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The Verdict (1946)
This is not a spoiler because we know this in the first five minutes. A respected Scotland Yard detective is dismissed because he "hanged an innocent man." I can't accept the basic premise of this story. The police simply investigate the crime and bring their findings to the prosecutor. If an innocent man is hanged, it is not the fault of the detective, but rather that the prosecutor didn't do due diligence and the defense attorney didn't call him on it. No one person is to blame if the wrong person is punished because it involves two opposing teams at work.
All Saints (2017)
Not really how things work
I loved the movie. It was very inspiring, all the more so because apparently it really happened, or most of it did. However, I am an Episcopalian, and I know that some of what was depicted couldn't really happen the way it was presented.
A diocese can't balance its budget by the resignation of the bishop and the use of his salary for some other purpose. A diocese has to have a bishop. The definition of a diocese is the jurisdiction of a bishop. If the bishop resigns, there has to be an election of a replacement bishop.
Secondly, the Bishop of Tennessee can't appoint a priest in his diocese to a position at St. Thomas, Fifth Avenue, New York. For that matter, neither can the Bishop of New York. St. Thomas is a self-governing parish, and the rector, wardens, and vestry would make that decision. There might have been some conversation between the Bishop of Tennessee and the Bishop of New York which led to a suggestion by the Bishop of New York to the Rector of St. Thomas to consider Fr. Spurlock for a vacant position. But the decision was made at St. Thomas and was not as clear-cut as it was shown in the movie.
New Morals for Old (1932)
Did this movie inspire C.S. Lewis?
In 1958 C.S. Lewis published a book called Four Loves, taken from radio talks he had given previously. He treats four different kinds of love: affection, friendship, erotic love, and agape, the Christian love. In each section he talks about what that kind of love could be and what it looks like when it goes bad. There was so much in this movie that reminded me of the things he said about affection and family life when it goes bad, that I think he must have seen this movie and parts of it stuck in his head. Even some of the lines are the same. "Why are they always out? Why do they seem to prefer every house in the neighborhood to their own?" This is a glaring example of parents who seem to think that their adult offspring are duty-bound to stay with them and provide them with a life instead of going out and making their own lives. I kept wanting to say to the kids: "You two are adults. If you want to move out of the house, what's stopping you?" And to the parents: "You raised these two to be grownups and now they are. Accept it." I found it extremely unsatisfying.
The Night Shift (2014)
Not the San Antonio I know
I like this show, but as a San Antonio resident, I have to laugh, and sometimes get angry, at the way they've portrayed San Antonio. We are the seventh largest city in the US with a population of 1.3 million. We have world class hospitals and a top-rated medical school. In one of the early episodes a character said, "I can't believe I've been in Texas three weeks and haven't been on a horse." Right, we all have horses here; I ride one to Starbucks every morning. Or this: "This is the only trauma center in five counties." I really don't know how many trauma centers there are in San Antonio, but I would guess about twenty.
Also, EMS units operate out of fire stations, not specific hospitals, and ER doctors do not ride along in the ambulances. Also ER doctors do not perform major surgery in the ER; hospitals have other medical and surgical specialists who do that. I wouldn't doubt that many of our hospitals are staffed by military veterans; the surgeon who did my gastric bypass got his training as an Army surgeon. But he does not bounce back and forth between Texas and Afghanistan every week. In other words, hospital and emergency medical procedures in San Antonio are much like those in any other city. We don't have a unique way of doing things here.
Having said all of that, I still watch it and I enjoy it. I'm a little disappointed that they don't do any real filming here. I'm told that the Chicago Trilogy TV shows actually film their street scenes in Chicago. There are some aerial views sometimes and I like to stop the recording and pick out landmarks. I wish this show were a little bit more about the real San Antonio.
An American point of view
I am an American and the English-language translator for a Spanish novelist who lives in Benidorm and works in the hotel industry. I have visited my friend four times and I think I know Benidorm fairly well, though I have never stayed in the type of hotel depicted in this series (all-inclusive), nor is it the type where my friend works. I wanted to see this series, but it was not coming in on BBC America, nor could I get it from Netflix. When I tried to buy it from Amazon.uk, they couldn't ship it out of the country. I eventually ordered it sent to an American friend working in the UK and then he shipped it to me. I can see now why the Brits don't want this show seen outside their own country. It shows only the worst type of British tourist, the kind my British friends try to avoid when they travel. (Many Americans are just as bad.) They are crude, vulgar, obnoxious, and if it weren't for captions, I couldn't understand the dialect. Now, having said all that, I have to confess that I've had some laughs. I'm sorry there is only one Spanish character (and he's a stereotype), because I really like Spanish people and I'd like to see more variety. My conclusion is that it's not as bad all the time as it is most of the time.
A Touch of Frost (1992)
Don't know if this is a spoiler or not
I have just finished watching all the episodes of A Touch of Frost on Netflix, and I was hoping for something that didn't happen. In one of the early episodes there is a murder at an Indian grocery, a sort of mom-and-pop store run by a Indian couple, and the wife is murdered. Frost thinks the murder was committed by two suspects that he has in custody for some other reason, and he leans on the husband to identify them as his wife's killers. However, the man insists that he was upstairs and did not see the killers, and refuses to make an identification. As far as I can remember, the suspects are eventually "nicked" for the other crime, but no arrest is ever made for the murder of the Indian woman. I always had it in the back of my mind that there was in fact a robbery, but the husband used the robbery as a cover and killed his wife himself. I thought a later episode would reveal that, but it never did.
I'm over this show
Over the years there have been a number of hospital shows whose basic premise goes something like this: Hospitals have very strict rules and protocols about who may do what. These rules and protocols generally make sick people sicker. But once in a while some really daring hospital employee, a renegade doctor, a nurse fresh out of school, breaks the rules and saves people's lives, but he or she has an uphill fight to do it, because the hospital administrator, the chief of surgery, the ethics committee, the mayor, or whoever, does everything to prevent it, even knowing (and not caring) that lives are at stake. I for one don't buy that premise. I have been a hospital patient several times, and real hospitals do a very good job by following their rules and protocols. This is just one more show of the type I described. And to make matters worse, it's just bogged down in the personal lives of the characters. I like a good hospital show, but this is not one.
Emotional but not realistic
This film is highly moving, but if I understand it correctly, Briony gave evidence in good faith. Later on she came to realize that she was mistaken and she regretted what she did. But if Robbie had had a good lawyer, this lawyer could have shaken her testimony. She saw the rapist from behind, and he was one of three (four?) men dressed in identical formal wear and about the same height and age. That should not have been enough to convict him without some other evidence. It must be a terrible thing to be convicted of a crime you didn't commit, and I'm sure it happens all the time, but it's only in the way the writer has chosen to tell the story that everything is Briony's fault.
Man on Fire (1957)
Glad I saw this movie again
The first time I saw this movie I was a teenager, barely older than the boy in the movie. (By the way, Malcolm was 13 and his voice was changing -- why did they have to say his character was 10?). It made me very angry. I was the son of divorced parents and I didn't even know where my father was. I envied the boy his relationship with his father. I thought the situation in the movie was unfair to men because it undervalued the importance of male bonding between father and son. Now that I've watched it again in my 60s I see I was wrong about it. Of course it's best for a kid to have two parents who love each other and stay married, but when we can't have what's best, we have to decide from the options that are available. I think this movie does a very good job of being fair to everybody.
Liked everything but the title & Answer to a goof
I thought this film was marvelous. Beautiful portrait of growing up. However, given all the priest and altar boy scandals these days, I think the title leads people to believe it's on a different subject. I kept watching to see if the priest was going to make a pass at Francis or Tim. In response to one of the alleged goofs, I think the bus said "Immaculate Conception" because St. Agatha's School and Immaculate Conception share activity buses. The schools don't have outside activities on the same day. Notice they said "Activity Bus" and not "School Bus." Meaning they aren't used for home-to-school transportation but only for school-to-field-trip transportation.
Make Your Own Bed (1944)
Too outdated for 21st century audience
This is one of those movies from the first half of the 20th century that is based on a concept that a 21st century viewer can't relate to without some sort of explanation. Much of the conflict revolves around the idea of: "Oh, dear, they think we're married and they expect us to sleep in the same room, but we're not married and therefore we can't possibly sleep in the same room. Whatever will we do?" It wasn't even the idea of having sex outside of marriage that was so horrifying. It was just being in the same room. Maybe an audience in 1944 would have understood that, but in 2005 the reaction is "Who the hell cares if they're married? You don't plan to have sex, don't have sex. Keep your clothes on if you want to. But shut up already about whether you're married or not." It's just too stupid for anybody to care about.
Blood on the Sun (1945)
Ending is confusing
I didn't get the ending. The girl got away with the Tanaka Document and turned it in to American officials, they were prepared for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and therefore it was prevented, the United States never entered World War II, and the last 60 years of history didn't happen? But since they did, what happened to the Tanaka Document? The Americans never got it? They got it but they didn't believe it? They believed it, but it wasn't specific enough to predict the attack on Pearl Harbor? What?
Having said that, I was interested in the way the film depicted Japanese politics. The Emperor himself knew little or nothing of what was going on. It was all done in his name, but behind his back. This, apparently, was the reason that the U.S. occupying forces allowed the Emperor to remain on the throne after the war, because we believed that he was not personally responsible for it.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
Flaws in story -- not Zeffirelli's but Shakespeare's
Friar Lawrence is the weakest character in this story. He performed a marriage of two underage teens without parental consent and with no witnesses, and then was prepared to marry the bride off to another husband within three days without admitting what he had done, clearly in violation of both Church law and civil law. He also performed a funeral for Juliet when he knew she was not dead. What was Shakespeare thinking? Additionally, Romeo's line "There is no life without Verona's walls" is a crock. The best thing that could have happened when Romeo was exiled would be for Juliet to run off with him, not to Mantua, where everyone would look for them, but to Bologna, Venice, or Florence. Why didn't they do that? Because then there wouldn't have been a story. But in real life that's what the kids would have done.
I suppose because it's Shakespeare we have to overlook the improbabilities.
Oh, this is so bad
It's a fact of life that we guys are hard-wired to be stimulated by visual images. Women apparently find that objectionable, but I'm tired of apologizing for being male. This movie depicts a teenage guy with raging hormones and no other outlet for his sexual energy who turns to Internet porn. He's naturally curious about the female body, and the Internet helps him explore that interest. Like all hobbies, this one can be over-indulged, and when he starts losing sleep and doing badly in school, then it's a sign that he needs to dial it back a little.
How dumb is it that he leaves his door open while he surfs the Net? Especially after being caught the first time? His father should have bought him, for his twelfth birthday, a lock for the inside of his bedroom door, and talked to him (and the rest of the family) about his right to privacy.
I don't normally watch this channel. I wonder if all of their programming is this silly.
These guys have problems right from the beginning. Not only can't they agree on what to call the event they are having, they also can't agree on whether to have it or not, they can't agree on what they want to wear for it, and if I understood correctly, they think they're going to do it twice, this time for family, and later on for friends. Who ever does that? Nobody should go into a committed relationship this confused. This is what premarital counseling is for, and do they ever need it. How long have they been together so far? They are so on different wavelengths that one would think they just met the night before. Parts of this film are funny, parts of it drag, and very little of it is believable. I probably know about a dozen same-sex couples who have had a formal commitment ceremony, and none of them ever went about it this way. By the way, my favorite character is Dylan.
Paragraph 175 (2000)
Not the only film on gay male Holocaust survivors
I agree that this is an excellent film. One has to admire the willingness of these men to tell their story after so many years. Paragraph 175 remained as a law in the German Penal Code until the 1970s, which is why the gay survivors were not given the same reparations that other survivors received. I saw this film on cable and am planning to get a copy on DVD. However, a previous comment incorrectly stated that this was the first film on this subject in 67 years. There was an earlier film which interviewed gay male Holocaust survivors. The title is "We Were Marked With a Big Red A." I do not see it listed in IMDb, but I have it on VHS. I purchased it in the bookshop at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington. I think that Klaus Müller, who is a consultant to the Holocaust Museum, was also on the crew of this film.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
A rape victim?
Both the original novel and the screenplay were written by men, neither of whom had any idea what being raped felt like to a woman, and they didn't bother to find out. Neither did Otto Preminger, apparently. Lee Remick's character seemed about as put out by being raped as she might have been if a bus splashed mud on her shoes. I remember Jean Stapleton's portrayal of Edith Bunker in "All in the Family" after she was the victim of an attempted rape. She was terrified even to answer the door. Women take years to get over something like that, and some never do. I'm surprised nobody else has ever commented on this point. That was the only problem I had with this movie, which otherwise is excellent.
7th Heaven (1996)
Lucy as associate pastor
How did Lucy get to be associate pastor of Eric's church? She is a senior in college with a few credits short of a bachelor's degree. To be an ordained clergyperson in any mainline denomination requires a master of divinity, which is a three-year graduate program after college. It also requires an intensive screening and discernment process, and then a formal ceremony of ordination according to the rites of that church. You don't just walk up to a church and say, "Hi, I want to be Associate Pastor" even if your dad is the pastor.
Oh, but this isn't a mainline denomination, it's a "Community Church." I've always considered that sort of a fiction to keep from portraying any actual denomination that might confuse or offend viewers. This is not the sort of church that would be non-denominational, even if we don't know what the denomination is. It's clearly mainline Protestant. This needs a better explanation, or further development.
Another Country (1984)
Burgess & Communism
Guy Burgess became a communist, spied for the Soviet Union, and lived there for the rest of his life after he was found out. Why? Because, as far as we can tell from this movie, he was a homosexual, and British law was extremely harsh toward male homosexuals. That makes no sense at all. Soviet law was also extremely repressive against homosexuals in those days. No one would have chosen the Soviet Union because they thought it was more hospitable for gays. Since Guy Burgess was a real person and this film is based on his life, he must have had some other reason for becoming a communist (he wasn't one in his school days) that has nothing to do with his sexual orientation. What was it? The movie doesn't tell us.
Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992)
What about Andy and Kyle?
I missed this movie when it came out and just bought the DVD. I thought it was pretty good, all things considered, but there was something I had a problem with. Andy is Matt's best friend since childhood, but we are also expected to believe Matt had a three-year relationship with Kyle. And Andy didn't know Matt was gay? I don't think so. Being in love is a hard thing to hide, especially from your best friend. Didn't Andy ever wonder who Matt was seeing? Didn't he ever see them together? Did Andy know Kyle? This was a plot element that was not very well thought out. For that matter, how did Allison manage to miss Kyle? Where was she when Matt was seeing Kyle? Where was Kyle when Matt was seeing Allison?