Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Animal Cribs (2017-2019)

When it comes to our pets, we love them as if they were our own children.

Animal Cribs aired on Animal Planet from 2017 to 2019. Antonio Ballatore is both a respected designer and an animal lover. This reality show followed Antonio and his team as they renovated the client’s homes to fit the needs of the humans and the nonhumans who called the property home.

I enjoyed this program when it was on the air. It was an interesting take on what could have been standard for this genre. I loved the passion that Ballatore had for not only his work, but for the creatures who would call his creations home.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flip or Flop: Fort Worth (2017-2018)

Getting into real estate as a profession is a gamble. The potential of earning more than a reasonable income is more than compelling. But, the risk is that if things go south, those involved could lose their shirt.

Flip or Flop: Fort Worth aired on HGTV from 2017-2018. A Texas offshoot of the original California-based series, the show follows married couple and military veterans Andy and Ashley Williams as they buy, renovate, and sell run-down houses. As with every show within this genre, there are always problems and the possibility of not being able to sell the finished product is always there in the background.

Unfortunately, some shows are not meant to last. As much as I enjoyed it, my opinion was not enough to keep it on the air for more than a year.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday: The Nineties (2017)

It’s easy to look back on the past with rose-colored glasses. It’s harder to look at it it was in reality, not what we want it to be.

The Nineties was a CNN miniseries that aired in 2017. It explored everything about the decade from politics to entertainment to technology to major news stories, etc. While going into the different aspects of the era, it also discussed how we are still living with the after-effects today, whether they be good or bad.

I really liked the program. It was a nice dive into the 1990s without being melodramatic, academic, or dreamy.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Flashback Friday: Air Bud (1997)

Stories about a child and their pet are a staple of the fictional world.

In the 1997 Air Bud, Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) is a young man who loves basketball. He would like to join the school basketball team. His obstacles are threefold: he is the new kid in town, he is mourning the loss of his father, and he lacks the confidence to try out. All of that changes when he meets Buddy, a golden retriever who matches Josh’s love of the game and his skill level.

With his beloved dog by his side, Josh not only makes the team, but they both become stars of the show. Their bubble bursts when Buddy’s abusive former owner, Norm Snively (Michael Jeter) demands a piece of the action. Will this boy and his dog stay together or be forced apart?

Air Bud is one of the mildly appealing 1990’s films that I suppose is entertaining. But it depends on the audience. If you’re a preteen child, I can see how you might enjoy it. But as an adult, I would rather watch something else.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Flashback Friday: Defiance (2008)

During World War II, it is easy to assume that the millions of people whom the Nazis murdered went quietly to their deaths. While some may have just gone along with the occupiers, hoping they would survive, others took their lives and fates into their own hands.

The 2008 movie, Defiance, is the story of the Bielski Partisans. When their parents and youngest brother, along with the other Jewish residents of Novogrudok are rounded up and massacred, the surviving Bielski brothers know that the only option is to hide. Tuvia (Daniel Craig), Zus (Liev Schreiber), Asael (Jamie Bell), and Aron (George McKay) flee into the forest. What starts out as a small group of partisans grows into thousands, many of whom are unable to fight. Knowing that they could be found at any moment, the only option they have is to fight for their surivival.

I loved this film. I was glued to the screen. My heart did not stop pounding until the end credits rolled. By the end of the movie, I was both heartbroken and cheering. My heart broke for those who were killed just for being who they were. I was cheering for those who stood up for themselves and lived, knowing that the inspiration they created will last for generations.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Judaism, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: George Eliot: A Scandalous Life

Drawing outside of the lines requires a backbone and a belief that you can withstand the questions and the judgment coming from those around you.

The writer George Eliot was one of those people. The 2002 television program, George Eliot: A Scandalous Life, is a television biopic of the author. Starring Harriet Walter in the title role, this hour-long drama tells Eliot’s story. The daughter of a clergyman, she was a rebel at a young age. Knowing that her looks would not secure her a husband, the future writer then known as Mary Ann Evans decided to blaze her own path. That included writing books that would scandalize Victorian England and living in sin with her married boyfriend, George Henry Lewes (John Sessions).

I personally enjoyed this program. But I am a fan of Eliot. Overall I would say that it is worth watching, but only if the viewer is curious about this period or has read George Eliot’s books.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Books, Feminism, Flashback Friday, George Eliot, History, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: Jackass (2000-2002)

A good laugh is universal. But what is funny to one person is not funny to another.

Jackass aired on MTV between 2000 and 2002 before a series of movies were released. With a cast led by Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, and Steve-O, the show is a series of stunts and pranks that members of the cast do on each other and strangers.

If I had a choice between watching this show or not watching television at all, I would turn it off. There is obviously an audience for this program, but I personally find it repugnant and a waste of time. As I see it, this is just a group of man-children who instead of looking for real entertainment, think that doing stupid stuff is funny.

Do I recommend it? Not at all.

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Flashback Friday: Mob Wives (2011-2016)

There has been a fascination with the mafia since the beginning of the modern entertainment industry. The danger, the violence, and the potential for financial and material profit have a certain appeal. But there is also the chance that the ones you love most will not be immune from your decisions.

Mob Wives was on the air via VH1 from 2011-2016. This Real Housewives-esque series followed the lives of women whose relations were in jail due to mafia-related activities. Shot in the New York City borough of Staten Island, this reality show delves into the day-to-day lives of the wives and daughters of prominent members of the American Mafia. While they are trying to support the men they love, they are doing their best to provide for their children and live as normally as possible.

When the series initially premiered ten years ago, the argument that it was based on Italian-American stereotypes was not one that went unnoticed. Like all reality television, it can be mildly entertaining. But, the catch is that the reader knows that it can be as fully scripted as programs that are completely fictional.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday: So You Think You Can Dance (2005-Present)

Dancing, like all art, requires skills, talent, and drive to succeed. It also helps when reality television comes calling.

So You Think You Can Dance has been on the air since 2005. A “real” version of The Big Leap, dancers from all genres compete in a reality competition show to become “America’s favorite dancer”. Once the participants are chosen, they perform both solo and group pieces that go beyond their dancing bubble. Judged by respected and well-known professional dancers, one contestant is eliminated every week until the winner is announced.

I can certainly appreciate the effort it takes to get to this level. This is not the type of activity that can be phoned in. But at the same time, it is a reality show. Once again I have to question if what we are watching is authentic or crafted to bring in as many eyeballs as possible.

Do I reccomend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday: American Masters (1986-Present)

We all know the basic narrative of a biography. The subject was born on x date, accomplished certain things, and died on y date. Once this skeleton is in place, it is up to the writer(s) or creative team to ensure that whoever this person is, they are brought to life in full color, flaws and all.

American Masters has been on the PBS schedule since 1986. This long-running and award-winning documentary series tells the story of American artists, writers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, etc. What these people have in common is that they have left a lasting cultural mark on our nation.

I enjoy this series. It goes beyond the surface, revealing the real person behind the icon. In doing so, the viewer not only gets to know the subject, but perhaps also changes their opinion about whom they have perceived them to be.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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