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The Big Chill (1983)
I was reading some of the user comments from people who liked this movie, and all I kept thinking was "did we see the same movie?" Now I consider myself an intelligent person, who has nothing against a movie with a "message." However, one of my prerequisites for a movie to be good is that there be a story, or something at least resembling one.
The Big Chill has no discernible story. As you've no doubt already read, it's about a group of yuppies who reunite for a weekend after the death of one of their college friends.The movie essentially deals with these people rekindling old friendships, and trying to "find" themselves. So for two hours we watch people sitting around and talking...people who are self-absorbed narcissists who, as a result, we really don't care about.
The movie reminds me of the scene from Woody Allen's "Purple Rose of Cairo" where after Gil (Jeff Daniels)walks off the screen, the other actors refuse to go on with the story, and just sit around playing cards. the difference, of course, was in that movie, the inaction was part of the plot, while in Big Chill there is no plot. it's as if someone took a movie camera and placed it in someones living room, and just left it on. After about five minutes, you'll be asking yourself why you're watching this drivel.
Do yourself a favor and skip this movie. Trust me, you'll thank me.
Star Trek: Spectre of the Gun (1968)
Good story, but the ending is a cop-out
I really liked this one, and consider it one of the best episodes of season 3. the drams builds nicely throughout, but then comes crashing down, in an ending that defies logic and makes no sense.
Checkov, who the town's people see as "Billy Claiborne" is killed by a bullet. McCoy confirms the fact that he's dead. When the landing party next must engage in the shootout with the Earps and Doc Holliday, it is pointed out by McCoy that the slightest doubts about the bullets not being real (Spock has the ability to do this as a Vulcan)would be enough to render the bullets real and kill them. Spock engages them in a Vulcan mind meld to remove any doubts about the bullets being fake. It works, as the bullets pass through them. They are not killed, and are returned to the ship, where we see Checkov sitting on a table being examined by McCoy. Where exactly was Checkov from the time he was killed till he reappears on the ship? Checkov was not with the landing party when they returned to the ship, so how did this "dead man" get back aboard? Maybe he wasn't really dead, but then why did McCOY confirm that he WAS dead? Checkov, not receiving the Vulcan mind meld from Spock, no doubt believed the bullets could kill him, so when he was shot, he died. But then,back aboard the ship, Kirk implies that Checkov did not believe the bullets were real, so he survived. But if that was the case, the bullets should have passed right through him as they did with the others at the shoot out,yet we see him get shot and die. The easy answer here is that Checkov, as a major character, was not expendable (like the red-shirts) and so the writers needed a way to bring him back, even if it made no sense. the writers wanted it both ways...to have the drama of Checkov being killed, but also have a convenient way of bringing him back. Unfortunately, this led to a huge collapse in logic and made what should have been one of the best Trek episodes into one that was rather ordinary
Reel Talk (2005)
Not a good show
This movie review show was hampered by the presence of Alison Bailes, a movie critic from Britain, who was one of the worst critics I've ever come across. I don't know where they found her, but it's my guess that she was hired only because they wanted a woman beside Jeffrey Lyons. Now I know film critics are entitled to their opinions, but Bailes often disliked movies that other critics praised, like "Sweeney Todd", and liked movies that were universally panned, like the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Clearly, her judgment of movies and her critiquing process were inadequate. Poor Jeffrey Lyons,a good critic, who had to put up with her bizarre opinions. This show deserved to be cancelled.
Avoid this like the plague...
OK, I've only seen a couple of episodes, but I get the gist of it. First off, I'm a big Superman fan but I never had any interest in watching this show, because the basic premise is just wrong. Superman is not Spiderman. He's not human. Therefore, human emotions are alien to him. Superman is all about physical powers. He's not supposed to be "trying to find himself", even as a teenager. To take Clark Kent, and make him into some "touchy-feely" character in a soap opera is completely contrary to the Superman legend. Instead of sitting through this painfully bad show, check out "Superman on Earth", the first episode of "The Adventures of Superman",starring George Reeves, which does in 30 minutes what "Smallville" does in six seasons, and a lot better.
Truly great episode of TAOS, and that's no exaggeration. The story goes like this...Clark and Lois are covering a senate subcommittee's investigation into organized crime. While on the stand, Wagner, the witness, suddenly changes his mind about whether he knows Lou Kranek, the alleged Kingpin. He abruptly bolts out, and hijacks a car, with Lois and Clark in tow. He then hijacks a bus, with children on board. Superman shows up and stops the bus from careening down a mountain. He tells Lois that Wagner's mind was somehow tampered with and that his brain was fatally injured. Turns out that Kranek, in an attempt to manipulate the hearings, stole a machine invented by a doctor that can put suggestions into peoples' minds from afar. With the doctor kidnapped, Kranek had forced him to user the machine on Wagner, who he tuned in on the machines screen. Kent then works with the doctors assistant, Hadley, to try and find the transmission point of the machine (Kranek took it to the Blue Hills along with the doctor) In the meantime, Lois is due to take the stand, and there's no doubt Kranek will use the machine on her. While scouting the area by plane, Kent learns that she is on the stand. He knocks out Hadley,and puts the plane on automatic. Superman shows up at Kraneks hideout just in time, and beats up Kranek and his gang, while the doctor ,feeling guilty over how his machine was used, destroys the machine. Superman, realizing the plane has run out of gas, brings it down safely with Hadley still unconscious.
Absolutely flawless episode...really exciting, with a great script, acting, and directing. I especially like the political slant of the story, reflecting, perhaps, the HUAC investigations of the 1950s. And, the greatest punch Reeves gives of the entire series.
Stick to the original
Truly terrible remake of "Panic in the Sky" from "The Adventures of Superman".The story, which concerns an asteroid heading toward Metropolis, is stretched out to an hour (from a half hour) and as a result, is incredibly padded, with scenes that are pointless and do nothing to advance the story, such as one when a co-worker of Kent goes to confession because she feels guilt over taking advantage of his amnesia in seducing him. The episode is very soap-opera like, with the asteroid as a back drop. In the original, the asteroid was the focal point of the story. Not here, however. Funny, I always thought that a remake was supposed to improve on the original. Wouldn't you think that at the time they made this the people involved might have watched what they produced and seen how bad it was? Or, did they think it was good, (in which case they should have been fired)Just goes to show that in this age of FX, its still all about the writing, acting and direction. Also, why did they change the title of the episode, and why does it not say, "based on Panic in the Sky", at the start of the episode? Do yourself a favor and watch the original instead with George Reeves, The real Superman!
Truly great and unique episode
I agree with the other comments, that this episode stands out from the others. The fact that Superman's costume has been stolen and he can't tell Candy what has been stolen, but yet wants him to find it...unlike the later episodes which have a more cartoonish feel, this is real drama, as we sympathize with Clark Kent, who is scared, anxious, and frantic over the theft of his costume, which without, he can no longer be Superman. Everything in this episode really clicks...great acting ,directing, and most of all a great script by Ben Peter Freeman. (To me, it was the solid scripts of season one that make it by far the best season of the series.) Yes, the episode stands out too, for the ending, in which the bad guys fall to their deaths from a mountain top. Clearly, Superman is relieved that their deaths took care of his problem. But to say he was responsible for their deaths, and therefore "un-Supermanlike, is a stretch. To me this was an asset as once again it showed that Superman had his own anxieties, unique to him.
Adventures of Superman: Mr. Zero (1957)
A low point for the series
This episode was the worst of the entire series. In fact, it's so bad, it's embarrassing to watch. The story is about a martian, "Mr. Zero", who is banished from Mars for being a quarter inch shorter than the other martians. His rocket crash lands on earth,presumably in the American west. Next thing we know, he's standing in The Daily Planet office. (How did this naive martian know to go there? Mr. Zero inadvertently helps the bad guys with his "paralyzing finger". When he realizes he's been helping the crooks, he uses his power to help catch them. He is then allowed to return to Mars, for doing his good deed.
This episode was obviously aimed at kids, but even from a kids perspective, its awful. The dialog is terrible...when Mr. Zero appears out of nowhere at the Planet, he says to Jimmy "take me to your leader" This episode is also one of the most cartoonish of the series, with the bad guys named "Georgie Gleep", and "Slouchy McGoon", and the dumbest special effect of all time...people freezing still when he points at them.(Bet that was real expensive to do)
How sad that this great series had deteriorated into a cartoonish kiddy show by the time it went to color. I only wish that George Reeves, who I've read was not happy with the change in tone of the later episodes, would have demanded the return of Jackson Gillis, Ben Peter Freeman, and the other writers responsible for those great scripts of the first two seasons. After all, they already had the best Superman/Clark Kent(Reeves), Lois Lane(Phyllis Coates), Jimmy Olsen(Jack Larson)and perry White(John Hamilton) If only the writing would have kept pace.
A good attempt by Reeves, but too many flaws
This was one of the 3 episodes that George Reeves directed (the 3 final episodes)Reeves did his best to liven up what had become a rather lame children's show in the final seasons. The story involves a group of gangsters wearing lead masks,(recycled props from "The Man in the Lead Mask" from season 2) who kidnap Clark, Lois, Jimmy, and Perry White. Each of them is placed in their own "peril". Lois is tied to the train tracks, Jimmy is driving a car on a mountain pass with no brakes, Perry is tied to a log about to be split by a saw, and Clark is suspended over a vat of acid. Superman, of course, comes to their rescue, in the nick of time.
As I mentioned, Reeves did his best here. Compared to most of the other color episodes, this one was more exciting. The problem is, there are just too many flaws in the episode to make it really top-notch. First of all,when the men in the lead mask appears, and threatens to carry out his plot, Jimmy tells him that Suerman will rip the masks off. The man answers that he can't because they're locked on, and he's the only one with the key.This explanation is just accepted by all, including Clark, who laments to Inspector Henderson, in a bit of really stilted dialogue, that "only the ring leader has the key". Totally preposterous. There is no reason that Superman wouldn't be able to rip off the masks, other than if he did, there would be no story. Then we get to the "perils'. Clark is suspended over a vat of acid. The crooks conveniently leave just before he goes into the vat, allowing him to change into Superman. Just wondering... what would Clark have done had the crooks not left? Also, his costume is soaking wet from the acid, but then a second later is completely dry. Superman saves Perry from a buzz saw by bracing up against it. But his body never touches the saw! What was that all about? Jimmy's car is out of control on a mountain (in what actually was a well-shot scene)His car goes over the cliff, and he is hanging onto a ledge, where Superman pulls him up. As he is approaching Jimmy you can hear Reeves say "I see", which makes no sense, whatsoever. Obviously not part of the script, but what was it?
The episode isn't bad, and is one of the better of the color episodes, but still pales in comparison to the excellent first and second season episodes.
Better than the first
A rare case of the sequel being better than the original. I say this because "City Slickers II", unlike "City Slickers", is presented as a comedy, and is funny, thanks largely to the talents of Jon Lovitz, as Mitch's brother. The first film, in my opinion, tried to be a "serious" film, within the context of being a comedy, as the main characters reflect on their lives as they ride along the trail on their horses.To me, this made the film stilted and pretentious. There was none of this in the sequel.We get pure comedy. I think the film also benefited from the inclusion of Lovitz, and the absence of Bruno Kirby, whose character I found to be annoying in the first film. (I mean no disrespect toward Kirby, who recently passed away) Also, the DVD contains a good commentary by Crystal and Lovitz, whereas the first film has no commentary.
One of the best episodes of the entire series
This is one of my favorite episodes of the "Adventures of Superman". The story centers around Lois Lane, who, while vacationing, stops at a motel near the Canadian border, where she finds the motel owner lying injured behind the desk. It turns out a gang of mobsters had murdered the woman's husband after the two had interfered with the gangsters' smuggling of goods across the border. the gangsters, who are still at the motel, now threaten Lois as well. Lois puts in a frantic call to the Daily Planet, where Jimmy takes a message for Clark Kent, who is away on assignment. The note gets lost, and Clark frantically tries to recover it. Superman comes to the rescue of Lois and Jimmy (who drove to the motel and is mistakenly taken to be a "baby faced" mobster.) in the nick of time.
The episode is flawless. Done in "film-noir style" (Typical of many first season episodes) its an exciting episode, where the bad guys are particularly menacing (especially the guy with the scar, who belts Lois) George Reeves looks great as Superman, and Phyllis Cotes shines as Lois Lane. This episode really typifies the excitement of the first season and shows that great acting, writing and directing can overcome the limitations of a shoe-string budget.
The Brady Bunch (1969)
Enjoyable fluff, but little in the way of laughs
OK, I admit it. I used to watch this show when it was on ABC, and have watched it now and then in reruns. I can understand the affinity for this show, especially in comparison to the sex-filled dreck that permeates the airwaves today. the series was entertaining, but really was nothing more than enjoyable fluff. If looking at it from the standpoint of its status as a sitcom, however, I would say the show was terrible. I can honestly say, that there was not one laugh during the entire run of the show.The stories were light, fluffy and "nice", but were just not funny. Even Sherwood Shwartz's other show, "Gilligans Island", for all its faults, was often funny, in albeit in a low comedy way.
And, in addition, why did the boys and girls call and treat each other as if they were brothers and sisters, when in fact, their characters were totally non-related? (different father AND mother) Why did Alice call Mike and carol "Mr.and Mrs. Brady" she lived with them ,for heaven's sake, and was older than them. Couldn't they be on a first name basis? I can honestly say, can't blame Robert Reed for hating his role, especially after his fine work on "The Defenders" All in all, the show was enjoyable, not funny, but was a classic compared to the various spin-offs that the series later spawned.
Adventures of Superman (1952)
A Great show in the beginning, but after that...
Having just watched many of the series episodes again on DVD and video, I can honestly say that this show went through so many changes during its six year run, that its hard to believe that its the same show. Unlike most TV shows that get better as they go on, this was an exception. The "Adventures of Superman", which was first filmed in 1951, and shown in 1953, was an absolutely perfect show in its first season. Aiming for a family audience, and using the dark and moody tone of the radio series, the first season episodes featured a great looking George Reeves as a no-nonsense avenging angel, who would show up in the nick of time to round up the bad guys. In these episodes, the bad guys were actually menacing and sometimes died. The scripts were great (especially those of Ben Peter Freeman) as was the acting and dialogue. Mention should also be made of the great background music for the first season episodes, which added immeasurably to the mood of the episode.(Watch the original "Superman and the Mole-men", and then watch the Unknown People", and you'll see what I mean) Each of these episodes resembled a mini film noir movie. Most notably, too, was the performance of Phyllis Coates as a no-nonsense Lois Lane, who would stop at nothing to get her story(check out "Rescue")
Noel Neil may have brought some good qualities to the role later on, but Coates was the best Lois, including those who played her in the Superman movies. By the second season, the episodes were toned down, but there were still some great episodes like "The Clown who Cried", "The Face and the Voice", and "A Ghost for Scotland Yard" Reeves still looked great in these episodes, and the scripts were still solid enough to offset the sub-par acting of Noel Neil. The color episodes of seasons 3-6 were a whole different story. Unless you consider that the change to color was an "improvement", everything about the series got worse. The scripts were awful(with a few exceptions,like "Test of a warrior", and "Great Caesars Ghost") and as a result, Reeves lost much of his enthusiasm for the role (who could blame him?) Reeves also had put on weight, and looked somewhat bloated in these episodes. The special effects in these episodes were minimal...the same shot of Reeves flying was shown over and over (unlike in the B&Ws when flying shots were done for individual episodes) The bad guys were no longer menacing and there was the introduction of characters such as "Professor Pepperwinkle"...an unbelievably annoying character, who contributed to the feel that these episodes were cartoonish in nature. There were also many plot holes in these episodes, like in "Perils of Superman", which featured a group of cyborg-like crooks in lead masks. Why couldn't Superman just have ripped the lead masks off their heads? The reason given in the episode was that the masks were "locked on", and only the leader had the key (WHAT?????) Then there was the episode "The Big Freeze" in which Superman's powers were zapped by a contraption that froze him. Excuse me, but I thought the ONLY element Superman was vulnerable to was kryptonite.Watching the episode "Mr. Zero",(a low point for the whole series) it was hard to believe I was watching the same show that had produced such great episodes as "A Night of Terror", and "The Stolen Costume". Anyway, a truly great series for the first season, a very good series in the second, and a so-so to an awful show after that.
The Facts of Life (1979)
Sorry, as far as sitcoms go, this show was awful
After reading the many positive comments about this show, I felt obliged to give my opinion. This show was a "sitcom" As such it is supposed to be funny. To me, thats the measure of a good sitcom...whether or not it is actually funny. Yes, I know this show dealt with some serious issues...loss of virginity, etc. To be honest, I hate when sitcoms attempt to do "serious" shows. There's a certain pretentiousness to this. This aside, "Facts of Life" was just was not a funny show. The first season was bearable, but when they brought in Nancy McKeon ("Yeah...I'm from da Bronx")it hit the skids, and continued to go downhill, especially when they brought in Chloris Leachman. I realize not every show can be "Seinfeld", but when a sitcom is produced for TV, the show should be FUNNY, and "Facts of Life just wasn't