Accidental Spy

Jackie Chan's newest movie to come out on DVD/VHS is his best one yet.

After foiling a bank robbery, Jackie Chan soon finds out he's the son of a double agent spy. A very wealthy double agent spy. So he's off to search for the fortune his father stashed away for his long lost son to find. But being the son of a wealthy double agent spy has its drawbacks.

Soon Jackie Chan is fighting thugs and escaping them using whatever he can get his hands on in interesting places. A bucket, slippery floors in a Turkish bath house, umbrellas, Jackie Chan gets NAKED in a market place, plates, tamborines, a newspaper, an icecream cone, colored powders, brooms, and women in burhkahs are all part of a single fight scene.

If you've never seen Jackie Chan, go out and rent 'Accidental Spy' now. But if you're familiar with Jackie Chan and enjoy it, buy it today.

Fun Fact: Jackie Chan gets hurt in this film. He always gets hurt in his films. He does his own stunts. (Mr_Didgers)


American Beauty

I caught holy hell for my contempt for this movie. In a word, it robbed the Green Mile.

I had endless arguments with people about the "realism" of this movie. I am sorry, but seeing Carter run in 2004 is more realistic than this truly awful piece of work. Critics said this movie was to show the American Dream is long dead, something I do not believe, but this movie seems to be nothing more than an attempt to showcase every Stereotype ever conceived.

What is this movie then? Let's do it real quick, if this movie is so "real" then:

All of us in suburbia lose our jobs, get severance packages for our sexual threats, have loveless relationships, our wives have affairs, our stereotypical daughters hate us, our creepy neighbor likes our kids, we fall into drug use, we fantasize about our daughter's (stereotypical) sleazy cheerleader friend, and the coup de gráce, we all live next door to two sets of gay neighbors, one of whom, of course, is a closet aggressive ex-Military homosexual who kills us.

If that is Realism, I gladly announce my candidacy for President in 2008. (tw_holmes@hotmail.com)


American Pie 2

The movie that made masturbating in apple pie famous does it again. Returning from the first are Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Shannon Elizabeth, Natasha Lyonne, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Tara Reid, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Mena Suvari, and Eugene Levy ("SCTV") as Biggs' dad, with Molly Cheek (TV's "Harry and the Hendersons") as his mom. New to the mix are Casey Affleck (Ben's brother), Larry Drake ("LA Law"), and Joanna Garcia (the WB's "Reba"). Also new: This time, Biggs masturbates with Crazy Glue.

In any case, it's just like the first one, with enough sex to keep Dr. Ruth in clover, except that everybody's in college. (They could do a third one after graduation, but it's been done before -- the series "Friends.") It's summer break, and the boys are looking for a place to stay, to party, to par-TAY, and to earn this flick's R rating. It has to be renovated first, but that's done in a scene or two, and they're ready to play. A bunch of misadventures happen along the way, and after the adhesive incident, Biggs' chance of reunion with Elizabeth is threatened. Will he be forced to get along with her the old-fashioned way -- chaste?

The VHS tape includes a trailer for "Slap Shot 2" -- yep, Stephen Baldwin and Gary Busey star in a decades-later sequel to Paul Newman's "curse-the-rules" hockey flick -- and the DVD "Ultimate Fights," featuring hundreds of fight scenes from dozens of movies and behind-the-scene secrets.


Austin Powers in Goldmember

FUN FACT: Don McLean, singer of the similarly named but ultimately unrelated song, owns the title. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)

You know the score: A spy from the swinging 60s (Mike Myers from "SNL") finds himself in the not-so-groovy 90s, and nevertheless has to stop the evil Dr. Evil (also Myers) from taking over the world.

Topping the naked walk from the previous one, Powers starts the film out with a 007-insired spoof of those "Let Hertz put you in the driver's seat" ads as he gets in his Aston-Martin - er, Shaguar - or, to be more accurate, another actor as Powers in a fake trailer for a fake sequel, sanctioned by Austin himself. But the ersatz film could use that touch of mojo only Powers can provide, and he does, complete with "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones (the character's theme - Austin gives Jones his props) and choreography.

The gang's all back, and Myers also gets to play Goldfinger - er, Goldmember (I guess I should say the film almost wasn't named that when James Bond's owners raised a stink) - a Dutch metallurgist who had a little accident with the auric mineral in the 70s (at least he didn't lose it altogether like John Bobbitt).

Powers' quest to find Goldmember requires a time trip to the disco days; the flashback femme here is Beyonce Knowles (Destiny's Child) as afrohead Foxxxy Cleopatra.

It's revealed that Powers is a second-generation spy, and the father is Michael Caine ("Get Carter") - not that he's proud enough to see his son knighted. But at least he has an excuse this time - he's been kidnapped.

Producers include Demi Moore. Yes, THAT Demi Moore. Soundtrack includes enough disco to choke a horse.

Even if the past wasn't so "happy days," we love to groove on nostalgia.

NOT-SO-FUN FACT: When a DVD claims to be fullframe or fullscreen, it's NOT the same as letterboxing.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0295178

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Battlefield Earth

Quite possibly the worst movie ever made. And that's an understatement. I was tricked into wasting $7.50 of my hard earned drug money to see this insult to humanity of a movie with my brother and his friend. They told me it "looked cool." They told me it had "explosions and stuff." I might as well have shelled out another $7.50 for some sleeping pills at the Walmart pharmacy beforehand.

"Battlefield Earth" takes place in the year 3000, a time when crappy sci-fi movies like this are bound to be everywhere. John Travolta stars as an eight-foot-tall evil mutant alien named "Putz" (OK, so that's not his real name, I just wasn't paying attention enough to care). Putz, his partner... we'll call him "Shmucko" (Forest Whitaker)... and a whole race of these aliens, who look like crosses between Klingons and Bob Marley, have taken over Earth, forcing all humans into slavery. However, one particular human, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper, and yes that's his character's real name. That one I remember because all the bong hits in the world would not erase that retarded name from my head), decides to rebel against his captors... his captors that outnumber him and his companions about 500 to 1, mind you. The rest is just scattered plot, shoddy special effects, and a final battle scene that would put any insomniac to sleep (I guess I didn't need those sleeping pills after all).

Apparently this has been John Travolta's dream project for nearly fifteen years. Which is funny, because I didn't think actors dreamt of making movies that almost completely ruin their careers. Gee, can't wait for the sequel though. (SpizatchMunky@aol.com)


Behind Enemy Lines

War is hell, and war movies are heck.

Set in Bosnia and owing more to "Combat" than "Private Ryan," this flick casts Owen Wilson ("Shanghai Noon") and Gabriel Macht (the 2002 film "Bad Company") as naval pilots shot down for violating a NATO no-fly zone. But they had good excuse -- seeing something suspicious, they burned it to a CD via digicam, intending to bring it back to the carrier. Needless to say, the baddies don't want this evidence exposed to the world.

Macht is killed execution-style by enemy commander Olek Krupa ("Blue Streak," which starred Wilson's brother Luke), forcing Wilson to fend for himself in the war zone. Commanding officer Gene Hackman ("Crimson Tide") wishes to rescue him, but is overruled by NATO commander Joachim de Almeida ("Clear and Present Danger"). Meanwhile, Krupa pursues Wilson like Elmer Fudd hunting "wabbits." As the "proper channels" act ineptly, Hackman considers actions which, while saving the errant flyboy, would cost him his command.

Also in the cast: Geoff Pierson ("That 80s Show") as an admiral and David Keith ("An Officer and a Gentleman") as another officer. Story by Jim and John Thomas ("Predator").

FUN FACT #1: Macht's father Stephen is also an actor (click on his imdb.com entry).

FUN FACT #2: David Keith and the similarly-named Keith David ("Dead Presidents") share the same birthday -- 05/08/54.

FUN FACT #3: Fans of "Spider-Man" (and its source material) will want to see Keith play Ben Affleck's father in "Daredevil." (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Bell, Book and Candle

Jimmy Stewart gets bewitched: Years before Darrin met Samantha, the actor ("It's a Wonderful Life") plays a Manhattan publisher whose path crosses with Kim Novak (Stewart's co-star in "Vertigo"), a witch.

Stewart has a romantic interest in Janice Rule ("Gumshoe"), and it turns out that Novak has a specific disinterest in her -- they were college rivals. As revenge, Novak makes Stewart love her instead. The trick works -- he's REALLY interested, and needs no magic prodding.

Also in the movie: Elsa Lancaster ("The Bride of Frankenstein") plays Novak's aunt (also a witch); Jack Lemmon ("The Odd Couple") as Novak's brother (also a witch, too); Ernie Kovacs (his 1960s show) as an author who could expose the family Novak (in other words, an anti-witch); a cat (not a talking one like Salem in "Sabrina") as a familiar (the special pet of witches); and a sound effect later used in the cartoon "Fantastic Voyage." No "Bewitched" regulars here, but Howard McNear (Floyd the Barber from "Andy Griffith") plays Stewart's business partner.

The title is taken from the three ingredients traditionally used by witches in their spells.

(This is the point where I put in some comments.) James Stewart was Hollywood's everyman before Tom Hanks assumed that role, with a couple of noteworthy credits prior to this movie. Stewart was also famous for his "nice guy" type, and he perpetuates that here. His last known credit was an unseen role in ads for soup, and in those, he was true to himself.

The screenplay adapts a Broadway play, and is set in the city's bohemian district.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0051406 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Black Hole (Disney)

I was tricked into seeing this, an unadvertised double feature to Snow White (where I was hoping to catch some of that 7-on-1 action). This was supposed to be Disney's answer to Star Wars. Hah! Instead, they spent $14 million & got something that makes Plan Nine look like a Palm d'Or winner. The cast is headed by Max von Sydow, who is so wooden that he makes a cigar store Indian look like Britney Spears on speed (and wouldn't we all like to see THAT?). Plus, name ONE movie other than Marty in which Ernest Borgnine did NOT suck flea eggs. No, the best "actor" turns out to be the sidekick robot, voiced by Roddy "Anything for a Buck" McDowall, which was very obviously made from an aluminum beer keg. Hell, you'd at least expect Disney's effects to be decent.... yet, there's the keg, and you can see studio lights glaring off the "star backgrounds" (it's called flat paint, guys, look into it). As for science, the only law of physics they didn't violate was the one that implies that gravity ought to keep you from violently retching up your breakfast more than 14 times in 2 hours.

The script seems to have been written by the same committee (an animal with 10 legs and no head) that thought Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at DWorld was a pretty good idea, and is a similar waste of a perfectly good E ticket (remember those damn things?). The only thing that supposedly explains the action is that von Sydow is completely made (mostly at his agent). Soon into the movie the audience was chanting "Die, you gravy sucking pigs!" and we would have left, but a) I didn't know before then that Disney HAD storm troopers, and b) Jujyfruits were on sale at the snack bar.

Now there's a new DVD version out with "scenes never before seen." You know, there was a REASON those scenes were left out of the final cut.... Recommendation: If you cannot avoid seeing this movie, mix an intense dose of alcohol, painkillers and prune juice. At least you'll have an excuse to have to leave the room frequently. (MooseSpeak@aol.com)


Body of Evidence

Uh I would have to say...The worst movie of all time is well, firstly anything with Madonna in it but probably her Body of Evidence. My God this movie really proved that Madonna is a pathetic actress.

The movie centers around a woman who is an art dealer...who gets pleasure out of screwing old men and making them die because she's so hot...Ahahahahahahaaaa!!! So she has to go to court and Willem Dafoe is her attorney "I can not believe he did this film" The story is about the intensity of their client, attorney relationship in and out of the bedroom. The sex scenes with Madonna make her look like an old hag "She doesn't film well in candlelight" But you just have to see it for Madonna's line "Have you ever seen animals fu%&*k it's really erotic" Ahahahahahahahahaa!!! 2nd worst movie Showgirls but that's another time.


The Bourne Identity (2002)

Novelist Robert Ludlum wrote three novels about the character of Jason Bourne. This movie adapts the first of them. (In 1988, a miniseries cast Richard Chamberlain from "Dr. Kildare" as the clueless spy, with Jaclyn Smith from "Charlie's Angels" as the female lead.)

Matt Damon ("Good Will Hunting") is Bourne -- not that he knows that. The first we see of him, he's floating on the ocean, eventually found by fishermen. They take bullets out of his back, one of which holographically projects the number of a safe deposit box in a Switzerland bank. He goes there and takes the box out, finding lots of money and photographic proof that he IS Jason Bourne. (He also finds photographic proof that he's other people as well.) Needing to go to Bourne's Paris flat, Damon pays Franka Potente ("Blow") to drive him there.

Meanwhile, the agency (yes, the same one from that CBS show) wants Damon dead -- and after discovering his "chauffeur," Potente too -- so they send out assassins from all over to converge on them.

Also giving the agency agita is deposed African dictator Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("The Mummy Returns") --he's threatening to expose American secrets if they don't help him back into power.

Like Fox's "John Doe," Damon knows everything except his born identity -- he knows how to fight, how to load and fire a gun, how to get a ride, how to keep his cool in a Swiss winter, how to buy loyalty, how to wipe fingerprints off a place, how to alter an appearance -- and how to have a merry Christmas! (The film IS set around that most wonderful time of the year.)

(Got HBO? Damon and Ben Affleck plan a new "Project Greenlight" next year.)

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0258463

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Brady Bunch in the White House

Here's yet another story about that 70s TV family. Gary Cole ("Family Affair" revival) and Shelley Long ("Cheers") return as Mike and Carol, with new actors as the kids and Alice. This time, the movie about the TV show is a TV movie itself.

A number of sequences from the classic show are echoed, as many were theatrically. Among them, Bobby's safety monitor episode is peppered with "Goonies" peril, resulting in the find of a wallet - with a winning lotto ticket. While the others count the change, Mike wants to find the wallet's owner. The publicity results in a political party convincing Mr. Brady to trade his trademark house for the Oval Office.

Ten million pregnant chads later, a president is installed, and Mike is his running mate. When the president resigns over scandal, Mr. Brady becomes Mr. President. A new vice president is chosen, and it's first lady Carol - she's not being hidden in a glass closet the way Clinton did Hillary.

Cultures clash as the family tries to struggle with their new position - and presidential staffers try to struggle with their new bosses. Two such staffers plot to overthrow the Bradys - their groovy ways just don't go with the party line.

Once again, alienated Jan hears voices - she's still jealous of "Marcia Marcia Marcia!" "A Beautiful Mind" inspires a running gag tied to this.

Although television can claim a number of fictional families that real ones have taken to heart, they all pale compared to the Bradys - still keeping Americans fascinated since 1969.

Directed by Neal Israel ("Police Academy"). Filmed in Canada.

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Bring it On

At last, a cheerleader movie that doesn't require a fake ID to see! (And no, Will Ferrell is not the star.)

The henna-head Mary Jane in "Spider-Man," Kirsten Dunst goes back to her usual Gwen Stacy blonde as the newly-installed captain of the Toros cheer squad of Rancho Carne High. The team is all psyched for a national competition, expecting to groove to the prize-winning moves of their predecessor (Lindsay Sloane from the series "Sabrina"). Seeking to replenish their troops, the girls find a worthy addition in transfer student Eliza Dushku (who performed similar moves in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"), whose brother (Jesse Bradford from "Clockstoppers") is sweet on Dunst.

When the squad performs their moves, Dushku exposes them to be the result of plagiarism. Turns out Sloane stole them from another school a drive away, and that school's squad, the Clovers of East Compton, is skippered by Gabrielle Union (the telemovie "H.E. Double Hockey Sticks"). Before you can say "Stephen Ambrose," Team Dunst realizes they have to come up with something original. Not only that, it has to win the competition.

Also in the cast: Nathan West ("Not Another Teen Movie") as a male Toro mocked by the football team; Clare Kramer and Nicole Bilderback (both from the series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") as other Toros; Aloma Wright ("Scrubs") as an Oprah clone; and the pop hip hop group Blaque (whose "As If" is in the soundtrack) as Clovers.

The soundtrack also includes a cover of "Hey Mickey," originally sung and performed cheerleader style by Toni Basil.

Directed by Peyton Reed (tele-remakes of "The Love Bug" and "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes"), who cameos as a mime (as "Silencio Por Favor"). (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Bringing Out The Dead

This is a melodramatic flick starring Nick Cage. In his defense, every star has to put out at least one bad film. Now to the grit of it. Cage stars as an EMT who is fed up with his work. The entire film is dedicated to the nightmarish people paramedics have to save, i.e., drunks, prostitutes, homeless winos and the like. BOTD also highlights the more manic personalities of the trade. For a segment of the film, Cage rides with his diametric opposite - a brash, fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants, cowboy type - who only reinforces Cage's desire to leave the trade. The film ends on a strange note as well. One of Cage's frequent patients is desperate to die, and for a less-than-clearly explained reason, Cage hooks up all the guy's monitoring equipment to himself, lets the guy die, and then puts them back on the guy.

BOTD moves more slowly than waiting for a HumorMeOnline.com update, doesn't make a lot of sense, and its only star power is Nick Cage. The only truly watchable part of the movie is when Cage and partner are in rescue mode and flip the ambulance. Too bad it didn't end the film. My wife and I watched it on advice of someone who we will never again listen to. My wife fell asleep SIX different times, and I was just lost.

At least the film's pretty aptly named. (ABigBlackPanther@aol.com)


Cadet Kelly

Hilary Duff, star of Disney Channel's "Lizzie McGuire," finds herself in Goldie Hawn's combat boots in this telemovie for the network (its highest rated).

She attends an arts school in New York City, but after her mom marries the commander of an upstate military academy (Gary Cole from "The Brady Bunch Movie"), Duff has to move with him and attend his school. From there on in, it's an olive drab life, with death by boot camp. Adding insult to injury, Duff's fellow Disney Channel actress Christy Carlson Romano ("Even Stevens") is the Captain Lewis to her Private Benjamin. Adding injury to insult, mom is pregnant with Cole's baby - how can Duff object after this?

No Disney movie (theatrical or televisual) is complete without a hopeful climax, and it happens when Duff witnesses the drill team, awakening the suppressed artist within.

Disney Channel's demographic is a young one, and with it they produce shows with young stars - and short runs (hey, Screech in later episodes of "Saved by the Bell" is scary; they're only trying to save ya). Based on recent buzz, it looks like Duff will break this curse - ABC may continue "Lizzie" as a deep teen. Meanwhile, she has the upcoming "Cody Banks" with Frankie Muniz ("Malcolm in the Middle") and a theatrical coda to her show, and she's in the soundtrack to "Santa Clause 2." Remember, Melissa Joan Hart ("Sabrina") started out as Nick's "Clarissa." (Romano's lucky she's the voice of the network's "Kim Possible"; other aging youngsters from Disney Channel costar.)

Cowritten by Gail Parent ("Mary Hartman," "Carol Burnett Show"). Duff's official website is hillaryduff.com (sorry, no porn).

FUN FACT: Duff's "Lizzie" 'rents are sec-geners Robert Carradine (John's son) and Hallie Todd (daughter of Ann Morgan Guilbert from "The Dick Van Dyke Show").

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0294425

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Casablanca

It's Humphrey Bogart ("Key Largo") in his signature role. Set in 1940s Morocco, this classic casts Bogey as the proprietor of a gin joint that doesn't stop at serving alcohol. No, sir, he's caught up in intrigue.

Rick Blaine (Bogart) runs the Café Americain, a nightspot that everybody comes to -- including the police and those desperate to leave Nazi-occupied territory. The latter can find papers allowing them free entry out, and the former hopes to find Bogart doing something stupid enough to warrant his arrest.

Barfly Peter Lorre ("My Favorite Brunette") hands Bogart two visas to hold. They're in a safe place when his bar is guest to a face he never expected to see again: former flame Ingrid Bergman ("Gaslight"), now married to Paul Heinreid ("Now Voyager"). After Bergman approaches the house pianist and tells him to "play it," things happen.

Naturally, the couple needs the magic Monopoly "out of jail free" cards, and naturally, Bogey has to decide between them -- or using the visas for himself and Bergman, and returning to America.

Dooley Wilson ("My Favorite Blonde") co-stars as Sam (as in "Play it again" -- the "A" word isn't actually said in the picture), with Claude Rains ("The Invisible Man") as a police chief.

At the time of this film, the Nazis ruled their domain, spreading out beyond Germany and influencing even their avowed foes to act against their own citizens. Today, we have a new genocidal overlord, and he has impacted all of us. I imagine we'll have a modern "Casablanca" set against the war sparked by 9/11; if we do, I would rather it come from a Hollywood studio than a cheesy telemovie mill.

The movie won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay Oscars.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0034583 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Catch Me if You Can

Steven Spielberg directs Leonardo DiCaprio ("Titanic") in the true story of Frank Abignale Jr., who assumed many false identities and wrongly accumulated millions before his adulthood.

Starting with a 60s-style opening and footage from the real Abignale's appearance on "To Tell the Truth" (!), the movie finds DiCaprio learning the art of the con from the best - his father (Christopher Walken from "The Deer Hunter"). He would charm women into giving in to him by claiming to find "lost" necklaces "belonging" to them. Like George W. Bush carrying on his father's presidency, DiCaprio cops his pop's trick.

First day of school, he is slighted by a bully. DiCaprio gets his revenge by posing as the class's teacher, leading him to his shallow road.

Nathalie Baye ("And the Band Played On") plays DiCaprio's chain-smoking French mother, though at this point, she and Walken divorce, prompting DiCaprio to run away and begin his new life.

Next he impersonates a pilot, using that job to cash fake checks, including one with hooker Jennifer Garner ("Alias").

The funny-money catches the FBI's attention. Looking like Dan Aykroyd in "Dragnet," Tom Hanks (sidekick in said picture) pursues DiCaprio as if this movie were "Les Miserables."

Next DiCaprio impersonates a doctor, finding romance with candy striper Amy Adams ("Serving Sara"). He asks her father (Martin Sheen from "The West Wing") for her hand in marriage, next thing you know he's a prosecutor, getting legal advice from watching "Perry Mason."

Eventually, Hanks gets his man, and DiCaprio faces his moment of truth.

Shakespeare said it best - to thine own self be true. But what if "thine old self" is not worth being? You can be anybody else, but you wind up being nobody at all.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0264464

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Chicken Run

I feel like chicken tonight, so I rented this clay cartoon recasting "The Great Escape" with Play-Doh poultry with English accents.

Peter Lord and Nick Park ("Wallace and Gromit") directed and provided the (fowl) screenplay.

A chicken voiced by Julia Sawalha ("Absolutely Fabulous") has attempted to break out of the farm multiple times during the initial credits, always ending up in a coal bin for days before being allowed back into Frank Purdue Auschwitz. This would grill or fry a normal chicken, but she has too much spunk, so she tries, tries again. This time, inspired by birds, she gets the idea of flying away. Coming to apparently grant that wish is an American flying rooster voiced by Mel Gibson ("Lethal Weapon"), a cocky cock-a-doodle-doer who stumbles and crashes into Stalag KFC. He is persuaded to give the prisoners flight training, despite having his wing in a sling. (Anybody remember the "WKRP" episode where they thought turkeys could fly? Well, truth to tell, poultry can't fly either.)

Miranda Richardson ("The Crying Game") voices the farmer's harridan wife, with Tony Haygarth (the miniseries "Holocaust") as her hen-pecked husband. Initially intending just to take the chickens' eggs (which the fowl consider to be precious and won't give up, except to pack rats providing goods), they eventually decide to make pot pies out of their assets (the chickens' asses).

The DVD menu has a panic button, and it works -- click on it, and the chickens panic.

FUN FACT: Gibson, although he grew up in, and is recognized as part of, Australia, was born in America. (Mel Gibson's brother Donal is a professionalvoiceover.) (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


A Christmas Story

Every holiday season, TNT runs a marathon of this movie. Based on a novel by humorist Jean Shepherd (who adapted with director Bob Clark), it casts Darren McGavin ("Night Stalker"), Melinda Dillon ("Close Encounters") and Peter Billingsley (NBC's "Real People") as a 1930s family, concentrating on Billingsley and his wish for a Red Ryder B-B-gun - a rifle marketed to adolescents that shot small metal balls, using a popular fictitious cowboy of the period to market it. (Red Ryder's sidekick was an Indian boy named Little Beaver.) Daisy marketed such air rifles for decades - ads for them in comic books ran until the 70s. To the boy's chagrin, he is advised by everybody - EVERYBODY - even Santa - that he'll shoot an eye out if he gets the gun.

Like Daniel Stern in "The Wonder Years," Shepherd narrates his story as the voice of Billingsley's character, all grown up.

In one fun scene, McGavin receives a lamp using as its base a woman's leg in fishnets and heels. In another, Billingsley says the "F" word, but the film presents it in a nice muffled way (it's my understanding it's theatrical - not censored for TV). And in yet another, Billingsley gets his decoder from the "Orphan Annie" radio show, sponsored by Ovaltine.

TNT's showing includes intestinals of cast and crew interviews today.

SPOILER WARNING! Billingsley finally gets his gun, and DOES shoot his eye out - or at least one lens of his glasses.

Jerry Springer has his final thoughts, and I do too here: Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year (even if it's Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan or Feliz Navidad), but that doesn't mean everything on that day is wonderful (as this film shows). Nevertheless, 100% is the goal, and here's hoping it's that way for you.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0085334

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Disney Film Synopsis

Breaking with tradition, I would, if I may, like to do a quick synopsis of EVERY Disney film ever made.

Many films share similiar themes in order to build drama and or plot. Disney films does not share this cumbersome requirement. Ever Disney film WILL ABSOLUTELY follow along one of these established plot lines:

Shall we? Alright.

1) Mom is Dead --OR--

2) Dad is dead

3) A cruel capitalistic entrepreneur is trying to take the family farm

4) A cruel capitalistic relative is trying to take the family home

5) The bank has forclosed

6) A benevolent monster is hiding in the grass to help the family

7) Cute neighbor lives next door (the male character played by an aging Jonathan Taylor Thomas will get the girl)

8) Olsen twins will say "Yyesssssss!" at least once

9) Dad will (because mom is dead) meet a new woman who is absolutely perfect and the son will hate her

10) Dad will (because mom is dead) meet a new woman who seems perfect but is actually a horrible blood sucking space mutant who is intent on killing the father and no one will see it but the son which the entire family will take as simple opposition to the father's new relationship to which the father will reply "I can't bring your mother back!"

11) Kitchen appliances will dance around

12) Ancient civilizations will suddenly have access to music by Elton John

13) Whoopi Goldberg will play an obviously black non-racial character spewing forth home spun wisdom

14) The Olsen Twins will once again say "Yyessssss!"

15) Dad and mom, long seperated, will meet again and fall in love. (Note: This applies only to the on-record fifteen-hundred remakes of "A Parent Trap")

16) A main character will die a vicious and horrible death causing the kids to cry

17) Disney will market special tissues for the kids who are crying

18) The badguy will suffer a vicious and cruel death at the hands of the good guy.

19) A sequel will go straight to video

20) Finally, the movie will be remade by the Olsen Twins as "Kate and Ashley..." do something to nauseate parents.

Why use plot when you have gems like these that are eternal?

KV (tw_holmes@hotmail.com)


Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

When Warner Bros. presents in association with Gaylord Films (he said "gay" heh-heh) an All Girl production, it's time to leave your penis by the door.

In the 30s, four girls form a secret society. Girls become women, but cling to their cult like Trekkies. The product of one woman, Sandra Bullock ("Speed") is a playwright staging a show based on her unhappy childhood, making mother Ellen Burstyn ("Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore") unhappy herself, and her fellow Yoo-Hoos (Shirley Knight from "Stuart Saves His Family," Fionnula Flanagan from "Badham County," and Maggie Smith from "Death on the Nile") abduct Bullock in an attempt to bridge the generation gap.

The Yada-Yadas give Bullock their scrapbook, and from here on there's more flashbacks than an episode of "Kung Fu." Ashley Judd ("Double Jeopardy") plays Burstyn as younger, and clearly a prisoner of the family life. She drinks; she smokes; she takes it out on the kids.

Famous as "Maverick," James Garner plays Burstyn's "what am I doing here" husband. Obscure as famous names in "Cradle Will Rock" and "The Elizabeth Taylor Story," Angus MacFadyen plays Bullock's fiancé. Forgotten as Jane Curtin's son in "Kate & Allie," Frederick Koehler (now 28) also appears. A footnote as the new Sissy in the WB's "Family Affair," Caitlin Wachs plays Burstyn as a child.

Not all choose to be parents - those forced into that decision think they can play the part, only to find they're miscast. The children must be reassured that the parents made them to share love, not because of second-hand love.

Directed by Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise"); producers include Bonnie Bruckheimer (Jerry's sister) and Bette Midler (the divine diva herself); based on the book by Rebecca Wells.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0279778

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Domestic Disturbance

My first draft of this exceeded the 300 word limit, so I'll try to keep this one short:

John Travolta (you know his credits), a small town boatwright, lost wife Teri Polo ("Meet the Parents" and its upcoming sequel) and son Matthew O'Leary (the upcoming "Spy Kids 2") to divorce. And, to add insult to injury, Polo is now married to too-good-to-be-true Vince Vaughn (the remake of "Psycho").

Considered a good guy in town, Vaughn has a bad side, one that comes to the fore when Steve Buscemi (also in "Spy Kids 2") comes a-visitin'. Seems they were partners in a heist. Not liking Vaughn's new goody image, Buscemi demands hush money.

Vaughn's enough of a "wicked stepfather" in O'Leary's eyes without the boy sneaking into Vaughn's car and witnessing him icing Buscemi and burning the body. At that point, things get hairy. A troubled teen at film's start, O'Leary's in real trouble now and can't get anybody but his original dad to be his "fairy godfather."

Ruben Santiago-Hudson (the remake of "Shaft") plays a police sergeant who sees too much of this dysfunctional family; Susan Floyd (the soap "OLTL") plays Travolta's new love.

Divorce is enough of a horror story without throwing in murder. Combining the two, Hollywood knows how to hit someone at home.

FUN FACT: The director, Harold Becker, also directed "The Onion Field" and "The Black Marble," both adapting novels by Joseph Wambaugh. (Junkmailmagnet@aol.com)


Double Teamed

Seen on the Disney Channel.

Who are the world's smallest twins? John and Greg Rice, frequently seen on "Real People," the TV series "Foul Play," and commercials for a South Florida exterminator. But this light documovie (it's not TOO dramatic the way Lifetime flicks are) isn't about those guys -- it's about the teen years of the world's tallest twins, Heather and Heidi Burge, pro players on the WNBA (separate teams of the league)!

Despite not being twins, not being sisters, not being related, and not even being tall -- the actresses wear lifts in their sneakers - Poppi Monroe and Annie McElwain dramatize the young lives of two highly athletic and competitive siblings. (And you thought the Olsen Twins were freaky!)

The road to sports superstardom is paved with pebbles, glass shards, and dog doo: Unable to afford college for both girls (the family later moves to a poor man's condo), their parents transfer them to a school with a great phys-ed program in the hopes that they will score a student-athlete scholarship. And considering their "attack of the Amazon clones" appearance, their first day at said school is awkward. How awkward? One sister stumbles her way onto the basketball team while the other prefers to appear in the school production of "The Wizard of Oz." The latter eventually joins the team, and both become popular with all.

Mackenzie Phillips ("One Day at a Time") plays the girls' mother (a daughter of the Mamas and the Papas, Phillips most recently played a pop singer in the network's "So Weird"), with Nick Searcy ("Cast Away") as their biggest booster -- their dad.

Do not confuse with "Double Team," despite Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman's presence in that one. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Dragonfly

Let me start off by saying that the only actor with a worse "voice-over" voice than Kevin Costner is Nicholas Cage. Neither should ever, ever narrate ANYTHING. They sound half-drunk and half-stupid.

Aside from that, for a Costner film, it wasn't all bad. Certainly a far cry from the overblown Costner-fests like "The Postman" and "Waterworld". The movie's story had a familiar premise ... the dead are trying to communicate with the living. Kev sees dead people, but only one of them, his wife. His friends (in a huge number of completely meaningless roles ... what a waste of Kathy Bates whose awful hair made her look disturbingly masculine) all think he's nuts. He has to figure out what his dead wife is trying to tell him.

There are some creepy moments here and there, but you can see the "surprise ending" a mile away. It tried to be "The Sixth Sense" but it fails miserably. But it was good to see Teri, the wife from "24", again, if only for a few minutes. (dinosaur1972@aol.com)


Dude, Where's My Car?

At the risk of giving away the punch-line: The answer is out of this world (as you probably can guess from the opening titles).

Ashton Kutcher ("That 70s Show") and Seann William Scott (that 90s sex movie "American Pie") play two stoners who wake up one morning and have no idea of what happened the night before. Besides their memory, their car, which they use for pizza delivery and personal business, is also MIA, and with it, gifts they intended to give some babes. They trace their steps, hoping to recall what they forgot and eventually find said car, and step into any number of misadventures.

Also in the cast: Jennifer Garner (that current series "Alias") and Marla Sokoloff (that show following it, "The Practice") as twins, Kristy Swanson (that "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" movie) as a "woman," David Herman (that show based on "Mad Magazine"), Keone Young (that "Brady Bunch Movie") as a tailor, Fabio (those romance book covers) as himself, Stuttering John Melendez (that Howard Stern show) as their roommate, Chris Darga (that .com movie "The Net") as a cop, John Toles-Bey (that alien movie "K-PAX") as a pizza dude, Hal Sparks (that cable show "Queer as Folk") as an alien guy, and then, Freda Foh Shen (any number of Disney Channel projects) as a Chinese food order taker. Directed by Danny Leiner (any number of TV shows). Comic book artists Paul Power and Dell Barras are project illustrators.

Watch for the sequel "Seriously, Dude, Where's My Car?" in 2003, whether you want it to come or not. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Enemy Mine

Seen on American Movie Classics; edited for content in that venue.

Dennis Quaid ("Great Balls of Fire!") and Louis Gossett, Jr. ("Iron Eagle") in a sci-fi variation of the "Defiant Ones" plot of two men, separated by race, united in a hostile situation, but with this kicker: The black guy is a green alien lizard being.

It's the future, and man has colonized space, but extraterrestrials oppose them. After one such attack, Quaid is forced to eject from his starjet onto alien terrain. Except for bodies and Gossett, also stranded, he's alone on this world. Their respective peoples are at war, but these two, in common jeopardy, with harsher physical challenges than "Survivor," eventually bond.

Eventually, two become three - Gossett's race can impregnate themselves and have their own babies (fill in your own punchline), and Quaid bonds with that little alien (Bumper Robinson from "The Jacksons" telemovie).

This is essentially a two-man story until Quaid's discovery of other humans, so for what it's worth, other cast members include Lance Kerwin ("James at 15"), Carolyn McCormick ("Law & Order"), and Brion James ("Tango & Cash").

Many fans of science fiction narrowly define it as realistic stories in which only the science is fictional -- where a strange element is introduced into an ordinary situation and the consequences thereof are explored. By those means, this is more true sci-fi than "Star Wars."

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen ("The Perfect Storm"). Original music by Maurice Jarre ("Doctor Zhivago"). Some visual effects by George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Exorcist

In only her third movie role, Linda Blair (you don't want to know about her subsequent roles) plays a girl who's more bedeviled than the average child star growing up.

The daughter of actress Ellen Burstyn ("Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"), Blair starts to act precocious, then funny, and then bizarre, putting Burstyn at wit's end. What's a mother to do? She's tried everything (did they have Ritalin then?) and got nowhere.

This is where Jason Miller (his movie debut; also a playwright, "That Championship Season") comes in. He's a priest. He wears a collar. He's also a shrink, and when he diagnoses bedevilment, he calls in Max Von Sydow ("Minority Report") for a second opinion. They join forces, hoping to bring this Blair Devil Project to a close.

When the right role comes along, it haunts you for life and sticks a fork in your career. It happened to William Shatner, whose "Star Trek" life forced him to boldly go as a show host ("Rescue 911") in his future endeavors; it caused Blair, whose peak was this film, to have her do worse afterwards. Guess the devil had his revenge.

Produced by William Peter Blatty, whose screenplay adapts his novel. Directed by William Friedkin ("The French Connection"). The soundtrack includes its theme, performed by Tubular Bells.

Released by Warner Bros. during its "Warner Communications" era (remember that space "W"?), TCM showed it with the studio's recent "75 Years Entertaining the World" opening title. Uncensored on TCM, the only place where you'll see films from that company.

First reel scenes shot in Iraq (well, that explains Saddam).

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0070047 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Eyes Wide Shut

Tom Cruise and his then-wife, Nicole Kidman, in 1999, played a married couple and pretty much previewed (a few years ahead) some of their recent problems in real life. The two, William and Alice, are not particularly likeable, and give new meaning to the term "cardboard characters." As a dysfunctional family, they still manage to leave out the 'fun'.

Tom is a Park Avenue big-bucks doctor who seemingly doesn't use shampoo. Through most of the movie his hair hangs lank and often gets into his eyes. His wife, a one-dimensional character who looks good in undies, predictably does her best scenes in undies or semi-out of them. Despite having a beautiful house and a sweet daughter, she hasn't yet given up marijuana, and in fact she stores the weed in a Band-Aid box in the medicine cabinet. We get just brief glances of the little girl, Helena, but she is certainly old enough to occasionally need a Band-Aid. Surprise! It doesn't happen; this is just the way my mind began wandering as this movie wore on.

So the rest is window-dressing. When Alice-Nicole gets high and tells William-Tom that she was once interested in some sailor, Tom, for revenge, spends an interminably long night wandering the streets of New York looking for trouble. Hence the film's reputation for graphically portraying an orgy. Oddly, he doesn't even get to enjoy the orgy and almost loses his life.

Stanley Kubric fans say that the great director had some deep message here, but possibly it was diluted because he was unable to finish the film. The photography is pretty but the 1999 Oscars didn't give it a nod, according to Internet Data Base (IMDB).

Occasionally, a single staccato piano chord signals when something scary is happening, so you can choose to watch or not. I usually chose not.

In my opinion, "Eyes Wide Shut" is best viewed that way. (KayLadyKay@aol.com)


Fahrenheit 451

How many movies can you name where the credits are spoken by an announcer -- not matted-in text? Well, this one is it. Imagine if they did this with today's movies, where the bulk of the credits are at the end, and now mention stuntmen, effects crew, the lunch wagon, legal counsel, and various disclaimers! That's how the film starts as we zoom in on TV antennas -- symbolic of the medium that threatened the supremacy of the book.

Adapting the Ray Bradbury book, this deals with a future where firemen are not the 9/11 heroes who put out fires -- no, sir, they start them as duly deputized book burners. (The title temperature is how hot it must get for paper to burn.) Boxes allowing citizens to inform on readers resemble fire alarm boxes.

One such burner is Montag (Oskar Werner from "Shoes of the Fisherman"). He's dedicated to the job, but after meeting a civilian (Julie Christie from "Doctor Zhivago") who questions his lifestyle, he decides to read the books that are taken and marked for blazes. (Christie also plays Werner's wife.)

Television is a big part of the future, an accomplice to the order's enforced illiteracy. Large screen sets -- sold at any Circuit City today but nonexistent at filming -- are the rule here, and are constantly on (ala "Max Headroom"). TV is also interactive as actors play a scene and directly ask viewers what should happen next. (Also part of the future: comic strips without dialogue.)

Wait'll you see one fireman justify his lot -- looks like some supporters of political correctness read the book, but didn't consider Montag the role model.

Directed by Francois Truffaut (who directed Werner in "Jules & Jim").

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0060390 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Fight Club

This one stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt... as if it weren't twisted enough from there. Edward plays an executive at a major motor company investigating defective automobiles to help determine whether the cost of a recall outweighs the cost of settlements in court battles. He ends up an insomniac and learns to find sleep through catharsis induced by fraudulently attending various support group meetings ranging from testicular cancer to melanoma.

Edward meets Brad's character on an flight home form one of his business trips. Brad makes soap (the by-products of which can be used for making various explosives and other nasty agents) for a living, in addition to messing with the system in other occupations, such as slipping single frames of pornography into children's films at his night job in a local movie theater. Edward returns to find his condo blown up and calls Brad up to get himself together.

They head out to the bar for a drink, and at the end of the night Edward asks if Brad will put him up for a few days. Brad, in his usual pyschotic manner, talks Edward into slugging him one, as hard as he can. Where? "Surprise me," says Brad. So he gets walloped in the ear, then takes a swing at Edward. They brawl for fun, draw a crowd, Fight Club is born. They take up in the basement of a club (or whatever) and brawl to ease their daily tensions. Psychotic, but effective.

Then, in a twist paralleled only by Tarantino, Brad starts building Fight Clubs elsewhere and building an army of brainwashed followers who go out and perform various acts of mischief and mayhem. There's an equally twisted love story for a subplot, involving a street-rat type of girl that Edward meets through his support groups, including testicular cancer (go figure how Edward is the only one there to call her fraud on that one!).

I won't ruin the story for anyone who has to see it for themselves, but in short, disturbing doesn't even begin to describe.

(ABigBlackPanther@hotmail.com)


The Flintstones on the Rocks

Whether you watch it on Cartoon Network, rent it at Blockbuster, or experience it while on drugs, this "not your father's Flintstones" telemovie will leave you Flintstoned.

There's trouble in Bedrock City: Fred and Wilma are (HORRORS) having trouble with their marriage! They try seeing the Jurassic version of Dr. Ruth (Zelda Rubinstein from "Poltergeist"), and no go. Enter Barney and Betty with a bright idea: They're all going to the caveman answer to Club Med.

On the way there, this natural buffoon's vacation apes Chevy Chase's road trips as Fred sees the immoral equivalent of Christie Brinkley driving past, and has a clay dream involving her and his other famous passion: bowling. (You heard me right; this sequence is done in clay-dough.)

And aside from all the rockiness, there is a subplot involving a crook (Jeff Glen Bennett from "Johnny Bravo") and Wilma's purse resembling the loot bag (the plot of "What's Up Doc?" but that's another cartoon character).

Will this misadventure respark the love? Hey, Hanna-Barbera will no more split up the Flintstones than DC Comics will kill off Superman! (Uh-oh…)

Starts provocatively, yet climaxes as Flintstony as the original series. The drawings are a bit "Ren & Stimpy" (that show's Bill Wray worked on this project), but at least the classic music cues are there, even the end note about having "a gay old time" (I can hear you homophobes snickering).

Jeff Bergman (loop work on "The Jetsons Movie"), Tress MacNeille ("Animaniacs"), Kevin Michael Richardson (his site is http://www.total.net/~broke/a.htm) and Grey DeLisle (the WB's new "Scooby-Doo") assume the classic roles.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0299892 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Footloose

I remember sneaking into this movie with a bunch of friends about 20 years ago. Wow. You get what you pay for. Does it get any better than this? It has just played for the 45th time this week on TBS Superstation. This story is not just about the great dance moves of Kevin Bacon. It is about fighting for what you believe in. Not giving up. The raw emotion of youth. This is a great flick to let your kids watch to build moral fortitude. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't dance (especially someone who later goes on to star in "Third Rock From the Sun". Aye Yi Yi). This is one of those stand-up-and-cheer movies. The feel good movie of the year...every year. It reminds me of the first Rocky (except that it didn't win any awards, had no boxing, took place in the country, and instead of saying "Cut Me Mick" Kevin Bacon says "Let's Dance"). I suggest that we take Kevin Bacon's "6 degrees of separation" theory, turn it up to 451 degrees and burn any remaining copies of the movie script. I am undecided if this movie is worse than "Far And Away" or "Dirty Dancing" ("Hey, no one puts Baby in the corner !! "). I wish this was like one of those Disney movies that they take out of circulation for ten years at a time. I hope the Martians don't land and see this movie first thing. They'd blow us up for sure.

(cwitte@mindspring.com)


From Hell

Once upon a time, comic book subject matters were restricted to costumed goodguys, goofy teenagers, and talking ducks masturbating in a pile of dollar bills. At that time, you could only buy them at any newsstand. Today, stores exist that specialize in this genre of publication, and topics now include Nazi mice and stripper cats -- and the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

Set in London in the late 1880s, the film casts Johnny Depp ("Blow") as a police inspector investigating the murders of women whose profession is "the world's oldest." He is drawn to a survivor of the attacks ("Austin Powers 2" blonde Heather Graham, a redhead here). Depp not only has all the instincts that a cop should have, he also has the "sixth sense" of psychic powers (which would make him the first police profiler -- the type that can predict a criminal's doings). Depp's investigation takes him into a secret society whose tomes may turn out to be the motive for the murders. His concern for Graham's life leads to romance, and back to concern again when she is again stalked by Jack.

Directed by Allen and Albert Hughes ("Menace II Society"); based on the graphic novel by UK citizens Alan Moore (DC's "Watchmen") and Eddie Campbell. (Indeed, the sophistication of the comic book has its origins in Europe.)

And remember: Your popcorn drum doubles as a barf bag. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Grease

This movie is so God-awful, the Japanese could have used it as a kamikaze training film in WWII, as viewing it destroys your will to live. The cast, headed by John Revolting and Olivia Fig-Newton-John, were all WAY past high school age. Check out the root beer floats at the malt shop-- that's Geritol in there. There are guys with hairlines receding worse than Bruce Willis and Paul Shaffer. There's more middle-aged spread than a truckload of 50 year old margarine. Half the girls were suffering from PMS - Post Menopausal Syndrome. The idea seems to have been that the most authentic people to play 50s high schoolers were people who actually went to high school in the 50s. Pity no one checked the calendar to see what year it was. It's called math, people, look into it.

The insipid music, the whitebread dancing (not to mention the strict segregation), the pressure to conform.... what the hell were they THINKING in the 50s, anyway? Who cares about the "problems" of these spoiled characters? And who wants to hear them sing about it? After the first number in this fiasco, I'm wondering if Rydell High has a bell tower anywhere.

And when all is finally said and done, what is the moral of the story? "Become a slut and you'll get what you want." Thank you, Olivia, for that lesson in life..... I honestly didn't love you. Though I have to hand it to you - I didn't think I could possibly hate you any more, and then came "Xanadu," a movie that made even Gene Kelly look bad. I do have to admit that even 50s music seems palatable next to disco. Still, rather than be forced to ever see "Grease" again, I'd voluntarily switch places with Prometheus. For one, having my liver eaten out would be less painful. For another, maybe we'd get lucky and the Fire-bringer would burn all existing copies of "Grease," "Xanadu" and a bunch of other movies I haven't reviewed. Yet. (Corinne's Dad)


Grease

The 1970s Broadway musical about the 1950s is adapted, bringing Fonzie chic to a new venue: Good girl Olivia Newton-John ("Xanadu") and bad boy John Travolta ("Saturday Night Fever") met during the summer and fell in love. Now, she's at his school, but a reunion is impossible because the two are set in their ways -- unless they can change their ways. (Although theatrical, the best way to enjoy this movie is to sing and dance along with it, and the best place to do it is at home.)

Also in the cast: Jeff Conaway ("Taxi") as a drag racer; Didi Conn ("You Light Up My Life") as a beauty school dropout; Frankie Avalon ("Beach Blanket Bingo") as a dream singer; Stockard Channing ("The West Wing") and Dinah Manoff ("Empty Nest") as girl gang members; Lorenzo Lamas ("Renegade") as a greaser; Ellen Travolta (John's sister) as a waitress; Sha Na Na as the prom band; Edd Byrnes ("77 Sunset Strip") as a dance show host; and Eve Arden ("Our Miss Brooks"), Sid Caesar ("Show of Shows"), Alice Ghostley ("Bewitched"), Fannie Flagg ("Fried Green Tomatoes"), and Dody Goodman ("Mary Hartman") as faculty.

Produced by record execs Robert Stigwood and Allan Carr. Directed by Randal Kleiser (who directed Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble"). The title song, created for the movie, was written by Barry Gibb (the Bee Gees). The soundtrack is available on 8-track (hey, it's the 70s) and CD, but you will want to see Channing go camp in a blonde wig and Newton-John go skanky in a funhouse.

FUN FACT: Barry Bostwick ("1776"), Adrienne Barbeau ("Maude"), Marilu Henner ("Taxi"), Lucy Lawless ("Xena"), Rosie O'Donnell (her talk show), and Maureen McCormick ("The Brady Bunch") are vets of the stage "Grease." (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Great Race

(NOTE: I'm getting a cable upgrade before October, and will gain about a dozen channels but will lose TCM, so I'm reviewing as many films from that venue as possible. Thank you.)

The way computers and the Internet are today, cars were a century ago. They inspired the comic strip "Gasoline Alley" -- and this movie, set when the American automobile was new.

An old-fashioned screwball good-guy/bad-guy comedy, this carfest pits the noble Tony Curtis ("Some Like it Hot") against the megalomaniacal, jealous Jack Lemmon (ibid) and assistant Peter Falk ("Columbo"), and all against suffragist Natalie Wood ("West Side Story"). (Yep, Gloria Steinem didn't invent feminism; she just made it bitchier.)

Curtis is a daredevil adventurer loved by the crowds, with Lemmon a blackhearted rival who just can't match him. When Curtis announces his intention to enter a world car race from New York to Paris (a novelty at that time), journalist Wood does too, to prove a point. She may not sway Curtis politically, but at least she has his heart. (Needless to say, Lemmon enters as well, but to prove a different point.)

Keenan Wynn ("The Absent-Minded Professor") plays Curtis' assistant; other famous names make appearances.

In this day and age of "The Cannonball Run," this movie may seem a little quaint -- not much of any offensive material to go under the rating disclaimer. If today's race comedies are too smutty for you, you may want to give this one a test ride. It'll make you forget "The Wacky Races."

Directed by Blake Edwards ("The Pink Panther"); music by Henry Mancini (ibid). For more info, click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0059243. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Hamlet

I decided to give the Mel Gibson Hamlet a try (we call it "Hamlet Lite"). Since I happen to be a trained Shakespearean actor myself (no need to put papers on the floor), I was curious to see if the same guy who brought us Mad Max could play the mad Dane. For those of you who slept through Lit class, Hamlet is a prince--no Hamlet was the King--wait, they're BOTH Hamlet. And they're both in the play, only one is more dead than the other. Naturally, with Mel playing the lead, I couldn't tell which was which. Some praise his Hamlet as being "accessible" and "down to earth;" I call it "phoning it in." Hamlet isn't supposed to be an easy guy to understand... he's got emotional problems, he's severely depressed and has difficulty facing reality (come to think it, that makes ME far more qualified to be Hamlet than Mel). Anyway, his mother & uncle killed the deader Hamlet (before he was dead), and his uncle married his mother which makes him his dad & uncle at thld seemed lost in the muddle - possibly because Zefirelli gave them the script to "A Midsummer Night's Dream." But Zefirelli thinks he's Fellini or something (probably because they both sound like a pasta dish) and figures it's really artistic. Yeah, that's an artisitic choice... like when they used that hair filter to shoot the sex scenes in Zefirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," thus depriving us of a good look at Olivia Hussey's gazongas. Anyway, in the end Hamlet dies, as well as Polonius, Claudius, the Queen, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Ophelia, her brother, Yorik (who was already dead), and several innocent bystanders. But we can rest secure in the knowledge that the rest of them lived happily ever after. Both of them.

Look, if you really want to see a good Hamlet (or more likely, if you forgot to read the play and you have a test on it tomorrow), get Olivier or Branagh or Kevin Kline's PBS version. At least all the people in those films knew what their lines meant. And if after viewing one of these stirring motion pictures, you still don't like Shakespeare, eat thou my shorts.

(MooseSpeak@aol.com)


Holiday in the Sun

Since sharing the role of Michelle in "Full House," Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have attempted to squeeze a 16th minute of fame out of their "too-young-for-Botox" bodies with their own production company, making a number of vanity films. (I'd love to be the guy who tells the IRS that their trips are for business.) And when you review one of them, you review them all.

The girls (15 here) play Madison and Alex (in other words, themselves) anticipating an unchaperoned trip to Hawaii. Instead, they get to go to the Bahamas with their parents -- a mixed consolation prize. Nevertheless, these girls who just want to have fun manage to have it.

This one's ingredients include boychasing, a snobby rival whose dad is rich, fun scenes among the local color, music video-like padding, and -- at the tail end -- the girls and their friends getting involved in a smuggling plot (sure took long enough for something to happen). As an epilogue, we see the actors as themselves (as opposed to in their characters) in some ironic scenes.

Family Channel's running of the telemovie is preceded with a disclaimer saying it's okay for ages 8 and up. They shoulda started it with one saying "watching all the Olsen movies in one sitting can cause brain damage" -- something like that was the secret origin of the comic book hero Flaming Carrot. (As you can guess, I didn't rent the DVD or VHS, which probably had some goodies. Hey, Blockbuster is expensive; I don't waste my three bucks and change on just any flick!)

Their next video will be called "Getting There" and involve the girls (now 16) learning how to drive -- and drive their non-fans crazy. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Jaws: The Revenge

Oh boy, where to begin about Jaws The Revenge. From Michael Caine's "I'm bored" performance to the ridiculous looking shark puppet thing, this gets my vote for the worst movie sequel ever. Halloween sequels are Hitchcock masterpieces compared to this thing that has the gaul to call itself a movie. And to think the first movie was nominated for best picture in 1975. So whats wrong with this one. Well let me start my ranting. First off is the slackest direction ever used for any film, EVER. No single scene can entertain in this movie. Its like t.v. movie of the week material infringing its way into theatres. Compare scenes where the shark attacks to those in the other films. In a film like Jaws the director used a slow restraint letting the tension of the moment build. Even if you weren't scared at least you might be entertained by the direction. In this film however there is no restraint. The shark appears, attacks something and the audience is supposed to be scared. Oh me oh my. The only thing scary about these scenes is the horrendous overuse of the Jaws theme in the film. Say you're nodding off ( which should happen every ten seconds in this movie) all of the sudden the shark attacks, the music swells and your awaken from your peaceful slumber to face the true horror; The Movie ITSELF!!!! Somehow this movie stars of all people Michael Caine. How in the name of God does this dreck star Michael Caine? Well perhaps Caine was on vacation in Jamaica, spent all his money on the trip, and decided to make any movie he possibly could to earn his way home. During the time he was making this he won an Academy Award for his performance in Hannah and her Sisters, but could not accept. Why? Because he was busy making Jaws The Revenge. No wonder his performance borders on quiet rage, to outright boredom. Next let's attack the story. Did some writer think this story would be in any way interesting. I mean come on a shark stalking a family all the way from Amity to Jamaica. That's the dumbest idea in the history of dumb story ideas. Not any shark mind you, its a super inteligent vengefull shark, that stalks specefic prey and can spend large amounts of time out of water. And the ending of the film. Did that thing make sense to anyone? Let me just end this paragraph by saying the backwards swimming sharks of Deep Blue Sea seem more plausible than this rusty, wire pulled monstrosity. Well I did get some enjoyment out of one scene. The scene involved the shark coming out of the water, and snatching a screaming helpless victim from a raft. As the shark spends about a minute above the water not moving or chewing on the victim who is still sreaming like she was being eaten alive, I was reminded of Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster, wrestling with an octopus puppet who was supposed to be eating him alive too. At least that was more entertaining. (theshape79@cox.net)


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

If you really enjoy tons of profanity, drugs, and fart jokes, this is the movie for you. The gist of the story is minor characters in director Kevin Smith's other films (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma) find out that the comic book characters they are based on are going to be made into a movie. They find out that they are not going to get paid for the character rights, so they go on a road trip. On this road trip, they find out that people on the Internet (via poop shoot dot com) think that the movie is stupid. So they change their objective into stopping the movie. In Kansas City (what a great city) they hitch a ride with 4 really hot girls who are posing as the Kansas state chapter of an animal rights activist group, but are actually jewel thieves. These jewel thieves are some of the hottest actresses in Hollywood right now. (Shannon Elizabeth "American Pie", Ali Larter "Varsity Blues", and Eliza Dushku (my absolute favorite) from TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Bring It On") The jewel thieves set them up to steal a monkey, which they do, and become attached to said monkey.

Eventually, after running from the law and such, they land in Hollywood, trying to stop their movie from being made. They even land on the set of a movie being made with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck "Good Will Hunting, Dogma, and the spoof in the movie Good Will Hunting 2". They don't end up stopping the movie from being made, instead they make enough money from the movie rights to fly around the country to beat up the people on the internet that gave them a bad name.

Overall, the movie was ok, but I really expected to laugh a little more. I probably would have if I was 18 years old again. The amount of stars in this film was outstanding (also included George Carlson, Chris Rock, Will Farrell, Jason Biggs, Mark Hamill, and Jason Lee). The reason I like the movie, is the same reason I don't like the movie. It has Eliza Dushku, but does not have a naked Eliza Dushku. No nudity, but intense profanity. If you do not like the F word, DO NOT see this movie. All Kevin Smith movies include this, and all have a cult following. Not many people will be like myself, and just think that the movie is ok. Most people either will hate it or will love it.

Warren (JayHawkWDS@aol.com)


Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith (the latter also wrote and directed) play the titular duo, the basis for a drug-oriented spoof of Batman and Robin. Informed that Hollywood has bought the rights to the characters and not compensated them, they set out to set things straight. The cartoonist who drew the comic, Ben Affleck (reprising his "Chasing Amy" role), sold his half of the characters to show biz. But he won't profit from the movie either. Gleaning from Internet posters' negative reviews that this film will defame them, Mewes and Smith set out to stop the movie, and have misadventures.

Also in the movie: George Carlin ("Bill and Ted") as a hitchhiker; Carrie Fisher ("Star Wars") as a nun; Shannon Elizabeth ("American Pie"), Eliza Dushku (TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Ali Larter ("Varsity Blues"), and Jennifer Schwalbach (Smith's wife) as four skanks; Seann William Scott (Elizabeth's co-star) as their friend; Will Ferrell ("SNL") as a marshal; Jon Stewart (Comedy Central's "Daily Show") as an anchor; Judd Nelson ("Suddenly Susan") as a sheriff; Joe Quesada (Marvel Comics) as a pizza guy; Tracy Morgan ("SNL") as a drug dealer; Diedrich Bader ("Drew Carey Show") as a security guard; Chris Rock ("SNL") as a director; and any number of show biz personalities as themselves; with Joey Lauren Adams and Jason Lee reprising their "Chasing Amy" roles.

The movie comes on one DVD, with bonus material on another.

HELPFUL HINT: Before you see "Scooby-Doo," see this movie. Once you see it, you'll forget about "Scooby-Doo."

FUN FACT: Smith's daughter Harley Quinn, who appears in the movie, was named for a character in the recent "Batman" animated series; Paul Dini, one of the producers of said show, plays a movie worker. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Nickelodeon's "Rugrats" movies were based on a popular TV show. This movie does it in reverse -- starting out as a movie and continuing as a series!

In the tradition of Tommy Pickles, Bart Simpson, and other toon boys, ten-year-old James Isaac Neutron is voiced by a 4'11" grown woman (visit her web site at http://debiderryberry.com/). Others in the cast include Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs" and "Stewardess School") as his nerdy best friend, Carolyn Lawrence ("Spongebob Squarepants" and "Little Man Tate") as a rival, Crystal Scales ("Titan A.E." and MTV's "Undressed") as her best friend, Jeffrey Garcia ("3 Strikes") as a geek, Candi Milo ("Chalk Zone") as a muy chuy kid, Andrea Martin ("SCTV" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") as a birdy teacher, Frank Welker ("Scooby-Doo") as Jimmy's robodog, and Megan Cavanaugh ("A League of Their Own") and Mark DeCarlo ("Studs") as Jimmy's parents. And in the tradition of "Toy Story," the animation is computerized.

Jimmy is so smart (HOW SMART IS HE?) he makes Dexter on Cartoon Network look stupid. (His inventions, too numerous to list here, include a dressing machine and a shoelace tier.) He'll need it, because chicken-worshipping egg-aliens voiced by Patrick Stewart ("Star Trek TNG" and "X-Men") and Martin Short ("SCTV" and "SNL") abduct the world's adults. (Hey, they had to throw in special guest stars somehow!) Jimmy's toaster/alien transmitter brings them to Earth. Maybe he's not that smart after all…

The DVD comes with tons of goodies, so you'll want that. Waiting till it comes to TV is cheaper, but you don't get the goodies. (Man, they'll do anything to get you to get the DVD.)

Co-written by Steve Oedekerk ("Thumb Wars").

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0268397 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Joe Dirt

This stars David Spade ("SNL" and "JSM") as a white trash dude named exactly that. How did he get that way? It goes back to a childhood incident at the Grand Canyon when his parents left him behind. Anyway, he's a janitor now, and proud of it, man! (Okay, the people around him mock him, but he doesn't take it lying down.) He works at a radio station that plays all-70s music all the time (and when Spade isn't listening to that station, he listens to the music with his 8-track player). Dennis Miller ("SNL" and "MNF") plays a DJ at the station that listens to the story of his search for his parents, all the incidents between being the fuel for this vehicle. Brittany Daniel ("Don't Say a Word") plays the leading lady.

Adam Sandler ("SNL" and "TW," "TWS," "BD," "LN," "HG") is one of the exec producers, but not the star. Spade DID co-write it, though.

This is the movie that launched a thousand web sites dedicated to the mullet -- a haircut in which the hair is short on top and long in the rear. Or did the sites launch this movie? In any case, that's Spade's hairdo in the movie -- a wig worn since another childhood incident. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

The epitomy of crap. It reeked of 2nd grade humor and acting that would shame Chris Tucker. I'd have been more entertained if I'd taken my 6 bucks and flushed it down the john.

Did anyone else even see this movie? Perhaps it was just me and the 20 other poor souls in the theater. If you were so unfortunate, then this review will bring back some awful memories. 2 words: French aliens. The ones at the very end of this disturbing story. In a movie fraught with Kung fu-fighting cows and babies rolling off cliffs, I'm not sure whether I should punch the director or get him the treatment he so sorely needs. In all fairness, there was only one major problem with the plot; it didn't have one.

Possibly the saddest thing is that I actually sat through the whole movie. My first mistake was buying the ticket. It's rather ironic, really. I went in to see A Beautiful Mind and ended up watching 2 hours of mindless garbage. If only ABM hadn't been sold out...I wouldn't have wasted my money on this campy cross between South Park and every Jackie Chan movie ever made. I suppose the title was foreshadowing, though. I mean, what the hell was I thinking walking into Kung Pow: Enter the Fist?

I'm sure after this review you might be curious and think, "Maybe I'll watch it just to see how bad it really is." Friends, learn from my mistake, this is not a movie that was meant to be seen! Nowhere in the nonsensical "plot" and horrid visual effects will you find anything that is remotely close to entertaining. And when you're sitting there thinking of hanging yourself from a light fixture, don't say I didn't warn you. (Cheez412@aol.com)


The Last Slumber Party 2

My friends and I love to watch and make fun of horror flicks but this one was just TOO BAD. You have not seen bad acting until you've seen this movie. A girl finds her best friend slashed up very gruesomely on her bed and what does she do?????? She covers her mouth and gasps the was you would gasp if you found out the your cousin Marsha is sleeping with her best friends husband.

Aside from that the movie is about a slumber party (apparently the last one- probably because 1/2 the cast dies) The REALLY sad part is, is that this movie was a sequel of something else-- I cannot believe enough people watched the first one that they even thought of making a sequel!!

In conclusion Don't waste your money OR YOUR TIME!! (Sm00vette)


The Last Temptation

So, what do you get when you make a movie filmed by an Italian Catholic filmmaker that's directing a film based on a novel written by a guy from a Greek Orthodox background??? I'll tell you what you get! You get my all time worst movie ever. That's what. What a weird film! Of course what else can you expect when you have two weird names behind such an endeavor? I mean, I can't even hardly spell Scorcese and Kazantzakis, let alone pronounce them.

Concerning Martin Scorcese's controversial 1988 film, "The Last Temptation" - I have a problem with people who try to reinvent people the way they want them to be. And I have a real problem with someone trying to reinvent Jesus Christ! I mean, it's one thing to take "The Brady Bunch", "Dennis the Menace", and "Leave it to Beaver" and add perversion to their plots and to their characters. But it's quite another to be bad-mouthing God. You might get away with that here, but in the Big Box Office in the Sky, in the Sweet bye and bye, you might find your knees trembling, your teeth rattlin', and you might break down and cry!

True the film opens with a disclaimer stating that the film is "not based on the gospels," but "HELLO!" What did Nikos Kazantzakis base his novel on in the first place? What was ole Nikos thinking, when he wrote that book? And what on earth was ole Martin thinking of to have directed it? I'll tell you what they were thinking- $$$$$$, That's what. They weren't thinking about the Almighty and having to face Him in the end of all this. No, sir. They were thinking about the almighty buck, not to mention ole Niko and ole Marty and what they would do with that almighty buck.

Didnt there momma ever tell them it wasn't smart to discuss religion or politics? I think some people are just so perverted and nasty, that the only way they can feel good about themselves is to bring those around them crashing down.

So, what do they do? They have Jesus Christ a hoppin' into bed with Mary of Magdela. And of course she dies, (happens in most romances- Love Story, West Side Story, Romeo and Juliet, Charles and Diana - list goes on). Stupid!

I'm trying to imagine even two ordinary atheists being able to come upwith a more ridiculous anti-God plot! That's even unimaginable to my way of thinking! However, maybe some of you who were raised in the homes of staunch Baptists and devout Catholics out there know what I'm talking about. Maybe when you have religion crammed down your throats, maybe you get fed up with it and have to regurgitate. But for pity sake, go puke someplace else. We don't need this kind of puke on the big screen.

Goodness knows, there's plenty of garbage out there as it is without dragging God into this! I actually don't think the movie would have gotten very far in the box office if it hadn't been for all the hype directed towards it by religious activists. I mean, everyone wants to go see something they're not supposed to, right? Without all the hype that film would have died in utero. I mean, all it had going for it was SHOCK VALUE!

Honestly, the "Last Temptation of Christ" was a complete wash. Not because of a directorial failure on Scorcese's part, but simply because no director in the world could possibly make this material into a film worth sitting through for its own sake. No amount of "sugar coating" could have made this nastiness go down easy. Like I said, there's some themes that will just never make good film material no matter what you do with them. No level of production values or technically proficient filmmaking could make it worthwhile to watch a movie that indulged in child pornography, or that relentlessly celebrated the Holocaust, or that overtly romanticized the degradation and abasement of women. There are certain lines that you JUST DON'T CROSS!

Going one step further, let me just say that the "Last Temptation" goes way over the fine line of morality and spirituality. Poisonous morally and spiritually, it is also worthless as art or entertainment, at least on any theory of art as an object of appreciation. As an artifact of technical achievement, it may be well made; but as a film, it is devoid of redeeming merit. Is that being succinct, or what?

(Siphon@juno.com)


Logan's Run

Years after "Don't trust anybody over 30," along comes a movie based on "Don't let anybody over 30 live."

Set in a perfect world in the 23rd Century, this movie casts Michael York (now Austin Powers' superior -- if York followed the movie's advice, we wouldn't see him in "Goldmember," eh?) as Logan, a "sandman" whose job is to put "runners" (those dodging their fate) to "sleep." Nonrunners who conform take part in a ceremonial execution. Richard Jordan ("Rooster Cogburn") plays a fellow enforcer.

Citizens have a gem implanted in their hands that lets them know when they must die. Ordered to go undercover to find a runner hideout, York finds his gem blinking -- the sign that he is of that age -- and now finds himself a runner. Allying with another runner (Jenny Agutter from "American Werewolf in London"), both escape from the dome city and find

Also starring Roscoe Lee Browne ("The Cowboys") as a robot; Farrah Fawcett ("Charlie's Angels") as a receptionist/nurse/sex object; Michelle Stacy ("The Rescuers") as a 10-year-old runner; and Peter Ustinov ("Quo Vadis?") as proof that life need not end at an arbitrary set of digits.

Today, we don't have to kill our old - MTV culture exiles them from society.

The screenplay adapts the novel by William F. Nolan (click on http://williamfnolan.com/index.shtml), and in there, the magic number of doom is 21. The movie is being remade as we speak by Joel Silver ("The Matrix"), and will use the earlier age.

A short-lived TV series cast Gregory Harrison ("Trapper John") and Heather Menzies ("Sound of Music") in the main roles.

Directed by Michael Anderson ("Shoes of the Fisherman"), whose namesake son ("Sons of Katie Elder") appears as a plastic surgeon. Music by Jerry Goldsmith (various "Star Trek" projects).

Click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0074812 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Lord of the Rings

Ok... if you're planning to see the film i'd turn back now... because i'm about to reveal the entire plot...

A gormless old git turns invisible and goes away someplace leaving an evil ring, a bearded old git gives it to a short little git, he nearly gets killed by some gits on horses on the way to speak to some git or other, then there's a sword fight... the short little git gets stabbed, he goes to see some elflike gits who heal him, he decides to destroy the ring, but he can only do it by chucking it in some git's volcano, protected by some ugly gits with cool swords ina fortressy thing. he goes to do this with some other gits...I think there's another sword fight here... then they get near to the volcano/fortressy thing... he has to infiltrate it and throw the ring into the volcano... now's where you expect the real fun to begin..

The film ends here... 2 and a half hours later...

FUN FACT: this was originally a book by some old guy called tokens, or something... (SSJskittle)


Love Story and Oliver's Story

AMC ran both back-to-back, so I'm reviewing both. In them, Ryan O'Neal plays a privileged man who finds romance.

In the first, it's with Ali MacGraw ("The Getaway") as a lesser-stationed student. Contemptuous of his "preppy" self, she nevertheless is tempted to go out with him, and eventually falls for him. He is so into her that he marries her at the expense of his dad disinheriting him.

Tommy Lee Jones ("Men in Black") plays another student; Ray Milland ("Dial M for Murder") and John Marley ("The Godfather") play O'Neal's and MacGraw's respective fathers.

Erich Segal adapts his novel. Directed by Arthur Hiller ("Popi"). The trademark instrumental was composed by Francis Lai ("My Best Friend's Wedding"). http://us.imdb.com/Title?0066011

MacGraw's out of the picture, leaving O'Neal an emotional cripple, so playing the girl in #2 is Candice Bergen ("Carnal Knowledge"), a divorcee connected with the famous Bonwit Teller department store. The two run into each other while running in Central Park in New York.

Ed Binns ("The Verdict") now plays MacGraw's father, with Milland returning as O'Neal's; Charles Haid ("Hill Street Blues") plays O'Neal's old campus roommate; Swoosie Kurtz ("Sisters") plays an acquaintance; Benson Fong ("Flower Drum Song") plays a Hong Kong buyer; Josef Sommer ("The Sum of All Fears") plays O'Neal's shrink.

Segal wrote the literary sequel and its adaptation. http://us.imdb.com/Title?0078024

As the movie says, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Me, I say "Love means never having to say your girlfriend's choice of movies are SO sissy."

FUN FACT: Hiller directed O'Neal in "An Alan Smithee Film" (using that alias). (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Mildred Pierce

The movie starts out with remarried divorcee Joan Crawford ("The Women"), her new husband shot dead, and it gets bitchier after that. The first groom (Herman Brix of "Tarzan and the Green Goddess," here as Bruce Bennett) is arrested for the act, prompting Crawford to tell her story.

It involves devotion to daughter Ann Blyth ("Mr. Peabody & the Mermaid"), who pushes her mother to improve her station socially and financially. In order to dodge community property laws so she can open a restaurant without him having an interest in it, Crawford divorces Bennett.

Crawford finds work as a waitress. When Blyth discovers this, she is SO embarrassed. Crawford tells Blyth about the restaurant, and all is okay.

Real estate guy Jack Carson ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof") gives legal advice and hits on Crawford, but gets nowhere with that. He does introduce her to landowner Zachary Scott ("Flamingo Road"), who gets her heart and ring. They do it to appeal to Blyth, who left after a spat, but soon it's the daughter doing stepdaddy.

Eve Arden ("Our Miss Brooks"), George Tobias ("Bewitched"), and Butterfly McQueen ("Gone with the Wind") also appear, but only Arden is credited.

"Wall Street" is Hollywood's classic example of how riches make people morally poor. Without a NASDAQ ticker, this movie also tells this tale, translating everything into ordinary human elements. Don't be fooled by Enron - some moneygrubbers are mere mortals. Mildred was a businesswoman, but her diner was closer to Mel's than Denny's.

The screenplay adapts a book by James M. Cain ("Double Indemnity"); the movie is directed by Michael Curtiz ("Casablanca").

FUN FACT: Some time ago, this movie inspired the website "Piercing Mildred," a parody of the film in name only.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0037913 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Moulin Rouge

Starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, and Garry McDonald

Overview:

Set in 1899 France, the movie revolves around a young poet named Christian (McGregor) who leaves his family to find his fortune in Paris.

Christian ends up in the Montmartre district, where he meets Toulouse Lautrec (Leguizamo), and a courtisan (french for slut) named Satine (Kidman).

The character Satine is the stage queen, the one every man wants. She also has terminal tuburculosis, but still is the object of every man's lust (hey babe, I love ya, but wipe that hocker off yer lip before I kiss ya, ok?)

Lautrec and his friends trick Christian into participating in their play, during which he falls for Satine and thus begins the love story of the century?

The movie is a rambling farce. Not the kind of farce like the classic "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", but the kind that true fans of movies should avoid like a celluloid STD. The story is nearly impossible to follow, the sets and costumes are really hard on the eyes, the purposeful overacting and use of Beatle's lyrics as part of the script is nauseating. By far, one of the worst films I've ever had the misfortune to see!

(ProFishGyd@aol.com)


The Mummy

(My all-time LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE)I used to write a movie column called "See You at the Movies." But one movie ended all this. The name of this earth-moving picture? THE MUMMY. Yes, I know that now that The Mummy has returned and the producers have all bought new swimming pools and thousand dollar suits on the proceeds of this obtuse picture, it's hard to believe I felt this way. But let's just say that the thing that turned me off was the plethoric invasion of insects upon the opening of the tomb. Perhaps it is because that, about the time this picture came out, my home was infested with a bevy of moths which graced my home by way of some hamster food which had set too long in boxes at the pet store...regardless this commercial for entomology was far too much for me. Someone call Terminix quick. I am tempted to remind the producers to open to the collected works of my favorite Victorian author Edgar Poe, to whom my own writings have been compared and read a better analysis of an interaction with a 3,000 year old Pharoah. And this was done while he was induced by alcohol and opium. It seems that the writers and producers of this absurd tale, who had no similar potion to render them out of body, could concoct something more believable that an infestation of bugs (though I must say this was believable after 3,000 years!) (were these roaches or scarab beetles). Anyway, I say I used to write a column called "See You at the Movies" because it seems I was exercising Chaucer's 'search for the ideal' and I always felt that when I found the best and the worst films, I would stop the column. Well, I found the worst. I will keep searching for the best. And, no I won't be standing in line for "The Mummy Returns." It's just too many bugs for one lifetime. (Deborah L. Killion)


The Musketeer

Here's something that must of sounded good on paper to some producer; take a belove action adventure classic, and add blazing martial arts choreography. Its a surefire sign for a hit...right. (Crickets chirping in background.)

At no point in his life do I ever ponder Alexandre Dumas pondering if The Three Musketeers will benefit from the help of Chinese Martial Arts. Never. Note to Hollywood after this movie and the 1993 Disney film; Stop raping Dumas' corpse. As The Man In The Iron Mask shows, he did write other stuff. I know that may shock some of you, but so be it. If one thing can be said about The Musketeer, it should be known that its makers at least know some of the real story. Buried under this cinematic mass of flatulence, all of the original musketeers make an appearance, and Cardinal Richeleu is still trying to overthrow the king of France with the help of Rochefort. Beyond that and the movie starts showing its pedigree. Yes this lovely is from the makers of such classics Sudden Death, End of Days, and my personal favorite Comin' at Ya. There is nothing even remotely resembling a plot in this film. To try to explain, is to give one a migrane so excuse me if I really don't want to get in depth. Lets just say D'Artagnan goes to Paris to become a musketeer and avenge the murder of his parents. Along the way he meets a few other Musketeers who seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the story, after all this is The Musketeer, not The Three Musketeers. Together he and the generic Musketeers thrawt the evil plans of Richeleu and save the day.

Let me begin the star ratings with one man who has now become the top contender on my list of worst actors of all time, Justin Chambers. Dont get me wrong, actings a hard job. Memorizing lines and all must be tough for poor little Justin to handle. That might explain why he sounds like he's reading straight out of the damn script! Nothing in the world seems to be able to make this guy emote, he just lies there flat on the screen. In other words he's the most boring thing to be put on film since Battlefield Earth. He's so bad everyone in America should now go up to Chris O'donnel and appologize for naming him the worse D'Artagnan ever. After this film this man should never be allowed near a film set again. None what so ever; I don't even care if he's just delivering coffee to the set of one of those Calvin Klein commercials he spilled off of. And unfortunately Mena Suvari fares no better. In the hands of Sam Mendes she showed talent in American Beauty. After this movie she seriously needs to try to get cast in Mende's next film. Even though she does emote more than Mr. Chamber's her performance here will go down with her other turns in films such as Loser, and The Rage: Carrie 2. And yes even the real actors fair no better. Tim Roth seems to be giving the performance he gave in Planet of the Apes while Stephen Rea lies flat and dormant on the screen. Only the radiant Catherine Deneuve seems to be having fun, but sadly I thinks thats because of other reasons. Quoting Roger Ebert's review of Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood "Why do gifted actresses appear in such slop? Possibly because good roles for women are rare, for those over 60 precious. Possibly, too, because for all the other shortcomings of the film, no expense has been spared by the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments, so that all of the women look just terrific all of the time." That sounds about right. That and a paycheck probably.

There is one good thing in the film and thats the cinematography. Not only is this hollow film pretty, but as soon as the fighting start you can truly appreciate how talented Chinese stuntmen are. Not since Die Hard has a film made such shoddy attempts at hiding their stuntmen . This one is so bad, I mean all they do is backlight the whole thing causing the actors to appear as sihllouettes. You'll often find yourself thinking, dosen't that musketeer look shorter than he did before.

Well that all I can think of. One more thing before I go. The tagline for this dreck was " As You've Never Seen It Before! " Now they should add, "and hopefully will never see again!" I know I won't. (Grimacing in pain from bad tagline joke.) (Theshape79@cox.net)


Myra Breckinridge

It's hard to believe I've gone so long without having seen this classic piece of...cinema. For those of you lucky enough to have missed it, it starts with Rex Reed (Yes, uppitty movie critic Rex Reed) having a sex change operation which turns him into Raquel Welch. Rex may be gone but not forgotten as he appears throughout the rest of the movie watching Raquel pontificate as a cranky intellectual teacher in an acting school. (You heard me.) Sometimes Rex becomes Raquel, most notably in a scene which would make Freud cringe as Farrah Fawcett feeds him a banana.

As mortifying as the other actors in this movie is (And trust me--they are), it's impossible to top the performance of (Yes, I swear to God) Mae West. Mae is about 1008 years old at this point but that doesn't stop the movie from asking us to believe she's a real sex kitten. Actually, when you're that long in the tooth, you're probably more of a sex sabertooth tiger but this isn't a movie to let logic or good taste interfere. Mae is always surrounded by handsome young men (including a then happily-unknown Tom Selleck) who are hot for her ample wrinkled flesh. My own theory is that they want to kiss her just as an excuse to close their eyes. Perhaps the lowlight of this movie occurs when Mae inexplicably appears in a production number surrounded by cavorting chorus boys as she reclines on a couch singing "Taste All the Fruit", all the while wriggling in a manner that is supposed to be sexy but instead makes you wonder if she has some sort of painful rectal itch.

The movie ends at long last with Raquel putting the moves on Farrah Fawcett who declines the offer, sighing "If only you were a man just like you." Suddenly we're back in the hospital with Rex calling out "Where are my tits?" then running out into the street where he sings and dances his way into a cab with Raquel. (SpinyNorma@aol.com)


Nancy Drew (2002)

The juvenile novel mystery-solver returns to TV in this telemovie commissioned for ABC's "World of Disney."

Previously seen in "Pleasantville" (and the "WOD" presentation "Model Behavior"), Maggie Lawson plays the new Drew, whose books are all credited to pen-name "Carolyn Keene" (as the Hardy Boys' were to "Franklin W. Dixon"). Traditionally a high schooler, she's bumped up to college here, majoring in journalism.

James Avery ("Fresh Prince") plays a reporter-turned-professor - a tough cookie who challenges his class to write the story of the year. Needless to say, Lawson accepts. The story that falls her way is fluff (including a sorority sister named after Jacqueline Kennedy with the personality of Nancy Reagan), but something suddenly comes up that warrants reporting - the hospitalization of a campus footballer. It leads to a conspiracy involving steroids/performance enhancing drugs/whatever, the peer pressure of scholastic sports, and enough cloak and dagger intrigue for a grownup mystery.

Brett Cullen ("National Security") plays Lawson's attorney father (sitcom dad William Schallert's role in Pamela Sue Martin's series).

"Hardy" and "Nancy" segments were in the classic "Mickey Mouse Club" ("Spin & Marty" was too); both had brief revivals in the early 90s, but weren't as popular as the 70s' shows.

While Nancy's the plot here, I'd like to comment on the school sports thing that fuels the story: Where I live now, schools tout on signs their sports teams. We allegedly embrace intelligence, but it takes none to be an athlete, and we give them the high pedestal. I guess we still haven't gotten over the loss of the gladiator games any more than the Confederate flagwavers have the loss of the Civil War.

FUN FACT: George O'Hanlon Jr. (father voiced George Jetson) played a friend of Nancy's in the 70s "Nancy Drew" series.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0329414 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Paleface

Hi, this is Bob "Tenderfoot" Hope. In this picture I play Painless Peter Potter, a dentist in the Old West. Hey, the tooth hurts.

My leading lady is Calamity Jane Russell - I mean, Jane Russell as Calamity Jane. In any case, when Jane shows her full figure in any saloon, it's a calamity.

Jane is recruited for a secret mission. As part of it, she needs a "husband," and that's where I come in. The courts didn't buy my line about doing Dorothy Lamour during "The Road to Rio" at the time.

Through a series of misadventures, I'm mistaken for an Indian fighter. Even the clerk at 7-Eleven wouldn't talk to me.

You can tell this is a western; the cast also includes Iron Eyes Cody, a real red-blooded red-faced Indian, who cried in those pollution ads. Hey, in smog-infested Hollywood, everybody cries.

This movie was popular enough to spawn a sequel, again starring me and Jane. I knew I was in trouble when I read the line "I'll be back" in the last reel.

The soundtrack includes songs by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, who also wrote the classic "Bonanza" theme. At that time, Lorne Greene was only 350 in dog years.

Screenwriters include Edmund Hartmann, who also produced "My Three Sons." Does Tramp know about this?

Until next time, thanks for the memories.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0040679 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Payback

Now you'd almost think that a movie with Mel Gibson in it couldn't be *all* bad. Think again.

Payback has it all... random violence, incomprehensible motivations for getting even with whoever, however -- and most of all, disgusting characters. Even Mel's lowlife character has no redeeming features.

Best I could figure out was that it was all about some money that Mel got gypped out of. That's as far as I got in understanding this film. In the end, I think he got even. Hence the title...

This movie is several years old. I recommend your not renting it! (KayLadyKay)


The Perfect Storm

This movie would have been better titled "The Ceaseless Soundtrack", for that's what it is. From the opening credits we are presented with portentious music, which not so subtly tells the story for us; tragedy with a capitol T!

As the story unfolds the music continues to swell, eventually eclipsing the swell of the sea itself. It never lets up, save for a few all too brief moments on land and even then only long enough for the orchestra to take a quick breath.

In the end, we don't give a rat's ptooie what happens to the characters as the music has been screaming "THEY'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!" for the entire film. The best we can hope for is that the sea will rise and short out the sound system, allowing us to spend the final moments in blessed silence. (HerzogVon@aol.com)


The Piano

The worst movie ever made that won an Oscar: The Piano. A women gets shipwrecked on an island and when her piano washes up the local guy (Harvey Keitel) takes it and makes her earn it one key at a time. He starts by looking up her dress and it just takes off from there. And then guess what...her husband finds out and cuts her fingers off. The movie got all kinds of praise because it was artsy and deep but so are Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson movies. The movie was so bad...sex for your piano lady?  Or where is the key to your pants? (Branford@aol.com)


The Poof Point

Seen on the Disney Channel.

Honey, a married couple accidentally shrunk themselves with their faulty time machine, and now they're turning into kids!

Mark Curry and Dawnn Lewis, together since "Mr. Cooper," play absent-minded husband-and-wife scientists who are so proud of their intelligence, they named their children after Thomas Edison (Tahj Mowry of "The Smart Guy") and Marie Curie (Raquel Lee from Nick's "Amanda Show") and their dog after Albert Einstein. They were testing a time travel device they invented when they got caught in its chrono-radiation, causing them to reverse age. Now, only their kids can save them before "the poof point" -- the period when they totally de-age to nothing. Problem is, they have to grin and bear their parents' second childhood first.

Despite the premise of the movie, Curry and Lewis continue to play their characters, regardless of age (including teen age and toddler age) -- they borrowed a trick from "Quantum Leap."

Directed by Neal Israel ("Police Academy"). While not in the league with those movies with Rick Moranis in them, at least it beats the stuffing out of the Olsen videos. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Prince of Egypt (Disney)

I have a strong gut when it comes to movies, I can watch most anything and stand it. It doesn't mean I always like what I see but that I can stick it through to the final scene.

This almost superhuman ability has failed, however, on two occasions when I was actually so appalled I couldn't finish the movie. The first time was many years ago at a college campus screening of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It wasn't the gore of the film that got me, it was just bad, with cruel characters. Simply lost my interest and walked out of the theatre.

The second time was more recent. High on drugs (well, at least it's an excuse) I rented, without thoroughly reading the cover, Disney's (tm) "The Prince of Egypt". Yes, at this point you can despise me, but please remember: It was the drugs. Anyway, I watched with increasing mind-numbing horror a cartoon of Moses. Smarmy, hackneyed, holier-than-thou crap. I was finally able to stop retching enough to thumb the STOP button on the remote.

The moral, in my little mind at least: "The Prince of Egypt" is Disney's (tm) equivalent of the "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and is a bad, bad movie. (iRonical@att.net)


The Producers

You've seen the Broadway musical; now see the 1967 movie that inspired it!

Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel from Broadway's "Fiddler on the Roof") is a stage producer who finances his plays the old fashioned way: He sleeps with rich widows.

Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder from "Willy Wonka") is an accountant who discovers that Mostel's financial statement is SO Enron. How can they uncook the books?

Together, the two come up with a boffo moneymaking scheme: Produce a play that's a surefire loser - it'll be a tax writeoff. And what could be better/worse than something called "Springtime for Hitler," complete with June Taylor swastika? But a funny thing happens on the way to the Forum - it's a hit!

Kenneth Mars (Wilder's costar in "Young Frankenstein") plays the playwright, a bird-fancier who still has affection for the Third Reich; Christopher Hewett (TV's "Mr. Belvedere") plays a gay casting agent; and Dick Shawn ("Mad Mad Mad World") plays a stoner actor whose taste in jewelry is inspired by Andy Warhol.

Considering that Nazi chic isn't haute couture now, it's a miracle that this show rules the Great White Way. Course, the "it's not easy making green" underlying plotline helps.

The stage show's music isn't on the soundtrack, but the classic "Springtime" song is. Written and directed by Mel Brooks ("Blazing Saddles").

I'm seeing it on Bravo, so expect editing there.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0063462

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Road to Perdition

Call it "The O'Sopranos": Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia") juggles family values and mob family as an Irish-American husband and father -- and gangster -- in 1931.

Worlds collide when Hanks' son (Tyler Hoechlin in his third film) witnesses him killing a man in a scene strikingly similar to one in "Domestic Disturbance," but the work this film's based on preceded that project.

Paul Newman ("The Sting") plays a don (er, do Irish mobs use that terminology?) whom Hanks looks up to, but things change (see above paragraph), and Newman orders a hit on Hanks. Wife Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Single White Female") and other son Liam Aiken ("Stepmom") get whacked instead. And with that, father and son are on the run, hoping to dodge Jude Law ("Gattaca"), who shoots dead people with a camera -- but not before shooting people dead with a gun.

The cast also includes Stanley Tucci ("The Pelican Brief") as Frank Nitti -- yes, the same baddie played in the classic series "The Untouchables" by Bruce Gordon.

The screenplay adapts a graphic novel (fancy format comic book) by Max Allan Collins ("Dick Tracy" shortly before Chester Gould retired). And if you thought that was something, wait'll you see the comic book based on "CSI."

(On a similar note: His life upside down, Hoechlin tries to cling to what's left of it by reading a "Big Little Book" about the Lone Ranger. This style of book, using waste paper from magazines, had text on even pages and art on odd.)

The movie "Life is Beautiful" won acclaim for juxtaposing the innocence of childhood and the guilt of murder. This film, embracing like themes, will probably be the next to Oscar.

(BTW, Adelphia upgraded my cable, but I can't get TCM anymore, so it's no more classic movie reviews.)

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0257044 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Robocop 3

Okay, let's be honest, it's a bad movie. A very very bad movie. But still, I couldn't help but watch, maybe it was like seeing a car wreck or something, I don't know. What I do know, there were pieces of this movie that were actually worth salvaging. My advice, get the worthwhile pieces, reshoot the lame ones with GOOD CG effects, add more violence and blood, offer Peter Weller enough money that he's gonna want to put a ton of metal back on, and then you've got a hit! My motto is 'Violence is golden.' Sell this new version on DVD as 'Robocop 3: The REAL MAN'S Edition' Oh, and if you want it to be really manly and R-rated, let's get Lewis to do a nude seen before she's ventilated.

(Jim Burton)


Rock Star

Mark Wahlberg ("Boogie Nights") returns to his pop music roots ("Good Vibrations") as a fan of a rock group who finds himself the lead singer of said band. (BTW, Wahlberg's brother Donnie was in New Kids on the Block.) Jennifer Aniston ("Friends") also stars as his girlfriend.

Set in the 80s, this one has Wahlberg and friends imitating their favorite group, the makeup band Steel Dragon, in the basement of a porno theatre, practicing as the cover/tribute group Blood Pollution (named after a Steel Dragon song). Marky Mark has the look and the moves of the band's lead singer (even his piercings).

Soon after being bounced from Blood Pollution for creative differences (he wants to only sing Steel Dragon songs; they want to sing original stuff too), he is contacted by Steel Dragon in regard to an opportunity to join the band for real -- the lead singer has been fired. He accepts, and once he's in, it's rock and roll dreams and "Behind the Music" nightmares.

Directed by Stephen Herek ("Mr. Holland's Opus"); producers include George Clooney (Rosemary's nephew); script by John Stockwell ("Eddie and the Cruisers").

Soundtrack includes the title track from Everclear and songs from Kiss, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, INXS, Talking Heads, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Culture Club, and Marky Mark Wahlberg, and songs written by Sammy Hagar ("I Can't Drive 55"), Desmond Child ("Livin' la Vida Loca"), Brian Vander Ark (The Verve Pipe), Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow).

Expect to see this one on VH1's "Movies That Rock" in a year or two. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Rollerball

An all-too-familiar scene: your husband comes home, clutching in his hands a DVD that his friends have told him he just HAS to see... this new version of Rollerball with all high tech extreme violence. This surprises me, as he is not normally given to such adolescent indulgences and bloodfests, but he reminds me that the original movie with James Caan is something of a classic. I concede this, but nonetheless I insist that it isn't going to be watched until after the munchkin is in bed.

It starts off with the theatrical trailer for the movie, which I hadn't seen before, and I made a decision about how I was going to spend the next couple of hours. Sure, I let the movie play.... but my husband can't tell you one thing about that movie. You can call it censorship if you like; I call it something else entirely.

(The Murphster)


Rush Hour 2

One's a black belt; the other's black -- they're cops. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker reprise their roles from the first one, which finds Tucker on holiday in homeboy Chan's hometown of Hong Kong, coming off like a Chicago Bulls fan in a shop in China, and Can trying to mix business (something personal) and pleasure (you can say that, since they bonded in "RH1"). But this is no vacation -- before you can say "9/11," the local American consulate blows up ("Real good," to quote those "SCTV" characters), taking two lives, and they find themselves trying to solve that mystery. It'll take more than a cowardly Great Dane and his munchie-mad master to do it -- indeed, since this is a Jackie Chan movie, expect a lot of kung foolishness (no "Crouching Tiger" stuff, though).

Hey, until the scientists from "Jurassic Park" clone Hope and Crosby, you'll have to settle for this if you want a post-Hays Office "Road" movie.

Also in the movie: John Lone ("Iceman") as their quarry and comic Alan King as a hotel tycoon. The soundtrack includes original compositions by Lalo Schifrin (TV's "Mission Impossible").

Fun scenes:

Tucker putting his spin on a karaoke version of a Michael Jackson song

Chan and gangsters kung-fu fighting on a virtual ladder

Chan and Tucker stripped of their dignity (OK, their clothes) after a fight

Tucker trying to get a chase scene started

On a plane, Tucker orders a kosher meal

The two stake out and observe a woman as if it were "Stakeout"

They stop in a "Chinese Soul Food" joint whose owner compares Tucker to a convenience store

Tucker plays the race card at a craps table (but craps is a dice game)

Two female fighters lock heels

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

This holiday movie is guaranteed to alienate you, even if it didn't have aliens in it!

Mr. Kringle himself (actor John Call) and two children are abducted by green men from Mars (remember, this movie was made in 1964, before the planet was determined to be uninhabited). Martian children (including Pia Zadora) want the Christmas spirit too. Advised to bring Santa to Mars, the aliens do.

Other characters in the film include a moron Martian. Remember the guy who played the doorman in "The Jeffersons"? He's a correspondent here.

Needless to say, the movie's FX makes the cheesy props of TV's "Lost in Space" look like those of the movie "Lost in Space" - ILM had yet to revolutionize movie illusion. And check out their ray guns - they're Whamm-O air blast guns!

"MST3K" made fun of this movie a few years ago. In the intermission, the captive human star and his robot companions sang about having "A Patrick Swayze Christmas" (based on Swayze's roles in actioners like "Next of Kin").

The movie's soundtrack includes "Hooray for Santy Claus" performed by the orchestra of Milton DeLugg ("The Gong Show").

The must-see Christmas movies are "Scrooge" aka "A Christmas Carol" (1953), "It's a Wonderful Life" and Mr. Magoo's take on the former. Seek them out before all others.

FUN FACT: The likeness of the legend we associate with Santa was based on cartoons by Thomas Nast (political party animals) and print ads for Coca-Cola.

NOT-SO-FUN FACT: They're remaking this movie, and Ben Edlund ("The Tick") is attached to it.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0058548

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Satisfaction

The other night I saw one of the great Bad Movies of the 80s for the first time in years. I tell you, it would be a better world if pizzas came with as much cheese as this film. You realize right off the bat that the people responsible for inflicting this movie on us are not brilliant decision-makers when we see Justine Bateman's name listed above both Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts in the credits. Ah, the 80s--they were a silly time.

They start out by showing us Justine as Valedictorian of her class. This concept is not only good for a giggle but it makes it a breeze to accept the relatively viable idea that she's the leader of an all-girl rock band despite her nearly total lack of rhythm.

Julia Roberts is the band's wholesomely slutty bass player. Her most memorable scene is just before the gang goes to a fancy lawn party in which she warns them sternly of the importance of high classitude by saying, "Anyone who don't act elegant is a douche bag". Another member of the band isTrini Alvarado, the drummer and requisite Tough Girl (you can tell she's a thug because she frowns several times). There's also a really wimpy guy who's a last-minute substitute for their keyboardist. He's such a wimp that despite him being in the band for almost the entire movie, you still think of it as being an all-girl band. Naturally, Tough Girl Trini ends up falling for him though she redeems herself somewhat by looking almost as repelled by the notion as we are.

Rounding out the band is the Blonde Chick With A Serious Drug Problem who has some of the best bad scenes in this movie. For the most part, the Serious Drug Problem consists of passing out after a few tokes of the wacky weed although she does overdose on pills later. Outside of this bit of drama (and bear in mind we are grading on the curve here), the biggest problem with the blonde and drugs that I could see was that there really didn't seem to be any difference in the way she talked and acted when she was supposedly sober and supposedly stoned.

But her best scenes aren't drug-related, outside of possibly inspiring those who witness them to self-medicate. Particularly memorable is the scene where she and the band decide to break into Liam Neeson's house and are greeted by a vicious attack Doberman. While the dog tries to decide which of them to kill first (a sentiment the audience can relate to), the BCWASDP starts singing "Amazing Grace". Really. No, really. This is so astonishingly stupid an idea that the dog is stupefied into submission. Later she and the dog share a Deep Moment alone one night on the beach, inspiring her to spout inane philosophies aloud, first taking care to ask the dog if he's a narc. She then asks what it's like to be him but to no one's surprise, it's really just a ruse for her to talk about herself. "What's it like being me?" she muses aloud as the dog looks resigned to his fate. "Being me is like...oh, I forget." If only we could. (SpinyNorma@aol.com)


Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase

Produced for home video; can be seen on Cartoon Network.

The fourth in a series of similar videos, this continues the "this time, the ghouls are real" theme as the gang, asked to investigate a spooky computer virus, find themselves inside a computer game based on their adventures. In other words, Scooby-Doo meets Tron.

When a ghost comes out of a computer, it's a job for Fred (Frank Welker in his classic role), Velma (actress B.J. Ward), Daphne (Grey DeLisle from "The Fairly Oddparents") and Shaggy and Scooby (both by radio personality Scott Innes). Techies created a laser that can make physical objects from our world enter the computer world, and vice versa. While chasing the phantom virus, they're zapped by that laser, and now those meddling kids are playing the game for real. (The settings aren't orthodox Scooby, but at least there's the gimmick of getting the Scooby Snacks.) In the feature's climax, the gang joins forces with the game's counterparts, as seen in the show three decades ago, as they face their old foes, deadlier than ever.

Should hold you over until the "Scooby-Doo" movie with Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar premieres.

The soundtrack includes the classic "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" theme performed by the B-52s ("Rock Lobster"). The video is followed by a "mockumentary" starring the Mystery Machine gang and a documentary with the voice cast and artists.

The VHS video includes trailers for other 2001 Warner Bros. juvenile projects, including "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" (based on that song) with Ed Asner ("Mary Tyler Moore Show") as Santa, and ads for Scooby-Doo merchandise (say, isn't there a law against this on regular TV?). (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Silent Running

It's sci-fi week on TCM, and the little green things in this film are plants. Bruce Dern ("They Shoot Horses, Don't They?") is in charge of running the space-based botanic garden Valley Forge, built by American Airlines (at least they didn't pick a defunct airline to product place like in "2001"); working under him are Ron Rifkin ("Alias"), Cliff Potts (the series "Little Women"), and Jesse Vint ("Macon County Line") -- and three robots (in the tradition of R2D2, played by dwarves in boxes).

Budget cuts drive an order to destroy the garden, but Dern is dedicated to his greenhouse starship, so he saves it -- by sacrificing the other humans. Now cut off from Earth, his only companions are the robots, which he eventually names Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow - I mean Huey, Dewey, and Louie. (And, of course, the greenery.)

An uncredited Joseph Campanella ("One Day at a Time") provides voiceovers. (Rifkin also appeared on that show frequently; Glenn Scarpelli, who played his son, is the real son of Archie comics cartoonist Henry Scarpelli.)

The environment was a 60s/70s cause, but you didn't see too many movies or TV shows on that subject during that time. This movie wasn't exactly a hit, so I guess that was the X-factor. In any case, the cause is bigger than ever now (even the GOP celebrates Earth Day), and we have "Captain Planet" and some of Steven Segall's later movies to prove it.

Directed by Douglas Trumbull (also famous for special effects engineering). FX-men include John Dykstra ("Star Wars"). Screenwriters include Michael Cimino ("The Deer Hunter") and Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue"). Soundtrack includes songs by Joan Baez ("Woodstock") and orchestrations by Peter Schickele (aka P.D.Q. Bach).

Click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0067756. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Singin' in the Rain

It's the glory days of silent movies, and Gene Kelly makes all the noise that is necessary with his feet. But these days are ending as talking movies catch on. His frequent costar, Jean Hagen ("Adam's Rib"), may be out of a job -- her voice is more appropriate for comedy than musical theater. And despite expensive -- er, extensive voice training, Hagen still sounds like a wacky character actress instead of a romantic hoofer. Enter voice-over Debbie Reynolds ("Tammy & the Bachelor"), brought in to redo Hagen's lines. Sparks fly, Hagen's fur ruffles, and you can do the math.

Donald O'Connor (no slouch in the getting tap-happy department either) plays Kelly's former vaudeville partner. Also seen and heard: Cyd Charisse ("Silk Stockings") and Rita Moreno ("West Side Story").

Look very carefully: You'll find Madge Blake (the series "Batman"), Kathleen Freeman ("The Blues Brothers"), and Mae Clarke (what was that movie in which James Cagney squished a grapefruit in her face?) in this one.

Kelly could dance in the rain, and he does here. In his prime, his steps and the silver screen were inseparable. He not only performed onscreen, he designed his moves as a choreographer. He has even pioneered dancing with animated characters, like Jerry (as in "Tom &") in "Anchors Aweigh" (that role inspired a "Jack & the Beanstalk" special, also animated, except for himself, his Jack, and key props). Today, like the silents, movie dancing is a lost art -- sure, Travolta can rule the disco, but he can't shine Gene Kelly's tap shoes. (For what it's worth, Kelly and the world of disco collided in "Xanadu.")

Directed by Stanley Donen and Kelly; screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0045152 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Slumber Party Massacre 2

Ok, so, I kinda expected a skin flick, which it wasn't, but that's not why I rented it... honestly... ok, so it's not the only reason why i rented it. The main reason I rented it is because I heard that Stone Cold Steve Austin's wife, Debra Austin from the WWF would be in it. Apparently, if she was, I didn't see her. This movie blew like a 50 cent English whore, and it wasn't in the least bit scary. First of all, the kids go to this little "slumber party", which, of course, a couple of guys sneak into. Now, the bad thing is, not that they're going to a slumber party, but that the girl, who is actually Crystal Bernard, from "Wings", has had something like this happen before, a la The Slumber Party Massacre 1. The killer is the dumbest bad guy i've ever seen in anything, period. Think of the dumbest weapon you've ever seen used in a scary movie. Ok, now picture this. He's a rock star, who looks kinda like Billy Idol , and his weapon is a giant guitar with a drill on the end of it. The scariest thing about this movie was the acting. To quote from Billy Madison, at no point in it's pathetic rambling for attention did it even come close to a rational thought, and I am dumber for watching it. If I had the choice of watching this or the Anna Nicole Smith show, she would never have looked better. This movie sucked, plain and simple. Don't waste your time, and I won't waste any more breath. (Pritch)


The 6th Day

The title is taken from a Bible passage and is used to refer to laws banning the cloning of human beings. However, animals can be cloned. Nevertheless, a man IS cloned -- and it's Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's a family man here, supporting them as a chopper pilot for the charter service Double X (remember that name -- there'll be a test). Arnold's brush with clones starts when the wife orders him to go down to RePet, a pet cloning service, when the dog dies, so that a look-alike can be created and their child won't be THAT heartbroken. So Arnold can do that, another pilot covers for him. This results in the guy getting shot - Arnold was supposed to be the victim. Arnold goes to the pet cloners, and ultimately decides against doing that, but does buy a SimPal - a living doll -- and arriving home, gets the ultimate surprise for his birthday -- another Arnold is inside, celebrating many happy returns. At that point, the fun begins.

Also in the film: Robert Duvall (the movie "M*A*S*H") as a brain behind RePet; Wanda Cannon ("My Secret Identity") as his wife; Tony Goldwyn ("Ghost") as a tycoon; Ken Pogue ("Adderly") as a RePet exec; Andrea Libman ("Reboot") as the voice of "SimPal Sindy"; and the now-defunct XFL football league.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode ("Tomorrow Never Dies"); Schwarzenegger is one of the producers.

Fun facts:

Arnold's age at the time of release: 53

A third "Terminator" is being filmed at this moment

Goldwyn's grandfather was movie mogul Samuel (as in Metro Goldwyn Mayer)

Cannon costarred in the PBS videotaped movie "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank," spoofed on "Mystery Science Theater 3000"

You'd be surprised at the number of Canadians connected with this movie, eh?

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Spy Game

Good morning, Mr. Redford ("Three Days of the Condor"). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to rescue your protégé Brad Pitt ("Fight Club"), captured while trying to spring a love (Catherine McCormack from "The Tailor of Panama") from a Chinese prison. Your mission will involve putting up with CIA politics and extensive flashbacks showing how you and Pitt met, and eventually broke apart.

Your secretary Marianne Jean-Baptiste ("The Cell") is too loyal to you to disavow any knowledge of your actions. Another ally of yours is ambassador David Hemmings ("Barbarella"). Your director is Tony Scott ("Enemy of the State").

This movie will self-destruct in over two hours. Good luck, Robert.

FUN FACT: A 1997 series, also named "Spy Game," starred Allison Smith ("Kate & Allie") and Linden Ashby (USA Network's "War Next Door"). (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

I was prompted to rent this movie for two reasons; first I wanted to get the address of the Disney studios and write them a scathing letter informing them that the plural of dwarf is DWARVES. Second, I was expecting to see a lot of steamy orgiastic scenes involving a lot of short guys (but not necessarily dwarves in every respect) taking on a supposed virgin, with some girl-girl action with some queen bitch mentioned on the jacket. I was, to say the least, disappointed... OK, maybe I was in less than a legal state of mind when I made this decision, but as there were no witnesses, you can't prove nothing. So I decided to watch it anyway, reinforced by a recommended dosage from my neighborhood um, "pharmacist." Actually, if you watch for it, there's filth everywhere in this movie. First off, let's take Snow White. The only place you're going to find lipstick that red is on a hooker down by the docks. And the rosy red cheeks are doubtless the result of one of those damn dwarvephallic symbol) and killing of the evil bitch queen. The moral of the story? Obvious: they're saying that the only women worth having around are the ones putting out. Standard porn flick fare. I advanced this theory to my household, and now my daughter's crying. Why am I always the bad guy? (Gnorkl Kilpatrick)


Soylent Green

It's people! Now that I gave away the punchline, enjoy the movie and pretend I said nothing. I'm sure its star did by now.

It's the future, and the world is destroyed by pollution, industrialization, overpopulation, the greenhouse effect, you name it. Set in New York City slum life, this film casts Charlton Heston ("Planet of the Apes") as a detective. His roommate is Edward G. Robinson ("Double Indemnity"), playing a librarian. Mysterious killings plague the city, and Heston is seeking answers. Wait'll he finds 'em.

Soylent Green is promoted as "a high-energy vegetable concentrate." Soylent also comes in Red and Yellow. Because meat is no longer an option, people have to eat SOMETHING, and Soylent is it.

In this time period, women are furniture; redefining the phrase "Jennifer Sofabed" are Leigh Taylor-Young ("Dallas") and Paula Kelly ("Night Court"). Also in the cast: Brock Peters ("To Kill a Mockingbird") as Heston's chief, Leonard Stone ("Willy Wonka") as an abusive superintendent, Chuck Connors ("The Rifleman") as a nasty sort, Dick Van Patten ("Westworld") as a euthanasiatorium attendant, and Whit Bissell ("Time Tunnel") as an incumbent governor bent on reelection.

By the way, this is Robinson's last film; wait'll you see his last scene.

No matter how we try to upgrade our diets to less harmful foods, we always find ourselves going to the bad but yummy stuff. The trick is to not eat too much of it and exercise enough to work off the side effects -- and not to get desperate enough to go Hannibal.

The screenplay adapts the novel by Harry Harrison ("The Stainless Steel Rat").

Click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0070723 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Stepsister from Planet Weird

Seen frequently on the Disney Channel as part of its "Zoog" teen-targeted identity.

All Courtnee Draper (the network's "The Jersey") wants out of life is to be popular in school, have the perfect boyfriend, and for her divorced parents to get together again and her kid brother to not be a bother. Instead, she gets this movie.

Khrystyne Haje ("Head of the Class") plays Draper's mother from planet weird -- well, planet eccentric at least. In any case, she finds a kindred spirit in a guy named Cosmo (Lance Guest from "The Last Starfighter"), who has a daughter himself (Canadian actress Tamara Hope). The way they act, you'd think they were really out of this world. Surprise - they are! They're bubble people from beyond our galaxy, forced from their world due to hostile political realities, able to assume human form and subsist on carbonated soda. And when Draper finds this out, she's even more alienated than when, in an earlier scene, she witnesses Haje and Guest announce their engagement.

Also in the cast: Vanessa Lee Chester ("Jurassic Park 2") as a friend at school and Lauren Maltby (the network's "Zenon" telemovie and its "Zequel") as a snobby student. Filmed in Australia, a dandy location for all the windsurfing Draper does in this picture.

FUN FACT #1: Haje, a teen in her 80s sitcom, is 32 in this movie. (Just for fun, go to imdb.com and figure out when the younger actors will turn 32.)

FUN FACT #2: Maltby can be seen as an uncredited extra in "The Princess Diaries" -- a stunt she pulled for a "behind the scenes" special of that movie. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Stolen Summer

Set in 1970s Chicago, this casts Bonnie Hunt ("Jerry Maguire") and Aidan Quinn ("Benny & Joon") as Irish-Catholic parents of a large family, Kevin Pollak ("That Thing You Do!") as a rabbi, and Brian Dennehy ("Cocoon") as a priest. The real star of the movie, however, is Adiel Stein (his first credit) as Hunt and Quinn's son.

Told by his Catholic school teacher that he will go to hell, Stein sets out to live a life that will lead him to heaven. Hearing about Saint Paul, beautified for converting Jews and others to Christianity, he sets out to duplicate that mission. (Ironically, Stein is a rabbi's son in real life.)

As part of that mission, he meets Pollak and gets the idea that setting up a lemonade stand outside his synagogue will do the trick. (Drink lemonade, go to heaven -- wasn't that what Jim Jones promised cult members?)

Slowly, the whole family gets involved with Pollak's life. Quinn and fellow firemen labor to douse blazes in Pollak's house, and even save Pollak's son (Mike Weinberg from "Home Alone 4" -- they made another one), who's inside.

Needless to say, Stein and Weinberg become friends, and the former sees in the latter the opportunity to emulate Saint Paul, which Weinberg accepts of his own free will. Inspired by Olympic hero Bruce Jenner, they duplicate his feats as their trials.

The movie has a lot of period props, but no eight-tracks. The high-handlebar, banana-seat Schwinn bike Stein rides is similar to one I rode then and still have today, but haven't ridden since the 80s.

Produced by Ben Affleck ("Armageddon"), Sean Bailey (Affleck's partner in ABC's "Push, Nevada"), and Matt Damon ("Good Will Hunting").

IMDB.com isn't absolutely accurate, but for my purposes, it's reasonable. For more stuff, click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0286162 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Sugar & Spice

If you love the Julie Brown novelty song "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun," you'll like this movie, in which five high school cheerleaders are a criminal gang. And they are: Marley Shelton (the movie "The Bachelor"), Rachel Blanchard (TV's "Clueless"), Melissa George (the short-lived "Thieves"), Mena Suvari ("American Pie" and "American Beauty"), and Sara Marsh (in her first role).

What possesses these All-American Girls to turn to crime? Pregnancy! Shelton plays the Diane to the Jack of quarterback James Marsden from "X-Men." They do it, and they're grounded for life. They marry like Van and Cheyenne on "Reba," but even with that, they can't afford to raise a kid. So, while he works at a video rental store, she and her fellow home team rooters become crooks, plotting to rob a grocery store/bank, dressed in their cheerleading uniforms and Barbie doll masks.

Also in the cast: W. Earl Brown ("There's Something About Mary") as a buggy arms dealer; Alexandra Holden (the miniseries "Uprising") as his daughter, a new cheerleader; Sean Young ("Blade Runner") as Suvari's convict mom; and Marla Sokoloff ("The Practice") as a rival cheerleader.

Despite the character names of Marsden and Shelton, the soundtrack does not include anything by John Cougar Mellencamp. It DOES has original music from Mark Mothersbaugh ("Rugrats").

FUN FACT: This is the 30th film to have the American Humane Association's "No animals were harmed" disclaimer since they started numbering them. I guess the rabbit that died when Shelton passed her pregnancy test didn't count. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Titanic

Finally got forced to watch this movie. And I do mean forced. I was tied in a chair and my eyelids were propped open with toothpicks. Oscar, schmoscar. What disturbs me is that a bunch of people sat down together and said, "Let's spend $200 million to make a movie to tell a story that everyone already knows." And figured it was a good idea! Don't bother telling me how much moeny it made; this is the same movie-going public that flocked to see all the sequels to the Ernest movies. What is the big frigging deal? The whole romance between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet is NOT a tragic, star-crossed lovers story. Face it, all you hormone crazed teenage girls, it was a one night stand. Chubby socialite marries penniless cartoonist? I don't think so. You know from the beginning that one of them is going to die for dramatic effect. Am I going to let Cameron manipulate me like that? No! I was hoping both the drips would die. (Pinky Leibkowitz)


Switching Goals

I swore I wouldn't do another Olsen Twin Movie Review until their latest one hit TV, but when ABC aired this one, I couldn't resist, if only because it's based on the girls trading identities ("It Takes Two," their answer to "The Parent Trap," was first) - after that, they came out of the closet and revealed themselves to be fraternal twins (though I still can't tell them apart). Also, this one has a plot.

Mary-Kate and Ashley (age 13 here) play tomboy Sam and girly Emma (they had yet to come up with cutesy character names), with Eric Lutes (their father in "So Little Time") as their soccer coach dad, who runs a sports supply store and is proud of his team and his girls. When the league goes coed, M-K&A join up, but it's Mary-Kate whose heart is in the game while Ashley gets no kicks out of what the Euros call football. Ironically, the latter is chosen for Lutes' team -- and the former finds herself on a rival team. To help their dad's team win--you know what they do. (And they also do it in a subplot when Mary-Kate falls for a boy, and Ashley impersonates her sister to help.) Eventually, they learn that it's better to be yourself. (The lesson must've took -- they haven't done any capitalizing on their twinness anymore.)

Also in the movie: Kathryn Greenwood ("Kids in the Hall in Brain Candy") as the girls' mother, who becomes a coach herself, and whose style as coach clashes with the old boys' network.

Produced by the girls' Dualstar Productions (duh!) in association with Warner Bros. (their collaborator in "Two of a Kind"). (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Training Day

Rookie cop Ethan Hawke ("Gattaca") is assigned to be the protege of Denzel Washington ("Philadelphia"), who trains the young officer in the ways of being a gun and drug cop -- ways that are not in the LAPD training manual. Hawke struggles with keeping clean while being sullied by his partner's rulebreaking.

You know Washington is good -- he won the Academy Award for this movie. How bad is he? He drives a low-rider car; he uses the F-word, the S-word, and is especially fond of the N-word (even using it on his white partner); he drinks while driving; he talks on a celfone while driving; he forces Hawke at gunpoint to smoke a pot pipe; he takes graft; he just watches Hawke get beat up by rapists; he pays a tea visit to a drug dealer; he later kills said pusher in cold blood; he sets up Hawke to take the rap while orchestrating a "justifiable killing" scenario; he calls his private issue shotgun "bitch".

Pop singers Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Macy Gray appear, as do "can't carry a tune" actors Scott Glenn (Denzel's co-star in "Courage Under Fire") and Tom Berenger ("Major League").

FUN FACT: Washington also Oscared for a supporting role in "Glory." (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)


Tru Confessions

On the Disney Channel zitcom "Even Stevens," Shia LeBeouf plays a free-spirited boy who drives his older sister crazy. This telemovie from the network continues the theme, but with one extra kicker -- he's like Rain Man!

The boy's mental challenges bring emotional challenges to his family, especially to his twin sister Tru (her name is short for "Trudy" -- her parents didn't name her after the true life she loathes). She (Clara Bryant) would rather live in a TV world. Reality TV? She has enough reality reality. The "Ozzie" that turns her on is Nelson, not Osbourne (her thoughts take the form of Nick at Nite sitcoms). Nevertheless, she records a video diary of her life, which, if nothing else, is cleaner than the Black Sabbath singer's.

Coincidence strikes when a TV station holds a video contest. BINGO! Couch potato Bryant decides to enter, hoping to be a part of the TV she idolizes. But what to film? She eventually gets the idea of making LeBeouf the subject of the piece, recycling her home movies into her entry.

In a subplot, Bryant gets advice from a Internet user group, especially one person on it. The punchline to this scene reminds one and all of us here that you never know who's on the Net.

Telemovie diva Mare Winningham (her name is short for "Mary" -- her parents didn't name her after a horse) plays the mother.

FUN FACT #1: Shia LeBeouf (his parents named him after his grandfather, a comedian) likes to make independent movies. (Wonder if he gave Bryant any technical advice?) (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)

FUN FACT #2: Michael Galeota (the network's "Jersey") starred in his own video diary series in 1996; Joey Zimmerman (the network's "Halloweentown") played his kid brother.


True Grit

AMC changed its karma recently, but is still a movie channel. In any case, here's this John Wayne Western from the late 60s, as seen there.

Like Inigo Montoya in "The Princess Bride," Kim Darby (the "Star Trek" episode "Miri") has been violently bereaved and wants to do something about it. The trail to find someone to seek her father's killer brings Darby to one "Rooster" Cogburn (the Duke himself), a patch-eyed hard-drinking deputy marshal. If you think Wayne's tough, wait'll you see young Darby stand up to him.

Before Jennifer Lopez mixed movies and music, Glen Campbell ("Wichita Lineman") costars as a Texas Ranger, also seeking the killer, who travels with the duo. Campbell sings the title track.

Released in the infancy of movie ratings, it was given a G at the time, despite people dying (including a triple hanging in the first reel). People have sure gotten sissy since then.

The only John Wayne film to inspire a sequel -- in that one, Katherine Hepburn, the first lady of leading ladies, was the Duke's sparring partner. (Wayne's work in "The Conqueror" inspired a non-theatrical sequel in that he and costars died of radiation poisoning -- the location was an A-bomb drop.)

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0065126

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Ultimate Christmas Present

It never rains in Southern California, and it never snows either -- a bummer for Hallee Hirsh (Tom Hanks' niece in "You've Got Mail") and Brenda Song (the telemovie "Get a Clue") in this Disney Channel feature. Things change when they stumble onto a shack and take from the garbage some gizmo.

As it turns out, that shack belongs to Santa Claus (John B. Lowe from "Taken") -- and so does said gizmo. After he tells Mrs. Claus (Susan Ruttan from "L.A. Law") about what happened, Santa's best elves (John Salley from the NBA and Bill Fagerbakke from "Coach") get in their SUV (Santa Utility Vehicle) in search of the errant device. (By the way, they're also Santa's TALLEST elves.)

The weather's no sunshine either for local TV weatherman Peter Scolari (Tom Hanks' roommate in "Bosom Buddies") -- since every day's a sun day, he may as well phone it in. But when the girls make it a snow day, he sets out to find the thing and boost his Neilsens.

The girls shut the device off, but at night, it turns on again by itself, causing the perfect snowstorm, and it can't be stopped. (Eventually, a happy ending happens --this IS Disney.)

No stranger to Disney or Christmas ("Santa Clause 2"), Spencer Breslin plays Hirsh's bothersome kid brother (he's also no stranger to sibling roles -- the network's upcoming "You Wish" typecasts him as such); Hallie Todd (the network's "Lizzie McGuire") plays Hirsh's mother.

In recent years, multiculturalism has changed the way Americans think about the holiday season. Despite attitudes making the word "Christmas" like the "N" word, projects like this are still greenlighted. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is still regarded as special, and a new version (plotted by Charles Schulz before his death) is scheduled for airing.

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0256466#comment

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Vanilla Sky

Starring Tom Cruise (of Cruise and Kidman break-up fame), Penelope Cruz (star of every American male fantasy), and Jason Lee (star of numerous movies featuring Jay and Silent Bob). This movie is easily the most bogus piece of crap ever made. If the male and female lead didn't both have such a high drool quotient, this flick would never have made it into theatres.

Poor little rich boy (Tom Cruise) has the perfect life. Meets beautiful girl (Penelope Cruz) and spends one night making friends, coincidental stealing her away from best bud (Jason Lee) in process. Rich boy is simultaneously screwing crazy model chick (Cameron Diaz), who tries to kill him and herself in a fit of jealousy after realizing she has given away too much milk for free and can't pay the anyone to take the cow off her hands. What follows is approximately an hour of torment as we watch the poor little rich boy writhe with agony over his newly horrendous features. Finally, his old buddy drags him out for a night on the town, where rich boy makes an ass of himself but still wins the girl of his dreams. Rich boy has miraculous surgery and his charming looks are restored, but happiness fades when his dream girl disappears and he finds the crazy model has returned to life. Next thing you know, rich boy has been arrested and begins to suspect a conspiracy. Is it the spiteful board members of his father's company? Is it his jilted buddy? Is rich boy just a tad unhinged to find that money can't buy happiness? Nope, he is actually a cryogenically frozen loser trapped in a bad virtual life, a la Total Recall. Bet you didn't see that one coming! I wish I hadn't seen it at all. (rose_justice@msn.com)


Vertical Limit

Opening scene: People fall off a sheer rock face, causing other people to fall off a sheer rock face. Someone's dad is cut down and falls to his death.

An old guy shaves.

Next couple of scenes: Some people climb K2, TEXAS STYLE! (Read: They fail miserably, and put their own lives in danger.) Other people try attempt to save them.

Someone throws an exploding shoe. Somewhere, Random Task from "Austin Powers" says "I wish I had one of those."

Things must be done the old guy's way. (Read: everyone splits up so the deaths look different.)

Some guy lets his pack slide off a cliff. It is his personal mission to retrieve it. He joins it off the cliff.

Some blood is spurted into the snow. Luckily, this fluid does not spontaneously combust.

Someone jumps across a large gorge, while swinging ice picks. The laws of gravity suspend themselves for a brief second, allowing him to avoid being plastered against the rock, and his arms being ripped out.

Some other people fall off luducrous cliffs.

I fall asleep. (FreakAF@hotmail.com)


Wait Until Dark

Audrey Hepburn ("My Fair Lady") does this woman's blind bluff, as a sightless girl who is terrorized by criminals. It seems that her husband (Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. from "The FBI") was asked to hold a doll for a mysterious woman, unaware that said figure is being used to smuggle drugs into the country. Smugglers Alan Arkin ("Popi"), Richard Crenna ("First Blood") and Jack Weston (the original "Thomas Crown Affair") attempt to get the doll back, first through subterfuge, then through force. In other words, Hepburn has no working eyes and she must see her way through this crisis.

Music composed by Henry Mancini (who scored Hepburn's "Breakfast at Tiffany's"). Produced by Mel Ferrer (married to Hepburn at the time). Directed by Terence Young ("Dr. No"). Based on the Broadway play.

The film's theme is so classic, it was remade (as "Danger Sign") with Marlee Matlin ("Children of a Lesser God") and utilizing her real-life deafness; its New York stage basis was revived recently with Marisa Tomei ("My Cousin Vinny") and Quentin Tarantino ("Pulp Fiction"). (And let's not forget the granddaddy of all lame thrillers, Hitchcock's "Rear Window," remade a few years back with Christopher Reeve after his accident.)

FUN FACT: Julie Herrod played Hepburn's aide in this, her only film. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


Westworld

In Disney theme parks, you're used to just seeing robots. Imagine you get the chance to fight them, too! See what happens in this precursor to Photon and Laser Tag.

An amusement park of the future, Delos allows you to interact with robots in Medievalworld, Romanworld, and Westworld, for only $1,000 a day. James Brolin ("Marcus Welby") and Richard Benjamin ("Goodbye Columbus") are two friends who visit the latter, expecting a little harmless cowboy adventure. Oh sure, they get to shoot it out with robots, but all the guns there are programmed to shoot only at artificial objects, not people. When one gunman (gunbot?) played by Yul Brynner ("Magnificent Seven") shoots Brolin and kills him, Benjamin finds himself in Realityworld, and has to dodge Brynner and his bullets.

Also in the cast: Dick Van Patten ("Eight is Enough") as another faux cowboy, Alan Oppenheimer ("Six Million Dollar Man") as a techie.

Today, we don't have to worry about technology killing us. We have to worry about corporations like Enron killing our technology and the Internet killing our privacy. And the "Westworld" scenario could be worse: Disney's "Country Bears" robot attraction inspired a movie.

Directed by Michael Crichton (who also wrote the screenplay). This is the same guy who wrote the book "Jurassic Park." A theatrical PG in the 70s, the movie is rated by TCM TV-MA (same rating as "South Park") for broadcast. Click on http://us.imdb.com/Title?0070909. (JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


White Water Summer

Well, it was late, I was peppy, and TBS was playing this, and being someone who enjoyed Lord Of The Rings (bite me) I wanted to see Sean Astin's acting outside of "The Goonies".

Basically, 4 kids are sent into a National park in the States with a wilderness guide named Vic (Kevin Bacon), and are forced to conquer their fears. Now, the main charachter in this sad little movie is Allan (Astin) a 12-year-old who is used to baseball games and Duran Duran, his somewhat less nerdier friend, and two 15 year olds who think they are all that (and to Allan, they are).

Vic subjects them to the basics, making a fire, setting up camp, but begins to push them to the limits by making them cross a skimpy rope bridge, spend a night alone in the pouring rain (trust me, much worse than spending a night alone with your mother), and then forcing them to scale a peak that would make Depends wet itself.

Allan rises.

The movie was alot like watching the camping video's that your Dad took when you went to the woods, boring, cheesy, and it didn't seem to end. White Water Summer, more like White Water Bummer. (Trev)


The Wizard of Oz

The MGM release, now owned by AOL, is trotted out for special occasions. Usually seen on TCM, it returns to networks for one night on the WB.

Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland in her signature role) lives a drab, black-and-white life in a Kansas farm town. All of a sudden, a tornado hits, and the next thing she knows, she's in a colorful world, congratulated by midgets, confronted by witches, and gifted with ruby slippers (silver in the original L. Frank Baum book -- and a current MasterCard ad).

Like Cinderella's Plexiglas pumps and the thunder-charged trainers of "Like Mike," Garland's special shoes are magic -- they protect her from the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton). Of course, she can still have underlings attack (flying monkeys) and she can menace Garland's traveling companions (brainless scarecrow Ray Bolger, heartless tin man Jack Haley, and scaredycat lion Bert Lahr).

Eventually, they meet the Wizard (Frank Morgan), and it's a letdown, but at least everybody gets what they wanted.

Billie Burke plays a good witch, and hundreds of uncredited dwarves (mocked in "Under the Rainbow") are Munchkins. The little dog (Toto) also stars, and he was not harmed in the making of this movie (though Hamilton certainly wanted to).

Before J.K. Rowling, it was Baum whose books were full of wonder and enchantment. They're almost forgotten now, except for the legacy this movie left (you can buy Dorothy shoes up to size 1 and an Oz "Monopoly" game where they're the shoe token at Warner Bros. Stores). Attempts to continue the Oz story cinematically bombed with viewers - in their minds, only this is it.

FUN FACT: "Dorothy" pronounced backwards is "Theodore."

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0032138

(JunkMailMagnet42@aol.com)


The Wizard of Oz

One has to wonder how in the world anyone could dream up scarecrows, flying monkeys, good and bad witches, an absent minded wizard, talking/walking scarecrows, lions that run, and men made of tin. (Okay, you ladies probably think all us guys are made of tin.) Just where in the world did Frank Baum come up with all these wild and wacky characters. One only has to travel to his hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and pretty soon, you too, would go stark raving mad! I mean, in Aberdeen, they have wide open spaces...wide open spaces...well, actually, in Aberdeen, and in the rest of the state as well, you don't have a whole lot to choose from, except...wide open spaces. Poor Mr. Baum, it's plain to see that after living life in Dullsville, (Aberdeen), poor Frank went berserk and started fantasizing about somewhere over the rainbow. And maybe his demented brain could't think of any other escape than a tornado that would get you out of there. I mean prairie schooners and locomotives just wouldn't do the trick. And I just can't see ole Frank sportin' around a pair of them ruby slippers. Of course, who know's? That's just my surmizing. They do get a few tornadoes in South Dakota every now and again. Maybe one stormed through town and something clunked ole Frank in the noggin'. Hard saying. So maybe he did go on a little mind journey, which is better than most writers these days who seem to just go on those mindless journeys because they are so brainless when it comes to creativity in their plots. Maybe writers these days need to check in with the ole wizard and see if they can't pick em' up something like what the scarecrow did. :)

(Siphon@juno.com)


Yours, Mine, and Ours

Here's the story of a pre-Brady bunch, headed by Lucille Ball (her classic sitcom) and Henry Fonda ("12 Angry Men"). And - it's based on the true experiences of a naval officer and nurse, both widowed.

Lucy has eight children (she got some splainin' to do), and Henry has ten kids (him too). They bump into each other in various venues, and they knew that it was much more than a hunch that this group must somehow form a family--I'd hate to see the tic-tac-toe grid -- there probably wouldn't be room for Alice!

Wacky situations ensue, just like the Robert Reed/Florence Henderson sitcom mocked theatrically by Gary Cole and Shelley Long (and commercially by Morgan Fairchild).

The more famous of the Ball/Fonda 18 include Tim Matheson ("Animal House"), Morgan Brittany ("Dallas," then known as Suzanne Cupito), Tracy Nelson ("Square Pegs," Ozzie and Harriet's granddaughter), Kimberly Beck ("Friday the 13th" the fourth), Mitch Vogel (later episodes of "Bonanza"), and Eric Shea ("The Poseidon Adventure").

Van Johnson ("Briggadoon") plays a fellow officer of Fonda's; Tom Bosley ("Happy Days") plays a pediatrician (they'll need one); Ben Murphy ("Alias Smith and Jones") plays one girl's boyfriend.

Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo was a hard act to follow -- her later forays in TV and movies have not been as big as her signature role. In any case, this release is a curiosity piece for sitcom fans.

Screen story by Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll, Jr. (Lucy's classic sitcom); screenwriters include Mort Lachman ("All in the Family") and Melville Shavelson (this picture's director). The book "Who Gets the Drumsticks?" by Helen Beardsley is adapted, and may be found online. Some scenes were shot onboard the aircraft carrier "Enterprise" (FUN FACT: Ball and Desi Arnaz's company Desilu produced "Star Trek" before selling the series to Paramount).

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0063829 (JunkMailMagnet42@aol)


Zoolander

Nefarious forces in the fashion industry need the perfect buffoon for their purposes, including the maintenance of international sweatshops, and clueless, totally clueless, Dubya Bush clueless male supermodel Derek Zoolander is it in this moron comedy answer to "The Manchurian Candidate."

Ben Stiller ("There's Something About Mary") directs himself as said model (he also co-wrote), approached to represent a designer's new line. A henchman in the "Austin Powers" movies, Will Ferrell ("SNL") plays said designer, secretly this film's answer to Dr. Evil, complete with pet (here a poodle). Stiller is led to a brainwashing room (and when you're an idiot, your brain REALLY needs washing), where he is hypnotized, made to relax with the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song "Relax" and a manipulative video with Ferrell, to assassinate a foreign leader whose labor reforms threaten the designer cabal's cheap labor. Also unknown to Stiller is that Ferrell's prior clotheshorses went to the glue factory, and it's highly likely that he'll be dog food after the big shoot.

Appearing are Stiller's real father Jerry ("Seinfeld") as a model agency head; Jon Voight ("Midnight Cowboy") as Stiller's reel father, a miner; wife Christine Taylor ("Brady Bunch Movie") as a reporter; sister Amy ("Lovers and Other Strangers") as an entourage member; Owen Wilson (Stiller's co-star in "Meet the Parents") as another male model; Milla Jovovich ("The Fifth Element") as a henchwoman; David Duchovny ("The X-Files") as a conspiracy guy; Andy Dick ("NewsRadio") as a masseuse; Nora Dunn ("SNL") and Jennifer Coolidge ("American Pie") as designers; James Marsden ("X-Men") as John Wilkes Booth(!); and a number of New York, Hollywood, fashion and pop music personalities as themselves.

Co-produced by the music video channel VH1, whose "Video Fashion Awards" appears in the first reel as a setting. (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)

Directed by Peyton Reed (tele-remakes of "The Love Bug" and "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes"), who cameos as a mime (as "Silencio Por Favor"). (JunkMailMagnet@aol.com)