Film Review: Kidz in the Wood (1996, dir. Neal Israel)


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I don’t know how I come across these things. This was a Disney Channel movie that was filmed in 1994, but aired in 1996 starring Dave Thomas. It also has Candace Cameron before the Bure. The quality is low because somebody filmed this off their TV. Luckily they did a great job. It looks decent and sounded just fine.

Dave Thomas plays a teacher who works at every troubled school from every 90s movie ever. You know this immediately because of the gang stereotypes that walk over.

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That’s the big problem with this movie: stereotypes. They are all over this thing. That, and Dave Thomas whipping a Native American. The drug trip is a little weird too.

We meet some of our other main characters such as one played by David Lascher who you might recognize from Hey Dude and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. He’s busy sexually harassing a blonde.

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Here’s Candace!

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Ah, 90s! She is a bit of a nymphomaniac in this. I am quite sure that at one point she asks if an egg frying on her tongue will turn on a guy. She’ll turn on a dime too once she gets a talking to by a female teacher who gives her horrible advice.

Next we get a guy who is a hypochondriac played by Alfonso Ribeiro.

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Bill Clinton then rears his head.

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Dave Thomas makes an attempt to connect with his students about history. This includes trying to get the students to remember Robert E. Lee because they have seen The Crow (1994) with Brandon Lee.

Next we meet the 90s strong female stereotype named Ms. Duffy.

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Two actors from Stargate SG-1 are in here too, but what it comes down to is that Dave Thomas wants to take his kids on an Oregon Trail type trip. When I was a kid we just had a computer game that did it for us. The principal tells Ms. Duffy (Julia Duffy) to go with them and record Dave Thomas screwing up so they can fire him despite his tenure. There we have our movie.

At the end of the day, these three are the best part of the movie other than the Native American they travel with during part of the film.

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They will say every single 90s saying you can imagine. I’m shocked they missed “that’s the way I like it” or “homie don’t play that.”

It’s off to the woods for these kidz. But first we get the mandatory hanging the kid out of the bus window bit.

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In my day, we just held up signs for truckers driving past that said “honk if you’re horny.”

They arrive and we meet the hippest Native American I have ever seen in a movie.

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This guy is awesome. He is played by Byron Chief-Moon.

Then we are off on the trail where Dave Thomas promptly gets himself flung off the wagon.

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During this whole thing we are getting a voiceover narration from Thomas because he has ancestors that are tied to this whole thing. It will barely have anything to do with anything. Then Dave Thomas whips the Indian.

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Now Dave Thomas decides it is time to eat a berry. That berry is a hallucinogen, which immediately sends him on a drug trip.

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He even starts seeing everyone as if they were in old times. This includes the Indian.

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This is immediately followed by morons on the wagon.

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This was made for television.

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Throughout the remainder of the film, the three gang guys think they are going to escape and go to Vegas.

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Around the campfire, Ms. Duffy wants to sing something by Snoop Snoopy Dog.

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She seems to think all rap is about guns and violence when she attempts to rap herself. I’d love to say that kind of thinking is only from the 80s and 90s, but I heard this same nonsense in a “documentary” called The Mask You Live In from 2015 that is currently on Netflix. But enough about propaganda.

Oh, and Candace Cameron is thinking about sex.

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She even gets into Hey Dude’s sleeping bag before he gets there.

vlcsnap-2016-09-04-16h33m41s359The next day Dave Thomas whips the Indian again.

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Then one more time for good measure before he realizes he doesn’t need the whip.

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After one of the wagons goes over in the water, the Indian goes on ahead where they are going to meet up eventually. This is done so that the teachers and the kids have their time to resolve their issues together.

Then Ms. Duffy gives Candace Cameron a sex talk. It amounts to stop being slutty and play hard to get instead. I’m pretty sure she actually uses the word “slutty”. Not exactly the right speech to give this girl. Maybe a simple, he’s obviously not interested, so you might want to move on would have done it. She can explore her sexuality as she pleases. She isn’t putting her or anyone else’s lives in danger.

Since all these people are idiots, they soon get themselves attacked by bees. That means it is time to put horse poop on Ms. Duffy.

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Even a skunk doesn’t want anything to do with her.

As all this goes on you get the typical stuff you would expect as the kids start coming around, the teachers start to like each other, and the three gang guys get scared by a bear.

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This leads right where you expect it to go.

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That’s right. The teachers fly off a cliff leaving the kids to think they are dead. I mean dead dead. They have no reason to believe they are alive. Here’s the cliff to drive home the point.

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Of course they caught a tree. I have to give Kidz in the Wood this.

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I actually believe that Dave Thomas and Julia Duffy are out in nature rather than Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk In The Woods (2015).

In the midst of all of this, the gang members found a map to hidden treasure, which they promptly light on fire with a magnifying glass.

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I mean a real fire.

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Eventually they all get back together and it all works out for the best. The kids return to class, pass, and graduate.

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Despite some of the inappropriate material and stereotypes, this was actually a reasonably enjoyable one of these kinds of movies. I’d recommend it.

Thank you to whomever this is that filmed their TV.

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Val’s Movie Roundup #20: Hallmark Edition


Not a whole lot to talk about this time, but let’s take a look anyways. Also, I have finally reached a point where the amount of these films going out is greater than coming in. Meaning the Hallmark streak is going to be coming to an end. There will be more, but hopefully not in such large amounts.

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Always and Forever (2009) – First off, this movie is directed by Kevin Connor who brought us the epic disaster that is Strawberry Summer. However, this one is pretty decent actually. We have a boy and a girl who were an item back in high school, moved on with their lives, but come back to town for a high school reunion. They also happen to be there for their jobs too. He is renovating a hotel and she is the interior designer. As seems to be standard in Hallmark movies, she comes prepackaged with a kid from a previous marriage and a current boyfriend. Nevertheless, they obviously still have strong feelings for each other and they drift back together very quickly. In fact, it’s kind of funny to go from a scene where they practically want to start going at it on the spot to her telling her friends there’s nothing between them. The movie worked well for me and it even had Ted (David Lascher) from Hey Dude. However, what didn’t work for me was when they put product placement at the center of the film’s climax!!!

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Really? What were they thinking!!! That pops out and ruins the scene, and thus the ending. It’s like if at the end of The Warriors, the guys walked over to a vending machine and starting drinking Pepsi to refresh themselves after their journey.

Still, this one is okay. Just know that Kay Jewelers is going to make an unwanted guest appearance at the end.

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After All These Years (2013) – After all these years, I still find Wendie Malick funny. Kind of a PG-13 Kim Cattrall. Anyways, I haven’t said it before, but I usually go into these movies blind. As a result, I was surprised to discover this was a murder mystery. However, unlike most of these, we use The Fugitive model here. Malick breaks up with her husband but in short order finds him dead at her house. When fingers start pointing at her, she goes on the run. What follows is rather humorous. It’s kind of what happens when Hallmark stops trying to sanitize, pander to a Christian audience, or add a political agenda, and just makes some family friendly entertainment. There’s really nothing to talk about here except to say it was fun. Well, except that it showed computer screens so here are two shots.

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The first one shows that her hacker friend is also a hardcore Excel user. The second seems to show that the production crew knew how to run a traceroute. It’s funny, but if you lookup some of those IP addresses, then you’ll find out they are in Canada where Lifetime and Hallmark movies are often produced, if not shot.

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A Bone To Pick: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (2015) – Going way back here to my 7th roundup and the beginning of this long streak of Hallmark editions to the first Aurora Teagarden movie I watched. I didn’t particularly care for that one and wondered if this first one was better. It is. This one begins with Teagarden working as a librarian and going to meetings of the Real Murders Club. An old former librarian friend of hers dies and leaves her estate to Teagarden. They were friends, but that comes as quite a shock since they weren’t that close. Then Teagarden finds a real skull in her house. Start the mystery!

I mentioned it when I reviewed the second Teagarden movie, and I’m still not sure if these aren’t meant to parody murder mysteries. Well, this one has Teagarden start looking into the skull with interest and she only moves faster and faster till she comes careening into the killers. This one works better in that sense because she has a start point that she builds from. In Real Murders, she finds out about the murder, then starts acting like she just took a massive snort of cocaine. It still gets a little ridiculous here, but works.

It’s funny, but when I watched Real Murders, I read a review for this one on IMDb and someone mentioned a green dress that she buys. There is a scene where she buys a supposedly expensive and great looking dress that people keep telling her looks great on her, but the review was right. It looks bad and clings to her stomach and crotch.

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Also, minor complaint, but maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have Candace Cameron Bure elaborately braid her hair. I guess she could be redoing the braid between showers or something, but honestly, it kind of tells us which scenes were shot in succession and which scenes, without the braid, were shot at other times. It also reminds us of the short amount of time in which TV movies are made.

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And yes, there was one computer screen, but pretty well done. I’m not sure why they could explicitly say she was using Google Earth to look at satellite imagery, but not have her at LinkedIn. Maybe because there would have been ads or real content that shouldn’t be in a movie. The only problem I see is that the URL is a wee bit long for a homepage. At least they thought to simply delete the local URL and type in a fake real looking one for the shot.

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The only other thing worth mentioning is the conversation the killers have with her at the end. I love when the one tells the other to kill her using the bat to which they reply that they don’t like the bat, so let’s drown her instead. It’s a rather humorous scene that I enjoyed.

Oh, one more thing. Now that we have both Candace Cameron Bure and Lori Loughlin doing these mystery movies on Hallmark, it’s crossover time! I want Aurora Teagarden vs. Garage Sale Mystery. I would love to see the two of them not work together. Have them both discover the mystery, but stumble over each other trying to solve it independently. If they’re willing to work with each other again on Fuller House, then Hallmark should strike while the iron is hot.

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Daniel’s Daughter (2008) – IMDb said that if I like this, then I might also like Your Love Never Fails. You all remember what I thought of that offensive piece of propaganda. Luckily, the two are worlds apart. You know what the huge difference is that makes them very different movies? In Your Love Never Fails, she was dragged from her successful job in the city to a small town through legal coercion, then kept there through more legal coercion. In Daniel’s Daughter, she willingly returns to her hometown because her father has passed away and wanted her to see him off. That makes an enormous difference.

It still is a little bit much. At least at the start when we are introduced to her and her job at Perfect magazine. I can’t really do it justice in how over the top it is, but it’s about as subtle as this kid in Nukie saying, “America! Help us!”

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But let’s back up a little because it doesn’t begin there. It begins in a rather vague way. It really could have used a little more exposition. We pick up the gist though. Mom died, Dad basically dumped her on strangers, and their lives went on apart from each other. This all happened in a little town on the East Coast called New Kerry that is on an island.

After some initial hesitancy, Cate Madighan (Laura Leighton) decides that if she is going to espouse the values she does in her magazine, then she needs to return to the island to respect her father’s wishes. She takes her assistant in tow. He’s actually the most likable character in my opinion. He is a city guy, but agrees to go along and makes the most of it. For example, they are at a fair and while he would never have sought it out, he has fun going around and finds some nice things to pick up. He even finds a piece of crystal for his collection that he couldn’t find elsewhere.

When she arrives she finds that two of her father’s friends that used to sing together don’t like each other anymore. Apparently, they had some argument and don’t talk now. We don’t find out why till the end of the movie. The rest is her moping while a guy on the island starts to bring her around and the two begin to fall in love. However, I’m not sure why it was necessary to have him be a former world traveler who then settled on the island. But didn’t just settle there, he says someone told him after he moved there that “There’s a whole world out there” to which he responds “That’s why I’m here.” So he saw the rest of the world and fled into seclusion? They put something at the end that seems to imply that his attitude is a little unhealthy, but till then it feels like an anti-city anti-modern life pro-small town thing. It probably wouldn’t if the opening scene at the magazine wasn’t so over the top.

All that said, this movie is pretty good except for one thing. It’s a bit of a spoiler. Up until the very end of the movie, the father is just a guy who abandoned her and was never a part of her life again. However, after her and the guy get the two bickering singers back together to perform at her father’s funeral, suddenly they remember they have a whole cache of letters that were sent to them about how much he loves her. You don’t say? Couldn’t have shown her those letters the instant she showed up in town? Kind of important, would’t you say? And no, I didn’t hear them say that it was her father’s wish they don’t share the letters with her to give them an excuse for holding back so long. Stupid, but it doesn’t ruin the movie. This one’s okay.

Horror on TV: Sabrina The Teenage Witch 6.4 “Murder on The Halloween Express”


In this episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch (which was originally broadcast on October 26th, 2001), Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) is upset to discover that none of her friends have the proper Halloween spirit.  So, Sabrina arranges for all of them to spend Halloween on a Murder Mystery Train.  However, it quickly turns out that the train is magical and now, Sabrina and her friends have to solve an actual murder!

Things like that always seemed to happen to Sabrina…

Incidentally, Salem was always my favorite character!  Are you surprised?

 

Horror on TV: Sabrina The Teenage Witch 5.6 “The Halloween Scene”


For today’s televised horror, we have another episode of a show that I loved when I was growing up!  In this episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, Sabrina attempts to hold a Halloween party and ends up having to give marriage advice to Frankenstein and his wife!

This episode was originally broadcast on October 27th, 2000.