Ah! Living the life of a bachelor–well, at least for the rest of the week while the wife is off looking after her mother. This means being able to turn the radio up loud in the bathroom as I get ready for the day. This means calls from She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed while I’m in bed because she didn’t pay attention to the time zone difference. [THPBHPT. -TPK] This means eating whatever I want for dinner, like a yummy green curry with pork over fragrant jasmine rice. What? You thought it would be take-out and frozen pizzas? Hah! Just shows what you know about me. My brothers and I were well-taught by our mom, and we are all good cooks. If we went several days once on nothing but Orange Juliuses and popcorn, it was because we wanted to, not because it was the only thing we knew how to make. We did it because we were too busy playing Dungeons & Dragons to be bothered with making food. And the game is nothing like the Dungeons & Dragons movie, which brings me to the topic of this article–movies.

Since I’m all alone, I figured I’d write about the movies I have watched since the wife flew out: 50 First Dates, Hero, AVP: Alien vs. Predator, and I, Robot. This is your last warning if you don’t want the plots spoiled for you, so don’t come whining to me if I ruin the plots for you.

*Spoiler Warning*
(or as the wife says, “Arr! Thar be spoilers ahead!” She normally swings a cutlass around when she says that, so it’s not an idle warning.)

50 First Dates

This is a silly romance staring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, paring them up again as in the successful movie, The Wedding Singer. The hook in this movie is the way Barrymore’s character, Lucy, has short-term memory loss and can’t remember anything that has happened since her accident over a year before. Each day is Sunday and her Dad’s birthday for her, only to be forgotten again when she falls asleep that night. Enter Robbie, played by Sandler, who is smitten by her and has to win her over each day.

I wasn’t expecting too much from this movie, but I was pleasantly surprised and ended up liking it. Sure, it has more crude humor in it than I like, but there were some very funny and surprisingly touching scenes that made up for the coarser bits. And who knew that Rob Schneider could pull off playing a Hawaiian? However, I’m still not going to go out of my way to see a movie with Rob in it. Sorry, but Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo isn’t on my list of must-see movies.

I give 50 First Dates 2 1/2 stars out of four and a pineapple.

Hero

People have compared this film to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and while there are some similarities, Hero is a much more visual movie. Hero takes place in ancient China before it was unified. The hero in the movie is called Nameless and is ordered to come before the King of Qin because he was successful in defeating three assassins plotting against the king. Most of this movie is told as flashbacks as Nameless and the King talk about the three assassins. This movie is stunning in the use of red, blue, green, and white in the four flashbacks. Like CTHD, this film stars Zhang Ziyi, and it is a Wu Xia movie involving the same fantastic flying Chinese martial arts. In CTHD there was a visually arresting fight in the top of the trees, but Hero tops that scene with a fight over a mirror-smooth lake. No matter how much I trained, I’ve never danced on the water like they do. Nor could I run across it the way Chiun did in Remo Williams. He was incredible. “No, I am better than that!” Hush, Chiun. Besides, you’re Korean, and Hero is a Chinese movie.

I give Hero 3 stars and a *flip-ip-ip-ip-ip-ip* sound effect.

AVP: Alien vs. Predator

I had dreamed of a paring up of the Alien and Predator movies ever since the comic book cross-over came out. Oh, sorry. They are “graphic novels” now, I guess. I really liked Alien and Aliens, but the next two movies left me unimpressed. Predator is a great Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but Predator 2 suffers from sequelitis. It did do a good job of foreshadowing AVP when the predator is tracked down to this ship, and the movie shows that hanging on the wall with the other victim skulls is an alien skull.

I liked the way they added this film into the Alien and Predator universe while still making it a working and worthwhile movie on its own. As plots go, this was a nicely done action flick, even if I did see the final gotcha coming long before it happened.

A good 2 1/2 stars and egg-opening willies.

I, Robot

Set in the near future, I, Robot tracks Will Smith as a cop who distrusts the robots that are everywhere. Based on the robot novels written by Isaac Asimov, this movie really feels like something written by the master storyteller. It has the themes of problem robots, human reactions to robots taking their place, and the nature of what makes an individual “human” that Asimov wove into his many robot-based short stories and novels. I, Robot works as a better translation from story to film than Bicentennial Man turned out to be, although that film also was pretty true to the feel of the short story from whence it came. Comparing the movie to the written word is like comparing, well, video to text. Both are successful in what they do best. I, Robot succeeds in presenting strong visual images, while the books have the depth and length that make reading so enjoyable for me.

Of all the movies, this was the one I was looking forward to seeing the most. As both a mystery and sci-fi movie, it succeeded well in both regards. At times like this I wish my honey were around to see the movie, so I could discuss it with her and see if she noticed the same things I did.

I, Robot racks up a solid 3 stars and a hankering for more from me.

In addition to watching these movies over the last few days, these four have another thing in common: I wanted to see them in theaters, but I never got around to dragging my cutie out to seeing them. I’ll have to drag her to a good movie when she gets back. But while she is gone, I still have Event Horizon, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, and The Incredibles to be tossed into the DVD player.

Hmm… what to watch next?

Addendum (3/16/2005): Just finished watching Event Horizon. I got an email from TBPG, who summed up the movie in two words: “It blows.” And blow it did. I must admit that the worst part of the movie wasn’t the bad dialogue, or the bad plot, or the bad “hey, let’s gross ‘em out with gallons of blood” idea, but the really bad science.

Captain Midnight to Hollywood: Do not attempt to do a science fiction movie if you hear an inner voice telling you, “Increase the Flash Gordon noise and put more science stuff around!” It’s clear that you don’t have a clue.

Single case in point: they have to go into stasis because the ship will be doing 30 gravities. Since the trip was 57 days long and assuming constant acceleration of 30 gravities (g) for 57 days (1/2 speeding up, 1/2 slowing down), they would have traveled 1.1 trillion miles doing that sort of acceleration. To make this relevant to their trip to Neptune, a distance of 1.1 trillion miles would allow them to go to Neptune and back 200 times. Let’s scratch the 30g comment and assume that the ship can accelerate at a constant 1g. This puts Neptune 16-21 days away, depending on orbits. Bad science = bad movie! Argh! It’s enough to make me want to gouge out my eyes.

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