Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley Here are another five movies you think would be really better than they are, unfortunately for the films, the scripts, the direction, and the actors, they are not. Gods and Generals ? 1 Star (Terrible) This so-called historical epic finds Director-Producer Ron Maxwell taking 3 hours and 49 minutes (yes, you read correctly) to re-tell the story of the Civil War from its beginning in 1861 through the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Yikes. Ted Turner wanted this film done real bad, he coughed up the entire $60 million budget to make it happen.
Hopefully, he did not fall asleep watching the result of his investment. As near as I can tell, this effort earned virtually no recognition or accolades, and rightfully so. The Netflix postscript tells us that the film is about Confederate General Robert E. Lee (played by Robert Duvall) and Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Jeff Daniels), a Bowdoin College professor from Maine who becomes the central character representing the Federal (Union) troops.
This movie is really the story of Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (Stephen Lang); whoever wrote the Netflix postscript apparently did not see the movie. This movie attempts to show the human side of the tragic Civil War in our country, and suffers from the lack of a narrator for the battle footage which goes on forever without great consequence. Showing the battle scenes does not do squat for this film; having a narrator is the only way to explain the action so it makes sense to the first-time viewer.
I really think Maxwell (the director/producer) was more impressed with his own effort than the subject matter. If Maxwell wants to see a good presentation of the subject matter, he should watch Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War (I suspect he did and decided to make it into a movie, 'nuff said. He just did not make a very good movie).
Mr. and Mrs. Smith ? 1 Star (Terrible) Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (who would later be joined at the hip) are guns for hire who find their next target is each other in this sorry flick. This is a sad, disappointing movie with no redeeming qualities worth talking about.
The story line is slow to develop, it has sound problems, it suffers from action flickitis (continual killing, mayhem and explosions), and comes across as sophomoric, juvenile and simply bad to the core. The chaotic shooting scenes are reminiscent of the early cowboy flicks where both the good guys and the bad guys are systematically firing off 200 rounds from their revolvers without reloading. Good grief, if you are going to make a movie with two superstars of this caliber, bring something to the table. Actually, this filmmaking effort was so poorly done it could not have been saved even with two superstars like Pitt and Jolie. Just Like Heaven ? 1 Star (Terrible) Just Like Heaven is cute but not substantive.
This movie effort takes off on the concept of Ghost in the reverse; instead of a dead person who can see the living but cannot be seen by the living, here we have a dead person who can also see the living, but the living can also see the dead person. It just does not work like Ghost. Ghost is 1,000 times better than this effort. Ghost works because it is a drama and courts reality. Just Like Heaven does not work because it is a romantic comedy and has nothing to do with reality (just a minor point). There are several more reasons why Ghost works, and Just Like Heaven does not (too many to mention in detail here).
This effort entertains but lacks substance, and hence believability. The best part of this movie is Reese Witherspoon (who would go on to win an Oscar for her lead role in the Johnny Cash story, Walk the Line). I would not see Just Like Heaven again, even with a monetary incentive.
Miracle ? 1 Star (Terrible) Miracle is the story of the U. S. Hockey Team that won the Gold Medal during the 1980 Olympic Games at Lake Placid in New York.
A potentially great story line that had a poor script and poor direction. I doubt whether the writer or director of Miracle has ever played competitive hockey. There was only one really good moment in the movie that should have had 30 great moments, and kept you on the edge of your seat, even though you already know the ending of the film. I was so disappointed in the artistic effort of this movie, I consider it a petty crime to make a movie of the stunning, historic 1980 Olympic Games United States gold-medal performance with the script they had to work with. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days ? 1 Star (Terrible) This romantic comedy stars Kate Hudson.
Of course, she does not follow through on losing the guy in 10 days, she finds him, he finds her, and he makes it happen for both of them. Forget the script, the acting and the directing. OK to see it once.
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