Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday-Casper (1995)

Ghost stories have been part of human story telling since the beginning of time. It is up to the writer to make sure that their ghost story stands out.

In the 1995 movie, Casper, Carrigan Crittenden (Cathy Moriarty) has just inherited her late father’s decrepit, crumbling mansion. Her plan is to burn the house down, until she discovers a treasure map. But before she can get her hands on the treasure, she is frightened out of the house by ghosts that have laid claim to mansion. Determined to get her hands on the treasure, Carrigan hires Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman) to get rid of the ghosts. Joining Dr. Harvey is his daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci). Kat is befriended by Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson), the ghost of a young boy who is not as fearsome as the other ghosts. 

While the other ghosts are doing everything they can to get the living out of their house, James and Kat are doing everything they can to get the ghosts to cross over. Who will win this battle and will Carrigan ever claim the treasure on the map?

As ghost stories go, this is rather PG. But that’s fine, this movie has just enough spook to make the audience jump, while still allowing them to sleep at night. It is also aimed at the tween/early teen set and deals with the trials and tribulations of that age.

The adult in me would say that this film is rather simple. However, I was just the right age when the movie hit theaters. For the intended age group, the film as a whole is not that bad.

Do I recommend it? Why not?

 

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Throwback Thursday- Say Yes To The Dress (2007-Present)

From an early age, many women dream about their wedding day and their wedding dress.

TLC has capitalized on ideal for the last 11 years. Say Yes To The Dress premiered on TLC back in 2007 and has been a staple of the network ever since.

The focus of every episode is a handful of women who are shopping for their wedding gown. Initially filmed in Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City, the show had a number of spin offs over the years. As the brides who are highlighted in the episode try on wedding gowns, there is usually some sort of drama or an emotional scar from the past that comes into play.

I have mixed feelings about this show. On one hand, it’s just another mindless reality show that amps up the drama and the tension for ratings. It’s the kind of show you watch on a Friday night when you just want to zone out after a long, hard week. But, on the other hand, my feminist self says that the show continues to sell the myth that a woman’s happiness and success in life are solely based on her marital status or lack thereof.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-So Weird (1999-2001)

For some writers, using metaphors is a useful tool to advance the narrative and the character development in ways that the audience does not expect.

Between 1999 and 2001, So Weird was part of the lineup on the Disney channel. Fiona “Fi” Phillips (Cara DeLizia) is a preteen girl who has lost her father. Her widowed mother, Molly Phillips (Mackenzie Phillips) earns her living as a successful musician. Fi is obsessed with anything that is considered to be supernatural. While living on her mother’s tour bus, Fi has some really odd experiences and uses her laptop to discover the truth.

Granted this is a show aimed at young girls, but it’s not that bad. It’s charming enough to get by and the supernatural elements add to a twist to make it stand out from other programs of this ilk.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-The Audrey Hepburn Story (2000)

There are few old Hollywood performers as memorable as Audrey Hepburn. Remembered for her iconic roles in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961), Roman Holiday (1953) and her humanitarian work, Ms. Hepburn will always forever be remembered for heart and her trend setting fashion.

In 2000, Jennifer Love Hewitt starred in the TV movie/biopic, The Audrey Hepburn Story. As a girl, a young Audrey Hepburn (Emmy Rossum) wanted to be a ballet dancer. But her parent’s divorce and World War II changed all that. The movie then follows her career as she becomes a movie star and has to juggle work, fame and relationships.

As biopics go, this TV movie is not bad. But it’s not good either. While Jennifer Love Hewitt is not the best actress, she certainly gives it her all. I just wonder what could have been done differently to make this program more palatable.

Do I recommend it? Sort of.

 

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Throwback Thursday-Love It Or List It (2008-Present)

The title of “reality show” is a misnomer. We all know that it’s not 100% real. But even with the knowledge, it’s hard not enjoy some reality shows.

In 2008, Love It Or List It premiered on HGTV. Each episode follows a two people (usually a couple) who are dissatisfied with their current home. One partner believes that the solution is to move and start over in a new home. The other partner believes that renovating their home will resolve whatever issues they have. Enter interior designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin. Hilary’s job is to renovate the home and convince the homeowners to stay. David’s job is to show them homes for sale and convince them to move. At the end of each episode, the homeowners must make a decision. Will they love their home or will they list it?

The fun of this show is not just the ups and downs of renovation and shopping for a new home. Hilary and David’s verbal sparring adds to the fun and the tension of the question of the homeowner’s final decision.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Animaniacs (1993-1998)

The best children’s cartoons are not always made strictly for their young audience. Some of these cartoons may appear only to appeal to kids, but there is a wink and a nudge to the adults watching.

From 1993 and 1998, Animaniacs was on the air. The premise of the show is as follows: in the 1930’s, three cartoon siblings, Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner were locked in the tower at Warner Brothers studios. Released from the tower fifty years later, they wreak havoc on studio employees. In addition to Yakko, Wakko and Dot, the audience was treated to a host of other characters, including Pinky and The Brain.

Animaniacs is funny, charming and most of all, appeals to audiences of all ages.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday-Making The Band (2000-2009)

Reality television has inspired multiple sub-genres. One of the more interesting sub-genres is the music competition that leads to the creation of a new musical act.

Making The Band had several incarnations.

In 2000, record producer Lou Pearlman (best remembered for creation of The Backstreet Boys and NSNYC) led the search for a new boy band. At the end of the competition, the band O-Town was formed.

In 2002, rap impresario P. Diddy (also known as Sean Combs), took over from Lou Pearlman. In 2006, after the failure the musical acts in previous seasons, Diddy  chose to create a girl group. By the end of the series, Danity Kane was introduced to the world.

I have mixed feelings about this show. On one hand, my late teens and twenties self is very happy to revisit shows that were must see TV. But, looking back, I see both shows with a set of eyes that I could not have had back then. At the end of the day, it’s still reality television, which as we all know, it’s not exactly completely real. It’s also noteworthy that the bands that were formed as a result of this show did not stay together for very long.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Sharknado (2013)

The Syfy channel is not exactly known for producing intellectual, high-minded entertainment.

In 2013, Sharknado premiered on the channel. Los Angeles is hit by a hurricane. Somehow, sharks are imported from the sea and are attacking the land dwelling population. It’s up to Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering) and April Wexler (Tara Reid) to kill to save the city and her citizens before it’s too late.

Sharknado is one of those films that you either love or you late. You love it because it’s fun, campy and does not require many brain cells to  enjoy. You hate it because it is gory, dumb and the narrative is too simple. I’m personally in the middle. As much as I enjoy entertainment that makes me think, I also enjoy entertainment that is just plain fun and does not require a lot of thinking. But, the writer in me would prefer a more complex narrative than is presented.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

 

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Throwback Thursday-The Surreal Life (2003-2006)

Many of us want our 15 minutes of fame. Reality television capitalizes on this need, for better or for worse.

Between 2003 and 2006, The Surreal Life was on the air. The premise of the show is as follows: a group of celebrities whose fame has faded live together for a short time and have their lives taped. It’s almost like The Real World, except the housemates are not a diverse group of twenty something strangers, but celebrities. Over the course of the show’s six seasons, the casts included musicians, actors, reality stars, etc.

Among reality shows, this was the most brain-dead. One did not need brain cells to watch mostly has beens trying to resuscitate careers that once burned bright.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday-St. Trinian’s (2007)

Movies set in an academic setting range from serious to silly to rebellious.

In the 2007 film St. Trinian’s, the school’s reputation for educating the next generation of British women is not the strongest. The students may not care about their school’s less than stellar reputation, but the minister of Education does. He takes on the task of reforming St. Trinian’s, not realizing that a) the school’s headmistress is his ex and b) the effort required to get the school to where he thinks it should be is almost a Herculean task. While this is happening, the school is already in danger of closing due to financial issues. Can the girls save the day by ripping off a well-known painting?

Starring Colin Firth, Rupert Everett, Talulah Riley and Gemma Arterton, the film is not for everyone. But it has strong message about girl power and a cheeky sense of humor that overrides the somewhat lackluster narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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