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Still one of the better versions
1 December 2004
With all the remakes of "A Christmas Carol," it's nice to watch one that actually captures a warm, Christmas spirit. This animated version is short and leaves out a lot of the storyline, but it gives you the basics. Mickey Mouse makes a surprisingly good Bob Cratchit, and the Tiny Tim is the only one from any movie so far who has actually won my sympathy instead of annoying me! It helps a lot that Scrooge has a more human voice than the other Disney characters. A lot of his dialog is heartfelt and touching.

The music is nice, too, adding a lot to the feel of the movie. The animation is clean and creates a much better London than most live action movies can!

This version is great to watch with kids - it is simplified, so it is easy for them to understand, but you will enjoy it too. It makes you glad it's Christmas time :)
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Waterworld (1995)
Blah
23 November 2004
This is one of those movies that has a hard to believe premise, but even if you accept it, the half million or so plot holes will get you in the end. The world is completely under water. Kevin Costner wears creepy skin tight clothes and has gills - ? He's sailing around in a boat straight out of "Gilligan's Island" - everything is high tech, yet apparently made of bamboos. He's stuck with a sexy woman, whose legs magically never get hairy despite the lack of razors, and a cute little girl with dreds. He's a complete ass so I didn't really care what happened to him, and the woman was stupid, so I didn't care what happened to her either. I would have cared about the little girl, but by then I was so disenchanted with the movie that I just couldn't.

Like most bad sci-fi type movies, this one doesn't pay enough attention to details - why are there all types of different American dialects, all in tact? Wouldn't everyone be speaking some kind of water language by then? Why don't they make some water processing factories so they can drink all the salt water? I could go on, but I won't.

The only good thing about this movie was that it totally put me in the mood to watch GOOD movies that takes place in boats - "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Hook."
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1/10
They Should've Read "Movies 4 Dummys"
16 July 2004
Finally - here is a movie which dares to go deeper than the surface when exploring the life of a superhero-like character. No, not "Spider-man 2," but "Serial Killing 4 Dummys!" This enchanting movie takes us into the life of high school student Casey Noland, who wants nothing more than to be the world's most notorious serial killer. Fellow student Lisa 'Oops, spent all my money from the hit song' Loeb, looking as non-conformist as ever with those adorable glasses, befriends Casey and his dream.

The movie explores how serial killers are really just like you and me: They lock their keys in their cars! They suck at gym class! They're plagued by baby fat and freckles when they just want to look tough!

Like all would-be superheroes, Casey has but one tragic flaw which prevents his dreams from becoming reality. In this case, the flaw is called being a lame-ass. The audience watches in suspense, helpless, as Casey fails mission after mission as a serial killer, crawling back home to lick his wounds and practice new serial killer catch-phrases in the mirror. (I got the skill - to kill!) A high point of the movie (other than just turning it off) is the hardware store scene with Corey Feldman. Someone I was watching the movie with commented that Corey probably got the part because he was already working at the store anyway, but it's obvious to me that he snagged the role for his acting ability. In short, before subjecting yourself to this movie, find someone who is less of a lame-ass than Casey and have that person kill you, because you'll wish you were dead while viewing this piece of crap.
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You'll be disappointed, esp. if you're a Lee fan...
4 May 2004
I wasn't expecting this to be a great film. But I thought, "Hey Jason Lee's in it...can't be too bad." Well...I was wrong.

The premise of "Stealing Harvard" is pretty stupid to begin with, and it doesn't get much better. When she's a little girl, John promises his niece Noreen that if she gets into college, he will pay for it. About ten years later, Noreen is accepted to Harvard and John is supposed to come up with the remaining $30,000 she doesn't have in scholarship money.

John is a very "normal" guy. (So normal in fact that Jason Lee's performance is downright boring.) So it's hard to believe that he would ever do anything outrageous. Somehow, however, he manages to listen to the crazy ideas of his inept friend Duff (Tom Green). Together, the two do all kinds of crazy things to try and make the money.

It's one of those movies where all sorts of ridiculous, unbelievable things happen. For some movies (Dumb and Dumber, Happy Gilmore) this works, because it has that "stupid funny" feel. "Stealing Harvard" only pulls off stupid, not funny. The characters aren't likable, believable, or interesting.

To make matters worse, the movie actually tries to be serious at parts - bringing into play the fact that John's parents died when he was young and trying to get into marriage issues and a father/daughter relationship with John's wife and her father. It's not a strong enough movie to pull this off.

Simply put, "Stealing Harvard" was not funny, not enjoyable, and not even bad enough to make fun of properly. If you're looking for a great Lee performance, or even a typically outrageous Tom Green performance, don't waste your time.
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An interesting, realistic portrayal of one woman
4 May 2004
Erica is a 40-something woman who is unexpectedly transformed from New York mother and housewife into a single woman who is searching for herself and what she wants to do with the rest of her life. The movie follows her on this search, with some really interesting results.

The movie doesn't attempt to find easy answers or to close any doors. As in real life, divorce is explored as a confusing and unclear situation. There is an intensely realistic feel to the entire movie.

This type of movie can be risky. It is focused completely on Erica and her emotions. However, Jill Clayburgh makes Erica realistic and likable, so the viewer enjoys seeing the world through her eyes. Her friends are funny and likable and her relationship with her daughter is touching.

The best part about this movie is watching Erica rediscover who she is after years of marriage. She doesn't change so much as change as evolve. Her struggle to emotional independence isn't portrayed as simply a straightforward climb to the top. There are twists and many set backs. But as Erica keeps plowing on, you can sense her getting stronger.

Overall, while not a perfect movie, it was an enjoyable watch. I got very connected to the characters and was drawn into their lives. Very satisfying.
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A great film...touching and thought provoking
4 May 2004
"A Patch of Blue" is a wonderful film which works on at least two levels: a romance and a social commentary. Unlike most romances, it manages to be touching without being melodramatic, and unlike most social commentaries, it subtly makes its points without manipulation or a hidden agenda.

It is the story of how Selina, a blind girl who is verbally and sometimes physically abused by her mother, discovers her independence with the help of a young, black professional, Gordon. Selina's entire life has been spent alone and indoors. She has not learned how to read Braille or how to get around on her own. She basically does not know how to live independently. She meets Gordon in the park one day, and he essentially begins to teach her how to live. A warm and trusting friendship develops. The obvious complication from their relationship is the fact that Selina's mother is a racist, and Selina does not know that Gordon is black.

Both characters are wonderful: Gordon is cautious but intrigued, knowing he is walking on dangerous ground. Selina is comically naive and eager with an unbreakable spirit.

If you get a chance, watch this movie! It is inspiring and is one of those rare films that actually makes you think.
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The Truth About Jane (2000 TV Movie)
Interesting look at the family within the conflict...
7 March 2004
First, you have to go into this knowing that it's a made for TV movie, and therefor can't go as deeply into the issues that a regular movie could. That said, it's a pretty good movie which mainly focuses on Jane's family. It was really interesting to see Jane's liberal, open-minded mother react negatively to the news that her daughter was gay. Jane's family made a descent from a strong, caring unit into a torn apart mess. This descent happens gradually and was pretty believable. Towards the end of the movie, when the situation is at it's worse, Jane's father asks her mother, "How did we get here?" Unlike many Lifetime movies, where the teenagers seem to go crazy for no good reason, it was easy to see where the family's problems stemmed from and why they were so plagued with drama. The movie isn't perfect by any means, but the acting is strong, the relationships are touching (especially between Jane and her father) and the resolutions are uplifting but more realistic than what you'd be used to seeing on TV movies. Some good performances by Jane's mother, (Stockard Channing), Jane's father, (James Naughton) and Jane herself (Ellen Muth). With an altered "TV movie scale," I'd give it 4/5 stars.
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9/10
Tragic, Hilarious, and Definitely Worth Watching
29 January 2002
"The Royal Tenenbaums" is by far one of the smartest dark comedies ever made. Director Wes Anderson is back with his offbeat, oddball style, this time handling the subject of a seriously troubled, disfunctional family. Nearly every main character is played by a well-established actor. All-star casts can sometimes destroy a film, but in this case, every actor fits his or her part so well that you really forget you are watching Gwyneth, the Wilson brothers, and mega-stars like Hackman, Huston, and Glover.

The movie follows the lives of the Tenenbaums. The father, Royal, is a deadbeat whose lack of interest in most of his children's lives has led to a long separation and almost non-existent relationship with them. When Royal and his wife Etheline separate in 1979, Etheline takes charge of the children's lives and education. Each of the three children turns into a prodigy in some way or another. Margot (Paltrow) is a young playwright, Chas (Stiller) is a financial whiz, and Richie (L. Wilson) is a tennis champ. Though each child achieves unimaginable success before the age of 20, in their adult lives they are unable to deal with any ordinary problems. All these problems seem to culminate when Royal abruptly decides he "wants his family back, damn it" and the entire family finds themselves living together for the first time in over 2 decades.

As the story unfolds, the children's and Etheline's lives are shaken up by the scampish Royal. (Etheline's problems are further complicated by the fact that her friend Henry Sherman (Glover) has recently proposed to her.) It seems that Royal's dream is to restore his family, though he naturally goes about it in a very offbeat way. The results are so much fun to watch!

The greatest thing about "The Royal Tenenbaums" is that everything is hilarious, tragic, desperate, and detatched all at the same time. You laughter is often interrupted with the realization that the subject matter really is very sad. However, even if you don't find the Tenenbaums as engaging as I do, it's still worth watching for the performances alone. I especially thought that Hackman, Huston, and Luke Wilson were absolutely amazing. Danny Glover, Owen Wilson, and Bill Murray also spice up the film with their supporting roles.
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Ali (2001)
5/10
Better if You're an Ali Fan
29 January 2002
Seeing "Ali" is like going to the opera: you need to familiarize yourself with the story before you go. Brush up on not only Ali's career stats, but on his personal info as well. If you don't, you'll probably be confused through much of the movie, like I was. The movie tends to spend a lot of time on one scene, then leaps ahead several months or even years with no explanation. Ali gets new wives and has kids, but the movie doesn't even stop long enough to let you know that he had gotten divorced from the previous wife. My dad, however, who is obsessed with Ali and is quite familiar with his life story, really enjoyed the movie. It is an entertaining and nicely done movie, but if you don't already know what's going to happen, the confusion and frustration is very distracting.
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Don't waste your money
29 January 2002
I wasn't expecting much from this movie, and I didn't get much. The plot is, like most modern horror movies, thin and unrealistic. After losing their mother in a fire, a father and his 2 children, one almost grown, the other an 8 year old, inherit a house from a mysterious dead uncle. Once inside the house, they realize that "Uncle Cyrus" was not just a weird old rich guy with a cool house, but a freak with a giant machine full of dead people. (I was extremely surprised to see Oscar winning actor F. Murray Abraham as Uncle Cyrus.) Of course, they become trapped inside the machine, and of course they become separated. Maybe if I had cared about the characters at all, I would have cared when they were in mortal danger. However, the movie spent about 5 minutes developing their personalities. Additionally, the little boy was so bratty and obnoxious that I almost hoped he'd go first. Anyway, if visual images really scare you, then "Thirteen Ghosts" might, as it does have some really grotesque special effects. However, if you need a plot and intellectual stimulation to enjoy a movie, then "Thirteen Ghosts" is not for you. Also, just to rant, where the heck do they get off putting "13" in place of the "te"?
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Lep in the Hood Come to Do no Good!
29 January 2002
If you are EVER sick of renting those run-of the mill, mediocre, B-list movies, it's time to either rent an A-list, Oscar caliber film, or an F-list (if that even exists) straight to video pile of trash. And since great movies are hard to find, I would recommend "Leprechaun 5" as the perfect cure for the boring movie blues. Get together with group of friends and laugh until you are in pain! This movie's low points are sooooo low that you won't believe it. The Leprechaun becomes more "ghetto-ized" as the movie progresses. The absolute highlite of the movie is at the ending credits when Warwick Davis raps! Yes, I did say that he raps. Trust me, this movie is way funnier than any intentional comedy!
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Saved by the Bell (1989–1992)
A Great Show that Doesn't Deserve It's Bad Rap!
29 January 2002
"Saved By the Bell".... a show about high school that is actually funny! Did all the plots accurately reflect life in high school? No. Were principals ever around that much, or that nice? No. Were skinny, nerdy kids ever in a close circle of friends that included prom queens and jocks? No. BUT-- despite it's obvious flaws, "Saved by the Bell" does demonstrate great teen humor when it pokes fun at teachers and rules in general. Also, Zack's charm and ability to get away with everything really give the show a "Ferris Buehler" feel. (Plus Mark Paul Gossalear was so cute when he was little Zack!) I do however, think that the show should have ended with graduation..."The College Years" and "The New Class" were pathetic ways to milk a dead cow.
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9/10
Every Kid's Dream
29 January 2002
It's every kid's fantasy that they can skip a day of school, have a ton of fun, not get caught, and hey, while we're at it, screw over the principal and get lots of people to think that you're deathly ill! Matthew Broderick is absolutely adorable as Ferris, and Jennifer Grey is hilarious as the understandably bitter younger sister. Though this movie is first and foremost a madcap comedy, there are some cute, sentimental (but not mushy) moments between Ferris and his girlfriend Sloane and his best friend Cameron. And of course, the best scene is hands down, when Ferris lipsynches to the Beatles' "Twist and Shout." This movie should be required viewing for all high school seniors everywhere!
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Bring It On (2000)
1/10
I just don't get it
28 January 2002
"Is this movie for real?!" That's all I could think the first time I saw this film. The story follows the Rancho Carne Toros cheerleading team and their captain Torrance (Kirstin Dunst) as they make their way through the tumultuous world of cheerleading. The Toros are champion cheerleaders, but soon after being named captain, Torrance discovers that their team has actually been stealing cheers from a poor, inner-city school. Poor "Tor" is torn. She wants her team to win, but will she be able to do it without cheating? The plot isn't a bad idea, really. It's just your basic sports movie (although there is debate about whether cheering is a sport.) However, the aspect that really brings the movie down is the seriousness that is laid on extra thick in nearly every scene. For example, when trying to convince a skeptical newcomer to join the team, Torrance says with a cheesy grin, "We work hard, we have fun, and we win national championships." She sounds like an infomercial for the Wonderful World of Cheering. To make matters even more confusing, the ultra-seriousness is alternated with jokes and situations that blatantly make fun of cheering and reinforce the blond, bimbo cheerleader stereotype. I really can't figure out if they're trying to make cheerleading the hero or the butt of the jokes. Plus, Kirstin Dunst was so annoying as the self-centered, cheering obsessed, PMSing Torrance that I really don't think I'll voluntarily see another one of her movies for quite some time.
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Help! (1965)
It's actually a lot of fun!
28 January 2002
When "Help" begins, a fan has sent Ringo a ring that he can't seem to take off. The Beatles later learn that the ring is actually from an obscure Eastern culture, and whoever wears the ring must be sacrificed. The Beatles, for Ringo's sake, disguise themselves and take off around the world. They are followed, however, by an entourage that includes the apparent religious leader of the tribe and his henchmen (who want to sacrifice Ringo), a mysterious woman who wants to save him, and two scientists who are after the ring's great power. This movie was largely dismissed by critics at the time of it's release. The Beatles' first movie, "A Hard Day's Night," was acclaimed for it's smart humor and real-life feel. "Help," on the other hand, was unfortunately filmed just after the Beatles had discovered pot, and thus they spent more time babbling and giggling than caring about the movie. But, to be fair, the film does give it's audience a good time. Yes, the humor is ridiculous. Yes, the plot is wacky. But-- as long as audiences are willing to not expect too much intellectual stimulation, "Help" is actually a lot of fun. Plus, some of the scenes are just laugh out loud hilarious. I've also found that while Beatles fans tend to appreciate "A Hard Day's Night" more, non-Beatle fans seem to like "Help" better. Also, as a trivia bonus: pay close attention to the ending credits. At the very end, the Beatles walk around in a circle, each one coming up to the camera at his turn. In the background, Paul holds a bong, and when he approaches the camera, he blows the smoke out.
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8/10
The original rock n' roll movie!
28 January 2002
"A Hard Day's Night" is a great film for Beatle fans, but even non-Beatle maniacs can appreciate the great British humor, stylish cinematography, and on screen hijinks. This movie is shot to somewhat look like a documentary, or an actual day in the life of the Beatles. The outcome is wonderfully innocent on the outside, and devilishly rebellious on the inside, much like the Beatles themselves. The movie follows the Beatles, their two comical managers, and Paul's cranky grandfather as they travel from trains, studios, clubs, all around London, and back to the studio again. The humor is at times very intellectual, at other times, purely visual. Another treat for Beatle fans is that much of the humor is simply the Beatles being themselves. Though the film is not a documentary, it actual does a good job of portraying the Beatles' real personalities and gives the audience a feel of their hectic, confined, touring days. There's also a great concert scene which, if you use your imagination, is almost like being there yourself. I gave this movie an 8. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially those who love the Beatles or have an appreciation of British, Monty Python-style humor.
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