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                    Letters to Hell - July 2000

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Contents
========

  - References
  - Blood Flowing Out of Kevin Spacey's Head
  - Those Who Can't
  - Confusion
  - I Love You, You Fascinating Man
  - Better Get to The Video Store Yourself! 
  - Made Me Physically Dizzy
  - Two and a Half Minutes of Utter Joy
  - True Film and Praising God
  - Friggin' Brilliant
  - You Don't Seem To Like Anything
  - The Grade, The Reviewer's Ignorance, and The Stuff That Really 
    Sucked
  - Spoofs, Prudes, and The Laughing of One's Ass Off


Introduction
============

More letters and the like, compiled for your guilty enjoyment.  As 
always, all last names and addresses have been deleted.  Most were 
also edited for clarity, length, or just to make me look better.  
Enjoy!
 

References
==========

[ From: Chad ]

> I recently re-watched IRON WILL and read your review.  I keep se-
> eing references to a "true story," but can't seem to find any in-
> formation on a Will Stoneman, etc.  Do you know anything?

[ Most experts agree that I don't.  Try the Internet Movie Database
  instead, http://us.imdb.com ]


Blood Flowing Out of Kevin Spacey's Head
========================================

[ From: Jim in Cary ]

> What do you think is the significance of the color red and the red 
> roses in AMERICAN BEAUTY?  Foreshadowing of the blood flowing out 
> of Kevin Spacey's head? 

[ Delicate, dangerous beauty?  Heck if I know... ]


Those Who Can't
===============

[ From: Rhett ]

> Interesting how critics like yourself can find nothing considered 
> watchable, yet I sure don't see *you* at the Academy Awards, win-
> ning Best Director.  I guess the old saying "those who can't do, 
> teach" should be re-written "those who can't, criticize." 

[ And since I teach during the day, *both* sayings can be applied! ]


Confusion
=========

[ From: S. Omeone ]
[ Re: SCARY MOVIE ]

> > A couple of screen precedents are set.  The first is a scrotal 
> > gag so graphic that two people in the preview audience actually 
> > walked out!
>
> That does it for me.  I won't see this movie.  I am sick of movies 
> that confuse "disgusting" with "funny."

[ See also: ME, MYSELF, AND IRENE ]


I Love You, You Fascinating Man
===============================

[ From: Cheryl ]
[ Re: 100 THINGS ABOUT CHICKEN RUN ]

> Dear Nick:
> 
> Seems like a movie that you and I could enjoy together.  I love 
> Wallace and Gromit.  I went to several "Sick and Twisted" anima-
> tion festivals while in Portland/Seattle and they always showed 
> them.  Thanks for thinking of me.  I love you, you fascinating 
> man.

[ Same here, Sweetie.  I just wish I knew who Nick was... ]


Better Get to The Video Store Yourself!
=======================================

[ From: Tom ]
[ Re: CHICKEN RUN ]

> > What, you've never seen Wallace and Gromit before!?  Stop read-
> > ing right now, run to your favorite video store, and rent THE 
> > WRONG TROUSERS and A CLOSE SHAVE.  Two tapes.  Maybe an hour, 
> > tops.
>
> And you better get to the video store yourself, Mikey!   There are 
> *three* tapes.  You forgot A GRAND DAY OUT.

[ No, I didn't ]


Made Me Physically Dizzy
========================

[ From: Judi ]
[ Re: GLADIATOR ]

> We went after hearing all the rave reviews and found it flat.  I 
> *hated* the moving camera effect; it made me physically dizzy.  
> Also seemed strange to cross those little love scenes with the 
> battle sequences, making it neither a macho movie nor a chick 
> flick.  (Through trying-- unsuccessfully, IMHO-- to be both for 
> both types of audiences.  Sigh.)  Some of the fight scenes were 
> just a little too lengthy, too, so I was fidgety by the end of 
> this very long movie.

[ You and me both, sister ]


Two and a Half Minutes of Utter Joy
===================================

[ From: Robert ] 
[ Re: FANTASIA 2000 ]

> > Most of the segments are also a relative snooze, the major ex-
> > ception being an exquisite Depression-era, Big Apple-set story 
> > set to "Rhapsody in Blue" and drawn in the very distinctive 
> > style of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld.  That one's worth the
> > price of admission.  Everything else, however, gets a shrug.
>
> Although I hesitate to disagree with you, I can't believe you 
> could shrug off the other high point of the movie: the giddy fla-
> mingo dance set to the big finale of Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the 
> Animals."  Two and a half minutes of utter joy.  Otherwise, the  
> film is so forgettable, so tiresome, and so poorly executed that 
> it's almost an act of malice.

[ The flamingos *were* cute... ]


True Film and Praising God
==========================

[ From: Gina ]
[ Re: THE VIRGIN SUICIDES ]

> Excuse me?  C+?  Are you absolutely blinded to truth in film?  
> You witness true film and, instead of praising God for an actual 
> film in the midst of so many common *movies*, you stick it into 
> the same category as the latter?  THE VIRGIN SUICIDES is far from 
> an ordinary *movie*, but is very much an example of true film.
>
> The metaphorical content, the psychological implications, the lay-
> ers of perspective, and the talent in acting all come together and 
> make this one Hell of a fine film.  It should hardly be included 
> in a message entitled "Movie Hell" or grouped with the likes of 
> BATTLEFIELD EARTH or SCREWED.  
>
> It is not as if I am blinded to some minor flaws within the film.  
> There are a few things within it that I, too, did not understand 
> the placement of within the film.  None of these flaws diminish 
> the fact that this is a great film, worthy of the title "film" 
> over the common and ordinary title of "movie."

[ Yeah, and it didn't have enough nudity, either! ]


Friggin' Brilliant
================== 

> Seventy-five minutes of highly refined visual poetry, set to mu-
> sic, and everyone posting to this newsgroup so far found it "bor-
> ing"?  Yet another Gibson reluctant soldier.  Yet another Cage 
> nutcase.  Yet another CGI disaster epic.  Those are boring.
>
> None of you are apparently able to surrender to such an experi-
> ence and let yourself be drawn in.  I was absorbed from start to 
> finish, except for some of the segments' human introducers, and 
> even they were stylish, albeit jarring.
>
> It may have helped that at least one piece-- the Shostakovich con-
> certo-- had never been heard by me, that the others are so rela-
> tively rarely played as to still be fresh, and that "Rhapsody in
> Blue" is my favorite piece from my favorite composer.
>
> Still, FANTASIA 2000 is friggin' brilliant.  I only regret that 
> it's playing for a mere four weeks of matinees.  My local cinema 
> near-monopoly is going to make a lot of money off of me this 
> month.

[ Ka-ching! ]


You Don't Seem To Like Anything
===============================

[ From: Mac ]

> I have as much respect for the critical process as the next guy, 
> but I can't help noticing that you don't seem to like ANYTHING. 
> Is it just my imagination?  Is every single Hollywood movie truly 
> a piece of sh*t?


[ My response... ]

< The first rule of highfalutin' critic-ing (do not attempt this
< at home): everything sucks 'till proven otherwise.  Don't know, 
< though, that I'd label every single recent release as a "true 
< piece of doo doo."  Let's go with "lame," instead.  
<
< Or, as politely euphemized in the summer summary below, "not
< good enough"...
<  
< Very Good
<     Chicken Run
<
< Good
<     Dinosaur, The Filth and the Fury, Small Time Crooks
<
< Not Good Enough
<     Gladiator, Mission Impossible 2, Shanghai Noon, Shaft,
<     Titan A/E, Me, Myself, and Irene, The Adventures of 
<     Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Perfect Storm, Scary Movie,
<     Road Trip, Joe Gould's Secret, The Virgin Suicides,
<     The Big Kahuna, Time Code, Croupier, Hamlet, Fantasia
<     2000
<
< Crap
<     Battlefield Earth, Big Momma's House, Gone in 60 Sec-
<     onds, Screwed
<

[ Phew! ]


The Grade, The Reviewer's Ignorance, and The Stuff That Really Sucked
=====================================================================

[ From: Sara in Seattle ]
[ Re: THE PATRIOT ]

> > Grade: C+
>  
> Why not a better grade?  Sounds like you liked it. 

[ See http://www.moviehell.com/rating.system.html ]


[ From: John ]

> > Later, we're treated to the first of several open-field combat 
> > sequences demonstrating the absolute absurdity of formation 
> > fighting.  (See also:  Head.  Cannonball.)
>
> And you've just demonstrated the absurdity of your ignorance of 
> history.  Tight linear formation was used because it worked and
> won battles.

[ Memo to self:  change "absolute" to "seeming" ]


[ From: Daniel ]

> I read your review hoping you'd bring up the stuff that *really*
> sucked.  Overall, I thought it was a great effort, except for two 
> things:  First, why does Mel have to visit a dead wife in every 
> freaking movie?  Okay, it was kinda touching in LETHAL WEAPON, his 
> still being in love with old Missus Riggs.  But every freakin' mo-
> vie?  In THE PATRIOT he does *another* obligatory cemetery visit.  
> If women think he's hot, they must have some sort of death wish.  
> Everyone he bumps uglies with ends up dead.  Partial list (with 
> some stretching to prove my point): LETHAL WEAPONS 1,2,3,4, and 
> with a double hit on 2 when he loses a girlfriend, too; BRAVE-
> HEART; MAD MAX; PAYBACK; FOREVER YOUNG, twice in the same freak-
> in' movie!; HAMLET, although he only lost a girlfriend.  What a 
> filmography.
>
> The second point is something that Gibson should have insisted 
> they *not* put in the movie and I really fault him as a creative 
> person for its inclusion.  Do you watch "The Simpsons?"  Did you 
> see the one where Springfield is the test audience for a Gibson 
> remake of MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON?  Homer says it sucks be-
> cause there aren't any explosions, so he and Mel re-shoot the end-
> ing, complete with Mel throwing an American flag through a bad guy 
> Senator.  At the end of THE PATRIOT, when Mel is holding the flag
> like a spear, I was praying that *someone* has an ounce of intel-
> ligence in Hollywood.  God answers all prayers, but, sadly, I know 
> now that He often says "No."  At least Mel got the horse, instead 
> of the baddie.

[ Amen, brother ]


Spoofs, Prudes, and The Laughing of One's Ass Off
=================================================

[ From: "Bubbles" in Cary ]
[ Re: SCARY MOVIE }

> I disagree with almost everything you said in your review, buster.  
>
> (1)  SCREAM et al are *supposed* to be funny as well as scary.  
>      Of all the horror movies referenced here, only the first
>      SCREAM was any good.  However, I thought the *spoofing* of
>      the others was right on, whether or not I liked the origin-
>      als.
>
> (2)  Squiggy starred in "Laverne and Shirley," not "Happy Days"
>      !!!!
>
> (3)  Carmen Electra was *kinda* a cameo, a la Drew Barrymore's 
>      role in the original.  And, for "Dawson's Creek" fans (of 
>      which I'm not), that was "Dawson" peeking in through the 
>      window.
>
> (4)  Finally, with all the broken ground and screen conventions, 
>      how can you *possibly* say this wasn't over the top enough?  
>      I even overheard people saying "that was a little too much 
>      for me" on their way out!
>
> (5)  Oh, and one more finally.  I hate those kinds of movies,
>      spoofs, and tend to be a bit of a prude, and I *still*
>      laughed my ass off.


[  See http://www.moviehell.com/2000/scary.movie.html for the offend-
   ing review

   Instructions for re-attaching a laughed-off ass are also forthcom-
   ing...
 
   Good night, everybody! ]


Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros



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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros