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Road Trip (2000)
23 May 2000
I'll give this movie *** out of 5 stars. Roger Ebert was pretty dead-on with his review of this movie, although I can't say I always agree with him on films of this sort, he's pretty condescending towards the genre (probably with good reason). This movie was head-and-shoulders above last summer's clunker American Pie, mostly because it plays it closer to the vest. Its best moments are when Tom Green is onscreen, because while his brand of humor is unabashedly juvenile, it's different than the kind of straight-ahead sex humor that movies like this too often rely on. The scenes dealing with his morbid fascination with the snake break up the monotony of this movie just when the "road trip" scenes are getting into a rut. The movies worst moments, on the other hand, is when it will go to ludicrous lengths just to make a cheap joke about anal sex or a fat person. In regards to the latter, I thought it was the movie's lowest point. Until then, no character in the movie had been completely written off just because of a physical or mental handicap-- even the blind woman had momentarily outsmarted the boys. Overall, I thought the acting was slightly above par... Tom Green was perfectly cast as, well, himself, Breckin Meyer (who seemingly hasn't aged at all since Clueless) actually convinced me that he was genuinely a nice guy and didn't want to hurt his girlfriend, Sean William Scott basically reprised his character from American Pie and had a few good lines until he descended into mindless self-parody, and DJ Qualls has to be the weirdest looking kid I've ever seen, which is all his role really required (I'm wondering if DJ is his initials, or if he is involved in techno music? that might explain his appearance). As for the actresses in this movie, it's kind of hard to evaluate their performances when their sole purpose in the film seemed to be to take their shirts off. And as for the setting of the film, I thought it was probably the most accurate college movie I've seen in a while. There are actually students on campus who don't live in frat houses (unlike every other college movie), and the parties are crowded without being unreasonably wild (I always wonder about college movies... if the party destroys the entire house every time, which seems to be the case, don't they eventually run out of houses?). Another thing that I took note of was the amount of marijuana use in this movie. The increasing presence of pot in movies seems to be a trend recently, and although it's relatively true to college life, it's screen time here is usually reserved for strictly stoner movies like Friday. Anyway, if you're in college or even high school, you'll probably want to go see this because all of your friends will talk about it, and you'll probably end up enjoying it despite its shortcomings. All in all, a pleasantly forgettable release.
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Baby Geniuses (1999)
Don't hate me, but I liked it!
20 March 2000
I completely disagree with all of the comments about this movie!

A friend and I were at the video store and bought this on a whim from the budget bin... I thought it looked bad enough that it would be a good laugh to watch it and make fun of it. No one was more surprised than me to discover that it was actually decent! It's a dark comedy not at all aimed at kids... I think it will become a great cult film like "Return to Oz." Admittedly it could have done without the numerous scenes depicting someone getting kicked, punched, or whacked in the family jewels, but other than that I had no major qualms with it at all. At times I laughed out loud, and I at least don't remember being bored at any point. What astonishes me most about the reviews of this films is that everyone seems to be taking it seriously! The same people who say that the plot is ridiculous probably loved movies like "Star Wars" and "Pulp Fiction." This movie didn't claim to be based in fact, and in fairness it can't be evaluated as such. Like any fiction film, it requires some suspension of disbelief. The dialogue isn't any worse than any of the action movies it so clearly mocks, and as for the acting, well, Peter MacNichol plays himself as usual (not a bad thing!), Christopher Lloyd turns in a appropriately cartoonish performance, and I was actually pretty impressed with the toddlers' physical acting, considering their age.

So, in summary, this isn't a 10 out of 10 but it isn't bad. You won't enjoy it if you take it too seriously, and you certainly won't enjoy it if you only look for its faults (which too many people seem to be doing). I give it thumbs up!
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could have been...
26 October 1999
AN excellent premise is sadly executed in Higher Learning. Singleton tries to use such extreme situations and melodrama to get his point across that the message he is trying to send ends up seeming as ridiculous as his contrived situations. This is only a "wakeup call" to America if you live in a comic book. The dialogue is poor, and dooms this mostly talentless young cast. Omar Epps and Michael Rappaport are decent, but the rest of the cast is painful to watch, especially Laurence Fishburne. He is somehow able to make the poor lines written for his character even worse by delivering them with a ludicrous accent. Only rent this trash so it will make good films about racism like American History X look even better.
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Election (1999)
if you're going to make a dark comedy, do it right
30 July 1999
Please. This was a sometimes funny, mostly tedious movie that went NOWHERE. I fully expected this to be a dark comedy from the setup, where the characters introduce themselves by saying things like "I don't know exactly what happened, things just got out of control." As the movie developed, I waited for the payoff, but there was none! Things NEVER got "out of control"! The acting was the one saving grace in this movie. Reese Witherspoon was delightful, Chris Klein made a solid debut, and Matthew Broderick was convincingly neurotic. Despite the performances by the cast, I was highly disappointed. After a decent first half-hour, the film began to meander, hitting the same jokes over and over again (Tracy's overbearing mother, Tammy's back-stabbing friend, etc.). I know this sounds callous, but I think that for this movie to really work it would have had to have somebody get killed. The ingredients are all there: a girl driven to succeed at all costs and a teacher consumed by a need to stop her... it was just asking for a murder. I really thought that Tammy's comment about the power lines at the beginning of the movie was foreshadowing a death, too. Alas, the movie just wound down to a point where it seems like the filmmakers said "ok, it's been 90 minutes, that's enough, let's go home." Oh well.
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at least there's Ween
30 July 1999
One of the truly bad movies of all time. There are really two kinds of bad movies: Movies so bad they're good (Plan 9 from Outer Space, Highlander, etc.), and movies that are just BAD. This is of the latter. Its only saving grace is the extensive cameo by Ween, and the always tolerable Dave Foley. Thank God this torpedoed Julia Sweeney's career, or we might have to endure more films of this quality.
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brilliant and entertaining
18 April 1999
I rented this one on a whim, and really enjoyed it. It's the first movie I've seen since Kids that gave a realistic portrayal of teenage life. All the actors are believable as 15-year-olds (I especially enjoyed Brendan Sexton and the girl who played Melena), and the dialogue was realistic. Up until very late in the film, all of the plot twists were things that could have happened in real life. Also, the film showed the downside of a life of crime without coming off as preachy. I'm looking forward to seeing more work from everyone involved in this film.
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slow as molasses
18 April 1999
I found this movie very disappointing. I liked several of the actors involved from previous films, but only Ethan Embry turned in a performance with a pulse in this one. The story, while not a bad premise, took so long to develop that I just wanted to fast-forward to the end, find out who left and who stayed, and forget I ever saw it. All in all, it just seemed to be very uninspired filmmaking.
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