Movie Pre-Judgments (2002)
by Rusty W. Spell

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27 Dec 2002

Catch Me If You Can -- Steven Spielberg makes a non-sci-fi movie (which is nice for a while) and non-epic (which is also nice for a while) which proves to be pretty enjoyable. Worth seeing, even at the theater if you like.

The Hours -- You know, there's kind of something wrong with this movie, but it's harmless. It's almost even good.

Love Liza -- A wonderful movie directed by the shy kid from High Fidelity and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman (and written by his brother!) in a role he deserves. Wonderful stuff. Go see it in the theater.

Pinocchio -- Something's not quite right with this one, though as you watch it, you're not sure what.

20 Dec 2002

Gangs of New York -- It has a little of the Scorsese goodness to it, but mostly it's just an oversentimental/overepic telling of familiar stuff. See it at the theater or rent it anyway, since it's better than most mainstream stuff.

Two Weeks Notice -- Sandra Bullock makes another nauseatingly likable movie for nauseating folks to wants.

The Wild Thornberrys -- Some stupid Nickelodeon crap, ugly characters. Don't let you kids see this. Why are you still letting your kids run your life? You're the adult, right?

18 Dec 2002

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers -- Another perfectly-adapted installment of The Lord of the Rings, really really great once again--darker this time around. See it at least twice in the theaters, buy it when the basic edition comes out on DVD, and then buy it again when the extended edition comes out. Watch as often as you like.

13 Dec 2002

Drumline -- That "Wazzup" guy makes a movie about a funky drumline. Kind of the Bring It On of drum movies, except that drumline is less like drumlines really are.

The Hot Chick -- Rob Schneider, who is actually a funny person, does something like this again: you know, one of those "Men are funny when they wear dresses" movies, which wasn't even funny in Tootsie. A few steps below The Animal. Rent it if you need something of this sort some night.

Maid In Manhattan -- Remember how horrible that other J. Lo movie was, The Wedding Planner? This one's even worse.

Star Trek: Nemesis -- Look, you know who you are...

6 Dec 2002

Analyze That -- Eh, you know. If you liked the first one, this one won't be too much of a disappointment for you, though it is a sequel, so heed the usual warnings.

27 Nov 2002

Eight Crazy Nights -- Adam Sandler picks an animation team that, like so many these days, just try to look like Disney--which is a shame. Beside that, the movie is funny enough for a semi-kid's movie, though you wonder how much mileage Sandler can get out of "The Hanukkah Song." Watch Punch-Drunk Love four times for each time you see this.

Extreme Ops -- I can't think of a good reason anyone should watch this.

Treasure Planet -- Crappy Walt Disney puts out another crappy cartoon. Don't see it, don't take your kids to see it. Show them the real Treasure Island instead--or maybe Crumb, where they're obsessed with it. That's better for your young ones.

Wes Craven Presents: They -- Another movie where Wes Craven puts his name (only) on the movie to help sell it. I suppose it's Craven-y enough, but it's mostly just a mediocre horror movie that you might want to watch some night if you're in the mood for horror mediocrity.

22 Nov 2002

Die Another Day -- It's James Bond. It's a Remingon Steele one. It's got a sucky Madonna song as the theme. I don't like James Bond, but you might.

The Emperor's Club -- The same basic poop as any of those "teacher makes a difference" movies (mostly Dead Poet's Society) as well as the same basic poop from those stuffy golden-colored rich private school movies (mostly Dead Poet's Society)... only worth watching if you still believe in that poop.

Friday After Next -- The title should give you the best idea of this movie: more of the same. Watch it if you liked the first two, or don't, since it's even worse.

15 Nov 2002

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets -- The only thing the first Harry Potter movie suffered from was a handful of bad script decisions (the unforgivable Quiddich "sport," for one, and also most of the ending of the movie), but in spite of them, it was the best children's movie made in a long time. And where the first movie wasn't simply a "kids don't care; let's make crap" movie, this one isn't simply a "sequels don't matter; let's make crap for money" sequel. It has just as much care as the first one. It's a little more "zippy," and even more "special effectsy," but that doesn't get in the way and just adds to the excitement. Take your kids to see this one, or just go see it yourself.

8 Nov 2002

8 Mile -- The story is pretty trite, but Eminem actually turns in a worthy performance. This movie is sort of a Purple Rain for the kids of the 00s, except it doesn't have the amateur goofy charm of that movie--instead shooting for a kind of realistic grittiness that doesn't quite make us believe in it. But it's harmless, not completely terrible, and -- again -- Eminem is actually worth watching. Pretty soon he'll be known primarily as Marshall Mathers, just like Mark "Marky Mark" Walburgh and Will "Fresh Prince" Smith made their transitions from clown to serious.

6 Nov 2002

Femme Fatale -- Brian DePalma makes another movie that's just sorta "eh." Not good, not bad. It's got "Keys" from E.T. All you "Keys" fan shouldn't miss, but everyone else can just rent it if it's between it and, say, Bring It On.

1 Nov 2002

I Spy -- Betty Thomas brings another TV show to the screen, or we guess that's what this is. It's not really funny at all, though it maybe could have been. Eddie Murphy hasn't lost all hope yet, but it seems like it here.

Punch-Drunk Love -- P.T. Anderson (who gets my vote for "best director under the age of fifty") directs Adam Sandler (who finally gets a real chance to shine dramatically--and we're not talking The Wedding Singer--in his unique, shy, understated way) in this great movie that will make everyone burst with happiness. See it in the theater, maybe twice. Then buy it on DVD.

The Santa Clause 2 -- The first one wasn't that great, even for kids, but any new spin on Santa Claus is always at least a little interesting to children, and this one is too, though they'll realize as adults one day that it was crappy all along, like most of these soulless Tim Allen Disney movies. Hope that your kids don't notice it, and then don't take them. Let them watch A Christmas Story instead, maybe a Rankin-Bass.

25 Oct 2002

Ghost Ship -- It's a goofy horror movie, really goofy, and for that reason it might be worth your renting it one night with some friends.

Jackass: The Movie -- There's no denying that Johnnie Knoxville is cool. And the "Who cares about pain" mentality of these guys is actually refreshing to me in a life-embracing sort of way. The TV show suffered from stupid production, basically (though I'm the only one who seems to have noticed it). It looked like an MTV show, like The Real World. And the people involved somehow thought that peppering the show with naked boys, etc. was a good idea, which it was not, and took away from the focus, and yes purpose, of these stunts which would have loudly screamed "It's great to be alive!" if all the other crap hadn't got in the way. The movie is similar, but better, than the TV show. A few more people than fans can happily watch it.

The Truth About Charlie -- Jonathan Demme shows us once more that he's just an odd duck director: we're not quite sure if he's good, bad, lucky, what. This movie is certainly flawed and not great, but it's interesting enough to watch.

18 Oct 2002

Abandon -- One day Katie Holmes will be in something as good as The Ice Storm again, but not just yet. A forgettable movie, so why bother seeing it.

Formula 51 -- Sam Jackson feels it necessary to prove once again that he's a bad mother watch your mouth, which is a pretty tired thing to do by this point. If you're not burnt out yet, you might enjoy it.

The Ring -- Kind of like The Mothman Prophecies in that it tries to be spooky and deep but just ends up being boring and pointless--only slightly better than that, but not much. Only see it if you're bored and willing to be possibly more bored than you began, and then I would wait for HBO or something.

11 Oct 2002

The Knockaround Guys -- One of those comedy gangster movies. The cast is good, but it's not enough. Only Seth Green fanatics need apply.

The Rules of Attraction -- Not the greatest movie, but if you're in the mood for something teen and yet with that Roger Avery style and semi-grit, then this is something to see. Perhaps even a date movie for boys?

Swept Away -- Guy Ritchie stops remaking Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels to make this love-on-the-beach movie with his annoying wife Madonna. Good that he's not just doing the same stuff again, but bad that the new stuff is this. Madonna is just too crappy to work in anything anymore, but watch it if you're a Ritchie fan and want to see what he's up to these days.

The Transporter -- Luc Besson wrote this, and it certainly has that Nikita feel, which is fine. And if you're up for some action, this is a good one to see or rent.

Tuck Everlasting -- Remember when you had to read those Newberry Award books in junior high and you hated most of them? That's kind of like seeing this movie. If you're in junior high, you'll have to watch it there; otherwise, you've lucked out by being an adult.

White Oleander -- From the bestselling blah blah blah. Watch it if you want to be bored.

4 Oct 2002

Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie -- If you like the Veggie Tales, you're safe. They won't let you down if they haven't in the past. As far as Christian computer animated talking vegetables goes, this is number one. Almost strictly for kids, of course, so take them or stay away.

Red Dragon -- Little Eddy Norton, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Harvey Keitel, Little Phil Seymour Hoffman: how can we all not rush out and see any movie with all these people? It's probably the "edgiest" Hannibal Lector movie (oddly, since it's directed by Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner), at least in the look of it -- not as sweepingly interesting as The Silence of the Lambs and not as "lush" as Hannibal, but it's own thing, and that's a good thing, in spite of the handful of shortcomings it has (like, for example, essentially being another version of Lambs: they should have just made a movie where they catch Hannibal, an even earlier prequel, rather than doing something that Manhunter did already... granted, badly). All the people of course are worth watching, and Anthony Hopkins re-reading of the old character is cool (better than redoing what he did before). Edward Norton's best movie since Fight Club. See it in the theater as soon as you can.

27 Sep 2002

Sweet Home Alabama -- Reese Whitherspoon decides to put another crappy movie notch in her belt (Legally Blonde) as opposed to a good movie notch (Election), wasting all that talent she got. Cause she is talented, and like her close-cousin Kirsten Dunst (who makes even larger leaps from good to bad: The Virgin Suicides, Bring It On). This movie is insultingly dim. Don't let anyone force you to see it.

The Tuxedo -- You don't want to admit that you like this movie as you're watching it, but you do. There's something about it. Go see it at the theater, even. Or rent it on DVD, loudly.

20 Sep 2002

Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever -- You can tell as you're watching this that someone said, "Cute spy guy? Wasn't Antonio Banderas in Spy Kids? Cute spy gal? Wasn't Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels? Let's just get them, they're safe." Which is fine, and this movie is fine too. You might even consider seeing it on the screen, or at least a loud DVD. It's fun and fast, and the subtitle was a good idea.

The Banger Sisters -- If you like Sex in the City, you might like this... which means that I hated it. If you're with me, don't watch it. If you're not with me, watch it anywhere away from me.

The Four Feathers -- Lots of epics are crappy by nature anyway, and this is a crappy epic.

Trapped -- After watching this movie, it feels like you haven't seen it. Maybe, at best, that you've seen it before. So don't bother seeing it, because you won't (or already have).

13 Sep 2002

Barber Shop -- Only Ice Cube fans need apply. You know who you are and how to handle yourself.

Stealing Harvard -- Bruch McCulloch does well enough for himself when he directs comedies (Superstar) instead of "personal" movies (Dog Park), and this is a comedy. If you're a Tom Green fan like me, then you'll love it just for him. If you're a Jason Lee fan, then you got him too. It's regular ol' screwball comedy stuff, not even big news as far as comedy movies go, but the actors alone (mostly Tom) make it worth seeing. See it at the theater if you can't wait, though DVD will do. Watch with other Tom Green fans if possible.

6 Sep 2002

Swimfan -- You know that movie about the crazy obsessive girl? Yes, you've seen it before. No need to see it again unless you just want some soft teen sex. If so, rent it with your other and get all sexxy.

30 Aug 2002

Fear dot com -- All of our internet fears have come true! Eh, whatever. One night you will be in the mood for exactly this movie, and only you will know what that night is... and when that night comes, seize the moment, or it will be gone forever.

23 Aug 2002

Serving Sara -- Matthew Perry and Elizabeth Hurley are both funny in this movie, and if you're in the mood for a decent-enough comedy, this should do you fine. Rent it one night, why don't you.

Simone -- That Truman Show guy tries to show how smart and clever he is again, but it doesn't work as well this time. But it doesn't totally fail either. You won't remember much about it a week after you've seen it, but it's better than a lot of stuff if you have almost two hours to kill. Rent it or something.

21 Aug 2002

One Hour Photo -- Video music directors making movies can be great (David Fincher's Fight Club), music video fun (McG's Charlie's Angels), or just trying-to-be-hip-and-failing-yet-with-good-but-poorly-executed-ideas films (Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich). This one has all the good ideas of Being John Malkovich (without being too clever for its own good) and even approaches the goodness (though not nearly) of Fight Club. It's worth seeing, and one of the most interesting mainstream movies made in a while. See it in the theater or rent it on DVD.

16 Aug 2002

The Adventures of Pluto Nash -- Eddie Murphy proves once again that he's not the best picker of movies to be in. Watch this alone with Fritos on HBO.

9 Aug 2002

Blood Work -- Clint Eastwood is sort of a butt-hole and everyone should know this. This movie is a typical piece of whatever. Don't see it, or watch it in the background someday while you're knitting.

7 Aug 2002

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams -- Better than most kids' movies. If your kids want to go out, take them to this.

2 Aug 2002

Martin Lawrence: Run Tel Dat -- Do you like Martin's standup? Then you'll like it just fine, though there's usually not much of a point in standup comedy movies instead of HBO specials or whatever. One's on film and one's on video, traditionally. Watch it on TV if you like Martin. If you don't, don't.

Master of Disguise -- Dana Carvey is a funny guy, and it's kind of funny to watch him do characters (the thing he's best at). That's about it. Watch it somewhere, you pick.

Signs -- M. Night Shymalan once again tries to give us Twilight Zone-inspired movies and doesn't luck up like he did with The Sixth Sense. Fortunately, this one is much better than Unbreakable, and it doesn't rely on crazy tricks or endings to make the movie, but cares a little more for it throughout. Not perfect, but proof that Shymalan might not be a one hit wonder or one trick pony after all. Watch it in the theater or rent it on DVD.

26 Jul 2002

Austin Powers in Goldmember -- The sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, suffered from repetition of the same jokes from the first movie in slightly different (usually less funny) forms and too much attention paid to the more outrageous (or disturbing) characters like Fat Bastard and Mini-Me, both of whom were awful. It also forgot that Austin Powers was the star, and focused on Dr. Evil, only Dr. Evil wasn't as good of a character this time around. This third Austin Powers movie is even worse, with even more characters (and mini-people) and repeating jokes, so much that it's like a "fill in the blank, but add more stupidity and dumb characters" movie, far from the smart humor of the first one. Go see it in the theater anyway, or rent it.

19 Jul 2002

K-19: The Widowmaker -- One of those Harrison Ford action movies. Crap. Worse than most even. Showtime? Yeah, I wouldn't pay money to see it.

Stuart Little 2 -- If you liked the first one, I guess you'll like this one too. It's a cute mouse. You know better than I do whether you want to see this or not, or how you want to see it.

17 Jul 2002

Eight Legged Freaks -- This movie seemed promising. Sometimes it's even funny. But mostly it just suffers from that same sort of thing that Mars Attacks! did, where it's some "inside, hip" joke that's just insulting. Not quite that bad, of course, but it's in the same area. Watch a few seconds of it on HBO.

12 Jul 2002

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course -- I suppose if you like this guy (I do in small doses) then you'll like the movie okay, but it's actually not a good movie. It'll come on TV so many times you'll hate it even if you don't at first, so just watch it one of those times, since you won't be able to help it anyway.

Halloween: Resurrection -- Forget any story or whatever about Michael Myers (not that they were ever that good to begin with). It's just another young hot thing movie where some of the lesser hot ones die. Boring stuff, unless you just like like slasher movies. Rent it one night when you want to have a Halloween marathon to prove once again that they aren't that good.

Reign of Fire -- Um, you won't know what to think about this movie even after you see it, so you have two options: (1) See it, and be confused for the rest of your life. (2) Don't see it, and try to forget you ever knew it existed. It's probably bad, but you'll never be sure. Make your choice. See it anywhere you like, or don't. As always, your decision.

Road To Perdition -- There's something not quite right with this movie, but it's pretty good anyway. It's a little off-putting, perhaps. That's part of what makes it both good and bad. See it in the theater, or rent it on DVD.

3 Jul 2002

Like Mike -- Lil Bow Bow isn't as annoying in this movie as he is in his rap star persona, and in fact he's not too bad. This is a fine movie if you're a kid, maybe even one of the better kids' movies, but just remember that this isn't saying much. Rent it on video if you're a kid. Peek in at it from time to time if you're an adult, mostly for the Crispin Glover parts.

Men in Black 2 -- If you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one too. Slick (in the best way), fun, and mostly smart. See it in the theater or rent it on DVD.

28 Jun 2002

Hey Arnold! The Movie -- A mediocre Nick toon turns into a movie. About as crappy as that Rugrats thing was. Don't let your kids see this, no matter how much they beg.

Mr. Deeds -- Adam Sandler makes one of those comedy movies that's not actually very funny, like he did with Big Daddy. Heart schmart: we like zaniness. Watch it when it's on regular TV and when you've got a high fever.

21 Jun 2002

Juwanna Man -- Ohmygod, a dude pretending he's a chick, and playing basketball! How hilarious is that? Not very. Rent it and pretend it's the funniest thing you've ever seen.

Minority Report -- Steven Spielberg uses leftover sets from A.I. to make this Tom Cruise thriller which is actually not too bad, though certainly not his best or real deep or anything. See it on the big screen if you like, or rent it on DVD and play it loud.

14 Jun 2002

The Bourne Identity -- One of those big stylized secret spy movies you've already seen a hundred times. Watch it on HBO one night while folding clothes.

Scooby-Doo -- Okay, it's not the most horrible thing ever. It's even kind of fun, often clever. At least it's better than the cartoon. The actors make up for the lack of anything the movie has.

Windtalkers -- Big stupid movie, though better than most big stupid movies. Rent it one night if you're in the mood for something loud.

7 Jun 2002

Bad Company -- Chris Rock had a twin in the CIA and now street-smart Chris is called in by Anthony Hopkins (in sunglasses and a cap!) to say some humorous Chris Rocky lines while Hopkins does his Anthony Hopkins thing, only "hipper." I like both of these guys, but this is trouble, and Joel Schumacher directs, if that tells you anything. Watch it anyway, cause it's not horrible. Rent it when it comes out on DVD.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood -- It's about a secret society of feminist empowerment and friendship, so they should keep it a little more secret. You will puke your guts out watching this movie. See it never.

31 May 2002

The Sum of All Fears -- One of those Tom Clancy pieces of crap. Rent it one night if you like that crap. But know that you're watching crap.

Undercover Brother -- You've seen this movie before. Yes, you have. Yeah, it looks familiar, doesn't it? You've seen it, so don't bother. But if you must bother, watch three more of the same movie the same night, just to prove it to yourself.

24 May 2002

Enough -- J. Lo shakes her booty, cuts her hair, and makes a crappy movie. Avoid if you can; you might be tied to a chair by a robber and forced to watch it while he burgles your house.

Insomnia -- The Memento guy pairs Al Pacino and Robin Williams in a movie that is worth watching once. Rent it some dark and rainy night.

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron -- Dreamworks still doesn't realize that the only way to beat Disney is to not look exactly like them. Oh well. Don't take your spoiled little kids to see this. Watch it one day and throw eggs at the TV.

17 May 2002

About a Boy -- A run-of-the mill comedy with charming Hugh Grant that you might want to see on Showtime one day if you're home sick.

16 May 2002

Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones -- You're going to see this anyway, but I'm telling you to go see it in the theater. It will be better than The Phantom Menace, so don't worry about that. It'll be like that movie without the crap, if that makes you feel better. So, yes, see it in the theater. More than once if you need to.

10 May 2002

The New Guy -- Dumb, even for a teen comedy. If you're desperate for a teen fix, rent it one night and just wiggle your thumbs and wonder how you could have better spent four dollars once you figure out the mistake you made.

Unfaithful -- You know that Adrian Lyne stuff. Indecent Proposal, 9 1/2 Weeks, Flashdance, all that crap. If you like that kind of stuff, wait till it comes on the USA network. Otherwise, you know what to do.

3 May 2002

Deuces Wild -- An offensive movie full of all the Italian stereotypes you've ever seen. Behold normally good actors crapping on their skills to make this piece of crap. It's probably best that you don't watch at all, but if you can afford to shoot your TV, I'd try that.

Spider-Man -- Groovy guy Sam Raimi directs a great likeable teen actor Tobey Maguire who hasn't made a career of dumb teen comedies and the always-beautiful and sunshiny Kirsten Dunst, not to mention the perfect Willem Dafoe, in a movie about the best superhero that ever was. Pretty great. Go see it in the theater.

26 Apr 2002

Jason X -- Don't watch this at the theater or you're going to miss all the fun. First off, it's a horrible movie, but you knew that. What you do is, you rent some Jason movies and watch them all in one night with your buddies. End with this one. But make sure you're not sleepy, cause you gotta make jokes. Suggested number of pre-X Jason movies: two or three. Alternate idea: rent all the Jason movies and have a nightly viewing leading up to this. But remember, it's horrible.

19 Apr 2002

Murder By Numbers -- Sandra Bullock and a kid villain who's really just too odd-looking to watch for an hour and a half try to make an exciting movie and fail. Let it play in the background on pay TV some night while playing Monopoly.

The Scorpion King -- The Mummy sucked, The Mummy 2 sucked, and this prequel sucks. Even worse it's got The Rock. Only watch it if your wrestling-fan kid begs you, and even then wait for video so you can leave the room.

12 Apr 2002

Changing Lanes -- Not that great, but not impossible to watch either, so you might want to watch it on cable sometime.

Frailty -- Probably the best thing coming out this week, it's not a bad little Bill Paxton creepy movie. It's not the best thing ever made either, but it's worth seeing. See it at the theater if you need a movie to see, or rent it one night on DVD.

The Sweetest Thing -- Nothing's going to stop some people from seeing Cameron Diaz shaking her booty, so if you like that, you'll like this. Heck, I like it too, but this is a really bad movie. I mean, it might be kinda "cute" if you like that every now and then. Gather up your girlfriends for a slumber party and rent it, which will be more fun for you than if you all see it at the theater. Actually make popcorn. (Or, for the booty-shaking fan, rent it one lonely night and watch it in slo-mo.)

5 Apr 2002

Big Trouble -- I was too confused by having to think this was coming out half a year ago only to see it finally coming out now to be clear-headed about it, but this wasn't a very good movie. Barry Sonnenfeld is an extremely capable director, so it looks good, but Wild Wild West looked good too. See it late night on HBO when you're drifting off to sleep with your significant other.

High Crimes -- A paint-by-numbers "he's not who you think he is" thriller. You've seen it before, but the ones you've seen were better. Watch ten minutes of it when they air it on TNT in four years if you don't believe me.

National Lampoon's Van Wilder -- If you like the goofy teen movies, you still might not like this one, cause it's not the best of them. Not even as good as Road Trip or something like that. Rent it if you'd rather just be making out with the person you're watching it with.

Copyright 2002 We Like Media.
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