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Monthly Archives: April 2013

A few old TV shows from my past.

hawaii five o

Recently, I’ve rented a few old TV series that I watched as a kid.  Some were better than I’d remembered, some a lot worse.  Let’s focus now on police/detective shows I’ve recently seen:

“Hawaii Five-O”–The original version, by the way.  Despite being on for 12 seasons, the show was excellent–at least up until the final season.  In this 12th season, the original cast (except for McGarrett) were gone and the replacements were pretty lame.  Still, it holds up very well.

“Dragnet”–Despite Joe Friday being a bit of a square, this is a solid show with some wonderful lines from Sgt. Friday.  Sure, a few shows were pretty limp but overall, well worth your time.

“Mannix”–I just started watching this.  Although I don’t yet know how the newer episodes were, I love the first season.  It’s tough, gritty and just plain cool.

“Quincy”–Not great but quite good.  I say ‘not great’ because a few of the shows were pretty silly and you wonder why they ever disagreed with the doctor, as he was always right.  Plus, like Jessica Fletcher, when he goes on vacation, you know someone is about to die!!

 

“SWAT”–Despite a few good early episodes, the show quickly lost steam and ran out of story ideas.  They only have season one on Netflix, but only about the first half of that is worth seeing.

“The Rookies”–“SWAT” was a spinoff from this show.  It’s not nearly as good as “SWAT”, and “SWAT” wasn’t good.  See the first episode–you’ll see what I mean.  It’s VERY preachy and dumb.

Burt Mustin……you gotta love him!

mustin

For fans of television and films (especially television) from the 1950s and 60s, there’s little doubt that this man’s face is familiar.  Burt Mustin must have appeared in about half a billion TV shows in supporting roles in shows such as  “Leave it to Beaver”, “The Andy Griffith Show”, “Dragnet” and “All in the Family”*.  And each time he appeared, I found myself smiling.  Was he a great actor?  I doubt if many would say that.  But he sure added color and fun into whatever he did!

Mustin was an unusual man.  His first appearance, in “The Detective Story” in 1951, was at age 67!!  So, instead of staying retired from careers in engineering, sales and selling stocks and bonds, he took up acting!  And, he continued acting well past that.  His final role was at age 91–when I guess he decided to slow down just a little!  He also was unusual, by Hollywood standards, for being married to the same woman for 54 years!  All in all, I really miss the guy.  He managed to infuse quite a bit of heart in everything he did and I really don’t know who is like him in film or television today.

 

mustin2

By the way, I have no idea what role this is but I’d sure love to know!!

UPDATE:  My cousin, Jason, is AMAZING at trivia and somehow knew this was Mustin playing ‘Kimba’ on the TV show “The Monkees”.  While part of me wants to see this, part of me is afraid…very afraid…

 

*Okay, I admit it.  He only appeared in about 150 different shows and movies–but it sure seemed like a lot more, as he seemed quite ubiquitous on the big and small screen.

My very first IMDB review….it started it all!

apple

14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
A film so horrible, you can’t stop watching, 8 June 2003

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

Kudos to this German production by Golan/Globus. Who else could have conceived of a Sci-fi/Disco/Musical/Religious epic? Unlike Ed Wood’s flicks (such as Plan 9, Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster), this movie proves that an embarrassingly silly and awful picture does NOT need to be made on a shoestring budget! Horrible costumes and extremely silly sets cost big bucks!

While some of the actors do actually sing reasonably well, Vladek Sheybal and Ray Shell’s singing (among many others) are straight from the “Paint Your Wagon” school of movie-making which states that “just because some actors have NO discernible singing ability does not mean they cannot sing in a musical”. I assume based on the banality of the music and lyrics that the same philosophy was also employed. In fact, the same could be said about the acting, sets and directing and choreography (e.g., the great song and dance number in Hell midway through the movie). It’s as if Golan/Globus said “let’s find as many UNTALENTED people as possible and get them together to make a movie–it will be a real HOOT!”.

So, if I hated this movie so much and found it abounding in ineptness, why am I writing this review? My wife tells me I am a masochist and about awful movies, I think she’s right. I love to watch wretched movies.

The Apple is not an annoying bad movie (such as ANYTHING involving Pauley Shore), a cheap schlocky bad movie (SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS or ROBOT MONSTER), a disgusting bad movie (any movie involving groups of semi-brain-dead teens being stalked by a hockey masked sociopath) or a boringly bad movie (THE CONQUERER). Instead, like such notorious greats like THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK, this movie seems to try VERY hard and yet fail on almost every level. This is definitely the case with THE APPLE–it tries so very hard but utterly misses the mark each and every time!

In summation, I call all lovers of dreck to tune in to THE APPLE. And, I am happy to say, it is NOW available on DVD!!! This makes this is an absolute MUST SEE! I must warn you, however, that although the songs are really bad, you may find yourself singing them again and again in your head. For me, I kept hearing the “Do the BIM” song over and over…and even now I do as I write this!

For all 14,000+ reviews by planktonrules…

Go to the following link and it will take you to my reviews on IMDB.

http://www.imdb.com/user/ur2467618/comments?order=date&summary=off

I Know I Am Not Alone Here On This One….

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Over the last few years, I’ve read several articles about the recent rapid decline in audience etiquette at the movies–so this rant of mine is nothing new.  With the proliferation of cell phones (and the dumbing down of our population), you have a proliferation of idiots who simply are too dumb to realize that there are times to turn of the phone or be quiet!  Texting and even talking while the show is on has become more and more commonplace.  A few years ago, I spent something like $3820342 to take my family to see “Phantom” on Broadway…and, of course, some complete jerk kept using their cellphone DURING the show!!  And, it’s not just cell phones.  That same trip, I went to the play “The Lion King” (and again, I must have spent at least $3820342 or more for tickets) and some deviant next to me kept laughing and talking during the play!!  I was ready to have an apoplexy!  And, back to movies, I went with my daughter to see “The Avengers” the night it opened….and some cretin kept sending texts a few rows in front of me!!!  Now I know that the death penalty was not designed for such knuckle-heads and, sadly, I doubt if it ever will be (wink, wink)…but SOMETHING has to be done.  Otherwise, movie theaters will soon have audiences like you saw in the hilarious sci-fi film “Idiocracy”!  And, the rest of us will just stay home and wait until the films come out on cable or DVD.

 

So what do we do?  Killing them is NOT an option (seriously, you MUST remind yourself this when you are confronted with rude jerks like these–it is NOT an option).  So what do we do?  I have gone to the managers in the theaters on a few occasions and that did stop the problem–but this doesn’t always work in every situation.

 

Take heart, however, if you are fortunate to live in an area where there in an Alamo Draft House theater (mostly they are in Texas but a few are scattered about the US).  They have taken the bold step as to throw out patrons who talk or text during films.  While I  warn you about the language in the link below, it is a very funny ad posted online by Alamo after ejecting a particularly annoying ‘lady.  To lessen the shock, I am posting the censored version!  Also, I know this went viral some time back–but I still think it’s very timely.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVz-fO7kxcQ

 

 

So what is the answer?  Should we just start staying home?

 

 

I love B-movies!

b.movies.cp

 

Before I talk about why I love B-movies, I should explain exactly what they are and why they were called Bs.  Back in the 192os and 30s, theaters were having difficulty attracting audiences.  Much of this was due to the depression.  People had a hard time plunking down their nickel when times were bad, so to draw in crowds, the theaters began offering incentives–making films a lot better value for the money. So, they introduced the double-feature.   But, it wasn’t cost-effective to offer two expensive top films–and so the Bs were a way to bring a much cheaper to produce second feature film to the public.  Many were made by tiny so-called “poverty row” studios like Monogram, PRC and Grand National–which made nothing but Bs.  These production companies actually often rented space from the big studios and filmed at night when the sets and costumes would otherwise be unused.  However, this does not mean the major studios didn’t make their share of Bs.  MGM, Warner and Twentieth Century-Fox, in fact, made many Bs–though theirs often had slightly higher quality stars and writers.   As for the in-between studios, like Republic,RKO,  Universal and Columbia, they made mostly Bs but managed a few top-budget pictures as well.

Unfortunately, over the years, a ‘B’ has taken on a new meaning.  It was often thought of as a cheap and schlocky film–which simply was not often the case.  Sure, the budgets were low and the stars often second or third tier in Bs, but a better way of looking at them is not BAD films but sort of like the minor leagues of movies.  Sometimes, actors who would never have had a chance to star in a film now went from supporting actors and actresses in A-pictures (the higher budget first features) to leads in Bs.  Sometimes, actors down on their luck made a living in the Bs (Bela Lugosi is a great example).  And, occasionally, these folks would eventually move up to be leading ladies and leading men after a stint in the Bs.  In addition, a few Bs became classics despite the low budgets and second-string production team.  Above is a poster from one of the most famous Bs like this…”Cat People” (1942).  After its release, folks started coming to the theaters more to see this B than the picture that preceded it!  As a result, this RKO surprise hit was moved from second-billing to first–a rare case of a B becoming an A picture.

So why do I say that I love B-movies?  Well, the biggest reason is that I truly admire a tight, well made film.  It is wonderful proof that you don’t need megabucks to make a good picture, as a good story and decent acting are all you really need to make a good film.  An excellent B is a work of art–a shining example of how you can cram a good story into a time slot of only about 60 minutes (give or take a few minutes).   The other reason I love Bs is that they are often just mindless fun.  So, while I enjoy a beautifully produced ‘big’ film like “Gone With the Wind” or “Goodbye Mr. Chips” (both 1939), I can also enjoy some escapist fun like “Charlie Chan at the Olympics” (1937), “Torchy Blane in Chinatown” (1939), “My Pal Trigger” (1946) or “Son of Dracula” (1943).

So what are some of your favorite Bs?  I’d love to hear from you.

Who am I and what’s the purpose of this blog?

2008 graduation, disney and UK 457

 

For several years, I have been ‘encouraged’ (actually, nagged) by my wife and friends to build my own blog.  After all, they reasoned, with a bazillion IMDB reviews to my credit, why not try to expand my obsession about movies into a blog where I can talk about films or give much more in depth reviews?  Well, I resisted.  Partly because I am old–at least when it comes to computers and the internet.  While my knowledge of computers is excellent for a 48 year-old, this would make me absolutely stupid compared to most teens and young adults–and blogging is usually something for the very young.  So, I was frankly intimidated about the prospect of making the blog.  There you have it…planktonrules (my imdb identity) is a coward.  The other reason I haven’t done anything by now outside of IMDB is that I am just not sure I have enough to say to keep anyone interested.  Time will tell with that–and that brings me to a request I have of you–please feel free to contact me and make CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions.  I want to make the site enjoyable and informative and if I make any mistakes (unfortunately, I am human) or if it’s boring, tell me.
 
My real name is Martin Hafer and I am very happily married to the lady in the picture with me.  Karen is a VERY accomplished woman–and I sometimes wonder why she picked me.  I guess it’s because I am a good cook and I make her laugh, among other things–plus she is the love of my life.  Karen is also known as ‘Karen Rose’–this is her pen name and she is an international best-selling author (wow, I am in awe).  She’s been #1 on the best seller list in some countries and just recently made it to #7 on the New York Times list here in the US.  She is an amazing woman.  And, because she is successful, it has allowed me to retire very young. This, combined with the VERY long hours she works when she’s working on a book, give me lots of time to review movies as well as fish, kayak, scuba and travel.  I am truly a blessed man.
 
As far as my life before Karen’s books, it was quite interesting.  I am a trained individual and group therapist–and worked in a private practice in Ohio.  However, the job took me away from the family too much and was VERY dangerous.  In fact, I nearly was killed twice on the job–seriously.  Not surprisingly, I did a career change and taught middle and high school history, psychology, government and economics.  I loved this work and would do it today except that given the choice, I’d rather travel, watch movies and take care of my family–which, apart from my wife and myself, consists of two great daughters, two adorable dogs and a cat.   I could say a lot more, but frankly you probably are just here to read the blog…so I’ll end here and just recommend you try my Facebook page for more personal details of my life.