When creator Aaron Sorkin left The West Wing abruptly in 2003, many people wrote the show off. Sorkin imbued the show with his naïve left-liberal bias and scripted much of its glib dialogue, and his leaving seemed to guarantee an identity crisis. In fact, The West Wing was really nothing more than Sorkin's personal wish fulfillment: What if we elected a strongly moral liberal Democrat as president? Or to put it a different way, what if President Clinton (who was still president when the show started, in 1999) had been even more liberal, and not horny all the time? Sorkin's answer was Jed Bartlet, the imaginary president played by Martin Sheen. Bartlet is sort of a Ted Kennedy with gravitas -- a sententious, northeastern liberal Catholic who, because this is TV, is always right. (With John Kerry we actually had a chance to elect someone like Bartlet, minus the intellectual rigor, and not too surprisingly, the electorate didn't go nuts over him. Of course, Kerry was not as telegenic as Martin Sheen.)
Continue reading: The West Wing: Sixth Season Review
Seriously, Chump Change follows Burrows' real-life adventures in Hollywood. A Wisconsin doughboy, Burrows stars in a jock itch commercial, but can't get any more work in L.A. Eventually he gets into a feud over an outburst on Wheel of Fortune, which culminates in his becoming a minor celebrity even while he has dropped out by returning to Wisconsin. Burrows encounters a cast of kooky characters -- from cliched brain-dead agents to milk-fed local girls in cow country (most memorable among them are Tim Matheson as Burrows' primary contact in L.A. and Traci Lords as his galpal back home). From one random encounter to another, Burrows celebrates his up-and-coming success as a comedy screenwriter, while making gentle fun of his quaint home town (in other words, prepare for lots of drive-by shots of Milwaukee hot dog stands).
Continue reading: Chump Change Review
Perhaps in a sick, twisted way, the concept of a person unknowingly consuming animal semen could be somewhat amusing. But actually watching a character manually stimulate a canine with oversized testicles is not funny. The scene continues with the character filling donuts with the ejaculation and then feeding the pastries to his peers. The sequence concludes as characters squirt the contents of the food into their mouths. This is a point when gross-out humor simply becomes too gross to qualify as humor.
Continue reading: National Lampoon's Van Wilder Review
Continue reading: Animal House Review
Any delusions Miramax may have been harboring that it was still an arthouse studio have been permanently put to rest with the release of "She'sAll That," a completely common and utterly excruciating high schoolugly duckling romance so grossly out of touch with the times that eventhe title is passe.
Part "Sixteen Candles," part "Pygmalion,""She's All That" tries to hitch a low-rent ride on the coattailsof the "Scream""Dawson'sCreek" teen profit phenomenon by casting a bunch of C-list teenageactors (who, if they had any integrity, would have passed on this movieand kept their fingers crossed for a douche commercial) in roles that NeveCampbell and even James VanDerBeek (late of "Varsity Blues")wouldn't touch with asbestos gloves.
The personality-less Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("Scream,""I Know What You Did Last Summer") stars as Zach, Harrison HighSchool's king of the popular, dreamy jocks. Unceremoniously thrown overby the snobby head cheerleader from central casting (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe),Zach accepts a bet from his cold-blooded posse of in-crowd cronies thathe can turn any girl in school into the prom queen in six weeks.
Being that Harrison High is a Hollywood school, where thefat chicks are a size 10 and a stray eye brow hair signals radical feminism,the worst they can do is Laney (Rachel Leigh Cook), a brainy (she can quoteCNN!), mousy, anti-social art chick who is one removed bobby pin and apair of contact lenses away from ultra-babedom.
The movie takes place in one of those fictional worldswhere although jocks are all bastards, geeks secretly aspire to be jocksand everyone, regardless of clique, goes to the same parties.
Following an inevitable course with no twists or surprises,Zach falls for Laney (despite her queer interest in performance art andcurrent events) and becomes a nice guy in the process, and Laney learnsthat the key to happiness is wearing lip gloss and dating guys with two-digitIQs.
Written by somebody named Lee Fleming, who 1) saw too manyJohn Hughes movies as a teenager and 2) is clearly at least five yearsbehind the times, "She's All That" features badly out-dated slang,clean-cut token minorities who perform spontaneous rap ditties in the schoolquad, and gratuitous references to long-forgotten characters from MTV's"The Real World." In an desperate attempt to look hip, he madeZach the school's star soccer player (football is so 1998!).
Directed by TV veteran Robert Iscove, the pic sleepwalksthrough Laney's requisite confrontations with 1) the cheerleader ("Toanyone here that matters, you're vapor!"), and 2) Zach ("Am Ia bet?!?," turn heel, stomp off dramatically). Iscove failsto avoid a couple dozen other obligatory scenes before wrapping up witha prom climax that includes an ill-advised synchronized dance number.
Forgettable in almost every other regard, "She's AllThat" will be remembered, by those who keep track of such things,only as the movie that knocked Miramax off its pedestal once and for allby demonstrating that several years under Disney's wing has turned chairmenBob and Harvey Weinstein into clones of Larry Levy, the cynical producerfrom "The Player" who reasoned that a good story is immaterialto making a movie for the unwashed masses.
Unlike any real-life marriage -- especially a marriage on the rocks -- "The Story of Us" is 100-percent predictable.
Rob Reiner's new romantic dramedy about a married couple's 15-year itch, this "Story" is so faithful to formula that there are moments (several of them, in fact) at which any seasoned movie-goer could shout out what's going to happen next and be right every time.
Fade in. Wife and mom Michelle Pfeiffer has soap suds on her hand and in her hair as her washing machine overflows with sloshing water and bubbles. What comes next?
Continue reading: The Story Of Us Review
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