Resolution update: movies edition

28 Dec

Another update to my 2008 resolution. Happily, I’ve met the objective; all that’s left is to post the reviews. My last few books and movies will be posted soon.


A British mockumentary about a magazine contest between three couples to see who can throw the most unique wedding. You’ve got your overbearing couple (think the J. Crew duo from Best in Show, but less awesome), your treehuggers and your musical-yet-tone-deaf heartthrobs. The plot progresses through the wedding planning phases with typical over-the-top gags and missteps, complete with here-and-there laughs. Grade: B-

When We Were Kings

Ninety minutes of interviews and footage from the classic “Thrilla in Manila” fight between Ali and Foreman. Grown men verbally fellate Ali’s aura as if he’s Jesus Christ himself. A decent documentary, depending on your interest in the topic. Grade: B-

Smart People

Months back, when Smart People was in the theaters, I wrote a post about the trailer being the most boring 30-second preview of all time. It was like the fastest-acting sedative known to man; it could have knocked out a coke fiend in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, I never published it because the trailer was removed from YouTube and I couldn’t track down another and also kind of a lame post right? However, due to the lady of the house controlling the remote on a recent Friday night, I can now report that compared to the trailer, the actual movie is … even worse. Cliche-ridden and horribly devoid of any entertaining moments whatsoever. I am not going to bore you with the plot details. You do not care. Grade: F


A close runner-up in Most Boring Movie of the Year is … (half-assed drumroll please) … Candy. In Candy, we are treated to a glimpse of a druggie’s life. We see such illuminating activities as: shooting up, lying on the couch, watching TV in silence, buying more drugs, quiet/loopy conversations with girlfriends, walks around the park, silent dinners and general bugged-out silent awkwardness. Awesome. Grade: D-

Miller’s Crossing

Being an unabashed dry-humper of anything involving the Coen Brothers, I am embarrassed to admit I’ve just recently popped my Miller’s Crossing cherry. Selected by TIME as one of the all-time top 100 movies, Crossing is a Prohibition-era noir drama with a hard-to-follow plot concerning a gangster’s right-hand-man playing two rivals against each other. The movie is no doubt superbly constructed and beginning-to-end tense, but the fast-talking characters and commitment to the era made the final product feel a bit too dated, a bit too stylistic, a bit too dense to inch into my Top 5 of Coen films. Grade: B

The Talented Mr. Ripley

My only interest in seeing this one stemmed from a recent conversation among friends about our most hated movies. Incredibly, two people out of the eight chose Mr. Ripley. Now this was clearly a historic level of awfulness that could be ignored no longer. So I rented it and, sure enough, terrible. The combination of long, boring conversations that go nowhere, a totally unconvincing plot, and the strange reality that Matt Damon’s character doesn’t in fact impersonate anyone at all really, which was ostensibly the point of the whole damn movie, make this one memorably bad. Grade: D

Beautiful Girls

An overdone premise (high school reunion) made better with smart dialogue equals a solid movie that still holds up 15 years later. Highly rewatchable, except for the cheesy “Sweet Caroline” scene that made me blush out of embarrassment for the actors in the film and actually even the fake people depicted. Grade: B

Burn After Reading

Burn After Reading
is a half-serious mystery drama in the vein of Lebowski, yet far more intricate and nowhere near as funny. Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand play the bumbling strategists believably, but the Coen cleverness just isn’t completely there. At least worth a rental, I’d say. Grade: B


3 Responses to “Resolution update: movies edition”

  1. norm December 29, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Re: Burn After Reading

    Totally agree.

    I do give props to the line, “You think that’s a Schwinn.” Probably the best one-liner of the year.

  2. Dave MN December 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm #

    The Talented Mr. Ripley is terrible. I saw it in theaters and it is up there with some of the worst movies I’ve paid to see.

  3. Dave MN December 29, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    The worst movies?

    “The Thin Red Line”

    “Urban Legend – Final Cut” – Seriously, how scary can a horror movie be when almost all of the deaths are by shooting?

    “Collateral Damage” – You would think that green/blue screen was a brand new technology based on the waterfall scene in this 2002 movie.

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