tesg's big dumb movies old pre-blog version

tesg's big dumb movies moved to a blog format May 1, 2012.

Further updates will be done on the blog (click here)

21 Jump Street

Way funnier than it had any right to be, but still pretty dumb.


Could have been the best Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode ever.

The 40-Year Old Virgin

In the middle of the show, an employee…complete with orange cone flashlight…came in to the auditorium, walked halfway up the upper tier, and spent a few minutes observing.  WHAT he was observing, I don’t know.  Maybe he just wanted to show off his cool flashlight.  I would if I had one.  I’d be all like “Hey!  How ya doin’?  Enjoying the show?  Something's wrong with the subwoofer?  We don’t need no stinking subwoofers!  Check out my FLASHLIGHT!  Embrace the orangeness of my flashlight!  Orange orange orange orange…”

(500) Days of Summer

Boy am I glad they didn't go over all 500 days.  That would have totally driven me nuts.


"Adaptation" is a movie about a guy adapting a book about an orchid poacher into a screenplay...but the movie we're watching is actually the screenplay he ended up writing.  The ending is supposed to be ironic because he didn't want it to end in people getting shot and car crashes, then HE ends up really in these situations, so that's how it ends.  Confused?  Let me put it to you another way..."Eh".

The Adventures of Tintin

$17.25 for an IMAX ticket at a Regal that used to be an Act III.  They just repurposed one of the large auditoriums.  It was digital IMAX, which is what knowledgeable theatre staff like to call "LIEMAX" anyway.

While I've long known of the Tintin brand, I've never been exposed to the subject matter.  But this seemed to play along with what I was expecting.


I chose which movie to watch while in line waiting to buy tickets.  It was between this and "Sunshine Cleaning".  I chose wrong.

AI - Artificial Intelligence

So I have my ticket, popcorn, and unusually large soda.  Ticket boy takes the slip and tells me to go to Auditorium 16 to my left.  But I know for a fact that Auditorium 16 is to the right.  So I say "No, it's over there."  He's in a bad mood anyway and gets snippy.  I'm also in a bad mood.  So tell him to shut up because he's a minimum wage ticket taker at a sucky monsterplex nobody cares about.  And by the way, they have stale Milk Duds.  So he takes a swing, thinking I'm defenseless because my hands are full of popcorn and an unusually large soda.  So I smack him with the hand that has the soda.  The soda explodes in a dazzling splash of syrupy fountain-drawn splendor all over his Supercuts coif.  He's stunned.  I get overzealous and just start wailing on the little punk.  Right right right right kick kick right right...Then somebody hits me from behind and I realize another employee has joined the fray.  Then two more.  But I'm holding my own with some swift kicks and one of those poles with the retractable strap to make standby lines when the auditorium isn't ready.  Popcorn, blood, and dark brown soda is everywhere.  The girls at the snack bar have abandoned their posts and are throwing boxes of stale Milk Duds at me.  The other patrons are getting annoyed because we're basically taking up the width of the hallway and they can't get around us to go to their movies.  So after I get done beating the crap out of every employee in the building, we all go to our auditoriums and sit down.  Unfortunately, I forgot to leave somebody standing to go upstairs and start the movies.  So we all sit around with our popcorn and just sort of leave after it's gone.

None of this is true of course, and it's too bad because it would have been WAY more entertaining than this stupid sucky movie.


This film needed an intermission and we got one...when the film broke.  The first kid to arrive in the booth totally freaked out and looked horrified.  He paced around, called out on his radio, looked like he was wetting his pants.  Then a second kid showed up and he appeared to think the whole thing was pretty funny.  About this time, another kid appeared in the auditorium and told us (exact quote) “5 minutes and we’re sorry.”  Nobody seemed to mind, and the snack bar actually got some business out of the deal.

Alice in Wonderland

A row of people actually dressed up as Alice in Wonderland characters, and were cheering at the end.  It was good, sure...but somehow I was expecting more.

American Graffiti

Did you know that George Lucas used to make movies without a single big alien Muppet?  Well, unless you count Wolfman Jack...

American Beauty

If you got nothing out of the dancing bag scene, you probably liked "The Mummy".

An American Haunting

One of the early scenes is in a teenage girl's bedroom.  Over her bed is a movie poster for "Monster".  And I'm thinking "Why in the world would a teenage girl have THAT poster on her wall?"  Well, by the end of the movie, we know.  Too bad everything in between was just smoke and mirrors.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

The film was shot in a pretty narrow presentation, so the theater compensated by masking the screen as narrow as possible, then just cutting off about a quarter of the bottom of the picture, something nobody would have noticed except for the scene where the dog and the bears are conversing with captions.  Half of the top row of the captions appear at the bottom of the screen.  I'm sitting in the 3rd row and can see enough to figure out there's a line and a half of caption lost in the mask and maybe even the floor, so this joke is completely lost.  Seconds after the scene ends, the projectionist bumps the picture up.  Too late.  But now the top of everybody's head is cut off.  How lovely.  They should have just put this in a smaller auditorium that could handle the narrow masking and left Spider-Man 2 in here.  Demand wasn't that high.  That doesn't even cover the sound issues...The left-front audio channel was out, the delay between the front and surround fields was a blatant half-second off, and the movie kept jumping between digital and analog.  This was just a pure crapfest.  Which was fitting, because so was the movie.  Ben Stiller's cameo meant that he has been in three of the worst movies I have seen this year.  Way to go for the hat trick.

Anything Else

I was seduced into seeing this by the lure of Christina Ricci and Stockard Channing.  How could it go wrong?  Oh yeah...Woody Allen.  Woody Allen doing Woody Allen is bad enough.  Jason Biggs doing Woody Allen is WAY beyond tolerable.

Art School Confidential

Is it a biting satire on art school?  Is it a murder mystery?  Is it good?  NO.

The Artist

It's a silent film.  Which apparently in these modern times means 'nobody says anything in the movie, so everybody in the audience spends the movie loudly explaining everything to each other'.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

The fake policy trailer just before the movie was the best part of the whole show.  The show itself was the television series with more foul language and sexual content.  That really didn't make it any better.

As Good As It Gets

I say to Dwayne, "You have GOT to see this movie.  It's hilarious."  He says "I don't know, it doesn't look like my kind of movie."  I insist several times over a couple of weeks.  Each time, he becomes more defensive, finally resorting to yelling "That movie sucks!" one day.  Then this idiot has the sheer audacity to show up at my house one day and say "My FRIEND says 'As Good as it Gets' is awesome!  I have to go see that!"  Monkey spank.

Assault on Precinct 13

This movie could have been really really cool if they did the exact same movie up to the assembly of the marooned cast...then turned it into an all-night "Breakfast Club" type-deal. No bad guys coming in to kill everybody. No explosions. Dialogue, relationships, and maybe some shenanigans. The prisoners get back on the bus at the end (the next morning) and head on their way, and everybody else goes home.

Austin Powers - International Man of Mystery

This movie was even more brilliant because I didn't know who played Dr. Evil until I actually saw the movie.  It's still brilliant, even after being bastardized by the two sequels. 

Austin Powers - The Spy who Shagged Me

Two I know who saw the movie ahead of release (they work in the industry) said "Crass toilet humor" and "not funny at all".  They were half right.

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Same two I know who saw "The Spy who Shagged Me" ahead of release said of Goldmember "Laughed hysterically straight through".  THIS is the movie that they should have said what they said of "The Spy who Shagged Me".


Man, I SO want to grow a tail.

The Avengers

I don't really consider it any better than any of the Marvel actioners that led up to it, but it's still pretty great.

Away We Go

JEEPERS.  What a bunch of fruit loops.

The Bad News Bears

Billy Bob Thornton: Good.  Rest of movie: Bad.

Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton: Good.  Rest of movie: Bad.

The Bank Job

As I approach the snack bar, Smiling Counter Girl...in a really syrupy voice...says "Can I get you a large popcorn and Coke today?"

It's the newest thing in upsell technology.  Just tell the customer what you want them to get.

I spent the entire pre-show coming up with possible answers to that question. The ones I'll probably actually try in the future are:

1. "No." (Then just stand there, staring.) 
2. "No. Guess again." (And make them. Eventually, tell them you wanted lasagna.) 
3. "No." (Then leave, looking sad, ignoring them no matter how much they yell "Wait!" behind you.) 
4. "Is that would YOU would get if you were in my situation?" 
5. "Okay, but you're paying for it."

Batman and Robin

Some Denver talk radio show where they review movies was discussing the problem with going to movies in Boulder, CO.  "They're all health nuts and their farts stink!"  As it happens, I'm staying just outside Boulder, and that's where I see "Batman and Robin".  Holy crap...They're not kidding.

Batman Begins

I walk up to the ticket seller and say "Batman Returns", realized what I'd said and immediately felt stupid.  She didn't say a word about it.  I wish they DID run "Batman Returns".  It would have been WAY better than this piece of crap.  And "Batman Returns" wasn't that good in the first place.

Be Cool

About the time they rehash the "Cadillac of Minivans" joke,  you know this sequel is in trouble.  Luckily, it gets better as it goes, instead of the other way around.


I don't recall reading any story in school where some troll gets annoyed at his neighbor's loud parties, but everybody says it was a high school requirement.  Maybe I just went to a crappy high school.  Or a better high school.


A B-rate romantic comedy disguised as a "Bewitched" redux.  You SHOULD be angry.

Big Fish

A good movie tells a story.  This is a movie about a guy who tells stories and his idiot son who doesn't understand the difference between life and living.  Moron.  

Blades of Glory

I've driven seven hours, the restaurant I was going to have lunch at has shut down, I'm tired, in a bad mood, and hungry.  I NEED a good comedy.  Unfortunately, I saw this instead.  

The Blair Witch Project

Dwayne (see "As Good as it Gets") and I went to Ames 12 late on a Sunday night because we figured "who'd be there?"  The question was quickly answered when we arrived and found a line from the ticket windows to across the front drive.  Of course it was on the biggest screen so the vomit factor was high.  It was so much cooler to see it at the Valle Drive-In, amidst the corn and dark night...

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows

I am one of the few people who actually liked "Blair 2".  Those hoping for the first movie revisited were horribly disappointed, of course.  But for your average teen slasher flick (which has to be pretty good for me to like), I liked it.  If they had marketed this exact same movie under a different horror franchise, it would have performed better at the box office than it did.  Think about it...If they did nothing more than change the witch to Freddy Kruger and called it "A Nightmare on Elm St: Book of Shadows", everybody would have bought into and it would have been lauded as a "highly original take on the Nightmare on Elm Street films".

The Blind Side

Here's a new way to upsell popcorn...Ignore the patron's request for a regular and sell them a large anyway.  They're not going to notice, right?  Unless you hand them a receipt, like they did to me.  Oh well, I kept it anyway.


If Bolt's TV series was a real live-action television show, can you imagine what the production budget would have to be?

The Bourne Supremacy

I have no idea what was going on in this movie, but it RULED.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

My date for the show was a woman who simply replaced failing electricity in her house with more candles and who claimed her family had the ability to sense death.  And this movie disturbed HER.


I was under the impression this was above the typical chick flick.  This proved incorrect.  Pretty much every situation the lead found herself in could have been resolved by not over-thinking everything, which is the signature of every chick flick.

Bring it On

"Hello?" "Mr. Graham?" "Yes." "This is the (name of company) office."  "Hello." We converse but he sounds very distracted so I say "I have to apologize for the noise, I have no control over it...I'm in a movie theatre."  This clearly threw him for a loop, but it was no big deal...I WAS the only person in the theatre, and Regal Sherwood 10's  sound really sucked anyway.  But whoda thunk a campy movie about cheerleaders would be one of the better films of the year.

Brokeback Mountain

SIGNS YOU PICKED THE WRONG PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE: When the ticket counter has a full-page memo posted advising you why your car is going to get broken into and why the theatre isn't liable. Said memo started out explaining that there's an organized crime ring going around breaking into cars. It went into great detail about what people were stealing and how long it takes to perform a smash-and-grab. (Ten seconds, if you were wondering.)

Bruce Almighty

...So is Jim Carrey just going to do movies that are essentially a tip of the hat to Capra now?!?

Burn After Reading

There's two funny parts of this movie: The surprise basement project, and every scene Brad Pitt is in.  Except the one where they kill him.  Making this not one of the Coen brothers' better efforts.

The Cabin in the Woods

This wasn't even on my radar until somebody at work dropped the "Joss Whedon" bomb.  Good thing too, because it was awesome.

Cape Fear (remake)

My first drive-in experience in nearly 20 years was the South Ottumwa Drive-In with ex-girlfriend-from-hell #3 and friends.  We didn't like the movie because we couldn't understand the dialogue.  What horrible sound!  A few weeks later I saw it again at the Cottage View Drive-In with pristine sound.  The movie has been one of my all-time favorites ever since.


You know what they need at the end of a movie like this?  A blooper reel.

Captain America: The First Avenger

So the pre-show TV ads play, then the Texas Instruments DLP trailer plays, then two cinema-grade local commercials play, then the Dolby Digital Cinema trailer plays, then the movie starts.




Stunningly beautiful.  But I liked the story better when it was "Desert Blue".

Cars 2

Smiling Ticket Seller takes my money, inputs stuff into the POS screen, and no ticket appears. Tries again. And again.

"I'm sorry, it's not printing. I'll be right back."

She runs into the lobby. I turn to see the line of people waiting to buy tickets. I explain.

"She broke the box office."

A few people say "Oh", and everybody looks understanding, or at least less confused. Smiling Ticket Seller appears with a manager, and they solve the problem by opening another register and printing from there.

Casino Royale

So the movie ends, and...no wait...now it's ending.  No...Now?  Now?  How about now?  No, now we're on some whole new subplot and...You're ending it THERE?!?


I saw an antenna ball of "Wilson" on a car once.  PLEASE tell me it was homemade.

Cats and Dogs

I saw "Cats and Dogs" with an audience of about 300 guessing off the top of my head.  The audience was one of the most well behaved audiences I've ever seen in a theatre.  And it was by far and above small CHILDREN!  Utah kids could teach Iowans something about theatre etiquette to be sure.

Cedar Rapids

There is the rare occasion where I end up on a business trip with co-workers and maybe vendors spending the evening in a restaurant or bar obvserving first-hand how these people have fun through drinking and telling dumb stories.  For the most part, I find myself sitting their thinking "What is wrong with you people."  This is pretty much how I spent this whole movie, which felt FAR longer than its 86 minute running time.


Advertised start time of movie: 1:55pm.  Actual start time of projector: 1:58pm.  Five or six television commercials, one 20th anniversary "Front Row Joe" ad, several trailers, and one Dolby Digital "Stomp" trailer later, the movie starts.  Time: 2:18pm.  The movie played in 5.1 with a really flat, analog-like sound...very little high end.  The one good thing about this experience...The movie itself, which was a pleasant surprise.  The trailer made this movie look kind of dark and creepy.  But it's actually a fun action flick with some decent comedic elements.  

Changing Lanes

This movie would have been over in about ten minutes if I were in the role Samuel L Jackson played.  I would have taken the blank check, written it out to me for a half million dollars, cashed it, disappeared, and had a nice day.  Because frankly, when it comes down to it, Jackson's family in that movie SUCKED.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" when I was in the third or fourth grade. A couple of years later, I saw Gene Wilder's movie. It was then that I learned about how movies don't always translate books, and basically stopped reading books.

Watching this new Burton version was a good example of that thinking in action. Wife #1, who has never read the book nor seen the Gene Wilder film, LOVED this one. I'm sure she'd be nitpicking if she were familiar with the book.

Books suck. 

Chicken Little

This is a historical moment!  I'm watching a movie projected in a theatre by something OTHER THAN FILM!  IT'S NOT FILM!  THIS IS A REVOLUTION!  AND IT'S IN 3-D!  I HAVE THESE GREEN GOOFY GLASSES!  WOW!  Wait...What did I see again?


This is a brilliantly-shot musical variation on the “women in prison” genre.  The numbers are well done and do their job telling the story, the integration of musical/non-musical shots are well thought out, and Renee Zellweger turns in another outstanding performance that will be talked about for years.  This may be the most well-done film I have ever hated.  And make no mistake about it…I absolutely hated this film.


For a low-budget movie in the 'fake video footage' genre, it's pretty good.  The scenes with them sitting on top of buildings with their feet dangling down over the edge completely freaked me out, though.  I could NEVER do that.  Yet I have no problem flying.  Well, in a plane, anyway.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I've never been much of a fan of faux biblical epics.  But I liked this one.  Except Edmund.  Edmund sucks.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

AQUAMAN?  I sat through all that crap just so AQUAMAN could save the day?!?

Cinderella Man

Ticket sales tonight are being handled at the snack bar.  Immediately in front of me in the ticket line are two chubby pre-teenage girls wearing a whole lotta pink. The one on the right, who has a button on her pink headband that says "THIS BORES ME", is doing all the talking, and the subject is the "Bewitched" poster. "But on that show...that show...That 70's show...they talk about it all the time! Which show's better...'Bewitched', or...or...or...'I Dream...of Jeannie'."  They get up to the counter. Then she turns forward and freezes. Just freezes. Ticket Guy is looking at her. I'm looking at her. Her friend is looking at her...until her friend finally shouts "THE TRAVELING PANTS MOVIE!" Then she starts telling the girl who froze about how she'll pay her back next week. Girl on the right comes to her senses and says "YOU don't have any MONEY?!?" Girl on the left: "I have fifteen dollars but it has to last until the weekend." Not that it mattered...Girl on the right pulls out a wad of bills as if she was some old lady fresh from a good night at the casino. She's still holding the money in her hand when she points at the candy in the display and says "M and M's..." before the guy interrupts her and says she has to get the snacks in the other line. That's what happened...She didn't freeze...She was hypnotized by the candy.

City Island

Never heard of it until I was looking at showtimes and it was listed.  Never heard of City Island either, but it's apparently a real place.  Andy Garcia's in it and Ebert liked it, so how bad can it be.  Eh, it's not so bad. 

Collateral Damage

As soon as you saw how much time they spent showing them going through security with the toy, didn't you say "PLOT POINT! PLOT POINT!"?  Eh.

The Condemned

Don't you hate it when a character can't hit a target with two machine guns spraying bullets...but can lob a bomb perfectly at the same target?  

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Chuck Barris is absolutely full of crap.  But in this case, crap made for an unbelievably good film.  Good for Chuck.


If everything I've ever learned about the Catholic faith came from movies, I would think that Catholicism was heavily based around depressed figures deeply involved in the supernatural.  This movie continues right along that line of thinking.  So my conclusion is...um...uh...


From the promos, I expected this to go deep into the science of the problem, not turn into a 'public in panic' peril type deal.  Which totally ruined it for me.


I saw this in 3-D in a poorly designed auditorium with subpar sound.  I may see the movie again NOT because I loved it, but because I want to see if a better designed auditorium with better sound will help me like it more.  It's okay...it's just not the magical wonder everybody's making it out to be.

The Count of Monte Cristo

I was about halfway through this movie when I thought to myself "I bet this is what Wife #1's romance novels are all like."  At the end of the show, Wife #1 said "Wow.  That was just like watching one of my romance novels!"

Corpse Bride

Subject header of this week's Century showtimes e-mail: "You're not dead you're married!" That is SO true.

Cowboys & Aliens

I went in with low expectations.  They were exceeded.  Even if the aliens looked like guys in rubber suits.

The Crazies

A no-nonsense zombie movie with an outstanding car wash horror scene.  The number of people who fear car washes amuses me.

Crimson Tide

Hidden in the trees west of Hartford, Michigan, is the creepiest drive-in I've ever seen.  Then again, Hartford is the creepiest town I've ever seen.  The local law enforcement consisted of a very bitter old man we encountered twice...once when he had two kids spread-eagle against the back of a car...the second time after the show when the clerk at a convenience store said to him in a very stern tone "Don't blame me if you see my car tearing all over.  He's got it and I'm working."  He gave her one long cold stare and finally muttered "Alright then."  Back at the drive-in was a real live zombie at the ticket window.  "We got FM sound now" he said as his voice trailed off and he looked towards the...distance..."Sounds pretty good" he muttered, almost to himself.  The bathroom was riddled with graffiti that I finally figured out was actually intended.  "Buy hot dogs".  "Drugs are bad".  The snack bar kids reminded me of a Victory Church congregation, except they never smiled.  Our motel manager in Kalamazoo: "The people in the woods are kind of strange."  Someday, I'm going to make a horror movie based on that town.

The Da Vinci Code

Most boring Scooby Doo episode EVER.

The Dance

The so-called "Mornon Cinema" genre has gone from limited release narrow box office success to practically straight-to-video business.  And that's sad, especially in this case, because this is a REALLY good movie that should have done a million or two at the box office, and I want to see these guys get to make more movies.

Dante's Peak

The rule of thumb in my house is that, if I think a movie is really really bad, it will instantly become one of Wife #1's favorites.  It happened with Independence Day.  It happened with Armageddon.  It happened with The Mummy.  If you think I am EVER going to let her watch Godzilla, you've got another thing coming.

So it only made sense that she demanded to see Dante's Peak when I told her how bad it was.  So we saw it, and I remember turning to her when the volcano started to act up and saying "I know you can't possibly believe this, but this is where the movie starts to get dumb."  In the end, Dante's Peak was so bad, even Wife #1 thought it was bad. 

The Dark Knight

So I'm standing in line at the concession stand when the girls working said stand call out "Our computers are down.  We can't sell anything."  This on a day with the biggest release of the year.  So I go to the auditorium, where the lack of snacks is the talk of the day.  I watch the entry.  Nobody's walking in with snacks.  The room is half-full and nobody has bought any popcorn.  Finally, ten minutes before showtime, somebody walks in with popcorn.  The crowd is abuzz.  About six leave to get snacks.  About half of them return because of the line at the concession stand.  This exhibitor lost a TON of money on their first shows today.

Dawn of the Dead

Holy CRAP this movie was stupid.  But it appeared to be trying to be stupid, so it was actually kind of fun.

Detroit Rock City

National Amusements' "Showcase Cinemas 53", contrary to its name, does NOT have 53 screens.  It has 18.  The "53" is because it's just off 53rd St (in Davenport).  "DRC" opening weekend meant me alone in an auditorium where the digital presentation shut itself off a minute or two into the movie in favor of a horrible backup analog.  A trip back to the "Customer Service" stand (yes, they really have one) to complain produced...laughter.  That was my last trip to the 53.  But the movie was pretty cool if you're a KISS fan.

Desert Blue

Christina Ricci pouts a lot and blows stuff up.  'Nuff said.

The Descendants

So in the end when she's in the bed, off the life support, dying?  That's EXACTLY what Wife #1 looked like at the end.  Sort of creeped me out.

Despicable Me

Best Buy did a cross-promotional app thing with Droid that interperets what the minions are saying during the closing credit sequence.  Meaning EVERY FREAKING PATRON WITH A DROID had their bright screens up and running as if they were going to be reading through the whole movie.  This is one of the dumber tie-in promotions ever done.

The Devil's Rejects

Ten minutes in, I thought this was going to be something special.  Then the train wreck known as "the rest of the movie" happened.

Die Another Day

There's something wrong when you go through a Bond movie and keep coming up with references to stuff they've made fun of in Austin Powers movies.  


The graphics had the most amazing computer animation to date.  I was in awe.  Unfortunately, the animals started talking.

District 9

Decently done for what it is, but leaves lots of open questions.  The question I kept asking myself is how I managed to sit through the whole thing.

Dr. Dolittle 2

I've never seen such a crowd at the Valle Drive-In.  They parked cars up the grass by the entrance, parallel parked pickup trucks down the exit lane...The bathroom line was never-ending and the snack bar line was long out both doors.  Of course, they were also showing "Shrek" after "Dolittle."  Which is good because "Dolittle" sucked.


There were two scenes where I found myself laughing out loud...The decor in Kate's house, and the surprise reveal about Kate in the end.  The rest of this movie I spent wondering why people were laughing.


JEEPERS!  That was kind of violent.

Drop Dead Gorgeous

It was a really hot summer and my air conditioning was broken, so I caved and saw a movie at Carmike's year-or-so-old "Southridge 12", in a "supposedly" THX-certified auditorium with a crappy little screen and a bright enough atmosphere you could actually read a book while the movie ran.  But the most amazing thing about this theatre...Where did Carmike find a seat manufacturer that had Burnt Sienna fabric in the year 1998?!?

Halfway through the movie, something happens to the film and we have a scratchy white stripe taking up fully 1/3 of the picture.  I go out to the lobby to complain, and the snack bar is dark, the ticket booth is closed, and there isn't an employee to be found ANYWHERE.  The film is never fixed (naturally) and I resolve never to give Carmike a dime again, just like the last time I went to a Carmike (see "Godzilla").

The Dukes of Hazzard

How desperate is Hollywood for movie ideas to be rehashing THIS for the screens of your multiplex?  Aw heck, it was fun anyway.


RITE-AID?!?  The best product placement deal they could cut for this movie was for store brand goods at Rite-Aid?!?


It's basically a clone of "Garden State", but it's set in Kentucky instead of New Jersey, and the characters are more mainstream.  Oh...And it doesn't suck nearly as bad.


I'm the only guy in the auditorium.  I'm thinking the men dropped off the women on the way to see "No Country for Old Men".  I bet there's NO women in there.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I had a dream recently where I am entering a theatre auditorium with a friend, date, somebody.  I walk through the door...and suddenly find myself outside on a rooftop several miles away.  The door behind me doesn't go back to the theatre.  Movie companion is nowhere to be found.  I am focused on needing to get back to the theatre, but there are distractions all along the way and I keep having to remind myself of what I'm trying to accomplish.  This movie is a lot like that dream.  The movie has a far better ending though.  Actually, my dream doesn't HAVE an ending that I recall.


The trailers are running at Fridley Springwood 9 and the frame is off-kilter.  Even this audience noticed, but nobody got up.  So I got up.  "Tell them to turn it up too!" somebody from the stadium tier yelled (the volume was really low).  The frame problem was fixed before the feature started and the volume was cranked.  REALLY cranked.  Same person who asked me to mention it yelled "Wow.  I guess they turned it up, huh!"  At least they fixed it...the first presentation problem I've ever reported at any Fridley plex that they actually bothered to fix.

Some movies are stupid in a good way, some in a bad way.  This movie is stupid in a good way.  I watch it a lot at home and it still cracks me up every time.

The Expendables

I would throw out the "bad acting, bad dialogue, but way fun" stereotype for such a picture, but Mickey Rourke's monologue was freaking awesome.  AND the movie was way fun.

The Family Stone

Maybe I just didn't pay that close attention to the trailer...Am I the only one who thought this was supposed to be a romantic comedy?  Well, it isn't.  It's STUPID, though...

Fantastic 4

I'm trying to think of something witty to say, but I'm still geeking out from how awesome this was.  So stop reading this and GO SEE IT.

Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The Fantastic 4 take on a silver surfer dude who never actually says "Dude".  Bummer.

Fantastic Mr Fox

It's cute and cuddly and has dialogue like "And I love you.  But I shouldn't have married you."  Explain THAT one to your kids!  HA!

The Fast and the Furious

It could have been filmed exactly as is twenty years ago and played as a double-feature beside "Grand Theft Auto" at any drive-in and made perfect sense.  

2 Fast 2 Furious

Was Doug Wilson from Trading Spaces the set decorator? 

Fast & Furious

A couple sitting in front of me are...well...just sitting there...until the guy gets up and moves four seats to the right.  Apparently, she said something to him that he didn't appreciate. And he got up and moved.

She says "Fine. Just sit alone then."

He does.

She flips him off.

"Right here?" he says.

"Never EVER!" she snaps back.

She sits there and stews. She's getting more and more upset. He occasionally asks her some completely random question about nothing, which really annoys her.

Ten minutes later, she caves, gets up, and moves down to where he is. They remain there through the feature.

That was awesome.

Fast Five

I let out a "HOLY S***!" at the end of the scene during the credits.  It was a bigger shock to me than the major news story that ended the day.


Yes.  It should have been.  Faster, I mean.

Fever Pitch

I walked out on this one for a number of reasons.  First...the dialogue was painfully bad.  Or maybe it was just Jimmy Fallon.  Either way...Wow.  Second...What dog, especially what single woman's dog...doesn't go crazy barking and defending territory when a strange man shows up at the door?  These things, plus the fact that I'm pretty sure I'm going to be forced to watch this when the DVD comes out, was reason enough for an early exit.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Uh, I liked the wavy hair...

Finding Nemo

I realize it's silly to ask, but...When making a movie with talking fish set in Australia, shouldn't the fish have Australian accents?!?

Finding Neverland

This is a wonderful film to immerse yourself into on a quiet, lonely day.  Naturally, I didn’t have a quiet, lonely day.

This is my second time at AMC Flat Iron Crossing 14, a plex I previously stated I wouldn’t mind avoiding because they charged $6 for the matinee, and they had a dreaded red diode shining in your face (see "Ali").  But Boss #23 gave me $20 in AMC gift cards somebody gave her and she couldn’t use (no AMC’s near us, you know).  She figured I could.  Of course, I could, silly.

So I show up for an 11:30am matinee on a Wednesday and there’s a huge line at the ticket counter.  There’s also several “Automated Ticket” stations that nobody ever uses, so I decide to try one of those.  You press information on the touch screen.  Touch touch touch touch touch touch touch…swipe the gift card…and a genuine AMC movie ticket spits out, along with a receipt.  Price for a Wednesday morning matinee…$7.00!  Wasn’t everybody complaining about EVENING shows going to $7.00 a couple years ago?

Off to the snack bar for popcorn and a soda, which burned another $7.50 from the gift cards.  A brief stop at the self-serve buttery topping machine later (where I at LEAST tripled the weight of the bag), and it’s off to Auditorium 9.

I’m at the top of the lower tier of the two-tier stadium setup.  There’s a woman sitting in the row below me to the right.  We’re the only people in the lower section.  This is a plot point, so save it for later.  Oh...and YAY!  No more red diodes.

The trailers start and for the second time out of two movies I’ve seen at this plex, tragedy strikes.  This time, the lamp doesn’t fire.  So we have audio and no picture.  I look up to the booth, where Booth Kid is staring at the lamphouse.  Then he stares under it, in front of it, behind it, and at it again.  Then he repeats.  About the time the third trailer starts, he gets on the radio.  While he’s talking on the radio, the lamp fires and he just about jumps out of his shoes.

Among the promos that run before the show is a cleverly produced piece advising people to turn off their cell phones.  It’s a surprise element disguised as a movie trailer, then suddenly “Nokia Tune” blares out of the left surrounds, and somebody in the movie trailer turns at the camera and says “It’s coming from the theatre!”.  The woman below me to the right turns around and glares at ME, as if it’s MY phone ringing.  That was a pretty effective commercial right there.

The movie starts and about five minutes in, loud explosions are heard.  I don’t think those should be a part of “Finding Neverland”.  The soundtrack of a movie in a nearby auditorium is clearly audible.  I don’t just mean the rumble…EVERYTHING can be heard.  So I get up and check the hallway.  Every auditorium door is open.  So I close the two auditorium doors opposite of my auditorium, then mine on the way back in.  Peace.

A couple of minutes later, two women with five kids walk in.  They stand at the entry and look at the upper tier, which is pretty full.  They look down at the lower tier.  There are five empty seats to my right.  There are eight empty seats to the left of the woman in the row below.  The two rows in front of us are completely empty.  So what do they do?  They seat the five kids to the right of me and sit themselves in two empty seats behind in the handicap row.  I now have a little girl around the age of five sitting next to me.

So the movie is playing.  There’s a couple sitting in the center handicap row seats behind me, and he’s a talker, especially when it comes to making points about the relationship triangle.  I’ve turned around and glared at him once or twice to no avail.  But when the little girl next to me turned around and gave him a dirty look, he shut right up and didn’t say a word the rest of the show.

Aside from the part where two of the older girls to my right whispered to each other, got up, marched to the adults and declared “We ALL want something to eat”, the show proceeded without incident.  As far as I know, we all lived happily ever after.


Snack bar attendant is weighing bulk candy on the scale for a customer.  But she can't figure out how to read the weight.  So she bugs another guy working, who looks at the scale...and turns it around so the display isn't facing the wall.

Four Brothers

One good car chase in the snow...One bad movie surrounding it.


I spent a lot of the movie going "Yeah but..." and "How come..." Then I ended up with "Ohhhhhhhh!".  A movie that can do that to me is a pretty good movie.

Fried Green Tomatoes

I was driving down U.S. 63 in Missouri when I passed the Macon Drive-In for the first time and fell in love.  "Fried Green Tomatoes" was on the marquee.  So every time I see that movie, I associate it with the Macon.   The Macon was a magical place, kind of a drive-in museum, with seating on a covered porch, a playground, and more original touches than any theatre I've ever been to.  It was my favorite drive-in anywhere.  The screen, in its original square wooden form, was destroyed in a storm just before the 2004 season.  I miss you already.

Friends with Benefits

What.  I was bored.


When you go to a drive-in, you don't critique a film based on its believability.  So I picked a pretty good film to see at the Hillcrest in its last operating season.  The Hillcrest was in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I was there in a big roomy minivan right in front of the snack bar, which was an unusual building  for its type.  The snack bar was laid out sideways with full picture windows down the length of the lines with a clear view of the screen on one side and the back of the lot on the other.  It appeared it might have had restaurant style seating along the windows at one time.  The lights along the outside were different colors, which reflected off the building.  It was very cool.

Frequency was a pretty good supernatural thriller.  It would probably play even better after 9/11 with its surroundings (Fireman, Policemen, and the lives of their families play heavily here, and it all has a very New York feel to it).

Friday Night Lights

I grew up on a remote island where football practically did not exist.  There was no school football league.  There was one organized youth football league for roughly junior high school age kids.  My father coached one of the teams, and I played exactly one season for exactly one reason...because he really wanted me to.  "If you don't, you'll regret it when you're older," he said.  I did my time in the Center position.  There was no drama of any kind...If somebody made a dramatic play that would result in a long distance run for a touchdown, it was blown dead and called a touchdown a couple seconds into the run.  You see, the most important thing about this league was that the games ended quickly so the adults could go back to the VFW hall and resume drinking.  Everything else was an afterthought.  No glory.  Nobody even showed up to watch.  I'm honestly not sure anybody even kept score.

Here is a movie looking at the polar opposite perspective.  It is a brilliant work.  It is so good at delivering its story that the theatre crowd was cheering along with the crowd on the screen.  This movie successfully displayed the passion for small-town football, and just how sad and pathetic it is.  Wake up, people.  You've got another eighty years of living to do.

Fright Night

Toni Collette acts more girly than any movie I've ever seen her in.  That's enough for me.  Which is good because there wasn't much else.

From Hell

So I buy the ticket, they tear it, and as I'm walking to the auditorium, I notice that the tear on the bargain matinee ticket produced a slip that said "BARGAIN FROM HELL".  That STILL cracks me up.


Sorry...was this supposed to be a comedy?  Because there wasn't anything funny that wasn't already in the trailer.

Garden State

Our shiny new Century 20-plex is open.  It's all-THX with Electro-Voice speakers and improvements on the two biggest complaints I had about Century...the popcorn (real butter instead of that dry shake-on stuff I'd experienced previously) and fabulous new seats.  Tragically, Century hasn't adapted the two-tier stadium seating concept, but aside from that, it's good.  It's very good.  "Garden State"...not so good.  It feels to me like a movie made out of a parts bin of ideas for quirkiness in characters.  Plus it has a ton of gratuitous drug use, which is an immediate turn-off to me anyway.

Get Him to the Greek

I guess the rock star character is a spin-off from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", which I forgot to see.  Probably should have forgotten to see this one too.

Get Over It

Kirsten Dunst could probably make a movie where she is standing on a street corner for two hours in a full-length black trench coat and hat staring at a fire hydrant where dogs stop to piss periodically, and I'd watch it.  This movie wasn't quite that bad, but it was close.  It did have a great opening sequence though.

Get Smart

I see this...well, PART of it...at an old small town single screener, where apparently nobody but junior high school kids go to the movies.  Part way through the show, the lights flicker.  Then the projector lamphouse quits.  They get that going again, and after the dance scene, it dies again.  In the process of trying to reset the breakers, ALL of the building's power goes, and apparently cannot be restored.

So everybody got refunds.

Ghost Rider

12:05pm: We arrive and sit third row center. Wife #1 says "I'm not hungry, but I need a drink." Me: "Well, that happens sometimes." She leaves.

12:10pm: Movie is scheduled to start...and doesn't.

12:12pm: Large chatty family park themselves in the second row, taking all but three seats. They re-arrange themselves several times until they have the tallest person in the group sitting immediately in front of me. They chat loudly in Spanish all the way through the trailers, proving that "blah blah blah" is truly the universal language.

12:14pm: Wife #1 returns with a bottled water, looks at the people in front of us, and says "Guess who *I* was behind in line?" Then she looks at the screen and says "Why haven't the trailers started?"

12:17pm: Rolling stock (ads) start.

12:21pm: Ads abruptly stop and the house light (there's only one...it's a mercury vapor bulb in the center of the room, which I've always thought was an interestingly efficient design) goes on. People start shouting "REFUND!"

12:24pm: Ads resume.

12:25pm: Trailers start.

12:38pm: Actual movie starts. Row 2 shuts up. Row 4 doesn't. But everything else works through the actual feature, which was far more awesome than the critics would allow you to believe.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Vengeance?  Where?

Ghost World

I know absolutely nothing about graphic novels, but I know of the Aimee Mann song of the same name.  Imagine my relief to hear of this movie and get an explanation of it all because I could make NO sense whatsoever of that song title until then.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US 2011)

Wouldn't it be awesome if somebody made a movie in Nebraska with a Nebraska-themed story, but used Swedish dialogue for no explained reason?

MUCH prefer the Swedish miniseries.  Particularly the end resolutions.

Glory Road

Ticket Seller stares at me while I try to remember the name of the movie. I'm looking at the showtimes board and can't even find it. Deer in headlights. Finally Wife #1 says "Glory Road at 12:20." Ticket seller looks at both of us and asks "One?"

Here's a pretty formula "based on a true story" sports movie that goes through the motions as if they bought the script off the rack at "Movies R Us". It's nowhere near the league of "Miracle", let alone even remotely close to "Friday Night Lights". But it's a decent little feel-good effort.

God's Army 2: States of Grace

It really says something about the LDS film genre when I can go to two different movies at the same multiplex on the same night that feature the Los Angeles temple among their backdrops.  And that happened tonight.  Considering I was the only one watching, I'll be surprised if more moments like this one happen again soon.


Carmike to me is what Pepsi is to a Coke drinker...Intolerable.  But when they open a new plex, I'll give it a shot to see what's new.  So Carmike opened Wynnsong 16 the Wednesday Godzilla came out.  They had the big lizard running on 8 of the 16 screens.  So I go to the noon matinee more out of curiosity to see if Carmike has cleaned up their act.  They haven't.  The only thing worse than the theatre is the film itself.  That and their chatty, inconsiderate, completely worthless customers.

Good Night and Good Luck

Wow.  Did smoking used to be healthy or something?


It’s a Friday night showing at 7:45pm and I arrive at the last minute.  But I figure “It’s been in theatres for a couple weeks and is in decline, so it shouldn’t be too bad.”  Sure enough, I get a ticket, but this film still managed to come within probably less than a dozen seats of packing a 250-seat auditorium at Megaplex 17.  Nonetheless, I end up with an aisle seat on the right side in the top of the lower stadium tier with an empty seat between me and the creepy girls to my left.

This movie managed to produce a number of scenes which sent the entire upper tier into girlish screams, followed by giggles of embarrassment.  It really was a lot better than it had a right to be, even in a 3.1 channel presentation (Left Front and Right Surround were out.)


Let's put this into perspective...

"O" was a fairly well received film that didn't really take off at the box office and ended up being a mediocre-at-best success (some may not even CALL it a success).  But that didn't stop the DVD release from being a two-disc set that included both widescreen and pan-and-scan versions of the film, director's commentary, cast and crew interviews, deleted scenes with commentary, comprehensive analysis of key basketball scenes, AND a whole additional movie..."the newly restored classic film "Othello".  

"Grease" is one of the most beloved movies in the history of movies.  It was cheap to produce for a reluctant company who didn't really know what to do with it, and it ended up being the most financially successful musical ever put to celluloid.  The wait for the film to appear on DVD took forever.  When it finally arrived, amidst a market that is used to receiving classic films with a vast array of extras, documentaries, and in-depth looks into the film, the Grease DVD included...the movie, the original trailer, and a 16-minute "barely covering the basics" cast-and-crew interview taken off the 20th Anniversary editions released four years previous.  Not to mention that Paramount actually released separate "widescreen" and "pan-and-scan" versions as opposed to making both available on the disc.  

Considering this is one of (if not THE) biggest jewels in the Paramount catalog, that it took five years from DVD's inception to get this movie onto DVD and have it be nothing more than a basic rehash of the 20th Anniversary edition laserdisc is an absolute atrocity.  Where's the trailer from the 20th Anniversary theatrical release?  Why not add the VH-1 Grease special (it might have been a "Behind the Music", I can't recall for sure)?  That doesn't even begin to cover the available materials that could have been included here.  Paramount claims another "special edition" is planned for 2004.  The only way you could possibly expect it to be better is if Paramount sells the rights to somebody else and lets THEM do it.

The Great Raid

Gee, "Hogan's Heroes" made POW camps look like a lot more fun.  Maybe it's just the Japanese POW camps vs. the German camps.  Those wacky Germans.


The whole thing...both movies, the fake trailers...was awesome.  But the box office wasn't awesome, and now they're talking about re-releasing the two movies separately.  I don't think they'll work separately.  But if you get the chance to see these together with the whole fake trailer package...yeah!

Hairspray (2007)

Possibly the chickiest chick flick ever made.  105 minutes of uppitiness with about 17,562 dance numbers.  I about walked out twice.  Probably the most well done movie I've hated since "Chicago".

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later

We're at the Council Bluffs Drive-In and there's this bratty little kid from the family parked next to us being as obnoxious as humanly possible.  He runs up between our lawn chairs and squashes our genuine PIC mosquito coil.  I'm about ready to kill the little punk, and it apparently shows, because his parents pack up and move their van elsewhere on the lot.  On top of this, the movie sucks, the drive over sucked, pretty much everything about the day sucked.  Yet I still find a moment when I am standing just to the right of the fenced area in front of the projection/snack bar building, looking at the stars. I take a deep breath, and thank the Lord for one perfect moment in time.  Treasure those moments for all they're worth.


The trailers promised one type of movie...the movie delivered a whole different movie, at least for the second half.  That seemed to annoy critics, but I got along with it just fine.

The Hangover

I saw this early afternoon on a Friday with a middle aged sober audience, and hardly anybody laughed at anything until the credits sequence.  Apparently, you have to be drunk to enjoy this.


This could have been an awesome fish-out-of-water comedy starring Hanna and Sophie.  The ending completely ruined that (and the movie as a whole).

The Happening

This one appeared to be going into "Mist" territory.  Thankfully, it didn't.  Yet it still sucked.

Happily N'Ever After

I saw this because I had some time to kill while new tires were being installed on my car, and its start time and length fit my timetable best.  I should have settled for something more off the timetable.  Or hung out at the food court.

Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

I read an article that said White Castle requested exactly one script change before giving their blessing to this project...There was a scene written in where Harold and Kumar get to a White Castle after it's closed.  White Castle claimed that wasn't likely because White Castles are, and always have been, open 24 hours.  But I can tell you from personal experience that it IS possible.  I rolled into Kansas City on a "bad mood, calm down" White Castle run of my own, only to discover White Castle had pulled out of the market that week and closed all their stores.  So I got some chili at Steak n' Shake and headed east on I-70 to the next closest White Castle market, St Louis, where I ultimately ended up going to Jack in the Box and Del Taco instead.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

All of this mystery and hoopla around a piece of violin rosin?  That's what the stone looks like in the end.  This was my first experience with a movie in SDDS-8.  It wasn't exactly the revolution that my first Dolby Digital experience was.  The movie has become a regular favorite in my DVD player.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

"Because when the tickets are DAMP, the tickets don't TEAR."  Words to live by from the frustrated kid tearing tickets for us at Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons.  We're there for ya brother.  He could have torn another ticket for me at the next showing.  I LOVED that movie.

Billy Joe's Pitcher Show is sort of in the theatre-pub format.  It's a single-screen theatre of your standard 80's-build dimension with a decent sized screen.  The seating is bar-style with round cocktail tables and swivel chairs covered in brown vinyl.  Waitresses come in just before the show starts and take food orders.  They return throughout the show to bring the food and take any additional orders.  Just before the show ends, they come in with the food ticket and you pay them.  The movie sound is lousy, the food is greasy, smokers are smoking, and there's a certain amount of casual chat.  At the same time, kids are here with parents.  Billy Joe's seems to play a lot of kids fare.  The movies are second-run with tickets at $3.50.  The people atmosphere comes off more like a drive-in than it does a bar.  In a way, it's kind of charming.  I saw Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the second time here with the usual suspects.  We had bad pizza, curly fries, mozzarella sticks, and two pitchers of orange soda.  It was a ton of fun.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

HEY!  I didn’t know Dolby had a new trailer out.  Those “Stomp” guys sure have milked that gimmick for all its worth, haven’t they. 

Most critics who had once given Potter films four stars gave this one three or three and a half.  I guess they feel the need to back off a bit in continuously handing out perfect ratings for this series.  Which is stupid.  The hippogriff was worth four stars alone.  

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Megaplex 17 converted the "Cricket Super Screen" to IMAX, which is awesome.  They did two things that suck too...They took out the green couch, and they debuted "reserved seating".  If you buy your tickets at the box office, they show a computer map of the seats and you choose from what's available.  If you use the website or ticket kiosks around the building, your seats are picked FOR you.  When you pick seats, and you pick incorrectly, you get situations like the family sitting to my right.

"Dad, why did you pick these seats?"

"So we could see."

"Well my friends and I sat up there last time and it was PERFECT!"

"Fine. We can move."

"No we can't. Those seats cost more."

"No they don't."

"Yes they do, Dad."

"I don't think so."

"Well you're wrong."

So they stayed. By the way, she's wrong. And there was plenty of empty seats. Another couple in our aisle DID get up and move to the upper tier seating after the movie started.

This is the first Potter movie I have no desire to see a second time. It was good, and I'll be getting the DVD, but it does come off as being cut quite a bit. And elements of the tournament really bugged me. I'm not going to get into them.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I saw this twice...once in IMAX (partial 3-D) and once in DLP.  The DLP looked better.  The IMAX print looked really rough.  The movie itself moved slowly and Delores Umbridge absolutely drove me up the wall.  Still...better than "Goblet of Fire".

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I reserved my seat a week in advance of this showing. Which probably wasn't necessary. NOBODY sits down here unless they have no choice, particularly on an early Sunday afternoon. So the trailers start and suddenly here comes this guy and his girlfriend who sit right next to me. They didn't reserve these seats...they moved from somewhere else. The rows in front and back are COMPLETELY EMPTY, and nobody is in THIS row but me, but they just HAVE to sit next to me. And the guy's bouncing his leg up and down against MINE.

The girl finally moved one seat to the left about halfway through the movie, and the guy eventually followed.  But I will be forever baffled what it was that prompted them to cling to me in the first place.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One)

Okay, so it's the slow 'wandering aimlessly and camping' part of the Deathly Hallows book (which I actually read before seeing the movie...a first in this series), and I really hate boring wandering aimlessly camping movies.  But not this one.  I saw it twice.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part Two)

It was great, but depressing.  Because I kept thinking about how it was the last one as I watched it.  And I just don't want these movies to end.


The good news...it's stylized like Ocean's 12.  The bad news...it's even more convoluted than Ocean's 12.


Did you know that the reason all the drive-ins closed is because YOU didn't buy enough $3.00 popcorn? So says a trailer they ran before the movie at the Holiday Twin Ft Collins. Don't you feel bad now? Not really? Me neither. Yet I still managed to spend $8.75 at the snack bar, and I was ALONE.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Anybody notice that the $3.00 popcorn I noted in the "Hellboy" review is now more like $5-$7.00 popcorn now?  Somebody actually had the audacity to blame the current high prices corn is getting for the increases.  A guy from the corn industry had a stern rebuttal to that...It apparently costs theatres SIX CENTS for the corn it takes to make a large theatre popcorn these days.  So don't give me that garbage.  And don't pull that "high cost of packaging" crap either.

The Help

If you loved "Fried Green Tomatoes", you'll love this.  Completely different story and situation, but I couldn't help but make out similarities.

Herbie Rides Again

As a child, the ritual was as follows: We pile into the car and head right past the Canyon Drive-In and into the Safeway parking lot, where the cheapest pop and potato chips are procured and an angry old father proclaims "These are our snacks, and I don't want to hear ONE WORD about the snack bar!"  But as always, we end up getting popcorn and a Coke to share anyway.  It's still one of my favorite movies.

Herbie: Fully Loaded

I have no idea who Lindsay Lohan is, but she's CUTE!


Here's the whole movie in a nutshell...A guy assassinates three assassins.  The King allows him to come forth and explain what he did.  "Well, I killed the first dude, then I tricked the other two into thinking one was cheating on the other, so one killed the other, then I killed her while she was distraught."  "BRILLIANT!  But you lie.  I think you conspired with them to sacrifice their lives to get close enough to assassinate me!"  "True, but they're not really dead.  We just tricked you into thinking they're dead."  "NUTS!"  Then they have this whole "Peace Love and Understanding" babble fest, the King convinces the assassin not to kill him, and the King has the assassin killed anyway.  I am SO voting for Bush.

Highlander: Endgame

There was a story about Act III building "Movies on TV" in the Portland Business Journal way back when, talking about how they might do a theme around television in the design.  Sounded really neat.  I finally saw it in September 2000, when the fourth "Highlander" movie came out.  The end result was no theme at all...just another monsterplex in Act III guise (not really a BAD thing actually) which Regal Cinemas is running into the ground.

The Hindenburg

1975: The parents of a friend took us to the Westgate Cinemas in Beaverton to see this classic.  You know at the end when they do the "class photo" thing and as each photo goes up say "dead" or "survived"?  So we're going along..."dead" "dead" "dead" "survived" "dead" "dead" "survived" and you KNOW everybody's waiting for the dog.  So finally they get to the end, pause a second, and the dog photo pops up to "survived".  The whole audience went "Aaaaaawwww".

A History of Violence

It's pretty cool, but David Lynch should have directed this.  Seriously.  Lynch would have taken this from good to EXTREME.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

My previous experience with "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is that the book was perpetually displayed in the window of a head shop that was along a path I walked regularly.  I figured that's all I needed to know going into the movie.  I was right.  


Bret "Hitman" Hart was a professional wrestler from a legendary family.  His father Stu ran a wresting school out of the family basement and trained many eventual legends.  Bret himself was a champion in the WWF before moving to WCW for more money after a scandalous ending to his final WWF match where the scripted ending was changed without Bret's knowledge, apparently because he didn't want to drop the belt.  It would make a great movie.

But this movie has absolutely nothing to do with Hart.  It's about some video game.

That blows.


FRONT ROW JOE!  FRONT ROW JOE!  HOLY CRAP CINEMARK RESURRECTED FRONT ROW JOE!  Apparently Cinemark's solution to the long-missing "Best Seat in Town" intro trailer just before the movie plays is a new trailer with a still of Front Row Joe (sans Popcorn Penny...Where'd She Go) hawking the "Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse", which features a bunch of cheap flicks during the summer for kids.  Wait a minute...KIDS?  They want KIDS to come here?!?  Nooooooo!  

Whaddaya mean "Holes" is a kids movie?  Well okay, but it still ruled.

I still want the "Best Seat in Town" Cinemark trailer on DVD.  And the older "Front Row Joe" one from the purple days too.  In 5.1 digital, darn it.

Hollywood Homicide

Holy crap!  The Valle Drive-In got an intermission clock!  This is even better than when they added DTS!  That more than makes up for this blah movie.  It wasn't terrible, sure, but it wasn't GREAT either.


I've been walking around with minor sinus blockage and a headache for about a week now. The cold finally hit full-on over the weekend. So this morning before I go to work, I find a package of store-brand cold/allergy relief stuff in the bathroom. Little white pills. I take one and vamoose. The pills are...weird. My sinuses clear up and the headache is gone, but I feel like I'm wasted or something. The front of my face is numb. And I'm kind of feeling paranoid.

Two hours at the office later, I walk into my boss's office and say "I need to leave." I'm walking very slow by now. She says "Feel better". I go home and take another one of these pills. Then I sleep for three hours and have some seriously messed up dreams.

So I wake up and sit in my chair with my eyes shut. My mind is a complete void. I'm moving very slowly. verrrrry slooooly. And suddenly the solution to my problems is to to go see "Hostel". Perhaps a horror flick will be just the thing to cure me. I take ANOTHER pill and head for the cinema.

The ticket seller says "Flahhb lahhb flur flom flaahhb?" and I just stare. Because I can't remember why I'm here, mostly. Oh yeah. "One for Hostel".

Then I went to the snack bar. The SELF-SERVE snack bar. Which is confusing enough when I'm coherent. I somehow ended up with a hot dog and an ICEE. Mmmm. ICEE.

Available seats: 500. Attendance: 6. I think. I should just go up in front of the screen and lay down. "Brokeback Mountain" is playing next door, and there's some SERIOUS subwoofer leakage coming from there. Must be the sex scene.

Anyway, the trailers started, the sound immersed me, I sort of closed my eyes periodically, and suddenly everything was better. Except that the trailers that played before the feature all seemed like the most awesome movies ever. I'm pretty sure they weren't. One of them is from "WWE Films". The wrestling company. Those guys need to hire a new sound mixer. That trailer has NO punch to it at all.

The movie starts out with some classic rock song, which about a minute into, I realized I was singing out loud. Oops.

Anyway, it was really bloody and gross and full of body parts and had a plausible story line and I liked it and I'm not sure if it's because of those pills or not and I'm going to Cold Stone now.  BYE.

Hostel Part II

Frank Zappa once suggested to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys that they get together a produce a giant spider movie told "from the spider's perspective".  To a degree, that's how Hostel Part II works.  To a degree.  Otherwise, it's kind of campy compared to the first one.

Hot Fuzz

Greatest remake of the Stepford Wives EVER!  Also the greatest remake of Revenge of the Stepford Wives.  Of course, it's the ONLY remake of Revenge of the Stepford Wives...

The House of Sand and Fog

Kingsley and Connelly deliver awesome performances in a beautifully shot film with a great big gaping hole that I could not get around...$45,000.  I mean, the county basically admitted they screwed up, right?  This was over $500, right?  So why aren't they, at a minimum, handing her $45,000 right off the bat?  She can STILL try to pursue getting the house back, or getting another $150,000 out of them for fair market value, but what sense does it make that she's running around homeless?

Oh well.  Did I mention Kingsley TOTALLY ruled in this movie?


There's a really beautiful movie in here that's occasionally marred by a completely unnecessary subplot character known as the Station Inspector.  They could have cut this movie about thirty minutes, kept kids attention better, and made a big warm fuzzy without him.  It's worth the bother anyway, but...

Hulk (2003)

Here's an original idea...A superhero movie with crappy effects but really great DIALOGUE.  It actually plays better at home on DVD where the effects aren't as obviously bad on the smaller screen.  Actually, that means it probably also looked okay at the Carmike.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Here's an original idea...A superhero movie with great effects but really crappy DIALOGUE.  I mean, this was bad dialogue even for a superhero movie.

The Hunger Games

I forgave the holes because the first half of the movie's costumes and set design looks straight out of the Roger Corman playbook, and you can't take anything inspired by Corman seriously.

I Love You, Man

Lesson learned: Rush cannot save a romantic comedy.

The Ice Harvest

Some idiot on the way out compared this to "Fargo".  This isn't a TENTH what "Fargo" was.  One of the bigger disappointments of the year.


It rules when you can correctly guess the villain in the movie...and STILL not guess the ultimate surprise.


Okay...Was that a happy ending, or not?

The Incredibiles

I always liked the girls who put their hair in their face. Why does everybody want them to wear their hair back? Stupid conformists.

Independence Day

"Hey mister?  What's that bright light that keeps going off in your car?"  Oops!  Left the flash on.  I was at the North Star Drive-In, Ogden, UT (since closed)  taking pictures of the property for my old Drive-In Theatre Guide website when the little girl came over and asked.  The movie was the biggest, dumbest movie I had ever seen, a distinction since topped by "Godzilla" (by the same film makers) and maybe "Armageddon".

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

THIS cost $185 million to make?!?  Roger Corman could have made it for $18.5 million...and HE would have used real gophers. 

The Informant!

This is apparently based on a true story.  How much of what's portrayed specifically happened, I don't know.  But WOW is this guy thick.

Inglourious Basterds

The original "The Inglorious Bastards" and this one have nothing to do with each other.  Aside from the fact they're both campy and fun.

Inland Empire

The couple in front of me ask for tickets to "Island Empire". Ticket Girl corrects them, and they seem concerned. Then she says "People have been walking out of it all day. It's three hours long and it's REALLY weird."

Me: "Inland Empire please. I promise not to walk out."

Ticket Girl giggles.

I kept the promise, but was kind of sorry I made it in the first place.

Inside Man

Trailer looks like a formula bank hostage movie with the usual drama, conflict climax, shootout.  Don't be fooled by the trailer, and prepare to have fun.  It's not brilliant, but it is clever.


The girl who played the hotel clerk in the movie said it all when she said “There are two types of people in Alaska…Those who are born here, and those who came here to get away from something.”  That is SO true.


It's basically "Love Actually" as a low-rent dark comedy with violence and a lot of pints of Guinness.  Which, yes, DID make it better.

Intolerable Cruelty

The scheduled movie start time is 12:40, but it's 12:54 before the movie starts if you discount the time the trailers ran.  Nearly fifteen minutes of trailers that had one common thread...They all sucked.  That's not very promising for the leg up to Winter.  That also doesn't count David Goldstein, the set painter who whines about piracy before every show.  SHUT UP already.  It makes you WANT to start a piracy ring and drive the industry out of business personally.


Some Guy and his girlfriend sit behind me and she says "Now be sure to point yourself out to me so I don't miss it." He says "I'm pretty sure I was cut." "But you're listed on IMDB." "I know, but I think that's a SAG thing. You have to be credited even though you're cut." I didn't see him in it. Loser.

Iron Man

Moral of the story...Chicks dig assholes?  Who didn't already know that.

Iron Man 2

I saw this in one of Cinemark's new "XD" auditoriums.  Liked this one quite a bit more than the first one.  The movie...not the auditorium.  Well, the auditorium wasn't bad either, but not worth the admission bump.


Two guys are talking as they exit the auditorium and one says to the other "See, that's what I like about foreign films.  They're subtle."  Yeah.  Right.

The Island

You know your local multiplex doesn't have much faith in the new releases when they leave last week's releases...one of which was "Wedding Crashers"...in the big auditoriums and regulate "The Island" to Auditoriums 1 and 3.  Even the weekend box office statistics agreed.

The Italian Job

I kept comparing this to Ocean's Eleven, which like this film had an all-star cast pulling an impossible theft.  Ocean's Eleven was suave.  Italian Job comes off as something of a wannabe.  It's not a bad movie, but it isn't Ocean's Eleven.

Jackie Brown

Screen-happy AMC opened a 24-plex in Omaha and the joint was jumping on a Saturday night.  The only place four could sit together was in the very front row, stage left.  This is when I figured out where AMC puts their speakers because I could look up and actually see them.  They're up on the top of the wall, corner-mounted against the ceiling, pointed down at an angle.  But it sounds better than Carmike or Regal, so who am I to argue.

Jennifer's Body

So I posted on my Facebook page that I'd given the movie 2 1/2 stars.  Which Emily commented "That many?  Generous."  Which for a second made me wonder if she knew I was referring to a movie...and not her sister.

Jersey Girl

I am the ONLY: Male at this movie, and: Person over the age of 20.  And all the girls are giggly.  THIS at a Kevin Smith film?!?  


Everybody seemed to enjoy the seventeen minutes of romantic comedy trailers before the movie ran, even though they all looked like horrible cliche pieces of crap.  I wonder if they'd watched those same trailers AFTER watching the brilliant Juno if they'd still feel the same way.

Just Like Heaven

This movie may very well encompass every bad chick flick cliche there is. This includes: A girl sitting in a spectacular garden like a princess, a car wreck we don't actually get to see (and therefore enjoy), a music score more annoying than supermarket muzak, an overly evil male that every woman stereotypes every male as the second the relationship doesn't go exactly the way they've envisioned every relationship should go since they were seven, and an eclectic book store.


Yes.  Pretty much.

Kill Bill Vol. 1

I'm glad Miramax split "Kill Bill" into two movies.  The action in Vol. 1 just drains you anyway, and you are left with something to look forward to.  And BOY am I looking forward to Vol. 2, because Vol. 1 is off-the-chart awesome.

Kill Bill Vol. 2

If this had been a single movie instead of being split in two, I don't think I would have made it to the end.  Vol. 2 just seems to plod along to me.  The final scenes with Bill are brilliant, but so much of what led up to it just seemed absurd to me, and not in a fun way.

King Kong (2005)

One girl leaving the auditorium said to her friend, "..And during the whole dinosaur stuff...If I were King Kong, I would have told her she was too high maintenance and dumped her!"   EXACTLY!

King Kong Lives

Yvonne and I went to pay tribute to the Empire, a great old movie theatre in downtown Grand Forks, ND (my home at the time) when they announced they were closing.  Unfortunately, this was to be their last movie.  But shortly after closing, the Empire got a second lease on life when Midco lost their lease on their dollar house across the river.  The Empire re-opened a couple months later as a dollar house.  So it is with poetic justice I can say that "King Kong Lives" was NOT the last movie to grace the screen of the Empire.

The King's Speech

A period piece about a speech impediment.  Really?  Yes.  And it works?  Yes.  Weird.  Yes.

Kissing Jessica Stein

Hollywood teaches us that a good romantic comedy has a fairy-tale ending.  We went into the theatre to feel good.  We see the realization, the kiss, the credits roll, and thanks for coming.  Works every time.  That’s why “hit-music” radio stations get away with playing the stupidest songs in the world every 88 minutes.  We’re all shallow like that.  But when the fairy-tale ending happens and the movie keeps GOING, you KNOW you're in trouble.  Such is "Kissing Jessica Stein", which is out to make a bigger point than two women falling in love.  And I guess we had to have it coming the way Jessica's hang-ups were delved upon.  You do have an out though.  You can just leave when Jessica and Helen walk off the rooftop and into the stairwell. So I guess this could be a multi-purpose movie.  You can go shallow, or you can watch the whole thing.  This will totally mess up the heads of focus groups...

A Knights Tale

Edwards Cinemas Grand Teton 14 in Idaho Falls looks like a big casino.  The lobby is spacious and has a lot of marble accents.  Really nice.  Then you go into the auditoriums and, if you go into Auditorium 9, laugh hysterically.  There on the side walls you will see a mural made of some sort of felt material (or carpeting).  The mural scene is of the mountains, a few trees, and...spotlighted...a moose.  A big moose.  The whole thing looks like it was put together by elementary school kids out of crepe paper.  Here we saw "A Knights Tale", a medieval road flick where jousting fans sing Queen songs.  I guess the moose wasn't so out of place after all.

Knocked Up

The guy who wrote and directed "The 40-Year Old Virgin" did this one too, and it's not QUITE as good, but bloody well close.


Remember that ridiculous "War of the Worlds" remake from a couple years back?  This is basically that movie, but it doesn't suck quite as much.

Don't get me wrong...it sucks...just not quite as much.  

Kung-Fu Hustle

Shaky projectors are BAD when you're watching a subtitled movie.  BAD BAD BAD.

Kung Fu Panda

It was every cliche in the martial arts hero book.  You have the unlikely hero, the masters who don't believe in him, the evil villan, the big training sessions, and the big battle.  And it's all campy.  It was like they were trying to make a KIDS movie or something.

Ladder 49

BEFORE THE MOVIE:  We are at the always open Century satellite snack bar, where two big bags of un-popped popcorn have been wheeled in.  "What's that for?" asks guy manning snack bar.  "They told me to bring it here," said guy wheeling the cart.  "Why?  The popper back here doesn't work!"  "Well they told me to bring this back here."  "What are we supposed to do with it?"  "I don't know!"  "Why don't you bring us some drink cups?  We could use those!"

AFTER THE MOVE: A manager and an employee are in the hallway.  "What are you doing just standing here?"  "I wasn't!" "You're supposed to check the garbage cans!" "I did!  They're fine!"  "You're never supposed to be just standing around!"  "I checked them.  They're fine!"  "If you don't have anything to do, you're supposed to FIND something to do!"  This went on as long as it took me to leave the auditorium, walk to the bathroom, go to the bathroom, and leave.  Not once in that time was I out of earshot of the argument.  

REAL professional there, guys.

Latter Days

About halfway through, the film stops and the house lights go up.  People look around.  One person eventually gets up and goes to the lobby.  Returns a few minutes later.  Nothing happens.  Second person gets up.  Comes back.  Nothing happens.  Ten minutes later, I head for the lobby.  There's nobody to be found.  The snack bar is dark.  The office is locked.  On my way to the door I think goes to the projection booth, I spot two employees smoking outside.  I open the door.  A guy best described as Mini Buddy Holly (complete with glasses) says "Uh, can I help you?"  "Yes.  Is anybody working on the film break in (auditorium) 4?"  "It broke?"  Suddenly he darts past me, through the projection room door, up the stairs, and across the lobby ceiling above.  The movie is going again before I get back to the auditorium.

On the way out, Mini Buddy Holly intercepted me in the lobby.  "Sorry about that, sir.  The lightning must have kicked the breaker off."

The Ladykillers

The first thing I learned while watching this movie is that I'm apparently developing an aversion towards foul language, which this movie was so full of early on that three people walked out.  That period of the movie almost had me wondering if somebody stuck a reel from a different movie in it.  The second thing I learned during this movie is that...well...I didn't really learn anything else.  Worst Coen Bros movie ever, except MAYBE for Barton Fink.

Land of the Dead


Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

We're in the front row at the Council Bluffs Drive-In in the lawn chairs...I'm digesting the dozen or so cookies I ate at the Golden Corral buffet and there are groups of people having fun on the lawn in front of the screen.  They're not friends, they didn't come together...they don't know each other...but almost EVERY ONE of these groups are throwing XFL footballs.

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life  

Amongst the ridiculous number of commercials that aired before the trailers was a commercial about piracy.  They had a set painter talking about the subject in a "you're really hurting the little guy" type-deal.  Apparently the fuss is over people who sneak in camcorders and videotape movies as they run in theatres, then they sell them on the street or offer them for download on the various Napster-like sites.  I don't personally get the attraction to such pirated copies for a few reasons...One, I love going to the movies.  Two, I like a quality presentation.  And even though most theatres don't put on what I consider to be a quality presentation, it sure as heck beats a flickery, snowy image with mono sound that includes the audience coughing.  Besides...Movies are a relative bargain in most of the world anyway.  I can still see the latest releases in a good digital surround presentation for under $5.  I can still buy the movies I love on DVD for under $15, and in most cases via the "Pre-Viewed" copies at major video stores, under $10.  Sure, the latest film releases won't be available at home for six months, but they will be available, and nobody is going to die based on your ability to watch said releases in your home during that time frame.

The Lara Croft movies are a lot of fun if you understand that, while they look like direct rip-offs of the Indiana Jones movies, Lara is really more of a James Bond personality-wise.  Suave.  Yeah.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

If you walked into the auditorium and did nothing more than look up at the stadium seating, you would think this show sold out.  If you walked into the auditorium and did nothing more than look down at the slope seating, you would think you had a private screening.  Apparently, people are so in love with stadium seating that they'll willingly cram together rather than sit in a slope section and have plenty of breathing room.  Regardless of where you sat, your opinion of the movie was likely: Good if you're under 12, Bad if you're over 12.  If you are presently the age of 12, you could probably go either way.  Weirdo.

Let Me In

Skip it and get the Swedish original, "Let the Right One In".  But make sure you get it with the CORRECT Swedish subtitles.  And watch it with the subtitles and the original Swedish dialogue.  If this is too confusing for you, go watch your precious little "Twilight" for the 130th time and shut up.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Once upon a time, retail in America happened in one place…downtown.  Then somebody invented interstate highways, which in turn spawned suburbs, which in turn spawned shopping malls.  Shopping malls killed downtown.  In Lakewood, Colorado, a mall called Villa Italia opened in 1966 to throngs of shoppers.  For over 30 years the mall thrived or survived but finally was crumbled by a wrecking ball.  Planned for its place: Belmar, a “lifestyle center” with a city grid of two-lane streets and sidewalks, three-story buildings right up along the sidewalks with ground-level retail and upper level business and residential space, parallel parking, and parking garages.  I am not exaggerating in any way when I say that Lakewood tore down a shopping mall and built a downtown.  A downtown full of the usual mall shops and trendy restaurants, mind you. 

Century bit on the concept and opened 16 screens.  I had a Century gift certificate.  Off to the movies.

The gift certificate was for $8.25,  the price of an evening admission at my local Century.  But Belmar charges $9.  So I go to the box office and hand the gift certificate and 75 cents to the elderly woman selling tickets.  “Oh dear!” she exclaims.  “I can’t input 75 cents.” 

You see, Century Belmar’s ticket prices are all even dollar amounts.  So apparently they didn’t configure their ticket machines to handle anything but dollar amounts.  That, or she just doesn’t know how. 

So I ask “If I give you a dollar, can you enter that in?”  “Yes, but I can’t give you change” as she shows me a literally empty coin drawer. At which point the guy in line behind me immediately offers a quarter.  “Oh God Bless you!” she says as she snaps it out of his hand.  But this doesn’t make any sense either.  I had quarters.  So while I’m formulating the wording in my head for “Can’t I just give you the 75 cents, then you enter a dollar, and it will say for you to give me a quarter, but you won’t really have to and your drawer will be even?”, she enters what she wants to in, hands me my ticket, and sends me on my way.  I hope that guy got his quarter back. 

I enter the auditorium and am apparently a little early, because the credits are rolling from the previous show.  Most exhibitors clear the auditorium and hold you in a standby line while they clean.  Not Century.  There’s no cleaning crew to be seen and no standby lines.  So I go in, sit down, and fire up Snake on my phone.  The cleaning crew shows up a few minutes later and just works around me as if I’m not there.  “Dude, 16 was a mess!”  “I just cleaned 8.  It wasn’t bad, but it’s BIG.” Some Girl walks in.  “Hey guys, did you clean 16?”  “Yeah.  It was a mess!”  A few other patrons show up, and that’s just fine with the cleaning crew.  On their way out, one says “See you guys later.  Enjoy your show!” 

“The Royal Tenenbaums” is one of my favorite movies of all time, so I had high hopes here.  While it was possibly the most absurd thing I’ve seen all year, it would have been better if they cut every scene that didn’t have Angelica Huston in it.  

Little Miss Sunshine

You know what I don't understand? Why Toni Collette is attractive. She IS attractive...I just can't figure out WHY.

Little Nicky

So we're buying tickets and the uber-cute girl manning the next ticket booth over leans in and says "THAT MOVIE IS AWESOME!"  She was right.  Nobody else thought so, but I'm there for ya.

Live Free or Die Hard

Advertised start time of movie: 12:00.  Actual start time of movie: 12:29.  HOW MANY TV COMMERCIALS AND MOVIE PREVIEWS DO WE FREAKING NEED ALREADY?!?

The Longest Yard

Girl at ticket window is talking on her cell phone.  Is that really a good example for theatre patrons?  "Blah blah blah blah...blah blah...Hi!"  "Two for The Longest Yard, please."  "Ten fifty.  Thank you.  Blah blah blah blah..."

The original is a movie Burt Reynolds is long remembered for.  The remake is one Adam Sandler won't be remembered for.  But it was still an okay way to kill a morning.

The Lorax

Guy walks into lobby, looks at two doors, asks "Which auditorium is "The Lorax" playing in?"  He's advised there's only one auditorium.  This seems to just confuse him all the more.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The Lorraine Theatre is in Hoopeston, IL.  Enter town from the south on State Hwy 1 and you will find the town is large enough to support a McDonald’s and a Pamida.  Pass the homes and parks until you see N Main St, most recognizable by the “BUSINESS DISTRICT” sign pointing right.  Turn right.  Go straight through town.  If it’s evening, you might see a few businesses open, the bar, the Subway, and the Lorraine's second screen (but that's not where you're going so just pass it by).  And just as you hit the end of downtown on your left is a lovely old theatre that looks pretty well taken care of.  Buy your ticket.  Adore the charming lobby.  Enter the theatre and be shocked at how beautiful and artful it is (ignoring the water stains).  Have a seat.  And when the movie starts, be blown away by the HPS-4000 system with SDDS-8 digital sound.

I already knew about all of this and had planned for the past couple of years to get down to Hoopeston and see a movie here.  I’ve corresponded with the owner on several occasions.  So finally I find myself nearby and I see a movie here, and they just HAVE to be showing the second Lord of the Rings film.  So it didn’t really bother me that I missed the first half hour completely, or that I only watched an hour of the film in total before I had to leave or bust out laughing at the absurdity of what I was seeing.  This theatre was worth it, and well worth your time if you ever find yourself passing Danville, IL on I-74.  Just go north about 30 miles.  It’s worth it.  It really is.

Lord of War

Wife #1's comment as we left the theatre..."So was that a propaganda film FOR guns, or AGAINST guns?"

The Losers

Quite possibly the dumbest movie to ever feature a Journey song.  And that's SAYING something.  

Lost in Translation

Wow.  Japan sucks.

Love Actually

Cinemark’s brand new monsterplex in American Fork, Utah had all the latest Cinemark amenities, which were largely just minor running changes in décor nobody but me would notice, but included self-serve “buttery topping” machines.  This isn’t such a good idea in my mind because Cinemark’s snack bar staff are as consistent chain-wide at providing my favorite balance of buttery topping as they are trying to upgrade you to a large drink for just a quarter more.  So when Wife #1 says “…And lots of butter” while ordering, the guy points out the self-serve machines and hands her a half-empty popcorn bag.  “You can butter it up and then I’ll fill the rest of the bag”.  WOW.  This guy is good.  I topped, he filled, I topped again.  And I can safely say I can’t top the popcorn as well as the Cinemark snack bar professional.  Nuts.  I TOLD you this was a bad idea…


I saw "Grindhouse" with a decent college crowd that went ape over the fake trailers.  "Machete" was one of those.  Maybe it was the crowd I saw Machete with, but it was kind of a let down.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

I skipped the first movie.  I should have skipped this one too. 

The Man who Wasn't There

One of the guys on the KSL Movie Show complained that Billy Bob Thornton's character didn't have many lines.  For crying out loud, he NARRATED THE WHOLE STUPID MOVIE!  The beauty of this is that you get to see an example of one of those guys who you wonder about...they're always there, they never say much, and you just wonder what it is they're thinking.  Here, we get to know!  It's brilliant!  I don't know why I'm the only one who gets this.

The Majestic

Question for Cinemark: If I say right now that no, I do not want to upgrade my medium soda to a large for just a quarter more today, yesterday, or tomorrow, will you PLEASE STOP ASKING?!?

Mars Attacks

Do you know why this movie was so good?  Because Independence Day was so BAD.

Match Point

This is the best Woody Allen movie ever because Woody Allen's not actually in it. It carries all of the trademarks of a Woody Allen movie from the music to the mood to the center channel mono soundtrack, but no annoying Woody Allen.  And it has lots of unexpected twists.  It's a clever idea that could have fallen flat on its face, but it works.

Matchstick Men

Nobody should never buy anything from a telemarketer.  Ever.  The only reason telemarketers exist is because people are stupid enough to buy from them.  If nobody did, they'd go out of business.  The opening scene in this movie is a con done by telephone.  So am I saying that all telemarketers are con artists?  No.  Am I saying that all telemarketers are blood-sucking leeches who should be embarrassed to be alive?  Yes.

Some people have complained about the ending.  I liked the ending...it was the last con that led to the ending I had problems with, because the movie didn't give me any reason to believe those three...four...could pull that dramatic a swerve off.

The Matrix

The thing about The Matrix I remember when watching it was writing it off as a movie that did all this build-up around a virtual world, the things you could do in said virtual world, and the video-game-like martial arts stuff in the virtual world...then ended it all with "guns.  Lots of guns."  It took about three watchings of the DVD in later years to comprehend that stupid movie.

Matrix Reloaded

The potential of this movie made me decide to try out the Lorraine's HPS-4000 sound again, since the first time I'd been there was for a movie I didn't like enough to watch more than an hour of.  So I made the six-hour drive.  I found myself giddy in a Butthead-like way during the "Smiths" battle and the highway sequence.  I was so psyched by this movie that I took Wife #1 to see it the next day at Cinemark Ames 12.  And it was there when I really got it...the difference of HPS-4000 versus your garden variety monsterplex sound.  It was like the difference between digital and analog.  It was that extreme.  Which is not to say that Cinemark is that bad...HPS-4000 is that GOOD.  So I guess I'll be making a lot of weekend trips to Eastern Illinois in the future.

Matrix Revolutions

The anti-piracy ad finally changed.  Our new piracy whiner is a stunt man.  And right in the middle of the stunt man's babbling, the projector quit working and his talking slowly ground to a halt, like a record you cut power on winding down.  The audience erupted in laughter and applause.  


You know that part in the movie where James Garner's character reveals himself as the father of Mel Gibson's "Maverick"?  You could hear people all over the lot of the SE 14th Drive-In scream "I KNEW IT!" even though it was cold and the windows were all rolled up.


Ever notice that desperately alone girls in movies about desperately alone girls are all really sexy?  I mean, seriously.  Couldn't you cast an outcast role in an outcast movie with an actual outcast just ONCE?!?

Me and You and Everyone We Know

You know how South Park handles sex with the kids?  This movie is a lot like that but with real actors.  And that makes it kind of uncomfortable to watch.  At least initially.

Mean Girls

They say that high school is the best years of your life.  Lies.  Your twenties are the best years of your life.  You can still pretty much get away with doing the stuff you wanted to do in high school with fewer deterrents.  Besides...Its your twenties when you really forge lifelong friendships and start your own families.  Does anybody at 20-year high school reunions really know anybody else there anymore, and do you still even care ten minutes after it ends?

I hated my high school years.  I hated school, I hated my life, I hated the town I lived in.  I pretty much hated everybody around me except for a select few, and they all pretty much ended up hating me.  I can count the number of people I miss from that era on one hand, and two of them hated my guts before school even ended.  Which is probably why Heathers is my favorite high school-themed movie.  Mean Girls doesn't even come close, but it did break my rule that any movie with Lorne Michaels in the credits isn't worth seeing.  Not by much, but it did.

The Mechanic

Don't mess with a man's turntable.

The Medallion

"The Medallion" was fun, sure, but the best thing about the show was the trailer for "Kill Bill" which ran before the movie. Except "Kill Bill" played in a flat single-channel analog that panned back and forth between the left, center, and right front channels, as did all of the other analog material that played. 

Meet the Parents

A friend of mine wanted to go, and I felt like seeing a movie...ANY movie...so off we went to the Showcase Milan, an old 11-plex that sat on the lot of an old drive-in theatre (as many National Amusements plexes do).  Friend insisted I order the tickets online because it was Friday night.  So I go through the National Amusements site and do the online order.  Off we go.  We get to the plex and there's like 20 cars in the whole parking lot.  The ticket machine you pick up the online orders at is broken.  We fiddled with it for a bit before an old man walked up and said "I think it's broken."  Some discussion at the ticket window provided the revelation that we were the first people ever to order tickets online for that theatre (I found out in a later discussion with a manager that we were more like the third), and nobody had any idea how to handle them.  Then some guy in a jacket who seemingly just dropped by went into motion, gave some instructions to the staff, pushed some buttons, and fixed the whole deal immediately.  So we were in.

For as old a plex as it was, it was kept up well.  Very clean.  The staff was ADULTS who were all very friendly and professional, and the presentation was solid.  It was an unusual experience in today's monsterplex mentality, and I credit the old Showcase for giving it all even when nobody was around to give it to.  It's since closed, of course.  What can you do.

The movie sucked.

Men in Black

We saw this in a hot, sweaty, packed auditorium at 20 Grand in Omaha where a complete stranger to my left kept talking to me.  That sucked.  But cooler movies are hard to come by.

Men in Black II

Was the flush scene supposed to be an ironic metaphor for the fact that this movie was made at all?

Midnight in Paris

You're better off seeing this without knowing what it's about.  It's a delicious Woody Allen indulgence.  Just go with that.



The Missing

I love the West, but I love it more with Taco Time, Golden Corral, and a Comfort Inn with a whirlpool suite.  And a better screenplay.  At least a SHORTER screenplay…  

The Mist

Skinny Teenage Girls have their feet on my seat.  They remove them as I arrive and giggle "Sorry".  Then they spend the movie screaming at the screen stuff like "KILL HER!" and "RUN YOU IDIOT!"  Right up until the end, when the auditorium fell silent and one of the girls repeatedly muttered "I hate this movie.  I hate this movie.  I hate this movie."  Which was pretty much how we all felt.  This movie is a virtual dementor...it sucked the joy out of every living soul in the room.

Mission: Impossible 2

Three words: Action Chick Flick.

Mission: Impossible 3

Action!  Facial expressions! Sheep!

Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

More of the same, I guess.  Some good action sequences that people are talking about, campy chick flick-level dialogue, a Moonraker-level plot, and absolutely nothing I'll remember by the end of the day.  Why do I keep seeing these things?


I don't care for baseball, but I'm a sucker for a good baseball movie.  Unless Kevin Costner is in it.  And he isn't in this one.


There was a huge line to buy tickets tonight crowded into a surprisingly orderly three-column snake.  The girl behind me is alone.  This is strange because she's young and attractive, and my experience is that young and attractive women NEVER go anywhere alone...they either have a date or they travel in packs.  An example of why they do this happened here, as a tall bald man passing in the opposite direction tapped her on the shoulder and said "Is your name Meg?  Don't you work at Principal?" She was, and she was polite as he said he was laid off and told her his life story since.  The line was moving fairly efficiently, so she didn't have to spend that much time talking to him.  It was really apparent she was looking out the window somewhat anxiously, obviously waiting for somebody.  So it was pretty funny when she spotted her boyfriend already IN the lobby, relaxing in a chair almost right in front of her.  She says "Get over here!" and he says "Why?"  "GET OVER HERE!"  He does.  "Where were you when I needed you to save me from the creepy guy?"  "Oh you mean that guy you were talking to?  Why?  What did he say?"  "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."  "Do you want popcorn or coffee or something?"

Monsters, Inc

So we're at my usual haunt, Cinemark Ames 12.  The previews, almost as anticipated as the feature, start...and we get the new "Harry Potter" trailer, the new "E.T." re-release trailer, and the new "Star Wars" trailer...all in a solid digital presentation.  Then the "Cinemark" trailer runs in a haphazard crappy analog, and so does the entire movie.  This place used to be SO reliable... 

Monsters vs Aliens

The attack probes had a nice retro appearance.  The blob character was the highlight.  It was pretty pedestrian otherwise.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

This looked a lot better on paper than it was executed.  Too long, and fairly unimpressive action in the end.  This could have been a LOT more fun than it was.

Mulholland Drive

Can't understand "Mulholland Drive"?  Allow me to explain it.  

We have been sold on it being a mystery.  It's not...it's just played out as one.  Up until the blue box is opened, the movie is mainly a dream.  The scenes with "Rita" and "Betty" are Diane's dreams of how Diane and Camilla could have met.  The people we meet in this dream are in fact other people in Diane and Camilla's lives.  Some moments in the dream are based on other moments in Diane's life.  Why is Betty so cheerful all the time?  Because the waitress named Betty at "Winky's" is always so cheerful.  In the dream, Betty and Diane exchange personas.  Other characters at the end of the movie are given roles in Diane's imaginary world.  For example...Adam's mother, who clearly does not like Diane, befriends "Betty" in the dream...and treats "Rita" with the same disdain she actually treats Diane with.

The scenes where we meet Adam Kesher and the befuddled thug who ends up killing two additional people to cover up the first killing are not part of the dream.  These scenes exist to introduce us to the characters.   But the scenes where Adam is blackmailed into casting Camilla into his movie ARE part of the dream.  These scenes lead up to a scene where Camilla, looking a lot like Diane, gets the part just before Diane has the chance.  This is Diane's way of telling herself she could have had that part and only didn't because Camilla was forced on Adam.

Diane didn't just want Camilla...Diane wanted to BE Camilla.  Diane wanted Camilla's talent and career.  Camilla likes Diane, but Camilla likes to kiss a lot of people.  Diane could not live without her.  So when Camilla and Adam got engaged, Diane hired the befuddled thug to kill Camilla.  Notice the first time we see the plain blue key in Diane's apartment...the same key we later find out the thug will deliver when the deed is done.  Notice the scene we first see that key is when the neighbor comes over for her dishes, she comments "Those two detectives were looking for you."  She's not referring to Betty and Rita.

Camilla is dead.  Diane is STILL haunted by Camilla.  Diane cannot escape.  Diane takes her own life. 

So you're thinking "Yeah, but what about the monster behind Winky's?"  Little girls know all about the Boogeyman...the monster under your bed.

It's quirky and funny enough for "Twin Peaks" fans.  It's deep enough for "Blue Velvet" fans.  It's David Lynch.  What more could you ask for?

The Mummy

This movie sucked.  It sucked and sucked and sucked and sucked and sucked and sucked and sucked.  And just when it could suck no more, it sucked some more.  And pretty much every movie that followed it all summer sucked.  Sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked.  Then Fall came and brought us American Beauty.  And the landscape was awash in roses again.  But boy did The Mummy suck.  There are plenty of worse movies in the world, but boy did The Mummy suck.

The Mummy Returns

There was a guy sitting in the row ahead one seat to my left who leaned back and loudly asked "CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT THEY ARE SAYING? THE WORDS ARE TOO FAST!"  I figured out he was referring to the captions when the Mummy characters are speaking in whatever language they're speaking. He asked many questions of me before the show started like "WHEN IS THE NEXT EPISODE (of "Star Wars") COMING OUT?"  The guy was loud through the entire movie, screaming "WHOA!" at some points and, sure enough, when the captions came up, leaning back and yelling "WHAT DID THEY SAY?!?" (I did tell him...once...) But oddly enough, he wasn't really as annoying as he could have been because for the most part his mouth didn't open except when the soundtrack was loud anyway.  My co-movie-goers actually annoyed me more with THEIR chatting.


...So the Isreali's got revenge by hiring the HULK to assassinate the bad guys?

The Muppets

Great opening, lousy middle (including a montage to a Starship song, a practice itself that should be outlawed), and a great ending.  Sort of a sentimental recommendation from me.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I was at Cinemark 24 at Jordan Landing Memorial Day 2002 and a sea of people are shouting over each other at the box office for tickets to “Star Wars Ep II” and “Spider-Man”.  This is how I envision Wall Street.  Little stickers that say “SOLD OUT” cover well over half the showtimes for both films, and they’re playing each on three or four screens.  Inside, people are kept behind ropes like cattle as they wait for their showing of either film to open for seating.  I walk straight past the lines to the Cinemark “Keeper of the Line” and he says “Spider-Man?” and I say “No, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  He looks at me like I’m from outer-space because he’s lost all comprehension of other movies.  He looks at my ticket and says “Well I think it’s seating but it’s 45 minutes until it starts so it shouldn’t be ready yet…” (looks at light panel that indicates these things) “…Yes, it says it’s ready!”  And it was.

The sheep eventually funneled into this auditorium to about ¾ capacity.  I was first in and chose my prime seat, then ended up moving twice to accommodate others and still have a buffer of a seat on either side of me.  Still, I ended up in a pretty good position and enjoyed one hysterical movie, probably made more enjoyable because the people in attendance enjoyed it so much.  A good audience can make a good movie even better.  This was a good audience.

My First Mister

Total attendance for the 8pm Sunday showing: Four, including me, one of those weirdoes who sits through the entire credits at the end, and two women who I thought were a couple until one started talking about "a cute guy who was short because he was from Minnesota, but he was sweet because he bought (her) cigarettes", and they seemed to get all weirded-out by the trailer for the very Lesbian movie "The Girl" (the only thing that ran before the actual feature).  The presentation was center-channel mono.  The screen was very Carmike in that it was a lot smaller than the wall it hangs on.  And the movie?  I expected it to be good.  It was about ten times better.

My Week with Marilyn

Lovely period piece about the making of a movie starring Marilyn Monroe.  Based on the memoirs of a guy who actually experienced this, apparently.  Okay.

Mystery Men

I will usually back Cinemark as a chain who builds a decent plex with a passable, almost always reliable, presentation.  Cinemark Merriam (KS) is a big exception.  I walked out halfway through Mystery Men because the presentation was so bad.  The subwoofer sounded like it was going to blow at any second, and the digital kicked on and off at random.  The sound overall was distorted in digital or out.  The auditorium dimensions were so bad you would literally have to tear the building down and start over to improve it.  It came off as being a Regal design that Regal abandoned mid-stream and Cinemark picked up.  

I did finally see "Mystery Men" in its entirety...when the DVD came out...

Nacho Libre

Oh no!  Century's replaced their creepy instrumental music with actual SONGS!  What is the world coming to...

Napoleon Dynamite

I noticed a continuity flaw in the movie during my sixth viewing.  In the cafeteria scene where Napoleon takes Pedro's tots, there's a stray tot that remains in the corn dog compartment that appears and disappears a couple of times in the back-and-forth camera shots.

Yes, I did say "sixth viewing."  This movie is an absolute treasure for me.  And not just because I used to have those moon boots.

The Nativity Story

A small-town girl comes home surprisingly pregnant.  OOOOH!  Scandalous!  And you'll NEVER believe her explanation...

New York Doll

Management must be sorry when they see me coming.  First I have to run from Auditorium 22 to the snack bar, which feels like it's about a mile, to tell them the picture is screwed up.  Then I have to run by there again after the show to tell them somebody threw up in the bathroom.  I suppose that should be sort of fitting when seeing a movie about the Dolls.  But it was awesome.  Totally awesome.  A must-see for fans of the punk and new wave movements of the 70's and early 80's.


Okay.  Uh...there's a bomb, and some bad guys, and some evil FBI guys, and a hot chick, and about half the movie is a FREAKING DREAM SEQUENCE!  It's Bobby Ewing all over again.

A Nightmare on Elm St. Part 2 - Freddy's Revenge

For the first "Nightmare" movie, I went with my girlfriend Tammy and two of her friends.  I had no interest in the movie at all, but they did, so off we went.  When the sequel rolled around, we all went again, but this time I was going out with Shelly.  I was so bored and she was so into the movie that I couldn't resist...I turned towards her, widened my eyes, open my mouth wide, and stuck out my tongue as far as I could.  My face was in pain before she finally turned towards me and SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER, turning every head in the house in her direction.  I'll bet she still doesn't think it was funny, but Lola and I did.

No Country for Old Men

Earlier today, I saw "Enchanted" and was the only male in the auditorium.  I guessed that the men dropped off the women and came to see this instead.  Yep.  Looks like I was right.

Nurse Betty

Sunday afternoon at Wilsonville 9 and three people stumble in the unusually dark room to the seats right in front of me..."There isn't an aisle in the middle!"  "Well just sit down then."  "I don't know why they have to make these so dark.  And what's with the ridiculous admission?" "Oh everybody has complained since that Regal company took over.  That's what I like about Newberg.  We just have one nice little theater."  "Did you bring the food" "Yup!" (They snuck in their own.)

I didn't really know what to expect going in because the title and the poster gave me a "soft porn" vibe, but it had a cast that made that impossible.  So what I got was all the more worth it.


I don’t know about you, but whenever they did a scene that was designed to show Hugo’s need for bonding with his father and his father pretty much tossing him to the curb, I was going “YEAH! Kick his ass dad!  Your son SUCKS!”

O Brother Where Art Thou

850 KOA's Reggie McDaniel said of this film "The best movie I've seen that didn't make a lick of sense."  Most critics said the same thing using bigger words, and frankly, I don't get THEM.  I thought the movie made perfect sense and I loved it.  A good road movie is so hard to come by these days.

Ocean's Eleven

Clooney and Pitt are the kings of cool in this movie.  They can do no wrong.  What a classy, suave caper.

Ocean's Twelve

I really wasn't sure that I wanted to see this.  The first one was wonderful, but I saw no point in a sequel.  And now that I've seen it, I still see no point in a sequel.

Ocean's Thirteen

STILL see no point in a sequel.

The Omen

(Movie:) "I bathed him.  I know every inch of his body."  (Crowd:) "Ewwww!"

Once Upon A Time in Mexico

When Movies 12 has a movie playing on multiple screens, they usually post a notice by each auditorium door with start times and an advisory to make sure you're in the right theatre.  For Once Upon A Time in Mexico, they did not do this.  So we get the tickets and the seller says "First theatre to your left".  Well, that's sort of true.  Once you walk up the ramp to the auditorium hall, you can go right or left.  So we go left.  From there, the first theatre is on the right, and it's playing "Once Upon A Time in Mexico."  So logically, you would think that's the place, yes?  But it's not.  Our tickets say Auditorium 1, which is the first theatre on the left of this hall.  Wife #1 noticed the auditorium on the right and says "Uh, I think this is our theatre."  I explain why this is incorrect and, as we approach, she says "Oh!  It's playing in two theatres."  I should also note that Cinemark doesn't actually have anything indicating the auditorium numbers anywhere...I just happen to know this is Auditorium 1 from experience.

So we settle in and she notes we have a private screening thus far.  We're the only ones in the room.  Then she thinks about it and wonders aloud if everybody else is in that other auditorium.  It's possible since neither show is running at the time...we're here for the first show of the day.  The show starts and we're still alone.  The commercials play, the trailers play, and one trailer before the movie starts, about two dozen people suddenly come rushing in.  I don't know if a Cinemark employee realized what was up and told them all they were in the wrong place, or if one of the patrons had complained about the show not starting on time and discovered they were all in the wrong place, but we were the only ones who got it right.

I was back later in the week for "Matchstick Men" and, yes, they had since posted the Showtimes by the auditorium doors.

One For the Money

If WIfe #1 were alive today, she would have dragged me to the first available screening of this.  She was a huge fan of Janet Evanovich's novels.  And I'm pretty sure upon viewing this, she would have thought it was the greatest movie ever.

One Hour Photo

A quote from a woman sitting behind me: "I stopped buying fancy underwear because nobody ever sees it." The same woman complimented another woman in her aisle on the "little geckoes" she had tattooed around her ankle. Two others were playing an inspired round of "20 Questions" which started out as "Is he alive?" "No." "Is he dead?" "No."

The climate control was Carmike-loud and was futile anyway. The room was pretty stuffy. Conversation from other movie-goers indicated that it's always this way.  You'd think at $8 for a matinee, they could afford to replace and upgrade it. 

I traditionally don't like Robin Williams movies, and suddenly in one year he made two I thought were good.  Sneaky bastard.


Roger Ebert gave this 3 1/2 stars.  Roger Ebert has LOST IT.

Our Idiot Brother

This was marketed as a comedy, but it wasn't.  But Zooey Deschanel makes out with a chick about a half dozen times, so there's that.

Over the Hedge

Funny...I remember the comic being WAY more clever than this.

The Pacifier

This was the first movie of the double-feature that opened the season at the drive-in this year.  And it was perfect for the family crowd who attended.  That's the best thing I can possibly say about it.

Pan's Labyrinth

A psychologically disturbed child dreams up a fairy tale as escapism from the boring war movie she's trapped in.  Nearly every principal character, including her, ends up dead.  Which was fine with me.

The Passion of the Christ

It's like walking in just long enough for part twelve of a two thousand part miniseries.

Pearl Harbor

I don't really blame Bruckheimer and Bay for this dreadful piece of sludge...I blame the people who gave the project to them in the first place.  Giving Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay a project like "Pearl Harbor" is like giving Troma the rights to remake "Gone with the Wind".  And I know you're thinking "Yeah, but look who they gave 'Titanic' to."  And I suppose you'd be right.  Some hit, some miss.  BOY did this miss.

The Perfect Storm

My favorite moment in time in all of 2000 was when I found myself sitting in an Oregon theatre watching "The Perfect Storm".  It had more to do with the fact I'd actually set foot in my home state for the first time in a few years than anything else.  And we're talking JUST setting foot.

Ontario is the Oregon/Idaho border town.  "Reel 8" is a cheap build, not much to look at outside, almost looks unfinished in many aspects inside.  But I was all-out impressed with the Dolby Digital sound and the overall layout of the auditorium, which made available one HUGE screen, justifying the warnings of "motion sickness" posted in the lobby for "Storm".   Much more preferable than the Edwards in Boise.

Peter Pan

Did you know that when kids get to see the Coke Bottle Race slides before the show, they get really excited when their bottle wins?

Phone Booth

I found this hard to keep myself interested in because I never would have answered the phone in the first place and even if I had, there's about a dozen points where I would have just said "screw this" and walked away.  Let him shoot me.  So what.

Pirate Radio

Hey kids!  Remember when radio was FUN?  Yeah, me neither.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

This is the epitome of "big dumb movies", made much better by the existence of Johnny Depp doing Keith Richards.  Lots of fun, as it should be since it's based on a theme park ride.

Pirates of the Caribbeean: Dead Man's Chest

This movie was very long.  Long.  Looooooong.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

I don't see why the critics are being so fussy about this.  It's no more convoluted than "Lord of the Rings" and, unlike "Lord of the Rings", parts of it are actually fun to watch.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Fun, mindless, not over-bloated like the other sequels.  Still, I think I'm burned out on all this Pirates crap.

Pirates of the Great Salt Lake

The first time I heard the title, I didn't believe it could be a real movie.  Who would fund such a thing, and what could it possibly be about?  Well, it's about two lost suburban losers looking for themselves...and buried treasure.  Shot mostly on the Great Salt Lake, around Orem, and of all places, McGrath's Fish House, this thing was good enough to get a straight-to-DVD release from the Weinstein Company.  It's NOT a "Mormon genre" film (though it's done by those guys).  It's absolutely ridiculous.  It's one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen...and I loved it.


Chapter 28 on the DVD is perfect for giving guests an example of what any decent Dolby Digital home theatre setup is like.  It starts out in mono, adds full surround thunder, then builds to a great soundtrack with effects.  I've widened quite a few eyes with it.  

The Polar Express

Why are the critics wetting themselves over this piece of crap?  WHY?!?


There's a restaurant in Seattle that really did get destroyed by a rogue wave.  The newly rebuilt location offers this advice:  "In case of rogue wave, order dessert first." 


Imagine a movie set in two time periods that centers around a guy…whose wife has a “no physical contact” policy for completely unknown reasons…who has an affair with a lesbian that results in a suicide and a pregnancy. Throw in a grave robbing scene and several thefts from universities and libraries. How does that sound to you? 

In fact, it comes off as a light, charming, fluffy little love story that is a delicious guilty pleasure on a rainy day.

Imagine that.

A Prairie Home Companion

Ever listened to the radio show?  Me neither.  But I wouldn't mind attending the broadcast after watching this.  

Pride & Prejudice (2003 Excel release)

Rainy Kerwin is so unbelievably cute that I consider it a travesty that she hasn't been in every movie made since this one.  Actually, she hasn't been in ANY movie since this one.  What is WRONG with you movie making people!

Public Enemies

It would have been far more watchable if they'd used tripods and shot the thing on film instead of video.  Some of the shot backgrounds made it look like part of the movie was shot on standard def camcorders.


I was really tired and worn out from a weekend of painting the living room when I watched this movie for the first time, a choice made based on the extremely cheap price I got the DVD for, Christina Ricci, and Ebert's "3 1/2 stars" according to the cover.  And aside from two hysterical scenes, I was angry at this movie because I took it seriously.  I was yelling "What in the WORLD are you thinking?!?" at the screen in more places than I can count.  You should have seen me during the car crash scene.  Then I went online and read Ebert's review.  Boy did I feel stupid.  So I watched it again with the understanding of the joke, and felt much better.  I am SUCH an idiot.

Punch-Drunk Love

So I buy my ticket, popcorn, and pop, put more 30-weight on my popcorn than should be allowed by law, and head down the hall-o-theatres.  Each theatre has one of those stupid scrolling scoreboard-style things showing which movie is playing where.  One says "Laser Tag coming soon" because apparently they're converting one of the theatres to laser tag.  None of them say "Punch-Drunk Love".  So I go back to the guy taking the tickets and ask.  He sheepishly says "I forgot to change the sign."  It's playing in the same auditorium as "Femme Fatale".  So I'm set.

My first choice in seats fails because the bolts that hold the right side of the seat are missing so it caves to the floor.  So I move one over.  On a later visit, I find out that some of the auditoriums have cup holders and some do not.  Sound is basically three channels...a center channel mono behind the screen, and L-R front channels coming out of the surrounds.  I have a private screening...until about ten minutes in when two women enter and sit three rows back.  They chat throughout the first third of the movie as if I'm not even there.  They hate the movie.  "This is the worst movie I've ever seen!" is said several times.  "She has a nice tushie though."  Then one of them says "Sir?" I turn around.  "Does this movie get any better?"  "No," I say.  "Have you seen it?" "No, but I've heard much about it."  "Do YOU like it?" "Yes."  "Well, it must just be us then."  So they leave.  This makes me very happy.

The Punisher

Most of the Marvel movies, like the comics themselves, are pretty formula.  But it's a formula that works, so that's fine.  The standout about this Marvel superhero is that you don't have to do much anything with CGI to produce the heroes or enemies.  Regardless of what the critics say, this movie isn't a "long, dark slog through grim revenge" (Ebert).  It does have quite a bit of dark humor to it, and it is a fun ride.

Puss in Boots

Eh, sort of expected it to be more clever.

Quantum of Solace

I realize one is supposed to suspend disbelief at the movies...But the Canadian military has an intelligence bureau?!?

The Queen

Follows the Royal Family through the tragedy of Diana's death.  Not a documentary...it's played out by actors...but they're so good at it you might have a hard time remembering that.  It would be funny if the actual Royal Family watched it then claimed it was all crap.

Race to Witch Mountain

You know what I wanted to do after watching this?  Watch "The Gauntlet".  Not because this movie is as good as "The Gauntlet", because it isn't.  It just sort of reminded me of it.  Sort of.


Pedestrian storyline with nearly interesting characters animated beautifully.  Tragically, the animation isn't enough to completely carry the thing.


I guess lots of people aren't going to this because they're freaked out by rats in the kitchen.  Not a big deal for me.  French rats with American accents, on the other hand...

The Raven

Basically a pedestrian murder mystery with a franchise name stuck on it.  Didn't help.

Red Dragon

I've known Michelle for almost ten years, she's the best friend of my best friend Jen.  Michelle and I have never done anything together...just ourselves...until "Red Dragon", which nobody else wanted to see.  We liked it.  I also liked the fact that Michelle doesn't talk through the movie, which Jen and Wife #1 are constantly guilty of.  Michelle and I need to hang out more.


Wow.  Maybe Bruckheimer should invite Wes Craven to do a CSI episode.

Revolutionary Road

I drew a lot of parallels to my own parents with this one.  You could say my parents TOOK the dream, but still ended up being...well...them.

The Ring

HA.  DEATH by Trent Reznor video.

This movie would have been way better if they cut off the last, say, fifteen minutes or so.  And if somebody in the ferry boat scene was eating Ivar's.  They SELL it right on the boats, you know.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I saw this at the new Cinetopia in Beaverton, a multiplex cleverly hidden in a townhouse development.  It's an allegedly fancy place with allegedly advanced sound and stuff.  The only thing that really impressed me were the auditorium doors, which must have been twelve feet high, and the arcade, which actually had FOUR pinball machines.

The movie was forgettable, but all of the Planet of the Apes movies have been forgettable to me.  I'm just not into the ape thing, I guess.  I did like that they used the old-school "Planet of the Apes" font, which I always thought looked cool.

Road to Perdition

Sam Mendes' second-ever film shares almost nothing in common with his first-ever film, the greatest movie ever made, "American Beauty".  Aside from musical feel and the sound effect used for certain gun shots, Mendes has a whole different animal here.  An animal he treats well, mind you.  This is an extremely dark picture about mafia and murders.  So I cannot really explain why this picture made me think of "The Wizard of Oz" so much.  But it did.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Gwenyth Paltrow’s character is worth the price of admission alone.  The scene where her husband and brother are presented with a private investigator’s findings on whether or not she’s cheating is absolutely priceless.

Rumor Has It...

This trailer has been pushed for months.  It's an all-star cast.  It has Rob Reiner in the director's chair.  When you have this much talent and hype available  to push a movie, you KNOW it's going to be the worst movie you've seen all year, right?  RIGHT?  Well...actually it was pretty great.

The Runaways

Kristen Stewart plays Joan Jett.  I only mention this because she's so good at it, you may just think it's actually Joan Jett.  Joan Jett is like FIFTY now.  What the heck is wrong with you.

The Rundown

The movie starts and suddenly a bright light is going off two seats to my left.  I thought a flashlight had been turned on.  It turned out to be a cell phone.  The latest craze in cell phones is color screens, and apparently you have to light them up pretty bright to see them well.  So it's not bad enough we have such ignorant, inconsiderate people allowed in public in the first place, now cell phone makers are helping them be more annoying.  Not to mention she and her friend babbled through the whole movie.  They said "WHOA!" a lot at things they were really impressed with...like a shiny black Dodge pickup truck...

Running Scared

I had the whole auditorium to myself until just a few minutes before the movie started, when two couples walked in.  They were very chatty.  Chatty chatty chatty.  I was getting increasingly annoyed, partly because I was in a bad mood due to my chili debacle (see my blog entry for 5-Mar-2006).  Then a slide featuring a promo for "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" popped up and one of the guys said "How do you prounounce that?  Mel-qwi-qwa-...?"  And I turned around and said "MEL-KEE-AH-DEESS" in a very loud and annoyed voice.  

"Thank you! he said

That was the last noise any of the four made.

I should learn to speak Spanish.  It's such a sexy language.


Rule of thumb...If an action movie uses Skynyrd in its soundtrack, it doesn't take itself seriously.  Which, for a movie like Sahara, is a good thing.

Scott Pilgrim vs the World

This movie had me from the video game version of the Universal logo.  And nothing else disappointed. 


Here's a new one...The men's bathroom door is missing.  Management knows this because they put up a sign that said "Obviously, the bathroom door is missing."  It apparently was being repaired.  It wasn't that big a deal because the layout of the bathroom meant you couldn't see anything anyway.  But when they start out the note with "obviously", you have to think that a lot of people noted this problem to Management as if they didn't except them to know.


This reminded me of when it's late at night, you're flipping channels, and you end up at Sci-Fi. There's some renegade action thing on that has every cliche ever used in any science fiction movie (or TV series) made since 1977 that didn't include the names "George Lucas" or "Steven Spielberg" in the credits, and yet there's something about it that's actually endearing, so you end up watching it.  In this case, it was the wit.  And the chick.  That's what ALWAYS draws the geeks to this crap.  Let them tell you they're watching for the story.  Yeah.  They get Playboy for the articles too.

Sex and the City

It's like they filmed a seventh season and cut out the fluff they use to stretch it to 15 episodes.  But by the time you're done, it FEELS like you watched 15 episodes.

Sex and the City 2

Woman in front of me turns and says "I have to warn you...I may cry." Me: "I may cry too...for wasting $7." She giggles.

Actually, I think the $7 was a great investment. This movie will probably cure me of any desire to pursue a relationship for a good year or two.

There WAS a good Sex and the City episode in here somewhere...it was just obscured in layers of fluff.  Miranda and Charlotte's discussion about motherhood at the bar was easily the best thing in the movie, and some of the braless nanny stuff was really funny.  But the movie should have been an hour shorter and the whole Abu Dhabi thing should have been scuttled.  They could have moved the motherhood conversation to a bar or restaurant in New York.  And the whole wedding had HORRIBLE dialogue.  That was just painful to watch.

Shaun of the Dead

A lot of critics have used three words to describe this movie..."Instant cult classic".  I'm not so certain of that.  Sure, this is a brilliant satirical marrying of the Zombie and Romantic Comedy genres, and it's super gross and super funny, but is it original and creative enough to stand out long-term?  It is awesome in any case...

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Even having seen it, I had to go to IMDb to find out what the actual plot was supposed to be.  It didn't help.  But the movie was so absurdly fun that it hardly mattered.

Shutter Island

A mediocre movie from Martin Scorsese?  It's well done...it's just not up to his standard.  And the whole idea has been done far too many times in recent years.

The Skeleton Key

Ever see that "Paula's Home Cooking" show on Food Network?  This is how I envision her when the cameras are off.  Putting Hoodoo in that Gumbo, yeah.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Oh cool!  Zeppelins!  I LOVE Zeppelins!  Big majestic airships, floating in the sky...Wait a minute...Get away from the Zeppelins!  Stop shooting at the Zeppelins!  DON'T BLOW UP THE ZEPPELINS!  NOOOOOO!  Stupid mechanical birds.


So are we EVER going to get a movie from "The Sixth Sense" guy that doesn't have some bizarre twist ending?  This is becoming as consistent as the plot line in a Cheech & Chong movie.

The Simpsons Movie

Wife #1..."You got a lot more of the jokes than the rest of the people here, didn't you."

Sin City

Advertised showtime: 4:20pm. I arrive just in time to see the pre-show video wrap up. Then there's a static logo image with "Your feature will begin momentarily" displaying until the film starts. At 4:25pm, 'momentarily' hasn't happened.  Some girl in the "crowd" (fewer than a dozen) exclaims "This is the longest 'moment' of my life!" Then a cell phone beeps and somebody else mimicks the "Silence your cell phone" announcement made at the end of the pre-show, to much laughter. Then some guy decided to complain. "No, Scott! Don't go! As soon as you do, it'll start and you'll miss the best part!" "Yeah, just hang out, dude." Scott isn't having any of this and is halfway down the stairs when, at 4:28pm. the trailers finally begin. "See? We told you!"  Scott sucks.


I heard there was an additional scene after the credits, so I stuck around.  As the credits rolled, I found myself in awe that so many people could be earning a living making a movie this crappy.  Amazing.

Small Time Crooks

Woody Allen gets credit for finally releasing a movie with a digital audio soundtrack...and making it one-channel mono.  Which I must say fit the movie perfectly.

Snakes on a Plane

THE PLOT: Some Guy witnesses a murder and is dumb enough to tear off on his loud motorcycle instead of just hiding till the bad guys leave.  The bad guys inexplicably figure out who he is, as do the feds, and mayhem ensues.  The mayhem includes a bunch of snakes on a plane.  So what's the best part of the movie?  The audience, who had a blast. 

The Social Network

A plot about the foundings of Facebook that appears to have been entirely written from deposition transcripts, this one's made awesome by the quick dialogue and Trent Reznor's contributions to the soundtrack.  Very well edited.


Solaris is Steven Soderbergh's attempt at being Stanley Kubrick utilizing that traveling ripple thingy from "Star Trek: Generations".  It's set in a future that looks a lot like our idea of the future in the 1970's, down to the credits font.  It has a lot of deep yet brief discussion about something that is nothing.   It probably looked brilliant on paper.  It's not.  Oh well.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Wow, what a dumb movie. What a whiney dork.  He had NO business getting the girl  Not even Nicholas Cage could save this piece of crap.

South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut

This was the first movie I ever saw in a brand new Regal Cinemas monsterplex actually built, not acquired, by Regal Cinemas.  The long, narrow auditorium had seating for about 150-175, six tiny surround speakers (three on each wall), an odor similar to a new tire store but stronger, a really loud climate control, and what appeared to be two poster frames painted glossy black on either side of the screen (a later trip proved that was exactly what they were, they're holding extremely cheesy tapestries of movie characters now.)  The only other people in the auditorium, three guys probably in their late teens, were visibly disturbed by the film, and probably by me as well since I laughed all the way through it.


Among the video that runs while the auditorium fills (in lieu of slides) is a spot that tells people that the designated handicap assist seats are reserved until after the show starts.  It’s ten minutes before the show starts, and the three clearly designated seats are taken by people not assisting anybody.  These are probably the same pompous idiots who drive around with their fog lights on all the time.  That doesn’t even get into the number of cell phones that went off during the show.  

Speed Racer

As soon as I saw the trailer, I knew this was going to bomb.  It didn't feel anything like the cartoon (which I was a childhood fan of).  But I saw it anyway, in IMAX even.  Holy crap...It was completely awesome.  I was completely giddy from beginning to end.


So when Lucas put out "Episode 1", hype was everywhere.  Long lines a WEEK before the movie comes out, midnight showings with longer lines (I went to one on a lark), and news news news coverage everywhere!  Later, Harry Potter comes to the screen with sold-out pre-sales a week before the thing hits the screen, theatres putting it on as much as half of their available screens, and news news news coverage everywhere!  I even saw a line that astounded me at a 16-plex I happened by that went around the length of the building opening day.  In each case, the movies hit the $100 Million mark in five days.

So along comes Spider-Man, which at BEST had hopes of doing maybe $40 or 50 million to start, which would have been fantastic.  And without the hype, without the "half the screens in the monsterplex", without the news news news coverage everywhere, but WITH the drive-ins (which were shut out of Episode 1 by the pompous creator...and which were out of season for Harry), Spidey took home...$114 million.  In three days.

Moral of this story?  Lucas is a prick.  Kirstin Dunst is a hottie.  And Spider-Man RULES.

Spider-Man 2

If you ever find yourself in Wichita, Kansas, go to the 13th Avenue Warren Theatre.  See whatever is playing in the "balcony room".  Be amazed.  The whole place is amazing, really, but WOW.  This is where I saw Spider-Man 2.  Wow.  Wow wow wow.  Wow.  I'll be coming back to Wichita a LOT.

Spider-Man 3

Remember when I said I'd be coming back to Wichita a lot?  Well, I'm back.  Two years later.  So much for THAT idea...

Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home

Cinema International  had a monster screen.  It was such a great place to see movies and it was within walking distance of my apartment.  I saw "IV" there three times.  What was Cinema International is now home to a television station.  Although I walked over to Cinema International and saw many movies over the years I lived there, for some reason I always tie "Star Trek IV" to it.

Star Trek V - The Final Frontier

After IV was so great, they had to come out with this, which only made it more appalling than it already was.   

Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country

I had to drive 100 miles just to find a theatre PLAYING the thing opening weekend.  The sixth time I saw "VI" was at the "Algona 1" (as I called it) which I could walk to from my favorite apartment ever ($150/month which included electricity).  It was a great time in my life because I was unemployed and my benefits alone covered my meager expenses and they had a great library in town.  Why oh why did I have to screw up my life and leave Algona?  Why couldn't I have just stocked shelves at the K-Mart or something?

Star Trek Generations

Wife #1 and I were in Fargo and saw "Generations" opening night at CEC's plex at West Acres Mall.  The place was packed and the crowd was totally into the movie.  The movie was great specifically because of the crowd.  Then we saw it again in Des Moines in front of a crowd that may as well have been physically dead.  That says a lot about Des Moines.

Star Trek - Nemesis

Eight commercials before the trailers.  EIGHT COMMERCIALS.  Including TWO for that BOD body spray crap.  Theatre patrons were clearly annoyed, with one saying "I've seen fewer commercials on TV."  Ridiculous.

Star Trek

the Onion News Network "story" was actually dead-on. There will be a contingent of Trekkies who will whine and complain for the exact reasons the Onion portrayed. But the masses ate this up.  Lots of fun.

Star Wars Episode IV: The original movie that DID NOT SUCK

The Cameo Theatre had an old clock mounted on the left side wall of the auditorium which glowed in blue and gave perfect time exactly twice a day (i.e., it was broken.)  So Brian, while making improvements, gets it fixed.  What happens?  The regulars complained.  They felt that it NOT working was part of the charm of the place.

There's a moral there intended for Lucas and his constant revamping of his original film.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

We have an independently run 800-seat theatre in town with THX certification and Dolby Digital EX, the "EX" added just for "Phantom Menace" (which must have run all summer there.)  And the movie STILL sucked.

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Memo to Lucas: Get out of the studio for awhile.  Especially if you ever plan to write a love story again.

Lucas hasn’t been in the business of making great movies since he started making “Star Wars” sequels.  He makes a product that cross-promotes other products that ultimately fund his ability to play with the world’s most expensive digital toys.  If you could come up with a by-product that funded your hobby, you’d do it too.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Lucas unwittingly explains the real reason for crop circles in the opening aerial shots!  They're blueprints for alien cities when they invade the Earth.  Rather clever, too.  You can have homes on circle streets with open space in the middle, or maybe a Wal-Mart Supercenter...

Starsky & Hutch

If you ever find yourself in Ames, Iowa, you must eat at Hickory Park.  It is a massive 'old west'-themed barbecue joint with an extensive menu of fabulous barbecue beef, chicken, and rib dinners, burgers, and sundaes.   They even have Green River soda.  Easily the local favorite.  You can't go wrong with Hickory Park.  Even if the movie you see afterward across the street does.  Like this one, for example.  You know what would have made this movie better?  If Jackie Chan played Starsky.  Complete with perm.  That would have RULED.


Stay?  Heck...Not that many people showed up in the first place!  HA HA HA HA HA!


"...So it's like a food court?"
"No, it's just KFC and Taco Bell."
"But in the same building."
"But they have different kitchens, right?"
"No, it's one place but with both menus."
"But there's separate order counters?"
"So what if I ordered chicken and nachos?"
"You can do that."
"Dude, seriously!"
"I don't know...That's like breeding rabbits with cats."

That was just one of the fascinating conversations going on during "Stealth" as I wandered the drive-in lot.  Because actually WATCHING the movie wasn't all that thrilling.

The Stepford Wives

The original is a favorite of mine.  It was a brilliantly creepy thriller without the slasher gore.  It was absurd, but most movies are.

The remake is a B-rated comedy take on the original with some liberal spitefulness.  It's not good, it's not horrible.  It is absolutely a complete waste of time.

Stranger than Fiction

Will Ferrell stars in a movie that not only doesn't suck, but is uniquely brilliant and my favorite of the year.  That's kind of depressing, you know...

Sunshine Cleaning

Here's a movie with a dozen or so really great characters, concepts, and/or ideas...that somehow manages to do nothing with almost all of them.


Super-Size Me

Here's an idea for a parallel project...Spend 30 days living on nothing but what they sell at the snack bar counter at your neighborhood monsterplex.  And count every time they ask if you want to upgrade to a large for just a quarter more.  The Roanoke Times had an article about Carmike firing employees caught NOT upselling by secret shoppers.  Now don't come crying to me about how the snack bar is such an important source of revenue.  It's not my fault the exhibition industry is so screwed up that even $10 movie tickets ends in an overall loss to the theatre.  That's your own screwed up world.


Crude, vulgar, and very very funny.  Probably the best of its kind since "Hollywood Knights".

Superman Returns

A being from another planet returns to Earth after discovering there's no place like your adopted home when the home you were born in was trashed by some wacky bastards.  I was born in Portland, so I can relate.

Surf's Up

PLEASANTLY surprised.  This was a hoot.  This was a lot of fun.  This was...aw nuts I spilled enchilada sauce on my shirt.  I love you Megaplex Theatres.

Suspect Zero

I had NO IDEA there was such a thing as a color fax machine until I saw this movie.


S.W.A.T. was my favorite television show during its run.  My brother and I and a neighborhood friend had plastic S.W.A.T. M-16's we used to shoot each other.  I can't remember a thing about the show today except that Street was played by Robert Urich.  As far as the movie goes, the one thing that will probably stick with me is that I learned that the soda of choice in Los Angeles, by far, is apparently Dr. Pepper.

Swimming Pool

So there's a hot young blonde strutting around semi-nude and putting out to every guy in the region she can, and all I'm thinking through this movie is "Where does (the writer) keep getting her pages printed?  She only brought a laptop.  There's no printer."

I kept hearing this movie was rather erotic.  It's not.  It's disjointed, and altogether pointless.


How can an industry be so corrupt yet so boring at the same time?  With respect to the oil industry, it might have just been the MOVIE that was boring...

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

The original is a good watch until the end, when it becomes one long running joke about a cough.  The new one looks more like a CSI episode.  But it's still a good watch.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

What makes this the best Will Ferrell comedy ever is that they NAILED the NASCAR lifestyle.  Absolutely nailed it.


This is the story of Rapunzel disguised as something else so boys might be tempted to see it.  The name change was prompted by the lackluster performance of "The Princess and the Frog".  I guess it must have worked...I went to see this one.

Thank You for Smoking

Did you notice that nobody in the movie ever actually smoked on screen?

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

30 minutes to showtime, just enough time to kill four tokens on pinball.  But the change machine is down.  There's two teenage Century employees in the arcade...one male, one female...fiddling with some video game they're apparently getting ready to play.  I point out the change machine is down.  He looks in a completely different direction than I was pointing.  Turns out they have two.  The other works fine.  So I get my tokens and drop two (it takes two to start one pinball game) in "Lord of the Rings".  The left flipper is busted, so I die immediately.  Waste of tokens.  So I move to "The Simpsons" pinball machine.  All the flippers worked, but I died just as quickly.  I can usually milk these machines for a good twenty minutes.


So I went into the auditorium and played miniature golf on my cell phone for twenty five minutes.

None of that matters because HOLY CRAP!  THIS MOVIE WAS BRILLIANT!

The Three Stooges

Central States used to run old Stooges shorts before drive-in shows, so there's some sentimental value here, at least for us Midwesterners.  The movie nailed them, but stretching them out to 90 minutes and making the movie in color seemed to distract.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

It's a thinker, but a well-done one.  They make an obvious stand-out bad guy we're all supposed to guess, of course, but my second choice proved to be correct.  I'm awesome.


I have an idea for a sequel.

You’re doing a double-take.  I know.  But hear me out.

You could say I know this picture pretty well, as I saw it ten times in theatres…five in Auditorium 6 at Kansas City 18 in its Act III days, once in another auditorium at Kansas City 18, once at Tinseltown in Layton, Utah, a couple times at some crappy little places, and once at a drive-in.  There are a few key scenes in the film that just give me chills.  Chills that unfortunately don’t translate to the home video releases.  This grand picture needs to be seen on a 50-foot or larger screen.  

So fate took over.  The RMS Titanic salvage guys have one of their exhibits on display in Salt Lake City.  In turn, Megaplex 17 decides to run Titanic on the Cricket Super Screen once a week just for the heck of it.  And I’m in town.  So in 2004, I got to experience Titanic on the big screen again.  It was a scratchy old print with a few seconds missing here and there, but nonetheless, the chills were back.

This is also when I came up with the idea for the sequel.  The plot is that ghosts from the Titanic start haunting and terrorizing people at the Titanic exhibits.  People die, and stuff brought up from the wreck starts mysteriously disappearing (because the ghosts are returning it to the ship.)  Call it “Revenge of the Titanic”.  

Oh come on.  No matter how cheap and lame it ended up being, it would have to be a thousand times better than the remake of the Stepford Wives that’s coming out next week.

The Thin Red Line

This was the first movie I ever saw in the upstairs auditorium (formerly the balcony) at the Lincoln Movie Palace in Cheyenne.  Doesn't it annoy you that the coolest music in that movie was ripped off for the "Pearl Harbor" trailer?

Tortilla Soup

Do NOT see this movie hungry!  You have been warned.

Toy Story/Toy Story 2

I'd never seen any of the Disney/Pixar films, but happened upon "2" really cheap at Hastings.  It was part of the 2-movie set but had been split up for rentals, so this disc didn't include any of the cover art.  Just a disc in a plain box.  I loved the movie.  So a month later I'm back at Hastings, and lo and behold, the first movie is now on the bargain pre-viewed shelf, but WITH the box and art.  So I ended up with a complete 2-disc set with all of the artwork really cheap.  And now I see ALL the Pixar movies.

Toy Story 3

So the movie's going along and it's pedestrian Toy Story...pedestrian, pedestrian, pedestrian, pedestrian...then 'round 20 minutes before the end, it turned into some of Pixar's greatest emotional work to date.  And that's saying something.


Well whoda thunk.  Michael Bay finally found his element.  And I found a multiplex with chili at the snack bar!  Happy times all around.

Transporter 2

Huh?  When in the heck was there a Transporter ONE?!?  And was it as ridiculous as this one?  For that matter, was it as cool as this tone?  Because this was pretty cool...

Transporter 3

Well this was better than Transporter 2.  But I still don't believe the first one existed.  Even if IMDB says it does.

Tron: Legacy

I saw this in digital IMAX (which film people like to refer to as "Liemax" because the resolution doesn't even come close).  BIG mistake.  Sold out auditorium leaving me in the third or fourth row in front of a massive screen with a digital image blown up WAY beyond the resolution limitation of digital cinema.  So the whole movie looked horrible.  I'm pretty sure it was mediocore anyway, but jeepers.

True Grit

I have no idea why the Coen brothers decided to remake this.  They did a fine job, but there isn't really much different about it from the original John Wayne version.

The Truman Show

Central States had shored up the Ames market with a new five-plex at the mall, closing the Ranch Drive-In and a single-screener in Campustown (which was also augmented by a newly twinned Varsity).  I was really bitter about the Ranch Drive-In being closed, especially when Central States refused to let anybody else operate it or purchase it for use as a drive-in (because it would compete with their crappy hardtops).  So I made a wish that somebody would come in and pummel them.  Imagine my surprise when Cinemark did exactly that a year later with a new 12-plex on the south side of town (which I even applied to work at. The guy looked at me like "are you kidding?").  So the place opens up one summer weekend in 1998 and the big opening movie of that weekend is "The Truman Show".  I am there for the matinee Friday morning.  I about fell over when I walked into the brand new Tinseltown-decor auditorium and find...STANDARD SLOPE SEATING.  That's right...Cinemark built a brand new 12-plex in the summer of 1998 with eight digital auditoriums (one of which was the only SDDS auditorium in all of Iowa), and NO stadium seating.  What were they thinking?  Nonetheless, "Truman" was fabulous and the presentation was Cinemark solid.  Central States fought them for a year and threw in the towel.  Cinemark bought the remains and runs the five-plex at the mall as a dollar house and, amazingly, the Varsity as a first-run.  Central States ceased to exist in 2002.


Wow.  This thing had all the production values of "Highlander: The Series".  But with lower quality actors.


My favorite drive-in movie ever, even if they do destroy one in the movie (they didn't really, that drive-in still stands and is operating).

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Renee buys a $3.50 bottle of water.  She's annoyed that it's $3.50 and discusses with Jennifer.  By the time we get to the auditorium it's a $5 bottle of water.  By the time the movie ends, it's a $7 bottle of water.  By the time we leave, it's a $9 bottle of water.  Wow.  Sure is expensive going to the movies these days...


A beautiful, touching opening montage...then a long, boring walk in the woods.  It's like Pixar made a Lord of the Rings movie.

Up in the Air

Does this job really exist?  Because I SO want it.

V for Vendetta

Oooh!  Lesbian poetry!

Van Helsing

Dracula plays a lesbian goth chick trying to use Frankenstein to hatch a champion breed of bats he conceived with his three wives.  Or something like that.  I just wanted to go home five minutes in.

The Village

Most critics complained that they hated the surprise.  I nailed the surprise within two minutes of the opening of the movie, so I basically spent the rest of the movie catching the little clues and saying "Oh.  So that's why."  And enjoying the general cinematography and soundtrack (which were much more well done than the script.)  The real mystery is Popcorn Penny.  Where'd she go?  There's Front Row Joe, walking up to the Cinemark, signing autographs, acting all prima Donna...


Here's a cliché Cinderella fantasy where a waitress makes incredible pies with ridiculous ingredient combinations, rides the bus in a town that would NEVER actually have bus service, goes to a hospital in a residential home, and fears her husband to the point of unbelievable basically because it's necessary for the happy ending.  But it has a level of cuteness and wit to it that people are apparently falling in love with.  That would not include ME.

Walk the Line

To get to the all new Capitol City Stadium 12 in Cheyenne, drive down Pershing and look for the marquee in front of the abandoned supermarket that was an Albertson's about thirty years ago. Look for the yellow and black sign attached to said abandoned supermarket that says "THEATER" with an arrow pointing to an alley between the abandoned supermarket and the medical plaza that opened thirty years ago as some department store. Drive through the alley to the theatre entrance. Who knows...Maybe they were given the lot for free.

Tragically, the presentation wasn't worth the bother.  But Reese Witherspoon was.  WOW.  Her most amazing performance ever.

Walking Tall (2004)

I spent ten years of my life in a lumber town.  You know what the locals there are complaining about since the mill closed?  The number of bars that are being replaced by tourist shops.  


This is the first Pixar movie I've seen in a theatre where they didn't show a preview for the next Pixar movie.  Maybe they've run out of ideas.  This movie only furthered that theory.

Wallace and Gromit - The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

I, as a child, had a pet rabbit. My father built it a huge cage behind the garage. He dug a small trench in the cage and put a board over it to give it some shelter. The rabbit took over from there and did some serious expansion, putting together a network of tunnels that went under the cage, through our garden, our neighbor's garden, and at least one other neighbor's garden beyond that one. Think about that at the end of this movie and see how plausible you think this "solution" is.


Flippy bullets, uber-dork, hot assassin, horrible script, lame plot twists, decent action sequences.  I'll probably forget the whole thing by tomorrow.

War of the Worlds

I saw this at a drive-in, so it occurred to me it might be cool if we had some actual lightning in the air while the lightning strikes happened in the movie.  But God apparently didn't feel it was worth the effort.  God was right.


Holy CRAP what a borefest.

Way of the Gun

The problem with building a monsterplex with a bunch of bars and restaurants around it in Boise, Idaho is that the late show customers are all drunk white trash.  

Wayne's World

The Mason City Drive-In was a nice place and Wayne's World was a fun movie.  Too bad it was just me, a bag full of Taco Tico tacos, and four other cars on the lot not counting the staff's.  I have a beautiful picture of the screen with an intermission trailer running on it during sunset that looks great in JPEG form...much better than the actual image...because I was able to airbrush out the one car in the several rows between me and the screen.  A lot of people were interested in saving that drive-in and running it but owners Central States wouldn't sell without a "no compete" clause, requiring the drive-in to be torn down.  There's a car dealership there now, and Central States built a sub-par 10-plex west  of there on what no longer is US 18.  But Taco Tico is still open.  YAY TACO TICO!


"Just go in," says the ticket seller.  "The computers are down."  Apparently, it's a buggy day at the shiny new Century 20 and they can't print tickets.  The overhead auditorium lights are down too, as are the Exit signs.  Before the movie starts, some guy walks up front, turns the lights on behind the screen, walks back out, says to the audience "I'll just be a few minutes" as he walks to the other side of the screen, goes behind the screen, comes back out, walks back to the other side, shuts the lights off, and gets on his radio and says "Whatever our problem is, it's also affecting...(something something)" as he walks out.  Still, the movie starts on time and in full 5.1 Dolby glory.  But I'm sad about the ticket because I keep those.  Got a whole box of them on my desk, yes I do.  How else do you think I made the mural on this page?

Winnie the Pooh

Really beautiful to look at, but it just had too many silly musical bits.  I don't know that even kids today would find that endearing.  Pooh was spot-on though.  I'll always have a soft spot for Pooh.  Don't take that out of context.

Work and the Glory

Attendance: Me, a couple who bought seemingly everything edible at Megaplex 17 (and that’s saying a LOT), and some guy and his two dates.  Some Guy spent the movie making wolf howls and cow noises during each outdoor night scene, and smoochy noises during kissing scenes, which made the girls giggle.  I would have loved to have given him a smack.  Right upside the head with the back of my hand.

Work and the Glory - American Zion

Hey...I didn't have to go to Utah to see this!  They showed it right here in town.  And those who went with no knowledge of the LDS Church or the book series were probably REALLY confused!  Especially by the ending!  Actually, I think EVERYBODY was confused by the ending...

Work and the Glory - A House Divided

The second movie inspired me to read the book it was based on to see what the movie skipped over.  Actually, I ended up reading all nine books.  And what I decided was this...Movies 2 and 3 shouldn't have been made at all.  The budget wasn't there to do them justice, although I do think if they'd kept the original director (from the first movie), they would have been better.  The books, however, are neato.

The World's Fastest Indian

If you look at the neon of "Hollywood" in the movie and wish you could see something as cool and retro, just head for Salt Lake City and drive down State Street.  That's what was used for Hollywood during the cab ride, and all of it...even the neon bowling pin...were still there as of this writing.  State Street is COOL.  And you can eat at Dee's, which is really a Salt Lake area chain.  They didn't even TRY to make that restaurant look old, did they.


I have never read the comic.  I have no idea who any of the characters are.  And this movie still ruled.  Is there a moral here?  Uh, no...

X2 - X-Men United

So as I enter the theatre and as I approach the table where the tickets are sold, I hold up one finger to signify one admission, please.  And the guy says, "Student?"  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  I mean, I totally busted out laughing.

X-Men: The Last Stand

The crowd in here looks like an IT department convention.  It's like watching a movie about mutants in a room full of...mutants.  They're not, though.  They're just dorks. 

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I'm confused...Was this supposed to be an X-Men prequel, or a Highlander prequel?  Because it could have gone either way.

X-Men: First Class

I see all sorts of people claiming January Jones is a horrible actress.  Well who in this movie was doing any better?  This was like watching a production done for Syfy.


You know you're in for it when the TRAILERS running before the feature are bad.  And BOY were the trailers bad before Vin Diesel's trailer trash take on Bond.

Young Adult

I have a crapload of quarters left over from last night's shenanigans at the Pinball HOF (where I totally owned Bad Cats), so I apologized to Smiling Ticket Seller as I handed her $7.75 in quarters and three dimes.

She replied with "I don't have any nickels...but that's okay, right?"


Inside, Smiling Ticket Taker asks "How are you today, sir?"

Me: "Why I'm positively lovely. How are you?"

"I'm fine. How are you? Oh wait...I already asked that..."

"Yes. And I'm still lovely."

The conversation ends there because she's broken out in a fit of giggles.


For the month leading to its release, television was saturated with commercials for this movie.  There are two specific bits that always show up in the ads...the "you can read minds" line to the woman admitting once being bulimic, and the bit where Derek throws the learning center model  to the floor because you can't teach kids who "cant even fit inside the building".  Yet there were two girls at the matinee showing I attended who were in absolute hysterics through each of these scenes.  Which got me thinking...Have you ever noticed that the audience laughter in most scenes exploited in commercials is always louder?  It's like everybody was trained to laugh at those gags, even if they saw them 300 times on television before seeing the actual movie!  And the aforementioned scenes don't even come close to the funniest scene in the movie (which involves male models, gasoline, and a huge explosion).  

No wonder I'm a loner.