Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Escape From Genetics

James O. Born

It's not actually genetics I'm trying to escape from. In fact, I appreciate the genes my father and mother passed on to me. But despite my best efforts, I’ve found that almost no matter what I do, eventually I start to sound like my father with a slightly clearer voice and a more limited vocabulary. Nowhere is this more clear than my shortsighted, ignorant, intolerant, loudmouth view on movies.

I can remember arguing with my dad over his dismissal of such 1970 classics as Smokey and the Bandit or Close Encounters without ever having seen the films. He loved good movies and certain directors, whether they produced good films or not. There was no rhyme or reason to his tastes either. He loved something as funky as the Terry Gilliam film Brazil to something as mainstream as all the James Bond movies. But if he had a hint of something he thought might be juvenile or stupid or didn't like the title of the movie, he would write it off without considering any review or recommendation from someone else. Although it made me angry as a teenager I now find I do exactly the same thing on a regular basis.

I have a movie package bundled with my cable modem and as a result have every possible movie channel on TV. I scroll through them at blinding speeds, searching for something I find amusing, interesting or at least with good looking women. By the way my suggestion for the latter is Cinemax anytime after eleven o'clock eastern time. But that's another subject.

But certain titles and descriptions turn me off completely. Perhaps I'm wrong and I'm looking for someone here to point out the value in some of the drech that comes down the river on HBO or Showtime at all hours of the day.

The first one I've noticed is Righteous Kill with Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. I regret to say that I have not seen an Al Pacino movie that I didn't think he was overacting so much he made Charlton Heston look like a telephone answering machine. Who would've thought that he wouldn't go anywhere after the Godfather. And just the stupid phrase Righteous Kill would keep me from watching 10 seconds of this critical and box office loser.

Don't Say a Word with Michael Douglas. I realize it's a movie from 2001, but I see it on the channel guide. If I've avoided it for eight years I'm pretty sure it will not be taking up two hours of my Saturday night.

Coyote Ugly. Now that I'm over twenty-one, I'll just go to a real bar if I want to see pretty women pouring drinks and not care about their lives in any way.

Awake. Hayden Christiansen convinced me in the Star Wars movies that I never really had to see him again in anything where his name didn't include Vader. People that don't go unconscious with anesthetic. Please. As long as they can't scream and annoy me, I don't really care.

These are just a few of the movies I won't give a chance to. Which ones are on your list? And have I made a serious error in any of these four?


  1. I've seen two of those you listed and you are correct, both were horrible. Also, I am so thrilled that another person agrees with my opinion that Pacino is nowhere as good as critics think. He's a big hunk of ham. I also think DeNiro jumped the shark long ago.
    I haven't seen any Harry Potter movies, or Titanic. Of course, my favorite all time movie is To Kill a Mockingbird, so maybe I'm not one to judge.
    THANKS JIM....

  2. I will pretty much avoid anything that has blood dripping on the movie poster. Driving on I-95 is scary enough for me. But I'm a wimp when it comes to scary stuff, especially when the director lets you know that something evil is coming. I even yelped when the creatures started crawling out of the water in the latest Harry Potter.

  3. Anything with Jim Carey's name even remotely connected to it.

  4. Okay, totally, totally avoid "Good Luck, Chuck." Which brings me to Dane Cook, whose movies I think I will avoid as well, although I liked "Real Life With Dan" although I'm not sure I'd call it a good movie.

    As for Hayden Christensen, well, overall I agree, but if you get a chance, watch "Life As A House" starring Kevin Kline. I think this is the role that Lucas saw Christensen in that made Lucas think he'd make a good, angry, conflicted Anakin Solo. The fact that Lucas can't direct human beings is a separate issue.

    And I like Pacino, but I also agree that he overacts. When I watch him I really do understand the phrase "chewing the scenery."

  5. James O. Born7/30/2009 7:33 AM

    Excellnt comments.

    Hunk of Ham- Great

    I agree with I-95

    I agree I usually avoid Jim Carrey

    Mark, I watched Dan in Real Life this past weekend while I was cleaning out my office. I had started it once and shut it down but found that I really liked it and Cook.

  6. I can't watch Adam Sandler for anything. It's always ridiculous, juvenile tripe. Then again I'm not the target market.

    I can waych Hayden Christiansen with not sound, but he and Keanu Reeves suffer the same lack of acting ability paired with delicious attractiveness. They just need to shut up and dance like I like.

  7. In the brushes with greatness department, my ex wife worked for two years for one of Pacino's producers. Al, at least at that point during his career, had as much trouble with personal hygiene as he did with overacting.

    Which is remarkable if you consider how good he was in Serpico ,and even Scarface ( not my type of movie but good nonetheless).

    As far as Christiansen is concerned, when you consider the absolute wealth of young talent, bursting to get onto the silver screen, Christiansen's successful acquisition of the Vader roles can only be attributed to heated sexual relations by him or a member of his family.

    Finally, I'm astounded at the number of truly spectacular movies that go to DVD and get passed over, even though the reviews are excellent. Consider Little Children, or Revolutionary Road ( yes I'm a Winslet fan) and compare it to Pineapple Express. Need I say more?

  8. Re: Pacino. Yes, all true. But I give him props for doing what DeNiro won't. (If I'm wrong about this, somebody alert me). That's going on stage, which sends shivers of fear through many movie stars.

    Pacino has appeared in Richard III in the title role and Salome, not in the title role. (har!). I believe he also did The Merchant of Venice. These are challenging roles, and he was very good.

    Years ago, I was privileged to see him in David Mamet's American Buffalo. And, while he's gone over the top in many movie roles, his performance as Ricky Roma in Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" is superb.

    I could point out others. Donnie Brasco and Scent of a Woman come to mind.

  9. Excellent point that you should not review a movie you haven't seen.

    A few years ago, I mentioned to a friend that I couldn't believe the song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won the Oscar. My friend, a former president of MGM, asked, pointedly, "Have you seen the movie?" I admitted I had not. He said to go see it.

    I did. The movie was "Hustle and Flow," and thanks to a stirring performance by Terrence Howard, it was terrific. So was the song. I was wrong.