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The School of Rock (2003)
I have seen the future of rock 'n' roll and its name is Jack Black
Jack Black owns this movie like no other actor has ever owned a movie. Everything he does, every choice he makes is perfect. And hilarious. If the Academy gave out Oscars for great performances as opposed to just performances in which an actor has to emote or pretend to be disabled or die or all three combined, Jack Black would be a shoo-in. This movie truly rocks.
Loved this movie. It was perfect. Never a dull moment. Very smart, and never talks down to its audience. Very faithful to Louis Sachar's book, but in the best possible way. A real classic, perfectly cast. This is the way to make a great family movie! Everyone else, please take note!
The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
Good movie, with some great moments
This movie was uneven, but overall pretty satisfying.
Worst part: the first thirty minutes. It took forever to get going.
Best part: the middle twenty minutes, climaxing in the faculty Christmas party (one of the best Christmas scenes in any holiday movie ever). If only the rest of the movie could've been this good. Never would have thought Tim Allen could pull off a romance, but the kiss under the mistletoe scene was pretty magical.
A few questions:
If kids who are complete strangers innately know Scott is Santa Claus, how come Lucy doesn't?
If the elf Curtis is such a stickler for the rules, why is he introduced as a crazy loose cannon?
Was teenage Charlie seriously crying because other kids can say their dads are plumbers, but he can't tell anyone his dad is Santa Claus? What is wrong with this kid?
Overall, it was a good movie. Kudos to Art Lafleur, who's brilliant as the Tooth Fairy, Liliana Mumy, who's adorable as Lucy, and Elizabeth Mitchell, who does some interesting things as the love interest (although she lets out a few too many fake laughs).
Rat Race (2001)
Not only a movie, an IQ test
This is one of those comedies that some people praise as the funniest thing they've ever seen, and others attack as the least funny thing they've ever seen. I've struggled to understand why, and I think it's about something more than taste.
It's about IQ.
If you have an IQ above a certain level (120, say), you probably won't laugh once at this movie. But if your IQ is lower than that-- especially if it's significantly lower--you will laugh yourself silly.
If your IQ is above that level, you'll find your average Simpsons or Seinfeld episode ten times funnier than this movie, so don't bother watching it. But if your IQ's below that level, definitely rent it: you'll have a blast.
Ponderous movie with lots of potential and lame ending
I love smart movies. I love profound movies. I enjoy it when movies explore the hyper-real aspect of something normally considered fantastical. In so many ways UNBREAKABLE should have been one of those movies.
But it wasn't.
I didn't care about the hero's relationship with his wife. Or his relationship with his son. The discovery that he might actually be a superhero was interesting, but the ending was a huge disappointment.
This was a first act of a movie, nothing else. And try as you may, you can't turn a first act into a compelling, satisfying movie.
Hopefully SIGNS will be better.
Bubble Boy (2001)
Most underrated movie of 2001
I was one of the few people who actually saw this one in the theaters. Just saw it again on DVD, and I have to say it was even funnier the second time around. Yes, there are some lowest common denominator jokes, and a couple of unfunny gross-out moments, but believe it or not, this is actually a great movie, with some real emotional resonance, thanks in a big part to Jake Gyllenhaal.
The DVD has some cool extras. There was a great documentary on how they made the bubble suit. For extra fun, check out the "Director's Diary." It's filled with Guffman-style laughs as the full-of-himself and surprisingly humorless director describes his "craft."
Check this movie out--it's better than you think. ***1/2