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Category Archives: cheesy television

JPFmovies goes to the land down under for our next review: Rake (2010-2018)

Rake is about love, madness, addiction, and the law–in short, it is about modern life.  How can you go wrong with series premises like that?  You can’t!  Rake is an Australian television program.  It stars Richard Roxburgh as rake Cleaver Greene, a dazzling but self-destructive Sydney criminal law barrister, defending typically guilty clients.  Outside of the courtroom, Cleaver Greene is immature, reckless and self-destructive.  Inside of the courtroom, he is pretty much the same, but his reckless courtroom antics help his indefensible clients escape justice.  During his free time, Cleaver wastes away the hours at a local brothel with his favorite girl, Melissa Patridge, if that is her real name as well as doing a cornucopia of drugs from cocaine to booze to marijuana.  Although his trouble with the opposite sex is fairly evident, his gambling addiction is far worse and usually ends with him being beaten by Col Mancusi a petty criminal.

Due to his gambling, Cleaver faces his own day in court, as he pairs off against his rival, Harry, Sorry, David Potter (Matt Day). The pair not only fight over Cleaver’s tax records, but also Melissa. Cleaver relies on his ex-wife, Wendy Greene (Carline Brazier), for advice from time to time, which also leads to complications. Things get a little crazy, when they discover their son, Fuzz Greene (Keegan Joyce), is having a questionable affair.

 

Of course, Cleaver gets into relationship trouble of his own, when he slips up and winds up in bed with Barney’s wife, Scarlet (Danielle Cormack). Despite attempts to keep the affair secret, it eventually emerges and could potentially ruin things between Cleaver and Barney.  Rake also straddles the high/low cultural divide.  Cleaver frequently quotes Yeats, is a fan of Balzac, but remains distinctly Australian, with sayings like “Christ on a bike” or “Fuck me Sideways.” And in one Cleaver even tells a priest: “I could out-Nietzsche you at five paces.”

With his many flaws, and blunt, dismissive outlook, Cleaver Greene joins a long list of charismatic television anti-heroes likes Tony Soprano or Saul Goodman.

Although his morals are questionable, close friends and colleagues still rely on Cleaver. Underneath it all, he seems to generally try to do the right thing, although it usually ends badly.

Rake is definitely a hilarious show that is packed with plenty of drama and a tad bit emotion every once in a while. Throughout the entire first season, all of the performances were excellent and each of the characters, despite all of their flaws, are somewhat likable. Still, it is Richard Roxburgh, who leads the way and manages to keep everything funny, but realistic, inside and outside of the courtroom.

All of the supporting characters help to enhance the show significantly. Russell Dykstra and Matt Day do an excellent job helping to balance out Cleaver’s crazy antics. While the show is meant to be funny, it takes a fun approach to exposing some of the hypocrisies of society. Don’t be surprised, if you find yourself nodding in agreement, with some of the political statements in Rake.  All in all, the show is tremendously clever, sufficiently hilarious and definitely worth the watch.

If you have access to Netflix, watch the Australian version of the series the JPFmovies staff was uniform in its admiration for this original series.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2018 in cheesy television, Movie Reviews

 

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A stain on the golden age of the 1980s: T.V.’s Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982-1983) and SJ weighs in on it too.

Welcome back to JPFmovies. Yeah, it’s been a while, but we’re back and ready to review.  The JPFmovies staff was going through the DVD collection and found a 1980’s series still in the cellophane called: Tales of the Gold Monkey (1982-1983).  It ran for one season and was lucky to get that.  It is such a cheap rip-off of the hit movie Raiders of the Lost Arc, it is laughable.  Tales of the Gold Monkey ran 22 episodes and unbelievably won a Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction for a series.  And we say unbelievably because this is one of those “works of art” that is so bad it crosses the spectrum and becomes good even and if they’re lucky a cult classic.  One has to ask: what was the JPFmovies acquisition staff thinking when it invested in these DVDs?

Tales of the Gold Monkey was one of creator Donald P. Bellisario’s projects– the famed 1980s TV producer known for shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, and Quantum Leap.  How can someone who produced Magnum P.I. and Air Wolf turn out something as bad as Tales of the Gold Monkey?  Let’s stop pointing fingers and get down to business.

The show is set in 1938 in the South Pacific on an island called Bora Gora (a cheap rip-off of Bora Bora).  The main character supposedly is an ex-Flying Tigers pilot, but the Flying Tigers operated from 1941–1942—so I guess the show was three years early on that angle.  The creators couldn’t even get that right.  Then there is the main character, Jake Cutter (Stephen Collins) dressed as Indiana Jones who owns an air cargo delivery service, he flies a red and white Grumman Goose called Cutter’s Goose.  The side kick is an alcoholic mechanic named Corky (Jeff MacKay) and possibly is the most annoying side kick ever.  And of course, there’s the T.V. staple Jack Russell Terrier with one eye and an eye patch, who barks once for “no” and twice for “yes”—the dog even advises Jake on how to play poker.  Are you kidding me?

I have to tell you, we here at JPFmovies love to watch a pilot but this pilot was agonizing to get through the full hour and ½.  This flimsy cast of characters was so obviously stolen from numerous good movies like Casablanca, Indiana Jones and more.  To make matters worse these chumps are supposedly tied up in espionage, what is arguably the worst espionage plot we’ve ever seen, and on top of that they are on the hunt for a giant gold monkey.  The monkey they do find, however, is made of brass but in a scintillating ending the viewer discovers that there actually is a giant gold monkey; due to neglect, however, it is covered in vegetation and is hidden from the world.  Cheesy espionage plots, cardboard characters and what is obviously copyright infringement is what the rest of the episodes consist of.  As you can see from the clips, Tales of the Gold Monkey was spared a dog’s death because it was canceled after its first season.  We can only imagine the torture the viewer would have to go through to watch additional seasons of this lousy excuse for the golden age of 80s T.V.

SJ Bonus!  That’s right folks, long time consultant SJ had the opportunity to watch these gems with the JPFmovies staff and here were some of her thoughts:

“Oh my god how many times are we going to see that stock footage?”

“That is a guy in a monkey suit?”

“Someone should take that dog away from him.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“These women are stupid!”

“What is that guy waving his arm around for?”  Note. See Clip where guy gets bit by cobra.

“Is he wearing a plastic samurai battle helmet?  Oh my god I think he is!”

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2018 in cheesy television

 

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