Saturday, March 27, 2010

Movin' On...

The time has come.

I'm picking up stakes and movin' on. I'm going across the country to Maryland where the grass is green and the houses are affordable! I probably won't be posting much for the next week or so, but I remember I wrote this reivew for The Backlot Murders in tribute of Corey Haim. Maybe this will keep you busy.

The road is mightly long, but as long as I have BJ and the Bear I know it'll be just fine...

Keep the home fires and the made for TV movies burnin', willya?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Robert Culp: 1930 - 2010

A man's man and one sexy beast, Robert Culp will forever be in my heart for his hilarious portrayal of FBI agent Bill Maxwell on the Greatest American Hero. He may have broke boundaries when he teamed up with Bill Cosby for the excellent progressive action series I Spy, but I'll always remember him as the frustrated and befuddled Maxwell, who always managed to get the word "scenario" into every episode.

In the world of TV movies, Robert is probably best known for A Cold Night's Death (1973) and Outrage (also 1973). Wow, Robert made 1973 completely awesome!

Here's a link to my review of The Calendar Girl Murders, which I wrote for Camp Blood.

Mr. Culp was one cool cat. I will miss him immensely.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Must See Streaming Movie of the Week: The China Lake Murders (1990)

Network: USA
Original Air Date: January 31st, 1990

What do you do when you’re a big city copy turned small town sheriff who uncovers a series of murders by someone who just might be another boy in blue? Worse yet, what if you become his friend? That’s the conundrum Sheriff Sam Brodie (Tom Skerritt) faces in the underrated USA original film The China Lake Murders.

Sitting machismo

China Lake is rocked by a series of murders where the killer’s modus operandi is stuffing the victim in the trunk of their own car, letting them die slowly from the burning desert heat! Brodie is the new guy who tries to figure out who the culprit is. Michael Parks is Officer Donnelly the vacationing cop who likes to commit crimes along the outskirts of China Lake. He’s a sociopathic liar who often fantasizes about enforcing the law in much more violent ways. When he’s not thinking he’s a god or something, you can find him in the desert practicing Tai Chi, or maybe you’ll see him at the podunk diner romancing the lonely waitress (Lauren Tewes in a small but great role). Brodie might not be delusional, but his life is almost equal in its loneliness. He’s newly divorced and spends most of his nights in his wood paneled home drinking beer and wondering why his kid doesn’t want to see him (that is when he's not boinking his hot secretary). When Brodie and Donnelly first meet, a mutual respect and understanding comes into play, developing into a nice friendship. But it doesn’t take long for the sheriff to figure out Donnelly’s game. The difficult part is proving it.

That unmistakable smile!

This movie is sort of a late entry into the world of made for television thrillers. By the time the 90s hit, TVMs were more centered on true crime and the always uplifting disease of the week. China Lake is not a network movie, it originally aired on USA, who was just beginning to produce original films at this time (if memory serves me correctly, the first original USA TVM was Murder By Night with Robert Urich. I watched it on premiere night cuz I’m just that nerdy!), and they did well with this little potboiler, which was their highest rated movie at the time of its first airing. It's a little bit of a throwback to the isolated thrillers of the 70s and honestly, it’s small screen heaven, with fantastically desolate desert locales and top notch acting. Parks coulda been way over the top, but as per his usual style, he know exactly which side of the line he needs to stand on, while at the same time letting himself teeter over to the outrageous, just to keep us on our toes. And it’s a big ol’ machismo on a stick fest, with Skerritt and Parks looking gruff and leathery. Mmmmmm. Oh yeah, and it's an engaging thriller, but what does that matter when you have this much machismo?

Machismo in action!

After a bit of a dry spell with their streaming movies, Netflix has finally added some great titles to their stream, including this one. I do say, check The China Lake Murders out! And tell them Amanda By Night sent ya!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Peter Graves 1926 - 2010

We lost one of the greats. Peter Graves died today. His golden voice rings in my ears right now. What a wonderful actor with a stellar reputation as an all around good guy. I miss you already.

Here's a review I did at Camp Blood for his underrated Made for TV horror film Where Have All The People Gone?

Here's a review of Scream of the Wolf (by buzz)

My thoughts are with his family.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keepin' it in the Family...

I apologize for the lack of entries, I'm working on review right now. Finding time to get a movie in has been tough. The big news is that I'm moving to Maryland at the end of the month. So I am down to one online class, but packing up the TV movie collection has been a bee-otch!

However, recently my good friend Staci Layne Wilson asked some of her Facebook peeps who they they thought the iconic directors of the 70s were. I kept it mostly in the realm of television and gave a shout out to Lamont Johnson, John Llewellyn Moxey and Dan Curtis. Well, I made the list, so please check out the blog post. I should probably do something like this, only keep it boob-tube-centric. It would be fun!

In a few weeks, Made for TV Mayhem should be bumping and pumping, since I'll be a stranger in a strange land. Good for the blog - weird for me. But I didn't get to do some stuff over my winter break, so I am on it! YAY!

Monday, March 1, 2010

TV Family Reunions are Awesome!

Thank you Retroland for linking up to the wonderful TV Family Reunions the Today Show is doing this week. Today was the Bradfords from one of my all time favorite television shows, Eight is Enough! Everyone is looking good (especially you Grand Goodeve! Call me!) and it was a lot of fun to watch. There are two segments, the first is the basic Q&A featuring fond memories of the show. You'll notice the beautiful Dianne Kay is coming in via satellite and kind of gets lost in the shuffle, but never you mind, she's got some great stuff to say in the second, even lighter segment.

The greatest news delivered during this reunion: Connie Needham announcing that she's feeling great after beating ovarian cancer! I was so thrilled to see her looking beautiful and knowing she is healthy!

Tomorrow is the Partridge Family and Thursday is 227. Tune in and enjoy!