Category Archives: on demand

Wild Hogs

Wild Hogs ~ Sometimes it’s surprising what you’ll watch when there’s nothing else to watch or you have nothing better to do. I had the unfortunate circumstance of having already seen most of what was available to view in the theater and OnDemand while on our recent Disney Cruise. And that’s what brought me to Wild Hogs.

This movie, from start to finish, is like a cry for help, no, not help, a serious cry of desperation. Four actors, ahem, I mean, men, having their mid-life crises and turning to their motorcycle hobby for comfort and excitement. Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy star in this badly written, painfully performed, ultimately unsatisfying flick.

Its script and premise might’ve worked for a sixties Jack Lemmon or Jerry Lewis farce, but audiences and acting is more sophisticated now. I really had to wonder who this movie was for. Ten year-olds? I know ten year-olds this might be too simple for, even some of the gags don’t make sense.

Well, hopefully those who phoned it in (I’m looking at you, William and Martin, you should be ashamed of yourselves) got paid well enough to pay their rent, and Tim and John had time to trade hairpiece care secrets. It’s almost as if they are acting at each other the lack of chemistry is so bad. Ray Liotta and Marisa Tomei are similarly wasted here.

If you’re ever itching to forget that Macy and Travolta have been nominated for Oscars, this is the flick for you. Wow, what a bad movie.

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The Makeover

The Makeover ~ The mother-in-law tried to watch this one twice OnDemand while we were on the Disney Cruise. She fell asleep both times. Lucky me, I got to watch it twice. The flick isn’t bad, but let’s be honest, this romcom isn’t something I would normally pick to watch myself, and especially wouldn’t pick to watch twice.

What we’re looking at is basically the Pygmalion story, and they even self-reference it in the movie. Julia Stiles, who I normally like, loses an election for being too cold and logical. She meets David Walton, just filled with warmth and Boston-y goodness, and tries to turn him into a full package political candidate. The story pretty much writes itself from there.

The Makeover is relatively harmless (unless of course you can’t stand Boston accents, and if you can’t, strap in, it’s going to be a rough one), fairly predictable. Everyone involved does an adequate job, gets the check, and pays the rent, but I don’t think they brag about it. Good if there’s nothing else on.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The Odd Life of Timothy Green ~ I think this wonderful fantasy film, written, co-produced, and conceived by Ahmet Zappa, may have been list in the shuffle in theaters, being released so closely to the similar kid-growing-up-weird movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While I haven’t seen that Brad Pitt flick, I did thoroughly enjoy Timothy Green.

This is a modern American fairy tale, a perfect fit for Disney, that tells the story of a childless couple played by Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, terrific performances by both, who have a young boy show up on their doorstep as their son. He’s everything they have ever wished for, except he’s a bit odd. And has leaves on his ankles.

I loved this heartwarming tale. I laughed, I even cried. The Bride and I got this flick OnDemand, and we were pleasantly surprised, a welcome treat. Recommended.

I Saw What You Did

I Saw What You Did ~ Back in the old days, before video rentals, before OnDemand, even before cable television, there was only one way to see a particular film – you waited and waited for it to finally show up on standard six channel television. When it was a movie you’d never seen and only heard about, it became sort of an event, and a special memory. I saw The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon this way, and also Mothra and the Matt Helm films. There was a certain mystique to the movies you had to watch and wait for each week by scouring the TV Guide.

The original 1965 (it was later a terrible telemovie in the late 1980s that is best forgotten) version of I Saw What You Did was one of those movies, and in recent times it has been made even rarer by its on-again-off-again video and DVD releasing. In an age where almost everything is available, this is indeed a rare film. It’s a lucky thing that occasionally TCM gives it a run, usually when honoring its star Joan Crawford, or its genius director William Castle.

Its full title gives a bit of a hint what it is really about. Two teenage girls on a sleepover amuse themselves by making random prank phone calls and saying to the answerer, “I Saw What You Did! And I Know Who You Are!” You can imagine the bedlam that ensues when they call the man who has just murdered his wife. There’s the set-up and trademark William Castle hilarity and horror follow. You can understand how the plot of this one can become whispered legend among those watching the TV Guide every week.

In a role originally meant to be only a cameo (although she got top billing and pay) and originally offered to Grayson Hall, later to be known as Dr. Julia Hoffman on “Dark Shadows,” Joan Crawford eats up the screen like the film goddess she was in every scene. Her appearance, dressed for flash in the middle of the night, is kinda odd, but then again she’s Joan Crawford after all. She proves without a doubt she could easily be the kooky neighbor in a sitcom from any age, and do it with pizzazz.

The two girls, and one’s little sister, are terrible, but their kids, so give them a break. John Ireland as the killer is stone-faced and fierce, his looks alone inspiring scares. Some of the shocks and the violence are a bit over the top for the time, and surprising when you think about it in hindsight. It’s not Friday the 13th, but it’s a bit much for 1965. The initial killing is an ironic turn on the shower scene from Psycho and actually quite well done.

This is, despite what others may tell you, William Castle at his best. I love this flick, and watch it whenever it presents itself. Must see for horror fans, movie fans, and camp fans – funny, scary, quirky, what more could you want? So keep a lookout, just like in the old days, for the next time I Saw What You Did airs, it’s worth it.

The Mercury Men

Aside from the occasional mini-series, a Saturday night Asylum movie just for laughs, and of course, “Warehouse 13,” I don’t watch all that much Syfy Network anymore. I gave “Alphas” a momentary spin but it just didn’t keep my interest.

I do however have the Syfy app on my iPhone and there were some very cool previews on there. The one I was most excited about was a black and white movie serial-ish thing called “The Mercury Men.” I couldn’t wait for this thing to air, as I would be riveted in front of my TV. Sadly as the airdate got closer, I discovered it was a webseries, not for TV. Disappointed a little, I was still excited.

So when the day came I watched each five to ten-minute installment with anticipation. It was everything I thought it would be – black and white movie serial goodness. The brainchild of writer/director Chris Preksta, The Mercury Men is a wonderful sci-fi adventure in the style of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers or any of the rayguns and rocketships serials back in the day.

When a off hours office worker is attacked by glowing men who shoot lightning from their hands and is turn saved by a cross between Indiana Jones, Buck Rogers and Airboy – the rollercoaster of action and suspense begins and doesn’t stop. Have I mentioned how much I love this?

Right now, you can see “The Mercury Men” here, or OnDemand, although I wish Syfy would just put it on the air, or better yet, make it a regular series. How about it? In the meantime, everyone else check out this great web series.

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At War with Comcast

Dear Comcast, recently you introduced your new Interactive Program Guide for cable television service in our area. Now if it were merely a matter of me not liking the aesthetics of it, or the readability, I can understand that I’m just be picky. Change happens, sometimes not for the better. And just for the record, the aesthetics and the readability suck, in my far less than humble opinion.

Functionality may be where the problem(s) lie. But let’s talk positive first. The Program Guide can now DVR programs more than a week into the future. Closed captioning is now available on our HD television and it was not before. These are both good things, and I thank you and praise you.

As I implied earlier, the Guide is extremely difficult to navigate, and the website and instructional videos are really not much help if I’m being honest. The sleep timer is gone, so no more watching TV ’til I fall asleep. And it takes four steps to DVR something now where it used to take two. After a few days, by hit and miss, I got the gist of how things worked. But things began to go downhill, and out of my control, very quickly.

The DVR began to only record just a few minutes of a program the first night the Guide was installed. The first attack took out three programs recorded in one hour – one one hour show and two half-hour shows back to back at the same time. It did it to those same shows the next week. In the week between various programs suffered the same fate.

And then there were the other ‘fun’ things that occurred since the Program Guide was installed. On Demand has been intermittently working. Occasionally some channels would say that we’re not authorized to watch them. For instance, we would get the same message for The Cooking Channel, Cartoon Network and G4 that we get for a pay channel like Cinemax that we do not subscribe to.

I did not sit and take this by the way. I am a complete evil bastard when it comes to talking with customer service. However, since The Bride used to work for Comcast, I tried my damnedest to be polite and calm, just in case I was speaking to someone we/she knew or used to work with. Just for the record, since June 7th, I have logged fourteen total calls to Comcast for various problems.

Sunday night, the shit hit the fan, as they say. The season finales of “Game of Thrones” and “The Killing” did not record at all. There were other programs that didn’t record or only recorded a few minutes of that night, but those two hurt me. When I tried to calm down, and watch them OnDemand, my blood pressure shot into the sky. OnDemand wasn’t working either.

I was on the phone to Comcast immediately. I had had enough of this crap. Through gritted teeth I carefully explained the problems to the customer service representative, and a technician visit was planned for the next day. This was last Tuesday. Long story short, Comcast sent a guy who looked like a Russian mobster from “The Sopranos,” with a very thick (almost to the point of hysteria) accent to match, to my house to change out the cable boxes. I was told, and after he said it several times I understood, that the problem was fixed.

That night, and the next three nights, the problem reoccurred. I called the cable company again, all calm out of the question. I was no longer polite, I was no longer understanding – I was what is probably gently referred to as ‘the irate customer.’ Yet another customer service representative talked to me slowly and softly, as if I was on the ledge of a tall building and threatening to jump. I was told that I wouldn’t being paying for the service calls, I would receive a discount on the DVR bill and that a technician would be at my home on Monday.

After a weekend of the intermittently functional DVR giving us incomplete recordings if at all, the technician arrived Monday. He asked a lot of questions, fiddled with some wires and then went outside to call his supervisor. You want to know what the bottom line was? “It’s a software problem, and they are working out the bugs. Yeah, it sucks, but there it is.”

The technician left. Unharmed. And about a dozen more blood vessels in my forehead popped. The problem continues. And I’m looking into TIVO.

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Wishful Drinking

Wishful Drinking ~ The previews of this one woman show/video memoir on HBO made it seem quite funny, but I knew the facts – that Carrie Fisher has long suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction and manic depression, and I thought for sure it wouldn’t be all laughs. I was pleasantly surprised.

The actress begins with the rather grim story of a friend dying in her bed but quickly recovers with her family history, which is hysterical… unfortunately probably because it’s true. Her family tree is a twisted root turned in on itself and provides much entertainment in her retelling.

There’s a lot of material covered here, and a lot for folks who have followed various facets of her career. If you know Carrie as Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ daughter, or if you know her as the real lead character in Postcards from the Edge, or if you know her from a little movie called Star Wars – there’s something here for you.

Also, if you’re watching on HBO OnDemand, like I did, don’t forget to watch all the extras like interviews with her parents and the poem from Star Wars that clogs up her head. Recommended.

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Do You Like to Watch?

This is my most recent find while perusing the On Demand channels on insomnia nights. It’s called “Voyuers” and can be found on HBO. It’s addictive and fascinating. Here is just a taste, check it out.