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The Walking Dead: The Calm Before (2019)
The Calm? Really?
The best episode in quite some time and, in my view, one of the top 10 all time WD episodes. As an aside, I almost forgot how beautiful Samantha Morton is. The episode's opening was classic Dead.
As for those rating each episode 1, remember they stopped watching when gay and lesbian characters were introduced, several principle characters ended up in bi-racial relationships (post-Maggie and Glen), the new "doctor" was introduced as a Muslim, and one of our new heroines is deaf. You all know the type.
Custer of the West (1967)
Did no one read the script?
High production values do not come without a price. Hundreds of extras on horseback, is a rather pricey undertaking. Exotic western (it would appear) locales, represents another large expenditure. So my first question is did any of this film's producers bother to read the script before shelling out big bucks to get this turkey made?
Early on, Custer, having apparently just won a Civil War battle, casually rides over and grabs a Confederate battle flag while numerous defeated Rebs just lull about. Had this happened, Custer would have probably been awarded the Medal of Honor (he never received one). This is the beginning of a serious of historical inaccuracies.
Rather than go into each, I'll jump cut to the conclusion. If you do not know how the final battle turns out, or what happens to Custer, please stop reading.
I've been to the battlefield. I have walked among the markers on Last Stand Hill. And yes, it is a hill, not the flat ground surrounded by hills as depicted in the film. During the "last stand" atop the hill, Custer's men killed their mounts to provide them some shelter against the warrior onslaught. Here we see numerous horses just standing around. In the heat of battle, if not killed, they would have high-tailed it out of there. Crazy Horse, or Sitting Bull, or whoever that guy is at the end, would not have offered Custer a chance to walk away. Custer's men had just attacked their village (women and children), a popular tactic in such raids. His battalion's job was to ensure they and their warrior husbands/fathers did not escape. Yet during the fight, we never see a woman or a child, or even the village.
Finally, the warriors simply ride away at the end. In reality, they scalped and mutilated the bodies of the dead soldiers, the women possibly joining in. My hope is that someone, someday, will do the Battle of the Little Big Horn justice with a factual, cinematic depiction of one of the most famous military engagements in American history. R.I.P. General Custer.
The 72nd Annual Tony Awards (2018)
Robert De Niro rocks!!!
What a great night of television/theater. Josh and Sara were awesome hosts. The opening number was outstanding! Three hours of awesome entertainment. The "Season of Love" performance by the M Stoneman HS kids brought me to tears. Three moments stand out: Lane kissing his partner after being announced winner, Lauren Ambrose's singing (wow), and Robert De Niro's "greeting". Just checked out the uncensored version on YouTube. I'll be ordering a De Niro for President T-shirt tomorrow.
Only let down: of all the numbers to choose from "Carousel." Who made that poor decision? I was hoping for "If I Loved You." Oh well. 10 Stars!
Amazing performances in one of the great underrated films.
Few films have moved me this much. Few have inspired me to write a review. Sally Hawkins is simply amazing. She should, but will not, win the Academy Award for Best Actress (The Shape of water). That said, her performance her eis even greater! Think Brando in "On the Waterfront," Streep in "Sophie's Choice," Olivier in "Othello," Stanwyck in "Stella Dallas." Sally's performance puts her in that select company.
Then there is Ethan Hawke. What a remarkable performance in a low key, unglamorous role. Possibly his best ever. Understated yet remarkable.
Few movies move me like "Maudie" did. "Random Harvest," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "A Very Long Engagement," "Field of Dreams" and now this jewel. Do not let it slip past you.
The Greatest Showman (2017)
See It on the Big Screen
Wow! Far better than I could ever have imagined. Superlative cast. Production numbers are off the charts good. Here's hoping Hugh Jackman gives Gary Oldman a run for the money in this year's Best Actor Oscar race. Never thought I'd say that after seeing Darkest Hour.
I'll be rooting for Michael Gracey in the Best Director category (if he's not nominated I will be super angry). Should win the Best Editing and Song Oscars. Zac Efron and Zendaya are sensational! Shout out to the always superb Michelle Williams. An instant classic even better (IMO) then Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera.
Is it Me? Well, no.
Episode after episode I think, "Is it me, or has this show really really gone south?" I have to pinch myself to realize I am watching the same Walking Dead I grew to love and not dreaming (more like a nightmare).
The remaining characters I care for, of whom there are few, do not seem to be the same people as in prior seasons. Their behavior is nonsensical at best. What in the world was Rick up to? Wassup with de Lion King? Man is that character unbelievable. Maybe a pet weasel or ferret would help. Darryl seems to have morphed into a lunatic version of his brother. Carol cries nice. That's about the extent of that character's depth.
How about one new character HALF as interesting as Shane, Tyrese, Bob, Hershel, The Governor, Merle, Glenn, Beth (even Beth) and on and on it goes. The "star" Negan is cartoonish (pun intended).
My 7 score was actually too high. I always try to offset the nitwits who rate episodes 1, 2 or 3.
The Walking Dead: Some Guy (2017)
Remember when Melissa could act? Remember that knowing little smile that told you Carol knew more about the situation than the other characters in the scene? When I see that smile now I think - Melissa's letting the fans know she realizes just how bad the writing is.
The opposing sides face off episode after episode at point black range with automatic weapons yet nobody ever seems to get shot. Makes my jaw drop. Remember when ammo was in such demand they were going to have to start manufacturing it? What happened to that? Never thought I'd look forward more to Talking Dead than the weekly episode of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead: The Damned (2017)
Finally found that set of water skis
For several episodes now, I've been fighting the urge to declare WD has finally jumped the shark. Well it has. The writing has gone to Hades. But for Negan (JD Morgan), there hasn't been a new character in several seasons now that could act his/her way out of a paper bag.
I'm a big fan of GOT and was a big fan of Breaking Bad. Both series got better over time. Walking Dead has been treading water since Terminus. Each episode relies too heavily on its fan base, not creative writing, compelling performances or inspiring plots. The special effects have become comical. I now believe it is too late to throw WD a life saver. With the current writers and sub-par cast, it is time to say R.I.P. to what was once an exceptional series. Shame on Scott Gimble!