"Anyone looking for a literate, funny and sometimes sad story wonderfully performed should tune in ‘Courage’ tonight…"
"…a charming and often moving play…. What a monodrama especially needs is a fine actor and rich language that can hold up on its own. In ‘Courage,’ it gets both."
"Pielmeier’s concise and moving portrayal…keeps ‘Courage’ from being merely a tasteful eulogy to youthful innocence. We’re left with a deep impression of a man who defended childhood’s spirit, while around him the world was turning old and gray."
"…a moving play and a masterful performance…"
"A one-man play seems to occupy no middle ground – it’s bound inevitably to be either a miserable failure or a glorious success. I am happy to say that …‘Courage’ falls into the latter category. … Pielmeier has given life – not only to the character of James M. Barrie, but also in the large life-affirming sense that is common to all art. He has created a presence. From the details of life arises a great poetry…and the courage to go on living."
Voices in the Dark
"In this age of computer-generated gore, the actress Judith Ivey, playwright John Pielmeier, and director Christopher Ashley have achieved the impossible, a truly thrilling stage thriller…. Ivey and the writing are smart and funny, and the scares, when they come, are both unanticipated and really scary; the plot includes some nice twists, and the supporting cast carry the whole thing off with style."
"The antithesis of a dry lecture, ‘Willi: an evening of wilderness and spirit’ is one of the finest one-man shows this decade – maybe ever."
"100 nonstop minutes of engrossing entertainment, sparked with flat-out fun but charged with intellectual challenges and resonant with deeply felt emotion."
"Though much more a drama than a comedy, the play’s unusual approach, almost like that of a modern stand-up comedian’s routine, had the audience intrigued and in stitches from the play’s very first words."
"…an adventure of much hilarity, some sadness, and much realization."
"Wonderful ‘Willi’…will affect you personally. … As I walked out of the theater I had a gentle smile on my face and an urge to climb a mountain and talk to God. You might just have that urge too."
"…a starkly valid contemporary drama…"
"…could incite a riot…"
Choices of the Heart
"The year’s gutsiest TV movie."
"Nifty…plays out with ingenuity and…dollops of suspense…. John Pielmeier’s script hands Mark Harmon a shot at a more complex part than he’s been handling lately, and he comes off fine."
"This is a fascinating psychological thriller…a masterful realization of John Pielmeier’s fine script…a rare and polished gem of a film."
The Memory Keepers Daughter
"…a top-notch adaptation of Kim Edwards’ best-selling novel."
The Last POW
"A POW Vietnam War story that nobody wanted to touch and, once produced, was then closeted by a network uncertain what to do with it…‘The Last P.O.W.?’ is…gripping drama…in which all the moral ambiguities of the war come together…. The movie blurs distinctions of defector and patriot, making uneasy the certainties of old wards. What more can we ask from a war movie?"
"a powerful story with good acting."
"…so successfully focuses on one personal experience of the Vietnam War that, without sacrificing any of the bitter partisanship that still characterizes that conflict, the story…is transformed into a profound, universal passion tale."
The Happy Face Murders
“…delightfully screwy – with a story line so free-spirited you have to sit up and pay attention. …Most everything works in this original movie that is dead serious about comedy.”
“The humor of the situation is surpassed only by the unsavoriness of the sex scenes and the brutality of the killings. You couldn’t make this stuff up. Murder’s tone of laughing incredulity softens a grisly tale without condoning it. My score: 8”
A “delicately rendered retelling”
Sins of the Father
“…writer John Pielmeier deftly juxtaposes the overheating racial tensions in the Deep South at the height of the civil rights movement with the clearer-eyed perspective of the present day. …an emotional tour de force, a movie of penetrating wisdom and profound soul… If FX doesn’t watch it, it’s going to start getting mistaken for HBO…”
“Demanding, tense and exploding with an unflinching reality…this true story contains terrific performances and tough dialogue.”
“Powerful, haunting, poignant and beautiful work…”
“…one juicily dramatic scene after another…”
“Brace yourself for an emotional two hours.”
“This beautiful film is an out-of-the-ordinary experience…”
“…a rich heartfelt script… ‘Reunion’ is moving and emotionally wrenching.”
Hitler: The Rise of Evil
“A powerful instrument, a powerful document about evil”
“brilliant and heavy…if it weren’t for the commercials you’d forget you were watching network television. Don’t miss it. Not a minute…”
“The overall high quality…along with its unswerving seriousness, marks this miniseries as a milestone for network TV.”
“Why a child becomes a man who would conceive of genocide is significant, but more crucial is how a civilized nation could let him do it. ‘Hitler’ asks the latter question, admirably and intelligently.”
‘Hitler’ fulfills its mission: taking viewers on a grim guided tour through an era gone mad. And it’s a trip well worth taking. … An important film.”
“…so grandly framed…that we sometimes forget we’re not watching a Merchant-Ivory production.”
Flowers For Algernon
“a heart-breaking film”
“…earns many of the tears it will deservedly win from its TV audience. Keep some industrial-strength hankies handy.”
“This sensitive adaptation proves both the timelessness and timeliness of “Flowers For Algernon.”
“A tiny gem of a movie…this film also raises some fine philosophical questions about relationships between the heart and the head and between intelligence and happiness. John Pielmeier’s fine adaptation gives Modine the opportunity to explore the dimensions of love.”
“If there’s a more effective tear-jerker than ‘Flowers For Algernon’ I don’t know about it. If it doesn’t get to you, you should probably have your chest x-rayed just to make sure your heart’s still there.”
“…another triumph…strong enough to contend for season-ending honors….a poignant love story, a timeless lesson in tolerance, and a tale of hope and heartbreak.”
“It’s a grand awakening, an eye-opening experience…one of those rare films you seldom see on television. Life-affirming, full of lessons we all can heed, it strikes a note that will resonate for weeks to come.”
“…one of the best made-for-TV flicks in recent memory…”
The Capture of the Green River Killer
“Beautifully shot, appropriately creepy, chilling and at times heartwarming, ‘The Capture of the Green River Klller’ delivers on all counts.”
Named by Variety as one of the top ten television events of the year (the only TV movie so honored).
“Rollicking . . .[Hook’s Tale] satisfyingly upends all the familiar elements of Barrie’s children’s story. A splendid yarn.”
“In his playful first novel…[John Pielmeier’s] thorough, affectionate knowledge of both the original book and the historical period grounds this fantasy in rich detail.”
“A dazzling coming of age story about a boy who too swiftly learns much about life, love and betrayal. Little James Hook is a loner, continuously let down by relatives and friends alike, but he finds easier friendships with fairies, mermaids and a loyal crocodile. Hook’s Tale is the moving story of one boy’s crazy hurtle into manhood and the difficult circumstances that shape him on that journey. A glorious, alternate look at the forming of the notorious Captain Hook.”
“In discovering and bringing to light this record of Peter Pan’s nefarious doings in Neverland, John Pielmeier has done the world a great service and righted a great literary wrong. James Cook’s account sets the record straight on a number of important points, not only exonerating the misportrayed (and mis-named) one-handed sea captain, but also revealing the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up as the kidnapping psychopath he truly was. Cook (aided perhaps by his intrepid editor, Pielmeier) is a masterful storyteller and a playful wordsmith, and his (completely true) memoir is a ripping yarn.”
“John Pielmeier’s Hook’s Tale is an instant classic, an elegant and inventive send-up to the Victorian/Edwardian style and to the spirit of J.M. Barrie. The purported memoir of Captain Hook (aka James Cook) is exquisite and exuberant; the tale is swashbuckling yet poignant. What a gift to readers, who yearn for more adventures in Neverland and inspired new plot twists—even a newborn crocodile. At every turn, Pielmeier offers a spine-tingling surprise; an homage to J.M. Barrie which displays his knowledgeable sensitivity to the literary provenance. This lost boy’s version of a timeless villain entertains as it enlightens.”
“A riveting tale so vivid you’ll wonder if it was imagined. The world-building is complex and intriguing, appealing to the the treasure hunter in us all. Without question, John Pielmeier has his A game on.”
“…this novel appears to have been composed in Neverland, and it supplies more pleasure than a gaggle of “great” novels. This is not a quest to imprint a legend on the mind of the reader—for we already have the legend. Here are the incomparable footnotes to the legend in the most tuneful voice that can be imagined. At $25 the book appears to be underpriced given its seductive humor and uproarious wit.”
“The story is mischievous, rollicking, wryly funny, weirdly fantastic, and, yes, entirely true.”
“…a deliciously complex story of Dickensian dimensions…”
“…an intriguing new version of a classic story you won’t want to put down.”