Monthly Archives: June 2016

Netflix Marco Polo Season 2. I can’t wait.

I am so excited for Netflix’s Season 2 of Marco Polo I plan to watch it when released at 2:00 a.m. CST on July 1, 2016!

The original Netflix series Marco Polo was 10 episodes that premiered in December of 2014.  Fans like me have been waiting patiently for a year and a half for its second season.  The series has generated a vast divide between the mainstream critics who provided negative reviews (like Rotten Tomatoes which gave it a 28% positive rating) versus the Netflix figures I’ve seen which are as high a 93% favorable by the subscription viewers.

Netflix confidently produced a 10 episode second season premiering about a year and a half after season 1’s release.  I am in the latter camp believing that Marco Polo is a great series and I could not wait for the second season to be released.

The series obviously is based on the larger than life travels of the great Marco Polo’s time spent with Kubli Kahn and his rise in the Kahn’s court from essentially a hostage left by his father to the great Kahn’s close advisor.  The series finale ends with the Mongols breaching the last stronghold of southern China’s ruling dynasty and the Kahn assuming the throne of the Emperor who has gone into hiding.

I thought Season 1 was fantastic and went on a “Netflix binge” watching virtually the entire series in one long sitting.  I plan on staying up until 2:00 am this morning to watch at least the first episode and to save the rest for later in the evening.

Critics be dammed, Marco Polo is a great original series and if you have Netflix give it a chance if you haven’t already.


Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Movie Reviews


The Road to Wellville (1994) Strange but Watchable.

The Road to Wellville (1994) is the story of the doctor and “clean-living” guru John Harvey Kellogg and outlandish methods employed at his Battle Creek Sanitarium at the beginning of the 20th Century.


The film has a pretty good cast including Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Kellogg, Matthew Broderick as William Lightbody, Bridget Fonda as his spouse Eleanor, John Cusack as Charles Ossining, Dana Carvey as the doctor’s adopted son George, and Colm Meaney as Dr. Lionel Badger.


Dr. Kellogg’s sanitarium is located in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he practices his unusual methods for better health, including colonics, electrical stimulus, sexual abstinence, vegetarianism and physical exercise. The sanitarium is for the well-to-do patients including William and Eleanor Lightbody, who are suffering from poor health following the death of their child. On their way to Battle Creek they meet Charles Ossining (John Cusack), hoping to make a fortune by exploiting the fad for health food cereals.

Ossining finds a partner in Goodloe Bender. Having enlisted the services of George Kellogg, the doctor’s estranged adopted son, they attempt to produce “Kellogg’s Perfo Flakes.”  Using the Kellog name to attract consumers.


In the sanitarium, Will Lightbody is separated from his wife, and is soon harboring lustful thoughts toward Nurse Graves and a patient named Ida Muntz. His wife Eleanor, meanwhile, befriends Virginia Cranehill, who has a modern attitude toward sex, influenced by the works of Dr. Lionel Badger. Will eventually succumbs to Ida Muntz’s charms. Later he learns that Ida has died during treatment. Following the death of a patient in the sinusoidal bath, and the discovery of yet another death, Will suffers a breakdown, flees the sanitarium, gets drunk and eats some very rare meat. At the restaurant, he meets Ossining, and agrees to invest $1,000 in his health food business. Will returns drunk to the sanitarium, where he is reprimanded by Dr. Kellogg and is abandoned by a distraught Eleanor after vomiting on the good doctor.


Ossining’s business is a disaster producing nothing edible—not even by pigs. He and the partners resort to stealing Kellogg’s cornflakes and repackaging them in their own boxes and is eventually exposed as a fraud and arrested.

In a final coda, the Lightbodys have reconciled and are happily married, with four daughters. Will receives a check for $1,000 from Ossining, who has become a cola beverage tycoon. Dr. Kellogg dies of a heart attack while diving from a high board.


Sound strange and complicated?  Well it sort of is which makes the movie kind of an odd yet viewable film.  All the crazy inventions that Dr. Kellogg is using on his patients makes one wonder when they stopped using leaches to treat people’s ailments.  All in all the cast does a pretty good job and though the movie was a flop at the box office I think it is better than the reviews give it credit for.

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Posted by on June 29, 2016 in Movie Reviews


Revenge of the Nerds (1984).

I went to a Sci-Fi “Con” and the movie Revenge of the Nerds (1984) came to mind starring, among others, a young Anthony Edwards, Ted McGinley and Robert Carradine.

I went to Wiscon (a feminist Sci-Fi convention) over the Memorial Day weekend and then it came to me: Revenge of the Nerds all the way back to 1984!  I was not even in high school when this masterpiece came out but it made me laugh pretty hard especially given my sci-fi surroundings.

For those of you who may not have seem this film, or at least may have forgotten about it, Revenge of the Nerds really is a classic 1980’s film: “undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs. snobs subgenre” according to Rotten Tomatoes.  And a minor classic it is.

The film starts with Edwards and Carradine (both nerds) going to the fictional Atoms College.  They are kicked out of the freshmen dorms by the Alpha Betas, a fraternity composed primarily of football team members, after the Alphas carelessly burn down their own frat house.  Dean Ulich sets up the freshmen in temporary quarters in the school’s gymnasium, but allows them to rush the fraternities to alleviate their housing situation. Lewis, Gilbert, and other nerds fail to gain fraternity membership, but are able to rent and completely renovate a rundown two-story campus house.

However, the nerds are not left alone by the “jocks” who continue to haze them to the point of destroying their newly renovated residence.  Being the last straw, predictably, causes a showdown wherein nerd-Edwards makes a moving speech about nerd oppression turning the crows of listeners to their side and the Dean then orders the jock-Alpha Betas to repair the nerds’ house while allowing the nerds to stay in the Alpha Beta’s house until the repairs are completed with the dean stating “you’re jocks, go live in the gym.” The film ends with the nerds and alumni celebrating their victory, as rock band Queen’s power ballad “We Are the Champions” plays over the scene.

A word about some of the key actors mentioned above, of course Robert Carradine being the youngest son of Kung Fu Legend David Carradine playing the nerd-fraternity president and Anthony Edwards who would later go on to co-star in the hit Top Gun and then star in the TV series ER for many years.  Perhaps the most interesting actor Ted McGinley was given the name “the patron saint of shark-jumping” by founder Jon Hein.  This is a reference to the popular and enduring shows which have featured him in their declining years often to replace a departing regular cast member.  Shark-jumping shows like Happy Days and The Love Boat until he eventually go to Married With Children where he replaced one of the main characters but the show went on for another 6-7 years due in part to McGinley’s new character.

If you like John Hughes films you’ll like Revenge of the Nerds.


Posted by on June 1, 2016 in Movie Reviews

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