Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Overrated, pointless, stupid film
A friend in the Army had a copy of this on video. I sat down and watched it and after 15 minutes lost interest. To me, it was nothing more than people using a lot of profanity to talk about the most stupid of things. If you like this, fine, but for me, it was stupid. I'm sure Kevin Smith is a nice guy, but he should really leave the screenplay writing to people who actually know how to make an interesting film. The same went for Mallrats, another incredibly-banal movie. And based on the previews I saw of Clerks II, it looked the same.
I've seen a few movies in my time that I consider unwatchable: Saw IV, National Lampoon's Senior Trip, and this would be added to them.
Dharma & Greg (1997)
One of the best
To my regret, I didn't discover Dharma and Greg until it was in syndication after it had ended as a series. I have since become a big fan and hope someday they do a reunion of sorts. From listening to Chuck Lorre, Jenna Elfman, Mimi Kennedy, Alan Rachins, Susan Sullivan and Mitchell Ryan comment about it on the DVDs, the show was perfectly cast.
Yes, I know there are conservatives out there who might not have liked the show because of Dharma's family's liberal ways. Well, I'm a Reagan-loving conservative and absolutely enjoyed the show. To me, the show was very balanced in its humor: Dharma and her family were made fun of just as Greg and his family were.
I think one of the funniest episodes was when Teller guest starred as Jane's cat Mr. Boots. I envision Jane paid Teller's character to act like a cat--just to mess with Greg.
I wish this show had gone on longer...it would've been great to explore D&G having children and trying to raise them despite their differences. In the meantime, I hope Jenna Elfman is able to get back into doing sitcoms again. She's far too talented as a comedic actress not to.
A year or so ago, I received an e-mail from an actor who had a brief guest starring role on D&G. He told me that Jenna, Thomas and Susan couldn't have been nicer.
Don't Go in the Woods (1981)
Very inspiring, for the wrong reasons
Don't Go in the Woods terrified me when I saw it as a 15 year-old. Now, 20 years later, I honestly don't remember why. While the music can be nice and ominous when needed, the acting is beyond terrible. The actors literally appear to be doing nothing more than reciting lines.
It really makes me think that if these people, awful actors they were, can be in a movie, anybody can.
The only thing that truly surprised me about this movie is that it didn't have any nudity in it. Generally, the worse a horror flick is, the more likelihood of seeing skin. It's what directors probably do when they know the film can't be sold on its own merits.
Why this film hasn't been on MST3000 is beyond me. A horrible film. Horrible. Horrible. Makes Stepfather 3 seem like a cinematic master piece. Sound's terrible, looks like it was shot on video. I've seen low-budget Christian films with better acting and dialogue. And of course, there's that gratuitous nude scene that was probably inserted in a desperate attempt to keep viewers watching. This is the type of movie they'd show at a film school to teach students how NOT to make a movie.
I find it very telling that for most of the characters in the film, this was their first--and ONLY--movie. Also got a hoot out of the government agents who wear sunglasses, even when it's nighttime.
Left Behind (2000)
Fire the screenplay writers
I'm a Christian who generally believes in the theology taught in Left Behind. That being said, I think Left Behind is one of the worst films I've seen in some time.
To have a good movie, you need to have a well-written screenplay. Left Behind fell woefully short on this. For one thing, it radically deviates from the book. Sometimes this is done to condense a 400-page novel down to a two-hour film, but in this film I saw changes that made no sense whatsoever.
Another thing, there is zero character development. When characters in the story get saved (I won't say who), the book makes it clear that it's a long, soul-searching process. In the film it's quick and artificial. The book is written decently enough where people like Rayford Steele, Buck Williams and Hattie Durham seem real, but in the movie scenarios are consistently given the quick treatment without anything substantial. In another scene where one character gets angry about being left behind (again, I won't say who), it seems artificial.
I realize as a Christian it's unedifying for me to say I disliked this film, but I can't in a good conscience recommend a film that I feel was horribly done. Perhaps it would've been better to make the first book into 2-3 films. Either way, Christians need to realize that to be taken seriously as filmmakers, we need to start by putting together a film in a quality way. I realize a lot of effort probably went into Left Behind, but that's the way I see it.
I thought this was an extremely well-done suspense mystery that attempts to answer the question: what does a young man do when he's in love with his best friend, only to see someone else move in on her? Jonathan Rhys-Meyers' performance was well beyond convincing, to the point where it felt I was watching actual events transpire before me. Overall, I thought this was a very good story line with some good plot twists. Rachael Leigh Cook and Shawn Hatosy were also well cast. This is the type of film that will generate a lot of things to discuss regarding the plot, antagonists and so far. It might not be Heat (my favorite film), but it's good.
Diamond of a film
As a person who watches films for both pleasure and criticism, I can honestly say that right now, at 31, my favorite movie is Heat. The flaws in this film are so minimal that they're negligible. Of all the movies I've ever seen, this by far is the best character study. The story flows, the acting is great, and the shootout sequence is well-done. What I really enjoyed was how the two lead characters discover they're a lot more a like than what they realize. If circumstances were different, Neil and Vincent wouldn't just be best friends--they'd be brothers. Besides this, the soundtrack was great and for a 3-hour film, every scene was crucial. Of the minor characters, besides being a big fan of Ted Levine's, I especially liked the callousness conveyed by the restaurant manager who was stiffing Breedan.
What really floored me about this film are all the subplots. Usually, with this many subplots things get missed and there's always that tendency for casting of less-than-convincing characters. Not so here. The young black lady who played the prostitute killed by Waingro (the first one whom he told that he could always spot a liar). When she tries to lie, she does so convincingly (to the film watcher) that you think she's telling the truth. And her face changes as she realizes she's in grave danger.
I note that this film received no Oscar nominations; this tells me all I need to know about how misguided and overrated the Oscars are.
Even after Vincent fatally injures Neil, Neil is resigned that while Vincent admired him, he still was doing his job.
FOUR STARS (out of four).
'Searching for Wooden Watermelons' anything but wooden
Searching for Wooden Watermelons, a 2003 independent film, will probably seem unremarkable to some viewers. It has no sex scenes. The profanity is minimal. There are no strikingly hilarious scenes. There are no action scenes, no scary or gory moments.
Don't let those things discourage you from watching it. SFWW is an excellent
character study that follows the discontentment of someone who, rebelling against their apparent destiny in life, decides they want more. From the appearance of an outsider, 25 year-old Jude Farnie seems to have a happy life. She was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She's finally about to graduate from college after transferring twice. She has a steady boyfriend who loves her and plans soon to propose to her. For all practical purposes, everything's falling into place for Jude to settle down as a wife and as a court reporter.
While watching this film, I got the strong impression that director Bryan
Goldsworthy and Wendy English (who stars as Jude and also wrote the screenplay and co-produced the film) both know how to make the most of this independent
film's limited budget. One of the first shots in the movie is of Jude walking down the road in her royal blue graduation cap and gown-an excellent way of drawing a
viewer's attention and a strong indication that something isn't right. The film gets directly to the point. As it turns out, Jude walking down the road in her graduation outfit serves a purpose: she left her graduation ceremony prematurely out of no desire to claim it since she doesn't want to work as a stenographer. And although she does love her boyfriend and her dysfunctional family, she wants something more out of life.
In my lifetime I've seen countless low-budget films, most of them horror and sci-fi films from the seventies and eighties. Of them are Tourist Trap and Exterminators of the Year 3000. What usually plagues these films, besides the laughable special effects, silly plotting and other low-grade production values, is the terrible acting. I was really surprised by the good acting in SFWW. As the opening credits rolled across the screen, I recognized no names-not even that of a yesteryear star looking for any type of role to either make a comeback or (more likely) pay some bills. Despite it, though, I found myself amazed that all of the principle characters did a fine acting job.
The good acting could be because this drama-comedy is also largely
autobiographical: English left Beaumont to follow after a dream of working in the entertainment industry. I think her own personal experiences help to make this film work. The characters come across as genuine and down-to-earth without any of the small town stereotypes that often come when even established actors play the parts without knowing the area.
As we watch the film, we see that Jude has been recording countless sitcoms on television since she got her first VCR nearly 20 years ago. Her apparent reason: to study comedy shows, see how they're written and develop the skills to become a successful TV writer. This is her dream, her calling in life. She and her best friend, Riley Jefferson (played by Chad Safar), have plans to become partners in comedy writing. Riley, though, faces a dilemma, follow his dreams and go with Jude out to California on little more than hope or stay in Texas and help his father try to keep the family's theater business going in the black?
Jude is a character many of us, particularly me, can identify with. What's better-to settle down into a comfortable life that you find yourself discontent with or take a chance and follow a dream? As Jude contemplates what to do, the film also focuses around her family and friends' reaction to what she wants to do. Jude also faces the task of dealing with a death in the family, a grandparent's declining health and her relationship with her child-like mother.
SFWW is primarily a drama with some comedy thrown in. Throughout the film,
there's narration thrown in (something I've always liked). At the end in the final narration, Jude speaks from the angle of looking back five years later. English tells you just enough to leave you hanging as to what ultimately happened to her
character, but just enough to let you know that her character has no regrets.
3 STARS (out of four)
Malcolm X (1992)
I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and really looked forward to seeing this film. Unfortunately, I saw only about an hour of this before turning it off. Besides starting off with the much taken out of context Rodney King beating, this film makes me wonder if indeed Spike Lee knows how to tell a story. His camera movements might be good, but I found myself very confused by how the story line kept jumping across. I remember one scene where, out of nowhere, the scene cuts to X's father being killed.
The best way to have done this movie, in my opinion, would've been the way the book did. Start it with X meeting Alex Haley at the end of his life and have the movie go chronologically with X providing voice-over narration. The acting I did see was good, so out of four stars, I'd give this film two.
Apt Pupil (1998)
I sincerely hope Imdb is merely falsely reporting a rumor that Stephen King sold the film rights to Apt Pupil for $1, because Apt Pupil is one of the worst screen adaptations of a King novel. It ranks up there with Children of the Corn and, perhaps ironically worst of all, King's "Maximum Overdrive."
Apt Pupil is one of the most chilling King works I've ever read with only Children of the Corn being scarier. It's a cat-and-mouse story of a cocky, smart American kid who discovers that man who lives near him is actually a fugitive NAZI--one of the evil high-ranking officers that has thwarted the authorities for decades. But instead of doing the obvious right thing and turning him in, the boy engages in a deadly quid-pro-quo game of blackmail: he tells "Arthur Denker"--real name Kurt Dussander--to tell him everything that is too explicit for the war books and magazines.
The novel has a very dark ending, which you'd expect when a person makes a critically terrible decision and then tries endlessly to cover it up. This movie almost completely sanitizes it. Further, Brad Renfro was a horrible miscast as Todd Bowden. He acts nothing like the Bowden in the book. The pacing for this film was all wrong and never allows any of the characters to sufficiently develop. Only Ian McKellan and the well-intentioned efforts of David Schwimmer save this film from being a total skunk.