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The Ultimate Gift

A Christmas Carol meets It's A Wonderful Life
It's that good. Jason Stevens, the spoiled grandson of Texas oil baron Red Stevens, shows up late for Red's funeral and makes a scene. At the reading, or more appropriately, the viewing, of the will, Red says that in order for Jason to get his inheritance, he'll have to work for it. He goes to Houston, and then to a ranch owned by Red's friend, Bill, who puts him to work digging, and string, fence posts. After thirty days, he returns to Houston, where he's paid for his work. He goes out on a date with his new flavor of the month, and has his car towed. Then after dinner, when he's about to pay, his credit cards are declined. He runs to his mother to ask her for money but she turns him down. He loses his home, and becomes homeless for a few weeks. Then he meets Emily and her mother Alexia. Emily's a young girl with terminal cancer. She's outspoken. One of the conditions of Red's will was that Jason find one true friend before Thanksgiving. When Jason tells Emily that he needs a friend, she tells him to explain himself. Emily carries a pink umbrella and was at Red's funeral. When Jason goes to visit her in the hospital, he finds her in the Red Stevens Wing. He sees one of her wigs. When Jason and Alexia go to Thanksgiving at the Stevens' mansion, Emily's left behind. Jason has to go to South America, where he's taken prisoner by rebels. He went there to bring new books to the library his grandfather founded. Before he goes, Emily yells at him: "YOU'D BETTER BE BACK BY Christmas!" He goes into rebel territory to find out what happened to his father who'd died in a plane crash. He and a local are held for an indeterminate amount of time. On Christmas, they're taken from their huts, thinking that they're going to be killed but the rebels wish them a merry Christmas. Jason escapes and makes it home. Emily's still a little mad. He tells Emily that he was detained. He calls up Bill and asks him to send a jet. They fly into Houston and go to Bill's ranch. The three of them go horseback riding and Emily asks him what his best gift is. Jason thinks it's money. Then he asks her and her what the ultimate gift is and she says it;s health. When Jason goes to see her again. he finds out that she died, and he comes up with the idea for Emily's Home. Hamilton finally says that he's completed everything that Red had put out for him and gives him a check for hundred thousand dollars, which he uses to get Emily's Home started.

The Christmas Card

American soldier in Afghanistan is ordered home
The Christmas Card begins in Afghanistan where he's fighting the Taliban. Cody, the hero, is a sergeant at an unnamed base. It's almost Christmastime and one of his men, Jonesy, is putting Red Cross care packages away, when the Taliban shell the base. Killing Jonesy, who's due to return home to marry his fiancée. Cody receives a Christmas card from Faith, a kindergarten teacher in his hometown of Nevada City, after Jonesy's death, Cody wants to return to duty but his CO orders him stateside. He returns to Nevada City and enters the local diner. He orders a a sandwich, curly fries, and hot chocolate. He finally meets Faith who offers him some of her fries. He's falling in love with her but there's a problem. She's engaged to Paul, an international wine broker, who wants to force her to choose between him and her family. Luke, and his brother, Richard, run a lumber mill. Faith and her mother work there as well. Cody decides to leave on Christmas Eve and stops by the local Vietnam Memorial to pay his respects to the fallen___including his father.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

Good movie
It wasn't great but it was good. I'm not as harsh as the reviewer who gave it three stars, and I didn't give it 10 stars either. I gave it 7 stars, which is in between. What did I like about it? The story was believable. Scarlet fever, and other diseases that we have medicines for today, was a killer. It was set on a farm in New Hampshire just after the Civil War. Tilly, the oldest of three children, is a writer who concocts an incredible story to get her wealthy grandmother to come up. Then, as now, people were worried about losing their homes in foreclosure. Ellis Bassett was killed in the war and Mrs. Bassett has to pay rent to Mr. Hopkins, whose son. Gad, wants to marry Tilly, but her mother opposes it. Where does she go? What does she do? Watch the movie and find out,

I Want to Keep My Baby!

Watch this movie and then ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager
and you'll see that they're quite similar. I Want To Keep My Baby starred Mariel Hemingway as a girl who became pregnant by her boyfriend and decided to keep her baby, whom she named Elizabeth, after the youngest daughter on The Waltons, rather than give it up for adoption or raise it at home with her meddling mother. Sue Ann Cunningham is your average Southern California teenager. She gives birth, and becomes an irresponsible mother. Her boyfriend refuses to take care of their daughter, and she goes about her normal teenage activities, including going to the pool in their apartment complex, with her friends. This is similar to the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. This movie was the inspiration for that series. It also inspired the ABC After School Special Teenage Father, and three episodes of 7th Heaven about teenage pregnancy. Watch this movie and then ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and you'll see the similarities.

That's Impossible!

I like it
That's Impossible! is a science-based documentary on the History Channel narrated by Jonathan Frakes, best known for Lieutenant Commander William T. Riker, on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The show deals with everything from lasers and mind control to weather warfare. The series also mentions HAARP, a program that deals with the ionosphere. Leading scientists like Nick Pope discuss various aspects of the proposed technology. The first episode was about weather warfare. The second was about lasers, and their possible use in warfare by 2025 and maybe even by our troops. The third episode, which aired last night, was about mind control.


Good show Where's the American version?
I found Primeval on the Sci-Fi Channel a couple of weeks ago. It's a good show. Where's the American version? The show's about a team of scientists who try prevent anomalies and prehistoric animals, (sometimes futuristic animals), from taking over our time period. Professor Cutter leads a team that includes Connor Temple and Abby Maitland. Jenny's the spin doctor for the team, which works for the Home Office. Their boss has hired someone to break up the team. Friday's episode was about a boy who was playing basketball with his friends when he was taken by a mysterious creature from our future. It was vaguely human, and Abby, a former zookeeper, asked Cutter if he thought that they were our descendants.


"SHAZZAN, save us from the monster!"
Chuck and Nancy, (no last names,) found a mysterious ring in a chest, "Inside a cave, off the coast of Maine." The introduction tells us that "when joined, the two halves form the word Shazzan, and they are magically sent back to the fabled land of the Arabian Nights..." There, they meet their genie, Shazzan, who'll serve them when called upon but he can't return them home until they return the ring to its rightful owner. Shazzan also presents them with a magical flying camel named Kabubbi. The title of this review's an example of one of the cries for help Chuck and Nancy always made to Shazzan.I used to watch it when I was little, and then again, when it was on in syndication back in the early 1980s. The cartoon was very loosely based on the Arabian Nights. One episode had Aladdin, and even the African Magician, (named Jaffar in the Disney movie,) but I digress. Anyway, Chuck and Nancy were always getting into trouble, and had to bailed out by Shazzan. Good show. Too bad it wasn't longer.

The Fantastic Journey

What about Lost?
A previous reviewer compared The Fantastic Journey to shows like Stargate SG-1 and Sliders. He listed 8 similarities between the shows. He should have listed a 9th. Which show, you ask? What about Lost? You have a doctor, (Fred in TFJ, Jack in Lost), a psychic, (Liana in TFJ, Desmond in Lost,) a man of faith, (Varian in TFJ, and Locke, in Lost,) see the similarities? If you don't, I do. In TFJ, you have a scientific expedition lost in the Bermuda Triangle. In Lost, you have 48 survivors from a plane crash on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. In TFJ, our little group of travelers is trying to get back to their times. In Lost, that's not so clear. Jack wants to go home in the first three seasons. Locke doesn't. When you consider the similarities between the two shows, you can't help but recognize the fact that this '70s show was an influence on Lost. J.J. Abrams and Co., say that the game Myst, was one of the influences. Did I leave someone out? I did? Well, my bad. You also have another man of science, in Jonathan Willaway. Did I leave anyone else out? I don't think so. If I did, too late to change it now.


Richard Castle is a mystery novelist like James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, and others. Castle got bored with his character Richard Storm, the hero of such books as Storm Warning, etc., and killed him off. ( A decision real life mystery author James Patterson calls him out on during a poker game in the first episode, Flowers For Your Grave), he said that he should have retired him or sent him on a trip rather than put a bullet in his head. Susan Sullivan is his mother, a drama queen actress. His daughter, Alexis, is a typical New York teenager. The cases are different every week. Which brings me to Det. Kate Beckett. (Stana Katic), who has a love- hate relationship with Castle. Castle was handcuffed to her car to keep him from interfering in her investigation. Her mother was killed in what the medical examiner at the time, called "an accident." At the end of the season finale, he was going to tell Kate something she doesn't want to hear. I'd tell you more but then I'd have to kill you.


WOO HOO! Eliza Dushku's HOT!
I just started watching Dollhouse Friday night. WOO HOO! Eliza Dushku's HOT! Does she always wear a miniskirt in every episode? I found it when there was nothing else on to watch. Her character in Dollhouse is different from the one she played in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Echo, (Dushku,) is a Doll, a mind-wiped, DNA-altered human with false memories. Echo has an alias. I think it's Katherine, I'm not sure, because as I said before, I just found it on Friday. The episode on Friday night was about a drug that got people high through touch. The show is tight, taught, and well-written. Amy Acker's a British scientist, and Ms. Acker, whom you may remember as Fred, from Angel, does a good job of pulling off an effective British accent. I'm sorry for screaming but it had to be said.


I love this show
I love this show. Warriors with Terry Schappert is interesting. It takes a look at various warrior cultures. Last night it was about the Germanic tribes who united under Arminius to defeat the Roman governor Publius Quintilius Varus, and three Roman legions, in the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest. The Romans hated fighting in forests. Why? Because they didn't know where the enemy was. The first episode was about the Maya. There the second episode, which aired last week, and again last night, was about the Vikings. The reason why the Romans HATED fighting in forests was the same reason why we hated fighting in forests during World War II. The show is, as I said before, interesting. The host is a Green Beret medic. Mr. Schappert

helps explain everything with the help of local re-enactors. They help him explain the weapons used at the time.

The Mentalist

The Mentalist is a hoot at times
I love this show. Simon Baker is Patrick Jane, a consultant to the CBI, California Bureau of Investigation, which is the state equivalent of the FBI. Jane's a former psychic who lost his wife and daughter to a serial killer who calls himself "Red Jack." Red Jack, according to the pilot, takes great sadistic pleasure in watching his victims watch him as he's killing them. Since the pilot, the shows have gotten better. The most recent, Carnelian Inc, was about a murder in a conglomerate. Jane always has a way to know who's lying and who's telling the truth. He called himself a psychic before the deaths of his wife and daughter. Then he went to work for the state of California. His boss is Agent Teresa Lisbon. The Mentalist is a hoot at times. You can't help but laugh at the funny situations.

Eleventh Hour

British remake of The X-Files
I don't get BBC America anymore. Now that I live in Sanford, my cable company doesn't carry it. When I lived in Saco, my old cable company did carry it. So I'm not familiar with the British version of Eleventh Hour. However, I am familiar with The X-Files. Eleventh Hour is a British remake of The X-Files. Both shows are similar. The series is about a government scientist who works for the FBI. (In the British version, it's the Home Office,) who has an FBI babysitter. Agent Rachel Young is Dr.Jacob Hood. The pilot, and episodes that followed, dealt with everything from natural gas in the water, to cloning. In the pilot, an unknown fertility doctor with the alias "Gepetto," is cloning babies. Gepetto was revealed to be a doctor who was infertile and wanted to remake herself. Another episode dealt with a Department of Environmental Protection official who was polluting the water supply of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to make a point. Young is Scully, the skeptic, and Hood is Mulder, the believer, who thinks everything's related. There aren't any references to UFOs in this show, unlike The X-Files, but the stories are more mundane and down-to-earth.

By the Sword Divided

Very good
I first saw this on Masterpiece Theater back in 1986. I think it was a repeat. It'd about two families. The Laceys, who are Royalists, (people loyal to King Charles I,) and the Fletchers, who are Roundheads, (people loyal to Oliver Cromwell, and by extension, Parliament.) Very good. The Laceys are Royalists, (Cavaliers,) who support the English monarchy, and King Charles I.

Charles I, who as everyone knows, or should know, was England's first absolute monarch since King John, prior to the signing of the Magna Carta, at Runnymede in 1215. The Fletchers, Roundheads, (Parliamentarians,) are upset with King Charles because he repeatedly dismissed Parliament. The Parliament that rebelled against Charles I was known as the Rump Parliament, part of the Long Parliament, which refused to be dismissed, until Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector of the English Commonwealth, which lasted until his death in 1659. and the Restoration of King Charles II.

Bad Girls

Bad Girls Do...
....have more fun. Bad Girls is about four "soiled doves," Cody Zamora, (Madeline Stowe,) Anita Crown, (Mary Stuart Masterson,) Eileen Spenser, (Andie McDowell,) and Lily Laronette, (Drew Barrymore. Anita's abused by a client, and her friends promptly shoot him. Cody's almost lynched but they make good their escape, and meet up with Josh, a prospector on his way to Oregon to stake his claim. Meanwhile, the Pinkertons, in the form of detectives O'Brady, and Graves, are hired by Colonel Clayborne's widow to find them because she has a very low opinion of the law in the town. Cody, Anita, Eileen, and Lily, are in another town, where Cody tries to withdraw her money from the bank. Kid Jarret, an outlaw, and his gang, rob the bank, taking Cody's money, which totals over $12,000. Cody goes after Kid and finds his hideout. She meets Kid's father, who stole Josh's father's claim, and whom Josh wants did. Cody's beaten by Kid, and brought back to town. Will, a poor rancher, is deputized, by the town marshal, and is taken in by Eileen, who was left behind by Cody, Anita, and Lily, when she couldn't mount her horse. Lily's taken by Kid and held hostage. Kid plans to steal a shipment of Army rifles, and a Gatling gun. Anita, who's a widow, has a homesteading claim in Oregon, but can't make good on it because her husband's dead. Kid wants to have Lily as the gang's personal whore. Kid and his gang steal the shipment of Army rifles, and the Gatling gun, and Cody, Anita, and Eileen, steal the Army rifles and Gatling gun, from Kid and his gang. They also take Kid's father, whom they plan to trade for Lily. Josh kills Kid's father and they go to Kid's hideout to rescue Lily. Cody, Anita, and Eileen, rescue Lily and shoot up Kid's hideout. Kid's out of ammunition so Cody takes a bullet from her Winchester rifle, gives it to him, and tells him to shoot and die like a man. OUCH! THAT WAS COLD! I've always wanted to say this so here goes, Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Eileen helps Will pitch hay to his stock, and confesses to him that she's not from New Orleans. Her father was a dirt rancher from East Texas and she wanted to marry a rich man but all she ended up with was a broken heart. Cody gives Will some of her money so he can pay the mortgage on the ranch. Then Cody, Anita, and Lily, head for the Klondike. In Oklahoma, Graves asks a homesteader if he's seen her, and he says no. She's probably far away by now. This, as she and her two friends, are riding north. A good movie.

Last Stand at Saber River

Another movie based on an Elmore Leonard story
Elmore Leonard wrote Westerns before he started writing crime novels. 3:10 To Yuma was about a man who took a job as a deputy to bring in a killer. Last Sand at Saber River is about Paul Cable, (Tom Selleck,) a former Confederate soldier, who returns home to his ranch in Arizona, only to find it occupied by Union sympathizers. Cable and his family have to fight to get their home back. I'd tell you more but then that would be spoiling it. Right? It's another movie based on an Elmore Leonard story. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 10. All right, without giving away much of the plot, Cable is a Civil War veteran who headed to Texas to join the Confederate Army, and according to the story. was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The story says that he wounded in the leg and was given ninety days to recover and ordered to go home because there was a shortage of beds in the field hospital.

High Noon

Do not forsake me, oh my darling
High Noon's about Marshal Will Kane, (Gary Cooper,) who's recently married, and is about to turn his position over to his loyal deputy. However, as the song says, "the noonday train will bring Ben Miller..." Kane had sent Ben Miller, ('70s parodist Sheb Wooley,) to prison years before. There was a television sequel to it in 1980. with Lee Majors and Parnell Roberts in the roles made famous by Cooper and Wooley. So what happens? Kane is the man who sent Miller to prison, which one? We don't know. Let's assume that it's the Yuma Territorial Prison, in Arizona. Miller, at his trial, sat in the witness chair, and said he'd kill Kane. Nobody in town wants to be deputized to go after Miller. Kane's wife, Amy, threatens to leave him. Her friend, Katy Jurado, tries to talk some sense into her. What happens next? Meet me in the middle of the street at high noon, with your Colt drawn, and I'll tell you.

Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special

Very Funny
When Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special was on the air, it was 1980. Jimmy Carter had just lost the election to Ronald Reagan, John Lennon was less than a month from being assassinated, and I was in college. Hard to believe, but it's true. There was a time before the internet when people actually had to watch television without going to the network's website. Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special, (yes, folks, that's its actual name,) was a compilation of old Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny cartoons. In one, Bugs and Daffy were with rival television stations. One was KPUT. I forget the name of Bugs' television station. In another, Bugs and Daffy were on a game show like Let's Make A Deal. The object was to test their friendship. Daffy eventually gives the "million box" and its contents, to his friend, Bugs Bunny. Then he finds out from the host that if he'd kept it, he would have won a million bucks. He turns into a donkey and brays when he's asked how he feels. He also says that KPUT is kaput.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

I laughed, I cried, I kicked my ass
What if you met a real life superhero and she was needy, jealous, controlling, and manipulative? That's what happened to Matt Saunders when he met Jenny Johnson. Jenny's secret identity is G-Girl. In the beginning, G-Girl foils a jewelry store heist. Then we see Matt, his best friend Vaughn, and museum curator Jenny Johnson on the New York City subway. Matt gives her a cheesy pickup line and she agrees to go out with him. After dating for a few days, or weeks, Matt breaks up with her. Then he meets Hannah Lewis, a girl he works with, and checks her out. After breaking up, (badly,) with Jenny,, who's G-Girl, (are you following me so far?) , he goes to Hannah's apartment, and when they're making love, G-Girl, (Jenny,) throws a shark through Hannah's window. Matt then goes to see Barry, also known as Professor Chaos, G-Girl's enemy. He agrees to help him neutralize G-Girl. He lures Jenny to his apartment, where he has the meteor that turned Jenny into G-Girl. Then Vaughn and Hannah show up unexpectedly. Vaughn has playoff tickets and Hannah becomes jealous of Jenny. Jenny and Hannah try to stop each other from touching the meteor and Jenny gets her superpowers back while Hannah gets them for the first time. When Hannah and Matt are making love, His bed goes through the wall and into Vaughn's apartment. The rest? I'd tell you but I won't.

Life on Mars

Life on Mars different
Life on Mars is different from most shows. Is it science fiction or is it police procedural? It'd both. Based on the British series of the same name, Life on Mars is about a man out of time. Maybe I should say that he's come downtime from uptime. Detective Sam Tyler's a man from post-9/11 New York. His girlfriend is another detective. She disappears in New Jersey while they're looking for a serial killer. Sam's chasing the serial killer on foot when he's hit by a car and ends up in 1973. Thirty-five years from where he started and from everything he knew. Sam looks up and sees the then-recently completed World Trade Center. New York in the 1970s, especially, 1973, was a city in decline. It wasn't just New York in 1973, but also other cities, were in financial distress. However, with New York, it was more pronounced. There was even a famous headline about it. So what happened? Sam Tyler was hit by a car, ended up in 1973, the year of the Arab Oil Embargo, Vietnam, and the Yom Kippur War. Sam thinks its all a dream, a figment of his imagination. He meets old school cops led by Harvey Keitel and Michael Imperioli. He also meets a cop all the men call "No Nuts" because she's a woman and isn't taken seriously, No Nuts lives in Queens with her parents and has a psychology degree from Fordham. The serial killer in 2008, a man named Colin Rames, was the neighbor of another serial killer.

Batman Begins

The best movie since Batman (1989)
This is the best movie since Batman (1989). Christian Bale, like Michael Keaton, played the role darkly. It begins with a young Bruce Wayne falling into a well while playing with Rachel Dawes, who eventually becomes an assistant district attorney. Young Bruce has a fear of bats. They go to theater, and Bruce begs his parents to leave. They make the fatal mistake of going into the alley, where they're robbed, and killed, by Joe Chill. Fast forward a few years. and we see Bruce Wayne returning to "Stately Wayne Manor," as it was called in the series. Bruce is trained by Ra's al Guhl, and returns to Gotham City to save it from the Scarecrow, and Ra's al Guhl. the mastermind behind the plot to make the people of Gotham mindless with fear. Batman stops them. Sergeant, by the end of the movie, Lieutenant, James Gordon, the future police commissioner, tells him about the Joker. Setting up the next movie.

Per un pugno di dollari

"A man with a rifle beats a man with .45"
This is the movie that started it all. "A Fist Full of Dollars" is the first of the "Dollars Trilogy." It's about The Man With No Name Set in the village of San Miguel, Mexico, TMWNN enters town from an unnamed state. Presumably, Texas. He's told by a loco Mexican that the Rojos will kill him. His first time in town, he's laughed at by three gunslingers. The Rojos are one of two groups of Mexican revolutionaries, (bandidos,) who are looking for guns. So they go about stealing a shipment of rifles. Ramone Rojo tells TMWNN that a man with a rifle beats a man with a .45. By the end of the movie, TMWNN rescues Marisol, her husband, and her son, from the Rojos. He then leaves town after killing Ramone.

Custer of the West

Politically correct claptrap
This is the first time, the VERY FIRST TIME, I've ever, EVER, given a movie I've reviewed here a 1. Hopefully, it won't be the last. But this movie, this abomination of politically correct claptrap, won't be remade any time soon. Custer of the West tells the highly fictionalized story of Lt. Col., Brvt. Maj, Gen. George Armstrong Custer, (Robert Shaw,) who comes to the conclusion that our treaties with the Indians are a sham. Nobody cared how we treated the Indians in the 19th century. By 1876, the era of Lewis and Clark was long over, and the attitude of the American people had changed. They wanted the Indians off their land. (Funny, because the Indians, the Sioux, and Northern Cheyenne, thought that the land was theirs, and that we were the intruders.) Maybe we were, Land, religion, and a clash of cultures, have always fueled, or caused, wars. The movie was the worst movie I'd ever seen, and I saw it back in 1974.

ABC's Wide World of Sports

Remember Munich?
If you're old enough, you probably do. If not, where do you think all that tight security came from? Before 9/11/01, there was Munich. The 1972 Munich Olympics were supposed to be the showcase of postwar Germany. After the hate-filled, politicized 1936 Olympics, Munich was going to be the best Olympics that were to be. However, that wasn't to be, Why? Because the Munich Olympics were marred by what became known as the "Munich Massacre," when Palestinian terrorists kidnapped Israeli athletes, and later killed them in a botched commando rescue attempt. One man covered that event for sixteen straight hours. That was Jim McKay of ABC Sports, and the host of ABC's Wide World of Sports. Jim McKay, the man who covered the most unusual sports ever.

Kenny Rogers as The Gambler

You've Got To Know When To Hold 'Em, Know When To Fold 'Em
Based on the #1 1978 song, Kenny Rogers As The Gambler is about Brady Hawkes, the titular gambler, and a young wanna-be named Billy Montana. Brady receives a letter from his son. His mother's remarried and his stepfather's beating the tar out of him. The Gambler has a son? Wait a minute! THAT wasn't in the song! That's right. It wasn't. Why? The song was a two-minute short story. The movie, which aired on CBS, was two hours long. According to the summary. 94 minutes. That's without the ads. Who remembers what they were advertising on television back in 1980? RCA, Zenith, Chrysler, Ford. and General Motors, to name a few, The others? Who knows? On the way to see his son, Brady and Billy meet Eliza, a prostitute, who rides in Charles Strobridge's private rail car. The movie's probably set between 1875 and 1880. Where? Probably somewhere in the Southwest. The song says "On a warm summer's evening on a train bound for Nowhere..." So my guess it's probably set in Arizona. There's actually city called Nowhere. We don't know. Would we like to? Maybe, maybe not. It could be anywhere in the Old West.

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