A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “Twelve Mighty Orphans” – 9.0





In a word:  Heartwarming


This! … Is a good movie. If you appreciate great scripts based on true stories, good acting, and a plot that’s all about trials and tribulations, destitution and tenacious efforts toward nearly impossible odds, you’ll find it all in this film.

     The story is based in an orphanage for children in Fort Worth ,Texas, circa 1938 where rough and tumble kids were rejected by troubled parents, or had no parents at all, making up the student body. Hostile attitudes and depression prevails amid all the boys and girls, while the crusty, and sometimes brutal, management by the institution leaves much to be desired.

     Recruited from a school/orphanage in another region, a teacher and football coach named Rusty Russell, (played by Luke Wilson) gives up a privileged position elsewhere to teach and coach a rag-tag, undisciplined football team that couldn’t score against any team, yet win. While seemingly unable to keep up with the standards of traditional schools, and against all odds without necessary resources, Mr. Russell instills a new sense of optimism in his young players who ultimately bond into shape as a competitive team. Their plight became a national story and inspiration to others among the downtrodden.

     Acting is a bit corny in spots, but who cares, it was a true series of events brought together by real people about unexpected accomplishments sparked by renewed attitudes of students and teacher that brought them together, becoming desperately needed families for the boys in order to overcome the odds.

     When the film is over, I urge people to remain in their seats to see the rolling credits that subsequently reveal the actual players/students from that era and their remarkable lifetime achievements that followed.  None of that could have happened if it were not for the persistence, courage and dedication inspired into those kids by a coach who convinced each one of them they had value and to never give up. The common denominator between the orphans and the coach can be summed up in one word: Love.

     Yes, I dropped a couple of tears. They were well-earned.

     Also starring in the film, was Martin Sheen, playing the school doctor who supported the new football coach, to the chagrin of the upper staff of the institution. In a brief scene, we can find aging actor Robert Duvall amid the crowd, but with no speaking role or discernable character. The appearance of his name and persona in the credits, I assume, was intended to draw folks to the theater.

I would give this movie a 9 out of 10.


12 Mighty Orphans (2021) – IMDb









In a word:  Junk


Because this movie was so bad, I feel compelled to inform readers and friends to save their time and money on a motion picture that has to be among the crappiest of all time. It could be that the film may have improved after the 35-minute mark, but by then we’d had enough.

     The plot doesn’t matter, because the story is lost in all the chases, high-jumps, fights, acrobatics, noise, and endless doses of mass shootings while ensuring that every sentence in the dialogue includes the “F” bomb, even when it makes no sense whatsoever.  “The Wolf of Wall Street,” (2013) supposedly holds the record for non-stop “F” this and “F” when the word was used 715 times. Otherwise, that was still a decent movie with a compelling story. “Hitman’s” has no compelling story, it’s just pure shoot-em- up  crap, laced with bad acting and an immense offering of excruciating, bombastic  noise.

     Class A actors like Samuel L Jackson, Selma Hayek, and Ryan Reynolds (the stars) must be in dire straits to allow themselves to appear in a Class F garbage film like this. Consider, also, these are actors among the Hollywood elite who, as most of Hollywood’s power houses adamantly support stricter gun control, while making millions from appearing in pro-gun, mass killing scenes – for entertainment. The hypocrisy is sickening. Why would such highly acclaimed and very rich actors sign contracts to be a part of film garbage?

     I’d write a short comment about the plot, but there wasn’t any. 

     I know nothing about the director, Patrick Hughes. Nor shall I if ever if that name appears again.

     It’s no wonder the current trend in movies is to stay at home.

I give this movie — based on 35 minutes of tolerating the “Junk,”  my first ever rating of – “0”


The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) – IMDb



“QUEEN BEES” – 7 out of 10


In a word: Entertaining


Is there a potential Oscar here? Not really, but this is truly a delightful story about aging and social interaction between men and women having reached the eventual decision about living in an assisted living facility among other “old” people.

The cast is a wonderful make-up major-league stars of years past, including Ellen Burstyn, an elderly widow, playing the central character (Helen) who had to stubbornly move out of her damaged house temporarily after it had been seriously damaged in a fire. Friends and family all encouraged Helen to stay in an Assisted Living facility for a month or to until the home was repaired. Though reluctant, she agreed.

Ellen finds herself surrounded by new and caring friends trying to convince her to become a resident. Though she rejected them all at first, she eventually meets another aging male resident (Dan) with whom she warms up and develops into an interesting relationship. That character is deftly played by James Caan (remember him in Godfather and Misery?)

As the audience immerses into the pangs of love, we found ourselves in the heart of a genuine “tearjerker” feeling what the characters felt, and realizing fun, love and deep emotions are not an old-folks occurrence reserved only for the young and middle-aged. Besides sentiments, we see a lot of spunk, of various descriptions, from these marvelous actors, including: Ann-Margaret (80), Jane Curtin (73), Christopher Lloyd (82) and Loretta Devine (71). Burstyn and Caan are 88 and 81 respectively.

This is not a movie to be compared to the listings of Academy Awards. But it is hugely entertaining, if not a bit silly in spots, while it sends out wonderful messages, that love and devotion can be found anywhere, anytime, if you’re up for it. One never knows.


I give this movie a 7 out of 10.

Queen Bees (2021) – IMDb


(This article appeared as an op-ed in Florida Today, this date: 6/8/21 )

by Marshall Frank

Whoever coined the adage “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” was spot-on, because it’s true.

Firearm-related crimes often involve guns that are stolen or purchased illegally. Background checks have little effect on getting to the root of gun crimes, because such checks mostly involve people who are law-abiding. We rarely find violent criminals or the mentally ill via background checks, because the black market gun business is easily accessible for people with criminal intent. Mass shootings continue to terrorize Americans.

We are spinning in circles instead of getting to the heart of the problem, which is two-fold: unshackling law enforcement to reduce crime and properly dealing with the mostly ignored mentally ill.

Marshall Frank

Why do we try to reinvent the proverbial wheel when we have evidence of success? Do we study what works and what does not? Politicians in every city and state should educate themselves about the astonishing accomplishments of Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Mike Bloomberg in New York City,  between 1994 and 2013, and learn what measures actually worked. That’s when gun crimes in NYC dropped to record lows and people were safer. The rising anti-cop movement may cause some officers of today to look the other way, if they can.

Without question, severe mental illness is the most complex of problems. It’s where our leaders have fallen short of facing facts. Suicides, gun crimes and mass shootings are many times a product of psychotic individuals. But we do nothing, except perform background checks. Then, there’s jail.

Times have changed drastically over the decades. In the 1960s, mentally disturbed people in Florida who showed symptoms of severe psychosis could be held in a psychiatric facility for further testing and evaluation. If determined by a judge to be a danger to himself or herself or others, that person could be remanded to a psychiatric institute for long-term care, with periodic reassessments.

I was one of those officers who brought such people to court. It was a process that worked far better in 1964 than in 2021 — for everyone.

Thus, prisons and jails have assumed the role of mental institutions. A myriad of studies have concluded over 26% of prison inmates today suffer from severe mental illness. One study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice found that the mental health crisis is greatly pronounced among female prisoners, whereby 75% of women incarcerated in jails and  prisons suffered from mental illness.

It takes only one deranged person to kill 10, 20 or 50 people in a single event. In 2020, 19,379 died by gunfire, including 611 in mass shootings, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. That does not include more than 24,000 suicides by gun.

In 1955, more than 558,000 patients occupied beds in mental hospitals. Today, that number has diminished to 35,000 in a period when the national population more than doubled, from 158 million to 331 million. So where is the extreme overflow of 2021 coming from?

Correctional facilities are struggling with the reality that they have become the nation’s de facto mental health care providers, although they are ill-equipped for the job.

While America is rife with sick, homeless, drug addicts, gangsters and sexual predators, we are apparently unable to help the mentally disabled, until they’re caged like animals. According to HUD, there are more than 580,466 homeless living in squalor today.

Millions of mentally challenged people who are fighting afflictions on their own commit crimes just to eat. Crimes translate to victims. It is the victims who we must protect and serve. I fear we are not doing a very good job at that.

In America 2021, the bottom rung of all mental health treatment is prison. 

Who cares? We better.

Marshall Frank is a retired police captain and author of 15 books. www.marshallfrank.com


(Published in the Op-Ed page, Florida Today, 5/24/2021)


                                                                                DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE ABOUT SYSTEMIC RACISM


                                                                                                                 By Marshall Frank


Americans are often made to believe that systemic racism is widespread throughout our nation, particularly on the part of law enforcement agencies. It has become a constant drumbeat. Purveyors want the public to believe that black people, in particular, are the victims of such attitudes.

     Not only is that grossly exaggerated, it’s simply untrue. Not in 2021. If anything, police today go through a plethora of training and education to ensure such biases do not exist. Yet, the media and some leftists relentlessly invoke fervent assertions that cops are programmed as monsters who seek out blacks for unfair treatment or physical abuse. Some holdovers from the old days, may privately harbor ill-feelings toward blacks, (or other minorities). But to allege that police are systemically biased across America is absurd.

     Cops are among the finest public servants in America. I’ve been immersed in law enforcement for sixty years, half that time an active duty cop in Miami-Dade, Florida, where I served for 30 years, working Homicides 16 years. Police officers, white, black, male and female, or whatever, are all breathing, feeling human beings with needs and responsibilities like all citizens, while raising families and caring for the oppressed.

     Number one priority on a cop’s list is to come home every day in one piece from the streets – mentally and physically.  Police officers pray daily hoping they will not have to engage in any violent confrontations. Thirdly, police (for the most part) are immaculately professional, and protective, as they inch closer to a lifelong pension at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

     There are 800,000 cops in America. It is their job to run toward, not away from, the most dangerous of scenarios to save lives and enforce laws to keep us safe. That’s not a choice, it is required. They risk their lives, not just for paychecks, but to protect you and me, and people of all nationalities and colors. On rare occasions, a cop will screw up. But it is not systemic.

     The 911 system reports roughly 240 million calls a year are dispatched for police, fire and medical needs. Of those, 12 million (or five percent) involve potential dangers for police. That’s a huge number of volatile conditions in a single year. In 2020, 119 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, mostly from firearms. This doesn’t include 145 police officers who died from contracting Covid19 on the job.

     The last thing any cop wants to do is participate in any form of violent action. Sometimes, there is no choice.

     I know about systemic racism. It was around me in early childhood growing up in segregated Miami, until well into my police career. When hired, racism prevailed in Miami-Dade. And, it was definitely systemic. Less than one-percent of the department’s police were black. Rest rooms, drinking fountains and restaurants were unwelcoming to blacks. They weren’t the only victims of racism. Some Miami Beach hotels displayed desk signs that printed, “Gentiles Only.”

     But changes occurred. Eventually, many folks worked jobs shoulder to shoulder with others and schools were integrated. Police agencies also changed enormously. The notorious beating death of Arthur McDuffie by a ring of Miami-Dade cops in 1979 ignited the positive changes that followed. The department modernized rules for hiring and training, with emphasis on treatment of minorities. In the early 1980s, blacks became important members of management teams in police agencies throughout America. Today, 44 percent of the police chiefs amid the fifty most populated cities are black. Systemic racism has evolved into a 180 degree turnaround.

     No cop wants to hurt anyone, black, white or purple. But it’s true that blacks, in general, are disproportionately victimized by violence far more than whites or Latinos. According to the FBI, 89 percent of blacks killed in 2018, were killed by other blacks.

     Racists? I don’t think so.

     Better to say: All Lives Matter.




Marshall Frank is a retired police captain and the author of 15 books. www.marshall frank.com