February is not the best of times in the world of cinema. The winter crap, er, crop of movies are generally artistic cast-offs designed not to distract voters considering Oscar nominations. Instead, we’re given fluff, misguided children’s fare and some guy named “Duane Johnson” who I swear looks exactly like The Rock.
With so few films of merit currently on the market, it only makes sense that you don’t need a New York Times egghead to help suggest what might be the best choice this weekend at the local cineplex. Your expectations are already pretty low. About all you need for guidance is the good word of a friend who liked that one scene where the guy and the girl sort of kissed but not quite, and in the background was that song — you know, that “la-la-la” song from the seventies — played on a harp.
So let’s turn to the voice of the commoners for some recommendations about the hits and the misses currently in first run. Overheard in an office breakroom that could be your own, let’s meet our critics. Rachel is also known as “Old Rachel” to distinguish her from the attractive young intern Rachel. Old Rachel has two preteen children who help define her worldview of Hollywood. We’ll also hear from The Lady From Accounting, a late-middle-aged divorcee who has the nerve to go to movies to be entertained, not challenged. There’s not a romantic comedy she’s viewed that she didn’t “jess loooovvvve.”
So what do you nice ladies suggest?
OR: I don’t like that “Shutter Island” movie. It looks too dark. It’s depressing. Leonardo DiCaprio was good in “Titanic,” and he was a cute kid on that TV show when he was young, but I don’t like him lately.
TLFA: I saw that preview too. No thanks.
OR: You know what I did like, though? I liked “The Squeakqual”. It was actually better than the original, and those Chipettes were just darling, I don’t care what Alvin says.
TLFA: Everybody says they don’t like Chipmunk movies, but everybody goes to see them anyway. Speaking of squeaky, I kind of liked that Sandra Bullock movie, you know, the one about the football player she adopts and he wins the World Series. They say she might win a Grammy for that.
OR: Right, right … I think it was called “All About Steve,” and she’s been kidnapped by a hijacker on a bus, then she wins the Miss Firecracker beauty contest. She’s so cute.
TLFA: You know what else was good? “Invictus.” I didn’t think I’d like it, what with all the soccer and Nelson Mandingo and Ben Affleck (or was it Matt Damon)? Anyhoo, I meant to see “The Wolfman” but I had looked at my ticket stub upside down, and I thought theater 7 was theater 1, and I didn’t even realize it was the wrong movie until about 45 minutes in. But “Invictus” was actually okay, at least for a movie without any werewolves in it.
OR: I was gonna see “Valentine’s Day” on Valentine’s Day — wouldn’t that be wild? But my car got all tore up and I couldn’t make it.
TLFA: Oh, I want to see that one. It’s got so many stars! And I just love romance movies. I heard it’s just great. It’s kind of like that old TV show — you remember “Love American Style”? [singing] “Truer than the red, white and blue, ew, ew, ew, ew …”
OR: Honey, that was before my time. But if you want to see a good, funny movie, go see that “Dear John”. These two kids fall in love and then 9/11 happens and he has to leave and she’s like all boo-hoo. It’s funny, but it’ll make you sad too. That’s what makes a good movie, if you ask me.
TLFA: Talk about sad, my friend was telling me how she cried the whole last half of “Tooth Fairy.” You’d think it was going to be funny, because it has The Rock dressed up in a tu-tu, but he learns some valuable lessons about helping poor kids whose teeth are falling out. It even has a message, if you like that sort of thing: Always brush after every meal.
OR: I love The Rock. I’d even see him in some Shakespeare movie, if he took off his shirt.
TLFA: You got that right!
OR: I’ll tell you what I’m looking forward to, and that’s “Alice in Wonderland”. It’s got Johnny Depp in it, and I think that singer April Lavigne is the one who says “off with her head.”
TLFA: You know, that Alice, she was on drugs.
OR: Well, she fell down a hole!
TLFA: That’s true. Anyway, I just loved Johnny Depp in that “Chocolate Factory”. That’s what he looks like in this movie, except I don’t think it has as much chocolate.
OR: Well, if you only see one movie this year, you gotta see “Michael Jackson, the Olympics and the Lightning Thief.”
TLFA: Wasn’t that his concert film? The one he was practicing for when he died?
OR: No, wait, not Michael, some other Jackson.
TLFA: Janet? I always thought she’d make a good actress, how much she looks like Michael and all.
OR: No, this one is about a teenage boy whose dad is God. Well, not the God, but a Greek god. And he’s flinging lightning bolts all over the place and it’s kinda like “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings,” one of those kind of movies. The boy is real cute, too. My girls are crazy about him.
TLFA: And it has Olympics in it too? Is there ice dancing? Did you see where that guy riding the luge got killed? That was so sad.
OR: No, it really didn’t have that much Olympics in it. I was surprised. What’s been your pick for the best movie of the year so far?
TLFA: I really liked “Lonely Bones”. Where that girl gets murdered and tells her story from up in Heaven.
OR: Percy Jackson goes to Heaven too. Wouldn’t it be cool if those two met? Now that would be a great movie.
TLFA: That would be awesome.
OR: Well, I’d better get back to my desk. My spreadsheet just crashed and I’m about to throw some lightning bolts myself!
TLFA: Ha, ha. Okay, then. Maybe I’ll see you At the Movies.