June 22, 2007, - 11:44 am
By Debbie Schlussel
There are several new offerings at the movie theaters, this weekend, but I didn’t particularly like any of them. Though I did like the Biblical echoes in the cheesy “Evan Almighty,” I disliked the heavy propaganda for socialized medicine and Islam in “Sicko” and “A Mighty Heart,” respectively:
* “Evan Almighty“: You don’t have to see the original, “Bruce Almighty,” which has little to do with this one to get this mostly sappy, cheesy movie. Steve Carell plays Evan Baxter, the weatherman from “Bruce Almighty,” who gets elected to Congress. He moves his family to the Washington area, where he is beseeched by G-d* (Morgan Freeman) to follow part of Genesis and build an ark in preparation for a massive flood. He soon grows long hair and a beard and become a modern day Noah, reclaiming his family from his former workaholic life. Evan also angers a high-powered, corrupt Congressman–in the hands of evil developers (always a lefty angle in these movies).
I really liked the Biblical Noah story replayed in this film, which follows the Genesis story very closely. But that doesn’t overcome the sappiness and cheesiness of this comedy that was largely unfunny. And, sorry, but I didn’t need to see the disrespectful scenes of G-d dancing. Thanks, but no thanks. Plus the movie co-stars the always annoying, never funny “comedienne” Wanda Sykes, the silver screen jump-the-shark icon. If the tired Ms. Sykes is in a movie, it’s a bad omen.
Finally, whoever wrote this didn’t do the tiniest bit of research about life as a Congressman and got all of the basics wrong. There is no such thing as “junior co-sponsoring” a bill. You’re either a co-sponsor or you’re not. No “juniors.” And Congressman’s parking spaces are in convenient spots in garages under their office buildings, not half a mile away on the other side of the Capitol. They even got the custom Congressional license plates wrong. Very lazy scriptwriters in a very corny movie. Still, you can take your kids to this one (if you don’t mind the blaspheming of G-d).
* “Sicko“: I watched this Michael Moore propaganda piece for socialized medicine, last weekend, over the internet. I know Moore’s people don’t mind, since they’ve told me so, and keep wanting to send me a screener of it, anyway. **** UPDATE, 06/28/07: Read my “Sicko” review. ****
* “A Mighty Heart“: Read my complete review. This whitewash of Islam in the beheading/live dissection murder of Daniel Pearl is disgusting, boring, and stupid. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and fake-umentary director Michael Winterbottom deceptively blame Pearl’s murder on Guantanamo Bay (which was hardly an issue at the time of Pearl’s murder) and on the Wall Stree Journal sharing important terrorist computer files with the U.S. government. Gee, whatta surprise. Also, not surprising: CAIR, MPAC, Cafe Intifada, Amnesty International, and Doctors Without Borders co-sponsored screenings of this. It’s their kind of movie, not ours. Again, Read my complete review.
* “1408“: Since the studios held the only screening of this at the same time as another only screening, I went–for you, dear readers–I went at 12:55 a.m., this morning to screen this at the only drive-in left in the Detroit Area, the Ford-Wyoming on the edge of Dearbornistan and a very scary, dangerous part of Detroit (that describes most of Detroit, actually).
The movie, based on a Stephen King short story, begins as an interesting, classic King flick about a horror fiction novelist like King who is skeptical of the occult and insists on staying in the mysterious room 1408 of New York’s fictional “Dolphin Hotel.” Every guest who’s stayed in the room–over 50 of them–has died within an hour of entering the room.
But although it starts out as engrossing, classic Stephen King, it gets carried away, overwrought, and silly. The great thing about other movies made from King’s writing is that they are mostly believable and you suspend your disbeliefs. Not the case with this one, once you get about a halfway through it. It gets to be too much and a jumbled mess with a million times you think it’s the ending or should be . . . but still isn’t. Mildly entertaining, but not King’s best. And not that scary. But I never realized that the late Karen Carpenter’s sweet voice singing, “We’ve Only Just Begun” could ever be that creepy in the context of this movie.
* “You Kill Me“: Ben Kingsley plays a Polish mob hitman from Buffalo whose alcoholism is harming his ability to snuff out people from the rival Irish mob. He’s sent by his mob boss to San Francisco to join Alcholics Anonymous and get sober. At a part-time job embalming bodies at a funeral home, he meets a PBS marketer (Tea Leoni), with whom he falls in love.
Sound stupid and hard to believe? Yup, it is. This movie was long, boring, depressing, and you don’t care a whit about the manic, annoying Leoni or this cold-blooded killer loser. It’s also a bit hard to believe Kingsley as a Pole from Buffalo, when his bizarre attempt the accent plus his British brogue makes him sound like a Scotsman. I understand the craze to do mob-themed films and hitch a ride on the success of “The Departed” and “The Sopranos.” But this doesn’t cut it. Tremendously skip-worthy.
* “September Dawn“: Although I dislike and extremely distrust flip-flop-flipper Mitt Romney, it has nothing to do with his membership in the Mormon Church. I think most Mormons are good people and loyal Americans of the best kind, though I’ve written extensively about how the Mormon church funneled millions in goods to HAMAS through the Islamic Relief charity.
But you have to question the timing of this movie about the Mountain Meadow Massacre–the massacre perpetrated by Mormons on non-Mormon Christians in America on September 11, 1857. It was documented as a brutal murder of many Christians, except their kids who were too young to remember or become witnesses. Angelina Jolie’s pop, Jon Voight plays the Mormon leader who fomented the massacre, and the movie seems very one-sided, anti-Mormon, and unfairly designed to turn us against Mormons, today. The marketing of it, pushing the auspicious date, September 11th, is disgusting. Mormons are not terrorists. They’re generally good people who love America. Why aren’t there movies like this about Muslims? Hollywood would never dare.
And the long movie plays out like a Lifetime Movie of the Week, starring Mormons. Lots of melodrama, crying, and screaming throughout a Romeo and Juliet-style romance. Skip it.
* “The Golden Door” (“Nuovomondo”): This arthouse Italian-language comedy about immigrants traveling to America from Italy, presented by Martin Scorsese, was annoyingly unfunny and juvenile. Depressing, silly, and pointless, I walked out halfway through this two-hour ordeal, because I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Life is short, and I couldn’t afford to waste any more of mine on this. I looked forward to seeing this film, but was sorely disappointed. Added nothing to the body of work on the (legal) immigrant experience in America.
* Jews do not write the name of G-d in vain. Thus, the dash in the word.
Tags: A Mighty Heart, alcoholism, America, Amnesty International, Angelina Jolie, Ben Kingsley, Brad Pitt, Bruce Almighty, Buffalo, Cafe Intifada, Congress, congressman, Daniel Pearl, Debbie Schlussel There, Detroit, Doctors Without Borders, Evan Almighty, fake-umentary director, Ford, Guantanamo Bay, Hamas, horror fiction novelist, Italy, Jon Voight, Karen Carpenter, King, Martin Scorsese, Michael Moore, Michael Winterbottom, Morgan Freeman, Mormon Church, Mountain Meadow Massacre, New York, Nuovomondo, San Francisco, September Dawn, Sicko, Stephen King, Steve Carell, Tea Leoni, The Departed, The Sopranos, the Wall Stree Journal, U.S. government, United States, Wanda Sykes, Washington, Wyoming, You Kill Me