Shorties #9

When it comes to entertainment consumption, I like to leap from topic to topic and genre to genre. Variety being the spice of life and all, I like to follow up a heavy drama with a fizzy comedy, or to tackle something new and exciting after settling in with a familiar favorite. This prevents me from getting bored, but carries an inherent risk of sinking time into a property that winds up being disappointing. So, with apologies for any whiplash you get from this next batch of wildly different types of entertainment (and grades), it's time to dive into some more Shorties.

#1: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Despite my geek leanings, I've never read the book. In fact, the only exposure I've had to Hitchhiker was playing the text-based computer game in the '80s. That game was ridiculously difficult, by the way. As soon as we got Internet access in the household, I instantly cheated my way through it. Anyhow, it gave me a good grounding of the plot, but watching this 2005 movie is the only other time I've interacted with this universe. I'm told that hardcore fans of the book hated the movie, but I liked it just fine. Martin Freeman always plays the bewildered-straight-man to the hilt, and Alan Rickman was great as depressed robot Marvin. This seems like a property people are pretty testy about when it's toyed with, so I'll just say I enjoyed it personally, and leave it at that. (Grade: B)

#2: Mirror Mirror: I'm not sure what I should have expected from a PG-rated movie produced by Brett Ratner, but boy, was this a slog. A retelling of the Snow White story with Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, there were two good things about this movie: The costuming is gorgeous. And Armie Hammer is cute. The rest is pretty dire. With uninspired writing, stiff acting, and a distinct whiff of focus group/studio interference, I can't recommend this to anyone but those studying fashion design. (Grade: C-)

#3: White Collar: I generally give a television show five episodes before I decide if I'm going to keep up with it or not. Shows that hook or repel me right off the bat are exempt from this rule, of course, but if a show is middling, but shows promise, Episode 5 is when my judgement is rendered. White Collar didn't pass the test. Some personality-driven case-of-the-week shows do wind up appealing to me, like Psych or Rosemary & Thyme. And despite the fact that Matt Bomer is charming and dreamy, I just didn't find the stories on White Collar interesting enough to want to watch more. (Grade: C)

#4: Jurassic Park 3D: When Kyle and I arranged to go see this in IMAX with some of his friends, I predicted it would be sold out. "We're seeing a 9:00 showing of a movie that came out in 1993," he said. "We'll be fine." Every seat in the house was taken. Not only could we not sit together, but one of our groups had to sit in the very front, and the other in the very back. There's good reason for that. Jurassic Park is pretty much flawless. Thank goodness this movie was made before CGI became much of a thing, because the practical effects are still beautiful today. The entire audience was rapt and silent from beginning to end. That never happens at a sold-out show, and certainly not at a movie that everyone there has probably seen before. At one point, I decided that I would run to the restroom as soon as an inessential, filler scene came on. That never happened, because there are none. My bladder may have suffered, but my brain was delighted. (Grade: A+)

#5: Idiocracy: I was content to let this 2006 movie pass me by when it came out, but every time I see it mentioned online, people start gushing about how good it is. Once word-of-mouth builds up like that, I get curious, and this one eventually wended its way to the top of my Netflix queue. I'm not the biggest Luke Wilson fan in the world, but he does a fine job as an average schmo who gets cryogenically frozen and awakens far in the future to find he is, by far, the smartest person on the planet. This is a comedy, but it does have a subversive point about how many babies stupid people have. Anyhow, it's a pretty amusing movie, and Maya Rudolph always livens up everything she's in. Justin Long also has a welcome cameo as a doctor, and my only really big problem with this movie is his seriously-delivered diagnosis: "You talk like a fag, and your shit's all retarded." Not because I'm offended. No, it's because it's taken root in my head, and now I'm afraid I'm going to be quoting that in all sorts of inappropriate situations. (Grade: B-)


Anonymous said...

Mirror Mirror is great when you want to set the TV on a sleep timer (and the number of times you get see Armie Hammer shirtless).

Limecrete said...

I think I'll watch something good, but tape a picture of shirtless Armie Hammer up in the corner of the screen. Then I can win on two counts!

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