Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown was the feel bad holiday hit of 1975. It endures to this day, not as some fondly recalled seasonal special, but precisely because of it uncompromising examination of loneliness and disappointment through the lens of the one day of the year set aside to amplify all the insecurities so many people have. And also because us popular cool kids can never get enough of that blockhead Charlie Brown bringing a frigging briefcase to school for all the valentines he thinks he’s going to get! Continue reading

A Special Valentine with the Family Circus (1978)

It’s the question every parent dreads. You can read books, discuss with friends and try to be as comfortable as possible when it finally comes. But the reality is that no matter how much thought you’ve given it and how prepared you think you are , when you are finally hit with the question, invariably even the best parent is a bit flummoxed when she hears “mommy, what’s Valentines Day?” Continue reading

Pirate of the Half Moon (1958)

Finally, an Italian swashbuckler that documents the financial hardship endured by lesser nobility in medieval Europe while still delivering to the masses the all-male fetish fights that we secretly watch these movies for.

And if things are generally too talky for most of the film, at least it’s a lot of humorous whiny talk from the stingy Baron about how he can’t really afford to host the duchess or provide enough gun powder to ward off the pirates. You also really don’t mind all that talking whenever our hero Nadir (worst name ever for a hero!) is rocking a costume that looks like his pirate ship docked at the Baron’s castle on the way to a drag queen ball. Continue reading

Flight of Fury (2007)

To paraphrase Blade Runner‘s Roy Batty, I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe – a generic Michael Dudikoff movie remade as an even more generic Steven Seagal movie. Unlike Roy Batty though, my replicant ass didn’t drop dead all dramatically in the pouring rain after realizing this. And as a continuously relapsing Seagaloholic, my thankfulness for that hit Mach 5 as I watched Steve show the Dude how it is freaking done! Continue reading

Born to Raise Hell (2010)

“Evil exists in every man. While some wrestle to contain it, I find it easier to embrace it.” When Steven Seagal unleashes this mumbled voice over at the very beginning of Born to Raise Hell, you would be right to question whether the Man in 4XL Black is deadlier with his guns, fists, or the bizarre dialogue (which is at once amusing and absurd) that he is prone to spew unintelligibly throughout films that usually find him in some crud hole whose only cinematic advantage is the readily available tax breaks and/or cheap foreign crews. Continue reading

The Foreigner (2003)

Steven Seagal is one the great treasures of the cinema because no matter how terrible, low rent, dull and inept one of his films may be, he can be counted on to be completely nonplussed by it and to deliver at least a few classic moments you’ll never see anywhere else.

For instance, in The Foreigner, a muddled nonthriller as dreary as all the perpetually overcast Polish locations featured in the film, Steve somehow blows up a train station while pretending to take a whiz at a urinal while the bad guy is just standing around gawking. Damn Bad Guy, just be glad Big Steve didn’t have to go number two! Continue reading

Belly of the Beast (2003)

How did I know that Steven Seagal‘s Jake Hopper is the most coolly professional of all ex-CIA kick fu bad asses infesting Thailand? Was it because when he was informed that his daughter was kidnapped that his trademark catatonic squint never even wavered or threatened to slip into an indifferent squint? Was it because when his old friend betrayed him and was about kill him, Seagal’s response was “you’re just a trailer park bitch.”

Or maybe it was that when he was arrested after killing half of Thailand at a shoot out in a train yard, he resisted arrest by beating up the entire police station. But it also certainly could have been when he killed his old buddy after debating whether to kill him with his partner and Seagal practically yawned saying “he sealed his own fate” and then used every ounce of energy in his mountainous torso to almost shrug. Continue reading

Kill Switch (2008)

Are you tired of gearing up for your bi-monthly dose of Steven Seagal straight-to-video action movie mayhem only to find it an ugly, muddled mess about Steve being an ex-CIA agent who is forced to wreck a foreign country (which one depends on what country is offering tax incentives to shoot the film there) while dispatching various thugs, arms dealers, drug pushers, and rogue military elements as quickly as possible? With all the rapid fire headshots, neck snappings and stabbings, it’s like Steve is being forced by the ACLU or the Humane Society to put these guys out of their misery with a minimum of deadly force. It’s something akin to hiring Vincent Van Gogh to paint your house beige. Continue reading

A Family Circus Christmas (1979)

It is well known that the holidays can cause or exacerbate feelings of sadness, loneliness or depression in certain people. And it isn’t just confined to the unfortunates watching A Family Circus Christmas either. The holiday blues also has the Family Circus itself awaiting Christmas on a knife’s edge, perched precariously between the illusion of the tranquil domestic bliss depicted in the creaky, unfunny decades old comic strip and the building pressure of the repressed mental illness much of the family exhibits during this, one of its three animated forays into the holiday special genre. Continue reading

Christmas Rush (2002)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cop gets trapped in a large building battling a gang of thieves all by himself! And his wife is one of their hostages! And it’s freaking Christmas time! Wait – don’t stop me! Because another entry in the cinema’s best genre of film, the Die Hard genre, is always welcome!

Christmas Rush (also known by the generic action title Breakaway which just screams “cable TV movie no one will ever remember 5 minutes after it airs on TBS”) wisely lifts everything that made the original Die Hard not only the greasiest movie ever made, but frankly one of the crowning achievements of 50,000 years of human civilization, and adds the few cool things that somehow didn’t make it into it – a little religion and go karts! And a forklift! And a kid needing a bone marrow transplant! And most fantastically of all, an insurance company handing out a $200,000 check as a reward for Dean Cain helping to destroy their mall! Continue reading