Category Archives: television

For Better or for Worse

For Better Or For Worse DVD 3D (1)For Better or for Worse brings former TV series The Facts of Life co-stars Lisa Whelchel and Kim Fields together again in two very different roles for each actress. If you like the former TV show, then you should find these two women together again a scream. Antonio Cupo also stars in the movie and is a regular in Hallmark movies, appearing in Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade and I Do, I Do, I Do.

Based on the novel by Diana Hunt and directed by Marita Grabiak, Wendy (Whelchel) is a wedding planning coordinator. She is coming to grips with her grief of losing her husband.  In walks charming, and a bit of a thorn in the side, divorce attorney Marco (Cupo). He establishes his practice next door to Wendy’s wedding chapel. Rosanne (Fields) works for Wendy, is a good friend, and offers sage advice to the two business conflict with each other. A feud emerges as it becomes clear that weddings and divorces are like oil and water. When Wendy’s son and Marco’s daughter meet, fall in love and get engaged, Wendy and Marco are forced to team up and plan the kids’ wedding.  Opposites attract and well…you need to see the movie and find out how the romance blossoms between the two.

The movie is fresh and delightful as a romantic comedy and is a little too predictable for my tastes.  Yet, if you are a fan of Hallmark movies, then you will love this happy, go-round, and up and down movie.

My Boyfriends’ Dogs

My Boyfriends' Dogs DVD-f (1)Hallmark movies have their own flavor of entertainment based on a formula that works most the time. My Boyfriends’ Dogs works for me because of Ericka Christensen, who plays Bailey Daley, creates a very believe able winsome character that you can’t help but love.  She is on her own, unattached, charming, cute in a funny way and attracts guys more often than one would think.

The crux of the story is each guy who approaches her turns out having a dealbreaker.  It’s not because they are criminals or killers. It’s because they are control freaks or just don’t like dogs, which Bailey says is the grounds for a breakup.

In spite of everything, she meets three different guys, played by Jeremy Gilbaut, Oliver Rice, Jesse Hutch, and she gets serious enough to be smitten with their dogs.  She ends up breaking it off with the guys, but keeps their dogs, a golden retriever, a Dalmatian and a Shih Tzu. Here, we begin our story with Bailey because the rest of the story is told in flashback.  I like it.

Being a Hallmark movie is a shoe in to have a happy ending, and for this movie, it’s called a twist of fate. But just how it happens is what makes the story interesting to watch until the end.  You will like Christensen, the dogs, and even the ex-boyfriends.  The story may seem a bit slow, but it is worth watching for all the talent on the screen.

Swamp People Season 6

SP_S6_DVD_3D (1)Swamp People TV show is not necessarily for just outdoors people. Like Duck Dynasty, the series has a quality that appeals to people who are not hunters and fishermen.  Watching the Cajun’s speaking Cajun French on this series is rather interesting and unique.  That is all the bait I need to watch men get into the swamp and noodle successfully for catfish. To say nothing of the alligator hunting, and it is quite a chilling experience.

Yes, it is a reality TV show, but at least, they are civil and forego dramatizing their flaws like the Kardashians.  Most would say this is one of the best reality shows and is rated the top show on the History channel. They set a nice example of how to treat other people where they are pleasant to each other and help each other.

The show takes a look inside one of the last American frontiers when Troy and the other swampers go on a 30-day alligator hunt, avoiding flood water and outwitting the smartest gators. Swamp hunters fight massive alligators and Mother Nature and journey into previously unknown, hostile areas of the swamp. Shrewd gators try to outwit the hunters’ new methods of capturing their prey. Whether using new indigenous bait, old decoys or employing a primitive alternative to the modern hook, these hunters constantly adjust their tactics to catch and fill their tags.

The series is exciting and nerve wracking while they wrestle with an alligator. The swampers protect people from gigantic gators by going after them in areas where people are in danger. They even assist crayfishers when the gators go after their cages. In light of all that danger, the series embodies a way of living that is far better any other reality TV show.  All in all, the series is worth watching because it will be a learning experience while it keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Duck Dynasty Seasons 1-8

duckdynasty18America’s most charming duck hunting family is with us in Duck Dynasty as we learn the hilarious ins and outs of the Robertson family. They run Louisiana’s top duck calling business, Duck Commander. They also employ half their neighborhood as the business continues to grow. True to their roots, they’ve never lost their taste for fun and adventure, or their captivating Southern charm. Here is the brief low-down for each season in this 8 disc set.

Season 1

We meet the Robertson family, and enjoy their taste in humor, innocence, family bonding, and running a multi-million dollar company.  Some would say this is truly American values: Faith in God, Family and hard work while making sure life is to be enjoyed.  Learning the back woods, how to live off the land while wearing a beard is what the show is all about. I wouldn’t call them rednecks, just good old boys sharing what they like to do best, including the family of Love and respect for others. Lessons are the topic of each episode. Not killing for the fun of it. Kill for what you need to eat, or donate it to your favorite charity for people who need the food.

Season 2

Keeping to the original storyline, these guys are not selling-out.  Authenticity makes this show worth its weight in Duck Commander and the family of love and respect for each other.  Phil Robertson (Papa Phil), the Dynasty Godfather, is one lucky dude because he is blessed with more charisma than feathers on a duck.  The whole dynasty is a joy to watch.  We have Uncle Si, Willie, Jase, Jep, and Miss Kay, who is a great cook.  Even the employees, such as Martin and Godwin, make the show hilarious.

Season 3

We know now, for sure, this show is funny.  Yet, Duck Dynasty still manages to teach us how the environment can be used for survival.  We are talking squirrels, frogs, and other mammals as well as oviparous (birds) species are edible and delicious.  However, continuity, folks who make sure the show is continuously correct, must have taken a break during this season. The gang blows up Si’s truck, yet the truck is seen in a couple of episodes later propelling some kind of device in the swamp. Not much charity and Christian moments in this season and I haven’t a clue why not.

Season 4

The family and employees are super happy. Phil Robertson shares his story of how he overcame tribulation and became a real individual. Papa Phil is grateful for women of essence, particularly his wife. He offers bighearted advice to his grandsons on finding the right woman, “When you’re talking…pain can come up on you real fast.” Miss Kay is the charming mother of the family, and a talented cook. She is a true individual, and has a unique connection with her rat terriers.  Along comes her sons Willie, Jase, Si, Jep, and employees Martin and Godwin. Godwin is lucky to have some “ham samiches” and his funny voice sounds to me like a bear or a similar creature.  We are also graced with Uncle Si dancing and “Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty’s Favorite Uncle.” After viewing this season, I felt motivated to kick back and not worry about a thing.

Season 5

The show is now truly an original piece of work that is beyond anyone’s imagination. The finale is unique, where Jase and Missy’s astonishing, delightful little girl, Mia, born with a split in the roof of her mouth brought tears to our eyes.  What she went through is an inspiration, as each Robertson is.  After undergoing multiple surgeries with guts, faith, and family, she amazes anyone. Missy sings a song at the end that is pure magical if not angelic.  The whole season is heartening, nourishing, unconventional fun.  Phil inspires us all with his “My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander.”

Season 6

Robertsons offer more of their commitment to serving God, bringing warmth, fun, and entertainment.  As Christians, they are not flawless, and they live life with its troubles as they bring glory to God.  Uncle Si cracks me up at every turn. He is so funny with his dry wit and humor. It is good, clean humor with a lesson of virtues.  Do I sense a chance in the storyline for the coming seasons?

Season 7

Little too much sentimentality for my taste is my first thought about this season. The family knows the series has endured a long run with great success, and is compelled to focus on their faith.  They build a house for a friend that is a bit staged than reality TV.  Don’t get me wrong, the family is still funny and there are good times with plenty of arguing and family-values.

Season 8

When I first heard of this show, I could not believe it was true. The family-values theme was never used when my friend described the show. But, it is a key character in the storyline where the family performs a quick prayer of thanks at dinner time.  That is one of the unique aspects about show because you don’t see that in other shows today.  Don’t think they are stupid or idiots because they are not for they own one of the wealthiest duck calling companies in the world.

All in all, the 8 disc set features more than just the episodes. The set all so includes exclusive footage not seen on TV, Webisodes, behind the scenes, and deleted scenes.

For a reality TV show, this is the best family show with family values, no foul language, and just ordinary people living. Most of all, if you purchase the collector’s set you get a beard.

Baseball Legends

B_LEGENDS_3D_DVDBaseball is America’s favorite past time.  We certainly have our fair share of baseball heroes who have become legends in their own time.  Watching the four documentaries in Baseball Legends, I learned so much about four very different athletics.  All special and talented in their own way, by some they are Gods, built the foundation of what we have today.

Co-directed by Josh Oshinsky and Jeff Spaulding, Baseball Legends is narrated by Martin Sheen.  The DVDs offer epic tales of four baseball heroes. Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig turned baseball into the National Pastime that it is presently.

Each story is inspiring while bringing a fresh historical and poignant perspective of the lives of these sport icons. Using rare and enhanced archival material and state-of-the-art production techniques, these films are perfect for anyone who is interested in baseball and history in general.

Some keep points covered in the movies are Babe Ruth, his bat turned him into a household name, Ted Williams, the last player to hit .400, Lou Gehrig, won 6 World Series before illness ended his career, and Hank Aaron, rose from adversity to break the record of a king.

DVD Special Features include The Making of American Hercules about Babe Ruth, and his rare player interviews with historic game footage. Ted Williams Hall of Fame induction is included. Saving the best for last, there are several extended interviews with various experts and archival footage from the Major League Baseball Film and Video Archive.

All in all, I discovered information I had never know about these four legends. Babe Ruth cut his teeth as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. He developed in to a lethal opponent in both his arm and bat, helping Boston win a couple of World Series titles. Lou Gehrig was an Ivy League student and played baseball while going to school at Columbia. Ted Williams left baseball twice in order to fight for the Marines.  He was a jet pilot during both World War II and the Korean War. Hank Aaron went unnoticed as player for the Milwaukee Braves, yet he broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record when the team transferred to Atlanta.

Ice Sculpture Christmas

Ice Sculpture Christmas DVD-fSometimes it is just nice to sit down and watch a new movie that is greatly appreciated by so many others who enjoy Hallmark’s “Countdown to Christmas” program. More than raising my expectations, I had a wonderful time watching Ice Sculpture Christmas as a whimsical movie. I found viewing the original ice sculptures in the movie was the most enjoyable part.

Directed by David Mackay, the movie follows a young woman, Callie Shaw, played by Rachel Boston. Her unwavering childhood dream is to be an accomplished chef. Trying to get her foot in the door, she nabbed a lowly job at a country club washing dishes with the hope of working her way up the ladder where the real cooking happens – in the kitchen. David Manning, played by David Alpay, is a well-off childhood friend, who works for his father. The two meet up again by chance, which is an entertaining scene to watch.

The movie cuts back and forth from their childhood friendship to their present budding romance, which makes the movie pleasurable and attractive. The well-rounded cast adds more to Callie and David’s story, and shows how David lives a much different lifestyle than Callie in regards to money and success. He never abandons his feelings for Callie even though she struggles with her own financial problems while trying to work her way into the country club kitchen.

Without her consent David enters Callie in a two person team competition for an ice sculpting contest. He knows she is more than capable to add her talents. Her self-esteem is heightened, yet David is not that talented or helpful with sculpting. Callie senses there could be a problem, particularly when Callie finds out who her direct competition happens to be.

Of course, the ending is predictable, but that makes Hallmark movies so much fun to watch. You can always count on a happily ever after ending.

Ancient Aliens

ancientalienbluThis is a great series, and I look forward to each new set when they are released. This particular set, I am inclined to tell you that some of the episodes were really farfetched in their theories.

Yet, if you are a true believer in what the producers bring to bear, then there are so many other things they bring up that just cannot be proved wrong.  I am talking about the historical and physical evidence. It is really quite amazing.

The series brings up questions that are hard to answer, though  You have contemplate the ancients were more technologically advanced than we are today, or they had help.  Unless we know where the technology they used is located because we don’t have it today.  These points are hard to determine, and are some of the questions that come up.  That is way the show is out of the ordinary.

You get a chance to explore the fascinating chance that ancient aliens formed our history. According to the series, humans have told stories about beings with super-human strength since the man could pain on walls.

The series introduces ideas like tales about Zeus, Thor and Hanuman and even contemporary subjects like Superman and Batman and more helped form the world we live in today. Did these tales originated from oral legends about extraterrestrials? Whether you believe it or not, it is fun to speculate.

Moreover, ancient myths from around the globe, gods are often found intervening in human affairs, from Sumerian myth to the story of Moses. Were these supernatural visitations really the work of aliens using advanced technology to shape our civilization? We’ll also consider whether the reptilian alien, a fixture of science fiction, is reflected in the serpent gods of ancient myth. Could they have been living beings? Find out, and much more.

Another good aspect about the set is the special features like English subtitles for the hearing impaired, 3 discs, 12 episodes and no extras.

Paper Angels

paper angelsDuring the holidays we will notice Christmas tree displays with paper angels hanging from their boughs. If you look closely you will see a name of a child. Below the child’s name is a list of items the child wants or needs for Christmas.  The idea is for you to take one and buy the items on the list.  You, then, return the gifts to the location of the Christmas tree display.  The heartwarming tradition has been done for at least a hundred years.

Directed by David Winning, Paper Angels is based on the book of the same name by author Jimmy Wayne, also known as Billboard Top Ten charted country music artist.  The movie is a gorgeous look at what happens to an abused wife, played by Josie Bissett, who leaves her alcoholic husband and moves with her children to another town.

The story follows her son Thomas, played by Rustin Gresiuk, as his mother tries to build a new life for her and her children.  Thomas see her experience many challenges that the whole family faces.  That is where the paper angels come into play. Salvation Army enables a child to enjoy a blessed Christmas with the traditional paper angels program they do every year.  Thomas fills out a paper angel in hopes of making life easier for his mother.

Thomas encounters a disillusioned businessman, played by Mathew Settle, who picked his name from the tree.  As the story unfolds we see through Thomas that there is more to know about a person than the way they look on the outside.  The story gives us hope, resolve, love, commitment, and thoughtfulness. Sure, Thomas experiences disappointment, hurt, and anger. In the end is an uplifting story that draws attention to the spirituality of the season.

Paper Angels is one of the best Christmas TV movies I have seen in a long time.  It is well worth your time to watch and share with your family and friends.

Christmas at the Cartwright’s

christmascartwrightLike most Hallmark movies, Christmas at Cartwright’s is a charming movie that comes around the Christmas season each year. Cartwright’s is a fine example that Hallmark movies are innocuous, amusing and heartwarming to watch.

Directed by Graeme Campbell, the story follows Nicky Talbot, played by Alicia Witt, who is a single mother and without prior notice becomes unemployed.  With Christmas just coming up, being without a job is going to be tough finding a way to earn money to give her daughter Becky, played by T.J. McGibbon, an engaging and cheerful Christmas with a few gifts.

Nicky finds out a local department store called Cartwright’s is hiring extra staff for the holiday shopping season. She applies for a position. Nicky is happy because it appears she will have a job, but Fiona Aldrich, played by Gabrielle Miller,  a senior executive at the store, puts a curb on her plans and turns her down for the job.  Fiona is jealous of Nicky because she has seen her with Fiona’s would-be boyfriend named Bill.  Gabriel Hogan plays Bill, who is the store manager.

Along comes Harry Osbourne, played by Wallace Shawn, he suggests Nicky work as the store Santa. That way she can keep her identity hidden from the other workers.  We are talking Hallmark magic here on the storyline. It is a little unbelievable for a young woman playing an older man as Santa. It gets funny at times, but still hard to believe.

Christmas at Cartwright’s is a fun movie to watch with the whole family.  All the actors are great. Their roles are believable and engaging. The movie is timeless because it is like a fairy tale where you have to believe what is happening to get into the holiday magic. Like all fairy tales the story is worth seeing again every Christmas.

Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

secretlifeMarilynSecret Life of Marilyn Monroe grazes the surface concerning the part of the entertainment industry where malicious people lurk. These life suckers are few in numbers, but the few that are there can wreak havoc because they are sly and go unnoticed. This movie answers the questions of what happened to the demise of Judy Garland, Brian Wilson, Elvis Presley, Robin Williams and so forth. Remember when Marilyn Monroe died she was under the unfaithful care of a psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson. This mini-series is not all that factual about her true demons, but it does show the demise of her life relating to the demise of her mother.

The mini-series frames Marilyn as a tragic figure, pouring her heart and life out to a psychologist, played by Jack Noseworthy. The director, Laurie Collyer, has Noseworthy play the doctor as one who listens as Monroe recalls her life. The story begins with Marilyn being taken away from her mother. Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri Martino, plays the younger version of her mother while Sarandon plays the older version.  We learn that Marilyn was raised by a guardian she named Aunt Grace, played convincingly by Emily Watson. She was also in an orphanage, but married at 16 just to find a place to live.

Within a few years, Norma Jean, now played honestly by Kelli Garner, launched her modeling career and slowly began to pursue her ambition to work in the movies.  Soon, she discovers that being beautiful isn’t the send all to success. She advances once she establishes relationships with powerful men, including Johnny Hyde, played by Tony Nardi, a studio executive and her agent. He points her career in the right direction and changes her name to Marilyn Monroe. She is on her path to stardom.

Marilyn’s success came with new pressures. As professed in the mini-series, the studio pushed pills to keep her functioning. In truth, the studio doctors pushed the pills. The studio just wanted her stable and working.  They didn’t have the solution to help her, so they counted on the resident psychiatrist to help her.

Despite all the pressures, Marilyn begins her sizzling romance with Joe DiMaggio, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  Their relationship ends, and she falls in love with playwright Arthur Miller, played by Stephen Bogaert.

So far the series doesn’t shed light on anything new about Marilyn. Where are the secrets? We’ve all heard and seen this before. Still, the acting and directing keeps the interest high.

We also get a glimpse of John F. Kennedy.  Here we see the famous performance by Marilyn singing “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to him. Garner not only looks the part, her voice matches Marilyn’s voice and mannerisms. It is an honest performance worth mentioning because of the nature of the material.

Yet, as the director Collyer takes the adapted screenplay and tries to explain away Marilyn’s troubles with mental illness. That is not her job as a director – just tell the story. Sure, being a successful artist in any field is stressful and should be addressed with honesty.  I am sure there is a side to Marilyn that is very positive and endearing. But, this series portrays her, like most interpretations, as pity. “Everyone uses everyone,” according to a line in the movie. I beg to differ because if she truly had help, she would still be alive today.

We need to help artists in any way that is non-destructive with drugs and confinement.  Do no harm but help with safe and sane methods.