Washington City Paper

Dec. 26, 2003 –
Jan. 8, 2004

     

CPArts

Arts in Review 2003

Dog Catchers

We didn’t mean to, but we saw all of these miserable failures, from megaplex filler that aimed low to foreign flick that had all the art-house bona fides:

Film

Dopamine. Directorial flash will get you only so far, even in the Sundance Film Series. Mark Decena’s numerous shots of synapses firing belies the lack of sparks flying between dopey programmer Rand (John Livingston) and mopey educator Sarah (Sabrina Lloyd). The most expressive character in the film? The computerized bird, Koy Koy: You can almost feel his yearning to beat the crap out of the agent who suggests “indie cred” would be better for his career than a cameo in Finding Nemo.

—Josh Levin

The Event. Remember the promos for that short-lived Fox drama Skin? Well, try this one on for size: “Parker Posey is the district attorney!” Too bad “AIDS tear-jerker” turned out to be the better encapsulation. Look no further for proof that an uplifting story about a family coming together to overcome devastating trauma can be boring as all hell.

—Josh Levin

Gigli. Why pile on? This thug-life Rain Man was Bennifer’s Springtime for Hitler.

—Tricia Olszewski

Just Married and My Boss’s Daughter. Ashton: 2003 has really been my year, dollface. I starred in Just Married with a stoned-looking Brittany Murphy and My Boss’s Daughter with the now-disgraced Andy Richter and Michael Madsen.

Demi: I want you even more!

Ashton: You 40-year-old chicks must be really hard up.

—Tricia Olszewski

Kangaroo Jack. For the streetwise kiddies, there’s a rapping kangaroo. For their befuddled dads, there’s Estella Warren bathing in a waterfall. For producer Jerry Bruckheimer, there’s an industrywide plea for an asset freeze to prevent him from putting out another such abomination.

—Tricia Olszewski

A Man Apart. XXX without the corny jokes, crazy stunts, or exotic locales—which leaves just the giant blockhead. After the wife of Vin Diesel’s character is killed, he spends a lot of time staring out at the ocean, apparently mourning his career.

—Tricia Olszewski

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. Quoth the Architect: “The first [Matrix] I designed was quite naturally perfect. It was a work of art. Flawless. Sublime. A triumph only equaled by [the trilogy’s] monumental failure.” I paraphrase. But who’s gonna argue?

—Tricia Olszewski

Seabiscuit. The feel-good movie about the little horse that could—and the little trainer that could, and the little jockey that could, and the little country that could, and... If the stultifying voice-over by historian David McCullough doesn’t Ken Burns you to death, writer-director Gary Ross’ glacial pacing surely will.

—Josh Levin

Swimming Pool. Just ’cause it’s francophone don’t mean it’s unconventional. A Brit mystery novelist (Charlotte Rampling) heads to France to get in that writing state of mind. While she’s getting her groove back, some hot, artsy young tail (Ludivine Sagnier) prances into her villa and gets her groove on. Oh, and there’s a mystery involving...sex, maybe? Even more mysterious: why this stinkbomb didn’t go straight to Skinemax.

—Josh Levin

21 Grams. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose Amores Perros was one of the best movies of 2000, joining forces with Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro, two of the most transfixing actors on the planet? Twenty-one grams of solid gold, right? See, that’s how those clever bastards try to fool you. No amount of time-slicing flourishes or virtuoso acting could save a plot so contrived Donald Kaufman would scoff: Man (Penn) gets a heart transplant and falls in love with the widow of the donor (Naomi Watts). Where were Christian Slater and the baboon?

—Josh Levin

2 Fast 2 Furious. Finally, a movie that celebrates diversity! We get a Hot Asian Chick (model Devon Aoki), an Angry Black Man (Tyrese), and a Dopey White Guy who’s down with everyone because he says “yo” and “bro” a lot (Paul Walker). Who knew a franchise could suffer from the absence of Vin Diesel?

—Tricia Olszewski

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