I am thoroughly surprised to see not a lot of love for Mike. I personally found his inclusion in the episode close to genius. The idea of an "angel" or whatever he was who would randomly come into our lives, give us encouragement, then disappear and we only remember that encouragement is incredibly appealing.
David Doyle was well cast in the part and the music that accompanies his visits gives me chills every time I hear it.
Was it corny? You bet. Do I personally need corny in my life. You betcha!
When I first heard about this show, I was quite enthusiastic to see it. It sounded like it would be quite funny, in a slapstick sort of vein.
In reality, the show is more of a drama than a comedy. There are certainly comedic moments, but it's definitely a drama first and foremost. I was expecting a comedy that might have "some" drama.
Here's the thing -- it works! *Wonderfully* In fact, the show seems to get better and better each week. I think it truly reached its stride with the episode that guest starred Elliot Gould. It was wonderful (as was his performance). I even get teary eyed at the ending!
For me, the show has filled the void left by "Boston Legal" without being a total rip off of it. There are moments QUITE reminiscent of BL in fact -- minus David E. Kelly's preaching (which really went overboard as that show reached its final episodes). Still, the characters in this are much more tame, and still quite enjoyable to watch.
Brooke Elliott is a true find in the lead role. She's amazing in it. The supporting cast are also terrific. Everyone in it was cast extremely well. And that Jackson Hurst. He is also a terrific find -- a definite leading man!
I'm quite saddened to see only five other comments on this show as of this writing (well four and one legal dissection). This is a very well done show and it deserves more fans. I think, in a way, the title (which is actually very clever), is the show's downfall. It suggests a slapstick comedy, but in reality, the show is a whole lot more.
I'm thoroughly impressed. I hope it lasts. It deserves to.
This episode really broadsided me at the ending. Even though this review is marked for spoilers and the only other published review for this gives away the ending, I still don't want to mention it.
Let's just say it was brilliant, wonderful, and incredibly touching (brought me to tears in fact). It was a marvelously crafted teleplay and after watching it again, indeed, the "clues" where there, but I did not catch them the first time viewing it. If you are caught up in the story as I was, you just don't. And that's the sign of a good story (such as "The Sixth Sense.").
The episode is not only my favorite from "Extras," but easily one of my favorite comedic episodes from any series ever to appear on television. The writing is superb, Ricky Gervais and the support cast are hilarious, and Kate Winslet *defines* what "best guest performance by an actress" truly means. I was quite puzzled that she did not win the Emmy for that very category in which she was nominated. I was also surprised that the writing did not win the Emmy it was nominated for as well.
Even if you were to remove Kate's scenes, the rest of the episode is just as hilarious. Gervais tackles religion, the Holocaust, and even the handicapped. He manages to offend, but tastefully (which I never thought possible), all of the above.
Overall, "Extras" was a terrific and thoroughly entertaining series, but this episode really rockets into the stratosphere. I can't say enough good things about it.
Its script should be used as the "textbook example" of comic short writing for all screenplay courses.
I saw the box cover for this film and was immediately captivated by Timothy Lee (and still am). WOW. Not only quite handsome, but an actor well on his way to bigger and (hopefully) better things.
Although this film looks quite amateur, the story was actually quite interesting. That and Timothy's good looks are all that kept me on until the very ending.
I state "ending" but what I'd love is for this film to have one. It just kind of dies. I'm very good at reading between the lines and determining "existential" endings, but I felt like this film was shot in order and they just ran out of money.
You'll see what I mean. It just ends.
I watched the two other short films on the DVD by the same director and it does seem like a lot of his stories really don't have a point. But I'll concede that maybe each film does have one and I just somehow missed it ever time (and the final film on the DVD has three stories -- none of which I "got" either).
If the same writer/director makes another film, I'll definitely watch it. Mainly because he certainly knows how to cast good looking younger guys. :)
Second best looking ensemble female cast on Television ever!
Second only to any given season of "Charlie's Angels," "Nightingales" had an incredibly gorgeous cast. Stunning in fact. I recently saw the opening titles again on Youtube and my jaw literally hit the floor!
Kristy Swanson, Chelsea Field, Susan Walters, Roxann Dawson, Kim Johnston Ulrich, and Suzanne Pleshette. WOW.
And this show only lasted one season? Are you KIDDING me??? "Too sexual?"
The only other reviewer on here stated this show was ahead of it's time. I remember this show quite well and it was tame...make that VERY tame...compared to today's standards. It's a shame it only lasted one season.
The theme to this show is also one of my favorites. A very catchy tune that I swear ends with a snippet of the NBC News Theme.
Amadeus + Oliver + Mr. Holland's Opus = August Rush
While I found the idea of a "modern day Amadeus" quite intriguing, I felt like this was trying to be too many movies at once. You have the Amadeus story, the Oliver Twist story, and then the Mr. Holland's Opus ending. I felt a little overwhelmed with clichés here.
It wasn't a terrible movie, but it wasn't a great movie either. It was a pleasant distraction from reality.
The little girl soloist was just about the cutest person I have seen in a movie in quite some time! :) Freddie Highmore is quite the young actor as well -- he's been keeping quite busy and I feel like he's in every "cute" movie I see these days.
The score by Mark Mancina (with a dash of Hans Zimmer) fit the movie well.
I'd just like to comment on one aspect of this movie: the ending. I've seen a ton of films in my life (37 years at this point), and I have to say that hands down the ending of this film is one of the best I have ever seen. It is SO subtle and non-pretentious that it's almost staggering. I have no doubt that in this day and age (2007) the ending would have been trashed in favor of something much BIGGER. I applaud EVERYONE involved for creating a bookend that has haunted me to this day (I am emotional just thinking about it).
If there is ever a well publicized list of the best movie endings ever, I certainly hope this film is on it. It is definitely on mine.
A lot of people don't realize that this film was nominated not only for an Academy Award, but also a Golden Globe and Grammy Award! That third item gives it away -- the song "The Day I Fall in Love" from this movie garnered all of the nominations, and deservedly so. It's a wonderful composition performed brilliantly by Dolly Parton and James Ingram. It has become one of my favorite songs of all time and it easily outclasses this movie.
In my opinion it was practically a miracle that the song got honored by the three biggest award firms because the movie is nothing special and a lot of times brilliance goes unnoticed when it is contained in a sub-par film. Also the song got very little radio airplay; the video only appeared occasionally on VH-1.
At any rate, other than the superlative song, there are some cute dog scenes in this movie. And Debi Mazar is definitely a highlight as the 101 Dalmatians inspired villain.
My best recommendation is to watch the music video for the song. It includes all of the best highlights from the film (the aforementioned cute dog scenes), you'll hear the incredible song and get glimpses of the stunningly cute Ashley Hamilton and not end up hating him because of the schmuck his character ends up being in the film.
They don't make movies like this any more; not even Spielberg does...
What can I say, this film is a triumph on every level. It has top notch acting, a rock solid screenplay, dazzling visual effects that hold up even today, and a wonderful musical score by John Williams.
This is one of the movie greats, and certainly should never EVER be remade. Spielberg hits every note with this film. Audiences back in 1977 had never seen anything like this and it's almost a shame it didn't beat "Star Wars" to the theaters. Even though they are roughly two different kinds of films, I think "Star Wars" stole some of the limelight from this one. Both films are certainly better than "Annie Hall" (which took the Oscar for that year).
I'd like Mr. Spielberg to take a look at some of his earlier work. Lately he's been making more "adult" films, and while they are also well made, they are not the caliber of the films he used to direct. A lot of themes in his earlier films deal with "childhood" and not growing up. Peter Pan has indeed grown up now, and I wish upon a star that he'll remember his youth and crank out some classics again...
Ellen Barkin's performance in this film is nothing short of spectacular! Her casting in this film was pure brilliance. She captures the heart and soul of a man stuck in a woman's body. I've enjoyed this film ever time I watch it and it never loses its charm.
Lorraine Bracco shines in an early performance way before "The Sopranos" and while some have said she seems subdued or drugged, I think she captures the lonely woman hurt too many times by previous lovers quite well! Jimmy Smitts, Jobeth Williams, and an over-the-top JM J. Bullock round out the cast and are all quite enjoyable to watch (the parrot in Bullock's scenes steals the show though!).
I have to agree with another review that Clannad and Paul Young's performance of "Both Sides Now" is incredible! Fit with the images of clouds (at the beginning) and the beautiful ILM produced matte painting of New York City at the ending is nothing short of inspiring.
Still, Ellen Barkin RULES in this film and it is a little sad that she was overlooked for an Academy Award Nomination (as comic roles so often are). At least the Golden Globes got it right!
1995 saw a remake of "Escape to Witch Mountain" as a "Disney Sunday Night Movie." It was horrible. Its biggest mistake was to try to bring "New Age Mysticism" to the table and it should never have been ordered.
1975's "Escape to Witch Mountain" is a really cool movie. It's has a lot of neat ideas in it. I loved it at age 5 and still loved it upon a repeat viewing at at 36. Hollywood clearly has lost originality and a source of genuine "new ideas" and has been remaking a lot of films lately. I think they should pick this one and use the male version of the Olsen Twins, Cole and Dylan Sprouse. Yes, I know, Tia would have to become "Tim," but it's a different spin on the story and if Starbuck can become a woman in Sci-Fi's "Battlestar Galactica," why not make Tia a boy? Just don't make it a comedy! And this time bring it to the big screen, not the TV.
At any rate, 1975's "Escape to Witch Mountain" was in my opinion way ahead of its time, both in story and special effects. Alexandar Key (the author) outdid himself. In the right hands today, it could be a huge success.
*EDIT* Asked and delivered! Remake coming in 2009 ("Race to Witch Mountain.") OK OK, maybe the Cole and Dylan Sprouse idea wasn't the best -- but at least they are remaking it! :)
...but unfortunately with this first episode of "Fat Actress," I don't think that she is. Overall, it just wasn't very funny. Moreover, I thought it was embarrassing for her. The jokes were forced, the plot was dental floss thin, and when my TiVo cut off the last minute of this show, I was relieved! I'm very happy that Kirstie Alley is able to make fun of her own weight. And I'm glad that she appears to be on the road to getting down to a more "comfortable" weight. But the show really missed the boat on what makes her story interesting.
Honestly, I think a reality show about her battle with losing weight would have been a HECK of a lot more interesting than a fictional comedy about the same topic.
Kirstie, I love you, but I hope you can come up with something better to bring back your career.
Interesting attempt at remaking The Six Million Dollar Man
To start off with, there's no question that this TV Movie "Pilot" was a failed attempt at Captain America. I give the writers credit for "trying" to make an updated version of the Comic Book Superhero, but frankly, the origin story of this hero doesn't work as an update.
If Captain America never existed and this was the first we'd heard of him, it would be a lot more tolerable. But you can't take a legend and then tarnish his history by almost completely rewriting the original origin.
That being said, this show owes more to "The Six Million Dollar Man" than it does to Captain America. There are a lot of similarities to that story (as previously mentioned by another reviewer here). Reb Brown, while looking good as the hero, certainly was just too "nice" of a guy to play the part. The hero had no "edge." Squeaky clean doesn't necessarily work for Captain America.
Len Birman's Dr. Simon Mills seems to be a combination of both Oscar Goldman and Rudy Wells (both from "The Six Million Dollar Man"). At any rate, I will say that Birman did an excellent job in his part and is the best performance of everyone involved by leaps and bounds. He plays it totally serious and with a conviction that actually made me believe in some of this stuff. He really is a gem in this.
My favorite part of both "Captain America" TV movies though has to be the music by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter. They composed a terrific theme that is extremely catchy. It almost seems to foreshadow Post's theme for "L.A. Law," composed almost seven years later.
I saw this movie as a kid and was expecting special effects and "Superman." I was very disappointed. I believe I even fell asleep.
I viewed the film again as an adult and immediately fell in love with it. It's what a call a "guy's girl film," meaning gals can swoon over Christopher Reeve and the "love story" aspect, while guys can swoon over Jane Seymour and also "secretly" appreciate the love story parts.
The performances, music, cinematography, direction...they all hit the mark.
It's interesting to me that James Cameron's "Titanic" borrowed aspects from this film, but I think this movie does the whole love story aspect much better (even though it is on a smaller scale).
The movie didn't do well in theaters; probably the marketing campaign didn't quite make it appealing enough.
My only question about the movie is...whose gold watch was it? It's definitely a time loop and if you think about it, no one owns the watch.
Christopher Reeve, hot off of "Superman" proved here that he is truly a remarkable actor; his passing recently was terrible news. I am glad though that, along with the Superman movies, I will have this film to remember him by for the true hero that he was.
Terrific cop show; perfect blend of humor & drama...
"Nash Bridges" really surprised me. I wasn't expecting much from it. I was hooked immediately though and found it quite humorous with some good actions scenes.
One thing for sure, the episode where Nash and Joe pretend to be gay was HILARIOUS. I was literally "rolling on the floor laughing" (cliche, I know -- but my carpet and I met in a strange way that evening).
Also, the episode where Kelly Hu's character got killed made me cry really hard. It was handled extremely well and it got me "right there." I always liked her character and although it was cool to see her move on to Sammo Hung's show (the actress, not the character), it really hit me hard. I guess it was such a shock because of the way it happened. You don't expect to see a main character get murdered. Don Johnson handled his scenes involving her death *extremely* well. A terrific episode in an already outstanding series!
Direct to video faster than you can say "Time Travel."
OK, it's obvious that this isn't a great "Direct-to video & Sci-Fi Channel" Flick. I've always enjoyed watching Time Travel movies (even bad ones), and this one was unfortunately not one of the better ones.
What's good about it? It was definitely nice to watch a lead character who is Asian-American. While this may sound odd to most, there aren't that many films out there that have an Asian-American lead. Of course the filmmakers just *had* to have him know Kung-Fu, but still, if you've got Jason Scott Lee as your lead, why not? Jason Scott Lee does indeed shine in this movie, especially considering what he's been given to work with in terms of plot.
What's not so good about this movie? Just about everything else. The Visual Effects were below par (even the TV Show from the late 90's had better effects), and the story was not very exciting. There is a cliché with Time Travel stories that everything "turns out OK" at the end...as if none of the previous events ever occurred. We need to get away from that. It's trite.
What's absurd about this movie? The ending epilogue. I'm not sure of the *exact* term that it's called, but you know..when they show clips of a character, then pause the image and give you a paragraph below it about what happened to them after the movie is over. This one takes just about *every* character in the movie and gives them a paragraph (sometimes even more). It just keeps going and going. And they even had a misspelling ("...demons of his conscience drove Knight to *from* -- should be *form* -- his own gang..."). At any rate, it became so laughable that I decided it would be a great drinking game (take a shot every time a character gets a "paragraph resolution" at the ending).
Cheers for a movie with an Asian-American lead. Cheers to Jason Scott Lee for giving an exciting and credible performance in a really bad movie. Jeers to just about everything else in this film.
..and that's about it. I haven't thought about this show for quite some time, only to be reminded of it while looking over the credits for Rod Taylor (someone whom I have always felt resembles Robin Williams...or does Robin resemble Rod?).
At any rate, it's interesting to see that of the few credits posted, the writers for the theme song are listed. I believe (if memory serves) that Crystal Gayle sang it.
I remember now that Kirstie Alley and Greg Evigan were the stars along with Rod Taylor. Post Star Trek 2, Pre- "Cheers," and very very Pre- Pier One commercials, Kirstie Alley proves here that she is definitely a star in the making
There are very few comedies out there that manage to get laughs from all of the jokes; "Galaxy Quest" is one of the few films that pretty much gets them all.
As corny as it sounds, the film is practically perfect in its execution. It parodies a genre that had been screaming for it for decades. It's funny from start to finish and even manages to have a heart while on the way.
When the film was first released in theatres, I didn't have any desire to see it. I don't think the advertising was right for the film. I am a huge "Star Trek" fan and I found the advertising made the picture look stupid with juvenile humor. A co-worker insisted I see it, saying if I didn't I would regret it for the rest of my life.
Luckily I didn't ignore him, because he would have been right!
There are a lot of reviews for this film here, most of them positive. I am quite glad to see that I am not alone in my praise for this film.
Most certainly it's not "Citizen Kane" by any means, but for what it is and what it is trying to do, it succeeds in every aspect. The screenplay is technically brilliant (in terms of structure, characterization, and wit!). ILM does a terrific job in the visual effects department (as they most often do), and David Newman's score not only parodies but also develops into a heartwarming action score (a paradox? I think not!).
"Galaxy Quest" - If you haven't seen it yet and you love "Star Trek," I only have to ask....."what ARE you.....waiting for?"
I remember early in the year 2000 listening to a local AM Talk Radio Station in Los Angeles (I believe it was Phil Hendrie). The topic of the hour was "What's your favorite TV Show currently on the air?" For the next hour I heard a lot of references to two shows: "Malcolm in the Middle" and this other show, "Popular." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had already seen "Malcolm" and knew it was hilarious. But what about "Popular?"
The commercials made it look like a typical weekly teeny-bop High School show, a la "Saved By The Bell," but in Prime-Time (lest we forget Zach did go to college in the evenings though). The amount of praise I heard for "Popular" made me check it out.
The advertisements were wrong.
What I found in this show was a sleek, hilarious, dramatic, clever, filled to the brim with 80's references show not about kids in High School today (circa 1999-2000), but if kids from my generation were to go to High School today (yes, I went to High School in the 80's).
I think the failure of "Popular" was the advertising I referred to earlier for the show...it was going after kids in high school for ratings. But the show was made for (I feel) an entirely different generation. If only the ones it was made for had watched....it would probably still be on.
This is one of the few programs I have ever seen that managed to balance outright slapstick comedy with serious drama...and it did it so well in my opinion that I seriously mourned the loss of the show when it was canceled.
My favorite Season Two moments -
1) Mary Cherry's (Leslie Grossman) audition for judges, including Jim J. Bullock (way before "American Idol" became a household name). "Rock Me Amadeus, by FALCO!"
2) Nicole Julian's (Tammy Lynn Michaels) "rise" to Class President (one of the most clever and complex episodes ever written for television -- flat-out incredible comedy).
3) Every scene with Michelle Phillips ("Abra-abra-cadabra!!!!").
4) The "Gay" episode about Bobbi Glass (Diane Delano) - it gave me chills and again proved how the writers were almost magically able to juggle comedy and drama every week.
The casting of the show was simply brilliant. Everyone did an incredible job and I am pleased to see several of the cast riding other roads to fame as of 2008 (Christopher Gorham on "Jake 2.0" and then the successful "Ugly Betty").
The only thing I can pray for at this point are either reruns (Lifetime or Oxygen I'm guessing...but maybe Comedy Central?) or, *gasp* -- A DVD Release. Then a lot more people can have a chance to see a show that I firmly believe should have been "Popular."
*EDIT* Both Seasons are on DVD now. There really IS a God!
My personal thanks to the callers of that Los Angeles AM Talk Radio Program who touted the praises of this show. You got it right, and I'm glad I saw of it what I did.
A Richard Donner film - unavailable on DVD or VHS?!?!
Richard Donner is an extremely talented filmmaker with a string of hits under his belt, so why as of 11-28-03 is this film not available for purchase or rental on DVD or VHS???
I saw this film when I was 11 years old and remember being very depressed (probably my first time from a film) by the beginning of the movie when John Savage's character tries to kill himself. I remember by the ending of the film I felt much better.
I don't remember much else about the film, although I do recall John Barry's score being very moving (along with another 1980 film, "Touched By Love.").
DVD is such an accessible medium these days (as was VHS), so it's pretty much a slam dunk that this film should be released for more people to see.
This film showed a different side of Richard Donner, and I think the general public deserves the chance to see it.
Some of the most entertaining TV I've seen in a while...
I'll keep this short and sweet: "Fastlane" was an incredibly enjoyable TV Show. It was extremely high quality, glossy, flashy, hip, and entertaining.
Apparently it was canceled because of High Production Costs (?). If this is true, I can certainly see where the money went. It went to producing quality entertainment, meant for 18 and up adults (this was definitely not a "kids" show).
FOX definitely screwed up by airing this show on Friday Nights in the United States. What were they thinking???? Only an idiot would put such an expensive show on a night when most people "go out" to recover from a work week, or even better, go to bed early to recover from a work week. This show had Sunday NIGHT written all over it. Only MTV had the brains to pick up the show second run (a week after it aired on FOX), reaching an audience that I am SURE this show was targeted at. Unfortunately though I don't think people knew enough about the show to make the effort to catch it on either network.
While I severely morn the passing of this show, I can only pray that FOX will decide to recoup some of their apparent "losses" by releasing the first and only season on DVD.
Do you hear me FOX execs??? RELEASE THIS SHOW ON DVD!!! People will buy it!!!
*EDIT* Apparently someone listened to somebody, as it's coming out on DVD Summer 2008! Yes!!!!
Pretty much all of the positive reviews listed here echo my opinion of this film (subtle, powerful, honest, depressing), so I won't beat the dead horse and describe how terrific of a film this is.
I just wanted to add that James Horner's score, one of his first, is downright brilliant and deserves an official release on CD. Listen to it and treat it as the foundation for most of his future "dramatic" scores, such as "Titanic" and "Apollo 13."
James Horner is one of the few composers that can make me cry with his music alone, and I believe it is because I am reminded of this film when I hear it.
The scene in which the young japanese boy (a remarkable performance, considering he is mentally handicapped in real life and surprisingly never mentioned in any of these reviews) finds the missing toy bear caused possibly the most emotional response from me that I have ever experienced while watching a movie.
Testament, as of this date, is most definately the saddest film I have ever seen. I have never been more emotionally drained. It's ending ranks up there with the original "Resurrection" as one of the most haunting endings I have ever seen.
A beautifully shot piece of heaven...and made for TV to boot!
I really wanted to write a title for this review that didn't come off as corny or gushing but still described my feelings for this show. I can see now that it is not possible. "American Family" is one of the best shows I have ever had the pleasure of watching on television. Several reviewers here on IMDb have mentioned the word "beautiful" when describing this show. Never has a word been more fitting. The cinematography for this show is stunning. Every scene and shot looks like a masterpiece. The lighting, camera moves, scene composition and colors...I have to keep reminding myself that I'm watching a TV Show and not a Motion Picture masterpiece. The score by Lee Holdridge and Nathan Wang brings tears to my eyes. And most importantly, the acting by the all around amazing cast is honest and sincere. I do not feel like I am watching performances...I feel like I'm watching real life. If only real life could be this beautiful.
"American Family" has indeed raised the bar for quality entertainment on Television. I highly recommend this show to anyone who is willing to watch it. I could easily chide CBS for passing on this show, but I have to say that it doesn't matter to me who airs it. I'm just glad it's out there for everyone to see. So I do thank PBS for not allowing this show to disappear into nothingness.
I have to give special recognition to the way each season's finale ended. The first one was pure creative brilliance and it moved me to tears. I was waiting to see if season two would also end in a creative way, and sure enough it did. Again, tears.
My thanks to all of those involved. You really have made a special piece of art with this show, and I sincerely mean that. It is a shame that we only got two seasons, but a miracle we got anything at all.