12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: 8 SIMPLE RULES: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES

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MAIN CAST

John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Amy Davidson (Girl on The Edge)
Martin Spanjers (The Comebacks)
James Garner (The Notebook)
David Spade (Grown Ups)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Billy Arron Brown (Jeepers Creepers II)
Cole Williams (Heroes)
Sarah Rafferty (Suits)
Rose McConnell (American Dreams)

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1.12) ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

It’s Christmas time, and Paul hopes to make this Christmas the best Christmas yet. When Paul asks what everyone would like, Rory says he wants a motorcycle, Bridget wants Kyle to spend the holiday with her, and Kerry wants to keep a stray dog she found. When Paul says that Kerry can’t keep the dog, she is upset (as usual). Later, Paul writes a column encouraging people to adopt pets, which makes her feel better. Meanwhile, Cate gets the solo part at the Christmas Eve service, and she is nervous that her family will be there. On Christmas Eve, the family helps Kerry with the Pet Adoption Fair at the mall, where every dog, except the one she found, is given a home. Afterwards, they all go to the Christmas Eve service, where they hear Cate sing her solo of “Silent Night” When they get home, she says she is glad they came after all. Paul agrees to let the kids each open a present that night. Rory gets a chemistry set, much to Cate’s chagrin, Bridget gets the company of Kyle, and Kerry gets to keep the dog she found. (However, the dog is never seen again on the show.)

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2.9) THE STORY OF ANNE FRANK AND SKEEVY

Bridget plays the role of Anne Frank in the school play, which makes Kerry jealous since all she does is background work. At first, Bridget is the same non-serious girl, which frustrates Kerry even more since she feels Bridget doesn’t deserve the role. Cate sees this too, so she gives Bridget The Diary of a Young Girl, because she thinks it might help her, which it does – Bridget suddenly becomes a serious, focused girl and gets a better understanding of the role she is going to play. Rory gets a ventriloquist dummy he names Skeevy and uses it to constantly make fun of other people. Cate, Jim, and Rory attend the play and Bridget’s performance is excellent. When they get home, Kerry tells Bridget she’s proud of her. Cate is too and wonders how Bridget did it and tells her she tapped into some very serious emotion. The episode ends with Bridget staying behind downstairs after everyone goes to bed. She puts a red rose on Paul’s desk in front of a picture of him and whispers, “Good night” before going upstairs.

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3.12)    A VERY C.J. CHRISTMAS

C.J. plans to leave for Las Vegas to spend Christmas there because his parents always spent their holiday at some exotic location while he was dumped”to some nanny. Cate shows C.J. a Christmas photo from when she was 10 years old and succeeds in changing his mind. Cate makes the mistake of promising that the family celebrates this Christmas exactly like in the photo – and C.J. wants all the details duplicated… Rory surprises everyone with the revelation that he has a rich girlfriend. But what kind of Christmas present can he give to a girl who has everything?

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The show’s humor and drama were great in these three Christmas episodes the first from Season 1 the second and third being from season 2 & 3. It shows how much the changed with John Ritters passing, but it still was a fun show. All in all these Christmas  episodes are fun to watch this time of year and gives you a nostalgic feel of how good the short lived show was.

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REVIEW: STEPHEN KING’S IT (1990)

CAST

Tim Curry (Legend)
Harry Anderson (The Escape Artist)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Dennis Christopher (Fade To Black)
Richard Masur (The Burning Bed)
Annette O’ Toole (Smallville)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
Tim Reid (That 70s Show)
John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Richard Thomas (The Waltons)
Jonathan Brandis ( Seaquest)
Michael Cole (Chuka)
Olivia Hussey (Black Christmas)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)

In Derry, Maine, 1960, a young boy named George “Georgie” Denbrough is lured to a storm drain by a strange, yet seemingly kind, man dressed in a clown costume named Pennywise. After a brief conversation, Pennywise reveals his malevolent nature and murders Georgie. Georgie’s older brother Bill is taunted by Pennywise as well. He and six other outcast children, who form a group called the Losers Club, discover they are all being tormented by the ambiguous clown. The rest of the group consists of the overweight but smart Ben Hanscom, asthmatic Eddie Kaspbrak who lives with his overprotective mother, Beverly Marsh who lives with her alcoholic father, comical Richie Tozier, Jewish boy scout Stan Uris, and African-American student Mike Hanlon. In turn, all of them are bullied by the psychotic Henry Bowers and his gang.

The Losers soon theorize that Pennywise is not a human being, he is instead an otherworldly creature that surfaces every thirty years in Derry to murder children and therefore they dub him “It”. To avenge Georgie and others killed by It, the Losers venture into the sewers where the clown lurks. They are followed by Henry and his friends Victor Criss and Belch Huggins, who threaten Stan, only for It to kill Victor and Belch, but spares the terrified Henry, whose hair turns white. It, as Pennywise, catches up to the Losers and grabs Stan, bragging that he is immortal and eats children. Guessing It’s powers are based around imagination, the Losers fight back using the same power, melting Pennywise’s face with imaginary battery acid and Beverly smashes a hole in his head using a silver projectile. Pennywise escapes wounded, and the seven make a promise to return and kill him should It resurface. Henry is arrested and institutionalized when he confesses to murdering his friends and the children It killed.

Thirty years later, in 1990, Pennywise returns and begins murdering children in Derry. Mike, a librarian still living in Derry, summons his six friends back to Derry to fulfil their vow. Bill has become a horror novelist married to actress Audra Phillips, Ben is an architect, Beverly is a fashion designer but in an unhappy relationship, Richie is a late night TV comedian, Eddie runs a limousine service but still lives with his mother, and Stan is a real estate broker. While five of them agree to come, Stan commits suicide in his bath tub and writes “It” on the wall in blood. The remaining six are individually scared by Pennywise, before reuniting for dinner, though Pennywise frightens them there too. They soon learn of Stan’s suicide shortly after.

Elsewhere, an older Henry is visited and befriended by Pennywise who sends him to Derry to kill the Losers. Audra also arrives in town following Bill but falls victim to It’s paralyzing “deadlights” and falls into a catatonic state. Henry wounds Mike, but is killed by his own knife during a scuffle with the other Losers. With Mike hospitalised, the five remaining Losers decide to destroy It for good. They confront It, who now appears as a monstrous spider. Eddie is killed by It, but Beverly mortally wounds It with her slingshot, and the Losers tear the spider apart. They remove the comatose Audra and Eddie’s body from the sewers, burying him in Derry’s cemetery.
The Losers go their separate ways, free from It’s torment forever. Richie is cast in a film, Beverly and Ben get married and are expecting their first child, and Mike recovers. Bill manages to coax Audra out of her catatonia by going on a ride on his childhood bicycle, which had once freed a young Stan from his fear. With It gone, the Losers can move on with their lives and leave Derry behind.Tim Curry is amazing as Pennywise, bringing a truly terrifying dimension to the evil clown. There are incredible performances from the child stars, all of whom are engaging and. The adult versions of the children are also excellent, particularly Tim Reid, Richard Thomas and, of course, the late, great John Ritter.  It’s worth mentioning that the DVD of “Stephen King’s It” contains an excellent commentary by the actors mentioned and the director, Tommy Lee Wallace (who also directed “Halloween 3:Season Of The Witch”). It is full of great trivia and anecdotes and John Ritter’s charisma and genuine love of the project shines through. So if you’re a fan of great horror and don’t mind developing a fear of clowns, then I highly recommend this under-rated gem of a movie!

REVIEW: 8 SIMPLE RULES: THE HALLOWEEN EPISODES

 


CAST

John Ritter (Bad Santa)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Amy Davidson (Girl on The Edge)
Matin Spanjers (The Comebacks)
James Garner (The Notebook)
David Spade (Grown Ups)


GUEST CAST

Larry Miller (10 Things I Hate About You)
Billy Aaron Brown (Jeepers Creepers II)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Sam Horrigan (Accepted)

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TRICK OR TREEHOUSE

 Paul seems to be the only one looking forward to a family Halloween, as Bridget, Kerry and Rory make plans to spend the spooky evening away from home and with their friends. But Paul’s wish to relive the past by having the family get together for one last Halloween campout in the old treehouse may turn out to be the biggest nightmare of the evening. 

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Kerry doesn’t feel that Bridget has the ability to put together the school’s Halloween party as part of her duty as the Student Body President. Bridget has a mix-up and kisses the jealous vice-president instead of her crush, Pete. C.J. is hired as the security guard for the party and sets his eyes on catching Rory pulling off a prank by blowing up the giant pumpkin. Instead, when he catches Rory, Rory calls up the costumed Village People, bringing back C.J.’s bad memories. Jim finds himself being attacked by neighborhood kids when he refuses to give candy out to trick-or-treaters.

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The show’s humor and drama were great in these two Halloween episodes the first from Season 1 the second being from season 3. It shows how much the changed with John Ritters passing, but it still was a fun show. Halloween actually saw Bridget show some growth and responsibility. all in all these two Halloween episodes are fun to watch this time of year and gives you a nostalgic feel of how good the short lived show was.

REVIEW: 8 SIMPLE RULES – SEASON 1-3

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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: BRIDE OF CHUCKY

CAST
Brad Dourif (Dune)
Jennifer Tilly (Liar, Liar)
Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses)
Nick Stabile (Sunset Beach)
Alexis Arquette (Pulp Fiction)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Andromeda)
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
Lawrence Dane (Rated X)
James Gallanders (Saw II)
Janet Kidder (Arrow)
One month after the events of the previous film, Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly), a former girlfriend and accomplice of serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), acquires the remains of Chucky from a police compound after bribing and then murdering a police officer who had access to the evidence locker. Believing that Ray’s soul still inhabits the doll, Tiffany takes it back to her place. She crudely stitches Chucky back together and reenacts the voodoo ritual which instilled Ray inside the doll ten years ago.
At first her incantations fail to produce results, but Chucky unexpectedly springs to life and smothers Tiffany’s Goth admirer Damien (Alexis Arquette) to death with a pillow as Tiffany looks on with excitement. Later, Tiffany and Chucky have an argument because Tiffany believed Chucky wanted to marry her. Upon learning he had no intention of doing so, Tiffany locks Chucky in a playpen for a nursery. Later she gives him another doll in a wedding dress with a real diamond ring to make fun of him. While Tiffany is watching TV during a bath, Chucky escapes the play pen (by cutting through the wood with the ring) and pushes the TV into the bath, electrocuting her in the process. Then, using the same voodoo spell, Chucky gains further revenge against Tiffany by transferring her soul into the bride doll so she could feel what he went through as a living doll. Still intent on becoming human again, Chucky concocts a plan with Tiffany to retrieve an amulet that was buried with Ray’s body, and use the bodies of Tiffany’s neighbor Jesse (Nick Stabile) and his girlfriend Jade (Katherine Heigl) as a means to return to their human bodies.
Tiffany changes to look like a miniature version of her human form and then sends Jesse a message asking him to take the two dolls to New Jersey in exchange for cash. Jesse convinces Jade to go with him and helps her pack. Jade’s strict and overprotective uncle police chief Warren (John Ritter), who despises Jesse, breaks into his van and plants a bag of marijuana there to frame him. Fearing this will ruin their plans, Chucky and Tiffany set up a car airbag to launch nails into Warren’s face. Satisfied that they have killed him, the dolls hide Warren in a casket. Jesse and Jade return and begin their trip.
Outside a convenience store, they are pulled over by Officer Norton, who asks to search Jesse’s car. After he finds the marijuana Warren planted, he goes back to his police car to report it to the authorities. During this time, Chucky crawls over and shoves a cloth into the police car gas tank and lights it. Norton is killed when his car explodes and, seeing the explosion, Jesse and Jade flee the scene. Soon, they stop at a wedding chapel/hotel and are married. During that time, Warren, still alive, tries to run away but is stabbed numerous times in the back by Chucky, finally killing him. While in the hotel, Jesse and Jade meet a con artist couple who steal Jesse’s money. As the criminals make love in their room, Tiffany grabs their bottle of champagne and throws it into the mirrored ceiling, sending down shards of glass and killing the two con-artists. Amazed, Chucky reveals his true feelings for Tiffany and then proposes to her.
The next morning, a maid finds the corpses of the couple and Jesse and Jade drive away with their best friend David, who knew about their plan to elope and heard about the recent murders. David reveals that Jesse and Jade have been blamed for all of the deaths. He suddenly finds Warren’s body and demands that Jesse pull over. While he is confronting them, the dolls come alive and hold them hostage with guns, demanding for them to keep driving. David alerts a police officer and accidentally steps into the lane of a moving truck, much to the horror of Jesse and Jade, who drive away with the dolls. They are then chased by a police car, the tires of which Chucky is able to shoot, forcing it off the road. The dolls reveal their plan to Jesse and Jade, and direct Jesse to drive up to a mobile home, which they acquire as a new vehicle in order to evade the police. While preparing Jade for the body-switch, Tiffany begins talking with Jade, who manages to turn Tiffany against Chucky. A fight between Tiffany and Chucky ensues and Jade locks Tiffany into the oven by kicking, meanwhile Jesse pushes Chucky out the window. Chucky shoots at Jesse, causing the mobile home to run off the road and into a ditch. Chucky forces Jade to take him to his grave site, while Jesse takes Tiffany—badly burned but still alive—and follows them. Chucky orders Jade to open the casket and give him the amulet, which she does. Jesse then appears with Tiffany and they trade hostages, but Chucky throws a knife into Jesse’s back, and ties up the couple for the ritual.
Before Chucky begins the incantation, Tiffany distracts Chucky by kissing him. Then she pulls the knife out of Chucky’s pocket, and stabs him in his back. They fight until he stabs her in the heart, and she collapses to the ground. While distracted, Jesse knocks Chucky into his grave. A private investigator arrives to see Jade pointing a gun into the hole, and is shocked to see Chucky. The investigator then watches Jade shoots Chucky to death several times, though Chucky yells that he will return as he always does. Jade fires a final bullet which seemingly pierces Chucky’s heart. The investigator contacts the police, telling them that Jesse and Jade are innocent of the murders and sends the couple on their way. Afterward, the investigator stumbles upon and investigates Tiffany’s doll body, Tiffany suddenly springs to life and gives birth to a bloody baby doll before finally dying. The baby doll then attacks the investigator by biting his nose off, before the scene cuts to black.
The director, Ronny Yu has made a successful job; he’s brought Chucky back to life, and we are grateful to him for bringing back the toy every little boy and girl wants for christmas. The special features are good too, it includes a location diary from the marvellous Jennifer Tilly, cast and crew Biographies, Trailers, History of Chucky, etc. Well worth watching and as Total Film so rightly quotes; ‘A non-stop romp of belly laughs and over-the-top splatter’.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BAD SANTA

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CAST
Billy Bob Thornton (Eagle Eye)
Lauren Graham (Evan Almighty)
Tony Cox (Guns, Girls and Gambling)
Brett Kelly (Dead Like Me)
Lauren Tom (Futurama)
Bernie Mac (Mr. 3000)
John Ritter (Bride of Chucky)
Ajay Naidu (The Guru)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Ethan Phillips (Critters)
Cloris Leachman (Wonder Woman)
Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) and his dwarfed assistant Marcus (Tony Cox) are professional thieves. Every year, Willie disguises himself as a department store Santa Claus and Marcus disguises himself as an elf in order for both of them to rob shopping malls blind at night. Willie is an alcoholic, a sex addict, and is gradually unable to perform his Santa duties appropriately with children, much to Marcus’ dismay. When they are hired at the fictional Saguaro Square Mall in Phoenix, the vulgar remarks made by Willie shock the prudish mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who brings it to the attention of security chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac).
At the mall, Willie is visited by Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly), a friendly but exceedingly naive and gullible, overweight boy who thinks Willie is really Santa. The boy is a target of taunt and torment from a skateboarding gang. At a bar, Willie meets Sue (Lauren Graham), a woman with a Santa Claus fetish, and they begin a sexual relationship. Willie is harassed by a man in the bar, but Thurman intervenes. Willie gives Thurman a ride home, then enters the boy’s house where he lives with his senile grandmother (Cloris Leachman). Thurman reveals that his mother died, and his father, Roger, is away “exploring mountains” (meaning he is actually in jail for embezzlement) until next year. Willie tricks Thurman into letting him steal from the house safe and steals a BMW owned by Thurman’s father.
Bob informs Gin that he overheard Willie having sex with a woman in a mall dressing room; Gin starts to investigate. Willie goes to his motel room and sees it being raided, causing him to take advantage of Thurman’s naivete and live in his house. The next day, Marcus gets angry at Willie for taking advantage of Thurman, stating his disapproval of Willie’s sex addiction.
Gin’s investigation of Willie includes visiting Thurman’s imprisoned father, who reveals that Willie is staying with Thurman illegally. He confronts Willie at the mall, and takes him and Marcus to a bar. There, he reveals that he has figured out their plan, blackmailing them for half of the cut to keep silent.
Willie attempts to commit suicide by inhaling vehicle exhaust fumes. He gives Thurman a letter to give to the police, confessing all his misdeeds. Willie notices Thurman’s black eye, which persuades him to make an example of the skateboarding bully. A renewed sense of purpose for Willie has him attempt to train Thurman in boxing. Enraged at Gin for blackmailing him, Marcus and his wife Lois (Lauren Tom) set up a trap for Gin, feigning needing a jump start for their vehicle from Gin’s. Lois hits Gin with the car, then Marcus kills him.
On Christmas Eve, when the heist is almost complete, Willie goes to get Thurman a pink stuffed elephant that he had wanted for Christmas. Just as he gets the elephant, Marcus reveals to Willie that he intends to kill him, fed up with his increasing carelessness. Lois tells him to hurry up and kill Willie so they can get away with the money and merchandise. But just as Marcus is about to shoot Willie, the police swarm the trio, tipped off by the letter Willie gave to Thurman. When Marcus opens fire, the police shoot at him and Willie flees. Determined to give Thurman his present, he leads the police on a chase to Thurman’s house, ignoring orders to freeze. He is repeatedly shot on Thurman’s porch, but survives.
The epilogue is told through a letter from Willie, who is in a hospital recovering. He expresses his gratitude for Thurman in giving the letter to the police and his name was cleared of unarmed robbery. Shooting an unarmed Santa embarrassed the police, and Sue is granted guardianship over Thurman and his house until Thurman’s father, Roger, is released. Willie also explains that Marcus (identified as Santa’s Little Helper) and Lois are serving time behind bars for their actions, while expressing hope Roger is wise to avoid the two. The movie ends with Thurman finally standing up to his bully by kicking him in the crotch causing him to fall to the ground. Thurman is seen riding his bike away flipping off the bully.
Bad Santa is not a film for those easily offended, however it does manage to be genuinely funny, and makes a welcome diversion for adults.

REVIEW: BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER – SEASON 1-7

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CAST

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Nicholas Brendon (Children of The Corn III)
Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother)
Charisma Carpenter (Scream Queens)
Anthony Stewart Head (The Iron Lady)
Davis Boreanaz (Bones)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
James Marsters (Caprica)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
Emma Caulfield (Supergirl)
Michelle Tractenberg (17 Again)
Amber Benson (The Killing Jar)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mark Metcalf (Drive me Crazy)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Ken Lerner (The Running Man)
Kristine Sutherland (One Life To Live)
Julie Benz (No Ordinary Family)
Eric Balfour (Skylive)
Persia White (The Vampire Diaries)
Mercedes McNab (The Addams Family)
Elizabeth Anne Allen (Bull)
Robin Riker (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Geoff Meed (Little Miss Sunshine)
Andrew J. Ferchland (The Last Leprechaun)
Jennifer Sky (Cleopatra 2525)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9)
Dean Butler (Little House on The Prairie)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Robia LaMorte (Spawn)
Michael Bacall (Django Unchained)
Juliet Landau (Ed Wood)
Ara Celi (American Beauty)
Clayne Crawford (Roswell)
Danny Strong (The Prophecy II)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Sachs (Jurassic Park 2)
Larry Bagby (Walk The Line)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
Will Rothhaar (Kingpin)
Julia Lee (A Man Apart)
Bianca Lawson (The Vampire Diaries)
Saverio Guerra (Becker)
John Ritter (8 Simple Rules)
Jeremy Ratchford (Cold Case)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Jack Conley (Fast & Furious)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Charles Cyphers (Halloween)
Wentworth Miller (Legends of Tomorrow)
Shane West (Nikita)
Max Perlich (Blow)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Carlos Jacott (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Nancy Lenehan (Two Guys and a Girl)
Jason Hall (American Sniper)
K. todd Freeman (The Dark Knight)
Fab Filippo (Guidestones)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling)
Ian Abercrombie (Army of Darkness)
Harry Groener (About Schmidt)
Jack Plotnick (Rubber)
Nicole Bilderback (Dark Angel)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Harris Yulin (Training Day)
Dominic Keating (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
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Buffy The Vampire Slayer is one of the wittiest, most well developed, and consistent cult fantasy shows on television. Unlike other shows in the genre, it has been able to showcase a wide balance between fantastic character development, humor, topical plotlines, heart wrenching drama, science fiction, and horror- a horn a plenty of styles all in one 44 min episode. While entertaining, everyone probably can’t relate to the technobabble machinations of a Star Trek episode, or the convoluted paranoia of and X-Files episode, but we all went through high school and whether you were average, popular, or an outcast, we know, we remember, all too well, the emotional highs and lows of growing up. Its something everyone can relate to, and its the central fire that keeps Buffy grounded.


But, Buffy began as a humble mid season replacement on a non entity network, and its early days when it was gaining its footing, starting its mythology, seeing how far they could tweek the drama and the horror with a minuscule budget… well, its not nearly the powerhouse it would quickly become in its second season. There are of course, subtle signs of the drama and humor to come, little hints that it was more than a teen show with vampires. And, honestly, if you were going to try and impress someone who had never seen The X-Flies, you certainly wouldn’t show them the first season without saying, “It gets much better.”

KEY EPISODES ARE –


Episode 1: Welcome to the Hellmouth- Buffy Summers, a high school sophomore, transfers to Sunnydale High. There she meets her “Watcher” and learns she cannot escape her true destiny.— Like most pilots, its all about introductions- Buffy the reluctant Slayer, her pals and soon to be Scoobies, spazz with a heart of gold Xander, shy brain Willow, her stuffy Watcher Giles, the mysterious Angel, and the snobbish beauty queen Cordelia. Also, of course, establishes the first main villain, The Master, and the Hellmouth, the demonic portal that would provide the show with its main mythological device keeping the town of Sunnydale infested with all manner of creatures for Buffy to slay

Episode 2: The Harvest:- A Stranger named Angel tells Buffy that if she does not stop the Harvest, the Hellmouth will open and the Master roam free.— Whereas the first episode was focused on introducing the characters and didn’t have much room for tension or action, The Harvest provides a look at Buffy having to accept her role as Slayer as she realizes the deadly consequences if she abandons her destiny.

Episode 5 : Never Kill a Boy on the First Date:

While awaiting the arrival of a warrior vampire called the Anointed One, Buffy’s big date at the Bronze ends with an assault on a funeral home. — Once again, showing Buffy’s attempts to balance a normal life with her secret life as the Slayer. While a little weak and cornball, it also manages to show the villain thread well, how most main Buffy villains will have some sort of evolution, twists and turns to keep the viewer guessing.

Episode 7: Angel: A moment of passion turns to terror as Buffy discovers Angel’s true identity and learns about the Gypsy curse that has haunted him for almost 100 years.— Probably the most weak, ill-defined character early on, this episode finally showcased more about Angel and gave his character some considerable fleshing out. Taking into account the large part his character would play in the Buffyverse, and the leaps and bounds of change he would undergo, his affect on all the characters, particularly Buffy, in one way or another, it makes this one of the seasons better episodes.

Episode 11: Out of Mind, Out of Sight: As Cordelia prepares for Sunnydale High’s May Queen competition, an invisible force starts attacking her closest friends.— Another of the seasons better episodes, and a clever look an always pertinent issue, showing yet another sympathetic foe, those fringe kids who are always ignored, sometimes until it is too late.

Episode 12: Prophecy Girl:

As the Spring Fling dance approaches, Giles discovers an ancient book foretelling the Slayers death at the hands of The Master.— While a tad abrupt, this finale serves up everything one wants, tension, conflict, and turns you don’t quite see coming. Pivotal in the series for all players, but mainly Buffy, showing that she isn’t just an invulnerable buttkicker able to save the day alone, but through banding together her and the Scoobies will take on many a Big Bad to come.

Season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is quite possibly the best season of the bunch. Season 2 is by definition, where things get darker and more complex, this was the season that really made Buffy an unpredictably smart series.

The season opens with ‘When She Was Bad’ which deals with the fallout of Buffy’s momentary death in the previous year one finale; this episode is appropriately handled and sees Buffy acting rather out of character after returning from her summer away from Sunnydale. The preceding episodes are a fun affair and help the viewer to settle back into the rhythm of the series with various episodes focusing upon certain characters.

The ‘Big Bads’ of the season appear early on and come in the form of Drusilla and Spike, the former being a rather off-her-rocker vampire and the latter a bleached, leather wearing, cocky undead Englishman! As villains they are a lot of fun and help to shape season 2 as something unique and well constructed. However, come the end of the year things are considerably shaken up in terms of ‘the Big Bads’, with the appearance of Angelus.

Willow, Xander and Giles all find themselves venturing into new territory: dating! Cordelia continues to redeem herself and becomes a fully fledged scoobygang member, whilst Buffy and Angel undergo many changes to their relationship which is mostly the driving force of the season. By the middle of the season the episodes gradually become darker and a more coherent storyarc begins to emerge, starting with the events of ‘Surprise (Part 1)’ which culminate in the emotional and incredibly shocking ‘Innocence’ (Part 2). Said episodes are some of the best in the history of the series and set in motion events that help to lead to the end of the season. The circumstances surrounding this two parter does literally change everything once established between Buffy and Angel; and brings into question their future. The continuity, witty one liners, oblique use of language does continue into this season and helps to boost the chemistry between the actors as they discuss, for example the oddness of some TV movies and sore thumbs. These subtle touches give the season a vibrancy and kooky edge; what makes Buffy such an enjoyable show is the warmth and heart it retains, mostly provided by the actors but also by the wonderfully consistent writing.

The two part finale ‘Becoming’ is well set up as a consequence of the episode ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, which happens to be beautifully moving and tragic respectively. The complexity of the Angelus arc presented here really sets up and supports the actions that lead to the occurrences of the finale. ‘Becoming’ part 1 & 2 with all it’s flashback goodness brings about tumultuous change and throws one through the emotional wringer all the while its still surprising, sad and gut wrenching upon each rewatch. The issues dealt with this season are far more adult and dark than is the usual, and in turn it delivers a wonderfully realized arc which never fails to amaze.


This third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer contains some of my favourite episodes from the entire run of the show and also has the fewest offbeat episodes. This year Buffy and the gang are in their final year of high school but living on the Hellmouth is never easy and in addition to the usual demons and vampires they must deal with the schemes of the Watchers Council, a new slayer and a politician after even more power.

Buffy has really found its feet with this season and I would say that it is this year that the show reaches its peak. All the regular cast members give their usual brilliant performances but the season is really stolen by the new cast members, specifically Eliza Dushku as Faith the new Slayer and Harry Groener as the eccentrically evil Mayor Wilkins, who is probably my favourite of all the Buffy villains.

It is difficult to choose favorite episodes from this season as it includes so many great ones. `Bad Candy’, `Amends’, `Earshot’ and the two part season finally `Graduation’ are all excellent episodes being both funny and enthralling but my favorite episode has to be `Lover’s Walk’ where a lovesick Spike returns to Sunnydale after breaking up with Drusilla in order to find a way to get her back. James Marsters is truly excellent in this episode and livens up the series brilliantly. Another couple of episodes of note are `The Wish’ and `Doppelgangland’ both of which involve a parallel universe where vampires have taken over and feature a vamped up Willow, brilliantly portrayed by Alyson Hannigan who seems to enjoy the role immensely. Although none of the episodes could truly be considered awful, `Gingerbread’ and `The Zeppo’ are the weakest episodes of this season and are slightly painful to watch in places.

Overall this season is truly great, with brilliant writing and a plot that never ceases to be in turns exciting, funny and touching.

With the loss of David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter to the spin-off show, “Angel”, there were voids to be filled in this, the first season out of high school, and Marc Blucas and Emma Caulfield suitably obliged. The fragmentation of the Scooby Gang was for many the core reason why Season Four didn’t match the heights of the previous three: nobody seemed to care enough about each other any more. With Giles out of work, Xander flitting from one deadbeat job to another, and Buffy and Willow settling in to life on campus, there was concern that the old gang would never get back together.


A big risk was taken in introducing a more sci-fi element with the arrival of a secret government demon-hunting operation. But there’s a big difference from other genre shows: the Initiative was never in control of its actions. And that’s the gist of the season: that Buffy and her traditional methods will always be superior, and that it’s through her skills and her friends that evil is defeated, not bureaucracy. Which is why there’s no big finish in episode 22 (the grand climax happens in episode 21), because the most important storyline is about the reaffirmation of friendships, demonstrated in the most bizarre way imaginable in an episode composed almost entirely of dream sequences.


There are some classics (the Emmy-nominated “Hush” was possibly the boldest piece of television attempted before “The Body” the following year). And in the final scene of the season, we get a great setting-up of what’s to come, without knowing any specific details. All in all, a season that left a few minor gripes, but which in the overall scheme of things, has continued the journey of life into adulthood. Now they’re all supposed to be grown up, but the future still holds a great deal of uncertainty, and that can only be good for the show.

Although Season 5  still has comedic moments, it also has many more serious moments. Not to spoil it for those who have not seen the series yet, two major deaths rock the Sunnydale Slayage Crew. These are excellently handled, and in no way seem like they are tying off loose ends.

The episodes are excellent. From fighting Dracula, to multiple Xanders. From a new sister, to an old foe swapping sides. This season is excellent. the first disc houses such gems as the introduction of Dawn, without any back story or any clues into why she is there. These facts are revealed slowly through the next disc, with amusing storylines for Spike, clearly an excellent addition to the principal cast. Anya also comes into her own, and becomes revels in the joys of capitalism.

Through the next disc a departure of a relatively new character, Riley, hurts Buffy tremendously, whilst the appearance of a troll lightens the mood considerably. The fourth disc includes the fun episode where the Watcher’s Council return to Sunnydale, and reveal a shocking secret about the main enemy of this series. Spike also has a choice to make, whether to fall back into the arms of his old flame, Drusilla, or to move on and persue his newest conquest, a source of exasperation for Buffy.

The fifth disc is a solemn affair, with the death of a principal cast member, who had been with Buffy from the beginning. As Buffy and her ‘Scoobies’ attempt to cope, the attacks on them by the villain of the series grow more violent and frequent, leaving a dissuaded Buffy sure that she cannot beat the villain. When his new enemy learns of an importance in the Scooby gang, and this member of the gang get captured, Buffy goes into meltdown. With the help of Willow, Buffy recovers and faces the most terrifying villain ever in the history of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, with a conclusion that is heart wrenching.


“The Gift”, the season five finale, ended with Buffy dead and buried after battling deranged fallen goddess Glory. Dying is kind of old hat for Buffy, and I don’t think I’m giving too much away by revealing that the show’s title character quickly gets over the whole death thing. Although the ensuing gang of biker demons is corny, I thought her return from the grave in the feature-length “Bargaining” hit all the right notes. Her reappearance is heartbreaking and almost horrifying, and it avoids undermining the events that concluded the previous season.

Rather than just toss her back in this mortal coil as if she’d never left, Buffy is distant and depressed, not quite the elated response her friends were expecting to see. The opening of the season offers an evenhanded blend of humor and drama, particularly the early escapades of the Troika. The all-nerd supersquad — robotics whiz Warren (Adam Busch), clumsy sorceror-lite Jonathan (Danny Strong), and summoner Andrew (Tom Lenk). They added a well-needed dose of geeky comedy to the season, which made the bitter pill of the agony Buffy and friends endure later on easier to swallow.

The darker spin the three of them eventually take also resonates more having seen several episodes worth of their giddiness at being supervillains. I also thought the aftermath of Buffy’s return, seen in “After Life”, “Flooded”, and “Life Serial”, worked well as she tried to find her place in the world (and her friend’s worlds) after being plucked from the afterlife. These episodes also manage to strike that perfect balance between humor and drama.

Another early highlight is “Tabula Rasa”, where a spell gone awry robs the Scoobies of their memories.  Of special mention from this chunk of the season, of course, is the musical episode “Once More with Feeling”. The version presented here is the original broadcast, a few minutes lengthier than your average Buffy installment. Although the concept of characters in an established drama singing and dancing for an hour screams ‘gimmick’, it’s not a standalone episode, tying in heavily to the previous episodes of the season and setting up some of what would soon follow. The songs are surprisingly good, particularly impressive considering that they were written by someone without much of a musical background.Image result for buffy once more with feeling

The season closes out with a series of strong episodes. “Hell’s Bells” features the chaos of a wedding between a human raised in a dysfunctional family and his millennia-old former vengeance demon fiancee, the aftermath of which is explored in “Entropy”.

One of the season’s best is “Normal Again”, which questions the reality of what we’ve seen for the past six seasons, and Buffy’s assault on her possibly-delusional friends and family is as chilling as anything seen up to that point on the series. The darkness pervasive throughout much of the season culminates in “Seeing Red”, which has two monstrous turning points. Its fatal closing events lead into the three-episode arc that rounds out the season. Similar to Angelus’ appearances on both Buffy and Angel, the immeasurably powerful antagonist in these final episodes tear down the main characters.

In its final season, Buffy the Vampire Slayer issued a mission statement you might not expect from a series that’s been on the air for seven years: go back to the beginning. After a foray at college and a year spent toiling away in the working world, Buffy’s going back to high school. Several years after its destruction at the hands…or giant coiled tail, whatever…of the ascended Mayor Wilkins, Sunnydale High has been rebuilt from the ground up. The Hellmouth beneath the school happens to lurk directly below the office of Principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside), who’s harboring some sort of dark secret that may or may not work to Buffy’s favor. Anyway, Wood continually stumbles upon Buffy as she spirits Dawn off to her first day of school as a freshman and ensuring both Summers girls make the most of the lovingly-crafted Sunnydale High set, Wood offers Buffy a job as a part-time counselor. Holed up in the bowels of Sunnydale High is Spike, who’s been driven mad by a combination of his newly-acquired soul and an entity that’s been haunting him, one that’s soon going to expand its grasp to the rest of the Scooby Gang and the world at large.

These early episodes really do capture the feel of the first few seasons of the series, a very welcome change after the grim year that came before it. This is one of the stronger opening salvos of Buffy. “Him” is played pretty much for laughs, revolving around a football player whose letter jacket makes him irresistible to the fairer sex, compelling Dawn, Buffy, Willow, and Anya to take drastic and wholly over-the-top measures to win his complete adoration.

 

Three of the season’s best episodes run back-to-back. “Same Time, Same Place” follows Willow’s return to the group, still reeling from the near-apocalyptic events of the previous year and further disheartened when she’s apparently abandoned by her friends. Buffy and company really are there for Willow, but the problem is that there are kind of two separate and distinct “there”s. The cannibalistic Gnarl is one of the most effectively creepy creatures of the show’s entire run, and his confrontation with Willow is unsettling and horrifying…and I mean that in the best possible way. “Help” quickly follows, chronicling Buffy’s quest to save the life of an awkward, introverted poet who foretells her own death.

Although I really like all of the first batch of episodes, this season has two particularly strong stand-outs. Following the excellent “Same Time, Same Place” and “Help” is “Selfless”, which features Anya returning to form as a mass-murdering vengeance demon, a decision that awes her demonic coworkers and conflicts her former friends as Buffy must make a difficult decision. The episode makes use of flashbacks from several vastly different time periods and juggles drastically different tones. We see what led young Aud to become the vengeful Anyanka in a hysterical glimpse back at her life with her wench-drenched, troll-hating brute of a husband, Olaf. There’s also a flashback to “Once More, With Feeling”, complete with a new musical number, followed by a brutal, brilliant cut to the present.

The other standout is “Conversations with Dead People”, an inventively structured episode penned by four different writers. The title is a decent enough synopsis, as a number of characters communicate in varying forms with the dearly departed. Buffy allows herself to be psychoanalyzed by a recently-risen Psych major, Dawn is haunted by a poltergeist that takes on a shockingly familiar image, Willow is delivered a message from a lost love one, Spike goes out on the town, and the remnants of last year’s nerdy Troika return to Sunnydale.

In general, season seven feels like Joss Whedon and company had a clear beginning and a clear ending. The Finale does give the show a nice ending, but is left open should the show ever return in any format.