RRR: I Laughed, I Cried...
(10 September 2000, supposedly)
Jim Moskowitz recently revived a lovely idea originated (as far as we know)
by Debbie Hollander: "Reviews of Movies I Have Not Seen." Here are
- End of Days
- A charming look at twilight, dusk, eventide, and the gloaming. How do they
differ, and what do these contemplative periods of daily darkening mean to
different cultures and eras of history? Arnold Schwarzenegger narrates this
surprisingly erudite documentary.
- Stuart Little
- The early history of Charles I. His weak, sickly childhood led to his receiving
the nickname that provides the film's title, but through a tenacious battle
against a scheming duke's son (played well beyond the hilt by Adam Sandler)
he gains the strength that he will eventually need to lead his country to
- Pokemon: The First Movie
- In what has to be the lowest budget for any release from a major Hollywood
studio ever, Warner Brothers has given America its first taste of leisure
verité: ninety-three minutes of two third-graders sitting across
a kitchen table from each other, turning over trading cards and mumbling about
"power" and "evolving." Watch for a brief cameo by Richard
Garfield (creator of Magic: the Gathering) as "Dad."
- The Patriot
- Mel Gibson offers an in-depth look at the ballistic technology that made
the Gulf War the highest-rated war in network history. Smartcam technology
makes for the ultimate ripoff of Prince of Thieves' arrow shot.
- The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
- Stallone attempts a return to past glory, beating up on a moose in a struggle
for the Wassamatta U. boxing title.
- Gone in 60 Seconds
- Nicolas Cage is not just any hot-dog eater. He's the Upper Wabash County
Champion Hot Dog Eating King for nine years running. But this summer's Fair
and Livestock Show will give him competition like he's never even dreamedDom
DeLuise, costarring as "The Masked Mouth." You may want to warn
your children before seeing this film that the grand finale is just special
- Banking on the success of The Red Violin at tracing the history
of a single instrument over many centuries, Paramount has unveiled a summer
blockbuster tracing a single 1948 Hudson crankshaft as it passes from car
to junkyard, to auto repair store, to car, to junkyard, and finally to art
gallery. The decision to create a soundtrack for the movie out of classic
'70s grooves is bizarre but inspired.
Jim's original review of Anna and the King involved an in-joke,
so I've revised it, and added a couple of my own.
- Anna and the King
- In this update of the famous Russian novel, young immigrant Anna Karenina
discovers a hidden cabin where the 65-year-old Elvis Presley has been living
the Buddhist life for over two decades.
- The Sixth Sense
- Brilliant romantic comedy about a young lexicographer trying to figure out
how many meanings there are to the word "love."
- Lone Star
- John Sayles' slow, boring science fiction epic about a yellow sun that drifts
out of the galaxy, and its efforts to return.
- Where the Heart Is
- Interesting but flawed remake of classic film Fantastic Voyage,
about a tiny "spaceship" navigating a patient's veins and arteries
to remove a blood clot; in this version, the patient can't be moved, so the
entire operation takes place in a Wal-Mart.
- In Michael Crichton's film version of the classic mathematical-thought-experiment
book Flatland, a daring circle ventures forth into the mysterious
and dangerous third dimension.
In a similar sort of vein, my sardonic pal Jack Mantis provides some reviews
excerpted from his book Mantis at the Movies. I suppose I should
note, for those of you who somehow missed watching television in the '80s, that
Brandon Tartikoffyoungest network president ever, when he became head
of NBC in 1980 at the age of 31used to use the term "high concept"
to describe a show that could be summed up in ten words or less. I believe that
the high-concept series-summaries, especially for sitcoms, were what popularized
the phrase "hilarity ensues," as in "Hilarity ensues when messy
guy and neat guy become roommates." Jack figures that the phrase has been
sadly underused since Tartikoff left NBC ten years ago, and has set himself
the task of rectifying that lack. He doesn't, however, restrict himself to ten
words per review.
- Jason and the Huguenots
- Deranged killer falls in with a group of early French Protestants. Hilarity
- Mr. Washington Goes to Smith
- The first president of the USA disguises himself as a female student in
order to attend a women's college in Massachusetts. Hilarity ensues.
- An elderly engineer discovers that his cell phone has come to life and wants
to become "a real little toy." Hilarity ensues.
- Princess Pokemoke
- A human girl raised by incredibly cute cartoon characters must play a collectible
card game to decide the fate of
humanity. Hilarity ensues.
- Sheepless in Seattle
- Big-screen update of classic children's story, with Meg Ryan as Bo, a rural
shepherdess who feels lost in the big city. Hilarity ensues.
- The Spider House Rules
- Spider (Tobey Maguire), the head of a wacky frat house, falls for Buffy
Muffett (Charlize Theron), the ditzy but endearing leader of the neighboring
(and rival) sorority. When Buffy gets pregnant, hilarity ensues.
- Wilde Wilde West
- Witty gay Victorian playwright becomes an agent for the American government,
using gadgets, fisticuffs, and poetry to stop evildoers. Hilarity ensues.
- You've Got Bail
- Tom Hanks stars as a bail bondsman who strikes up an online romance with
serial killer and hardened ex-con Meg Ryan. Hilarity ensues.
- Hilarity and Jackie
- Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy takes up a new career as a standup comedienne
and cello player. Hilarity, of course, ensues.
Haven't had enough yet? Take a look at these descriptions of mid-season
Jed Hartman <firstname.lastname@example.org>