esstee55

IMDb member since July 2001
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    Lifetime Plot
    1+
    IMDb Member
    19 years

Reviews

Mad Men: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
(2007)
Episode 1, Season 1

That weird, orchestral music toward the end
I have watched this series from start (this episode) till the end of season 5. I'm waiting with bated breath to watch season 6. But starting the series again for like the third time, and just having seen this first episode again, I'm going to claim said episode as my favorite, at least so far. Being the episode that introduced SO many important characters to the show, this just crackled. Loved everyone, even Peter Campbell. But, right around 45 minites in, with the episode timing in at 47 minites +, there's this orchestral music that starts to play, that is not only beautiful, but seems to go on and on in violin, "swirls" if you will. Those sounds totally got me, if the episode I just witnessed wasn't enough already. So far, my favorite episode!

My X-Girlfriend's Wedding Reception
(1999)

Wonderful! Hilarious!
I was a little puzzled by this movie initially; I had no problem understanding what was going on, but it took me a good 20-30 minutes to really grasp it. Grasp the comedy, that is. The humor here, in this documentary-style picture, is subtle to some, apparently non-existent to some reviewers, but ended up to me to be laugh-out-loud funny. I know it sounds weird to say "I love Jewish people," or "...Italian people," but most of the humor here involves stereotypical humor of both, and I just loved it. But please don't misunderstand me: I have loved many Jewish and Italian folks in my life, and I loved said humor in a genuinely warm-hearted way. Anyway, I rented this film, mailed it back yesterday, but the more I think about it and talk to people about it, the more I wish I still had it and could show it to certain friends and relatives. Not that it was perfect (see my rating). The scene with the 3 girls who attempted to sing "Angel in the Morning" was pretty hard to sit through, and the members of the "band" continuously putting down Jazz music irritated me. But all in all, I'm going now to a website where I can purchase this hilarious film!

The Thing
(2011)

This is NOT yet another remake OR re-telling of the classic story!
Why are so many reviewers here so ignorant? This is not yet another remake, this is, well, sort of a prequel to John Carpenter's classic 1982 remake of The Thing From Another World, from 1951. Anyone who's seen Carpenter's remake more than once must remember that, early in that film, two of the characters go to a Norwegian camp by helicopter, and witness some horrific things that had already happened to those people. And that was it. This film, the makers of which had enormous respect for Carpenter's version and didn't want to insult it in any way, decided to let us see just what the hell happened to those Norwegians before the two characters from Carpenter's version got there. That, in a nutshell, is what this movie is. I admit that I initially had a problem with the title of this; couldn't they have come up with a better title? Calling it The Thing suggests that this is indeed a remake of Carpenter's film. But it's not, I assure you. I mean, about the best title I could come up with was The Thing Before The Thing. But that's no good. Anyway, anyone who loves the Carpenter version should see this, for sure.

The Three Stooges
(2012)

The Time is Just Right for this Remake
I'm pushing 60. I've been a fan of the original Three Stooges for almost my whole life. Got all the DVDs. Read most of the books. In all that time, I have seen many imitators of all 6 Stooge-members, including Moe, Larry, Curly, Shemp, Joe Besser and Curly Joe deRita. In these guys (Hayes, Sasso & Diamondapoulos), I've never seen anyone come nearly as close to the original Larry Curly & Moe. And that includes the three actors who portrayed the boys in the 2000 TV-movie bio-pic. But it isn't just that. It's the Writing and Directing of the Farrelly brothers here that really does the trick. The funniest things the original comedy trio did were the rapid-fire slapping, poking and punching, set to hilariously beautiful sound-effects. That is all presented here, perhaps even more often than in the original short films of the '30s & '40s. The time is just right for all this. This is another nostalgia trip for baby-boomers like me and so many others today. Presented in the form of one continuous 90-minute story divided into three 30-minute "short films," even the pace is perfect. I was a little leary of the brothers' apparent "need" to include Jersey Shore cast-members into the film, but that decision turned out okay. Loved this hilarious, fast-paced comedy film. ***1/2 out of ****

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
(2005)

Wal-Mart: A cancer growth on the body of America: Boycott!!
Greenwald does it again! Not unlike his excellent "Outfoxed," about the corruption and absolute "B.S." of cable's Fox News Channel, he here exposes one of the worst corporations in our beloved country, and he does it with clever humor, and with poignant, real-life filmic stories of members of families of honest, good community businesses in the rural areas of America. I believe that the guy who started Wal-Mart was probably a pretty nice person, and owned an original store and a few chain stores. I don't think that that guy would have approved of the shady and downright barbaric practices utilized by his company today. I really don't. Everyone should see this film, and everyone should boycott Wal-Mart. If that doesn't happen, they will just go on profiting, and our country will be wayyy worse off for it.

Oz
(1997)

And I Thought Episodes of M*A*S*H Were Multi-Storied!
My favorite TV series of all time is M*A*S*H. The main reason for that is that it is the only series ever to be mostly anti-war. Also, of course, is that it was excellently done in every way, you know, writing, directing, acting, etc. One of my favorite things about that series is that most of the best episodes are multi-storied. That is, two or three significant plots going on all at once! And, in a half-hour show! So many episodes of M*A*S*H are like watching little classic films. Then came Oz, about 14 years after M*A*S*H ended. Yeah, it started out as a summer replacement show. Yeah, there are only 8 episodes per season. Yeah, the show is dead meat now, but I'm convinced it will last forever as a cult classic! Forget about M*A*S*H, when it comes to episodes being multi-storied. This hour-long drama series, most episodes of which run about 55 minutes--without commercials--seems to have about 10 stories going in any given episode. And yes, I would agree with most of the other IMDb commentators here, that the main cast is great. My personal favorite is Dean Winters. Yeah, I know he stole much of his dialog style from Clint Eastwood, but I think he is the most compelling actor on the show. I just got Season 5 on DVD. Only one more DVD release, and my life will be complete. OZ RULES!!!

Norman Mailer in Provincetown
(2003)

Great Doc
An absolutely fascinating documentary on an equally fascinating man. Writer. Whatever. What really got me going, in film's beginning, were readings from his early novels. I have never read one of his books, nor paid much attention to most of his controversial bleatings to the public. But hearing some passages from some of his novels, O my god. This man could write! This man was Kerouac and Steinbeck and Stephen King, put together! I love what I heard. I only wish I had the time to actually read his early books, and the money to buy them. The only flaw of this movie, for me, was that he got political toward the end, and his differ with mine. Oh well, unlike some people, I can't hate him for that, I just can't. He's done too much great stuff! See this. *** out of four.

Me, Myself & Irene
(2000)

Unbelievably Bad, for Carrey AND the Farrellys!
This film, like so many other Farrelly brothers films, just doesn't work. There must be a thousand attempts at humor here. About 50 of them succeed. Sure, there are some great laughs, especially in the first several minutes, when Tony Cox (a black midget) steals Carrey's wife away, and Carrey's too stupid later to realize why he has 3 black sons! In fact, all the short scenes with the 3 black sons are hilarious beyond belief! Maybe, in some weird way, that is why most of the rest of this falls flat. And yes, that totally includes the "cow" sequence that all other critics said was so funny. Yikes, for me this movie totally tanked, except for what I mentioned above. The humor, for the most part, just falls flat for me. Oh! I forgot to describe the plot, or story! Yeah? Who gives a damn? **

Direct Order
(2003)

Disappointing, but still a must-see.
A film that sounded much better than it turned out to be. This film is about many of the military folks who fought in the Gulf war of the early '90s, and how each of them was given a direct order to take an anthrax vaccine. Now, these people are all messed up physically, and some even mentally. It's a bizarre, scary and even sad story that happens to be true, and of course was never even reported on the televised, or print media, owned by Wall Street. But how this amateur filmmaker was able to talk actor Michael Douglas into reading copy in some studio closet for several minutes is beyond me. This film's main problem is that it isn't the least bit imaginative or clever in its execution. Sure, the subject is fascinating, even frightening. But this guy (Miller) makes it a snore! Better luck next time.

A Clockwork Orange
(1971)

One of the 2 Greatest films EVER MADE
Yep, right up there with critical darling Citizen Kane, A Clockwork Orange may look dated in some spots, but is too brilliant in every department to be taken off the Brilliant Films list. Master director Stanley Kubrick is at his height of creativity here, both in terms of visual style and storytelling. The original source material is a great novel, and though someone else's version might've looked different, and therefore looked more like what is described in the book, the story is otherwise quite faithful here. The film has everything: Action, comedy, sex, violence, prison drama, and Beethoven. What more could a person ask for? Though Kubrick directed other classic films, like The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Paths of Glory, this is undoubtedly his finest hour. A Clockwork Orange is one of the most original films in existence. Like it or not, you'll never forget it... **** out of ****

Sin
(2003)

Got to admit, pretty much a failure
Yeah, George Parker pretty well has it right, especially the part about the woman who says "don't call me baby," after Ving Rhames saves her life. She's laughable. But there are some fine aspects here, such as some of the photography and the overall look of some scenes. And some of the acting isn't bad, particularly that of Gary Oldman. Kerry Washington, who played Rhames's petite younger sister, is to-die-for gorgeous.

The Thing: Terror Takes Shape
(1998)

A Wonderful Documentary On A Wonderful Film
As a huge fan, since its release, of John Carpenter's now-classic "The Thing," I was ecstatic to find out that this was included in the DVD version of the movie, but I have to admit that I was also disappointed as well. There'd been a rumor for nearly two decades (perpetrated by Fangoria magazine) that the brilliant Rob Bottin had actually made much more of a dynamic final scene than the one we now see, but that Carpenter had "chickened out" and cut alot of it at the last minute. So, I figured this documentary would show the "real" ending, especially since the DVD box advertized that there were "deleted scenes." Alas, all you see, when it comes to that final scene, is some home-movie footage of a tiny model being animated by the stop-motion process. I guess we'll never know if that rumor was true or not. Oh well, as stated above, the doc as a whole is still wonderful, with Director Carpenter, star Russell, and several others of the cast and crew, reminiscing and recanting. Rob Bottin rules!!!

Tommy
(1975)

A nearly perfect film version of the classic rock opera
I guess we have some truly blissful film commentators at imdb if it's true what they say about ignorance being bliss. I can't believe some of the things some of them have said here. The guy who wrote the one called "Steaming Pile" should grow a sense of humor. Not only does he take Reed's and Nicholson's performances too seriously, he was actually so stoned when he saw Tommy, that he thinks it's dog-poop Ann-Margret is writhing in in the TV-scene, instead of beans and chocolate, which the TV-set clearly shows you before it explodes!

Oliver Reed is hilarious here. He's supposed to be an unlikable character, and he is, but his singing is so bad you can't help enjoying his performance, albeit in a funny way. Nicholson's great, because he's Nicholson, simply speaking. As for the rest of the film, it's already been said. The direction is wonderful, the music is great (although I agree that the songs "Christmas" and "Go To The Mirror, Boy" are pretty much ruined here), and Daltry was the perfect choice to play the deaf, dumb & blind boy Tommy.

Sappy Bull Fighters
(1959)

All I am saying, is Give Joe a Chance
What's up with all these people ragging on Joe Besser so harshly? The guy may have been little more than a footnote in the Stooges' history, but he could be damn funny in his own right. "Sappy Bullfighters" isn't the best Stooges short for sure, but it wasn't the worst, either (check out "Cuckoo On A Choo-choo" for that honor). And don't blame Joe for repeating Curly's lines. It wasn't his idea, that was the cheapness of what Columbia's shorts department had come to by the end of the 1950s. Joe Besser was a funny guy, as well as a decent person, and he deserves more than the derogatory statements made by some commenters here.

Father Knows Best
(1954)

The Best Family Comedy-Drama Television Has Ever Produced
I was born the year "Father Knows Best" premiered. But it, along with "I Love Lucy," "The Honeymooners" and "Leave It To Beaver," figure quite prominently in my memory. In the case of "Father...", it ran into the early '60s, and was possibly the only series that ran for at least one, if not two seasons--reruns only--in prime time, AFTER they had finished filming the last episode! So I remember it very well, and can say that I grew up watching it, learning from it, and loving it. It seemed everyone in America loved this show when it was on. It was initially a sitcom, but it grew like so many long-running series have done. It matured into a thing that was still quite funny at times, but quite dramatic at others. Robert Young had made movies for years before this, and I've since seen several of them. Oh, he was a good enough actor back then I suppose, but in "Father Knows Best," he was like my second father when I was growing up, and when I see one of his older movies nowadays, it's always a disappointment, simply because he's not Jim Anderson in them! The rest of the cast was fine, but it was Young who really made the show.

I suppose the final comment here should be something like, "yeah, why IS it that 'Father Knows Best' hasn't ever been rerun on Nick or TV Land?" 'Tis a real pity, that. Well, since I wrote that, I've seen that the show was indeed played on TV Land. But a bigger pity nowadays is that the series has yet to be available on DVD! What's up with that???

Of course, as of 2014, the entire series has been released on DVD. I am the happy boy!!

Soup to Nuts
(1930)

WAIT a minute!
Everybody commenting here seems to forget about the fine character actor Charles Winninger, who unfortunately is one of the best things about this mediocre picture. Yeah, we Stooges fans only watched this to see our favorite slapstick guys in their very first exposure to film, and most of us already knew that Healy's semi-popularity as a comedian was a mystery. But there are indeed other things going on here, most notably the aforementioned Winninger, who's the funniest person in this film, most assuredly. Watch out for that gigantic boot!

Hit the Deck
(1955)

Possibly the WORST musical ever made.
While not a huge fan of old-time musicals, I have sure come to appreciate the classics, including many from Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and of course Fred Astaire. "Top Hat," "On The Town," "Anchors Aweigh" and "Singin' In The Rain" are some of my favorites. I watched this on TCM because it featured the great Ann Miller and Debbie Reynolds, and I had never seen Jane Powell before. These three fine ladies' talents were wasted on a film with very weak writing and pedestrian direction. Vic Damone's acting was terrible, and Russ Tamblyn was going through an awkward stage, but did provide some fine acrobatic dancing. But Tony Martin, who I'd never seen before, was unbelievably, embarrassingly bad in every possible way. Who remembers this guy today? His singing was melodramatically pseudo-operatic, he wasn't good-looking, and appears to have had no acting talent whatsoever. What was he doing in front of a movie camera? I honestly believe it's possible that Martin, in this film, KILLED the MGM movie musical. I probably shouldn't say this is the worst musical ever made---didn't Monogram pictures make one once? Or maybe Edward D. Wood Jr. directed one?

Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces
(2000)

An excellent documentary about the Godfather of horror movies
An excellent documentary about the Godfather of horror-film make-up, horror-movie monsters, and horror-movies period, if you ask me. This study of the "man of a thousand faces" was extremely well done and satisfying. A TCM original, it features many elderly folks who are surprisingly still alive today, and a few who aren't (Coogan and Chaney Jr. are seen in clips from the 1970s), reminiscing either about having worked with this great man, or even, like one sweet old lady, just remembering going to the movies to see Chaney during the times his movies were coming out. Probably the two most interesting things for me here were: 1, that alot of things I'd read about this man previously, in horror-movie book chapters and magazine articles, was that he "may" have been some kind of masochist, because of the pain he had to endure with his elaborate make-ups, particularly in his filmic pinnacle, "Phantom Of The Opera." According to experts and Chaney scholars of today, nothing could be further from the truth. Examples were even given, showing how easy it was to have done some of the things he did, particularly in his early film work, where he did most of his "contortionist" stunts. And 2, the myth of the greatness of the most sadly lost Chaney silent, "London After Midnight," which we've all seen photos from, where he played a vampire with cloak and top-hat, and some very big and bizarre-looking teeth. According to two different now-elderly folks who remember seeing that film, it was actually not very successful at all, and laughable at best! One of them said that Chaney had come up with a certain distinctive walk for this character, and was convinced that Groucho Marx must've seen it, and was inspired by it to come up with his famous crouching Groucho-walk! Many other surprises and interesting facts adorn this documentary; a must for any fan or anyone the least bit interested. ***

I Walk Alone
(1947)

A fine, underrated film-noir
After waiting for years to see this fine film-noir, I finally did today. Two young hoodlums (Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas) are running illegal booze into another county during prohibition and get chased by the cops. The two separate after one of the cops is killed, and Douglas escapes, but Lancaster is caught and goes to jail. 14 years later, Lancaster is out and finds that Douglas has gone legit and is the owner of a major nightclub and doing quite well. Lancaster feels Douglas owes him something, and wants to become a full partner. Douglas then makes plans to eliminate him. Part of Douglas's plans include using his own mistress (Lizabeth Scott) to lead Lancaster on. A good thriller all around,predictable at times but very stylish, gritty and involving all the time. A "can't miss" for noir-fans.

Not as a Stranger
(1955)

I can't BELIEVE this has been SO overlooked!!
I've just been treated to this wonderful film, courtesy of the wonderful TCM, and while it is not the best film ever made, and is indeed flawed, I can't believe this has been SO overlooked as it has!! This takes place in then-modern day 1955, which, if you think about it, is just after the Korean war. I'm a BIG fan of the TV series "M*A*S*H," so a film mostly concerning surgeons in the mid-'50s has GOT to interest me. But the real surprise here is that, as popular as giant stars like Robert Mitchum, Olivia de Havilland, Frank Sinatra, and Broderick Crawford were at the time of this film's release, more hasn't been said about it since then. In other words, I should've heard of it long before now.

Mitchum and Sinatra are chums at a medical school, and their prime professor is Crawford. Mitchum is the student EXTREMELY determined to become a doctor, as opposed to Sinatra and other friends, who are pretty half-assed in their desires. Then, Mitchum finds he's having troubles coming up with enough money to finance the tuition for his next year of education. Suddenly, he meets and falls in love with a Swedish nurse, who has plenty of money to help him through the hard times. So Mitchum then marries the lady. Mitchum's friend Sinatra thinks this is a bad thing to do, and tells him so, but life goes on. Like I said, this is not a movie without flaws, but it's so full of rich performances and a cast of unbelievable stars of past and present (hey, when was the last time you saw the Little Rascals' Alfalfa and the Beverly Hillbillies' Miss Jane in the same movie?). This is so totally worth seeing. As a fan of old movies, and having a total appreciation for Mitchum, Sinatra, Ms. de Havilland and Crawford, this was an unexpected joy to behold. ***, out of ****

The Crooked Circle
(1957)

HELP!!
Yes, I have seen this movie, but not for, probably, 35 years or more! Where I grew up, in southern California, in the days before cable or video, there were many old movies that were played on regular broadcast channels. "The Crooked Circle" was one of them, a low-budget film about a boxer pressured into taking "dives." I watched this several times; if there's anybody out there who remembers this movie, PLEASE either email me, or comment on this website about it. I'd LOVE to see this film again!!

Jurassic Park III
(2001)

A typical "part 3" sequel; dumb story but great special effects.
I thought the movie was thoroughly predictable, at least when it comes to the story and the characters. It's a typical "Part III" sequel, in that the importance of profits to these film makers seemed to tower over making the story credible. The two best things about it? That the special dinosaur effects were superb as usual, and that the film is only 90 minutes long. Having already known about those two things is what made me go to a theater and pay the money. A bone-headed but decent popcorn movie.

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