-droppingly hilarious in its final choreographed moment...a wacky girl and a guy spinning around, wrapped up in bright strands of Christmas tree lights. This is PERFECT for a "Bad Movie Party."
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Absolutely Hilarious!
2 July 2004
I believe that perhaps a lot of the criticisms of this film come from 90's-00 teens because THEY JUST DON'T GET IT! Most of the comedy in this film spoofs 1980's movies, with a few current barbs thrown in from more recent films. I am an 80's child, and I laughed so hard during this movie! I saw it with younger kids from the mid-to-late 90's, and they didn't get half of the jokes. The school cafeteria is named "The Anthony Michael Dining Hall." The school is "John Hughes High School." There are send-ups of "Risky Business," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Pretty In Pink," "Sixteen Candles," and an absolutely priceless scene that spoofs "The Breakfast Club," along with the original "Breakfast Club" principal, Richard Vernon, spouting almost exactly the same dialogue. Sure, there are much more recent films that are skewered, such as "Varsity Blues," (which was HORRIBLE) and "She's All That," (Which was EVEN WORSE.) There's an hilarious running gag spoofing "Cruel Intentions," in which the slutty sister will stop at nothing to bed her brother, high school football hero Jake Wyler, who makes a bet with his team members that he can turn plain-jain, boy-hating Janie Griggs into the prom queen. Sex jokes and excrement jokes run rampant, all hilarious. Jamie Pressly, who you might remember from Jerry Springer's movie "Ringmaster," is a total riot as head cheerleader Priscilla, who schemes to copy cheers from a rival school's all-black cheerleading squad, spoofing "Bring It On." And the siamese twins who win Homecoming Queen(s) is an absolute riot, especially when homecoming king Jake has to share a dance with them and the band sings "Put your heads on my shoulder...." TOO FUNNY! A hilarious movie, especially if you're high or drunk, and you KNOW what they are spoofing.
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Are People Really Like This?
2 July 2004
If the characters presented in "40 Days and 40 Nights" are typical of American youngsters, we're in trouble. However, I didn't identify or care about any of the people in this silly, vulgar movie. I am very liberal and love movies of all kinds. I do not mind sexual content. But "40 Days and 40 Nights" revolves around stupid, self-absorbed, I-need-instant-gratification people that I doubt anybody really knows. If they DO know people such as the ones presented in this movie, the world is in trouble. The plot: Josh Hartnett (a good actor; see "Black Hawk Down" and "O") is a stud who beds different women constantly. When the one true love of his life leaves him, he decides to go without sex. His brother is a Priest-in-training, and Matthew (Hartnett) vows to him in confession that he can go 40 days and 40 nights without sex...including masturbation and anything that reminds him of sex. (We get "hilarious" scnes of Matthew getting rid of anything sexual...he grabs a trash bag and tosses away all of his room mate's porn magazines, as well as a large bottle of Wesson oil.) Everyone at his job bets that he can't go that long without any sexual gratification, and such scenes follow as Matthew going into an important board meeting with a huge boner sticking out of his pants; Matthew not being able to climax with a one-night stand, so he runs into the living room and fills a condom with Liquid Paper to prove to the girl that he did ejaculate; Matthew having a fantasy that he is in the "land of breasts," where he flies around bouncing off of perky bossoms; and Matthew's decision to finally have sex with his new girlfriend because he catches his near-priest brother getting it on with a nun. "40 Days and 40 Nights" sends the message that EVERYBODY is TOTALLY obsessed with sex, and that nobody, especially young guys, can go ONE DAY without it. The film presents an America in which self-control and morals are a thing of the past, and ultimately, "40 Days and 40 Nights" shows us what young people want in this day and age: "I WANT IT NOW! I WILL NOT WAIT! GIVE IT TO ME NOW! I HAVE NO PATIENCE! I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO WAIT FOR ANYTHING! CAVE IN TO MY DESIRES....NOW! I CAN'T WAIT!"
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Monster (2003)
Grim Portrait Of A Sad, Wasted Life
24 June 2004
Let me begin by saying that Charlize Theron gives the best female performance that I have ever seen on film. Theron deservedly won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos. I can not recall a performance, male or female, with such raw intensity. For those who may not know, MONSTER is the true story of Aileen Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who was executed a couple of years ago for killing men that picked her up on the highway. However, this is much, much more than a deranged serial killer flick. This film shows us, very convincingly, how a person can be led to a life of violence. Aileen had an awful childhood and an awful life. She was molested as a child by her father as well as other male relatives. As a child, she was surrounded by abuse, drug addiction, and domestic violence. Men horribly abused her as a child, and she began prostituting at age thirteen. In her later years, Aileen became a prostitute because it had been grilled into her head all her life that she was just a whore. As MONSTER opens, Aileen's car breaks down and she wanders into what she doesn't know is a gay bar. Sitting alone at a table is lonely, confused lesbian Selby (Christina Ricci), who strikes up a conversation with the dirty, unkempt Aileen, who washes her hair in gas station sinks and uses the hand dryer to fix her hair. After many drinks, Aileen and Selby become close, and soon enter into an unhealthy, torrid, tragic love affair. Selby is naive and has always been sheltered, and she just wants genuine love. However, Aileen has issues that Selby doesn't see at first. There is certainly nothing positive or redeeming about serial killers, but you often feel yourself having a small bit of sympathy for Aileen because you realize why she kills the men who pick her up...SHE HATES MEN. Aileen has always hated men, and the only love scenes in which any tenderness and emotion is shown are the lesbian love scenes between Aileen and Selby. You also feel some sorrow for Aileen because she DOES want to improve herself, but has no way of knowing how to do so. There are scenes where Aileen applies for jobs because she really wants to do right, but she is always rejected. She applies for secretarial jobs at law offices and is laughed right out of the building while she curses and screams at everyone. She doesn't know any better because she has no social skills. In one of the most powerful scenes, Aileen is hitch hiking and is picked up by a genuinely nice man who offers to help her. He is sincere and doesn't want sex. He is a decent man who offers a helping hand, but Aileen just can not trust any man. She tells him she doesn't want to kill him, but because her previous killings are all over the news, she has to kill him so she won't be identified. Selby, meanwhile, learns of Aileen's murderous rampage and tearfully decides to go to the authorities. What makes this film so powerful is that this is A TRUE STORY. Aileen Wuornos had a miserable life. Life dealt her a s@@@@y hand. She never had a chance. Growing up, nobody....teachers, parents, relatives....reached out to her. You can't excuse a serial killer rampage, but this is the only "serial killer" film that I have seen that at least offers some reasoning behind the insanity. Again, this is intense, and Charlize Theron is AMAZING.
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Helter Skelter (2004 TV Movie)
Chilling, Disturbing Remake
17 May 2004
Of all the murder trials in American history, only the Charles Manson case continues to hold fascination thirty-five years after it took place. The original "Helter Skelter" film aired on CBS in 1976, and focused mainly on the trial of Manson and his zombie teen girls. It was an excellent TV movie, but we never really got a sense of what life with Manson and his young followers was like. This film takes a different approach by focusing on Manson himself, the young people whose lives were ruined by him, and by depicting the actual murders themselves, which were quite intense for a television film. Jeremy Davies ("Spanking the Monkey," "Saving Private Ryan") was deeply scary as Manson. Clea Duvall did a fabulous job as Linda Kasabian, the "family" member who witnessed the murders but did not participate. After the murders, we get the sense that Kasabian is really torn up inside and knows that what was happening was very wrong, while other family members laughed and cheered as they watched news reports of the savage killings on television. Another excellent performance was by Whitney Dylan as Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress who was violently butchered by Manson's murderous teen followers. The scene in which she is on the floor dying and asks the killers to please try and save her baby was chilling and almost tear-inducing. We also get an excellent feel of the turbulent atmosphere of the time, 1969, and how the Manson murders brought "the decade of love" to a thundering halt. What makes this so sad and scary is that this actually happened. The fact that all-American teens from respectable families fell prey to a maniacal con man and are now spending their lives in prison is a frightening reminder of how young people can so easily be led astray by false prophets who promise the world and eventually can lead you into darkness and tragedy, whether it is 1969 or 2004. This film makes you want to hug and talk to your kids about the evil, dangerous alure of cults and false religions. All of the kids in the Manson family were runaways, and Charlie told them exactly what they wanted to hear and soon had them clinging to his every deceptive word. Manson continues to have a following among young people, thirty-five years after these awful crimes, and that's what is really disturbing. Watch the original 1976 film for an exhaustive dramatization of the trial itself, and see this remake for details of the events leading up to the trial. Way above average for television.
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Elephant (2003)
Very Real...Very Frightening
15 May 2004
Gus Van Sandt started his career with edgy films such as directing the unforgettable "My Own Private Idaho" and later producing such controversial projects as "Kids." He later went more commercial with films such as "Finding Forrester." Van Sant returns to his independent roots with "Elephant," a mind-blowing, numbing, and chillingly real film that will not easily leave your mind. The film observes a typical day in a suburban high school, following different students throughout the school day. Nothing much happens for a long while, but early in the film you get a sense of impending doom. For this "typical school day" ends in violent, bloody chaos. It is a climax that will never escape your memory. The film is inspired, obviously, by the rash of school massacres that rocked the late 90's, beginning in Pearl, Mississippi, and culminating with the worst of the worst, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Van Sandt handles this material without any preaching or moralizing. There are no explanations given. Why do teenagers today act so disinterested, not seeming to care much about anything? What lures some kids to severe depression and violence? Parents and politicians, who DO NOT have the answers, frantically blame movies, music, television, and video games. You will not find that too-simple explanation here. Who's to blame? Van Sant doesn't pretend to know, and the government also shouldn't pretend to know. These are turbulent times we live in, and I can see- somewhat- how young people today feel. I'm 34, but I'm young enough to know that teenagers today know that they have been fed lie after lie after lie since they were born. Marijuana is dangerous! You'll die! Sure, sure, sure. Kids today know that isn't true. We have Clinton getting it on with young interns, George Bush sending our kids to Iraq to get slaughtered, more violence on the news than any movie, and a hardened culture of youngsters who know they have been lied too. You will not find any easy answers in this film, just like you won't find any easy answers in real life. Cheers to Gus Van Sant for such an audacious, uncompromising film. Only parents who live in REALITY should watch this film; teens who watch it will easily recognize it as the world they live in.
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Jaws 2 (1978)
Lacks Dark Terror Of The Original
29 April 2004
While Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" a dark, scary, and gripping thriller, "Jaws 2" is a scary movie for kids who don't really want to be scared. The imagination and unique style that Spielberg put into the original is sorely lacking here; this is merely a teenagers-in-jeopardy thriller as hordes of sailboating teens are terrorized by the giant killer shark. Spielberg did not expose us to the actual shark until much later in the film, which added to the heightened tension. We see the shark up close right away in this film, and it's no sense of terror. The shark chomps on water skiers, attacks boats, drags a helicopter out of the air and into the ocean, snacks on scuba divers, and the day is once again saved by Chief Brody (Roy Scheider.) With all this chomping and chewing going on, "Jaws 2" is oddly ineffective and unscary. While alot of kids were genuinely frightened and scared by the original "Jaws," this sequel is more like a carnival ride that provides a few thrills but is forgotten after it is over. The music by John Williams is absolutely fabulous and the atmosphere is sunnier this time around, but "Jaws 2" fails to satisfy. It's just alot of kids screaming and falling in the water. While the original is a horror masterpiece, this is an O.K. film for squeamish little children.
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Over the Edge (1979)
The Best Disillusioned Youth Film EVER
23 April 2004
"Over the Edge" is a powerful, unforgettable 1979 film about a planned suburban community, New Granada, where all the adults are worried only about bringing much-needed money and business to the struggling, barren dump of a town. What the adults don't seem to realize is that more than half of the population is made up of pre-teens and teenagers who drink, smoke weed, do hard drugs, play with guns, and destroy property because these parents and adults have given them nothing to do; nothing constructive whatsoever. These are NOT bad kids. I felt for them. They are victims of their environment and complete lack of parental attention. When the kids finally become restless and hopeless, havoc ensues, but most of it is created by the town Police Chief Doberman, who has no business whatsoever dealing with youth. The only place the kids have to go is the recreation center, managed by a truly sympathetic and understanding young woman. Of course, the town officials fire her. In 1979, this film was rated PG. It's a STRONG "PG". If this film were made today (and I doubt it would be) I imagine it would receive at least a PG-13 or maybe even an R. Children as young as thirteen/fourteen are seen dropping acid, smoking hash, guzzling liquor, shooting guns, getting into fights, etc. AND IT IS ALL THE FAULT OF THE ADULTS, WHO ARE TOTALLY BLIND! Matt Dillon's film debut, and an unknown actor, young Tom Fergus, gives the most natural performance from a kid I have ever seen as Claude, the kid most heavily involved in drugs. SEEK THIS OUT! IT IS UNFORGETTABLE! If anyone reading this has any info on Tom Fergus, I'd love to see what he's up to now. Also features an awesome soundtrack by The Cars, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, Little Feat, and Jimi Hendrix. This has become a cult classic in many youth circles, and is an early film by acclaimed director Jonothan Kaplan. Pops up on HBO and Cinemax occasionally, is available on tape, and is said to be coming to DVD soon. A masterwork.
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The Boogens (1981)
You Had To Let 'Em Out, Didn't Ya!
15 April 2004
This is a must-see late-night popcorn muncher that I first saw on HBO when I was about twelve. For years and years, I searched for the video. How excited I was a couple of years back when I found a copy! How can you not love that title? This movie is slow, many questions are left dangling, and the ending could have been stronger. However, it definitely has its moments! Best watched in groups, preferably while drinking. "Boogens" are killer monsters who are released from a closed land mine after mine workers blast it open after a 100 years. (One of the promo tag lines was "After 100 years, someone has reawakened The Boogens!) Some college-age kids rent a house in the woods, and the Boogens seem to have taken over the basement. Everyone hears noises coming from the basement but think nothing of it. One of my favorite characters was the old, old man whose great-grandfather was killed by Boogens. He approaches the miners and nervously rambles, "Boogens...Boogens...Ya had to let 'em out, didn't ya! Couldn't leave well enough alone, could ya!" The Boogens remain unseen until the last few minutes of the movie, and you will hit the floor laughing once you see a Boogen. (There are supposedly hordes of Boogens running loose, but perhaps because of budget problems, we see only one.) The Boogen looks like a giant turtle shell with elephant trunks for legs and the face looks like a Muppet on a crystal meth binge. One of the funniest scenes is when a Boogen is chasing a girl through the house and she tries to defend herself by throwing a tea pot and newspapers at it. Yep, that'll stop 'em! This is sooooo early 80's that it will most be enjoyed by thirty-somethings who fondly recall the kind of drive-in horror flicks they used to make. Fun for a bad movie/horror night. Fact: This is actually one of STEPHEN KING'S FAVORITES! He gives glowing reviews on the video box.
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NOTHING will ever be scarier!
13 April 2004
Unspeakable violence, torture, humiliation and degradation are taking place every minute in America. The film "Helter Skelter" is a chilling true story of the American dream gone horribly wrong. TEENAGERS...RUNAWAY TEENAGERS...flocked to this IDIOT! Charles Manson is a freak who knew how to manipulate these sad kids. However, I do not blame Charlie Manson entirey. ANY PERSON, much less A GROUP OF PEOPLE, who would bust their way into a STRANGERS home and brutally kill a PREGNANT WOMAN and four others, and then WITH GLEE go out the next night and pick a house at random because Charlie was playing "eeeny...meeeny...miny...moe.?" This is one of the most disturbing and frightening true stories of all time. Look for the re-make airing on CBS in May 2004. Jeremy Davies will play Manson; and Vincent Bugliosi is executive Producer!
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Kids (1995)
Gritty, Real, Disturbing...and Important.
7 April 2004
This is one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. It is so real and so shocking. Parents of teenagers should watch this film, but it unfortunately has been slammed by bible-thumpers and all sorts of "moral" and "Christian" groups. The reason that this film is so controversial is that it shows us a side of teen life that parents do not know about. However, I suspect that the parents do wonder what their kids are doing, but what they are actually "doing" is beyond the imagination of the adults. It's a brutal, cynical world as seen through the eyes of the teenagers in this film. Telly is a sixteen year-old druggie whose hobby is to see how many virgins he can have sex with. His best friend, Casper, loves to inhale nitrous oxide and rape young girls when they are passed out. Jenny is a sixteen year-old girl who has become infected with AIDS from Telly. There is rampant drug use and sexuality, and brutal violence...all involving young children. The message to parents is...THESE ARE YOUR KIDS! A haunting, provocative film.
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Heavenly Eye Candy
7 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a terrible movie, but if you want to drool over a beautiful hunk of man, this flick can't be beat. Christopher Atkins, a GORGEOUS young actor who hit it big in the 80's by posing shirtless in teen magazines, semi-nude in VANITY FAIR and ROLLING STONE, and completely nude in a PLAYGIRL spread. He's a drop-dead hunk, and that seems to be the only reason for this stupid film. This movie runs for barely 80 minutes, and I think that everyone involved in this project decided that they really didn't have a movie, so they turned it into a Christopher Atkins flesh-fest. Lesley Ann Warren stars as Faye, a community college teacher who fails Atkins in her speech class. Faye's wild sister from Chicago comes to visit and drags Faye to a male strip club, where the star attraction is "Ricky the Rocket..." CHRISTOPHER ATKINS! Faye thinks twice about failing him after he seductively strips in front of her, grabs her hand, and puts her hand on his penis. What follows is Warren becoming addicted to watching Atkins strip, while her marriage crumbles. Throughout this very brief movie, we see Atkins shirtless, in underwear, nude and soapy in the shower, and nude while humping Lesley Ann Warren, who remains fully clothed. Atkins also prances around in short-short-short hot pants in the scenes that he's not nude. Directed by John G. Alvidsen ("Rocky!" "The Karate Kid!")
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Beach Girls Is A Blast!
5 April 2004
I first saw this movie on late-night Cinemax when I was about fourteen years old. It has become a cult classic in my book. I showed it to all my friends after taping it. It is an absolute hoot! It's so bad that it is absolutely hilarious! The story: Virginial Sarah (Deborah Blee, who went on to the triumphant "Hamburger: The Motion Picture") goes to spend the summer at her Uncle Carl's beach house. Sarah has invited two friends to join her for the summer: Loose hussies Ducky (Jenna Thomasina, a PLAYBOY playmate of the year) and Ginger (bleach-blonde Val Kline, who seems to have vanished.) Much to the disapproval of Sarah, Ginger & Ducky turn Uncle Carl's beach house into a wild, no-holds-barred sex, drugs, and alcohol orgy. When Uncle Carl arrives unexpectedly, he demands that the party stop, but topless Ginger and Ducky ply him with booze and marijuana, and soon Uncle Carl joins in the party. Meanwhile, drug smugglers being chased by the Coast Guard dump dozens of garbage bags filled with pot into the ocean, and the bags float up in front of Uncle Carl's. What follows is a wild pot party, with the Coast Guard raiding Uncle Carl's and building a bonfire with all of the confiscated weed. Everybody gets deleriously high. That's the movie! I could list some truly classic lines but there's not enough space. Trust me...this is funny, funny, funny...in a good/bad sort of way. Get your hands on it if you can! Great party flick!
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So Bad It's Great!
5 March 2004
I saw this film in 1987, or maybe it was 1988, and my friends and I laughed hysterically because this film is so awful! It's one of those movies that are so bad they are hilarious. Favorite line: Sally Kellerman telling her ex-husband, "You so much as breathe a word of this, and I'll have your d*** in a pencil sharpener!" I also found one scene to be disturbing...a black man who is hauling a load of live chickens stops to help, and ends up with his truck @ chickens tumbling down a steep hill. While the main characters speed off, this poor man has lost his truck and his chickens. The main characters then laugh. Alan Ruck ("Spin City") sarcastically declares that he feels sorry for "those chickens." This film is a disaster, directed by the brilliant B.W.L. Norton ("More American Graffiti," "Baby: Secret Of The Lost Legend.") This movie seems to try to recapture the spirit of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby "road" movies, but fails miserably. When this came out on video, I decided to watch it again, thinking that I might have missed something. I watched the video with my mom. My mom, approaching her sixties, said that this was the kind of movie kids used to watch back in the 40's and 50's. Enough said. NOTE: Alot of people are mistaken. This film was made and shelved BEFORE Charlie Sheen starred in Oliver Stone's "Platoon." It was only released after "Platoon" was a hit.
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Days of Our Lives (1965– )
Nothing On TV Is Better
13 February 2004
I am 33 years old and I have watched "Days Of Our Lives" since I was about seven years old, because my baby-sitter loved it and she would never allow me to turn the station when "Days" was on. I am so grateful! "Days" is more than just a television show. It is a MASTERPIECE! My mom, my brother, my sister, even my dad..not to mention countless friends and relatives...have been faithfully watching since the early 80's. I will not go into every story that has gone on on "Days." I will just briefly comment on the current state of the show. IT IS BETTER THAN IT EVER HAS BEEN! THANK GOD THAT JAMES REILLY IS AGAIN THE HEAD WRITER! All of these people writing in and criticizing the show have me scratching my head. Soaps have always been criticized as being boring, with lonely housewives sitting around sipping on coffee and talking about the sad state of their families. DAYS has decided to offer some excitement. If you don't like it, watch 7TH HEAVEN or LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE re-runs. DAYS rules!!!!! If you don't like watching DAYS now, it must be because you are in a nursing home. Love, Rob!
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She's A Bad Mama Jama
11 February 2004
98 I was a freshman in college when the Pamela Smart trial was all the rage on television, radio, newspapers, etc. I followed the proceedings with great interest, and when the TV film "Murder In New Hampshire" premiered on CBS, I watched with anticipation. I wanted to know what drove this young woman to be so treacherous. For those of you not familiar with this true story, 23 year-old Pamela (Wojas) Smart married her college sweetheart, Greg Smart. They resided in Derry, New Hampshire. Pam's and Greg's parents lived nearby. Exactly one year after Pam and Greg were married, Greg was found dead in the couple's home. He was sprawled out on the carpet, having been brutally shot to death. Pam gets her just desserts as this bizarre (but true)story ends.

What followed was a sad saga. Pamela Smart, who came from a wealthy family and was always popular, arranged the murder of her husband Greg by hiring four teenage boys to proceed with the murder plot. Billy Flynn was 15 years old and was a student at Winnacunnet High School, where Pam was employed as "media director." Pam encouraged Billy, along with teens Raymond Fowler, JR Lattime, and Patrick "Pete" Randall, to murder Greg. Another student, Cecelia Pierce, 15, worked at Pam's office for school credit and knew all about the murder plot but was skeptical because Pam would just matter-of-factly fill her in on the details as if it was one big joke.
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