• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

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TITLE: Angel

YEAR: 1984

GENRE: Action/Adventure and Drama

Anybody who grew up in the 1970’s and 80’s will remember the ABC television series “The After-School Special.” These were 60 to 90 minute length segments that were more or less morality plays. The stories did deal with issues of the time—drugs, sex, smoking, and violence (some things never change)—and carry a character through experimentation with the topic of the day. The stories usually did not have an entirely happy ending and the vice usually gets the best of our protagonist. “The After School Special” almost always had a moral to the tale, usually that your actions always have some type of consequence. Periodically a film came out that had the morality tale yet was too violent, sexy, or both for television. Such is the case with Angel, a gritty drama thriller that delves into the issue of teenage prostitution unlike anything seen on television.

Molly (played by Donna Wilkes) is a fairly typical 15-year-old young lady who is tops in her class at her high school. At night, her life turns to the seedy side as she supports herself as a hooker on Hollywood Boulevard under the name of Angel. Turns out that her mother abandoned Molly at the tender age of 12, and instead of becoming a victim of Child Protective Services she decides to play Russian roulette on the streets. When a serial killer starts knocking off the ladies of the night a detective starts to snoop around and develops an interest in the young hooker. To make matters worse for Molly, several jocks from her high school discover her walking the streets and ruin her reputation at school. Between taunting teens and a psychotic killer with a taste for prostitutes, Molly must deal with the sins of her past and make decisions that will impact her future forever.

Angel is a fairly realistic portrayal of life on the streets. The shots around the actual Hollywood Boulevard give the film a sleazy feel and a more realistic feel than many of the more tame productions of those made for TV specials. The prostitution aspect is also well documented and does not candy coat the issue which is well done. The best part of Angel is the colorful cast of characters that surround her and more or less become her extended family: these characters include Solly (Susan Tyrrell), a slum landlord who is also a lousy artist; Mae (Dick Shawn), a hysterical cross-dresser who is lewd and rude; and Kit Carson (Rory Calhoun), an aging cowboy actor who now performs on the streets instead of the silver screen. These three add a unique touch to the film to make it more memorable than other prostitute films of the era such as Streetwalkin’ (1985). Some of the acting is over dramatic, but the storyline does effectively hit the issue of teenage prostitution quite well and shows the usual end result: a life in the gutter and potential destroyed.

One person I met at a convention called Angel “an After School Special with a lot of nudity,” and I think that is a fair assessment of the film. It does come across as a morality play, so people who are looking for films just for the sake of Mr. Skin nudity and violence seals of approval may find some of the storyline a bit sappy. However, for those who want to see an interesting picture of a life most do not experience will find Angel an attention-grabbing picture. Definitely not for the kids due to excessive nudity and violence, but the morality play does come across effectively. There are three sequels to this film; Avenging Angel goes more for the comedic route and the other two are not worth watching. Despite this, Angel is a good effort. 

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