Sorry for the delay between parts 1 and 2. The big reason is that I was interviewing for a job, which is a suprisingly tiring process. I had the second interview today--which went well--and I had to fight the urge to collapse on the couch as soon as I got home. I forgot the mental effort involved in preparing for an interview.
Well, let's go to the second (and final) part of The Movie Explosion for '08 and recap some of the highs and the lows.
The Best Deal You've Never Heard About: God bless AMC. If you go to a screening before noon (even on weekends), the ticket price is a paltry $6.00. I'm not kidding. That is a remarkable deal, especially for folks like me, the vaguely unemployed. The $6.00 deal was also a divine sign that my girlfriend is a keeper. I suggested recently that we see a 9:55 a.m. showing of Doubt. Instead of rolling her eyes, cursing the time she wasted, and posting her profile on Match.com, she willingly agreed to go. Yes, movie nerds, there is someone for you, and it's not Molly Haskell.
The Dumbest Marketing Ploy: Romantic comedies using Sarah Bereilles' "Love Song." Who's the ad wizard who came up with that one? The singer-songwriter admitted that her song--though peppy and energetic--isn't a love song, but a tart response to the genre. Listen to the lyrics: "I'm not going to write you a love song/'Cause you asked for it/Cause you need one." It's basically the 21st century answer to "I Will Survive," and that's the introduction to Made of Honor, a romantic comedy if ever there was one? Ugh.
The Saddest Exit: Sydney Pollack in the aforementioned Made of Honor. He should have had a better finale than costarring in the worst movie of the year. I still can't believe how rock-stupid that movie was. It made Love American Style look like a think piece.
The Biggest Disappointment: Indiana Jones 4. It wasn't a bad movie, but if they pick it up with Shia LaBeouf (and the movie practically screamed this was the case), I'll be joining the legions of weepy Generation Xers. It's amazing how outraged people were. You would have thought Spielberg and Lucas killed babies for two hours.
In Case You're Wondering: Speed Racer was the second-worst movie of '08 that I saw. It was like staring at a pinball machine.
The Best Comeback: Woody Allen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Everyone's saying Mickey Rourke, but he's actually been doing solid work for a good decade in stuff like Sin City. For the first time in years, Allen made an original, sexy movie that didn't feel like he was recycling his past movies. Plus, he used Scarlett Johansson to her full-bodied potential.
The Star Who Needs to Go to Plan B: I love Naomi Watts to pieces, but can she please make a romantic comedy or star in a stupid action movie? She was bloody fantastic in Funny Games but it's another intense movie that brought me a step closer to therapy. Look, Kate Winslet did The Holiday. She can be a great actress and excel in lighter roles...Oh, and John Cusack: Please stop playing variations of Lloyd Dobler. When will it end, man?
The Star Who Should Stick to Plan B: It should be a law that Ice Cube stars in every children's movie. Take him away from The Comebacks and it's beyond awful. Put him in it, and it's enjoyable family fun...Also, Hilary Duff as a sexpot isn't such a bad thing. She was surprisingly good in War, Inc.
The Best Celeb Sightings: Regis Philbin (who was so tan that he looked like a carrot), James Lipton (who, for some reason, smelled terrific), Joy Behar, and David Denby, the film critic for The New Yorker. For me, that's a banner year.
The Movie Theater to Avoid Like the Plague: MegaMovies in East Brunswick, NJ. Adjectives can't do justice to how much I hate that place. Just never go to a movie that's based in a mall. It's heartache all around, folks. Though I did get to scare the bejeezus out of two 10-year-olds. That was exciting.
The Best Documentary of the Year that You Didn't See: Who Does She Think She Is?
The Worst Documentary of the Year that You Probably Saw: Gonzo. It's astonishing how pedestrian that movie was, and it was about Hunter S. Thompson.
Books I Read that Need to be Turned Into a Movie Immediately: How To Talk to a Widower by Jonathan Tropper...And I know this has become the Jancee Dunn site in recent months, but Don't You Forget About Me is tailor-made for the big screen.
My Resolution for 2009: Keep watching movies and keep getting published...So far, so good.