Saturday, February 04, 2006

Movies - good and bad

So my girlfriend finally succeeded in dragging me to see Underworld 2: Evolution. I wasn't really thrilled to see a movie that hadn't exactly received rave reviews. I'm not one to put too much stock in movie reviews, but a movie that had received a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes didn't incite me to head to the movies. But I decided to go.

And you know what? It is not that bad a movie. Oh sure, it's a tad gory and a litle silly - but it's also a freaking vampire movie, so what should you expect? And as far as vampire movies go, this wasn't at all bad. In fact, I would wager to say I've plenty of movies worse than this one. Heck, I've seen Oscar winners worse than this picture. Given a choice of The English Patient, Titanic or Underworld 2, I'll go with the latter all the time.

Part of the problem is that these movies are all reviewed by the same people. The same douchebag who actually enjoys drek like The Thin Red Line will undoubtedly sneer at movies like Underworld. It's understandable how some can be taken in by such incessantly annoying "artsy" movies, but therein lies the problem.

There are different genres of movies. I'm not just talking about comedies, dramas, etc, but rather movies that take themselves seriously and those that do not. The bar is obviously lower for the latter, but that does not mean that non-serious movies often don't even fulfill their own low expectations. Michael Bay should never be allowed within a hundred miles of a movie studio. I am forever scarred by movies like Godzilla, Jurassic Park 2, and Batman and Robin. But while these movies often fail, when they fail it's sort of an innocent failure. You watch the movie, walk away regretting having spent ten bucks on such putridness, then forget about it.

But serious movies that fail linger. It's bad enough that they're bad, but they're annoying in their badness. You laugh at the ridiculousness of Armegeddon, but I was actively angry halfway through Cold Mountain. You can't even enjoy the horribleness of such flix, but instead you have to endure the heavy handedness of the movie and suck it up. Believe me, Elaine Benes was not the only person just wishing that the main character of the The English Patient would just die already.

Even more infuriating is that movie critics actually laud these films. I want the head of anyone who actually enjoyed Chocolat delivered to me on a silver platter. Oooooh, what a stirring message: people can only enjoy life when they're doing what they're not supposed to. Good God, what insipid crap, and yet it gets a best picture nod.

Looking at the list of best picture nominees it's not difficult to understand to why Hollywood is in trouble. They applaud themselves for trite bullshit like Munich, but the rest of the America is lining up to see The Chronicles of Narnia. Again, I'm not one to put a ton of stock in public opinion, but sometimes the masses are in fact right. We go to movies to be entertained, not to be lectured - badly. That's not to say that a movie can't be both deep and good, but so many modern filmakers are so terrible at what they do that when they try to be deep and profound, they miss horribly. They miss more than Michael Bay missed the mark in Pearl Harbor, and that's an awful lot girl.

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that if you're into vampire movies, then you'll probably enjoy Underworld. If not, then you might want to see something else - like Big Momma's House 2.


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