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Makes its point.
16 December 2001
Some here have criticized Not Another Teen Movie for trying to "hammer home" the jokes -- treating the viewer like they don't get it...

What we forget here is that the joke is that these kids in the movie have SEEN all the other Teen movies (this point is brought home quite well in the Molly Ringwold scene in the airport.) This *is* the crux of the humour for the film...

That said, it isn't a very strong punchline to play upon, hence why many of the jokes are very good sight gags, but little else.

When one goes to see this kind of film, you not only check your brain at the door but many of your other faculties too --

But -- if you're in for that kind of humour, you'll thoroughly enjoy the execution of this spoof.

If you're someone who needs to find the deeper meaning, shop elsewhere.

If you're like me, you'll give it 5/10. Not bad, not great, not stellar, not memorable, not worth full admission -- but can be fun if you're in the right train of thought (which is -- none!)
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Shallow Hal (2001)
Not Offensive -- Good Message
30 November 2001
I guess if a film by the Brothers doesn't have a gross-out gag it doesn't meet the requirements of some of my fellow critics...

For me, Shallow Hal was an unexpected surprise.

The film's story is quite good... very well thought out, and while not a unique concept, it makes for an enjoyable time in the theatre.

Of course, the issue of obesity is something that many here have touched on too. I think the whole thing was handled quite delicately. Anyone who found it "offensive" obviously went in with some prejudice after seeing films like "Mary."

In fact, I had completely forgotten this was a film by the Brothers until I saw the credit roll...

The moral is strong -- true beauty is on the inside.

And while the film strives this message, some of the technical blemishes of the film (a strange jump cut after the pediatric ward scene with Hal and Rosemary plus a boom mic in the shot at least once) are simply unacceptable.

A solid 7/10. Go see this film -- enjoyable AND thought-provoking.
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Disturbing, Disconnected, Dissatisfied.
3 July 2001
A.I. is a very disturbing film... I simply don't know what to make of it... at times it reeks of social commentary (and that's not a bad thing) at others it wants to point out the importance of the love between a mother and her child...

What perhaps is most disturbing with this film is that the script realizes about 2 hours and 10 minutes in that it won't be able to create an ending that is either believable, or gives closure... so it tacks on needless scenes... it struck me with the same audacity that "What Lies Beneath" did... JUST END THE FILM ALREADY!

I cared about the characters for quite a good chunk... by the end, I was so dis-interested in the story, so tired of Haley Joel Osment, so tired of the story, that I found myself checking my cellphone for voice mail messages I missed during the film...

Do yourself a favour... you want Sci-Fi? Go to the video store and find something worth watching... you want a Popcorn flick? The Fast and the Furious is in theatres right now... Want to do something better with your hard-earned cash? Give it to an orphanage.

The only highlight in the film -- Teddy Bear. That's it.

Do something -- just don't see this movie.... absolute rubbish.

0/10
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Moulin Rouge! (2001)
10/10
Absolute Eye Candy!
12 June 2001
There is no word to describe the thrill ride which takes each and every person in the theatre on their journey to the Moulin Rouge.

Its practically impossible to talk of this film without discussing the score. Its fantastically choreographed, superbly timed, a spectacle which wows and delights the senses.

The story is very basic, but that's not the point. Moulin Rouge is operatic yet contemporary at the same time. There's a difference between a "paint-by-numbers" and "traditional" story... and what sets the two apart is the flare, glamour and sheer energy with which the story of Moulin Rouge is told.

This film is not for the faint of heart -- if you enjoy roller coaster rides, stunning visuals, and absolute art on film, Moulin Rouge is for you. The tounge-in-cheek treatment of the film's music may be pure cheese for some, but it works in the film, and you must take it at its campy, loud, boistourous, and rather flamboyant face value to "get" whats going on at the Moulin Rouge.

Enjoy the film... laugh, cry, breathe. You'll be glad you did.
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Bad Movie
2 May 2001
I'll admit, there were a couple of scenes where I really laughed hard, where the jokes weren't all that bad.

There were more than enough scenes where I said "huh?"

And there were even a few where I buried my head in my arms, because I knew what was coming and didn't care to see it.

Overall, not a very good film (the story is weak, Rip Torn is wasted as an actor, as is Eddie Kaye Thomas.)

I went on cheap night, and even that was too generous for the profits of the movie's producers.

Do yourself a favour and IF you watch it, do so at a friends when they have to pay for the movie on VHS (not even worth DVD treatment).
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7/10
Awkward, But Fun
25 April 2001
Someone Like You is not a bad movie by any means.

One only has to look at the rubbish which hit the silver screens last summer to see how bad things *can* be.

However... its not a perfect by any means. At times, we have trouble navigating through the story. Some scenes pop up out of nowhere. You can tell this movie (like most) has been tested with audiences and the editor's been told to take out the cleaver to make it fit time. If the story was given a little room to breathe, and if some of the extraneous content was cut, Someone Like You would be a better movie.

A good date film, a nice story, but somewhat weak in its execution. Once again, this is partly because of the chopping and pruning of the film.
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Blow (2001)
10/10
"Blow" MUCH Better Than "Traffic"
10 April 2001
Inevitably, both "Blow" and "Traffic" will be compared to each other. However, these are two very different films which for me give off two very different "feels".

"Traffic" is preachy, slap-stick, and down right insulting to intelligent viewers. I still maintain that it sells out its audience at the end of the film reducing it to nothing more than a B-Movie which did NOT deserve to be one of those nominated for an Oscar.

But on to the issue at hand -- and that's Blow.

The film is a well-planned, well thought out film. Johnny Depp handily carries this script which is not pushy, not forceful. Instead, it is a cunning play on the viewer's emotions which makes it easy for the masses to "buy in to".

Once the film has you in the tent, you are submurged in a culture many of us have only seen and heard of on those E! True Hollywood Stories. Its the 70s and nothing is clean -- not the drugs, not the people, not the environment.

"Traffic" moved me -- it moved me right out of the theatre wanting my money back.

"Blow" moves me -- it builds up an empathy but an understanding for the characters it presents... the viewer can't help but sit there and feel mixed emotions about the characters.

There has not been a movie which has done this to me since "American Beauty." That film had every range of emotion for the person chomping on the popcorn... "Blow" carries that same feel, that same emotion.

This is not the "poor man's Traffic" as some critics would like you to believe. Sit back and take the film at face value... this is a poignant tale about fortune and the perils it brings... a parable strong enough to move not only me, but (agasp) the packed-house of mostly college-aged students I viewed the film with.

After the Drought of 2000, there is hope this year on the silver screen... and the first savior to come along is "Blow."

A must-see film.
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15 Minutes (2001)
1/10
Waste of Time, Money
12 March 2001
What a horrible movie. A terrible movie. A complete waste of film stock.

It doesn't know whether it wants to be a blood and gore show, a psychological thriller, a comedy, a love story, or a poignant piece of social commentary.

Its a muddled movie... with no point, no plot and no guidance whatsoever.

And while I don't particluarily ask much in the area of accuracy in films, it would be nice if attention could be paid to continuity, custom, or even reality.

15 minutes wasted two hours of my life... two hours I'll never get back. Not worth 15 minutes, 15 dollars (which is actually less than the final tally for my night out), or 15 frames of film.
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Traffic (2000)
8/10
Ending Muddled in Traffic
7 January 2001
Traffic (in my humble opinion) is the second best film of the year. "Almost Famous" was better, but thats another discussion for another time.

Traffic is indeed a fine film... star-power cast, a superb story, with an adequate script. The visual style of the film is gritty -- no punches pulled. The cinematography is beautiful, but in a different way from the most beautiful film of 1999 (American Beauty)... the angles used are so "out of the box" that its gorgeous.

What is not gorgeous, however, is how the story gets pulled together in the end. The audience is sold-out... after investing over two hours in this film, the viewer is treated to a flimsy, very preachy, sad-excuse-for, slapstick, and quite frankly disappointing ending. There is no payoff for the viewer. Might as well have slapped on some footage of a man getting kicked in the groin, because it would have made for a better ending. I won't give away what happens, but the ending takes Traffic from being a poignant piece of social commentary, a terrfic piece of storytelling (much as American Beauty was) to being another popcorn flick. Audiences aren't idiots... yet Hollywood continues to treat the masses as such.

Don Cheadle is such a fine actor -- and continues his high calibre of acting in this film, yet at the end of the script, he's reduced to much of the same schtick we see in the lackluster Eddie Murphy films as of late

I gave Traffic 8/10, but that's being VERY generous considering the way the film ended.
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Thoroughly Enjoyable
30 December 2000
I've started many reviews this way, but... in a year where there were relatively FEW good movies, its so nice to see a movie which is very enjoyable, and deliciously popcorn.

There are no big hidden meanings behind Miss Congeniality... its simply a fun comedy. Sandra Bullock shines in this film. I've been disappointed with many of her movies in the past, and rightfully so. But Bullock embraces this role... by becoming her character, we often see a twinkle in her eye... its that same twinkle we often see in Julia Roberts -- its indescribable, but these moments of glory (for lack of a better term) shine through in Miss Congeniality.

While the script, plot and jokes aren't much to write home about (if you've seen the trailer, you'll know many of the punchlines), what is worth the price of admission is to see Sandra Bullock blossom into an actress who has range -- great range...

Definately Two Thumbs up -- especially for Bullock's performance.
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10/10
Best of The Year
23 December 2000
In a year where its easier to form a ten worst list than a ten best list, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale landscape of formulaic, uninteresting, and generally BAD productions made by the Hollywood machine.

But, "Eyes" is more than simply the recent Biography of Tammy Faye on the big screen. No no no! "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" tells a solid story about a family's reversal of fortune, and one woman's really hard struggle through a life which is far from being complete. And the best (or worst, depending on who you are) part is, its a true story. There aren't any plots to "buy in to" or any storylines that make you go "huh?".

For the most part, the story is very first-person, although Drag Queen Ru Paul Charles helps us along in times when the story needs that next advance.

Its a documentary which reads more like a movie... and, as one IMDB reviewer has already said, you laugh, you cry, you NEED the waterproof mascara.

The filmmakers, whilst it appears at time are getting their kicks out of putting Tammy Faye on the big screen, are (for the most part) sincere in their telling of the tale. They treat Tammy Faye with dignity, but also acknowledge a certain "kitsch" there is to the whole PTL saga.

Whether you love her, hate her, or are totally uninterested in her, "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" will bring you closer to Tammy Faye, and provide golden nuggets of insight in to who she really is as a person. In the end, you leave feeling ashamed... she's no different than anyone else, trying to carve out their mark in the world. And if you feel that, if you can immerse yourself in split-seconds of guilt throughout the film, the filmmakers have accomplished their goal. She is no longer an enigma... she is human. She is, Tammy Faye.

10/10
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8/10
A Fun Movie
16 December 2000
Don't expect any deep meanings in "Dude, Where's My Car"... but if you're looking for an entertaining night out with not too much gross-out humour, this is probably a good movie.

The plot requires you to buy in to a lot of totally unreal plot possiblities, but this is not American Beauty we're talkin' about here. Its a comedy with its sole purpose to be a comedy.

I'd even go as far as say its a good one for the family. The sexual jokes may be more appropriate for the older kids, but there's nothing graphic, drugs are not glamourized (and while central to the plot, aren't a big part of the on-screen presentation), and its simply a fun movie.

Don't go in expecting much, and you'll come out enjoying this flick. Going in expecting a cinematic masterpiece, and you'll be as grumpy and grouchy as some movie reviewers tend to be, both here at IMDB, and across the movie critic industry.

Enjoy!
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Unbreakable (2000)
Great -- Til The End
14 December 2000
This is a great movie. The story is strong, and in a similar fashion to his previous film, the director makes you pay attention to the storyline and all the important events taking place in the film

Two very strong leads in Willis and Jackson.

But, just as the audience gets the payoff in the end, the director goes and takes a superb dramatic moment, complete with a rivoting score and beautiful photography, and makes it cheesy.

I won't give away the ending, but just be prepared to have the ending to the movie hammered in to your skull... the viewer is treated like an infant, who doesn't understand high-concept plots. Let us be intelligent for once... PLEASE!
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10/10
I Liked It...
28 November 2000
The Purists are Crying foul, and I must be the only person in the free world who actually did not know the story of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas going in to this flick.

Never read the book as a kid (was never really a fan of Dr. Seuss as a small child), so this was a totally new experience for me.

I thought many of the "flashback" portions of the movie were well done.

The whole "subplot" was fine by me, even though it has purists calling for Opie's directing credentials to be handed over to the proper officials.

I'm giving the Grinch 10/10 -- heck, even my eyes started leaking!
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Lucky Numbers (2000)
2/10
I Walked Out of the Theatre -- TWICE!
30 October 2000
Taking advantage of the Cineplex's "free pop refill", I exited the theatre once to get my self another large vat of cola to continue what up to that point had been an sometimes funny comedy of errors, but when I returned things simply stopped being funny.

Its like watching Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" -- ooooh, I can talk in a funny accent... listen to me talk in a funny accent! I'm funnnnny in a funnnny accent. It gets tired after a while.

The same goes for John Travolta in this dozer of a flick --- oooh, I'll mug and say "gosh golly gee, how can this be happening to me."

But its not only on the comedy where Lucky Numbers fails to produce results... its also the day and age the film is set in. It seems the production assistant was totally oblivious to any sence of time or continuity in this film... we watch as weatherman Russ' blue screen goes from being blue to black to blue and black... all in one scene... its changing with every shot too -- not like theres time for some "off camera action" to make the change occur. Or how about the use of a modern (post-90's) Denny's sign off the top of the film???? Or how about the scene where John and another character are standing in the middle of the road talking... a semi is coming up behind them, they cross the street, but the semi never does cross the screen!!! These are simply a small handful of technical gaffes which in my mind take the film even lower, since there isn't much of a plot to look at so YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE!

Save your money, this movie's really bad... go do something better with your time --- this film simply doesn't payoff.
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Lucky Numbers (2000)
2/10
I Walked Out of the Theatre -- TWICE!
27 October 2000
Taking advantage of the Cineplex's "free pop refill", I exited the theatre once to get my self another large vat of cola to continue what up to that point had been an sometimes funny comedy of errors, but when I returned things simply stopped being funny.

Its like watching Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" -- ooooh, I can talk in a funny accent... listen to me talk in a funny accent! I'm funnnnny in a funnnny accent. It gets tired after a while.

The same goes for John Travolta in this dozer of a flick --- oooh, I'll mug and say "gosh golly gee, how can this be happening to me."

But its not only on the comedy where Lucky Numbers fails to produce results... its also the day and age the film is set in. It seems the production assistant was totally oblivious to any sence of time or continuity in this film... we watch as weatherman Russ' blue screen goes from being blue to black to blue and black... all in one scene... its changing with every shot too -- not like theres time for some "off camera action" to make the change occur. Or how about the use of a modern (post-90's) Denny's sign off the top of the film???? Or how about the scene where John and another character are standing in the middle of the road talking... a semi is coming up behind them, they cross the street, but the semi never does cross the screen!!! These are simply a small handful of technical gaffes which in my mind take the film even lower, since there isn't much of a plot to look at so YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE!

Save your money, this movie's a sleeper, and go do something better with your time --- this film simply doesn't payoff.
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10/10
Very Good
21 October 2000
In a year where the quality of the movies can only be described as "lackluster", Pay it Forward certainly shines through.

Sure, its easy to "dis" its Oprah-esque qualities of doing good deeds for others, but the story is fairly solid.

As I hinted to before, this year has been anything but spectacular for movies... one only has to look to recent films like Dr. T and the Women and Nurse Betty -- hailed as golden by critics -- but are really flimsy pieces of work.

Helen Hunt redeems herself in this film from her work in Dr. T, Haley Joel Osment is once again spectacular, and Kevin Spacey delivers another Oscar-worthy performance.

The score has hints of American Beauty, and I personally felt the parallels between the two films, not necessarily in mood, but in the impact they will leave behind.

If you see one film this year, spend your money on Pay it Forward, but please buy in to the concept of the movie -- just like American Beauty, one must accept the world presented in the establishing moments of the film, otherwise you'll leave disheartened.

In the meantime, Kevin Spacey, make room for another Oscar on the mantle.
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Hype (2000– )
Unfunny
17 October 2000
I had the unfortunate experience of seeing Hype for the first time last night, and I must say I've never seen a show -- intended to be a comedy -- which has angered me more in my entire life.

In a recent Entertainment Weekly article, the cast was described by a show PR person as being great impersonators, and a breath of fresh air.

Hype is nothing more than a stale attempt by the WB to make a foray in to the sketch comedy game, when really sketch comedy is on the way out.

Not once during the 30 minutes did I laugh... not even once... all I could keep repeating is "my god, they're making fools of themselves."

If you want to watch something funny, dig up those old tapes of the "Dana Carvey Show" -- a much more valiant effort at risque sketch comedy.

Bottom line -- don't believe the hype the WB is creating over HYPE... its bland, boring, dull, and the worst example of sketch comedy on the tube today.
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Will & Grace (1998– )
Fantastic Writing
17 October 2000
I have a feeling 2000 will be THE year for Will and Grace...

Its Emmy wins have solidified the fact the show is a comedy force to be reckoned with.

Clever, witty writing; great characters; well-developed stories.

Many people speak of "Ellen" in the same breath as with "Will and Grace" and I say bite your tongue... Will and Grace is what Ellen SHOULD have been... but what differs here is that W&G's writers KNOW how to write a story, the story lines have a purpose, and furthermore, it is much more funny than Ellen DeGeneres ever could have made her sitcom become.

Will and Grace has all the traits of a truly legendary comedy... it has staying power which will pummel all contenders in the much-hallowed Nielsens.

Hurrah for Will and Grace.
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Loser (2000)
8/10
Entertaining, Fun, Thoughtful
8 August 2000
Shame... shame on some of the critics here who dislike Loser because Jason Biggs didn't get it on with a piece of apple pie for a second time... shame on those who thought every time they saw Mena Suvari, they'd have rose petals flying all over the multiplex...

The best thing about Loser is that there is no goal at the beginning of the movie. There's no incriminating videotape which has to be recovered (like Road Trip.) No one's trying to make the geek sheek (like She's All That.)

But you know what, every five or ten minutes, the story keeps pushing you in another direction... and you're actually required to use your grey matter once in a while...

Loser is not American Beauty, and its not American Pie... its a good film balanced somewhere in between, which gives both Biggs and Suvari a chance to break out of the stereotypes oh so many people seem to want to keep them in... well written, continuity is kept in mind, and the strings are nicely tied together, although you don't know what's ultimately going to happen in the end until you get there.

8/10
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Clerks (1994)
Customers can be so cruel...
1 June 2000
I want to first declare that the fact that this is a) a Kevin Smith film; b) was produced for less than Mel Gibson's weekly dry cleaning bill; c) won rave reviews at indie film fests had nothing to do with my feelings about the movie. I wanted to make sure that was out in the open before I tore in to this film.

I saw Dogma -- twice actually. And loved it. So, with the animated series launching on ABC recently, I thought I'd see what the original movie was all about...

My opinion -- a great film. Why? Witty dialogue... lets face it -- this film had some great one-liners, but just as many monologues which were well performed.

Reason number two? I was tired at the end of the film. A good film will have me tired out by the time I have to press "rewind" on the VCR or when I walk out of the theatre. Comparing this to the indie-style "Being John Malkovich" (which, by the way, I walked out on), Clerks keeps the viewer running -- there's always something happening on the screen -- no wasted time. Malkovich, on the other hand, takes the better part of a bag of popcorn to get to the heart of the plot. The plot in Clerks is very simple... you don't need to be a brain surgeon to figure it out. It's there, its of the classic film genre. (I won't reveal it because if you want to know so bad, go out and rent the film.)

I'll wrap up with this -- Smith got me in the tent with Dogma. I'm going back for a refill on Clerks. Time to head down to the local video store and check out his other flicks because he's two for two in my books.

10/10
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Road Trip (2000)
It's Good.
21 May 2000
As the trailers say, "Road Trip -- It's Good!"

What I found quite enjoyable was that for the most part, the writers of this film decided to venture out to tell a story... and they did just that. No side story lines... no confusion... a clear cut story with a beginning and an ending.

Was the payoff great? Well, I'll let you decide for yourself. However, I will say the ending was slightly cheap, and feel that there might have been some backroom hacking in response to audience testing prior to the show, because while the story does get a nice, rounded ending, some things leave you going "huh, gee, yeah, I guess that's an ending", but without giving away any of the story (a requirement of IMDB reviews) I will say that it seemed too "convenient" as to how the Road Trip ends.

The gold star in this film definately goes to DJ Qualls -- a bright young actor who seems like he has a promising future...

As usual, our favourite Canuck Tom Green strives to gross out, and hits a home-run...

Finally, in an age where there seem to be a plethora of teen flicks/college flicks (just look at what's due this summer with "Boys and Girls", "Loser", and the already released "Gossip") Road Trip is poised to be this year's "Outside Providence" in that its probably not gonna pull down a HUGE box office, but will entertain those who venture inside the tent.
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Malcolm in the Middle (2000–2006)
Superb... nice show!
20 February 2000
When The Simpsons first came out, parents were enraged, and even some junior high teachers of mine wouldn't let their kids watch the show... the fact is they didn't want to admit how screwed up their own lives were, and how closely they resembled the household of Marge, Homer, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.

Fast forward to Y2K... the kids on Malcolm in the Middle were RAISED watching The Simpsons --

With that aside, let's get on to the show... an excellent look at how screwed up suburban American (or suburban Canada for that matter) really is...

One thing I credit the producers (and the Casting directors) with is making the kids actually look like they could be brothers... this makes us believe its a real family...

Malcolm in the Middle is truly on the other side of the pendulum from American Beauty -- a hilarious, yet dark look at screwed up suburbia -- with Malcolm omitting the dark side, making us feel good about anything which goes wrong for Frankie and his family...

Malcolm has the creative and ingenius writing shows like those which litter NBC's "Must See" lineup only wish they had!

A very frank and open look at being a kid in a messed up family!
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10/10
Tobey Rules...
4 January 2000
We all remember those movies we go to see that make us choke up and cry, and The Cider House Rules can easily be added to this category.

The story of orphan Homer Wells is touching, heartwarming, and is not full of mush, like most movies in this genre tend to be like. There is a good, hard storyline that often pulls back to reality -- a direction most movies in the "touching", "heartwarming" category drive towards. This is the stuff of real life, and Maguire brings across the naievity of the Wells character so well.

Not to typecast Maguire, but he plays young and naive SO well... his performance in Pleasantville (1998) was superb, and in The Cider House Rules, he reprises that same authenticity and sence of being genuine. You believe Maguire IS Homer Wells...

The casting in the film is meticulious, and you can tell attention was given to EVERY character, right down to the nurses (one of which is played by my favourite dramatic actress Kathy Baker of Picket Fences fame...)

Other strong performaces come from the direction of some of the young actors in the film, notably Kieran Culkin and Erik Sullivan...

A strong story, a great screenplay, a perfect film --

Just on request... no sequel please... at least not for now... let us bask in the glory that is The Cider House Rules.
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1/10
Terrible! Horrible! Revolting!
18 August 1999
I must say that when I sat down to watch Detroit Rock City, I was planning for a good evening of entertainment. I wanted to see a smart comedy that ranked up there with the intelligence and style of TV's "That 70's Show". I wanted comedy that made me feel guilty for laughing, like in "There's Something About Mary." I wanted this to be as edgy as the whole KISS phenomenon was in the movie's period.

I must admit, the first 45 minutes of the film is enjoyable. However, there is a turning point in the film where the characters turn from naieve and likable, to cruel, calculating and really unfriendly.

The fact that the characters become so distant from being likable ruins the movie. The payoff in the end isn't even worthwhile. The viewer is sitting there wanting the last 45 minutes of their life back.

There is only one bright spot in the movie. Lin Shaye (who played the riotous Magda in the above-fore-mentioned Mary) is a brilliant actress who plays a mom that you can't help but feel for. Lin is spectacular. Unfortunately, her character gets forgotten in the writing, with the mom having no closure in the film.

Rifkin leaves too many loose ends dangling at the end of Detroit Rock City, and this is the part that really upsets me. An excellent period piece on the 70's that could have been bright and fun ends up being a hodge-podge of scenes fused together with no rhyme, reason, or ending.
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