Age 13 ( [Category: Public Service].

This disturbing film about a young boy's slide into delinquency after his mother dies has some unforgettable imagery, especially the bizarre montage that is shown after he runs away from home. He is eventually straightened out by a school counselor and a psychologist, but what came before is way too disturbing to really be wrapped up by such a pat happy ending. The film is to be credited for really showing us what it feels like to be a troubled, unloved child growing up in a bleak, poverty-stricken world. Perhaps its very realness is why we don't buy the ending––in the real world it's just not that simple, though we all wish it was. This 50s film also shows us that child abuse, divorce, delinquency, and troubled kids bringing guns to school are not new problems.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest:****. Overall Rating: ****.

The Adventures of Spunky and Tadpole (track #32 on Chicago Television (Hollywood's Attic, 1996)). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

Spunky is a little boy and Tadpole is a big stupid dog in this cheap, limited animation attempt to rip off Tom Terrific. This episode is the last of a serialized story, where all the loose ends are neatly tied up, but honestly you don't get the feeling that any other episodes were any more interesting. This does give me a slight nostalgic twinge, as I watched hours and hours of limited animation cartoon garbage like this when I was a kid and remember very little of it.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: **. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: **.

Apollo 16 - Nothing So Hidden (track #4 on NASA DVD (Madacy Entertainment, 1999)). [Category: News]

This film documents Apollo 16, one of the missions featuring the Lunar Rover, using official NASA footage. Lunar gravity makes it seem like the astronauts are frollicking, and highlights of their conversation also give the impression that they had way too much fun on this mission, despite several technical problems. The real excitement happens when they discover a huge rock (wow!)! The ending features a bunch of slimy-looking middle-aged white men smoking cigars.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ***.

Better Reading

Better Reading . Teenager Harold Wilson has a problem—he can’t read for (expletive deleted). So he has to spend all his free time studying ...