Wednesday, October 01, 2008

2002 Part II

Continuing my look at the movies I attended 6 years ago (when the Republicans were in charge and Dubya had approval ratings in the 80’s and 90’s):

Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate were reasonably amusing in the raunchy “The Sweetest Thing”, but it was nothing to write home about. “The New Guy” flummoxed me a bit. It’s about this nerdy guy who winds up being popular, but a scene at the beginning in which something happens to his “package” was so sanitized for the PG-13 rating that I wasn’t able to understand what had happened to it. They called him “Broke Dick” for the next 10 minutes of the film’s runtime. “Dragonfly” was a tolerable Kevin Costner vehicle that dealt a bit with the supernatural.

The Pianist” was a sorrowful movie about a Jewish piano man who winds up in the Nazi’s crosshairs near the end of World War II. Adrian Brody, who played the title character, won an Academy Award for his brilliant performance and upon reaching the stage to claim it, gave a very passionate kiss to Halle Berry. Here's the film's trailer.

Rob Schneider was his usual self in the “The Hot Chick”, but I'd much rather talk about the movie that most took me down memory lane in '02. It was a movie that originally came out 25 years previously, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”. I was expecting more people to be there on opening night (like there was at the reissue of “Star Wars” 5 years before), but twas not to be. Nonetheless, it turned out that having a large audience wasn’t necessary as watching it again on the big screen took me back a quarter century. I can still remember how the audience howled when Elliott said, “It was nothin’ like that, penis breath!“ and chuckled again when I heard the line at the ’02 screening. I literally felt 11 years old again and can say from experience that I don’t feel the same when watching the movie at home (I was able to go to a special screening of “Titanic” in ’03 and same thing happened: I was back in the latter days of 1997). This is why I wish theaters would have more screenings of classic older movies.

Richard Gere and Laura Linney were fantastic in the moody thriller “The Mothman Prophecies”.

Loosely based on the true story of the Mothman, it got under my skin from the opening scene (trailer). Richard Gere had another excellent movie released the same year which I’ll get to in a bit.

Minnesota native Josh Hartnett starred in “40 Days and 40 Nights”. It’s the story of a man that makes a pledge not to engage in any sexual activity whatsoever for the time frame listed in its title (this also includes self-flaggelation). Not great, but tolerable, this was the last movie I went to at Rochester’s Apache Mall Theatres (I took some pics of the theatre after the show for posterity).

Having Eddie Murphy and Robert DeNiro starring together sounded good on paper, but in my opinion, “Showtime” was crap. On the other hand, “Undercover Brother” starring Eddie Griffin gave me quite a few laughs.

I especially love the opening scene where Griffin is driving his Cadillac around town while sipping on some Orange soda and singing “We Want the Funk” (a few seconds of it can be found in this trailer).

There was some controversy when Schwarzeneggers’ “Collateral Damage” was released as it was the first film to deal with terrorism after September 11th. I found the movie to be reasonably good, but nothing compared to earlier Arnold masterworks like “Terminator 2”, “True Lies”, and “Kindergarten Cop” (kidding about the last one).

I thought “Orange County” would be the start of something special for Tom Hanks’ son, Colin, but in the intervening years, he hasn’t really been in anything very interesting. “The Hours” starring a trio of good actresses (Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep) and dealing with suicidal tendencies was quite downbeat, but (like “Schindler’s List”) was a movie I’m glad I viewed.

The second solid Richard Gere movie released in ’02 was “Unfaithful”.

Costarring Diane Lane and from the director of “Fatal Attraction”, it really helped me understand how it is that a partner can stray. What’s somewhat ironic in the film is that Gere is the one who gets cheated on. The film takes twists and turns that I never expected and is one of my absolute favorite movies of the year (trailer). Highly recommended.

Though most of my favorite movies are dramas, there’s nothing like a good knee-slapper on a Friday night. My friend and I went to “Jackass: The Movie” on opening night and the place was packed. At 31, I was probably one of the oldest ones at the screening. I did get a number of laughs from the movie, but overall, it was quite uneven. About a third was brilliant, another third was interesting, while the last third was either gross or blah.

I was surprised at how profound “About Schmidt” turned out to be. It stars Jack Nicholson as a widower who drives cross-country in an RV to his daughter’s wedding.

She plans to marry a man that Nicholson’s character despises. Kathy Bates has a very memorable supporting turn as the groom’s mother. I never cry at movies, but it was in this one that I came the closest to doing so in many years. It was the very last scene of the film that made me feel this way (that specific scene can be found here and then continues here, but be warned: it will most likely ruin the film for you if you plan to watch it in its entirety at some point).


Brian said...

I forgot all about "About Schmidt." I really enjoyed that movie and I have to say Jack Nicholson is easily in my top 5 favorite actors.

I watched one of his latest movies, the Bucket List, on a long flight and at the end, there wasn't a dry eye in the plane. It's a tear jerker. Thanks for bringing back some memories from some more great movies.


Timothy Smith said...

I loved The Pianist. Jack is the best, I agree there. My favorite of his was "The Last Detail" which is a very old movie.

I have never seen the Bucket List, I will have to check that out.

disestablishingpuritanism said...

The Mothman Prophecies honestly scared the hell out of me the first time I watched it. Those are the movies in the horror genre that need to return, shots that have you completely on edge when something comes out of nowhere. There are a few recent ones that have those great effects but not many.

There were so many hilarious moments in Jackass: The Movie. I think one had Johnny Knoxville testing a toilet inside a store.

disestablishingpuritanism said...

Unfaithful was also a great psychological thriller. I don't want to say anything more, since some who comment here might not have seen it. However, I would like to go to a theatre one time as a squealer.

"Oh, my God, he's going to get caught by that villain."

"Oh, no don't worry. The villain gets blown away by his partner. This will happen about 30 minutes from now."

Thomas said...

Brian, you're not the only one I know who has praised "The Bucket List". I've never bawled my eyes out while watching a movie. Wonder if "Bucket" could be the one.

Tim, I've heard of "The Last Detail". I believe the cover of its DVD has a pic of Jack dressed as if he's in the service. I'll have to look into that.

PJ, I would be a much bigger fan of horror movies myself if there were more like "Mothman". Some of my other favorites in the genre include "The Ring" and "The Others". Neither are rated R, by the way, proving that gratuitous violence isn't necessary to scare an audience.

The "Jackass" scene you referenced was one of my faves from the film.

It's amazing how much you could ruin someone's movie going experience if you went in there and said just one sentence.

For "The Sixth Sense", "Bruce Willis is dead", for "The Others", "Nicole Kidman is dead", for "The Bucket List", Jack Nicholson is dead". Oops. I haven't seen the film, but since he has cancer, he has to die sometime, right?