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  1. Yeah, *you* try and watch the ending without tearing up. A friend asked me what one word would I use to describe what this movie was about - I didn't have an answer. We watched it together, and she correctly replied, "friendship." Yes, perfect. Friendship - beautiful, untainted, pure friendship. I'm pretty sure that I've only seen two of Tornatore's films in my life: "Cinema Paradiso," (his second) and "Everybody's Fine," (his third) - both fantastic pictures (the latter starring the misty-eyed Marcello Mastroianni). I'm not going to summarize the plot because I think the whole concept of that (in this day and age) is silly; suffice it to say, it's just a great movie that merits all accolades heaped onto it. "Cinema Paradiso" is a movie I love, and a movie that will bring tears to your eyes unless you have no heart. It's beautifully realized, directed, filmed, and acted, and I recommend it highly to those of you who wish to watch an intelligent film that will have you choking up at the end. How beautiful can a movie be? Well, it can be - if it's extremely well-done - *this* beautiful. Please do yourselves a favor and watch it. I believe you'll thank me, and I relish your upcoming comments about this film. It's just ... beautiful. I recently saw it for the second time, and I would love to see it again for a third. Beautiful.
  2. Hulu has wonderful digital-quality episodes of this wonderful series, but unfortunately, only has 30 of 39 first-season episodes. I'm not sure why, but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest if I can find them - from what I've seen so far, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" is a superior series to "The Twilight Zone," and I say that as a Twilight Zone fan. All episode links are to the wonderful reference website, "The Hitchcock Zone" - in particular, to their "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" subsection, which contains all directors, writers, and actors. If you're a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, The Hitchcock Zone should be bookmarked on your laptop. Anytime someone is referenced in this thread for the very first time, a hyperlink is made; all subsequent references are accompanied by a number in parentheses, e.g., (4), which is the number of episodes they've been involved with up until that point (in any major sort of capacity - director, producer, writer, etc.) Until all 39 episodes are included in this thread, there will be some numbers skipped - for example, do a "Find," then a "Repeat Find" on the name James Neilson - you'll see that, since episode 29 is missing, he skips from the hyperlink (the first reference) to number (3). Season One (Oct 2, 1955 - Jun 24, 1956) Joan Harrison (39), a close friend of the Hitchcock family, was Associate Producer of all 39 Season One Episodes 1.1. - "Revenge" - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Written by - Teleplay: Francis M. Cockrell (Writer of "Breakdown" on "Suspense," "The Expanding Human" on "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman"), Story: Samuel Blas Featuring Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"), Vera Miles (Rose Balestrero in "The Wrong Man," Lila Crane in "Psycho") [The immediacy of the police car was a bit contrived (they were running out of time), but this is still a really powerful episode - with subject matter that is absolutely shocking considering it's over sixty-years old - and before it's over, you'll have your hands up to your face, saying, "Oh, *no*!"] 1.2. - "Premonition" - Directed by Robert Stevens (Directed 105 and Produced 102 episodes of "Suspense," Director of "Where is Everybody" and "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone"), Written by Harold Swanton (Writer of 14 episodes of "The Whistler") Featuring John Forsythe (Charlie on "Charlie's Angels"), Warren Stevens, Cloris Leachman (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress in "The Last Picture Show") [Although this was an extremely strong second episode (second episodes are notoriously weak, as people often have "one great idea" they use up for the pilot), "Premonition" has one of the worst fake piano playing sequences I've ever seen in Forsythe (supposedly) playing Chopin's Revolutionary Etude.] 3. - "Triggers in Leash" - Directed by Don Medford (Director of "To Trap a Spy"), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (Writer of "The Riddler's False Notion" and "Death in Slow Motion" on "Batman"), Story: Allan Vaughan Elston (Writer of "Isle of Destiny") Starring: Gene Barry (Dr. Clayton Forrester in "The War of the Worlds"), Darren McGavin (Carl Kolchak on "Kolchak: The Night Stalker"), Ellen Corby (Grandma Esther Walton on "The Waltons") [A fun episode featuring three big-name actors, without going over-the-top in the least, or being condescending to the viewer. There is genuine tension here, relieved by a twist that turns out to be clever and funny, but only when the episode is over and you begin to breathe again.] 4. - "Don't Come Back Alive" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (Director of "Mary Poppins" and "The Love Bug"), Written by Robert C. Dennis (Writer of 4 episodes of "The Outer Limits," 4 episodes of "Batman," "Log 81: The Long Walk" on "Adam-12") Starring: Sidney Blackmer (3 episodes on "Suspense," William Lyons Selby in "One Hundred Days of the Dragon" on "The Outer Limits," Roman Castevet in "Rosemary's Baby") 5. - "Into Thin Air" - Directed by Don Medford (2), Written by - Teleplay: Marian B. Cockrell (Writer of 4 episodes of "Batman" (2)), Story: Alexander Woollcott (The inspiration for Sheridan Whiteside in "The Man Who Came to Dinner") Starring: Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred's Daughter, Barbara Morton in "Strangers on a Train") 6. - "Salvage" - Directed by Jus Addiss (Director of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (2)), Written by - Teleplay: Fred Freiberger and Richard Carr (2), Story: Fred Freiberger Featuring: Gene Barry (2), Nancy Gates (Martha Bradford in "Perry Mason's" "The Case of the Crooked Candle") 7. - "Breakdown" - Director: Alfred Hitchcock (2), Writer - Teleplay: Louis Pollock and Francis M. Cockrell (2) - Story: Louis Pollock Starring: Joseph Cotten ("Citizen Kane," "Gaslight," "The Third Man," etc.) 8. - "Our Cook's A Treasure" - Starring: Everett Sloan (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane"), Beulah Bondi ("Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc.) Director: Robert Stevens (2) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (2) - Story, Dorothy L. Sayers 9. - "The Long Shot" - Starring: Peter Lawford (of "The Rat Pack") Director: Robert Stevenson (2) Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell - Story, Alexander Woolcott 10. - "The Case of Mr. Pelham" - Starring: Tom Ewell (Richard Sherman in the play, "The Seven Year Itch") Director: Alfred Hitchcock (3) Writer: Teleplay, Francis M. Cockrell (3) - Story, Anthony Armstrong 11 -. "Guilty Witness" - Starring: Judith Evelyn (Miss Lonelyhearts in "Rear Window"), Kathleen Maguire (Obie Award for Distinguished Performance by an Actress as Leona Samish in "The Time of the Cuckoo"), Joe Mantell (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor as Angie in "Marty") Director: Robert Stevens (3) Writer: Teleplay, Robert C. Dennis (3) - Story, Morris Hersham 12. - "Santa Claus and the 10th Avenue Kid" - Starring: Barry Fitzgerald (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as Father Fitzgibbon in "Going my Way") Director: Don Weis Writer: Teleplay, Marian B. Cockrell (2) - Story, Margaret Cousins 13. - "The Cheney Vase" - Starring: Patricia Collinge (Birdie Hubbard in "The Little Foxes" - Premiered Feb 15, 1939 at the National Theater, Washington, DC), Darren McGavin (2) Director: Robert Stevens (4) Writer: Robert Blees 14. - "A Bullet for Baldwin" - Starring: John Qualen (Muley in "The Grapes of Wrath," Earl Williams in "His Girl Friday," Norwegian resistance member in "Casablanca"), Sebastian Cabot (Giles French in "Family Affair") Director: Jus Addiss (2) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell and Francis M. Cockrell (4) - Story, Joseph Ruscoll 15. "The Big Switch" - Directed by Don Weis (2), Written by - Teleplay: Richard Carr (3), Story: Cornell Woolrich ("It Had To Be Murder" (source for "Rear Window"), "Goodbye, New York" on "Suspense") Starring: George Mathews (Sergeant Ruby in "The Eve of St. Mark"), Beverly Michaels (Betty in "Pickup") 16. - "You Got To Have Luck" - Starring: John Cassavetes (Academy Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actor as Private Victor Franko in "The Dirty Dozen," Best Original Screenplay for "Faces," and Best Director for "A Woman under the Influence"), Marisa Pavan (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Rosa delle Rose in "The Rose Tattoo," married to Jean-Pierre Aumont for 45 years) Director: Robert Stevens (5) Writer: Teleplay, Eustace Cockrell, Francis M. Cockrell - Story, S.R. Ross 17. - "The Older Sister" - Directed by Robert Stevens (6), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (4), Story - Lillian de la Torre (Writer of "Dr. Sam Johnson: Detector") Featuring Joan Lorring (Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress as Bessy Watty in "The Corn is Green"), Carmen Matthews (Vinne in "Static" on "The Twilight Zone" (xx), Mrs. Boatwright in "Sounder"), Polly Rowles (Helen Donaldson on "The Defenders") 18. - "Shopping for Death" - Directed by Robert Stevens (7), Written by Ray Bradbury (Writer of "Farenheit 451," "The Martian Chronicles," and "I Sing the Body Electric") Starring: Jo Van Fleet (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Cathy Ames in "East of Eden"), Robert Harris (Seth Bushwell in "Peyton Place"), John Qualen (2) 19. - "The Derelicts" - Directed by Robert Stevenson (3), Written by: Teleplay - Robert C. Dennis (5), Story - Terence Maples (Writer of "The Circuit" on "National Velvet") Featuring Robert Newton (Long John Silver in "Treasure Island"), Philip Reed (Kiing Toranshah in "Harum Scarum"), Peggy Knudsen (Diedre in "A Stolen Life"), Johnny Silver (Benny Southstreet in "Guys and Dolls"), Robert Foulk (Mr. Wheeler in "Green Acres"), Cyril Delavanti (3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (xx))
  3. "Sunrise: The Story of Two Humans" was not only the first major film of Karl Struss, but it also featured the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress (Janet Gaynor). The 1st Academy Awards had separate categories for Best Picture ("Wings") and Best Unique & Artistic Picture, and this film won the latter. Have a look at our extensive Film Index, and see which movies you've missed out on.
  4. My knowledge of mid-19th-century Manhattan is something approaching zero. I had absolutely no idea about the gang wars of the 1840s (likewise Five Points), nor Blackwell's Island, nor the nefarious activity that occurred during the 1860s (some of it also at Five Points), and in this regard, "Gangs of New York" does a good job at teaching this important, yet little known, part of American History. I can't sit here and claim it's faithful to the truth, when I don't even know what the truth is, but it seems like it's at least trying to be. Yes, Martin Scorsese is going to throw in some drama, but that doesn't mean the history lesson is worthless; just embellished. Let me warn you, before writing any spoilers, that this is a very long and difficult film to follow - you'll be doing yourself a favor to write down names, positions, actors, or have the Wikipedia window open if you're watching it on your computer - otherwise, you might easily get confused. I did all this and *still* got confused, so be mindful. If you get lost (and don't be ashamed if you do), there's a very thorough synopsis on IMDB.com. *** SPOILER ALERT *** It's surprising that Liam Neeson ("Priest" Vallon, Amsterdam Vallon's (Leonardo DiCaprio's) father) is killed off so early in the film, but that does set the stage for the rest of the movie. Plus with other major stars such as William Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), and Jenny Everdeane (Cameron Diaz), this might have saved some on what must have been substantial salary costs (*) Speaking of history, I find it both fascinating and timely that Abraham Lincoln's Conscription Act of 1863 - the first-ever mandatory draft for American men - could be circumvented either by paying $300, or by finding a suitable substitute (this is both in the film, but also occurred in real-life). Needless to say, this caused a great deal of civil unrest, as accusations were made that wealthier people could avoid the draft, whereas poorer people were stuck with it - the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's amazing to me how Amsterdam had the wits about him to sell the recently killed corpse to medical science (it's even more amazing to me how that ended up in the papers, considering the transaction was made in complete secrecy). Notice the tribute paid to Nosferatu in the newspaper article - the drawing of the man second-from-the-right - even the man on the far-right has similar ears: My goodness - I just realized I'm only forty minutes into this film, and I have over two hours remaining. Ha! I knew when they were talking about Jenny (Cameron Diaz) being a "turtledove," that it was Martin Scorsese making a cameo as a wealthy homeowner. (*) Interesting - when I was confirming that about Scorsese, I also read that both DiCaprio and Scorsese both took salary reductions to preserve the budget. Huh! And shortly afterwards, Horace Greeley (Michael Byrne) makes a formidable appearance. Here's an interesting piece of information about the 1872 Presidential Election (it's too important to be called "trivia."). Likewise, P.T. Barnum (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) makes a significant appearance in the movie. Wikipedia describes "Gangs of New York" as an "epic period drama," and that it certainly is. Who would know that the New York City Draft Riots of 1863 were the largest civil and racial insurrection in American history, aside from the Civil War - I certainly didn't, and wouldn't have if I hadn't watched this film. For this reason alone, the film is worth watching - I'm not even sure I knew this film even existed (it was released four months after Karen died, and I only have a vague recollection of the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion - I mean, I have a memory of noticing the headlines when it happened, but I didn't care, and know almost nothing about it (contrast to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, which was one of the few incidents during my lifetime that I remember where I was when I heard the news (some others being the O.J. Simpson Trial, the World Trade Center attacks, the Apollo 11 moon landing, and Martin Luther King's assassination). "Gangs of New York" may not be to everyone's taste, but there's no denying that it's an important, historical film, and one which I will remember for a long time. It's so long (2'45") that you *must* be dragged into its atmosphere if you're going to watch it, and you're unlikely to forget it for that reason alone. To show how out of touch I was with life during that time period, I've never even heard of "Chicago," which won the Best Picture Academy Award that year.
  5. "Monster's Ball" reminds me a little too much of "Crash," which must surely be one of the very worst films ever to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (over "Brokeback Mountain?" Really?) Like "Crash," the acting is good pretty much across the board, but the film is painfully contrived.
  6. I saw "Sling Blade" when it was released, and 23-years later, the only thing I remembered about it was that I really liked it. After having seen it a second time, I can now say that I *love* it, and that it's one of the most brilliant one-man packages I've ever experienced as a filmgoer (Thornton was the screenwriter, the director, and the lead). That said, the entire cast was nearly perfect, without a bad, or even average, performance in the film - every single actor soared in this wonderful movie. See "Sling Blade." I won't taint this film for you by summarizing the plot, or commenting on its components, but I invite anyone and everyone to watch it, and if you disagree with me, to post your viewpoints down below. I'll be very surprised if anyone writes anything, but I'll also look forward to reading your dissenting opinions. Cheers, Rocks
  7. Living in Washington , DC, I never thought I would find a venue that would showcase my love for artsy , independent films. E Street Cinema was a gem I thought to be rare. Zoetroplis Art House in Lancaster, Pa has fullfilled my long lost love for indie films. Moonlight is a film that should be the center of discussion at any table. My lack of review of this prolific film is deliberate. Please go see this film. You are welcome, kat
  8. "Das Boot" is perhaps the finest war film I have ever seen. It is certainly in my top three films about war. I recently watched the Director's Cut of this German film, released in 1997 (the original was first shown in German theaters in 1981 and then as a TV miniseries). "Das Boot" is an adaptation of Lothar-Günther Buchheim's 1973 German novel of the same name, and it tells the fictional story of a German U-96 crew during World War II. The director's cut is 3 hours and 29 minutes long, combining action sequences from the 2.5 hour original theatrical release (which garnered six Academy Award nominations) and character development from the miniseries. Improvements in the picture and sound were also made. Yes, 209 minutes is a substantial amount of time to devote to watching a film, but I can tell you, the Director's Cut is worth it. I have watched much shorter films that seem twice as long. I found this film riveting from the bawdy opening scene to the closing segment, one of the most poignant and moving moments I have witnessed on film. The tension in this film is palpable. The tedium and the fear of fighting a battle deep beneath the surface of the sea is made incredibly real for the viewer. I felt great empathy for the characters, and forgot they were Germans, fighting for the other side. They were men, some really boys, struggling to do their best under the most difficult conditions. This is one of the best films I have seen - an epic, classic, World War II tale - and I highly recommend it.
  9. Star Trek: The Next Generation Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker Brent Spiner as Lieutenant-Commander Data LeVar Burton as Lieutenant-Commander Geordi La Forge Michael Dorn as Helmsman and Chief Security Officer Worf Gates McFadden as Chief Medical Officer Beverly Crusher Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi Wil Wheaton as Ensign Wesley Crusher Denise Crosby as Security Chief Tasha Yar Diana Muldaur as Chief Medical Officer Katherine Pulaski Colm Meaney as Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien Whoopi Goldberg as Bartender Guinan Season 1: Sep 28, 1987 - May 16, 1988 - Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry 1.1 and 1.2 - "Encounter at Farpoint" - Sep. 28, 1987 - Directed by Corey Allen (Buzz Gunderson in "Rebel without a Cause," Primetime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues," Primetime Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for "Jungle Madness" on "Hill Street Blues"), Written by - Teleplay: Dorothy Fontana (Writer of 10 episodes of "Star Trek"), Story: Gene Roddenberry (Creator of "Star Trek") Featuring John de Lancie as Q (TV Executive in "The Fisher King," Donald Margolis in "Breaking Bad"), Michael Bell as Groppler Zorn (Voice of Chas Finster in "Rugrats"), DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (H. Norbert Willis in "The Clover Throne" and Bob Harcourt, Jr. in "1800 Days to Justice" on "Route 66"), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Court Bailiff (Chang in "The Last Emperor") [Star Trek or not, this Pilot was *rough* - both in terms of the acting (Troi was awful, Q functioned not only as a God-like being, but also as some sort of "nanny chorus," telling us what we didn't need to be told, and Data was seen grinning on more than one occasion (remember how awful Spock was, at first, in the original series - he was grinning too)). My biggest problem here wasn't the plot; it was the condescension of Q, telling the viewer what they're about to figure out for themselves - that is elementary-school TV. This was largely a very interesting plot, but the writers spoiled it for the viewers. I do wonder just how much the creators, e.g., Gene Roddenberry, had in mind when it came to essentially building the entire series around Q - could Roddenberry possibly have envisioned the glorious final episode before the series even began? Nah ....] 1.3 - "The Naked Now" - Oct. 5, 1987 - Directed by Paul Lynch (Director of "Prom Night"), Written by - Teleplay: Dorothy Fontana (2), Story: John D.F. Black (Co-Writer and Associate Producer of "The Naked Time" on "Star Trek") Featuring Brooke Bundy as Sarah MacDougal (Leah in "Firecreek," Elaine Parker on "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"), Benjamin W.S. Lum as Jim Shimoda (Kim Mei Clerk in "Another 48 Hrs.") ["The Naked Time" was George Takei's personal-favorite episode on "Star Trek," as he got to have fun prancing around the decks, shirtless, as a swashbuckler. That episode was written by John D.F. Black, and because of that, he was given credit for having written the story for this episode, a "parallel" version written for The Next Generation. In case anyone has forgotten, this is the one where "Data Does Dasha" (sorry, Tasha, and not to be confused by a porn movie with a similar-sounding name) - him being an android, one can only imagine his thrusts-per-minute - Tasha looked pretty tired when she emerged from her quarters. The Pilot featured a cameo by McCoy; this episode has a verbal reference to Kirk - this was undoubtedly to "ease seasoned viewers into" this new and very different series - it seems like a wise and prudent decision. The "Acting Captain Wesley Crusher" scene may have been the beginning of the hatred for Wesley hijacking the series (according to people who didn't like him; to me, his "precocious genius" got a bit annoying, but never went so far overboard that I couldn't stand him, plus he redeemed himself as the series progressed).] 1.4 - "Code of Honor" - Oct. 12, 1987 - Directed by Russ Mayberry (Director of "Unidentified Flying Oddball") and Les Landau (Assistant Director of "Leadbelly"), Written by Katharyn Powers (Writer of "The Longest Drive" for "The Quest") and Michael Baron (BS Degree in Organizational Systems Management from California State University, Northridge) Featuring Jessie Lawrence Ferguson as Lutan (Calder in "Prince of Darkness"), Karole Selmon as Yareena (Homeless Woman #1 in "The Soloist"), Julian Christopher as Hagon (Prison Truck Guard #1 in "X-Men: The Last Stand") [A very poor episode in the weakest season of the series, "Code of Honor" features bad writing, bad direction, and acting that should have - and could have - been stronger. I can't remember the last time I had to hunt this deeply for something else - anything else - the directors, writers, and actors did outside of "The Next Generation," and it's a shame that *this* has to be the episode with the most primitive black stereotypes in this normally equitable series (Ferengi stereotypes notwithstanding). Just look at what I found for the three guest stars - other than Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, it's downright embarrassing to even cite their other acting achievements, especially when all three people did a perfectly decent job in the episode. Karole Selmon is absolutely lovely, and was fine in her role; yet ... "Homeless Woman #1?" Ugh. For one of the writers, Michael Baron, I couldn't find *anything* else he did, so I simply listed his degree, and then when I researched Cal State Northridge, I couldn't even find the degree. Interestingly, Patrick Stewart is in "X-Men: The Last Stand," and I'm wondering if his influence helped Julian Christopher get his role (Prison Truck Guard #1? Ugh). I'm not very politically correct, but this episode makes even me cringe, and I'm wondering if it should have ever been made in the first place. I don't know of a good way to put this, so I'll just come out and say it: Denise Crosby has too much air time in these first three episodes. The most laughably bad moment in the episode? When millions of people are about to die, Tasha is about to engage in a fight to the death, the Enterprise is in a gravely acute diplomatic crisis with the Ligonians, and Riker - who is acting captain - has just finished making a silent soliloquy about the gravity of the situation. Then, the turbolift doors in the bridge open, and Wesley Crusher is standing there, grinning. Riker greets him as if he were working the registration desk at the Four Seasons in Fiji, smiles warmly, and says, "Care to lend a hand? Sit at ops," as he waves Wesley onto the bridge, gets onto the turbolift himself, and exits the scene with this young child strolling over to the control panel, unattended. Are you kidding me?] 1.5 - "The Last Outpost" - Oct. 19, 1987 - Directed by Richard A. Colla (Director of "Olly Olly Oxen Free"), Written by Richard Krzemien (Writer of "Kentucky Rye" for "The New Twilight Zone") Featuring Armin Shimerman as Letek (Stan the Caddy in "The Caddy" on "Seinfeld"), Jake Dengel as Mordoc (Pee Wee in "Ironweed"), Tracey Walter as Keyron (Lamar in "Silence of the Lambs"), Darryl Henriques as Portal 63 (Life Reporter in "The Right Stuff"), Mike Gomez as DaiMon Tarr (Auto Circus Cop in "The Big Lebowski") [Note: After these first 5 episodes (I'm calling the pilot episodes 1-2), I don't know how this show survived the rest of 1987. I don't think I'd ever seen any of these except for "The Naked Now," and they are all ... just ... largely ... bad. I've actually forgotten, at this point, why I ever liked this show so much. Leigh, I'm very much looking forward to watching the entire first half of Season One (which hasn't been terribly fun), and then purchasing Wil Wheaton's book - it should be the perfect quick read for me when I'm finished. I do think "The Last Outpost" is the second consecutive episode where TNG has reinforced negative stereotypes about a human ethnicity of people (with the Ferengi, you can pick your ethnicity, but they're surely being mocked as "short little mercantile, conniving opportunists who won't hesitate to cheat others"). I don't remember how I initially reacted to the Ferengi appearing on the view-screen as giants, but it certainly echoed, and was influenced by, "The Corbomite Maneuver" in The Original Series, except that Balok was just a wonderful person - the type of guy you'd enjoy sharing a glass of tranya with. My problem, in general, with the Ferengi is that the series makes them just a little too easy to hate, and there's no complexity to them at all - they're defined in black-and-white, shallow, and (I guess the current term among Millenials is, "basic"). Also, it's somewhat painful to see them jumping up, down, all-around while Riker is trying to have a discussion with Portal 63. Sure, they've now been established as a race of entities you'll hate upon their very mention, but isn't that just a little too convenient? Looking back, after having watched every episode (I've written this summary at different times), I don't remember a single moment of honor among them.] 1.6. "Where No One Has Gone Before" - Oct. 26, 1987 - Directed by Rob Bowman (4 consecutive Primetime Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Drama Series for "The X-Files"), Written by Diane Duane (Writer of the "Young Wizards" novels) and Michael Reeves (Daytime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program for "Batman: the Animated Series") Featuring Stanley Kamel as Kosinski (Dr. Charles Kroeger on "Monk"), Eric Menyuk as The Traveler (Carney in "Der Roachenkavalier" on "Hill Street Blues"), Herta Ware as Maman Yvette Picard (Rosie Lefkowitz in "Cocoon"), Biff Yeager as Chief Engineer Argyle (George in "Edward Scissorhands") [When Troi, Ryker, and Argyle go to meet Kosinski and The Traveler in the transporter room, the cinematography, lighting, and camera angle is all wrong (see the first picture above). In the "Awkward Scene of the Episode," when The Traveler says to Wesley Crusher, "Something troubles you with the way this is configured?" there is silence, as Crusher sits there nodding for four full seconds which seem like an eternity. This episode clearly borrows something from "2001: A Space Odyssey," as the Enterprise is jettisoned one-billion light years away, in an unknown part of the universe which features fantastic lights outside the ship (see the 3rd picture), and where ideas come to life in the form of terrifyingly real characters from times past. Wesley is introduced to the viewers by The Traveler as a Mozart-like genius, to be nurtured (but not informed) by Picard - this sets the stage for him being a Boy Wonder in future episodes. Kamel overacts as the annoyingly arrogant Kosinski, both while intractably cocky, and also while reduced to a blubbering "I didn't mean to do that," before he gets largely elbowed out of the episode - why he wasn't taken into quarters, I'm not sure.] 7. "Lonely Among Us" - Nov. 2, 1987: 8. "Justice" - Nov. 9, 1987: [Note: In "Justice," Worf's comment at 5:58 on Amazon, "Nice planet," was the first laugh-out-loud funny moment I've ever had in any Star Trek episode, from either series. I want to take shore leave on this planet. This series is improving, markedly.] 9. "The Battle" - Nov. 16, 1987: 10. "Hide and Q" - Nov. 23, 1987: 11. "Haven" - Nov. 30, 1987: [Note: Some of these recent episodes were panned by some reputable online sources; I, on the other hand, remember again why I like TNG after watching them. In "Hide and Q," Worf proved himself to be one of the great heroes of the series. Leigh, I assume Majel Barrett will redeem herself later in the series? There's nothing, nothing at all, to like about her in this episode.] 12. "The Big Goodbye" - Jan. 11, 1988: [Note: Does anyone know why there was such a gap between episodes 11 and 12?] 13. "Datalore" - Jan. 18, 1988: [Note: This is the final episode covered in Wil Wheaton's book, so if you've made it to here, buy the book.] 14. "Angel One" - Jan 28, 1988 - 15. "11001001" - Feb. 1, 1988: [Note: It's not the first season that's bad; it's only the first few episodes - the critics are wrong, and I'm loving this. In this highly structured, almost military environment, a logical person might assume that, at this point, the wonky holodeck might become prohibited, but, meh, to heck with logic.] 16. "Too Short A Season" - Feb. 8, 1988 - 1.17 - "When the Bough Breaks" - Feb. 15, 1988 - Directed by Kim Manners (Director and/or Producer of 132 episodes of "The X-Files" (xx)), Written by Hannah Louise Shearer (Writer of "Q-Less" on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") Featuring Jerry Hardin as Radue (Deep Throat on "The X-Files" (xx)), Brenda Strong as Rashella (1980 Miss Arizona, Sue Ellen Mischke on "Seinfeld" (xx), Mary Alice Young on "Desperate Housewives," Ilene Stowe on "Fear the Walking Dead"), Jandi Swanson as Katie (Jenny Drake on "Baywatch"), Paul Lambert as Melian (Washington Post National Editor in "All the President's Men"), Ivy Bethune as Duana (Evelyn Tuttle on "Father Murphy") [I get the concept of cloaking a planet visually by bending light rays, but ... isn't there this other force called "gravity?" Regardless, Riker is positively thrilled at the possibility (and realization) of finding the mythical planet Aldea, something akin to Atlantis. "When the Bough Breaks" is an unheralded, but extremely strong, episode with a fine writer in Hannah Louise Shearer, a talented director in Kim Manners, and the sometimes-hilarious, always-alluring presence of Brenda Strong (who guest-starred with Armin Shimerman in the very funny episode, "The Caddy," on "Seinfeld" (Strong is in the first photo up above). You'll see, in the first ten minutes of this episode, that it stands above the norm, and that the slow-starting first season is (and has been) fully on-track - there is beauty, mystery, intrigue, and especially after the uninvited visit to the Enterprise, Hitchcockian suspense, animated by the telepathic powers of Counselor Troi (you get a glimpse here of how effective Troi becomes in later seasons, after getting off to such a clumsy beginning). A subtly hilarious moment occurs right after a little girl named Alexandra disappears - the next scene shows a girl playing a musical instrument, and when she disappears, the instrument simply tips over: This is absolutely a "You have to see it to appreciate it" moment, but if it doesn't slip by you (and it easily could), you might find it laugh-out-loud funny - there's obviously a stagehand holding the instrument who forces it to tip over. It is remarkable just how much Wesley has aged since Episode 1 - he has clearly entered puberty, and has gone from being a boy to a young man in just a few, short months. I'm not certain, but this episode seems to contain a very early reference to the lethal potential of climate change - how many dramas can you think of that mentioned it nearly thirty years ago?] 1.18 - "Home Soil" - Feb. 22, 1988 - Directed by Corey Allen (Buzz Gunderson in "Rebel without a Cause," Emmy Award for Directing "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues"), Written by: Teleplay - Robert Sabaroff (Writer of "The Immunity Syndrome" on "Star Trek"), Story - Robert Sabaroff, Karl Geurs (Director and Co-Writer of "Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin"), Ralph Sanchez (Writer and Executive Producer of "Boxcars") Featuring Walter Gotell (Second Officer of the Königin Luise in "The African Queen," Oberleutnant Muesel in "The Guns of Navarone," Hans Lasser in "The Hi-Jackers" on "The Saint" (xx), Morzeny in "From Russia with Love," General Gogol in six "James Bond" films), Elizabeth Lindsey (Miss Hawaii, 1978), Gerard Prendergast (Erik Slade on "Summer"), Mario Rocuzzo (Angelo in "The Locket" on "All in the Family" (xx), Andrew in "Goodbye, Mr. Scripps" on "Hill Street Blues" (xx)), Carolyn Barry (The Metron in "Arena" on "Star Trek" (xx)) 19. "Coming of Age" - March 14, 1988 - 20. "Heart of Glory" - March 21, 1988 - 21. "Arsenal of Freedom" - April 11, 1988 - [Note: "Get Off My Train!"] 22. "Symbiosis" - April 18, 1988 - 23. "Skin of Evil" - April 25, 1988 - [Note: RIP, TY.] 24. "We'll Always Have Paris" - May 2, 1988 - [Note: That's Michelle Phillips from "The Mamas and The Papas."] 25. "Conspiracy" - May 9, 1988 - [Note: My first question: The "homing beacon sent from earth comment at the very end ... what did that imply? It sounds ominous, but nothing seemed to pan out from it in later shows that I'm aware of, so ...? (Answers will be Spoilers)"] 26. "The Neutral Zone" - May 16, 1988 - [Note: And that's a wrap for season one.]
  10. "7:19" is a dramatic tale of survival in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake (which happened at 7:19 AM). One little flaw I noticed is that, when an earthquake happens, everyone pretty much notices it at the same time (I was in the 2011 earthquake here while in *Reagan Airport* - small items were falling from the rafters ... that was a tense couple of minutes. Anyway, three people are talking, and they're slightly out-of-sync when the earthquake starts - these pictures are a total of only about three-seconds apart, so it isn't noticeable except in slow-motion, and yes, it's a nit-picky detail, but they definitely notice something is wrong, one person at a time: 1:25:43 - The pleasant chat 1:25:41 - The man says goodbye, and the older woman notices. 1:25:40 - The man now notices, and calmly says, "Oh, dear!" 1:25:39 - The man calmly adds, "It's an earthquake" as the younger woman looks like she's about to throw up. If you scroll through the four pictures quickly while looking at the younger girl, it's actually pretty funny. I'm quite pleased to add that I saw the 1974 film, "Earthquake," on release, in Sensurround. --- ETA - I suggest thinking twice about seeing this film, as it is one of the grimmest motion pictures I have ever experienced. It's an excellent movie, but you really need to be in the proper frame of mind if you choose to see it - it's something akin to visiting the Holocaust Museum.
  11. Midnight Cowboy is one of "those movies" I assumed that I'd seen before, but upon watching it, I realized there's absolutely no way I had. What an amazing acting duo by Voight and Hoffman (Hoffman got top billing, but I think Voight captured this film). While this may be the first example of a long string of overacted character roles by Hoffman, he still managed to pull it off. Voight, on the other hand, just plain owned this movie - I cannot imagine anyone playing a better Joe Buck. This plot became so complex and dark that I was mesmerized and stunned into silence. I'd had a long day, and had to work to stay on top of things - this is not a film to be tossed off lightly. It's interesting that 1967 was considered the Big Year of Hollywood turnaround ("the year Hollywood grew up"), and Midnight Cowboy, two years later, carried that torch appropriately into the near future. This film was very sad, and it was progressive of the Academy to award it Best Picture given it's nudity and melancholy overtones.
  12. I had heard of Route 66, but never knew what it was (other than a TV series), so I decided to watch Season 1, Episode 1, and was pleased to see Martin Milner co-starring as Tod Stiles (Martin Milner was the policeman driving on Adam-12, which I *loved* as a young teen). The other co-star (for the first three seasons) was George Maharis, as Buz Murdock, who also starred on the short-lived series, "The Most Deadly Game." After Maharis had to drop out because he contracted hepatitis, he was replaced by Glenn Corbett (also as Buz Murdock) who was, believe it or not, Zefram Cochrane: the inventor of warp drive on Star Trek! The series is free on Hulu (with ads). Route 66 is a "Thelma & Louise"-style "road trip" series, in which the same two friends run into different situations and people each week (hence the term, "hybrid anthology-drama"). It was an indirect-spin-off of the series "Naked City." It's an "anthology," because every week is in a different location, with different characters and situations; it's a "serial," because it's always the same premise, with the same two co-stars - so you have a little of both. Episode 1 was really good - very creepy, actually - and if I watch more episodes from Season 1, I'll fill them in here as I go (if you see them filled in, that means I've watched more, but didn't want to take up your time with additional postings). Where were you when you heard about the World Trade Center bombings on 9/11? It probably seems very fresh in your mind - it's important to remember, when watching TV shows such as Route 66, that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred just as recently to them, as the World Trade Center bombings occurred to us now - that's how fresh WWII was in their minds. I'm not saying Route 66 has anything to do with WWII; merely that it helps to have that perspective because that war influenced everything (and, yes, I'd be lying if I said their weren't some allusions to WWII in Season 1, Episode 1). I'm not sure if the website, route66tvshow.blogspot.com, is comprehensive, but the work they put into covering Season 1, Episode 1 is absolutely extraordinary, and I'll be using it as my reference-link until I find a reason not to. I can't believe someone could put *this* much work into covering all 116 episodes, but maybe it's true - anyway: *highly* recommended from what little I've seen. Anyone wishing to go into depth about any given episode should go to this blog, and explore it in detail. [Edit: Unfortunately, it only goes on for the first nine episodes, and I've had no success in contacting the blogger - what a shame.] Season One (Oct 7, 1960 - Jun 16, 1961) 1.1 - "Black November" - Directed by Philip Leacock (Director of "The War Lover"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (Academy Award Winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for "In the Heat of the Night") Featuring Everett Sloane (Bernstein in "Citizen Kane") and in an *extremely* early appearance: Keir Dullea (David Bowman in "2001: A Space Odyssey") [Apologies for the darkness of the picture above, but it was one of the few good shots of a very, very young Keir Dullea ("Open the pod bay doors, HAL.")] 1.2 - "A Lance of Straw" - Directed by Roger Kay (Director of "The Cabinet of Caligari"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (2) Featuring Janice Rule (Helen Foley in "Nightmare as a Child" on "The Twilight Zone"), Thomas Gomez, and Nico Minardos (the Doctor in "The Gift" on "The Twilight Zone" (2)) 1.3 - "The Swan Bed" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (Director of "Cat Ballou," Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (3)), Written by Stirling Silliphant (3) Featuring Zina Bethune (Gail Lucas on "The Nurses"), Betty Field (Mae in "Of Mice and Men"), Henry Hull (The Werewolf in "The Werewolf of London"), Murry Hamilton (Death in "One for the Angels" on "The Twilight Zone" (4), Mr. Robinson in "The Graduate") 1.4 - "The Man on the Monkey Board" - Directed by Roger Kay (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (4) Featuring Lew Ayres (Paul Bäumer in "All Quiet on the Western Front," Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor as Dr. Robert Richardson in "Johnny Belinda"), Alfred Ryder (Edgar Price in "The Borderland" on "The Outer Limits," Professor Robert Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (2, the series premier, aired exactly fifty years to the day before I'm writing this sentence)), Frank Overton (Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird"), Bruce Dern (Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (2) as Woodrow "Woody" Grant in "Nebraska," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor as Captain Bob Hyde in "Coming Home"), Ed Asner (Seven-Time Emmy Award Winner, Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Captain Davies on "Roots"), Roger C. Carmel (Roger Buell on "The Mothers-in-Law," Harcourt Fenton Mudd in "I, Mudd" on "Star Trek" (3)) 1.5 - "The Strengthening Angels" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (Directed "Love Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (5) Featuring Suzanne Pleshette (Anne in "Hitch Hike" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," Annie Hayworth in "The Birds," Emily Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show" ), John Larch (Mr. Fremont in "It's a Good Life" on "The Twilight Zone" (5), Chief of Police in "Dirty Harry"), Harry Townes (Three episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (2) Arch Hammer in "The Four of Us Are Dying" (2) on "The Twilight Zone" (6), Dr. Clifford Scott in "O.B.I.T." on "The Outer Limits" (2), Reger in "The Return of the Archons" on "Star Trek" (4)), Warren Stevens 1.6 - "Ten Drops of Water" - Directed by Philip Leacock (2), Written by Howard Rodman (Writer of 26 episodes of "Naked City") Featuring Burt Brinckerhoff (Director of "7th Heaven"), Deborah Walley (Gidget in "Gidget Goes Hawaiian"), Tony Haig (Johnny Hutton in "Twenty Miles from Dodge" on Gunsmoke) [Tony Haig, the twelve-year-old boy in this episode, didn't go on to have a big acting career, but he was absolutely magnificent in this episode, and it would have been justified to nominate (or award) him an Emmy for his fantastic performance here.] 1.7 - "Three Sides" - Directed by Philip Leacock (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (6) Featuring E.G. Marshall (Juror #4 in "12 Angry Men," Ronald J. Grimes in "Mail Order Prophet" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (3)), Stephen Bolster (Roger Landover in "One Life to Live,"), Joey Heatherton (Singer on "The Joey Heatherton Album,"), Johnny Seven (Karl Matuschka in "The Apartment,") Paul Genge (Mike in "Bullitt") 1.8 - "Legacy for Lucia" - Directed by Philip Leacock (4), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (7), Story: Melvin Levy (Co-Writer of "The Six Million Dollar Man" (movie)) and Stirling Silliphant Featuring Arlene Martel (Morgue Nurse in "Twenty Two" on "The Twilight Zone" (7), T'Pring in "Amok Time" on "Star Trek" (5)), John Larch (2), Jay C. Flippen (Happy Spangler in "The Return of Happy Spangler" on "The Dick Van Dyke Show") 1.9 - "Layout at Glen Canyon" - (Unfortunately, route66tvshow.blogspot.com ended after just nine episodes.) Directed by Elliot Silverstein (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (8) Featuring Charles McGraw (Mike Burkeman in "Johnny Got his Gun"). Bethel Leslie (Nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Movie as Ellen Dudley in "Statement of Fact" on "The Richard Boone Show"), Zohra Lampert (Jessica Heyman in "Let's Scare Jessica to Death"), Richard Shannon (Buck Henderson in "The Tin Star"), Lane Nakano (A Japanese-American who fought in the 442nd Infantry Regiment. in WWII, Sam in "Go for Broke"), Elizabeth MacRae (Lou-Ann Poovie on "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C."), Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett in "The Beverly Hillbillies") [Like the excellent route66tvshow.blogspot.com blog (which, unfortunately, ends after this episode), and all the other critiques I've read, I, too, thought this episode was a jumbled mess. Then, I saw it a second time, and almost a third time, and I realize now that it isn't a jumbled mess at all; it's just too complex for a "mere" TV serial - it's a *great* episode, and commands several viewings in order to fully appreciate.] 1.10 - "The Beryllium Eater" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (Director of 4 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (8)), Written by Richard Collins (Producer of 127 episodes of "Bonanza") Featuring Edgar Buchanan (Pops in "Coyote Moon" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (4), Doc Bolton in "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank" on "The Twilight Zone" (9), Uncle Joe Carson on "Petticoat Junction"), Edward Binns (Juror #6 in "12 Angry Men" (2), Mr. Brown in "Heart of Gold" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (5), Colonel Donlin in "I Shot an Arrow into the Air" and General Walters in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (10)), Inger Stevens (Karen Wilson in "Forecast: Low Clouds and Coastal Fog" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour," Nan Adams in "The Hitch-Hiker" and Jana in "The Lateness of the Hour" on "The Twilight Zone" (11)) [How do you not love an episode when "Uncle Joe" on "Petticoat Junction" strikes it rich?] 1.11 - "A Fury Singing Flame" - Directed by Elliot Silverstein (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (9) Featuring Leslie Nielsen (Lloyd Ashley in "The $2,000,000 Defense" and Rudy Cox in "Ambition" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (6), Steven Grainger in "The Magic Shop" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (2), The Phantom in "The Phantom of What Opera" and Colonel Denny Malloy in "A Question of Fear" on "Night Gallery," Dr. Rumack in "Airplane!"), Fay Spain (Leslie Lenox in "The Last Dark Step" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (7), Mrs. Marcia Roth in "The Godfather, Part II"), Lili Kardell (Lorna Jenkins in "Malice Domestic" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (8)) [Leslie Nielsen was serious, respected, dramatic actor until the 1987 film "Airplane!," which was his very first comedic role - he essentially had two careers as an actor. I chose the entrance path to Carlsbad Caverns as a picture because it's special to me personally - I've been there twice, and on my second visit, I had to drive two hours *averaging* 75 mph (it was New Mexico, with higher speed limits) to make the final tour of the day - I made it, but I had to literally run down the trail and yell out for the tour guide: After two hours of panic, I made the tour, by about fifteen seconds - I remember the entrance path - where the photo above was filmed - very well. For anyone who's been to Carlsbad Caverns, and remembers them turning the lights off - probably one of the only times in your entire life you've experienced essentially 100% darkness - there's a good moment in this episode that will make you remember the tour.] 1.12 - "Sheba" - Directed by William F. Claxton (Directed 68 episodes of "Little House on the Prairie"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (10) Featuring Lee Marvin (Conny Miller in "The Grave" and Sam "Steel" Kelly in "Steel" on "The Twilight Zone" (12), Academy Award Winner for Best Actor as Kid Shelleen and Tim Strawn in "Cat Ballou" (2)), Whitney Blake (Dorothy Baxter on "Hazel") ["Sheba" is a riff on the biblical story of "Bathsheba" - thus, it's not a surprise that Lee Marvin's character has the *unbelievably hilarious* name of "Woody Biggs" (in the biblical version, King David lusts after Bathsheba after seeing her bathing). 1.13 - "The Quick and the Dead" - Directed by Alvin Ganser (2), Written by - Teleplay: Stirling Silliphant (11), Story: Charles Beaumont (Writer of 22 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (13), Teleplay of "Backward, Turn Backward" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (9), Co-Producer and Co-Writer of "The Masque of the Red Death") and Jerry Sohl (Writer of 4 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Predsents" (10) Writer of 3 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (14), Writer of "Counterweight" and "The Invisible Enemy" on "The Outer Limits" (3), Writer of 3 episodes of "Star Trek" (6)) Featuring Susan Kohner (Sarah Jane in "Imitation of Life"), Frank Overton (Martin's Dad in "Walking Distance" on "The Twilight Zone" (15), Sheriff Heck Tate in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Elias Sandoval in "This Side of Paradise" on "Star Trek" (7)) Betsy Jones-Moreland (Evelyn Gern in "The Last Woman on Earth"), Regis Toomey (Longest screen kiss in cinema history until 1988 (with Jane Wyman) as Capt. Joe Radcliffe in "You're In the Army Now"), Pamela Searle (Miss England in 1959, and 3rd-Runner-Up in Miss Universe), Harvey Korman (Leading Man on "The Carol Burnett Show") [This is the second episode with multiple writers (the first being 1.8, "Legacy for Lucia"), and both were very good - this one was, admittedly, a bit fanciful, perhaps "overly optimistic," but still the product of a *lot* of hard work.)] 1.14 - "Play It Glissando" - Directed by Lewis Allen (Director of "Suddenly"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (12) Featuring Anne Francis (Altaira in "Forbidden Planet"), Jack Lord (Steve McGarrett on "Hawaii Five-O"), Harold J. Stone (Lieutenant Jack Noonan in "Lamb to the Slaughter" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (11)), Barbara Bostock (Carol Parker on "Love on a Rooftop") [An interesting study into the life of a beloved genius, which often manifests as the life of a lonely savant, only able to function on stage, and not in the real world. Jack Lord plays the role of a world-class jazz trumpet player, who seems to be not as nice of a guy off-stage as he is on-stage.] 1.15 - "The Clover Throne" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (2), Written by Herman Meadow (Creator of "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Jack Warden (James A. Corry in "The Lonely" and McGarry in "The Mighty Casey" on "The Twilight Zone" (16), Juror #7 in "12 Angry Men," Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Performance as George Halas in "Brian's Song," Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (2) as Lester Karpf in "Shampoo" and Max Corkle in "Heaven Can Wait"), Anne Helm (Holly Jones in "Follow That Dream"), Arthur Batanides (The Police Sergeant in "The Jokester" and Police Detective in "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (12), Leader in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" and Tabal in "Mirror" on "The Twilight Zone" (17), Lieutenant Ken Galvin on "Specimen Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (4), Lieutenant D'Amato in "That Which Survives" on "Star Trek" (xx)), DeForest Kelley (Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McKoy on "Star Trek" (xx)) [I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm usually completely put off by people like "Sweet Thing," but this has been one of my favorite episodes - it's an episode where "the end justifies the means," and if you see it, you'll understand why I say this. I'm jaded as hell, and hard to dupe, but boy oh boy was I duped - and the foreshadowing was *all there* the entire time (the fence - you'll know what I mean when the closing credits roll). This episode alone makes me want to see "Have Gun - Will Travel" because writer Herman Meadow wrote both. If you're not watching the series in order, this wouldn't be a bad place to start - just don't be too put off by Sweet Thing and hang in there.] 1.16 - "Fly Away Home, Part 1" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (13) Featuring Michael Rennie (Klaatu in "The Day the Earth Stood Still"), Dorothy Malone (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress as Marylee Hadley in "Written on the Wind"), Cathy Lewis (Deirdre Thompson on "Hazel" (2)), Bert Remsen (Star in "Nashville"), Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett in "Blue Hawaii") [Crop-dusting airplane crashes, field hand opens up plane and helps injured pilot out, pilot screams to field hand: "Don't stand there like a fool; get back before she explodes!," field hand backs off, pilot starts to stagger away from the plane but passes out, field hand runs back to pilot and helps him regain consciousness and limp away to a safer distance, airplane explodes, pilot turns to field hand and says, "Cigarette?" That's in the first *ninety seconds* after the opening credits. At the end of Part 1, I wouldn't exactly call this a "gripping tale," but there are some intriguing questions that need to be addressed.] 1.17 - "Fly Away Home, Part 2" - Directed by Arthur Hiller (4), Written by Stirling Silliphant (14) Featuring Michael Rennie (2), Dorothy Malone (2), Cathy Lewis (2), Bert Remsen (2), Jenny Maxwell (2), Ford Rainey (Electrician's Mate 2nd. Class Harris in "The Sand Pebbles") [I'm pretty sure that - unless special effects in 1961 were a heck of a lot better than I'm aware of, Martin Milner really *was* being filmed in the back seat of an airplane, not that that's any great stunt, but it's something. I'm writing this as I'm watching, and I'm about nine minutes into Part 2, but because of "The Clover Throne," I'm starting to wonder if Dora (the owner of the crop-dusting company, because her husband was killed in a sulfur-application accident) may not be as crazy as she seems, thinking her husband is still alive, nursing his burns somewhere - still, this is pure conjecture on my part, with absolutely no evidence to back it up with. My God I wish I had contact with George Maharis' acting coach - there's something that he does that irks the living hell out of me, and he does it consistently - whenever he's watching an act on stage (which is *often* in this series), and wants to show approval to the camera, he has this annoying little shake-of-the-head, like Gee Whiz that's great! Am I the only person in the world who notices this? The scene with Summers (Michael Rennie) brushing the barn with the inflammable sulphur, causing a life-ending explosion, is absolutely incredible considering the tools available to cinematographers in 1961 - it remains to be seen what and why, but wow - what a scene: The drama reminds me of Season 4, Episode 2 of "The Twilight Zone" - "The Thirty Fathom Grave," except instead of the crew of the submarine calling muster on Chief Bell, Summers almost appears to be calling muster on himself - there are only eight minutes left to this two-part episode, and I'm very much looking forward to its resolution. After watching the entire two-part episode, all I can say is that it is so complex that I don't even know what to use for photographs - is it "great?" I don't think so, but for weekly television? Yeah, it's pretty darned good - it was nearly as long as a movie, but if I had seen it as a movie, I'd most likely have been disappointed; as a TV series, it's very impressive - I can't imagine how they possibly did this in two weeks.] 1.18 - "Sleep on Four Pillows" - Directed by Ted Post (Director of 4 episodes of "Twilight Zone" (18), "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," and "Magnum Force"), Written by Stirling Silliiphant (15) Featuring Patty McCormack (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress as Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"), Larry Gates (Doc Baugh in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"), Marianne Stewart (Town Gossip in "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte") John Berardino (Major League Baseball Player, 1939-1952, World Series Champion in 1948) [Oof. Out of the first eighteen episodes, this one may have been my least-favorite. It was waffling back-and-forth between being serious, then farcical, then silly, then worrisome, then farcical again, to just plain lame. Unless you're watching all the episodes, you can skip this one - I was so desperately hoping something interesting might come out of it, but the exact opposite happened, and it was a waste of time. You can skip "Sleep on Four Pillows" unless you're a completist or a masochist (and I'm not sure there's much difference between the two).] 1.19 - "An Absence of Tears" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (2), Written by Stirling Silliphant (16) Featuring Martha Hyer (Academy Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actress (2) as Gwen French in "Some Came Running"), Rin Tin Tin II - Unrelated to Rin Tin Tin, Born as Golden Boy, Jr. (Rin Tin Tin on "The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin"), Herb Armstrong (Waiter in "Cape Fear"), Joseph Ruskin (Master Thrall Galt in "The Gamesters of Triskellion" on "Star Trek"), Paul Richards (Attacker in "Kiss Me Deadly") [The opening of this really hurt to watch, as it seems that Donna Stevens (Martha Hyer) was literally "Just Married," and lost her husband in a senseless gas-station robbery. I once dated a blind girl, and know first-hand the cruel dependence they must have on the people they're with, many of whom take advantage of them, or take them for granted - they're willing to take risks that none other of us would take, because they have to. This episode was okay, but it really didn't have enough material to fill the entire hour - they had to pad it some, probably assuming that the novelty of a beautiful blind woman would be enough to do it with.] 1.20 - "Like a Motherless Child" - Directed by David Lowell Rich (Director of "Madame X"), Written by - Teleplay: Howard Rodman (Co-writer of screenplay for "Coogan's Bluff"), Story: Betty Andrews (Writer of "The Education of Sarah Jane" and "Odds for Big Red" on "Have Gun - Will Travel") Featuring Sylvia Sidney (Mrs. Verloc in "Sabotage," Aunt Marion in "Damien: Omen II"), Jack Weston (Charlie Farnsworth in "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street" and Julius Moorner in "The Bard" on "The Twilight Zone" (19), Carlino in "Wait until Dark," Danny Zimmer in "The Four Seasons," Max Kellerman in "Dirty Dancing") [There's one scene in "Like a Motherless Child" where Sylvia Sidney almost mockingly looks at Buz and says, "Poor Baby," as he asks her if he can come back and see her that evening. Buz, you'll remember, was raised in an orphanage, and Sylvia Sidney's character chose to give her son away when he was two-months old - he's an orphan; she willingly caused the existence of an orphan. She keeps saying, "Poor Baby" to him, but after about ten repetitions of this, it's clear that her tone is going from "mocking" to "loving" and they both see in each other the one person who was most-lacking from their lives. The picture above occurs towards the end of the scene, when she has completely broken down, and Buz has capitulated as well. This was, by far, the most "different" - not better, not worse; just different - Route 66 episode I've seen, and I would absolutely *not* recommend it to the first-time (or even the fifth-time) viewer of the series - it was very, very out of character, but for the seasoned viewer, it had a lot to like (and a lot not to like).] 1.21 - "Effigy in Snow" - Directed by Alvin Ganzer (3), Written by Stirling Silliphant (17) Featuring Scott Marlowe (Eliot Gray in "The Throwback" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (13), Jory Peters in "It Crawled out of the Woodwork," André in "The Forms of the Things Unknown" on "The Outer Limits" (5)), Jeanne Bal (Nancy Crater in "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek"), Mark Tapscott (Lieutenant in "Still Valley" on "The Twilight Zone" (20)), George_Macready, (3 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (14), Hillary Prine in "The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (3), Dr. Bixler in "The Long Morrow" on "The Twilight Zone" (21), Larry K. Hillerman in "The Invisibles" and Dr. Marshall in "Production and Decay of Strange Particles" on "The Outer Limits" (6), William Hendricks in "Night Gallery") [If I remember correctly, this is the first photo that has come from the cold (no pun intended, honest) open.] 1.22 - "Eleven, the Hard Way" - Directed by William A. Graham (Director of "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones"), Written by George Clayton Johnson (Writer of "I'll Take Care of You" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," 6 episodes of "The Twilight Zone" (22), "Ocean's Eleven," "Logan's Run," and "The Man Trap" on "Star Trek" (xx)) 1.23 - "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious" - Directed by William D. Faralla (Production Manager of "The Wild Bunch"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (18) Featuring Beatrice Straight as Kitty Chamberlain (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress (3) as Louise Schumacher in "Network"), Royal Dano as Dr. Clemente (Deputy Sheriff Calvin Wiggs in "The Trouble with Harry," Martin Ross in "My Brother, Richard" and Mr. Atkins in "Party Line" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (15), Mr. Miley in "Change of Address" on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (4)), Pat DeSimone as Cazador (Tony Minetta in "Dino"), Frank de Kova as Davey Briggs (Pedro in "A Personal Matter" and Señor Vargas in "Strange Miracle" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (16), The Man in "The Mechanic") [This is a very watchable episode, but one which operates under a far-fetched premise. Perhaps the most interesting thing is how it interweaves the West Side Story motif, but I'm afraid that despite it being a guilty pleasure, it's just too unrealistic to hit home - Todd just would not get that emotionally involved so quickly, being twenty-years removed from a situation. Still, judge for yourselves - the acting is good, there are a couple high-powered fight scenes, and also several sub-motifs wrapped in the overarching story line of "finding Carol."] 1.24 - "Don't Count Stars - Directed by Paul Wendkos (Director of "The Taking of Flight 847: The Uli Derickson Story"), Written by Stirling Silliphant (19) Featuring Dan Duryea as Mike McKay (Al Denton in "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone" (23), "Waco" Johnny Dean in "Winchester '73," China Smith on "China Smith"), Susan Melvin as Linda McKay (Trudy in "Ladybug, Ladybug"), Vaughn Taylor as Frank Hammond (George Lowery in "Psycho," Mr. Judson in "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" on "The Twilight Zone" (26)), Randall Latimer in "The Guests" on "The Outer Limits" (7) Good Samaritan in "In Cold Blood"), Mary Jackson as Judge Mary Lindstrom (Mrs. Wilson in "Mink" on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (17), Miss Pepper in "Of Late, I Think of Cliffordville" on "The Twilight Zone" (27), Mrs. McRae in "I, Robot" on "The Outer Limits" (8), Emily Baldwin on "The Waltons," ) [I thought sure I recognized the drunk man that Tod and Buz pulled from the water, and sure enough, it was Dan Duryea, who played a virtually identical drunk in "Mr Denton on Doomsday" on "The Twilight Zone." Of particular note is that "Don't Count Stars" is the earliest episode of anything (television, movies, or what-have-you), where an extended reference is made to a high-level profession - in this case Judge Lindstrom - where the name, "Judge Lindstrom," is repeatedly mentioned for nearly twenty minutes, before a pronoun is used in a conversation, completely without fanfare: In this case, the pronoun is "she." I would be very interested in knowing if anything earlier than this episode (Apr 28, 1961) so casually revealed a typically male profession being held by a female - I must repeat: To this episode's credit, there was absolutely no drama, scary organ music, or shocked looks upon people's faces; it was simply mentioned in the course of normal dialog, about twenty minutes into the episode ... "she."]
  13. I just finished power-watching the ten-episode Season 1 of "The Handmaid's Tale," based on the eponymous 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood (who makes a cameo in the pilot episode). Wow is ths series intense - Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd (and about ten other people (including Washington DC's own Samira Wiley, whom I think is going to play a big role in Season 2)) are incredible - there are more good actors working right now than ever. Don't watch the pilot unless you want to become quickly addicted!
  14. Having just finished Kazuo Ishiguro's incredible 1988 novel, "The Remains of the Day," and having just re-watched the 1993 film by James Ivory and Ismail Merchant, "The Remains of the Day," ... AND, having watched the fantastic interview with Ishiguro, discussing his novel (and the film) on TIFF Bell Lightbox here (watch the interview after reading this post) ... ... my question for Mr. Ishiguro is this (and I must stress that this question is implicitly raised in the first five-minutes of the above interview): "Have you succumbed to being a butler, given that you did your absolute best, finest work, and ultimately handed it over to Lord Darlington, when your novel was made into a film?" Mr. Ishiguro is going to read the above question, and quite possibly feel like a knife was shoved into his stomach; if he doesn't, then I haven't done my job, because this issue is nearly identical with the overall theme of his novel, according to his very own interpretation. I don't think many people will understand what I'm trying to say here, but I'm almost certain that Mr. Ishiguro will. A round of applause to DIShGo for coming up with this question - as soon as she said it, I knew she had come up with a brilliant issue.
  15. The 1988 British film, "Madame Sousatzka," is one of "those" movies that's a personal favorite, but also one which you tend not to recommend to others, since it's so esoteric and focused - you just don't think that most people will enjoy it. I'd seen John Schlesinger's film revolving around an eccentric piano teacher (Shirley MacLaine in a uniquely quirky performance as Irina Soustazka), and her current young piano prodigy, Manek Sen (played excellently, and (just as importantly) with pretty convincing piano, by 16-year-old Navin Chowdhry). Anyway, I'd seen Madame Sousatzka at least twice in the past - once when it was released, at least one additional time on video, and then over-and-over again with some of my favorite clips on YouTube. However, a couple weeks ago on Amazon Prime, I rented it again, and began noticing scenes that I simply did not remember. At first, I thought the passage of time had dimmed my memory, but this continued to occur, and then it became obvious that in the past, enormous portions of the film had been edited out - perhaps almost as much as thirty minutes. I had always felt like this was a charming film, full of brilliant moments, but also with wasted potential throughout; now, I know why I thought this: It's because, for whatever reason, editors had gutted enough scenes to leave the versions that I saw nearly incoherent at times. Now, for the first time ever, I feel like I've actually experienced Madame Sousatzka as Schlesinger intended for me to see it - the difference between this experience, and past experiences, was remarkable enough so that I can't think of another film that had been so thoroughly stripped of its vitality and essence. I now realize that what I'd previously thought as simply foibles in the story, was actually tragedy in the editing room - this film had been denuded of what makes it great, and *now* I can finally say, after nearly thirty years, that Madame Sousatzka is a great film. The more you know about classical music, especially the standard concert piano repertoire, the better. Chowdhry isn't actually playing the pieces, but his fingers are hitting the notes, even in the most difficult pieces, so he was clearly a high-level amateur pianist that had studied the instrument for years. He was also utterly charismatic, charming, and the oldest of old souls, considering he played a sixteen-year-old. If you've ever watched Madame Sousatzka, and feel as I felt (that it was a "fun, cute movie with lots of holes"), please do yourself a favor and watch it on Amazon Prime. I remember during this Charlie Rose interview, David Lynch's outrageously terrible flop, "Dune" (which I contend is one of the worst movies I've ever seen), is revealed by Wallace to have been completely butchered by editors, to the point of rendering it incoherent. Although not as bad as "Dune," what the editors did to "Madame Sousatzka" is surely in the same vein - they very nearly killed the movie. (Full disclosure: I think Frank Herbert's "Dune," beloved by many science-fiction fans, is one of the most interminable, arduous books I've ever read - it took me over six months to read, and I hated myself for finishing it.) I won't spoil the plot for you, but this is not action-packed, and is very much of a cerebral film (with a couple of very hair-raising moments). Please give Madame Sousatzka another chance - it's a wonderful film, and I never even knew it. It's remarkable that I can't find *anything* on the internet about it ever having been butchered (or restored). One last thing: There are numerous supporting roles (close to a half-dozen) that are all superb - this is a very, very strong cast. Yes, even Twiggy.
  16. "The Bitter Tea of General Yen" is a pre-code film directed by Frank Capra ("Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"), and starring Barbara ('If someone from my disadvantaged background has risen to success, others should be able to prosper without government intervention or assistance') Stanwyck. I'm watching this film out of a corner of one eye I while I do other things - the stereotypes are howlingly bad. Here's General Yen: <--- Nils Asther, a Swedish actor. On the other hand, last night, I actually watched "Dr. No" (1962) for the first time in decades - in nearly 30 years, not much progress was made in the stereotype department. <--- Joseph Wiseman, a Canadian actor. And here's yet another Chinaman: Kwai Chang Caine in "Kung Fu" (1972-1975): <--- David Carradine, an American actor (he died in Thailand, FWIW).
  17. Some people know the 1973 film, "Bang the Drum Slowly" which features Michael Moriarty, and Robert De Niro in his first major role. But 17-years before that, an adaptation of the 1956 book was performed on live television, starring Paul Newman and Albert Salmi. Anyone who thinks Newman was just a pretty pair of blue eyes should watch this, as he's on live television, pretty much from start to finish, in this riveting hour of television.
  18. None other than Dr. William Lessne, a noteworthy film buff, advised me to watch the early Stanley Kubrick film, "Paths of Glory." This film is to Kubrick as "Johnny Got His Gun" is to Dalton Trumbo - following in footsteps of "All Quiet on the Western Front," this is a patently anti-war, WWI film - all three of these are must-sees within this narrow genre, although unlike the other two, "Paths of Glory" focuses more on bureaucratic corruption, rather than the simple horrors of war (this will be made clear within minutes). Kubrick trivia: Only two actors have been in three Kubrick films - Philip Stone, and Joe Turkel, who was in "Paths of Glory," and who also played the ghostly bartender in "The Shining." Film historian Robert Osborne says this was the favorite war film of Sen. John McCain. How many young men and women do you think are prepared to do this for our country right now? A country needs to be worth fighting for ...
  19. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** (I'm assuming you've already watched the film if you're going to read this.) --- Continuing my recent trend of seeing movies I haven't seen in years, or decades, for the second time, I rented "Easy Rider" on Amazon - my general rule of thumb lately has been to rent movies that I've seen, and enjoyed, but don't really remember. I knew that Easy Rider is a beloved road movie starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper; I didn't know their characters' names were Wyatt and Billy, respectively - for Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid. With Amazon, you have the option of using "X-Ray" to glean little tidbits about films - for me, it's often helpful since I'm on my second viewing, but I can also easily see it being an annoyance - the good news is that it's easily deactivated. Since I'm more of an aesthete than a hedonist, I tend to use it for second viewings. My chicken's ready. I'm back. Do you get a little Robert Redford here? And, to Mr. Redford: *Happy 80th birthday this Thursday*! I doubt he'll see this, but hey, Jack Sock liked my tweet today! I didn't remember that Easy Rider popularized "The Pusher," which came out the year before: The brief scene when Wyatt looked at his watch and threw it on the ground is *so* late-60s, the rapid-fire changes in photos often seen in B-horror films, often with psychedelic music and sometimes with a girl screaming while realizing something. Wow, and all this during a cold open - I didn't even realize that. Well, as of right now, I'm 40 minutes into a 95-minute movie, and to be honest, I think it's pretty boring. Other than the obviously appealing imagery of the two men on the bikes (an iconic American image which will be around for a long time), we've visited a ranch - which was tolerable enough - and spent *way* too much time at a commune, and to what end? Perhaps this will tie in later in the movie, but as of right now, I wish they'd get the heck off that commune and get on their merry way. So far, this is poorly acted, without any clear meaning, and just plain dull. Also, the drug deal in the beginning has absolutely nothing to do with this except for financing their trip. It's the next day now. And now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever seen this film before, at least not in its entirety - I don't remember a single thing about it. I'm pretty sure I'd remember George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) riding on the back of that chopper in a football helmet. My biggest problem with the extended commune scene is that, one day later, I hardly remember a single person in the commune (or maybe, that's the whole point?); however, the campfire scene with George Hanson smoking his first-ever joint is priceless, and vintage early Jack Nicholson. *That* is some character development, and it only took a couple of minutes - it's the highlight of the movie, so far, in my mind. Dennis Hopper (Billy) - who got a little psycho-weird when he called BS on Hanson's UFO theory - always has a little bit of "creepy" to him, even here ... it's hard to get "Blue Velvet" out of my mind, even when I see him in such a vastly different role like this. Okay, the scene in the diner - with the local rednecks - is suspenseful. This movie is almost like a series of "short stories," linked together by motorcycles: Chapter 1 - Drugs, Chapter 2 - Ranch, Chapter 3 - Commune - Chapter 4 - Campfire, Chapter 5 - Diner. it's starting to chain together now, and I'm liking the movie more - it's almost like a theme and variations. Have you seen that internet meme that's been going around - the one about conservatives always longing for "the good old days" (itself a strawman - how many people have you actually heard say this?) and the liberals rebutting it by saying, "Name one single year that you'd like this country to return to" (of course, nobody can - the retort is nothing more than argumentum ad antiquitatem: an attempt to force the person to choose an easily debunked, logical fallacy). It's supremely ironic that Hanson said - after the diner scene - "You know, this used to be a hell of a good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it." Tables turned - most amusing, and whenever I come across things like that on Facebook, I realize I'm spending too much time on Facebook. I hope it goes without saying that I'm talking about "conservative" and "liberal" in the original, *non-political* definitions of the terms (the fact that I felt the need to say that makes me long for the good old days, when you weren't walking on eggshells every time you say something - we all need you, John Cleese): Hanson (Nicholson) is coming up with some compelling lines in this campfire speech, and I wish every food writer, celebrity chef, and hanger-on would watch this movie and pay close attention to what he's saying: things like, "It's real hard to be free when you're being bought and sold in the marketplace." Of course, even if they paid close attention they wouldn't dream of thinking that these words apply to them, so what good would it do? I'm sorry - did I just offend anyone? God, I hope so. Oh, man! And then he continues: "Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they gonna get *real* busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are." Man, this movie's slugging percentage just went up - way, way up. As the Wikipedia plot summary says, so correctly: "He [Hanson] observes that Americans talk a lot about the value of freedom, but are actually afraid of anyone who truly exhibits it." I wonder how many people *aren't* going to look in the mirror right now - probably something close to 100%. Nevertheless, this bit of dialog is the best scene in the movie so far. And then what comes right afterwards? Wow. The cowards strike in the darkness of night - just as they always do. Interestingly, the two girls in The House of Blue Lights are played by Karen Black and Toni Basil. Amazing cinematography in the final scene - powerful stuff. I was *so certain* I'd seen Easy Rider before, but I'd never seen it in my life, and I'm glad I did.
  20. The promo for the series "Feud: Bette and Joan" caught my eye, having recently watched "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?", and reading about the rivalry between its two stars, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Usually by the time I hear about a series it is several seasons in, requiring binge watching to catch up. Fortunately, this one just premiered last month, so I was able to catch the first episode the night it aired. As expected, the show is campy fun. There are some big names, too. Stanley Tucci, Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon are a few of the stars. Lange is completely transformed into Crawford. I didn't have the same feeling with Sarandon. She does have Bette Davis eyes, but watching Sarandon portray Davis, I was constantly aware I was watching Sarandon. Perhaps it is because her looks weren't as dramatically transformed as her co-star's. In the fourth episode, a reference is made to "Kiss Me Deadly," another 1950s era film that I recently watched which is also reviewed on this site. It is still too early to tell if this show will be worth watching, but I am giving it a shot because who doesn't enjoy a little retro camp from time to time?
  21. I began watching Season One of "Orange Is the New Black," because I'm so culturally deficient that I'm clueless when it comes to certain popular things - I'm currently on Episode 3. I like this series very much, and I'm glad I'm watching it. Has anyone seen (and remember) the early episodes of Season One? In particular, "I Wasn't Ready," "Tit Punch," and "Lesbian Request Denied" (episodes 1-3). Not sure how far I'll make it through the series (I just watched SE1 EP1 of "The Andy Griffith Show," for Pete's sake), but it's been a fun ride so far.
  22. When I was young, I saw a film titled, "Man in the Wilderness" (1971), which I still remember. "The Revenant" is based upon the same story (also titled "The Revenant," but written nearly 30-years after "Man in the Wilderness" was filmed). Of the two, the latter is *way* more spectacular, and - from what I remember - just plain better: a lot, lot, lot better. Leonard DiCaprio's performance won him an Academy Award for Best Actor, and from the other performances I've seen in 2015, it is fully deserved. Both DiCaprio and Supporting Actor Tom Hardy give two of the greatest performances I've ever seen in a single film - off the top of my head, I can't think of one movie with two better performances. "Midnight Cowboy," maybe, or "Rush?" If you enjoy films dealing with the human struggle to survive against all odds (and don't mind a bit, okay, a *lot* of graphic oomph), you'll really like "The Revenant" - it's not condescending at all. It even mentions Pawnee! Is Emmanuel Lubezki the best Cinematographer in the world? Don't be so sure he's not. Unless you've seen the film, you'll have no idea what this is, but it's a clear homage to prehistoric cave art, and just a beautiful shot: How good is "The Revenant?" I'm going to try and find, and watch, "Man in the Wilderness" - right now, knowing full well that I'm going to be disappointed. And there's no way that "Spotlight" - good as it was - should have taken Best Picture honors from "The Revenant." --- ETA - Make sure to watch "Man in the Wilderness" *afterwards*, and don't make the mistake of assuming that "The Bear" scene will be any less troubling.
  23. I saw "Onibaba" a couple of days after I saw the Oscar-winning "Best Picture" of 2017, "The Shape of Water." While the latter disappointed me, the former was a delightful surprise--a gripping tale of human survival. The film is set in the 14th Century, during a Civil War In Japan. Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it tells the harrowing story of a middle-aged woman and her daughter-in-law who must resort to drastic measures to survive in their war-ravaged world. Basic human needs--food, water and sex--are the things the pair desire, and they do what they must to acquire them. Although it is set in Medieval times, "Onibaba" has a timeless quality, and could take place in any war, at any time. The women's hut is surrounded by fields of tall grass. Much of the film is shot low in this grass, creating a claustrophobic mood. The viewer feels anxious and trapped, just as the women surely felt hiding there. The acting is wonderful. The story is gritty, intense, erotic, and full of suspense. I highly recommend this film. I saw "Onibaba" for free at the Freer Gallery of Art as a part of their Japanese Film Classics, offered at 2 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the Month. The next screening scheduled is "Drunken Angel," a 1948 film directed by Akira Kurosawa, on June 6.
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