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Posts Tagged ‘TV movies’

The Tracker

Friday, January 8th, 2010

tn_thetrackerKris Kristofferson is… THE TRACKER. He’s like Tommy Lee Jones in THE HUNTED, except this is the Old West so it’s probly both a more common skill set and a more useful one. He’s a guy who can glance at some footprints in the dirt and tell you how many people were there, their size, what kind of horses they had, how long ago it was, possibly their political beliefs and religious backgrounds. There’s a part where he points out where a horse is leaning to the right on every fourth step and that means the rider is holding his gun a certain way which means he’s left handed. (Which I don’t think turned out to be important, it was just showing off I guess.) Man, I couldn’t even tell which one was the fourth step, but this guy’s so used to knowing this shit he thinks it’s easy to explain. His name is Noble Adams and he’s famous enough that the guy he’s after is honored and almost star struck when he finds out who’s tracking him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Freedom Road

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

tn_freedomroadTime for a little history lesson. Not about the American post-slavery period known as Reconstruction (which is what this movie is about) but about TV movies. It’s hard for young people to wrap their heads around now, but there was a time when TV movies actually could be big events, a major shared element of our culture. This was when there were only a few channels, and none of them were SyFy, and movies about giant komodo dragons or snakes were not yet common. Believe it or not there were even sometimes TV movies where the people making them actually tried to do a good job. In fact, there were honest to God movies on TV that put some theatrical films to shame, like Spielberg’s DUEL and Carpenter’s SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME. Of course, most of them weren’t as good as that, but alot of them were at least memorable. In the ’70s and ’80s there were true crime movies to creep the shit out of us, like THE HILLSIDE STRANGLERS, THE DELIBERATE STRANGER, I KNOW MY FIRST NAME IS STEVEN. Or if you want to get real frightening there was the nuclear war movie THE DAY AFTER.

1979’s 4-hour mini-series FREEDOM ROAD fits into the Important Historical Epics category like ROOTS or SHOGUN or I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER or some James A. Michener type shit. It’s about a man who goes from a slave to a soldier to a delegate to an educated black man to a senator and freedom fighter uniting former slaves with lower class whites to stand up against racist politicians and thugs and create a stable life for themselves. But the main reason to watch it is the star: Muhammad Ali. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bates Motel

Monday, November 9th, 2009

tn_batesmotelDid you know that in 1987 there was a pilot for a TV spinoff of the PSYCHO series, starring Bud Cort? It was a failure, it never turned into a series and it’s never been available on a legitimate video in the US, but you can catch it on cable occasionally, get it from the fine bootleggers at revengeismydestiny.com or download it from this incredible websight I just stumbled across while researching this review.

Cort plays Alex West, a sanitarium buddy of Norman Bates. Alex got locked up at the age of 6 for killing his stepfather (kids do the darndest things), and had a great father-son relationship with Norman. Now not only is Alex free, but Norman has just died and willed the motel and house to Alex so he can make something of his life. Or peep on women and then kill them, I guess. Hopefully the first one. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Gladiator

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

tn_thegladiatorTHE GLADIATOR is another movie I found on VHS by accident while browsing the video store. It’s a car vigilante TV movie, so I was surprised to find it with the Abel Ferrara movies. Yes, the director of KING OF NEW YORK and BAD LIEUTENANT also did a TV movie starring Ken Wahl and guest starring cheeseball ’80s top 40 DJ Rick Dees as his obnoxious boss. From about ’85 until ’88 Ferrara mostly worked in TV, doing some episodes of MIAMI VICE and CRIME STORY, plus this one in ’86. Seemed like something I should investigate.

Wahl plays Rick Benton, a stoic car mechanic working for Dees’s specialty car business. The only people in his life are his kid brother who he raised (Brian Robbins, director of NORBIT), his Vietnam buddy who works at the junkyard, and a customer he’s starting to date, talk radio host Nancy Allen. He works for rich people but chugs along in the kind of lower middle class existence not usually depicted casually in a TV movie. A couple nice touches I noticed: they eat on paper plates, and they wrap gifts with the Sunday funnies. You ever notice how presents on TV and movies are usually perfectly wrapped with shiny bows and sometimes even lids that just lift off? I could never pull that off. The Sunday funnies is more relatable. Good one Ferrara. (read the rest of this shit…)

Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Not too long ago it was in the nerd-news that Samuel L. Jackson had signed on to play the character “Nick Fury” in as many as nine Marvel Comics movies. Some people said, “Well, that’s not surprising. Samuel L. Jackson will sign onto anything!” But that’s not really fair, they were probaly just actors who were bitter because they didn’t get the roles in THE SPIRIT, CLEANER, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, S.W.A.T., SOUL MEN, JUMPER, HOME OF THE BRAVE, FREEDOMLAND, FARCE OF THE PENGUINS, BASIC, CHANGING LANES, SPHERE, LOADED WEAPON 1, etc.

Where does this Nick Fury come from? Probaly some comic book, but in my opinion mainly from this TV movie starring David Hasselhoff. I actually have wanted to see this for years because it was written by David Goyer in the same year he did BLADE, but they rarely showed it on TV. One time I happened to catch part of it on cable so I checked to see when it would air again – never, it turned out. That was the one and only scheduled airing. But that was before Fury Fever swept the nation, so now it’s on DVD. (read the rest of this shit…)

Someone’s Watching Me!

Friday, October 5th, 2007

John Carpenter is on my list of top directors. HALLOWEEN, THE THING, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, THEY LIVE – all by the same guy? Not to mention DARK STAR, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA… well, you have IMDb. Point is the guy has done a tone of what I consider classics, and most of the rest are real good or at least pretty interesting. I’ll watch any of them. I watched BODY BAGS last year. I watched MEMOIRS OF AN INVISIBLE MAN, and it wasn’t too bad actually. The two MASTERS OF HORROR episodes he did with my internet buds Moriarty and Scott Swan were cool as far as TV goes. Even VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED, I was surprised, that was pretty good too. And CHRISTINE. The guy is good.

So a couple weeks ago I realized, shit, I’ve seen all of ’em except ELVIS: THE MOVIE. I’d been meaning to rent that one and so that day I finally decided to do it, get everything on the John Carpenter list crossed off. It was a 3 hour TV movie originally but the VHS release is a 2 hour theatrical cut. It’s slick and well made and it’s basically every musician biopic cliche all lined up in a row: the discovery of talent, the loyalty to old friends, spending money on the naive parents, the first girlfriend who leaves him, the new love, winning over her parents, the honeymoon is over (why the fuck you gonna marry Elvis and then ask him to stop doing music!?), the fall from grace, the amazing comeback. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cabin by the Lake

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2000

This movie is a USA Original Picture on the USA cable network. Now you may be thinking that means its not a real movie, why is vern writing about it, it doesn’t matter. Well hear me out bud. I think it does matter. Yes, I think it does matter and I am going to tell you why. Because, my friend, this is a USA Original PIcture. And what that means, in my opinion, is that they are gonna rerun this movie forever. I mean what do you think their gonna play late at night, or early in the afternoon, or at 8:00 am or pm, when they need two hours to fill. Are they gonna play Teen Wolf? Just One of the Guys? X-Man?

No. No no and no. They are gonna play Cabin By the Lake, because it’s a USA original picture. And that is two hours where they could have been playing a chuck norris movie or what have you. Maybe even van damme. So this IS important. you want this picture to be good because, let’s face it, these are the ones that count. (read the rest of this shit…)