Titanic My hatred of this movie began soon after I saw it. My first reaction to it was that it was a special effects masterpiece but James Cameron has no business trying to retell history. And at the heart of this history is a story told so many times, it's ridiculous. A rich girl falls for a poor boy. She shows him culture and he shows her how to let loose. And how many times did I hear people defend this movie saying "yeah, that story is pretty cliched" or "yeah, Cameron isn't very good with dialogue." Then why on God's green earth did it win almost every Oscar possible? Last time I checked, the best picture award was awarded to a movie that was near flawless in every category. And the best director award was given to a director who could pull performances from actors never seen before. I didn't see any of that in Titanic. If there was a technical director award to be given for the Oscars, no doubt James Cameron has won it several times over. But as a true director of drama? Not a chance. And the arrogance that James Cameron displayed after this movie came out soured me on his whole career.
Good Morning, Vietnam: Under proper direction, Robin Williams can deliver a pretty good performance. As proof, I offer The Fisher King, The World According To Garp, Insomnia and Good Will Hunting. But when a good director lets Robin "do his thing" the result is this movie. How can we for one moment get caught up in the drama of the Vietnam war or the heroic role that Adrian Cronauer served during his time there when Robin Williams continues to annoy with his constant bickering. Okay, I get it. You do impersonations. I get it. You're goofy. I get it! Unfortunately, Barry Levinson didn't learn his lesson, for he let Williams off his leash again with the movie Toys. Another good story destroyed by Mork.
Cars Pixar is running on fumes and there is no better evidence of this than Cars. The laughs are few and far between and the story is lifted directly from Doc Hollywood. There needs to be something more to their movies than cute and cuddly chotchkies. And Pixar better turn it around soon because the 'wow' factor of 3-D animation is fading and the simple story lines aren't cute anymore
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Why aren't more people crying fowl over the career of Tim Burton? This is the guy who began with bright, beautiful and creative stories like Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beatlejuice and Ed Wood and is finishing his career as the remake... er.... sorry... re-imagining King. Tim Burton came out on Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, saying that he didn't like it because it wasn't true to the book. Never mind that the original script was written by Roald Dahl and Gene Wilder gave his best performance to date. Gene Wilder came out on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and said that the only reason Burton was remaking this movie was for money. Burton answered with a resounding 'yes' saying that that's why he's in business. I think somewhere in there Burton thought he was making a good point. This movie offers nothing more to the original than cartoony performances led by Mr. Cartoon himself Johnny Depp. Here's an idea, let's take a dark, complex character and turn him into a Michael Jackson wannabe. Lest we forget, there's also the soundtrack from Elfman which pales in comparison to the original and sets so busy they take away from any drama that the original captured so well.
Every Kevin Smith movie since Dogma Remember when Kevin Smith was a judge at Sundance? Remember? Remember when Kevin Smith was making thoughtful movies with a sense of humor like Chasing Amy and Dogma? Remember? Now Kevin Smith has created a nice little place for himself in the film hall of fame as the guy who created "the thinking-mans Porkys" over and over again. Don't know what I'm talking about? Watch Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Clerks II, or better yet wait for his upcoming Zack and Miri make a Porno.
Pearl Harbor Like Titanic, I can't stand it when history is being told on the big screen by lesser directors. I mean, Michael Bay was fresh off of Armageddon, why shouldn't he direct one of the most historical events in American history? Sheeesh. Not only did Michael Bay give false characters even falser courage, he tried to give the Japanese a heart. Maybe they had one, but who the hell is Michael Bay to tell me so? And for the record, Franklin D. Roosevelt would have never used his handicap to make a point. The cherry on top was that Bay and Bruckheimer tried to market this as the action movie of the year. Have our war heroes ever been treated with such disrespect? Stay with bad action flicks Bay, and keep the hell away from my history.
A History Of Violence I have been a longtime fan of David Cronenberg and have admired his career up until this movie. This is Cronenberg trying to be David Lynch and the result is disastrous. The middle-America acting is fake, the sex scenes are laughable, the violence too violent and William Hurt hits eleven on the overacting meter only to slightly edge out Maria Bello. But that's all fine with me. So Cronenberg delivers a bad movie, so what. Only everyone has praised him for it. This is the movie that puts Cronenberg on the map. Not The Dead Zone, not Videodrome, not The Fly not eXistenZ. It's a movie where Cronenberg is not Cronenberg. And nothing makes me more angry.
Crash Can there be any better example of how out of touch L.A. is with reality than this movie? Wow, race relations are bad in Los Angeles? Really? Paul Haggis said that this story came from a dream he had. Well he must have been sleeping while Grand Canyon was playing on the TV, because Lawrence Kasdan told this story over 15 years ago. And he did it with a much lighter hand. And the fact that this movie went from relative obscurity (a very early DVD release) to win the highest Oscar shows that any movie is a contender if you put enough money behind the marketing of it.
Something's Gotta Give Congratulations Nancy Meyers. You made both Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson deliver dogshit performances. Two of our finest actors now have a permanent blemish on their careers thanks to you. Unless of course, you want to burn this film. And if that's the case, let me find the lighter fluid.
Elephant Gus Van Sant at his laziest. Elephant is nothing more than a 30 minute idea stretched into feature length. Loosely based on the Columbine shootings, this movie focuses on an average day in a high school, only it ends in mayhem. The long scenes are used to capture the monotony of every day school life in contrast to the horror that is looming, but to me it's just a device Gus Van Sant uses to stretch out a mediocre idea instead of filling it with real depth. Van Sant also casts non-actors to further capture the reality of what we are witnessing. It's a good idea, only he puts them in horribly cliched scenes. Teenage girls finish their lunch and then make themselves lose it in the bathroom like clockwork. And we never understand why the two boys are driven to the violent conclusion. Because they're gay? Geez. Next you're going to tell me they weren't breast fed by their Moms. We should demand a little more from the director who gave us Drugstore Cowboy.