Archive for the ‘Movies & TV’ Category

Larry Carroll made an interesting ranking of what seems to be TV’s All Time Best Finale…

here is how they go:


Cheers“. After 11 breezy, brilliantly written seasons and 111 (!) Emmy nominations, everybody’s favorite neighborhood bar finally rang the bell for last call. Prodigal daughter Shelley Long returned one last time to play prissy Diane Chambers, who just might be the love of Sam Malone’s (Ted Danson) life after all. Still one of the highest-rated series finales of all time, “One for the Road” had Kirstie Alley’s Rebecca agreeing to pose as Sam’s wife, Woody (Woody Harrelson) ascending to the Boston City Council, Norm (George Wendt) getting a new job and Cliff (John Ratzenberger) earning a promotion; Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) … well … you already know what happened to him. Balancing the comedy and heartfelt emotion of the series one final time, Sam said goodbye to the regulars and then spied a shadowed man at the front door while trying to lock up. “Sorry, we’re closed,” Sam shouted out, then straightened a picture on the wall and headed into the back room forever. To paraphrase Hank Williams, it was enough to drop a tear in your beer.

Six Feet Under/HBO

Six Feet Under. If this one didn’t make you cry, then you were as dead as the multitude of characters offed at the end of the show. Keeping in line with the dark themes of the HBO series about a family of undertakers, “Everyone’s Waiting” concluded with a glimpse at the future deaths of all the main characters, set to a powerful musical sequence as Claire (Lauren Ambrose) drove away from them all. Much like life, it was meant to be as beautiful as it was tragic: The final episode also broke with the series tradition of starting each episode with a death, instead using a birth to invoke circle-of-life-like thoughts about the unavoidable beauty of it all.


M*A*S*H“. An astounding 77 percent of all TV viewers on Feb. 28, 1983, had the set tuned to “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the final episode of one of TV’s most beloved shows. The two-and-a-half hour finale did more tying up than a cowboy at a calf-roping competition, beginning with Hawkeye’s (Alan Alda) trip to the mental hospital and going up through the bombing of the camp and Klinger’s decision to stay in Korea. The final moment, with B.J. (Mike Farrell) and Hawkeye’s final words and the “Goodbye” spelled out in stones, is still regarded as one of the most powerful moments in television drama. It was the greatest final impression one could make — until that flavor of friendship was quickly replaced by the bitter aftertaste of “After M*A*S*H.”

The Fugitive/ABC

The Fugitive. The series finale that invented the modern-day series finale, this 1967 wrap-up to the classic series set a ratings record that lasted decades, despite the objections of a studio head who thought a conclusion might kill syndication opportunities. After four years of running, Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen) finally caught up to the one-armed man, allowing audiences the rare opportunity to despise a handicapped person. Several generations later, Harrison Ford would renew America’s hatred of the crippled, while everything from “NYPD Blue” to “Sex and the City” would similarly continue their love affair with the concept of the “big goodbye” series finale

Arrested Development/FOX

Arrested Development“. The writers had three long seasons of imminent cancellation to ponder endings to the dozens of story lines that this critically acclaimed ratings dud juggled every week, and they didn’t disappoint. For sheer manic lunacy, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more hilarious, head-spinning 120 minutes of entertainment than the goodbye of the Bluth family. Appropriately enough, the series finale was actually four episodes that Fox wanted to purge itself of, scheduled opposite the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, no less. Still, the tiny audience that tuned in saw George Sr. cleared of criminal charges, Gob and teenager Ann’s secret relationship, several different relatives trying to hook up with each other, the origin of the Frozen Banana stand and Buster’s final battle with the killer loose seal. After a family appearance on “Mock Trial with Judge Reinhold” featuring the house band “William Hung and His Hung Jury,” Michael (Jason Bateman) delivered a touching, tear-filled speech upon the realization that he was going to be stuck with his crazy family for a long, long time. If only we were all so lucky.


Moonlighting. Some great series finales come from a proper goodbye, and others arise out of last-minute necessity — as was the case with this late ’80s classic. Approximately two years after the writers stopped caring, audiences stopped watching and Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd stopped talking to each other, ABC abruptly cancelled the irreverent detective show. For one final time, the magic and creativity of the series returned: After a typical series setup offering a mystery to be solved, Maddie and David returned to the Blue Moon office to discover that all the furniture and props were being taken away. After a network executive informed them that the show had been cancelled, the disbelieving characters scampered frantically around the studio lot, confronting their no-longer-in-character co-stars and additional execs, who chastised them for losing the sexual chemistry that once made the show a success.


Roseanne. Any discussion of the gutsiest TV stars of all time has to include Roseanne Barr, a controversial and largely forgotten superstar who regularly gambled her enormous ratings on episodes about birth control, gay and lesbian relationships and other groundbreaking sitcom topics. Sure enough, Roseanne went out with a bang in 1997 for the two-parter “Into That Good Night,” which ended with a 15-minute monologue that had the star revealing that the last several seasons were actually a fictional story written by her character on the show. Explained away as the denial mechanism of the “real” Roseanne Conner, Barr told the audience that Dan had indeed died from his obesity-induced heart attack and that several other characters had also lived out very different “real” endings. Not exactly a hilarious conclusion to one of history’s greatest sitcoms, but you’ve gotta give a gal points for thinking outside the box.

Twin Peaks/Republic Pictures

Twin Peaks. It might be the only time David Lynch’s bizarre universe is compared with “Moonlighting,” but once again a show past its prime returned to brilliance under the duress of cancellation. Angry and jaded by Hollywood’s rejection of the drama it once embraced, Lynch returned to direct an insanely bleak second-half to the two episodes that were hurriedly combined for a finale “movie.” Fearlessly killing off a main character in practically every scene, Lynch seemed like a child determined to take his ball and go home if they wouldn’t play by his rules. Finally, the series creator took the character closest to audiences’ hearts (Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Cooper), cryptically split him into an evil doppelganger and then trapped him in hell (aka The Black Lodge) indefinitely. The last image Lynch gave his audience was a bloodied, babbling Cooper looking into a mirror, laughing maniacally while realizing his cruel final sentence. The episode was viewed by a tiny audience, yet remains one of the most fiercely noncommercial (and hard to find) TV episodes in the history of the medium


Newhart. America made a national game out of guessing the conclusion to comedy mastermind Bob Newhart’s top-rated sitcom — and still, nobody guessed it. After eight years of life with the wacky residents of the Stratford Inn, Dick and Joanna watched helplessly while Japanese investors turned the town’s residents into millionaires. After the rural area was transformed into a golf resort and Larry’s cousins Darryl and Darryl screamed the only line they’d ever deliver, aimed at their new wives (“Quiet!”), a furious Dick opened the door to the inn and was struck in the head with a golf ball. When things went dark, the audience feared the worst — but that fear was quickly replaced by a comedic masterstroke. When a light turned on in a vaguely familiar bedroom, Newhart awakened to tell his wife that he had just had the weirdest dream. The wife was revealed to be Suzanne Pleshette from “The Bob Newhart Show,” lying next to him in the tacky ’70s bedroom from that hit show. It was all just a dream, she insisted, telling the characteristically flustered Newhart to go back to sleep.

The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson/Retna

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. OK, it’s cheating a little bit, but it’s impossible to discuss TV’s greatest send-offs without including the final days of history’s greatest talk show. Technically, “The Tonight Show” is still on the air, but millions of Jay Leno refugees will tell you that the magic left with Johnny Carson after he spent his final days on-air getting serenaded, smooched and sainted by everyone from Bette Midler to Robin Williams. After the enormous hype surrounding his retirement, Carson revealed that he had considered putting on a re-run as one last joke for his final night but that NBC had squashed the idea. So instead, he sat in front of what he called his “shabby” little set one final time and had a very personal, very quiet evening with the world. “The greatest accolade I think I received: G.E. named me ‘Employee of the Month,'” Carson revealed with a trademark twinkle in his eye. “God knows, that was a dream come true.” Carson fully retreated from the public eye after that evening, making our memories all the more powerful. Johnny was one of a kind, but his finale should serve as the template for future goodbyes to our most beloved entertainers.

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Baywatch is an American television series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the crowded beaches of Los Angeles County, California. The show ran from 1989 to 2001. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Baywatch is the most watched TV show in the world of all time, with over 1.1 billion viewers.

Gregory J. Bonann worked as a Los Angeles County lifeguard, and started up a motion picture project about lifeguards that eventually becameBaywatchBaywatch premiered on NBC in 1989, but was cancelled after only one season because of the high cost of producing it and low ratings. Feeling the series still had potential, David Hasselhoff revived it for the first-run syndication market in 1991, investing his own money and additionally functioning as executive producer. The show was hugely successful, especially internationally. The show led to a spin-off:Baywatch Nights and a reunion movie, Baywatch: Hawaiian Wedding.

In 1999, an Australian version was planned and cast members travelled to Sydney for filming. The idea was to have the established stars appear in the pilot, interacting with a local life saving organisation, and thus help launch “Baywatch Downunder”. A pilot was filmed but the series was stopped when residents of Avalon put forth strong objections, including potential damage to a fragile ecosystem. Avalon council permanently barred all future filming, and the pilot remained unbroadcast for over a year, only to be panned by critics and viewers.

In Season 10, the location of the show was changed to Hawaii and the show’s name was changed to Baywatch Hawaii.


The show starred David Hasselhoff, of Knight Rider fame, as Mitch Buchannon, who was the only mainstay on the show, besides Michael Newman, for 10 of the 11 seasons. Baywatch was centered around the work of a team of lifeguards and their interpersonal relationships, with plots usually centering on dangers related to beach and other activities pertinent to the California (later Hawaii) beach lifestyle. Everything from earthquakes to shark attacks to serial killers, and even nuclear bombs, served as plot conflicts on the show. Saving people from drowning tended to be one of the most typical situations used in the shows. Thus a trademark of the show was slow motion shots of the attractive lifeguards running, most notably done by Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Alexandra Paul, and David Charvet along with Hasselhoff during the height of the show.

After the 1997-1998 season, many cast members decided to leave as the writing staff for Baywatch began to recycle storylines used in earlier seasons.

Many different actors and actresses were featured on the show over its long run with most appearing for only a few seasons. Some of the other stars who became famous were Pamela Anderson, Carmen Electra, Traci Bingham, Donna D’Errico, Nicole Eggert, David Chokachi,Gena Lee Nolin, Jaason Simmons, and Kelly Slater, a pro surfer, among many others. Erin Gray, former star of Silver Spoons and Buck Rogers, was among the cast.

The eleven seasons of the series dealt with a crew of tanned, muscular male and mostly large-breasted female lifeguards. It was one of the first network TV shows that featured frequent close-up shots of the large breasts.


Baywatch was most notable—some might say ‘notorious’—for most of its female cast members dropping their lifeguard swimsuits forPlayboy. Most of the female stars appeared in Playboy at the height of their fame on Baywatch, while Pamela Anderson and Carmen Electra had already appeared before joining the show. Yasmine Bleeth, who played lifeguard Caroline Holden, was at least one Baywatch actress who was offered $750,000.00 in 1998 to pose nude, but refused, vowing that she never would. 



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Original article appears in salon.com, by Heather Havrilesky

Productivity is overrated. When I think of the vast sea of to-do lists I’ve written over the past 20 years, thousands of little slips of paper with items crossed off and added and circled and rewritten on new lists, I’m struck by the utter futility of this incessant compulsion to accomplish stuff.

Surely the gods find such a relentless pursuit of trivial goals utterly pathetic! As they gaze down at us from their leisurely perches in the clouds, they must laugh heartily, to see how we scamper to and fro, telling ourselves that we’re almost done. But we’re never done! There’s always more laundry, more dishes, more deadlines, more errands, more phone calls, more e-mails, more projects, more, more, more!

Why awake each morning with a to-do list? When we’re old and gray, will we measure our lives in laundry, errands and e-mails? It’s time we finally emancipated ourselves from the oppressive, ever-looming burden of productivity. Life is too short to waste time inventing even more supposedly important, time-sensitive tasks. Let’s float free of goal-oriented living and drift aimlessly through the world like idle aristocrats or retirees or stray dogs! Let’s spend our time wandering and sniffing around and relaxing in the sunshine and sipping coffee and reading the paper and musing on the meaning of it all!

But then, how will you escape the tidal wave of idiotic, pointless tasks that’s sure to drag you under after just a few idle days? If only you were going through some kind of a midlife crisis or struggling with some sort of substance abuse problem, you’d have a solid excuse for dropping out completely …

It’s no wonder the inhabitants of “Big Brother” (9 p.m. EDT Tuesdays, 8 p.m. EDT Wednesdays and Sundays on CBS) always seem like such a fragile lot. Unable to conjure the proper degree of enthusiasm for drinking or drugs or a nervous breakdown, they opted for an equally tumultuous and undignified exit from their everyday lives: the reality show. But what better excuse for avoiding your responsibilities in life than by literally being imprisoned in a well-lit romper room with other aimless, soul-searching drifters?

“Big Brother” offers a rare opportunity to observe human beings in a completely idle state. But do the inhabitants seem relaxed and happy, like retirees or stray dogs? Sadly, no — they’re more like depressed zoo animals. But unlike captive polar bears, which pace the same steps over and over, quietly going insane over the years, captive human beings display their deteriorating mental health in much more colorful and entertaining ways. Say what you will about “Big Brother” in general, but this season has featured, hands down, the most demented, manic, talkative, paranoid, melodramatic crop of prisoners in the history of the show.

Splitting the group into teams of two and telling them they’d been paired with their soul mates was a stroke of genius. Partners Chelsia and James fell in lust and made out around the clock. Natalie grew infatuated with her partner, Matt, and became convinced that he adored her, too — he just happened to show it by avoiding her and insulting her constantly. And partners Sheila and Adam hated each other more than they would’ve otherwise, considering each other far too ugly and inferior to constitute a proper match. But whether bonded by love or mutual hatred, the couples became close out of necessity, coming up with joint strategies, working together during challenges, sleeping in the same beds, and insulting the other houseguests ruthlessly in the privacy of the Head of Household room.

Of course, the second everyone got comfortable, it was time to tear the couples asunder, forcing each player to compete individually. The house went from being a bustling beehive of strategizing, alliance forming and shit talking to an asylum filled with desperate, chattering lunatics. While in past seasons, the captives of the “Big Brother” house would sit around talking about nothing, and once every three or four days someone would trip on something or get into a bickering match and that footage would make it onto the show, this season, I pity the editors who have to decide what footage to include.

If you’ve checked in with the live footage of the house featured on “Big Brother After Dark” (12 a.m.-3 a.m. EDT on Showtime 2), you’ll see that every single night, the captives stay up late, strategizing and talking shit. Joshua calls Allison sad and pathetic. Matt makes a move on Sharon. Matt and Sharon confide in other players that they only kissed each other for strategic reasons. Natalie follows Matt around. James and Chelsia make out. James suggests Chelsia for eviction … The insanity goes on and on and on, with brand-new alliances and enemies forming every few milliseconds. This season, the Big Brotherians are willing to strategize with anyone, at any time, whether that person is on their side or not.

Take last week: Josh and James resolve to persuade Ryan to vote out his buddy, Matt. Natalie, who’s ostensibly in agreement, turns around and tells her darling Matt. Matt tells Ryan. Ryan agrees not to put Matt up, but tells Josh, James and the others that he’ll put Matt up anyway. Ryan makes a secret deal with Josh. Ryan changes his mind, and puts James up. James is voted out 5-1, but then, when the housemates have to decide between bringing back James or another unknown houseguest who’s already been voted out, they bring back James. James wins Head of Household and then goes on the warpath, since he feels betrayed by everyone but his lusty former partner, Chelsia, and proclaims the rest of the house total idiots for voting him back in. James promises Natalie he won’t put Matt on the block, so he puts Ryan and Sheila up for eviction, then wins the power of veto (so he can take someone off the block), changes his mind, takes Sheila off and puts Matt on the block after all. Matt’s voted out, leaving Natalie heartbroken and hungry for vengeance.

In the old days, there’d be three or four big power shifts per season. This season, the power in the house shifts constantly — it never stops shifting. You can tune in for an episode and see one thing, then switch over to “After Dark” and see a completely different plan emerging. No one has a concrete plan. Everyone is all over the map, and nothing you hear anyone say matters one damn, because they’ll turn around and say the exact opposite thing a few hours later.

Which makes this show even more of a colossal waste of time than it usually is — which is exactly why we list-makers love it with a burning passion. Three nights a week, we sit and waste a full hour on this circular, gossipy, pointless chatter. It’s the least productive, emptiest, most foolish thing we could possibly spend our time doing, and as such it constitutes one small taste of emancipation from the burden of productivity.

Pup is up
For those looking for something similarly relaxing to watch, but who can’t quite stomach the meatheads and acrid tartlets of reality television, might I recommend another group of very idle beings, albeit ones with far more personality and flair than the “Big Brother” houseguests?

Welcome to the Sleeping Dog Channel, an online video site by the geniuses at World of Wonder productions. The site shows nothing but dogs sleeping, which makes it a little less interesting than, say, “Dancing With the Stars” and a little more interesting than “CSI: Miami.”

What is it about watching dogs sleep that’s so relaxing? Whether it’s the heavy-lidded blinking of Chloe or the worried brow and paw licking of Stella, the Sleeping Dog Channel offers so many hours of commercial-free enjoyment that it’s sure to make its creators rich, I tell you, rich as kings!

Now if only they could recast “Paradise Hotel 2” with rescue dogs, the show would be much improved: “Residents of Paradise, there’s a twist! Instead of bringing a new man to Paradise this week, we’re bringing a male collie mix, a female Great Dane-lab mix and a litter of Jack Russells! Will you continue to get drunk and make out with your current roommate, or would you rather drink to excess, then frolic with a room full of high-energy puppies, and send your current roommate packing?”

The harried leisure class
The irony, of course, is that truly idle human beings are, like caged animals, more neurotic and anxious than the rest of us. Look no further than “The Real Housewives of New York City” (11 p.m. Tuesdays on Bravo) for proof. Despite a lot of big talk about their careers, these high-strung New Yorkers don’t appear to have a lot to occupy their time, outside of beauty treatments, shopping and socializing. Oh, but don’t think for a second that you can’t create a world of stress and pressure from these seemingly relaxing pursuits! These desperate housewives make play look like serious work.

Of course, the real draw of this show is to marvel at the hopeless tackiness of people who claim to be elite. The most objectionable of the lot may be Alex, who loves to brag about how perfect her life is and how superior her taste is. She doesn’t go to the Hamptons in August like so many wealthy New Yorkers; she goes to St. Barth instead. Why? “For a vacation, I want to relax. I don’t want to be looking over my shoulder to see if there’s somebody I need to impress sitting at the next table.” My, how down to earth of you!

Naturally the only “Real Housewife” who isn’t seriously cheesy, LuAnn, is a major snob. She’s married to a man whose actual name is Count Alexandre, and her daughter Victoria, who’s 12, shows horses and has been riding since she was 5. When loudmouthed fellow “Real Housewife” Ramona shows up at the Hampton Classic horse show where Victoria is riding, LuAnn sniffs at how out of place Ramona looks in her big hat and her dress, saying, “I think she thought it was like the big tent day, where you get all dolled up and it’s all about the hat and the dress? This day was all about the show, and the jumping.” Oh yes, it’s so very easy to break some crucial rule in the hallowed, horsey Hamptons!

Meanwhile, poor Ramona nervously grips her photocopied schedule of the day’s events and fires questions at LuAnn like she’s the new girl at school, while LuAnn snipes to a friend, “She keeps asking me all these questions about the show and I’m going, I don’t know, I’m watching.”

But the pettiness has only just begun! Later “Real Housewife” Jill feels hurt that Ramona didn’t invite her to a cooking party, and seeks revenge — how else? — by challenging her to a doubles match at tennis. LuAnn, who’s tall and athletic, is Jill’s partner (and they’re actually friends). After her husband, Mario, shouts several instructions from the sidelines, Ramona loses her cool and tells him to keep quiet. For WASP-y LuAnn, the whole display is lamentable.

LuAnn: I was in shock! She told him to shut up. She told him to leave! I was like, oh my God, if I ever spoke to the Count like that he would be out of town, permanently!

Yes, this woman, who refers to her husband as the Count, feels comfortable casting judgment on others. Now I can’t get that counting vampire from “Sesame Street” out of my head. One absurdly snotty remark! Two absurdly snotty remarks! Muhaha!

But LuAnn and her equally judgmental fellow “Real Housewife” Bethenny give the NYC version of this show what the Orange County version so sorely lacked: a voice of reason, however nasty and condescending that voice happens to be. Those bad, cheesy women in Orange County would parade around in ass pants with their fake jugs on display, throwing back margaritas and flirting with men 20 years younger than they were, and while you had to admire their pluck and sass, some small part of your brain couldn’t help screaming, “Why doesn’t someone tell these women to keep their voices down?”

Unlike the Orange County “Real Housewives” who looked like they’d been surgically transformed into creepy old Barbie dolls, LuAnn and Bethenny wear the life of leisure rather well, like they spend most of their time playing tennis and brushing stray dust off the bed linens. They’re fit, they’re smart, they have good taste. In a teaser for next week’s show, Bethenny even observes that Alex “overcompensates for insecurity by being pretentious.”

Needless to say, this is totally unacceptable. We aren’t supposed to respect or envy the idle rich; we’re supposed to pity them! Luckily, though, next week Bethenny’s boyfriend gets commitment-phobic and the Countess’s children get lice. Yes, the good Lord (or at least the executive producer) is on our side after all!

Drawing conclusions
The lives of the idle force us to ask ourselves a difficult question: If we freed ourselves from the puerile persistence of productivity, would we find happiness? Or would living without lists make us listless? Would we find ourselves quick to temper without little tasks to ground us? Would idleness only make us more aggressive, or tackier, or snobbier? Maybe we should feel grateful to those endless to-do lists, for keeping us safe from the neurotic tics and existential crises of the leisure class!

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Top Gun is an Academy Award winning 1986 American film directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr., and was inspired by an article written by Ehud Yonay for California Magazine entitled “Top Guns.” The film stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer and Tom Skerritt.

The film follows LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young Naval aviator who aspires to be a top fighter pilot in the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, which trains the top 1% of all Naval aviators. Maverick gets his chance to attend the school after one pilot drops out, allowing him and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer, the “back seater” in the two-man F-14) LTJG Nick ‘Goose’ Bradshaw to train with the best. The film opened in America on May 16, 1986 to good reviews, the aerial scenes being most notably praised. Similar praise followed soon afterwards when the film broke records at the box office, becoming a mega hit. The film accumulated over $350 million world-wide, and broke home-video sales records.

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Moonlighting is an American television series that first aired on ABC from 1985 to 1989 with a total of 66 episodes. The show starred Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as private detectives and was a mixture of drama, comedy and romance that is considered a classic spoof of television detective shows.

The show’s theme song was performed by popular jazz singer Al Jarreau and became a minor hit. The show is also credited with making Willis a major star while reviving Shepherd’s acting career.

The series revolved around cases investigated by Blue Moon Detective Agency and its two partners, Madolyn “Maddie” Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis). The show, with a mix of mystery, sharp dialogue and sexual tension between its two leads, introduced Bruce Willis to the world and brought Cybill Shepherd back into the spotlight after nearly a decade-long absence. The characters were first introduced in a two-hour TV movie which preceded the show.

The show’s storyline begins with the reversal of fortune of a former model, Hayes, who finds herself bankrupt after her accountant embezzles all of her liquid assets. She is left saddled with several failing businesses formerly maintained as tax write-offs, one of which is the City of Angels Detective Agency, helmed by the carefree David Addison. Between the pilot episode and first episode, Addison persuades Hayes to keep the business and run it in partnership. The detective agency is renamed “Blue Moon Investigations” because Hayes was most famous as the spokesmodel for the (fictitious) Blue Moon Shampoo company. In many episodes, she was recognized as “The Blue Moon Shampoo Girl,” if not by name.

The show also starred Allyce Beasley as Agnes DiPesto, the firm’s quirky receptionist who regularly answered the phone in rhyming couplets, a la Dr. Seuss. In later seasons, Curtis Armstrong — familiar as the character Booger from the Revenge of the Nerds films — joined the cast as Herbert Viola, a temporary employee turned Blue Moon investigator and a love interest for Agnes.

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The Deer Hunter (1978) is an Academy Award winning American film about a trio of Rusyn American steel worker friends and their infantry service in the Vietnam War. It is loosely inspired by the German novel Three Comrades (1937), by World War I veteran Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, which follows the lives of a trio of World War I veterans in 1920s Weimar Germany. Like the novel, The Deer Hunter meditates and explores the moral and mental consequences of war violence and politically-manipulated patriotism upon the meaning of friendship, honor, and family in a tightly-knit community and deals with controversial issues such drug abuse, suicide, infidelity and mental illness.

The film features Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. The story occurs in southern Vietnam and in working-class Clairton, Pennsylvania, a Monongahela River town south of Pittsburgh. It was filmed in the Pittsburgh area; Cleveland and Mingo Junction, Ohio; Weirton, West Virginia; the North Cascades National Park, Washington State, the Patpong region of Bangkok, Thailand (as the Saigon red light district), and in Sai Yok, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand.

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Batman is a 1989 superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, and directed by Tim Burton. The film features Michael Keaton as Batman, as well as Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, and Jack Palance. The film is primarily known for depicting a darker and more serious version of the character rather than the more acknowledged Batman TV series from the 1960s. It takes inspirations seen by the work of Bill Finger and Bob Kane’s stories from 1939.

Development phase for the film initially started as far back as the late 1970s, though due to creative differences on the project, it took roughly ten years to make the film. The film was shot almost entirely at Pinewood Studios and relied upon traditional stunts and miniatures for visual effects. Batman was both critically and commercially successful and garnered the sequel Batman Returns, as well as Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, though the last two were directed by Joel Schumacher rather than Burton. The film series would eventually be “rebooted” with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.

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Friends – Six young people, on their own and struggling to survive in the real world, find the companionship, comfort and support they get from each other to be the perfect antidote to the pressures of life.


ER – Michael Crichton has created a medical drama that chronicles life and death in a Chicago hospital emergency room. Each episode tells the tale of another day in the ER, from the exciting to the mundane, and the joyous to the heart-rending. Frenetic pacing, interwoven plot lines, and emotional roller-coastering is used to attempt to accurately depict the stressful environment found there. This show even portrays the plight of medical students in their quest to become physicians.



Seinfeld – Jerry Seinfeld stars in this television comedy series as himself, a comedian. The premise of this sitcom is Jerry and his friends going through everyday life, discussing various quirky situations that we can all relate to (especially if we live in New York). The eccentric personalities of the offbeat characters who make up Jerry’s social circle contribute to the fun.



I Love Lucy – Cuban Bandleader Ricky Ricardo would be happy if his wife Lucy would just be a housewife. Instead she tries constantly to perform at the Tropicana where he works, and make life comically frantic in the apartment building they share with landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz. The first major show to be put on film rather than kinescope.


The Sopranos – An innovative look at the life of fictional Mafia Capo Tony Soprano, this serial is presented largely first person, but additional perspective is conveyed by the intimate conversations Tony has with his psychotherapist. We see Tony at work, at home, and in therapy. Moments of black comedy intersperse this aggressive, adult drama, with adult language, and extreme violence.


The Simpsons – The Simpsons are a very politically incorrect family. Homer works with pride in a nuclear power plant run with more regard for profit that safety. His wife is Marge, a kind of supermom. They have three kids: Bart, an underachiever (“and proud of it”), Lisa (who is as serious and responsible as Bart isn’t), and Maggie.


The Cosby Show – Long running popular comedy television series about the Huxtable family. Doctor Heathcliff Huxtable and Clair Huxtable, a happily married couple, are raising their children (Sondra, Denise, Theodore, Vanessa, and Rudy). The two oldest daughters eventually graduate from college and get married (Sondra to Elvin and Denise to Martin).


The X-Files – This television series follows the adventures and lives of FBI agents investigating those cases that involve the paranormal or previously unsolved (especially by conventional means). FBI Special Agents Mulder, Scully, Doggett and Reyes work to uncover forces within the United States of America government that would violate people’s rights, alien creatures and monsters alike that attack and other mysteries.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Buffy is sixteen years old and is the “chosen one” . She gets to kill vampires because it is her destiny to do so. She had a bad reputation at her old school in Los Angeles because she had burned the gym down. The principal at her new school at first rips up her records, and then tapes her records back together again. Buffy tries to explain that the gym at her old school had to be burned down because it was full of vampires! Buffy and her mom just want a fresh start in their new, suburban California home, where the good part of town is half a block away from the bad part of town. In her new high school, Buffy meets an eccentric librarian who knows that Buffy is the “chosen one”. At first, the librarian scares her away by showing her a book about vampires, but then she returns to the library, knowing that the librarian can help her out with fighting off vampires and other supernatural things.


Star Trek: The Next Generation – Settled in the 24th century and 78 years after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise this new series is the long awaited successor to the original Star Trek series from the 1960’s. Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard the all new Enterprise NCC 1701-D travels out to distant planets to seek out new life and to boldly go where no one has gone before.

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Fahrenheit 9/11 is an award-winning film by American filmmaker Michael Moore that presents a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the “War on Terrorism”, and its coverage in the American news media. The film holds the record for highest box office receipts by a general release documentary.

In the film, Moore contends that American corporate media were “cheerleaders” for the 2003 invasion of Iraq and did not provide an accurate and objective analysis of the rationale for the war or the resulting casualties there. The film’s harsh attack on the Bush administration generated much controversy around the time of the film’s release, including disputes over its accuracy.

The film debuted at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in the documentary film category and was awarded the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm), the festival’s highest award.

The film had a general release in the United States and Canada on June 23, 2004. It has since been released in 42 more countries. As of January 2005, the film had grossed nearly US$120 million in U.S. box office, and over US$220 million worldwide, an unprecedented amount for a political documentary. Sony reported first-day DVD sales of two million copies, again a new record for the genre.

The title of the film alludes to Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, which describes a totalitarian dystopia in the United States, and combines it with the September 11, 2001 attacks.

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Friends is a sitcom about a group living in the New York City borough of Manhattan that was originally broadcast from 1994 to 2004. It was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and produced by Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane. The show has been broadcast in over one hundred countries and still continues to attract good ratings for its episodes in syndication. The final episode of the show was watched by an estimated US audience of 51.1 million.

The friends are:

* Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, a waitress for Central Perk who later gets a career in fashion management at Bloomingdale’s and later at Ralph Lauren.
* Courteney Cox Arquette as Monica Geller, a neurotic chef who works at several restaurants throughout the series.
* Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, an eccentric masseuse and musician.
* Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani, a definite player and struggling actor who becomes famous for his role on Days Of Our Lives as Dr. Drake Ramoray.
* Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, an executive in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration. He later gets a job in advertising.
* David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, a paleontologist working at a museum of Natural History and later a professor of paleontology at New York University.

Storylines and format

The first season introduces the six main characters and establishes the love Ross has felt for Rachel and she was his true love and would always be since the characters attended high school. Several episodes revolve around his attempts to tell her how he feels. She eventually finds out in the season finale. Meanwhile, Ross’ lesbian ex-wife Carol is pregnant with his baby. This puts him and Carol’s partner Susan in an awkward position. When the baby is born at the end of the season, Ross, Carol, and Susan agree to name him Ben. The episodic nature of the season sees the other characters having multiple dates, many of which go wrong (Monica dates a minor in one episode, for example). The recurring character of Janice (played by Maggie Wheeler) is introduced as a girlfriend Chandler breaks up with in an early episode but frequently returns to him through the ensuing ten seasons.

The second season features more serialized storylines; it begins when Rachel discovers that Ross is dating Julie (played by Lauren Tom), someone he knew from grad school. Julie returns for several episodes early in the season. Rachel’s attempts to tell Ross she likes him mirror his own failed attempts in the first season, though the characters eventually begin a relationship that lasts into the following season. Joey, a struggling actor in the first season, gets a part in a fictionalized version of the soap opera Days of Our Lives but loses the part soon after when he angers the writers by saying in an interview that he writes many of his own lines. Tom Selleck begins a recurring guest role as Richard Burke partway through the season. Richard, a friend of Monica and Ross’ parents who is recently divorced and with grown children, is 21 years older than Monica; in the season finale, they end the relationship when they realize that he does not want any more children and she does. The second season also served to deepen Chandler and Joey’s friendship. This becomes especially apparent in the episodes in which Joey temporarily moves out and a creepy guy named Eddie moves in.

Season three took on a significantly greater serialized format. Rachel begins working at Bloomingdales and Ross becomes jealous of her coworker, Mark. Ross and Rachel break up after Ross sleeps with the hot girl from the copy shop, Chloe. His insistance that he and Rachel were “on a break” becomes a running gag through the remaining seasons. The two show significant animosity towards each other through the second half of the season, though the cliffhanger ending suggests the two reconcile. Interestingly, the first episode after they break up doesn’t focus on the two of them, but on Chandler, who’s having a very hard time dealing with the situation, as it reminds him of his parents’ divorce. Phoebe, established as having no family, except for an identical twin sister, becomes acquainted with her half-brother (played by Giovanni Ribisi) and in the finale discovers her birth mother she never knew she had (played by Teri Garr).

During the fourth season, Lisa Kudrow became pregnant. To explain away her pregnancy, a storyline was created whereby Phoebe became a surrogate mother to the children of her brother and his wife (played by Debra Jo Rupp). Ross and Rachel briefly reconcile in the premiere but soon break up again. Mid-season, having moved on, Ross begins dating an English woman called Emily (played by Helen Baxendale) and the finale, featuring the wedding of the characters, was filmed on location in London. Chandler and Monica sleep together after a wedding guest mistakes Monica for Ross’ mother. Rachel attends the wedding at the last minute, intending to tell Ross that she still loves him, but she is sidetracked when Ross replaces Emily’s name with Rachel’s while saying his vows.

The fifth season follows Monica and Chandler keeping their new relationship a secret from their friends, while Ross’s marriage to Emily ends before it even started, following their wedding (Baxendale’s pregnancy prevented her from appearing on-screen in all but two episodes). Monica and Chandler’s relationship becomes public and on a trip away to Las Vegas, they decide to get married. On a cliffhanger, Ross and Rachel drunkenly stumble out of the wedding chapel.

In the sixth season premiere Ross and Rachel’s marriage is established to be a drunken mistake and the two get a divorce (Ross’s third). Monica and Chandler move in to her apartment together and Rachel moves in with Phoebe. Joey, still a struggling actor, gets a part on a cable television series called “Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E”, where he stars alongside a robot. Ross gets a job lecturing at New York University and starts dating a student (played by Alexandra Holden). Bruce Willis makes a three-episode cameo as her father. In the final episodes, Chandler decides to propose to Monica until he thinks she is catching on at which point Chandler starts acting like his old commitment-phobe self to throw off Monica. For a brief moment Monica considers going to back to Richard, who confesses to her that he still loves her and is willing to have children with her. Monica gets wind of Chandler’s idea, and attempts to propose to him but breaks down in tears and cannot finish. Chandler then asks her to marry him and the show is ended with celebration with many of the friends who were standing outside the door.

Season seven largely concerns various wedding-related antics by Monica and Chandler. Joey’s television series is cancelled but he is offered his old job back on Days of Our Lives. The two-part season finale follows Monica and Chandler’s wedding, with guest stars that include Kathleen Turner as Chandler’s transvestite father. The closing moments of the season reveal that Rachel is pregnant.

The eighth season’s first episodes follow a “Who’s the father?” format, with the father revealed to be Ross in episode two and Rachel telling him in episode three. Joey begins to develop romantic feelings for roommate Rachel (who moved in with Joey after the fire at Phoebe’s apartment left them with only one bedroom) and when Joey’s feelings are revealed things become awkward for the two. Eventually their friendship returns to its status quo but in the finale, following Rachel’s giving birth to a daughter, she accepts an accidental proposal of marriage from him. The season was regarded as a return to form for the series; its ratings increased as viewers tuned in for comfort following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

The ninth season follows Ross and Rachel living together with baby Emma after she and Joey clear up the misdirected proposal. She soon moves back in with Joey after a fight with Ross. Monica and Chandler, inspired by Ross and Rachel, decide to conceive a child of their own. They seek medical advice after several episodes of trying for a baby and discover both of them are physically unable to conceive. Paul Rudd appears in the recurring role of Mike Hannigan, a new boyfriend for Phoebe. Hank Azaria returns as David “the scientist guy”, a character originated in the first season, and Phoebe must choose between the two in a touching finale, deciding to choose Mike. The finale is set in Barbados, where the group goes to hear Ross give a keynote speech at a Palentologist confrence. Aisha Tyler appears as the series’ first recurring black character. Tyler plays Charlie, Joey’s intelligent girlfriend.

The tenth season closes up several storylines; Monica and Chandler decide to adopt a child, meeting Erica, a birth mother from Ohio (played by Anna Faris). Erica gives birth to twins in the series finale. Phoebe and Mike get married towards the end of the season and Rachel takes a job based in Paris. Ross declares his love for her and they resume their relationship (not making any mistakes this time) in the season finale, while Monica and Chandler move out of their apartment into the suburbs. Joey is upset that everything is changing. It is assumed that Rachel never went to Paris afterwards, she stayed in New York. In the series finale, Chandler has the last line of the show, asking “Where?” when the six go out for coffee.

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