“The Sandlot” revisited

Some movies should not be revisited.

Some kiddie movies can last beyond childhood; they are the special ones, the ones that you can come back to time and again, and they always retain that magic you witnessed in your youth.

 

For me, two standouts are “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and Shirley Temple’s “The Blue Bird,” but it really doesn’t matter which ones made the cut. What matters is that for the length of the film, a piece of your childhood comes back to life and you are young again.

But, then there are those other movies, that had magic when you were young, but when you look at them with adult eyes, you can’t go back. All the flaws are right there in the open and you cannot brush them aside. The movie is forever tainted by your growing wisdom.

Unfortunately, “The Sandlot” falls into the second category.

I saw it with my cousin when I was fourteen, and I really liked it; it was a good baseball-and-kids story that for once didn’t center around the big game.

But then I had to go and watch it this past week. There are too many characters, too many improbable (and let’s face it, impossible) situations and too many moments that just make the adult in me cringe.

“The Sandlot” had a lot going for it; a solid setup about a lonely boy in a new town who finds himself on a baseball team (when he doesn’t know how to play); a likeable enough cast; and an unconventional approach to a sports movie.

It all goes downhill from there. I want to remember this movie fondly, but the adult in me can’t find the childhood glee. It’s all gone.

The Sandlot” (1993)

Written by David M. Evans and Robert Gunter

Directed by David M. Evans

Starring: Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry)

Benny (Mike Vitar)

“Exotica” revisited

“Exotica” is not the film you think it is.

 

If you look at the box art, or watched the trailer, you might come away thinking this is a dumb stripper movie. You could even be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing to see here because you’ve seen it all before.

 

Well, if that’s the movie you’re looking for, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

“Exotica,” written and directed by Atom Egoyan, is really more of a mystery. In the opening scenes, you’ll meet a shy pet-shop owner (Don McKellar), a jaded but emotional stripper (Mia Kirshner), a creepy but sad DJ (Elias Koteas) and a world-weary auditor (the stunning Bruce Greenwood).

Their relationships are unclear, their motivations hidden, but if you pay attention and let the movie unfold, this layered and moving drama will draw you in and not let go until it fades to black.

 

Really, I’ve got nothing more to say after that. It would be a crime to give more plot details away, and I could rail against the marketing team for eons over their mistreatment of such a fantastic piece of art. But I won’t; trust me, “Exotica” is worth your time. It’s even better the second time around.

 

Exotica” (1994)

Written and directed by Atom Egoyan

Starring: Bruce Greenwood (Frances)

Don McKellar (Thomas)

Mia Kirshner (Christina)

Elias Koteas (Eric)

“Star Trek: Generations” revisited

As all good “Star Trek” fans know (and hey, even non-fans know it), when it comes to the movies, the even ones rock and the odd ones suck. Sure, the odd ones aren’t all horrible, but they don’t live up to the highs the even numbered movies offer us.

But, due to a recent “Star Trek” rewatch/indoctrination (Hi Jim!), I’ve gotten a chance to re-evaluate one of the films I’m not too familiar with: “Star Trek: Generations.”

Here be spoilers! Reading more may cause you to find out facts well-known in geek land. You have been warned.

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“X-Men: The Last Stand” revisited

I have loved “X-Men” since I was kid. In the pre-Tivo days, I tried my hardest to always catch the show when it came on Saturday mornings. When I got my first job, my license and my first access to disposable income, I discovered my town’s lone comic book store and went nuts buying as many of the issues as I could afford (and let’s face it, some I couldn’t).

So, way back in 2000, when the first movie came out, I was excited…and then when I watched the first one I was largely disappointed in a cool and cerebral outing when I wanted the action and emotion that I’ve come to expect from the series.

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‘The Fifth Element’ revisited

While watching Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element” again, I suddenly remembered the first time I saw it.

I was still in high school, in the summer between 9th and 10th grade. None of us could drive yet, but some friends (Julie, Kristen and Erica) and I planned to meet at the theater that was just down the road (and across a highway) from my house. After playing a human version of “Frogger” across four lanes of traffic (not recommended), I met up with them.

We were giggly and too loud during the wait, and I have no idea what I thought of the movie after watching with them, but that memory of that day is enough for me to give the movie a bit of a break.

And boy, does it need one.

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“James and the Giant Peach” revisited

As I’ve written before, it can be really, really hard to get children’s films right. If all the pieces aren’t there, adults (and kids too) will immediately spot a cash grab and recoil.

I had some fine memories of “James and the Giant Peach,” (and I’ve always loved Roald Dahl books) the 1996 adaptation from director Henry Selick, but it’s been quite a while since I last watched it, so I decided to check it out from an adult perspective. Unfortunately, the film has the ingredients for magic, but it just doesn’t deliver.

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“Stargate” (the movie)

Lately, I’ve been binge watching “Stargate SG-1,” the television series. Since I have liked the show so far (I’m in the middle of the sixth season), I thought it was time to go back to the beginning and watch the movie properly.

I know at some point that I tried to watch this movie; I remembered the beginning, but after that, and after watching the movie altogether, I can see why it was not particularly memorable.

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“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” revisited

I looooove this movie; I have loved it ever since I first saw it (I don’t remember that, but I was probably about 4 or so). It’s been about six years since I last watched it, but it’s one of those childhood treasures I want to keep in my heart forever.

So, when my mom got me the DVD for Christmas, I decided it was time to look at film with a critical eye and give the DVD another chance.

A brief plot summary: Angela Lansbury stars as Miss Price, an eccentric woman living by herself in a little village in the English seaside in 1940. She reluctantly takes in three Cockney orphans (Charlie, Carrie and Paul) from London; they were shipped out to the country to keep them safe during the Blitz. The kids, however, plan to run back to London, but instead see her going for a midnight ride on a broomstick (right before she crashes).

 

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Thoughts on “Independence Day”

It’s been a good 5 years since the last time I saw “Independence Day,” the ultimate bloated, middle-of-summer popcorn flick.

The best thing I can say about it now is that, on its own terms, it’s a successful movie, which is probably why the movie made a killing at the box office to the horror of many a film snob. And while watching it by myself in the dead of winter is not the ideal circumstance, I still noticed a few things worth sharing.

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Grand Canyon…revisited

OK, confession time; when I first saw it, I loved Lawrence Kasdan’s “Grand Canyon (1991).” And when I say love, I mean passionately, effusively, haunt-my-mind kind of love. That good feeling led me to impulse-buy the DVD a few years later when I saw it in a store.

And to my dismay, every time I watch the movie I like it less. I’ve only seen it three times and it just keeps getting worse and worse. What hurts me the most is that being critical of this film feels like I’m a bully, picking on the easy target, that shy kid who just wants to be liked.

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