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September 19, 2001

Time for Movies!

This just in: College students like to procrastinate. Once the weather turns here in the Chicagoland area, that means you'll have to take your procrastinating indoors. As fate would have it, most movie theaters are indoors. So, why would you want to spend your time studying or sleeping when you could spend your time getting loaded and going to the pictures at one of Chicago's many fabulous moviedromes?

In that spirit, here's a look at some of fall and winter's big-money extravaganzas, direct from Tinseltown to your sorry ass. (Warning: does not contain actual film criticism.)

How High (Universal)

Gee, where do I start with this one? First of all, it stars Method Man and Redman, the Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin of our generation. The propagation of Meth and Red's usurpation of the American fine arts is reason enough for you to go see it. But there's more. It was directed by Jesse Dylan, as in Bob Dylan's other, non-Jakob son, who might actually be more artistically worthwhile than his brother. Then there's the plot. Jamal (Red) and Silas (Meth) find a supply of magic weed that somehow enables them to ace their boards and matriculate to Harvard, where, predictably, they run out of magic weed and have to get by on street smarts. Potentially the best movie about Harvard since 1986's Soul Man, which featured rising star C. Thomas Howell and the worst use of blackface prior to Ted Danson at the NAACP Image awards.

Release date: December 26

The Musketeer (Universal)

I have a question. Why are they called musketeers when they always fight with swords? Shouldn't they fight with muskets? Maybe they could fight with muskrats. Then they would be the Muskrateers. If they make a movie about fighting muskrats, I will go see it.

Anyway, I saw the trailer for this, and I thought that D'Artagnan was Johnny Depp, only to discover that he was not in fact Johnny Depp but some other person named Justin Chambers, who doesn't really look all that much like Johnny Depp, leaving me to wonder what the hell my problem is, that I'm seeing Johnny Depp in places where there is no Johnny Depp.

So they took Alexandre Dumas' vaguely classic story, which has been made into a movie approx. 730 times, and made it into a movie again, except this time with bad acting and Hong Kong wire-fu thrown in. Which means it will not even be as good as the 1993 version starring Charlie Sheen, Chris O'Donnell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt, which is very, very sad and speaks poorly for everyone involved. Very little worth seeing here, including Mena Suvari's giant nipples. I mean forehead.

Release Date: Now Playing

The Royal Tenenbaums (Touchstone Pictures)

This movie doesn't really fit in with the rest of the major studio fare, in that it is actually going to be a good film, for the following reasons: A) Wes Anderson. That is all. It also features Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Gene Hackman, Danny Glover, and Mr. Littlejeans from Rushmore. Best movie ever, man. If you don't agree with me about Rushmore being the best movie ever, you are a dumbass.

Release date: December 21

From Hell (Twentieth Century Fox)

Johnny Depp is a very good actor, and nobody ever talks about what a good actor he is. Heather Graham is a very bad actress, and nobody ever talks about what a bad actress she is. Very strange. Now they are in a movie together about Jack the Ripper, which is not so strange. I suspect the casting of Heather Graham was really just a ploy on the director's part to see Heather Graham dressed in a bunch of old-timey dresses with her boobs flopping out all over the place. While I do not entirely disagree with this policy, I feel bad for Johnny Depp, who, despite being an accomplished thespian, still gets second billing to some floozy and her knockers. In summary, From Hell is just going to be Sleepy Hollow with funny old-timey hats and stuff. Actually, Sleepy Hollow had old-timey hats too. So it will be Sleepy Hollow with different kinds of old-timey hats.

Release Date: October 19

Black Knight (Twentieth Century Fox)

Martin Lawrence plays a mouthy black guy (his most daring stretch yet) who works at a Medieval Times-styley place, and falls in the moat one day. Somehow, falling into the moat transports Martin back to 16th century England, where everyone is amazed and entertained by his street-talkin' flibber-flabber. Great job, film industry. Keep up the good work.

Release Date: November 21

A Beautiful Mind (Universal)

Russell Crowe stars as a handsome, gifted, but troubled MATHEMATICIAN. What the fuck kind of movie is this? This lends further credence to my theory that Russell Crowe is a crazy asshole, based on the movies he appears in. First he was a cop. Then he was a hockey player. Then he was a gladiator. According to my theory of role variation, he should be playing either a paralyzed astronaut or Abe Lincoln. Just not a goddamn MATH NERD. I hate Hollywood. They're always glorifying things that needn't be glorified, such as sex, violence, and math.

Release Date: December 25.

Spy Game (Universal)

Robert Redford, who is made out of leather, and Brad Pitt, who is made out of skin, star in a movie about an old spy teaching a young spy about spying. Very exciting. Judging from the trailer, this movie will involve both binoculars and guns, and possibly binoculars that turn into a gun. While I support the idea of Robert Redford and Brad Pitt in a movie together, it is unfortunate that the movie is going to suck. (Warning: Film may not actually suck.)

Release Date: November 21

Ali (Columbia Pictures)

Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Will SMITH as Muhammad ALI. This movie will blow goats. There is no possible way that this movie will not blow goats. One, Will Smith is not actor enough to pull off Muhammad Ali. I doubt anyone other than Don Cheadle could do that. Two, Will Smith is not actor enough to pull off his own wang. The Fresh Prince should stick to his I'm-friendly-enough-for-white-people-to-like shtick and leave the actual acting to people who are not the Fresh Prince.

Release Date: December 7

Harry Potter (Warner Brothers)

People sure did like those Harry Potter books. I am betting people will also like this movie, if only because it follows a time-honored formula for box office success. Fruity little kid + English people = money in the bank. Seeing as how this film has A) a fruity little kid and B) English people, it will make money. However, this does not mean it won't suck.

Release Date: November 16

Ocean's Eleven (Warner Brothers)

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts star in this Steven Soderbergh-directed remake of the 1960 Rat Pack casino heist flick. People who have seen the original Ocean's Eleven will remember that, aside from the Sammy Davis Jr. garbage truck dance interlude, it was not all that good. I also only watched five minutes past the garbage truck dance interlude because I fell asleep, so it might have actually been a good movie. I recall that the film featured being a blubbery nervous fat guy who gets picked on, which is always a laugh riot.

Don Cheadle, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Andy Garcia and Elliot Gould are also in this film. I am actually looking forward to seeing this, for some strange reason. Probably because Don Cheadle is in it, and I have never seen a bad movie with Don Cheadle in it, including Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat" Manigault.

Release Date: December 7

The Last Castle(Dreamworks)

Robert Redford is actually in two movies this year, which is odd, because he usually appears in one movie every two years for an average of half a movie per year. 2001 thus represents a full 400% increase in Robert Redford-related films. While this is a fascinating statistic, I can't say that it really does anything for me. Also fascinating: the last time Robert Redford appeared in two films in the same year and played two characters other than himself was 1975, in which he was in Three Days of the Condor as Joe Turner and The Great Waldo Pepper as Waldo Pepper. On a side note, I always thought The Great Waldo Pepper was about a great pepper, as in the vegetable. It is actually about a great person named Waldo Pepper. You learn something new every day.

The Last Castle is not about peppers. It is about a jail and it also stars James Gandolfini as a soldier guy. Robert Redford plays another more important soldier guy who gets put in Tony Soprano's soldier prison, and from there, the sparks start to fly and before you know, we've got conflict, and a taut thriller ensues. I'm not saying this movie is predictable and formulaic or anything. Actually I am. Tony Soprano can kiss my ass.

Release Date: October 12