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House M.D.

Some observations about this show...
First of all, I think series creator David Shore has done something very cool here. He's taken Sherlock Holmes and plopped him right into a high-stress job in the 21st century. Shore has said House is modeled strongly after Holmes, and this is definitely clear in a lot of House's dialog and mannerisms (especially in his conversations with Dr. Wilson). He and Hugh Laurie have done a better job creating a modern, believable version of the character than most other attempts I've seen ("Law and Order: Criminal Intent" comes to mind).

Also, although I love Laurie's performance, it could get annoying if it was just a one-man show (again: "LAO: CI"), and Shore has wisely surrounded him with a large cast of characters to make things more interesting. Each character adds something to the show, and it's very entertaining to see all the different personalities bouncing off each other (and ultimately, bouncing off House). My one complaint is that character development has been a little slow (especially with Chase), and if they don't branch out in that area, things could get stale.

Finally, I've heard some people criticize this show for being too unrealistic, but all I can say to that is, it's not supposed to be (what mystery show is!?). Yeah, the diseases patients come in with are totally off-the-wall, and House diagnoses and cures them in unrealistic ways, but if they were coming in with commonplace diseases, they'd get cured in 5 minutes and there wouldn't be a show! If you can manage to suspend your disbelief and think of it as a character-based mystery show (and can handle some of the graphic surgery scenes), you're bound to enjoy it.

The 700 Club

It would be funny, except...
Except people apparently buy into this garbage! As shows like "Moral Orel" have shown, even if you tried to make the most outrageous, over-the-top parody of evangelism you could possibly think of, it wouldn't come close to the hilarity of this show. It's hard to tell what's even going on when you're watching it. Is it a news show? A talk show? Who knows!? They start out by reporting on various international news stories, but at seemingly random points, the news is interrupted by this odd, troll-like little man with a forehead bigger than his entire face, mumbling and laughing and generally being creepy.

Pat Robertson doesn't even seem like such a bad guy at first glance. He just seems like a senile, yet harmless old coot stuck in his archaic beliefs (like most of our grandparents). But this is a man who has called for an assassination, who has befriended and offered aid to not one, but TWO murderous dictators, who has illegally used donation money to run diamond mines, who has SUPPORTED forced abortions in China, and who regularly implies that Caucasians (straight American male Caucasians in particular) are superior to all other races.

Still, this would all be funny, except that he apparently has a large enough fan base to keep his little show on the air 40 years later (either that, or enough money to bribe some TV executives who don't give a damn what they show). The idiocy of the show becomes alarming when you realize that some people, somewhere, must be watching it and hanging onto every word. Even when Robertson has repeatedly shown how corrupt he is, people still listen to him. I don't know if it's funny or scary. I guess a healthy mixture of both.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo

Rotten, horrible, unfunny, etc.
There is maybe a glimmer of a good concept here. An inkling. A particle. A klutzy idiot ruins the house of a famous, upper-class gigolo, and has to raise the money to fix it by prostituting himself. With weeks of tweaking and rewrites, and a much better actor, this could possibly have been funny (maybe, for example, if Deuce had to actually assume the identity of the gigolo). But that obviously didn't happen.

Instead, it's just a series of stupid scenes involving women who have some weird problem. Haha, this woman is fat. Haha, this woman has Tourette's (swearing = funny). Haha, this woman has a prosthetic leg. Oh, haha, now they are parodying The Matrix for no reason at all. I can't imagine the amount of alcohol it would take for any of this crap to be considered funny.

There is ONE scene that's at least smirk-worthy, with an aquarium salesman who for some reason speaks only in sexual innuendos. Normally that would be pretty stupid, but it's like comic gold compared to the rest of this movie.

I'm actually ashamed of myself for watching this. For those users going, "But it's not supposed to be taken seriously; it's just mindless entertainment," you people are the reason garbage like this keeps being made. Stop laughing, you idiots. Movies like this are not funny.

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism

One of the worst documentaries I've ever seen, and this is coming from a bleeding heart liberal...
First of all, let me just say I can't stand Fox News. I think it's nothing but right-wing propaganda and a shameful excuse for journalism. I also think a documentary exposing Fox's hypocrisy is much needed, but this one is an extremely poor effort.

Frankly, I am SHOCKED at the amount of people rating this movie a 9 or 10. People, these ratings are supposed to be based on the QUALITY of the movie, not the ideas it stands for. And quality is one thing this movie lacks. For starters, the interviews are the worst I've ever seen. They are poorly lit, and consist of nothing but the same talking heads over and over again, which becomes really tiresome. The graphics and music are painfully cheesy. The sound quality is horrible, the dialogue is usually out of synch, and even the clips from Fox News look extremely poor, like they've been taken straight from the Internet. The entire movie looks and feels a high school film project at best, and (as another user pointed out) a Powerpoint presentation at worst. I understand it's on a low budget, but the fact that the director has a career going back decades makes the lack of style or creativity especially outrageous. You'd think in all that time he'd have learned a thing or two about, say, lighting a shot.

Technical stuff aside, even the movie's basic argument (Fox is biased and unfair in its reporting) is weak. I never thought the day would come when I'd be defending Fox News, but it has to be said that many of the clips are taken out of context or otherwise distorted. For example, most of the scenes of anchors spouting wild opinions are taken from Fox's political talk shows. Fox has NEVER claimed these shows are to be seen as news, but that's what the movie keeps implying. It's as unfair as anything Fox has ever reported.

An even better example of the blatant distortion is when they show Bill O'Reilly responding to criticism that he always tells his guests to "shut up." O'Reilly says this only happened once, and this is followed by a montage of him yelling "shut up!" at different times. Well, that's very clever, except that in almost all of these instances he's not actually talking to a guest. We even see the infamous moment where he yelled at Al Franken on a book tour, which had NOTHING to do with Fox News AT ALL. Do all these clips indicate that O'Reilly is an obnoxious moron? Sure. Does it indicate that he's lying about only telling a guest to shut up once? Nope. Just the opposite, in fact.

The movie has some good points to make, and occasionally does so effectively, but the overall distortion, low quality, lack of narration, and complete lack of a sense of humor bring this one down. I suspect that the people rating this so highly were either directly involved with the making of the movie, or are just flakes who will jump at the chance to support anything remotely anti-right. Ignore the hype; this is simply a bad movie. 4/10 stars.

Tall Tale

Possibly the most confusing movie I have ever seen
First of all, the casting is perfect. That's the one good thing I can say about this movie. Patrick Swayze, Oliver Platt, and Roger Aaron Brown make the most of their characters and have great chemistry together. Swayze is particularly hilarious as a tough-as-nails Pecos Bill. But the rest of this movie is a disaster. It has almost NO plot, and what little shreds of a plot it has are ridden with holes. I'll explain.

You see, there's this guy Stiles who wants to buy up all the land in a community. So he holds a town meeting promising to give people vast sums of money in return for their land. Everyone is positively giddy about it, until this guy Jonas stands up and makes a touching speech about how the land is their heritage and it would be a sin to sell. Everyone gets on his case about it, and he concludes with, "Well, I ain't selling." Then what happens? Do they discuss it further? Does Stiles resume the meeting? No! Everyone just gets up and LEAVES! The meeting isn't even adjourned; they all just... walk out of the building! Did they forget what they were doing? Do they have Attention Deficit Disorder? Someone please explain this scene to me.

Now, if I remember correctly, Stiles is so mad about Jonas ruining his meeting that he does the logical thing and... shoots Jonas. At the last minute, Jonas's son Daniel gets ahold of the deed to their land and runs away with it, because Stiles will stop at nothing to snatch it right out of his hands (a tried-and-true legal tactic). Daniel runs away and falls asleep in a boat. Then he dreams about being in the Old West with Pecos Bill. Then he wakes up, and Stiles tries to run him over with a train. Suddenly all the townspeople are on his side and he gets to keep the deed. It's all very confusing.

What a dumb movie. 2/10 stars.

The Legend of Boggy Creek

Good, cheesy 70's fun
This is definitely one of the weirder 70's movies out there, and it's most notable for kicking off a decade of Bigfoot hysteria. It is also notable for the little touches of insanity throughout the movie, especially when the dark, moody first half is replaced by a MUSICAL INTERLUDE of all things (as another user pointed out, one of the songs is dedicated to a character, Travis Crabtree, who paddles around in a canoe for a while, then... leaves, never to be seen again). Although it's painfully dated now, i's still a fun scary movie to show to kids, and anyone who enjoys either Bigfoot lore or 70's hillbilly culture is bound to get a kick out of this. My favorite part: a guy gets so scared that he jumps headfirst through a door (!?) and the narrator explains he went unconscious from "shock." Uh, I'd say breaking a door with his head is more likely why he went unconscious, but whatever.

4/10 stars, or 7/10 if you like bad Americana.

King Kong

Worth your while... barely
Even though this is one of better experiences I've had at the theater lately, I'm going to be a jerk and complain about stuff before I get to the good parts.

One: WHY is this set in the 1930's? It serves no purpose other than providing Jackson an excuse to show a lot of CGI buildings. It's not like the original was taking place in the 1850's. It makes absolutely no sense.

Two: boring subplots that nobody gives a rat's about. OK, so Naomi Watts' theater is closing down and Jimmy wants to prove himself. Who cares? What does this have to do with anything? It never even gets resolved. The original had the sense to make the movie about Kong, and Kong alone.

Three: Bad, unnecessary CGI. The dinosaur stampede is embarrassing. It looks like what it is: people running aimlessly with dinosaurs superimposed on the screen behind them. This entire sequence needed to be cut out, along with the subplots, and save me from unnecessary leg cramping.

Four: Kong holding Watts in his hand while he's fighting off dinosaurs. Why, Peter? Why?

That stuff is rather significant, and harms the movie. But the bad outweighs the good. Naomi Watts' relationship with Kong is wonderful, and Kong himself looks so real that I swear you can see a soul in his eyes. And the T-rex fight is one of the most thrilling sequences I have ever seen (regardless of Watts being in Kong's hand the entire time). Most of the CGI is mindblowing, and if you have the slightest bit of imagination, chances are you will be swept away.

For me, though, the greatest thing was seeing Kyle Chandler in a major role. He disappeared off the face of the earth after "Early Edition," and all of a sudden he's back, and as likable as ever (even though his character is a jerk). Unfortunately, he doesn't get very high billing in the credits, even though he's a major character.

Bottom line: it's worth your time. You'll enjoy it. I did.

The Girl Next Door

Idiotic movie for idiots
I have to admit, when I finished watching this, I was not entirely sure if I had seen a good or a bad movie. I thought maybe the incoherent, surreal, nonsensical lack of a story was intentional, that maybe this was multilayered and deep and I missed the symbolism or something. I thought about it for a good, long, hard 10 seconds, then decided that no, it was just trash. I mean, sometimes it can take hard work to make a movie this weird, but I'm pretty sure this was by accident.

Let me put it to you this way: if you were amused by the phrase "long, hard 10 seconds" in the above paragraph, you will think this movie is a classic. Actually, no, you probably won't. You will be disappointed because there is no nudity. That's right: a movie about porn stars and the porn industry, and that condones porn as a good thing, has NO NUDITY. What the hell kind of message is THAT sending? I'm not even going to bother explaining the plot, because there is none. There's about a thousand different climaxes (haha, I said climaxes), and the movie contradicts its own attitude toward porn even more times than that. If you can make sense out of this mess, consider yourself a genius (or an idiot. I'm not sure).

Other users have mentioned the movie's depiction of Asians is "borderline racist." I think the word they're looking for is "downright," not borderline. Here's a true story: when I was 12, I started taking a tally on how many American comedies attempt to get laughs out of minorities swearing in goofy accents. Including this movie, that number has now surpassed 5 trillion (and the only time it has ever been funny was in "Office Space"). Anyway, if you think an Asian kid wearing huge glasses and talking like Elmer Fudd is high comedy, this is the movie for you. If, however, you are not a racist dumbass, you'll want to avoid "The Girl Next Door," and stick to something a little more watchable, like "Manos: Hands of Fate."

The Wool Cap

A great movie
In "The Wool Cap," William H. Macy once again proves that he is one of the best and most underrated actors working today. He creates a distinct personality, and has great chemistry with other characters, without ever saying a word. Keke Palmer is also one of the best child actors I've seen in a long time, and gives an award-worthy performance. Their unlikely friendship makes for a funny, sad and bittersweet movie. It's a bit slow, but it's entertaining the whole way through. And the soft, jazzy soundtrack sets the mood perfectly. Steven Schachter is obviously a talented director, and it would be nice to see him do something for the big screen. If he keeps making movies like this, it's bound to happen at some point.


"I must've been out of my miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind!"
Oh man, I love this movie. It is unlike any other Christmas movie you'll ever see. This is warped, surreal, and insane. Richard Donner surpasses Tim Burton in terms of darkness, and the only problem is that the producers rewrote the script to make it LESS dark. A shame, because they were really onto something. The ghosts are grotesque, the sets are distorted and weird, and even the ending is dark. At first it seems out of synch with the rest of the movie with over the top sentimentality, until you realize it is disturbingly over the top, and Murray is playing the character as if he's been driven insane. The movie as a whole is a lot more chilling if you look at that way.

Bill Murray's dry style of humor doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me. He can deliver lines like no one else, and even his facial expressions are genius. When a nerdy, stuttering employee (Bobcat Goldthwaith) tells him, "Gee, Mr. Cross, I think you and I are alike in a lot of ways," Murray reacts with the funniest expression in the history of the universe. (It's even funnier than the face he makes at the old lady in the cab in "Stripes," and THAT was funny). Frank Cross, like most of Murray's characters, is sarcastic and mean, but with a sense of humor that lets you know there's a good person in there trying to get out. It's the same with the movie: there is a heart underneath the morbid tone, and it occasionally surfaces with really touching scenes.

I'm not saying it's a perfect movie. The script has weak spots, but the look and style make up for it. It's certainly not for everyone. I can see how some people would find this abrasive. But if you like Bill Murray and dark humor, this one's for you.

Wooly Boys

Just average
Mediocre movie in the vein of "An Unfinished Life" that has its moments, but falls apart because it doesn't know whether to be a drama or a slapstick comedy. Peter Fonda and Kris Kristofferson give amazing performances, and share some very funny and bittersweet scenes, but they're constantly being interrupted by pointless comic relief. A movie about an old man waiting to die should not have bungling cops, Dukes of Hazzard villains, and annoying teenagers. The latter is especially grating. I realize the entire plot centers around the kid, but after ten minutes of his shrill, nasal whining I wanted him to get trampled to death by the sheep.

It has beautiful footage of the North Dakota landscape (after a confusing side trip to Minneapolis), and like I said before, Fonda and Kristofferson are wonderful, but the rest is a wash. If they'd scrapped the comedy, this would have been a great movie.

The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting

Stupidest sequel ever
Trite, lame sequel that stomps on the legacy of an above-average thriller. Many scenes are rehashed from the original, and there's an annoying yellow color scheme that looks like someone urinated on the camera lens. The only really significant thing is that they make it clear the Hitcher is a supernatural being who can assume any human form, which takes away from the mystery of Rutger Hauer's character in the original.

But the really confusing part of this movie is when Jim Halsey's girlfriend becomes the heroine after...JIM DIES. What in God's name were they thinking? You can't take the lead character from the previous movie and kill him off in the sequel! It's just not right! What if Indiana Jones had died halfway through "Temple of Doom" and Kate Capshaw took over? (It's actually a bit of a relief from Howell's ridiculous acting, but still, it's the principle of the thing.)

And then there's the dialog. Oh Lordy, the dialog. "Honey, you can't go around shootin' people just because they're wacko." And how about this timeless gem from a police officer: "Sir, would you step back, I'm doing some law enforcement here."

All in all, it's just a bad movie that didn't need to be made. Stick with the first one.

The List of Adrian Messenger

Memorable mystery movie
This is an interesting and strangely dark movie that sticks in your mind a long time after watching it. It has a light, comic feel, mainly due to the awesome theme music, that covers up an extremely morbid story about a serial killer who murders hundreds of innocent people (as someone else pointed out, this was the first movie to deal with such a theme). The "gimmick" of all the actors in disguise, which I think is more clever deception than a gimmick, makes it almost impossible to spot the killer and figure out what's going on, and the ending, where all the actors peel off their disguises, is bizarre to say the least. I'd also like to point out that this movie has one of the most horrible movie deaths I've ever seen--there's no blood, but the situation is pretty nasty. Suffice it to say I think the moral of the story is to always watch out for farm machinery while running. All in all, it's a weird, funny and dark mystery that's definitely worth watching. 7/10.

Meet the Fockers

Should have been good
This should have been a spectacular movie. Think about it: you have Hoffman and De Niro, who were practically gods at one time, playing a washed-up hippie and a washed-up warmonger, coming together for their children's wedding, like a self-referential, super satirical version of "You Can't Take it With You."

That's what it should have been. Instead, it's a complete mess. I don't even know how to describe this movie. It goes on for what seems like five hours, during which a bunch of stuff happens, and none of it is funny. Ben Stiller stands around giving that stupid pucker-faced wrinkly-eyebrowed expression he uses in every damn one of his movies, and whines. Blythe Danner wanders around saying her only line--"Oh, Jack"--over and over again. Teri Polo stands in the background without doing anything. A baby swears and points at breasts. A dog humps things. A foreskin falls in a fondue pot. On and on and on. I hate this movie. I can't figure out if Hoffman and De Niro were trying to get recognized again, if they just wanted a few extra bucks, or if they're just plain going senile. Whatever the case, it's a sad waste of talent, and a sad movie. 0/10 stars.

Too Late with Adam Carolla

I like it.
This is a refreshing show. I realize a lot of people hate it, but that's probably because they're used to perfectly executed, super-smooth shows like "The Daily Show" (and remember, when that got started, they didn't know what the hell they were doing, either). "Too Late" is just a guy rambling on aimlessly with his guest. The complete randomness and awkwardness bring it down to a personal level. It feels like the type of show YOU would do with your friends. Adam seems like a pretty down to earth guy, and I admire the way he really doesn't seem to care how slipshod the show is; he's just talking with his guest and enjoying himself. He keeps trying new things, and I imagine that if they keep this on the air long enough, it will evolve into a pretty good show. I am liking this so far, and I'm interested to see where they go with it.

Evil Dead II

Best movie in the history of the universe.
I wasn't able to get into the Evil Dead trilogy at first because I watched them all out of order. I was put off by the over the top juvenile humor in Army of Darkness, but I now realize it was just an extension of what Sam Raimi was perfecting here. This is an awesome black comedy featuring some of the sickest slapstick I've ever seen in a movie, and loads of dry humor (example: horrible demonic noises start coming from behind a bedroom door. Girl points to door and says, "It's in there").

The first half is basically a one-man comedy show starring the amazingly talented Bruce Campbell, who makes an idiot redneck into one of the most memorable movie heroes ever. In fact, when other people finally reach the cabin, it slows the whole thing down. That's my only complaint: the movie is too long. It would have worked better as a short. For example, they could have done without the tiresome sequence of the girl running into the woods and the others coming after her (and no shock factor like in the first movie's version). I'm not watching this to see a damn search party, for heaven's sake, I'm watching it to see Bruce Campbell fighting off possessed body parts with a chainsaw and saying things like, "You're going down!"

If your idea of a good movie is black humor combined with old-fashioned slapstick, this is the movie for you. It's a shame Sam Raimi abandoned stuff like this to make trendy crap. I'd rather watch insanity like "Evil Dead 2" than the Spiderman movies any day. 8/10.

The Drum

Fun piece of British patriotism
Fun little movie that depicts the British and Indians living in some sort of Utopia together, with an evil villain (Raymond Massey, hamming it up with a vengeance) planning to slaughter the British troops at a banquet. It's up to his prince nephew, Sabu--the greatest of all child actors--to stop him. Definitely politically incorrect (although not outright racist), but with a lot of heart and humor. The humor disappears at the end in place of heavy suspense, and it's all wrapped up with a rousing, drawn-out battle scene. Hey, any movie with Scottish highlanders singing around a campfire is worth watching if you ask me. And it's in Technicolor to boot. 7/10.

The Delta Force

Goofy propaganda, but fun
This is a fun flick, and might be the only Chuck Norris movie that can actually be considered a Good Movie by traditional standards. The first half is a serious drama involving a plane hijacking (based on true events), and if you were to catch this on TV partway through without knowing what it was, you might be inclined to take it seriously. Robert Forster is a wonderful villain, and he makes these scenes interesting (and scary) to watch.

In the second half, Chuck Norris starts blowing things up on a torpedo-launching motorcycle and all seriousness goes out the window. That's not to say the movie doesn't get any less enjoyable. I don't care who are you; it's impossible to watch this without wishing you had a motorcycle like that.

Of course there are some problems. The score is totally ripped off from "Where Eagles Dare," and the politics are ridiculously one-sided (according to this movie, the whole reason Palestine doesn't like Israel is because the Israelis are Jewish. It has nothing to do with a land dispute or anything). The patriotism is so over the top, you wonder if this is the exact movie Trey Parker and Matt Stone were spoofing in "Team America: World Police" (gotta love how Norris and friends spend twenty minutes vaporizing Beirut, and suddenly have to pause the action for the death of one American soldier). But if you're smart enough to watch this without buying into the black and white Bad Guys/Good Guys politics, you might see it as another one of the big, dumb, exciting action flicks that defined the 80's and made them the most purely entertaining--intentionally or not--decade for film ever.

The Graduate

Dated, weak.
Very funny movie that, underneath the humor, has nothing important to say. Stuff like this and "Harold and Maude" was probably very meaningful to depressed upper class hippies, but today it's just plain irritating. The parts about uncertain futures and love conquering all are still relevant; nothing else is. I suppose, for example, Dustin Hoffman's act of pursuing Elaine out of spite after ONE lousy date was defiant and cool in the 60's, but today it just seems... strange, to put it mildly. And while Hoffman is great at looking nervous and confused, his character has no real personality. I don't hate this movie: the first forty minutes are a blast, and the ending is a delight. But the majority of it is just empty and irrelevant today. Maybe it's important for defining the period, but if I'm going to watch a movie, I'd like to get something out of it.


Very fun comedy
I am proud to say this is one of my favorite comedies, and I normally don't even like the "American Pie" type of sex comedy. The humor is raunchy, but in a good-natured way, and all the actors look like they're having a blast. The odd thing is that there doesn't seem to be any real reason why it's taking place in the 50's, except maybe to get across the message that teenagers have always been, and always will be, horny. Also, to the people who say this is "dated"... you guys do realize it's taking place 30 years before it was made, right?

It's not the funniest movie you'll ever see, except for a few truly hysterical scenes, but you have to love the way it captures the fun irresponsibility of high school. I think a lot of people can relate to this no matter what generation they're from, making it a definite classic. My advice is to steer clear of the upcoming remake, which will undoubtedly be raunchier and ruder, but probably have ten times less heart.

The Fog

Campy, silly, weak, tedious
I used to love John Carpenter, but I've been rewatching his movies recently and I'm not so sure anymore. He has interesting ideas and can do a lot with a low budget, but there's no escaping the fact that some of his movies are just plain bland... especially "The Fog." All his trademark touches are here--simplistic score and sets, interesting lighting--and all his trademark weaknesses, too--simplistic score and sets, town with a population of about five people (the crowd of extras at the "celebration" look like just that, extras, who have been paid to stand around listlessly). This time there's the the added weakness of a fog that doesn't look or act anything like fog. It should have been called "The Smoke," or maybe "The Steam." It glows, turns off boat engines (!?), and drags unconvincingly across the screen. The way it completely smothers people's houses is kind of cool, and has a claustrophobia to it that's the only scary part of the movie. The ONLY other noteworthy thing is that a key element of the movie--and this is supposed to be very scary and menacing--is a board. Yes, a board. At one point Adrienne Barbeau says something like, "I think everything that's been happening around here has something to do with the board my son found!" (OK, she calls it driftwood, but still). Other than the claustrophobic "fog" and the Board of Doom, this is a tedious movie, and people who say it's a horror classic are lying through their teeth. 5/10.

Buried Alive

Above average TV shocker...
Interesting revenge movie, with a dark tone that sucks you in from the start, a creepy soundtrack that fits the movie perfectly, beautifully designed sets, and great acting from the three leads, especially Leigh as a truly despicable person. You really feel for Matheson's character and are rooting for him to take revenge on his evil wife... until he actually takes revenge on her. Then the movie gets weird. All of a sudden Matheson dons gloves and a welder's mask, turning into a Jason-like movie monster, and we have no idea what he's up to. After being on his side throughout the movie, we're suddenly watching from the perspective of his wife and her lover, wondering what the heck is going on. When his revenge is finally revealed, it's mighty far-fetched (it involves completely remodeling the house, which he manages to do in a few hours), and somehow out of place for his character, at least as we've seen him so far. He's even more sadistic than his wife. Still, it's meant to be a shocker, and it shocks. Definitely worth watching, if you're into that sort of thing.

Exorcist II: The Heretic

Highly underrated, but not great, either
Poor John Boorman. He has all these great ideas, but whenever he tries to put them to the screen, the result is so damn goofy you can't tell whether you're watching a metaphysical drama or a slapstick comedy (for more on this, see "Zardoz"). His "Exorcist" sequel is miles below the original if you're looking for scares, but miles above it in terms of actual storytelling, plot, character development, etc. It's full of interesting ideas (the most interesting being the idea of pure goodness as a magnet for evil), and Regan turns into an angelic heroine out to stop the demon that once possessed her. But Boorman's wacko imagery, while fascinating in places (the doves, the locusts), tends to get a little TOO wacko, to the point where you can't help laughing (the hypnosis machine, Richard Burton putting out a fire with a wooden crutch, James Earl Jones spitting up a tomato).

If you can accept the fact that this is a completely different movie than the original, you might find that it's a pretty good movie on its own. Fantastic acting from Burton, a wonderful score, and some truly gorgeous visuals, especially the climactic scene in the house, make it one of the most underrated movies of all time. Even if some scenes leave you falling over with laughter.

Santa's Slay

Cult classic? I hope not.
OK, this isn't the worst movie I've ever seen. You can't hate a movie that's SUPPOSED to be terrible. But it's still pretty hard to sit through.

I will say that it has an interesting cast... Chris Kattan, Fran Drescher, Dave Thomas (from SCTV), and.... James Caan!? Bill Goldberg is hilarious as a demented Santa, too. But Douglas Smith... oh my God, I've NEVER seen acting this bad, not even in "Mosquito." I'm guessing the director told him to gesture a lot and he took it way too far, because it looks like he's having an epilectic seizure in every scene. Calm down, Doug.

This movie also has some of the worst lines I've ever heard. Even lines that are meant to be bad shouldn't be THIS bad. My favorite is when Doug gets hit in the head with a book, and in the next shot he's running down the hall and says, "Damn, that really hurt." OK, Doug, thanks for letting us know. Just when I'm getting over that line, his girlfriend says, "Quit taking the Lord's name in vain!" What!?

The camera work, special effects, and cast are good enough that you have to wonder why they squandered a decent budget on something like this. I think they were trying to make it a cult classic, but it'd take a Christmas miracle for that to happen.

The Warriors

Wild and weird
"The Warriors" is a very, very cool exercise in surrealism. Once it's established that we're in an alternate universe and the plot is nothing but a simple problem (something this director does better than anyone else) of getting from point A to point B while eluding all sorts of gangs and cops, it turns into non-stop action and suspense. It's basically what "Escape From New York" wanted to be, only the action is tenser, the pace is faster, the music is cooler, and the bad guys are more menacing (the Baseball Furies will give you nightmares!). It features some of the most original characters and dialog in movie history, and you'll be rooting for the heroes all the way. It's cheesy, no question about it, but it's fun, and the fact that it's being remade genuinely ticks me off. Hollywood, leave the good stuff alone.

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