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To Be or Not to Be (1942)
Propagandistic Pig 🐷 Swill
Where to begin with this mess? The ludicrous plot? The artificial dialogue? The self-satisfied smugness? The unsuccessful attempts at wit? The insipidity? The dullness? The odd casting choices? All of the above? None of the above?
Well, here goes: Members of the National SOCIALIST Party were many things but stupid they were not. The filmmakers would have you believe that they would be incapable of tying their own shoes or counting to ten. What subtle wit. The gang that couldn't shoot straight isn't even aware when a large group pf strangers is in their midst. WWII should have only lasted a week or two, I guess.
Propaganda almost always looks bad after the cause for the propaganda has passed, and this is certainly the case here. A cinematic universe has been created in which no one behaves as any human being ever would. This wouldn't be so bad if anything happened that was interesting. At the theater I was at, I saw a lot of looking at watches. Half of the sizable crowd had left before the final curtain.
Robert Stack has never looked more gorgeous. He was prettier than the rather plain-looking Lombard, who, unfortunately, ended her career with this turkey. I will give two stars rather than one for Stack's masculine appeal.
The Office (2005)
Umwolvs99 WAS Right
The first season of the American version of "The Office" suffered in comparison to the British one because the scripts were practically identical and the original had hit the right note in a way that couldn't be bettered. It didn't help matters for me that I had just purchased the BBC version on DVD and had watched them all over the weekend immediately before the American version debuted. I don't care how well it had been done, it wouldn't have worked for me because I was essentially watching reruns of the original, the only difference being that the characters were now American. It was bad enough where I was indifferent to whether or not they cancelled the show after that first season.
In the second season they started airing episodes that were not based on episodes of the original. This made all the difference in the world. Almost immediately it became my favorite sitcom (sitcom almost seems like an insulting name for a show like this). The tone and sensibility remained the same but the new material-since it was new-allowed the show to come into its own. And I accepted it as its own creation and not just an Americanization of a British show. The characters were no longer tied to the British ones. They existed in their own right. And since the show didn't rely on the formulaic nature of most other comedy shows (setup-punch line) it was not only more funny (not always laugh-out-loud) but also more believable. It was the kind of comedy that exists in the real world-albeit with some extreme types of people-the kind of comedy that you seldom see on the typical sitcom. It's the kind of humor for people who appreciate the absurdity that is usually a part of life. Better to laugh than to cry at it. And, as far as TV shows are concerned, better to allow for some ambiguity in the humor than to always make it hit-you-over-the-head obvious, which, just in case anyone didn't get it, is punctuated by a laugh track.
I still think the British version is the better version (it is the closest thing to a perfect sitcom that there is) and David Brent is in a league of his own, but the American version is a classic in its own right.
À bout de souffle (1960)
Style Over Content (The style alone accounts for my high rating)
"Breathless", as the majority of my readers know, is considered the film that put the "New Wave" cinematic movement on the map. Its strength is the casual way in which it is presented. Whereas most movies give the viewer the impression of watching a movie, "Breathless" appears to be a direct glimpse at life itself. The continuously roving camera and the unusual camera angles create a sense of freedom seldom encountered in the movies.
"Breathless" demonstrates the auteur method of film-making, in which the director is really the star of the picture. The manner in which the film is shot is as noticeable and integral to the final product as the actors and the plot are.
Unconventionality is what makes "Breathless" distinctive and allows a movie with a sparse plot and a detached treatment of its characters to work as an unusual and ultimately satisfying viewing experience. Intellectual satisfaction.
I appreciated "Breathless"'s technical innovation and creativity but I didn't ever feel a connection with the two main characters so I would not call "Breathless" a complete success. It was long on style and short on substance. A movie that revolves around two characters who are not likable due to callousness and shallowness is courting disaster. The movie lacked FEELING.
History IQ (2000)
I Miss It
History IQ was far from a perfect game show, but I miss it, just the same. I used to play along interactively under the name, Thucydides, and I won more than my share of games. It was great! I'd almost always be nervous before the game started and as it continued, my armpits would be literally dripping with sweat, showing how important this game was to me. I managed to fill a large jar with my sweat during the run of this show. I would place the jar under my pits and just let the sweat, which smelled terrible, drip into the jar. I obviously cared a great deal about how I did and would often explode in anger when I missed a question (I still do that sometimes when I'm playing along with Jeopardy at home). I once took my blood pressure right after a game and it was so high that I briefly (very briefly) considered giving up the game. But the siren call of Mark Summers called me back the next day. Anyhoo, the questions weren't as good as they could have been, but the mere existence of a game show that asked questions about history was welcome to me. I know that this post has been more about my reaction to the show than the show itself. That's probably because I'm an egoist. I figure anyone who wound up here has already seen the show, anyway.
Added later: I think it's funny that two people gave my review an "Unhelpful" rating. At least I bothered to write something about the show. No one else has.
Barnaby Jones (1973)
I Loved the Feel of this Show
I remember watching this show as a kid and finding it immensely enjoyable. I watched it in reruns during summer afternoons (cue nostalgic music), though I can't recall the exact years that I caught it. Probably the early 80s. I was young enough where the formulaic nature of the show that has been mentioned in other reviews here didn't taint the show in any way for me. I didn't watch the show religiously and it has been a long time since I saw any episodes, but the thing that sticks with me about it is the casual, laid-back atmosphere, the cast's charm-particularly Buddy Ebsen's-and, yes, Barnaby regularly running down much younger men on foot. Of course, my memory could be playing tricks on me. I just watched a movie, "Coach", with Cathy Lee Crosby, that I had watched in the late 70s and found enormously erotic, and I couldn't believe how tame and unerotic (with the exception of one kiss) it was, proving that you can't go home again. If this series is ever released on DVD, I'll probably buy it, hoping that maybe this time I will be able to go home again. My fear is that, having seen so many TV shows and movies since then, the formulaic nature of the show will be more apparent to me, which could make the show get tiresome in a hurry.
Very Sexy Movie(my original title-now more like Very Silly Movie)
I watched this movie when I was a young lad full of raging hormones and it was about as sexy a movie as I had ever seen-or ever was to see. It may not have been a great movie. My guess is it wasn't. I don't really remember much about it, to tell you the truth. I only remember the sexual chemistry between Crosby and Biehn. No woman in ANY movie has ever done it for me as the unbelievably sexy Cathy did in this movie. I haven't seen it since that first time I caught it on TV in the 70s and I don't think I'd want to see it again since I'm sure it would be a disappointment-my hormones aren't as raging and I've become more jaded over the years. Still, when I think back on the shower scene I can still remember how great it felt way back when.
Added later: After watching the movie again, I discovered that it's dangerous to go home again. What was once erotic is now pretty tame. The older woman-younger man thing still works for me, just not as much as it once did, probably because I'm no longer eleven or twelve. That older woman is now younger than I am (although still quite sexy-Cathy was always the one doing the dangerous things on "That's Incredible"-beautiful, strong woman *sigh*). Also, the amateurishness of the whole thing wasn't perceived by my young mind.
Moral: Sometimes it's better not to revisit the past.