Tag Archives: comedies

THE RATINGS GAME (1984): MOVIE REVIEW

Ratings GameTHE RATINGS GAME (1984) – Danny DeVito directed and starred in this telefilm – now being re-released under the vague-to-the-point-of-meaningless title The Mogul, which was produced by Showtime back when they and HBO Films were emerging as a genuine creative force in original content.

That era saw HBO Films churn out many made-for-cable movies that reflected studio-level production values and often adapted fictional and non-fictional properties that neither networks nor Hollywood felt like tackling at the time.

Telefilms like And The Band Played On, Barbarians at the Gate, Gotti, Kissinger and Nixon plus many, many others received critical acclaim AND proved commercially successful when released on video or in syndication to – ironically – network television.  

Ratings Game bThe Ratings Game – written by Jim Mulholland and Michael Barrie – was a perfectly respectable satire on the network television ratings system but it has become unjustly forgotten. The change of title for its latest release seems like a desperate attempt to change the telefilm’s fortunes. 

Personally I really like The Ratings Game. It definitely qualifies as one for my list of Aristophanes Now productions, in this case because it captures the feel of the Parathespian Comedies from Attic Old Comedy. (But let’s face it, it would probably have been written by Strattis instead of Aristophanes.)

Part of the reason for this telefilm’s obscurity may be the way it satirized the flaws in the network ratings system. This flick was released when Nielsen and similar ratings outfits still often used a mere 1,100-1,200 participating homes to extrapolate the ratings numbers on which television programs lived or died.    Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television

MOVIE REVIEW: THE WORLD’S A STAGE (2014)

Would ALEC BALDWIN find the plot of this movie a little too close to reality?

Would ALEC BALDWIN find the plot of this movie a little too close to reality?

The World’s A Stage (2014 – Glitternight productions) – This independent film, though set here in the 21st Century, is reminiscent of ancient Greek political satires like the ones penned by Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus as well as the parathespian comedies of Strattis. A traveling troupe of actors visit an unnamed town and are a huge hit in a play dramatizing the heroics of a group of honest politicians. The citizens are bowled over by their performances and elect the men and women of the theatre troupe to actually govern their town.

Naturally the shallow and vain thespians are in way over their heads when it comes to dealing with real-world responsibilities and problems. Their egotistical need for applause and approval also makes them unfit for office, especially when it comes to Continue reading

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Filed under Fantastic Movie Reviews