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The Andy Griffith Show: Rafe Hollister Sings
Episode 20, Season 3

Be true to thyself
Great episode. Country bumpkin Rafe is a gifted singer. He has a chance to represent Mayberry in a state contest, but the mayor is interested in image, and in the mayor's opinion Rafe does not fit that image. What to do. What wins out: talent or image? No one doubts that Rafe can sing. it's just that he looks so scruffy that he could give Mayberry a bad name. Finally, it is Rafe who decies the matter. By being true to himself, he achieves a moment of greatness. Wonderful episode.

The Andy Griffith Show: Opie and the Spoiled Kid
Episode 21, Season 3

Excellent drama. How not to raise a child.
Great episode. All about selfishness and misguided priorities. When a 10 year old boy admits that he valued his bike over his father, the father realizes that he has raised a monster. The camera work captures the moment when the father has his epiphany. Heretofore the father defended his son and excused away his obnoxious acting out behavior. But with Sheriff Taylor's help, the father realizes that his son is a mess and that it is time for corrective action. The episode also depicts the mindset of people who believe they need not obey the rules. That comes from selfishness created and nurtured by permissiveness. Technically a sitcom, the episode is actually drama.

Hacksaw Ridge

Hero without a gun.
This is a good movie. A conscientious objector wins the Medal of Honor. Shows that one need not use a weapon to be a hero. It also shows the fanaticism of the Japanese troops who had zero chance of winning, yet would rather die than surrender. The movie would have been stronger if it had provided more historical context to the story. For instance, why the US found it necessary to invade Okinawa and why the Japanese fought fanatically to defend it. The movie presumes that the audience knows the history of the US-Japanese war in the Pacific. It also does not provide more depth into the characters and personalities of the Japanese soldiers who, without exception, are ALL depicted as mad, blood thirsty maniacs. Nevertheless, the movie succeeds in telling a story of one man who stayed true to his principles and emerged a hero.

Law & Order: Return
Episode 5, Season 11

Absurd ludicrous story
This episode stretches the boundaries of credulity. The son of a Jewish shop owner contracts with a gangster to murder his father's partner because the business will go not to him but to another relative. Then it is revealed that the son actually is not Jewish, event though he was raised as a Jew and even bar mitvahed. All of a sudden the story shifts from being a murder mystery to a social commentary about who decides who is Jewish. Soon the story is a complete mess as three rabbis are asked to decide whether a man who is Jewish is in fact Jewish. If this isn't ridiculous enough, the director uses the story to denigrate Israel's right to return and even implies that Israel provides cover for murderers. Between the stereotypical depictions of Jews and the anti-Israel political message of the story, this is not drama at its best. Instead it is another example of Hollywood using the media to spin a political message.

Law & Order: Burn Baby Burn
Episode 6, Season 11

Bloated story crammed with dramatic filler.
The show is trying to make a comment about police and racism, and fails. Too many dramatic contrivances. First, the dialog between the police and the woman who occupied the apartment where the shooting occurred. She denies knowing anything about the shooting. This was laughable. She says this despite the fact that a bullet slug and "size eleven shoes" were found in her apartment. Then the director injects racism into what was a basically a straight forward situation of self-defense. That was both pretentious and contrived. The episode ends with the district attorney offering a weak reply to the assistant DA's disgust with the not-guilty verdict for a case that was almost impossible for gain a conviction. This is another example of Hollywood using drama to spin a political message, which in this case gets lost in a bloated story crammed with dramatic filler.

Leave It to Beaver: Lumpy's Scholarship
Episode 24, Season 6

Social connections do matter.
Lumpy. who is considered a jerk and a loser, gets a football scholarship. of course, Lumpy's father is elated, and everyone else in Lumpy's social circle are amazed. Yet they are happy for him. Wally explains that through hard work Lumpy became the best player on the team, so the scholarship is deserved. Then, disaster. Lumpy's father learns that the university will deny Lumpy the scholarship because Lumpy got a D in math. Lumpy is gloomy. In fact, he is depressed. Then Ward Cleaver enters the picture. In a magnanimous gesture, he says he will call someone he knows who works at the university to discuss Lumpy's scholarship. the next scene, Lumpy's father tells Ward that the school will defer denying the scholarship while Lumpy retakes the math class in summer school. The episode ends with everyone happy. Now, the theme of this episode: influence matters. Ward used his connection to help Lumpy keep a scholarship for which he was not qualified. If it were some other student other than Lumpy, the denial would have stuck. Who else does Ward Cleaver know? How extensive is his social connection network? Great episode.

The Death of Stalin

Surprisingly entertaining treatment of a serious event.
This movie is a surprise. Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev dominates this movie. Although the story is about a group of men vying to fill a power vacuum left by the death of Stalin, what it comes down to is a contest between two men: Khrushchev and Lavrenti Beria. Whoever can gain control of the Politburo will win the battle and therefore power Although we already know from the history who won, the story nevertheless is engaging. It dramatizes the all the maneuvering that goes on, capturing the essential banality of the process and the shallowness of the contestants in the process. The movie does deviate from the some historical facts, yet still accurately depicts the dynamics that produced a transfer of power. The entire cast is wonderful. They play their respective roles well, this made more remarkable that none of the actors are Russian. Excellent movie.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Vicious Circle
Episode 29, Season 2

Excellent episode dealing with important themes
Excellent episode featuring Dick York in a non-comedic role. George Macready also stars in this chilling story about a weak man who cannot say no to his boss, in this case, a criminal. In a way, it is study of the mentality of those who will commit murder on command. Now, Dick York's character has misgivings and even warns his next victim, in this case his own fiancé, but that does not stop him from obeying orders. The story has larger political implications. History is replete with those who will do the most awful things, commit the most heinous crimes, if ordered to do so. They will act without hesitation or regrets, based on the belief that they do not bear final responsibility. Well, that just does not wash. What goes around comes around, as the saying goes. Today the executioner, tomorrow the executed, while those in charge keep control. As this episode so explicitly dramatizes, the hitman is merely the agent and is not indispensable. Just the opposite is the case. The episode leaves us asking this question: why do such awful work?

The Twilight Zone: The Trouble with Templeton
Episode 9, Season 2

Beautiful story
Such a beautiful story, and so well acted. It's about life as theater and about living in the present and not be stuck on the past. The mind can play tricks on us, especially when it comes to recalling the past. We are traveling on a continuum of time. This continuum is divided into discreet moments, each one separate. Together they form our life. Booth Templeton (played by Brian Aherne who gives a masterful performance),mixes those discreet moments, thus disrupting his life. Once he returns to the present, all is well again and he can go on with his life, secure in the knowledge that the past is gone and not to be relived but only to be remembered.

77 Sunset Strip: The Affairs of Adam Gallante
Episode 13, Season 3

When black-and-white was the norm
The plot is farfetched but amusing. It is noteworthy for who is in the cast. Sue Randall played the elementary school teacher in the classic sitcom Leave It to Beaver. This episode is perfect for those who study the history of television or are invested in nostalgia for a bygone era when shows were in back-and-white and plots were straightforward and devoid, at least overtly, of political spin. Also impressive is Louis Quinn's performance. He would have been perfect as Columbo. Timing.

The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp: Woman of Tucson
Episode 7, Season 6

Wyatt Earp - victim of fake news.
Fake News is nothing new. This episode deals squarely with the problem. A woman tries to extract money from the local newspaper by claiming that Wyatt Earp takes bribes. Without fully vetting the story, the local newspaper editor publishes the story. Earp responds by threatening to sue the paper for libel and slander. Things finally settle down when the woman, whose late husband was a leader of a gang, leaves town. While in town she was nothing but trouble for Earp and for the newspaper reporters who sucked up to her in return for a story. The most irresponsible is Ned Buntline who lets himself become emotionally involved with the woman, who attempts to use that to her advantage, namely, to get Buntline to pay her way to New York City. Luckily, Wyatt Earp remains steadfast and matters are satisfactorily resolved, with Earp's reputation still intact. This episode is remarkable in its depiction of the damage caused by irresponsible journalists whose poor judgement almost ruin Wyatt Earp.

The Office: Dwight's Speech
Episode 17, Season 2

Michael is an enabler with human flaws
This episode is a take-off on Mussolini. Dwight is being recognized as salesman of the year and is invited to make a speech at a sales person convention. Michael feels upstaged and offers to "coach" Dwight in order to instill in Dwight self-doubt about delivering a speech. Yet, Dwight surprises Michael and delivers a speech by borrowing from Mussolini. It works! Dwight's speech is received with tumultuous applause from everyone, except Michael, who, consumed by jealousy, sulks. Michael comes off as petty and insecure. He puts his personal feelings ahead of that of the interest of the company. He is selfish, manipulative and insecure. But he is the boss, and it is because of Michael that Dwight succeeds because Michael is an enabler, albeit one with human flaws.

The Office: Andy's Play
Episode 3, Season 7

Andy at his most desperate
Such a sad episode. The saga of Andy Bernard continues. He is the ultimate loser. Nothing he does pans out. Even good things, like being in a play, for Andy turns into mud. He is pursuing Meredith and failing. He is doing everything to get her to like him, but is failing and is too stupid to know when to stop. Watching Andy fail becomes excruciating. He is such a goof up. he is the Barney Fife of the 2000s. he is one of the most unattractive characters in the history of television sitcoms. he's not even good at sucking up. He inspires pity. His pursuit of Meredith is pathological. Meredith has rejected Andy. Yet Andy is determined to get her back. When she would rather babysit for Pam than go watch Andy in his play is an unmistakably clear message of her lack of interest in him, yet he does not get the message. She is merely polite to Andy, but Andy misinterprets that as interest in him. He is a dullard, a foil, and a fool.

The Office: New Leads
Episode 20, Season 6

Great episode - never cross the boss
The sales staff become uppity and attempt to impose their control on the office. This is a direct challenge to Michael's authority. If Michael does not act he will be reduced to a figure head and destroy the team spirit that Michael has spent years building. The sales staff fee, empowered by the corporate office, and so believe that they can now take charge. However, what they forget is that Michael is still the manager. What is at stake is Michael's job and personal credibility. But most important, what is at risk is the survival of Dunder Mifflin. Michael acts, and does so decisively and with some comic effect. In taking action, Michael re-asserts his authority, puts the sales staff in their place, and teaches all a lesson about respecting the boss.

The Office: Happy Hour
Episode 21, Season 6

Attempt to manipulate Michael Scott backfires
Great episode. Astute depiction of a man who refuses to be manipulated by others who want to take advantage of his good nature to make social points at his expense. Once Michael learns that he is on a date, he takes decisive action to discredit Pam and Jim, who did not inform Michael of their plan to hook him up with one of Pam's girl friends. This takes place at an office Happy Hour organized by one of the employees who wants to use the event to try to establish a gay connection with another employee. Office politics run rampant as everyone is using a social event to promote their personal, sand selfish, goals. All except Michael. This episode depicts the characters of the Office at their most ridiculous, except for Michael, whose acting out is a form of passive -aggressive behavior that completely thwart Pam and Jim's attempt to use Michael to score points at Michael's expense.. Instead of being open and honest with Michael, they give Michael cause to act out. In this respect, Pam and Jim totally misjudged Michael. Michael does not need their help to meet women nor did he ask for their help. Sadly, although a spoof, this episode, and the series in general, provide an accurate depiction of the more negative and reprehensible aspects of human nature.

The Taking of Pelham 123

A movie that showcases Denzel Washington at the story's expense.
This movie has enough action and good acting to keep your interest. This despite a contrived story line that reduces the movie to almost a parody. Now, this graphically depicts a lot of ugly and vicious acts; shootings, high speed auto collisions, profane language, people being humiliated and terrorized, all set in a dysfunctional and ugly urban landscape. The problem is that in this movie even the good guys are bad. Everyone has different degrees of badness. So, it is unclear as to ho to root for and against. Denzel Washington plays Garber, the hero of movie. Yet, Garber's character is so flawed (we learn that he is under investigation for having taken bribes and has been demoted) that he's not even an ant-hero. He's a failed city bureaucrat. Accepting him as hero, or even liking him, is a real stretch. Then there is the role of the police. After the train is hijacked, there is a massive police response. Hundreds of police are deployed to the scene in the tunnel, and then ... do nothing. The after the head hijacker, played by John Travolta, shoots a hostage the police still do ... nothing. Now the movie is absurd. Then the movie resorts to all kinds of contrived action to build tension. All ridiculous. Instead Garber, who is a civilian, takes charge of the situation. After he delivers millions of dollars in cash to the hijackers (that scene itself borders on the absurd), he then eludes the hijackers, and finally, confronts the ringleader on the Manhattan Bridge while the police (no surprise) are cringing in fear. An especially interesting part of movie is its depiction of how the city manages to collect $20 million IN CASH in a half hour and how the police are reduced to being delivery boys, while Garber, who is actually an ex-motorman, engages in complex negotiations with the hijackers. It is apparent that this movie was made to showcase Denzel Washington. It certainly wasn't made to applaud the police. The movie shows police officers on motorcycles transporting sacks containing millions of dollars. Why one or more of the officers didn't abscond with the dough is not explained. But it certainly would have made for a more interesting and plausible movie.

Leave It to Beaver: Beaver's Accordion
Episode 13, Season 4

This episode is about ID theft.
Great episode. Thoughtful story. Strong acting. Ward receives a flyer for a $270 accordion; he tosses it into the garbage can. Beaver finds the flyer. Now he wants the accordion. Beaver talks to Eddie Haskell who encourages Beaver to order the accordion; it has a five-day free trail period, so if he doesn't want it he can return it. No problem (so far). So, without asking permission from his parents, Beaver mails the order and shortly after receives a box containing the accordion. Beaver cannot play the accordion and now wants to return it. He goes to the post office to ship the accordion, but can't afford the ten-dollar postage. Beaver asks Wally for help Wally can't help him. Beaver and Wally decide to hide the accordion in a closet. In the meantime, a man from the accordion company visits the home and speaks with Ward. The man demands payment of $270 for accordion and shows ward the paperwork proving that he ordered the product. Ward, of course, is put off by the man and is about to throw him out when June goes upstairs to fetch something from the closet and down the stairs comes the accordion. Ward is now totally confused. However, Beaver admits that he ordered the accordion. Ward is angry but controls his temper. He arrives at an agreement with the accordion company. He will not pay for the accordion but will pay for the cost of repairs, which totals $43.

This episode shows the havoc that can occur when one party makes a purchase and another party is stuck with the bill. In this episode Beaver steals his father's identity to make a purchase. The salesman demands payment from Ward, not Beaver. Being 11 years old, Beaver cannot be held responsible for his actions, and indeed did not act out of malice. Yet, through his irresponsible conduct, he put his father in a bad spot. If this episode was set today, the damage Beaver could have caused could have been exponentially greater.

Challenger: Countdown to Disaster

A coherent story about a tragic event.
This movie is structured in the form of a documentary that dramatizes the events associated with the Challenger disaster that occurred on January 28, 1986. The movie recounts the events that led to the decision to launch the rocket. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. it was as if the mission was fated to fail. NASA had so many opportunities to abort the mission but did not. The same can be said for the contractor, Morton Thiokol, which designed and manufactured the boosters. The movie argues that both NASA and Morton Thiokol knew about the problem with the O-rings, yet chose to base their decision to launch on factors other than safety. Everyone shares the blame. No one person or organization bore total responsibility for the decision to launch. It was a team decision. The issue was not one of risk. All understood that the shuttle was an experimental vehicle and that things could go wrong. Rather, the problem was that the O-rings were going to flown under conditions that had not yet been tested. So nobody knew for certain whether the O-rings would fail. As the movie points out, NASA had been flying the shuttle for four years without a failure. This record of success made it more difficult to support a decision to abort the mission over a possibly defective item which to date had not failed. The climax of the movie is the scene in which Morton Thiokol, Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA decide to launch. Although the Morton Thiokol engineers had told their managers not to launch, when NASA asked if anyone at Morton Thiokol disagreed with the decision to launch, no one expresses disagreement, including the engineers who were sounding the alarm. Instead of speaking up, they say nothing. So NASA decides to launch and the next day The rest is history. As for the scenes that cover the subsequent investigation of the disaster, the movie losses much of its dramatic power. There are no good guys or bad guys. No one individual is assigned blame. That is, there are no scape goats. The movie provides no dramatic catharsis because there is none to be delivered. Yet, the movie does succeed as a semi-documentary that provides a coherent account of a truly tragic event.

Ultimately, this movie is not about the flaws in the design of a rocket engine, but rather about flaws in a decision-making process that produced a tragic outcome. One can only speculate as to why the engineers at Morton Thiokol, who had spoken out so strongly against launching the rocket, remained silent at the call conference.

The Office: Goodbye, Toby
Episode 14, Season 4

One of the best episodes of the series. The two office wise guys are upstaged by the office fool.
Great episode. Lots of humor but also has a serious side. Jim pays Phyllis to make an extravagant go away party for Toby. He does this not because he cares about Toby, but because of an ulterior motive: he wants to create a spectacular setting to propose marriage to Pam. The audience is left wondering when will Jim do the deed. The tension builds as Michael develops an infatuation with the new HR person Holly. Finally, the party is going full blast and everybody is having a great time. Of course, complications develop. Michael gets word that Jan is in town. he leaves the party, meets Jan who is pregnant. Believing that he is the father, Michael is flabbergasted and ecstatic until Jan tells him she pregnant by artificial insemination. Michael is devastated. he returns to the party. Holly hints that she wants Michael to leave with her; Michael, now depressed, declines and she leaves with Kevin. Meanwhile, Jim takes out the ring from his pocket but is hesitant about proposing to Pam. While Jim is procrastinating, Andy grabs the mike and publicly proposes marriage to Angela, thus completely upstaging Jim who puts the ring away, completely deflated. All attention shifts to Andy. Andy, who is a buffoon, shows that he has more courage than Jim, and proves it on Jim's dime. What a come down for Jim. He was planning to be the star, and it doesn't happen. The lesson of this episode: he who hesitates pays the price. Andy upstages Dwight as well. Dwight is stunned. His sense of superiority is crushed. He took Angela for granted, and now lost her to an interloper. Later on, Dwight recovers and regroups. He understands his mistake. There is no way he will give up Angela. After the party Phyllis returns to the office and catches Dwight and Angela having sex. As for Jim, the nature of his relationship with Pam is left hanging. There is no question that it is at risk. Pam cares for Jim and sensed that Jim wanted to propose. But if actions speak louder than words, Jim's inaction speaks volumes. Does he really care about her? Even more importantly, does Jim have what it takes to be a leader? His status as the office's star is also at risk. Will he act?

Law & Order: Punk
Episode 8, Season 9

Surprisingly strong Law and Order episode.
At first, in this episode the story seems contrived. A corrections officer is murdered in the community and a female inmate is accused of arranging the murder from inside a prison. The inmate claims that the corrections officer was raping her But the murder is not the main element that drives the story. The assistant DA, Harmon, who is female, is hostile toward the defendant and does not conceal her hostility. The question is: why is this assistant DA so hostile toward this one defendant? No one understands it. Out of all the cases this assistant DA has handled, why is the so focused on this one defendant? This mystery transform a rather unoriginal plot into something that creates interest. Soon, attention shifts away from the defendant to the assistant DA as she continues to fume over what she claims is one of the lowest human beings on the planet. Although the defendant has a checkered past, her rap sheet does not seem to suggest a record that is especially egregious. That means nothing to the assistant DA who is absolutely determined to get a murder conviction, even though the defendant was allegedly being raped. To find out why the assistant DA was so hostile, watch the episode. It contains one of Angie Harmpn's stronger performances.

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

Excellent action movie.
The movie presents a story that is absurd. Nevertheless, it is entertaining. The movie takes the players to many different parts of the world. How they get to these places the movie does not explain. At each place people are on the run, traps are being set, communications are tense, as the good guys and bad guys try to outwit the other. The movie is devoid of any overt political content, concentrating its attention on telling the story. Tom Cruise delivers an energetic performance that carries the movie. He is in almost every scene. The movie is never dull. For fans of action movies, this movie will not disappoint.

Pretty Woman

Perhaps the best love story in the history of cinema
Watched this movie again, for maybe the tenth time since it was first released in 1990, and it is still as fresh as ever. An angry business man who uses his money to destroy businesses, and the in the process hurt people, meets a street hooker, a real slut, and they fall in love. Alone, both are struggling to survive; together they form a bond that nothing can break. On the surface the story seems farfetched, even contrived. A rich guy hooking up with a slutty whore - no way. However, this why this movie is so great. The story is not only believable, but appealing. Despite the huge difference in their social statuses - Edward is loaded with money and spends it, while Vivian is struggling just to pay the rent - both characters have one thing in common - intelligence. In each one's respective circles, they are surrounded by people who are not only vile but stupid. The movie captures how Edward and Vivian immediately connect. It is the key scene in the movie and shapes the entire story. Botch that scene and the whole story collapses. The cast brings this story to life. Richard Gere and Julia Roberts deliver the best performances of their careers. Gere is somber and tense and Roberts is sassy yet a little menacing. Their chemistry is impossible to miss. They become the characters they are playing. The movie depicts the story in a straightforward manner. The movie shows how Edward and Vivian evolve, in the process bringing out aspects of themselves that were lying suppressed. Alone, they were fighting the world; together, the world is theirs. Tremendous story about the power of love.

Padenie Berlina

Soviet propoganda, yet warrants serious consideration
The Fall of Berlin 1950 Get beyond the stagy acting and the cheap special effects, and this movie presents the Soviet version of how and why the Russians wound up in Berlin in April 1945. Although ostensibly a love story between a Soviet factory worker who serves in the Red Army and Soviet school teacher who is kidnapped by the Germans and becomes a slave laborer inside Germany, Stalin and Hitler are the principal characters. The contrast between the two could not more stark. Hitler is portrayed has a megalomania driven fanatic who responded to bad news, meaning the truth, with fits of hysteria while Stalin is portrayed as an all-caring leader who through steadfast leadership guides the Soviet Union to victory. Although the movie glorifies Stalin, it also honors the Red Army soldiers who fought the battles. According to the movie, Stalin decides to invade Berlin to prevent the Germans from giving up the city to the allies and then joining the allies to fight the Russians. Hitler believes that he could still win the war by breaking up the American-Soviet alliance. Stalin knows this and directs his generals to ignore German provocations. Another controversial scene is the Yalta Conference. This scene shows Stalin having taken action to relieve German pressure on the allies in 1944/1945. Other scenes show Hitler scornfully rejecting his generals' warnings not to invade Russia, and becoming increasingly despondent as the bad news keeps piling up. The movie portrays the Nazi leaders as little more than opportunistic thugs and plunderers supported by sycophants who are united by one goal: to crush communism. Those supporting Hitler include American business interests and the Catholic Church. The movie is Soviet propaganda, nonetheless, the movie warrants being taken seriously as a cinematic work. The fact is that Hitler lost and Stalin won. The Russians, and not the allies, defeated the Germans in Berlin. These facts alone give the movie's storyline some credibility. Whether it fairly and accurately portrays the role of the Allies in winning the war is another question.


If suffering is supposed to be funny then this movie is hilarious.
This movie depicts a dark, somber, chilling New York City, a place in which light is starkly offset by shadows. This sets the mood for the story about a man who is wants happiness but fails to find it. Nothing he does brings him joy. He hates his job, gest involved in hopelessly morbid relationships, deceives himself into believing that his so-called friends actually care about him, and is incapable of showing real anger. He feels rage but cannot let it out. Instead he directs his rage against himself by repeatedly putting himself in social situations in which he allows others to humiliate him. Now, what makes this movie so wacky is that it is billed as a comedy. This movie is supposed to be funny, clever, witty and arguably Woody Allen's best movie. This dark movie is anything but funny. The main character, Isaac, played by Allen, is suffering. Isaac is so lacking in self-esteem and so determined to punish himself for wanting to be happy that he gets involved with a high school girl. And the moment the girl indicates she cares for him, he pushes her away. Only belatedly does he realize what he has done, but by that time it is too late. he has lost her. He suffers another rejection from a woman who is the mistress of his married best friend. Isaac deludes himself into believing that this woman, who is fickle and emotionally flighty, cares about him. When he shows that he cares about her, she dumps him. She is utterly incapable of commitment. But the worst blow to Isaac's already shredded ego occurs when he is forced to realize that his best friend, Yale, the one person who Isaac believes really cares about him as a human being, and who Isaac idolizes, is a self-centered narcissist who uses people. And remember: this is supposed to be a comedy. Where is Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello when we need them? The thing about this movie that makes it so unique is that it attempts to present self-loathing as a form of humor. One cannot help but feel sympathy for Isaac who really deserves better treatment. But to call this comedy is a bit of a stretch.

All the Money in the World

Mother as hero.
This movie is good. it has a strong story, with good continuity, good character development, lots of dramatic tension, and most of all, strong acting by the entire cast. The bad guys, which means just about every character in this movie, are reprehensible, J. Paul Getty is depicted as a cynical miser who believes he us being conned by his own grandson. His son is depicted as a drunk and his grandson, a carbon copy of his father. Whether this is a product of literary license is another matter. The only character in this movie who is actually worth caring about is Getty II's mother, played by Michelle Williams. She carries the movie. Without a strong performance from her, this movie would fail as a work of drama, reason: all the other characters are so depraved. Except for the mother, the audience has no one to root for. But for this movie, one hero is enough.

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