Movie Diary 1999 previous • next

This Movie Diary has migrated to Blogspot. Visit Stub Hubby for current reviews!

Top Five: Fight Club, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut, and Toy Story 2. Enjoy my diary!

January 2, 1999 • Star Trek: Insurrection
It's one of the odd numbered ones (9) so of course it stunk. There's an attempt at a ethnic cleansing theme, but it is only half-baked.
January 24, 1999 • Shakespeare In Love
Very clever script, wonderful cast.
January 30, 1999 • Waking Ned Devine
Another tweedy English comedy- who can keep them all straight?
February 27, 1999 • Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery • Brattle Theater
Before it was a franchise...
February 28, 1999 • The Thin Red Line • Loews Church St, Harvard Square
What a mess. I have read that director Terrence Malick shot many many more scenes than appear in the movie. Several actors thought they had principal roles in the movie until they attended the premiere.
March 13, 1999 • Analyze This
The first in a long series of non-funny De niro "comedies", Analyze This was followed by Analyze That, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, two Meet The Parents movies, and Showtime with Eddie Murphy. Who told this guy he was funny?
April 9, 1999 • The Matrix • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
Wow. I was completely blown away. Great ending, too.
April 16, 1999 • Never Been Kissed
An adorable comedy from Drew Barrymore. She is constantly the best thing in a lot of bad romantic comedies, but somehow, public goodwill towards Barrymore means she never gets blamed for making bad movies.
April 20, 1999 • Twin Dragons
I barely remember seeing this Jackie Chan film-- looking at the stub pasted in my book, I had to look up the movie to see what it was.
April 28, 1999 • Pushing Tin
I recently read that director Mike Newell (who directed this film, Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Donnie Brasco) was offered the directing job for Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone. Newell wanted to accept, but he was making this movie and couldn't bear to do another movie laden with special effects right away. To think, if had not made Pushing Tin, a rambling mess of a movie, he might have made a better Sorcerers Stone than that stiff film Chris Columbus made. He did an expert job with Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire.
May 1, 1999 • Entrapment
Taut thriller, tight catsuit! I respect their decision not to put Sean and CZ-J in bed together (Connery was 39 when CZ-J was born!)
May 7, 1999 • The Mummy
A worthy substitute until they start making Indy films again.
May 14, 1999 •  A Midsummer Night's Dream
Very entertaining.
May 19 (twice) and May 21 (once) • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
The crowd cheered at the appearance of the Lucasfilm logo and the opening theme music. Then, the indecipherable opening crawl began. Then Jar Jar Binks arrived. Then Young Anakin spoke. If you had told me in 1983, that Lucas would make three Star Wars prequels, and they'd stink, I would have never believed it. On May 19 1999, I bought tickets for two screenings in a row. When I walked out of the first screening, I immediately got in line for the next show. I had assumed that I was going to love Episode 1 so much that I would want to see it again right away. I stood there in that queue, wishing I hadn't spent the money on the second screening. How f***ing sad is that? hr>
June 4, 1999 •  Notting Hill
You would have thought that if you basically remade Four Weddings without Andie MacDowell, it would be much better, but somehow, Julia is not a huge improvement. Her character is so angry in this film.
June 15, 1999 • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Sillier, stupider, and funnier. Making Liz Hurley a Fembot and blowing her up in the first 5 minutes is a masterstroke. Have you ever seen a better method for "writing out" a character in a sequel?
June 27, 1999 • Tarzan
I remember the implausible ending to this mediocre non-CGI Disney movie: We're supposed to believe that Victorian England is so awful that Jane and her father would volunteer to stay in the jungle with Tarzan?
July 3, 1999 • South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
On a curses-per-minute-basis, this is the most profane film of all time.
July 5, 1999 • An Ideal Husband
Entertaining- a good year for Brit movies.
July 25, 1999 • The Haunting
I want my two hours back! So much talent involved in such a crappy movie.
July 18, 1999 • Eyes Wide Shut • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
Underwhelming but good. I think this film, like most Kubrick, will age gracefully.
My All-Time Scary Scenes In Scary Movies List

Psycho (1960) • Two moments of note: The split second before Mother pounces on Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), we get a almost subliminal glimpse into the face of madness. Director Alfred Hitchcock must have spent all day lighting this shot, to obscure Mother's face just enough so we only see a glint of insanity off the eyes, and that's enough. On freeze frame, there's nothing else to see. The second moment comes at the climax of the film, when Lila (Vera Miles) has wandered into the basement and discovered Mother, but she doesn't know Norman (Anthony Perkins) is on his way. The one-two punch of discovering both secrets of Mother and son electrifies the whole audience.

Alien (1979) is full of scares, shocks, and grossouts, but the scariest sequence has to be when Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) goes into the ductwork to find the "chestburster" alien, which escaped the dining area, after escaping from Kane (John Hurt). What the audience and the crew doesn't know is, the chestburster had a growth spurt since he skittered across the breakfast table.

I have only seen The Changeling (1980) twice, but there are a few sequences which scare the hell out of me. This one is underrated and little-seen; rent it immediately.

The Shining (1980) is good because it's too long, it has plenty of creepy, shocking, and scary moments, but the scene which still scares me is the Twins In The Hallway scene: Little Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) is pedaling around the Overlook Hotel on his Big Wheel, turning corner after corner. There's so many twists and turns, even a veteran viewer like me doesn't remember which corner will reveal the ghost Twins. Then it gets worse. Director Stanley Kubrick cuts in brief glimpses of the twins' untimely demise, but you never know which split-second they'll appear, so you have to watch the whole scene through your fingers, just like poor Danny does in the film. No special effects, no latex, just one line of dialogue "Come play with us Danny..." and a few gallons of fake blood. NOTE: I have seen The Shining at the Brattle Theater, but I have no record of it in my diary. I remember noticing how different the composition of the frame appeared compared to the home video version.

Speaking of blood, one of my very first memories of going to the movies was seeing the theatrical teaser trailer for The Shining. The trailer consists of the Elevator Flood Of Blood Scene. Since the film was released in May 1980, I must have been 7 or 8 when I saw it. I remember seeing the trailer, and asking my older brother next to me if the guests were going to drown in all that blood. My brother said (God bless him) that the hotel was closed and no one was there. I remember thinking "gee, what about the janitor? isn't anyone at the hotel?"
The Internet Movie Database Trivia Page for The Shining points out that the MPAA normally wouldn't allow such a graphic scene in a trailer approved for All Audiences (like me at 8 years old!) but somehow Kubrick convinced them the blood was actually rusty water(??). I just wanted the MPAA to know, 23 years later, that that trailer scarred me for life.

Poltergeist (1982) had a profound impact on me because I saw it at Halloween time, a few years before I should have. The part which scared me the most (I think I was behind the sofa the whole time) is when the nerdy scientist goes for a midnight snack. The face-melting scene looks really phony now, but it worked very well 20 years ago...

The Thing (1982) • This was a fertile year for scary movies. This film is soaked in paranoia and simmering fear, interspersed with true shocks and creeps. When Dr. Copper (Richard Dysart) is attempting CPR and the man's chest opens like a bear trap, then chops off the Doctor's arms, that's a sign that the patient isn't going to make it. My favorite scare has to be the scene with the severed head which grows spider legs (insert shiver here!)

Silence Of The Lambs (1991) • Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) has discovered Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), but she's all alone with him, and no backup in sight. Bill escapes into his basement, and Clarice must go after him; his latest victim, Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith), is down there somewhere, and Clarice cannot wait for help to arrive. The basement is a true labyrinth, with no sense of order or geography to the place. What's worse is, Bill could be anywhere. Clarice makes a game attempt to search some of the rooms, and finds Catherine down in the well, but then the lights go out. Bill has a night vision scope to hunt Clarice in the dark, but he makes the classic movie blunder: he waits until he is standing directly behind her to cock his gun. Clarice (who is so jumpy she'd shoot anything at this point) spins around and unloads all 6 shots at point blank range.

The most delightfully scary moment in Signs (2002) is when the whole family is barricading themselves in the basement. The aliens are about to break in, and just in the nick of time, Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix) discovers a shovel to bar the door (or was it a hammer? a pick? It doesn't matter). Merrill grabs the tool and accidentally breaks their only light. Yes, it's another "Monsters-In-The-Basement-With-The-Lights-Out" Moment, and it works. I was also creeped out by the moment when Merrill finally sees an alien on the Brazilian TV broadcast. The crowd I saw it with was mostly laughing at Joaquin Phoenix's silly/nervous yelling at the TV, but the moment was perfectly rendered. If I had to imagine what a accidental videotaping of an alien on Earth would look like, that would be it.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: The Sixth Sense, The Village, The Blair Witch Project

July 30, 1999 •  The Blair Witch Project • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
Scary, overwhelming. Another film I walked out of the theater agape.
September 11, 1999 • The Sixth Sense • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
Wow. This is a scary film. No special effects are required to scare. When will the rest of Hollywood figure this out (for example, the non-scary The Haunting)?
  Swear Words In Movies On Television • When it comes to swear words in movies shown on TV, you can either dub in a inoffensive word or just leave the swear word out. Some movies have very few swear words, and it's easy to leave the word out, not replace it, and the meaning of the dialog is preserved. Sometimes, however, this can lead to odd results. For example, one time The Sixth Sense was broadcast on primetime ABC television. The blue text is what they changed for television:
Malcolm: Hey... you are not a freak. Don't you believe anybody that tells you that. It's bull**** (a split second of silence between 'bull' and 'and') and you don't have to grow up believing that. You hear me?
Cole: You said the "s" word.
Malcolm: Yeah... sorry.
I guess it would have been even more odd to change 'bullshit' to something else, and preserve Cole's response?

Then there are movies where the swearing is an integral part of the dialog, and a major part of the humor. Watching the film Midnight Run on television is painful. What's the point of watching a scene like this on TV? Just imagine all the changes they made to this dialog- I can't remember them all:

De Niro: I never took a payoff in my life and I'm not gonna start with someone like you.
Grodin: Why not?
De Niro: Because you're a fucking criminal and you deserve to go where you're going and I'm gonna take you there and if hear any more shit outta you: I'm gonna fucking bust your head and I'll put you back in that fucking hole [train lavatory] and I'm gonna stick your head in the fucking toilet bowl and I'm gonna make it stay there.
The following substitution is clever, but I would prefer the "split second of silence" technique instead:
Jimmy (Dennis Farina): You and that other dummy better start getting more personally involved in your work, or I'm gonna stab you through the heart with a broken pencil. Do you understand me?

October 9, 1999 • Three Kings
Fantastic, maybe too intense. I don't think I can watch it again for the brutality and gruesome-ness.
October 8, 1999 • The Bone Collector • Hoyt's Cinemas Falmouth
Denzel is amazing in everything, even this by-the-numbers serial killer thriller. Angelina dials it down her "Angelina-ness Factor" to 3 1/2 from her usual 11.
October 23, 1999 • Bringing Out The Dead
Has Scorsese never watched 'ER'?. Woefully underwhelming.
November 13, 1999 • Dogma
Thoughtful and filthy at the same time. Kevin Smith still can't direct traffic, never mind a motion picture.
November 19, 1999 • The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
Trippy and peculiar. Milla "Lelu Dallas" Jovovich is convincing as Joan of Arc.
The day after Thanksgiving, 1999 • Sleepy Hollow • Showcase Cinemas Randolph
Between Mars Atacks! and Planet Of The Apes, the Mediocre Burton Trilogy. (Let's hope it's only a trilogy!)
December 11, 1999 • The Green Mile
A bit overlong, director Frank Darabont sets himself up to fail by directing two prison movies back-to-back.
December 12, 1999 •  Toy Story 2
What an odd double-feature! I saw an innocent man executed on Saturday night, and an innocent toy kidnapped on Sunday. Toy Story 2 joins an exclusive club of sequels which are better their originals.

Movie Diary 1999 previous • next

This Movie Diary has migrated to Blogspot. Visit Stub Hubby for current reviews!