Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Snoreful Romance of Smug, Annoying Marry Sue
Unspeakably dull romance about a somewhat unpleasant, rather smug and judgmental Mary Sue. Basically everyone seems to find Ellis wonderful, falls all over themselves to help her or literally falls in love with her....and given how she generally seems slightly bitchy (in some cases, inexplicably so, like with the "she's awful" comment about the new girl, to whom Ellis had been the awful one)----to say nothing of, as a newlywed, she proceeds to flirt shamelessly with another man and ignore her poor husband's letters. That's an emotional affair and made me feel very sorry for both men.
T be honest, I liked "evil" Miss Kelly better than anyone else----at least, she called Ellis on her lies. Though, naturally, Ellis got all sanctimonious about it.
I'd probably give it one star, except the acting was good.
Stolen from the Suburbs (2015)
More Like 90% Fact Free
I'm giving this silliness 3 stars because it IS absolutely hilarious in how far fetched it goes, but past that we have a nearly fact-free plot, much scenery chewing and, yet again, a cautionary tale in the vein of "Go Ask Alice" (which appears to be the source these days for Lifetime Movies).
I absolutely love the bumbling, ineffective cops (and, of course, there's an unseen shady one on the force, who's able to move with magic speed to get info to Evil Boss Lady Madam Olivia D'Abo), who even after mom and faux social worker are witnesses to a freakin' murder, right after a confession of the kidnapping, still fail to do jack about the teens. Best, of course, is how one desperate mommy is able to nearly single handedly take down an international human trafficking ring....or maybe it's the endless references to "THE Syndicate". Cause apparently there's just one, and it cannot be named.
Or is it the figures concocted on the fly? "90% of the girls in juvenile hall are underage prostitutes". Really???? How strange since we routinely see police departments with case workers to help these children break free. To say nothing of the MUCH larger social service organizations that have already existed for decades.
Or maybe it's how "Anna" got the DA to "bargain it down to self defense" (because it was), but still served time for manslaughter. Ummmmm, "self defense" means you're acquitted. You go free. No charges, no time. And a girl younger than the teens in this movie could already tell you that.
Or was it the "Romeo trap", which was clearly taken straight from the bad spy novel concept of a "honey trap", back in the 1950's? Because this was easily the stupidest thing I had ever seen.
The truth is, middle class teens (or in this case, rich ones) are not group kidnapped, because their families WILL come looking for them. Maybe not in the way we've seen here, but certainly private detectives would be rich from tracking them. And this silliness, once again, did nothing to accurately depict how human trafficking in the US really does work.
In reality, most kids are the homeless runaways from bad (or at least perceived to the kid as bad) family lives described early on, because they're the easiest to prey upon. Or girls (and boys) are lured by pimps into "the game" through a slow process of manipulation, faux love, drugging etc.
Or they're young women lured from eastern European countries or developing Asian nations by the promise of employment, etc into foreign countries.
Want a real figure? Of the missing and exploited children (read under 18) who are kidnapped each year the percentage of those taken by a stranger (which this counts as) and not a family member or someone known to them is .02%. Yes, you read that right. The reason the cases we hear about make the news and receive so much coverage is precisely because they're the exception.
I'm not saying this couldn't happen, just it's HIGHLY unlikely. Oh and for the record, I watched this with MY 15 year old daughter. And she howled with laughter.
American Winter (2013)
Interesting, But Slanted and Inaccurate
I notice the other negative review is from a clearly far right poster. I am not, I'm definitely a Dem, support social programs and am fully aware of the pain the recession created. However, that said, this film was still wildly slanted, inaccurate and to be honest, most of these people were never really "middle class", even at the best of times.
How do I know this? I live in PDX and I was unemployed for an extended period of time during the Great Recession, I went on a million interviews--and I grew up very poor. I had even more difficulty because I was older (mid to late 40's) and had worked in a heavily recession hit industry (hospitality). IN fact I frequent lost jobs to vastly less experienced, much younger and hotter women. And all the subsequent jobs I've both turned down and ultimately wound up at paid significantly less than my previous one (though I now get to work from home and it's less stressful, so there are always advantages)...however...many of the points ARE still faulty:
1) The bulk of these people were never "middle class": one family lives in a trailer park; another was a family of 4 previously living on 40K in an apartment (just barely working class, IMHO), one family appeared to be tweakers; the recently widowed mom obviously wasn't middle class, because her husband's insurance policy alone would've saved her from her rapid descent into homelessness; I don't even understand the insurance issue lady because Oregon has SCHIP for uninsured kids,"terming" her employment would've made her COBRA-eligible during that period AND violated both federal and Oregon's more generous FMLA laws. The "college educated" woman was a CNA and technical college (trade school) educated. Had she bothered to research her job choice, she would've known what a mistake it was. And she never made more, even before the recession.
2) There are plenty of minimum wage, crappy jobs in Oregon. Even at the height of the recession these were available. ACS (a call center) was always hiring and never met their recruitment goals. Awful job? Sure, but it paid $$$, so there were things you could do.
3) Almost every family had other, both short and long term options available to them to avoid the destitution they all seemed to face:
a)the mom skipping meals: Ramen is 5 packet for $1, every day at Fred's. Lame meal choice? Sure, but lame beats going hungry. Her husband had the most clear cut case of a civil rights violation I've ever seen, time to file a BOLI complaint. And again, plenty of other minimum wage jobs to be had.
b) the actual previously middle class dad with the Down Syndrome kid, had parents maybe 100 miles away. Time to leave your beloved farm (that's already in foreclosure) and go live with them. Really, it might embarrassing, but it beats being homeless. Not to mention, he owed $457K on that house---even while working, how would he have EVER afforded that on $60K? Even lowish mortgage payments would've been at $4K per month----already more than his net pay.
c) Princess apartment mommy with her suburban/SAHM fantasy world: Honey, your husband never made all that much money and his unemployment (if he opted not to take taxes out until tax time) would've already been very close to his original take home pay. Had you even cashiered part time at Target, your income would've ran about the same. Not sure why she felt working was worse than taking charity or being evicted. Not to mention, plenty of people (myself and my husband included) experience such setbacks in their 20's.
I'm really not sure WHY he took a job that paid substantially less than he brought home on UI to begin with, especially since UI ran for 2 years back then (with extensions). Not to mention, 10 interviews is NOTHING!
d) CNA Mommy had chosen her career----and I would've worked a second job in her situation.
e) Hospital Mom: talk to the hospital social worker. It's their job to help you with this and work this out. In Oregon we have SCHIP, other catastrophic coverage, etc. Not to mention there are grants, etc to cover just that. Or simply declare bankruptcy. Plenty of options there----and the hospital would've worked with her to find them.
f) Former VW finance dude: you're fully qualified to sell cars or even be a finance manager (the best paying job in the dealership). Again, yes they were hiring during this time frame. And again, if it worked out better for you to collect UI (I do get that), why wasn't your wife working? Back when most wives stayed home, they did go work to supplement the family income during periods of the breadwinner's unemployment. Because instead of living a soccer mommy fantasy, they looked to keep their family afloat. Nowadays, most moms DO work, yet this piece picked primarily non-working moms and portrayed them as victims. Very non-feminist.
G) Widow mom and son were eligible for survivors' benefits, emergency housing, etc--not to mention, most jobs carry some sort of minimal life insurance for free. I get that she was completely devastated, but again, the well being of my child would be my first priority.
BTW, the bulk of this wasn't even shot in PDX, but clearly Clackamas County---which is, ironically, largely Republican. And I bet you most of these people previously voted Republican.
Something to Talk About (1995)
How is This Feminist?
I know Callie Khouri thinks she's this huge feminist, but as one, I'm always mystified as to how she arrived at that conclusion. I've never seen Thelma and Louise, but I do watch Nashville (though it's already lather, rinse, repeat and the first season isn't even over!) and I've also seen Divine Secrets (also, just god awful).
All three vehicles have verrrry similar elements and a lot of elements seem more like the plot lines of a 1950's pot boiler, not something reasonably modern (and I was turning 30 in 1995, so yeah, I "get" the time frame of this film).
Each one features a whiny, spoilt, Southern (usually) Daddy's girl who remains in whatever small community she and her family are near royalty in. Despite the fact that she either hates it there or is at least deeply frustrated by it. This, of course, shows how "sensitive" our heroine is (actually it shows that she can't poop or get off the pot).
She also generally is only able to TRULY love her high school sweetheart (weird since Khouri is on her second marriage, to someone she didn't meet until late in life). She also has deep regrets about not being able to achieve her girlhood dreams, even though it's typically something with relatively few obstacles, fairly modest and well, sometimes just life for us mere mortals.
In the film Julia/Grace wanted to be a large animal vet and didn't have that much school left to achieve this. She dropped out because she was pregnant and had to get married. But unlike the typical Southern woman, who would now sadly toil at Walmart or Piggly-Wiggly, Julia works for Daddy, managing his fancy stables.
Although she "doesn't have time" to return to school (even though somehow I suspect Daddy might be a fairly flexible employer in the scheduling department), she does have time to be an active Junior League Member. Not to mention, she's still able to work around large animals and care for them. She just isn't a vet.
Really, very little happens other than everyone chewing scenery and infidelity coming out all over the place. In the end, Julia goes back to Vet school (how she's now able to do this on one income, and move into her own pad with her daughter is never explained, I'll just guess, Daddy).
She also takes back pathologically serial cheater Dennis Quaid. Why? Basically cause they dance sexy to Bonnie Raitt in front of everyone (even though a way nicer, cuter dude wants her, but he, of course isn't her high school twu wuv) and he fixes her a nice dinner.
Yeah, that's some serious lady empowerment, there!!! Just be pretty, have a rich daddy and ultimately forgive that loser and your life will go from crap to awesome!!!
The Runaway (2010)
Good Acting and Visuals, Silly "Epic" Twu Wuv
Like many British period pieces, the acting here is really, really good. I also give max points on the stunning look and feel of the piece---but it still isn't enough to elevate this above its status as a weak, clichéd soap opera with largely cardboard characters. Or the fact that the epic love story is a complete Wuthering Heights rip off (with a fair amount of Dickens thrown in for good measure).
And much like Wuthering Heights, I'm never sure WHY I'm so meant to root for such an unlikable, entitled pair (okay, Cathy is fairly sympathetic, Eamon's a full on sociopath. Or why a sad childhood, meagerly sharing sparklers while their evil parents mistreat them translates to The Great Love as adults (a psychiatrist would see more arrested development than anything else).
While I get a drag club isn't the most family friendly arena in which to grow up, Desrae is truly the loving, caring mother Cathy never had. Yet I get the impression we're supposed to feel she's evil for keeping the glorious lovers apart, even after Eamon brutally assaulted Desrae just "cause". Cathy even turns against Desrae when she finds out.
In other words, it's an entertaining. glitzy (though not especially gritty) soap opera, with some stylized, somewhat gratuitous violence thrown in for good measure.
A Christmas Wish (2011)
Sweet movie, but it isn't 1925
I'll give it a 4, because I DID cry and the little boy was an excellent actor (his stammering just broke my heart). That said, it's A) completely derivative and B) ignores a whole bunch of options open to the destitute mom.
First the unoriginal part: Hallmark Hall of Fame themselves already basically did the same movie 12 years ago starring Carla Guigino called "A Season of Miracles". Single, impoverished caretaker of sweet, scraggly moppets? Check. Wonderful small town full of warm hearted people who only want to help? Check. Car problems she can't afford/have her stranded? Check. Perfect hawt lawman love interest? Check. Minimum wage job that she's grateful for and somehow provides for them all? Check. Christmas/Jesus last minute miracle? Check.
Except at least in "A Season", Carla's on the run from DHS with her niece and nephew, so you understand why she's hiding in a tiny town and not looking for any assistance. In Martha's case, it just makes zero sense.
As an abandoned mom, she has an entire litany of services available to her. She is precisely WHY there are programs like TANF, WIC and Food Stamps. While I admire her independence, I'd have swallowed my pride really fast to keep my kids fed and housed. It's always meant to be a hand up, not a hand out--and clearly she was in dire straights.
Instead of wasting precious gas and subjecting my kids to such uncertainty, I would've sucked it up and visited my local DHS office. Where they also would've been able to offer me job training or placement assistance. And provided Early Head Start Care for the youngest (who acted like she was about 18 months, NOT 3). With three kids, she would've been placed at the top of the list for housing, as well.
My next visit would've been to the courts (which any DHS social worker, also could've helped me with). Sorry, but fathers don't get to just run out on their kids and then get divorces within a week---totally free of responsibilities. She should've been receiving child support from her first husband for her older daughter, as well.
Even if this hadn't been the case, once her kids were enrolled at school again, they would've automatically qualified for free breakfast and lunch---and school officials would've directed her to social services, as well.
Instead we saw this silly, Republican fantasy in which the government is evil ("sorry, I had to take out taxes" says Tess Harper. Except with three dependents, earning minimum wage and taxes being so low now, anyway that wouldn't have been much at ALL), but the church and others will provide for you. Except in real life, she'd just work at the local Walmart and watch her life slip away.
Also, Kristy Swanson, at 42, was waaaaay too old to portray someone who should've been 30 or younger.
And lastly, since everyone so wanted to help her, when she was gonna be tossed out, why didn't someone just say, "hey you can stay with me for awhile"???
Star Maps (1997)
Like Porn, Only Depressing and All the Good Stuff Cut
I do wish Hollywood would realize that just because a film is about sex and has a sad ending, doesn't mean it's deep, artistic or even close to good. I say this film is like porn because rarely does the acting rise above the level of a porno.
Standout bad actress is Kendeyce Jorden (even her name is like a porn star's), who while quite pretty, gives a flatter delivery than an elementary school play---all the smaller parts are just beyond wooden. The actor playing Pepe tries to make up for it by chewing away every last inch of scenery in his scenes. Spain is meh, at best.
Even the sex is utterly eewwy. I was reminded of the episode of Absolutely Fabulous where after Patsy hires some rent boys for an orgy, Edina realizes she doesn't just not want to have sex with them, she doesn't even want them to sit on her furniture. I also found Jennifer's calm, brazen flaunting of her boy toys very hard to believe. Like TMZ wouldn't have been stalking her over THAT!
There are quite a few comments here about Spain's "beauty", I found him sleazy and could only see him appealing to a pedophile. Ironically, the two most physically attractive people were Maria (who's good, but hinted towards being a bit uptight from creepy Daddy) and "nerdy" (he was actually quite handsome) Fred.
So in all, a film basically as an excuse to showcase a lot of sex and bad acting. What could be an excellent, complex character study is simply a turd.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
Ham, Cheese and Mucho Male Fantasy
I strongly suspect either Mrs. Irwin Allen was considerably younger than Mr. Irwin Allen or he at least wished that were the case because except for Manny Rosen (whose wife is the same age and chubby, but incredibly saintly), every guy has a waaaay younger, waaaay hotter lady hitting on him. Two of them sporting hot pants, no less! Not only do studly macho men like Red Buttons, Ernest Borgnine and Gene Hackman have women 20+ years their junior to rescue and comfort, but they get to chew lots of scenery. While spouting lots and lots of self-righteous, pompous dialogue. What more could a middle-aged to old man ask for? I honestly would have preferred (and believed) Roddy McDowel paired with Carol Lynley. Though Roddy was only 9 years younger than Red, Roddy looked like he was 30 years' Red's junior, his character had already spent time gazing dreamily at Carol Lynley's "Nonnie" (was that meant to be some swingin' singer name?)and they actually had chemistry together (Carol and Red didn't do such a hot job of hiding their mutual dislike).
I found the references to Stella Stevens' hooker past hilarious. Guys "looked familiar". Really??? She remembered her tricks from her street walking days? And they remembered her? This was especially entertaining when she talked about a "young officer" who looked familiar. If he was young and this was recent, why was he paying for your rapidly whithering butt, Stella (sorry, but she was 36 at the time and looks at least 10 years past that)??? And if this was more of a distant past thing, then I'm sure he doesn't remember you and eeeewwww, child molestation.
I also loved how hip, radical Reverend Gene always wore his turtleneck and jacket---lest you forget he was a hip, radical reverend (or maybe he just wanted to be Banacek).
All in all, entertaining in a campy, silly, overacted to the max way.
Now and Then (1995)
Sloppy Production Values and Continuity, BAD Acting from the Adults
Okay, all 4 younger actresses are quite engaging, likable and amazingly unaffected---they can even almost sell me on the "Stand by Me" plot rip off (or what passes for a plot). I don't mind sweet, small town retro (that never really existed) and I am a feminist, so girl power is fine by me.
BUT...it still doesn't cut it. For starters, all the homes exteriors are unquestionably mid-80's/90's style homes. EVERY house should have been a split level or a ranch (I grew up in exactly that type of sub division). While the interiors are overall more accurate,. houses that small wouldn't possibly have such large interior rooms. Teeny's room has painted art deco furniture---fashionable in 1995, NOT 1970 (and Teeny appears to be the wealthiest of the group). Really, couldn't they have borrowed "The Wonder Years" set? The other thing is the truly, utterly horrible acting from the adults. Rita Wilson portrays Chrissy as fully mentally unbalanced. Keeps her home exactly the way her mother had it decorated??? Races around like a shrill harpy??? I kept waiting for someone in a white coat with a net to come and take her away. Yes, she could be nerdy and traditional--that doesn't equal totally crazy.
Since they're also all 37 now, it doesn't hold water on that level (they all still act twelve, with apologies to 12 year old). Unless she had serious fertility problems, Chrissy would have wanted to get pregnant the second she got married. Athletic, cute Christina Ricci turns into fat, ugly Rosie O'Donnnel??? And Melanie Griffith (more like 18 in 1970) is already far too old, and simply horrible.
In all, if nothing else is on, watch it. But it isn't even fun in a campy way.
Grease 2 (1982)
So Bad It's ALMOST Good!!!
Much to the distress of my husband, I watched this entire train wreck last night and still found myself eerily entranced by it. In many ways, it's a shame that it IS so bad, the choreography is actually quite good (though frequently lost to very bad edits), with some very good dancing by the extras (much like the original, no less).
But of course, that can't save horrible acting, tuneless songs (of which there are FAR too many) and an absurd "plot". And I don't even mean how Michael becomes a cyclist who out rides guys with years of practice under their belt in less than six months, either. Cause even THAT'S not nearly so unthinkable as: A) the teasing Stephanie is subject to over Michael's crush. Granted, he's a "nerdy bookworm", but he's clearly an incredibly handsome nerdy bookworm, while the "cool guys" are all dorky looking and acting---making one wonder if perhaps ALL the Pink Ladies need glasses.
B) totally hot twin cheerleaders are portrayed as icky prisses that no guy wants----but disheveled Stephanie (and yes, I do consider Michelle to be a very beautiful woman, just not in this movie), in a greasy sweatshirt has every boy panting wildly---as do the other, plain at best, Pink Ladies.
C) That anyone could buy any of the pushing 30 actors in this thing as "teens".
But past that, it's strangely compelling--and fun to watch in a heinous, "Saved by the Bell" kind of way..
WTF was THAT???
I will confess I never (though I lived in NYC at the time) saw this on Broadway--and despite quite a few protests that the stage version was better, while it certainly couldn't have been WORSE, I can't imagine much improvement with those craptacular songs.
Ironically, I would've been Bohemian-ish (at least somewhat) at the time this was set and I would've have nothing but contempt for a group of pretentious slacker junkies who couldn't be bothered to do SOMETHING to support themselves ethically. I also hung out in the East Village at the time...11th and Ave A was fully gentrified at least 6 or 7 years BEFORE this silliness even takes place. One of the first trendy restaurants, The Pharmacy (located at A and 9th) was well established by 1982, for crying out loud! Very few true struggling bohemians could afford the East Village by 1989.
I found nearly every character thoroughly loathsome and painfully dim, as well. The only one I could stomach was Joanne, probably because really, she was largely an outsider and she had an actual gasp job!!!! Which she did without issues!!!
Other things I found just repugnant: it was twice treated as completely hilarious that Angel killed a dog for $1,000. Akitas are LOVELY dogs, and animal abuse is sick and gross; Pseudo Bon Jovi was a recovering addict, yet everyone was overjoyed when he and perpetually jonsing Mimi become a couple--and given it was a previous girlfriend that had gotten him hooked in the first place--Maybe NOT such a good coupling; I noticed as they all patted themselves on the back at the bar (I frequented the real one, it looks nothing like that inside)for their avant garde status, they were completely loathsome to the wait staff...dudes, chances are the servers are boho, too---THEY just take responsibility for their lives. I bet all those %#@* don't tip, either.
I rented this movie, since the awful (and yet still too kind) reviews kept me from wasting my $$$ at the theater. I want my $3.79 rental fee back, though.
P.S. there was one OTHER character I did like, the homeless lady who told pompous, pretentious Mark and his junior high film project to %$&* off.
Just watched this last night and WOW!!!! What insight---the fashion industry uses and discards models (and really others in its employ) like dirty Kleenex AND heroin is BAD for you!!!! Gosh, next thing I'll hear that Abraham Lincoln and Geroge Washington are dead! The only interesting thing about this film is how an untimely death can make someone an icon in our culture: I was born 5 years later than Gia and devoured fashion magazines while she was supposedly the "top" model and never heard of her---so really, not the "super" model she was portrayed as---her fame (much like James Dean's) comes from dying. At the time, Esme Marshall (also dark haired and breaking the "mold")was on far more covers and you'll find no web pages dedicated to her, no wistful lingering on her tragic, lonely pain.
The film itself---plodding, pointless and I personally DON'T think Jolie is all that in it. For nudie thrills---just rent a porno. For a more accurate and well acted take on heroin addiction (and how people who use it are stupid losers), try "The Panic in Needle Park"