Monday, June 19, 2006


I went to see The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift on the weekend to beat the heat, and while I liked the scenes from Japan and some of the action sequences, the truth is I was bored by this movie most of the time and would only recommend it to the die-hards who love this series, and maybe the die-hard Japan freaks, too. Me, I've seen all this before.

Which brings me to my next point: there seem to be a lot of thumbs-down type movies playing at the local theaters these days. I don't understand what's happened with Hollywood. On the one hand, these movies they are putting out are pretty much garbage. But on the other hand, the box office has been good, so maybe the people out there LIKE garbage. Heck, look at Mission: Impossible III. The critics thought that movie was GOOD but the masses decided to run like heck from Tom Cruise. But they showed up in droves to see these other movies like The Da Vinci Code. I don't get it.

Take a look at the general critical reaction to the big movies rolled out this summer:

RV: Garbage.
Mission: Impossible III: Great reviews, but a split vote from Ebert and Roeper. Box office was garbage.
Poseidon: Garbage.
The Da Vinci Code: Laughed right out of the Cannes Film Festival but got two thumbs up from Ebert and Roeper. A big, freaking worldwide hit.
Over the Hedge: Great reviews, decent box office.
X-Men: The Last Stand: So-so reviews but great box office, beat out Da Vinci Code one week.
The Break-Up: Another movie that got killed by the critics. The romantic comedy that was neither.
Nacho Libre: Trashed by the critics. A Jack Black movie that wasn't funny.
Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift: Another mediocre so-so movie.
The Lake House: "Two thumbs up" but most other critics thought this Keanu Reaves/Sandra Bullock re-pairing lacked the sparks.
Cars: Last but not least, the Pixar flick gets an enthusiastic response from the critics and especially from the gearheads.

So let's see, of this bunch that's three movies that are certifiably good, maybe two or three that are so-so at best, and the rest are out-and-out turkeys. The critics are roasting these guys, but even so, most of these flicks have done pretty decent business.

In fact, the Toronto film critics have been in a particularly uptight, foul mood. They have been going around trashing every single one of these movies, it seems, even the good ones. But heck, this isn't new. The guys who do reviews for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star really ought to retire from the movie review business, they are no help at all to people looking for good, populist movies to go see. I read the reviews in the Star and they were even trashing Cars. YES, THEY EVEN TRASHED CARS. Really, it seems like these guys in Toronto hate going to the movies. They hate every movie out there, even ones people like.

It's one thing to like every movie you see and write positive write-ups in order to get your name on all of these movie posters all the time (see this article about it), but come on! If you're a movie critic, at least say yes to a couple of these flicks! At least enjoy yourself at the movies occasionally. Eat some popcorn or something. I know the critics in this town prefer high art to populist fare but this is really getting ridiculous.

Me, I liked Cars and Over the Hedge a lot, thought they were witty with some memorable characters. The Break-Up was a daring idea- the anti-romantic-comedy- weighed down by too many difficult and embarrassing moments. As for the rest, I was bored by Tokyo Drift and found Mission: Impossible III to be a borderline, so-so movie with a ridiculous plot. Though, admittedly, it turned out to be a much better movie than most of the junk out there today. So yes, I can be tough, too, but at least I liked SOME of these movies.

Bottom line is that the critics have been rough and tough for a reason. There's not much out there that's good, folks, unless you want to make a trip downtown to the local art house to see some highbrow documentary starring Al Gore or something like that. Otherwise you are plain out of luck.

What else is out there for us normal people from the suburbs? Next week, it's supposed to be Click, with Adam Sandler, which I am interested in seeing. I notice it's being promoted like crazy all over town here, it's getting a big promotional push. There's a huge apartment building in town which has a huge freaking sign for Click on it, right next to the main freeway. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Superman Returns is all about, I hear it's supposed to be generating a lot of buzz. There's a movie with Owen Wilson in it called You, Me and Dupree which looks like it'll be funny. Then Luke Wilson and Uma Thurman are in My Super Ex-Girlfriend which looks interesting. I also like the trailers for Miami Vice, that seems like my kind of movie, plenty of action. And much later is Casino Royale. 007.

Hope these are good.

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