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The first step on the road away from real arachnophobia, for me...
I had just turned 14 when this movie came out, and thanks to the influence of my best friend, I saw it in the theater. As a serious and dedicated arachnophobe, it was a big step to see this film in the theater. However, the sheer silliness of it, added to the fact that I was able to stay in the theater and continue eating my popcorn after "that scene" was a big step in recovering from my phobia.
I used to be paralyzed with fear every time I saw even the tiniest spider. But after this movie, I realized that the spiders in my house really weren't so bad. Later, when I spent six weeks straight camping out in the forest, I had to come to peace with the presence of spiders. Later, I decided I was tired of being controlled by fear, and I started learning as much as I could about spiders. Eventually, I could look at a picture of a spider without my heart going POP! Later, I could touch a picture of a spider. The more I learned, the more I lost my fear. These days, not only am I no longer afraid of them, I'm utterly fascinated by spiders! I credit this film with starting me down that path.
Right now, I'm watching the movie again for the first time in at least ten years. Now I'm laughing through the whole thing, mostly laughing at the inaccuracies of the film.
If you're an arachnophobe and okay with living in fear of spiders, stay away from this film. However, if you're ready to take that first step toward conquering your own phobia, I can't recommend this film enough as a great place to start! Bear in mind, it has no relation to the reality of arachnid biology, and there's no way you're going to find Huntsman spiders, let alone extremely venemous ones, in the mountains of California!
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Mediocre movie based on a mediocre book...
It took me over a month to finish the book, choking down the final pages like so much cold, lumpy oatmeal. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but I found it terribly annoying. I found the narrative to be condescending, the foreshadowing ham-fisted, and the pacing irksomely slow. The entire book felt like Dan Brown was so busy smugly congratulating himself for being so darn clever that he forgot to make the book really interesting. There were times I wanted to shout, "Get on with it!" Every five pages or so, the characters would be stunned into silence at some new revelation that the reader had seen coming a mile away. And after all this frustration and annoyance, for some reason I went to see the film anyway.
The film, like the book, is condescending to the audience, frequently transmitting the next key point of the story long before it's revealed. The characters are continually being shocked by things the audience figured out ten minutes ago.
There are some fine performances in this movie that made it more bearable. Jean Reno, as always, turns in the outstanding performance his audience has come to expect from him, as does Sir Ian McKellen. Paul Bettany and Alfred Molina also give fine performances. All in all, Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou did the best they could with the dialogue they were given, although many of the lines would have come across as cheesy coming from even the most highly skilled actors.
If you liked the book, then you'll probably like the movie. But if you found the book as annoying and slow as I did, this movie is worth skipping. And if you know anything about the Sangraal/Priory theories and are hoping to hear some, you wil be sorely disappointed.
a hard, uncomfortable look at racism in America
Street Fight is a brilliant piece of brutal satire. This is not a movie you just watch for fun. It is not a comfortable experience, although it does have some laugh-out-loud moments. This is a movie you watch when you need food for thought.
To dismiss this film as simply racist is to miss the point entirely. This is not only a satire of Song of the South, it's also a biting commentary on the prejudices that Americans still have as a society. Every ethnic group portrayed in the movie gets shown as grotesque caricatures of their stereotypes, which in turn are grotesque caricatures of real people. Through this wild exaggeration, the filmmaker shows just how absurd these tightly-held beliefs really are.
If you're the sort of person who's willing to acknowledge the ugliness of the prevalent prejudices American culture still holds, and if you're not afraid to look your own prejudices in the eye, this movie may be for you.
Ein Toter hing im Netz (1960)
Steamin' pile of movie
This is a movie that would have been best left unmade. Please do NOT attempt to watch it without Mike and the bots! The 'spider' puppet looks like the illegitimate child of Alf and Dungeness crab. The 'spiderweb' looks exactly like a kid's climbing structure at the San Francisco Zoo. It brings mysogyny to an art form, since if you combined the brains of every broad in the cast it would come to half a cup. Please do not try to watch this movie sober or you may be irreparably damaged.