At The Movies. Kind Of.

Lately, three factors have converged to cause me to watch more movies. First, Jen haggled with Comcast to get us OnDemand service for less than our older service, complete with HBO. Second, as mentioned previously, I put in a home theater. Third, I’ve been sicker than usual this year, and many of those sick days have been spent watching a movie or two.

At any rate, I now present a list of movies I’ve watched recently, how they scored, and in which areas they gained or lost points. Not all of these are recent movies, nor are all of them movies I hadn’t seen before, so some of these are rediscoveries for me.

Little Miss Sunshine: 9.5/10
This was an awesome movie. I was expecting it to be good, but it blew me away. The whole “dysfunctional family goes on a trip and bonds” is tough to pull off, but they did better than it’s ever been done before. I especially liked the van and its issues. Earned extra points for Alan Arkin and Rick James. Lost points for a little bit too much swearing.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: 8/10
This was better than I expected. Val Kilmer is always good, but Robert Downey, Jr., is something of a wildcard: when he’s good, he’s really good, but when he’s bad, he just sucks. Thankfully, he was good in this flick. Earned extra points for Kilmer’s insults to Downey and for having the guts to feature a self-aware narrator. Lost points for wanting me to believe that Downey and Michelle Monaghan are the same age. As if.

My Girl: 10/10
This has been one of my favorite movies for years. I remember watching this when it first came out and thinking, “Wow, Dan Aykroyd can act!” This was under free movies on OnDemand, so Grace and I watched it together when we both had strep last week. To my delight, she enjoyed it, although she didn’t really get that Thomas had given his life trying to find Vada’s ring. Earned extra points for still being able to make me cry after all these years. Lost no points.

Curious George: 5/10
I was really disappointed in this movie. They could have done so much with such a lovable character, but they threw it away on an awful plot and extremely weak characterizations. Will Ferrell should be ashamed of himself, as should nearly everyone involved, especially the Reys for allowing this to come to fruition. Earned extra points for Drew Barrymore. Lost points for sucking.

Fever Pitch: 7.5/10
Speaking of Drew Barrymore, this one was better than I expected. Jen and I watched it together a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be a really sweet romantic comedy. Earned extra points for not having Jimmy Fallon be a complete goofball (although it was close at times) and for Drew Barrymore. Lost points for the shower scene; that was just weird and unnecessary.

Domino: 8/10
I really dug this movie. The ever-changing plot (complete with rewinding!) was a hoot, so I wasn’t surprised to see that it had been written by Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame. Jen and I watched it together, and when it was over, she immediately went online to research the real Domino Harvey. Earned extra points for Kelly’s amazing plot and for inspiring Jen to research. Lost points for the arm thing (if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, you don’t want to know).

Ali: 5/10
This movie sucked. I hate to say it, because I think Will Smith is a truly gifted actor and I’ve held Ali himself in high regard for the charity he’s done, but man, this one was a stinker. The editing was poor. The script was too disjointed to tell me a story, but too compressed to give me a full overview of Ali’s life. And what was up with the club scene with Sam Cooke at the beginning? Earned extra points for Will Smith: he did a good job with what he had to work with. Lost points for skipping so many interesting parts of the champ’s life and for sucking.

School for Scoundrels: 7/10
The review said it’s “Napoleon Dynamite meets Bad Santa.” Well, that reviewer certainly reached down deep to write from his soul, eh? At any rate, it was a good time. Not exactly high art, but it was what I expected. Earned extra points for point blank paintball carnage. Lost points for expecting me to believe that airline security could ever have been so lax, even before 9/11.

In Her Shoes: 8/10
Jen picked this one, and I was expecting a total chick flick. But I was surprised: it was a good movie and not really a chick flick at all. At least, I wouldn’t expect a chick flick to feature Cameron Diaz in a bikini quite so often. Earned extra points for Mark Feuerstein’s portrayal of the strangely confident Simon. Lost points for some sappy sentimentality, notably the e. e. cummings poem at the wedding. Seriously, e. e. cummings? Couldn’t they find something by a poet with proper capitalization skills?

Stargate: 8/10
Believe it or not, I had not seen this movie up until a few weeks ago. I’d seen clips of a few episodes of the series, but never the original movie. It was really good. Earned extra points for a reasonable if not completely accurate portrayal of linguistics in action. Lost points for Kurt Russell’s hair at the beginning and for having French Stewart in it (who at least, thankfully, didn’t squint annoyingly the whole way through).

Johnny Mnemonic: 7/10
Yeah, I really watched it. Not a great film by any objective standard, but it made it easy to see why Keanu Reeves was later cast as Neo. Say what you want, I like Keanu Reeves and I think he’s a good actor. The movie was enjoyable if you shut down your brain while you watch it. Earned extra points for Henry Rollins. Lost points for Ice-T (for crying out loud) and for Dolph Lundgren.

Unleashed: 8/10
Jet Li’s best movie, in my opinion. I really dug Bob Hoskins as the gangster. Earned extra points for Morgan Freeman and Kerry Condon. Lost points for the fight scene in the pit where Danny was fighting like five people.

Well, that’s about it for now. More later, since I feel a couple movie nights coming on later this week.

Nice to be feeling better and blogging again.

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