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not very good
The big problem I had with this film was that it was completely impossible to have any sympathy whatsoever with the lead character. He was a pilot who as well as being an alcoholic was a junkie as well.
I have dealt with 2 people in my life like this in the past. One was an ex-friend who I dropped like a hot brick after being continually let down and the other was somebody I employed in my warehouse who I ended up firing.
'I choose to drink !!!' Pathetic.
The Shillingbury Blowers (1980)
quite good fun
Story of a truly awful village band whose conductor played by Trevor Howard is removed because they are so awful. He is replaced by Robin Nedwell, a former pop star, who immediately manages to rub the band up the wrong way.
In defiance of Nedwell the band decide they are going to play staccato with the exception of the former conductor who plays a trumpet. The effect is magical as the trumpet sounds like a solo over the background.
Despite the efforts of the band they get to the regional finals. Then Nedwell helps one of the band members who is a farmer with one of his pregnant animals. Just before the final the excited band member tells the rest of the band that everything is OK, Robin Nedwell is one of them and to give it everything they have got in the final. Instead of the beautiful effect of earlier it goes back to the awfulness that it was and Nedwell, laughing, leaves the stage.
Pure Genius (2016)
not very good
Medical drama with a difference. A tech billionaire from SIlicon Valley has decided to open a hospital which he funds exclusively out of his own pocket. He has assembled a bunch of Doctors and other medical staff who he regards as the best in whatever their individual fields might be.
So where does it all go wrong ? The first big problem is that the lead character is a totally obnoxious and unlikable character who sits in on all these medical meetings despite having no medical qualifications whatsoever.
It is trying to follow the same formula as House but the big difference in that was that although House was thoroughly unlikable he was very practical rather than this rather idealistic trash.
I really can't see how this is going to improve and any series which needs a serious overhaul after episode one is probably not going to survive for long. I am writing this review after one episode so it may improve but at the moment .... NO.
Match Game (2016)
I honestly thought that they had stopped making these terrible shows for prime time television slots but how wrong I was. ABC subjected us to a game show which belonged in the 1970's and really should have stayed there. It started off with a dreadful signature tune and 6 Z list 'celebrities' all guessing the blanks along with the contestants and whoever matched the most went through to the final. The Uk did a version of this called Blankety Blank which mercifully got taken off the air in the eighties. Everything about this show was terrible, the production values, the excessive noise, the Z list celebs obviously delighted with some TV exposure all trying to steal the show. I doubt this will be on TV for very long and will shortly end up on the game show network. Absolutely awful - avoid at all costs.
J remember this being shown on the BBC in the mid 70's. It was a bout a boy's football team who are initially terrible until a new kid starts playing for them. The new kid's father does not want him to play although it is initially unclear why. We find out later on that the Father is a former professional player who won the European Cup but got badly injured playing and he is trying to protect son from a similar fate.
Despite losing their ground the team goes from strength to strength and starts winning and playing as a team. There is even a game where the sister of one of the boys plays. i would not mind seeing this again though I fear it is lost forever along with so many others in the BBC archives.
All in all a jolly good show for boys who enjoy football.
Secrets and Lies (2015)
not very good
A man out jogging discovers a neighbors small boy dead close by. After a failed attempt to resuscitate the boy (presumably leaving his DNA there) the police question him over the circumstances.
This is a remake of an Australian series of the same name except this one has been lengthened from six hours to ten hours.
This series is different to your standard whodunnits insofar as it concentrates on the stress levels of the suspect and his family as the police appear to have hung out to dry with the local news media. The local residents appear to suspect the jogger as well. One can feel a certain sympathy for the suspect as he is tried by the media. Whether or not he did it remains to be seen.
My big problem with this is that it could be done in 4 hours. I have no doubt I will be thoroughly bored by the end and only be watching to see who it was.
Be prepared for plenty of 'filler' episodes.
Escaping Alaska (2014)
not very good
Yet another series where a group of people from one environment are thrust into another environment. This one focuses on a group of Alaskans who relocate down to San Diego. They all supposedly 'lied' to their parents about where they were all going although quite how the parents didn't suspect something with all the camera crews around is quite beyond me. Is this going to be a fake like Breaking Amish ? Probably. It will last one series as it is on TLC and they do not have the money to axe series they have invested in. However, I feel most interest in this show will probably revolve around the pretty girls and what becomes of them. One of them is supposedly loved up in Alaska though I have grave doubts over whether that will last.
Old Scores (1991)
Lots of fun
I watched this when it first came out and managed to find a copy earlier this year. It tells the story of a rugby match between Wales and New Zealand played in 1966 which the Welsh won with a last minute try which New Zealand disputed. Years later, in a deathbed confession, the touch judge says the welsh winger put his foot into touch. It is decided to replay the game with the same players. Things have changed now. One of the All Blacks, known on the rugby pitch as the enforcer, is now in the salvation army, another is a homeless drunk another is an aspiring politician. As for the Welsh, one of them emigrated and there was a messy love triangle which had festered for 20 years which needed to be sorted out. Great game at the end full of ex-players, slightly silly ending, but we can forgive that.
Chicago P.D. (2014)
not very good
Yet another cop series set in Chicago this time which takes a dirty cop who first appeared in the excellent Chicago fire. Everything that is bad and over the top in cop shows is in this one. The lead actor overacts and you can see his face contorting as he tries to keep up his gravelly accent.
When you watch a show which has such a false unlikable lead it is really quite difficult to get into. I also have to say when the lead actor is a dirty cop it is difficult to know who to cheer for. This is certainly not Dick Wolf's best work and I would be surprised if it makes it into a second series unless it considerably improves.
The Waltons (1971)
not very good
Set during the Great Depression this series follows the life and times of the Waltons. It is made up of four generations who all live on Walton Mountain. Despite displaying sound family values there was always a rather sickly gooiness which seemed to permeate in every single episode. The most annoying part for me was everyone saying goodnight to each other at the end of each episode.
Despite it being the depression nobody ever seemed to go short of anything and there was always a huge amount of food o the table. This is really not the way things were and it tries to give out a message that the Lord will provide. This rather vomit inducing moral warmth ruined what potentially could have been a good show.
Screenplay: The Mozart Inquest (1986)
The Mozart Inquest
I remember watching this some years ago. The question being posed was how did Mozart die ? The actors and actresses had no set lines. They had been given material to research on their characters. The people asking the questions were real life barristers and it tried to unravel the questions and conspiracy theories of what actually happened. It helped if the viewer knew some background to it.
Several theories were put forward to an audience who had to vote on who they thought was the guilty party. I cannot remember what the result was but I think it was either rheumatic fever or his wife did it. Overall it was very good and one barrister in particular I would have liked defending me should I ever need it.
The Naked Civil Servant (1975)
Disgusting and tasteless
This is not me gaybashing. This film is pure filth. It tells the story of Quentin Crisp, one of the most outrageous homosexuals that has ever lived. He wore make up, nail polish, dyed his hair and was totally effeminate in every way. At a time when gays are trying to gain acceptance a character like this did no service back then and certainly does no service now to gays wanting to be seen as normal. The nauseating accent which John Huer put on for this film really set the tone for what followed. It was a portrayal of a real social misfit who made no attempt whatsoever to live properly in decent society. He may be a hero to some people in the gay community but to me he was little more than a show off extrovert who dressed and acted the way he did purely to try and make a statement. Tasteless.
The Brady Bunch (1969)
This is on my list of worst 5 programs to have ever been made in the US. The list in no particular order are this, The little house on the prairie, The Waltons, champion the wonder horse and perhaps the worst of the lot Joanie loves Chachi.
The idea for this was quite good. 3 girls 3 boys and 2 parents growing up together so where did it all go wrong ? The scripts were terrible, the acting equally bad and everything was completely unbelievable and far removed from American life.
Added to this was one of the most annoying them tunes ever written for the small screen and we have the complete disaster. Awful, really really bad and a blessing to the current generation that they have not been subjected to this,
North America (2013)
I am a fan of wildlife documentaries and take in as many as I can. I live in Washington State where we do have our share of wildlife. First of all the plus points: It has been beautifully photographed with great attention to detail and the sequences under water have been quite breathtaking. On the ground the one eyed bobcat hunting gulls and the intelligent hunting by the wolves has also been beautifully photographed.
Tom Selleck does a great job narrating in subdued though expressive tones and this is a good accompaniment to the already mentioned superb photography.
Now the BIG negative. The music choice. Playing 'wild thing' when the snakes are mating and California dreamin (that hippie drug anthem) whilst showing the west coast is completely unnecessary and in a way displays a lack of respect to the dignity of what we are watching.
Anglia TV's jewel which showed the world's wildlife to the viewing public of the UK. This was ITV's first foray into this after the BBC had made zooquest. A string of well known actors were brought in to read the scripts and this was one of the first shows that centred on the animals rather than the people. You rarely if ever saw a presenter and this was the forerunner to the may shows that the BBC have now put together.
My favourite ones include Tiger, tiger narrated by Kenneth More, the one with the gorillas and the two with Bill Arjan Singh about Tara and Harriet, a tiger and leopard.
I'd love a DVD collection to come out. The best ones were made by Joan and Alan Root.
Endurance UK (1998)
Absolutely awful. This was a take on the popular Japanese game show endurance where the contestants go through various forms of torture until by elimination there is a winner.
This British version was awful. Paul Ross presided over this with the incredibly annoying Mr Ochi and Mr Kochi putting contestants in unpleasant as opposed to dangerous situations.
I suppose we can reflect on the fact that Challenge TV made this which probably meant no reputable network would go near it. Just when you thought this rubbish was over the two 'Japanese' gentleman then did some awful singing to finish it.
Thankfully this was off the air very quickly. View the original Japanese one if you can, that was good in parts though sometimes a little sadistic.
This would have got 1/10 but gets a bonus point for a very pretty girl hitting the gong between rounds.
The Loneliest Runner (1976)
Not very good
I saw this many years ago and really thought Michael Landon was on a bit of an ego trip here. Interestingly I was watching it with a kid from school (I went to a boarding school) and this kid always was wetting the bed and then rather stupidly said he always wanted to be a fireman which inevitably let to much laughter and cruel jokes.
Back to the film, it charts a 14 year old who runs home each day to retrieve his soiled sheet which his Mother hangs out of the window as a punishment. This running ability eventually lands him a gold medal at the Olympics. All totally unbelievable. Why didn't the boy just remove the sheet himself in the morning when he got up ? Michael Landon described the film as semi autobiographical. I'd have loved to have seen him running on his 4 packs of smokes per day.
Not very good and certainly not a true story.
Blue Bloods (2010)
Can get a bit gooey
From the top I think Tom Selleck is excellent in this and plays the part of a calm Police Commissioner who has to deal with the day to day crises in New York as well as playing Politics with the Mayor.
I also think his Father is very well cast as the retired police commissioner who has all those years of experience of the Police and life in general and comes across as a favourite 'uncle'.
Where I start to have a problem with this is the incredibly annoying Danny. Any police officer who conducted his business on the streets the way he does would have either been kicked out by now for misconduct or be permanently suspended. The people arrested by him would, in real life, have sued the butts of the NYPD for maltreatment. None of this is ever touched on which rather negates the realism put in by Tom Selleck.
The other part I do not especially care for is the 'Waltons' style family meal held each episode. This happens each episode and I do not believe that extended families who do not live under the same roof meet each other on a weekly basis to discuss the day the episode is set in. There is a holier than thou gooeyness with this and the self righteousness which comes out is one of the shows major weak points.
Overall not bad but seriously flawed.
brilliant though biased
The documentary was about Senna, made with the obvious cooperation of his family, who I am sure were able to view it before it got released. It did concentrate on Prost's bad points and Senna'a good points. To put it all into context the big incident at the chicane where Prost left the track and went to the Stewards, the rules, rightly of wrongly were in Prost's favour and he exploited them in the stewards room. How many of us given the chance of winning the F1 title would not do that. Secondly as Jackie Stewart brought up, Senna did have a reputation for pushing past people and if you did not get out the way he would shove you off the track. I also have to say if Senna had any doubts about the safety of the car at Imola he would not have driven it. It was probably clear even by then that the Williams was not going to be the winning car that year.
What we really need is someone to make a documentary entitled 'Prost' so we can compare the two. I don't suppose that will happen though.
Judge Judy (1996)
Anyone who has a serious legal case really needs their head tested if they are going to try and settle it on this show. This is an 'entertainment' show not a legal show. Heavy editing is also used to make Judy look good. The main problem in this is she will make an uninformed opinion without hearing all the facts and then nothing else she hears will matter, she's made her mind up and even if proved to be wrong she will not change her mind. Apart from being grossly unfair this makes a mockery of the legal system. I did hear of one case where the defendant had a perfect answer for each question and totally outmanoevered her. Filming stopped, and the producer appeared to remind them this was a TV show not a 'real' courtroom. If you have a legal case to settle, do it in court, not here, you have been warned.
Mystery Diners (2011)
Entertaining though OTT
I have watched the first few episodes of this as my wife and I do a lot of mystery shops in restaurants and other establishments. A company is hired to spy on the employees in a restaurant or bar to see what the employees are up to. This series so far has shown laziness, petty pilfering until episode 3.
Episode 3 showed a waitress having an after hours party, stealing money, and vanishing with her boyfriend into the ladies toilets all (except the inside of the toilets) being covered by cctv which the owner was watching from down the street. Eventually the owner had enough and moved in and closed the bar and put an end to the party as it was getting out of hand.
Although perhaps this show is a warning to employees it is made as a reality entertainment program and really the audience has a good laugh at the expense of the owner who must feel like a complete jackass for being taken for such a ride. I'm still not convinced that what we are seeing is real rather than a reenactment but this should not detract from laughing at the sheer audacity of some of the individuals.
Really quite a good show but for the wrong reasons.
Really really awful
I should point out that I am a fan of poor sci fi films and have seen many made from the 50's onwards but nothing quite prepared me for this. To ensure absolute fairness I recently viewed the film again on youtube and I am afraid to say my memory had not been distorted.
In what has to be one of the worst films ever made every left over costume from Star Wars got reused to make an abomination which gives cheap sci films a bad name.
The only reason this gets 2/10 is that Richard Kiel did his best in it. Everything about it was bad, the storyline, the ripped off costumes and that unbelievably irritating noise made by the 'Robodog.' Awful, awful, awful - avoid unless you are having a bad film night. Then you will laugh at how bad it is.
Steptoe and Son (1962)
This was one of the great sitcoms of the 1960's and 1970's and was aired and often repeated on the BBC. Around 50 audio episodes were made as well and although not on the radio any longer are available on the web and cd. This was a story of a father and son team who ran an old fashioned junk business. The father refused to move with the times and the son was forever looking for a way out of the hell that had been created. The 2 characters were very well acted (disliked each other off screen) and the main set was well put together. Albert, the father, would defeat Harold at anything he tried and spent most episodes trying to keep him in his place. Harold, although trying to better himself, was fiercely loyal to his Father and Albert used that to his advantage. Albert was incredibly selfish over this and saw Harold purely as a ticket to comfortable old age. Any time Harold met a girl or had a chance to better himself Albert would purposely mess it up for him as he saw everything like that as a potential threat to the status quo which he enjoyed. This left the viewer quite often with a big feeling of frustration. Harold had chance after chance to leave but did not take them because of the aforementioned loyalty. It had got stale by the end as the conclusions to each episode became very predictable. Good viewing though ultimately flawed. The series never developed, it just stayed the same for far too long.
The Games (1970)
very good for Olympic Fans
This is a film firmly aimed at Fans of the Olympic games. It is about 4 different marathon runners from 4 different countries who all face up against each other in an Olympics held in Rome.
The man from GB is Harry Hayes, wonderfully played by Michael Crawford. The second is Scott Reynolds of the US, the third is an Australian aborigine called Sonny and the last is the veteran runner Pavel Vendek from Czechoslavakia.
The race was run at the height of the Rome sun as the TV companies insisted on it and this takes its toll on the runners. Hayes goes out far too quickly at the insistence of his coach, Reynolds is a bit of a playboy and resorts to pills, Sonny runs in bare feet and Vendek is probably too old.
All in all, a great film and a lot of events which have actually happened in the Olympics were recreated in this film.
Auction Kings (2010)
This show is on Discovery (currently on Tuesdays) and follows the life of an auction house called Gallery 63 which is based in Atlanta.
The four people we see who work there are the owner Paul Brown, the manager Cindy, the picker Jon and Mr Fixit Delfino. Obviously far more people work there but these are the 4 we see as well as the auctioneer on sale day.
Though similar to Pawn Stars in many ways this show concentrates on gearing up to the monthly sale which is the climax of the show each week. As I have only recently relocated to the US I enjoy shows like this as they give me a chance to learn more about American icons and history that I do not know about. (I grew up in the UK) The characters interact well with each other and Delfino is outstanding as being able to fix anything. Cindy just comes across as a nice person. Jon is new and still learning the ropes and Paul runs the whole show.
Though educational there are some good comic moments and a good banter. Where this is different to Pawn Stars is that it focuses more on the items coming in and less on the people working there.
Overall, a great show.