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What a shocker
25 January 2004
I've been wanting to see this for a little while, knowing that it was just one of those films that didn't fit a category and was hard to describe. After having seen it I'm forced to agree with just about everybody in that it's impossible to describe per genre. It's got a bit of everything, so defining the film is nearly impossible. That doesn't really get me at all, What really gets me here is just how well the director seems to scooch around these genre blurring pieces and present such a deep, emotional story. After you dig through all the little jokes, the amazing cinematography and stylish editing, and the wonderful performances in this film you still have a very moving if not jarring plot that really uses its own devices and with out apologizing for any of the darker points, tells this guys story.

Despite my inability to really describe this film, I do have to say that is truly amazing. I haven't been this impressed with a film in a good long time. This is definately something special and I hope that it finds a following somewhere. It deserves to been seen by more people.
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Bad Santa (2003)
A Darkly Comic Jab at Everything we hold Dear this Time of Year
21 December 2003
Bad Santa is a truly brilliant film for more than one reason. First off, it doesn't apologize for itself. Too often, especially in Hollywood, films will tie up all the bad stuff and let the good win out at the end, everyone is reformed and happy, blah blah blah. Either that, or the new age approach is taken and everyone dies (not quite so American, but starting to spread here more and more.) Bad Santa tells a story of a truly despicable man, who through the trusting eyes of a child manages to infiltrate his home and take advantage of his family, as well as his day job of ripping of malls every Christmas.

Granted, Billy Bob's character has to grow a little. If he didn't the film wouldn't progress, but in the case of Bad Santa we're not seeing a whole lot. He's a jerk, a drunk, and a lecher and he's not going to change just because it's Christmas. The dark tone of this film will carry straight through to the end, (btw. a very effective ending, that manages to negate the nausea his actions instill in you throughout the rest of the film.)

This movie is hilarious. I haven't laughed that much aloud at a theater in a long time, and I wasn't the only one. For all you fans of dark comedy and satire, this is your gem. Definately check out Bad Santa.
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Stuck on You (2003)
A Good Story, but where's the funny?
17 December 2003
This was a movie that I came to expecting big laughs. I mean, these guys are funny writers. With the exception of one Shallow Hal, their movies are hilarious. I figured I was going to see a good strong comedy. It turned out to be a little less of a comedy and a little more of an actual story based movie.

Granted, I'm not saying that the Farrelly brothers have crafted some wonderful, touching tale of two brothers that realize the true meaning of life or such. But this film really hits the mark with a strong sense of emotion and meaning and relatively emotional plot structure. I was actually amazed, because not only is it a real story, but it's also pretty good. It really was a good movie and it really did make it's points without making me roll my eyes (a feat not many Hollywood films can accomplish)

Don't get me wrong though, it's still a comedy. Everything about it is written to make you laugh, it just doesn't necessarily succeed everywhere. The only difference is that when it fails, it's not a bad failure. It still fits in and its still a good, strong part of the film. The heart that is shown here is able to fill in for the mediocre comedical aspects and in the end, Stuck on You is a pretty good movie.
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A Brilliant Conclusion
17 December 2003
As a movie watcher, I tend to become bored with the constant, overdone, overdrawn, underplayed, overdramatized performance and production quality of most Hollywood films. It's a trait that in recent years has sadly driven me away from most big budget American films. A decent idea will become mangled by the money making machine that is Hollywood, hoping to pump the most raw cash they can out of it before it drops dead in the street.

We all saw the catastophre of a failure that arose from the Matrix Franchise. Such immense hype and professed genius only made the failure all the more poignant for those of us that really wanted and expected more from the franchise.

That all being said, I must say that The Lord of the Rings is an amazingly powerful visual experience. Not even just a visual experience. Peter Jackson has crafted one of the finest written pieces of our era into THE quintessential epic. He supplements the brilliant storytelling of JRR Tolkien with one of the most awe-inspiring collection of films ever created.

The 7 hours of film that leads up to the Return of the King is only precursor though, when you sit and watch this film. It's just plain brilliance. Everything about the film is wonderful. The manner in which Jackson has arranged the scenes, detracting slightly from the original flow of the novel really helps to keep the suspense strong in all three story branches. The Tolkien humor is intact perfectly and the gallantry and just plain coolness of these heroes is plain amazing. (Check out Legolas in the BIG battle) It's all just too much for words.

If one were to gripe, and I suppose there will never be a film made that one cannot find a point at which to grip, it is painfully long running time here. I personally believe that this is the only way such a film could be made, true to the source material and completely engrossing, but I found myself more worried about the pain in my posterior than the emotional final minutes after 4 hours (including ads and previews) that I had spent in a cramped seat. As such, this will be all the better (at least for me) when it's release on DVD (can't wait for the extended...get to see the Sauroman scenes that they cut out).

As a film though, this is amazing. A true lasting legacy in story telling and now cinema. Bravo Mr. Jackson.
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