Thursday, March 31, 2016

AFI Top 100, #24: "Raging Bull" (1980)

This movie was previously reviewed as part of my A-Z Movie Project. Below is the pertinent information about it: the movie stats, plot summary, and the rating I gave it. You can read the full text of my review HERE.

Movie Stats:
Released 1980 (Canada & USA simultaneously)
American, in English
Director - Martin Scorsese
Stars - Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Cathy Moriarty

Plot Summary:
It’s a biopic of real-life boxer Jake La Motta (DeNiro). Pesci co-stars as Jake’s brother/manager, Joe, and Moriarty as Jake’s wife, Vickie.

3.5 stars

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

AFI Top 100, #25: "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial" (1982)

Movie Stats:
Released 1982 (France)
American, in English
Director - Steven Spielberg
Stars - Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore

Plot Summary:
When a space alien accidentally gets left behind by his compatriots, he finds refuge in the home of a young boy, Elliott (Thomas). MacNaughton co-stars as Elliott’s older brother, Michael, and Barrymore as his younger sister, Gertie.

Minor blue language; very minor violence.

Bad Stuff:
The product placement is out of control, to the point where I couldn’t help but roll my eyes multiple times. Never before or since have Reese’s Pieces been so popular.

Absolutely nothing is explained. It’s the same problem I had with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Things happen with no explanation as to how or why. What does any of it mean? I guess Spielberg expected me to be so dazzled by the special effects and screaming children that I wouldn’t have questions.

I’m genuinely perplexed as to why the movie went to such great lengths to make Keys (Peter Coyote) seem sinister (the continuous focus on his keys, and subsequently his crotch, was frankly weird) when, in the end, he turned out rather nice, like a grown-up version of Elliott. I just don’t get the point. I assume it was a cheap way to make it seem like there was a “bad guy” when there really wasn’t.

Good Stuff:
Little baby Drew Barrymore is so adorable and shockingly good for such a young child.

The script is good at the small moments, little things that make the movie seem much more realistic, such as the scene where Michael very badly backs the family car down the driveway (and later, when he screams in a panic, “I’ve never driven forwards before!”), or when Elliott lures E.T. out of hiding with candy, which is total kid logic, or when mom Mary (Dee Wallace) can’t help but laugh when her kid shouts the words “penis breath.”

Its message about friendship is rather lovely.

You can never go wrong with a John Williams score.

The Verdict:

Viewing it as an adult, I have to admit that I don’t really get it (I saw it once before, around the age of 12, so nearly 30 years ago). I have so many questions. The movie doesn’t answer any of them. Why are Elliott and E.T. connected emotionally? How do they get disconnected? Why does E.T. get sick and die? How does he come back to life? How did his galactic phone contraption work? And so on and so forth. I get that this is a kid’s movie, so I should cut it some slack, but I feel like this is an awful lot to ask me to swallow without questioning. Also, there is way too much screaming (both child and alien) for my tastes. And the sound mixing was awful. I could barely hear anything that Mary said.

I think that people my age and younger love "E.T." because they first saw it as children, and that people older than me loved it because it was so different from everything else that was out at the time. Viewed objectively, however, it’s not terribly well crafted. On the other hand, it is sweet and kind-hearted. I’m sure it will go down in history as a classic. Far be it from me to completely dump on a such a beloved movie.

I give it 3 stars.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Music Love: "Empty Cans" by The Streets

Originally, I was going to write this post about The D.O.T., the second project of British musician Mike Skinner, whose first project was The Streets. I adore The D.O.T., and consider them far more accessible than The Streets, but as I was mentally composing the post, my mind kept drifting to what I wanted to say about The Streets instead. Eventually, I realized what I had to do.

I’ve had a deep, abiding love for The Streets ever since I heard the song “Fit But You Know It” on FIFA 2005 (a soccer video game, for those of you not in-the-know). That song led me to buy the album A Grand Don’t Come for Free. Eventually, I would own all of their albums, but my first one has always been my favorite.

I think that Mike Skinner is an incredibly talented writer, composer, and musician. Sometimes his songs are irreverent; sometimes they’re deeply touching; often they’re so on-point it’s almost scary (“Never Went to Church” is one of the best songs about the reality of grief that I’ve ever heard). I particularly like A Grand Don’t Come for Free because it’s a concept album, and I’m a sucker for a good concept album.

In the opening song, “It Was Supposed to Be So Easy,” Mike has one of the worst days of his life, the kind of day where absolutely everything goes wrong, including losing 1,000 quid, or pounds (money). Over the course of the album, Mike lives the kind of life most guys in their early to mid-20s live: going out clubbing, getting a girl, hanging out with friends, going on holiday, and, in the penultimate song, “Dry Your Eyes,” losing the girl. In Portland, where I lived at the time the album came out, “Dry Your Eyes” was a minor radio hit with a version that featured Chris Martin of Coldplay. He’s not on the studio release.

One of my favorite things about this album is that the music of each song is reflective of what’s happening in it. “Blinded by the Lights,” wherein Mike goes to a club, gets high, and freaks out, has intense, distressing music that makes me feel as tense as he does. In “Get Out of My House,” featuring a fight between Mike and his girlfriend, the music is angry and discordant. It’s very cool.

All of this leads to the song above, “Empty Cans.” Having just broken up with his girlfriend, Mike is in a bad mental state. The song presents two different ways that his life could go from here. In the first, he rejects a friend’s offer to help him fix his broken TV (he feels that the friend has betrayed him), calls a repairman, but then comes to believe that the repairman is trying to cheat him. Things devolve from there. The music is heavy, Mike’s voice is detached, the lyrics are negative. In the second, after a rewind, Mike accepts his friend’s offer to fix the TV. His friend not only fixes the TV, but finds the 1,000 quid he lost at the beginning of the album. Things get better from there. This part of the song starts as heavy as the first part, but slowly the musical notes of hope creep in, until they take over. I love the beautiful refrain here, a perfect encapsulation of the end of a relationship, “It’s the end of the something I did not want to end, beginning of hard times to come. But something that was not meant to be is done, and this is the start of what was.”

To me, this song is absolutely brilliant. I like to listen to it whenever I’m in a bad mental place, because it reminds me that my negative thinking may be coloring my view of the world. Also, sometimes I really need to hear this lyric: “No one’s really there fighting for you in the last garrison. No one except yourself that is, no one except you. You are the one who's got your back till the last deed’s done.” I need that reminder to look out for myself.

I don’t know many people who’ve even heard of The Streets. Of the ones who know them, even less seem to like them. I gather that a lot of people don’t like Mike’s voice. I don’t have a problem with it. My husband complains, “He doesn’t sing; he talks,” which I think is hilarious, given how much my husband loves rap. Even as spoken word, I think it’s amazing. So, just for this one day, I beg you to give them a chance, and listen to this song. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Monday, March 21, 2016

AFI Top 100, #26: "Dr. Strangelove" (1964)

Movie Stats:
Released 1964 (UK & USA same day)
American & British, in English (minor non-translated Russian)
Director - Stanley Kubrick
Stars - Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

Plot Summary:
When Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), Commie-obsessed and crazy, sets a nuclear war against the Russians in motion, his subordinate, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Sellers) and the U.S. President Merkin Muffley (also Sellers) try to stop it from happening. At the same time, the dim-witted and pro-violence General Buck Turgidson (Scott) champions the war.

Violence; ethnic slurs; implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
I thought it was dull.

It had its moments, but wasn’t nearly as amusing/entertaining as I thought it would be.

The special effects were atrocious.

Good Stuff:
Sellers is fantastic. In addition to Mandrake and Muffley, he also plays German scientist Dr. Strangelove. I think Muffley was my favorite. I didn’t even realize it was Sellers until about halfway through the film. Also thought Scott was great in his role.

I enjoyed how ridiculous the bureaucracy of the military/government was. It was so spot-on.

It’s the perfect zeitgeist for the histrionic Red Scare period of U.S. history.

The Verdict:
In its day, it was impressively relevant. Watching it now, it’s more of  a curiosity. I was alive for the tale end of anti-Communist hysteria (15 when the Berlin Wall fell) and sometimes it feels like a weird dream. “I spent my childhood in fear of nuclear annihilation?” I’ll think to myself. It hardly seems possible. This film reminded me of what those days were like. I expected to like a lot more than I actually did. Like, everyone I know loves it, and most of them have pretty good taste, so I thought I would love it too. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I don’t exactly feel neutral toward it either. My feelings trend more toward the positive side, but not enough to add it to my “must see” list.

I give it 3.5 stars.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

AFI Top 100, #27: "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967)

Movie Stats:
Released 1967 (UK)
American, in English
Director - Arthur Penn
Stars - Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty

Plot Summary:
A look at the crime spree of famed bank robbers Bonnie Parker (Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Beatty).

Violence; mild gore; heavily implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
Well, I hated nearly everything about it, so it’s difficult to know where to start.

The pace is plodding. It’s weird in that very 1960s way that I can’t stand. For example, several scenes are completely silent for no reason I can think of other than a (poor) attempt at being avant-garde. Faye Dunaway never seems like a person from the 1930s. She’s 1960s through and through. The sound editing is atrocious. The near-constant screaming of Clyde’s sister-in-law, Blanche (Estelle Parsons), made me long for her to get shot in the face, [SPOILER] not that it was satisfactory when she finally did because she didn’t die and screamed through every scene she was in [SPOILER]. The character development was so poor that I didn’t care about most of them. I don’t understand why it focused so much on Bonnie and Clyde’s sex lives (or lack there of). It was frankly quite strange.

I could go on, but I won’t.

Good Stuff:
I liked that it portrayed criminals in a much more realistic way than most movies. When they first start robbing banks, they aren’t immediately great at it. They get freaked out when the shooting starts. They’re scared to die. They miss their parents. It was refreshing.

I enjoyed the character of C.W. Moss (Michael J. Pollard). He was oddly endearing for a dumb criminal.

I guess Warren Beatty did an okay job.

The Verdict:
Ugh. It’s awful. If you want to know more about Bonnie and Clyde, read Wikipedia. If you want to see Warren Beatty and/or Faye Dunaway perform, there are better movies to achieve that goal. Take a cue from that ubiquitous 80s anti-drug campaign and just say no to this film.

I give it 2 stars.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Up with Geography: Cambodia


Phnom Penh



Asian continent. Cambodia outlined in dark ink
and shaded.

A close-up of Cambodia & its neighbors.

Thailand, Laos, Vietnam

Water Borders:
Gulf of Thailand

Total Area:
69,898 square miles

Five Largest Cities:
Phnom Penh, Battambang, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Prey Veng

Famous Geographical Point:
Mekong River

Famous Person:
Pisith Pilika, very prolific actress & ballet dancer

Book Set In/About:
To Cambodia with Love edited by Andy Brouwer

A collection of essays from 60 different people opining on the various things they love about Cambodia.

Movie Set In/About:
"The Killing Fields" (1984), directed by Roland Joffe

A view of the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror over Cambodia, as seen through the eyes of an American journalist.

Headline of the Day:
"Cambodia's Political Facebook War Heads to Court" in BBC News.

This is literally an argument about how many likes the Cambodian prime minister's Facebook has. The opposition has accused him of intimidating employees in order to get those likes, and also of spending money to get likes from fake accounts.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Last Text of the Day: Month Three

Day 1
To Blue: I have a ride home. She has not been drinking.
I went to a whiskey tasting with some friends. I had my husband on "chauffeur" duty. He dropped me off and anticipated picking me up, but one of my friends didn't drink at the tasting so she drove me home.

Day 2
To Red: Of course! If you think of anything, let me know.
Discussing a holiday dinner that she was hosting.

Day 3
To Orange & Yellow: Thursday is good! If you know of anywhere Christmas-y, I'm up for it. Lol.
Making plans to get together before the holiday. Yellow expressed an interest in going somewhere festive.

Day 4
To Orange & Yellow: I don't mind! I discovered today that their hot chocolate is pretty delicious. *yellow smiley emoticon*
We ended up deciding on a place I'd just been.

Day 5
To Orange & Yellow: Love you gals!

Day 6
To Copper: I'm sure you would enjoy that!
We were discussing the show "Jessica Jones." He said that he felt she could beat him up. The above was my response to that.

Day 7
To Red: You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it! *yellow smiley emoticon* Hoe [sic] you and [redacted] have loads of fun today!
She thanked me for a gift I gave her. I didn't discover the typo for days and once I did I was highly amused.

Day 8
To Red: I'm a bit sorry that [redacted] is watching. It's not a very good game.
Talking about a Seahawks game. The Seahawks are my husband's team.

Day 9
To Red: Okay, just let me know! I'm flexible. I'll ask [redacted] what he thinks about doing the escape room.
Making some holiday plans. I still have not done an escape room, but want to.

Day 10
To Red: I've been wanting to watch that but not sure if I want to feel that angry. Lol. You should watch Death Row Stories (also on Netflix) if you want an extra dose of rage.
She suggested I check out the show "Making a Murderer." I still haven't seen it.

Day 11
To Red: Preferably one without a cushion.
We were joking around about her tendency to fall asleep the second she starts reading a book. In coming up with ways for her to read in discomfort, I recommended she get a stool without a cushion.

Day 12
To Red: We're here!
Meeting for dinner.

Day 13
To Red, Indigo & Brown: That works for me!
Making plans for a get together.

Day 14
To Red: Just woo hoo instead. ;)
Oh gosh. So, last year some of us went to a taping of "The Price Is Right." Since then, we've poked fun at ourselves about how much "woo hooing" we did during filming (they have employees on stage directing you how much noise to make and when). So she was talking about how she was going to scream during something scary she was going to do and I made this lame joke.

Day 15
To Red & Black: No idea! I found out about the cleric when I read an article about a more violent protest about it in Iran.
Earlier in the day, we'd gone on a hike, followed by brunch. On our way to brunch, we stumbled across a peaceful protest and had no idea what it was about. By accident, I later discovered that it was about a cleric executed in Saudi Arabia.

Day 16
To White: Hi! I hope you guys had fun in [redacted]. :) [Redacted] and I are planning a game night this Sat if you're interested/available.
Pretty self-explanatory. She and her husband did plan to come but she got sick. Boo.

Day 17
To Brown, Red & Indigo: *wide eyed embarrassed emoticon*
I don't remember exactly what I was embarrassed by. I believe it was either sexy jokes or pics (of famous men).

Day 18
To Orange: I'll keep my fingers crossed! Whenever [redacted] gets sick, I always catch it but he rarely catches stuff from me.
We were sharing a hope that her boyfriend wouldn't catch the terrible cold she'd had.

Day 19
To White: Ok. I feel like you did right before you left that night but [redacted] can't recall. Maybe [redacted] will!
We were trying to figure out if they'd paid us for some tickets. They had (her husband remembered).

Day 20
To Blue: I've been waiting for 25 minutes. Should I go?
We were meeting up to attend a couples happy hour. He said he would be out in ten minutes and 25 minutes later I sent this text. Not sure if my pissy tone comes across. Lol.

Day 21
To Orange: We have: veggies & hummus, chips, cheese & crackers, cookies, beer, and soda.
The menu for game night.

Day 22
No texts sent.

Day 23
To Blue: Here.
Picking him up from work.

Day 24
To Teal: It's called Santa Ynez Falls trail.
I invited her along on a hike another friend and I were doing. She wanted to check it out online before committing. She ended up not going.

Day 25
To Brown, Red & Indigo: Yes, Tuesday. I'm also open but wonder if we could have a slightly later start than we normally do, like maybe 7 or 7:30?
Trying to arrange a get together. In the end, we didn't meet up on Tuesday.

Day 26
To Silver, et. al: Are you sure he's not 5'10"?
Piggy backing on a conversation from earlier in the evening, joking about how some men lie about their height online. (I'm not including the other recipients because they're not people I normally text, so I don't want to assign them color designations.)

Day 27
To Brown, Red & Indigo: OMG, let's do this!
After the Tuesday plans fell through, and much discussion of other possible dates, we finally found one that worked.

Day 28
To White: Congrats! It looks good to me.
She sent me a picture of a cake she made in honor of her NFL team winning a play off game.

Day 29
To Yellow & Orange: Ok! See you ladies tomorrow. Can't wait!

Day 30
To Red: Well, we'll have to think of something really fun to do!
Making plans for while her husband was out of town.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

AFI Top 100, #28: "Apocalypse Now" (1979)

Movie Stats:
Released 1979 (France)
American, in English (some Vietnamese, both translated and not; also, I believe the extended version contains French but that’s not the version I watched for this review)
Director - Francis Ford Coppola
Stars - Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando

Plot Summary:
During the Vietnam War, Army Captain Benjamin Willard (Sheen) is given a special assignment, to seek out and exterminate Colonel Walter Kurtz (Brando), who’s gone insane in the jungle of Cambodia.

Extreme violence; gore; lots of blue language, including racial slurs; brief male nudity (butt only); drug use.

Bad Stuff:
Sometimes it feels like it’s being weird just to be weird.

Holy crap, Dennis Hopper’s character, a very 60s-dude, Dennis Hopper-y photojournalist who worships Colonel Kurtz, is annoying as all get out. Good thing he’s in very little of the film.

Some of the music choices are questionable. There are a few songs that are spot on (“The End” by The Doors, “The Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner). And then there’s a bunch of music where I thought to myself, “What's up with this late 70s BS?”

Good Stuff:
It does an excellent job of showcasing both the horror (<—See what I did there?) and the absurdity of war. I don’t think it’s too difficult to show how horrible war is, but showing the absurdity is more nuanced. One of my favorite scenes is when Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall), who most people remember for his “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” line, obsessed with surfing, tells soldier Lance Johnson (Sam Bottoms), a semi-famous American surfer, to go out and surf while they’re still under heavy fire. Lance replies, “What?” And it could be played that Lance simply hadn’t heard him, but that’s not what I got out of it. To me, that one word conveyed, “Are you insane?”

It’s the kind of movie that will find a way to punch nearly every viewer in the gut. For me, that gut-punch moment is the thing with the puppy, more specifically, how the American soldiers end up with the puppy. I’d completely forgotten about it. Upon this viewing, I burst into tears.

My husband rather vociferously hates Brando’s performance in this (and hates the movie in general), but I couldn’t disagree more. I think he’s absolutely mesmerizing. He commands every last second of the little screen time he has.

The Verdict:
It’s a good film. Personally, I don’t think it’s as great as people make it out to be. It’s very weird, and it’s kind of slow. For a war movie, there’s not a ton of action, so I think that’s a bit unusual. There are definitely other movies about the Vietnam War that I like better (*cough* Platoon *cough*). But it’s still a good film. I don’t think there’s a bad actor in the bunch, the writing is solid, especially the dialogue, and I have only positive things to say about the cinematography and editing. I also think that it’s an important film, the kind that helps to define a generation (i.e. the Baby Boomers). A definite must-see-at-least-once-in-your-life movie.

I give it 4 stars.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Up with U.S. Geography: Connecticut

State Name:


Date of Entry:
January 9, 1788


Map of USA. Connecticut outlined in dark ink, shaded,
and with an arrow pointing to it.

A close-up of Connecticut and its neighbors.

Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York

Water Borders:
Long Island Sound, Atlantic Ocean

Total Area:
5,543 square miles

Five Largest Cities:
Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, Waterbury

Famous Geographical Point:
Connecticut River

State Nickname:
The Constitution State. So named because it's believed that the U.S. Constitution was drafted based on ideas from Connecticut's first constitution. (Personally, I prefer its alternate nickname, The Nutmeg State.)

Famous Person:
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author and abolitionist

Book Set In/About:
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Explores a married couple's lives of quiet suburban desperation in the 1950s. Somehow, my husband and I went to see the movie version a number of years ago and it was, quite literally, one of the most depressing films I've ever seen.

Movie Set In/About:
"Holiday Inn" (1942), directed by Mark Sandrich

A palette cleanser for the book above. After retiring from Broadway to rural Connecticut, a talented performer (Bing Crosby natch) decides that farm life doesn't suit him and plans to turn said farm into an entertainment venue that's only open on holidays. It's a sweet film if you ignore the one performance that's done in black face.

Headline of the Day:
"Connecticut Rock Pile Known as Negro Heads May Get a New Name" in the New York Times.

WTF, Connecticut.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

AFI Top 100, #29: "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939)

Movie Stats:
Released 1939 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Frank Capra
Stars - James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Thomas Mitchell

Plot Summary:
When a corrupt senator dies unexpectedly, his cronies, including Senator Joseph Paine (Rains), appoint naive non-politician Jefferson Smith (Stewart) in his place, thinking that they’ll be able to control him long enough to sneak some lucrative pork into a bill. They’re wrong. Arthur co-stars as Smith’s secretary, Saunders, and Mitchell as journalist, and good friend to Saunders, Diz Moore.

Minor violence.

Bad Stuff:
It’s pretty hokey.

The characters are too black and white. Except for Senator Paine (who doesn’t even redeem himself until the last three minutes), the bad guys are unrelentingly evil. Jefferson is so wholesome, he belongs in one of those commercials put out by The Foundation for a Better Life. It’s not even the lack of believability that bothers me; it honestly got tiresome after a while.

The ending is quite abrupt and open.

Good Stuff:
In my opinion, this is the role for Jimmy Stewart and he knocks it out of the park. Rains is no slouch either.

I like the idea that optimism and idealism can defeat cynicism and corruption. I don’t believe it, but I like it.

It does an excellent job of explaining how politics work without being boring. You come away from it feeling that you’ve learned something on top of being entertained.

Given the subject matter, it could have been preachy, but it’s not. It’s more like a fictionalized documentary than it is a film with a message to push.

The Verdict:
I can’t decide if this movie is depressing, because it shows that politics have always been as awful and corrupt as they are now, or if it’s comforting for the same reason. I loved it when I was younger. Now that I’m older, and a great deal more cynical, I'm more lukewarm toward it. I like the story, the acting, and (for the most part) the direction. Mostly, it’s the characterization that’s executed poorly, which could be a writing problem, although the dialogue is good. Also, I think there are some editing issues. All around, I would say that it’s solid and entertaining, but not very high on my “love” list.

I give it 3.75 stars.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

AFI Top 100, #30: "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948)

Movie Stats:
Released 1948 (USA)
American, in English (lots of Spanish, much of it non-translated)
Director - John Huston
Stars - Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt

Plot Summary:
Down on his luck in Mexico, Dobbs (Bogart) teams up with fellow Americans Howard (Huston) and Curtin (Holt) in a quest for gold.


Bad Stuff:
I can’t say that I’ve ever considered the name “Bogart” to be synonymous with “overacting” before, but I thought he chewed a lot of scenery here.

I didn’t find the character of Huston particularly believable. His reaction to everything was too perfect. He was an emotional Mary Sue.

Too long/too much arguing. The point was belabored.

Good Stuff:
The theme of the film was interesting to me. It was a nice exploration of desperation and greed, and how those things can lead to madness. While I thought that Bogart overplayed it, I enjoyed watching his character slowly lose his mind.

I really liked Curtin. If Howard was the brains of the operation, and Bogart the (wild) emotion, Curtin was the heart, strong but never corrupted. Holt’s performance was solid. His WTF facial expression toward the end, while Howard was laughing over their change in fortune, was highly amusing.

I liked the stark, desert setting.

The Verdict:
I liked it. It is another one of those movies that’s not ridiculously long (a little over two hours) but feels longer, mostly because, in the middle, it gets repetitious. “Oh, they’re arguing again,” I would think. “Dobbs is acting crazy. Someone wants to steal their gold,” etc. So it could have been a little shorter. I thought the beginning in Tampico, which depicts the mens’ struggle to survive day-to-day, and the end, where we see their respective fates, were well done. Some performances were so-so, while others were quite good. Overall, I thought it was pretty good.

I give it 3.75 stars.