Movies I didn't like : LUSENET : Bug's Picks : One Thread

I was having a hard time thinking of movies I want to recommend, mostly because I have a bad memory for that kind of thing, so I decided to warn you about movies to avoid (assuming you haven't already seen them). The first movie is Magnolia. It features some big name stars like Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore and Jason Robards so you might be suckered in to trying it out, but don't be. It was made by the same guy who made Boogie Nights which was pretty good mostly because it mixed a sense of humor with the more "serious" stuff (but you should probably read about it before you see it so you know what you're getting into). Magnolia on the other hand is three hours of whining and carrying on by characters who are all miserable. I didn't think it was especially well written, acted or compelling in any kind of aesthetic sense - in fact there were many parts that were unpleasant to watch, like the incredibly irritating, incredibly long, song that accompanies the opening montage. My impulse was to turn it off during that sequence but I didn't because it's actually very rare that when a movie is over I wish that I hadn't watched it. This was one of those times.

An example of how tolerant I usually am is A.I. I don't regret seeing this movie, but only to fulfill my curiosity about it. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and based on an idea by Stanley Kubrick. Also, the New York Times liked it a lot and I read discussions about it in the New York Times film forum and stuff like that, so my interest was piqued. It takes place in the future and is about a robot boy, played by the kid from the Sixth Sense, and his Pinocchio like self-journey (or something like that). Anyway, it's unpleasant to watch in parts, like Magnolia, but not gratuitously so (although a case could be made). Also, it was well made and interesting to look at in some respects. For instance, the special effects were cool and the film was generally directed and composed in an artful way. Unfortunately the story was stupid and boring, with an emphasis on stupid and boring. Unless you want to be able to comment authoritatively on Spielberg's oeuvre I wouldn't bother with it.

The final movie on my list today is the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes. This movie was unbelievably bad. I mean, I didn't expect it to live up to the original which is kind of a classic but I was really surprised at how pathetic this version was. I've never been a big fan of the director Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, Batman, Edward Scissorhands) but I thought of him as a competent, professional filmmaker who's style and subject matter just doesn't happen to appeal to me. But Planet of the Apes looks like the work of a talentless hack, a bad TV movie. The dialogue is bad, the acting is bad - even the sets look like they were made for a Saturday morning TV show. There were a couple of unintentionally amusing things about it. Like how the main character, who is supposed to be a highly trained astronaut, gets two chances to pilot a space ship but fails miserably and crash lands both times while his pal, a NASA trained chimp, flies his spaceship around like a pro. No wonder the apes rule. But the laughs are few and far between and definitely not worth the price of sitting through the rest of the movie.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2002


This is interesting. I had no intention of seeing Magnolia or Planet of the Apes and certainly will not now. I might still want to see AI but it won't be high on the list. A movie we saw in the last several months that we did not like was Moulin Rouge. Visually it is very beautiful but it doesn't make a lot of sense and we couldn't work up any enthusiasm for any of the characters. Mostly it felt like a waste of time and seemed endless.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2002

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