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Jan Spears

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  1. Favorite Storylines: Gone But Not Forgotten

    Michael Logan's 'exit' interview with Beverlee McKinsey: http://iriswheeler.tripod.com/tvguide19920811.html McKinsey may have been exhausted after two decades of work on soaps (minus a short hiatus between leaving Texas and joining Guiding Light.) But she would have been savvy enough to realize that the decline had begun after the Pam Long glory years and jumped ship when she could. (Her maneuver with the contract was worthy of Alexandra.) Love the part in the interview when she mentions "stale tacos and bad Margaritas"!!!
  2. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    I wasn't sure how to characterize Wes Bentley in my original review, which is why I put name in quotes. Bentley never lived up to the original promise shown in American Beauty and, yet, he's still a "name" (or maybe a "face") lo these two decades later because of that same movie. Maybe it's a case of the career I think he should have had (in my head) being bigger that his actual career? In any event, once he showed up in Fallout, I thought: "He's got to be an Apostle. There's no way they would hire a recognizable name/face like Wes Bentley for this nothing part." And yet, that's what they did. They could have set him up as the villain for the next movie but that was the road not taken.
  3. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    You can watch Rogue Nation and Fallout as one movie since so many of the characters and so much of the plot recur from the first movie to the second.
  4. Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

    I saw Fallout last night. It could easily compete for the top position in any ranking of the six films. While it took a while to get going, the movie never let up for one second once the Paris chase scene started. The final part of the movie -- Ethan dangling from the helicopter/the helicopter chase/Benji and Ilsa duking it out with Lane/Ethan and Walker/Lark duking it out on the precipice -- left my palms sweaty! My one quibble with the movie was with the relative lack of humor. I especially missed the Cruise-Pegg 'Hope and Crosby' antics from movies past. But, then, when they did feature that (during the London chase scenes), the humor felt weird coming in the immediate aftermath of Hunley's death. Yes, I thought the same thing. Considering a "name" like Wes Bentley was playing the part, I thought for sure he was going to interrupt Luther and Julia and reveal he was an Apostle. Strange to see Bentley in this kind of part when any generic middle-aged character actor could have played it. Still, good to see Wes Bentley working and looking healthy. Like other posters have written, this is the rare franchise that has improved with age. One of the things I respect about this franchise is that the powers-that-be aren't afraid of introducing new characters and then keeping them for the long haul when they work (Benji in III, Ilsa in Rogue Nation). They're also not afraid of rotating characters in-and-out of the series. (Even Ving Rhames, who has been with the series since the beginning, took a breather at one point.) Finally, kudos to all concerned for including four strong parts for women. In a genre like this, you're lucky if you get one!
  5. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    You're in for a treat if you keep watching. Over the 5 year course of the show, there were 5 great time travel storylines: 1795 (1967-68) -- A séance at Collinwood hurls Vicky back in time. 1897 (1969) -- Barnabas projects his spirit into his body in 1897 to find out why the ghost of Quentin Collins is haunting Collinwood in the future. Parallel Time (1970) -- Barnabas discovers a room in the deserted East Wing of Collinwood which is a portal to an alternate Collinwood. He manages to cross over to this world. 1995 (1970) -- Barnabas and Julia are unexpectedly thrown into the future via the Parallel Time room. 1840 (1970-71) -- Julia uses a mysterious stairway through time in the West Wing of Collinwood to travel to 1840.
  6. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    I've never read anything stating that Dan Curtis and the production and writing staffs kept the 1795 storyline going longer than initially projected. 1795 is very "tight" in terms of its tremendous forward progression. There aren't many discursions from the Barnabas/Josette/Angelique triangle and Vicky's experiences in the past. 1897 is the storyline where all concerned may have kept the storyline going a lot longer than anticipated due to the tremendous ratings success. The 1897 storyline went on for a long time -- 8 1/2 months in 1969. (It's even longer when the introduction of Quentin and Beth and the haunting of Collinwood in 1968-69 are factored in.) Personally, I think 1897 lasted too long. I always lose track of why Barnabas projected his spirit into the past by the time the storyline concludes in November 1969.
  7. Season 4: Reviews and Discussion

    Thanks for the interesting tidbit! I continue to stand by my preferred running order for establishing the character of Tiffany Welles: Love Boat Angels (Tiffany joins the team. Expresses her fears and doubts to Bosley.) Angels Go Truckin' (Tiffany starts to integrate into the team. Tiffany and Kris have a blast as truckers.) Angels On Campus (Gives Tiffany's backstory.) Angel Hunt (Tiffany overcomes the fears and doubts expressed in the season opener.) In the long run, this running order may not have made a difference regarding audience acceptance for the character of Tiffany and her portrayer, Shelley Hack. Kate Jackson was irreplaceable in many respects. Still, I think this running order would have given Tiffany (and Shelley) more of a fighting chance.
  8. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    I finished watching the Parallel Time storyline yesterday - 48 years to the day from when the last episode of the storyline aired (July 17, 1970). I kept a running tally of character appearances from the first Parallel Time episode (969) to the last (1060). That tally really hit home for me how overused certain characters were: Actor/Character(s)/# of Appearances Lara Parker (Alexis Stokes/Angelique Stokes Collins) - 57 David Selby (Quentin Collins) - 51 Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) - 47* Grayson Hall (Hoffman/Dr, Julia Hoffman) - 39* Chris Pennock (Dr. Cyrus Longworth/John Yaeger) - 39 Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans Collins) - 38* *These numbers are all the more extraordinary when you consider that Frid, Hall and Scott were absent from the show for six weeks while they were filming House of Dark Shadows. No other actor had more than 20 appearances. (Joan Bennett came in seventh with 19.)
  9. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    Nancy Barrett would agree with him. In Kathryn Leigh Scott's second book, The Dark Shadows Companion (1990), Barrett had this to say: "Frankly, I was getting tired of Dark Shadows. I've always had ambivalent feelings about it. It was too ambitious. When it was good, it was brilliant. But we had some real disaster days when everything went bad -- from costumes to hair, lines to sets. Too much was required in a medium where getting shows on quickly is of the essence. It was too involved technically and too exhausting physically. Too much was asked of people -- technicians, writers, actors -- for a half-hour show. If it had been about 25% less ambitious, it could have been great. And it might still be on the air."
  10. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

    I think Armie's look may stay "static" for a good long time provided he avoids certain things (too much alcohol, too much sun). I'm more curious as to how Timothee is going to age and how his looks will "settle". In rewatching the film on DVD, I continue to be amazed at the new things I notice: Timothee does this kind of bounding movement throughout the movie. I noticed for the first time that Michael Stuhlbarg does the same exact movement early in the film. There'a scene where Elio and Oliver stop their bike ride and ask an elderly woman for water. They both notice the large photo/mural the woman has of Benito Mussolini hanging outside her home and Elio remarks simply: "That's Italy." Later, when Elio is wearing his Star of David necklace, his mother puts her hand across it. The two events seem disconnected but, as I thought about them, they're not. The movie is set in 1983 so the mother, who could be anywhere from her late-30s to late-40s, would be more than aware of the fate that befell the Italian Jews during the late-stages of World War II (see The Garden of the Finzi-Continis). While Elio would find her thinking paranoid, her desire to keep the family's Judaism discreet makes perfect sense in the context of her character. After Elio and Oliver are intimate for the first time, the camera lingers briefly on Oliver's swim trunks, which Elio (humorously) put over his head earlier in the film. It's a quick call-back to that earlier scene. If ever a movie rewards repeated viewings, this one is it!
  11. Call Me By Your Name (2017)

    In rewatching the film, I've noticed that Timothee will often lean forward a bit when he and Armie stand side-by-side. This reinforces how Elio (and the viewer) see Oliver as comparable to one of those Roman statues from antiquity (i.e the slide show scene between Oliver and Elio's father). I'm on the fence about a sequel. Like you, I like the idea of that lazy, magical summer being frozen in time for both of them. Also, I like that the two of them could still exist at a remove from what was starting to happen all around them by 1983: AIDS. Once a year, I watch Making Love (1982) and Longtime Companion (1989) back-to-back. The two movies together really encapsulate the 80s: pre-AIDS and post-AIDS. I don't know if you could make a sequel and act as if AIDS hadn't taken center stage between 1983 and whenever the next movie is set.
  12. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    For instance, most of Susan Lucci's work as Erica Kane was not preserved for the first half of the 1970s, when Erica was at her most (self)destructive. I couldn't agree more with this. Dark Shadows violated an important rule of soaps: that you allow stories to "breathe" over many months or even years until there's a big payoff, which then results in many more months or even years of new storyline. Dan Curtis & co. understood this during the period that stretched from April 1967 (Willie releases Barnabas from his coffin) to November 1967 (the séance hurls Vicky back to 1795). There was a slow build to that storyline which incorporated numerous twists and turns before the big climax (the séance). In comparison, the Leviathans and Parallel Time storylines from 1970 took half the time and they felt twice as rushed. To put it another way, the 1970 storylines were all climax. The show had gone from a big cliffhanger at the end of the Friday episode to a big cliffhanger at the end of every episode to (by 1970) a big cliffhanger before every commercial break. Vicky is still my favorite character although I like her best pre-Barnabas and in the period post-Barnabas when she is still more perceptive about things than many of the other characters. (It drives me crazy how Burke is always telling her that she's imagining things.) I would have liked to see Vicky return in Parallel Time as the life force (Roxanne Drew) Angelique is using to stay alive. What a surprise it would have been for Barnabas to encounter the Parallel Time version of Vicky. Unfortunately, Alexandra Moltke and Dan Curtis couldn't agree on what a returned Vicky should be like and so the moment was lost.
  13. Here's an interesting take on the 'Shirley Eder Tapes': http://stargayzing.com/joan-crawford-barbara-stanwyck-shirley-eder-hollywoods-original-two-faced-women/ The comments section is also worth reading. The first Stanwyck/Eder conversation really gets to the heart of the Crawford/Stanwyck friendship. Crawford and Stanwyck went way back with each other and the tape reveals that Stanwyck was very clear-eyed about her friend's failings. But, however much she may have vented in private about Crawford (and Crawford doing the same about Stanwyck), the two of them managed to keep their friendship going into the 70s and to Crawford's death. It probably helped that they lived on opposite coasts after the mid-50s so these two VERY strong-willed personalities didn't encounter each other face-to-face that often. Regarding the first party Stanwyck and Eder discuss on the first tape, I think I've figured out all the players besides Crawford and Stanwyck: Louis B. Mayer - Authoritarian head of M-G-M from 1924 to 1951 and Crawford's boss from 1925-1943. Edith Mayer Goetz - Mayer's elder daughter who acted as hostess for him during the period when he was separated from his first wife and hadn't remarried. Claudette Colbert - Referred to as "Claudette" by Stanwyck. Top star of the 30s, 40s and beyond. Seated at the main table at the party, which caused all the trouble with Crawford. Robert Taylor -- Referred to as "Robert" by Stanwyck. Top star at M-G-M from the mid-30s to the late-50s and Stanwyck's second husband. Dr. Branch -- Crawford's physician and her date for the party. Based on Stanwyck's comments about L.B. Mayer's marital status at the time, I would say that the party had to have happened no later than 1947 and most likely between the end of the War and 1947.
  14. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    Episode 1001 -- Don Briscoe's last appearance on the show. Sigh!
  15. All Episodes Talk: Dan Curtis Did It First.

    I'm now 15 episodes (981-995) into the Parallel Time storyline, which is one of my favorites. I love Angelique's room in the East WIng both when it's in-phase and out-of-phase. The production staff worked wonders designing and lighting the room. I especially like how the room looks out-of-phase. It really makes you feel like you're in the deserted, desolate wing of an enormous mansion. Dan Curtis and many of the cast members were off filming House of Dark Shadows during this period. Lara Parker, David Selby, Chris Pennock, Lisa RIchards and Michael Stroka definitely earned their keep during this period as they kept the show going while so many other cast members were unavailable.