Confessions of a movie reviewer
December 29, 2005
By way of introduction, I should probably mention that not only did I not make it to every movie this year, but I’ve committed sins that run deeper than that.True confession No. 1: The reason Kimberly had to go solo on “King Kong” was because I never wrote a review – not on moral grounds or because I was on vacation, but rather because I actually forgot what day it was when my review was due.
True confession No. 2: I skipped “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” because I have a rule against watching scary movies about the supernatural alone at night shortly after moving into a new apartment from whence I can hear unearthly howling at 3 each morning. (Turns out it’s coyotes.) That, in turn, leads me to my most embarrassing movie moment of the year: Asking for my money back at Movieland in El Jebel when I decided to skip it. All that said, I’m going to try and encapsulate my personal year at the movies as well as my attention deficit disorder allows.Some of them are easy: Mathematics dictates the two best movies I saw this year were “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and “Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit” because they got the most of my stars, with four and a half apiece, edging the likes of “Crash.”
But that’s not the point. The point was repurposing in 2005, the year of the remake and the retread. I went from wishing they’d get “Revenge of the Sith” the hell over with to finding a pleasant surprise in “Batman Begins,” the visionary first installment to a franchise I was just never that into. Not only was it good to see a scary, bone-crunching Batman again, but it also delivered maybe the best plot twist of the year.There was more repurposing going on than just the prequels and sequels, though: Technically, Dirk Pitt of “Sahara” and wedding crasher Jeremy Gray were new characters, but both were – as a wise man might say – the big winners despite being retreads. Who would’ve thought laid-back Wooderson from “Dazed and Confused” would have been so comfortable as an ex-Navy SEAL hunting for buried treasure? Or that Vince Vaughn’s next memorable character would be pretty much the second coming of his first one, “Double-Down” Trent from Swingers?
Both represented masterful jobs of adjusting, which brings me to this year’s “Better Off Dead” Memorial “I Want My Two Dollars Back” Award finalists: “Bewitched” and “Monster in Law” not only make me wish I still got reimbursed for going to the movies every week, but I wish I could take away about half a star I carelessly wasted on each of them. As godawful as both of those were, though, neither was the nadir of cinema for me this year. That was “Rent,” which probably had more raw material to work with than both the witless reintroduction of Jane Fonda and the wildly uneven, painfully unfunny remake of a sitcom. But nothing made me want to flee like the torturous “Rent” – and nothing made me less able to flee than its running time of two and a half hours.Across the spectrum were two short, sweet pleasures: Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride” and the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom,” two originals that stood out among the retreads. By the same token, I couldn’t have disagreed with Kimberly more on two other originals, “Broken Flowers” and “Stay,” although I have to admit I’m a little disappointed in myself that it’s nearly New Year’s, and I still haven’t figured the latter out.Then again, I hadn’t figured out where I was going with the year in review before I wrote it. If it works out, maybe next year I’ll just remake it. Or write a prequel.