alliesmom97

IMDb member since July 2003
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    IMDb Member
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Reviews

Thunderbirds
(2004)

Just for fun
For crying out loud, WHY do so many people here behave as though every movie has to be a "Ghandi" or a "Star Wars" (which I totally LOVE...don't get me wrong!) Thunderbirds wasn't a special effects masterpiece, it wasn't thought provoking, it wasn't an edge of your seat spine tingling thriller...how likely was it that a movie based on a 1960's cartoon with characters who looked like a cross between Claymation figures and marionettes WOULD be? What it was was ninety minutes, give or take, of escapism. It was FUN. We sat and watched it with our two daughters with no fear of nudity, profanity, or sexual innuendo. It made for a relaxing evening.

Anything wrong with that?

Yours, Mine & Ours
(2005)

Not as bad as some are saying
If you have seen the "real" version of this movie than the best (and maybe ONLY) way to enjoy this movie is to accept right off that it is not REALLY "based on a true story". With the exception of the names of the two central characters, the number of children involved, and that title, it is NOT really based on the lives of Frank Beardsely and Helen North Beardsely and their combined family. With that said, if you are really interested in that story, I recommend reading Helen North Beardsely's book "Who Gets the Drumstick" If you can do this, or if you have never seen the original, it's not a bad way to spend an afternoon, esp. if you have kids, who WILL like it! It has it's funny and touching moments and Quaid and Russo are good. Most of the kids do an OK job, but with so many of them you never get a real feel for their characters. And it does manage to send a message that adults who choose to blend their families sometimes forget....that just because THEY fell in love doesn't mean their kids will accept things as easily.

Raise Your Voice
(2004)

A sweet movie
Yes...it was sweet. And I for one don't think there's a thing wrong with that.

Hilary Duff does an outstanding job as a small-town girl with big dreams. After her brother is killed in a car accident, her father becomes more determined than ever to keep her "safe" at home with him. With the help of her mother and aunt, she sneaks away to a performing arts school where she faces the challenges of trying to fit in, trying to find out if she's "good enough", trying to keep her whereabouts a secret from daddy; all while dealing with the loss of her brother.

As a parent of an 8 year old girl, I appreciate movies like this one. My daughter is expressing an interest in movies beyond animated Disney films. She also loves singing and dancing. "Raise Your Voice" fit the bill perfectly. It was a more "grown up" movie with the performing she loves, and had none of the blatant sex or profanity that so many movie makers feel compelled to fill their films with. As an adult, I like a good story and if it happens to have some sex and profanity, I can accept that. As a parent, I like an occasional good story that doesn't have it. And "Raise Your Voice" is just that!

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes
(1997)

Frightening
Good movie, with good acting, but a very scary look at how coaches are allowed to treat the children under their care by the irresponsible "stage parents" who care more about their kids "making it" than they do about the kids themselves.

Swoozie Kurtz was wonderful, as usual! Great acting, going from a truly caring mom, to a pushy shrew, and finally back to a loving, responsible parent. Phillip Casnoff truly made you hate him! And Courtney Peldon is a very good young actress! And I can't say enough about young Aimee Walker...THAT girl is a REAL inspiration...not just a cute little girl looking pretty and turning flips, but a wonderfully strong human being! I agree with the reviewer who said that a better ending would have been for the mom who finally came to her senses and got her kid away from that maniac coach. And as to the reviewer who thinks "the ends justifies the means" (treatment that bordered on verbal abuse and a lack of regard for the health and safety of his athletes), I can only hope that he never has children....

Mommie Dearest
(1981)

It all depends on you perspective
Not having been there at the time, I can't say if Joan was abusive or if Christina is a liar. I've read reviews here from people who say people who did know them "swear" that yes, she was nuts, or yes, Christina is a liar. I lean towards Joan being wacko, but that's just me.

Now on to the movie. It was EXTREMELY over the top. Dunaway over did it BIG TIME. Diana Scarwid was...how shall I put this?....LOUSY! If Dunaway's performance was frenzied, Scarwid was like a zombie. Mara Hobel was cute and did a good job as young Christina (although in my opinion, it's a form of child abuse to allow your kid to be in a film like this).

I guess if the subject matter were different, I could see how people could classify this as "hilarious". Dunaway's hysterical fits (i.e. the rosebush scene), her pathetic groveling after a man, her grandiose Oscar acceptance speech were so over the top they were almost funny, in a weird sort of way. But true or not, to some people there's just nothing funny about child abuse. I guess I'm just one of those people.

Murder at My Door
(1996)

One BAD movie
I freely admit to being a BIG fan of movies of this type...the made for TV tragedy of some sort. But this was AWFUL! I lost interest and wandered out of the room several times.

It's not a bad idea for a movie...messed up kid kills girls, his parents suspect it but don't want to face it. But it was just badly made and unrealistic. For example, Dad's AA sponsor just happens to be the cop investigating the case and the two of them sit there at an AA meeting and the cop tells Dad all kinds of things about the case that a cop would NEVER tell an outsider! And Dad acted so weird that if you hadn't known from the beginning who the killer was you would have thought it was him. In fact, the only person in the entire family who seemed remotely sane was the kid who was killing the girls...until the last scene, he seemed semi-normal.

I usually go for this kind of thing, but THIS one was a waste of time.

A Friend to Die For
(1994)

Well acted and an important message
"A Friend to Die For" was a very good TV movie. Based on a true story, it tells the story of a young girl who murders a more popular classmate.

Both the young leads did a great job in their roles. The story opens with the actual murder and then launches into the story surrounding it. So effective in her role as the bitchy Stacy is the always attractive Tori Spelling that you almost start to lose sympathy for her as a victim as the movie progresses. It's a big change for her from her role as the sweet, perky Doanna Martin on 90210. Kellie Martin, who is both beautiful and talented, does an equally awesome job as Angela; she is a little too shy, a little too poor and WAY too eager to fit in with the "right" crowd. As wrong as her actions were, you find yourself sympathizing with her. Although she handled her anger and hurt in a very wrong way, the emotions brought on by her treatment at the hands of Stacy (which was also wrong) were real and understandable. By the end of the movie I found myself feeling sad for everyone involved and thinking how different things could have and should have been. IT makes you wonder what went wrong with these two girls that Stacy had no respect for those different or less popular than herself and that Angela felt so badly about herself that she needed Stacy's friendship and approval to feel worthwhile.

A little research will provide you with some interesting information on the actual case. I found it very telling that a friend of the "real" Stacy (Kirsten Costas) dismissed any suggestions that Kristen and her crowd were mean-spirited bullies with the comment "She was only mean to people she didn't care about." How sad that young people today have the attitude that it is OK to mistreat people you don't like. While Kirsten didn't deserve to die and the hands of Bernadette Protti (the "real" Angela), her superior "I am better than you and therefore I shall make you an object of my amusement" attitude is far too prevalent today.

Determination of Death
(2001)

I liked this one!
I actually enjoy mad for TV movies of this type, but even I admit some are better than others. This was among the better ones I have seen.

The story was engaging and well told, the acting wasn't bad, it had some good plot twists, and the solution to the "crime" was a complete surprise! It managed to keep you guessing about what had happened till the very end.

Because the main point of the movie wasn't the abuse that Michelle Greene's character suffered, but more what she did about it, it wasn't sickeningly violent, at least not after the first 15 minutes or so.

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

Liar, Liar
(1993)

Not bad
Kelly Farrow (well played by Vanessa King) is NOT a terribly pleasant child. She bullies her younger siblings, has a reputation for lying, and in general causes trouble in the family. The day after she is spanked by father for locking her brother in the bathroom (which he is terrified of....and we come to learn why!) she tells a friend she's going to "get back at her father". So it comes as no surprise that when she tells a teacher she has been molested by her father, her whole family (except her little brother) and all her friends think she is lying.

I thought this movie was well written and acted. It was really an interesting story because unlike most movies of this sort, the makers initially managed to actually plant doubt as to whether or not Kelly was telling the truth. It was a different approach. It also did a good job of illustrating the "blame the victim" mentality so prevalent in the US legal system. I guess it exists in Canada as well.

Moment of Truth: A Child Too Many
(1993)

Excellent film
This was an great movie, based on a true story. Patti Nowakowski is a loving mom with three children. She decides to become a surrogate for a couple who have one son, but can't have more children.

Patti is not at all concerned about being able to give up the baby, and the couple assures her they wouldn't have any trouble accepting a child with disabilties. When Patti finds out she is carrying twins, we find out that the couple DOES have a problem accepting a boy...they tell Patti they will only take the girl twin and the boy will be surrendered for adoption.

I thought it was very well acted. You really had to hate Stephen Macht who was willing to give away his flesh and blood (his sperm was used) because he was "too old" to be a father to a boy (some utter nonsense about not being able to play ball with him or something like that). Nancy Stafford portrayed the wife exactly as I would have imagined she really was...unable to stand up to her husband. Michelle Green was awesome as Patti, totally willing to honor her contract until she learned the baby boy was being tossed out like he was nothing.

In response to a viewer comment that the movie would have been better if Patti's husband had fought against her, well, maybe so, but maybe that's not how it actually happened. Maybe he was supportive of her.

Switched at Birth
(1991)

Sad story of selfish grownups
I have seen this movie three times and I really like it. It is very well acted by everyone involved, and it moves along at a good pace.

SPOILERS IF YOU DON"T KNOW THE STORY Unlike other reviewers, I find the Twiggs to be the bad guys. Hours after burying Arlena they were ready to rush out and find their "real" daughter. At no point did they show any concern for what was best for Kimberly. If you listen to them, it was always about "their" rights. They cared nothing for the fact that a little girl's life was being turned upside down. One wonders what they would have done had Arlena lived. Would they have told her "sorry, you're not our daughter" and swapped her back? Or would they have insisted they had a right to BOTH girls and Bob Mays was entitled to nothing (that would be my guess.) The bottom line is that this movie showed how selfish adults can be. I agree that the testing needed to be done and Kim told of the results, but it should have been with the understanding that the Twiggs would have only as much involvement in her life as SHE was comfortable with. Would that have been hard on the Twiggs? Maybe so, but parenthood is all about making choices that are best for your child, even if it's not what's best for you. The Twiggs were so determined to force themselves on this little girl that they lost sight of that fact. Given enough time to work things out at her own pace, maybe Kim would have been OK. But these people wanted to pretend like the first nine years of this child's life had never happened...I recall one interview with Kim where she said Regina asked could she call her Arlena. Sick and wrong, baby, sick and wrong! Interestingly enough, Kim is now 25 years old, has been married and divorced, had two children (one of whom she temporarily lost custody of), and is practically living on the streets. And her "real" mom refuses to acknowledge that her actions of years ago play any part in this self-destructive behavior.

Bastard Out of Carolina
(1996)

An upsetting story that was well told
I saw this on Lifetime a few nights ago. It tells the story of a young girl born to an unwed mother into a family that society would classify as "white trash" who becomes the target of her stepfather's wrath and inappropriate attentions.

The story itself is, of course, extremely upsetting. Tales of child abuse always are, and the abuse was pretty violent. It was, however, very well acted. Jena Malone did an awesome job as "Bone", the young victim. Ron Eldard managed to really make you hate him. One minute he is vicious and violent toward Bone, the next he is whining and sobbing pathetically to his wife (her mother) that he can't live without her. Most of the rest of the cast did an pretty good job as well.

In spite of being well told and acted, it was in many ways infuriating. Anney, Bone's mother, was willing to let her child be abused or ship her off to relatives rather than kick out the scumbag. And Bone's large extended family was very loving toward her and DID try to provide her with a safe haven when things got bad but one aunt sent her back knowing she was being molested and one refused to tell the sheriff what had happened after the child ended up in the hospital after a beating and rape attempt. Given a choice between an innocent child and their sister (Bone's mother) who was too stupid to dump her loser and abuser husband, they picked their sister. Sad and pathetic. One wonders how many kids in the real world find themselves in Bone's position...at the mercy of adults who don't have the guts to do what is right.

Deadly Whispers
(1995)

An interesting story
The story (a true one, from what I understand) behind this movie is actually pretty good. Tony Danza really did a fine job of showing a wide range of "emotions". He was absolutely chilling at times. But the accents were AWFUL. I can't say whether or not they were authentic, but I CAN say they were incredibly annoying. And it was a bit odd that for some reason, the oldest daughter's accent wasn't so thick you could cut it with a knife, but the rest of the family's was.

I didn't find the other actor to be all that outstanding, and I hope that Acton's real wife was not as ignorant as she was portrayed here.

All in all, a good story, and some fair acting by the supporting cast, but next time, tone down the accents.

The Bad Seed
(1985)

Pretty bad
I never saw the original "The Bad Seed", but I recall my mother telling me about it and how chilling Patty McCormack's performance was. It is possible that just hearing about the original clouded my judgment, but here's my opinion.

In this version, Carrie Wells was anything but chilling, she was just plain whiny, spoiled, and annoying. I never felt disturbed while watching her, I just felt irritated. She never came across as "evil", just bratty. I just kept wanting to slap the you know what out of her.

I didn't find any of the other actors to be all that impressive in their roles, either.

Heavenly Creatures
(1994)

Sick and wrong.....
Spoiler alert....if you have no idea what the movie is about!

What, I ask you, is "beautiful" about a movie about two teenage girls who brutally murder the mother of one of them because they were not getting their way.

"Heavenly Creatures" appears to try and win sympathy for Juliet and Pauline. Had these girls been in the least likable it might have worked. But they came across as spoiled, self-centered, selfish and egotistical.

This is just one more example of how society today tries to make the criminals into martyrs and victims and the victims into criminals. These two girls beat a woman to death and it is THEM we are supposed to feel sorry for. What about the woman who got her head bashed in? Where's the sympathy for her.

I don't really care if they were lesbian lovers or not, whether they were frantic at the thought of being separated or not, or whether or not they had been emotionally scarred in childhood or not. What they most definitely are is murderers. Maybe they have turned their lives around and are model citizens now, and good for them for doing so. But the fact remains that on that day at that time they cold-bloodedly killed another human being and no matter what statement "Heavenly Creatures" is trying to make, that fact can't be changed.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
(2004)

Not awful...
Just got back from seeing this with my seven year old. And it really WASN'T awful. It was OK.

PROS: The acting was very good...by everyone. Jim Carrey was a little "funnier" than Count Olaf should have been but it's hard not to love him! I thought the children did a great job (is it just me or does Emily Browning look a LOT like Shannen Doherty?). Even the baby was great; how they got her expressions to look so much like she was really saying what her subtitles said is beyond me. Mery Streep was hilarious! And I have to say the pace was good; the story moved along without dragging.

CONS: To quote my daughter "They TOTALLY messed up the way things happened" Of course, you would only know this if you had read the books like she has.

All in all it was an OK movie. Decent acting, not a bad story. But, as is usually the case, not as good as the book. And I have to disagree with the reviewers who say it was better than the Harry Potter movies. Not even close. In both cases changes were made from book to film, in both cases most of the changes were not good ones, but Harry Potter as a movie is still way better than these books as a movie. (Frankly, the Harrry Potter books are better, but that's another story)

A Promise to Carolyn
(1996)

Disturbing content, but well done
This movie tells the story of two adult sisters who seek justice for the murder of their baby sister by their truly wicked stepmother over 30 years earlier.

I found this to be very well acted. While Swoosie Kurtz and Delta Burke are totally different, they both did a great job of being what their characters had become as a result of the trauma of their early lives...Swoozie's character was hard, just a little trashy and a bit off the wall, Delta's was quiet, meek, eager to please--both perfectly plausible ways for children of abuse to end up. The guy playing the prosecutor was fantastic. But one of the best performances was that of the "young" stepmother. Watching the scenes where she brutalized the little girls, and the one where Carolyn was killed, was heart-stopping.

You have to wonder how many "Carolyns" there were so many years ago when abuse was something "nice" people didn't talk about and medical and law enforcement professionals tried to cover up.

Mother Knows Best
(1997)

Pretty good movie
A not too bad Lifetime movie about a snooty, upper class mother who doesn't think her son in law is good enough for her little girl, so naturally, she decides to correct the situation by "getting rid" of him. Joanna Kerns was really good as Celeste, prancing along with a smile on her face as she pulled all her stunts to break up the marriage.

Without giving away too much, one of my favorite exchanges in this movie was:

"So, you ever met a cop?

"No, I don't believe so"

"You have now!"

Deadly Intentions... Again?
(1991)

just didn't make the grade
I was very interested to see this because I had seen "Deadly Intentions" and I wanted to see how the story ended...what happened when the new wife inevitably found out that her new hubby really was a maniac.

Except for the fact that I did find out I was very disappointed in this one. Maybe if I hadn't seen the first one, I wouldn't have been.

The character of Sally only appeared briefly in "Deadly Intentions", during Charles Raynor's trial, but she was quiet and seemed very classy. She was portrayed in the second movie as a Southern stereotype...bad accent, and kind of tacky. This is no reflection on Joanna Kerns, who is a good actress. It was more the way the character was written this time around.

Harry Hamlin is a fine actor but he just couldn't pull off Charles Raynor like Michael Biehn. It's difficult to explain the difference...Hamlin came off as evil, which Raynor was, of course. But he couldn't quite give me that feeling that he was totally "unhinged" like Biehn did. Hamliln's Raynor made me think "Yuck"...Biehn's literally made my skin crawl!

Double Standard
(1988)

Stupidity abounds....
Like another reviewer, I watched this because it was a true story and I am a sucker for "true story movies".

The movie itself wasn't that bad. The acting was decent and the story was told pretty well. But it's just TOO aggravating because you hate to believe that are really people in this world as stupid as Leonard Harik's wife! I hesitate to say too much in the interest of spoilers but let's just say Harik's teenager daughter was smarter than his wife...at least she could sense something wasn't right in her family.

Considering how irritating the story was, the movie didn't do too bad a job of telling it.

Deadly Intentions
(1985)

One of the creepiest movies I have ever seen
A REALLY disturbing movie! Madolyn Smith plays Katherine Raynor, a young, naive woman who falls for and marries Dr. Charles Raynor, awesomely portrayed by Michael Biehn. Before long (but unfortunately AFTER she has his child), she realizes that he is NOT what he seemed.

Madolyn Smith did a fine job as Katherine, but the best performances were by Michael Biehn and Cloris Leachman. Michael Biehn was incredible as the "good" doctor, he really made you believe he was totally unhinged! And as for Cloris Leachman, well if Raynor's mother was anything like she portrayed her, you can almost see why he was such a wakco.

There was a sequel, "Deadly Intentions...Again", but unless you are really dying to know what happened "after", skip it. It does tell you that, but it doesn't hold a candle to this one.

Maverick
(1994)

Just plain fun
I can't think of any other way to describe it! This one will never win any awards, but so what! Mel Gibson is great as Brett Maverick, and Jodie Foster is adorable (sorry, but I can't think of any other way to describe her!) as Annabelle. James Garner is very good, too. The chemistry between them is wonderful.

SPOILER ALERT:

One of the BEST gags in the movie is during the bank robbery scene. Danny Glover plays one of the robbers. As he is holding Maverick (Gibson)at gunpoint, Maverick reaches out and pulls down his mask. They look at each other quizzically, then both go "nah" and shake their heads and look away. Later, as Glover is riding off you hear him say his famous "Lethal Weapon" line..."I'm too old for this s***!"

He's Not Your Son
(1984)

This one really upset me
There wasn't much to like about this movie.

When a couple brings their seriously ill baby boy to the hospital they learn that not only will the baby die without surgery, but he is not their bioligical child. Naturally, a search for their "real" son begins.

SPOILERS

This movie had two of the most unlikable characters I have ever had the misfortune to see. Let's start with Donna Mills character, the woman who had raised the sick baby boy. She immediately starts packing up his things and when a call comes that he has taken a turn for the worst, she refuses to go to the hospital because "he's not my son". Just like that, she turns off all feeling for him. John James, as the biological father of the sick baby, doesn't even want to consider that the child he is raising might not be his real son, not because he is going to be devastated if he has to give him up, but because he is a dumb jock football coach who doesn't want a "defective" kid who may not be a ball player one day.

I don't know if this one was based on a true story or not, but if it was and it really happened like this, I feel for those two boys.

What a Girl Wants
(2003)

Cute movie with a good message
This was a cute, clean movie that you can sit down and watch with your kids. Daphne has never met her father, so she takes off for England to find him. She discovers he is in the middle of an election for some public office. Daphne has to choose between becoming what he wants her to be and staying true to herself. And dad has to make a choice about what is really important.

In response to the reviewer who slammed the movie as being anti British, and saying it was trying to say the American way is better, that is utter nonesense. This was not a typical British family--they were royalty and associated with people like them. Do you suppose the real Queen would find someone like Daphne amusing? Daphne's boyfriend was a decent young man who was also a bit off the wall and his own person--but he was an ordinary English kid, not a member of any royal family. There are circles here in America where Daphne's free spirit attitude would be frowned upon, too. Every country has "classes" that are snobbish and uptight and every country has "Daphnes"--good kids who just want to be themselves.

Too Young to Die?
(1990)

Thorouglly depressing
This has to be one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen in my life. I can honestly say that there is maybe five minutes of happiness in it.

Juliette Lewis is cast as Amanda Sue Bradley, a sexually abused and somewhat dim teenager who runs away from home and eventually finds herself involved in murder and on trial for her life.

What the movie does make you do is analyze how you feel about the death penalty and when it is or is not appropriate and how much should the previous circumstances in someone's life be considered when pronouncing a sentence.

One thing that truly bothered me about the movie was the fact that the character was REALLY portrayed as seriously lacking in intelligence. I mean that in a very serious way--if Amanda Sue Bradley was ANYTHING like she was portrayed here, then I have doubts she could possibly understand what she was faced with. When her lawyer came to see her in jail, her main concern was whether or not he had brought her any "candy covered chocolates." I really wonder if this girl was all there.

I've done some internet searcher and not had any lucky finding out how this all came out in the end. Anybody know?

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