danindenver

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Reviews

Lopez Tonight
(2009)

Rude, insulting, garbage.
I never thought that I would be able to make such a quick assessment of a new talent. I saw only about 10 seconds of this show, tonight, and I was able to determine for all time that this individual does not deserve my time.

Too many modern comedians feel that vulgar, abusive language is the only way to be successful. Actually, it is simply a substitute for having something intelligent or witty to say. Well, I don't need this and I know many others who don't want to be subjected to such abuse.

George Lopez used 4-letter words to attack and demean an innocent woman. So much for civil discourse in the free market of ideas.

Star Runners
(2009)

Speaking of ripoffs
Along with all the other ripoffs mentioned, I'd like to add Red October and Firefly to the list.

I know that there are valid reasons to copy a working formula, but to simply rip off random elements of several different creative works and blend them together into a single composite work, and do it successfully, requires true genius. Here, in a single movie, a new generation of TV viewers can be brought up to speed on all that Sci-Fi-dom has to offer! Of course, there is a fine line between genius and insanity....

Honestly, the movie is not the worst I've ever seen. It's just so sad that no one, today can come up with original material.

Battlefield Earth
(2000)

That user does not exist
That is what you'll see when you attempt to view the message board profile of people who really, really, really liked this movie.

Just goes to show what happens when mindless "kool-aid drinkers" decide to go public. Just look at Tom Cruise's recent antics. I don't disagree with him, I just think that he could be more circumspect in his actions.

Just looking at the ratings of this movie, I was interested to see if anyone really liked it. Most movie fans who like it think it is a comedy, while several dedicated S.........s were, apparently, assigned to try and pump up the numbers. Then they vanished like the "secret agents" that they think they are.

Celebrity Poker Showdown
(2003)

Friendly game, great fun and a close-up look at some of your favorite celebrities.
For all the poker purists, I would say "get over it!" The average person doesn't want to watch Stoneface, the Unabomber and Robot-Man play poker. It may be realistic, but it just isn't all that exciting. The purpose of this show is entertainment! More important - I like it. I am fond of watching the various celebrities behaving in a more natural, less-scripted venue. It's sort of like a sitcom reality show. And I think I've even learned a little about poker - though I don't play.

I started watching this for Dave Foley and stayed for the poker fun. I've recently seen reruns of Season 1 with Kevin Pollak (who is he?) and I can see that the later seasons are clearly more polished and more fun. Kevin didn't seem like a bad guy, just rather dull. His interaction with Phil Gordon was not very dynamic. And Phil, himself, seemed VERY wooden. With the new episodes, we get better commentary as the bidding happens on-screen, rather than simply pointing out what a given player did wrong after the fact. This improved continuity shows good editing skills. (You didn't really think this is played in real-time, did you?)

The only thing I might like to see different is, perhaps once during a tournament, they could give some brief recognition to Robert Thompson and the dealers. I was surprised to learn that some of the dealers are well-accomplished players and professionals in their own right, yet they are generally treated as robots.

Catch Me If You Can
(2002)

Some very classy bits to watch out for. Well worth waiting for the video.
Typical problems of making a good flick on the basis of a true story. Truth seems to sort of stifle the creative juices. Having read the actual story, I'm afraid I had trouble following the movie, at times. It starts out in a French prison, but I don't recall anyone saying why he was actually in prison in France. I thought the movie version of his becoming a doctor was a bit raw and quite abrupt. The true story involved a much more natural flow of events and would have made a neat segment. I guess they needed a certain treatment in order to make transitions from one part of the story to the next. And they did a pretty good job of stitching the whole thing together, even providing (creating?) a background of family issues to explain, in a way, how he happened to get into his chosen lifestyle. Some very classy bits to watch out for. Well worth waiting for on video.

BTW, lest anyone think that Frank's lifestyle would be fun to emulate, you should know that he spent a lot more time in prison than what appears in the movie. In real life, he nearly died in the French prison. And he has been working hard since then to prevent others from doing what he did.

Monarch of the Glen
(2000)

A synopsis
A descendant of the Third Roman Emperor shows up to exercise his claim as emperor over the whole of Glenbogle, his only claim being a 3,000-year-old fragment of parchment. Archie researches his claim in an old Roman law book at the local library and, sure enough, it's legitimate! Archie realizes that the man is not as delusional as he seems, but is only looking for funds to pay an old gambling debt. Archie decides that the only way to pay off the interloper and keep Glenbogle is to economize in the worst way. Having already fired all of his staff, including his wife, multiple times - and it's always turned out badly - he decides to focus in a new direction. He can no longer afford to let his mother live, rent-free, on the estate. In addition, he has a new vision for the future of his home. He'll turn Glenbogle castle into a classic, Old World bordello. The only hitch will be the small matter of changing the local ordinance against the world's oldest profession. Molly (his mother), in a reluctant effort to help out and keep her home, decides that she should hire on as a high-priced call girl, hoping, in fact, to be the madam, despite her inexperience in the business aspects of the game.

This pretty much sums up the pattern of nearly every episode.

I wrote this, originally, as a joke to illustrate the absurdity of the series. And then I saw the episode where Lexie turns the place into an amusement park, complete with Dodgem cars, in order to observe some obligatory celebration. I, then, realized that this synopsis could be used as a model for a new episode and no one would bat an eye!

Perhaps this series was conceived in the style of the original Python, ie: take the writing to the furthest possible extremes and let's see how much we can get away with. And, there must be a bit of social commentary in there, considering that the "laird" of the estate is a seemingly normal, good-looking, young stud who behaves as a complete moron, never, ever learning from his mistakes. And then there is the mother, who usually works diligently in the background and then bursts onto the scene at the end to save the day.

While I like this show for its exotic nature, I'm afraid that it gets a bit tiring, after a while.

Cybill
(1995)

Lovely cast in an All-American version of AbFab.
It didn't take long for me to recognize this as an Americanized version of Absolutely Fabulous. And I was pleasantly surprised to note that this was a well-done version of a popular Britcom. Many attempts to clone British comedy fail because the producers want to copy everything about the original except the harshness and cruelty that run to the very soul of the piece.

This production worked pretty well because they created a good show from scratch. The producers of Cybill copied only a few general elements of AbFab, leaving out the harshness, but keeping a bit of the cruelty for fun. The diabolical antics of Maryann, along with her stage presence, were the spice that kept each episode alive. Then there is the ominous daughter who rebels by going out and getting adult jobs. Cybill, herself, is a somewhat stable, single-mother type who repeatedly finds herself in Lucy-style comic situations.

Of course, like most American comedies, they must end every episode by resolving all of the conflicts. You wouldn't want to leave the viewer feeling uncomfortable, would you? Perhaps they should just tuck us in and bring us milk and cookies in the morning. And that is why this good sitcom could not become a great sitcom. I'll grant you, it is difficult to imagine this wholesome all-American girl being anything other than such. Can you imagine a comedy where the beloved matronly star behaves like, say, Martha Something on a bad day...? So, by trying to quell the emotional storm in the viewer, they take away the strong feelings that would make everyone talk about this show around the water cooler the next day.

Finally, there is the hook - the look - the guilty pleasure of watching a beautiful cast perform. I don't think it was an accident that all of the other female cast members were even more attractive than the former supermodel.

Absolutely Fabulous
(1992)

Either you get it or you don't...
Brilliant commentary on the evils of materialism and excess and the children of my parents' generation who grew up being taught by the mass marketing empires to embrace materialism and excess.

This show was very annoying and offensive to me when I first saw it, several years ago. It took a few episodes to convince me that this was another gem of British comedy to be saved and savored. It also helped to know that Jennifer Saunders doesn't go around with her head always bobbing up and down in real life. (It's just a bit for the show, sweetie-dahling.)

As with every good comedy, you need a "straight man" and that comes in the form of the straight-laced, anti-materialistic daughter. This is perfectly logical as the archetypical child rebelling against the values of the dominant parent. You really have to feel sorry for the way that Saffron is abused by the two wastoids. Eddy and Patsy get their due in every episode by reaping the fruits of their lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, they never learn from their failures and are, therefore, doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over. Quite sad, but amusing - and possibly therapeutic - because you probably know someone like this in your own life.

Many of us have commented on how much better are British comedies than most American sitcoms. I believe the answer lies in the fact that Britcoms are born out of a different cultural womb. The UK is a former feudal society struggling to survive in a modern world where the opportunities that should exist are subtly stifled by vestiges of feudalism. Struggling artists of that culture cry out against the unfairness of a society that tells them to get a job that doesn't exist. America was born out of rebellion against oppression and created a free system in which opportunity abounded. But! - with opportunity comes responsibility. And responsibility is hard work. Struggling artists of this culture who cry out against the unfairness of society are really rebelling against the "unfairness" of having to be responsible citizens and you can probably guess where that leads.

I have more to say in my comments on "Cybill" (1995).

Bottom line: either you get it or you don't - in more ways than one.

Thanksgiving Family Reunion
(2003)

"Nothing here makes any sense"
Tasteless and embarrassing.

Tasteless exposure of nearly every embarrassing thing you never want the world to know about your family - plus a few more things that make watching this movie quite uncomfortable.

Judge Reinhold's characteristic awkward, uncomfortable performance could have been used to gain the sympathy of the viewer. Instead it became simply boring. But I don't blame him. The overall lack of comedic timing in this movie indicates serious problems throughout production. The movie had plenty of clever gag ideas as well as some bad ones. Many of the situations touched on were ones that the average person could relate to. The problem was in the amateurish implementation, nearly every - step - of - the - way. Each of the actors and actresses had good moments: good facial expressions and reactions. But, at the end of each scene, one shouldn't be left wondering "what was that all about?". The gags were thrown out there, but the scenes weren't polished: the bedroom-sharing scene ended on a very lame note. The nude shower scene was obviously intended as a gross-out piece, but that's all it was - disgusting, not funny. Even a mud-wrestling scene provides no satisfaction for the male audience. What was the point of including it, then?

"Since this project is categorized as being in production", I hope that the producers will take the time to reconnect the dots and polish up the scenes. There is potential, here, for a good movie.

Apart from that, one thing the movie managed to do quite well was to totally denigrate the profession of anesthesiology. Now, I'm not a big fan of doctors, but the absolute insult to this medical specialty was sad and unnecessary. I feel truly sorry for them, now.

The best line in the movie is one that sums up the entirety of the experience: "Nothing here makes any sense"

Boris and Natasha
(1992)

Sally Kellerman IS the movie
She acts, she sings, she models, she produces! This is a live action movie based on a silly cartoon. Spy spoof movies are plentiful and generally don't have the best reputation. This one works as a takeoff of a popular cartoon. It is not, however, about the moose-and-squirrel. It is about Sally Kellerman. If you want to enjoy this lanky bombshell at her best, this is the place to be.

Lucky 7
(2003)

Great romantic adventure
I've loved Kimberly Williams since I first saw her in Safe House (1998/I). Candid photos of her on IMDB reveal a wonderful self-confidence. I can see her being cast as a successful, professional businesswoman. However, to me she doesn't quite fit as a high-powered shark (lawyer). Coincidentally, that is one of the conflicts that make the movie what it is. It really pulls the viewer into a tangle of emotions, romance, uncertainty and destiny. Amy wants to follow her mother's plan to marry just the right man, but, love is a funny thing and Amy's emotions just won't behave themselves. It made me cry! Along the way is an amazingly appropriate musical score that is poignant without being overpowering.

On the lighter side, I was intrigued by the supporting cast of unknown celebrity look-alikes, including Brad Rowe, who looks like Brad Pitt, as a prime candidate for the Lucky #7.

If you like romantic stories, this is a must. Score 9 of 10.

The Pitts
(2003)

This show is way ahead of its time.
In the distant future, when all remnants of the sitcom laugh track have been eradicated from human memory, then, perhaps, this show will seem quite amusing. As is, it came across about as funny as a mosquito bite. The `campy' jokes which saturated the show seemed, at times, quite good. Otherwise, they were either tedious, embarrassing or in poor taste.

Bottom line: whether you like the show or not, the laugh track must go.

Riding in Cars with Boys
(2001)

Real life is brutal.
I admit that I watched this movie for the most frivolous of reasons: I liked Brittany Murphy's performance in the trailer ("My daughta's a tramp!"). I really never cared for Drew Barrymore, before. However, my opinion of her has changed. Drew put in an INCREDIBLE performance in this movie. She really nailed it. In fact, all of the actors gave commendable performances. I was so moved that I was quite uncomfortable for much of the movie. The pain that was portrayed was so real that I almost regretted purchasing what I thought was supposed to be a comedy. I'm glad I got through it - and an hour later I'm still stunned by what I saw. This movie is well worth seeing.

Perhaps the reviewers who hated it don't understand that you can be repulsed by another person's behavior, but you don't have to agree with them. You don't have to accept their morals (or lack thereof) in order to recognize what they are going through. And perhaps in seeing these roles acted out, you will see someone you know who has touched your life. Perhaps you'll even see yourself. I profess to have high moral standards, but I was not offended by this movie. I just felt very sad. I've known people like these characters. I don't feel that they were trying to justify their decisions.

They were just telling a story. I also think that this movie was a kind of therapy for Beverly, who is standing up, triumphantly, shouting, "I went through a lot of crap and I made it!"

Sure the viewer gets beaten up by this movie, but in a respectful way.

This isn't a fairy tale. This is a story about real life. And real life is brutal.

Cursed
(2000)

It was cursed from the start.
You can tell a show is doomed when they change the name after the first episode has aired. Why even bother? Just cancel it now and save us the agony of watching the show die! Another sign of doom is that they change the theme song. And, of course, strike three is that Chris Elliott was in it (and as a doctor?!?). Steve Weber is a capable actor and we can never see enough of Amy Pietz.

But I agree with the language comment. I think it's time for an "L" rating to count the number of garbage words in a show. Too bad we don't have writers and producers who know how to produce quality entertainment.

Watching Ellie
(2002)

A bit too intense...
I'm afraid many of the comments in this list say more about the commentators than about the show, itself.

Obviously, this is not the worst show of all time. It has some good qualities, notably Julia's great figure and Peter Stormare's character acting. On the down side, there is the exxxtreeeemely annoying ex-boyfriend that everyone, including most of the viewing audience, would like to have killed. The reason that many viewers describe this show as torture is the lack of rhythm. The pace is extremely intense and there are no low points where you might catch your breath. I work with people even more turbulent than Ellie and, when I get home, I want a break from this sort of turmoil. So, it's no wonder that many viewers are offended by the pace. It's also too bad that many viewers can't comprehend comedy without being told when to laugh.

It is a bold venture - an innovative concept - and should be allowed to develop and find its place. Naaah, that'll never happen!

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(2000)

Another great art film from the Coen Brothers!
Never has a movie captured my attention so quickly. Never before have I gone to see a movie during the first weekend of its release. And I was NOT disappointed! I've always said that a great movie has to have good music. Other reviewers have said that the music is the star of this movie. I feel that the great cast outshines even the great music.

Point of note: this movie has the absolute BEST climactic scene of any movie - EVER!

The DVD contains a fantastic music video. It's almost like watching a miniature version of the movie.

La risa en vacaciones 5
(1994)

Not the best of the series.
A couple of good moments, but nothing particularly memorable.

Most of the bits are basically rehashes of themes from previous movies in this series. In fact some of the scenes appear to be actual repeats of scenes from previous episodes. Check out previous incarnations for some great hidden camera stunts.

Neverwhere
(1996)

Brilliant - a terrible childhood dream come to life.
A brilliant concept - mostly well-done. If you need special effects and exorbitant production values in order to make it work, then you don't really have a story worth telling, do you? Or haven't you ever seen the play "Our Town?"

And yet this story had effects, though subtle. The deep, dark mood of the twilight world was a familiar friend, wasn't it? And watching the strong characters posture and strive for some unknown goal is compelling. It forces one to expect the unexpected because, after all, it's only a dream, isn't it - and anything can happen in a dream. This is a strange, terrible childhood dream come to life. It evokes a sense of dreadful anticipation as it pulls memories out of the hidden folds of one's earliest nightmares. Memories of abandoned buildings or of midnight walks in the garden - places you weren't supposed to have gone because of the unknown, unseen and unspoken dangers that most certainly were lurking there. In this story, you'll see the embodiment of those hidden dangers. And don't forget the sense of invisibility that we all experience at some time in our lives - and now you will know the reason for that feeling, as well - or will you?

A mythical underground city? Not for those who have been there.

Now, quit playing with that computer and go to bed...

Dick Tracy
(1990)

A work of art.
I used to read the more modern Dick Tracy strip as a kid in the 60's. It was the only serious Sci-Fi series available at the time. For the transition to the big screen, the rough edges were smoothed out and the technology simplified. The drama and excitement of a movie of the period were drawn out quite well.

I believe that the best films require a good visual feel as well as engaging theme music that is synchronized to the plot and to the action.

This film fulfills these requirements and provides likable characters - both good and bad characters that you care about. I marvelled at the elegant use of the comic strip colors and I enjoyed the music. It was a pleasure to become absorbed in the story while enjoying this work of art.

Little Big Man
(1970)

Comfortable, funny and fun - a great Western experience.
Funny here, a bit of sadness there, peaks of exciting action and some thought-provoking tales, but, all of it, a comfortable, fun experience.

My favorite movie of all time! I definitely recommend taking the time to live and relive this epic film.

Nothing But Trouble
(1991)

A good alternative to late-night infomercials.
A formula collection of many classic elements - tedious elements to be sure: the idiotic acquaintances who latch on to a celebrity figure; the hanging judge in a remote town who is determined to right the wrongs of the world in his own little fiefdom.

However, it's worth the watch just to see #1: Chevy Chase take the roller coaster ride to "Mister Bone Crusher", and #2: to see the hip hop number done by Tupac Shakur.

This movie could be a real cult classic if it were edited a bit to make it move faster - and to delete anything with John Candy in drag (may he rest in peace). Other than that, it was not at all insulting to me as a viewer. A definite 2 (out of 4) star movie.

The Ray Bradbury Theater
(1985)

Brilliant writer - original ideas - creative stories.
Ray Bradbury is an absolutely brilliant writer. I am totally impressed with the original ideas that he evolves into thoughtful and creative stories. I had nearly given up TV when his series came to our PBS affiliate in Denver. I made it a goal, early on, to see every episode.

My favorite episodes include `There Was an Old Woman' and `A Miracle of Rare Device.' They are true masterpieces. It is also fun to look for my favorite stars in these little-known vignettes.

I grew up reading Ray Bradbury's books and I enjoyed, even more, the screen portrayals of his works. His insistence on creative control over the finished product has resulted in a legacy that he can truly be proud of. Don't miss these excellent stories!

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