cinemalover: Confessions of a Video Junkie

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cinemalover: Confessions of a Video Junkie

Post by cinemalover »

I would like to import a thread that I started (but am no longer continuing) at TCM. It is basically a video diary of all the movies (and selected television shows on DVD) that I watch. I write my opinion of what I saw and love to hear any feedback or feelings anyone else has on any movies or shows I post. The continuing characters in my daily drama are my children Tina and Jeremy.

We have a Friday night tradition of going out to eat and coming home and watching as many movies as they can stay awake for. We have friendly wagers as to who can stay awake the longest (I'm the defending champ!). The losers get to do chores, like mowing the lawn, washing the car, etc... Most of the other movies are things I'm watching for my own interest as I wade through a huge pile of DVDs and DVD-Rs that I haven't watched yet (or in a long time). The stack never seems to shrink, especially with as many movies as I record off of TCM and a few other channels.
Last edited by cinemalover on November 29th, 2007, 4:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Review #83

Post by cinemalover »

Let me start off by reaching back to last Friday night's review:

It's Friday Night Family Movie Night again. Unfortunately Jeremy has been running fever all day and has spent most of it sleeping. He's not going to last even 20 minutes into the picture, but he needs his rest. As a family tonight we chose:

Date watched: 4/13/2007
Title: The Man From Snowy River Made: 1982
Genre: Drama/Western Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD Extras:Anamorphic widescreen and Pan & Scan, Trailer
# of times viewed:2

Tagline: The story of a boy suddenly alone in the world. The men who challenge him. And the girl who helps him become a man. That last line sounds much racier than anything that actually happens in the movie.

Stars:
Tom Burlinson--Jim Craig
Terence Donovan--Henry Craig
Kirk Douglas--Spur/Mr. Harrison
Tommy Dysart--Mountain Man
David Bradshaw--Banjo Patterson
Sigrid Thornton--Jessica Harrison

Plot: In 1888 Jim Craig (Burlinson) runs a farm in the Australian Highlands with his father Henry (Donovan). When Henry dies in an accident caused by stampeding Brumbies (wild horses) Jim's entire life is given a wicked shuffle. He finds that in order to keep his farm he'll need to return to the lowlands to find work. He gets employed by Mr. Harrison (Douglas) as a ranch hand and general errand boy. Harrison is the twin brother of Spur (also Douglas) who was Henry's best friend and pal to Jim. There is a long-time dispute between Spur and Harrison dating back to them both courting the same woman, whom eventually married Harrison because of his financial success in the cattle business. The daughter of that marriage is the pretty Jessica (Thornton) with whom Jim finds himself attracted.

The attraction is mutual and comes to the attention of Harrison, who tells Jim to stay away from his daughter. Jim is sent up to the highlands to round up strays. At the same time Jessica gets into a blowout with her father and runs away from home. Jim ends up saving her life and then going after the Brumbies to try to recover a valuable colt of Harrison's as well as capture the lead mustang that caused his father's accident and death.

It is a beautifully told story of a boy becoming a man. The scenery is absolutely stunning. The outtakes alone would make a great Discovery Channel program.

8* (out of 10) I had not seen this since its original release. It is very well crafted. A western without gunplay, just the spirit and beauty of man against nature.

Jeremy did pass out early. Fortunately when he woke up the next morning his fever had broken. He even played sparingly in his soccer game Saturday. In his weakened condition he still scored one goal, though without their star forward at full strength the Mighty Eagles went down hard 6-3. Tina stayed awake through the whole movie and enjoyed it. She was too tired to start another movie though. Good night, Tina.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Review #84

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Date watched:4/15/2007
Title: Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood Made: 1942
Genre: Detective Studio: Columbia
Format: DVD-R Source: TCM
# of times viewed: First

Stars:
Chester Morris--Boston Blackie
George E. Stone--The Runt
Lloyd Corrigan--Arthur Manleder
Richard Lane--Inspector Farraday
Constance Worth--Gloria Lane
William Wright--Slick Barton
Forrest Tucker--Whipper ('cause he's always whippin' out his gun!)

Tagline: Cops go for their handcuffs...blondes go for Blackie!This is the fourth Blackie film in a series of 14.

Plot: Blackie's (Morris) friend Arthur Manleder (Corrigan) telegrams Blackie and asks him to get $60,000 out of his apartment safe (in New York) and fly it to him in Hollywood. Inspector Farraday (who must follow Blackie 24/7 to always be around when Blackie does anything interesting) interrupts Blackie and accuses him of robbing the apartment. After deliberation Farraday decides to let Blackie go so that he can follow him (big surprise) and connect him to a bigger crime.

While Farraday was mulling his options Blackie summed up his estimation of the Inspector's I.Q.
"You know, going to Florida is just a waste of money. You're so bright I can get my suntan just sitting next to you!"
The Monterey Diamond has been stolen in California and Farraday thinks Blackie is responsible and that he needs this $60,000 to get the diamond recut and sold off. In Hollywood Manleder had been babysitting the Monterey Diamond for a rich friend. Manleder has fallen for the man-bait that is Gloria Lane (Worth). Gloria asks if she can just wear the diamond to see what it feels like and it, of course, is instantly stolen. Gloria is in league with some crooks and their plan all along was to get Manleder to get the diamond out of the safe to show Gloria.

Complications ensue as Blackie and the Runt arrive in Hollywood in clever disguise. Blackie is a bearded bespectacled professor and the Runt portrays one...a kid in short pants. The Runt was holding the $60,000 and it disappears. Manleder was going to use the cash to buy the diamond back from the crooks. Somehow Blackie gets blamed for the loss of the cash as well. How will Blackie prevail?

7* (out of 10) A fun and lively entry in the series. The more I see of Chester Morris the more I like him. He is perfect for this role and Boston Blackie is fast becoming one of my favorite of the period detective series.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Review #85

Post by cinemalover »

Date watched: 4/15/2007
Title: The Searchers Made: 1956
Genre: Western Studio: WB
Format: DVD Extras:Trailer, Documentary shorts, Standards and LB (enhanced)
# of times viewed:5

Tagline: The story that sweeps from the great Southwest to the Canadian Border in VistaVision!

Director: John Ford

Stars:
John Wayne--Ethan Edwards
Jeffrey Hunter--Martin Pawley
Vera Miles--Laurie Jorgensen
Ward Bond--Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton
Natilie Wood--Debbie Edwards (grown)
Henry Brandon--Chief Cicatrice (Scar)
Hank Worden--Mose Harper

Plot: A tale of obsession, hatred and racism personified in the person of Ethan Edwards (Wayne). Ethan is big on the importance of oaths. He swore an oath to the Confederacy, and even when they surrendered he didn't. He never surrendered his sabre. It's now three years after the conclusion of the war and Ethan is just now returning to his family in Texas. Exactly what he has done in those years is left to speculation.

Almost immediately upon his return, Ethan's brother's house is raided by Indians as Ethan and others were drawn away by an Indian decoy. They return to find Ethan's brother, sister-in-law and nephew slaughtered, with the home burned to the ground. It appears that the two nieces were taken captive by the Indians. Ethan and the men go after the Indians to rescue the girls. Ethan finds the body of the older niece. When her sweetheart asks Ethan about the body he is told to never talk or ask about it again. The search goes on. Eventually just Ethan and his nephew Martin (Hunter) are still searching. Both of their lives seem empty except for this quest for the missing Debbie.

The hunt and obsession stretches through the years. They have learned that the name of the Indian responsible is Scar (Brandon). They search out any rumor of his existence anywhere, offering a large reward for information. As Ethan's hatred for Scar builds, it appears he may carry the same hatred for Debbie since by this time she will have been living as a women with Scar. Martin becomes unsure if Ethan's goal is to save Debbie or to kill her with Scar for becoming what he hates.

Wayne plays one of his most complex, layered roles. For those that think he had limited acting skills, I would advise you to watch this film. His character buries most of his emotions within himself, but they surface through acts and body language. Ethan Edwards was scarred by the surrendering of the Confederacy, and as he finally began to come to terms with that, he had to face the slaughter and capture of his family. The family was his last link to humanity and compassion. The finale is one of the most touching moments in any Wayne film.

This is a movie that I had trouble appreciating as a child. I grew up absorbing westerns and loving John Wayne, but I couldn't connect as much with this one. My little action-craving mind wasn't in the mood for hatred and racism. It's similar to my new-found appreciation of a TV series like the Rifleman, which I like much more in revisiting them than I did as a youngster.

9* (out of 10) A film that gets better and deeper with age. Another Ford/Wayne home run.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by ken123 »

I would have given " The Searchers " a 10 out of 10. But then again I am very prejudiced person when it comes to John Ford films. cinemalover you started a wonderful thread :wink:
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Post by cinemalover »

ken123,
And if I were to put 10 instead of 9 I would feel just fine about that. I guess it's a 9 to me because it took me several years to fully appreciate it. Of the movies I've written about so far the only 10 I've given out was to The Dirty Dozen which is not nearly the Movie that The Searchers is, but it is a deep guilty pleasure that has given me a lot of entertainment over the years. I have loved it every time I've seen it, beginning when I was about 8. With The Searchers, it has probably been 10 years since I saw it prior to this weekend, but it will stay in my mind for a long time to come.
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Post by ken123 »

cinemalover,
The Searchers is a film I have seen at least 100 times. I have many more films that I have seen at least 50 times. I guess I need to get out of the house. :wink:
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Review #86

Post by cinemalover »

For every Ying there is a Yang, for every night there is a day, and for every classic that I watch like the amazing The Searchers my soul craves some classic trash to balance the scales. Ladies and gentlemen, without remorse I present to you....

Date watched: 4/15/2007
Title: Smokey and the Bandit Made: 1977
Genre:Action/Comedy Studio: Universal
Format: DVD Extras:Loaded
# of times viewed:3

Tagline: What we're dealing with here is a complete lack of respect for the law.
Stars:
Burt Reynolds--Bo "Bandit" Darville
Sally Field--Carrie
Jackie Gleason--Sheriff Buford T. Justice
Jerry Reed--Cledus "Snowman"
Pat McCormick--Big Enos Burdette
Paul Williams--Little Enos Burdette
Mike Henry (Former Tarzan)--Junior Justice

Plot: An entire movie built around the challenge of smuggling 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana back to Georgia. The Bandit (Reynolds) and Snowman (Reed) have to make the round trip in 28 hours for a celebration being thrown by Big Enos Burdette (McCormick). Spending a lot of time on the details of the plot would be as pointless as the plot itself. This film is all about good ol' boy fun and disrespecting the law. Truckers, CBs, high-speed police chases, a sporty Trans-Am and a twangy soundtrack. Put down the Wall Street Journal and tune your ears to trucker talk, come on. Whatever a big 10-4 is, they've got 'em.

Big Enos (6 1/2 foot McCormick) and his son Little Enos (4 foot Williams) wear identical suits at all times. They are rich and like to throw the money around. The Bandit is a trucking legend and is competing in a truck rodeo. When the Enos's go to hire the Bandit Little Enos has a low opinion of him. "Seems like a legend and an out-of-work bum look a lot alike, Daddy."

Bandit’s response, "Oh, I love your suits. It must be a b*tch gettin' a size 68 extra-fat and a 12 dwarf!"

Carrie (Field) is bailing on a wedding with Junior Justice (Henry). Junior's Daddy is Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Gleason), and he does not take insulting his son lightly. So he and Junior set out to get the runaway bride back. Carrie is picked up by the Bandit as he is starting his drive to Texarkana to pick up the beer. He runs scout for the mission in a brand new Trans-Am. Snowman follows in the semi.

Carrie arrives in wedding dress and changes in the car while Bandit is clocking 110 mph. As she's changing:
Bandit, looking at Carrie's legs, "Cowboys love fat calves."
Carrie, "They're not fat!"
"Well, they're bigger then mine!"
"Do we really want to talk about legs?"
"Well, one of us does."
"Smart-A**!"

Later when Snowman and Bandit are picking up the beer:
Snowman to Bandit, "You can't drive a forklift!"
Bandit, "I can drive any forkin' thing around."

So, it's not Shakespeare. It is goofy redneck fun. Put your brain on auto-cruise and just go with it. It's a great stress reliever.

7* (out of 10) Reynolds and Field had a great chemistry (off the set as well, if memory serves). Gleason gets to cut loose with some raunchy dialogue and some zippy one-liners.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by JulieMarch4th »

Cinemalover -- thank you for reminding me about Smoky and the Bandit. I saw this movie when I was in high school, and fell for Jerry Reed, and hummed the theme song forever. Still puts a smile on my face.

Took several years, but fell in love with cross country driving, too!
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Post by cinemalover »

Julie,
You're welcome. It was quite accidental actually. I was slumming through a Wal-Mart this week-end and happened to see three or four DVDs that were just too cheap to pass up. Smokey was one of them and I'm glad I picked it up.
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cinemalog

Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Dear Cinemalover,
I enjoy reading your synopsis and about your family evenings watching films. I long for the days when my son and I would pick a movie and watch it.
Now, he's in to the teenage years, loves to watch scary movies ( I don't much care for them), and it seems I do nothing right. Enjoy these precious moments with your kiddos before they go too far past the double digits!

Our favorite movie we used to watch was Stalag 17. Popcorn, hot cocoa, and my homemade cheese crackers!
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Post by cinemalover »

SueSue,
I feel the hot breath of teenage seperation already. My daughter is 14 and a High School freshman. I told her years ago that she wouldn't be allowed to date until she's 30, I'm sure she's just fine with that concept. I am an incredibly lucky father, both my kids are well behaved and respectful. I coach all my son's sports teams so I see plenty of children that don't share those traits. I will treasure every moment and I'll never have to look back and say what if?
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Review #87

Post by cinemalover »

Monday I got around to watching the second feature of this Mexican Horror double feature disc. Here were my thoughts on the first film...

Date watched: 3/31/2007
Title: El Vampiro (The Vampire) Made: 1957
Genre: Horror/Foreign Studio: Cinematogrfica A.B.S.A.--Casa Negra DVD
Format: DVD Extras--Commentary, Photo Essay, U.S. Radio spots, Stills and poster gallery. This is part of a two disc double feature. The second film is The Vampire's Coffin, which is a sequel.
In Spanish w/English ST
# of times viewed: 2, I have previously seen this title on a poor VHS copy. This is a beautifully restored print.

Cast: German Robles, Abel Salazar, Ariadna Welter, Carmen Montejo, Jose Luis Jimenez

Description on DVD box: Dracula on a hacienda!
Plot: A young woman named Marta (Welter) discovers upon returning home that her family (the Sicomoros) is being controlled by the mysterious Mr. Duval (really the Count de Luvad played by Robles, who looks great as a vampire!). The Count has a nasty habit of feasting on the locals and has an ultimate plan of resurrecting his dead brother (who may really be the Count, there is some confusion on the issue). Marta enlists the aid of Dr. Enrique (Salazar. Can you say Van Helsing? I knew you could) to battle the Count.

Atmospheric black and white photography add to the mood of this Universal-inspired horror film. It even carries over some of the wonderful paper mache bats with visible strings from some early Universal entries. Overall, however, it is a handsome production.

The score is appropriately ominous, though very heavy handed at times. You'll have absolutely no doubt as to when there is evil afoot.

I'm not sure the subtitles always do justice to the script, or maybe they do...
Marta "What an ugly man!"
Dr. Enrique "Yes, he is not very attractive. You're right."
Yeah, that just rolls off the tongue.

6* (out of 10) It was interesting enough that I will watch the sequel in the near future. I would also like to purchase a few more of these Casa Negra titles, they specialize in restoring old Mexican horror movies. They have several titles that I have never seen.

This one stands up fairly well, takes itself seriously and stays true to the horror genre without lapsing into schtick. The sequel on the other hand...
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Review #88

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Date watched: 4/16/2007
Title: El Ataud Del Vampiro(The Vampire's Coffin) Made: 1958
Genre: Horror/Foreign Studio: Cinematogrfica A.B.S.A.--Casa Negra DVD
Format: DVD Extras--Commentary, Photo Essay, U.S. Radio spots, Stills and poster gallery. This is part of a two disc double feature. The first film is The Vampire, to which this is a sequel.
In Spanish w/English ST
# of times viewed: First

Tagline: From the depths of Evil comes a diabolical killer of beautiful women!

Stars:
Abel Salazar--Dr. Enrique Saldivar
Ariadna Welter--Marta Gonzalez
German Robles--Count Karol De Lavud
Carlos Ancria--Dr. Marion
Alicia Montoya--Maria Teresa
Yerye Betrute--Baraza

Dr. Enrique Saldivar (Salazar) and Nurse Marta Gonzalez (Welter) are working together in a peaceful little hospital, minding their own business and trying to forget the tangle they had in the first film with Count Lavud the vampire. They are young and in love and have the whole world in front of them. Until Enrique's comrade, Dr. Marion (Ancria) decides that he wants to do some scientific "research" by hiring a couple of grave robbers to steal the Count's coffin out of the family tomb and bring it to him at the hospital. Marion has been intrigued by Enrique's stories of vampirism and wants to research the topic. When he tells Enrique what he has done, Enrique is furious and tells him that he could be arrested for grave robbing. Dr. Marion is dispirited and leaves the coffin alone in a hospital room to consider his options. In creeps one of the grave robbers, who is always up for a little shopping in coffins. He spies a medallion that is on the body of the Count. In order to remove the medallion the thief must pull the stake out which is lodged in the bodies' heart. He gleefully grabs the medallion, tosses the stake aside and turns his back to the coffin. We see the vampire rise and approach him from behind. Instead of killing him, the Count turns him into his servant.

When Dr. Marion returns to the room and finds the coffin empty he sends out the alarm. When Enrique hears this, he knows that Count Lavud walks the earth again. His first thought is to find Marta and get her to safety since the Count had paid so much attention to her last time. She's not at the hospital, oh yeah, she's at her second job...as a showgirl! Well, a girl's gotta pay the bills. And the chase is on!

Much of the film is set in the very sterile serene environment of the hospital. It lacks the creepiness and atmosphere of the hacienda in the first film. The Count takes up residence in a wax museum, which is at least a little interesting, but these are the cheesiest wax figures you have ever seen. The rest of the movie is more silly than sinister, but at least the wires on the bat are still clearly visible, especially when they pass in front of someone's face in extreme close-up...nice!

4* (out of 10) Robles still looks very regal as a vampire, but this is not nearly as good as the original. It has that rushed, quick get-it-in-the-theatre-for-a-quick-buck feel to it.

Casa Negra did do a beautiful job of restoring these films, they have probably never looked better. I will still look to find some other Casa Negra releases to add to my stack of must watch titles, as if I'll ever get through the stack I've already got!
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Review #89

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Date watched: 4/17/2007
Title: The Rifleman TV Show Made: 1958-1963
Genre: Western
Format: DVD-R Source: Western Channel
# of times viewed: This is the first time since childhood
I watched episodes #85-90 (I record them 6 to a disc, so I generally watch the whole disc once I start)
Stars: Chuck Connors (Lucas McCain), Johnny Crawford (Mark), Paul Fix (the Marshall) and a ton of familiar guest stars

#85 Dead Cold Cash
Sara Caruthers voices a threat aimed at Lucas on her deathbed. She swears that Lucas will die within 7 days of her passing because Lucas shot and killed her husband (in the line of duty while deputized). Additionally, Sara's will states that all of her fortune ($100,000) will be divided equally amongst every resident of North fork if Lucs is dead within 7 days. Another complication is that Micah believes that the money may of come from a bank robbery a few years back that her husband could have been involved in. Why was Sara so confident that Lucas was going to die? Guest star: Stevan Darrell

#86 The Schoolmaster

Steven Griswald (Arnold Moss) is the new schoolmaster, and he is harshly strict. Mark gets on his bad side by coming to school unprepared one day. Mark is told that he will stay after school for one hour...every day. Griswald infers that Lucas is not helping the boy concentrate on school. Later, it appears that Mark may have defaced one of the teacher's books, when he was really only trying to stop his friend Billy (Jimmy Fields). Mark gets spanked with a switch. Mark and Billy decide that this teacher is not for them and they play hooky. While playing around in a mine, the ceiling collapses and traps Mark. Will Billy find help in time?

#87 The Promoter
Reuben Miles (Denny Miller) is a slow-witted man-child, but he's as strong as an ox and lightning quick with a six-shooter. Jack Scully (Dabbs Greer) is his manager pretending to be his friend. He uses Reuben's skills for his own profit. They are in Northfork for a shooting competition and Scully plans on winning himself a fortune. He gets Reuben riled up by telling him that Lucas is bad-mouthing him behind his back. The finale is well set up. Rats always Scully...I mean scurry, away from the light.

#88 The Illustrator
Hannah Shaw (Midge Ware) met an artist, Jeremiah Crowley (Richard Whorf), while visiting New York and was infatuated with him. When she returns to Northfork she convinces her well-to-do father to hire Crowley and bring him to Northfork to paint her portrait. Hannah's beau, Ben Travis (Ed Nelson) doesn't appreciate Hannah's interest in Crowley. When Crowley arrives on the stage he is falling down drunk. Subsequent actions make it appear as though he may have murdered a shopkeeper while inebriated. Leave it to Lucas to sort out justiice.

#89 The Silent Knife
Mark meets a mute man also named Mark (Brad Weston) in town. Mute Mark is an expert knife thrower. Mark McCain offers to teach Mark how to write if he'll show Mark M. how to throw the knife. Town resident Macowan (Richard Devon) gets into it with mute Mark because he thinks he's ignoring him, not realizing that he can't speak. The two fight and mute Mark runs off. He proceeds to rob $500 from an incoming stage. Lucas attempts to straighten everything out.

#90 Miss Bertie
Miss Bertie (Alberta Hokum, played by the wonderful Agnes Moorehead) has come from Philadelphia and follows the careers of outlaws. She is a lonely woman and has decided that she needs $2,000 so she can get into Happy Acres to live happily with other seniors and not be lonely. To get the money she has decided to be a pacifist bounty hunter. She will attempt to talk outlaws into giving themselves up, so that she can collect the reward.She targets outlaw Duke Jennings (Richard Anderson). When she is not successful talking him into surrendering she has other tricks up her sleeve.

Another outstanding set of episodes. Did this show ever fire blanks? I've yet to see any.
8* (out of 10) for the series.
9* (out of 10) for Episode #90 Miss Bertie. Very original and the always entertaining Agnes Moorehead holds court.
Last edited by cinemalover on April 23rd, 2008, 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
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