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Posts Tagged ‘Jurnee Smollett’

My past, and present.

With one exception, every movie I’ve seen in 2022 originally debuted in 1997.

It’s part of my New Year’s resolution, which was to build a virtual time machine and travel back to my lazy, hazy days behind the counter at Videoville.

I ate a kajillion Reese’s Pieces, was rightly described by my boss more than once as a “gossipy old church lady,” and injected cinema into my veins at a staggering rate between 1994 and 2006.

Even got paid more than a few bucks to do so.

Life hasn’t been the same since, as future jobs in the dish pits and out on farms beat the crud out of my back — something later made worse by lounging on too many butt-eroding bleachers while writing about prep sports.

If one thing has remained constant over the years, it has been my habit of mainlining movies into my cranium.

Let’s just say I’ve seen a lot of good to great films, and a LOT of bad to worse ones.

And yet I endure.

How I watch them has changed over the years, with video stores sidelined, streaming systems taking over the world, and the act of going to the theater having irreversibly changed.

Not just by Covid, though, as ever-present cell phones, in all their annoying glory, ruined the live cinematic experience long before anyone worried about being coughed on in the dark.

Why should I go out of my way to arrange a six-movies-in-a-day marathon at the nearest mall — complete with squares of light popping on and off around me — when I can spend the same day buried under blankies on my recliner?

Especially now that I’ve chosen to spend a chunk of 2022 living in 1997.

So now I’m 38 flicks — 34 features and four short films — down the movie memory hole, and a few things already stick out.

Batman and Robin is not only still the worst superhero film ever made, but it’s somehow gotten worse in the 25 years since I ruined a Friday afternoon watching it in a theater on opening day.

The only good thing to come out of it is that George Clooney has been so willing to ridicule the film (and his own performance) every day since.

Meanwhile, Speed 2, thoroughly lambasted at the time for not being a carbon copy of the awesome first film in the series, is NOT as bad as you think it was.

Sandra Bullock is both adorable and a butt-kickin’ heroine, Willem Dafoe is reliably bonkers playing with his leeches, and the cruise ship crashing through town like Godzilla is still a hoot.

Also, it’s interesting what the passage of time will do.

I loved The Spanish Prisoner the first time around, and loved it this time too, having forgotten all the intricate surprises waiting to be sprung.

With other revisited thrillers like Switchback, Cop Land, Scream 2, and Jackie Brown, the twists were still lodged in my brain, but other than the basic outline of David Mamet’s con man caper, the rest had filtered away.

Then there’s Hercules, which I saw 17,808 times in the first few years after it hit home video, thanks to my oldest nephew — who was very young at the time.

Eventually, he moved on to new things, and there was a big enough time gap before nephews #2 and #3 arrived, that they never got hooked on the film.

Coming back after all these years, I found Hercules — with its hero channeling the nerdy charm (and vocal stylings) of Christopher Reeve in Superman —┬áto be one of the best of the new-era Disney animated films.

Not to the level of Aladdin, certainly, but personally I prefer it to The Lion King or Beauty and the Beast.

Yes, yes, I’m a blasphemer.

Meanwhile, I Married A Strange Person, with its super-horny animated birds, is still a hoot — if you’re not watching it with other people. Then it gets awkward fast…

Snow White: A Tale of Terror with Sigourney Weaver is an underrated story perfect for those of us who wanted to see Prince Charming get thrown out an upstairs window, while Princess Mononoke remains a pristine gem.

And Jurnee Smollett, at 11 years old, knocked it out of the park in Eve’s Bayou, which, like other hidden gems such as Traveller, never had a chance come Oscar time. Which is a pity.

What’s still ahead to revisit? A lot.

All-timers like L.A. Confidential, The Sweet Hereafter, and Boogie Nights, plus more middling fare such as Anaconda, Good Burger, and Leprechaun 4: In Space.

The good. The godawful.

The ones I remember. The ones I don’t.

Even a few which, horror of horrors, I somehow never saw the first time around.

I’m stuck in 1997, and I’m not coming back anytime soon.

 

To follow my journey, pop over to:

https://letterboxd.com/davidsvien/list/we-have-to-go-back-rewatching-1997-in-2022/

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