Paul Tatara

Paul Tatara
Paul Tatara's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s): CNN.com
Biography:
Paul Tatara was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 17, 1963. Tatara and his family moved to Arab, Alabama (pop. 6,800) when he was 4 years old. During his formative years, he focused almost solely on playing baseball, basketball, and football. Though he's still a Cleveland sports fanatic -- the return of the Browns in 1999 made him cry -- movies have been Tatara's guiding passion since the age of 14. He graduated from Auburn University in 1985. After graduation, he lived in Gainesville, Florida for 5 years, where he managed a record store. Music is another driving force in his life, with Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon, and Bob Dylan serving as his Holy Trinity. (Thelonious Monk, Randy Newman, and Frank Sinatra would also squeeze in there, given more than three slots). The highlight of his Florida retail career came when rock icon Bo Diddley (a regular customer) plugged up in front of the store, hit a groove, and proceeded to jam on the same whump-a-thump riff for about 5 hours. Eventually, Tatara had to tell him to beat it. If only movies worked this way. Tatara moved to New York City in 1990 to pursue a career in writing. He has written several spec screenplays, as well as an unproduced script for 20th Century Fox. He also adapted "The Thrill of the Grass," a short story by W.P. Kinsella, for an episode of a future TV series to be produced by Kennedy/Marshall Productions. His original screenplay, "The Almost Perfect Game" (based on the career of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee), is currently in development at Paramount Pictures, with Woody Harrelson set to star and produce. Since January 1997, he's been trying to entertain and inform people by daring to write what he actually thinks about movies for CNN Interactive. He has also been covering movies and pop culture for goodauthority.org since late 1999. He is endlessly amazed at how often this honesty irks some readers. Tatara is a traditionalist, preferring steak and potatoes to elaborately seasoned seaweed, and stories about recognizable human emotions to shots of screaming extras outrunning the umpteenth fireball. He says he'll apologize for the things he writes in his movie reviews as soon as the studios make amends for completely selling out what could still be a thriving art form. He suggests something on the order of the blanket settlement by the tobacco industry. Considering how many lousy films he's watched over the years, this would leave him sitting pretty.
Publications: CNN.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
53% Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1998) "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" is a misfire in several ways, but the key problem is that the writers have a clunky, concrete Christmas tree, not something thematic that can be used to devise scenes of various shades and colors. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
39% But I'm a Cheerleader (2000) But I'm a Cheerleader is a smug little comedy that tries to mock other people's self-righteousness while ignoring its own. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
50% The Matchmaker (1997) It simply isn't all that funny. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
15% Pokémon the First Movie - Mewtwo vs. Mew (1999) "Pokémon: The First Movie" is a dose of extremely low-budget "Japanimation" that -- were it only more proficiently executed -- would rival "Scooby Doo" as the most astounding work of art in the 20th century. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 14, 2019
27% Event Horizon (1997) Don't worry, it's not you. It really doesn't make any sense. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2018
53% Scary Movie (2000) These gags are hardly the height of inspiration, but it could be that people laugh at them because they're not as pathetic as a character having a penis jabbed through his head like an ice pick. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
74% Cats Don't Dance (1997) Cats Don't Dance is a blast... There's a pleasing luminescence to the animation, with colors that glow like neon throughout. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
9% The Postman (1997) It's about as inspiring as a movie about a vengeful meter reader. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2018
70% The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) It's like you're watching two models slap each other with fashion magazines. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2018
86% Dear Jesse (1998) Kirkman's big accomplishment is that he makes your blood boil even while the heat is turned on low. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 15, 2018
39% John Carpenter's Vampires (1998) So, John Carpenter's Vampires stinks, and "Paul Tatara's Review of John Carpenter's Vampires" won't be a review so much as it'll be a check list for posturing teenage boys. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
61% Kurt & Courtney (1998) Turns out that the whole movie is wobbly, a slapdash, unsure concoction of hearsay and decrepitness that does for the documentary format what shows like Hard Copy do for TV journalism. "Sleazy" isn't the word for it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
90% Monument Ave. (1998) All the camaraderie aside, these are not particularly likable characters, yet [Leary] still manages to make you care about Bobby. It's been a long time since even Robert DeNiro pulled that one off, and Leary deserves as much credit as he can get. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 8, 2018
56% Velvet Goldmine (1998) I'm telling you, I was bored stiff. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
81% Happiness (1998) As sharp as some of the writing is, Solondz is still not enough of a director to successfully negotiate this emotional minefield. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
81% Eve's Bayou (1996) This one is the real torch carrier for a literate new beginning. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2018
53% Meet Joe Black (1998) You just feel like you're dragging a set of dumbbells around with you while you're watching it. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
63% B. Monkey (1999) Even with all the film's problems, Argento's charisma keeps things relatively interesting for lengthy stretches of time. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
11% End of Days (1999) Arnie's not taking any chances this time, and the result is the most questionably repulsive big-budget film in recent memory. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
97% Insomnia (1998) Insomnia is the sort of picture big studios used to make when they still believed they could take audiences on a ride without rubbing their faces in digital gloss. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
33% The 13th Warrior (1999) Akira Kurosawa's brilliant samurai movies -- especially 1957's Throne of Blood -- are a visual influence. But the script lacks the dignity that infuses Kurosawa's equally blood-thirsty characters. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
62% Clay Pigeons (1998) Better luck next time, guys. And, Janeane, try working with less smarty-pantsed material if you can. You know I'm pulling for you. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
29% The Other Sister (1999) I tell you what, if I see one more movie where two people suddenly bond while dancing together, or someone "grows up" before your eyes while cutting a rug, I'm gonna strangle myself. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
54% True Crime (1999) It's all wrong; Eastwood is even miscast. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
65% The X-Files - Fight the Future (1998) I came close to getting very excited on several different occasions, and that's saying something when you consider that I thought the experience would be more like participating in a card game that's beyond my comprehension. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
77% The Butcher Boy (1997) The Butcher Boy is a trip, all right, but one that I'm sorry I took. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
34% Disturbing Behavior (1998) Lots of shots are held for upwards of a minute, too. I know that's not much, but if you're ambitious enough to gain sustenance from something other than nice belly-buttons, you take what you can get. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
39% Hannibal (2001) No tension, no rhythm and no sense of purpose ... unless you count helping "Faces of Death" fans feel more evolved. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
15% Sweet November (2001) Any movie in which a dying person dons a rainbow-colored fright wig is in serious trouble. But if it also stars Keanu Reeves, well, welcome to the 10-worst list. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
45% The Caveman's Valentine (2001) Nearly unwatchable ... but maybe next time. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
25% The Million Dollar Hotel (2000) Wenders is one of those previously coherent cult directors who's reached the point at which he thinks he's accomplishing something by horsing around with his friends. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 5, 2018
9% Say It Isn't So (2001) Field, for her part, can finally relax. We no longer like her. We really no longer like her. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
14% Tomcats (2001) Grown men with their own offices found this material amusing enough to film. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
10% Freddy Got Fingered (2001) Take a bow, 20th Century Fox, and don't forget to flush. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 2, 2018
83% Jerry Maguire (1996) Cruise is very good in small moments with Dorothy's son, played charmingly by Jonathan Lipnicki, but in some of the bigger scenes his performance is so wrong-headed you can't imagine what he was thinking. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2016
35% Spice World (1998) "What's the plot?" you may be asking. Well so am I. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2016
66% The Pillow Book (1997) The Pillow Book is obsessed with obsessive erotic obsessiveness. If you've ever trembled at the thought of having Japanese characters painted on your nude body, this is the film for you. Bring a lunch; it feels like it'll never end. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 2, 2016
92% Face/Off (1997) I won't pretend that I completely enjoyed it, but it certainly has a few elements that I've never seen before. Action aficionados will undoubtedly slobber all over themselves. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2015
75% Eyes Wide Shut (1999) At least Fellini pulled out the stops from the first minute when he wanted to get surreal. Here, realism fades into surrealism, then into outright foolishness. Morbidly paced foolishness. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2014
87% The Blair Witch Project (1999) Whenever night falls, the movie takes off, but in a slow creep, with all your childhood fears of the dark suddenly revealing themselves as absolutely reasonable. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2014
94% The Truman Show (1998) The Truman Show will probably be the most thought-provoking "big" movie to come out this summer, and that says a whole lot more about other movies than it does about this one. You should, however, see it for Carrey's newly unveiled charms. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2014
92% Men in Black (1997) Men in Black is the wryest, sharpest, most entertaining special effects film in recent memory, a simultaneous participant and mocking parody of the more-bang-for-your-buck behemoth genre. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2014
10% Woo (1998) The whole thing is rude and pathetic, more like a lengthy episode of a bad sitcom than a movie, chock full of the kind of sexual innuendoes that are guaranteed to please horny eighth-graders or people who laugh at those Playboy party jokes. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2014
6% A Smile like Yours (1997) After a while, I could smell the jokes coming like Grandma's two-day-old stuffed cabbage. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 22, 2014
8% Almost Heroes (1998) All of the guys on the expedition are dumb, and they say and do dumb things in dumb ways, dumbly. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 15, 2014
99% L.A. Confidential (1997) The multi-layered plot keeps you riveted for the best possible reason -- you can't start to imagine where the story is leading you, and the fiercely intense payoffs are repeatedly worth the extra concentration. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2014
89% Titanic (1997) Cameron has devised a tender love story between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio that serves as the main focus of Titanic's storyline, and it works beautifully. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 25, 2014
92% Shakespeare in Love (1998) I just wish that the script wasn't so insistent on showing off. Shakespeare, even when he kowtowed to the peasants, knew when to quit. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 11, 2014
87% Chasing Amy (1997) There is a lot of frank conversation about the technical aspects of sex between women, but Holden and Banky are written more like sniggering eighth graders than inquisitive adults. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2014
96% The Iron Giant (1999) The Iron Giant is not only the best animated feature to be released this summer, it's the single best film to hit our screens so far this year. - CNN.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 4, 2013