Gosh... It is really amazing how much time and energy having an adorable little newborn baby girl can eat up. I can't really remember which movies we rented and, of those, how many I forgot to review. But there also weren't as many rentals this month... We just had better things to do!
"Man's Favorite Sport?" (Universal, 1963)
This is one of those movies where you say to yourself, "Hey! No fair! I want those hours of my life back again!" It's really pretty bad. Rock Hudson stars as a fumpfering salesman at the San Francisco Abercrombie & Fitch men's store, whose specialty is selling fishing gear (fishing being a manly, manly passtime...) The thing is, he doesn't actually do any fishing himself, and when his boss enters him in a big, manly fishing tournament, he runs the risk of being exposed as a fraud. (Wow! Heavy drama! Hold me back.) Then enter into the mix co-star Paula Prentiss, whose brief glimmer of stardom is truly inexplicable... She's so awful, and so weird! Her timing is really strange, and her attempts at seeming impish or elfin just make her look like that much of a weirdo. She's a very poor substitute for Doris Day, Rock's main co-star at the time... There's also an odd quality to the film itself that throws the pacing off and makes it perpetually wobbly. I'm not sure, but I think part of it may be that many scenes were actually extended improvs, relying on Pretiss's wackiness and vivacity to carry the day. It doesn't work, believe me. This film may have been the high point of her career, but it's an embarassment for Hudson. Even more stunning is that the great Howard Hawks directed this utter turkey. Hmmm. Oh, well.
"The West Wing (Season 2, Tape 1)" (2000)
Well, maybe I shouldn't have rented this while it was still new -- we paid two nights worth of late fees -- but it was still worth it to feel my IQ slipping back up... at least for a little while.
"Central Station" (1998)
"Fahrenheit 9/11" (2004)
I was impressed. I mean, I've never been a big Michael Moore fan -- I'm still ticked off at him for backing Ralph Nader in the 2000 elections, and I think his reasoning is often overly simplistic and fuzzy-minded. But I think this movie did an excellent job of making his leftie-pragmatic viewpoint accessible to mainstream America, and the information is presented in a very thoughtful, persuasive manner. There are many, many things in this movie that I have simply not seen in the media before, or even heard about -- notably the squelching of Congressional dissent in the 2000 elections, a travesty presided over by Senate leader Al Gore, and some of the gut-wrenching footage from Iraq, which, amazingly, was fairly restrained, considering how much more, and much more gruesome footage must be available. Anyway, I guess now I'm more grateful that Michael Moore is out there. The current climate of trying to cut off all discussion and debate on issues of national disagreement, the my-way-or-the-highway attitude of the GOP media machine, is profoundly un-American, and if left unchecked may threaten the foundations of our very society. (Debate and honest differnces of opinion makes us stronger and wiser, fellas!!) So, I respect Moore for his persistent role in keeping civic discussion free and open, even if I don't always agree with him. If you think you disagree with Moore, but haven't seen the movie, see the movie, and then decide how much you still disagree with him. (At the Metreon Theatre, SF)
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