The Princess and the Pirate

Adventure / Comedy (more)

29 March 2006

Pinball Hall of Fame

While reading The Consumerist, I ran across the link to an article about the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. Turns out that it is the labor of love for one of the Arnold brothers, who opened Pinball Pete's decades ago right here in Lansing! And he gives the proceeds from the Hall of Fame, which is open to the public, to the Salvation Army. Interesting article about an interesting guy; give it a read if you have any interest in pinball. If I ever visit Vegas, I am totally there.

14 March 2006

Six Films I Think Are Better Than You Think

As a followup to yesterday's post, here are six flicks I rated higher than the average by the widest margin...

TitleMy RatingIMDB AverageDifference
Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)85.3+2.7
Waterworld (1995)85.3+2.7
El Diablo (1990) (TV)85.6+2.4
Dead Awake (2001)74.8+2.2
Onmyoji 2 (2003)74.8+2.2
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)63.8+2.2

Now, note that I didn't find Pluto Nash to be a masterpiece of cinema; I rated it a solid 6. But nor is it the celluloid sludge people make it out to be. I think it's fun.

Onmyoji 2 I liked a little better than its predecessor.

Dead Awake is the kind of film I would like to make if I were a moviemaker. It's chock full of short twists and interesting, quirky characters (but not so quirky as to annoy me). I found it to be very original and well performed.

I don't generally go for Westerns, and that's why I like El Diablo. If you do heart Westerns, it will probably turn you off.

Why Waterworld gets such a bad rap I cannot fathom (pun intended). It's fun, adventurous, has some interesting ideas, and Costner is perfect in this role, possibly because he has minimal dialog. Hopper excels as the quintessential bad-guy-frustrated-by-inept-minions.

In contrast, I understand how many people just don't get Joe Versus the Volcano. At least I thought I did. I expected an inverse bell curve in its ratings, with scores bunched at the extremes; this turns out not to be so. The only revealing stat appears to show that young people (under 18) hate this movie. So that makes me wonder if enjoyment of this one is at least partly generational. I imagine the younger crowd feeling about Office Space the way I feel about JVtV. That is, it inspires me toward doing something meaningful. I'm not there yet, but maybe if I watch JVtV another time or two?

13 March 2006

Six Movies I Think Are Worse Than You Think

Playing with my IMDB ratings, I decided to look at where my tastes differ from the general public. One thing to note is that my IMDB ratings list does not contain every movie I've ever seen; I've never taken the time to retro-actively/spectively score flicks from the past. But such does carry the benefit of only ever having rated a movie while it's fresh in my mind. Also note that these six films are NOT my lowest rated films, but are those that I rated lower than the average by the widest margin...

TitleMy RatingIMDB AverageDifference
Jackass: The Movie (2002)26-4
"Rose Red" (2002) (mini)36.3-3.3
Skyscraper Souls (1932)47.2-3.2
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)25.2-3.2
Monsters, Inc. (2001)58-3
Solyaris (1972)58-3

Jackass and 1000 Corpses are no real surprise, as I'm not part of the target demographic (severe cognitive deficiency).

Rose Red would have worked better had it been condensed to normal motion picture length, concentrating the sparse elements of suspense, but I doubt I'd be able to raise its rating more than a point even so.

Monsters, Inc. is pop children's fare, which adults are able to enjoy also. And I did enjoy it, just not more than most other movies I've seen.

Solyaris (that's the original Russian version) is a tough one. It is Too Long. Yet, it almost needs to be so, since the premise requires the viewer to marinate in its atmosphere in order to buy in. Ultimately, though, it's just not worth the wait. I've seen parts of the 2002 remake, Solaris (no "y"), but that didn't seem to grab me either, though it is merely half the length of the original. Ultimately, I wonder if enjoyment of this story boils down to whether or not you find the premise a fascinating idea. And I guess I don't.

The biggest surprise has to be Skyscraper Souls. In general, I love old black-and-whate cinema classics. They often appeal based on the acting chemistry and snappy dialog. But Skyscraper Souls just felt flat and dull to me.

Obviously, YMMV.