Archive for the ‘1993’ Category
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Years: 1992, 1993
Genre: TV series, Comedy
Country: United States
Starring: Bob Newhart, Carlene Watkins, Cynthia Stevenson, Jere Burns
Guest appearances: Lisa Kudrow, Betty White, Dick Martin, Tom Poston
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Did you know that after Newhart, Bob Newhart had another show, cleverly named Bob? It’s true, he did – I just saw it! It ran in 1993 for 33 episodes, all of which are on the Complete Series DVD out April 10th from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Newhart plays Bob McKay, a cartoonist who works on a comic book called Mad Dog. He has a wife and a daughter and a bunch of very. Quirky. Co-workers. Now, I LOVE Newhart. And I think Bob Newhart is one of the funniest people of all time. But watching him in Bob is like watching Terrell Owens struggling to make the cut in the Indoor Football League. It’s depressing.
See, this is how it works. Bob will make a long speech about how his daughter is the calmest, most rational human being he has ever known and that nothing can make her freak out. And THEN, the elevator door opens right behind him, where his daughter is FREAKING OUT! Which makes his previous speech hilarious because of its proximity to Trisha’s meltdown!
And that’s it. Some of the Newhart gang make appearances here and there. A very young Lisa Kudrow guest stars as a very boring girl very reminiscent of Phoebe on Friends. And the omnipresent Betty White shows up for the second season as Bob’s boss. Actually, a whole new cast shows up around Bob Newhart for the second season. It just didn’t help. Maybe replacing all the writers would have worked much better than replacing all the actors. Cause Bob, sadly, for all 33 episodes, really and truly sucked.
P.S. Here’s a great way to tell that a series is dated, from the pre-internet days. When it has a title that is clearly not google-conscious. In order to get any information at all about Bob, the series starring Bob Newhart about the comic book and then the greeting card company from the early 90s, you pretty much have to type ALL of that in google, and then it’s still the ninth search result. If only they had seen google coming! If only they had seen their cancellation coming!
Monday, June 13th, 2011
Genre: Blu-Ray, Thriller, Drama
Country: United States
Starring: Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Terry Kinney, Wilford Brimley, Ed Harris, Gary Busey, Holly Hunter, David Strathairn, Tobin Bell, Paul Calderon, Paul Sorvino
Eye candy: Tripplehorn, Karina Lombard, Barbara Garrick
Director: Sydney Pollack
Run time: 154 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
The Firm is a solid thriller, buoyed by some excellent performances courtesy Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman. I was just thinking the other day about how disappointed I am that Hackman has retired from acting, and how sad it is that his final film was Welcome to Mooseport. He has 99 movies to his credit…why not just make one more for an even 100, and go out on a high note? C’mon Gene, we miss you!
Watching The Firm again, as it has just now been released on Blu-Ray by Paramount Home Entertainment, I rekindled my love for Mr. Hackman. But I also forgot one of the most awesome things about this movie – Wilford Brimley! The kindly old oat-monger, the friendly grandfather in so many films (Cocoon, The Natural). And in The Firm, he’s actually scary as the “head of security” for the law company. The company is an evil business enterprise affiliated with the mafia, you see, and so they hire, as their badass enforcer…Wilford Brimley! It’s amazing because it works so well.
Watching this movie now, in Blu-Ray HD, with the benefit of hindsight, there are a few dated moments – Ed Harris and the cops who try to get Tom Cruise to turn against The Firm are a little cartoonish, and the sinister control the firm exerts over its employees is heavy-handed from the start (“the firm encourages children!”) But that doesn’t take away from my enjoyment of the movie, and most of it holds up very well.
Seeing it on Blu-Ray is not a revelation, but it is certainly an improvement. A few minor technical glitches (a splotch or two, a tiny bit of light blocking) are of no real import, and the movie does look much better. The Firm is a movie full of vibrant colour, and the scenes that take place in the law offices are much clearer and sharp then before. Likewise the darker scenes, like the one where Tom Cruise is seduced on the beach by a young Karina Lombard.
One of the best movies ever made from a John Grisham novel (below A Time To Kill, above The Pelican Brief), The Firm clearly has legs. A terrific Blu-Ray transfer today, a whole TV series dedicated to the concept tomorrow. Yes, a TV series of The Firm is in pre-production, starring Josh Lucas as Mitch McDeere, and will be coming out in 2012. Until then, we have this Blu-Ray. And it’s a good one to have.
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
When The State works, it really works. The sketch in Season Two about hunting, killing and eating muppets is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Same goes for the sketch where Humphrey Bogart (as an amalgam of Sam Spade and Rick Blaine) hosts a talk show with Peter Lorre as his Ed McMahon-type sidekick. In that case, it really works because Thomas Lennon does a remarkably good impression of Lorre, who is easy to caricature but not easy to do well. (I know because I have been practising a Peter Lorre impression for Hallowe’en 2009 for about four years now, ever since my Edward G. Robinson costume went over so badly in 2005.)
However, The State does not always work. In fact, it’s more miss than hit. It’s hard for me, as a proper country-loving Harper-fearing Canadian, not to compare this sketch-comedy show with The Kids In The Hall. They are very similar shows. Just like the Kids, The State quite often makes reference to themselves as actors on their own show. Also, there are a lot of recurring bits, and men dressed in drag to play female parts. Now, I always thought that the Kids In The Hall (who dressed up in drag as female characters because all the actors were male) were making some kind of high-brow reference to Shakespearean times when only men were allowed to be actors, so they had to play the female parts as well.
Then again, I rarely watched Kids In The Hall without having altered my perception beforehand somehow. Which could explain the connection I derived between them and Shakespeare. Now that I am older and I watch television sober sometimes, I no longer remember why I thought this. Now I find Kids In the Hall to be hit-and-miss, just like The State. And after watching all four seasons of The State, I felt as though it might have been a good idea for them to add at least one more woman to the cast. The whole “guy dressed in drag to play a wife in a sketch thing” isn’t really played for laughs here, and it’s not even interesting after the fifth time. It really seems like it’s more out of convenience than anything. One more woman in the cast would have fixed that pretty easily.
And there are quite a few comedic situations where a hot chick would come in really handy. Hot chicks are a terrific comedic device – the Kids didn’t really need one, because their comedy was more often in need of a hot guy. And they could always seem to find one. There are far fewer gay-themed sketches on The State, so a really hot chick could certainly help out. Not that Kerri Kenney-Silver isn’t attractive, but she is almost always playing a totally generic wife or mother or girlfriend, and no one ever bothers to make her look good. Except in one or two sketches where it’s necessary.
There are a ton of people from this show who went on to bigger and better things once it was canceled after the fourth season. Joe Lo Truglio, Kerri Kenney-Silver, and Thomas Lennon went on to star in the far superior Reno 911. Michael Ian Black went on to co-write screenplays for movies like Run Fatboy Run, and he directed Wedding Daze. Ken Marino has appeared in a variety of movies like The Ten and Wet Hot American Summer. As a launching pad, The State was a pretty good show. As a show, it wasn’t terrific. Some of the best stuff in the Complete Series, out July 14th from Paramount Home Entertainment, comes on the Bonus Disc of stuff that never made it to the air.
The good stuff makes The State worth watching. But there is a lot of boring and bad stuff to sit through in order to get to that good stuff. Part of that is because the recurring bits are usually the worst ones. There is one called “Old Fashioned Guy” that gets pretty old, pretty fast. There is another about a character named Doug (Michael Showalter) that just never works. Then again, I used to hate that recurring “Stuart” sketch on Mad TV, and other people seemed to love that piece of crap. So there is likely an audience for the bad stuff on The State too. If you liked Stuart, you will like the bad stuff. And you should probably pick this up.
Monday, June 8th, 2009
“Everything is for sale.”
The premise of Indecent Proposal is that everything is for sale. And that’s about all the movie has going for it. The premise is interesting, in that it is a good spark for discussion. I remember many a drinking party in my youth where a discussion was sure to arise about what, exactly, one would do for a million dollars. Would you have sex with Louie Anderson for a million dollars? Would you spend a week in a septic tank for a million dollars? For a million dollars, would you fight a gorilla? And so forth. And it’s always a million dollars, which is ideal - it’s enough that you can be set for life if you use the money sparingly and invest it well. But it’s also not enough to guarantee your financial security if you want to live a high-flying lifestyle. It’s an interesting, giant, round number.
So the premise of Indecent Proposal, (one million dollars for one night with your wife) is an interesting one. However, not nearly enough time is spent on the actual pondering of that proposal. Once creepy billionaire Robert Redford offers Woody Harrelson one million dollars for sex with Demi Moore, there are a couple of speeches about morality and the relationship of sex to marriage and so forth. But none of those speeches ring true, and the couple decides, very quickly, to go for the money. So we don’t get to see much of a contemplation on their part. They are struggling for money, and of course they would take this opportunity.
So the bulk of the movie is all about the future ramifications of that decision. Even that has the potential to be interesting for a while, as there could be an interesting story to be told about jealousy and truth. Instead, we get a really, really stupid soap opera. Demi Moore is a fine actress, but just about everything her character does in the second half of the movie makes absolutely no sense. Every action she takes is virtually the polar opposite of the one her character would take, based on the personality and values the movie so painstakingly set up for her in the first half. And Woody Harrelson has little to do but mope and pout and cry.
The biggest problem with the last hour and a half of the movie (well, aside from the overly slick, soulless direction from Adrian Lyne) is that Robert Redford’s character, the creepy, power-mad, unpleasantly offensive billionaire who made the deliciously immoral offer in the first place, is given a complete pass. It turns out he is really quite nice, after all. And it turns out he is quite charming and handsome and Robert Redford, and he really does care about pretty young Demi Moore. Who has apparently lived up to that whole prostitute thing which was the basis for them first meeting. At the end of the movie, Redford gets one of the silliest cop-out scenes in a movie, when he does this Noble, Selfless act that…ah, whatever. It’s all totally sopa-opera ludicrous.
Nicely shot, so polished it gleams, Blu-Ray may be the ideal format for this movie. If you are already a fan of this movie. Indecent Proposal hits Blu-Ray June 9th from Paramount Home Entertainment, and if you are not already a fan, then you likely have good taste in movies.
Monday, May 25th, 2009
To hear the review
To hear the review
Thankfully, on Paramount Home Entertainment’s Forever Funny TV Set, there is no Walker Texas Ranger to ruin the mood. Instead, this is just a solid collection of the premiere episodes or pilots of some of the most classic comedies ever to grace the television sets of North America. I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Brady Bunch, The Odd Couple, Frasier, Cheers, and Taxi are all represented here. Now, Paramount also distributes The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Happy Days and several other classic comedies which might have made a little more sense than Frasier, in terms of old-school classics, but I love Frasier. So I won’t complain. Much. Here are the premieres, in chronological order:
I Love Lucy (1951):
“Happy Anniversary, Ethel.”
The very first episode of I Love Lucy sees Fred and Ethel fighting over what to do on their anniversary. Fred (and of course Ricky) wants to go to the fights, while Ethel (and of course Lucy) wants to go to a nightclub. Soon, the old cranky couple have decided to go sepearately, and Lucy stirs the pot by trying to find dates for her and Ethel. Of course, this makes Ricky and Fred decide to find dates for themselves, which end up being Lucy and Ethel in disguise and…well, you can guess the rest, I’m sure. We all know I Love Lucy, we all know it’s hilarious, and one of the best comedies ever.
The Honeymooners (1955):
“You wanna go to the moon? You wanna go to the moon?”
Although Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) is constantly threatening his wife Alice with phyiscal violence, he has, to my knowledge, never actually struck her. At least, not on screen. But The Honeymooners must at least present Ralph as a potential domestic abuser and a ticking time bomb of rage. As he and Ed Norton (Art Carney) split the cost of a TV set, and then fight over what programs to watch, I got the sense that Gleason was, at any moment, capable of snapping and commiting a brutal murder. And I found that hilarious.
The Brady Bunch (1969):
“Dad’s gonna take the girls’ side on everything from now on.”
I wasn’t aware that when The Brady Bunch began, Marsha wasn’t yet old enough to be smoking hot. But she was still a little girl in 1969, when the show began with a wedding. The man, you see, has a bunch of boys. The boys have a dog. The woman, obviously, has a bunch of girls. And the girls have a cat. Because men like boys and women like girls and boys like dogs and girls like cats. And they are all going to live together after this big ol’ wedding, and hilarity will ensue! In the meantime, the little kids say all kinds of cute and smarmy things, paving the way for the 80s and the Olsen twins saying “dude” on Full House. Thanks a lot, Brady Bunch.
The Odd Couple (1970):
“They think I’m a hypochondriac? That makes me sick.”
The people who made the Odd Couple TV show must believe that everyone tuning in already knows the whole concept, either from the movie or the Neil Simon stage play. And they’re probably right. I think we all know the idea. Felix is neat and anal. Oscar is slovenly and rough. And they have troubles…the premiere episode of this classic comedy introduces the weekly poker game, the Pigeon sisters who live upstairs, and the angrily tolerant dynamic between Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.
“I’m playing the horse.”
Genre: TV series, comedy, sitcom
Country: United States
Starring: Danny DeVito, Judd Hirsch, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman, Jeff Conaway
Eye candy: Marilu Henner
Creators: James L. Brooks, Stan Daniels, Ed Weinberger, David Davis
Run time: 30 minutes
DVD distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
The first episode of Taxi is a surprisingly sweet one, as Judd Hirsch runs off to attempt to re-connect with his daughter whom he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. And of course, Tony Danza is a stupid guy and a terrible boxer, Danny DeVito is a tiny little loudmouth jerk, Andy Kaufman is just learning to speak English and acting creepy, Jeff Conway is an actor who gets no roles and isn’t very good, and Marilu Henner is the smoking hot woman who just started working as a taxi driver. And they’re in New York. And that’s the show.
“A drunk? A drunk? Why, Sam was the greatest drunk there ever was!”
The first episode of Cheers introduces Cliff and his stupid and questionable facts, Norm and his apathy toward his wife, Carla and her scathing wit, Sam and his womanizing, Coach and his idiocy, and Diane. Mostly, the episode is all about Diane, who has come into the bar for the first time on her way to the airport with her soon-to be husband. He is an intellectual, of course, and he will ditch her in the bar to go back to his ex-wife. Of course. So Diane sits there and annoys everyone in the bar for hours with her snobby holier-than-thou attitude, and eventually ends up with a job there. And so began Cheers.
“My wife had left me, which was very painful. Then she came back, which was excruciating.”
The debut episode of Frasier opens with Frasier Crane on his radio program, explaining succinctly and in a neat little package why he left Boston and Cheers and moved back to Seattle for his own spinoff show. Quickly, we meet neurotic Niles and space cadet Daphne and of course Frasier’s dad Martin, who moves in with his son in the first episode. And the dog Eddie, who stares at Frasier. And Martin’s chair, which drives Frasier nuts. We don’t get to see Maris, but we know she’s a cold ice queen. And Roz is sardonic and mean, but has a heart of gold. Yep.
Monday, May 25th, 2009
To hear the review
To hear the review
It’s cool to see the premiere episodes of TV series, and learn where they began. Paramount Home Entertainment releases the Action Packed TV Set on May 26th, a single-disc DVD which features the premiere episodes or pilots of NCIS, MacGyver, Mission: Impossible and Walker, Texas Ranger. Three of these TV shows were good. And one was Walker, Texas Ranger. Which, despite being the only truly irritating series represented on this disc, is also the only one that gets a two-hour episode as a premiere. Three decent hours, and then two hours of Walker. Ugh. A brief rundown of each premiere:
Mission: Impossible (1966):
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”
The earliest show on the set, Mission: Impossible opened with an episode that introduced each of the characters and defined their roles. Cinnamon Carter (Barbara Bain) is the smoking hot femme fatale who can get men to do anything she likes. Dan Briggs (Steven Hill) is the leader – although he would prove to be a difficult actor and he did get replaced after the first season. There is the disguise man, the strong man, and the electronics man. There is a recording that gives them the mission before self-destructing. There is the memorable theme music. All of this is immediately introduced before the team gets down to the business of stealing missiles from a South American general.
“Don’t tell me you know how to make a bomb out of a stick of chewing gum.”
“Why, you got some?”
The greatest silly, cheesy show in television history, MacGyver kicked off with Richard Dean Anderson rescuing an unidentified man from some unidentified soldiers in an unidentified location. Then, he rescued some scientists trapped underground by an explosion in a lab. In the process, he stops an acid leak with chocolate bars, makes wisecracks, does a really cheesy and really long voiceover about a horse he once rode as a child, and builds a bomb using a jar of water and a cold pill. He also saves the scientists, gets the girl, and escapes from the underground lab one second before the giant missile is to be fired into the location. And so begain one of the greatest shows in all of television history. Ahem.
Walker Texas Ranger (1993):
“It is personal.”
A TWO-hour debuit episode, this one is convenient because once you’ve seen it, you never have to watch Walker again. This one has everything. Chuck Norris depositing unconscious bad guys in the bed of his pickup truck. Twice. His partner is killed by some cartoon bad guys. He goes on a mission of revenge. He is the only one who knows what’s really going to happen, and he ends up alone trying to stop the elite team of former-CIA bank robbers. The main cartoon bad guy runs out of bullets, so they close things out with a fistfight, where every Norris kick and puch is “for” someone. “This one’s for my partner…this one’s for…” You know what I mean. And the old guy keeps tagging along to help, and the sidekick rubs Walker the wrong way, and the show ends on a freeze frame that is supposed to be funny as they bond. Well, that’s it. That’s Walker. Now you never have to watch any other episode, ever.
“Get out of the president’s chair.”
The first-ever episode of NCIS is totally silly. A terrorist attack on Air Force One is foiled only by the cleverness and badassery of Mark Harmon, the only man smart enough to figure out the plot. At the very last possible second, of course. This episode features stock footage of George Bush walking around and doing stuff, and a bunch of scenes where the local cops, the FBI, the Secret Service and NCIS fight over jurisdiction at the crime scene. We are supposed to believe, I think, that the NCIS, (the navy’s forensic team) is somehow a secretive, super-elite agency that is better and smarter and tougher than the FBI and the CIA and the DEA and the…other…organizations that I can’t think of right now. But they get no respect and remain anonymous, and that’s how they LIKE it. OK, fine. But it’s pretty silly. Thank God this show got better than the pilot episode.
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
“So, would you like to have dinner one night?”
“Oh, I like to have dinner every night.”
To hear the review
To hear the review
Country: United States
Starring: Christopher Walken, Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Chris Farley, Charlton Heston, Harry Shearer, Jay Leno, Steven Tyler, Kevin Pollak
Eye candy: Tia Carrere, Heather Locklear, Kim Basinger, Drew Barrymore
Director: Stephen Surjik
Run time: 94 minutes
Wayne’s World 2, as so many sequels do, amps up everything that made the first one great – more celebrity cameos, (Drew Barrymore, Jay Leno, Charlton Heston), more silly dialogue, more hot babes (Heather Locklear, Kim Basinger, Tia Carrere), more music (Aerosmith and a huge benefit concert), bigger stars (Christopher Walken). But, like so many other sequels, more is not necessarily better. And Wayne’s World 2 is no exception. It is vastly inferior to the original movie, mostly because there is so much going on that the thing that really made the first one excellent (no pun intended) is dulled. That being the comedic timing and banter between Dana Carvey (Garth) and Mike Myers (Wayne).
When they are on the screen together, they are still as funny as ever, but they spend far too little time together in the film. We see more of Christopher Walken, Tia Carrere, and the litany of guest stars than we do of the two people who made the first Wayne’s World movie worth watching. It still has hilarious moments, and it’s still worthwhile, but Wayne’s World 2 pales in comparison to Wayne’s World. Both movies come out on Blu-Ray May 12th from Paramount Home Entertainment, and both have a behind-the-scenes feature that plays in a tiny box in the top left hand corner of the screen called “Extreme Close-Up”. Neither one is really worthwhile, and Wayne’s World 2 doesn’t even have the trailer in the special features. Not that a trailer is useful in any way.
Monday, September 29th, 2008
Alliance Films is releasing another VeggieTales DVD on Tuesday, September 30th. Where’s God When I’m S-Scared is just another VeggieTales DVD. Nothing terribly special about it, it’s just an episode about being scared at night and God helping out somehow. Because God, you see, is bigger than whatever it is that frightens you. So there is no point in being terrified of the dark, or the night, or Julia Stiles, because God can kick all of their asses. Or, at least, that’s what I learned from this. And although VeggieTales remains a little too preachy for my liking, at least it does the “good” kind of preaching. Like, everybody is worth something, and don’t discriminate, and don’t be selfish. That sort of thing. You know, the good religion. And this particular VeggieTales DVD features the best part of the show – the songs.
A few months ago, Alliance released a DVD full of nothing but the silly songs from VeggieTales. Those remain the best part of the show, and the two little episodes on this DVD are no different. A song about Daniel being thrown to the lions is particularly entertaining, as is the bizarre song about a water buffalo. There is even a special feature episode of something called 3-2-1 Penguins, which is another animated show that appears to have nothing to do with VeggieTales at all, except that it’s kinda preachy too. That one you can skip.
Manufacturing Consent. I like this man Chomsky. He could end up really being something. Out now (********8/10)
Saturday, May 10th, 2008
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media is a movie that was released in 1992, but has only now come to DVD. I have been waiting to see it in at Rogers Video for a few weeks, but it has always been out when I went in. It could well have been the same guy hanging onto it for three weeks, because there is an awful lot of stuff on this two-disc set to get through. Chomsky, for those who are unfamiliar with his work, was (and perhaps still is) the leading intellectual in the world in terms of political criticism. In Manufacturing Consent, Chomsky turns his genius toward the media, and attempts to show how media, as a corporate entity, can’t help but be biased. The film is a Canadian documentary that follows Chomsky as he put out his book of the same title in 1992. It follows through on many of Chomksy’s key points. One of the major examples of media bias he looks at is genocide. Specifically, the genocide that took place in Cambodia in the 70s. The Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot were real enemies. They were officially sanctioned enemies, they could be looked at as evil and their actions despicable, and the media (he looks specifically at the New York Times) covered those atrocities every day. While at the same time, a similar genocide was taking place in East Timor, where Indonesia had invaded, and hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered. But there was virtually no coverage at all in the American media of that genocide, because the Americans (and Canadians, in point of fact) were involved. We were both supplying weapons and supplies and ammunition to the Indonesians so that they could kill more Timorese. There was money to be made, you see.
By the way, of you can find it, a great book to read is a Canadian publication called Inside The East Timor Resistance, written by Constancio Pinto and Matthew Jardine. It contains a preface by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos Horta. You can actually read the entire thing on line here:
I think you can at least cut and paste that link. Full disclosure – my uncle published that book – but it was the first book I ever read about real things that happen to real people that affected me in such a devastating way.
Anyway, back to Chomsky. The documentary is terrific. It is very in-depth, it is three hours long, and every minute is fascinating. Yes, Chomsky is wordy, and yes, he might be a bit difficult to understand for a while, but if you pay close attention to what he is saying, he makes absolute sense. He suggests that the media, by deciding which genocide to cover, which war to cover, how to portray that war, are complicit in events such as genocide the world over. Of course if the American or Canadian people could learn on TV or in the paper how their country, and by extension themselves, were helping to eradicate an entire population, they would not stand for it. Or at least, we hope they wouldn’t. I thought I would throw this in here – there are many famous figures that show up in the film debating various subjects with Chomsky as he went on tour, and I was pleased to see Peter Worthington, then-editor of the Ottawa Sun, appear in one of those debates.
And the bonus features are a must. A retrospective on the film including a 2007 interview with Chomsky, where he reflects on the changes since the film was made. Perhaps many of us know that media have changed drastically since 1992. If not the message, certainly the mediums. Or media. Well, you know what I’m saying. I’m not Chomsky-level articulate. The best of the special features is a complete debate about the Vietnam war from a 1969 episode of William F. Buckley’s show Firing Line. Buckley, who died just a few days ago, was perhaps the most articulate and intelligent defender of the right in American politics in the media age, and watching these two intellectual titans go at each other for half an hour is an amazing thing. This DVD is worth it just for the bonus features!
The Chomsky-Buckley debate is also available on youtube:
In a bizarre way, Buckley was actually the forerunner of Bill O’Reilly, and this clip is the funniest thing I have seen on Stephen Colbert’s Colbert Report in a long time:
If you don’t rent Manufacturing Consent, I understand. It isn’t for everybody. But if you don’t watch that Colbert clip, you won’t laugh as hard as I did just now.
Saturday, May 10th, 2008
The longer the winter drags on here in Ottawa, the more people will think about packing up and moving. And where do Canadians go when they want to escape from the cold? Why, Florida of course. Of course, most Canadians who do so wait until they are quite old. Hence, the snowbirds. La Florida is about a man from Quebec (Remy Girard) who decides to make that move while he is still young enough to make some money while he’s there. This 1993 Canadian movie is just now receiving it’s release on DVD from Alliance Films. It is the story of a Montreal man who uproots his family, buys a motel in Florida near the beach, and fixes it up. In order to make his business a success, he must contend with cartoon rival motel owners. Especially one guy, who is a former enforcer for the Canadiens. This guy walks around talking evil, laughing evil, staring evil, and he has a lackey who jumps around him like that little dog used to jump around the big dog on the Looney Tunes.
Not only does this entrepreneur have to deal with rival businessmen, but he has to keep a lid on his rebellious son and slutty daughter. This girl wears next to nothing all the time, and has several boyfriends and parades herself about all over the Florida beach. She is certainly hot, but in the time I have spent in Montreal, I can attest to the fact that there are NO girls in Quebec who wear slutty clothes like this and there are NO girls in Quebec who are as flirtatious as this and there are NO girls in Quebec who would give themselves over so freely to a handsome stranger. I know this because when I was in Quebec, I WAS that handsome stranger. And I tried and I tried…well, maybe I just wasn’t so handsome.
When watching La Florida, I thought “Oh my God! THAT’s what happened to Margot Kidder!” But then I realized that it was filmed in 1993, and 15 years have passed, and Margot Kidder could still be anywhere. Another unsolved mystery. OK, for those of you who are going to tell me where Margot Kidder actually is right now, she is currently alive and well and in post-production on two films, A Single Woman and Universal Signs. Margot Kidder lives on! In La Florida, Kidder plays Vivi Lamori, the evil, conniving mother of a man who is attempting to buy out the motel from under our protagonists, the Lesperance family. There are several groups attempting to drive the family out of Florida, where motels are popping up everywhere. Lots of stuff happens, some of it funny, some of it dramatic, some of it boring.
To truly appreciate La Florida, it would be best to speak both French and English. Either way, you are going to have to deal with some subtitles. The film is in both languages, and when they speak English, the French subtitles appear on the screen whether you want them or not. And if you don’t speak French at all, the subtitles can be very distracting, since the English and French then appear at the same time, and take up half the screen whenever the characters are speaking English. There are some pretty good performances, mostly from Remy Girard, who plays the patriarch of the family, and also from Marie-Josee Croze, (seen most recently in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) who plays his daughter. She really has nothing to do in the movie except wear almost nothing and look hot…but she does it well. La Florida is tremendously Canadian, fairly generic, but has moments that are truly fun and interesting. If you’re bilingual.