Deadwood is Back in a TV Movie!

Quote from Deadwood (the show) from Jack McCall : “Should we shake hands or something, relieve the atmosphere?  I mean how stupid do you think I am?”

deadwoodDeadwood, a show about a town in South Dakota during the 1800s, ran from 2004 to 2006 for three seasons.  When it wasn’t renewed for a fourth season, I wondered what was next for Swearengen and the other characters.  Now, maybe I will get that chance.  I’m pretty sure they will address the loose ends and not leave viewers hanging.  In addition to Swearengen, played by Ian McShane, other well crafted characters will be back.  I’ll have to wait until it comes on DVD/Blu-ray, but it will be worth it.  It is projected to be released in spring of 2019.  Now, if someone can bring back Carnivàle, it will make next year even better.

 

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Movie Review: Battlefield Earth (2000)

Movie Review: Battlefield Earth (2000)

Quote from Battlefield Earth from Terl : “Well, I can assure you that I was not groomed since birth to have some cushy job that even a moron like you could perform.  While you were still learning how to SPELL YOUR NAME, I was being trained to conquer GALAXIES!  To do anything less is a disgrace to my entire family line.”

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Warner Bros.

There’s a Reason It Took 18 Years to Watch This

I’ve seen some bad movies in my lifetime, and this will go down as one of the lesser than movies I put my eyes through.  Being this is adapted from the book written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, I figured it would be a tad wacky and wasn’t expecting great cinema.  I was correct by the time the credits rolled.  This goes into the category of so bad, it’s funny and somewhat entertaining.  The movie could’ve gone through another wash cycle to get rid of the excess dirt it carried.  It had promise, but lacked the fine tuning needed to push it to the next level. There aren’t any major spoilers in this review, but there isn’t much to spoil.

L. Ron Hubbard, Planet Earth, and the Psychlos

Battlefield Earth is written by L. Ron Hubbard (book) and Corey Mandell and J.D. Shapiro (screenplay).  The fact the book is 1,050 pages long makes me believe Hubbard is a wordy writer and the screenwriters probably did not stray too far away from the dialogue either.  It is directed by Roger Christian and produced by Ashok Amritraj, Don Carmody, Anson Downs, Linda Favila, James Holt, Jonathan D. Krane, Elie Samaha, Tracee Stanley, Andrew Stevens, and John Travolta. The main cast includes John Travolta as Terl, Barry Pepper as Jonnie Goodboy Tyler, Forest Whitaker as Ker, Kim Coates as Carlo, Sabine Karsenti as Chrissy, Michael Byrne as Parson Staffer, Richard Tyson as Robert the Fox, Kelly Preston as Chirk, Jason Cavalier as Floyd, Sean Hewitt as Heywood, and Jim Meskimen as Blythe.  The MPAA rating is PG-13 for intense sci-fi action.  It is 1 hour and 58 minutes long.  It is produced by Warner Bros., Morgan Creek Entertainment, Franchise Pictures, JTP Films, Battlefield Productions, and Mel’s Cite du Cinema.  Battlefield Earth is a sci-fi movie about the battle for power between tall aliens and normal humans in the year 3000 on Earth.

Battlefield Earth is in a Class of It’s Own (Sort of)

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Warner Bros.

Battlefield Earth takes place on Earth, pretty much void of humans as we know them today.  The few remaining are hiding in order not to be enslaved by the Psychlos, tall aliens with dreadlocks.   It isn’t until one of them, Jonnie Goodboy, leaves home and searches for something, anything besides what he already knows which appears to be a boring existence.  There’s only so many campfire stories you can tell.  He is accompanied by a hunter, Carlo, and into their exploration, they come face to face with the Psychlos.  They are brought to their camp where they meet the leader, Terl, and his right hand Psychlo, Ker.  In order to land back in the good graces of his superiors, Terl must bring something to the table.  He sends Jonnie Boy, Carlo, and other slaves on a mission to find gold.  It is in Fort Knox the humans prepare for a mission of their own.  When they return to the Psychlos, Jonnie and the other slaves assert their dominance in a battle. This movie is the first half of the book.  There was supposed to be a sequel, but due to the poor ratings and low box office earnings, it was never made. 

Far Away Looks Promising, Close Up Not So Much

This movie was supposed to be a sci-fi success.  It wasn’t in many respects.  I still don’t understand what John Travolta meant by likening it to Schindler’s List.  If was supposed to have emotional elements in it, the overacting and laughable dialogue blew any chance of that happening.  Forest Whitaker and John Travolta are good actors.  Barry Pepper and Kim Coates can hold their own too, but there was little any of them could do to make it better.  I kept thinking what a waste of talent every time Whitaker opened his mouth.   The story was more bare than beefy and should have gone through another rewrite.  The repetitive middle-wipes were distracting, and it was clear there was a small budget as the special effects were neglected.  For taking place in the year 3000, certain things did not correspond.  If Earth had been stripped of its resources for a while, why would there be stacks upon stacks of gold bricks?  Wouldn’t someone have already found it?  It seemed to be added for convenience.  There had been talk of its connection to Scientology and its subliminal messages.  I don’t know much about this religion so I can’t  comment on it, but either way, Battlefield Earth missed its center target by a long shot.

Sometimes Bad Things Come to a Fitting End

I’m torn in fully recommending this movie because I feel you should give most any movie a chance.  I rate it BAD in terms of an overall production value because there was so much more that could have been done to make it better for the viewer.  If the screenwriters were told to mirror the story and not diverge from it, they made the wrong choice.  There were holes that could have been filled in to make the story stronger if it wasn’t in the original.  I’m also torn because who am I to rip into L. Ron Hubbard’s writing success because any writer who writes from the heart is a good thing.  But, revision does a story good too, and I’m guessing the book needed filler in some areas and subtraction in others.  So, yes, I do recommend this as so bad it’s a tolerable movie.  Like John Travolta emphasized, he made this for the fans and not the critics.

Pisaries Creator Rating

I rate Battlefield Earth BAD at 67%.

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10 Random Movies from My Collection

I randomly picked ten movies from my shelves.  Here they are without any order and with very short summaries.

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1

Nine (2009) is a musical drama about an egotistical Italian film director who tries to find balance with his personal and professional lives.  Daniel Day-Lewis plays Guido Contini with Sophia Loren as his Mamma.

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2

The Great White Hype (1996) is a sports comedy about two boxers, one retired from the ring and one in the best shape of his life, that come together for the big fight.  Damon Wayans and Peter Berg play the fighters.  Samuel L. Jackson plays the promoter.

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3

The Good Girl (2002) is a drama about a store clerk who has an affair with a stock boy who thinks he’s Holden Caulfield from A Catcher in the Rye. Jennifer Aniston plays the bored wife, John C. Reilly as her husband, and Jake Gyllenhaal as the boy.

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4

Machete (2010) is an action thriller about man who has been set up during an assassination.  With help from his brother, he gets his revenge.  Danny Trejo plays Machete and Cheech Marin plays his priest brother.

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5

Rat (2000) is a comedy drama about a family man, Hubert Flynn, turning into a rat.  His family has different plans for him, but it’s clear this can’t go on forever.  Pete Postlethwaite is Flynn and Imelda Staunton is his wife. 

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6

I Shot Andy Warhol? (1996) is a biography drama about the true story of Valerie Solanas who shot Andy Warhol after he ignored her requests to have her script made into a film.  Lili Taylor plays Solanas and Jared Harris plays Andy Warhol.

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7

Undertow (2004) is a drama thriller about a father and his two sons who are forced to move to a farm in rural Georgia after his wife dies.  He reestablishes a relationship with his own brother.  Dermot Mulroney plays John Munn and Jamie Bell and Devon Alan play his sons.  Josh Lucas plays Deel Munn.

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8

Casa de mi Padre (2012) is comedy western about a man, Armando Alvarez, who works on his father’s ranch and with the help of his brother hopes to bring it out of debt.  The problem is that Alvarez falls in love with Sonia and becomes the target of a drug lord.  Will Ferrell plays Alvarez, Diego Luna plays his brother Raul, and Gael García Bernal plays Onza.

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9

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) is a drama about a couple living the married life of alcoholism, bitterness and verbal fighting.  It is only fueled when they are around other people.  Elizabeth Taylor plays Martha and Richard Burton plays George.

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10

Hairspray (2007) is a musical comedy/drama about a teenager obsessed with the Corny Collins Show.  She finds herself center stage on the show and decides changes need to be made to make it more inclusive.  Nikki Blonsky plays Tracy Turnblad, John Travolta plays her mother, and James Marsen plays Corny Collins.

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Book Recommendation: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Publisher: Vintage Books

Page Number: 336

I bought this book with excitement as I heard Murakami was a great writer.  I also bought another of his books, but sort of wish I had read that first instead.  There’s nothing to compare this to since this is the only book I’ve read from him, but something was missing from it.  It’s not that it was bad because I could get through it and wanted to know what happened to the primary and secondary characters.  I had enough closure with the close-knit group of teenagers when I got to the last page, but I wanted more of the stories mentioned by Tsukuru or by the few select people he let into his life long after he left high school.  I also wanted to know more about his disturbing dreams (as he felt they were).  They sort of just sat there on the pages after a while without any real consequence to his life besides an afterthought.  It is clear the past actions he took and the decisions the group made affected him presently, but some of the dream sequences seemed to come from the left field.  I wanted to know why he was having these particular dreams.  They kept recurring for Tsukuru so it did mean something.  I wasn’t expecting Murakami to hit me over the head with the answer(s), but the dreams seemed disjointed in the sense it wasn’t tied to much of anything when the book ended.  Was he questioning his sexuality or was he trying to rein in or even deal with his sexual desires?  Some passages were so well written, and wanted more of these, but wanted less of his repetition in other places.   There was a little too much of being in Tsukuru’s head space, but there’s no denying Murakami’s ability to weave the human condition and emotions onto the pages effectively.  He was able to capture the fragility of what it means to be an outcast by someone who views himself as an outcast.  I just wanted him to go a little bit deeper in some areas especially  when it came to one of the girls from the group and a man who later became a vital source of energy in his life.  The first half of the book was stronger than the second half.  The second half offered more answers than the first.  In conclusion, I’d recommend it but be prepared for some minor disappointment in unanswered questions.

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TV Recommendation: Nurse Jackie (2009-2015)

TV Recommendation: Nurse Jackie (2009-2015)

Quote from Nurse Jackie by Zoey Barkow: “You want it?  You gotta work for it.”

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Showtime

Creators: Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky, and Linda Wallem

Major Cast: Edie Falco, Merritt Weaver, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Ruby Jerins, Stephen Wallem, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Facinelli, Mackenzie Aladjem, Eve Best, Arjun Gupta, Betty Gilpin, and Lenny Jacobsen.
As with many shows, there are many producers, directors, and writers.
Rating: TV-MA
Number of Seasons: 7
Running Time: 60 minutes
 

Edie Falco is most known for her role in The Sopranos as Carmela Soprano and recently as Leslie Abramson in the Law & Order True Crime mini series covering the Menendez brothers’ trial, but she also shined as Jackie Peyton in Nurse Jackie.  This drama/comedy centers around a New York hospital with functional staff trying to keep control over the semi functional staff including Peyton, a nurse with an opiate addiction.  She’s the classic work hard, don’t tell type of person.  She likes order and routine.  She doesn’t like chatty co-workers.  She keeps secrets.  She minimizes pain.  She loves her patients.  What makes this show so good is the writing and acting, but the interaction among the cast members is what takes the show to the next level.  They couldn’t have put together a better cast selection.  Merritt Weaver (Zoey), Stephen Wallem (Thor), and Anna Deavere Smith (Akalitus) are my favorites besides Edie Falco.  The relationships between the doctors and nurses is about as real as they come in portrayal (okay, in some respects): the failures, demands, successes, and opportunities.   Because Peyton is a highly functioning addict, much of what she views as reality can only be seen through her eyes, but she’s a damn good nurse.  She’s also a stubborn nurse with definite wants that she views as needs to keep her going.  There’s a good mixture of humor spread throughout each episode, and as the series progresses, you find yourself wondering in what ways her wall will crumble around her because no one can be that lucky.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

Nurse Jackie gets Four Fingers and One Thumb with 100%.

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It’s What I Do (Another Puzzle)

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Forbes Quotes

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Coloring: 2x2x2x2

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Book Recommendation: PoMoSexuals

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Publication Date: October 10, 1997

Publisher: Cleis Press

Page Number: 180

Here’s a nod to my days when I was in my undergrad years, living in the capital of Wisconsin and living the good life or so I thought.  I was definitely into learning about sexuality and gender.  I voraciously read anything I could get my hands onto and eyes focused on within reason.  But those days are gone (living the crazy life in my early 20s), but my thirst for going outside the lines has never really gone away or at least reading about it.   If you don’t know about Kate Bornstein or any of the writers in this anthology, here is your chance.  You need to have a general open mind when it comes to “gayness” and “gender.”  If you adhere strictly by the two sexes (boy and girl) or gender (masculine and feminine), then this book isn’t for you.  It delves into the “other” realities and thoughts adhered to and none fitting into the conventional identities.  It’s basically a postmodern book written by people living in a postmodern world.  As you can see, it’s a short book and a quick read.  Pick it up and let me know what you think.

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Monday Quote

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Movie Recommendation: Paddington (2014)

Quote from Paddington by Aunt Lucy : “Mrs. Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in.  I think she might be right – because although I don’t look like anyone else, I really do feel at home.  I’ll never be like other people, but that’s alright because I’m a bear.  A bear called Paddington.”

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Producers: Rosie Alison, Jeffrey Clifford, Olivier Courson, Alexandra Ferguson-Derbyshire, Ron Halpern, David Heyman, Ben Irving, James Joseph McDonald, Manohar Tahilramani, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein

Director: Paul King

Writers: Paul King (written), Hamish McColl and Paul King (screen story), Michael Bond (“Paddington Bear” created by)

Major Cast: Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw (voice), Imelda Staunton (voice), and Michael Gambon (voice)

Rating: PG for mild action and rude humor

Running Time: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Paddington is family adventure and comedy about a Peruvian bear that travels to London to search for a British geographer named Montgomery Clyde.  The only problem is he doesn’t know his name, and worse when he arrives to London, no one notices him.  He finally meets the Brown family in the train station, and thanks to Mrs. Brown’s persuasion, he is invited into their home.  He is now known as Paddington, and begins the task of finding who gave his uncle Pastuzo the hat he now wears.  He forms a bond with the Browns and enjoys being part of a family.  After finding clues to Clyde’s location, Paddington finds his daughter, Millicent, but things don’t go as planned.  He now has to find a way to escape Millicent’s desire to restore her family name.  The end is what I figured it would be with the rewards and punishments applied to the right characters.  I Paddington offers a considerable amount of laughs and kept my attention throughout.  The production design was also aesthetically pleasing and the acting had a crispness to it (maybe, I’m wanting an apple).  Bottom line, it’s a lighthearted movie with a bear that talks and likes to take baths.

I rate Paddington GREAT at 90%.

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Documentary Recommendation: Burt’s Buzz (2013)

Quote from Burt’s Bees by Burt Shavitz: “No one has ever accused me of being ambitious.”

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Producers: Jean Du Toit, Phyllis Laing, Isabella Rossellini, and Jody Shapiro

Director: Jody Shapiro

Cast: Burt Shavitz
Rating: NA
Running Time: 1 hour and 22 minutes
Burt’s Buzz takes a little while to get to buzzing speed, but when it does it’s a feel good (in a roundabout kind of way) documentary from start to finish.  It’s the life story of Burt Shavitz who was the co-founder of Burt’s Bees with Roxanne Quimby.  What began as a humble business in the 1980s turned into a highly profitable business by the 1990s, and was sold for 925 million dollars in 2007.  There was a weird dynamic between them as the company grew.  I had mixed feelings about Roxanne, but I couldn’t fault her for her vision of expansion.  I had even more mixed feelings for Burt because I didn’t identify with some of his personality traits and life views.  Let’s just say I’m not sure if I would’ve handled his loss as he did.  Let’s also say Roxanne didn’t need to be so greedy.  The documentary divides itself between Burt’s past and present, but always driving the point of gain and loss whether it be his love, family, money, bees, dogs, safety, and trust.  He may not have recaptured his youthful past or found the love of his life in the end, but there’s no mistaking every life decision he made was authentic.  He could’ve had the money, fame, and all that comes with it long before he created Burt’s Bees.  He parted way with it once, and maybe this is why it wasn’t as hard to imagine it not being his when it was gone the second time.  Being the face of Burt’s Bees, he continues on.  He was 80 years old when he died in 2015.  Let’s just say when I put on my hand salve, as shown below, it’s not Quimby I give the credit to for this brand.  The passion belonged to Burt and Burt alone.
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I give Burt’s Bees a rating of GOOD at 80%.

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