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
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
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
I imagine that Way Down Cellar is something of a failure since I was more interested in how Beans and Skeeter’s hapless flag football team, the Jets, finished up the season than I was in the intrigue surrounding the crabby old man who was staying in the old Burton House (the same house is also seen in For the Love of Willadean) and doing mysterious things down in the basement. It’s especially difficult to work up any enthusiasm for a bunch of crooks who get outsmarted by a couple of kids that can’t even manage to execute a simple running play during the game they get shut out of in the opening moments of the film. Continue reading
Let me disabuse you of the notion straightway that the titular treasure is anything awesome. As near as I could tell, it was mostly a bunch of crusty crap pulled up from the wreckage of an old ship. Various vases and pots that for all any of us know might have just been a bunch of leftover junk no one wanted. Did anyone confirm whether the ship’s manifest indicated it was on a voyage to the local shipyard’s giant yearly garage sale? Still, it was a bunch of baracled bric-a-bac a whole team of thieves were willing to kill for, so maybe it cleaned up real nice. Continue reading
For those hoping that The Boy Who Stole the Elephant is like an Anarchist’s Cookbook for how to make off with circus animals, you will likely be underwhelmed with little British orphan boy Davey’s scheme to spirit away his soulmate, Queenie. He simply walks out of the circus tent with her in the middle of the night! While there is a certain genius in the simplicity of this plan, he didn’t count on one thing – James Bond’s biggest toothache of them all, Jaws! Continue reading
Intensive research. Months of planning. Designing and testing cutting edge equipment. Recruiting and training an elite team of crew members. This is the bare minimum necessary when undertaking a mission of exploration into the unknown, whether it be into deep space, the bottom of the ocean or even straight into the center of the Earth. Taking a shortcut on even one of those things will almost certainly lead to disaster! Neglecting all of them? Almost certainly will lead to a cheesy period fantasy movie! Continue reading
As anyone who has watched science documentaries like Frankenstein or Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives knows, you can’t go around leaving your monsters out in the middle of a lightning storm. All it takes is one or two magic bolts of lightning and presto, you’re in the middle of a dinosaur rampage and worrying about your girlfriend getting raped by a caveman!
In its defense, Dinosaurus! attempts to be even-handed in its portrayal of recently reanimated prehistoric life, showcasing the positive side of things as well. Take little native boy Julio for instance. What boy hasn’t always dreamed of playing house with a Neanderthal and teaching him how to eat pie with a fork? Continue reading
The Luck of the Irish is a made for Disney TV movie whose preachy message of tolerance and diversity is nonchalantly tossed overboard in the final act of the movie so that its conventional fantasy movie plot of recovering a powerful object from the villains can be served.
A lame attempt to rehab things in the final scene by bludgeoning the audience over the head with the star’s ill-advised attempt to make Irish step dancing cool and in one of the more cringeworthy moments in the history of film, then having him sing “This Land is Your Land” while members of the audience join in only serves to possibly explain why you never heard of any of the actors involved ever again. Continue reading
Those of you new to this Battle Royale stuff need to check out the first one. Not because it’s necessary to understand or enjoy the second (heck, I saw the first one and I still didn’t know what was happening in this one), but because it’s a whole lot better, or at least, it’s more focused. Plus, in the first one you get lots of Beat Takeshi, while we’re relegated to about ninety seconds of Beat in cameo-flashback mode here. Continue reading