Stalked By My Doctor
Written and directed by Doug Campbell
The last Lifetime Original Movie of 2015 turned out to be one of the best! Stalked By My Doctor takes the standard creepy stalker narrative and gives us Eric Roberts as the stalk doc, and he knocks it out of the freaking park! Sometimes Roberts is wasted by directors who don’t know what to do with him, but the man loves to work and he is fantastic at playing unhinged characters, and delivers a performance to remember as Dr. Albert Beck. Dr. Beck is one of the most talented and famous heart surgeons in the world, but he can’t get women to give him a second date. Or even finish the first date, as he usually creeps them out by demanding marriage and them quitting their jobs so they can raise his kids in a foreign country. Dr. Beck doesn’t take rejection lightly, throwing fits of various degrees that usually result in damage to trash in alleyways, but occasionally cause huge scenes in restaurants where dozens of people witness him screaming at his latest date as she tries to escape.
The breakdown scenes with Dr. Beck unleashing his frustration as to why no one will love him are amazing. He’s convinced he’s a doctor, he’s a catch, he’s worthy of love, but is unable to see how he presents himself to the women, so he blames them for his struggles. He’s delusional, and the fantasies begin to creep into his reality, causing him to lose track of time. Despite this, he’s very good at keeping his cover of being an eminent heart surgeon and a respectable doctor. Things change when his latest obsession appears, brought into the ER one fateful night…
Sophie Green (Brianna Chomer is your typical high school senior, complete with a jock boyfriend, ethnic best friend, and admission to her number one college choice. But her idiot boyfriend, Ryan (Carson Boatman), has a hobby of texting while driving. This has already lead to a fender bender, and now it leads to a serious auto accident where both of them are ambulanced to the hospital. Ryan has a broken leg (and goodbye football scholarship!), while Sophie has a rip jamming her heart and needs surgery, fast. Dr. Beck is there to save the day, and to become enamored with Sophie. Bloody women with major medical problems are such a turn on for creepsters!
The Muppets – “Single All the Way”
Story by Gregg Mettler and Nell Scovell
Teleplay by Bob Kushell and Dave Caplan
Directed by Matt Sohn
The Muppets and Christmas are like peanut butter and chocolate, hence the wide variety of Muppet Christmas specials and films over the years. So it is only natural that we get an entry in the television series, fittingly involving the Muppets producing a Christmas special. Of course, things begin to go wrong as the Muppets are always situated on the rim of disaster. The episode manages to both have some of the best relationship writing in a season with very uneven relationship handling, as well as some of the regular worst relationship writing. We get in informative and heartfelt discussion of Kermit and Miss Piggy’s past relationship, but we also get Fozzie having drama with his girlfriend despite Riki Lindhome not appearing in this episode.
The Christmas Show has two disasters happening at once, first Mindy Kaling is their special guest and is supposed to perform a song, except her singing makes those singing dogs cds sound talented. The more important disaster is Fozzie’s girlfriend Becky broke up with him that morning, which is a big problem as he is being Santa Bear, and no one wants a Santa who is crying and wailing in front of children. Before you can begin complaining about sadsack Muppets, Sam the Eagle is seen putting up mistletoe in a strategic spot to try to sneak a kiss from Janice. We know that won’t work out the way it is intended, so let’s focus on the main stories.
The Muppets – “Going, Going, Gonzo” 109
Story by Shane Kosakowski and Franklin Hardy
Teleplay by Jordan Reddout and Gus Hickey
Directed by Randall Einhorn
While the last episode was a high note, this episode turns into one of the worst of the season as it jumps back the quality and just ends up disappointing. Gonzo acts out of character while Scooter gets some development in being more brave and bold that he should have gotten before last week’s episode when he actually did something brave and bold, dating Chelsea Handler. Luckily, the day is saved by the sidegag stories, from the ridiculousness of Miss Piggy’s special branded water – Piggy Water – that comes complete with a lipstick mark on the bottle rim and far more calories than you’d expect from water.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the special guest on Miss Piggy’s show, and him and her have a duet while chaos reigns backstage, causing a giant moon set piece to swing wildly on stage. The set piece also snags Gonzo, who is flung around on the roof out of control until he crashes. Normally, Gonzo would be up for something like that, thinking it was awesome and wanting to try it again. Instead, Gonzo starts moping about the stunt that got away, and how he might die before doing a dangerous stunt that might kill him because he was too afraid.
Kermit can help, and convinces Miss Piggy (who is getting a new ridiculous nose muscle electric shock beauty treatment) to have Piggy Water sponsor Gonzo’s stunt and do it on the show. There are a few stipulations, and Gonzo is now officially The Great Gonzo Brought To You By Piggy Water, and must answer the phone with that name, and wear a suit with Piggy Water branding plastered all over it.
The Muppets – “Too Hot to Handler”
Story by Margee Magee and Angeli Millan
Teleplay by Shane Kosakowski and Franklin Hardy
Directed by Matt Sohn
The Muppets returns with another episode about Muppets having relationship issues, but for once it isn’t because there are a bunch of sadsack Muppets being sad sacks full of sad sacks. In fact, Scooter finds exactly what he wants for a relationship, except that is just too much for him to handle!
Scooter is enthralled by Chelsea Handler, which is handy because she’s a guest on Miss Piggy’s show that night. She even seems to be looking for a nice dork like him. Uncle Deadly points out Scooter would just be a boy toy, and I’m not sure Scooter seems to understand what that term means. This gives Scooter the confidence to go ask Chelsea out on a date, but he manages to cause a big mess while trying to act cool and calm while doing so. Luckily for him, Chelsea is cool with dating him, anyway.
Fozzie is planning to ask his girlfriend Becky to move in with him after dating for a whole 12 weeks. This makes Kermit nervous, as he thinks Fozzie is moving too fast and doesn’t know Becky that well. He suggests they double date at trivia night at Rowlf’s, a contest Becky always wins. Kermit’s attempts to get Becky to reveal any hidden secrets through casual conversation backfires into finding lots of bad things about his own girlfriend, Denise. But Kermit also witnesses Becky looking at her phone while hiding under the table, and is convinced she is cheating in the trivia contest. He knows he can’t confront her right now, but needs to expose her to save his friend from someone who is dishonest.
The Last Gunfight
aka 暗黒街の対決 aka Ankokugai no taiketsu
Written by Shin’ichi Sekizawa
Based on the book Chi no Wana by Haruhiko Oyabu
Directed by Kihachi Okamoto
The Last Gunfight is basically Toshiro Mifune coming to a town besieged by warring yakuza and taking them all down in that time honored fashion that we all know and love from various samurai, western, and yakuza movies.
Detective Saburo Fujioka (Toshiro Mifune) is accused of corruption and transferred to Kojin, a city run rampant with crime. Fujioka inserts himself in the middle of the city’s gang troubles, and we don’t know initially his motives, which gives him a sort of Man with No Name vibe. He gets into several fights by way of not saying much of anything while figuring out the lay of the gangs, seemingly showing that the best way to know these enemies is to make them start fights with you. He does most of this without bothering to tell the Kojin police anything that he is doing.
The Ooka gang is the one causing much of the problems in the city. Kyuzaburo Ooka (Seizaburo Kawazu) doesn’t follow the unwritten rules of honor for yakuza gangs, leading to strife with factions like the Kozukas. But Ooka does know how to throw money and violence around, meaning his slices of the pie keep getting bigger without all that honor stuff holding him back. Kozuka’s group represents the status quo, but their old fashion rules threaten to leave them in the dustbin of history as Ooka gains more and more territory. Kozuka believes in the old way of the yakuza having a sort of honor (let’s leave the arguments about the realities of this romanticized view aside for now) and tells a tale about how he spent money fixing the sewage system of the town at a loss just to help the people, and Ooka predictably mocks him for that.
Movie Reviews, Ugly Tags:
Akihiko Hirata, Akira Wakamatsu, Haruhiko Oyabu, Japan, Jun Tazaki, Keiko Muramatsu, Kihachi Okamoto, Koji Iwamoto, Koji Tsuruta, Sachio Sakai, Seizaburo Kawazu, Shinichi Sekizawa, Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Tsukasa
The Muppets – “Pig’s in a Blackout”
Written by Steve Rudnick & Emily Wilson
Directed by Matt Sohn
It’s just one of those days when Sweetums crashes a golf cart into the set because he’s carrying a giant block of butter that melted all over the golf cart controls, the butter that they are using to replace a guest who cancelled at the last minute. A day when Miss Piggy is stuck on the elevator and can’t accept her winter wardrobe shipment and Bobo manages to rewire the elevator to be even more dangerous and Fozzie falls into the open shaft. And Kermit needs to order lunch! All this and some other things lead to Kermit collapsing.
It’s not a heart attack, it’s just a stress attack. Denise and Piggy finally get a good scene together as they are competing to suggest Kermit take the rest of the day off and go to a spa for the weekend. Miss Piggy even finishes Denise’s sentences, but doing so incorrectly as she assumed Denise would be disagreeing with everything she said (instead of agreeing) was the fun type of bickering we don’t get enough of. In a surprise move, Kermit puts Scooter in charge as he is the associate producer. I guess the actual jobs the characters hold matters!
Scooter manages to immediately screw up, adjusting the thermostat makes the AC system break turn Beaker into a frozen Beakcicle. This causes further issues as the faulty AC system ruins all of Miss Piggy’s new winter wardrobe, and causes every light in the studio to explode one by one, and then blows out the power in the studio all together (and the now-thawed Beaker gets hot coffee splashed all over him in the ensuing chaos! Poor Beaks…)