Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CANON OF FILM: "IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD"

IT’S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (1963)

Director: Stanley Kramer
Screenplay: William Rose and Tania Rose based on their story



Director Stanley Kramer’s work consists of some of the most political and socially topical films ever made, ranging from “The Defiant Ones,” “Judgement at Nuremberg,” “Inherit the Wind,” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, but one day, he decided to get as many of the best comic/comedians, or anybody else with any kind of comic ability in every form of comedy imaginable up until that time, and get them together and make the greatest comedy of all-time. He overshot a bit. “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” isn’t the greatest comedy of all-time, but it’s still incredibly funny, and even when it isn’t as funny as it should be, there’s so much comedic talent in the movie, that you know all you have to do is wait for the next scene for something funny, and at a little over three hours, it’s a long long long long movie, especially for a comedy, and exceptionally so for a movie where the only purpose of the film is to just take great comic actors and continually place them in funny scene, scenarios and situation, yet it remains endearing despite it being so far over-the-top, that basically anything can and pretty much does happen in the film. Its plot formula will be familiar to those who’ve seen the less inspiring reimagining of the film like “The Cannonball Run,” and “Rat Race,” among about a dozen other remakes and re-imaginings. A car accident leads to numerous drivers pulling off the road, initially to help, only to hear an elongated last words speech by the driver about buried cash in a Santa Rosita Park. The man apparently stole hundreds of thousands from a tuna factory 15 years earlier and hid it, but remained under police surveillance ‘til his death. The police, they then quickly keep track and figures on what’s become an obvious race between about, 15 or 16 people depending on how you count, to the money. Everything of course, is watched over by the Santa Rosita police department the whole time, lead by Capt. Culpepper, (Spencer Tracy) and apparently no one notices they’re being tailed, ever, and everybody leaves a trail of damage behind. All comedy throughout all the ages is represented here from Buster Keaton to Dick Shawn to Milton Berle to Carl Reiner, Sid Caeser, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hacket, Ethel Merman, Jimmy Durante, Jim Backus, Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters … even the Three Stooges are allowed a cameo and a credit, and that’s not counting the uncredited work of Jerry Lewis and Jack Benny to name a few. It’s intention is pointless fun, and succeeds greatly. I find myself enjoying the movie more on multiple viewings as it simply meanders from comic scenario to comic scenario without taking anything seriously. The plot device is only an excuse to get all these comedians to be funny onscreen. If only they could’ve added Jackie Gleason and George Burns, it would’ve been an even better better better better movie, but I think this comic time capsule has enough comedy legends to hold us over. 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

MY TOP 100 GREATEST TV SHOWS BALLOT (#40-21) for GEEKCAST RADIO NETWORK'S POLL!

Welcome back to the reveal of my ballot of the Top 100 Greatest TV Shows Ballot for Geekcast Radio Network's poll. We're up to the Top 40 everyone. Yes, for the past few weeks, we've been counting down my ballot that I submitted to Geekcast Radio Network's Top 100 TV Shows Countdown. For those who may have missed their podcasts or are generally interested in them, here are the links to their sites, as well as the links to the podcasts where they revealed the results of the poll.

https://www.facebook.com/GeekCastRadioNetwork/?fref=ts
http://www.geekcastradio.com/
http://www.geekcastradio.com/geekcastradio/gcrn-top-100-tv-shows-countdown-part-1-100-76
http://www.geekcastradio.com/alteredgeek/gcrn-top-100-tv-shows-countdown-part-2-75-51
http://www.geekcastradio.com/geekcastradio/gcrn-top-100-tv-shows-countdown-part-3-50-26
http://www.geekcastradio.com/geekcastradio/gcrn-top-100-tv-shows-countdown-part-4-25-01
http://www.geekcastradio.com/geekcastradio/gcrn-top-100-tv-shows-countdown-part-5-finale

I want to once again thank those at Geekcast Radio for allowing me to participate and remind people that, this series of blogs, is me revealing, "MY BALLOT" and my ballot ONLY, go check out Geekcast Radio to find the complete results of their poll. For those who haven't been keeping up with my reveal, you can see my previous posts where I revealed the first sixty spots on my ballot, at the links below:

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-top-100-greatest-tv-shows-ballot-100.html
http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-top-100-greatest-tv-shows-ballot-80.html
http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2015/12/my-top-100-greatest-tv-shows-ballot-60.html

Those links will give more detail on each and every one of my selections and why I picked them. For those, not interested in starting from the beginning, let's take a quick look at my previous picks before we continue:

"MY" TOP 100 GREATEST TV SHOWS BALLOT!
100. St. Elsewhere  (NBC, 1982-'88)
99. Treme (HBO, 2010-'13)
98. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (CBS, 2005-'14)
97. Grace Under Fire (ABC, 1993-'97)
96. Flip (aka "The Flip Wilson Show") (NBC, 1970-'74)
95. Broad City (Comedy Central 2014-Present)
94. Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO, 2003-Present)
93. The Office (UK, BBC2, 2001-2003)
92. The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (CBS, 1950-'58)
91. Whose Line Is It Anyway (UK, Channel 4, 1988-'99)
90. The Odd Couple (ABC, 1970-'75)
89. Extras (BBC Two, 2005-'07, BBC One, 2007; HBO 2005-'07)
88. Boston Legal (ABC, 2004-'08)
87. That '70s Show (Fox, 1998-2006)
86. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO, 2014-Present)
85. How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-'14)
84. Rocky and His Friends (aka Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends) (ABC, 1959-'61, NBC 1961-'64)
83. My World... and Welcome To It (NBC, 1969-'70)
82. The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 2007-Present)
81. Maverick (ABC, 1957-'62)
80. Will & Grace (NBC, 1998-2006)
79. The Golden Girls (NBC, 1985-'92)
78. Perry Mason (CBS, 1957-'66)
77. In Treatment (HBO, 2008-'10)
76. Barney Miller (ABC, 1975-'82)
75. The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (CBS, 1983-'86)
74. Louie (FX, 2010-Present)
73. Family Ties (NBC, 1982-'89)
72. 3rd Rock from the Sun (NBC, 1996-2001)
71. Good Times (CBS, 1974-'79)
70. The Newsroom (HBO, 2012-'14)
69. Jeopardy! (Syndication, 1984-Present)
68. I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-'57)
67. The Muppet Show (ITV, 1976-'81 [UK]; Syndication, 1976-'81, [U.S.])
66. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX 2005-'12, FXX, 2013-Present)
65. Married... with Children (FOX, 1987-'97)
64. Dallas (CBS, 1978-1991)
63. Sex and the City (HBO, 1998-2004)
62. The Rockford Files (NBC, 1974-1980)
61. King of the Hill (FOX, 1997-2010, Syndication, 2010)
60. Late Night with Conan O'Brien (NBC, 1993-2009)
59. Lou Grant (CBS, 1977-'82)
58. Murphy Brown (CBS, 1988-'98)
57. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central, 2005-'14)
56. Northern Exposure (CBS, 1990-'95)
55. Dexter (Showtime, 2006-'13)
54. Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)
53. Your Show of Shows (NBC, 1950-1954)
52. Arrested Development (FOX, 2003-'06, Netflix, 2013-Present)
51. Star Trek: The Next Generation (Syndication: 1987-'94)
50. Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2009-'15)
49. Girls (HBO, 2012-Present)
48. Sports Night (ABC, 1998-2000)
47. The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007)
46. The Office (NBC, 2005-'13)
45. The X-Files (FOX, 1993-2002, 2016-?)
44. 30 Rock (NBC, 2006-'13)
43. Mad Men (AMC, 2007-'15)
42. The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (CBS, 1967-'69)
41. ER (NBC, 1994-2009)

And now, let's break into the Top 40. We begin with a hilarious comedy that began with it's main character, having to get up from a concert performance, to answer his phone that was ringing and annoying the audience. Now, that doesn't sound particularly unique or unusual, but keep in mind, they didn't have cell phones back in the '60s. And also, the phone, was inside the guy's shoe? Yes, this scene's dated, but most of the rest of the show is still funny as hell.


40. Get Smart (NBC, 1965-1969, CBS, 1969-1970)



Spoofs don't have the greatest of success rates on television, at most they usually end as cult series, because really, how long can you really make fun of the same genre over and over again, that why it's really a sketch show, plus half the time the thing your making fun of is so timely that the references will probably not hold up years later, so the only way you can really get the spoof genre to work on television is if it's just incredibly talented funny people working on it. Um, to quote Jeff Daniels, "God Bless Mel Brooks". It was Mel Brooks and Buck Henry, still in the beginning of their careers then, but already comedy legends, who were tapped to create the show and they basically created this show as a satire of the James Bond movies and some of the great spy drama series of the '60s, like "Man from U.N.C.L.E." and "Mission: Impossible", and it's one of the few truly hilarious shows from the late '60s. People are trying to replicate "Get Smart", and it almost never works no matter what genre they're doing, but "Get Smart" is just classic comedy from great comic minds, that happens to be shoved into this strange, surreal comedy, that's a parody of the sixties, a parody of a whole genre, a parody of the Cold War,... it's really one of the funniest, smartest and strangest comedies of all-time. Don Adams, Maxwell Smart, is one of the greatest characters ever created. Maxwell Smart is just one of the greatest characters ever created, Barbara Feldon's 99 character, (Which was originally named 69, at one point, 'cause of course it was), is credited as being the first female character to every get married, give birth to kids on the series, and then go back to work. I mean, if you don't watch "Get Smart" and not laughing silly at something, then you just don't know great comedy. "Missed it by that much", "The old, gun in the bunny trick", "Sorry about that Chief". So many great catchphrases, Don Adams was absolutely born for this role. In a sense, you could argue that this is the last great, classic sitcom before the Norman Lear shows took over the in the '70s. It's definitely one of the few sitcoms from that late '60s that still holds up as well as it did at the time, and a lot of that has to do with just, the great comedy. Long after we don't remember half the shows they were parodying, we still have "Get Smart".

There's something I gotta talk about with a lot of these older shows, the fact is that, we're often not watching the original series as it originally aired, especially when they used music, particularly licensed music. Yes, we all know that episodes were often longer and they sometimes get chopped in reruns, but music licensing rights running out also causes some shows to fall by the wayside. One episode of the cult series, "Buffalo Bill", has an entire musical sequence edited out of it's DVDs, and a show like "Cold Case" which often used pop music in it's series to delineate period time periods, are a nightmare for reruns and DVDs. That said, no great show probably got in worst when it comes to music rights than this one, even with the latest DVD release, the series is still by some account, only 80% of the series is in tact from it's original airing.


39. WKRP in Cincinnati (CBS, 1978-1982)



I love this theme song, it is surprisingly sad, and there is a great sadness to "WKRP in Cincinnati", for most of the characters, it's basically, where they ended up. It's hard to really remember when DJs were actually disc jockey, and actually did play records on the radio, and they weren't just radio zoo people who were Howard Stern wannabes and clicked on a computer and played whatever pop song was next to play, Right before the era of MTV, the disc jockey was probably one of the coolest jobs you could have, except at WKRP, the last place station in Cincinnati, where the secretary made more money than the boss. "WKRP in Cincinnati" was the coolest show of it's era, and it's still one of the funniest shows of all-time. I mean, this show belongs on the list for the "Turkeys Away" episode alone. God, that's still one of the funniest and most surreal episodes of all-time. Unfortunately, if people "WKRP in Cincinnati" it's mainly because they know that episode, and they completely ignore the entire series. Hugh Wilson is one of the most underrated TV writers of all-time and he created the show, and it's great mix, some pretty great comedy, and amazing characters, Howard Hessman's Johnny Fever, is one of the great original characters in television, and yet, the show, has this great sadness to it. There's convicts, there's people of last resort trying to make the radio channel better, there's the darkness of characters that are really at the edge of their ropes trying to do better, and all the while, you have this, at the time, it was at the precipice of modern music and the zeitgeist, of rock'n'roll. It was also important to remember that the show, was partially canceled because of Howard Hessman's political activities, the show, sorta fell along with "Lou Grant" with the Ed Asner controversies, but the show, got treated terribly from the network. The show was constantly jumping around the channel for years, and actually became a bigger hit originally in syndication, before the licensing rights ran out, but afterwords, a few channels try to bring it back, but it kinda gets forgotten. It was the late '70s, it hit late, and there was so many great shows of that era that you forget this show in the list of greatest TV shows, but it really belongs on there. It's gotten bad break after bad break, but the people who really know television, know this show belongs where nobody else does.

I will admit now that this is probably the most controversial show selection on my list. I'm not gonna pretend that, maybe had I done this list on another day, it wouldn't be, so high, (It would definitely be on the list though, for sure, and maybe it's not exactly an accurate portrayal of the world that it's depicting, but, as somebody who is apart of that world to some extent, I couldn't care less. It may have only lasted one season, but to the people who watched it, and kept at it, this ranks as one of the best shows of all-time.


38. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC, 2006-'07)



Every once in a while, television has to come out and criticize itself, and aim just a little bit higher than it probably should, and somebody saying it that absolutely has every right to complain and comment on how it should be better. Norman Lear, did that a lot over the years, but in print, rarely did you see it done on television, certainly not on a television show, certainly not, on the first episode of arguably the biggest television show money-wise ever produced for network television. Television, especially network television would be better now if people had actually listened. "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", was a drama, about comedy, and that's something that, a lot of people, inside and outside the industry, probably couldn't handle, but trust me, there's definitely a lot of drama in trying to create something funny. If there is a criticism of the show, it's probably that it was too funny at times, but you know, Aaron Sorkin doesn't create reality, he creates television shows about the way we hope or wish life was. It's arguably the greatest cast in television history, and it's just incredible dialogue and storytelling. The reason it was canceled actually, wasn't the ratings, actually ratings-wise, if you put it on today, it'd be one of the top shows on network television, but it was just way too expensive to stay on the air at the time, and in many ways, it is a story of hubris above anything else. Daring that television, be something better than just a box with lights; I mean, it's sad, but too many people just see it as this, but the fact is, he's right. "Studio 60..."'s failure, is a cautionary tale, but goddamn, why television actually be as good as this show is. A great television show about  how hard it is to make great television; it's sad that this is an idea that's, mocked, when it should be the norm.

I have to talk about another show that missed my list, and no, I don't hate "Community", but no, I don't think it's by any means one of the greatest shows ever. For one, thing, it took a great premise, and then just decided to ignore it. There's so much great material with community colleges as a setting it's amazing nobody's made that show yet, and instead, he diverges into, anything else; I always watch the show feeling like I got misdirected into one show, when I was originally promised another. That said, I think I kinda get what they're going for. A main character who's part conman, a group of ragtag character who are thrown together into a situation, trying to scheme over others all the time, this formula can work.


37. The Phil Silvers Show (oka "You'll Never Get Rich") (CBS, 1955-'59)



Another classic show gotten forgotten in television history. If "I Love Lucy" and "The Honeymooners" are the Chaplin and Keaton of film, than "The Phil Silvers Show" show is The Marx Brothers, This was pure anarchy. "The Phil Silver Show", was originally titled "You'll Never Get Rich", it's sometimes called "Sgt. Bilko" or just "Bilko" in reruns, boy the show, really kinda gets beaten around nowadays, but it was the first sitcom to win the Best Comedy Series Emmy, three consecutive years, first to ever win it three times, period, even "I Love Lucy" only won it twice, and yes, it's an Army show, but Sgt. Bilko, Phil Silvers, who, man, does he not get the credit he deserves, he's basically the continuous conman, who happens to be in the military, which presents, those extra layers of problems, thankfully, it was the '50s and not a war and there were quite a few, sorta Beetle Bailey-type military comedies on from the '50s and '60s, from "McHale's Navy", which was also created by Nat Hiken, who's considered the first television show "Creator", to "F Troop" to "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." but this is by far the best one. Phil Silvers was a pain in the ass to CBS, and he was constantly trying to push the boundaries of what was allowed on television at that time. He was really a renegade of television, so much so that CBS, after they did finally cancel the show, despite still being a major critically and commercial hit, they sold the rights to the show to NBC, who made more money airing the show in reruns for years, in one of the dumbest business ever, but they were tire of dealing with him, He said, as a comedian, he was impatient, so he insisted that everything be quick and fast-paced and mad, 'cause he figured that the audience was as impatient as him, and when you watch "The Phil Silvers" compared to something like "I Love Lucy", everything is quick-witted and fast-paced, and they shot live too, and half the time people forgot their lines and they improvised to speed the show, it is just pure anarchy. There's no set up before Lucy is suddenly overrun by a mountain of bread, for instance, on Phil Silvers, first there's a mountain, then there's getting out of the bread, then there's hiding the mountain, it is so much, so fast, it's amazing anybody could ever really keep up with him. Real television people who study everything about television, know how important and legendary and in many ways one-of-a-kind, "The Phil Silvers Show" is, but yeah, other than them, today, you never hear this show brought, and you hardly ever hear about Phil Silvers as being one of the greats comedians of the golden age of television, and he truly was one of the very greats.

From one of the great shows of television, to one of the great shows, of radio. This is the oldest drama series to make my ballot, and it's influence is still relevant all over network television. This show in particular, is also one of the rare shows that had multiple successful reincarnations on television. I could've put the late '60s version of the show on here as well, but eh, I went with the original version instead.


36. Dragnet (NBC, 1951-'59)



I don't know what the deal is with "Dragnet"'s public domain status, but sometime I run into an old rerun that was re-entitled, "Badge 714", which was of course Joe Friday's badge number, which is permanently retired by the LAPD now, but I don't know quite what that deal is, but that version has like, weird, bad '80s music and, it's just strange. "Dragnet", is basically as bare bones you can get for a cop show and that's what so great about it. It's about the case, and it's incredibly procedural, lots of episodes are just, seeing the old computers, looking through for information, it's very much, by the books, just the facts ma'am, it's really that simple. And especially, in the really early episodes, it looks awful. I mean, even for the 1950s, it looks like the shittiest, cheapest camera they could find, and shot on location, it is dingy, gritty, bare, and that's how "Dragnet" should look. Hell, that's how "Law & Order" should look, somethings don't need to be pretty, they look particularly good. Jack Webb, really was the man behind this show, he wasn't just Joe Friday, he wrote, directed, produced the show, he created the original radio program, it's him, kinda wanting to detail the true gritty little details of police work, however interesting, or sometimes, how uninteresting they are, it's always fascinating, and it's basically the blueprint for, pretty much, to some extent, every cop show since.

From one of the oldest shows on the list, to the longest-running continuing series that's on the list, lasting 46 years, and still going strong. It's also the only series representing it's genre to make the list; I guess I could've put a few other shows in it on the list, but even if I did, they would all be dwarfed by this show.


35. Sesame Street (NET, 1969-'70, PBS, 1970-2015,[Second run, 2016-Present,] HBO, 2016-Present)



Yeah, you start listing the greatest television shows and then somebody mentions "Sesame Street" and from there, nobody really knows where exactly to put it, other than the fact that it completely deserves to be there, and everybody grew up with it, at least in America, anyway, and now most every country it seems has had some version of "Sesame Street". People forget that-eh, this wasn't something that Jim Henson, necessarily wanted to do. It's basis was not in the Muppets but in Joan Ganz Cooney, who was the first female television executive, in American history, btw, who wanted to create a show, using actually some scientifically-tested technology believe it or not, to figure out how to both teach kids and entertain kids, and that's when they brought in Jim Henson, who was far more hesitant than people remember. He was much more darker and adult humored in general, and he had wanted to try to expand the art of puppetry to beyond being a kids' programming, but of course once he came on, he then put everything he could into it and created, arguably some of the most memorable television characters of all-time. It's a far more difficult show to write than people realize too, believe it or not, most children's television show, at least the ones with an education-first bump to them, were written by teachers, until "Sesame Street" who wanted to go beyond that, and they figured it was easier to find good writers, who could figure out the curriculum and then find a way to captivate the attention, than it was to teach teachers to be funny, and in many ways that was a stroke of absolute genius. We, as adults, we like to go back and catch all the great parodies they were doing at the time of the songs and television shows and movies of the era, the pop culture relevance they had, but when you're a kid, you didn't know they were parodying something, you were listening and learning, and now as an adult you can actually appreciate "Sesame Street" on completely different levels. It's one of the greatest institutions in television history.

Spin-offs are often difficult, for every "The Jeffersons" or "Laverne & Shirley" or "Rhoda", three shows that absolutely could've been on this list, but unfortunately weren't, you then have quite a few shows like "The Tortellis" or "AfterM*A*S*H", that definitely faltered and sputtered. For fear of this spinoff meeting similar fates, the creators made sure to make it as different as possible from the original series, and now, it's often cited as the most successful spin-off of all-time. It certainly is if you count Emmys.


34. Frasier (NBC, 1993-2004)



I don't know if I'd actually call "Frasier", "The Smartest Show on Television", like it was so often, but it's definitely one of the sharpest and wittiest. It was the definitely one of the only that ever actually acknowledged that characters could be smart and cultured and not have that be a knock against them, and yet, still really show the conflict that that can actually create from that, clash. "Frasier" at it's core was really, this farce; it's the classic setup the people who try to make everything as perfect as possible constantly getting bombarded by real life, just getting continuously in the way. Kelsey Grammer had created the character, originally it wasn't even an original character on "Cheers", it was only supposed to last a few episodes but it kept evolving and evolving, and eventually he became a regular, and his character coming into the series had this whole history behind him, and even they destroyed half that history, and see this new evolved version of this. The show, was always good, it got tiring, after a while, I mean, I could pretty easily see an argument that the show sorta jumped the shark after Niles and Daphne started dating, that's when it's unprecedented streak of consecutive Emmys started to end, but honestly the show was still great, and some of the best episodes of the series, were in like, season nine or ten, like "Cheers" before it, it's one of those few shows that knew exactly how to evolve when some of it's original premises and ideas kinda fluttered and they were able to move on from that, and you ended up with numerous other great elements to a show. It wasn't about, just the conflicts and comedy it was about the great characters involved in them. And it really is, just well-written. It wasn't flashy, it wasn't over-the-top, it didn't go for the easy laughs, it was a character piece, and that's why, you can "Frasier" pick it up anywhere, and really still laugh and be entertained at it, even if you don't know the subtleties between Jung and Freud, you get the relationship between two brothers and the cop father who's nothing like them.

The family drama is not often looked upon as the greatest of drama series. Often times, that's because they usually they're sometimes a little too wholesome and forgiving. Shows like "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie" while occasionally having some serious and oftentimes profound and touching moments, it's pretty hard to claim that they hold up that well over time. Families, just aren't that sincere and loving, there's real problems and traumas involved in them, and most of the time, you couldn't really find a great drama series that depicted that, in a modern way believably. That's somewhat changed in recent years, even the supposed "family dramas" that are for the more family values set like "Gilmore Girls" work a lot better than shows of the past, but if you ask me, the show that really truly broke the barrier and got this right, and the family drama that feel most alive, is ironically the one, that dealt with, the darkest of topics, death.


33. Six Feet Under (HBO, 2001-'05)



Everybody talks about "The Sopranos" on the drama side anyway, being the show that forever solidified HBO's status as premiere television network and then "Six Feet Under" if it ever gets brought up at all anymore, it's remembered as-eh, that other other HBO family drama, probably because it came, second. I don't think it would be that way if they switched the debuts. "Six Feet Under", was created by Alan Ball, he had just won the Oscar for "American Beauty" and basically had a carte blanche to create whatever he wanted, and it makes perfect sense, knowing that, the fact that he would create a television show about a family that runs a funeral parlor, makes complete sense, but still, what a strange perspective to take, and the funny thing is, it's not that strange. It's really about a family trying to deal with the fact that they lost their patriarch, and trying to move on. Trying to fall in love, out of love, trying to find their place in life, trying to be an artist, trying to move on from losing a husband, a wife, dealing with having a kid, a nymphomaniac trying to get over her addictions, a gay couple that, really was a believable gay couple, one of the first in fact on television, okay, a few unusual quirky things, but still, it's all there, but you never saw it done with this perspective of constantly seeing and dealing with death, in a very real way, even if many of the deaths in the show had their particularly sardonic moments. There was always something haunting about the show, rather beautiful in fact, something about how everything felt like it was fleeting. The show probably could've lasted a lot longer, but I like that they ended it when they did; this should be a show that, sorta caught in time, like a painting, it's almost too perfect. And I just watched the ending again and now I'm crying again; I really gotta stop doing that.

Another subgenre that's conspicuously absent for most of this list is the teenage comedy. Or teenage anything for that matter. Most of them don't hold up, even the best ones tend to go on a little too long, and even the best of them, usually don't adapt too well or believably over time, especially on network television where they haven't been able to get too deeply into some of the more adult material that they encounter. That said, there are a few exceptions of great television shows that document the experience of being a teenager, it's a little funny that most of them, for some reason, take place in the past however.


32. The Wonder Years (ABC, 1988-'93)



I don't think about it too often, but "The Wonder Years" is definitely way more influential than I think people realize. It's common to use techniques like voiceover and use single-camera for television sitcoms now, but "The Wonder Years" was immediately unique and different compared to everything else on television when it came on, but it makes sense for this show, because, in a sense, the show was a period piece, there was always this great sense of nostalgia with this show. Yet, it felt completely believable. You can imagine that somebody could've made this show in, say the '50s, and it would've been taking place in the '20s or '30s or something. For some reason, when other shows go for this kind of period piece, it's much more sardonic, and they play up how dated the period is; this show has a timelessness to it, even if it very obviously takes place in the late '60s and early '70s. It is a comedy, it just is a comedy of behaviors, it's about learning the ways of the world, it's a small comedy, but I can see how it could be construed as a drama. This is one of those rare series that could really fit either one of the categories, and really is probably the show most people think about when they think about something being a dramedy. This emphasis on real life, the quirks of the characters, the strange fumblings of first love, the subtle differences and changes with the growing up of characters. Fred Savage is an unusually great actor for a kid, and that certainly helps. There were television shows before, where you saw characters and even kids growing up before our eyes before, but rarely if ever were they the center of the show. Ricky Nelson, wasn't the star of "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet", you know, this was a kid's perspective and about the kid's problems, it was always about the kid's problems from the perspective of the parents, and here we saw the kid's perspective. "The Wonder Years" is just a great, touching, funny show, and it definitely is an anomaly of a series, it's just a great show but it's definitely on it's own, one of the more unique shows ever and one of the most influential.

Although it ended, rather seamlessly, "The Wonder Years" is one of many shows on this list that were canceled as opposed to leaving the air on their own fruition, Some shows on the list have actually managed to survive cancellation and get renewed, sometimes on a different network, sometimes through popular demand, sometimes shows stay on the air 'cause the network has nothing to replace it with at times. ("Late Night with Conan O'Brien" survived that fate more than a few times during it's run for that reason) Still though, when people think of a show that survived and came back from being cancelled, this is the one most people think about.

31. Family Guy (FOX, 1999-2003, 2005-Present)



It's true that you can do absolutely anything with animation, but it's also true that with animation, you can absolutely get away with more, and "Family Guy", god, what don't they get away with. I was one of the ones who caught onto "Family Guy", right at the time, because it was clear that this was, somebody making it, who was like me, who basically grew up watching Nick at Nite and taking it as bible. Something that's sorta not brought up is how television is constantly repeating itself, very literally with reruns, and how, all of it, eventually becomes ingrained into our psyche as stories that have been well-told dozens of times over like fairy tale and nursery rhymes, and most television shows try to ignore this, at least until "Family Guy", now most of them embrace, but "Family Guy", was one of the shows I remember that really first recognized that and acknowledged it, and thank God for it, 'cause their inspirations are better and more interesting than most television shows. Seth MacFarlane was an animator from Rhode Island, with an inspirations that ranged from, Mel Brooks to Norman Lear to Gary Larson, and like something like "All in the Family", where anything of controversy and topical nature can walk through the front door and cause an issue, "Family Guy" is essentially the same version of that, only, way more absurd and outrageous. "Family Guy", didn't catch on for some reason originally, except by me, and then, after it was on cable, it became a cult hit on Cartoon Network, late at night, and DVD sales were some of the biggest of all-time and eventually, FOX took notice and they kept bringing the show back for like, a one-off episode or something, and then they finally just decided to bring it back and it's basically the centerpiece of their animation lineup now; I could argue even more than "The Simpsons" are to some extent. "Family Guy" probably hits more of a greater demographic really, "Family Guy" is referential and wild enough that they can find the things that can appeal to older demographics while I don't think other shows like it, can really get that as much. It's like the perfect demented mind, getting ahold of, just every possible piece of pop culture he can, and figuring out how to spew it out in ways that are just so quick and random, and full of basically any thing of comedy it can. There's a reason that "Family Guy" was the first animated sitcom since "The Flintstones" that found a way to get into the Best Comedy Series Emmy category, it really is a television show about people and by people who've basically done nothing but watch television.

"Family Guy" has certainly influenced a lot of television since, including this show. This was one of the first live-action shows post "Family Guy" that borrowed quite a few of it's techniques, probably because a lot of the show's producers started as writer's for "Family Guy"; that explains the cutaways and the single-camera format, as well as the unique television references, how did they get us to cry and shatter so often when they take those TV tropes and just destroy the reality of the world with them?


30. Scrubs (NBC, 2001-'08, ABC, 2009-'10)



A lot of the things that "Arrested Development" gets credit for, and they do deserve a lot of credit for them, but people, even today, they still don't really notice that "Scrubs" was doing them two years before that show was even on the air, and they were doing it while managing to still create, a far more realistic series about doctors than, I think even most drama series about doctors even pull off. Like, I can never sit through "Grey's Anatomy" 'cause the show just seems like "Scrubs", but not as realistic, and people think I'm kidding when I say, I'm not. "Grey's Anatomy" might be a drama, and 'Scrubs" might be a comedy, but from the mind perspective, "Grey's Anatomy" is just a soap opera, "Scrubs" is way more realistic. You do have, those quick jokes in the beginning of your mind before you turn that off and then try to say something that you really want to say. It takes a lot of the uses of voiceover that, probably a show like "The Wonder Years" really created for television at least, but so expanded it's use. This is a show that, for all-intensive purposes is told in the first person, and sometimes that first person happens to tell a bad joke or two, because they're doctors and that's what they do. I mean, it's nice to think of doctors as all Marcus Welby or Dr. Ross's or whatever, but these were fresh, young doctors out of school, still petrified of whether or not that damn medical degree is really what they want to do, and that struggle is the core of the show. It's characters being over-the-top and outrageous to hide their true thoughts and fears. I mean, I always tell people that this is the modern day version of "M*A*S*H", it's not a warzone, so it's not the same, eh, heights or drama that they're going for, it's much more lower, so it's okay to be aiming lower, and the thing is, sometimes they hit those heights. I don't think I can think of another show that's made me cry more often this century than "Scrubs", and it's not even necessarily; it's so wild and stream-of-consciousness with it's comedy, than when it does, have reality suddenly burst onto the show, it hits you harder than when, something like that would happen on drama series. Years from now, people are gonna look back at this era and see "Scrubs" struggling in the ratings for most of it's run, and wondering how the hell the most original and unique series on network television was basically ignored for most of it's run; this is a show that people will find in reruns and then they'll realize that this really is one of the best sitcoms ever.

"Scrubs" was definitely more inventive than most every other sitcoms on at it's time, but probably the most inventive drama series of it's time, was this one. It certainly was the most audacious and daring experiment. This might've made the list alone, if, it only aired for one complete season, but the fact that this show last longer than any other in the espionage thriller genre, and still finds itself the subject of possible returns, is pretty unprecedented. Especially for a show that was almost canceled for fear that not enough people were going to be able to follow it's storytelling structure, a truly unique one to television then and now.


29. 24 (FOX, 2001-'10, 2014)



"24" is quite possibly the most intense thing ever put on television. I mean, like, if you've never seen this show, and somebody gives you a season of the series on DVD and think you're gonna just put it on and go to bed while it's on, um, you won't sleep for like a day. I'm amazed this show did so well on DVD; this is a series that needed a week between episodes or else you'd just be, eh...- I don't even want to know. I often compared it to something more like "North By Northwest" than anything on television before. This was action and drama, but it was drama at the highest and most intense levels. Especially with that literal ticking clock they're battling. The show happen to come about, after 9/11 and here's a show dealing with counter-terrorism, but actually it didn't catch on for a few years, and when the series was first going on, there was a lot of talk about, getting rid of the conceit that every hour of the show is a literal hour in a day of the series, and the events were happening, pretty much in real time. The show, actually was not a hit originally, it wasn't the Winter Olympics later that year, where every other television show's ratings went down but "24"'s ratings actually stayed the same, and that's when they realized that once people got addicted to the series that, they were sticking around to see what happens next. For better or worst, you can pretty much argue that "24", is the show that basically started the trend of nearly every series being so intense on keeping with the continuous narrative, and the yearly continuous narrative too; if Jack Bauer wasn't the hero of every season, "24" could've been basically the first "True Detective" or "American Horror Story"-type series. Action series, before "24" were, mostly light-hearted to some extent, they were never like, "Holy shit" serious before. You didn't watch "Magnum, P.I." or "Miami Vice" or "The A-Team" on the edge of your seat, worried that, something wouldn't explode, they were just there to show action, well here you got a lot of action, and basically it was too much to deal with, 'cause it's overload and it's just-, I mean, I missed the season four premiere so I stopped watching it back then, and never gone back, and part of me wishes I were to get to it sooner, part of me doesn't think I can handle it. This is the most edge-of-your-seat thriller you can get on television. Maybe this should've just been a one-year experiment but it kept going and Jack Bauer is just, continuously fighting through terrorists. There's definitely a fantasy aspect to the series, but you're not thinking or realizing that when you're watching it.

Hmm. Well, there's no real way to give an opening to this show better than the way the show was opened for every night during it's run (Well, most of it's run, sometimes there was a guest host), so, take it Ed!

28. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (NBC, 1962-'93)



Well, "The Tonight Show" was actually invented by Pat Weaver, along with the "Today" show, it was his sort of idea that you open with the news and then you go to bed with comedy, and originally it was hosted by Steve Allen, who was such a huge hit that they moved him to Primetime to compete with Ed Sullivan and then Jack Paar, who was a much more of an enigmatic figure than even Carson, he would go after some of the elite and he was the one that perfected the opening monologue. Carson was very much a student of comedy, that was even his thesis in college and with television, his early programs like "Carson's Cellar" were kind of these strange configurations of comedy, for "The Tonight Show" he really was somebody who essentially took everything that he knew and knew that he was good at and eventually just formulated it into, what is essentially what we now think of as the prototype for the Late Night talk show. You do a monologue, do a sketch, and then have a couple guests, including a performer, like a band or a comic, at one point he would have four or five guests per show, he eventually got them to stop that and drop the series to an hour, but yeah, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson", is the standard for a reason. I mean, look at today, Letterman, outlasted Leno although you wouldn't say he necessarily beat him, especially if you look at ratings, and now we're overloaded with late night hosts, it's not that there weren't shows going up against Carson, there were all the time, and they just got killed. Carson basically owned television, he was the centerpiece for a good many people; I grew up falling asleep to Carson, and I only caught the tail end, of his reign. He was sharp and funny, good for all time zones, and he's still the one that, pretty much every late night host gets compared to. If something wasn't invented by Carson and used on "The Tonight Show" he was the mastered it and just took it over from whoever did; he was just that good.

Carson is still the king of late night, although there a few late night variety talk show hosts that managed to get ranked slightly higher than him on this ballot. We'll get to them later. Right now, we'll get to the first major lawyer show. We've had a couple lawyer shows so far, but usually those shows were about the cases, or about the lawyer. This was probably not the first show that centered around a lawfirm, but this is definitely the prototype for most of the ones that come later.

27. L.A. Law (NBC, 1986-'94)



"L.A. Law" is technically one of Steven Bochco's show, in the first season, he hired an unknown lawyer named David E. Kelley, to help run and write the series, so, in many ways, I consider this to basically be the first David E. Kelley show and it's another one of those series that people just don't remember or mention anymore, despite the fact that this was probably the premiere drama series of it's time. It's one of those great ensemble drama series, that combined both the personal character dramas and the workplace procedural job of the daily grind of being a lawyer as well, and looking at the cases. It was considered at the time the most realistic lawyer show at the time, and-, I think it gets forgotten a lot because, it's not rerun much and also because David E. Kelley has basically been doing new variations of the lawyer show ever since, like "The Practice", "Ally McBeal", "Picket Fences" even, and they're great shows in themselves, too, but it all started with "L.A. Law". It's also one of those first really great dramas that was also pretty much a sardonic look at drama, for a drama series this show has some of the funniest moments in television history, definitely one of the funniest death scenes. People forget that that happened in, like the show's sixth or seventh season, Diana Muldaur's character falling down an elevator shaft, but the show was always, always a combination of sardonic surrealism of the world with the combining the realities of the life of working at a high-powered lawfirm. It actually makes perfect sense when you think about it, a lawfirm is actually the kind of location, where you can literally have anybody and anything come across the world; that's why the genre's continued on and remains successful even today, everybody thinking their version is the premiere or newest take, but they're basically all just new takes on "L.A. Law".

Yeah, "L.A. Law", like most drama series, hasn't survived as well in syndication, so it's somewhat forgotten nowadays until somebody brings it up. Strangely, this genre, which also doesn't have that many successful syndicated runs on television, including this series, which rarely airs in it's original form, still gets fans and people remembering it fondly years later. Might have something to do with the comedic genius behind the series.


26. The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967-'78)



Unless you really want to include "Saturday Night Live", the last really successful great, classical Variety series is "The Carol Burnett Show", and it's probably the best. Carol Burnett, is arguably the greatest sketch comedy actor in television history. She's definitely done the most sketch comedy. I don't know why she leaned that way, but everybody knew, just how overly talented and versatile she was. She had become famous on "The Gary Moore Show" and she was apart numerous other sketch projects over the years, of early television, and she always kept finding a way to stand out and was arguably as big a female star of her time as Lucille Ball, and they wanted to give her a sitcom, for her own show, and she said, "You know what, I like doing sketch and Variety and Broadway dance numbers,..." and it is the perfect vehicle to show off, just how much talent Carol Burnett actually has. That's probably why "The Carol Burnett Show" in particular stands out, most people they gave Variety shows to, especially in those days, the Sonny & Cher's, the Tony Orlando & Dawn's, and whatnot, they basically gave them Variety shows because they didn't know what else to do with them, but with Carol Burnett, you were doing it because it actually was the best use of all of her skills. That's why the sketches from the show, still have resonance. To this day, the longest recorded laugh in television history is the "Gone with the Wind" parody sketch where she comes out with a the curtain rod. It spun off into "Mama's Family", with the great family sketches, which weren't even-eh, they weren't even really comedy sketches at the core, they were slice of lifes, that when played were funny, you had Korman and Conway, just trying to annoy the hell out of each other and cracking up-, that's something that's often lost with the lack of true live television now, when you see great performers trying desperately to perform when they can't put the scene together; it was never done better though. She was talented as all hell, she still is, and she surrounded herself with incredibly talented people that can help her and them be talented. That's the great, no really a secret, secret to "The Carol Burnett Show" and why, she is basically the last one of the classical version of the Variety show that survived and really the only one that's even remotely still relevant and influential anymore.

If you want to go back and look for the influences of this show, I would probably recommend a series called "Not Only... but Also" a Variety comedy series starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, that was somewhat of an offshoot of their great stage show, "Beyond the Fringe" which they did with Alan Bennet and Jonathan Miller. I would, but I can't recommend, because most of the series doesn't exist anymore. Not realizing the opportunities of reruns, the BBC, in an effort to save money, actually reused film for most of their first couple decades in existence, and sadly the majority of the first two decades of British television, hasn't survived, most of it being wiped from the original film, or just taped over. One of the reasons this show survived was because of the members making runs to preserve as much of it as possible in it's original form, and be able to prove reruns were viable as it became a hit all over again in America.


25. Monty Python's Flying Circus (BBC1, 1969-'73; BBC2, 1974)



Oh God, "Monty Python", yeah, I mean, there's certain people who you can't tell the history of modern western comedy without, and they're definitely, a particularly unique and important part of that story. Seriously, has there been a more influential force in comedy, since? I mean, they're probably the last time when the true perspective on sketch comedy structure kinda changed. It went from set-up, punchline, to set-up,-punchline,-zinger-recall,-back-to-setup- punchline, zinger-, following the structure and randomness of their comedy is just weird. It's as absurd as the Terry Gilliam animations in them. They just new how to find that particularly unusual angle to jokes, and they used that, along with, I guess the "Laugh-In" approach to the completely random editing techniques, but "Laugh-In" was trying to get in as many jokes as possible, and the editing was the joke, with "...Flying Circus", there was a lot of it, but it was in part to help tell the strangest jokes it seemed. It's almost stream of consciousness really, just go from one thing to the next. Start with a barber sketch, but the barber sucks, so the barber wants to be a lumberjack, so he sings a song about being a lumberjack, except he doesn't realize what a lumberjack is.... it's also like that sketch game, "But and", where the idea is to constantly add something to the material that you have. They were constantly doing that, and it wasn't just every scene, sometimes it was every line, or every idea. This truly surreal approach to satire, it's still damn near impossible to do, and that's why "Monty Python" and "Monty Python's Flying Circus" is so highly regarded now. It's influence is vast, and yet you really have a difficult pinpointing people on television who have even really approached doing their brand of humor in their style as well. It's really, here the American example style, and here's the British style of sketch, and the first chapter is "Monty Python's Flying Circus".

One of the problems with doing this list is that the further down on the list I go, the more we get to some of those series, where there's literally almost nothing left to say about a show other than, what's already been said about the series. And, if there's ever been a series where literally everything has basically been said about it, good and bad, it's this one. Well, let's start with the good, it's the longest-running scripted Primetime series in television history, currently in season 27 and counting, and that's not counting it's original run as a sketch on "The Tracey Ullman Show"


24. The Simpsons (FOX, 1989-Present)



It's hard to believe now, but at one time "The Simpsons" were controversial. Supposedly too adult for kids, hell, it was just a novelty at the time that there was a Primetime animated kids series, I think you'd have to go back to, I don't know, "Wait 'til Your Father Gets Home" or something to even remember when that was happening. You gotta remember, animation at that time, and to many people still, was absolutely, just for kids. The Disney Renaissance hadn't happened, yet, there wasn't shows like "Ren & Stimpy" or "Beavis and Butt-head" even, what was the sorta '70s era animation like "Fritz the Cat" or "American Pop", or something like that, is barely remembered, certainly not considered great at the time or now, so "The Simpsons" for that alone, immediately stood out. It also was interesting that it did have people like James L. Brooks" and Sam Simon behind it, 'cause they were legendary television people, especially Brooks, that gave the show slightly more credibility, but it wasn't until years later did people really start recognizing it as one of the greatest shows of all-time. I know we like to think, "The Simpsons" came and changed everything, changed FOX, and really, "The Simpsons" was usually considered, the other thing on that the adults would watch 'cause the kids would like it and what happened was that the kids started watching it and becoming influenced by it and now they grew up realizing that animation was a viable way to put on, what is really just a sitcom. In many ways, "Springfield" is the new Mayberry, especially in an area, where the only successful single-camera sitcoms was "The Wonder Years", this was really the only sitcom that dared to create an entire fictional town and universe and they could do that, and because they've been on as long as they have, they can truly go about exploring it. The great successful long-time series, they find ways of doing that and not simply relying on, whatever they think or what made them successful out of the gate. You know, first it was Bart Simpson, being the breakout star, but then, we later gravitated towards Homer and then towards everybody else, "The Simpsons" grows with the times and it grows with us. That's it's greatest contribution to television and animation. As much as I like something like "Looney Tunes", they're pretty much in their own world, and are a reflection of Chuck Jones or whoever was working on them at the time, while "The Simpsons" has basically become a reflection of us, it goes and changes with it's audience. That's the great accomplishment of "The Simpsons".

"The Simpsons" are definitely one of the craziest and most memorable of crazy sitcom families, but they weren't the highest-ranked sitcom family on the list. This one, that just barely ranked above them, and despite not lasting nearly as long as "The Simpsons", I think I can claim that not only are they even crazier than the Simpsons, they're probably the craziest family in all of television history. (They were just as controversial in their time too as "The Simpsons" were in there's also) Confused, you won't be after you hear the show at number 23 on the list.


23. Soap (ABC, 1977-'81)



The rumor is actually true, when they were first conceiving of a sitcom that was basically a satirical spoof of mostly daytime, but also the continually growing primetime soap opera genre, they network got over 32,000 pieces of mail about it, and all but nine of the letters were negative. You gotta realize, soap operas actually rules the world at one point, daytime soaps and daytime soap opera fans in particular basically were as big if not bigger than the Primetime series, and they did not like people making fun of them. Without "Soap", there's no "Arrested Development", there's no "Desperate Housewives", there's definitely none of the shows that are ripping off "Desperate Housewives", I mean, sitcoms, always did have a continuous structure to them, even the earliest days, I mean, once Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky, she was a mother and stayed a mother for the rest of the series, you know, but you didn't think of television sitcoms, could work in that manner, you barely thought television dramas could work like that back then, so "Soap" was just breaking every rule in the book, and on top of that, it was absolutely insane. Literally, every rule. Okay, let's go with one, Billy Crystal's arc, he's the first openly homosexual character in scripted television history, Jodie Dallas, he wants to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, but instead becomes suicidal, he then starts in a relationship with Carol, an attorney who stands him up at his wedding, but then leaves their child Wendy at his doorstep, before going to court to fight for custody back, which he wins, but Wendy is later kidnapped, he has to go save her, which he does, and then leads to him going through therapy and through a hypnotherapy fuck-up, believes he is an old Jewish man, by the end of the series. The series only lasted four seasons and 85 episodes and he's one of the characters that doesn't have stuff happen to him. I'm not even gonna try to explain the arc of everybody else. I mean, this show, really did stick to it's soap opera arc, as closely as possible, and like a soap opera, it could and did go anywhere. A great cast too, very underrated. Ted Wass, Katherine Helmond, Cathryn Damon, of course Robert Guillaume, Robert Urich until his character got killed. Richard Mulligan as well, who, I guess people might remember now from "Empty Nest", which is a good show too, but he is probably one of the most underrated of all television actors, of all time, and his Burt Campbell, if you want to see some great comedy acting, this is some of the very best acting ever. This had to be the largest cast for a sitcom at that sitcom, you just didn't have sitcoms with this large an ensemble and this insane a premise and action at that time. Now, it's more common, but "Soap" I think, probably 'cause it ended suddenly, and without real explanation; it was still a pretty big hit at the time, and then it just ended, probably 'cause of advertisers upset at the series, also because it was just riddled with controversy. It was all about sex, there was a priest who was seduced by a character, who then had the priest's baby and then their was an exorcism, I mean, this show was complete what-the-fuck, especially for it's time. It might've been tamed by soap opera standards, well probably not, but a Primetime absurdist comic spin, you end up with a show that, I think now are people are realizing is one of the truly great revolutionary television shows.

From a totally insane family, to a relatively quiet and soft-spoken normal guy, who happens to be a psychologist and has is surrounded everyday by the most insane group of patients around. I could've picked a couple series that starred this legendary comedian to be one the list, in fact this was the second television series to have this name. The original was a variety series that actually won, what we now consider the Outstanding Comedy Series category Emmy back in 1962, but it was also canceled that season (And he wasn't listed as a show's producer, so he wasn't awarded an Emmy himself), and that was after it's star had already won the Best New Artist Grammy. Despite many attempts at television shows since, including two successful long-running sitcoms, he wouldn't officially win an Emmy of his own, until 2013.


22. The Bob Newhart Show (CBS, 1972-'78)



It's actually strange for a show to be about and based around a stand-up comedian, to really have him, not be the focus of the comedy, but "The Bob Newhart Show" is definitely that rare exception, so was "Newhart" for that matter, where Bob was the regular person trying to keep his sanity around him, while everybody else was losing their mind and going bonkers around him. It makes sense when you think about Bob Newhart's comedy routines, 'cause they're all about him, just reacting to everybody else around him, which is especially impressive when he's the only one there. I mean, there's a reason that he picks up the phone at the beginning, 'cause that was what made him famous, these great phone call routines that he had, and so, "The Bob Newhart Show", makes perfect sense, make him a psychoanalyst, and all he does all day is listen to other people's problem. You know, it isn't anything greater or deeper than that, but that's all you need, and from there, you can do anything, and you just have Bob Newhart, reacting to it. That's all he wanted to, famously, they wrote an episode where Suzanne Pleshette's character would have a kid and he said, "It's great, but who are you gonna get to play Bob"? You know, some shows are great when you add and evolve them, other times though, it helps to know not to do that and Bob knew the strengths of the series were definitely to keep his life small and to keep his work life evergrowing and evolving and he was right there. Some shows, even shows on this list can start failing when they do something like adding the wrong element where it's not needed, "The Bob Newhart Show", remains so high and relevant, partly because it doesn't itself too much, when it definitely could've dozens of times over.

Some might be surprised that I chose this as the highest-ranked British series on the list. There were others I could've picked, and there certainly have been some other great sitcoms in the UK, from "Are You Being Served?" and "As Time Goes By" to more modern ones like "In the Loop" or "Episodes" or even "Outnumbered", but to me, well,- here's the thing, I'm a writer so I know a little bit about what things are tougher to do than others, and there's no genre more difficult to pull off than this over, in any form of entertainment, so this might not make that much sense to some, but, trust me on this one, this is impossible, and he pulls it off.


21. Coupling (BBC Two, 2000-'02, BBC Three, 2004)



I know what Tina Fey said, about how only "Friends" is the exception and that every other show that has nothing but a cast of good-looking young people, but if there is another exception, it's the British version of "Coupling". This is some of the greatest sex farce ever put on television, maybe ever. I mean, think of that genre to begin with, the people who have done that genre well, start with Shakespeare and then, you-, you end up having trouble naming people after, and that's how hard the genre is to pull off. I mean, I give "Three's Company" credit just for trying it, but Steven Moffatt, yes, that Steven Moffatt, who's now mostly known for "Sherlock" and "Doctor Who", he basically wrote, not his version of "Friends", but almost "Friends" in reverse, where you have the couple who's about to get together and be the center of attention, and then, all the exes and crazy friends surround them. I mean, the second episode of the show, is one of the funniest episodes, ever made of anything, and the whole thing revolves around one character's penis. I mean, I can't explain it, but trying to write that is impossible, finding the right actors to perform it, extra hard, it's funny as hell. I mean, it's cool to know "Seinfeld" references, knowing what a giggle loop is, or why remote controls can be horrifying or Captain Subtext or The Melty Man, now you're really into the hipster cool points, as far as I'm concerned at least. It's that kind of show. I always tell people it's "Friends" meets "Sex and the City" only ten times funnier than both, but there's a lot of "Seinfeld" in it too. I don't see too many shows that try what "Coupling" try does succeed, and they certainly don't do it nearly as well as "Coupling" does.

We're down to the Top 20 folks. You've probably figured out most of the shows that are left, but have you figured out what's number one? We'll see where all the shows that are left end up, next time, as we concluded this list. We'll see that next time.




Wednesday, December 23, 2015

CANON OF FILM: "PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE"

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (1959)

Director/Screenplay: Edward D. Wood Jr.



Yeah, I’m probably going to regret this one. There’s something wrong about a canon of film that includes “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” before it includes (INSERT YOUR OWN FILM I HAVEN’T ADDED YET) however a canon must incorporate not only the best, but also the essential; those films that might not be good but have to be watched. In fact, they could include films that might really be bad. I’ve referred to films and filmmakers as bad before, and there have been times where I think certain films and filmmakers might be downright awful, but only one man and one film can truly lay claim to actually being named and awarded on multiple occasions as the worst film and worst director to ever live. Ed Wood was without a doubt an uncompromising force of energy and willpower, as he did nearly anything to get his movies made, and made his way. People like him and Russ Meyer can be credited with single-handedly starting the independent film movement in America, working around the Hollywood system to get his films made. For this film, he actually convinced an L.A. church to finance the film. Unfortunately his movies sucked, possibly the worst ever made, and in so many ways they sucked. Huge octopus machines that didn’t work, jump cuts and logistical problems that made no sense. When Bela Legosi died during the making of this film, he replaced him with a lookalike who was always shot either from the back or with his hand over his mouth. It seems he didn’t think people would notice bad dialogue or takes, often shooting only one take of scenes, even when something goes obviously wrong in the scene; he didn’t think it would be noticed. Yet, so few filmmakers had the freedoms Ed Wood had. He would write, produce, direct, and even sometimes act in his films. He had more power in his films than Orson Welles would have for most of his, exception: “Citizen Kane”. And at times, you can even see glimpses of Ed Wood in his movies. When one of the aliens in “Plan 9…” rants at how stupid the humans are for constantly destroying themselves, and not acknowledging the existence of the aliens as they try to help them, it plays of Wood’s own feeling about being rejected by Hollywood and his family, and even his former wife who eventually left him after filming “Glen or Glenda,” a loosely autobiographical film about his secret life as a transvestite. (Which he played the lead in) There will not be any more entries of him anymore in the canon, unless I eventually add the wonderful Tim Burton Biopic on his life in the future, which I won’t rule out. His films remain treasures to the cult audiences who watch and laugh at their awfulness. He was Grand Guinal before it ever opened. (Grand Guinal: A famous Paris theatre where bad movies, usually American horror and sci-fi films are viewed as comedies) Ed Wood made more movies when he could, but eventually his reputation would leave him broke and out-of-work, only finding work directing low-budget porn in the future, before dying of alcoholism. Now, his work is strangely essential, if only as a guidebook on what not to do. However, you really can’t fully appreciate film without at least one viewing of an Ed Wood film. I will not recommend more than that, at least not until well past midnight, when one’s mind would be in an appropriate space to appreciate him. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

THE TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2014! (Grrrrrrr!) Yeah, I need one more round to beat this up.

Okay, let's get a few things out of the way first. Uh, this has been a difficult year for me personally. I can't talk about every aspect of it, some of it's still going on, and when I say I can't talk about it, I mean, legally in many cases. Some of it, I don't want to talk about, 'cause this is an entertainment blog, and frankly I don't want to put some of that crap on you anyway. Yet, here's the thing, one of the reasons that I got into entertainment is because, I do consider entertainment to be the most important and powerful thing in existence. To me, the whole point of movies and television, music, strip clubs, basically, literally any form of entertainment, is to escape those regular daily problems and enjoy something else that can, both alleviate your problems, at least for an hour or two or however long it is, and for that time, enjoy yourself, without suffering or thinking about your troubles. Or to put it another way, making your way in the world today takes everything you've got, taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot, wouldn't you like to get away...

Sometimes you want to go
Where Everybody knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
our troubles are all the same...-

Okay, I better stop that before I type the whole song and then have to pay for copyrights. (To those who don't know, that was the lyrics to "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, better known as the theme song for "Cheers" and if you're older than three and didn't know that, dude, stop reading this and go watch "Cheers"!) Actually, go watch "Cheers" anyway, 'cause it's better than every movie I'm about to talk about. Yeah, that's the thing, when things are going down, you want something to cheer you up, or at least something to share your misery with. Escaping from your own world for a little bit, and enjoying somebody else's for awhile. Entertainment, of all kinds, can do so much, so when you sit down and let your troubles go, for a couple hours or so for a movie, and you end up watching something so shitty it gives you even more horrible pain that it makes you want to ball out your eyes with a pick-ax, then, yeah, you get disappointed and frustrated. Perhaps suicidal. So when that keeps happening and happening, oh boy.

I was not kidding when I said in my Best Films of 2014 year, that there were fewer good films than normal and there was a lot of very good. But you see, that trend, kept going. There was a lot of very good, but then there was more, good than very good than normal, and then there was a lot more bad than good than normal too, and then we start getting to the bad and the very bad and-, ugh. Yeah, this was the year that has officially made me start doing a Top Ten Worst List, like giving it some thought to do it and devoting a whole blog to it. I hope this is a one-year thing, and so far, based on 2015, where I can have more fun with even the crap that it's producing, well most of it. (Yeah, don't think "Serena" and "The Last Five Years", didn't cause me just as much pain as some of these titles) Generally....-

Well, I should bring this up too, you see, there's actually another reason I never devoted a whole blog to this before though, is because, well, I'm not a "professional" film critic, at least not in the sense that I get paid for writing this blog, although I do get something for every hit and for everybody who clicks on the ads, (BTW, Click on the ads, if you like this) but I don't pay my rent doing this, not yet anyway. (Although I am better and more qualified than some of the so-called professional critic, [coughs, coughs, coughs] sorry, got a cold, Rex Reed,. Oh I did that wrong, I was supposed to said "Rex Reed" during the coughing, didn't I?) And, while I actually would like to inevitably watch everything that comes out in a given year, I-eh, uh....- Listen, I know there's some people who get off on watching stuff that's quote-unqoute "bad" or "so bad it's good", or enjoys crap ironically, and can force themselves through some of the truly worst shit ever put to film, but me, yeah, I better get paid a lot more before I start willingly do that. You see, I'll tell you a secret, there's a few other ways that I decide what movies to watch, but other than immediately putting films that I have to watch based on importance, such as the importance of the filmmakers, or too pop culturally important to ignore, Oscar nominees for instance or other award winners, etc., after all that,  I generally check rottentomatoes.com and look at a film's critic ratings and if it's above 50%, and gotten a positive review from at least half of the "Top Critics", the paid critics at least, 'cause I don't want to sit through crap! I mean, yes there's benefits to it, and you do become a better artist by watching terrible movies, it helps to know what's good by comparing it to crap, that's absolutely true. But-, uh, you have to have a lot more tolerance than I do.

So, let's be clear, this is probably not the "Worst" worst of 2014, it's the worst that I got around to watching. You won't a "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas" on here, 'cause obviously I lost my shit watching these film, I don't want to feel like losing my shit over actual shit. So, this is gonna be an unusual list. It may have some of your worst films, but since, I'm basically limiting myself to watching supposedly good films, mostly-, let's just say I hope this is the actual worst, but I seriously doubt it. It was seriously shitty enough for me, and that's bad enough.

So, let's hope this is a one-time thing folks, so, let's go finish off this frustrating, annoying turd of a year once and for all, Here we go folks.

THE TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2014! (At least, the worst that I got around to watching.)

10. The Boxtrolls



This was not a great year for animated features. Yes, we had some good and great films like "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" and "The LEGO Movie" and "How to Tell Your Dragon 2" among others, but there was some crap too. "Rio 2" is as instantly forgettable as the first "Rio"; not sure why we had that sequel, although I particularly hated "The Congress", which was mostly animated, this horrible meta-Hollywood satire about us turning into a drug culture after celebrities have their images replicated into computers so that they can forever be used to make digital movies, or some fucking thing, I-, I came close to putting that atrocity of meandering nothingness on here, but I went with "The Boxtrolls" a bizarre and disturbing supposed family picture that somehow knocked "The LEGO Movie" out of the animated feature Oscar race.

From my original review:
Huh? This got nominated for Best Animated Feature over "The LEGO Movie"? I-I guess I can sorta understand on an animation level, this is a Laika Production and they're stop-motion animation is usually quite special like "Coraline" or "ParaNorman" some of the most interesting and special animated films in recent years, but really? This film? "The Boxtrolls"? I'm sorry, to be so, uh, what's-the-right-word, befuddled by this film, but I'm a little stumped by this one? On the one hand, this film really is just another tale where another group of monsters is misunderstood for evil by the adults in the power and in turn, the whole town and they now have to be convinced that indeed they are not evil, by little kids who they don't listen. Oh, and the adults are obsessed with cheese. Okay, that last part is just weird, especially when you actually see how obsessed with cheese they are, like it's almost currency in this universe, that and white hats, 'cause, as far as I could tell, the white hats get to eat the cheese. 

(Rubs top of nose between eyes for several minutes of pause)


Okay, my first question is, "What the hell's with the movie?" The Boxtrolls are, well, they're not that magical or cuddly or interesting a group of characters that you'd really want to save them, but let's presume they are for the time being, they're a shy group of monsters who live in and have a habit of hiding in their boxes, which serve the purpose of a turtle shell essential, a place to live and as clothes. They're builders actually and are constantly hiding. There's one human Boxtroll, a kid named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who doesn't know about his original human origins. However, the main story thread, I think, it's a bit debatable, but I think it's based around Winnie (Elle Fanning) the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) who I think is essentially the town's Mayor, oh the town's name is Cheesebridge btw, and it's somewhere, I guess in a Dickinsian England via Jean-Pierre Jeunet (And not good Jeunet either). He's hired Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) to get the Boxtrolls who have constantly been reported to have taken more and more children, most notably the Trubshaw Baby many years earlier and now the stories about them have run rapid. I-eh, ugh, yeah, the more I think about it, the less this feels like a real movie. This is typical, by the numbers stuff primarily and the choices they do make would be too ridiculous in a Wallace & Gromit short. In many ways, this does feel like a rejected Aardman Animation idea in both look and tone. This film just frustrated me. The kids are smart, sorta, the adults are all too dumb to exist, the Boxtrolls aren't that interesting, the plot recycles everything from "The Night of the Hunter" to "The Jetsons Movie", yet none of this really comes together. It does but in this contrived way in front of all the gullible townspeople and even then it ends, strangely with, an unfunny version of the grossest joke from "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life". "The Boxtrolls" is just a mess.....


Yeah, I mean, this was just like, two halves of a movie that never really came together and neither were that good. I mean, the animation is nice, but there was no whimsy, no fun, not even any kind of enjoyable oddball quirkiness to this film. I can see it's influences, but,- this is one of those movies I had to watch, because it got a major Oscar nomination, and that's part of my criteria that means I had to watch it, boy I came out of it, wondering why the hell they honored this film. This was just disturbing and I can't think of anything particularly fun about it. At least, "The Congress" was trying something, this felt like, "Let's put out something for kids" and didn't really think about, is it good? Or would kids even like this. Just because it's a unique world, doesn't mean it was any good. I mean, what is this, "They're monsters wearing boxes, let's sell them!" I mean, this is a toy that comes in your Happy Meal, not a movie. 

9. Get On Up



I actually wasn't planning on putting "Get On Up" on the list; this wasn't a film I thought about, as giving me so much painful grief. Hell, in my review, I was pretty lenient, I gave it 2 1/2 STARS, bad, but certainly not worst of the year. Hell, it's a biopic of James Brown, worst case scenario, there's James Brown music throughout the film, that should be enough to keep it off the list, but no actually, I shouldn't be forgiving a movie for choosing to have an interesting real-life person being the center of the film, especially when the movie found ways to not make him, or the movie, interesting.

From my original review:
I wasn’t particularly asking for a James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) biopic, not that I would be against one, but two things: First, if you’re gonna do a biopic, you gotta have a reason to do it. If you could find the reason for “Get On Up”’s existence, please inform me. I love James Brown and all, but I looked around and didn’t see one, certainly no reason in this film. The other is that-, well,- honestly, the other one is, (Sigh) well, I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll just say it, you actually have to have a story to tell, and not just, make the character into a caricature really. I hate to be mean here, but I don’t know how else to explain it. The opening scenes of “Get On Up”, and many of the scenes in this movie, feel like rejected sketches from “In Living Color”. Like, if somebody talented had a James Brown impression and they were trying to figure out ways to use it. I’m not gonna blame Chadwick Boseman completely, ‘cause I think the script had dozens of problems to begin with, but if you were trying to learn something new about James Brown going into this film, then you really weren’t gonna get anything by his performance, and I don’t think he was particularly good...  It’s worst though than just a wrong approach to this character, Brown’s life could’ve been made into three or four different movies, you could’ve made one just on the Boston Garden concert the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. It’s not even that, there’s a sequence in this movie, with cameos by Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey, two unbelievably amazing actors, Brown and his band are in New Orleans, and they’re hanging out by the hotel pool, and these two are tourists wondering why they paid all this money and traveled all this way to have to share a pool with a bunch of- black people, and of course they used the N-word instead. Now, then the band has a rehearsal session, and the music, peels through the walls and of course, these two old white people are now dancing and funking to the music in the hotel lobby, music from the same people they were complaining were in the hotel. Other than wasting two of the best actors around, I don’t know what that scene accomplished. That’s the only time those characters are seen by the way, so don’t think there’s something else that I’m missing here, there’s not. Some of the more cartoonish stuff, I don’t even know what’s true or not from much of this film, whether James Brown ripping his pants doing the splits was really the precipice of his famous robe bit, there a few of those that just seem weird. There’s moments where he talks to the camera about some of his other ideas like forgoing local promoters to pay off unknown radio deejays to promote his shows to earn more money, those things are interesting, the way the Furious Flames, led by Bobby Byrd (Nelson Ellis) were formed and then relegated by everyone from Little Richard (Brandon Smith) to his manager Ben Bart (Dan Aykroyd) to basically his backup band which whether that was the Flames or not, he treated dismissively, that stuff was interesting. The few years in jail and the shooting and high speed chase incident, is just awkwardly put together, and they practically skip completely over his tax evasion problems. They try to shoehorn stuff with his mother and father (Viola Davis and Lennie James) but it doesn’t get us anywhere closer to understanding or giving us a new side to James Brown. The film was directed by Tate Taylor, who last directed “The Help” a movie which was popular but I still contend was awful and he’s got some of the same structuring issues here as he did with that film. This is a better film, but there’s a bunch of James Brown songs playing, how bad can it be? But really there’s this severe lack of insight into his characters that really brings the movie down. Remember in “The Help” how we didn’t see Octavia Spencer’s character’s husband at all, much less the actual realities of her being an abused wife? (Spencer btw, has a role here btw, as you may have noticed, there’s quite a few cameos from “The Help” in the film) Well, the one scene we get showing James hitting his wife DeeDee (Jill Scott) also purposefully shies away from that reality, as he hits her offscreen and we see the effects. Not that we had to watch James Brown beating his wife, I don’t want to see that frankly, but it’s indicative of the problem with the film. It’s one thing to not know which side of a person they want to show and dive into but it’s a bigger problem that it didn't matter, ‘cause whichever way they tried they didn't know how to do it.

Yeah, I hated "The Help" and that was a terrible movie, but it didn't make my worst list, partly because there were worst films that year, but there was some passion for the idea of at least honoring these African-American maids that took care of those upper-class white privileged twits, um, I don't think Tate Taylor, or anybody had any real idea of how to approach the subject of James Brown, and that's the sad thing, he had such an interesting and complex life that you really could do three or four film about him and not repeat anything. Instead however, this is just, shoving together parts in search of a whole, very clumsily and badly too I might add. I mean, it's what I wrote there, James Brown music saves the movie from being unwatchable, and if that's all you got, then it belongs on this list.


8. Filth



Ugh, Look, I'm not gonna pretend that this pseudo, "Trainspotting"/Guy Ritchie style of gritty British filmmaking is something that I look at positively, and I am getting sick of it. That said, when it's done right, it can be entertaining and sometimes amazing, but "Filth" struck the wrong nerve, especially with a reveal ending that was just stupid. I'm sure somebody gonna tell me and go, "It was in the original book, you have to think back to when it was written, and..." blah, blah, blah, yeah, yeah. You know what, maybe it should've been made into a film back then, but, it's 2014, (Okay, 2015 as I'm writing this, but, you know what I mean), but we've evolved.

My original review:
All across the film spectrum, there's been a very common kind of reveal that annoys the shit out of me, and it's a bad trend, for numerous reasons, and "Filth" has one of those reveals. I'm not gonna give it away, but I've seen this reveal about a character, in many different films, different kinds of films now- I might end writing an article about it actually. Occasionally it might work, "Dog Day Afternoon" did it well, "The Paperboy" recently had an interesting way of doing it, but when it's done poorly, and for no reason, and essentially, which an assumption that it's a very negative twist, ah-. Let's just move on, "Filth", is somewhat accurately title; for awhile, it felt a bit like Danny Boyle's "Bad Lieutenant: Glasgow", (and I really shouldn't insult Boyle like that by comparing him to this film, but it is based on a novel from Irvine Welsh, who did "Trainspotting".) but eventually "Filth" just continued to devolve into a senseless...-, actually it didn't exactly start off evolved or volved to begin with, of any kind really. The main character who really isn't worth helping, and nor is this film really worth watching,  Bruce (James McAvoy) (Eyeroll at the name Bruce) is a cop who's looking for a promotion to detective inspector and a group of ruffians have beaten to death a Japanese student. Bruce figures that this promotion will mostly be easy, as he most likely has to help sabotage the other candidate's chances, mainly Lennox (Jamie Bell) and Gus (Gary Lewis). In the meantime, he's sleeping around with some of their wives, forces a teenage prostitute to give him a blowjob, does numerous amounts of drugs, and about anything else sickening you can think of. All this btw, under a truly deluded effort to get his wife back. We see his wife, Carole (Shauna McDonald) occasionally, speaking to us, in her own, Monroe-esque femme fatale sort of world, which she seems to be in as much control over as it appears for awhile that Bruce acts like he's in control of his. He believes to be the only competent cop of the bunch and this plays into his disillusionment when he finally realizes the inevitable. He does try, and fail to save one guy from dying after he collapse in the street. The guy's wife, Mary (Joanne Froggatt) tries to befriend and help him out for his efforts, seemingly the only truly angelic character in the film, and the only one truly interested in helping out Bruce. In a better film, I'd probably be praising James McAvoy's performance here; I must admit, I used to have trouble understanding why he kept getting cast in so many things rather quickly, (Or as Richard Roeper once said about him, "He's apparently more interesting to casting directors than he is to me.) but I've come around on him and can really see the kind of range he actually has in this film, but this movie just was so much with no purpose to it, that it really soured anything that was remotely good. It's a heavily stylized bad cop film, and not much more.

Yeah, this is a movie, like done differently and not prescient of the time, I guess I could see it working, I named "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" the best film of 2009, and there's isn't that much different between these two films at the surface, but that film definitely had a better style, a better filmmaker at the helm, and also, didn't feel the need to basically throw everything away that had happened before for this, dumbass twist at the end. Basically, we're following a disgusting, horrible character and he's not even likeable or horrible enough for us to care if he lives or dies at the end. I just wanted to not watch this film anymore, I gave it 2 STARS originally, I was generous with the style, but yeah, this is a grimy, dirty, ugly film about a despicable character, with a despicable story.


7. Transcendance 



Okay, "Interstellar" was bad. Like, awful, but it wasn't entertaining and there were definitely parts of it that were good. No, there were some worst sci-fi films from that year. "Divergent" was pretty lousy, as well as boring and stupid "The Maze Runner", which for some reason already has sequel, both of them, what the hell! Ugh. Anyway, the one that I picked instead was the film that was directed by Nolan's typical cinematographer, the great Wally Pfister, and he should go back to that, 'cause "Transcendance" was just boring as Hell.

My Original Review:
Of all the things I can think of to do with Johnny Depp, (As an actor! Don't- I heard it too, that's not where I'm heading.) why would you, put him into a, computer basically. I mean, I get conceptually, the idea, that in order to create artificial intelligence, you need an actual sentient intelligence, so a human, and have they're memories, someone implanted, into a-, in case, well, basically, it's just computer; it's not even- I guess it's kind like a holographic image, but it's not even that really, it's basically Johnny Depp in front of a green screen, and he's not even doing anything interesting. "Transcendence", is Wally Pfister's feature directorial debut, he's  one of the best cinematographers in Hollywood, most notably for his work with Christopher Nolan; he even won an Oscar for his work on "Inception", and he's clearly a talented and capable director, but I think the story let him down more than anything, although I didn't get the sense that he really could figure too many ways to make it more intriguing either. Depp plays Will Caster, a leading scientific researcher in artificial intelligence, which means that he's often villified, and scorned for his work, and after a brief introduction, he's a victim of a poorly-executed terrorist attack. He's shot, but he's not what he once was, and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) decide that instead of him just passing away, they'll try and, implement his mind into the artificial into a machine, and if all goes well, his presence will then infiltrate the machine. It succeeds, and from there, he starts manipulating the stock market to make sure Evelyn has enough money to hide out and build their own lab in the middle of nowhere, to continue the research. Meanwhile, a leader of the anti-A.I. group, Bree (Kate Mara) is trying to convince a fellow A.I. researcher Max (Paul Bettany) to join their side and eventually take down Will. He's coming to the conclusion that while his personality and memory made be uploaded into the computer, it's possible that he's not exactly sure it's the same Will they knew. There's some other good work from Clifton Collins, Jr., Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy as well, but the film, is really about Evelyn and Will and her willingness to believe Will still exists within the computer, and Will's insistence on trying to make sure she knows it is him. The film's told in flashback from this apocalyptic modern world, so we know this is not only the future, but something went wrong, but it also doesn't even approach the  nuances of realism or even really consider these days, or modern A.I. studies, it's basically a storytelling device and not even a good one, and it's not done well. "Transcendence" doesn't really explore the possibilities of A.I., it just mostly hypothesizes worst-case scenarios and then, decides that it must go there; it's almost arbitrary. Yes, we can put a human into a computer, yes, people will be pissed off about it enough to orchestrate worldwide attacks, yes, it's gonna lead to the end of the world as we know it,... fill in, fill, in,- I guess the appeal is the relationship between the two scientists, but even that's not done in a particularly way. The more I thought about "Transcendence," the more I started disliking it. It's one of those movies that acts like it has many ideas, but when you really look at it, there really isn't anything there. I mean, Johnny Depp, inside a computer, who would've thought that would've been boring?

Yeah, I mean, "Transcendence" I can see where they sorta had this germ of an idea, there's been quite a few movie lately about, one or two people, alone, trying to make their way through an apocalyptic future of some kind, and there's been some bad ones about it, Tom Cruise was in a horrible one called "Oblivion" a few years ago, which actually worst than this film, but "Transcendence" was just forgettable, long, droll, boring, and yeah, the whole movie has Johnny Depp doing, basically nothing. I mean, this is the worst kind of film, there's bad, there's incompetent, but boring, that's the worst thing, and this was just boring. Not as boring as the next song on the list, but very boring.


6. Winter's Tale



Oh, god, this movie. I didn't write a review of Akiva Goldsman's "Winter's Tale", 'cause I just didn't have the ability to at the time, but I didn't want to. What was there to say about it; this was just, nothing. Apparently, the most I can get, was that this was apparently from a famous book, and it was, some kind of time-travel romance, I'm assuming, it was one of those, like, "The Fountain" or something, where it's like the same romance or something, over differing time periods, but this movie was such a mess that if you got anything out of it, good luck. Apparently, people who read the book weren't fans of the movie either, I've never heard of it myself, so I can't really judge that, but this movie made no sense, wasn't interesting enough to try to make sense of. I mean, I watched this movie, and immediately forgot I had watched it, and tried to watch it again, thinking I hadn't seen it at one point. This was terrible and not even in an interesting way.  Whatever the hell, the goals this movie was doing, it failed. On a literal, story, metaphysical, every way, just was nothing.


5. Mood Indigo



Okay, I don't hate Michel Gondry; I really don't, and I know certain people really love him, but this is the second year in a row that one of his films made my Worst List. I thought his animated documentary "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" was just boring as hell. I stand by that, if it was a book on tape of Noam Chomsky talking, I might've appreciated it, but I didn't get why take the conversation and make it a freestyle animated feature. That said though, "Mood Indigo" is more indicative of everything that goes wrong when Michel Gondry doesn't have a great script or story around to help him focus his attention, 'cause this movie was just a mess. It was images on a screen, that looked pretty, but so is a kaleidoscope, and I think I'll take the kaleidoscope.

My original review:
Ugh. "Mood Indigo" is stylistically surreal, pointlessly so. Really pointlessly so, and that's one of my biggest pet peeves; something that I've always been troubled with by much of Michel Gondry's work over the years, his obsessive need to be quirky and unusual. Ever since his best film, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but that movie had a point and a reason for all of it's strangeness. Kaufman's surreal for a reason, Gondry's surreal because he can't stop himself and by the end, his films typically lose all power because of it. You can't just be cute for the sake of being cute. His best recent film, "The We and the I", bare, very bare, it's amazing what he can do with little, kids on a bus, improvised dialogue. And now, from the bus to a train wreck. It starts with a room full of typewriters in perfect alignment, and then everything had a quirk to it. The cake, the doorbell, the wedding, what did any of it have to do with anything? It's Gondrey's first French film in his native France in a while, and it's a wonderment. Not much else though. Based on Boran Vias's novel "L'Ecume des Jours", (Although it takes a lot of liberties from that novel, I've heard) basically the story, if it was at all relevant to the film at all, involve Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloe (Audrey Tautou). Colin is a lifelone bachelor chef, I think, who falls in love with Chloe but she suffers from a strange illness where she's got a flower growing in her lungs. Colin then, has to give her flowers forever to help her live. If you understand that without looking it up, good for you. And I've been told this was a shorter version, only 94 minutes, than the original which was two hours long; I can't imagine how other shit was in this movie, but it does feel like a chopped story a bit, but even if it didn't, like, how much overload of pointless imagery can you have? I gave Gondrey's last film, the animated documentary, "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" a horrible review, it made my worst ten list in fact, and "Mood Indigo" might be worst. I mean, "Is the Man..." was a failed experiment, this was just nothing. Rage and beauty signifying,... not even nothing, just style over substance, style over everything. This gets so much worst the more I think about it. It is so abrasively, this is like the visual equivalent of the sound of nails on a chalkboard. I mean, some idiots gonna watch this movie and see all the production design, the special effect, the Terry Gilliam-esque whimsy, the inventiveness,... and they're gonna look at this movie and think this is some kind of special achievement or a masterpiece of this kind, but it's so without purpose. It takes you out of, whatever movie there is here, and there isn't much, It's just jarring that you go through all the trouble to make a movie, even a whimsical movie, it's just one thing after another, not progressing the story, not done for any reason whatsoever, again, and again, and again, and again,... and again. This is killing with kindness and I felt like I was being smothered by a perfume-scented pillow. This was just awful. Really, awful. 

Yeah, thankfully, I've forgotten, a little bit, jus thow, overzealously quirky this movie was. I mean, and no I have not seeked out the longer original French version, I can't imagine seeking that out, 'cause this choppy cut at least, was unbearable, and I can't imagine what they could've put it or added to make this remotely sensible, much less good. I guess the movie it kinda reminds me the most of is "The Science of Sleep" another of Gondry's failed ideas, but that one, had more interesting visuals, and at least played with ideas and the transient nature of dreams. There's none of that here, this is just weird, 'cause it's a weird world and things like this, happens, or this is how these characters see and feel the world, and it's all so lovely and cute, but this was a mess.


4. Watermark



I really didn't want to put a documentary on this list. I mean, like a real documentary, not one of those right-wing manipulative pieces of garbage that are just blatantly lying to us thinking were gullible idiots. I put one of those on my worst list last year, "Pandora's Promise" a movie that was about the history and benefits of nuclear energy, that totally wasn't giving the full story, and in case you're wondering, I'm actually in favor of nuclear energy, so don't think it was the message, I actually agree with it, but the way they were telling it, was not giving the whole story. (I live in the Las Vegas area, this is a subject I know a lot about; I can see Yucca Mountain from my house, it was not a good place to store nuclear energy, certainly not a good idea to travel with it, across the country on trucks, and it was definitely not a good idea for the scientists to falsify the data claiming that it was safe so that it would get pass Congress...., yeah, I know too much about this, and like I said, generally, I am actually okay with nuclear energy, just don't lie about it) "Watermark" is not as manipulative necessarily, in fact I don't know anything about any of the science discussed in the film, 'cause who can remember, after it's hypnotized it's audience to sleep with helicopter shots of canyons, one after another, one after another, after another, after another....

From my original review:
First there's a beautiful long take of water, or the lack thereof, maybe a few shots of people interacting with the water, or are unable to, and then an occasional talking head, talking about the necessity of water and it's current or historic place in the human evolutionary ecosystem, and then repeat, with another impressive shot of water. During most of the talking heads, I went to the bathroom. Alright, no I didn't, but I wish that was true. This is-.... you know, when your doing a documentary, even an environmental documentary, you need to try, to entertain the audience. I mean, yeah, water effects the people and land around it, whether it's there or not,- I know, no fucking shit, really?! Water effects everything!? (Eye roll) I mean, that's what this film was. Yeah, there's these great long takes of helicopters shots through the canyons that have been formed for thousands of years and all that, and, yeah, those are great, and the other things were, you know somewhat educational, but the minute you get interested you jump to another part of the world and another, eh, set of talking heads and another story about water. I mean, they have one story about how the L.A. Aqueduct was created by one guy campaigning and then getting the Owens Lake to be redirected into Los Angeles, through the aqueduct system, and then, right as that happens, within years the aqueduct, is dried up, that story is so interesting that it could've been a whole movie. I wished I was watching that movie frankly. There was a documentary last year that was Switzerland's entry into the Foreign Language Oscar category called, "More than Honey" and it was about bees and it also went around the world looking at the ways bees have effected the planet, and it was a great film 'cause it really wasn't just these random and generic stories put together, everything drifted well, everything had a point, it didn't just linger and move on to something else, it was visually interesting and it taught and it was entertaining as well, "Watermark" is a lot of teaching, but the class is asleep, and no amount of beautiful long takes through desolate canyons, and waterfalls, no matter how amazing will save it. You know, I get that in a copy of National Geographic if I wanted to just look at great images like that.

I swear to God, this movie is, like eight-minute helicopter traveling shot of someplace, and a couple talking heads for a bit, maybe traveling to that are of the world or whatnot, and then, another different helicopter shot for six or seven minutes, and then more talking heads, and then a helicopter.... I mean, this movie didn't try to entertain, they really thought that, "Oh, we get these amazing long shots of all these amazing landmarks, that can basically be the movie. No, absolutely not. Just because it's a documentary, doesn't mean, don't try. This movie just astonished me honestly; I was in shock, that was just,-, I'm still in shock really and appalled and that this movie, exists practically. I guess we were supposed to just be, almost droned into a meditative stance from this movie, but I think it just failed miserably, and even if you don't, that's all the movie is. Documentaries should still be entertaining, they don't have to be like this. This is the kind of movie I think people are thinking of when some say, "I don't like documentaries". When you watch truly compelling ones, this movie seems far less effective.


3. I Origins



Okay, now we're getting into the films I gave ZERO STARS to, gr-aaaaaaaate-t. Okay, funny story, um, I didn't technically write a review for "I Origins" because it was seen during that time where I was without a regular computer and just couldn't keep up with how much I was watching and write reviews at the same time without a readily available computer. I did however, try at least to write down by hand, some reviews to eventually type them out later; some of those reviews I actually did get around to posting, but I didn't post what I wrote for "I Origins" until now. These are word-for-word my notes on the film, handwritten by me, let's see if you can figure out, why I didn't inevitably finish writing this:

My Original notes:
I ORIGINS: ZERO STARS
Guy finds a mysterious woman having only seen her eyes. I'll be honest, little surprised this wasn't written by a woman. I mean, sure, molecular biologist who studies the evolution of the eye, but still, little unlikely that's the body body part I would remember. 
This is a movie where a guy's girlfriend dies, he marries his subordinate co-worker, then seven years later, she's pregnant and he's masturbating to photos of his girlfriend, because of a perfume a waitress had on, and she catches him and says, "Don't stop!". And then, a few minutes later, the kid may have autism? This movie is really annoying me. 
Okay, just saying something is "Statisically impossible" (Especially when it isn't) doesn't make it statistically impossible. Two people with the same eye fingerprints, isn't statistically impossible. Two people with the same fingerprints isn't impossible, much less eye ridge scans, which I, and probably many others knew, was far from impossible,-. I mean, that can work in some sci-fi, like "Minority Report" for instance as a minor convenience of the plot, but if the whole film is based around this point, you better know that there's a reason we don't do that now. 
I seriously can't remember being so pissed off at a movie. I don't remember the last time I physically yelled at a movie so much. I'm not kidding, multiple times I was yelling at this movie in anger. Not for a snide, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" remark, just angrily P.O.ed at the movie.

And that's when I stopped, mostly cause I had started watching "Starred Up" a much better movie, and partly because my hand was just getting too tired and frankly, my handwriting sucks under normal conditions, much less under pressure. But yeah, this movie, like, I get what they were going for, but good god, they failed. It was directed by Mike Cahill, who made a really good movie called "Another Earth" a couple years ago, but that was co-written by it's star Brit Marling, who was also in this movie, and she's a far superior writer. That movie worked, because it blended sci-fi elements into a realistic world, in order to achieve a more spiritual meaning. This movie, does the opposite, it takes a practically futuristic and science-based world, and then tries to create meta-realistic elements to make something spiritual, but really, any and everything that happens in this movie, can be summed up by saying, "Isn't that a coincidence?" Literally, nearly everything important, when it isn't doing stupid shit. (I literally forgot about the masturbation scene I was annoyed with where the movie went from there. I suspect there are defenders of this film out there, but this is one of my pet peeves, just because something looks and can feel spiritual and otherworldly to someone, doesn't necessarily mean that it is. (And SPOILER especially since this character is a man of science, it really makes him stupid that he's seeing, the spirit of his wife through the coincidental eye ridge patterns of another.) Yeah, this movie doesn't have a good enough believable presence to pull off what it's trying. I'm actually a little surprised that I only ended up ranking this number three, for a good while, I thought this was going to be the worst film of the year.


2. Draft Day



Oh, Ivan Reitman, what the hell, man? You're better than this! Okay, I actually was slightly nice to "Draft Day", giving it just, 1/2 STAR, not ZERO STARS, as I probably should've been meaner to it, but it is, comfortable to watch. That's part of the problem, but I can sorta understand people sitting down and keeping this movie on in the background of something else, but yeah, this movie, suffers from a lot of things, not the least of which is the fact that it's a sports movie about the friggin' NFL Draft, so no matter what happens, we don't have a clue if they succeed at any of what they're doing for three or four years later tops, but even if you ignore that, "Draft Day", is just the hackiest of hack writing out there.

From my original review:
Oh man is this film awful. I'm more than familiar with the NFL Draft; I remember being the only Eagles fan to not be booing Donovan McNabb when we drafted him 2nd overall in '98,.... it is an interesting subject matter for a film, many films in fact, but not the kind of movie that's made here, and even if it was, frankly, this is not a good one. Ivan Reitman should know better. Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns.... The first day of the NFL draft (There's actually three days...) is the most pressure-intensive day for the GM, and under normal circumstances, analyzing talent, looking through every possible piece of game film and scouting reports and accessing all the needs and the players available, stressful enough in the war room. Here, his girlfriend, the team's salary cap guru Ali (Jennifer Garner) is pregnant; the owner is insistent that he make a splash, or else his job and everyone else's is pretty much on the line. He makes one hasty move, trading basically the future of the franchise to get the number one overall pick from Seattle, which is supposed to be a hotshot QB named Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). Everybody thinks he's the clear first number one pick, and he has all the talent and skills to boot. With such a move, naturally, he better be right about the guy, but he makes sure every available player is out there to be sure, as the draft continues to move up closer and closer.- I'm gonna get right to the point, this movie sucks. It's poorly written, knows, very, very little about the actual goings-on about the NFL Draft, and why it's important, other than it's important, and frankly, since it is the NFL Draft, without giving away how exactly this plays out, there's the other problem of, we don't really know how the hell this plays out at the end. "Ryan Leaf won everywhere, nobody said that about Tom Brady", to paraphrase one of the dozens of inane and most well-known and common pieces of draft trivia their is by the Garner character. It wants to be the football version of "Moneyball" but "Moneyball", A. we actually got to see the results, and B. it actually knows about the wheelin' and dealing behind-the-scenes world of sports, and really gets into the minutia of it, and it isn't simply, passion vs. talent as the movie makes it out to be, or simply knowing how to "Trust your gut". And there's a scene that really, especially when I thought about this later, that makes zero real sense, how the war room is looking over a football game involving two of their potential picks, Bo, and a linebacker named Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) and both played incredibly well during the game, but Mack got thrown out after touching an official after celebrating after he got a fumble return for a touchdown after his fourth sack, and frankly, what they end up seeing and finding that they didn't see before, there's absolutely no way in hell they wouldn't have seen or known about until they looked closely at the footage, especially since this is an outspoken player who's known for speaking his mind on Twitter. The movie isn't even really focused on the draft anyway, it's about layering a bunch of shit on Costner's character to make us care about him. Having to fire his father two years earlier who passed the week before, his mother (Ellen Burstyn) insisting, for reasons, beyond any piece of logic that I can find, on today of all days, being the day that she must spread the ashes onto the practice field (And everybody but Costner's character, coming out to join her, literally a couple hours before the draft, apparently they had nothing better to do), the pregnant girlfriend/co-worker, the owner, the trade, the misgivings, the security P.I. guy, the new annoying intern, you're now, pissed off quarterback (Brian Drew), who is apparently in town close enough to go and destroy your office, the head coach (Denis Leary) who's he doesn't like and wants to quit...-, I mean, this is bad Robert McKee screenwriting, where they're told to build up the drama in your characters, and yet, you the movie doesn't realize how to do any of that correctly. It's the generic plot formula, it's- ugh everything we hate about the movies, and absolutely nothing that people like me, who religiously watch the NFL Draft on TV (When I have cable) every year tune in for.... I think Reitman knows it's a bad script, does what he can to try and save it, but it's so much worst than it even seems, 'cause it comes off as patronizing pretty much. Sam Raimi directed a similarly shitty sports movie with Kevin Costner called "For Love of the Game" years ago, which was basically the same bad generic plot movie; he's a character in the sports world, let's put all the shit possible on him, let's make everything else as generic as possible, maybe a few things unusual that actually happened (Although they're so commonly known to sports fans that they happened that we point at the screen and go "That happened to..." for the non-sports fan watching the movie, like they care.) and then, he'll against all odds succeed at the end; and this movie is even worst 'cause at least, the shit that happened to him in "For Love of the Game", was mostly character building, none of it is here. It's all written and done for the sake of adding reasons for us to care, as though, the NFL Draft, if handled correctly, wouldn't be enough for us to be interested in a movie about it, even though, the only reason the movie is being made is because the NFL Draft is interesting and popular to enough people that they might be interested in seeing a movie about it. We are, but not this one.

Yeah, this is a particular kind of awful, where like, especially from a writing perspective, you can basically tell that somebody was writing this, with the guidebook on what to add where in order to supposedly make the movie more interesting, it's all over this movie. And that's bad enough for a regular bad movie, but I mean, even if we concede that we're telling, basically half a story, 'cause we don't know the results of the NFL Draft until years down the line, and that's not even taking into account the unpredictable things that could happen to the athletes when playing professional football, concussions, injuries, etc., even taking that out, this movie's terrible. It's just, every hack thing possible, and of course, part of it wants to be "Moneyball", and the other part of it wants to be the anti-"Moneyball", like, "Oh, he's got the stats sure, but it's heart that matters," bullshit. You know, there is a part of that, that's true, but claiming it's the be-all and end-all, that's just nowhere near close to right. And Ivan Reitman, I will say he probably does make this movie as close to watchable as he possibly could, this isn't a directing fault, this was bad from the page, this script was unsalvageable, and I admire everybody trying to make it decent, but boy did they need a better screenwriter.

(Drumroll begins)

And now, the #1 Worst Film of 2014 is....

(Drumroll ends)

I don't suspect a lot of people are going to agree with me on this one. I didn't suspect that last year, when I named "You're Next" the worst movie of 2013, but amazingly, even as recently as a couple weeks ago, I'm still getting people complaining at me for doing that, and trying to defend that godawful piece of unfunny, sickening garbage. (It is, I'm not backing down on that, "It's a comedy", no, it wasn't; it was just stupid. Acknowledging that the characters and situation are ridiculously stupid doesn't make it automatically smart.) But, "You're Next" was just a stupid horror movie; it's obnoxiously bad, but I can't really be that upset about it, but still the backlash has surprised me. I'm not gonna say that I'm expecting a lot of backlash to this, but I do suspect that there's gonna be a few people who will see what I picked and go, "Wait, really, that's your worst? I mean, it's wasn't great or really that good, but really, #1?", I'm expecting a lot of that kind of reaction to this. Just on the surface this doesn't look or feel like the worst movie of the year, but, well, here's the thing, this may or may not be the actual worst movie of the year, like I said before, I'm sure there's plenty of films I went out of my way not to watch, because they were reportedly bad, but, in this year where I just felt absolutely bombarded with mediocrity and shittiness, this is the movie that made me decide that, yes, I'm going to write a blog about the Ten Worst Films this year. This movie...I-,hmph- I've talked about the worst movie I ever saw before, a film called "Amanda", which I had to watch 'cause I judged it for a film festival, years ago and so far, nothing since then, no matter how bad, had ever really come close to even equalling how horrible I thought that film was, um, this film, it's not that bad, but, ugh, well, this if the first movie that is pretty close to being that bad.


#1. Kelly & Cal



I know, I told you, you're thinking, "What, this little indy film?" This can't be that bad?", right? Reader, if you can see the horror in my face right now, at me even thinking about this movie.... Yes, "Kelly & Cal", is that bad; it is the worst movie of the year!

From my original review:
Okay, I will admit that, overall this has been a frustrating film-watching year for me, in particular 2014 films, very frustrating, but folks, it has been longer than I've had this blog since the last time I came this close to purposefully not finishing a movie. Walking out, in the middle, pulling a DVD out, etc. The last time was "Jesus Christ Superstar", (I don't care, that movie sucks, the music sucks, it's boring and terrible even by my low, low standards for Andrew Lloyd Webber), but folks, this movie, oh boy, this movie.... And I was looking forward to this one. I try, try not to do that, in fact, I purposely dissuade people from looking forward to films, ever, but I'd catch the trailer for the film once in a while on other DVDs and I saw it on my Netflix queue, and it looked like an interesting indy film, with one of my favorites actresses, in a good character, and a decent story.... (Deep breath) Folks, I almost quit today. Quit, doing this, doing a blog, my career in the film industry, everything 'cause of this movie. Every scene seems to have something more stupid and outdated and frustrating than the next. I almost decided to stop watching this film, and just, never review movies again, fearing I had become too jaded or that movies have just left me, or vice-versa, or whatever. I did eventually, force my way through this, but dear god, this was so much shit. It won't sound like it's this bad when I describe this film, but just trust me on this one, it absolutely is. It's every horrible cliche packed into a film. Every horrible obvious choice of dialogue, every shitty piece of fake conflict and contention that's so outdated...-. Okay, Kelly (Juliette Lewis) is a new mother, who's gone off to live in the suburbs with her husband Josh (Josh Hopkins), who's rather disinterested in her, since before she gave birth and may be having an affair, after all the late nights as an advertising executive. If that sounds like the writer just watched "Mad Men", before coming up with that as the husband's profession.... Anyway, she's not particularly fitting into this new community of hers, with or without the baby, until she meets Cal (Jonny Weston) a teenage paraplegic who compliments her tits one day, and soon enough they begin a friendship that sorta unfortunately coasts into a slight romance. Naturally, before she grew up to become an adult and got married, she was a lot cooler, which is believable considering she's played by Juliette Lewis and she's just awesome in general even despite this film, although in this version of cool, she used to be a rocker chick, including playing bass guitar in a Riotgrrl band at one point back in the mid-nineties presumably. (Okay, this is the first issue I have, I know for a fact that the Riotgrrl movement never really ended, and knowing some people in and around that movement, that it's still going on. Those ski-masks for instance, that Pussy Riot wears, is in homage to a ski-mask that Bikini Kill's frontwoman Kathleen Hanna wore at one point protesting the media, so putting that in a past context is already iffy.) However, what really sent alarm bells up to Josh's mother (Cybill Shepherd) and sister (Lucy Owen) is, inspired by Cal, Kelly dies her hair blue, feeling young and inspired and this causes them to try to get her to go see a therapist and even gets her an ambush makeover! WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Look, I know that there are some conservative people out there, but what year is this?! A grown woman dies her hair a strange color, and then, "Oh, she needs therapy, she's losing it after the kid and all, she dyed her hair blue!"! (Mouth wide open)  I-eh,- are you fucking kidding me?! Not that anything else in this movie is any smarter, but oh dear God, I know she's trying to portray these characters as overbearing and obsessive, but I don't know what the hell they were thinking with this one. Eventually the friendship between Kelly & Cal does sorta grows and even with a touching moment here or there, but then it keeps getting undercut with terrible on the nose dialogue, the kind that's basically yelling at the audience the fortune cookie wisdoms they want you to speak, and if it's not that, it's blatantly stealing scenes from better movies and doing them poorly, particularly the "American Beauty" window flashing scene, Oh, and she gets away with this private friendship by saying that she's deciding to mentor the handicapped this is played up by Cal in ways so stupid, I'm not even gonna explain them, and since everybody other than Kelly or Cal is a complete and utter idiot, they get away with this most of the time, and it's until Cal's mother (Margaret Colin) gets into it, revealing of course, some of Cal's issues that he conveniently hasn't discussed, does the revelations come out. The DVD box says this movie is a "'Harold and Maude' for a new generation", which should've been a clue 'cause "Harold and Maude" is a piece of garbage as well, (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm pissing people off left and right here, but I might give "Jesus Christ Superstar" a second chance one day, I'm standing by this one though, "Harold and Maude" sucked!) but what really pissed me off is just how much potential was in this film and how much of it was completely squandered. It's like, they couldn't actually make a movie about a mother befriending a paralyzed teenage boy, even having a relationship with him, without creating every possible excuse for why these two people would be friends. Why can't a movie just be about that, that would've been fine, but she has to be, overbeared and depressed and her husband has to be this removed presence, and the paraplegic kid of course has to have other issues, a la, Drew Barrymore in "Mad Love" to some extent, and (SPOILERS) at the end of the movie btw, she ends up apologizing to her husband, which you'd think would make sense considering what she did, but actually is just goddamn moronic and subservient. It makes the character so much weaker, as though she didn't know what she had being home, alone with a baby, with crazed in-laws obsessing over her, and an absent husband who hasn't fucked her in months to sit up and wait for him to come home to, I almost can't believe that this film was written and directed, by women, particularly ones that dare bring up Riotgrrl movement. And btw, it's not like she slept with the kid, it was at most casual flirting that got a bit out of hand, if you took out the possible illegality of the ages, (And I think he is 18, so I'm not even sure that's relevant.) it's still nothing. I am in shock at how bad this movie is. This movie offends me as a filmmaker, a screenwriter, a human being, if I had a vagina it'd piss me off as a woman, it certainly offends me as a feminist, and if I was a paraplegic it'd probably piss me off as that too! If this is not the worst film from last year, than please, for the love of God, don't tell me or show me what that film is, 'cause I don't want to see it or even know about it. I might not be able to take if it turns out that this isn't the bottom of the 2014 barrel!

Like, I know what they were trying to do with this, but this is everything bad about indy films right now, it's all in this movie. The cutesy premise, the sorta taking the issue seriously, but not in a realistic way, the not-even-going far enough to make it an actual problem, the unrealistic supposedly modern characters, the...-, UGH! You may think, that maybe I was being facetious in my review when I said I nearly quit doing this blog after watching this film, I swear to God, I was not, in fact, I'm still not 100% sure I'm not gonna quit someday soon, because, all I have are nightmares about having to force my way through more movies like "Kelly & Cal". This movie, triggered every button of mine, like literally every minute of this movie, the longer it went on, something new would piss me off. A horrible obvious line of dialogue, with no subtext, just exposition, an action or insinuation that could've been justified but is treated like an insane person did it, eh, the whole situation, I mean; I was and am dead serious, if I am not watching better more interesting movies, even better and more interesting bad movies on a more regular basis and I abandon writing reviews on this blog in the future, you can blame "Kelly & Cal" for this. This movie, is just the worst; I might find a spot for this movie on my all-time Worst Top Ten, and no other movie on this list, or last year's worst list, or any worst list I've done since doing this blog, would I even consider for a moment as being that bad. "Kelly & Cal", is really one of the worst films I've ever seen, it's the worst of the year. Maybe I'm sheltered and I just haven't seen worst, but you know what, if worst than "Kelly & Cal" is what I'm missing, than I'm taking being sheltered any day!

Now, before I send you off, while the horror of "Kelly & Cal" lingering over me, let's make good and sure that I don't leave anybody out, so here are some, dis-honorable mentions of films that we're also really bad, but for one reason or another didn't make this list. In alphabetical order, along with the directors who were responsible for them, who probably rather unfairly in some instances (others not) are getting the blame for these atrocities:

LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATED FEATURES
300: Rise of an Empire-Neil Murro
Blue Ruin-Jeremy Saulnier
Cesar Chavez-Diego Luna
The Congress-Ari Folman
Divergent-Neil Burger
Elsa & Fred-Michael Radford
The Fault in Our Stars-Josh Boone
G.B.F.-Darren Stein
Godzilla-Gareth Edwards
Hercules-Brett Ratner
The Interview-Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Last Passenger-Omid Nooshin
The Maze Runner-Wes Ball
Memphis-Tim Sutton
Neighbors-Nicholas Stoller
Noah-Darren Aronofsky
On My Way-Emmanuelle Bercot
The One I Love-Charlie McDowell
The Raid 2-Gareth Evans
Redwood Highway-Gary Lundgren
Rio 2-Carlos Saldahna
Sex Tape-Jake Kasdan
St. Vincent-Theodore Melfi
The Suspect-Stuart Connelly
Walk of Shame-Steven Brill

DOCUMENTARIES
Antarctica: A Year on the Ice-Anthony Powell
Nas: Time is Illmatic-One9

Okay, that's enough. Alright, screw this year. Time to officially put 2014, to rest! And screw 2015 too, for being the year where that I spent watching a bunch of 2014 movies! Early Happy New Year to Everyone folks, and may she be a damn sight better than the old one.