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Fireball XL5

A pox on Gerry and Sylvia Anderson for coming up with this one! Not that it was bad, but I found it terrifying! Surely I was not the only small child that it scared. Those cursed marionettes were so lifelike that I got the impression--childlike though it was--that they were people who had somehow been turned into marionettes. The thought that this could actually happen was frightening to me. To this day, I remain traumatized by my memories of this show. Hearing some of the .wav files from the show remind me of just why I found the whole thing so traumatic.

To Grandmother's House We Go

A Fun-Filled Family Romp...
if you like that sort of thing. I suppose this movie is harmless enough, but there is no chance that it will go down in the annals of cinematography as one of the best movies ever. It is, at best, harmless fluff.

To summarize, this movie features the Olsen twins who, at least temporarily, appear to have faded into obscurity. I suppose this is an example of poetic justice since a lot of the people in "TGHWG" who previously had perfectly viable careers apparently have disappeared from the cultural landscape.

Besides these charming cherubs, the movie stars Cynthia Geary, Jerry Van Dyke, Rhea Perlman and others who will probably soon grace the pages of Biography Magazine's "Where Are They Now" section. Geary plays the twins' ineffectual single mom who can't keep her children from escaping when they think she wants them gone. A highlight of the film is Geary's dead-on impression of the late Boris Karloff while reading "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to her children. Geary's character also apparently spends a good bit of the movie fantasizing about what her life would be like with a working class hero (played to perfection by soap opera star J. Eddie Peck).

Perlman and Van Dyke (in his most challenging role since "Coach") play bumbling crooks who are somewhat harmless, despite the fact that they are, in fact, crooks. To be honest, crooks don't come any more harmless than these two, who probably couldn't hold up a fleeing turtle.

The most unfortunate victim of this movie is perhaps Stuart Margolin, who plays a detective. Margolin's appearance here is particularly tragic when you consider he was a big star prior to this. He had even appeared in "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" with John Agar. Of course, "Women of the Prehistoric Planet" was hardly Oscar material, so perhaps Margolin was also a victim of poetic justice. Unfortunately for those of us who fondly remember Margolin as Angel on "The Rockford Files", he too seems to have since disappeared off the face of the earth (although rumor has it he is now working at a 7-11 in Des Moines, Iowa under an assumed name).

In short, watching "To Grandmother's House We Go" most likely won't do you any harm. However, it will take up a significant chunk of your life that could have perhaps been better spent doing other things, such as watching reruns of "Gadabout Gaddis" or cleaning your gutters.

Final Justice

Look Out, Malta--Joe Don's Coming!
There can only be one thing on earth that is worse than a bad movie, and that's a bad Joe Don Baker movie! Final Justice had such a terrible effect on me that I could not finish watching it, and I may never recover. I was almost physically ill from being subjected to even part of it, and not even seeing Final Justice on MST3K could make it bearable. That should give you somewhat of an idea of how unspeakably bad it is. It has to be, hands down, the worst movie ever shown on the Satellite of Love!

Basically, Joe Don Baker plays a "shoot-to-kill-and-don't-ask-any-questions later" lawman who goes around...well, shooting to kill and not asking any questions later. Baker's character, Geronimo ("that's 'Heronimo!'") goes around terrorizing the good citizens of Malta and jeopardizing diplomatic relations between Malta and the United States. The possible consequences of his actions seem not to register with "Heronimo", who plows his way through the movie, not unlike a bulldozer out of control.

If you haven't seen this one, don't bother. All you've missed is Joe Don Baker at his worst, so "go ahead on" and find a better movie to watch!

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

I Liked It!
I realize that a lot of people reviewing this movie didn't like it as well as the first Austin Powers movie. However, not having seen the first before I saw the second, I have no frame of reference to go by.

While I agree that "The Spy Who Shagged Me" may have gone too far when it came to bathroom humor, I don't feel that's any reason to write off the entire movie as a failure. The scene with Dr. Evil singing "What If God Was One of Us" was hilarious. Seth Green was marvelous as the insolent Scott Evil and his scenes with Mike Myers were hilarious. Rob Lowe did a good job in his role of the 1999 version of Number Two. And, of course, Myers was his usual brilliant self. However, I didn't think Verne Troyer added much in the role of Mini-Me. The movie could probably have proceeded just as well without him.

Besides Troyer, I do have another minor complaint about the casting in this one. I have nothing against Robert Wagner, and I think he did well in his brief appearance as the 1999 version of Number Two. However, something about the character just screamed "Adam West" to me.

Besides the cameo appearance by Rebecca Romijin-Stamos, perhaps the best reason to watch this movie is the presence of the breathtakingly beautiful Heather Graham in the role of breathtakingly beautiful CIA agent Felicity Shagwell. I know others have criticized Graham for sleepwalking through this one but let's be realistic, shall we? Graham was hired for this role strictly for eye candy effect, at that, she was uncommonly successful. The scene with Austin and Felicity at Austin's 1969 pad was pulse accelerating--at least for me it was!!! Shagadelic, baby!

Manos: The Hands of Fate

Shocking in Its Wretchedness
Let's put this turkey in its proper context, shall we? The first thing you need to know is that the word "manos", translated into English, means "hands." Therefore, the title of the movie is actually "Hands: The Hands of Fate." This blunder gets "Manos" off on the wrong foot. Things, unfortunately, go steadily downhill from there.

That's too bad, because you really have to root for Hal Warren to be a success and make a film that captures the hearts of all Americans. The plucky Warren, who is credited as director and writer of "Manos" (it would, unfortunately for theatre goers everywhere, be his only film), also put his considerable talents into a job as a Texas fertilizer salesman. Ironically, the movie and the product by which Mr. Warren made his living have much in common, perhaps unintentionally or perhaps not.

If it's true that everyone has fifteen minutes of fame, Mr. Warren perhaps did not put his time in the spotlight to its most productive use. Mere words are simply inadequate to describe the enormity of this film's (and "film" should be very loosely interpreted here)wretchedness. Therefore, I shall save myself the effort.

The most memorable character is a chap named Torgo. Torgo is a pillar of the community who pursues the honorable profession of goatman. The world was perhaps robbed of an award-winning actor when John Reynolds, who played Torgo, committed suicide the same year "Manos" was made (perhaps as atonement for his appearance in this assault on humanity). Sadly, we will never know what other contributions Mr. Reynolds may have gone on to make to the noble world of cinematic drivel, especially since "Manos" was the only movie in which he appeared.

I should point out that I have never seen this film other than on MST3K. I fear, that had I watched "Manos" without this protective buffer, it might very well have erased years from my life.

We Got It Made

Not the Best TV Show Ever, But Not the Worst
The year this one debuted was a bad one for NBC. By the end of the season, as I recall, all the shows that had debuted that season had been cancelled. "We Got It Made" hung around for a fairly long time but just couldn't survive.

Two bachelors with a disgusting hovel for an apartment decide they need a housekeeper. Enter Mickey Mackenzie--blond, beautiful and with absolutely no housekeeping experience. Of course, she's hired on the spot. Not a great show but made somewhat easier to take by the presence of the fetching Teri Copley.


Pretty Bad
Maybe not the worst movie I've ever seen, but certainly one of the worst. It would be absolutely unwatchable but for the presence of the fair Nastinka. If you've never seen it, a word of caution--don't see it without Mike Nelson, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot nearby! This one is best left to the professionals. If you think of it as a Sid and Marty Krofft program dubbed into another language, you should have the idea.

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