Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Movies: 2004

Last year, I ran a list of movies I'd seen in 2003. I'd seen 18. This year, I've seen 28, which is an obscenely high number, I think. My excuse is that I saw 15 of them over the summer. I don't know why that's an excuse. Let's pretend it's an excuse. It balanced the 2 hours a day I spent reading on my commute. Of course, mostly I was reading Entertainment Weekly, so maybe it doesn't really balance. Hey, there's nothing wrong with Entertainment Weekly. It's good stuff.

The most recent movie I've seen is Spanglish, which is getting really mixed reviews ("Spanglish is more adept at balancing humor and drama than just about any movie I have seen this year." / "A desperate, shapeless, overreaching big-screen sitcom of a movie that just wants to be loved." Courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes. "Spanglish is the best movie of the year featuring Adam Sandler." / "Ends up regretting it didn't keep its original title, Engnish." Courtesy of nobody.). I actually kind of liked it, even though it was hard to understand what motivated the characters to do the things they were doing. There were glimpses of greatness. There were interesting characters. It didn't end up wholly satisfying, but the potential was there.

Unlike Taxi, which was just a mess, and I can't believe I spent $10.25 to see a movie that tries to make the audience believe that Jimmy Fallon is a New York City police officer and Queen Latifah is a New York City cab driver. Actually, I think if the roles were switched, the movie would've been kind of neat.

But Taxi was actually more tolerable than Closer, for me, because at least with Taxi I could laugh at how bad it was. Closer just felt like death. Probably because I just can't appreciate real drama, but, look, I don't pretend this is anything more than just my opinion. I like movies where characters smile every once in a while.

The #1 spot for the year, for me, goes to Before Sunset, which was 90 minutes of talking that didn't really accomplish anything, kind of like this post will end up being, but was really interesting to eavesdrop on, unlike this post, and so easy to like. I still haven't seen the prequel, but I almost don't want to because it can't possibly live up to my expectations. Before Sunset was a gentle trip into someone else's life for an hour and a half. It was awesome.

I've ranked Team America higher than I think most critics did, mostly because of the endlessly-amusing vomit scene and the Rent parody song. I've ranked Dodgeball dreadfully low, because it put me to sleep and it just didn't work for me at all. Whereas White Chicks I thought was so dumb it was funny. I feel like I should have liked Garden State more than I did. I want to have liked it more, because lots of people whose taste I respect said it was unbelievable. I just didn't really feel it. I thought The Terminal was inTerminable, although mostly just so I could say that. I thought Napoleon Dynamite was not. And I know Love Actually and Stuck on You came out in 2003, but I saw them in 2004, and, no, I don't know why I saw either one, and, even worse, how Love Actually ended up comfortably in the top half. The line break separates movies I liked from movies I didn't.

Despite seeing 28 movies, I feel like I did a fairly good job of picking things I thought I'd like, and, as you'll notice, there are entire categories of movies (ones with plots?) that I completely ignored. Horror films, psychological dramas, anything that could be called "gripping," anything starring an action hero, anything with subtitles. Sorry, horror films starring Vin Diesel in Japanese. I'm not watching.

1. Before Sunset
2. The Incredibles
3. Team America: World Police
4. Spider-Man 2
5. Control Room
6. The Bourne Supremacy
7. Fahrenheit 9/11
8. Collateral
9. De-Lovely
10. Love Actually
11. Super Size Me
12. Friday Night Lights
13. Garden State
14. Spanglish
15. Shaun of the Dead
16. Mean Girls
17. White Chicks

18. The Terminal
19. Jersey Girl
20. Stuck on You
21. The Corporation
22. Taxi
23. Napoleon Dynamite
24. The Perfect Score
25. The Polar Express
26. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
27. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
28. Closer