Monday, February 20, 2012

Last Dance, The (2000) TV Movie

This is a piece of a "Variety" magazine review from the day. "If CBS hopes to lose their image as an elder-skewing net, then the Eye is stuck in reverse in the demo derby. "The Last Dance," a warmhearted tale of a Latin teacher who grows old and reconnects with one of her students to teach him life's most valuable lessons, would be fine fodder from the Hallmark folks but even sedentary auds can only take so much schmaltz in primetime." With that said, this is a pleasant little TV movie that tugs at the tear glands. Especially if you're one who is susceptible to tales of time travel and lost loves.

The Last Dance (2000) TV Movie
Cast: Maureen O'Hara, Eric Stoltz, Trini Alvarado, Charles Robinson, Paul Johansson, Deirdre Quinn, Betty Carvalho

Finding Lucy (2000) (TV)

She was a phenomenon, she was unshakable and she was the best. The unrivaled Queen of Comedy and as someone who was raised and has lived my entire life in Southern California, she was pretty much always there. Even today in the 20-twelve, channel 11 plays at least an hour every weekday and 2 hours EVERY Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Lucy and Los Angeles are forever, which reminds me of a funny story. I once had to visit a local emergency room back in May of 1994. Nothing serious, I survived but being broke and insurance-free it was necessary to go to a county hospital and I chose Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a hospital funded by Los Angeles County, located in the Sylmar neighborhood of northern Los Angeles. Now let me set the scene; a large ER waiting room, roughly split in two with about 40 seats in each section. The chairs are arranged in rows but the two sections are facing each other and there is a single large TV over each section facing inward. In other words, each section watched the TV over the heads of the people they were facing. It's a weekday around 9 or 10ish and the place is PACKED. It's Los Angeles and a county hospital, it can be assumed it's never not packed. So anyway, as my wife and I sat patiently waiting and watching TV (both TVs were on different channels) it turns 10AM and the all too familiar "I Love Lucy" theme starts on our TV and almost the entire other side simultaneously stood up as if choreographed and turned around to watch the other TV with the Lucy. It was an amazing Lemming moment and living testimony to not only her greatness but also the undeniable impact Desi had on the rising tide of Latin immigrants whom had even then in the early 1950s brought their huddled masses to our shores. Long live Lucy & Desi!

This the fourth episode of the fifteenth season of the "American Masters" documentary series.

Finding Lucy (2000) (TV)
Cast: Edie Adams, William Asher, Fred Ball, Carol Burnett, Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Davis, Fran Drescher

Sunday, February 19, 2012

7th Annual American Comedy Awards, The (1993) (TV)

Lots of faces, lots of fun. Now that George Carlin has passed I love seeing him anytime and he has a nice run here. Another favorite, is the late Richard Jeni. This was the year he won, "Funniest Male - Stand-Up Comedy" and his acceptance words are now precious.

The 7th Annual American Comedy Awards (1993) (TV)
Cast: Bea Arthur, Elizabeth Ashley, Mayim Bialik, George Carlin, Chevy Chase, Irwin Corey, Billy Crystal, Bob Einstein, Michael Fishman, Teri Garr, Whoopi Goldberg, John Goodman, Joseph Lawrence, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laurie Metcalf, Jack Palance, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Roseanne, Jerry Seinfeld, Sinbad, Dick Smothers, Tom Smothers, Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Van Dyke, Richard Jeni

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kennedy Center Honors, The: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1998) (TV)

Broadcast during the 9-11PM time slot on the same evening (December 30, 1998), as the previous listing, "Life Remembers 1998".


The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts (1998) (TV)
Honorees: Bill Cosby, Willie Nelson, Andre Previn, Shirley Temple

Life Remembers 1998 (1998) (TV)

This is a quality production from the good people of Life Magazine that plays more obituary than retrospective. If they died during 1998, for example; Shari Lewis, Alan Shepard, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Jerome Robbins, Benjamin Spock, Roddy McDowell, Akira Kurosawa, Eldridge Cleaver, Tammy Wynette, Carl Wilson, Carl Perkins, Betty Carter, Sonny Bono, Roy Rogers, Phil Hartman, Flip Wilson, Henny Youngman, Alice Faye, Maureen O'Sullivan, E. G. Marshall, J. T. Walsh, Esther Rolle, Lloyd Bridges, "Buffalo" Bob Smith, Harry Caray, Archie Moore, Ray Nitsche, George Wallace, Michael J. Blassie, James Byrd, Jr., Matthew Shepard, Flight 111, and Barbara Jordan (plus some lesser knowns) here you will see them remembered. Expect longer profiles on some of the more sentimental favorites.

Life Remembers 1998 (1998) (TV)
Host: Anthony Edwards

Norbert Smith, a Life (1989) (TV)

A spoof TV documentary film charting the life and career of the fictitious British actor Sir Norbert Smith with Harry Enfield in the title role. It was written by Harry Enfield and Geoffrey Perkins and directed by Geoff Posner and made by Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4.

The film is presented as if it were an edition of the ITV arts program "The South Bank Show", and features Melvyn Bragg, the presenter of the real show, playing himself as the interviewer visiting Sir Norbert at his home, and encouraging him to reminisce about his past career. The humor arises from the fact that although Sir Norbert is acclaimed as one of Britain’s “Knights of the Theatre”, in the mold of a Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud, actually none of his contemporaries has anything particularly good to say about him, and he appears to have had limited success in landing good film roles. Interviewed now in his old age, he is demented, and has confused memories about his past.

The main point of the film, however, is the parodying of various 20th century film genres, through interspersed clips that feature Enfield as Sir Norbert in a variety of film roles.

Norbert Smith, a Life (1989) (TV)
Cast: Harry Enfield, Melvyn Bragg, Renée Asherson, Simon Godley