Live-Action Shows


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link] Been meaning to watch this series for quite awhile. We finally plowed through all 56 episodes in about 25 days.

PEOPLE: Created by Tom Fontana (St. Elsewhere).

The cast is incredibly varied, with prisoners entering, dying, and moving all the time. So it’s a revolving door cast with only 9 characters in at least 50 out of the 56 episodes, 17 characters in at least 40 out of 56 episodes, 26 characters in at least 30 out of 56 episodes, 34 characters in at least 20 out of 56 episodes.

Characters: Beecher is Lee Tergesen (jerky older brother Chet Donnelly from the Weird Science TV series, Terry from Wayne’s World 1-2). Vern Schillinger is J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies and Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, Megamind, I Love You, Man, Jennifer’s Body, Juno, The Ladykillers, Law & Order, Poseidon from Flapjack). Warden Leo Glynn is Ernie Hudson (Winston from Ghostbusters, Sifu Norris from Dragonball: Evolution, Miss Congeniality 1-2, Airheads, Agent Fowler in Transformers Prime, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital, 2 eps of Heroes). Harold Perrineau as Hill, the handicapped narrator (Link from The Matrix 2-3, Flynn from 28 Weeks Later, Mercutio from Romeo + Juliet 1996, Lost).

Tim McManis is Terry Kinney (who I’ve never run into, tho he was in 7 eps of thirtysomething). Sister Pete is Rita Moreno (Carmela from 780 episodes of The Electric Company) (pic of her young, pic of her with blue hair).

Ryan O’Reilly is Dean Winters (who is actually Irish-Italian) (30 Rock, Rescue Me, Terminator:The Sarah Conner Chronicles). Bob Rebadow is George Morfogen. Agamemnon Busmalis is Tom Mardirosian. Kareem Said is Eamonn Walker (Dr. Mathison in Unbreakable, Kings, Justice, The Bill, In Sickness And In Health). Father Ray Mukada is B.D. Wong (The Salton Sea, a cockroach voice in Joe’s Apartment, Mystery Date, Law & Order:Special Victims Unit, All-American Girl). Alvarez was Kirk Acevedo (Band Of Brothers, The Thin Red Line, Fringe, The Black Donnellys, Law & Order:Trial By Jury).

Officer Joseph Mineo was Philip Scozzarella (only ever in Oz + 1 bit TV movie part). Cyril O’Reilly was Scott William Winters (Clack from Good Will Hunting, Agent Samuels from 4 eps of 24 S6, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back). Dr. Nathan is Lauren Velez (Maria LaGuerta from Dexter, New York Undercover). Chucky “The Enforcer” Pancama is Chuck Zito (Man On The Moon, Gia), who is a real ex-con. However, he was a biker in real life, not a Wise Guy. Chico Guerra is Otto Sanchez (Push (2006), Kidnapped). Chris Keller is Christopher Meloni (Law & Order:Special Victims Unit, Frank from the movie Carriers, The Grand Wizard from Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo, Freakshow from Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, Gene from Wet Hot American Summer, Runaway Bride, Sven the Clerk at Flamingo Hotel from Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, the movie Bound, Twelve Monkeys, Hal Jordan/The Green Lantern from Green Lantern:First Flight, 1 ep of Michael & Michael Have Issues, 5 eps of NYPD Blue).

Poet is Craig muMs Grant (Dark Water), and has served actual time. Officer Sean Murphy is Robert Clohessy (Boardwalk Empire, Kidnapped, Ohara, Arthur 2011). Jaz is Evan Seinfeld aka Spyder Jonez, ex-bass player of Damnocracy, porn star/director (which explains why he likes to flash his dick so much). Simon Adebisi is Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Heavy Duty from G.I. Joe:Rise Of The Cobra, The Bourne Identity, The Mummy Returns, Hitu from Ace Venture:When Nature Calls, Mr. Eko from Lost). Robson was R.E. Rogers, writer/director of F–K and Crash&Burn, but not really in much stuff outside of Oz. Governor Devlin was Zeljko Ivanek (Emile Danko from Heroes, Andre Drazon from 24, Homicide:Life On The Street, In Bruges, Black Hawk Down, Hannibal, Donnie Brasco, The Event, Damages). Officer Claire Howell is Kristin Rohde (Homicide:Life On The Street).

Enrique Morales is David Zayas (Sgt. Angel Batista in Dexter, The Expendables). Officer Diane Whittlesey is Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano from The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie from Nurse Jackie, 4 eps of 30 Rock). Omar White is Michael Wright (Elias Taylor from the original V series). The O’Reillys’ mom is Betty Buckley (Eight Is Enough). Death-row Shirley Bellinger is Kathryn Erbe (Stir Of Echoes, Law & Order:Criminal Intent). BTW, she was married to the actor who played Tim McManus — though they divorced in 2006.

Clayton Hughes was Seth Gilliam (The Wire). Nino Schibetta (the father) was Tony Musante (Detective David Toma from Toma way back in 1974). Peter Schibetta (the son) was Eddie Malavarca. Mobay is Lance Reddick (Fringe, The Wire, Jonh Hex, Godzilla 1998 [uncredited bit part]). Raoul “El Cid” Hernanzes was Luis Guzman (Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Dumb And Dumberer, Anger Management, Punch-Drunk Love, The Salton Sea, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Traffic, Magnolia, Arthur 2011) (NOT from Weeds). Nikolai Stanislofsky was Philip Casnoff (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Strong Medicine). Officer Dave Brass, the basketball player, is Blake Robbins (Agent McGuinness from 1 ep of Firefly, Tom Halpert from 3 eps of The Office). Carrie Schillinger was Jenna Lamia (Hi-Life). Supreme Allah was — get this — an actor named Lord Jamar. Pro basketball player Vahu was Rick Fox (in lots of stuff, but nothing I’ve heard of).

Napp was Mark Margolis (Black Sawn, The Girl Next Door, The Fountain, Daredevil, Infested, Requiem For A Dream, Pi, Ace Ventura:Pet Detective, Arthur 1981 [uncredited wedding guest], The Equalizer). Rev. Jeremiah Cloutier was Luke Perry (Dylan from Beverly Hills 90210). The chick who (SPOILER ALERT) almost got Beecher out on parole that one time was Sandra Purpuro (5 eps of Days Of Our Lives, 2 eps of 24).

And Miss Sally was Whitney Allen.

Also weird: Steve Buscemi directed 2 episodes.

PLOT SUMMARY: Jail sucks ass. Oz chronicles life in an experimental prison ward called Emerald City, where prisoners have more rights. It is considered an experiment, and a luxurious unit for a prisoner to live in compared to GenPop — the general population units where fights and rape are that much more common. The main character (if there even is one) would be Tobias Beecher, a lawyer who killed a girl in a drunk driving accident, now serving 15 years. He is the “everyman” compared to the typical scum that resides in this prison. You watch as group after group struggles for power, and then struggles to stay alive. Muslims, Latinos, Aryans, bikers, Christians, gangstas, Italians — almost every group is separated by lines drawn via racial or religious categorization. Life here — even in this experimental unit where it’s not as bad as GenPop — is very hard. Staying alive is hard for almost anybody. Jail sucks ass.

BACKWARD PLOT SUMMARY: Corpses re-animate into prisoners who join other prisoners, all of whom serve prison term, are released, and then go on to commit crimes. (Hmmm — that’s barely different than the plot in forward order!)

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Tax dollars fail to rehabilitate prisoners.

QUIRKS: Jail. Struggles for power. Violence. Violence. Violence. Tension. Struggles for power. Violence. Politics. Violence.

VISUALS: Bleak, and mostly the same sets over and over. In this series, you only see the outside world maybe 5 times before it’s over.

SOUNDTRACK: There isn’t really much of one. Though in the last 2 seasons, they have this “whoo whoo” sound they use during high tension/spooky moments, which make me & Carolyn imitate Bubb Rubb from the Whistle Tips videos on YouTube. Funny stuff. Look it up. “Y’all should be up cookin’ your eggs!”

MORALS: It’s not the who or how that’s important when people die — but the why. That’s the only human part of the story.

POLITICS: Lots of politics about the American prison system, and how fucked up the laws are, and how they don’t necessarily solve any problems. Most of this is done through Hill’s narration each episode, but some of it is done via characters such as the asshole governor Devlin.

GOOD STUFF: Great character development and interaction. For instance, I liked how they kept you guessing about Keller. I changed my mind about my opinion of him at least 4 times! They kept me guessing! His character reminded me a bit of the main character from The Rules Of Attraction.

Beecher was awesome when he was crazy. (“Who else would you get to represent you? Beecher?” [Beecher throws cards up in the air in the background.])

The series actually has a lot of comedic moments too, despite being pretty bleak and depressing.

The series finale wrapped up most of the story lines relatively nicely, all things considered.

BAD STUFF: Slight shark jumpings throughout the later seasons… The religious angles got a bit preachy. The musical episode with the LSD overdose — c’mon! Ridiculous! The writers of that subplot should be shot – no amount of LSD will leave you brain dead! Occasionally a plot or character would be dropped without mention in between seasons. (Remember Glynn’s hot black secretary? Poof!)

CONCLUSION: A great series about prison life. TONS AND TONS of characters and subplots.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. “My favorite characters were Beecher, Ryan, and Cyril, I felt bad for Omar White. All he wanted was a friend, but he was pretty nuts… Vern Shillinger was a dick, and I guess his granddaughter didn’t change him after all. And then Keller… wow… that guy was nuts…”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 9.2/10 (wow!), Netflix: 3.9/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was also 3.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: This series is not for the faint of heart, but it is an excellent (albeit exaggerated) look into prison life.

SPOILERY SUMMARY: S1=Beecher’s Vern’s prag,prison riot,Whittlesby smuggles cigaretes,shoots guy who was in biker gang with her during riot,Alvarez’s baby born,dies,he cuts his face, S2=Beecher’s gets crazy,bites tip of Robson’s dick off,shits in Vern’s mouth,falls in gay love with Keller,gets arms&legs broken,Adabizi gets sober briefly,O’Reilly kills Dr.Nathan’s husband via his retarded brother Cyril,Said refuses clemency,Hill wants to escape,lays in coffin, S3=escape totally glossed over!,Beecher’s lover rats on Vern,gets shived,health care privatized,Alvarez gouges out C.O.’s eyes,goes to solitaire,hangs self,boxing exhibitions,crazy C.O. stalker chick,Snake the family-murderer arrives;Hill rats on him;to protect Hill wiseguys kill Snake, …, S5=Beecher’s childhood friend is a prick,becomes Aryans’ prag,Keller on death row,Cyril’s trial,Omar White’s so pathetic,learns to sing,S5E6=jump the shark musical episode with LSD overdose making guy brain dead; Keller/Cyril/Hoyt on death row,narrator(Hill) killed, S6=Robson cuts his ‘nigger gums’ out but still becomes a prag,gets aids from Cutler,Beecher paroled,Keller tricks Beecher into violating his parole, Said shot dead,killer wants Omar White to kill him,Omar wouldn’t,so he kills Omar, Keller death sentence commuted, he kills ex-prag who killed Beecher’s dad, Cyril almost executed,then later is, Leo Glen killed,Devlin implicated,Kwerns back as warden, Alvarez inherits all of Cutler’s stuff, even tho they didn’t know each other, Agamemnon Busmalis marries Norma, Beecher kills Schillinger AND Keller, both by accident, bio-terror attack takes out Aryans, ends Oz.

SIMILAR SHOWS: I’ve actually never watched a prison show before, so I got nothin’.

SHOW QUOTES:

Agamemnon “The Mole” Busmalis: This is the best Miss Sally ever.

Robert Rebadow: God told me.

Augustus Hill: The worst stab wound is the one to the heart. Sure, most people survive it, but the heart is never quite the same. There’s always a scar. Which is meant, I guess, to remind you that – even for a little while – someone made your heart beat faster. And that’s a scar you can live with. Proudly. All the days of your life.

Martin Querns: DON’T fuck with Querns!

(more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PLOT SUMMARY: Two people who just met must pretend they are a couple in order to trick their landlord into letting them rent a room. Comedy ensues.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Relationship rejects exploit landlord’s drunkeness via lies.

PEOPLE: Simon Pegg (Shaun Of The Dead, Scotty from the new Star Trek reboot, Hot Fuzz, Run Fatboy Run) wrote and starred in this, along with Jessica Hynes. The rest of the actors are basically British TV actors who didn’t do much except tag along with Pegg in a few of his minor movies like Hot Fuzz and Run Fatboy Run.

QUIRKS: Lots of references to movies and TV series. Lots. It’s almost Family Guy-esque in that sense. Lots of trivia for this series.

VISUALS: Not too good; looks like a dank British production. Not crisp. Fortunately, visuals aren’t required for comedy.

BAD STUFF: There are definitely some flaws to the series, but they aren’t fatal. For example, not much happens. But Seinfeld has proven that formula can work. Their relationship issues are never really resolved in a conclusive way, despite building it up for 2 seasons. Twist didn’t really seem to add anything to the series, other than a cute face, and one of the awesomest names I’ve ever heard. Mike was never really explored or truly fleshed out. He’s basically just a Dale Gribble. But despite these flaws, pretty much every episode is filled with laugh-out-loud moments. Not much happens with the finale; They had a montage of characters doing things that we had heard reviewed as being a profound montage that may bring tears to your eyes, but actually seemed, to us, to be utterly pointless, conveying nothing.

The IMDB trivia, however, offers this bit: “At the end of a documentary about the series made in 2004, there is a moment where the characters Tim and Daisy come out of the house and talk for a moment; if this is canonical to the original storyline, then they got together and had a baby girl (who Daisy refused to call ‘Luke’).” So perhaps they caught on to things not being resolved unambiguously, and stuck this bit into their documentary to provide some additional closure.

CONCLUSION: A solid sitcom from the UK, chock full of pop culture references. Plenty of great laughs, though the series isn’t as perfect as some people proclaim.

RATINGS:

Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10. It’s an 8/10, but I was tempted to give it 7/10, so I will give it a “lower 8″.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 9.4/10, Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was slightly lower: 3.9/5 stars). I find the IMDB rating a bit overrated–there are tons of shows funnier than this; even from the UK (Fawlty Towers!). But I don’t disagree with the Netflix rating.

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely one of the best UK sitcoms to check out.

SIMILAR SHOWS: American remake pilot! http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1143914/ … Produced by McG of Charlie’s Angels fame. Here’s some clips:

COINCIDENCES: (Breaking Bad S2-end-ish, Spaced #1) 2 shows in 2 nights with 2 characters discussing superhero/villain drawings that one made.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Ian loves this series, and considers it [one of?] his favorite sitcom[s] ever. A lot of Americans know about this series, actually. (more…)

The full 3-minute version of the Mr. Belvedere theme, by Gary Portnoy are absolutely nowhere to be found on the internet! So I’m posting them myself. If this is some kind of copyright violation, please let me know via the comment section rather than contacting my host, but frankly you should enjoy the free advertising:

Purchase a non-DRM mp3 of the full 3 minute Mr. Belvedere song, as originally sung by Gary Portnoy (best known for writing and singing the Cheers and Punky Brewster themes), for 99 cents at http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Belvedere/dp/B000QN8XAA/ref=dm_ap_trk4.

This song is still stuck in many peoples’ heads, apparently.

Now, enjoy the theme as sun by Stewie of Family Guy:

Here’s another goofy cover:

Yes… There’s still a lot of people obsessed with this song!

Then things get REALLY weird, I mean, why does something like this exist?

And if you’re curious what the instrumental closing-theme version of the original theme sounded like, just fast forward to the 8 minute mark in this video:

Anyway, here are the lyrics…
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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Facebook 'fan/like' link] [old JumpTheShark page from archive.org] Mostly watched in 720p HD — people had been recommending this show to us for many years. I’m glad we started late enough that the finale happened before we finished! We had no clue it was about to end. It took us about 2.5 months to watch all 100 episodes.

PLOT SUMMARY: Plastic surgeons and longtime friends deal with interesting professional ethical challenges.

For people who already watched the series, here’s the most concise season-by-season plot summary that still covers most of the main plot points. I simply took notes as I watched the season. Here it is: [highlight for spoilers] S1=Escobar the criminal 80’s-music-loving guy, horny-rich-old-bitch blackmail, Matt’s self-circumcision, S2=shrink gone?!?, carver, McNamara separation, Christian’s=Matt’s dad, Ava/Famke the transsexual, S3=McNamara divorce, spa, Sean works @ FBI, Rhona Mitra+Quentin=carver, S4=new management=blackmailed ex-escort/kidney thief/gold-digger, mutant baby=surgery+midget+McNamara re-breakup, Matt+Kimber=Scientology+pregnant, is Christian gay? No, Escobar killed, S5=shark jump?, Hollywood fever/stabby pretend agent/Sean=pretend cripple, Julia lezes w/Portia De Rossi+psycho daughter Eden that poisons+shoots her, Matt=Kimber+heroin+break up,burn victim,incest, Christian=cancer,marries/divorces Liz, Biker/”24 Mole” chick hired, S6=Matt’s a mime/robber/prisoner, daughter’s a hair-eatin’ emo, biker chick now=Rose McGowan,marries,tries to kill family,gets killed, S7=Christian’s a self-hating worthless asshole,marries Kimber,auto-erotic asphyxiation,Kimber suicides, Sean+Christian=couples therapy, Liz dates squirter, Matt leaves Ramona@altar for Ava, Christian breaks partnership, makes Sean go to Bucharest

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once were two plastic surgeons named Christian and Sean,
Their lives were exciting, and would not make you yawn.
Their jobs were morally complex,
And their social lives oversexed–
But finally they realized they needed a new dawn.

HAIKU REVIEW: Plastic surgery:
Way more morally complex
than people would think.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Plastic surgeons refuse to change for the better, lose the women they love, fail to stop a serial killer, fail to stop an organ thief ring, and altogether fail at personal growth.

QUIRKS: Gory plastic surgery set to music. Crazy professional ethical situations the likes of which you’d never imagine. Medical oddities, transsexuals, fetishists, swingers, lesbians, sex addicts, sex addiction, drug addiction, serial killers, organized crime, abusive police, gangsters, rich powerful people, Scientology, Hollywood.

This show is more intense and disturbing than many. And the characters are complex and nuanced…. That’s why it’s good!

VISUALS: A great show to watch in HD: Tons of close-up gruesome surgery scenes, tons of beautiful women, tons of intense situations.
(more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Wikipedia link] [Not available on Netflix.] Watched with John The Canadien [except for the last episode] and Mark I [first ~4 episodes only].

PLOT SUMMARY: Kids In The Hall are back! With what could be considered an 8-episode-long sketch. Or maybe it could be considered a 3-hour movie? Either way, this was probably better than Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Morbidly obese fat bastard solves crime; gay necrophiliac hangs around with corpse.

PEOPLE: The Kids In The Hall! This is the first stuff they’ve done together in many years!

VISUALS: Kids In The Hall were never about visuals — but the kid who sees normal people as butterflies is pretty damn funny.

BAD STUFF: The first 2 episodes weren’t as funny as the last 6. Some people probably quit early. Mark I did, but he’s a total hater. Of everything.

CONCLUSION: Goddamn Kids In The Hall need to stay together and keep doing stuff! Nothing they did separately was as funny as what they can accomplish together. This “Canadian Monty Python” group needs to STAY TOGETHER!

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
John The Canadien: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.5/10.

RECOMMENDATION: Kids In The Hall fans should be careful not to miss this!

QUOTE: Bartender, to Death, after Death told him he only drinks owl’s blood, and the bartender didn’t remember him until finding a bottle of owl’s blood on the bar: “Ohhhh.. The owl’s blood guy!”

COINCIDENCES: (double coincidence) (Archer #5, Kids In The Hall:Death Comes To Down #5) 2 comedy shows in a row talking about poached eggs, both with an episode number of 5. (more…)

Yes, I keep track of this stuff!

We watched over 241 movies in 2009 (up 25% from the 193 we watched last year), so our TV-series viewing was down in 2009. Still, our list of TV shows watched was quite sizable. Read on for the full list.

I try to list the more obscure stuff first, as it’s probably no surprise that I watch Heroes. (more…)

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] I love failed pilots!

PEOPLE: Paul Ruebens (Pee-Wee Herman) as the hairless, earless alien in U.S. military captivity. Matthew Lillard (Without A Paddle, SLC Punk!, Scream 1 & 2, Hackers) as the new Lt. Col / project manager who just found out about the alien….err…I mean “visitor”. Jane Lynch (The L Word, Walk Hard:The Dewey Cox Story, Fifty Pills, The 40 Year Old Virgin) as the uptight high-ranking female. Bruce McGill (MacGyver, W., Legally Blonde 2, Timecop, D-Day from Animal House) as the highest-ranking general.

QUIRKS: Taking place in “Area 57″, an obvious parody of “Area 51″ / “Hangar 18″, where our government did secret research that many people think involved extraterrestrials. We have the too-young-for-his-rank Lillard playing opposite an “evil” Pee-Wee Herman. In 40 yrs of government interrogation, the visitor has yet to tell the U.S. govt a goddamn thing.

VISUALS: Paul Reubens/Pee-Wee is pretty much unrecognizable as an alien. He exclusively eats cavier and straight vodka.

BAD STUFF: A bit low budget — after all, this is a failed pilot probably made for a very small amount of money. But that just adds to the charm.

CONCLUSION: IMDB: 7/10. Pretty funny. Would have loved this to be picked up: We haven’t had a good sci-fi live-action comedy since… Alf?!?! Maybe there’s a reason for that.

Lillard’s cluelessness reminds me of all the bad things that happened to him in Without A Paddle. And Rubens really is a brilliant choice for a freaky alien! Maybe someday this will be on one of the “TV Shows That Never Were” type specials. Until then, it will only be seen by those who use bittorrent trackers named after parts of the human body.

RECOMMENDATION: If you can find it… Watch it. Good luck with that. (more…)

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