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The mighty word of Justin Patterson

Some years are just packed full of juicy goodness when it comes to movies. Others are about as fertile as the Gobi. Bear with me as I see how 2004 panned out.

LOVED IT

Spider-Man II: I just think this was extraordinarily well done. As a lifelong fan of the comic, I had to approve.

The Incredibles: What fun this was! The voice talent was spot on, the art was fantastic, the plot was great (okay, iffy). This wasn't just a great family movie. This was a great movie.

Dawn of the Dead: I have to tell you, I am really digging the renaissance in zombie flicks. We were due! This remake was sick, funny, gory, poignant, and left the ending wide open. Last year desperately needed a movie like this. Plus, it's kind of fun to see Jay Leno's head go kablooey. My significant other, who is a nurse, could have gone for the rest of her life without seeing that baby, though. . . .

Miracle: I was saddened by the lack of attention given to this movie. Yeah, it's The Mighty Ducks but real and with better hair. Still, this flick just got to me. As a wee little hockey freak when I moved here back in '77, I remember vaguely the frenzy surrounding the Miracle On Ice. I thought this movie was well-made, gripping, decently acted (considering that most of the players are players, not actors) and really conveyed the emotion of the thing.

Kill Bill, Vol. 2: More Budd. More Bill. More Elle. More Bride. 'Nuff said.

Team America: World Police: This movie was so rude, so offensive, so indiscriminately violating, that I absolutely loved it. Coming just before election time as it did, this movie was the reality check that our nation needed.

Saw: I know it got panned, but I liked it. Maybe it was the experience of seeing it early in the run in a packed theater, but we all really got a kick out of it. Cary Elwes didn't play the same guy, there were some really nice plot twists, and everybody gets screwed. Perfect!

Chronicles of Riddick: It just rocked. Read the freakin' review, man.

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle: Our nation desperately needed some really dumb, funny movies. My girlfriend and I got progressively tiddly while watching this. While it's not a substitute for weed, tequila definitely mixes well with this movie.

DUG IT, BUT DIDN'T LOVE IT

Butterfly Effect: Fun. Evil and off-kilter. Ashton Kutcher as a prison bitch.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: It's nice to see that the films are maturing in pace with the books and their characters. This was good, but just made me really impatient to see the next one, The Goblet of Fire. The effects in this were marvelous, incidentally.

Hidalgo: Not bad at all. It's one good thing about having kids in the house - I get to watch this stuff.

Hellboy: Loved it, but in retrospect didn't love it enough to put it in the Loved It group. Ron Perlman rocks pretty much all of the time, and it was good to see someone take the care in adapting the comic that these folks did. Next time, though, I'm rooting for Cthulhu.

I, Robot: It's not a revelation. It's just this year's Will Smith action blockbuster, and I happened to really enjoy watching it.

Man On Fire: This was a dark movie, far more dark than I was in the mood for the night that I watched it. Looking back, to be fair, I would have to say that this was really well done. That little girl is kinda creepy, though.

Shrek II: Not as funny as the first, but still worth checking out.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow:I meant to do a review on this one and never got around to it. This is a movie that has to be seen to understand why it's so groundbreaking. No sets, no special lighting, just some actors and a LOT of green screen. As a combination sci-fi early-fifties-style serial comic book movie, this was really an experience to watch. It dragged at times, but was definitely worth checking out.

MOVIES I MISSED

Open Water: I will never be made to watch this movie. Never ever.

Ray: I'm really looking forward to seeing this. Jamie Foxx is getting all kinds of acclaim, and I grew up listening to Ray Charles.

The Aviator: I'll get around to it. Howard Hughes is fun, I like history, Scorsese's running the show and there are some very pretty women in it. Plus, I hate to admit it but Little Leo's getting to be a better actor. He's always chosen his roles well, but he's finally starting to exhibit small signs of talent. Like I said, I'll get around to it.

Troy: I caught 20 minutes of it while waiting to see something else. It looked okay. I'll rent it.

The Passion of the Christ: Satan is keeping me from watching this. I keep meaning to, but something always comes up. Maybe I'll check it out one day when the kids aren't around.

Hotel Rwanda: It's funny that the average American will learn about what happened in Rwanda from this movie. Not funny haha, funny queer. From what i understand, Don Cheadle does a remarkable job in this movie about something most of us can't really imagine.

The Manchurian Candidate: I just want to see Meryl Streep as Hillary. That's all.

Napoleon Dynamite: The previews remind me enough of Ghost World to make me interested. Plus, I tend to like this quirky stuff.

Shaun of the Dead: I really want to see this. The night I sat down to see it, there was some kind of family drama. Maybe my old college roommate and I will get together at some point for a zombie marathon: 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, House of the Dead, etc.

SUCKED SO BADLY IT PAINED ME

The Day After Tomorrow: Watch Team America afterwards, if you ever see it. You will need to purge yourself of the astounding level of political dreck that weighs this movie down like cement overshoes. The effects are cool to look at, but beyond that, there's not a lot of draw for this thing. If doom and gloom are what you're into, check out The Day the Earth Stood Still instead.

Dodgeball: Unfortunately, this just wasn't nearly as funny as I'd hoped it would be. That's about all that I can say about it.

Van Helsing: While I understand that this was a comic book, and not a movie, I just couldn't get past how bad it was. Kate Beckinsale was nice to look at, and Hugh Jackman did okay, but this was just. . . trash.

Garfield: Jennifer Love Hewitt getting naked is the only thing that made this movie worth watching. Oh, wait! She didn't get naked. . . .

Club Dread: I was really looking forward to this, since I am a huge fan of SuperTroopers. The same guys did it, but it's just not up to par. It was poorly written. Once you get past that, it's an okay ripoff of a slasher movie. The joke that ends with Jay Chandrasekhar standing up pantless was the funniest thing to it.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO

Batman Begins: I'm a comic book geek. I've got to see it. I think that Christian Bale ought to do an okay job, and I really like the other stuff that Christopher Nolan has directed. Plus, the Batmobile just looks freakin' sweet.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: It's my favorite of the books. It's supposed to have some really incredible effects - dragons, Voldemort, etc. - and I'm looking forward to seeing how well they can do with the whole thing.

Star Wars: Episode III: I can still remember going to see the original back in '77 at the I-85 Twin Drive-In in the back of my mom's Chevrolet Malibu Classic station wagon. Somewhere, I still have my shirt from that first film. Despite the immense suckitude of the last couple of installments, I will still be compelled to check this out.

Electra: Jennifer Garner and ninjas. Throw in some beer, and I would never need to leave.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: It's a moral imperative. Bring your towel.

Boondock II - All Saints Day: The first was one of those movies that immediately rocketed up into my all-time top five. The cast, the plot, the style were all perfectly meshed together. In fact, the only downside to the first was seeing Willem Dafoe in drag (which is a pretty significant downside). Yeah, I'll definitely need to see this one when they finally get around to finishing it.

Constantine: Despite the wealth of British actors and settings that they could have used for this film, they chose (surprise!) Los Angeles and cast (whoopee!) Keanu Reeves as John Constantine. I checked out the trailer, though, and it looks like someone involved at least read the comic occasionally. I'll reserve judgement.

All in all, it was an okay year for movies. It wasn't perfect, but it DID finally bring us the A-Team on DVD.

Digg!



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