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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Worst of 2008

Let me let you in on a little secret. I hardly rent DVDs anymore. Mainly because I own so darn many, that I figure that rather than rent something, I'll just watch The Dark Knight again. But this evening, I finally made good on something I've been threatening to do, well, all this year.

There were two summer blockbuster that came out last year that I really wanted to see, but I didn't, mainly because the reviews were so horrible that I figured it wasn't worth driving into the city and dropping my $12 to see them. So tonight I rented them. And I just finished watching them.

First up, it was the long awaited return of Mulder and Scully, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. So, it's been 6 years since the end of the show...six years since Mulder and Scully last rode off into the sunset. Scully has gone back to her roots -- in both her training and her faith -- as she now works as an MD at a Catholic hospital. Mulder lives in her basement, in hiding, where he still investigates paranormal activity through the Internet and by clipping articles out of various newspapers. But when an FBI agent mysteriously disappears, the FBI reaches out to Mulder, offering to clear all the charges against him, and bring him in to consult. For you see, a pedophile priest is having psychic visions about this agent's abduction. Is the psychic genuine? Well, Mulder and Scully are the experts in such things, so they're in on the case!

Truth be told, I was kind of "meh" towards the whole thing. Maybe The X-Files is just one of those things I've outgrown. Maybe it's because the whole thing really didn't feel like a movie. I agree with one critic I read online who said that, 12 years ago, at the show's peak, it would have been a very good episode. It does feel like a very good episode...but not a movie.

One thing, though, I do feel like addressing. A friend recently tweeted that one of the problems he had with The X-Files all those years ago is he didn't believe that Scully would have been a skeptic for as long as she was. "All 9 seasons and both movies," my friend said. Well, the true fans will remember that Scully did become a full-on believer comes season 8 -- the season Mulder left. And the new character, John Dogget, became the new skeptic. And in this second movie, Scully is once again the skeptic. But this time, her skepticism is rooted in, "I have a normal life now! I don't want to go back to chasing monsters in the dark!"

So, yeah. Good but not great. I'm going to go all Dr. Hackborn on this and give it a 2 out of 4, even though I really want to give it 3.

The other one was Mike Myers' latest comedy, The Love Guru. I've been a fan of Myers comedy all the way back to Wayne's World, so I was hoping that Myers still had it.

Myers latest characters is the Guru Pitka, an American raised in India and now uses elements of Hindu spiritualism to be a self-help guru. The Guru Pitka is soon contacted by the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, played by Jessica Alba. It seems that the Leafs' star player has a marriage that's on the rocks, and it's starting to affect his performance on the ice. So, the Leafs' owners wants the Guru Pitka to get the star player to reconcile with his wife, so his game will return to normal, and the Leafs can win the Stanley Cup. Can Pitka save this marriage and finally wind up on Oprah?

Yeah, a lot of the humor is crude and tasteless (the climax involves elephants fornicating), and the plot is rather formulaic, but you know what? I laughed my ass off. And as many a wiser film critic has said, at the end of the day, the only way to judge a comedy is whether you find it funny or not. And I found it funny.

I give it 3 out of 4.

So, come back a year from now, when I rent and review "the worst of 2009," the films I wanted to see this year but the reviews scared me off. Just taking a quick look at things, that'll probably be Terminator Salvation and Land of the Lost.

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