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    14 years


Love's Christmas Journey

An absolutely awful film
My wife somehow managed to get me to watch this unbelievably horrible film. Four hours of ridiculous scenery and props, terrible acting, awful dialog, and amateurish directing. Whatever is worse than "mailing it in," this is it. Where does one start? All the male characters are idiots. They do things that no self respecting man would do. The sheriff is the archetypal pansy. The family lives on a massive ranch outside of town -- with no livestock. We are to believe that the boy, raised in the wilderness, has never been taught about the deadly poisonous berries that grow locally, yet his aunt knows that a certain purple flower that happens to grow nearby is the antidote. At least 45 minutes of this monstrosity is characters exchanging goofy looks while smiling at each other. Tightly edited from four hours down to 90 minutes, this might have been watchable. Or not. I usually trust Hallmark to produce entertaining family fare. But this stinker was worse than water boarding. In fact, if the U.S. government were to take it to Guantanamo and show it to the prisoners, we'd know all of al Qaida's secrets after two showings. Easily the worst movie I have ever seen.

The Poseidon Adventure

One of my best memories from Junior High School
When the Poseidon Adventure premiered, in 1972, every kid in my 7th grade class wanted to see it. I know I wasn't the last one to see it, but it sure felt like it. Clearly the movie has flaws, but it's a great story and is highly entertaining. I watch it whenever I see it coming on TV. Its enduring appeal for me is the "what would I do if I were in his/ her shoes?" aspect that runs throughout the movie. You feel involved...as many times as I've seen it, I've never been able to just dispassionately watch it.

My only regret is that the movie makers didn't follow the book more closely. The ending in the movie (no, this isn't a spoiler!) is almost a letdown if you've read the book. The psychological impact of the book ending was devastating for me, and because of my strange tastes in movies, I wish Irwin Allen had had the fortitude and wherewithal to more closely follow the book's ending. By the way, the book's author, Paul Gallico, is a great story teller and is incredibly versatile, having written entertaining books in several genres, from children's stories ("Thomasina") to espionage thrillers ("The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun") to, of course, the action/adventure of "The Poseidon Adventure."

Haakon Haakonsen

Highly entertaining -- great family film that bears repeat viewings
Good, clean fun for the family. We first watched this movie 10 years ago when my kids were under 6. They're all teenagers now and they still enjoy this movie. It's a great adventure story that's a throwback to a simpler type of movie-making, relying on character development and plot rather than special effects. The villains aren't cartoons, and Haakon is a believable protagonist. If sex, graphic violence, gratuitous profanity, and anti-heroes are your idea of a good time, you'll hate this movie. But if you crave films that you wouldn't be embarrassed to have three or four generations watch, you'll love this one -- again and again.

PS -- the thing with Haakon's shoes IS hilarious!

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