Offbeat look at ’04
As I started the year in Vermont cultivating a very fulfilling hate-hate relationship with one particular newspaper editor and forsaking arts and entertainment for the copy desk, I can’t really justify writing a full year in review. However, the movies I saw this year – especially after I returned to writing movie reviews and disagreeing with Kim – left me with a few impressions: Best methadone for your hobbit habit: After seeing “Ray,” I think we should give director Taylor Hackford the keys to a trilogy, with Dave Chappelle to star as Rick James and Chris Tucker to play James Brown.Best sequel: the thrill-a-minute “Bourne Supremacy.” But my pleasant surprise of the year was “Ocean’s 12,” a spry, fun sequel to an overproduced bore of a remake.
The inaugural “Say Hello to My Little Friend” award: Larry, Harry, Flo and Moe – Doc Ock’s tentacles in “Spider-Man 2.”Biggest disappointment: As hard as it is to resist one last excuse to bash “Shark Tale,” I can’t really call it the biggest disappointment of the year because I didn’t have high hopes; I actually dreaded watching it. So I’m going to call “Riding Giants” – which was actually pretty enjoyable – the biggest disappointment of the year and cite it as proof that all the elements of a great movie (big waves, Stacy Peralta, fun production and animation) don’t automatically add up to another. There’s still a little lightning-in-a-bottle factor, thankfully.Best animated movie: “The Incredibles” by a mile over the similarly high-tech but shallow “Shark Tale,” but not by much over the low-budget but screamingly funny puppet parody “Team America: World Police.”Most bang for the buck: “Open Water.” A cheap, intense buzz and a remedy for a genre that jumped the shark a long time ago.
Best surprise: I know it’s hip to be over M. Night Shyamalan and his big surprises (they’re, like, so 2000), but I loved how much “The Village” scared me – then made me feel really, really stupid. I usually have to go to the office for that.Best mistake by an arrogant movie reviewer: Assuming the tagline for “Hero” was in Mandarin Chinese – just because the rest of the movie was.Best Kool-Aid: The stuff they must’ve been serving when I went to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” at the Isis in Aspen; I felt like I was in the upvalley equivalent of the church from “The Blues Brothers,” and Michael Moore was preaching to the converted.
Best name game: Julianne Moore’s stinker “The Forgotten” tops the box office while a low-budget debut with the same name that offers a harrowing look at a heroic Korean War tank crew languishes in obscurity.Best post-movie activity: Going to McDonald’s for an ice cream sundae with Kimberly and former Summit Daily News “He Said” Aidan Leonard after “Super Size Me.”Worst idea for a post-movie activity: I flirted with just staring in panic at the door handle until somebody else opened it to let me out of the bathroom after “The Aviator,” but I figured that would probably offend those who did get the joke.Hardest working actor: Jude Law – He wrapped up the year as Errol Flynn in “The Aviator,” but maybe his most telling role was the title character in “Alfie.” After all, the first Alfie was Michael Caine, who, I think, appeared in every movie made between 1986 and 1988; Law attempted a similar pace, appearing in those two, plus “I (Heart) Huckabees,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Closer.” Tucker’s got a lot of work to do if he expects to catch the hardest-working man in show business. A remake of “Multiplicity” to the winner.
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