CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: JINGLE ALL THE WAY

CAST

Arnold Schwarezenegger (Predator)
Sinbad (American Dad)
Phil Hartman (Small Soldiers)
Rita Wilson (The Bonfire of The Vanities)
Jake Lloyd (Star Wars – Episode I)
Martin Mull (Killers)
James Belushi (Red Heat)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)

Howard Langston is a workaholic mattress salesman with no time for his wife, Liz, and his 9-year-old son, Jamie — especially when compared to next door “superdad” divorcee, Ted Maltin, who continually puts Howard in a bad light. After missing Jamie’s karate class graduation, Howard resolves to redeem himself by fulfilling Jamie’s ultimate Christmas wish: getting an action figure toy of Turbo-Man, a wildly popular TV superhero. On Christmas Eve, Howard sets out to buy a Turbo-Man doll at a store, telling Liz that he already has one at work that he must retrieve.Along the way, Howard meets Myron Larabee, a postal worker dad with a rival ambition, and the two soon become bitter competitors in their race for the action figure. During his search, Howard runs his car into the parked police motorcycle of Officer Hummel, who earlier pulled him over and gave him a ticket. After several failed attempts to find the toy in a store, Howard attempts to buy a Turbo-Man from a Mall of America Santa, who is actually the leader of a band of counterfeit toy makers. When he accuses the Santa of undermining the values of Christmas (having been ripped off and sold a defective toy that falls apart the moment he opened the package), Howard ends up in a brawl with the gang. He narrowly escapes when the police raid their warehouse and gets out by posing as an undercover detective using a toy badge.Later, Howard arrives at Mickey’s Diner and uses their phone to call home. As he tried to get a hold of Liz, he unintentionally scolds Jamie on the phone over Turbo-Man. Jamie, in turn, rebukes his father about how he never keeps his promises, and hangs up. Liz overhears the argument and becomes disappointed in her husband. Howard then encounters Myron at the diner. As they sat down and talk, Myron tells Howard about the time when his father was unable to get him a Johnny Seven OMA toy on Christmas. They hear on the KQRS radio station that there is a trivia competition in which the winner will receive a Turbo-Man doll. They rush to the studio, with Howard breaking the door to the recording booth, under the impression that the DJ has a Turbo-Man doll in the studio. After Myron threatens to blow up the studio with a package he claims is a mail bomb, he and Howard find out that whoever wins the competition will get a doll “eventually.” The package is revealed to be a music box. The police, led by Officer Hummell, arrive in the studio, and Myron bluffs the police into backing off by threatening them with another “mail bomb,” allowing him and Howard to escape. Hummell confidently rips open the package and it explodes, leaving his face covered in soot.After his car is stripped by thieves, Howard is ultimately forced to return home empty-handed. Outside his home, he sees Ted in his house placing the star on his tree. In anger, Howard breaks into Ted’s house and steals the Turbo-Man doll from under his tree. He realizes that he is stealing from a child and changes his mind. He is attacked by Ted’s pet reindeer, accidentally setting one of Ted’s decorations on fire, and kicking it out the window trying to stamp it out, drawing the attention of Ted and Liz. Liz, having had enough, leaves with Jamie, Ted, and his son Johnny to the local Christmas parade; Howard follows, aiming to make amends.At the parade, Ted makes a pass at Liz and she hits him with a thermos of eggnog. Howard witnesses Ted’s actions from a distance, and on his way to confront him, he runs into Officer Hummel, spilling his hot coffee all over him. Howard runs and Hummell chases him, and Howard enters a room where he is mistaken as the replacement actor for Turbo-Man. As the “real” Turbo-Man, he presents the coveted limited-edition Turbo-Man doll to his son. Before he recognizes his father, Jamie is chased by Myron, who has dressed as Turbo-Man’s arch enemy Dementor (having caught, tied up and gagged the real actor). As the crowd assumes this is all part of the show, Howard attempts to rescue his son by utilizing the Turbo-Man suit’s equipment.Howard catches Jamie as he falls from a roof and reveals himself to his son. Officer Hummell gives the doll to Jamie, then asks Howard (as Turbo-Man) to join the police force, saluting him. Howard turns and reveals himself and Hummell is dumbfounded, as Howard apologizes for all the trouble. Myron is arrested while ranting about having to explain his failure to get the Turbo-Man toy for his son. Jamie decides to give the doll to him, telling Howard that he has “the real Turbo-Man at home.” Later, Howard puts the star on the top of his tree and celebrates Christmas with Jamie and Liz. Liz commends Howard for everything he’s done just to make Jamie happy, and then asks Howard what he got her for Christmas. Howard stares in shock at the camera before the fadeout.This film shows the insanity of Christmas. Two parents, who waited untill the last minute to buy a popular gift for their child, spend all of Christmas Eve trying to come up with the toy. They were vicious and violent with each other in their efforts to secure the piece of plastic junk for their little darling. This picture shows just how goofy people act at this time of year. Instead of preparing, most folks wait till it is too late; all in the name of Christmas spirit.  How true of real life. A funny movie on one hand, a tragedy on the other. Look and learn.

Advertisements

REVIEW: MELISSA & JOEY – SEASON 1-4

 

MAIN CAST

Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina: TTW)
Joey Lawrence (Blossom)
Taylor Spreitler (Amityville: The Awakening)
Nick Robinson (Jurassic World)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lucy DeVito (Girls)
Elizabeth Ho (Fifty Shades of Black)
Megan Hilty (Shrek The Third)
Rachel G. Fox (Dream House)
Scott Michael Foster (The Pact 2)
Chris Brochu (The Vampire Diaries)
Christopher Rich (Boston Legal)
Anya Monzikova Iron Man 2)
Joel McKinnon Miller (Super 8)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Gregg Sulkin (Runaways)
Cody Linley (Sharknado 5)
Rita Rudner (The Wrong Guys)
Trevor Donovan (Savages)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Sterling Knight (17 Again)
Sadie Calvano (Mom)
Jada Facer (Henry Danger)
Brooke Burke (The Wraith)
Matthew Lawrence (Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad)
Kevin Fonteyne (Sun Records)
Hayley Erin (General Hospital)
Greer Grammer (The Middle)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves ryamond)
Ian Reed Kesler (Birds of Prey)
George Wyner (Spaceballs)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Andrew Lawrence (Bean)]
Meaghan Martin (Mean Girls 2)
Vivia A. Fox (Independence Day)
Lesliee Grossman (The Neighbours)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Debi Mazar (Batman Forever)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
John Ross Bowie (The Big Bang Theory)
David Lascher (Sabrina: TTW)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
John Ducey (Bones)
Alimi Ballard (Dark Angel)
Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie)
Marla Sokoloff (Fuller House)
Elizabeth Berkley (Saved By The Bell)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Community)
Mo Gaffney (That 70s Show)
Sean O’Bryan (London Has Fallen)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Elisa Donovan (Sabrina: TTW)
David Starzuk (Veronica Mars)
Danny Woodburn (Bones)
Jessica Barth (Ted)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Zeo)

Mel Burke is having trouble with her niece, Lennox. As she tries to juggle being a councillor and a guardian, she gets a little overwhelmed. Her assistant, Rhonda, suggests she get a nanny. Mel is hesitant to do so until she finds out Lennox wrote a poem about her principal, Miss Lunt (Vernee Watson), that wasn’t so nice. Mel relents and decides to hire a nanny. Before leaving for a meeting, Joseph “Joe” Longo knocks on her door. He apologizes for an outburst and asks if she can get him a job. Mel realizes he was the head of her brother-in-law’s company. (It is mentioned that her brother-in-law ran off leaving the company in disarray and it is implied that he ran off with the millions Joe made for him and left his wife to take the blame. The result is her being in federal prison and the reason for the children having to stay with Mel.) She explains that there is a hiring freeze downtown so she can’t get him a job. Joe then offers to be her new nanny. Joe takes Ryder to school so Mel won’t miss her meeting. Mel comes home later to take Lennox to school so she can apologize to Miss Lunt. If she doesn’t apologize, Lennox cannot go back to school. Mel finds that Ryder is still at home and Lennox is gone. After leaving, Joe sees an online posting from Lennox and realizes she is on the roof. He convinces her to go eat her “big bowl of stink” instead of letting Mel eat it for her. Mel comes back impressed until she finds out Joe paid Lennox fifty dollars to go to the school and apologize to the principal. They later decide to give him a try being the nanny.This show has a bit if everything. Witty humour. Not so witty humour. Moments of nostalgia for those of us who loved Melissa Joan hart in Sabrina and Clarissa explains it all. But this show also has moments of real emotion that stop you in your tracks for a second and keep you gripped to the underlying story lines. Each character has their own quirks and as you get to know them you really begin to appreciate the level of detail the writers have gone to in order to keep the characters alive and interesting.

REVIEW: EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

CAST

Dane Cook (Good Luck Chuck)
Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Dax Shepard (Zathura)
Tim Bagley (The Mask)
Andy Dick (2 Broke Girls)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Harland Williams (Wag The Dog)
Efren Ramirez (Gamer)
Danny Woodburn (Bones)

For years, Zack Bradley (Dane Cook) has been working at the local “Super Club” as a box-boy. He lives with his grandmother and spends his free time with co-workers Lon Neilson (Andy Dick), Iqbal Raji (Brian George), and Russell Porpis-Gunders (Harland Williams). Despite his “slacker” like ways he is kind-hearted, popular and supportive. His coworker Vince Downey (Dax Shepard) earns the Employee of the Month title for the 17th time in a row. Vince is egotistical and rude towards his co-workers, mainly his box boy Jorge Mecico (Efren Ramirez), who he berates constantly. His co-workers dislike him, but he is oblivious to this. When new cashier Amy Renfro (Jessica Simpson) is hired, Zack and Vince fall for her and compete for her affection. Zack is told that Amy slept with the “Employee of the Month” at her last job, so he decides to win the title. Amy has dinner with Vince, but is repulsed when he puts the move on her. Vince doesn’t realize how Amy feels, thinking they had a good kiss and continues pursuing her. Zack steps up his act and becomes a harder worker, giving Vince competition for the title. He also goes on a date with Amy, which takes place entirely in Super Club.Within a few days, with Vince still winning the daily star, Zack realizes that getting “Employee of the Month” is not as easy as he thought. With Iqbal’s encouragement, Zack finds his groove and to Vince’s horror, wins the star the next day. A war of attrition begins, as Vince tries everything he can think of to derail Zack’s string of stars, even breaking into his house to reset the clocks and cause him to be late. Zack barely arrives on time and Vince’s attempt to sabotage him is unsuccessful. Zack takes Iqbal’s shift on the day of a championship slow-pitch game against rival chain Maxi-Mart. However, he leaves to play in the game and Iqbal is fired. Frustrated at Zack’s new attitude, his friends tell him he is turning into Vince and feel his attempt at getting the title is a result of trying to have sex with Amy. Amy overhears the conversation and is disgusted at Zack for his true intentions. Amy tells Zack her last boyfriend, who was Employee of the Month, was conniving, conceited and impolite which was why she requested a transfer because she could not stand being with him.157_4At month’s end, Zack and Vince are tied. On the day of the tie-breaking competition, Zack quits, gets Iqbal his job back and tells him he took responsibility for what happened, making a heartfelt apology to Lon, Iqbal, and Russell. Zack tells them he plans to win the competition, not for recognition or to make an impression, but for pride. When the store manager is about to announce Zack’s resignation, Zack, Lon, Iqbal, and Russell show up claiming Zack never filed the resignation papers. It is revealed Russell bribed the human resources manager with a broken Butterfinger. Zack tries to reconcile with Amy, giving a heart-felt apology and telling her that no matter what, he is a better man because of her. Despite Vince’s protests, the competition, for the fastest checkout, is held. The Employee of the Month Award will be granted to the person who finishes the task first.Employee-of-the-Month-dax-shepard-31245685-2249-1500Vince beats Zack by seconds, but during the award ceremony, Semi (Marcello Thedford), the security guard, brings a surveillance video of the competition that shows Vince throwing items behind his back and onto the belt without scanning them. Vince denies the allegations of under-ringing. The store’s assistant manager, who had just completed an audit of the tills used in the competition, proved the surveillance video was right about Vince giving customers free things and has been doing this for 18 months, costing the store thousands of dollars. When security tape footage is shown and his register receipt totals proved he cost the store money, Vince is fired and required to wear a police tracking device in lieu of jail time. Zack ends up winning the competition having the second most points and Amy’s love. Six weeks after Vince is terminated from Super Club, he is on probation and working at Maxi-Mart, a rival store. Jorge finally learns to assert himself and treats Vince the same as he was treated by Vince. He is still willing to give Vince a ride to the bus stop, knowing that this would put Vince outside the range of his probation leg-tracker.290449-16583-clp-950Great movie, good laughs! I’d watch it again. There are some little twists to some parts of the movies and the end is alright, could be better though. Over all a very funny movie.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)

CAST

Megan Fox (New Girl)
Will Arnett (Blades of Glory)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Tohoru Masamune (Inception)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
Minae Noji (BItch Slap)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Taran Killam (Ted 2)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy)
Derek Mears (Friday the 13th)
Johnny Knoxville (Men In Black 2)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Noel Fisher (Agent COdy Banks)
Jeremy Howard (The Haunted Mansion)
Tony Shalhoub (Addams Family Values)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Malina Weissman (Supergirl)

Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014April O’Neil, a reporter for Channel 6 Eyewitness News in New York City, investigates a crime wave by a group of criminals called the Foot Clan. At a dock at night, she sees the Foot raiding cargo containers. After an unseen vigilante attacks the thieves, April notices a symbol left behind. April’s supervisor Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg) and her coworkers are oblivious to her story. Later while covering a charity event thrown by Sacks Industries, April expresses gratitude to the company’s CEO Eric Sacks, who was her late father’s lab partner. Frustrated by the vigilante, the Foot Clan’s leader Shredder has the Foot Soldiers take hostages at a subway station in order to draw him out. April, at the scene, becomes a hostage herself. Four mysterious figures arrive, take out the Clan, and free the hostages. April follows them to a rooftop and is confronted by four anthropomorphic mutant turtles, causing her to pass out. When she regains consciousness, they advise her not to tell anyone of them. As they leave, April hears Raphael and Leonardo’s names.  April returns to her apartment and remembers “Project Renaissance”, her father’s science experiment, which involved four turtles named Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and a mutated rat called Splinter. Unable to convince Bernadette of the Turtles’ existence, April is dismissed. Her coworker Vern Fenwick drives her to Sacks’ estate where she confides in him about her discovery. Sacks believes her and reveals that he and April’s father had been experimenting on a mutagen created to cure disease, which was thought lost in the fire that killed her dad.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014
At Splinter’s behest, the Turtles bring April to their sewer lair. Splinter explains April had saved them all from the fire and freed them into the sewers. The mutagen caused the five of them to grow and develop humanoid attributes. Splinter took on the role of their father, using April’s father as an example. After finding a book on Ninjitsu in a storm drain, he proceeded to teach himself, then the Turtles, in the fighting style. When April reveals she told Sacks about her discovery of the Turtles, Splinter informs her that Sacks turned on her father and killed him.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014
Then, Shredder and the Foot Soldiers attack the lair, defeating Splinter and incapacitating Raphael while the other Turtles are captured. April comes out of hiding and she and Raphael plan to save the others. At Sacks’ estate, he has the Turtles’ blood drained in order to create an antidote to a deadly virus that Sacks hopes to flood New York with, believing he will become rich from people seeking his cure. Raphael, April, and Vern storm the estate and free the other Turtles. The group then escapes the compound in pursuit of Sacks.
Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014
On a radio tower in the city, Sacks and Shredder plant a device that will flood the city with the virus while Sacks is preparing to convert the mutagen to healing factor. April and Vern subdue Sacks in the lab, while the Turtles battling Shredder on the roof. During the fight, the tower’s support beams collapse. As the turtles try to keep it from falling and infecting the city, April confronts Shredder with the mutagen. In the struggle, the tower collapses and the Turtles pull April onto it with them, while Shredder falls to the street and is confronted by police. Believing they are about to die, the Turtles confess their secrets, while Raphael gives an impassioned speech of his love for his brothers before they land harmlessly on the street. They vanish before the humans find them and return to the sewers, where they give Splinter the mutagen and he begins to recover. Sometime later, April meets with Vern, who tries and fails to ask her on a date. The Turtles appear in a special modified “Turtle Van”, and Michelangelo accidentally blows up Vern’s new car with a rocket. As police respond to the explosion, the Turtles leave, but not before Mikey tries to serenade April with “Happy Together”, much to his brothers’ annoyance and April’s joy.
movie-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-thumb3Having been a fan of the Transformers franchise, when I heard Michael Bay was having a hand in dealing with the new film I thought it should be a pretty solid offering that would be fun for all.  I was pretty sold within the first few minutes. I liked the way that they poked fun at other hero franchises, loved the way that April O’Neal came across as the still sassy reporter and when added to the over villainy of William Fichtner really worked well for me. All round a film that whilst not an Oscar winner, was something that not only entertained me but also gave me a good laugh, definitely worth watching .

REVIEW: 8 SIMPLE RULES – SEASON 1-3

Image result for 8 simple rules

MAIN CAST

John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big bang Theory)
Amy Davidson (Goyband)
Martin Spanjers (Good Luck Charlie)
James Garner (The Notebook)
David Spade (Rules of Engagement)

 

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Mo Gaffney (That 7os Show)
Billy Aaron Brown (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Brian Sites (Gigli)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Rachel Bilson (Chuck)
Cole Williams (North Country)
Jason Priestley (Tru Calling)
Shelley Long (Cheers)
John Ratzberger (Up)
Cybil Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Cindy Williams (American Graffiti)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Suzanne Pleshette (The Birds)
Amanda MacDonald (The Naked Ape)
Lisa Rinna (Veronica mars)
Ethan Philips (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Smallville)
Tatum O’Neal (Paper Moon)
Keir O’Donnell (Wedding Crashers)
Lee Garlington (Flashforward)
Adam Arkin (Hitch)
Jan Hoag (Scream Queens)
Eric Jungmann (Sabrina: TTW)
Raquel Welch (Fantastic Voyage)
Pamela Anderson (Scooby-Doo)
Ed O’Neill (Married With Children)
Beth Grant (Wonderfalls)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Leighton Meester (The Judge)
Matt Lanter (Heroes)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Nicole Richie (Chuck)
Kenneth Kimmins (Lois & Clark)

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter (Later Shortened to 8 Simple Rules)  had an auspicious start. The supremely-talented Tom Shadyac was involved in the project. This meant that the comedy would be nothing less of spectacular, and that’s exactly what happened: the show remains one of the freshest, funniest, wittiest shows made in a very long time. Every line, facial expression, casting choice, scene, all wreaked of perfection. There was not one episode after which I thought, “Man that wasn’t as good as the rest”. Each one was a standout. Again, this is the kind of perfectionism that we’ve come to expect from Tom. For those who don’t know, Tom Shadyac is the director of Ace Ventura (first movie), The Nutty Professor (first one) and Liar Liar. Quite a résumé. He’s a producer here not a director, but his magic touch is felt in every episode.The family consists of:

The Father: Paul Hennessy (John Ritter): nice, slightly neurotic, can be a pushover from time to time, works as a sports writer. John unfortunately passed away in 2003 leaving a fond memory and near-sure cancellation contemplations by the suits.

The Mother: Cate (Katey Sagal): come on, who didn’t fall in love with Katey when she played Peg on Married With Children? Al Bundy was our hero. We viewers gave him the respect and love he never had. But without Peg’s nonchalant, parasitic, lazy lifestyle, Al would’ve probably been just another Chicago dad instead of the mess that Peg (life, actually) caused him to be. Katey was a MILF back then and still is: a brune now (instead of a redhead) and just as buxom as ever. Cate is the conservative mom and loving wife. I know it sounds boring, but comedically, she fits perfectly.

The Ditzy Blonde Daughter: Bridget (played to perfection by Kaley Cuoco): almost never has an idiot been played so well. Aside of Gob on Arrested Development, Bridget may well be a shoe-in for any awards given to this archetype. Bridget is shallow, self-centered, not very bright and a tad slutty in his look. She plays the dumb blonde role better than absolutely anyone IMO. Perfection. One of the high-points of the show.

The Overlooked Geeky Daughter: Kerry (Amy Davidson): a brune and a geek, she gets no love from life or circumstances. Feels overlooked, under-appreciated and neglected most of the time. She’s Bridget’s younger sister (in reality she’s older than her) and the two’s extremely opposite personalities and brains cause endless clashes, to much of our amusement.

The Son: Rory (Martin Spanjers): was the second funniest character IMO before the passing of Ritter, then John passes, new characters come and Rory is not the wise-cracking verbal-trouble-maker that he used to: that went mostly to David Spade’s character.


Those characters were the main ones at the time of John Ritter. Unfortunately enough, the insanely hilarious Larry Miller (one of my favorites) did not get lots of screen time. He played Paul’s co-worker/competitor. After an aortic dissection cost Ritter his life in 2003 (September 11th), the show was on hiatus for a while. No one thought it could come back, but it did later on, with a couple of new additions. This began the second phase of the show, and the new characters were:  The strict, confident school principal: Ed (Adam Arkin): I saw Adam here and there on talk shows. This was the first time that I saw him do anything. Impressed, is the word I use. His performance was very impressive. Sad he wasn’t brought in earlier. He also plays Cate’s potential love interest after Paul passes. The gradual progress towards this point (which would’ve sounded crazy at the beginning) earns the creators lots of praise. It was done slowly, carefully and excellently, with constant respect paid to the Paul (Ritter).

The Attitude Grandpa: Jim Egan (James Garner): a surprisingly welcome addition to the series, he was cannon fodder for endless ‘old’ jokes, mainly by… The 35-year-old unemployed wise-cracking half-brother of the mom: CJ (played to insanely funny heights by David Spade): I knew Spade was funny, I just didn’t know he was THIS funny. Somehow, Spade’s very familiar presence is sensed inside his character (as opposed to a separable character), which is understandable, since he’s a comic and he’s on a comedy show. This eerie feeling is kinda like seeing someone borrow lots of material from David Spade’s appearances in movies, talk shows and functions (award shows, etc.) and delivering a superb impersonation of Spade’s voice and comedy style, except, that it IS Spade. By that I mean you realize he’s not trying to play someone else, or a whole new character: he’s being the goofy, funny Spade we’ve come to know, and he takes this pleasantly humorous formula to the absolute top. Every line he uttered, every sarcasm he begot, all classics, literally. Spade was CRAZY-funny; so, SO funny.

The show’s humor and drama were both upped after the show was back, but audiences thought, “John passed, it ain’t gonna be the same anymore”. This is understandable, considering we are talking about a group of people (American viewers) who gave ‘Yes Dear’ a free ride but caused Andy Richter Controls the Universe to be cancelled in no time. As the show’s quality increased, its ratings declined. Soon it was no more, sadly.

REVIEW: LOIS & CLARK – SEASON 1,2,3 & 4

Image result for lois & Clark tv logo

CAST

Dean Cain (Supergirl)
Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives)
Lane Smith (V: The Series)
Michael Landes (Final Destination 2)
Justin Whalin (Child’s Play 3)
Tracy Scoggins (Babylon 5)
K Callan (Heroes)
Eddie Jones (C.H.U.D.)
John Shea (Mutant X)
Image result for lois & Clark tv logo
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Elizabeth Barondes (Oscar)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (Passions)
Mel Winkler (Coach Carter)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Clyde Kusatsu (Paradise Road)
Persis Khambatta (Star Trek: TMP)
Joseph Campanella (Guding Light)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Terence Knox (Children of the Corn II)
Tony Jay (Beauty and The Beast)
Leslie Jordan (Jason Goes To Hell)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Miguel Sandoval (Alias)
Jessica Tuck (Super 8)
Alexander Enberg (Gia)
David Deluise (Vampires Suck)
Courtney Peldon (Say It isn’t So)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Morgan Fairchild (That 70s Show)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Richard Belzer (The Flash)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch)
Penn Jillette (Sabrina: TTW)
Richard Gant (Godzilla)
Chris Demetral (Dolly Dearest)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Beverly Johnson (Crossroads)
James Earl Jones (Star wars)
Phyllis Coates (Adventures of Superman)
Robert Beltran (Star Trek: Voyager0
Denise Crosby (Star TRek: TNG)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Traylor Howard (Two Guys and a Girl)
Michael Des Barres (Poison Ivy 3)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
Rick Overton (Cloverfield)
Bronson Pinchot (True Romance)
Bruce Weitz (Deep Impact)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Farrah Forke (Wings)
Peter Boyle (Taxi Driver)
Melora Hardin (17 Again)
John Pleshette (Rocky II)
William Devane (Interstellar)
Isobel Sanford (Love at First Bite)
Dick Van Patten (Spaceballs)
Denise Richards (Valentine)
Sherman Hemsley (Amen)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Scott Valentine (My Demon Lover)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Groudnhog Day)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
Raquel Welch (Fantastic Voyage)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jim Pirri (Alias)
Curtis Armstrong (American Dad)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Terry Kiser (Friday The 13th – Part VII)
Lane Davies (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Frank Gorshin (Batman 60s)
Bruce Campbell (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Jason Carter (Babylon 5)
Michele Abrams (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Adam West (Batman 60s)
Maurice Godin (Working)
Jessica Collins (Tru Calling)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Olivia Brown (48 Hours)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Genie Francis (Roseell)
Kenneth Kimmins (Beauty and The Beast)
Shelley Long (Cheers)
Mary Gross (Sabrina: TTW)
Sandra Hess (Gargoyle)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Robert Carradine (Django Unchained)
Harve Presnell (Star trek: Voyager)
Beverly Garland (Decoy)
Gary Dourdan (CSI)
Emily Procter (CSI: Miami)
Hamilton Camp (The Little Mermaid)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Brad Garrett (The Crazy Ones)
Tony Curtis (The Great Race)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Justine Bateman (Family Ties)
Roger Daltrey (Highlander: The Series)
Jon Tenney (Green Lantern)
Nark Lindsay Chapman (Swamp Thing: The Series)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Eric Allan Kramer (The Incredible Hulk Returns)
Simon Templeman (Angel)
Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman)
John D’Aquino (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Alan Rachins (L.A. Law)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Sydney Walsh (Point Break)
Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Big Hit)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Drew Carey (Fuck)
Kathy Kinney (Arachnophobia)
Howie Mandel (Bobby’s World)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Kristanna Loken (Painkiller Jane)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash_
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Patrick Cassidy (Smallville)
Keith Brunsmann (Tweek City)
Lori Fetrick (CIA II)
Tim Thomerson (Transcers)
Stacey Travis (Highlander: The Series)
Grant Shaud (Antz)

Die-hard Superman fans are torn on this one. Some think of L&C as the black sheep of Superman history. Others see it as one of their favorite adaptations. And how could they not, really? Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as Clark and Lois had some serious chemistry going on. The late Lane Smith as Perry White is still my favorite version of the character, though Michael McKean did a darn good job himself. Michael Landes as Jimmy, Tracy Scoggins as Cat, Eddie Jones and K Callan as Jonathan and Martha… it all really gelled. And John Shea as Lex – how was he missed as a regular in the later years. Because of personnel changes throughout the series’ run, unfortunately, there were very little references or flashbacks to the first year because the show was now guided by a new regime.
 But the first year really is where it’s at. Teri Hatcher, before she was a desperate housewife, looked real and spectacular as Lois Lane. They dressed Lois in retro outfits that looked like they came from another decade, which gave the show a timeless quality. Dean Cain as Clark offered a “cool” but alien take to the role. Both Dean and Teri look really fashionable even to this day in the first season of the show.
The special effects are hit-or-miss; in some scenes, the effects work, but in others, you cringe. We’ve really gotten spoiled by the top-notch effects work in programs like Smallville. Guest stars in that first season include model Beverly Johnson, James Earl Jones, Michael McKean, Law & Order’s Richard Belzer, Morgan Fairchild, Dean Stockwell, and many others. But it’s the show’s recurring cast that makes it the most, well, super.
The DVD set includes commentary on the pilot episode by actor Dean Cain, director Robert Butler, and show creator Deborah Joy LeVine. It’s a lot of fun, especially hearing stories about the show’s casting and production of that pilot episode. I really wish Deborah Joy LeVine had stayed on the series as an executive producer, because she had such an amazing vision for the show that I think is a big reason of why that first season was so good. There’s also a documentary on the effects, but the real treat is a bonus documentary where almost all of the L&C cast and many members of the crew are interviewed about the show, except for Michael Landes (Jimmy #1) and Lane Smith (Perry White). How cool is it, ten years later, to see Big TV Superstar Teri Hatcher talking about her days of Lois Lane, all while speaking on Housewives’ Wisteria Lane set. Even K Callan, Eddie Jones, Tracy Scoggins, and John Shea participated in the action. I applaud Warner Home Video for going to the effort of including these people.
 The second season of L&C holds a special place to me because it is the year that taught me how to be a fan. Series creator Deborah Joy LeVine exited after the thrilling first season finale, and departing at the same time were Tracy Scoggins (Cat Grant), Chris Demetral (Jack), and – the most painful loss at the time – Michael Landes, who I referred to back in the day as “the real Jimmy.” He was replaced by Justin Whalin in the role, and I admit, I didn’t take to him very easily. The show went for more of an action-oriented tone, but luckily, Lois & Clark had some very good writers who still managed to find a way to keep the romantic elements of the series. Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain had a chemistry, as did their characters of Lois and Clark, and you can’t help but feel for them as they go along.
Season Two was also the season where Lois & Clark finally became a hit – no “sophomore slump” here. From the time Clark finally asked Lois on a date in “The Phoenix” things were looking up. No Mayson Drakes or Dan Scardinos could get in the way of finally getting these two characters together.
Upon watching the DVD, my first stop after the special features was “Whine Whine Whine.” In it, Superman fights a foe more dastardly than Kryptonite – greed. The episode featured guests like Ben Stein, Adam West, Frank Gorshin, Martin Mull, and others… it’s just great. Long-time Lois & Clark fans will also remember it for bringing in a scene that we’ve waited for for a while. “
Like Season 1, the producers of the L&C DVDs went all out in providing an assortment of special material, and for the most part they were very successful. Dean Cain provides interviews again (no Teri this time), and other interviewees included K Callan (Martha Kent), Eddie Jones (Jonathan Kent), Denise Crosby (Dr. Gretchen Kelly), and Justin Whalin (Jimmy Olsen). The show’s Season 2 writers and some crew are also featured, including John McNamara, who is awesome not only for his great L&C contributions, but because he co-created Profit, which is the best show you probably have never seen.
In the interviews Justin Whalin talks about the initial fan reaction to his recasting, which makes me feel a bit bad for the way I felt and posted years ago after he was cast. I later met Justin and thought he was a really nice guy. I’ve also noticed on the DVD interviews that Justin has apparently not aged at all in the past 10 years – he looks almost exactly the same.
Another bonus feature takes a look at the fandom for the show, again featuring some actors and creators and some visits to some fans at a recent “FoLCFest” (Fans of Lois & Clark) gathering. I was glad to see an assortment of people interviewed for the featurette, but I was a bit disappointed that no one from the Krypton Club was represented – after all, its subscriber list WAS bigger than the listserv or the IRC channel for most of its existence – but that fact seems to have been forgotten in the passing of time.
Finally, Dean Cain provides commentary for “Season’s Greedings,” where you hear – about 2 dozen times – about how foamy material rather than real snow were used to provide the “snow” for the episode. It’s very cool to hear Dean talking about his writing debut, which conveniently also happened to be one of the most popular episodes of the series. Dean’s a great sport and I really love the fact that he’s even doing DVD commentary. .
.
 The third season was probably the most memorable time for me to be a part of the Lois & Clark fandom, as the show started hitting high gear. Unfortunately, some of the situations that I found to be “funny” back as a kid are just kind of annoying and childish now. If I ever see Olivia Brown’s Star anytime soon, it’ll be too soon. Jonathan Frakes and Genie Francis also camp it up way too much as collectors Tim and Amber Lake. And they’re not the only ones who bring bad camp to the season.
Luckily, some episodes have a good mix of camp and story. “We Have A Lot To Talk About,” the season’s premiere, is an episode that will always be close to my heart and has some of the best quotations in Superman history. (“That is so unfair! You know I can’t fly!”) There’s camp in the form of the Churches in that said episode, but when it’s Peter Boyle, Bruce Campbell, and Jessica Collins, you really don’t seem to mind.
“Ultra Woman” gives Lois super-powers, and again, a very campy costume, but makes for a good story anyway. The episode also features the Metropolis Park Wishing Well, which now can be paused so you can actually see this author’s name inscribed on the well! Another highlight of the season – and one of the series’ best all around – is “Tempus Anyone,” a return appearance for the Tempus character from Season 2’s “Tempus Fugitive.” Season Three rushed right into a wedding, and “I Now Pronounce You” promises the “wedding of the century” – a wedding that ABC touted as being “bigger than Burt and Loni, Michael and Lisa Marie…” You see where they’re going with that. I don’t want to spoil the episode, but the episodes following it may become increasingly frustrating, even though “Double Jeopardy” and “Seconds” are also two of the season’s best shows.
The season finale introduces some aliens fom a New Krypton. This is the spot where the producers chose to ignore the whole “Last Son of Krypton” aspect of Superman.
 Season 4 does have some gems. Some I liked the first time around, like the “Meet John Doe/Lois and Clarks” two-parter… and some were surprisingly better than what I remembered, like the Leslie Luckabee trilogy. One advantage of watching this season on DVD ten years later, besides the feeling of nostalgia, is that many of these episodes were ones I had only seen once back in the day… compared to the dozens of times I re-watched the early episodes. So, in effect, this is kind of new, and I like that.
 Season 4 is still enjoyable but as you get closer to the last episode you know the end is coming, plus the final episode is a cliffhanger that will never be resolved.

REVIEW: CONAN THE ADVENTURER (1997)

MAIN CAST

Ralf Moeller (The Scorpion King)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Robert McRay (Legend of The Phantom)
Jeremy Kemp (A Bridge To Far)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Andrew Craig (The Toxic Avenger)

Image result for conan 1997

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ally Dunne (V.I.P.)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Arthur Burghardt (Transformers)
Mickey Rooney (Nationel Velvet)
Vernon Wells (Mad Max 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns)
Paul Le Mat (PUppet Master)
Matthias Hues (Star Trek VI)
Ali Landry (Eve)
Brooke Burns (Baywatch)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Angelica Bridges (Mystery Men)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Claudette Mink (Children of The Corn 7)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)

Image result for conan 1997Syndicated television is often called the last bastion of poor writers in this modern age, much like the pulp fiction writers of years gone by were back in their day. This is not to say that syndicated television is always bad, just that the odds greatly favor such a global statement. The first example that comes to mind would be Black Scorpion but I’m sure you’re familiar with other shows like Sinbad, Robin Hood, and Lost World (an admittedly guilty pleasure). The 1990’s were the best years for fantasy shows in syndication due in large part to the success of Hercules and Xena; both of which proved profitable beyond the imagination of their creators. Is it any wonder that other producers sought to cash in as well? Such was the case with a single season show by the name of Conan The Adventurer, based on the writings of famed 1930’s pulp fiction writer, Robert E. Howard, a young man from the desolate plains of Texas.

Image result for conan 1997
Mr. Howard created the mythic hero Conan as a character that could help free him from the shackles of poverty.His character of Conan evolved from another, King Kull, set in the same age of Atlantis era of 10,000 years ago, in epoch known as the Hyborian Age. Conan was a thief, a liar, and a barbarian in every sense of the word. His code of conduct was generally considered less than chivalrous with a “me first” attitude befitting the wild imagination of his writer, a man caught in the trappings of his time. Howard’s own description of the character was: “Some mechanism in my subconsciousness took the dominant characteristics of various prizefighters, gunmen, bootleggers, oil field bullies, gamblers, and honest workmen I had come in contact with, and combining them all, produced the amalgamation I call Conan the Cimmerian.” The world-view of such a man can only be placed in the proper context by understanding the effects of where he lived and the conditions the entire country were in, making more understandable the type of anti-hero that later was popularized in the Marvel comic books and art of Frank Frazetta. I think the rise of the anti-hero in the 1960’s attributed much to reviving such characters as Conan, a being thought up in 1931 by Howard, who only wrote 22 short stories in his later years (before he killed himself). With this in mind, let me turn to the television series this review is about:

Keeping in mind that the original character was a thief, cutthroat, mercenary that did anything asked of him for a price and ignored all social conventions that didn’t suit him (similar to the original Hercules being a power mad rapist drunkard), the show started off on the wrong foot with me by suggesting his “destiny was to free the oppressed” in the opening monologue since there’s nothing further from the truth in the original stories or in the previous movies starring famed bodybuilder-turned-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Given that a kinder and gentler version of the character would probably be the only way to get the series made, I started off watching the episodes a bit disgruntled but content that a watered down Conan might be better than no Conan at all, I figured how bad could it be considering all the other shows I enjoyed (even as guilty pleasures).
The show focused on Conan’s quest to find, and kill, a wizard, Hissah Zul (that was responsible for the death of his sweetheart and the guy responsible for all the ills in the world. Each week would find Conan and a mish mash of odd companions  fighting the minions of evil and cheap CGI effects as they continued on a path to dethrone the wizard. I watched the generic exploits of the cast as they went through the motions and about midway through the series; I actually started enjoying it way too much.
Image result for conan 1997
So, after watching the episodes as presented in the set (which were out of order from the air dates) and then as they were originally shown, I found the plot to make at least a little more sense in the DVD order they were aired in syndication. Keeping in mind that most, if not all, of the episodes borrowed heavily from the Marvel Comics versions as opposed to the pulp works of Howard. The show tried to be in line with a modern sensibility imposed on the age old character, an uneasy fit at times. While the humor was often as dry as Dilbert in its own way, I think this was what was lacking compared to the movies. Regardless, it was nice to see a show long lost into the archives of some vault given new life for fans of the genre, if not the actual character himself, and I doubt Robert E. Howard would’ve lost any sleep over the way his characters were evolved.