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Bad Georgia Road (1977)
Too slow for a movie about moonshine
The '70s was the decade for action films about moonshining, but this obscure entry is too slow and uninteresting for fans of the genre. Carol Lynley is Molly Golden, a snobbish New York socialite who learns she has inherited, unbeknownst to her, her deceased uncle's moonshine business in the deep south. His employees: oil-stained slob Leroy (Gary Lockwood) and flaky Arthur (Royal Dano) are not too happy about Molly's arrival. After failing to relinquish the property, she decides to take over the moonshine business and butt heads with Leroy on a regular basis.
Sadly, the film is very light on action, including a few car chases that are not exciting at the very least, and instead relies too much on the spitfire relationship between Molly and Leroy. Supporting cast also includes Cliff Emmich and Mary Woronov (in a bit role).
Not as good as the first two
The third film in the trilogy does not feature neither John Ritter or Michael Oliver, but William Katt and Justin Chapman are decent enough in the roles. Gilbert Gottfried, Jack Warden, and Eric Edwards (in a dual role), at least, give the film some hope, even though their roles are extended cameos, than anything. For continuity, the writer dropped the ball by abandoning the storyline involving Annie Young and her daughter Trixie.
The movie was intended to be released theatrically for Christmas 1994, but was dumped onto the NBC network in the following spring as a movie of the week and subsequently got occasional air play on the USA Network with the other two films.
Disorder in the Court (1936)
The funniest of all the Curly shorts
The Stooges are witnesses in a court case involving their lady friend Gail Tempest (Suzanne Kaaren), a nightclub dancer who is accused of killing a local gangster. Of course, as per the Stooges, they manage to agitate court officials and make spectacles of themselves. However, a pet parrot, with a secret clue, may be their only hope to win the case.
Though this is an all-time Stooges classic, there is only one flaw with how the judge character is written, who is just too lenient and patient with all the chaos surrounding the proceedings, still his character clearly begins to lose patience near the end of the short.
M&M's: The Lost Formulas (2000)
A blatant Crash Bandicoot rip-off, but fun
Though this game does have some originality with its story, this is essentially a Crash Bandicoot rip-off with similar camera angles, smashing/jumping on M&M-labeled crates, and receiving M&M Minis instead of apples. I played this game on the computer throughout 7th grade and it was non-stop fun. It was also released on PS1 under the name M&M's: Shell Shocked. The only difference is that the resolution was less sharper and removed the math levels (why they needed to be on there is beyond me). The voice talents of Billy West and Cree Summer add to the nostalgia factor.
Wonderful take on the car chase genre
From the studio responsible for the Destruction Derby series come a homage to the car chase genre of the '70s. John Tanner is an undercover NYC detective and former stock car driver who infiltrates a nationwide crime ring. Tanner's journey takes him from Miami to San Francisco to Los Angeles and back to New York. He must dodge bad guys as well as hard-nosed cops out to get him. I can't say all the missions are easy to complete, as it requires time limits, as well as managing the damage meter on your car. There are some cool mini games, as well as an option to cruise all four cities. The storyline is a bit weak and the cliched dialogue is pretty cheesy, as well, but this is a classic game of the Playstation era.
Family: Point of Departure (1976)
Gary Frank gets a chance to shine
Many episodes of this series never always revolved around the character of Willie, but Gary Frank gives it his best in this episode that marks the close of the show's first season. Doug is resentful towards Willie's attitude towards getting a real job, as he wants to pursue a writing career and cannot get any space while trying to write a film script, but that's the least of the family's problems, as a string of burglaries in the neighborhood is putting everyone on edge. When Willie makes a fatal mistake related to the situation, he begins to cause consternation within the family, as well as fracturing his relationship with Buddy.
This is a relatable episode as Willie still hasn't gotten over the death of his grandmother and plans to go to her farm in Oregon to work on the script. It's also interesting to see Vic Tayback as a condescending cop assigned to track down the family's stolen goods and an exterior sequence of a McDonald's restaurant circa 1976.
Zero to Sixty (1978)
Wacky and Zany
Perhaps best known as Carl Kolchak and the Old Man character from A Christmas Story, Darren McGavin, who also wrote the screenplay, (under his real name, W. Lyle Richardson) stars as Michael Nolan, a middle-aged loser, whose wife divorces him and leaves him for broke, and screwed over by his slimy attorney (Dick Martin). He eventually befriends Larry (Denice Nickerson), a street-smart teenager, who has a job repossessing cars. Larry is determined to take back a silver Pontiac Trans Am belonging to sexpot socialite Gloria Martine (Joan Collins), who Michael is immediately turned on by. Of course, there's plenty of car chases and crashes and supporting parts from Sylvia Miles as the wacky agency owner, Dick Martin as a slimy divorce attorney and The Hudson Brothers as a trio of morons, who also work at the agency as repo men.
A unique mix of drag racing and crime melodrama
Writer-director Greydon Clark mixes drag racing and crime melodrama in this b-movie about two Van Nuys drag racers (a boy and a girl) who want to get even with a rival, who gypped them out of a bet and they chase him into a rural community where the boy and girl develop friends with a more complex group of racers. However, trouble brews when the rival is killed in a fiery crash during a grudge race and his wealthy father (Stephen McNally) exacts revenge against the group, with reluctant help from the local sheriff and his drunken deputy. The character development is pretty minimal and the film's shock ending is rather surprising, but not bad for fans of '70s car films.
CBS Schoolbreak Special: The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations (1984)
A lighthearted look at the trials of starting a new school year
This CBS Schoolbreak Special centers around a group of teenagers, led by shy Julie Ross, starting at a new school and struggling to pass all their classes. Though it has a low-budget feel to it, it does succeed with comedy and some low-key touches.
Roggin's Heroes (1991)
A classic comedy show that needs to be rediscovered
In the early '90s, popular Los Angeles sports anchorman Fred Roggin helmed this weekly comedy show (ususally airing Saturday or Sunday evenings on local stations) showcasing a potpourri of funny home videos, sports bloopers, news gaffes, etc. In a quirky, but hilarious way. The best character of the lot would have to be Officer Feldman, the shaven-head, stone-faced guard of the main gallery set.
Sadly, not many episodes have been resurfaced (unless you know someone who has older VHS recordings)
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
This sequel to the 1977 film fails to deliver on certain levels, Burt Reynold's Bandit character is reduced to an embittered, drunken, has-been whose relationship with Carrie (Sally Field) failed miserably. Cletus (Jerry Reed) is pressured by the Enos' (Pat McCormick and Paul Williams) to get Bandit to take a crate from Florida to Texas in 72 hours. Of course, as usual Sheriff Buford T. Justice and his dim-bulb of a son, Junior, are again in hot pursuit.
The film DOES have its moments, but it's painful to see Reynolds just miserable with himself. Dom DeLuise does add comedy to the strained material, but it's still not enough to save the movie, but there is a thrilling, climatic car chase in the open desert between semi-trucks and a couple hundred police cars.
The Georgia Peaches (1980)
Not Bad For What It Is
This unsold pilot for a possible TV series isn't exactly that bad, even if it's in the same vein of The Dukes of Hazzard and Smokey and the Bandit, but the three main leads are likable. Tanya Tucker and Terri Nunn are sisters who operate a auto garage in the rural south. Their best friend is Dusty Tyree (Dirk Benedict), a local moonshiner always making fools out of the local cops. However, they find themselves in hot water with local crime boss Vivian Stark (Sally Kirkland), who plants hot merchandise in their garage and take the fall for it. To avoid having their garage condemned and a lengthy prison sentence, the three go undercover with bumbling treasury agent Randolph Dukane (Lane Smith) to bust Stark's operation. The supporting cast is pretty solid for a TV movie: Noble Willingham as a wealthy playboy smitten with Nunn and Burton Gilliam and David Hayward as Stark's flunkies. There's enough car chase action to keep the viewer tuned in and Tucker performs a few songs, as well.
Black Oak Conspiracy (1977)
An Action-Packed Revenge Story
Jesse Vint (who co-wrote and produced the film) stars as Hollywood stuntman Jingo Johnson, who is summoned back home to the small town of Black Oak, where his mother is deathly-ill in a nursing facility. He also gets caught up in corruption and uncovers a land-developing scheme involving shady locals. There are also some good action set pieces, such as a wild, but lively car chase on mountain roads and plenty of fight scenes, despite the plot being routine to other '70s redneck crime outings, such as Billy Jack and White Lightning. It's also nice to see an El Camino go through all sorts of obstacles, whether being chased or showing off.
A Force of One (1979)
A Different Kind of Chuck Norris Movie
Though not quite as action-driven as other Norris films of the era, this does pack quite a punch. Essentially, it's more of a starring vehicle for Jennifer O'Neill, who plays a rigid female detective uncovering a drug smuggling ring that may have connections to the police department, itself, with several of the undercover cops being killed mysteriously during the investigation. Though more of a cop thriller, hired hand Norris does take part in a few fights and with a nice supporting cast, it does pay off.
Dixie Dynamite (1976)
Standard Revenge Film
Another typical southern-fried revenge film starring a tired-looking, overacting Warren Oates, who helps two sisters get revenge on the people responsible for their father's murder. The local police are of little to no help, since they are on the payroll roster for a local crime boss. There is a decent opening car chase (with some footage lifted from Policewomen, an earlier Frost-Bishop collaboration) and plenty of explosions (including a memorable toilet scene). In fact, an uncredited Steve McQueen did some stunt motorcycle riding in the movie for a meager paycheck.
Vigilante Force (1976)
Noisy, Frenetic, But Enjoyable All the Way
This B-movie classic features Kris Kristofferson as Aaron, a disillusioned Vietnam veteran who is called in by his younger brother, Ben (Jan-Michael Vincent), to the small California town of Elk Hills where the rowdy workers of a oil refinery are wrecking havoc. The on-the take mayor enlists Aaron as sheriff and his former war buddies as his deputies to help clean up the streets. Unfortunately, it isn't long before they are abusing their power and Vincent is forced to bring Aaron and his cronies down through the use of shootouts, explosions and bone-crunching fights.
That's Funny (2004)
Just a Modified Syndication Repackage of America's Funniest People
I remember one of my local stations airing this every weekday afternoons and I'm not entirely sure what the point was. Every broadcast was just a re-edited episode of America's Funniest People (with Rondell Sheridan's hosting segments inserted in the originals' places) with newly shot comedy segments mixed in with the old ones. I know it wasn't easy trying to find reruns of AFV/AFP on cable or syndication at that time (except on TBS scheduled at irregular time periods), but I guess cash cow and series creator Vin Di Bona did lend a helping hand somewhat.
Ohh, Nooo! Mr. Bill Presents (1998)
Odd and Rather Pointless Series
Mr. Bill, a famous character from the early years of Saturday Night Live, is revived in this rather mindless excuse of a TV series that aired briefly on Fox Family Channel. Essentially, it's just an umbrella title for a collection of comedy sketches from British programs. Each episode is bookended with segments featuring Mr. Bill always getting mangled, squashed, flattened, etc. By his arch-nemesis Sluggo. Do yourself a favor and just stick to his older SNL appearances.
Show Me the Funny (1998)
More of the Same
Vin Di Bona, famous for producing the long-running America's Funniest Home Videos for ABC, decided to bring the concept back into this series that aired on Fox Family Channel. Essentially, it's the same format, but with added variety, including the classic This Old Shack sketches from America's Funniest People and clips from Beadle's About, a very popular Candid Camera-type series that was a staple on UK television in the '80s and '90s. Stephanie Miller was the original host, but was replaced the following year by Rondell Sheridan, who was actually a better choice. Nothing really special.
Moving Violations (1985)
From the creators of Police Academy and Bachelor Party comes this hilarious and fun romp about a group of delinquent drivers who are sentenced to traffic school run by Hitler-esque police officer Halik (James Keach) and his equally unplesant partner Virginia Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll). The leader of the pack is wise-ass tree nursery owner Dana Cannon (John Murray, yep Bill Murray's younger brother). The group discover that the "school" is actually a car-scrapping front devised by Halik and corrupt judge Nedra Henderson (Sally Kellerman). Because Halik dislikes Cannon in the first place for getting him demoted (he was in line for a promotion), Halik is determined to fail everyone one of them and their cars impounded for good.
Neal Israel (who co-scripted along with Pat Proft) keeps the pace going with plenty of visual gags (one set piece involves a series of falling bowling balls from a car trunk going every which way) and a wacky, climatic car chase through a downtown parade. Ralph Burns supplies a wonderful comedic score and nice cinematography by Robert Elswit. Worth a look.
Heather and Yon (1944)
A fast-paced remake of the 1937 Buster Keaton two-reeler Jail Bait that he made for Educational Pictures. Andy Clyde fits well with the material, as he plays a simpleton who goes undercover in a jailhouse to track down a killer. A few gags seemed to be borrowed from Laurel & Hardy's Pardon Us, but it flows along nicely with supporting roles from Jack Norton as Clyde's nutty reporter friend and Vernon Dent as an uptight judge.
However, this short does have a sad backstory: Clyde's 8-year old son passed away earlier in 1944 from a rare internal disease and Clyde was allowed a long hiatus from work, but fortunately he was surrounded by old friends at the funeral, as well as during filming, but he visibly looks despondent in certain scenes.
The Final Comedown (1972)
Kind of a Let-Down If You're Expecting Hard-Hitting Action
Though labeled as a blaxploitation film, this is essentially a preachy character study about a young man from the slums, who is pressured into becoming a militant gang member, but is fatally wounded during a police shootout. The rest of the movie is mostly told in flashbacks, leading up to the showdown between the cops and the gang members. The movie is just sluggish with its pace. Because New World Pictures lost money when they picked it up for distribution, the movie was re-shot in 1976 with new footage and released under its new title Blast!, with new footage directed by Allan Arkush.
The Even Stevens Movie (2003)
Not Bad, But I Was Expecting More
I had high hopes for this Even Stevens TV movie, which would officially serve as the series finale. The Stevens Family are selected as winners of a paradise vacation on an enchanted isle (Gilligan's Island-style), unaware that they're actually duped into starring on a reality TV show called Family Fake-Out. Of course, things go bad to worse when the family starts to turn against one another. Not too bad, but I think it could have been executed more, but we do have supporting roles by comedy greats Tim Meadows, the sneaky host and Dave Coulier as the rival host of a similar show.
T.J. Hooker: Murder by Law (1986)
A Chilling Episode
Hooker and his fellow team of officers investigate a series the brutal murders of several female attorneys, but are immediately stumped as they have no suspect, but Hooker suspects that Martin Novak (Mark Keyloun), a young man seems to be the one responsible as one of the victims actually had Martin's girlfriend Rosemary (Elayne Heilveil), a promising law student, wrongly institutionalized and her stay made her increasingly out of touch with reality. Hooker must stop Novak before it's too late. Solid episode.
Halfway to Hollywood (1938)
A Breezy Two-Reel Comedy
Tom Kennedy and Johnny Arthur (best known as Darla's long-suffering father in the 1930s Our Gang shorts) make a great team in this one-shot comedy where the two are employees of an insurance agency who are constantly berated by their skinflint boss (Harry Holman, the frazzled professor from Hoi Polloi with The Three Stooges). Johnny is an aspiring writer who wants to go to California to pen screenplays, but he comes up with an idea to make a low-budget movie based on their boss, claiming that nobody else will see it or know about it. Of course, things don't go as planned.
Directed by Charley Chase, which is a partial remake of the 1929 Hal Roach short Off to Buffalo, which featured Chase in a starring role, this comedy is nicely-paced thanks to a good script and wonderful performances.