Movies on the Brain: Alex & Emma

alex_and_emma(Originally published on

What was the last good movie Rob Reiner made? I liked American President but Story of Us may have given me diabetes. All I really remember is going into some sort of insulin shock about three quarters of the way through that one. But all in all, I think the balance sheet is in his favor due to This is Spinal Tap and Princess Bride. I’m even willing to count When Harry Met Sally on the positive side of the balance sheet. Note the non-mention of North. This is intentional.

00:01 – An actual opening credits sequence? When was the last time I saw one of these? Putting the names up on screen after the movie itself has started is fairly annoying to me. Seems distracting for the audience and insulting to the people being credited. There used to be a craft to an opening credit sequence and that seems to have gone by the wayside.

00:03 – I think Luke Wilson is running around looking for whoever told him appearing in the Charlie’s Angels movies would be a positive career move.

00:04 – Sorry, you can’t hang somebody outside a window by their ankles without bringing to mind A Fish Called Wanda. “I apologize unreservedly.”

00:05 – I think when Luke Wilson is stressed he actually turns into David Arquette. Some sort of genetic-testing done on him by Nick Nolte can only explain this. Anyone else wonder what Courtney Cox saw in Arquette? Man must have a schlong the size of a Louisville Slugger.

00:07 – Ahh. Kate Hudson.

00:09 – Hudson definitely has her mother’s comedic timing. Make this movie 20 years ago and put Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase in as the stars and I bet you would have the exact same movie.

00:11 – Luke Wilson’s apartment looks like Joe Pesci should be the landlord.

00:13 – When Harry Met Sally Redux Part 1 – Kate Hudson likes to read the end of a book before the beginning.

00:15 – When Harry Met Sally Redux Part 2 – Luke Wilson has just developed a psychosomatic brain tumor. Hopefully it’s just the 24-hour kind.

00:18 – OK, Luke Wilson’s apartment looks like it should be in a condemned building somewhere in a part of New York that Mayor Bloomberg wouldn’t even acknowledge exists. The exterior, however, is a lovely three-story walk-up on the kind of pleasant street where you expect teenagers to be seen helping little old ladies with their groceries. I’m just going to close my eyes for the remainder of the outdoor shots in order to refrain from screaming. I feel this is for the best.

00:19 – This scene must take place sometime in the past because there’s Doughy Guy!

00:21 – I now have to admit I have never seen Great Gatsby with Robert Redford. How is it I’m even allowed to continue watching movies?

00:22 – They keep talking about the Muse striking and I can’t stop thinking about Salma Hayek dancing around with her hair in pigtails and those horn-rimmed glasses on. Actually most days I can’t stop thinking about this no matter what I’m doing, but that’s a different subject.

00:23 – Every time I see those little sailor outfits that children wore in the 1920’s I keep waiting for Spalding Smails to walk by. “Ahoy palloi!”

00:26 – Am I the only person who even remembers the Tom Selleck movie High Road to China? This was on HBO about five times a day when I was a kid. Sometimes you would have the Bess Armstrong double feature of High Road and Jaws 3-D. These were fantastic times.

00:28 – I recently watched Seventh Seal for the first time. The entire emotional impact of the movie never really hit me since I kept thinking of the Swedish-language scene from Top Secret.

00:30 – I’d try and argue with the whole “if you want a character to have edge, make them German” thing going on right now, but I really can’t. It’s not like we hear stories about Goebbels polishing his stand-up routine during the weekly lunches in Hitler’s private study. Not that this isn’t a fun image, but let’s face reality.

00:34 – Is there anything you can say in German that doesn’t sound threatening? You could be reciting Emily Dickinson and it will sound like you’re announcing plans to drive the Jews out of Poland.

00:35 – Destiny, destiny! No escaping that’s for me! Destiny! Destiny!

00:37 – Apparently there is an exotic French casino where everyone is just dripping with Frenchness off the coast of Maine. Where’s James Bond? Shouldn’t he be using some pretty young thing as a distraction while he tries to slip into the owner’s private office on the third floor?

00:43 – And here’s the scene of Kate Hudson crying. These moments in romantic comedies are almost like the distance markers on a running path. We now know we are about halfway done with this movie. This is where your legs start to feel like they will fall off and your lungs scream for oxygen. Yes, this is how I feel about both the movie and running in general.

00:45 – When Harry Met Sally Redux Part 3 – Kate Hudson is a picky eater. I’m one faked orgasm away from audibly sighing in disgust.
00:46 – Mile Marker – Kate Hudson already has a boyfriend. At least I know the end is in sight.

00:49 – Do people in movies actually use condoms? There’s never the seen of fumbling for the prophylactic while both parties try desperately to stay in the mood like what happens to me. I think I may be sharing too much.

00:51 – Luke Wilson sure does eat in some nice restaurants for someone with no money. Suspension of disbelief is a finicky thing that can turn on you like a cat that is so tired of chasing the damn string that it turns on you, slicing your Achilles heel like a wet tissue. Have fun with that visual.

00:52 – Mile Marker – Montage of fun day together capped off by the almost sharing of feelings and a kiss. Must re-watch Albert Brooks’ Real Life. One of my favorite movies that dissected “reality” programming almost 20 years before it really started.

00:54 – Frau Blucher! (cue horses snorting in terror)

00:56 – I think the French residents of this island just surrendered. To whom, I’m not sure, but I don’t think they were either.

1:00 – Does anyone else think Mr. Saturday Night is a great movie? No? Let’s just move on.

1:01 – It’s hard for me to accept that Sophie Marceu is no longer the teenager she was in Braveheart.

1:04 – I think Luke Wilson is flamenco dancing in Joe Mantegna’s office from Three Amigos. “Do you know what nada means?” “Isn’t that a light chicken gravy?”

1:05 – Is it OK to admit I used to be a huge Kenny Rogers fan? I grew up in a house where Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers were pretty much the mainstays. The psychological scars run deep.

1:07 – OK, one of the Cuban thugs just said “Bye lady” in exactly the same way Andre the Giant did in Princess Bride. Was Rob Reiner thinking he would just sneak these things past us? We’re watching your movie because we liked those other ones not because we want to see a patchwork of the greatest hits from those movies.

1:11 – And the “Art Greco” gag which has been building up for the last sixty-five minutes finally pays off. This happens around the same time I’m conjuring up my most painful high school memories just to have a pleasant diversion from this movie.

1:12 – One smile from Kate Hudson and all is forgiven. Damn.

1:17 – Do you think Owen Wilson makes fun of Luke Wilson when he does these kinds of movies? Then again, Owen was in Behind Enemy Lines AND Armageddon so I think both are guilty of cinematic crimes.

1:22 – Kate Hudson has some real acting chops. Unfortunately they have gone all but unused in this movie. She should go on a three-year hiatus from romantic comedies and rediscover them.

1:24 – Rob Reiner could be a pretty good actor but he needs a better director than the one for this movie.

1:25 – When Harry Met Sally Redux Part 4 – Unreturned phone calls. “When you’re feeling sad and lonely, call the one who digs you only…”

1:28 – All right the whole gag about the law firm where everyone has the name of a U.S. president is mildly amusing.

1:30 – Should the cue card guy on Saturday Night Live get top billing on the show? Seems like they have done the hard work for the last few years. Where’s their union when they need it.

Movies on the Brain: Anything Else

(Originally published on

Shortly after this movie came out I realized I had watched next to no Woody Allen films. I had seen Husbands & Wives when it hit cable to see what all the hoopla was about around the time of Allen’s leaving Mia Farrow for her adopted daughter. Over the years I had caught bits and pieces of other films but generally had not sought out his movies. I decided to at least partially rectify this and over the course of a couple months watched Manhattan, Sleeper, Bananas, Hollywood Ending and Annie Hall. Out of all of these Manhattan was my favorite, with Annie Hall a close second.

So it was that I was eagerly anticipating the DVD release of Anything Else. Also, anytime Christina Ricci wants to be in a movie is all right in my book.

00:02 – Can Jason Biggs do drama? The first time we see him is on a park bench talking to Woody Allen and he can’t help but look like a fledgling actor pitted against a cinema legend. Note how this is not the look Paul Newman has on his face when staring down Orson Welles in The Long, Hot Summer. We may be in trouble here.

00:04 – Can’t help but snicker at Woody Allen making ego jokes. This coming from the guy who won’t let his words be filmed by anyone but himself. Still, he’s probably earned it.

00:06 – Has anyone measured the ratio between lines delivered by Woody Allen and the length of time he actually makes eye contact with the other actor? I’m guessing it’s pretty low considering most of his lines in this scene are actually delivered to his water glass and not Jason Biggs.

00:06 – Best corned beef sandwich in Chicago – Manny’s off of Roosevelt on the south side. Not be missed. Get one with potato pancakes on the side. I’m not kidding.

00:11 – Is there a standard of measurement for a snack? I’m thinking total volume consumed pushes something over the edge from snack into meal but I’m not sure what that volume is. Someone needs to codify this.

00:12 – Three current (respected) actresses have kind of grown up on film in the last 10-12 years. Christina Ricci, Kirsten Dunst and Anna Panquin. All are now smoking hot, but I can’t stop picturing Dunst as the little girl in Interview With the Vampire. Oh, wait, I’m remembering the “kiss in the rain” scene in Spider-Man and now I can.

00:13 – My ultimate dream for my unfinished basement is a hand-made bar in one corner with alcohol of all types behind it. I don’t ask for much.

00:14 – Christina Ricci’s nipples! That’s all I have.

00:16 – I read Jean-Paul Satre’s “Age of Reason” in college. Didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about then. Since then I’ve adopted the view that even though I didn’t understand it, I have understood other books I’ve read and so, one day, will realize that I did understand that one. My thinking may be circular, but circles are pretty.

00:18 –It pains me to admit this, but I had never really liked Casablanca before recently re-watching it. Always thought it was hokey and contrived. By the way, I do realize this automatically disqualifies me from ever offering my opinion on any movie ever again.

00:21 – What percentage of people who have watched Apocalypse Now have not actually read “Hearts of Darkness”? Where is the support group for these people?

00:22 – Thank goodness Jimmy Fallon doesn’t have more lines. Is there a line I can join to punch him in the groin? Is it longer or shorter than the one for the Small World ride at Disney World? Can I buy the Line Hopper pass for Fallon’s line?

00:23 – Gotta love Allen’s soundtracks. It’s like an instant jazz collection.

00:24 – It’s been ten minutes since we’ve seen Christina Ricci’s nipples.

00:28 – I so badly want TIVO. I can’t think of a single instance in my life where having one would have been needed, but I don’t want to be caught unprepared. These are my priorities.

00:29 – My college roommate was a big Cleveland Indians fan. I asked him why the Indians he responded that ultimately he was a Cubs fan, but felt he needed an American League team to root for as well. He was a good…no he was an idiot.

00:31 – A fourteen-minute flashback. Once again, a fourteen-minute flashback.

00:34 – It’s been 20 minutes since we’ve seen Christina Ricci’s nipples.

00:38 – Woody Allen as a public school teacher is the best argument for private schools I have ever come across.

00:39 – I find it impossible most times upon hearing someone ask, “Does anybody know what time it is?” to not respond, “Does anybody really care?”. Yes my favorite band is Chicago. I’m a geek. Let’s move on.

00:40 – Am I the only one who sees a Cary Grant impersonation in Tony Curtis’ pretending to be a millionaire in Some Like it Hot? To me it’s dead obvious but no one else I’ve mentioned it to has agreed with me. Am I alone here? Hello? Echo…Echo… Pinch hitting for Pedro Borbon… Manny Mota… Mota… Mota…

00:43 – Number of Army Surplus stores I’ve been to in my life – 1. Number of times being in an Army Surplus store scared the piss out of me – 1.
00:44 – It’s been 30… you get the picture.

00:49 – Is there anything more uncomfortable than checking into a hotel with someone to whom you are not married? If so I would like to know what it is.

00:52 – I watched “Family Ties” for most of its run but really only remember one episode – the one where one of Alex’s friends was killed and he is talking to a counselor. Most of the episode was simply Michael J. Fox sitting in a chair on a blacked out stage save for a spotlight on him. First time I can remember being emotionally affected by a sitcom.

00:53 – How under-rated an actor is Charles Grodin? One of my favorite movies is Seems Like Old Times with him, Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. Again, I may be alone in this. In the “Cons” column of his resume are Clifford and Beethoven, so I’m not sure how this balances out in the karmic sense.

00:54 – Christina Ricci’s breasts. That’s all I have to say.

00:59 – It’s amazing how loose Woody Allen’s performance is in this movie. It’s like he said to himself, “You know, I really don’t care what anyone says about this flick. I’m just going to have fun”.

1:06 – To show Stockard Channing managing to sing AND act at the same time is really unfair to other actors who can barely act.

1:09 – They keep showing Jason Biggs and Woody Allen walking in Central Park and I keep waiting for either Peter O’Toole and Mark Lynn Baker to ride by on a police horse or Will Ferrell to run by stark naked.

1:11 – Ed Burns has become, in my opinion, a pretty good actor. The key I think is that he not direct himself. Pretty good in both Saving Private Ryan and better in Confidence.

1:15 – At least Jason Biggs isn’t doing a Woody Allen impersonation. Thinking about this, though, does bring to mind what a young Woody Allen would have been like in American Pie. “Of course I tried to…to…to…make love to a…a pie. I had my first sexual experience in a bakery run by my Uncle Alvin. I remember this girl came in and dropped a blintz down the front of her shirt. I tried to help clean it off with my face and was never allowed to go there again. The bakery not the girl.”

1:18 – OK, a scene about trying to back into a parking spot and having the spot stolen by some pulling in forwards. Now I’m waiting for Kramer to have to put his game of Risk with Newman on hold to come down and straighten it out.

1:22 – Dating a mental case is an area I have some experience in. It’s a lot of fun. Pretty much rips all emotions out of you and leaves your soul an empty shell you just know it’s going to take a lifetime to rebuild. Like I said, lots of fun.

1:28 – The film is winding down and I really like it.

1:30 – Danny Devito keeps talking about his mother and I’m thinking, “Hasn’t Billy Crystal taken care of her by now?”

1:31 – OK, on my notes I have written “Tropic World” which is an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo displaying various monkeys and apes. I have no idea what I was trying to make a note of though. Maybe I should try writing down more than one or two words.

1:39 – I never had my own apartment. This might actually be a good thing considering I just would have decorated it with Star Wars and comic book paraphernalia. Never would have gotten laid again. Have I mentioned how glad I am I’m married?

1:44 – I always loved how Johnny Carson basically admitted how he stole all his best shtick from Jack Benny. Does anyone think Jay Leno’s “Iron Jay” bits or the Dancing Itos will hold up as well as Carnak the Magnificent? If so, may a diseased camel squat in your fez.

1:46 – OK, the character of Connie was introduced as a friend of Christina Ricci’s who might be a new love interest for Jason Biggs. Apparently, though, there will be no resolution to this sub-plot. Not sure whether I’m all right with that or if I feel cheated.

Movies on the Brain: In-Laws

(Originally published on

First off, I think Albert Brooks is hilarious. The only problem I had with Finding Nemo (aside from thinking it was too scary for my 2 ½ year old) was that I couldn’t see Brooks face as he was delivering his lines. Defending Your Life is one of my favorite flicks. I also do like Michael Douglas and thought Ryan Reynolds was the best thing about “2 Guys, A Girl, A Pizza Place, the Diner Down the Street and a Trash Can Which No One Claims to Know Anything About”. He was also very good in Van Wilder.

00:00 – OK, I apparently accidentally rented Crimson Tide. Not necessarily a bad thing, I just thought I wasn’t going to watch Gene Hackman mop the floor with every other actor around him.

00:03 – Are jokes about Celine Dion even funny anymore? Now that she’s in Las Vegas full-time I think she’s pretty much resigned herself to the level of Hell she was destined for. Apparently she’s comfortable there with her badly stretched face and hair which is just disconcerting to look at, so more power to her.

00:03 – “Live and Let Die” by Wings is playing. Do movie producers not understand that by invoking other movies from the same genre you are simply inviting comparisons to theirs? I don’t think so. I enjoy picturing the meetings of people who think Timothy Dalton was the best James Bond. Admitting to your secret neo-Nazi political leanings would probably incite less passionate feelings.

00:06 – Sorry, no one delivers lines like Albert Brooks. How he can say something so innocent and still sound put upon is beyond me.

00:08 – God I’m glad I’m married and don’t have to go through a wedding again. The planning process is like being on a roller coaster and not in the fun “Well at least I might throw up and have an amusing anecdote about the experience” way.

00:11 – Thank goodness. I was afraid they were going to enter a Vietnamese restaurant and NOT make a dog-as-main-course joke.

00:14 – Everyone always says “Well when am I going to need Algebra later in life” but no one ever says “Well when am I going to need to know all the points on a color wheel later in life”.

00:15 – I am the king of trying too hard in awkward social situations. At some point in embarrassing myself in front of people, farting on the buffet table actually might get me back in the good graces of some of the people in the room.

00:20 – Disconcerting to see Van Wilder as the comedic straight man. Keep expecting him to try and jerk-off a dog with huge tentacles. Wow. Can’t believe that’s the image that stayed with me from that movie. Should probably see someone about that.

00:23 – Does Michael Douglas know what movie he’s in or did he just kind of show up and get handed his lines?

00:23 – Imagine if Blues Brothers was made today. They would drive, after leading the entire Illinois State Police force on a chase, up to a bland, non-descript “City Hall” because the movie was shot in Toronto, not Chicago because it’s too expensive. By the way, Blues Brothers 2000 never happened. Thinking this is the only way I get through most days.

00:24 – The parking meter Police car in which they are going 45 miles per hour (which I am completely letting blow by me for the sake of my own sanity) sometimes has three wheels and sometimes four. You’d think this would be the kind of decision they would iron out in pre-production.

00:26 – Am I the only person who likes Empire Records? “Damn the man! Save the Empire!”

00:30 – Uh-oh! No pilots in the airplane. Albert Brooks better wake up Dr. Jones and Short Round. Hope there’s a life raft on board.

00:32 – I have yet to meet anyone who will cop to wearing days-of-the-week underwear. I didn’t date enough before I got married.

00:32 – Do 20-something year-old girls in 2003 really get this excited by Barbra Streisand? If so, is this something they can get counseling for?

00:35 – Yes, we’re in France. Definitely not a location in California. It’s France.

00:37 – Sixth fanny pack joke. Why not just make an announcement at the beginning of the film that the fanny pack will save the day in some way in the last 15 minutes of the movie.

00:38 – An effeminate Frenchman? Noooooooooooo. What’s next, an overly flamboyant homosexual? A strict and unyielding German?

00:39 – I live in a world where Deepak Chopra is on CNN. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

00:40 – Dear Mr. Douglas – Doing broad comedy opposite a subtle actor like Albert Brooks is destined to make you look like you’re trying way too hard and are not in fact a funny person. Except in A Perfect Murder. That was hilarious. Sincerely, Chris.

00:41 – Why do people keep putting an electric thermometer in some sort of stainless steel specimen jar? Is there a tiny little person in there with a temperature? Should they get a thimble of chicken soup? If there is a little person in there, can they just take him to the Taffy-Pulling Room and make him big again?

00:47 – Albert Brooks keeps saying “wet bone” and I’m thinking “he didn’t get paid enough for this movie”.

00:51 – What are the requirements for a hairstyle to get separate billing? There should be a union for this kind of thing.

00:53 – How have I lived in the Chicago area all my life and not known there was a Signature Room at the Hancock Building? Imagine all the jokes I’ve missed out on. These are the regrets I have in life.

00:57 – Michael Douglas is starting to look dazed, like the movie is catching up with him.

1:00 – I have this image in my mind of Cobra Commander aged 85, sitting outside his modest suburban home and falling asleep on his porch. As he’s sleeping the neighborhood kids sneak up and peek under his mask until an elderly Tomax and Xamot chase them off.

TOMAX: Hey you kids….

XAMOT: …get off our lawn.

1:01 – “So, you’re great people to work with, this is a great present, and I wish I could squeeze you all into one pretty woman. And if you’d like to go to my office, I’ll try.” Once again, Defending Your Life is a great movie.

1:02 – Based on the perspective of the camera right now, the Hancock Building is taller than the Sears Tower, which is something I did not know.

1:06 – I’d like to know who it was that first said to someone else, “You know this block of ice which is going to melt in a couple of hours? Well I’d like to take a chainsaw and variously sized picks to it and make it look like a swan. I think that would be cool”.

1:09 – I work in downtown Chicago about a half mile from Lake Michigan. Have for five years. Yet it wasn’t until this past summer that I said to myself, “I should go walk along the lakefront at lunch time”. I ignore the fact that there’s a friggin’ lake within sight of my office everyday and I wonder why people sometimes mistake me for the village idiot.

1:11 – The inclusion of a female rabbi in the movie leads me to believe Barbra Streisand was involved in this movie in some way shape or form. Is it OK that I think Prince of Tides is a good movie? No? Then please forget I brought it up.

1:18 – Part of me is ashamed to admit I’m actually liking this movie. This is similar to the problem I have watching It’s A Wonderful Life. I’m very comfortable in the first 9/10ths of the movie thinking it’s hokey, sentimental claptrap and then I get all choked up when Harry Bailey says, “To my brother George. The richest man in town”. Gets me every damn time. On a side note, I can’t walk past a piano without wanting to sit down, turn to the imaginary camera and say “This is for my brother George”. Keep in mind this is an homage to Bugs Bunny NOT Liberace. I repeat, NOT Liberace.

1:20 – “Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in, next to soccer.”

1:22 – And the fanny pack set up (all six of them) finally pays off.

All right, I liked this movie. Ryan Reynolds should get more work. As should Albert Brooks. As should Candace Bergin. Amazing how talented actors such as these constantly get passed over. It could have used a little better script, but these folks through everything in their respective arsenals at it and made it work in spots. My overall feeling is that they caught between making a lightweight comedy and a high-concept madcap romp. This is similar to being in the Demilitarized Zone. You haven’t committed to either side so you wind up getting your ass shot off for nothing.

Movies on the Brain: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

(Originally published on

I’m not completely sure what to expect of this movie. On the one hand, I enjoy the occasional mindless action/adventure spectacle. On the other, I tend to be a snob when it comes to taking well-known characters from other sources and completely butchering their established personalities. Pieces I’ve read on this movie lead me to believe this fits in both of those categories, so I’m a little wary starting this one up.

Thank goodness for Fox DVDs. I can skip right over all the FBI warnings by hitting the “Next” button on my DVD player. Every time I see these I think of Jay Leno’s old bit about the FBI waiting outside the window – “We don’t move until he hits ‘Record’”. This may have been the last funny thing Jay Leno said and that was 18 to 20 years ago.

00:01 – Gotta love how the 20th Century Fox morphs to become the top of the factory in the opening shot. Only problem is I think this is the same factory design used in Leonard Part 6. RIP Gloria Foster.

00:03 – Of course the bad guys are Germans. Can you imagine how dry the well of stock bad cultures would be if Germans had the lobbying power of other ethnicities? Without whole groups that can be labeled as “bad”, all villains in books/films/television shows would have to be Blofeld types where you never really see their true identities. Speaking of Blofeld, “Who loves you baby?”

00:04 – Apparently the evil mastermind is Destro. I didn’t think much of the new G.I. Joe: Spy Troops cartoon movie, but being a geek I had to check it out. Watching the original cartoons on DVD is much better and not just because of nostalgia. They actually hold up pretty well. I admit they’re corny as hell, but…Ok, now I’ve lost it.

00:05 – Wide shot of the African plains. How did I ever think The Gods Must Be Crazy? was funny? Dude walking around worshipping a Coke bottle? Was this made before product placement in movies became the big thing? Did anyone like New Coke better than Classic? Would they admit it?

00:06 – RIP David Hemmings. I definitely need to re-watch Last Orders, which is a fantastic little movie.

00:08 – Two uses of the word “regal” inside of 60 seconds. May be a new record.

00:09 – I would have loved to see the film portray Allan Quartermain as the opium addict he apparently was in the comic. I now have to cop to never having read the League of… comic book. Two demerits for me.

00:13 – Third time and date stamp in the movie. Apparently we’re going to have these every time more than 15 minutes pass in the movie. May as well keep a little clock or calendar in the corner of the screen. Are the network logos that all TV networks now put on their shows the most annoying thing since Yahoo Serious? I tend to think yes.

00:14 – Did anyone really have the huge kinds of libraries that are always depicted in movies? I can believe monasteries and museums, but we always see them in ordinary people’s houses. It’s like set designers use this as a cheap way to establish “Upper Class Victorian”.

00:19 – Ishmael has just been introduced as Captain Nemo’s first mate. I can’t think of Ishmael without thinking of that Far Side cartoon where Herman Melville has crossed out rejected opening sentences. I really want that new Far Side hardbound collection. I’m a geek.

00:20 – East London, 1899 – Slightly past supper time but not yet time for dessert.

00:23 – Sean Connery says he was blessed by a witch doctor and I’m thinking, well sure after you went to the rainforest and cured cancer that was the least he could do.

00:26 – Did we need a cocky American character? I hate feeling insulted by movies or their makers and being told that inclusion of Tom Sawyer was the only way American audiences would connect with the story does just that.

00:27 – Mina uses a mirror? Come on. In Dracula it was established vampires could move about in daytime but he still couldn’t see his reflection. At least stay true to the rules of the universe you’re drawing from.

00:33 – Paris, 1899 – 1:19 A.M. and all’s well.

00:35 – Peta Wilson does her best Sean Connery voice. Sorry, but the award for Best Sean Connery Impersonation Within A Movie still goes to Alec Baldwin in Hunt for Red October. “Remember Ryan, some things in here don’t react too well to bullets”.

00:39 – I love shots of people standing on the outside of boats where you can see the perfectly still water next to the dry dock the actors are standing on. Isn’t this why movies have special effects budgets? For the most egregious example of this, please see the first Hot Shots!

00:42 – Was this movie just put together out of remnants of other Sean Connery movies? We have a submarine (Hunt for Red October). We have a character named M (Bond series). We have the assembling of a team (Untouchables). Fighting Germans (Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade). I’m now waiting for the writers to work in some equivalent to Finding Forrester. “You the man now, dawg”.

00:44 – Just about 45 minutes in and we’re almost out of exposition land.

00:47 – Kali, the same deity from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom makes an appearance. I hope this means someone is going to get his or her heart ripped out. Less then an hour into this movie and I kind of hope that someone is me.

00:50 – Best vampire story? Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the book, not Coppola’s movie) is the obvious choice. I also want to say “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. I read the first few parts of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles in college and found them interesting. The last few were just fucking weird, though. Every other page was devoted to some form of man-love and very little time was spent expanding the vampire mythology she had developed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

00:51 – Finally figured out who Mr. Hyde reminds me of – Biff Tannen from Back to the Future. Great. Now I’m going to visualizing him saying things like “So why don’t you make like a tree and get outta here”.

00:52 – Another location stamp. Venice. What? No year? How will I ever know how much time has passed? My God I’m lost! Please movie take me by the hand!

00:55 – It has been at least two or three years since I went to a fireworks display. We’ll probably start going again when our kids are older. You need to see that through a child’s eyes.

00:58 – Good thing Mr. Hyde wasn’t driving Capt. Nemo’s car. Would have driven it right into the back of a manure truck.

1:02 – Seymour Skinner on the “Simpson’s” is, in my opinion an under-appreciated character. He has had loads of development but I bet he isn’t in most fans’ top 10 lists.

1:05 – Can I admit that I fell asleep during The Abyss? At the theater no less. I don’t even remember being particularly tired, but that movie just put me out. I appreciate it more now but at the time I thought it was the most boring thing ever filmed.

1:10 – I keep waiting for Sean Connery to lead the crew of the Nautilus in the Russian national anthem. Couldn’t they have cast Sam Neill as an extra who just happens to bump into Connery in a hallway? I don’t ask for much.

1:15 – The visual device of using a line moving on a map to show the movement of characters really should have been retired after the Indiana Jones trilogy. How is it I don’t own that DVD box set yet? Where are my priorities? Oh yeah – wife and children. Still…

1:22 – I don’t think Lucas used this much CGI in Attack of the Clones. Eyes starting to blur. Pixar could have done this movie.

1:30 – The prospect of nuclear war has never been the same for me since seeing Fail Safe. I’m not talking about the errant pilot or President bombing New York. I’m talking about Walter Matthau saying convicts and file clerks will survive because concrete and stacks of paper, respectively, will act as insulators. The thought of Snake from the “Simpson’s” and Peter Gibbons fighting it out to rebuild humanity should give us all a moments pause.

1:34 – Ask most people what Alan Rickman’s best line as a villain was and they will probably quote Die Hard. Right up there, though is a line from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. When asked why he wants Robin’s heart carved out with a spoon he simply replies “Because it’s DULL, you twit, it’ll hurt more”. That also gets the award for Best Line in An Otherwise Horrible Movie.

1:38 – Just shoot the fucker. You don’t need to aim for thirty seconds when he’s three yards in front of you! As a side note, all movies about making movies should be required to use the line “Let’s shoot this fucker”. This should be in the Constitution. I’m not even kidding.

Parting thoughts – A disappointment. Took a premise, which at the same is very literary as well as very comic bookish and turned it into a cliché-ridden quip fest. Not a horrible movie, but not one I’m going to rush into seeing again simply because I don’t think I’d be able to stand it.