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Friday, December 12, 2014

Once Again, The Return Of "Report Cards".

It's that time of year again.
I have over a dozen DVDs sent from the West Coast studios, waiting for me to view and review them.
With many more anticipated.
I will review them with my usual "Report Card" process, designed to tell the readers no more than they need to know in order for them to determine whether or not they should want to see the movie in question.
Because I don't want to know the plot of a movie before I see it, I assume you don't either.
I said that I had more to say about the recent production of "Peter Pan"".
I've decided to take it on in Report Card fashion.
Jackie Gleason once described a TV critic as "One who describes an accident to an eyewitness."
As there have been an awful lot of eyewitnesses to this production already, I will, in this case, loosen my restrictions about discussing the plot.

On to the scoring:

Is it interesting?

Only rarely. Only intermittently.

Compelling even?

On rare occasions.

Is it controversial?

Often, due to "political correctness", futzing around with the score, adding and removing things...

Is it a story worth telling?

With all the significant things that they did wrong, they still got me to cry during the last ten minutes.
That makes it a story worth telling.

Is it good storytelling?

It's been told better.

Is it well written?

Yes. No damage done here.

Is it well cast? Well played?

Now, we're getting down to the nits and grits.
You've got to start with Allison Williams.
I've never seen her in anything else, but here, she only displayed one arrow in her acting quiver: serious sincerity.
This eliminates a lot of other arrows that one needs to play Peter Pan: impishness, compassion, naivete, humor, joy.
All missing.
As a result, she was way too stiff.
You didn't care about her (him).
This made for a mostly tedious evening.
I kept thinking about all the possibilities for better Peter Pans that existed rather than Allison Williams.
One of them was right there on the stage: Kelli O'Hara, who played Mrs. Darling.
She's had a history of sliding into Mary Martin roles.
She is nine years younger than Mary was when she did "Peter Pan", and looks at least fifteen years younger.
And is adorable.
Hell, BRIAN Williams would have made a better Peter Pan.
He has the charm, the youthful looks, and the boyishness.
After all, he was once an actual boy.
Christopher Walken, though, WAS the compelling element.
Any time he appeared on the screen, I was hooked. And not just by his hook.
He was delightful.
You consistently can't wait to get back to Walken, who isn't on-screen nearly often enough.
The same is true of Kelli O'Hara.
Walken also accomplished something I had never seen before.
He made you care about Captain Hook.
So when you care about Captain Hook, and don't care about Peter Pan, something is out of whack.

Well directed?

If that was the best Rob Ashford could get out of Allison Williams, then no.
And Christopher Walken appeared to be uncontrollable, so no again.

Well shot?

It looked gorgeous.
Much was made about the difficulties of attempting and pulling off such a complicate project.
But to me, it didn't look any more difficult than any of the last ten Super Bowl Halftime Shows.
All just as live, most involving people flying around on wires. That you didn't see.

Is it too long? Too short?

Way, way, way too long. Without Tivo, it would have been interminable.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

It's fantasy, but with all it's flaws, I cared about the characters.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

Too much previous awareness makes it very predictable.
But the shift in concern between Hook and Peter Pan was certainly surprising.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

It was an event. It requires you to think about it.

Is it funny?

Only Walken was funny. Very funny. For the rest of it, a lot of funny was missing. They managed to take all the humor out of Tiger Lily.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies, or for a DVD?

It was dreary from beginning to end. It's hard to put a price tag on that. Actually it isn't.

Is it impressive ?

Only visually.

Overall grade: C-.

I think I've pretty much covered it.


My books ,"Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not
e-books. But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one. If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. I will certainly agree that the most compelling part of the production was Christopher Walken as Hook, and whenever he was on the screen, I, too was hooked. This is quite the opposite of my experience in 1953, when, at the age of 4, my parents took me to see Disney's animated version of Peter Pan. I loved the movie, with the exception of the moments when the terrifying Captain Hook was on the screen. I was so scared that I crawled under the theater seat whenever he appeared! And I had to chuckle when you wrote, "Hell, BRIAN Williams would have made a better Peter Pan." You still make me laugh, Mark.

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."