Thursday, July 17, 2008

I've made movie lists that may appear elsewhere on the web, like best heist flicks, best things blowin' up real good and most disgusting scenes on film. Some of these may get published on fan sites in the near future, we'll see...

Another trend I've noticed is movies that aren't bad, except for the fact that the lesson learned was pretty friggin' obvious right from the beginning. In some cases, the character's moral conclusion was stated early on in the movie, and had they followed that advice, they could've saved us an hour and a half of their soul-searching journey.

It's a difficult category to explain and off the top of my head, I could only think of three examples. Which is why I didn't try to pitch it anywhere. But when was quality a criterion of this website? Here are my 3 examples:

1. Muriel's Wedding. Everyone loved this movie and it put PJ Hogan on the map for another marriage move (My Best Friend's Wedding). For me, this flick was worth getting made to make everyone aware of super-talented Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths. But c'mon, when Collette's character finally realizes, and outright says, that she doesn't need to get married to feel good about herself I was rolling my eyes and saying "Mamma Mia!" Genius, Muriel. For that revelation, I had to sit through all those damn ABBA songs?

2. The Birdcage. I never saw Le Cage Aux Folles, so perhaps the brilliant nuances were lost on me, quelle dommage. I think I get it though -- guys + women's clothes = funny. But Robin Williams' gay protagonist tells his engaged son that he won't pretend to be straight just to impress his future uptight conservative in-laws. Then he does. Then decides he can't hide who he is. There, I just saved you a lot of Nathan Lane screaming. But he does do a pretty good Barbara Bush impression. And it's worth seeing Calista Flockhart before she got all Allie McBealish and Harrison Forded out.

3. A Few Good Men. It's hard to say how well this film holds up today, considering what we know now about Mr. Katie Holmes or Ms. Ashton Kushter. Not to mention Rob Reiner, who ended his nearly perfect run (Misery, Stand By Me, Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, The Sure Thing) of great, diverse movies. (Remember North, Ghosts of Mississippi, The Story of Us? Didn't think so.) But this hit film was flawed even then. Tom Cruise gets the chance to plead his clients out of the case with a slap on the wrist. But they don't want any dishonorable discharge because they didn't think they did anything wrong -- they wanna live by "a code". Skip to the last chapter, when they get exonerated... but still get a dishonorable discharge. Because they did do something wrong. And they realize, thanks to Mr. West Wing Aaron Sorkin's on-the-coked-up-nose dialogue: you don't need a uniform, or a code, to have honor. That's your justice system at work: stating the obvious for the obtuse. Don't tell me I'm missing the subtle nuances like some boorish boob. I'm right, even if I'm uncouth. And... wait for it... You can't handle the uncouth!


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