Archive for the ‘1983’ Category
Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
Years: 1982, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1992
Genre: TV series, Comedy
Country: United States
Starring: Ted Danson, Shelley Long, Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger, Kirstie Alley, Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, Nicholas Colasanto
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
So, there’s a facebook poll to choose the episodes of Cheers that are the “Fan Favorites”. And fans vote, and the eight top episodes are put onto a DVD called Fan Favorites, out March 6th from Paramount Home Entertainment. Eight episodes of Cheers (well, nine if you count the two-part episode about Woody and Kelly’s wedding). And there is only ONE episode with Rebecca Howe.
I guess fans really liked Shelley Long as Diane, much more than Kirstie Alley as Rebecca. I get that, I much preferred Diane too. What’s funny here though, is that while there is just one episode with Rebecca in it, there are TWO that centre around Frasier’s relationship with Lilith. The one where she and Frasier get together after a TV appearance together, and the one where they move in with each other and invite Sam and Diane over for dinner. Then there’s the pilot episode, the Thanksgiving episode at Carla’s house, the one where Sam fixes Diane up on a date with a murderer, and the one where Harry the con man helps Coach get back some money that was scammed from him.
It’s all great, of course, because Cheers is great. But TWO episodes about Lilith, who was a tertiary character at best, and only one featuring Rebecca, who was on the show for more than half its run? Take that, Kirstie Alley! Facebook doesn’t like YOU at all!
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
“I’m a hooker! A hooker!”
Country: United States
Starring: James Brolin, Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Connie Sellecca, Nathan Cook
Guest starring: Roy Thinnes, Vera Miles, Robert Stack, Martin Landau, Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Robert Vaughn, Heather Locklear, Dick Van Patten, Engelbert Humperdinck, Mel Torme, Shelley Winters, Markie Post, Lynn Redgrave, Connie Stevens, Morgan Fairchild, Adrienne Barbeau, Lew Ayres, Eva Gabor, and dozens and dozens of others
Created by: Aaron Spelling
Run time: 19 hours, 29 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
In 1950, Bette Davis and Anne Baxter were two of the greatest actresses in the world. Starring together in All About Eve, one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, Davis was already the greatest living actress, and Baxter was just becoming a superstar in her own right, winning an Oscar for her role as the scheming, backstabbing, ambitious Eve and going on to star in The Ten Commandments. A magnificent movie. Everyone in the world needs to see All About Eve at least once. I am mentioning it in my review of Hotel because no one, ever, needs to see Hotel. This TV series, created by Aaron Spelling on the heels of Dynasty and a bunch of other cheesy programs.
However, Hotel was actually more similar to The Love Boat than it was to any of Spelling’s other productions. The laughable, over-the-top soap opera silliness is pure Spelling, and the characters of James Brolin and Connie Sellecca could have appeared in 90210 or Dynasty without missing a beat. However, the format seems to owe a heck of a lot to The Love Boat. Every episode featured a number of guest stars who show up to have affairs, or to die mysteriously, or just to provide some comic relief through annoying behaviour. Then they are gone the next show, just like the guests on The Love Boat. Which was actually a better show.
At least with Hotel, the main cast of characters has adventures and romances and other soap-opera business that lasts from episode to episode, so there is somewhat of a connection from one to the next. But really, Brolin is playing Captain Stubing with a beard, Connie Sellecca is his Julie McCoy, and Nathan Cook is his Isaac the Bartender. Even the theme music, which seems to start at the beginning of every episode and end just before the final credits, is remarkably reminiscent of that earlier, cheesier show. However, The Love Boat knew it was cheesy. Hotel tries to pretend it isn’t. That’s why it’s worse.
Well, it’s also worse because it stars Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. To see these two cinematic legends, so late in their careers, be reduced to taking a role in such a preposterous inane melodrama is truly sad. I don’t blame either of them – I am assuming they were just not offered any real roles. At least Katherine Hepburn got On Golden Pond. Bette Davis and Anne Baxter got kicked in the leg. The irony here though, is this:
In their magnificent starring vehicle All About Eve, in 1950, Baxter played Eve, a scheming and duplicitous aspiring actress who wanted nothing more than to befriend Davis. Davis was the star of all stars on the stage, and taking her down would mean the Baxter would be able to assume her pedestal and become the star herself. In Hotel, Bette Davis appears as the hotel owner in the pilot episode, but due to poor health she had to step down and was replaced by…Anne Baxter. That may have been the idea, but I think even Eve Harrington would have been pretty pissed off at a role like this.
Hotel, Season One comes out on DVD July 21st from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Sunday, April 5th, 2009
I want to state, before I get into this review, that Dynasty is, in fact, a terrible show. It is one of those soap operas that could be used as the shining, overblown poster child for all other soaps that came before or since. It was a prime-time soap, which means that it was considerably better than one of those daytime soaps that film thirty episodes in a day for nine dollars. But it isn’t as good as Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, Dallas or even Street Legal when it comes to prime-time soapery. There is just so much predictable pap – murder plots and suicides and illegitimate children and nefarious business dealings and nepotism and double crosses and on and on and on it goes. And this is just the first two episodes.
It’s too much. Let me explain. You see, as Season Four Volume One of Dynasty begins, Alexis and Krystle are caught in a fire in a cabin…a fire someone deliberately set! Alexis (Joan Collins), the first wife of Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), and Krystle (Linda Evans), Blake’s current wife, are rivals who hate each other. But someone tried to kill them both – or did they? We get thrown several suspects in the first episode of Season Four (out April 7th from Paramount Home Entertainment). One of them is Alexis herself – what if she set the fire to dispose of Krystle and then got trapped? What about Mark, who showed up to save both women?
Then Alexis accuses her ex-husband Blake, and then her son…Adam? I think? There are lots of sons, I can’t remember which is which…at any rate, this gives us about eleven suspects, before the real attempted-killer confesses and takes his own life, resolving everything rather quickly. Even though none of the evidence makes sense when it comes to that guy being the real arsonist. But whatever, he did it, now he committed suicide, now we move on. In the meantime, Kirby is torn up worrying about her baby – you see, she is married to Jeff, but the baby is actually another man’s child, and how does she tell Jeff, or should she, and maybe it would be easier to fall off a horse and miscarry. If only it were that easy.
Then there is the tension at the Carrington business office as Alexis, from her hospital bed, pits her children against each other, and some of them go behind the backs of others to make deals, and so on and so forth. It is then revealed that Alexis drove Joseph to attempt to murder her with the fire because she was threatening to reveal to Kirby the true nature of her mother, and then someone tried to muder Alexis in the hospital, but that may have just been a bad dream, or maybe it was a second murderer, because a lot of people want her dead, because she’s a horrible bitch, but Joseph had already taken his own life so it couldn’t be him….
OK. I suspect that very few people care about the rest of Season Four Volume One of Dynasty. And those that DO care will likely not be swayed one way or another by a DVD set review by me. Really, this review serves one function only, and that is letting Dynasty fans know that their soap is on DVD today. And although I could write forty more plot points here, I have watched only the first three episodes of this DVD, because of time constraints. This show is just awful. Now I’m going to watch the final eleven episodes, because I just have to know what happened to Kirby’s baby, and whether Blake will finally accept his gay son, and whether another attempt will be made on the life of that freaky-looking old lady…the sad thing here is, I’m not even joking. This show is dreadful. And I’m addicted.
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
Download The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
“Shaken, but not stirred.”
These are the words spoken by George Lazenby, after he has used the rocket launchers on the front of his silver car (license plate JB) to save Robert Vaughn from some pursuing bad guys. I think Lazenby is actually playing James Bond in the film, but it’s almost entirely impossible to understand his brief cameo. Lazenby, of course, played Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service … in 1969. At the time of The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., 1983, Timothy Dalton was Bond. However, when the TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was on TV, Lazenby was Bond. I think that I am thinking about this far too much.
The TV movie The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. – The Fifteen Years Later Affair came out in 1983, fifteen years after the TV series had ended. The film re-teams Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as the super-spies who work for this espionage organization, U.N.C.L.E. The film comes to DVD on March 3rd from Paramount Home Entertainment. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether Lazenby is supposed to be Bond or not, because clearly Robert Vaughn, (although his character’s name is Napoleon Solo), is supposed to be James Bond. He is introduced while playing poker against some foreign bad guy, and then introduces himself to a smoking hot woman as “Solo. Napoleon Solo.”
From the beginning, I got the feeling that The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. It really is a James Bond movie, with all kinds of gadgets that are introduced at the beginning that don’t come in handy until the very end. Then there are the villains who have a nuclear bomb and a plan to extort $350 million dollars from the American government, and the spies need to disarm the bomb and catch the bad guys to save the world. The men from U.N.C.L.E. do battle with the bad guys from the equally-cryptic bad-guy agency T.H.R.U.S.H. The evil genius behind T.H.R.U.S.H. has escaped from prison after fifteen years, and so the old agents who know him are called back into active duty.
Those agents are Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Ilya Kuryakin (David McCallum), who I guess were the stars of the original series. I have never seen the original series, so I can’t compare the TV movie to the show. But I suspect the show was rather boring, simply because the stars are fairly boring. So are the bad guys. No one here has the personality of a Bond villain or a Bond hero, and yet they are doing a Bond movie. In fact, ironically, the only person who is actually interesting in this film is George Lazenby, in his bizarre thirty-second cameo. Robert Vaughn, while he is a decent actor, is a fairly bland super-agent, and his character has an irritating propensity to narrate the exact goings-on so we can follow the plot.
And the plot is alarmingly, boringly simple. The bad guys have a nuclear bomb. The good guys spy on them. The bad guys kidnap a kid to help them detonate the bomb. Then they leave the good guys, a la Bond villain, tied up below the bomb and assume that they will die in the explosion. There is a big shootout at the T.H.R.U.S.H. headquarters between the good guys (blue jumpsuits) and the bad guys (orange jumpsuits). The clothing is very convenient here. And although there is a serious dilemma at the end – should Ilya Kuryakin allow his nemesis to kill him, in order to save the world, or should he kill the bad guy, and allow the bomb to explode – it apparently is not much of a heart-wrenching decision for him.
Of course, he should kill the bad guy, who is the only person capable of disarming the bomb. That way, the bad guy is dead, and it sets up a big red-wire-or-blue-wire scenario where the world has a 50-50 chance of surviving. I guess Kuryakin was fully aware that he was in a made-for-TV movie that would end happily, and so he could afford to have no qualms about killing his nemesis. How silly. That’s the way to describe this reasonably entertaining DVD. How silly.