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It's all about the ANGST, Baby!!!
I assumed that a series like Rollergirls would contain some roller-derby...

Alas, so far only a little...

What IS the deal with this show? The director follows around a bunch of ordinary women who happen to skate in a (all women) roller-derby league in their spare time. The viewer is privy to the team members trials and tribulations including but not limited to: feelings of self doubt, physical weariness, group in-fighting, frustrations regarding each other's integrity (or lack of), friendships, rivalries and so on, ad nauseum. Why would we care? They are ROLLERGIRLS, Baby! Only you would hardly know it from watching...

Actual track time during a roller derby match is limited to a surreal video collage that lasts no more than 3 minutes (and seems like MUCH less) per episode. It is impossible to figure out what is happening during the match without the narration which is provided by editing the track announcer's comments. The cameras are NOT set up to really give the viewer a grasp of the action. Absolutely the opposite. Then there's the gaffs like the announcer talking about a 5 point lead while the scoreboard reads 16 to 22. Excuse me, TV is a VISUAL MEDIUM!!!! If you can not tell the story with pictures you should give up! Without the context of the actual match to ground it, the interaction of the characters is irrelevant.

Another really annoying thing about this show is the way that the director takes you to the curtain but does not really let you see behind it. What is the deal with roller derby? Is it fake? Is it real? Is it a show? What is it? Rollergirls is no help even though the director devotes a lot of air time to the team practices. Mostly you get to see skating, stretching and exercising. You do not get to see how to punch, how to fall and the various tricks (that the girls OBVIOUSLY know) for making fake violence look real.

Having said all that, the series has its moments. In 3 episodes that have been shown so far, a rollergirl's real first name is used exactly once. I understand the realities of a performer not wanting her real name used and would not have it any other way. But seeing "Lunatic" who only gets to skate on a "day pass" from the "State Mental Institution" at her day job in an office is hysterical. Then there is halftime at the Rollerderby where each team (of dedicated amateur athletes) goes outside and sits in the team school bus smoking cigarettes until the match starts again. Or anything that "Miss Conduct" does or says.

All in all, a mixed bag. Do not tune in if you are expecting to see roller-derby matches.

The New Roswell: Kecksburg Exposed

SciFi ="Science" FICTION
The second installment of Bryant Gumbel's shameless pandering to the UFO cult sub culture.

All of the teasers that the SciFi channel shows for these programs promise evidence. Together the 2 shows run for a total of 4 hours and not one shred of HARD evidence is presented.

All sorts of "eye-witnesses" are interviewed. What I want to know is why no one from the military clean up crews has ever come forward. None of the grunts who picked up pieces of the Roswell saucer or Kecksburg capsule are anywhere to be found. From those (oh so credible) eye witness accounts there had to be several hundred if not a thousand or 2 such men doing the clean up. They probably outnumbered the population of Roswell & Kecksburg. Not one has EVER come forward. WHERE ARE THEY?

The problem with circumstantial evidence is that it points any direction you want it to. I propose that Mr Gumbel & his producers has collaborated with the SciFi Channel to suppress the voices of those who wish to tell the truth about Roswell & Kecksburg. I submit that they have been contacted by hundreds of (above described) GI's who will gladly tell the world that Roswell was a weather balloon crash and Kecksburg was a sputnik. Hey Bryant, quit supressing the TRUTH about Roswell & Kecksburg!

Just remember that SciFi stands for "Science" FICTION.

The Rockford Files

Reality Private Investigating
This show destroyed the Private Detective show formula.

At the time, most TV PI's had cutie pie secretaries (Mannix' secretary Gail and Barnaby Jones' ex Miss America Lee Meriweather in particular), Jim Rockford had an answering machine...

All TV PI's had nice offices with dark wood paneling, Rockford's office was the living room of his decaying mobile home parked in the lot outside a diner...

It took at least 3 guys fighting dirty to subdue the average TV PI, even short, fat, aging Cannon. Jimmy was always the one getting his head handed to him unless he figured a way to sucker punch his opponent...

At the climax, other TV PI's would pull their guns, shoot it out with the baddies and save the day. Rockford's gun, often as not was still at home in his cookie jar...

TV PI's always had a friend on the police force who would gladly do favors, looking up DMV records, etc. Rockford's friend on the force was always getting in trouble for even knowing Rockford. The Captains & Lieutenants on the force universally viewed Jim as low life scum & not worth the time of day...

The average detective would go about his business, assembling clues to solve this weeks mystery. That is the way it was with Rockford except that he was always dealing with hustlers, con men, ex-convicts and the occasional ex-girlfriends, every one of whose purpose in life seemed to be the bedevilment and aggravation of Jim Rockford. Not to mention the recurring role of Jim's dad Rocky (deftly played by that Trojan actor, Noah Beery) who was always after Jim to give up PIing and do something "respectable" like truck driving.

When this show appeared on TV, every other PI looked dull and one by one they disappeared as they lost ground in the ratings.

This is also the show that put Steven J Cannell on the map. Nothing that he ever did subsequently equaled this. In fact most of it was crappy formula detective shows.

The Rockford Files is the REAL DEAL!

Simon Sez, CHECK IT OUT!

Cold Comfort Farm

Personal Growth at its Best
A sensational movie.

Poor (literally) orphan Flora Poste goes to live with her cousins the Starkadders in Sussex. She finds them "Interesting but appalling..." as opposed to merely "Appalling..." like the rest of her relatives. The reason that they are interesting concerns mysterious references to a wrong done to her now deceased father in boyhood by one of the Starkadders. The Starkadders, one and all, assume that because of this "debt" they will be obliged to hand over the farm.

Cold Comfort Farm turns out to be a cesspool of irrationality. Every last one of the Starkadders would rather be doing something else with someone else somewhere else but none wants Flora to get the farm nor do they believe her when she says she does not want it.

She transforms the situation by encouraging each in turn to reach for their dreams. One by one they do and in the end everyone gets the life that they want. Tony Robbins & Joseph Campbell would be proud.

An excellent movie, Simon Sez check it out!

Quigley Down Under

Quigley or Crazy Cora Down Under?
I loved this movie!

Ex-Confederate officer Matthew Quigley immigrates to Australia to forget the horrors he has recently witnessed. He was hired in advance by the owner of the Marsten Waters Ranch. When he arrives, things are definitely not what he expected due to the fawning treatment he receives from Marsten that comes with the request that he carry out a program of racial purity...

Selleck's performance as Quigley is first rate. I easily believed that although Quigley had watched more than his share of Man's Inhumanity, yet he managed to hang onto his integrity. The character finds himself in a situation where his own actions can transform the circumstances for better. He did not go looking for a fight, but by God, he will finish this one.

Even so, the character of Crazy Cora is my favorite. She is the victim of cruelty also but did not fare as well as Quigley. She is damaged goods, unable to take care of herself in any significant way when the story opens. In the course of the story, she is the one who recovers her Humanity. It is really her story as much as Quigley's.

An excellent movie. Simon Sez check it out.

Stargate SG-1

Where's the Science?
I have read thru the previous comments and have little to add in the way of praise. This series is good & I never miss it. I have enjoyed every episode I have seen.

There is just one little dissatisfier. Pretty much all of the science that is presented in this series is bogus. Sometimes it is so ridiculous I roll around on the ground, howling with laughter. For instance, I just saw an episode where a team (SG-15?) is trapped on a world where the sun just turned into a black hole. Now the team is trapped inside the event horizon and this relativistic time dilation is going on and the whole Earth is going to be sucked thru the gate into the black hole.

Thats fine except that the black holes event horizon is ALWAYS smaller than the original star it formed from. So unless the planet was INSIDE the star to begin with, it could not be inside the black hole event horizon.

And the brilliant solution? bomb their own Stargate to make the wormhole jump to some other Stargate. So some other planet gets sucked into the black hole. Ummmm....thats not something the Good Guys would do...

Great characters, plot development, and pathetically stupid science. What fun!

Knock Outs

What are you reading this for?
You KNOW what kind of movie this is....

This is one of those movies that is full of "talent". Of course, none of the talent is acting ability, directing, special effects, etc.

The first 2/3's of the movie is a snooze. Its only purpose is to set up the excuses for the last third which is a Foxy Wrestling & Boxing Extravaganza.

The college girls need money & have run afoul of the biker chicks (sorry, not as good as it sounds...) and the only way to settle it all is a multi-match showdown with boxing, wrestling, kick boxing and more boxing. My favorite match is the wrestling match between veteran foxy wrestler/boxer Leigh Betchley as "Leigh" and the Incomparable Michelle Grassnick playing "Monique the Magnificent" (and BOY, IS SHE!).

To their credit, it sure looks like the girls all do their own stunts. Several times it looks like a girl is thinking "I am going to KILL my agent for getting me into this..."

So if you like to watch hot babes knock the "spit" out of each other, check this one out.


I had a Seizure watching this film!
Well, almost...

When I first saw this film, back in 1979, my wife & I were 2 of 5 people in the theater at 7:00 on a Friday night. We were about to walk out when Carolyn Munro was sentenced to mine Radium in a bikini for the rest of her natural life. At that point, there was no way to get me out of there.

The remarkable thing about this movie is that every time you think "that is the most ridiculous plot device ever..." something else comes along that blows your socks off. About mid way thru I could not quit laughing. For instance, our heroine sets a ship on collision course with the Evil Count's space fortress. To save herself, at the last second before the catacylismic collision, SHE JUMPS OUT OF THE WINDOW! And then does the BREAST STROKE! through OUTER SPACE! Oh My God! I can't stop laughing!

Bottom Line, this movie is WAY funnier than many that TRY to be funny (Spaceballs, Ice Pirates, etc.)

The Roswell Crash: Startling New Evidence

A work of FICTION
What a complete waste of time. Bryant Gumbel totally marks out for the UFO industry. Not even Pro Wrestling fans are more devoted than Mr Gumbel.... Absolutely no time at all is spent with opposing view points.

And where is the startling new evidence promised in the title? Much of the time in this show is spent on an "archaeological dig" where the weather balloon was found. Which turns up absolutely nothing that they are able to point to as evidence! You would think that if a UFO crashed there some small piece would still be embedded in the ground despite the 1948 cleanup. They do haul dirt off site for chemical analysis and promise to "keep the public posted". Hey, Bryant! I'm turning blue over here! The analysis was no doubt completed while the show was in post production, so if they had found something, it would have been included as a voice-over.

Update Dec 2005: It has been three years since the original air date and the SciFi Channel just ran this show again. Still no information on evidence found in dirt excavated from the site. I may be leaping to a conclusion here, but to me no news means they FOUND NOTHING!

So the only thing new was a supposed computer enhancement of a photograph. In the photo, an officer is holding a document. Supposedly this document is an order to cover up the "truth" about the UFO crash or at least that is what the computer enhancement "reveals". If you figure that the photo was taken with the standard 5 X 7 press camera of the era, on the photo, what is being enhanced is a spot less than 1/2 inch across. Add to that the document is being held at an angle to the camera, and you can barely distinguish where one word ends & another starts. Some evidence. They could make up whatever they want.

The rest of the show is a bunch of ex-military people who have decided that their pensions are not enough so they write UFO books and hit the lecture circuit, accusing each other of spreading misinformation. Thats the one thing that they are all correct about.



A Shaggy Dog Story
I usually do not like UFO stories but I got sucked in by the story telling and acting. Mostly I enjoyed it for what it was while it was being told.

But the last episode or 2 are a waste of time. Spielberg totally paints himself into a corner and hopes that noone notices.

A big deal is made of the fact that we humans since we are ruled by our passions, are not ready for amazing psychic powers or advanced technology like the aliens have. Fair enough. But would not the reverse be true?

Surely the aliens will realise at some point that turning themselves into beings ruled by emotion would have the same result.

Just like AI its a well crafted, well told, stupid idea. A shame since there are plenty of good stories out there to choose from.

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