Movies watched last week, from favorite to least.
Sort of the anti-Smithereens, with the clumsy NYC love triangles played for anything but laughs, and a soundtrack that makes the 90s sound like more of a drag than it was. Sort of not, as the characters are just as memorable and the film makes a great time capsule.
To be a success, a comedy only has to make you laugh. Likewise, a thriller only has to put you on edge. Everything else, good or bad, is icing. So despite the clumsy ending, misfired sociological metaphors and stilted speeches from B actors who seem to think this is Oscar material (Marcia Gay Harden must have trained with Ellen Burstyn), The Mist works. The film might have had more edge (and a stronger subtext) if we never saw the beasties lurking beneath that mist, but these are some great beasties. Ones that stay enigmatic and unsettling after their existence is ostensibly explained.
The best thing I can say about Jason Lee is that he isn't Jim Belushi, and the film could use a more inspired Dave Seville. But, like Underdog (which oddly features Jason Lee as well), the conceptual insanity and hammy villains (when David Cross gasps "Madre de Dios!" before letting out a giant "NOOO!!!!" I know that dude is very, very aware of himself) make it a lot more entertaining than most kids flicks. When people say CGI can do things we previously couldn't even imagine, they're talking about movies like this.
The celebrity walk-ons are entertaining, and, Jack Black's miscast-Macca aside (John was the fat one, remember?), I'd even say the Beatles sequence was inspired. But of the actual cast, only Tim Meadows' anti-drug druggie achieved a classic shtick. The one-dimensionality of the characters wouldn't matter if the material and pace weren't tepid compared to The Ten, Blazing Saddles or even Scary Movie 3. This is the second pair of Bad Idea Jeans Jake Kasdan has made for Judd Apatow, and I hope it's the last.
You know you're fucked when not even Steely Dan can get you to realize that you've become a tired caricature of yourself.