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Home Improvement

Still holds almost 10 years later
As a young kid growing up in the 90s, I distinctly remember watching this show when over my friends' house, or whenever my parents watched it--which wasn't much because my Dad hardly ever watched sitcoms. When the show went into syndication, that's when I started really watching the shows, although by then they were reruns.

Now, as a young adult and watching this show on DVD, I must really say that it still holds up well. Very few things are outdated, thanks to the good writing and acting. For a modern sitcom, it's very clean (of course many 90s shows were) and very enjoyable. Good, wholesome family fun, which can't be said of many sitcoms today (unfortunately).

I give the show a 8 out of 10, simply because nothing is perfect, and Home Improvement has never claimed to be perfect, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Thicker Than Water

The End of Shorts and fine tuning
This film marked the end of shorts, and the end of a fine tuning technique. Most of the features that followed, at least at the Roach Studios, would remake many of their gags from old shorts and in truth Way Out West, Blockheads, and A Chump At Oxford remain their best efforts after 1935. It's as if they reached their peak between 1933-early 35 and digressed.

"Thicker than Water" begins with classic Laurel & Hardy innocence. Each scene builds upon the next beautifully. I especially enjoy the transitions of each scene. Either Stan or Ollie will "pull" or "push" the new scene into place. Pretty good effects for the 30s.

The initial argument about money to accidentally buying a clock at an auction builds beautifully, but the last 5 minutes seem awkward. In a heated argument with his wife, Ollie is hit on the head, passes out, and Stan screams and takes his pal to the hospital. A bit much for a bump on the head. Then they need a transfusion (which doesn't make any sense whatsoever), and so Stan gives his blood. Something goes wrong and Stan becomes Ollie & Ollie becomes Stan.

One almost wonders what Stan, the writers, and director were thinking. Maybe because Hal Roach hated trick endings and this was their last short, Stan could justify a trick ending because Roach either wouldn't care and leave him alone (yet this type of thinking led to the end of their relationship in 1940).

All in all, though, it is a very fine short. Not one of their best or funniest, but a great film to watch.


The new Bewitched movie wasn't a remake, but more of a homage about people remaking the original show and the story line is really about them. Nicole Kidman plays a real witch cast as Samantha, while Will Ferrell is a drop out actor looking for work; and gets it in the role of Darrin.

Much of the original plot of a witch deciding to leave and be normal while falling in love with a mortal exists, and a few remakes of a few scenes; but that's basically it. It's really a movie that holds its own, and even brings back classic characters such as Aunt Clara and Uncle Arthur.

No f bombs, crude language, some crude humor, but it was really a charming little film and quite enjoyable--great for the entire family. If you want to relax and unwind, this movie will certainly help you.

If they had remade the original series, people would have groaned even more. I think they did a smart thing in not remaking the entire series, and the film is truly magical.

Gilligan's Island

Full of Fun
All right, so "Gilligan's Island" may not be "The Dick Van Dyke Show," or any other sophisticated physical comedy show-but all in all it is just pure fun to watch. I remember when I was little watching the reruns on TNT and TBS, and now own the complete first season on DVD. I don't know why it is, but I've always had a special place for "Gilligan's Island," it's one of my favorites. True, you can't take too many clothes on a 3-hour tour realistically, or how in the world can you do everything from build a hut to a lie detector, but can't make a fail-safe raft?

The ratings, in all its three seasons, shone high above many shows; despite the network's attempt of changing the time slot a few times. It beat Bonanza in its first season, and by the end of the third season, it had beat Star Treck, The Monkees, etc. If William Paley's wife hadn't loved Gunsmoke, "Gilligan's Island" would have easily gained at least two more seasons by ratings alone.

If you're looking for sophisticated humor, this show isn't it. It's silly, corny, but the cast is just a lovable one. You can't help but like the series (which is more than I can say for "Green Acres"; which gets annoying after a few episodes). The cast is brilliant in their roles, and the chemistry between Alan Hale Jr. and Bob Denver and Jim Backus' chemistry with Natalie Shcaffer is perfect. All in all, "Gilligan's Island" is just pure clean fun, which is more than I can say for shows on today. Watch it, give it a chance, and enjoy!

The Kid

One of His All-Time Best
I was hardly a Chaplin fan, in fact, I loved Laurel & Hardy, and really didn't like Charlie Chaplin, until I found that I could impersonate him as a look-a-like. Then, while viewing his films for the need of impersonating, I have become a big Charlie Chaplin fan. His comedy mingled with pasos and pantomime was unique, and very funny; and this one is certainly one of his best.

In it a six-year old Jackie Coogan makes his screen debut as a little orphan that the tramp picks up and cares for five years. Every moment of this film is terrific, it moves along swiftly, and made me shed a tear three or few times. Chaplin's score is undeniably a great piece of artwork, and the acting is superb; nobody in this film lacks-especially Chaplin.

I recommend this film for all to see. It's age has not diminished this little love tale for a family, in fact, it makes you realize family love even more. You'll laugh, cry, and have a great time out. Rent it. Buy it. View it. It's a film for all to see.

The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited

An Okay Reunion
This was probably one of the best reunions of a 60s sitcom in the last ten years or so. Instead of having an hour of reminisces, Carl Reiner decided to write a good 45-minute storyline of the Petries in 2004. Some, in fact, a lot of this story-line works: Alan Brady is not dying, but wants Sally and Rob to write his eulogy so he can have the chance to rewrite it. Laura now has a small dance studio at home, and Sally is finally married to the guy she was always going out with.

Yet, there are some parts of the reunion show that doesn't make sense: Why did Rob stop writing? Didn't he write a book? Also Millie and Stacey's little "date" is strange, but funny. Yet, despite these few flaws, The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited still retains some of that old "magic," mostly because Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Ann Morgan Guilbert, and Carl Reiner stepped right back into the shoes of their old characters. Unfortunately, though, Mary Tyler Moore's performance is a bit stale and rushed, almost as if she forgot how to make a comedy show. Larry Matthews' appearance is quick, strange, and we really don't learn what he's doing forty years later.

And why did Ray Ramano host this? What does he have to do with Dick Van Dyke? His scenes are even stranger than some of the weirdest parts of this reunion.

Finally, the clippings of the old show also make this reunion. When the new footage starts going a bit stale, they add in footage of the "good 'ole days" when these people were younger and funnier. Yet, all in all, this was a pretty good reunion, and I recommend it to every fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show to watch.

Rescue from Gilligan's Island

One of the best Reunion Movies
Even though Tina Louise is missing from the movie, and the cast looks older, they still pulled off a very convincing movie. Unlike the Andy Griffith reunion where Barney is still deputy, which doesn't make any sense because he had been a Raleigh detective by the end of the original series, or the Dick Van Dyke Reunion where mush of the script doesn't make a bit of sense, especially the part of Rob playing on his computer. Unlike these and other reunions of 60s sitcoms, Rescue from Gilligan's Island makes sense. The castaways had been on the island for 15 years, and any hope of being rescued has long since past, which accounts for the fact that the castaways look much older. The radio has been dead for years, and the barometer doesn't work either, until Gilligan finds a disc on the Lagoon from a Soviet satellite.

The Professor is able to fix the barometer to only find out that a storm is coming, which will wash away the island. Thus, the castaways build a boat by joining all three huts together (why they didn't think of that before, we'll never know), and then are rescued later on. Each person returns to pick up his/her life, but things aren't going very well. Gilligan and the Skipper have to prove that it wasn't the Skipper's fault for the shipwreck, Ginger will not do a nude scene, Mary Anne doesn't love her fiance of 15 years, and the Howells' are being taken for their money. Also, the Professor has become a celebrity, instead of the scientist he wanted. It's a great story-line, much better of any TV reunion movie.

Although Tina Louise is absent, Judith Baldwin's performance is a fair one, convincing enough, although she does look younger than everyone else. The movie lacks in a few places, but it's overall a great movie, and is very much like the series, silly but classic. At the end of it, they're shipwrecked again on the same island, which in one way doesn't make sense because didn't the island get washed away in the storm? But hey, it's like the series, silly to the end.

Them Thar Hills

One of their Funniest Shorts
Them Thar Hills, the story of Mr. Hardy needing good mountain climate, Mr. Laurel agreeing, and together they set out "for the mountains" with a small camper behind them, and the radiator overflowing. Being told to drink plenty of Mountain Water, they do so when they find a place with a well they drink as much water as possible; only what they don't know is that moonshiners dumped their liquor into the well. So, slowly, the boys become drunk, and when Mae Bush and Charlie Hall come to ask for gas, Mae becomes drunk as well; resulting in one of their funniest tit-for-tat sequences. The film has many of these hilarious moments, for instance, when Stan tries to carry Ollie, but through a little mishap, winds up dumping himself and Ollie in the bathtub! Also, while cooking and making everything ready for lunch, Ollie hums "The Old Spinning Wheel," and after a while, Stan gives in a good "Pum-Pum." This results in Ollie's hitting him over the head, saying, "I'm singing this song!"

This is an excellent Laurel & Hardy short subject, one that is a must-see for every Laurel & Hardy Fan. What is also exciting, is that apart from being a good film, this short will be celebrating its 70th anniversary on July 21, its initial release into theatres and the world in 1934.

Bonnie Scotland

All Around Good Film
Laurel & Hardy leave for Scotland so that Mr. Stanley MacLaurel can receive his inheritance, what he hopes is money; what he gets is bagpipes and a snuff box. On shrinking Ollie's pants, Stan covers up at the boarding house that Ollie is sick; yet this plan doesn't work (hilarious cooking of the fish) and the boys are kicked out, and wind up joining the Scottish Army in search of pants for Ollie! This movie also has a subplot, whcih does not pertain to the boys at all, it is romantic, and doesn't hog up the spotlight too much. The romantic plot: A clerk is in love with Miss MacLaurel, Stan's cousin or something, and she leaves as a ward for Colonel Gregor McGregor to India; his sister hiding away the clerk (Alan's) letters. Finally, in a desperation of love, Alan joins with Stan & Ollie as they, in the Scottish Army, go to India as well.

Once there, we see some hilarious scenes-from Stan marching out of place, to the invisible accordion, and who could ever forget that funny dance routine and Stan's calling of the Sergeant (Finlayson), "Leatherpuss." The romantic subplot, however, is never resolved, and in the end, Stan & Ollie throw bee hives at enemy forces disguised as officer in the Scottish Army. Everyone runs from the bees, including all of the good guys, and the film ends here. True, Stan & Ollie are finished, but the unfinished romantic subplot leaves you wondering: What Happened?

All in all, this is an excellent Laurel & Hardy film, one every fan should see. It's not one of their funniest or all-time greatest, but it is an all-round good film, much better than many of the current comedies..

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