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      Paul Tatara

      Paul Tatara

      Paul Tatara's reviews only count toward the Tomatometer® when published at the following Tomatometer-approved publication(s):

      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 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.

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      Rating T-Meter Title | Year Review
      The Big Lebowski (1998) Yes, it's different. Yes, it's odd. Yes, it's got some laughs. For all those "yeses," though, it eventually adds up to an overly busy "no." -
      Read More | Posted Jan 20, 2023
      Down in the Delta (1998) Down in the Delta is almost mind-boggling. How can a woman with the kind of insight that Angelou displays in her poetry and other writings not see that she was dealing with a script that spells things out as if it was written with a big, fat crayon? -
      Read More | Posted Jan 05, 2023
      The Celebration (1998) I'll be thinking about this movie for a long time to come. -
      Read More | Posted Sep 22, 2020
      Brassed Off (1996) "Brassed Off" is about as sloppy as it gets, but for nearly two-thirds of the movie the gushiness is pretty much kept in check. And those two thirds are quite a treat. -
      Read More | Posted Sep 09, 2020
      The Devil's Advocate (1997) You don't care about any of the characters, so there's no fear of something nasty happening to them, and, with the exception of Pacino (who plays the devil himself), it's terribly miscast. -
      Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2020
      The Bachelor (1999) "The Bachelor" is as generic as they come, the kind of commercial fabrication that sets up a pair of hackneyed concepts, then runs them in concentric circles until there's enough footage to cut together a movie. -
      Read More | Posted Jul 13, 2020
      Irma Vep (1996) I really enjoyed "Irma Vep." I will, however, be the first to admit that it's not for everybody. -
      Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2020
      Mother (1996) What's really surprising here is that Brooks has finally discovered the very human heart beating beneath his trademark malcontent. -
      Read More | Posted Jun 05, 2020
      Liar Liar (1997) I would tell you that this is a loud, obvious, one-joke movie, but most of you would run out and pony up the eight bucks to see it anyway. -
      Read More | Posted Apr 07, 2020
      Lake Placid (1999) Miner's thoroughly unimaginative visual style sees to it that "Lake Placid" is not the least bit frightening, and the entire undertaking generates maybe one decent laugh. That is, if you don't count Fonda's chronic inability to act. -
      Read More | Posted Jul 09, 2019
      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. -
      Read More | Posted May 23, 2019
      But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) But I'm a Cheerleader is a smug little comedy that tries to mock other people's self-righteousness while ignoring its own. -
      Read More | Posted Mar 31, 2019
      The Matchmaker (1997) It simply isn't all that funny. -
      Read More | Posted Jan 23, 2019
      Pokémon: The First Movie (1998) "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. -
      Read More | Posted Jan 15, 2019
      Event Horizon (1997) Don't worry, it's not you. It really doesn't make any sense. -
      Read More | Posted Dec 15, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Oct 19, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2018
      The Postman (1997) It's about as inspiring as a movie about a vengeful meter reader. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
      The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) It's like you're watching two models slap each other with fashion magazines. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
      Dear Jesse (1997) Kirkman's big accomplishment is that he makes your blood boil even while the heat is turned on low. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 16, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 09, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 09, 2018
      Snitch (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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 09, 2018
      Velvet Goldmine (1998) I'm telling you, I was bored stiff. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 08, 2018
      Happiness (1998) As sharp as some of the writing is, Solondz is still not enough of a director to successfully negotiate this emotional minefield. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 07, 2018
      Eve's Bayou (1997) This one is the real torch carrier for a literate new beginning. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 07, 2018
      Meet Joe Black (1998) You just feel like you're dragging a set of dumbbells around with you while you're watching it. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      B. Monkey (1998) Even with all the film's problems, Argento's charisma keeps things relatively interesting for lengthy stretches of time. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      Insomnia (1997) 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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      Clay Pigeons (1998) One of those post-Coen Brothers crime thingys that goes to extremes to make sure that everyone knows the filmmakers are too painfully cool to really mean anything they're showing you. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 06, 2018
      True Crime (1999) It's all wrong; Eastwood is even miscast. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      The X-Files (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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      The Butcher Boy (1997) The Butcher Boy is a trip, all right, but one that I'm sorry I took. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      Hannibal (2001) No tension, no rhythm and no sense of purpose ... unless you count helping "Faces of Death" fans feel more evolved. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      The Caveman's Valentine (2001) Nearly unwatchable ... but maybe next time. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 05, 2018
      Freddy Got Fingered (2001) Take a bow, 20th Century Fox, and don't forget to flush. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 03, 2018
      Tomcats (2001) Grown men with their own offices found this material amusing enough to film. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 03, 2018
      Say It Isn't So (2001) Field, for her part, can finally relax. We no longer like her. We really no longer like her. -
      Read More | Posted Feb 03, 2018
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Aug 24, 2016
      Spice World (1997) "What's the plot?" you may be asking. Well so am I. -
      Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2016
      The Pillow Book (1996) 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. -
      Read More | Posted May 02, 2016
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Jul 28, 2015
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Dec 14, 2014
      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. -
      Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2014
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