a few movies I think should never have been made or were hugely
No need for me to beat
up the small independents trying their best, or the B flicks
that never tried to be anything more.
No, these movies had
big budgets or well known directors or actors, or they received
major awards. These movies were big deals, but I think they had
protagonists are both losers.
One steals money from his
mother's bedroom dresser to feed his wine snobbery and impress
his friend. The friend takes advantage of his good looks to
sleep with every available female, even days before his own
Maybe my fault, but I couldn't get past these two
lizards to enjoy the good acting and dialogue.
Won Oscar for
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, another
105 wins & 36 nominations ***
respected director, but nothing more than sexploitation.
Ostensibly about the cultural war in Paris in
1968, it's only a backdrop to three attractive young people
walking around undressed and sexually attracted to each other.
Ordinarily, I'd have no problem with that, except that two of
them are brother and sister, snobby snots with no redeeming
qualities except the gorgeous rack on Sister (Eva Green).
is the kind of movie you hope lost the producers a bundle.
*** 9 nominations ***
I should have liked this movie.
My favorite instrument, the
piano, plays a key role and is played beautifully by the
starring actress, Holly Hunter.
The story is expertly filmed by
New Zealanders, a group unduly represented in my Deserted Island
But for all the movie's acclaim, I couldn't warm up
to it. The acting was
good, the sets convincing. The problem was
the script. It doesn't develop the main characters, instead
wasting precious time showing how expatriate British families
found entertainment across the oceans far away from home.
It's a script that doesn't convince me a piano transported all
the way from Scotland to New Zealand in the 1800s
could then be left on the beach to rot because the wife's
husband thought it too much work to carry home. Though he
had plenty of laborers and though it was the most precious
possession of his new wife.
The script doesn't explain why the
mail-order bride, never having taken to her husband and having
fallen in love with another man, did not leave the husband
outright, instead sneaking away at night to be with her lover,
at great peril to both.
So much more is unconvincing or
unexplained, especially (unless I slept through it) how the mother became
Apparently many people ignored my concerns and found the
movie captivating. I wish I had been one of them, too.
Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Writing. Another
63 wins & 29 nominations ***
I'M NOT THERE.
Based loosely on the life of Bob Dylan, with a half
dozen famous (and good) actors using his words and songs to
portray him throughout his life.
Way too artsy for me. Told me nothing the
real documentaries, especially Joan Baez's HOW SWEET THE SOUND,
haven't told better.
Nominated for Oscar. Another
24 wins & 13 nominations ***
THE TREE OF LIFE.
Remarkable movie. If you
go to Metacritic.com, you see that almost every professional
reviewer gave this movie a score of 100.
However, when I went to Amazon today (22
June 2012), the breakout was far from unanimous.
Fascinating, isn't it. About
the same number of
people liked the movie a lot (181) as the number who thought
it was awful (169). (170 if I'd write a review.)
found the movie unfocused, self-absorbed, pretentious and a
waste of fine actors. (Someone explain to me why Sean Penn was
in this thing, with his character almost entirely silent.)
Terrence Malick, the writer-director, must
have had childhood demons to wrestle with, but he failed -- it
appears he didn't much try -- to include his audience in the
Then again, some Amazon reviewers said this was the
best, most meaningful movie they'd ever seen in all their life.
So don't let me dissuade you. As with all films in this section,
TREE OF LIFE may not have worked for
me, but it sure did for many others.
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another
60 wins & 40 nominations ***
THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS.
Another movie many liked, but that I found
neither funny nor poignant, though it tried to be both.
movie is full of popular actors, but the characters they play
are cartoon cutouts, simply not believable. Which might be
alright if they were funny or sympathetic, but mostly they're
This is the second Wes Anderson film I've seen in the
past weeks (BOTTLE ROCKET, the other). I didn't much like that one
either. Guess I just don't get his genius, while I'm sure he's
laughing all the way to the bank.
Nominated for Oscar. Another
11 wins & 28 nominations ***
January 2015, I watch Wes Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM. Terrible.
Then LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU. A little better, but what
wouldn't be, and what a waste of great actors: Cate Blanchett,
Willem Defoe, and Michael Gambon especially, also Jeff Goldblum
and Anjelica Huston. A lot of people loved both films, though, so I'll accept it's not Anderson, it's me,
and I now think I'll never watch another of his films.