November 26, 2012

A Look at The Santa Clause Movies

The Santa Clause is my favorite Christmas movie. I just think it hits every note just right. It’s sentimental, sweet, funny, and just pleasant film to watch around the holidays. However I have discovered that not everyone necessarily agrees with me on this. They think Eric Lloyd was annoying(ok but he never bothered me) and find the story sappy and corny. My answer to that is, it’s a Christmas movie! And a Disney one at that.

 I am just kidding of course, if you hate the film that’s cool. I love it. I think Tim Allen is great; it’s amazing how he goes from ajerk in the start to a very convincing Santa in the end. The make-up for Santais just remarkable. I like the concept, and the way the process of Scott turning into Santa is played out is done very well.


So today I decided to take a closer look at the film and discuss why I love it. And in the interest of fairness, I will also discuss nitpicky things that even I find a tad annoying. This film is basically broken down into three acts, so I decided to look at each one separately. And there will be spoilers if somehow you still have no seen the film.

November 19, 2012

A Look at TV Shows That Went on Far To Long

Several months ago my father, who does not watch much television, asked why shows don't go beyond the average eight or nine years. I explained that if he watched the shows he would understand. Something happens to shows, whether they are sitcoms or dramas, and they just get stale. Now some shows know when to bow out gracefully. Family Ties, Seinfeld, Frasier, MASH (though an argument could be made on that one), and even Friends are all examples of shows which ended before they lost their fan base.

Now of course some shows get bad and never even make it to seven years. But what about those shows which just keep going, even though they have run out of ideas and the only audience they have left are the hardcore fans? Today I wanted to look at some examples of programs which went on far too long.

3rd Rock From The Sun-This is a unique example because usually six years is not too long. In fact most shows are still going strong then, but this is an exception. When it first premiered this show was just plain hilarious. John Lithgow played the alien commander and his over the top acting was perfect for the show. Since the entire town was kind of nuts, the four aliens just seemed to blend right in. The question is, why was this show on for six years? I mean let's be honest; they had really run out of things to do by the end. Yes the final episode was very well done, but it would have been even better a year earlier.

November 14, 2012

Look at Sitcom Cliches:The Dream Sequence

Sitcoms are famous for certain stunt episodes. For instance almost every sitcom has done an episode where two cast members, who usually hate each other, end up trapped alone somewhere. Like in a meat locker for example. Benson did a lot of these! Another is the dreaded clip show, where the cast basically sits around while old clips play. There is usually a plot tying the clips together, some better than others and some shows did these once too often.
 Today I wanted to talk about another sitcom cliché, the dream episode. And I will just admit it; I am a big sucker for this one!

These episodes are just fun. There is usually some kind of strange special effects, there all kinds of cheesy gags and in-jokes, the cast get to wear make-up and even overact a bit. Some of my favorite episodes of all time are dream sequences because they are as much fun to watch as they are to probably make.

One of the earliest, and greatest, examples of this was the Dick Van Dyke episode "It May Look Like a Walnut" which was a hilarious Twilight Zone parody. I will just say if you have never seen it, check it out! It guest stars the great Danny Thomas and is just a hilarious show.

A dream sequence serves a couple of objectives. Sometimes a show does it just as an excuse to cut loose and have some fun for one episode. For example, Facts of Life had that famous episode spoofing horror movies. Another shows the girls still living together in their old age. Facts of Life could be a heavy show and these kinds of episodes give the cast a chance to just have a little fun. Another example would be the famous Scream parody they did on Boy Meets World. And I think anyone who saw The Hogan Family’s spoof on zombie movies remember that particular episode, I know I do. Head of the Class had a great episode where T.J. sells her soul to the devil. There are all kinds of gags and over the top acting, and in the end it turns out it’s a dream. They did a cute touch to let the audience know, usually in this show the transitions are given the day and time but during the course of the episode none of them are,  until the final scene after T.J. has woken up. Have I mentioned I love this show? Arvid also had dreams involving the wild west and other TV shows in various episodes.

November 13, 2012

Sitcom Face Off-Webster vs Punky Brewster

What is it about little kids on sitcoms that we love so much? Is it because they’re so cute? Is it because they can’t really act so it’s adorable to watch them try? Whatever it is, little kids and sitcoms go back along way. From Rudy to the Cosby Show all the way back to Opie in The AndyGriffith Show. These cute little kids keep us watching, until they get too old and are no longer cute any more. Sometimes we are left with an actor stillworth watching, and other times not so much. Take Who’s The Boss? where Alyssa Milano got better as she aged, while Danny Pintauro got duller and duller.

Now I am getting way off subject. Today I want to pair offtwo of the cutest kids from the 80’s, who both had hit shows on different networks.

Webster was smart and bright, and had the cutest smile.Punky was an inspiration with her positive attitude and take chargepersonality. But which show was actually better ? Before we begin, I havealready discussed the trials of Webster’s behind the scene struggles. Today Iam focusing on the product which hit the air not the background strife.



November 10, 2012

My Tribute to Michael J. Fox

A few weeks ago I presented my tribute to one of my favorite actors, Christopher Lloyd. Of course one of his most famous roles was in Back to the Future, my favorite movie ever, and today I decided to check out the other half of that starring duo. I present my tribute to Michael J. Fox
Like last time I will be listing the programs and movies I have seen him in. So if I leave off a great or memorable performance it is only because I missed out on it.

Michael J. Fox is one of those actors to truly be admired. He can take a horrible project and use his charm to make it likable. He can take a horrible character and make him lovable. He can even take a horrible illness, Parkinson’s Disease, and rather than give up figure out how to overcome it while working for a cure someday. I don’t think it’s possible to see this actor and not enjoy his work. He has won many awards including several Emmy’s and for good reason.

He started out in Canada in some forgettable sitcoms before coming over to this country. One very early role was in “Class of 1984” which was a violent movie about a school gang which starred Perry King. I saw it once when at my grandmother’s house, and I was a little young to be seeing that film. I never forgot it (it inspired many stories I would write later on) but I did forget Michael J. Fox was in it. I did remember Rowdy McDowell was and he was good. This movie is way too hard to describe here, it needs its own article but since I saw it I wanted to mention it.

 Michael J Fox’s breakout role was in a little show you may have heard of, which he catapulted into one of the biggest hits of the 1980’s.

Family Ties-What can I say about this show that hasn’t been already said? Actually the truth is the show has not aged well. That makes since the show was firmly entrenched in the 80’s. There is a reason it was canceled in 1989 and why there will never be a reunion. This show embodied everything about the 80’s, and the breakout character was Alex P. Keaton. Conservative, snob, elitist….they all fit. This is one of those characters who should be hated! Yet he was loved, so much so that the show became more about Alex than the parents, who were supposed to be the focus. Yes the show can get corny, but it was a powerhouse comedy in the 80’s and airing right after The Cosby Show was a major part of NBC’s Thursday night lineup. This show was a major part of my childhood. Of course on this show Fox had a girlfriend played by Tracy Pollan, who he just happened to have married in real life and had four kids with. How cool is that?

Poison Ivy-I am racking my brain trying to remember if I saw this made for TV movie in 1985. I was a huge fan of Michael J. Fox and Nancy McKeon so I would imagine I did, although my parents were strict about me going to bed when I was that age. This was a silly camp movie, before the much sillier Camp Cucamonga came along (anyone remember that one? I have to do an article on it!). I am going to assume I saw it and keep on here, thought chances are I probably missed it (I missed everything back then!)

Night Court-Family Ties was still a fairly new show when this one premiered. One of this first episodes involved a wise cracking runaway who refuses to believe a man claiming to be Santa Claus. Michael J. Fox is darned good in this episode, and it amazes me that when this show aired he had already had enough star power for NBC to get him to guest star. This was a season one episode and if you’ve never seen it, and can find it, check it out. Season 1 of this show was weak as hell but this is one exception.

Teen Wolf-This is the first film that Michael J. Fox starred in. Remember what I said about how he could take use his charm to make a horrible project a big hit? Well, here is example number one. This was one of the biggest sleeper hits of 1985. And it was stupid. I mean, it was stupid in a thoroughly enjoyable way, but it was still stupid. Basically Michael J. Fox turns into a wolf due to a family curse and shenanigans ensue. My biggest disappointment in this film is that the wolf disappears for the last fifteen minutes, as the character decided to win the Basketball game as himself. How boring, it becomes another sports movie. Despite that there are some entertaining moments in this film which I have not seen in a very long time.

Back to the Future-Have I mentioned this movie yet? I loved this movie. I loved everything about it, and that includes Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. The funny thing, is that he was not the first actor to the play the character! Ok I am sure everyone knows this story, about how the producers wanted Michael J. Fox but he was doing Family Ties. So they hired Eric Stolz, who sucked. Big shock. They begged Family Ties producers Gary David Goldberg to let Fox do the movie, and the rest is history. I think after doing the embarrassing teen wolf he couldn’t wait to do something respectable. And he was perfect in this role as the wide eyed Marty, just trying to deal with this crazy situation.

Family Ties Goes to England-This was another NBC Movie of the week (whatever happened to those?) and I already talked about it so I won’t go into too much detail here. Basically the movie is boring, and all the characters were out of characters especially Alex who becomes a wimp in the film. This was a clichéd 80’s TV movie in every way, even including a jewel heist in the plot, and I just wish it never existed. If you’re curious it is a DVD extra and probably on You Tube, I spent years trying to understand this as a kid and, frankly, still don’t get it.

The Secret to My Success-If you’re ever looking for the cheesiest 80’s movie, I direct you to this one. Here is example #2 of how Fox can take a ludicrous plot and make it a hit with his charm and winning smile. This movie has everything, even incest, and was a big hit in 1986. The plot has Michael J. Fox coming to New York City to make it big. The first twenty minutes or so are actually pretty believable. Then it becomes a sex farce. Then the plot turns into one of those “pretending to be someone else” films with Fox pretending to be an executive while also working in the mail room of a huge company. Then a slapstick comedy as he tries to keep everyone from discovering his big secret. There are misunderstandings and all kinds of fun! In between all of this it’s also a romantic comedy, and Helen Slater is the love interest. It even featured the song “Oh Yeah” which was made famous in Ferris Bueller This movie is silly, corny, lame, not realistic….and I loved it when I first saw it. Ah 80’s movies……

Back to the Future II & III-What else can I say about these films? The one thing I liked about Back to the Future II was that Fox got the chance to shine playing his own son and daughter, in the same scene! The second film was basically fan service, and I loved it!, and the third film I always had mixed feelings about. Despite my problems with the film, Michael J. Fox makes the movie watchable every time

The Hard Way-Hey why not put James Woods and Michael J. Fox in an action movie, and see what happens? I know I saw this movie but don’t remember a thing about it. It was a hit when it first opened but quickly faded away.

Saturday Night Live-Michael J. Fox hosted this March 1991 episode which aired right after the end of the Gulf War. The best part of the episode was the monologue which had a spoof of the Back to the Future series. There was also a great sketch about all the problems former child actors seemed to be having at the time. Not the best episode of SNL, but a decent one and worth checking out just to see Michael J. Fox’s portrayal of Dan Quayle in the cold opening.

Doc Hollywood-Everyone knows this little movie. It’s about a hot shot doctor who gets stuck in a small country town. This film was one of Woody Harrelson’s first film roles and is pretty well liked. Not by me, I saw this and was bored. It’s not bad, but it didn’t hold my interest very much. It’s a cliché story where the Doc hates where he is but learns to love it, heck just go watch Cars which is the same plot except that was about a race car. This came out the same year as The Hard Way and was a better film, but not one of my favorites.

For Love or Money-I will admit it; I saw this only because Michael J. Fox was in it. It’s a very simple romantic comedy with Fox as a concierge who falls for a woman he was pretending to date and it’s just a very basic story with no real suspense. The movie is not awful, but it’s not great either. I also hated the romanticized way they portray New York City in the movie, it’s so fake it’s distracting.

Greedy-I saw some of this thanks to my brother who really liked this movie. It’s a silly comedy about a bunch of relatives trying to suck up to a millionaire for an inheritance. It’s basically a slapstick kind of farce with all kinds of characters and silly situations. The film has an all-star cast including Nancy Travis, Phil Hartman, and Kirk Douglas among many others. Not a bad film if you’re looking for a real silly comedy.

The American President-Ah, now we’re talking! This is one of my favorite movies, I just love it. And it’s not an epic movie or anything. It’s really just a little romantic comedy about the President, who is a widower, dating a lobbyist. The thing that propels it into something special is the performances. Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Annette Benning, and of course Michael J. Fox.  In fact Fox may be the one working the hardest in this film, giving some very strong scenes and a very strong speech toward the end.  I could talk all day about this little movie, just a great film to watch if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day.

Mars Attacks-I HATED THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!  I never even finished it. Michael J. Fox is in it, but not proud of it I imagine.

Stuart Little-How could they take such a simple idea and make such a horrible movie? Michael J Fox is fine as the voice of Stuart, but good lord did this movie suck. The worst thing is that Geena Davis is also in it, whatever happened to her? Ok I will be fair, this is a kid’s movie and there are some cute moments. Nathan Lane is funny as the voice of the cat.

I am not forgetting Bright Lights Big City, Homeward Bound, Frighteners, Atlantis : The Lost Empire, and Casualties of War I just never saw them.

Spin City-I was always amazed that a big star like Fox would come back to network television. I guess that shows how big an ego he has, which is none really. This was another Gary David Goldberg series and I was never a loyal fan, I admit it. I have seen some episodes and it was pretty funny. Fox played the deputy mayor of New York. It had a very strong cast and while the gags were kind of broad they were also clever. Of course Fox left the series when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and his last episode as a regular was one of the most emotional hours of television ever. It felt like we were really saying goodbye to the actor, not just the character, and if you can watch that show without choking up then you are better than I.
Scrubs-This show was definitely unique. It could be funny, even silly, and then hit you with very dark and serious stuff at the same time. For example, Michael J. Fox appeared in a few episodes as a dashing young doctor who everyone loved. He had one little problem, he had a severe case of OCD. I would imagine being a doctor with OCD would be hard, and as we see in the episodes it is not an easy thing to live with. Fox was brilliant in his episodes, and really did a good job conveying what a struggle OCD is to live with.

Most recently he has appeared on “The Good Wife” which stars Juliana Margulies. He appeared in a few episodes as an unscrupulous lawyer.  He also appeared in Curb Your Enthusiasm last year. As much as I hate to admit I have not seen much of his recent work. I have read that he is to star in a new series next year on NBC, and you know I will be checking that out. Michael J. Fox is one of my favorite actors, he was a big part of my childhood and I still enjoy him as an adult. I hope he will be around for many more years so that others can enjoy his amazing talent.

November 4, 2012

Top 5 Disney Sequels I Loved/Hated

Top 5 Disney Sequels I Loved/Hated

I can't believe I haven't talked about this before. Of course Nostalgia Chick did a great job reviewing these last year.
We all remember the flood of direct to video sequels that Disney churned out awhile back. They were mostly bad, but some weren't bad. They were AWFUL! Well, some of them anyway.

Unfortunately for me, my now ex was a bit of Disney nut so I got to see many of these films. I decided to rank the five I absolutely hated, and the five I actually kind of liked. I do want to point out that I have not seen every one, so it's possible there is something far worse than what I am listing. For example I have heard good things about the Aladdin sequels, but don’t remember ever watching them.

Since this has been done to death and I have talked about some of these things before I will try to keep it brief, and just explain exactly why I liked and/or hated the film.

LIKED (because love is a strong word)

#5. Beauty & The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas
If there is one thing I disagreed with Nostalgia Chick about it was her opinion on this movie. Yeah if you compare it directly to Beauty & The Beast there are problems, granted. The animation is not as strong and it does not really work in the continuity of the original movie. But taken on its own it’s not the worst movie ever made.  And I actually like the song, “As Long as There’s Christmas”, which is a nice little tune. Not much else to say, not my favorite Christmas special but I also don’t hate it and even watch it when it’s on every year.

#4. Leroy & Stitch
The reason this is one here is because I loved the animated cartoon series “Lilo & Stitch”. It’s one the better shows, a bit underrated in my opinion. This movie was an attempt to wrap up the series which Disney finally cancelled. So is it great? Probably not and I imagine it would be confusing to someone who never watched the series at all. But for a fan of the series it was a nice way to wrap it up. One of the things I liked about Lilo & Stitch is the whole message of family, even if they are not blood. And I just like stitch.  J

#3. Bambi II
I feel like I am in the minority on this one. But I kind of liked this movie. It picks up right after the mother is killed, and we see what happened when Bambi went off with his father. As has been pointed out, the original skips ahead a little too fast. We go from the mother being killed to sunshine and flowers with no stops in between. I also hated the second part of Bambi because the romance stuff was so forced and lame. But in this sequel we get to meet the female doe, and learn a little about her like her name and why Bambi falls for her (in the first movie no reason is given) and we learn about his future rival Ronno. In the original they fight, but why exactly? In the sequel we get that motivation, it even ends with Ronno vowing to get revenge on Bambi setting up the fight in the first movie! I am not saying this was a great movie, but I thought it did a great job capturing the feel of the classic film and telling its own story while at the same actually fleshing out the story from the classic movie just a bit.

#2. Lion King 2:Simba’s Pride & Lion King 1 ½  
I think I have to do some explaining here. I don’t think I would get to many arguments about Simba’s Pride. Yeah it wasn’t as strong as the first film but it wasn’t all bad either. In fact the second film even took some risk such as killing a character. True the idea that Scar could have a mate who is now seeking revenge is a bit farfetched, but it’s not worse than Little Mermaid II with the aunt who is basically Ursula all over again! As for Lion King 1 ½, well I am a sucker for the gimmick the film uses. I love when we can see things from a different point of view. It’s one of the reason Back to the Future II is a favorite as well as Vantage Point and other things like that. Is it a good movie? No not really in fact parts of feel like it belonged in the Timon & Pumbaa animated cartoon show. But the gimmick makes me tolerate it, even if if I should know better.

#1. Cinderella III-A Twist in Time
I was very surprised by this movie. After the horribleness of Cinderella II (which I will get to), I didn’t have high hopes. Then the fact that the ending to the original was going to be changed didn’t thrill me. But you know, once you past the silliness of the first five minutes this film actually tells a decent story. It has character growth for the two main leads, and it’s even exciting in parts. It’s true I didn’t like that the retcon of the original ending was made permanent, but all in all this was a satisfying film and I was pleasantly surprised. It was nice to see Cinderella go from wishing to actually having to work for her happy ending, and let’s be honest that is a much better lesson for kids these days.


#5. Tarzan & Jane- I know this was the Saturday Morning cartoon just crammed into a video release, but does that mean it has to be terrible? I rented this from a video store, and it was just dull. Then the tape stopped working and I was very happy. So glad I never purchased this thing. I liked Tarzan, but this was just dull.

#4. Lady and the Tramp 2-Scamp’s Adventure
It’s a toss-up which is worst, this or Little Mermaid II. But the worst crime that Little Mermaid committed was rehashing the same story over again. Lady and the Tramp II was just dull and uninteresting.  Where most Disney films I come away with something, this one just left me with nothing. The only thing I remember was a scene where Jim Dear calls out to Lady and Tramp, by name. I always wondered, how did he know that was Tramp’s name anyway? And wouldn’t he have changed it after adopting them?

#3. The Fox & The Hound 2
I was never a big fan of the original Fox and the Hound. I don’t remember when I saw it as a kid but I just recall being bored. I did see it again as an adult, and it was ok though still not a favorite. It was a story of friendship between two animals who would one day have to become enemies. Nice idea and the movie handled the story very nicely. This sequel killed me. It is one of those “between scenes” films which happened in the middle of the original. Ok, nothing wrong with that. What’s the plot? Tod and Copper join a country band. That sounds utterly ridiculous, and what’s worst the movie is freaking stupid!  I mean, at least Bambi 2 and The Enchanted Christmas tried to keep some of the feel of the original material, this just abandons it entirely! I heard Dumbo II was going to be something similar and I am just thankful that project never happened. This movie was one of the worst things ever!

#2. Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie-I commented on this the other day in Moviefan12’s article and decided to elaborate a bit. This is kind of breaking the rules but it was a direct to video release from the same company as the rest and is sort of a sequel to The Heffalump Movie so I decided to count it. I hated this! This film does something I never thought I would see, it makes Pooh Bear into a jerk! Let me set the scene (and this won’t spoil the plot if you’ve never seen it). Rabbit has collected candy from all over so the gang can trick or treat later. During a song sequence, Pooh’s tummy causes him to eat all the candy. Every morsel is now gone, and he has let down all his friends. Yes I have seen Winnie The Pooh so I know Pooh tends to think with his stomach, but that scene killed me! Pooh was never selfish and thoughtless! And what does he do to make it up to them? Nothing!  Roo and Lumpy take the charge to rescue Halloween, but Lumpy is a bigger wimp than Piglet so we get a flashback to a much better Halloween special, “Boo To You Too Winnie the Pooh” which is just crammed into the middle of the film, and in the end we learn the same lesson so why not just watch Boo To You Winnie the Pooh!!!  The other characters are made even dumber than usual, and Roo is suddenly the only one with half a brain. I hated this movie, and not surprisingly another never appeared. The only thing good about it is that this is the final time John Fiedler would provide the voice of Piglet, which he had done in everything prior.

#1. Cinderella II-Dreams Do Come True
Ironic that I hated this while loving the next. What makes this worse than Tarzan & Jane? With Tarzan & Jane the Saturday morning cartoon feel was intentional. That’s what it was, taking three cartoons and blending them into a DVD release. When this came out there was no Cinderella cartoon (unless this was a rejected idea which I am not sure of). This thing isn’t bad because it’s three stories. It’s bad because it’s three boring stories! The worst being the one about Jaq.  It’s some dumb thing about making him a person and the Fairy Godmother acts more like a sweet grandmother or something. This is just an insult to the characters from the first movie, which I did like. The first story is about Cinderella adjusting to her surroundings and is just flat out boring! I will admit, I kind of liked the third story. Not because it was good but because it fleshed out Anastasia’s character a bit so that she wasn’t just a whiny bitch. While the character development is nice the story is as flat as the rest of the film. This feels like it was made for very small children to entertain them before bedtime, which would be fine except I know that wasn’t the intention. It’s boring, it as a weak as heck story structure, and insults many of the characters.

Finally, since this was not a sequel I could not include it on the list. But I had to mention Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeer. I found this movie so boring I fell asleep while watching it, and that’s all I am going to say about it.

As I said I am sure there are worst out there, but I didn’t see Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame 2, or any of the others. Peter Pan 2 was a theatrical release and, I kind of liked it. Not enough to make this list but it was decent.
Thankfully, not that I am not married anymore I hope that I never have to. Also happy that the studio which turned these out went out of business.  It could have been worst, at least Dumbo II never saw the light of day.

November 3, 2012

Five Memorable Movie Villain Cop Out's

Five Memorable mobie villain cop out's

when villains have no reason not to kill the hero, but don't!

Sometimes a scirpt writer will create a situation so impossible to get the hero out of, they need to resort to making the villain a moron in order to get to the resolution. Sometimes this is done by having the villain yammer on until there is time so solve the problem. Then there are times when the villain has every chance in the world to be victorious, but inexpliably blows it. I was watching Hocus Pocus for Halloween, and even though Bette Midler's character Winnie could literally suck the life out of any child, and there is a packet of them coming which her sisters remind me of, she says no! She wants the main character because she was mean to her. So basically the only reason the sisters were defeated was because Winnie decided that ensuring her immortality wasn't as important as getting revenge on one child, who she could kill any time later? This started me wondering about other times that the solution required is for the villain to be either careless or be made so dumb it's almost out of character.

The Muppets-Yeah, I'm going there! Let's be honest this was one of the biggest villain cop outs ever. The villain, Tex Richman, wants the Muppets off the property so he can drill for oil. We'll forget how dumb and cliche that is for a second to discuss the ending. The Muppets hold a telethon but after trying real hard just come up short. Then we get the speech by Kermit about how they will always be family even if they are losing the theatre. Then, in a second over the credits, it's all undone when Gonzo's bowling ball hits Richman causing a personality change. He gives the Muppets the theatre back in a happy ending so crammed in that it hurts! Forgetting that head injuries don't work that way, I just can't buy that this guy would just change his mind so quickly. I never understood why the ending was so rushed, would another five minutes to develop the climax have really hurt the film? Ok, I am done now.

Superman-The original Superman movie was an epic classic, but it did have its problems. Have you ever noticed that the solution to the problem comes down to dumb luck? The scenario is that Lex Luthor has sent two missles flying to LA and New Jersey, the one to New Jersey just a decoy its the one to LA that is meant to do the real damage. Superman has been lured to Luthor's lair, tied up with kryptonite, and thrown into a pool to die. All seems lost, except for one lucky thing. Luthor's aid, Ms.Teschmacher, has family in New Jersey. So, rather than see them killed she helps Superman who recovers (a little to fast) and saves the day. Man, wasn't it lucky for everyone that she happened to come from the same exact place Luthor's missle was headed?

Indepencen Day-This one is obvious I think. Aliens come to Earth and wipe out New York, Los Angeles, and Washington. They have shields and weapons which make our defenses look pathetic and it looks like they are well on their way to exterminating us. The solution? Fly one of their old vessels into the mother ship and upload a virus into their system. The questions are numerous. Wouldn't the aliens know the vessel is a little old? How can the laptop David is using actually connect with the alien technology? How come the alien technology couldn't detect this threat, and why doesn't it respond to it? It's the technological equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying he's going to punch you in the face! Why does the virus affect their systems exactly the same way it affects ours (we can't catch animal virus's and vice versa). How come the laser weapon the alien ships have can decimate buildings but not one airplace flying right in the laser! The funny thing is that despite these plot holes, the virus works and Earth is saved. Amazing.

Wizard of OZ-Here's another one that leaves me confused.The Wicked Witch wants the ruby slippers that Dorothy is wearing, but the only way to  get them is for Dorothy to die. After a couple botched ploys she sends out her flying monkeys to get Dorothy (and Toto, for some reason). This works and Dorothy is captured. Does the wicked witch kill her and be done with it? Of course not! Instead she comes up with this hour glass and tells Dorothy she has until the sand runs out to live. Why exactly? To give the others a chance to rescue her? This isn't made clear, and of course Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow manage to save her. By the way, if water kills the witch why was a bucket of it just casually lying around her castle?

Lion King-This one was one of may all time favorites. We all know the story, after Scar kills Mufasa he convinces Simba it was his fault. Simba races off while Scar takes over the pride lands. Fast foward to the end and Nala has convinced Simba to go home and reclaim his land. Scar brings up the fact Simba killed Mufasa, and the guilt comes back and makes him vulnerable. Scar then pounces, and after a struggle has Simba dangling ove a cliff. Does he finish him off? No, Scar informs him that it was he, not Simba, who killed Mufasa. Stupid! This news enrages Simba, who suddenly is filled with anger. Simba wins, all because Scar opened his mouth one to many times.

and finally, just how did a group of teddy bears meanage to defeat the entire empire in Return of the Jedi anyway?

November 1, 2012

Five Funny Sitcom Episodes which are Depressing Today

Five Good sitcom episodes which are depressing today

It’s funny how time can change our perceptions about things whether they be movies or TV. When a little time goes by a great joke could suddenly seem downright offensive, and a story which seemed harmless suddenly becomes depressing. For example there is a Seinfeld episode where Elaine is coming up with new names for her boyfriend who has the same name as a serial killer. One of the names she suggests is O.J., of course referring to O.J. Simpson. Just a year later what seemed like a harmless throw away joke suddenly takes on a new life, after the horrible events involving his ex-wife and her boyfriend.

Today I wanted to discuss five episodes which seems harmless at the time, but viewed now takes a different feel completely.

Silver Spoons, “Head Over Heals”
The fourth season opened with this episode involving Dexter falling for the special guest star of the week. Who was that guest star? Whitney Houston who appeared as herself. Watching this episode now, and seeing her before the drug abuse which would affect her in the later years, was sad enough. However after her tragic death the episode is even sadder. Whitney Houston was a great talent who lost herself to drugs, and this episode gives a reminder of those days before all of that.

Newsradio, “Halloween”
I am sure this seemed harmless enough at the time. This was, obviously, a Halloween episode and part of the plot involved Bill getting a psychic reading. Bill was of course played by Phil Hartman. The psychic tells him he is going to die in forty years or so, giving an exact date. Bill of course obsessed about his untimely demise. Do I really need to explain why this is so sad now? It wasn’t two years later when Phil Hartman was killed by his wife in one of the most senseless tragedies ever. It’s hard to watch this episode today and not be reminded of that horrible event.

Seinfeld, “The Invitations”
When this episode first came out people were appalled that George’s fiancée was going to get killed off. It seemed dark, even for a Seinfeld episode. The one thing that didn’t bother anyone was how they killed Susan off, by having her lick toxic envelopes. Then the anthrax scare came along in 2001, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. All of a suddenly the idea of someone getting sick, or worst, from opening and envelope seemed all too real. This episode was pulled from re-runs for a while but has found its way back since then.

The Golden Girls, “Sophia’s Choice”

The majority of this episode is ok, but then comes the last scene. The scene has the four girls discussing what will happen as they get older and get sick. They all decide to be there for each other, almost as an extra insurance policy. This a great scene really showing their friendship. It’s also depressing now, especially when Rose asks the question “But what happens when there’s only one of us left?” The fact that Betty White says the line is eerie, and this scene just takes on a very different tone today. Even the punch line that follows the line is sad. Sophia responds, “Don’t worry I’ll be fine” Sure that’s a great Sophia line, but knowing Estelle Getty was the first to pass away makes it depressing.

Friends, “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Championship”
This one is a little different because it is not just one episode. If you watch the third season, especially toward the end, you notice Chandler getting thinner and thinner. By the final episode of the season he looks downright horrible. Turns out there is a reason for this, Matthew Perry had gotten addicted to pain killers. This caused the drastic weight change and he ended up doing a 28 day program for vicodin addiction. This episode may be the hardest to watch because he gets a story line and is featured prominently. He just looks sick and his clothes hardly fit him, you knew there was something wrong.

At least he recovered, there are examples of other shows where the stars are sick and it becomes very clear. Examples include Dolph Sweet on “Gimmee A Break” and Nicholas Colosanto on “Cheers” who both looked very taut and thin in their final appearances. Peter Boyle was clearly not well that last year or two of “Everybody Loves Raymond”. I give the actors credit for going on despite their illness but it is hard to watch those episodes knowing that were ill and, tragically, passed away soon after.

I am sure there are other examples out there in TV and movies, and maybe I will come back with some more. If you know of any I missed please feel free to share.