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Mr. Moto's Gamble

Pleasant B Film
As far as I know this is the only film where Charlie Chan's son is involved with another Detective other than honorable father. Granted this might have been Charlie Chan's Gamble if Warner Oland did not die, but the role of Chan became a real killer in Hollywood. Sidney Toler who took over for Oland would die too years later. Sometimes role of Detective ends suddenly with actor. As this is sort of a merger of 2 Detective series due to the circumstances, it can be forgiven that this one is not quite even. The studio assembly line was cranking out lots of "B" films which is what these series films almost always are. They are meant as a warm up for the feature attraction. This one is from the era of going to a theater to see 2 movies as TV was not very far along yet. Mr. Moto starts the film with his detective class in college.

Mr. Moto and the police chief go to a boxing match whose winner is going to fight for the championship. The fight has a strange ending as the loser appears to have been poisoned though it's not clear where the poison that kills him came from. Moto then follows a trail of clues looking for who done it.

This film has a large cast, many un-credited, as the film goes through the usual plot lines. Keye Luke as Lee Chan, Charlie's son, is one of Moto's students in class. As usual he and an annoying companion whose a kleptomanic go off on the wrong path while Moto sticks with looking for scientific clue to find the killer. Chan & friend wind up cooling their heels in jail until just before the Championship match.

The match is where Moto manages to catch the murderer by setting a trap using their own booby trap. There are a couple of good female actors mixed in here including a triangle for the living challenger for the title. The title fight is where everything leads too. If there is a mistake these movies made up for in later years, there was never a Mr. Moto Meets Charlie Chan like there was a Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. Why the studios did not try this in the 1940's I don't know.

This movie is as close as it gets. That's a good thing though I wonder how Dick Tracy Meets Sam Spade might have worked?

The Man with My Face

Good B Noir With Unique Setting
This is really the Barry Nelson duo role play here and a good little B film available currently on free You Tube. Jack Warden is in the supporting cast as a lot of the other folks are not real well known. What is unique is the setting in Puerto Rico which has not had many films made there. They are in the United States though a lot of people are still confused about that fact. Not sure the last time I remember any film being set there.

The story is the ultimate trick, another man is home when the husband arrives and he claims he is Chic and that Chic's wife is his wife. The film reveals quite quickly that this is a plot and it is of course about money and the imposter trying to escape his old identity and take Chic's wife with him. For some reason even Chic's old Army buddy is in on it.

There are some twists and turns and there are at least 2 dogs involved in the plot. Since PETA was not requiring disclaimers in 1951 we have no idea if either dog was harmed in filming this one. The dogs are key. though the plot is a little stretched. Still, the drama and direction are well done. The acting is solid by everyone. Interesting note, the blonde bogus wife only did 2 movies in her career and this is half of her career. The woman who gets Chic at the end is much better known and di much more screen work.

P.O.V.: We Are the Radical Monarchs
Episode 3, Season 33

A New Girl Scout Type Alternative
WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS documents an Oakland-based alternative to the Girl Scouts - specifically for girls of color, ages 8-13. The girls earn badges for units on social justice, such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Beauty, Disability Justice, and being an LGBTQ ally. They face challenges in growing the organization, both pre-and-post the 2016 election.

This group might resent my comparing them with the Girl Scouts as they are not selling cookies. They are selling activism and interestingly seem to have some differences from the current agenda. Their classes pitch History of where they come from to arrive where they are now. The history they teach might come as a shock to some folks.

The history of the Black Panthers, is just one of the controversial groups they teach the history of. When they teach it thankfully, they are trying to teach how these groups contributed to civil rights. That's good because if they taught the facts behind some of the things these groups did, there would be a lot of issues that would not make sense.

Activism is what girl scout aged students are learning here. The efforts are new and according to the show there are 4 of these troops in California. Besides the doctrines and agendas, they do friendships, tent camping, and some of the other activities that those scouts do. What they do different is teach political agendas and have merit badges for Black Lives Matter that go on sashes like the Girl Scouts use.

What might shock someone with a long memory is that teaching the young and impressionable at this age, making their politics robotic, is something that was very much done in Dictatorships in the past. The name of the group is hardly Democratic in meaning and conflicts with those who hold Democracy in their dogma. They are being taught to be radical and rule their lives with activism.

Whether or not this agenda is for everyone, is a matter of conjecture. Parts of it are being brought main stream currently. Considering this training as these kids grow up, main stream might evolve more though a lot of times this type of indoctrination winds up doing more harm than good historically.

The T.A.M.I. Show

From All Over The World
First of all, if you watch this movie, go to the James Brown and the Flames set. This is the greatest performance on film of any Brown performance that you will ever see anyplace. Brown defies gravity in a routine that goes beyond even Michael Jackson's Moonwalk. The film has him come out for 2 encores and according to legend even the other performers and the orchestra gave Brown a standing ovation.

This film had it been widely released in the 1960's would have a cult following today. Rock and Roll, R&B, Surf Music from the US and UK are all represented here plus Motown. It's all great and the film makers let the music headline here. The tough part is there are times when the sounds of 16 year old girls screaming does come through but most of the time this early wide screen presentation is about the performers with some shots of the audience. There is so much classic modern music here that I'd be hard pressed to find more in less than 2 hours of film.

Jan & Dean are the hosts. Since Jan Berry had a major car accident within a year of this being filmed, this is a rare glimpse of him at his best. This duo does some humor as hosts, perform the theme song, hype a little old lady from Pasadena, and skate board their ways through the show. After the opening skateboarding credits, this gets a fast start.

From 1958 Chuck Berry leads off with Johnny B. Goode which all Back To The Future fans will recognize. Then he goes into the classic Maybellene. Surprisingly, the classic is then picked up by Gerry and the Pacemakers (From Liverpool like the them song refers too). Then they do 2 songs and Chuck Berry returns with the classic Sweet Little 16. Then they alternate with the Pacemakers doing 3 songs and Berry doing the classic Nadine.

Next, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles do a 3 set, followed by Marvin Gaye doing 4 songs. Then in a real treat, 18 year young Lesley Gore does a powerful 6 song set. This is her best performance on film and considering she is just 18 years young, the power of her voice captivates the show.

Jan and Dean follow with 2 songs and the real treat is the now restored on this you tube version original Beach Boys 4 song set. For years this was missing from the film due to legal copyright issues. It is a welcome add back. The Beach Boys set is as good as any I have ever seen on film. After them, the now often forgotten Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas from Bootle, UK do 4 of their hits.

The original Supremes with a young Diana Ross then perform 4 of their hits including the smash Where Did Our Love Go and it is great to see this, and hear it. The least know group, the Barbarians from Cape Cod, Mass. sneak in for 1 song. From here, James Brown and the Flames take over the show after a little humor intro from Jan and Dean. Brown brings it all on the last song, Night Train as he takes everything he has and puts it on stage.

Finally, it's time for 6 songs from the Rolling Stones. It amazes me how many people are confused thinking this is the group from Liverpool on this show.(As I said before it's the Pacemakers). With the Stones here, the only thing that is missing is the Beatles but they were not here. The Stones lead off with Time is on my side and It's All Over Now. Mick Jagger is more animated dancing on stage here trying to follow the show stopping James Brown. Hard as he tries, he does not equal it. They even open with Chuck Berry's Around and Around trying to follow Brown.

The Stones final song is "Let's Get Together". When they do this all the performers and dancers get on the stage. This is wonderfully symbolic of how these artists music brought them all together for this show, Records at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Oct 28 and 29th 1964 with some the audience getting free tickets, this film rolls together the best of this music. It's still incredible to see. I only wish they had taken the whole cast on stage thing and put together a medley at the end.

American International pictures did this special production at the time. While the picture is high tech for this era, the sound is not. What's great is with these artists, even though it's not stereo it's great to hear and see these artists go through these classics. I am in awe of this program even though it's been many years since it was done.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Cruise Impossible Hit Rocks And Breaks Leg
If all you want is action action action, this movie is for you. When Mission Impossible was created, that is not what it was about. The leader of IMF was the guy who put together a team of specialists to perform an impossible mission. There was a cerebral element to the plot.

While Ethan (Cruise) has a team here, he is not the leader. He is the stunt executor whose in charge of getting the stuffings knocked out of everyone. Alec Baldwin shows up as a sort of pseudo leader but he seems to have some lines that were from rejected Match Game scripts. Then the script has mercy and silences him. His escape works better than the rest of the script.

It appears we have the nuke bombs with timers but despite having 3 women, none of them match up with Bond's Octopussy. This film is an action high, but it is not a concept high. It's kind of like giving the IMF force some Crystal Meth and then overdoses of action to boost Ethans ego so he can climb the next rope, stop the next fuse, make scrambled eggs by breaking the shell and throwing away the egg.

I like action, and I like comic strips. That does not mean I want them put together without some kind of idea about how they go there. I guess if you like Cruise, you like this saga. Otherwise at almost 3 hours, yawns are in order. It's hard to connect with most of the characters in this, and the situations just seem contrived to make the mission look more impossible. Nothing like destroying the original concept and making the IMF look like any other action film whose leader is the opposite of the original cerebral Barney. Would you believe Ethan is now Barney Fife? Looks like it to me.

New Orleans

Priceless Musical Treasure
Having recently visited New Orleans, the title of this one interested me and some parts of it appear to have been filmed there including the famous Cafe Du Monde French Market which is in a brief sequence and looks like it has not changed since the 1940's. It's nice that they at least put some of this great city into a film about jazz. The cast is a whose who of music for the time period. Music is first and foremost here and I only wish there were even more in the movie.

Arthur Lubin (who later directed Mr. Ed tvees talking horse) does a fine job behind the camera and with the pacing of this film. At about an hour and a half when I found it on You Tube, the film is really quite enjoyable. The story is just enough to not get in the way of the music which is the star. Still for an obvious B feature, this movie has a pretty solid cast.

If I had been born earlier, I would have liked to have had a private concert from Billie Holiday and then much more. Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) is star caliber here with music that is just great. Louis is one of the few musicians whose music has been used in more movie sound tracks since he died (1971) than when he was with us. I have always been a big fan of his since I was a kid, and this is a rare look at him at the top of his game. When he sings in this one, his voice is not a graveled as it was later, but I could listen to him sing all kinds of songs. I recently found a live recording by Armstrong of "Bare Necessities" that he introduces as done for Walt Disney (Animated Robin Hood as I recall but Phil Harris in the movie) and I like his version even better than the movie one. (Disney put together Harris and Roger Miller on one of the better animated film soundtracks in Robin Hood).

There is enough script here to give this one more than just the music. There is the usual love angle, and the explanation of what the name "Satchmo" actually means which is in the movie. There's the clash of races and differences in music, but there is some diversity as well here. Basin Street swings with Jazz and so does Chicago and most of the world by the time the film is over. That's the way it should be. Jazz is really the first music to integrate the races and it is truly an American music. There is some classical here too though it's the jazz that is the showstoppers.

Woody Herman and his orchestra get a few minutes, but it's Satchmo and Billie Holiday who are the headliners. I love the music and these performers. Marjorie Lord (Make Room For Daddy) heads up a decent supporting cast. What is great is the idea of music bringing diverse people together. Once considered a lost film, I hope it's never lost again.

About Schmidt

Drama Surprise
This is based upon a novel About Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) which is touching. He is a retiring VP of an Insurance Company who just doesn't feel that his life has had meaning. While folks knowing this actor expect him to explode and go crazy at any time he remains subdued and retrospective the entire movie. What is kind of strange is everybody accuses him of being angry, but really he is not.

We start with the retirement dinner with Schmidt and his wife listening to all the usual stories and speeches and getting the usual gifts. Then his wife goes out and buys a huge Winnebago to get ready to travel around the country. Schmidt has his usual feelings of not getting what he wants to express, not just from his job, but also his wife of 42 years. Then there is his daughter whose marrying a guy he doesn't like. There is so much emotion he is carrying.

Then he finds his wife dead, next to the running dust buster. Now, not only is he feeling he has not accomplished much in life, but he has the shock of losing her to deal with. So he finds an offer to support a poor child in an African country. As part of his $22 dollars a month, he is supposed to send a letter to them introducing himself. These letters give him an outlet for these pent up feelings.

Now Schmidt gets into the huge Winnebago and since his daughter tells him not to rush from Nebraska to Denver for the wedding, he starts making some stops at important places of his life he remembers. His birth home is now a tire dealer for example. Then he stops at an overnight camp and a guy befriends him and introduces him to his wife. She fixes an RV dinner and they show him all their family photos. Strangely Schmidt has no photos of his wife or daughter in his wallet, kind of like the empty feeling of his life.

The husband runs out of beer and has to go out and get some leaving Schmidt alone with his wife. For some reason she starts asking him strange personal questions and seems confused when Schmidt takes them as meaning she is coming on to him. After he kisses her and she screams "get out" he gets his coat, goes over to his big Winnebago and gets out of there pronto. Eventually this gets us to the wedding in Denver.

Schmidt gets to his new In-Laws family home and is welcomed to the family. He has some problems trying to sleep on his future son-in-laws waterbed which almost costs him attending the wedding. There's also a complication in that his son-in-laws mother is recently widowed and coming onto him. Schmidt and the wedding go off well, and he avoids this trap and though his daughter will not listen to his feelings about her future husband, does his duty of making the event memorable.

Then Schmidt drives the Winnebago back home making one memorable stop before getting to his big empty house and stack of back mail. The ending is touching and quiet as Schmidt realizes maybe his life has purpose after all.


Monk is elected Senator and Loses Half His Brain?
This is a wild series where a bunch of Alien Bugs land in a remote place in Russia in a meteor, and somehow wildly come to Washington D.C. In an era of Science fiction where we've gone from 1950's Monsters to Captain Kirk wearing a mask and fighting pandemics, from alien Invaders to dinosaurs, and beyond, we now have bugs that go into people ears and eat half their brain (unless they fart and then your head explodes).

Then we have 3 people fighting these bugs trying to stop what's going on and looking for how to kill them. For Mary Elizabeth Winstead..Laure lHealy she gets rid of the bugs by having wild sex. For Tony Shalhoub... Red Wheatus, Republican Lead Senator, without half his brain he tries to make voting districts into crop circle and carries the key to the whole colony of bugs, the Queen. He becomes more mellow and corrupt. Meanwhile the woman who leads the Democrats goes crazy violent and then regresses into a little girl making sketches and plotting to join the Republicans.

Danny Pino ... Luke Healy is another Senator as well as Laurel's brother and he is fighting half brained politicians and trying to live up to his dad's goals for him. Zach Grenier: Dean Healy is dad and he is fighting certain death by the bugs actually curing an inoperable brain problem. He is also cheating on his wife and having disagreements with his son and daughter.

There's lots more, but these are the main folks besides the bugs in this except I can't forget Nikki M. James... Rochelle Daudier in a show which is too much like a reality show. Granted we don't expect bugs to be eating half our elected officials brains, but in reality the real ones have been acting that way. Enjoy some fun, and some pretty well written plots.

Note, this one season show features a final episode where most everything is solved. That's where it is an improvement. In the real world the problems just get worse and there's no solution. At least there's kinky fun between the king and queen, and a guitar player who starts every episode all the way through almost as off-key as the characters.

Kill the Irishman

Cl;eveland Explodes In Truth Based Saga
Imagine casting an Irish Actor to play an Irishman? It's done here and done quite well. Based upon a true story of the mob in Cleveland in the 1970's while this is not quite The Godfather, it does tell a good story.

Danny starts out in the beginning with someone trying to kill him. They miss and then we got back in time to find out that was not the first time. It seems his rise from Union Dock Worker to Corrupt union local President makes him a lot of enemies. He makes some friends too.

Over time because of an ill advised loan from the Gambino family, Danny's friends get involved and often hurt in the process. He gets married, and has kids with a hot waitress. Then because of the way Danny makes a living he takes the kids and leaves him. Then living large he gets a red headed beauty to move in with and they get blown up in a house together and both survive.

Meanwhile the mob stays after him time and time again trying to kill him. Every friend he has eventually gets bombed with news footage of David Brinkley mentioning that in 1976 there were at least 46 car bombing in Cleveland.

Spoiler- in the end the mob finally kills him. His killing leads to several mob families getting arrested, and convicted in court of many charges. It eliminates the mob in Cleveland as a presence. While this is a simple type of plot outline, the acting is solid and the narration is done very well. For those who have not seen it, worth a look and the adult themes are milder than all the explosions. It is successful at bringing the viewer into the story and characters. Ray Stevenson is excellent as Danny Greene. Support is solid with Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vincent D'Onofrio along in the cast with a couple of really hot women for Danny.


Classic Diverse Cast Musical Hip Hopping on Stage
This 2016 movie of the stage show is excellent for a lot of reasons. The cast has a lot to do with that. Every cast member makes their role real and memorable. They do it smoothly. They earn the massive applause they receive for each number. It's easy to see why.

This filming of a Broadway Stage show has been done in movie history, but only a few times as effectively. If you go back to silent films, ironically since Disney is producing this, the 1925 silent of Peter Pan (before Disney animated it) was really a film of the broad way stage show of Peter Pan. If you have never seen it, and can tolerate a silent film, you'd be surprised how effective that silent is filming the stage show.

The cast pulls out all the stops here and the orchestra is heard but not seen doing excellent score music from the pit. Manuel's story from the real history is well done, and the songs and dancing fits perfectly. As for the politics, yes this show has "Quid Pro Quo" in it in 2016, way before it became a famous quote on the news before the Corona Virus. There's another issue mentioned here when on character states that America can't be expected to help every country in conflict in the world. We are really proving that now, so in 2016 while this was addressing Obama's foreign policy, regime change, now it is current because our US media is actively trying to change regimes in the world. The internet has made US media drunk with power, and it's not always for the good.

I will say one thing is incomplete here. They mention some of the amazing stuff Hamilton's wife did after he died, but her story needs to be done someplace. She lived 50 years after her husband and did things many women should be proud of.

Now as far as Slavery not getting a lot of attention, no story of history can be perfect. In fact, the longest serving slaves in US History are Women. Women could not vote until the 20th Century and it was the 1960's before they were no longer expected to stay home, not work, and be at the mercy of their husbands. Women are smarter though because instead of asking for pity and reparations, they have worked inside the system to improve it and we might be on the verge of a Black Woman Vice-President. (Possibly President as well) It's way over due.

History has already been written and no amount of revision or destruction can change history. The fact is we need to look back at history and realize that "The Future Matters." If we fail to do this, we owe women more than we owe anyone else because of the past. I hope someone does a sequel to this and tells the whole story of Mrs. Hamilton. We owe her that.

The Dark Mirror

Great B Noir
At only 85 minutes, this was not meant to be an A picture. When oliva de havilland plays twins with a tight script and budget and a good cast, it rises above the normal B. I imagine there are times when this would lead off a double feature and make the main film look like it should be the lower quality.

oliva de havilland plays twin sisters, one evil and one not, Lew Ayres and a lot of support try to sort out a murder mystery with the 2 girls driving everyone stark raving mad. It takes some major deception in order to sort out what the 2 twins are up to. The ending is a tight and clever surprise for one of the girls. It plays very well even though the film is 74 years ago, and Olivia in 2020 just turned 104.

Highly recommend this one for anyone who wants to see how versatile this actress is and how she can take a B picture and do an A for Acting job. Excellently done.

The Twilight Zone: Blurryman
Episode 10, Season 1

Out Of Focus Even At The Finish
There is some idea here, trying to go from shooting an episode to behind the scenes shooting an episode. What I liked most was(Zazie Beetz from Joker) the young actress (think she's 19) that portrays the writer going around the set. Most of the cast is young and it's good that Seth Rogan is the old guy here pretty much (though his role is really limited to popping into the set a couple of times. At least youth is served here.

What is missing is writing as there is no really obvious purpose why this actress is wondering off with blurryman at the end. Being a fan of the original series, it's kind of neat to see a recreation of several sets including the set from "Time Enough At Last". The thing is the original series usually has a purpose or moral or something at the end. This just has the walk-off into some obscure place for no real reason. I could make one up that they are wandering off into the writers imagination, but that is made up by me, and not obvious. Hope next season gets better.

The Good Fight

CBS Cartooniverse
When I was a child, the cartoons were all Saturday mornings on the networks. I never thought this type of trash would go prime time, until now. The meat of CBS Saturday Morning cartooniverse was the Looney Tunes, particularly The Bugs Bunny Show and The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour. The rest of it had Scooby Doo, and the Whacky Races which were a step down. Then Don Kirshner came along with the Archies and things went downhill from there.

The Good Wife was much better than this. It was Pro-Democrat too but at least for the first half of that series it was decent. The seasons after they killed Will this show started going off the rail and the last season they pretty much destroyed Alicia's character. They did leave Diane intact. They brought on Luca. So I figured this follow up might have some teeth.

After the first few episodes, the writers here went to the dentist and started doing a root canal. Then in season 3 they removed all the teeth and put in fake news. At the end of the latest season so far, they tried to bring in Jeffrey Epstein to get interest. The trouble is that BUD gets to be a boring beer, and that is what had happened. Even John Laroquette and Rob Reiner are not enough guest star power to save this.

Legally, the court stuff started getting totally derailed after Will died. In this one, the legal stuff has gone to moron. Meanwhile, this show is the best example of two things which if everybody watched it would maybe derail the next election. First, the Left Wing Extreme of the Democratic Party is shown in frightening graphic detail. Democrats kill people and on this show it is happening more and more frequently. As it has, the hallmark of the later part of the first series has come out too - dropping plot lines. This show too often loses focus from reality, and it ain't just Diane's Mushroom addiction.

Second is the bitterness of Clinton's loss in 2016, which makes the series Science Fiction. Democrats still don't understand what happened, and this is spun from the same media that still doesn't understand it. Statistics and policy lost the 2016 election. There were also gaffes in Leadership of the Democratic party which the Media kept trying to hide. In 2012 it was said to Russia "After the re-election I will be much more free to negotiate...." By 2014 Russia had fired cruise missiles in Syria and we had sent a boat load of cash to Iran. Then in 2016, we tried to crown a Queen to lead our colonies who was so into herself that a weakened Democratic Party rigged her nomination and made it all about her and not the future of the United States.

Then, sadly, they could not accept this, and still are not addressing the future of the United States even now. This show directly points out that Black Lives Matter is "mob rule". What is scary is that is the point this show has right. I do enjoy the diversity in the cast. Luca is a very attractive character. Cush Jumbo (Luca) is a fine actress though in later episodes I have not seen enough of her role. Lindo Delroy gets plenty of good moments as Adian, and the cast has quite a few good powerful actors besides Diane (Christine). They have 2 handicaps - poor writing which is killing their characters (and possibly the Democrats in the 2020 election), and cartoons that make some of CBS Cartooniverse worst shows look like fine art.

And that's the way it is...

Perry Mason: The Case of the Garrulous Go-Between
Episode 22, Season 7

Fortune Teller Drops Crystal Ball
Madame Zilla is a fortune teller who tries to see the future. In this case, her crystal ball gets no place. The plot is quite the reason to see this one, one of the better scripts despite the future not being seen.

Surprisingly without Della this one gets carried pretty well. The acting and story carry the day quite well. There is a scene with the crystal ball appearing and disappearing without any obvious explanation. That's okay, because we have a lot of the go-between's which keep the puzzle open up until the end.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Woeful Widower
Episode 23, Season 7

Wrong Playboy
This one starts fast as Perry gets a client accused of stealing. After Perry gets her off we get into the main plot which involves Perry getting on a flight to Canal Street in New Orleans and then taking the red eye back to LA. Della is not here due to an illness.

The script is based on the original novel and it is the only Van Dyke episode. I would have cast Jerry as the playboy as it would have made this more fun. The guy cast as the playboy is the most boring one I have ever seen. Instread Jerry is cast in his usual role, a braggart who turns out to be a dunce and a red herring dragged across the trail to the murderer.

While some of the mystery is perhaps too obvious here, this one is okay but without Della or Tragg, this one is a bit of a drag. The script is better than the cast here.


Sci-Fi Comedy Clever Entertaining 2000 3000
Is it possible that there will be a virtual world where as long as your character is preserved electronically your soul does not die and continues to live and interact socially and physically with the real world? That's a long question and this series sort of creates this type of thing. In a way it's a quirky look at the future where the real world gets virtual add on.

There are funny moments in this especially at times when science is turned on it's ear. There are times where the jokes are subtle and times they are laugh out loud funny. There's lots of sex, even to the point where dead people can enjoy it. There's greed, which along with lust are two great comedy staples.

The romance and sex parts interface with the characters and the lead actress in this becomes one of the sexiest women doing comedy I have ever seen. She is alive, yet falling in love with a dead man killed in an auto accident whose virtual self is managing to get her pulled deeper and deeper in from reality to his world. She does have a fling in the real world, yet the real world fling is not as satisfying as the virtual one physically and emotionally.

The season ends on a greedy cliffhanger which begs any viewer to come back when the next season is ready. Hopefully that is soon as one main lead is already dead, but alive enough that any viewer wants them uploaded for next year. Along with that, I am in love with this woman who loves the dead man. I can't help it as that is what hooked me when I binged watched this series.

Never aging after death is an interesting quirk here, yet there is also technology that can change that. This is comedy at another dimension who main goal is to make you laugh. It use commercialism to a really funny dimension. The pop-ups that annoy the character are more and more like what our internet is becoming. Maybe this is predicting the future, and it might be coming too soon.


Big Name Bio Not Great, Serviceable Court Drama
This is one of those movies where you take a defining person in History and try to tell the 1941 story of a defining trial that took place in Bridgeport, Ct. When you add up the sum and all of it's parts, it's almost there but the director and writers don't quite get this one over the top. I do enjoy a good court drama though so I am fine with it.

A white woman (Kate Hudson) claims her husbands employee (Boseman) raped her one night. The circumstances seem to indicate it happened but the story she tells in court does not seem right. Then there is the press which makes it a sensational case and a white judge who will not let Marshall speak for the accused in court. So Marshall has to present his case through a civil lawyer with no experience. This is one of the early NAACP cases as in 1941 the war is starting and even the military is still segregated.

Performances are solid, and the direction is good. What is really missing is the glossing over of how bad racism really is then. Granted the lawyer speaking for Marshall is Jewish which invites more scorn around the trial. The husband is abusing his wife. As the 2 stories are presented, once we get to the second story by the accused, we realize how many holes are in the woman's rape story.

It is a well told tale, but how much is factual? It is presented like it is Thurgood Marshall's career defining case, yet it really is a minor case compared to what you'd expect. The growth of the Jewish Lawyer into a good trail lawyer is a nice touch, with Marshall's teaching. Marshall even though he was only 31 when this trail took place is presented a someone who teaches and already knows everything. That is where the story does not ring true here. It is better than average, but not perfect by any stretch of my imagination and is too smoothly presented.

I Walk the Line

Drawn Lines For Peck Get Erased
There are elements of a Classic here, it just does not quite come together. Gregory Peck's Independent Film Company is one of them involved producing this which means Peck as a bit of a Producer. While the plot seems kind of simple, it contains a lot of good elements. John Frankenheimer ( original Sinatra - Manchurian Candidate) is a fine director who if the script had been slightly better might have had a classic here.

I love the Johnny Cash sound track. Recently his song "Ring Of Fire" had had a bit of a revival and if you watch this one, the title song here might get one as well. Cash whole soundtrack is a breath of fresh air over the usual elevator music behind some films of this type. Gregory Peck lacking in classic dialogue still shows plenty of acting chops a the Sheriff who is bored in middle age in a small town.

Tuesday Weld has one of her best roles here. She seduces the sheriff and as far as I am concerned the camera as well. She is the daughter of a family of moonshiners who have just come to town (though this is much more serious than when it happened on the Andy Griffith show on MeTV). Meanwhile, the righteous sheriff has church every Sunday and a wife at home. Estelle Parsons (Roseann's mom on the Connors) is the wife who wants to excite him after years of marriage but time and the kids have taken their toll.

He first meets Weld whose little brother is driving the family truck too fast and crooked on a road. He catches her in the truck as the little brother runs off into the woods. He resists her charm but lets her talk him out of an arrest. Then as he keeps meeting her and the family she wears him down until he makes love to her.

The sheriff discovers the family still and warns them the Feds are in town looking for their operation. Meanwhile like a spider he gets more and more involved and tries to keep the Feds from finding that still. His wife hears about the affair through small town gossip and decides to leave him and takes the kids. Now he is free to chase down his dream.

It's a classic older man younger woman romance but the family gets in the way. As the feds close in, they have to leave town and he chases them down because they take her with them. I'll leave the ending alone here, but any red blooded person who would have turned down a chance to romance Tuesday Weld would have been a big loser. She is charming, and the film works quite well. It might not be a classic but is worth a look for anyone with time to spare. Now playing on Amazon Prime, very good print too.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Nervous Neighbor
Episode 18, Season 7

Double Header
The guest cast here includes Paul Winchell and another episode for Jeanne Cooper (of Young & Restless fame). Perry is very busy this episode. First he has to go to court in a 6 month old murder case with a client who has no memory.

Then, he has to prepare for court for his clients son, accused of a new murder related to the other murder. While he is preparing for that he is also filing a challenge to an apparent case of fraud by a company trying to mess around with both of his clients.

This one is different as it starts in Paul Drake's office. Paul is actually on this case before Perry even meets the clients. In the end, the solution is a bit of a surprise. Good writing here


Captain Fantastic Early Life Fantasy And Shallow Meanings
This film is thought of as a fantasy. That is close to what it is. It is thought of as a biography. No it is not. It is thought of as a musical. It's not really totally that. What it really is presented as is an artwork of Elton John on a frame as an artist, yet a tormented genius.

It is not presented in perfect order. It starts with Elton John in rehab. That is the reason a straight factual biography of Elton John can never be done. Despite all the media attention much of his life has received, because of his alcohol and drug abuse even Elton John does not have the real picture of where he was or where he has been. That is the way it happens when you tune out parts of your life.

A fair part of Elton John & Bernie Taupin's considerable song book is here. Not all of it, and a few tunes get just slightly mentioned. Sadly, the whole story of his music might better be told by telling the story through Bernie. A lot of the words and lyrics were his, and he would know the meaning of them. Elton John is just the singer and music maker of those words.

Elton John is a flamboyant performer, and that is the story that is told here. It goes into the dark sides of his rise to success even more than the triumphs. It says that daddy and mommy were cold fish. It gives Grandma the credit starting his music success. It touches on Elton John's relationships in most ways though it very subtly touches on his exposure to Liberace who had to be an influence on his career. How much of this is the real story is left to guessing since some of it contradicts facts about this life that are out there.

That's the way it should be too. Some of the real material can't be touched. For example the only mention of Candle In The Wind is a few bars of it played on the piano. A Biography would have to include the version written for Princess Diana's death and the inspiration behind that, as well as the inspiration behind the original written before she died.

Well I think this one is an interesting fantasy the way it is done, I'd like to see Taupin done as a biography. While the performing is great, I believe the inspiration and writing behind the lyrics of Taupin's songs would be a more interesting story.

The acting, music, direction, and the framing of a huge cast exploration of John's life is well done. But to me, the heart of the story is Bernie's lyrics and that is hardly even touched here.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Nervous Accomplice
Episode 3, Season 1

Solid Story and Cast
Imagine hiring Perry Mason to derail a Divorce by buying stock. Add real estate development to the mix and what do you have? A reason for murder, of course. Then let's add in a gun collection, an unexplained gun that does not belong. Perry driving a 1957 vintage car and a construction shack, a pretty blonde, oil speculation, and Perry shooting a blank from a pistol in court.

Sounds like a pretty good mix. Then we have a taxi driver, and Tragg using his office window as a peeping tom with eye glasses. The whole thing adds up to quite a trail as the spurned housewife who wants to keep her cheating husband even after she sees him and the blonde embracing (a forgiving nature I'd say) with Mason looking on through the eye glasses.

The material of this one is so good, that years later this plot was re-used in the Perry Mason Movies in a longer form. This one gets it done in 52 minutes. It includes Tragg bribing Mason, just to spice things up a bit.

Perry Mason: The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece
Episode 2, Season 1

Really Strong Script - Hey Abbott Wake Up
This show features Abbott & Costello show regular Hillary Brooke among a large guest cast. These early shows are so strong and there's a lot of differences from later in the series. First, Perry is wearing a hat which is no longer on any episodes later on.

Second, we have scenes in Della Streets office which does not happen later in the series. Della even gives Perry a tension relieving massage on the shoulders. There's a lot of telephone calls involved and eye witnessed. It starts with a sleep walker with a knife.

Third - Tragg gets more scenes in these early shows. It's a loss later that there were not many scenes in Tragg's office with him grilling a suspect. He gets some scenes with Perry here too. Perry pulls a major cross examination to get a witness stand confession. He gets involved because his client is trying to divorce and then gets accused of murder.

The Good Wife: Iowa
Episode 11, Season 7

Bus Ride To Oblivion
What is the first thing you should do when your going to take a long bus ride for days with a co-worker? Tell them something that will make them hate you. That is the bad start here, but then to compound it the Campaign Bus is driving down the wrong side of the road. Gets pretty corny from here, I must say.

I gets kind of strange seeing the Democrats repeat their historic mistake of being able to count the caucus votes because the upcoming election has already been rigged by Clinton. Then again in 2020, this was even worse because Joe Biden had to try and rig it because he has a corn cob stuck in his computer.

This bus trip destroys Peter and Alicia all at once. It brings the kids along to see their parents being destroyed. It destroys Eli and the real campaign manager who finds out how wrong she is too. Later on this season, this series will do some comedy, and it will make some episodes entertaining. Trouble is even then it gets nowhere near what Boston Legal did for legal comedy.

This episode is just a total loss. As the season goes along, it's not going to get any better. The rise in comedy in some of the upcoming season 7 episodes does not make up for what has now become this series hallmark - dropped plot lines. When they do get the bus on the correct side of the road, they forget to fix the flat tire. Still this bus on the flat tire tire runs better than the Clinton Campaign which still has not been charged with trying to rig the election in 2016, and then blaming the Russians when they fail. They should have let Peter or Bernie win in Iowa. Nothing here but the last straw to inhale.

The Good Wife: End
Episode 22, Season 7

By Far A Mess That Reflects The Series Ending
So what happened to the writing sine Will died? This episode dances on it and pounds it into submission. There's so much wrong here that all you can do is shake your head and wonder how many bongs the writers took to come up with this. There are at least 2 or 3 plot lines dropped, but that is not rare with this series. There is very little to make sense of here.

The trial becomes a huge joke because there is almost no way to figure out the guilt of Peter for sure. Granted the motive appears to be money, but why is it the money of one donor was that important after Peter was elected and in office for less than 3 weeks makes no sense. Meanwhile, Eli never gets even a call from the Grand Jury when he should have been charged with Obstruction of Justice is simply shocking.

The NSA illegally overhearing everything and not even being brought to task for wiretapping never gets solved. Alicia's daughter Grace still has photos of her undressed on the Internet being sold for several seasons now and that is never even mentioned since back several seasons ago after her brother saw the photos. In fact, if I went through the number of plot lines dropped, this show holds the World Record. It gives legal shows a bad name. It leaves with poor taste too boot.

Will is back in this finale just like Diane showed back up on the last episode of Cheers. The difference in this one is that Will piles on and denigrates Alicia's character by saying she was never in class and drunk all the way through college. While that could be an excuse for her marrying the con man Peter, it weakens her character on becoming everything she was in the courtroom. It makes the whole reason for this series mute. At least Will is not as sickening as Diane on Cheers was, but after he buries Alicia's character, his spirit becomes her lover in the episode. There's no real charm here, and the memory is melancholy.

I guess they want to draw the conclusion that Peter was really guilty here by having the bullets show up for an iron clad proof. Then at the same time they undermine the lab tech on the blood proof, and meanwhile the murder has a suspect found whose cell phone is at the murder. This is really left dangling as there appears to be no interest in that person, who might have the real motive behind the murder Peter is supposed to have covered up.

Ironically, in November of 2016, Clinton would proof to be a bigger disaster than Alicia and this foreshadows the real historic event. Alicia is still supposed to be a viable candidate for election while the corrupt Clinton destroyed her chances of being elected ever by having the corruption in the Democratic Party brought into the open. This series brought corruption in the Democratic party out but Wiki Leaks showed the real stuff even went beyond what this series ever imagined. Another loose end is we never find out for sure if Peter rigged Alicia's election and then in another dropped plot line what ever happened to Alicia's vote on the voting machine scandal.

Then we have the dropped plot line of the corrupt judge who the FBI for some reason looses interest in after he screws over 1000's of people in the night court type of setting where he is obviously getting kickbacks from the lawyers in his court and others. Granted he gets away with a mock trial that is a legal joke and he is found innocent, but it seems the loss of interest in bringing him to justice is never explained.

The failure here is that normally last episodes usually tie things up and finish something. The only thing this episode does is get Alicia a slap in the face for using Diane's husband to try and get Peter off. If that slap is the only reason to justify this entire series, it falls way short of what we need to see. Diane is the only character who has grown in this series. The rest of it has just become a mess. This Diane actually has brains, unlike the airhead Diane who showed up for the last episode of Cheers. Everyone knows Diane Lockhart's name because she gets in the slap of Alicia at the end.

Unfortunately, Diane needed very much to slap the series writers. They went on strike after killing Will. They are guilty of making what could have been a great series into a soap opera.

The Good Wife: Winning Ugly
Episode 19, Season 6

Dirty Chicago Politics Great Illustration
This is a great example on how the Democratic Party does "dirty politics" though the way it applies the laws here are laughable. So in a close election Alicia gets told what the party line is and after winning the election is slapped and told to wait for 4 years. Actually it is understated here but really Peter is behind all of this. First he tries to lower turn out so she will lose.

Then failing that, he has appointed a corrupt man in charge of his voting machines. Actually it turns out the guy had helped him win both of his offices. What is laughable is he threatens Alicia in his office, she records him making the threats, presents it in court, and the guy is able to walk out of the proceedings and is not even charged or arrested for corruption even after she presents the recording in an open hearing. This means Peter, his boss is behind it. This might spoil what is coming the last season but there is no doubt Peter has become jealous of how capable his wife has become.

The guy who runs the voting machines makes a second threat in his office to wait 4 years, but Alicia can not record this one. Then her Defense attorney lies and hangs her out to dry at the next hearing. The weakness of the way the law is handled in this one is the only problem with it.

The Democratic drama is handled well as any prime time soap script. This show ran from 2009 until after Hillary ran in 2016. There is no doubt this entire series was an attempt to help her win election. Unfortunately, her campaign turned out to be even uglier than this fictional one. Acted well and the old House/Boston Legal team is still producing good drama though as usual the scripts are getting more and more hokey here.

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