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Teen Movie Critic

Reviews for the week starting on February 12, 1996

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Here are four movies on home video and/or laserdisc.

Lonesome Dove (1989)

Lonesome Dove
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Here is a film you mustn't pass up. Based on Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer prize winning novel, this Emmy-award winning western tells the story of two ex-Texas rangers (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones), who decide to lead a 2500 mile cattle drive from Texas to Montana. The old rangers run into a lot of trouble along the way. The trouble starts with Blue Duck (Frederic Forrest), a deadly Comanche, who has kidnapped the only female member of their group, a prostitute Lorena Wood (Diane Lane). Not only that, they have to brave the rough wilderness, face a gang of dangerous horse thieves and cross Indian territory to finally reach the beautiful Montana country.

Fantastic performances by the leads, Jones and Duvall, as well as the wonderful period settings make this a funny, tragic and exciting tale. The supporting cast is excellent too. Ricky Schroder as Newt, the youngest member of the group, Tim Scott as Pea Eye, a good friend of Jones and especially Anjelica Huston as Clara Allen, an old flame of Duvall's, who is now a horse wrangler in Nebraska. The script is well written, giving an excellent western flavor to the people and their accents. One of the best miniseries ever to come around, this is one I'd definitely rent the next time I was in the video store.

My Rating = Four Stars


1941 (1979)

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A gigantic comedy about panic in Los Angeles just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The film is full of old Saturday Night Live and SCTV regulars, as well as seasoned veterans (Robert Stack and Warren Oates). The army finds out about a Japanese submarine, sent to attack L.A., and Uncle Sam pulls out all the stops to send the sub back from where it came.

This is a film that comes from the bigger-is-funnier school of comedy. Hollywood should have learned it's lesson after the super-comedy It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World bombed big time. Steven Spielberg tries to hold the film together, but sorry to say, this looked like a project that was too tough to handle even for him. Even for him! There are some funny scenes, including the opening sequence, which spoofs Spielberg's earlier Jaws. Unfortunately most of the jokes and sight gags fall flat and become ludicrous after awhile. The best performance in the movie is by John Belushi, as a maniacal pilot, who causes a great deal of chaotic disaster, while trying to warn the public about the sub. Other than Belushi's performance and some good special effects, this is a real stinker.

My Rating = Two Stars


The King of Comedy (1983)

King of Comedy, The
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Martin Scorsese is a very talented director, but he usually does one type of movie, featuring some of the same characters. Most of his films have violent outcomes and have people you wouldn't want to meet anywhere save within two feet from a police station. This one is different. Robert De Niro (Scorsese's frequent star) portrays Rupertt Pupkin, a down-on-his-luck comedian, who is trying to make it in the entertainment industry. He keeps trying to get on a TV show of his idol, Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis), but tries too hard and ends up in trouble. Finally, with the help of his Langford-obsessed friend (Sandra Bernhard), he kidnaps and ransoms Lewis for a spot on Lewis' TV show.

Hilarious black comedy, with some convincing performances, especially by De Niro as the obnoxious Pupkin. The most impressive performance comes from Bernhard, who usually is better on TV than she is in movies. The maddeningly, slow pace and some gaping plot holes can be ignored. Pay rapt attention to people who are speaking and you might catch some very subtle humor.

My Rating = Three Stars


Cobb (1994)

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Now here is a piece of shit! A complete waste of time and money! Tommy Lee Jones protrays the first great baseball star as a sexist, racist and unlovable drunkard. Robert Wuhl is Al Stump, the sportswriter hired to write about Cobb's life. Stump's time with Cobb becomes a humiliating nightmare. After awhile, Stump begins to wonder whether he should keep his mouth shut about Cobb's private habits or tell the world the truth about baseball's greatest player.

Soon the audience starts to ask, "Who cares"? By the time the film is over, you feel no sympathy for Cobb. You feel that Wuhl's character was idiotic for not telling the truth about Cobb. The movie just makes you feel empty. Jone's performance is strong, but not strong enough to make you forget the weak screenplay and the unsympathetic characters.

My Rating = One Star


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