Note to the Critic: Do Not Watch...

April 07, 2005
A thought by James Berardinelli

From time-to-time, as I have previously mentioned, I am asked questions about why I choose not to see a particular movie. Typically, it's a combination of preference and opportunity. Sometimes I will see a movie I don't have high hopes for if it's being shown during a "slow" time for screenings (this is the reason I endured Ms. Congeniality 2, a film I otherwise would have given a wide berth). Ice Princess is an example of a movie that I couldn't generate enough enthusaism for to make the long drive. Vanilla is fine for ice cream, but not for motion pictures. Then there's Beauty Shop, which had its screenings at the wrong times.

Every once in a while, I read about aa future movie and jot down a note to myself (on a post-it) to avoid it at all costs. I have no idea when this is planned to be released, but I read something this morning about a romantic comedy starring Jason Mewes (Jay of "Jay and Silent Bob") and Paris Hilton. I would be hard-pressed to come up with two "actors" I would be less inclined to see on their own, not to mention together. In an odd way, however, it's an appropriate match: Mewes looks perpetually stoned and Hilton's best performance is wooden.

I have been debating whether or not to see The Amityville Horror. I know when the screening is, and there's no conflict. Back in the late '70s, I read the book, and was not impressed. When I got around to seeing the original movie after it came out on video some time in the late '80s, I found it to be laughable. So, with this version, what am I hoping for? An improvement on the original? That shouldn't be hard, but a nagging voice reminds me that nearly all remakes are worse. Stay tuned...

I don't regret watching Sahara, although it was longer than I would have liked. It's about as inept a thriller as there is, but there's a "so bad it's enjoyable" quality to parts of it. Sitting in a theater watching the screening wasn't a high water mark of 2005, but I have had much worse movie-going experiences in recent weeks. Still, it's hard to imagine anyone wanting to see this film while sober. Once a few shots have been downed, all bets are off.

A few people have asked me why I didn't review Born into Brothels. The reason is simple: I didn't have anything productive to say. I was so unimpressed by the movie that I decided not to write a review. The film is as mediocre a documentary as I have ever seen. I didn't hate it, but, once I had seen it, I had no desire to revisit it, either by seeing it again or by writing about it. A movie doesn't have to inspire me for me to produce a review, but it has to do more than generate a deep-rooted sense of apathy. (Even antipathy is a better catalyst.)

I was going to write something about Revenge of the Sith today, but I'll save that for the weekend. A few readers have been asking for my opinion of recent developments on "24" and "Lost," so I'll share my feelings tomorrow. As a teaser, I will say that it's unlikely I will be watching one of those shows next season. For now, I'll let you guess which one.