olderbutwiser

IMDb member since December 2005
    Lifetime Total
    10+
    IMDb Member
    14 years

Reviews

Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol
(1962)

Back in the 60's this was a premiere prime time Christmas event- watch it and find out why
"A Christmas Carol" is 100 pages long and would take 2 hours to read, however it has generated so many variations on screen and stage(and probably the Internet). Here is the first animated one, after reading the original last year(cost 25 cents)I was surprised to find out that the cartoon version took great pains to preserve much of the exact wording of the novel. There is not even a hint that it is not the mid 1800s in the cartoon. One particular scene always gets me- the ghost of Christmas past's(a young boy or girl)face turns profoundly sad when Scrooge/Magoo sings "why such a lonely beach" and it seems like the ghost understands Scrooge's sadness. When you are a kid, there is NOTHING scarier than the ghost of Christmas future, and nothing more desolate than Scrooge/Magoo on the grave singing "I'm all alone in the world" with the camera panning the cemetery. A close second in scariness is when Marley jumps out the window(as a ghost) and bellows as he merges into all the other ghosts flying around London. Music, dialog, and even the chintzy animation is just right. I must go home and play my VHS tonight!

Paris 1919: Un traité pour la paix
(2009)

very good film about an underrated important time
I certainly enjoyed it and found it on the obscure "Military Channel". Growing up in the 60s there was a steady stream of historical films about Pasteur, Reuters, Marconi that went totally over my head. I can recall endless medieval films on cold Sunday afternoons where i couldn't wait to have the channel turned. NOw as an adult I cherish gems such as this, where they took character actors(what good would Richard Gere have done as Woodrow Wilson)and had them act out the true life events of the time, interspersed with real footage. It amazed me to see Ho Chi Migh trying to get an audience with Wilson to get the French out of Indochina- how those two would intersect blew me away. WWI veterans dominated the world up to the mid 60's(Eisenhower, Churchill, Macarthur, etc.) so they went from the horse age to the space age. Ifthey really said what was said about a weakened Germany would be ripe for a demagogue then it just shows how important the study of history is. All in all a treasure

War Dogs of the Pacific
(2009)

I cried like a baby all through it
I am becoming obsessed with the military channel as a history buff. War Dogs of the Pacific, even if it is 60% true, is an amazing story of people volunteering their dogs for duty(essentially junkyard dogs in the USA) and being trained for bomb sniffing, reconnaisance, etc. The bond between men(of 18 and a much less worldly 18 then today) and dog was touching and inspiring. It ended with only 4 dogs being euthanized out of 500(for unsuitability- too dangerous- post traumatic stress). I remember seeing "The Courage of Lassie" about this subject. I think this was done 15 years ago as the wwII vets look about 70- and the youngest one now would be about 85. Great show

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody
(2005)

makes me yearn for Flipper and Daniel Boone
As a parent of two girls(14 and 11) I have grave doubts about this show and all the shows aimed at tweens. First, I am always amazed that the living conditions of Drake/Josh, Zac/Cody, Hanna, Carly, Derek, Sunny etc. always make most houses look tiny and cramped. Most people work hard all day to pay for living quarters less than half the size yet on these shows nobody is going or coming from work, paying utility,rent, mortgage or insurance bills, mopping, sweeping, changing lightbulbs, fixing toilets,etc. Just walking in and out(and down the ubiquitous wide stairs that only exist on TV sets) cracking jokes(most of which involve lying and the hilarious results) and shirking work. I think kids watching these will have unrealistic expectations on how hard they will work and how luxurious their lives will be. Second, there is never an intact family, always a Mom or Dad but never both, who are always going on sexless dates but never seem to have any of the downside of divorce(alimony, support, arguments). Again, kids may get the impression that if mom/dad get divorced there will be fun fun fun(actually mom or dad are often not around if that helps the plot). Needless to say there is no mention of spirituality(forget specific religion). Finally there is a theme that troubles me. There are "nerds" that are good in school, "jocks" good in sports, "goody two shoes" as well. The protagonists are not good at school, sports, or charitable but make wisecracks about those who are. The message is don't be good at anything, just be one of the "nothings" who blend in cracking jokes. Needless to say I give all these shows a zero and turn them off all the time and am just short of forbidding them in my house.

iCarly
(2007)

I have serious doubts about all these shows
As a parent of two girls(14 and 11) I have grave doubts about this show and all the shows aimed at tweens. First, I am always amazed that the living conditions of Drake/Josh, Zac/Cody, Hanna, Carly, Derek, Sunny etc. always make most houses look tiny and cramped. Most people work hard all day to pay for living quarters less than half the size yet on these shows nobody is going or coming from work, paying utility,rent, mortgage or insurance bills, mopping, sweeping, changing lightbulbs, fixing toilets,etc. Just walking in and out(and down the ubiquitous wide stairs that only exist on TV sets) cracking jokes(most of which involve lying and the hilarious results) and shirking work. I think kids watching these will have unrealistic expectations on how hard they will work and how luxurious their lives will be. Second, there is never an intact family, always a Mom or Dad but never both, who are always going on sexless dates but never seem to have any of the downside of divorce(alimony, support, arguments). Again, kids may get the impression that if mom/dad get divorced there will be fun fun fun(actually mom or dad are often not around if that helps the plot). Needless to say there is no mention of spirituality(forget specific religion). Finally there is a theme that troubles me. There are "nerds" that are good in school, "jocks" good in sports, "goody two shoes" as well. The protagonists are not good at school, sports, or charitable but make wisecracks about those who are. The message is don't be good at anything, just be one of the "nothings" who blend in cracking jokes. Needless to say I give all these shows a zero and turn them off all the time and am just short of forbidding them in my house.

Hannah Montana
(2006)

Hollywood is killing our tweens
As a parent of two girls(14 and 11) I have grave doubts about this show and all the shows aimed at tweens. First, I am always amazed that the living conditions of Drake/Josh, Zac/Cody, Hanna, Carly, Derek, Sunny etc. always make most houses look tiny and cramped. Most people work hard all day to pay for living quarters less than half the size yet on these shows nobody is going or coming from work, paying utility,rent, mortgage or insurance bills, mopping, sweeping, changing lightbulbs, fixing toilets,etc. Just walking in and out(and down the ubiquitous wide stairs that only exist on TV sets) cracking jokes(most of which involve lying and the hilarious results) and shirking work. I think kids watching these will have unrealistic expectations on how hard they will work and how luxurious their lives will be. Second, there is never an intact family, always a Mom or Dad but never both, who are always going on sexless dates but never seem to have any of the downside of divorce(alimony, support, arguments). Again, kids may get the impression that if mom/dad get divorced there will be fun fun fun(actually mom or dad are often not around if that helps the plot). Needless to say there is no mention of spirituality(forget specific religion). Finally there is a theme that troubles me. There are "nerds" that are good in school, "jocks" good in sports, "goody two shoes" as well. The protagonists are not good at school, sports, or charitable but make wisecracks about those who are. The message is don't be good at anything, just be one of the "nothings" who blend in cracking jokes. Needless to say I give all these shows a zero and turn them off all the time and am just short of forbidding them in my house.

Life with Derek
(2005)

Don't like at all
As a parent of two girls(14 and 11) I have grave doubts about this show and all the shows aimed at tweens. First, I am always amazed that the living conditions of Drake/Josh, Zac/Cody, Hanna, Carly, Derek, Sunny etc. always make most houses look tiny and cramped. Most people work hard all day to pay for living quarters less than half the size yet on these shows nobody is going or coming from work, paying utility,rent, mortgage or insurance bills, mopping, sweeping, changing lightbulbs, fixing toilets,etc. Just walking in and out(and down the ubiquitous wide stairs that only exist on TV sets) cracking jokes(most of which involve lying and the hilarious results) and shirking work. I think kids watching these will have unrealistic expectations on how hard they will work and how luxurious their lives will be. Second, there is never an intact family, always a Mom or Dad but never both, who are always going on sexless dates but never seem to have any of the downside of divorce(alimony, support, arguments). Again, kids may get the impression that if mom/dad get divorced there will be fun fun fun(actually mom or dad are often not around if that helps the plot). Needless to say there is no mention of spirituality(forget specific religion). Finally there is a theme that troubles me. There are "nerds" that are good in school, "jocks" good in sports, "goody two shoes" as well. The protagonists are not good at school, sports, or charitable but make wisecracks about those who are. The message is don't be good at anything, just be one of the "nothings" who blend in cracking jokes. Needless to say I give all these shows a zero and turn them off all the time and am just short of forbidding them in my house.

Love, American Style
(1969)

The end of my childhood
With Boy Scout meetings getting over at 9:30 during Fridays from age 11-16(1967-1972) I missed the Partridge Family, Wild Wild West, Room 222, and Brady Bunch during their original runs(have seen most Brady Bunchs since but not the others which were never rerun fixtures). However, I remember walking into house on Friday night to see a big American Flag, Fireworks, and a pleasant song and would sit down to watch not knowing anything about Love, sex, girls etc. I did not mind it, and would love to go back to see now what I saw then, and would like to envision what my 14 year old head was thinking about all the changes that were to come over my life in the next 20 years. Bravo Love American style and I always love that "Love and the Happy Day" story where the combination of American Graffiti(great movie) and Grease combined to resurrect this little short into a 10 year TV show.

The Wonderful World of Disney: Life-Size
(2000)
Episode 8, Season 3

Another Disney widower based plot
it was OK- my kids liked it especially when younger. It just seems that all the tween shows(Zac/Cody,Hanna M, Drake/josh, ICarly) as well as movies like this could not exist without killing off ONE of the parents so that there can be a sexless love interest for the remaining parent to further the plot. My children actually think that would be a "cool" environment- i guess they don't understand that the life insurance helps supplement the life style.

It reflects the laziness of the writers and probably the throwaway lifestyle of Hollywood in general. It goes back to My 3 sons, Bachelor Father, Family Affair etc I guess but I for one am sick of it.

The Wild Thornberrys Movie
(2002)

possibly the best cartoon movie i have ever seen- and a great soundtrack
I always loved this show when my children were little (7 and 5 when movie came out) so of course we went to the movie- I may have liked the show better than them. So I was not surprised to find it a high quality and well written movie. It is the perfect transition movie from kids being little kids to tweens. Basically it deals with her outwitting poachers who are trying to trick elephants into coming into a valley for slaughter. It has enough meat, message, and quality of script to entertain both adults and kids. It has a message of environmentalism, determination/sticktoitivness, family love, facing danger and also gives you a great animated version of Nairobi, the Serengeti, etc. It is totally logical and the twist of Eliza having to give up her gift in order to accomplish saving the elephants but remembering what she learned initially (about leading the elephants) is just enough plot for a 10 year old to handle. And the soundtrack, with Paul Simon, Baja Men, Diddy and many African groups is amazing. I get tears just writing this as I realized at the end it was the first "grown up" movie they ever saw. This is possibly the highest quality cartoon ever, many guest stars like Sting and others appeared during its run. The sister show "Origin of Donnie" was good too. The last one(Rugrats meet Thornberries) was nowhere near as good

John Adams
(2008)

Great story yields great screenplay yields great and thought provoking movie
Today we are used to Presidents in a fully furnished White House with a large staff and all the trappings necessary to perform what many consider the most important job in the world. We are used to them living long after their term in office, with secret service and a large office at their disposal, and the Mayo Clinic on call for any illness for them or their families. It is hard to believe that before Herbert Hoover, only a handful of presidents lived more than 10 years our of office, and most far shorter than that. A pension for a President is a relatively current development(U.S. Grant wrote his autobiography to take care of his family) and any President until Hoover just went back to what he was doing before to make a living. The President in the 20th and 21st century has well defined duties and a large cabinet and staff to do their bidding.

In contrast John Adams as our second president moved into a White House that was in the middle of a swamp, half finished and unfurnished. He had no precedent except George Washington for what his job was, or even what his country was, and a 4 person cabinet of advisors. We had a small undeveloped country, with disputed boundaries, no Army and a Navy consisting of arming merchant ships. If he wanted to go somewhere, he got on his horse. Instead of Camp David, he had to ride a carriage to Massachusetts to his working farm. If he or his family got sick, he had the same access to the primitive medical care as anyone, and upon retirement he was expected to make his own living as a farmer and lawyer. John Adams was blessed with a life that was double the median expectancy at the time (90 instead of 45) and thus got to spend exactly 50 years after the Declaration of Independence to see what the country had become after the Louisiana Purchase(there were already steam train experiments at his death), to see his son become President, and to see his wife and 2 our of 4 children die with him unable to do anything about it.

This series, which is blessed with the underlying book by David McCullough that was developed into a screenplay, has the benefit of covering the incredibly rich, though provoking, and introspective life of John Adams. Adams essentially wrote the screenplay, with his letters to Abigail and Thomas Jefferson providing a treasure trove of information which was developed into a book and a screenplay. He wrote down EVERYTHING- from the most sublime to the most base thoughts, and anybody who read the book will find themselves thinking of our world, people and events in much the same way as Adams did. Those thoughts are somewhat covered in the movie(his insecurity, stubbornness, etc) but unless they put "thought bubbles" over his head it would be hard to convey in a movie. The screenplay is great(why wouldn't it be) and Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney grow (and die) into the role of a lifetime. Stephen Dillane(Jefferson), and Sarah Polley(Nabby) also grow- and die in an moving and thought provoking manner. All others others in the ensemble cast are woven into the story seamlessly. Robert Morse IS George Washington, and the actor who played George III was incredible as well. In fact EVERYBODY and EVERYTHING was incredible-and the first "White House" (burned down in the War of 1812) is a special effects gem in the mold of "Lord of the Rings" or "King Kong" .

Every 8th grade in the country should buy the DVD (at the educational discount as it is $50 or so) and make it a required two weeks of history lessons instead of the dreadful PC films that are out there. It will encourage reading of the book and maybe get everybody (including adults) to get this country back on track. The last line of the movie is as relevant today as when it was made in the 1820's-"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it."

The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946)

If you want to understand the generation leaving us now watch this
It is incredible to believe that tens of millions of 18-35 year old men(single and even many family men) left their home to travel thousand of miles away for many years to fight a war that affected the Continental USA not at all and Europe, Asia, and Africa far more. They gave up jobs(not that it was a booming time), girls, and family to fight and in 400,000 cases die, without complaint and in many cases never living to see what we consider normal life passages. Frederic March looks a little too old to have fought, but his presence and family provides a window into the business and romantic world of the post World War II era. Dana Andrews is a little old but still fantastic as the guy who gets kicked in the teeth but in the end prevails. Harold Russell is as natural as a new snowfall- most people at that time talked in a simple monosyllabic manner. Teresa Wright is magnificent, and I agree with Larry King that the ending kiss is the most romantic ever; probably a function of the time. Everyone else plays their role to a T; Andrew's father and (I guess) stepmother smoking like chimneys while sitting in a shabby apartment reading the citation from General Jimmy Dolittle with their voice cracking is incredible(I imagine that would be like getting a letter from Tom Brady or Simon Cowell now). And don't forget about the airplane graveyard sequence Corny, yes but maybe it was a corny time. If you have a chance please watch this- it is 3 hours well spent. It is hard to believe that EVERYBODY from this movie is dead now.

The Nativity Story
(2006)

A must see event for thoughtful families this season
Although the Nativity seems like it happened a long time ago, 2000 years is only one sixth of recorded history, and one fiftieth of the time that homo sapiens has existed. The physical features of Palestine, Isreal, and Egypt are for all intents and purpose identical to what they are now. The people, while shorter and thinner, are indistinguishable from ourselves. Although there is certainly differences of opinion as to all religious elements of Christianity as it relates to Christ, Mary, and Joseph, it is somewhat well established that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph did exist, as did King Herod, the astrological phenomenon of the Star, the census, etc. In that light, "The Nativity Story" is a reverend and authentic attempt to successfully convey the words, actions, and general physical and political environment of that time. It is also an attempt to convey the physical hardships of the time, the economy of thought and word, the limited aspirations of people 2000 years ago, and the simple faith that has a good deal to do with the success of Western culture to this day. The acting is totally appropriate, while many have commented that Keisha Castle Hughes is emotionless, and Joseph simple of thought and action, it reflects the attitude of a world where 50% of children died, and an above average life was to be married at 14 and dead at 40. The supporting actors are totally believable, even the wise men who offer limited comic relief are appropriately reverend and humble. The scenery and cinematography are magnificent. All in all a must see for everyone old enough to understand the story- probably 8 and up.

With the materialistic, sarcastic garbage out there about Christmas light wars, drunken Santas, etc this is an ideal way for a whole family to spend a night at Christmas and reflect afterwords as to what they saw.

The Last Will and Testament of Tom Smith
(1943)

Amazing- download it to your PC for a piece of Americana
a 10 minute short that has 4 amazing stars. It portrays the last 20 minutes of the life of Tom Smith(Reeves), a prisoner sentenced to death in a Japanese prison camp-he is a downed pilot. He reminisces about the girl he left behind, the neighborhood kids, and his wise "Gramps" as he inventories his life. You know George Reeves, Lionel Barrymore, and Walter Brennan, but the ingénue love interest of the doomed Reeves is Barbara Britton, who became the Revlon girl of the 1950's and portrayed Laura Petrie in a 1960 Pilot of "Head of the Family" that became the Dick Van Dyke show(Carl Reiner as Rob). She was in soap operas until 1979! Talk about spanning the ages. Reeves is stalwart, stoic and charming, Barrymore is "Gramps" and plays it to a tee, and Walter Brennan is the mailman. The purpose was to sell war bonds. What a treat- and a reminder of times not that long ago. The portrayal of the Japanese was typical of the times but not totally unrealistic as was documented in "The Great Raid". George Bush Sr. was very close to being a prisoner of the Japanese as a downed airman- and how the world would be different now..

Hollywoodland
(2006)

Hollywoodland is a not a CSI thriller but will make you think about your own life
Hollywoodland is a very good movie, bordering on great, but I can understand the issues bought up by critics. The issues are that the Reeves plot thread is much more interesting than the Simo thread, that there is really no resolution at the end, and that the subject matter (a B level actor unknown to anyone under 40) is a slender thread by which to hang a movie. I believe that you could not do much more with the Reeves thread as what is provided is enough to tell his sadly short but moving story- any more would not have revealed much. The Simo thread is basically a window into everyman- we are all somewhat unaware(like Reeves) as to how much we really have everyday and are often frustrated and striving for more- often with negative effect on our present life. The fact that there is no resolution does not alter the fact that the suicide theory is the most likely theory; after 50 years no amount of CSI type work is possible or even desirable.. If you know of a suicide victim that you care about, you are always hoping that something else with come out that explains it logically- rarely does it happen. The slender thread of Reeves career is somewhat negated by the fact that he is talked about almost 50 years later, when many other bigger names of the day are forgotten. The tragedy of Christopher Reeve has in a sense reopened the career of George Reeves- as they will be forever linked- and made his contribution more important than it may otherwise have been. To most 50 something boomers, George Reeves is Superman and Chris Reeve is the heir apparent, and most have a fond memory of those innocent times.

Even the negative reviews are not too negative, and the acting and cinematography are considered at least good by almost all reviewers. Ben Affleck is excellent, it is not a "Rich Little" imitation (although a good one) but more of a illustration of a nice guy who through his own choices, what he considers "bad luck", and internal demons starts a downward spiral he cant stop. Adrian Brody is a little theatrical but he is playing a composite of his character and almost a Greek chorus observing and commenting. Diane Lane is excellent, as is Bob Hoskins and everybody down to the estranged wife and clumsy "boyfriend". If you are of the age to remember Reeves as Superman and how big the show was, if you have had a friend die by their own hand, if you feel somewhat "typecast" in your work and home life and somehow feel that there is more in you, then you will love this move. Even if you have none of these experiences, you should marvel at the ambition of the filmmakers and cast to try to make something great of an almost forgotten everyday story.

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