view_and_review

IMDb member since July 2004
    Lifetime Total
    1,000+
    Lifetime Trivia
    10+
    Top Reviewer
     
    IMDb Member
    14 years

Reviews

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
(1974)

Dis-tur-bing!
I watched "Deliverance" and thought, "Those are some sick freaks." Then I watched this movie. Those inbreds in "Deliverance" were tame in comparison. In either case it seems that the South is the place to pick on.

When Fat Joe said in "Make it Rain":

"Now why is everybody so mad at the south for?"

My answer is, "Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massacre!"

TCM is loosely based upon the serial killer Ed Gein. Coincidentally, "Psycho" was also loosely based upon Ed Gein hence you see some parallels between the two. This movie is far more disturbing. The incessant screaming and the overly jolly miscreants just grated on my nerves. It wasn't scary just nth level psychotic.

Magnum Force
(1973)

Dirty Harry Explained
Despite every indication at the end of the movie "Dirty Harry" inspector Harry Callahan decided to stay on the San Francisco police force. He is no longer in homicide where he'd like to be but he's close enough to stick his nose in things.

It seems "Magnum Force" was made to give the audience a better idea of who Harry Callahan is. Viewers like me believed he was a shoot 'em up, anti-system, judge-jury-and-executioner type cop that only saw laws and due process as a hindrance to good police work. "Magnum Force" was an effort to show that Harry Callahan was not that extreme.

One, or more than one, S.F.P.D. officer is taking out bad guys. He's doing it in uniform but not in the course of pursuit or any other justified manner. He (or they) are surreptitiously killing criminals that have gotten away with murder. This probably wouldn't offend the sensibilities of a lot of people but the fact is it's illegal, whether you like it or not.

The cop vigilante crosses the line when he kills another cop. I say crosses the line only in the sense that now he will be heavily investigated instead of the half-hearted investigations of the dead pimps, pushers, and gangsters.

It's all very fascinating because we find Dirty Harry having to pursue another cop. And not just any cop, but a cop that espouses the same beliefs as Harry with the only difference being that Harry stays to the right of the laws even if barely. There's even a line in the movie when the lieutenant reminds Harry that he also hates the broken prosecutorial/judicial system and Harry responds that until someone comes up with a better way, he's going to abide by what's in place.

"Magnum Force" makes Harry more likable, even if just a little bit. A few of you (or more) may be reading this and saying that you always liked Harry. I admit that I didn't. I really saw him as a dangerous cop that was a hair's breadth from killing someone who didn't deserve it. All the indications in the movie "Dirty Harry" were that he hated the system and he hated criminals and the system just helped criminals walk free. He made those sentiments clear. To me that adds up to, "I'll take care of things myself." Sure, that may work sometimes. It may work most of the time. Dirty Harry may be a man of the best character, keen ability to follow evidence, and more just than any jurist known to man: but that's not the system that's in place and furthermore-what happens when there's a cop not as just, wise, and discerning as Dirty Harry? Magnum Force is what happens, and Dirty Harry wanted to snuff it out before it became unstoppable.

Mean Streets
(1973)

Mundane
I was zoning in and out of on this movie. The names are what attracted me to it: Sorcese, DeNiro, Keitel but once into the movie I saw nothing compelling.

Keitel plays a mid-level Italian gangster, Charlie, while DeNiro plays a general screw up, Johnny Boy. They have a brotherly type of relationship where Charlie is like a big brother steadily trying to keep Johnny Boy out of trouble.

The movie was mundane. It simply captured the dark, uninteresting day-to-day life of low-level criminals. It mostly consisted of bars and streets. Charlie did have a secret romance in the form of Johnny Boy's cousin but even that was boring. Between the characters and the script I found nothing moving.

Coffy
(1973)

This was Bad
What this movie lacked in quality it tried to make up for it in boob shots. Shameless, unreasonable boob shots. Was Pam Grier in a movie where she didn't show off her breasts? Oh yeah, Jackie Brown when she was like 50 years old.

The 70's was a terrible decade and Blaxploitation films are right up there as a reason why. Good grief! this movie was bad. The acting, the plot, the music... bad. And not like Michael Jackson or LL Cool J bad. Like killing baby seals bad. Like dating your sister bad.

I'm done with Pam Grier movies.

Deliverance
(1972)

Deliverance Does to the South What Friday the 13th did to Camping
When four friends went to a remote part of Georgia to enjoy nature and the river rapids they never expected that it would be a life altering adventure. It was man versus nature and man versus the unnatural. If it wasn't enough that these men had to brave the rushing river, they also had to contend with loco local yokels. I would prefer the untameable river anyday.

This movie is probably the most hated movie in Dixieland and it cracks me up. Oh, the movie isn't at all funny, just the thought of rural southerners cursing this movie for its incredibly accurate depiction of them. LOL! I'm only kidding. God forbid such a place exists and such a thing ever happened. But Deliverance did to the south what Jason Voorhese did to camping. I know it's not fair but everyone knows there's more than a grain of truth to this movie.

Ben
(1972)

Futility in Film
"Ben" is the sequel to "Willard." It's clear they like one name titles. Ben and his rat brood were secondary players in the movie "Willard" and that was important. "Willard" was a well developed movie with a decent plot and decent acting. The rats played a critical role in aiding a prototypical loser.

In this movie, Ben and co. play a primary part. Big mistake. They do latch on to another social outcast but this social outcast is a sickly young boy that is purely pathetic. It's a shame when I much prefer the rats to the main character Danny (Lee Montgomery). Between his offkey singing, loner personality, and sub par acting they couldn't have chosen a worse lead. But to be fair, the entire movie was just trash.

They fruitlessly tried to make a hoard of rats moving throughout the city a scary movie. But it's hard to be scared when everything is awful. Intelligence was as rare as the Hope diamond, the killer rats seemed to be playing with the victims, and somehow no one could track down thousands of rats that struck with deadly silence. "Ben" was futility in film. At least they got Michael Jackson to sing the theme song.

Tian xia di yi quan
(1972)

I Appreciate Run Run Shaw
Theses were the martial arts movies I grew up watching. Though it was made in 1972 I was watching them on Saturday nights on our local channel 26 in the late 80's.

Seeing that this was a Run Run Shaw production I decided to see how many movies he was credited with because his name was the most popular in kung-fu movies as long as I could remember. I just saw that he has 363 movies to his credit! That is insane! He was extremely busy and I, for one, surely appreciate it.

Jing wu men
(1972)

Bruce Lee vs. Bigots
One of my favorite movies all time is a movie called "The Last Dragon." Of the 30 of you who've read this review maybe two of you have actually seen this movie. Who am I kidding... of the three of you who've read this review maybe none of you have seen "The Last Dragon." It's a kung-fu movie that takes place in Harlem starring Taimak and Vanity. It was very hip and trendy for the 80's. Anyway, in that movie there are several clips of a Bruce Lee film and I never knew what movie it was. Come to find out it's this one: "Fist of Fury."

Who would've thought that a kung-fu movie would try to tackle racism? I'm talking about "Fist of Fury" not "The Last Dragon." Along with the tried and true plot of avenging a fallen master, Bruce Lee had to deal with the bigotry and racism of the Japanese. As skilled of a fighter Bruce Lee was in all of his movies I'm sure he could've stamped out Japanese animosity one kick at a time. Just have him roam the country beating up bigots.

Beating up haughty arrogant Japanese was a biproduct of Lee's main goal: avenging his teacher. I love a no frills avenge-my-master kung-fu movie. In this particular movie a teacher of a kung-fu school was killed. It seems that everyone in the school is quite powerless to right this wrong with the exception of Bruce Lee. In fact, without Bruce Lee the school would be void of any half-way decent fighter. Says a lot about that school.

Bruce Lee was in fine form and covered a wide range of fighting and emotions. With fighting he displayed skills such as punching, kicking, chopping, and nun-chuckery. There was also flexing, posing, and his classic intimidation whine he does. That universally known Bruce Lee whine which translates to, "I'm a kung-fu master and I'm about to whoop dat a**." As far as his acting, he displayed such emotions as sadness, anger, passive aggressiveness, active aggressiveness, fury, indignance, and more anger. Oh yeah, you know when Bruce is unhappy. "Fist of Fury" is a simple enough movie with a lot of butt whippin'. Don't look too deeply you'll just catch a foot to the face.

Dirty Harry
(1971)

Justice Dirty Harry Style
Detective Harry Callahan is a San Francisco cop known as Dirty Harry. There are multiple reasons offered as to how he got the name; they all could be true and none of them could be true. He's an uber-macho cop that hates everyone (especially "spicks" as he said) and packs the very useful and practical hand cannon known as a .44 Magnum. You never know when you'll have to kill an elephant in the streets of San Francisco. Honestly, I think him carrying a .44 Magnum as a service weapon is more impractical than Rick Grimes carrying his .357 to kill zombies in The Walking Dead.

Dirty Harry is hot on the trail of a sadistic killer calling himself Scorpio. Harry's tactics, as you can imagine, are a tad beyond the law. Laws!? We don't need no stinkin' laws! They just get in the way of good police work. Laws were made as loopholes to protect bad guys; you know: Escobedo, Miranda, 4th Amendment, 5th Amendment, and the rest. All of them just get in the way of shooting up bad guys. Sure, some mistakes will be made, some innocent people may get killed, some property may be damaged but it's all worth it in the end.

Excuse that tangent I went off on... we were talking about Scorpio right? Yes. Scorpio is a sick puppy that's randomly killing people in San Francisco. Inspector Harry is tracking him to put him in jail or kill him and not necessarily in that order. He finds himself a bit hogtied by the liberal San Francisco application of the laws of the United States. If he could just be left to handle things his way then Scorpio would be vanquished, defeated, erased from existence.

You may sense a little sarcasm in my review. That's because there is sarcasm. The movie makes the issue of hunting down Scorpio very black and white when most criminal issues are not. In this case it's A.) take the reins off to allow a "good cop" to get the justice required or B.) keep them on and allow a killer to keep on killing. Can that happen? Yes. Does it happen? Yes. But is that a reason to skirt around the laws in place to protect every U.S. citizen? No. I may be politicizing a plain ol' cop movie but it's hard for me not to while knowing Eastwood's political leanings and seeing how the movie unfolded. As a plain ol' cop movie this was great. As a movie with implications beyond the silver screen it didn't sit entirely well with me.

Black Summer
(2019)

Flaws and All, I'm Hooked
Black Summer is a zombie apocalypse series. There will never be another TV series about zombies except that it will be compared to The Walking Dead. TWD set the standard for a zombie serial. So, it goes without saying that I was going to compare Black Summer to TWD, whether I did it wittingly or unwittingly.

Well, you know a show is good when you binge watch it. I knocked out this 8 episode season in two days. Black Summer is pretty much TWD at the beginning again. There's chaos and pandemonium, alliances and divisions just as you would expect. Many of the characters are compelling and their language is not checked by having to be on cable TV. There was a lot I liked about this show, there were some things I didn't like, and some things I thought happened too rapidly.

I liked the characters the show followed which is the most important thing. I even liked the various situations they found themselves in. They give very little information about each character which means... Oh Joy!... not a lot of time spent on boring expositions. They give just enough information to pique your curiosity, decide if you want to swipe left or right on the character, and whether you want them to live or die. Yaayuh! But that means that some character remain a bit of a mystery throughout. No problem, I can decide if I like him/her or not as we go.

I didn't like how everyone pretends they've never heard of zombies. What do I mean by that? Well, the term zombies, living dead, walking dead, etc. is never used. The furthest they would go was to call them "infected." But come on. This movie is taking place in modern day America; not one of them has seen a movie, show, or book about zombies??? With that ignorance comes ignorance on how to kill the somnambulus beings. No one can figure out that it takes a head shot to kill the zombies hence the tremendous waste of energy and ammunition trying to neutralize the living dead. The head shots that did occur were by happenstance. It just frustrated me to no end to see people wasting dozens of rounds shooting these deadheads in the torso.

Frustration aside--and it was a big one--I liked the show. The characters had clear goals early on and sought out to achieve them. You saw the good, the bad, and the ugly just as you really would. There was intelligent planning as well as stark stupidity. Plus, I like the camera shots. It reminded me a bit of Children of Men with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore when they had extremely long uncut shots of action as if they were an embedded cameraman. I like those close up, long, uncut shots just following the action. It makes everything so much more visceral and real. Black Summer has staying power. Flaws and all, I'm hooked.

The Umbrella Academy
(2019)

Kill All the Drama
All in a singular day dozens of women worldwide became pregnant asexually and gave birth. One man, Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore), adopted seven of these miracle babies. He raised them, found their special powers, trained them, and developed them into crime fighters. He was a very demanding and even cruel parent which caused all of them to grow up pretty dysfunctional.

I dug the concept and the super hero aspect of the show but hated the drama. And there was too much of it. Every other scene could've had a slow piano chord and rain because there was so much exposition through tortured memories. I don't expect the group to be the Brady Bunch but did they have to be that dysfunctional? They all had some problem or another, they barely got along yet they had to find a way to come together to save the world.

The drama I did like involved Mary J. Blige's character, Cha-Cha (or maybe I just like Mary J. Blige). She and her partner Hazel were time tampering correctors (my term not theirs). By any means necessary they were to make sure that whatever events of the past were supposed to occur actually occur. Oh, did I forget to mention that there's time travel in this show? There's time travel and it's instrumental. It was a welcome diversion from the sob story that was the brothers and sisters of the Umbrella Academy.

If I wasn't put off enough by the unending sagas they threw in there the naive girl to push me over the edge. You know the one: easily misled by some nice person with seemingly good intentions. Then, because she's so emotionally immature, her reaction to her being misled is not nearly proportional to the actual harm done to her.

I liked most of their abilities but there was just too much manufactured drama for me. Tone down the sourpuss moods, tone up the super hero-ness and I'm a fan.

The Silence
(2019)

Complete Rip Off
I watched this movie with more than a little bias. After all, didn't Emily Blunt just star in a movie with the very SAME premise?? Hello? Ever hear of "A Quiet Place"? So forgive me if I'm totally unimpressed.

This is quite literally the same movie with different beasts, down to the deaf girl. "Bird Box" was close enough IMO but I guess Netflix wanted to go for the full rip off and came out with this.

Instantly I had to give it a zero for originality--on multiple levels. There are a slew of post-apocalypse movies and shows that "The Silence" liberally borrowed from. And you would think with all of the apocalyptic data out there ready for consumption that just once there'd be a person/family/group smart enough to know when they're confronting a dangerous person that needs to be neutralized immediately. Yet, time and time again the hearts bleed and the doors open or the weapons lower to let the cunning lunatic live only to cause considerable harm later.

Truly, I'm surprised they greenlighted this movie. "A Quiet Place", along with being first, was much better. At least in "A Quiet Place" they had the courtesy to give us subtitles for the broken sign language they were doing. In this movie they left people to guess what was being said. But I'll go one farther: "Descent," which they kind of borrowed from as well--and was probably the original "be quiet" scary movie--was better than this. Maybe in 2017 this would've been good, but in 2019, after a really good movie with the same plot: not so good.

A Clockwork Orange
(1971)

What Was the Point of it All?
Alright. So a hyper-violent, hyper-sexed teenage boy is the leader of an equally violent gang. One of their capers goes to far--coupled with a betrayal--and Alex (Malcolm McDowell) finds himself in prison on a 14 year bid.

Alex, and his ilk, strike fear into common British folk. He's young, indiscriminately violent, and idle. Prison seems to be the only place for him until scientist figure out a way to "cure" the social misfit.

My biggest issue with the movie was my inability to understand a lot of what was being said. Between the thick British accents and the British manner of speaking I was straining to comprehend. I understood the overall gist of the movie which was wrought with boob shots, yelling, and violence but what was the point of it all? Which was the second issue I had with the film.

What was the point of it all? I get most movies, even the more abstract ones, but this is the second Kubrick film I was flummoxed by (the first being A Space Odyssey). He uses a lot of imagery and music and I'm sure it there is a purpose for everything but I'm not afraid to say that I didn't get it.

Tang shan da xiong
(1971)

Would Prefer a Period Piece
I wanted to see some Bruce Lee footage that wasn't "Enter the Dragon" and I saw this title. In this he plays Cheng Chao-an, a man who's new to town and hooks up with family/friends to get his life started. He'd just lost his mother and made a promise to her to "stay out of trouble." What a promise for a kung-fu movie! You knew that promise would be broken which is why it's a kung-fu movie and not a rom-com.

The movie has fun with the whole concept for a while. His friend Hsu gets in one fight after another while Cheng has to sit idly by with all this action going on. Since Hsu is such a good fighter Cheng never really has to break his promise. When Hsu goes missing Cheng instantly becomes the only viable fighter in the village. So, naturally, he has to whoop some a**.

I love kung-fu movies but I'm a purist to some degree. In other words, I like the types that take place in the past where your only weapon options are swords, spears, or other hand-to-hand weapons. I also prefer the simpler plot of avenging one's master. This movie was contemporaneous as far as plot (drugs) and clothing (terrible 70's styles). The weapons were no more than chains, knives, and clubs but it only made me more suspicious of the movie. Why fight some obviously superior fighter when you probably can get access to a projectile weapon, like a gun. The obvious answer would be that guns are illegal in China, but so are drugs!! And they had plenty of that.

Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee, he popularized kung fu like no other. But Bruce Lee or not, I love the traditional times, traditional clothes and traditional weapons.

Play Misty for Me
(1971)

Original Crazy-Stalker-Chick
Before Alex Forrest (Glen Close) and her "Fatal Attraction" there was Evelyn (Jessica Walter) in "Play Misty for Me." Evelyn set the bar for crazy-stalker-chick. She was next level nuts.

Evelyn was a fan of the Carmel, CA radio DJ, Dave (Clint Eastwood). She would routinely request the song "Misty." One day she finagled a meeting with Dave which quickly became intimate. Well, she let him in (in more ways than one), which meant that she was now in--as in in his life for good. Dave, nor the quiet upscale city of Carmel, was ready for her.

Jessica Walter did a superb job playing Evelyn. She really brought this movie to life. Clint Eastwood, even in the westerns, never stood out to me as this fantastic actor. There was no way he could carry this movie. Jessica Walter, on the other hand, seemed to be born for the role. Eastwood was just along for the ride.

Black Beauty
(1971)

A Series of Unfortunate Events
I don't think a horse has seen so much violence.

Black Beauty, the name of the horse and the movie, is a horse that lived a very full life. He (I believe it's a he) was passed from owner to owner where he was witness to man's worse behavior. He suffered abuse and witnessed about three battles of varying sizes. Fortunately, at times, he was treated to some tender care.

The movie is really a series of mini-movies compiled into one feature length film with the horse as the only constant. Each time Black Beauty moves on we're privy to a new plot, new climax, and new resolution. I think the mini-episodes were simply OK on average. Truly, the only thing going for this movie would be the beautiful horse. Besides, t's not like the horse had any say in the script. Shoot! He didn't even have any say on whether or not he wanted to be in a movie!

The French Connection
(1971)

Disconnection
An unkempt, crusty detective given to using racial epithets thinks he's on to a big drug bust. That would be a real win for him and his partner considering they spend most of their time rustling up street level users and dealers in black neighborhoods. Their hunch proves to be worthwhile but they have to now be clever and precise in their bust tactics: two qualities they both lack.

There was nothing truly redeeming about Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider). Buddy was bearable whereas Jimmy was not. He was the prototypical shoot-from-the-hip cop that followed no real guidelines. He was the law and that was enough to rough up "suspects", profile "n***ers" and "greasers," and commandeer vehicles. If you like that type of policing then he was fantastic. If you are appalled by that type of policing then Jimmy Doyle was everything you hate to see in an officer of the law.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
(1971)

Charming Movie
When I was a kid I just loved the idea of traveling around on a flying bed. Seeing this movie again after many decades I see that Miss Price's goal was much nobler than merely changing people into rabbits and flying on a broom.

To even make as cheerful as a movie as this surrounding such a dire event is a feat in itself. England was in disarray as they prepped for invasion from Germany. The children in this movie were all orphans and happened to land in the care of Miss Price (Angela Lansbury). The fact that I was wholly unaware of all of that as a child shows how Disney can disguise almost anything.

Shaft
(1971)

If Not Blaxploitation then Right at the Edge
I never laughed so hard as a kid as when I saw my older brother try on my dad's old pants. That was the first time I'd ever seen bell bottoms live and in person and by 1988 those were relics. I don't know what it was about the 70's that the styles were so terrible. It's like the calendar flipped over to a new decade and everything changed. The music, the cars, the clothes and the movies; and all for the worse.

I shouldn't talk to bad about the 70's because I was born in that decade but my God! Most of the movies are horrible. Of course, there're classics like "The Godfather" 1 & 2, "Jaws," and my all-time favorite: "Star Wars." But take away those handful of movies and what do you have? "Shaft," "The Planet of the Apes" sequels, a host of Blaxploitation films and other lousy movies like them.

I don't know what all the hoopla about "Shaft" was. The remake with Samuel L. Jackson was excellent. In fact, that movie is the reason I wanted to watch the original. I figured that as a remake it can't be as good as the original. Well, it was exponentially better.

John Shaft (Richard Roundtree) is this uber-cool private investigator. I mean he is the definition of cool. He oozes cool from his pores. He wakes up to a breakfast of cool, smokes Kool's, and sleeps cool. He's a sharp dressing, hip talking, non-sellout cat that wins every fight and gets laid every night. Basically, the black James Bond, minus the suits, the gadgets, and the accent.

And that's what I hated about the movie. Why did the hero have to be some over-sexed, super-macho black man that has the upper-hand in every situation? It was disgusting and eye-roll inducing. He wasn't the only cool one either. They made Bumpy Jones (Moses Gunn) equally cool. He was an all-around criminal hustler that smoked cigars like he's just had a newborn and seemed too relaxed in every scene he was in.

I get that cinematically there needed to be some African American representation other than some bit roles but was this the best we could come up with? I don't think so. But maybe it was just a sign of those times. Right on the heels of the free love era and still in the big afro stages of fighting "the man" this was a quasi-combination of both. For me, if this wasn't a Blaxploitation film it was right at the edge of it.

Willard
(1971)

Ben the Two of Us
Willard is the quintessential loser that's anything but lovable. I hate to say that a person invites bullying and harassment but if there ever existed such a person Willard would be him. Not only was he timid and weak, he was also weird. Not weird in the quirky admirable way but weird in the "eww, stay away from me," way. Weird in the raising a brood of rats for companionship way. Still, no one should be bullied or taken advantage of as Willard was. No worries, Willard has a gang of rats to help him. They're his friends, confidants, and soldiers. Everything a young insecure mama's boy needs.

"Willard" had the element of just desserts and just desserts. Yes I said that twice. Just because a person deserves some payback doesn't mean that the one issuing the payback is the right one to do it. The movie was a little dark in a "Psycho" kind of way. Actually, there was a LOT of "Psycho" in this movie. Willard the man was someone you generally want to avoid, "Willard" the movie was something to settle in and watch.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes
(1971)

Franchise Running on Fumes
It's terrible when a franchise is running on fumes. "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" is the third episode in the Planet of the Apes series. As bad as this one was, it was actually a tick better than 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes."

In this part Zera and Cornelius land their space craft (Taylor's space craft repaired) on the coast of Los Angeles circa 1973. Why the creators of this film thought putting highly intelligent apes in a human world would be better I don't know. Although these chimps were all the rage once people saw they could talk there were those who would want to eliminate them. And that was the biggest flaw in the movie. Not that there would be some extremist that would want to kill a creature because it's different-nothing is strange about that at all-but 1.) the reason and 2.) that he'd essentially have government support in doing so.

Zera and Cornelius would become public enemy number one for one particular government employee because the world was destroyed in the year 3955. Yes. Because they mentioned that the planet was destroyed in 3955 and humans were an inferior species it stands to reason that apes must be the cause and that killing these two would save the world.

First, how he came to that conclusion was conjecture at best. To be honest it was plain old xenophobia.

Second, you seriously care so much about the fate of the world almost 1000 years in the future that you'd kill two docile and intelligent chimpanzees??? Like there aren't probably a million other places to start to save the world from destruction??? Forget about climate change and pollution folks, that's too difficult to reverse. Let's kill these two apes and all will be right with the world.

It seemed like such a silly premise just to create conflict. Stop with the faux drama and give me something believable. Give me something that's thought provoking, something I can sink my teeth into. This movie was the mark of a franchise trying to capture the magic of "The Planet of the Apes." Unfortunately, it's a move that will be repeated until the end of cinematic time.

The Great Escape
(1963)

Fine Tribute
An all-star cast, long runtime, quality movie.

Who doesn't like a well thought well out coordinated escape movie? The setting was a WW2 Germany prisoner camp. This was no ordinary prison camp; this was full of prisoners bent on escaping. Whether they successfully escaped or not was not the only motive. From their collective patriotic goal (even though they were all from different countries) was to at least muck up the aims of the Gestapo.

The movie moved much like a chess game and just as long. At nearly three hours it was a culmination of individually moving parts trying to put themselves in place: the prisoners in place to escape and the Third Reich in place to foil such an escape. It was serious affair that took a lighthearted tone at times. It was a fine tribute to those who lost their lives trying to escape the SS clutches.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
(1969)

Carefree Outlaws
Newman and Redford pair up for the first time as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: a pair of outlaws that are perpetually robbing. They are so prolific with their robbing that they take their craft across the border into Bolivia. Not even a language barrier is going to stop them from taking other people's money.

As much as this is about the wild lawless lifestyle of Butch and the SDK it is probably one of the first love triangles. Sundance is hook up with Etta Place (Katharine Ross) but it's clear that Butch loves her and she loves him. Somehow this criminal triumvirate does just fine emotionally where there is no outward hostility of one towards the other. I think that flowed from the light-heartedness of the movie. The movie was never too serious, even in the most dire times for the two protagonists. I think that was the biggest selling point for me. They were outlaws, and they would kill on occasion but it was almost like they were college frat boys who never stopped fratting. They lived life loose and carefree and nothing was going to change that.

They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
(1970)

Parenting and Police Work in S.F.
"They Call Me Mister Tibbs!" is a sequel to "In the Heat of the Night." It's also a famous line from that same movie. There is a scene in which the old, overweight, gum-chewing, Mississippi sheriff asks Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Portier), in a rather derogatory way, what they call him in Philadelphia; to which Virgil replies, "They call me Mister Tibbs!" It was a powerful moment in the movie. It was a putting-the-foot-down moment where Mr. Tibbs was emphatically saying that I will take no more of this even if I am a black man in Mississippi.

Well, in the sequel, Sidney Portier is in San Francisco and it's not for dinner (a reference to the movie "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" in case you were unaware). I guess he requested a transfer from the Philadelphia PD when his boss ordered him to help out the good folks of Mississippi. In S.F. he has a family and a nice home. His superior sleuthing skills are needed when a well-known political preacher by the name of Logan Sharpe (Martin Landau) is the primary suspect in the killing of a high priced prostitute. In the absence of the racial tension present in "In the Heat of the Night" we get a very contentious relationship between Virgil and his son Andy (George Spell). Andy can't be older than 10 years old yet he's smoking, totally disobeying his mother, hitting his sister, and challenging his father. All the qualities you hope for in a son. That, and that he'll remain at home the rest of his life (which he flat out said he'd do!!!).

The father-son relationship was a disturbing distraction especially from a 2019 lens. There is a strong case for Virgil to do the 1970's fatherly thing and take off his belt but it's clear he's trying to be a more new-age, maybe even San Francisco type of parent that can solve behavioral issues without hitting. He does slap his son a couple of times but his son took it-dare I say it-like a man, which is exactly what any father DOESN'T want from the 10 y/o he's disciplining. Tears, contrition, and corrected behavior is what he wants. But somehow this defiant display by Andy was further proof that hitting your child is not helpful (not that the movie showed an alternative).

When we weren't treated to the head-scratching disfunction of Virgil Tibbs' home life there was a clever detective movie going on. It wasn't quite as good as "In the Heat of the Night" but what sequels are as good as their predecessors?

The Bodyguard
(1992)

Excellent Pairing
Besides turning out a smash hit song Bodyguard was also a good movie.

The stunning Whitney Houston plays Rachel Marron, an entertainer who's had threats on her life. Kevin Costner plays Frank Farmer, the no-nonsense bodyguard that's been hired to protect her. Their personalities couldn't be more different. She's loose, open, and dangerously carefree. Frank is conservative, tight-lipped, no-nonsense and all-business. They were definitely an odd couple.

The storyline was a dandy and the onscreen chemistry between Costner and Houston was good. To be honest, I was surprised by Whitney Houston's acting skills. It's not an automatic that a singer can crossover no matter how accomplished of a singer she was. Michael Jackson was just passable as an actor. "The Bodyguard" overall was a solid production with one of the best pairings you can think of.

See all reviews