Category Archives: ron howard

I Just Don’t Get It

I have had more than a few friends tell me not only what a great, but also hilarious television series “Arrested Development” is/was. That coupled with the fact that Netflix is going to bring it back for fifteen new episodes, which would serve as a prelude to a feature film. Well now, that sounds to me like there must be something unique and exciting about the series to have all that going on for it.

What did I know about “Arrested Development” however? Virtually nothing. I knew it lasted three seasons on Fox and was canceled because of low ratings. I knew that the musical group Arrested Development sued and settled over the use of the name. I knew that it starred Jason Bateman, and that Ron Howard was somehow involved. That’s it. Until very recently, I had never even seen one episode of “Arrested Development.”

Seeing how the whole series, in anticipation of the new fourth season, was available on Netflix, I decided to give it a shot. Wow. As Queen Victoria was often said to say, I was not amused. This thing was just not funny, or at least just not funny to me. When described to me by friends, or read about online, it sounded hilarious, but actually watching it – nothing. Crickets, baby.

What confounded me the most is that there are cast members who are on other shows or other endeavors who I think are hysterical. There’s Jessica Walter in “Archer,” Portia de Rossi in “Better Off Ted,” Michael Cera in some things, and David Cross in everything – yet in “Arrested Development,” it’s as if they are performing at a funeral.

I tried. I got through seventeen episodes before giving up, and not submitting to masochism. I just don’t get it. The new season will be available on Netflix starting this Sunday, May the 26th.

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Andy Griffith 1926-2012

Andy Griffith was the multiple award-winning and nominated star of television, film, stage and song. The actor, writer, director, producer, comedian, musician and singer passed away this morning in North Carolina. He was 86.

Back in my preschool days, “The Andy Griffith Show” was my favorite show, second only to “Batman.” The opening of the program with Andy and his son Opie, played by Ronny Howard, going fishing and walking in the woods reminded me of my father and me. Especially the bit with that kid throwing rocks. I was that annoying kid throwing rocks whenever we went fishing or went for walks in the woods. My imaginary friend was even named ‘Opie.’ Hey, stop judging. I never said I was a bright kid. The point is, from an early age, “The Andy Griffith Show” and its spin-offs were a family tradition.

Just as I watched little Opie grow into Richie Cunningham and later a successful director, I also watched Andy in the largely forgotten but also fondly remembered ABC series “Salvage 1,” and later on the more palatable “Matlock.” When my brother-in-law gave me all his 45 RPM records (for the kids out there, think single MP3 iTunes purchases, only round and on vinyl), I discovered another facet of Andy Griffith with his down home comedy spoken word hit, “What It Was, Was Football.”

As an adult I discovered how his humor led to Andy’s role on the stage and then in film with No Time for Sergeants. The film not only firmly established his persona for the next few decades but also was the direct inspiration for later television spin-off “Gomer Pyle, USMC.” Andy also did a flick at this time called Onionhead, that was so bad, he stopped doing movies.

However, before that, he made the film that for me, earns Andy Griffith the most respect. 1957’s A Face in the Crowd, written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Elia Kazan, is one of my favorite films, easily in my top five, and Andy Griffith, as the charismatic but evil entertainer Lonesome Rhodes, is the star. This is an acting tour de force, and Griffith is a whirlwind. If you have not seen this phenomenal drama, I can’t recommend it enough.

We have lost not only one of our most beloved television icons, but also a visionary in the way TV is done, as well as one of America’s greatest actors and comedians. Rest in peace, Andy, we will miss you.

How Ron Howard Stole My Christmas


A Video Review of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

In the immortal words of the Pet Shop Boys, “What have I done, what have I done, what have I done to deserve this?” What sick twisted demon from hell possessed Ron Howard and made him create this big budget major motion picture based on the wonderful Dr. Seuss work? Surely this could only be the work of the devil.

The 1966 half-hour cartoon by Chuck Jones narrated by Boris Karloff with that song by Thul (Tony the Tiger) Ravenscroft is perfect. Why was there a need to do this?

Jim Carrey in his hideous make-up as the Grinch is nowhere near as scary as the citizens of Whoville who all resemble the monsters from “The Twilight Zone” episode Eye of the Beholder. Ron Howard made this for his kids? Why haven’t the authorities taken those kids away for cruel and unusual treatment?

The real story has very few characters but apparently the writers felt this had to be fleshed out and added a dozen or so irrelevant characters including the Grinch’s old girlfriend (hello?). Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman (who also had a hand in destroying the big budget motion picture version of the brilliant Wild Wild West) should have their pencils broken, their typewriters smashed and their word processors melted down.

The ending is horrendous. Apparently Christmas doesn’t come in a box, it’s not about giving at all. It’s all about money money money, materialism and greed, gimme gimme gimme. I hate Jim Carrey. Damn you, Ron Howard. This is easily one of the worst three movies ever made.

And take off the frigging hat.

Rating -*

***** Must see
**** Worth seeing
*** So you have eight dollars you want to throw away…
** Is Adam Sandler in this mess?
* A bullet would be quicker.

The above previously appeared at Project Popcorn.