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Saturday, November 2, 2002

I'm thinking maybe I need to get out more. I need to get out to the local cinema once in awhile and see some big screen magic, before I start thinking Big Trouble is a good movie. Before you know it I'll be throwing around pap-critic phrases like "a breath of fresh air" or "side-splitting" for this comic trifle.

Seriously, though, it was the best DVD I've watched in the last two days, and the only one of the last three Netflix has sent me that I've made it all the way through. It made me laugh out loud. And it didn't make me feel I was wasting my time (although if it had been any longer than an hour and 25 minutes, that opinion might have changed).

Lately I've replaced actually seeing the new pictures with reading their reviews. There's a certain craft to film criticism, and the writing can be artistic at times (in the right hands), but reading about it is a poor substitute for experiencing the movie itself, especially on a big screen in a dark theater with other people.

Big Trouble isn't a great movie, but I enjoyed it. It's an ensemble farce, with intersecting plot lines and characters who keep stumbling over each other. In fact, you might think from watching this film that Miami is a city of about two dozen people, all trying to be in the same place at the same time. It has some wonderful comic actors in it, though, plus some seriously funny turns by actors like Tom Sizemore and Stanley Tucci. And the physical comedy is pulled off well.

Still, I look at the entertainment section of the weekend paper and think wistfully about going to see Bloody Sunday at the Rialto (although it's being shown privately to film club members only). Or Bowling for Columbine, which anyone with eight bucks can get in to see. These are movies that have been on my mind, while I've been sitting at home thinking Big Trouble isn't a half-bad little flick.

Big Trouble is a landmark of modern cinema compared to Orange County, which I couldn't get through without using the fast-forward button. Here's another movie that's less than an hour and a half long, and yet I couldn't spend more than twenty minutes before sealing it in its red envelope and sending it back to Netflix. After watching the first thirteen minutes waiting for something to make me laugh, I zipped through to the end at warp eight.

After the Orange County fiasco (and what Giants fan wants to think about Orange County for awhile?), I opened the next DVD and found not Luminous Motion, as expected, but something called Double Take, which I hadn't even ordered.

I let Netflix know they'd made a mistake, but before sending it back I thought I'd give it a try. It wasn't very good (even though Eddie Griffin is a funny guy). It was only about twice as good as Orange County, which still makes it pretty lousy. By fast-forwarding and skipping from scene to scene, I didn't waste a lot of time on this one either.

All of which makes Big Trouble look great, and that makes me look bad. I really need to get out and see a real movie once in a while.


November sunset.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think Big Trouble should be considered a comedy classic. It's pretty much a must-see laugh riot, and a stunningly original taste treat (or is that Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch?). It's a zany romp. (There won't be a sequel, though. It tanked at the box office.)

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Superstition
"At one point I heard her say, 'Oops.' She stood perfectly still, directly behind me, for a full minute, and then said, 'Ah. Got it.'"

Two years ago: Casting an Affirmative Vote
"I don't need a debating opponent, because I'm pretty good at arguing with myself."

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