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Rating History

The Legend of Bagger Vance
8 months ago via Flixster

"The Legend of Bagger Vance" is underwhelming. With Matt Damon, Will Smith, and Charlize Theron in the lead roles, you would assume that this film will blow your mind; however, it is important to note that this film came out in 2000 before Smith and Theron had established themselves as amazing dramatic actors in "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Monster" respectively. Their inexperience shows, though it makes room for a nice performance by character actor Bruce McGill to shine through. The saving grace from an acting standpoint is that this was Jack Lemmon's final role before his death. His narration is a fitting epilogue to his successful career. The main issue with the film is the story which is predictable and never really goes anywhere. The ending signals that the main character has experienced an important transformation but he is almost the same as he was before. On top of that, the love story is completely underdeveloped. It's a shame that the simplistic story could not match the grandeur of the film's cinematography and score. It is a visual marvel from the time lapse footage of clouds to the beautiful Savannah setting and the crowd fading away as Damon focuses on the hole. Most importantly, the camerawork creates a visual storytelling that helps us to track the progress of the golf match. Rachel Portman crafts a score that alternates between fun ragtime melodies and Thomas Newman-esque ethereal sounds. It effectively captures the Depression-era setting in conjunction with the mystical aspects of the story. The technical aspects almost make the film worth watching but there are many sports dramas that would be a better use of your time. Although I generally like films directed by Robert Redford, "The a Legend of Bagger Vance" is a fluke and should step aside for a quality mystical sports drama like "Field of Dreams."

Encino Man
Encino Man (1992)
8 months ago via Flixster

"Encino Man" is sooooo 90's. It has everything that you would expect from a cheesy 90's comedy including various montages of a cavemen's antics in modern society (most stereotypically at an amusement park). We also get to see the caveman placed into a high school setting where he inevitably becomes popular, a museum where he sees his ancestors, and he even hijacks a car that ends up driving sideways, balanced on two wheels. And of course, no 90's high school film is complete without a prom scene. It subscribes to the dumb comedy formula established by "Wayne's World" but lacks the creativity and originality of its predecessors. Imagine the classic mall sequence from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" for 90-minutes with only one character. The 33-day shooting schedule shows through hastily shot scenes and a lack of acting finesse. If you think that Brendan Fraser is overly slapstick as George of the Jungle, you haven't seen anything until you've seen him acting like a caveman that can barely speak a word. One of the biggest issues that people have with the film is Pauly Shore. I actually don't mind him since the majority of the film matches his signature airheadedness. It's amazing that people see his films and just accept his personality as typical of the 90's. More than anything, it helps me to better appreciate Shore's character in "A Goofy Movie." Sean Astin makes an okay protagonist but the real standout is Megan Ward as she makes "Robyn" into a genuinely likable character, something that is difficult to find in this story. "Encino Man" serves as evidence that an entire generation just accepted films comprised of random sequential montages and dance sequences loosely tied together by a plot. If you want to see an entertaining brainless comedy, stick to "Bill and Ted" or "Billy Madison."

Burn After Reading
8 months ago via Flixster

"Burn After Reading" is one of my least favorite Coen Brothers films. The Coens have created some inspired work from "Fargo" to "No Country For Old Men," but this script relies on a constant stream of f-words to fill in the gaps left by its weak plot. I loathe modern comedies that subscribe to the belief that if you use the f-word enough, it will become a running gag (Melissa McCarthy, I'm talking to you). In fact, the main theme that connects the film together is its crude content. Why is every relationship in the film predicated on infidelity? And that machine that George Clooney builds - there is absolutely no purpose behind it, and yet it's there for the sake of being there. I didn't like this film when it came out and tried to approach it with fresh eyes, believing that I would fall in love with it knowing what I know now about movies. I was wrong and should have trusted my first experience with it. I actually hated it significantly more than I did the first time! You would think that a cast including John Malkovich, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton (detestable in this role), Richard Jenkins, J.K. Simmons, and Clooney would have to be amazing but the entire story is absurd. It's almost as if they pigeonholed a bunch of great actors into a 90's Adam Sandler movie and called it sophisticated. Black comedies often miss the mark because they don't find that balance between feeling sorry for characters and enjoying their misfortune. This one is a prime example. Pitt is the only reason to even consider watching this film a his character is so over the top that we love to see him be absurd. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters are so static that he feels out of place. There are a few decent moments in this film (serving the papers, Pitt's nosebleed) but nothing that will make it worth enduring. If you love the Coen brothers, you might see something in "Burn After Reading" that I didn't. After you're done, you can find me pouting in the corner, still annoyed with myself for wasting an hour and a half on this film AGAIN!

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
8 months ago via Flixster

I'm frustrated. I don't understand how a film like "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" gets made. I can understand how the vision of a film can get lost in the editing process, but how can a film be so misguided from the very start. I can't imagine the crew members on the set of this film thinking anything other than "these are the most emotionless characters that I have ever seen" as the cameras were rolling. I have seen Lifetime Original Movies with better acting. I've even seen midafternoon Nickelodeon comedies with every cast member under the age of 16 that has better acting. Christopher Gorham's soft-spoken tone of voice wreaks of a sensitive used car salesman and makes any attempt by Alyssa Milano to create chemistry feel awkward. It doesn't help that the script is completely mundane. Not in a Richard Linklater real-life-unfolding-in-front-of-your-eyes sort of way, but in a why-am-I-watching-this-unemotional-dialogue sort of way. The entire film feels painfully overacted and it is no surprise that it received a pay-per-view release instead of a theatrical one. It latches onto the classic cliché of a girl trying to choose between a successful ad executive vs. a family-oriented struggling writer, though you will understand why in the end. In an effort to incorporate some comedy into the film, they create a random tangent with a character appearing in a gum commercial but it has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING on the plot! The experience of watching this film is painful... and then it throws in one of the most incredible twists that I've ever seen in a romantic comedy. This is one of the highest quality chick flick concepts that I have ever seen, but the dialogue and acting are so average that it will never be appreciated for its underlying genius. I want to tell you to watch "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" to experience its inventive ending, or even just to laugh at how bad the acting is; unfortunately, any attempt to endure this film will result in an unending frustration with its relentless monotony.