To counter yesterday’s “10 Movies Roger Ebert Really Hated” post, today we’re checking out a few movies he really loved. Here's what h`e had to say about them.
1. Batman Begins, four stars. I said this is the Batman movie I've been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for, because I didn't realize that more emphasis on story and character and less emphasis on high-tech action was just what was needed. The movie works dramatically in addition to being an entertainment. There's something to it.
2. Fargo, four stars. Films like Fargo are why I love the movies.
3. Almost Famous, four stars. Why did they give an R rating to a movie perfect for teenagers?
4. Superbad, three-and-a-half stars. This movie was made by professionals. Do not attempt any of this behavior yourself.
5. The Triplets of Belleville, three-and-a-half stars. To call it weird would be a cowardly evasion. It is creepy, eccentric, eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, grotesque, inscrutable, kinky, kooky, magical, oddball, spooky, uncanny, uncouth and unearthly. Especially uncouth. What I did was, I typed the word 'weird' and when that wholly failed to evoke the feelings the film stirred in me, I turned to the thesaurus and it suggested the above substitutes - and none of them do the trick, either.
6. Milk, four stars. Sean Penn never tries to show Harvey Milk as a hero, and never needs to. He shows him as an ordinary man, kind, funny, flawed, shrewd, idealistic, yearning for a better world. He shows what such an ordinary man can achieve. Milk was the right person in the right place at the right time, and he rose to the occasion. So was Rosa Parks. Sometimes, at a precise moment in history, all it takes is for one person to stand up. Or sit down.
7. Ghostbusters, three-and-a-half stars. Rarely has a movie this expensive provided so many quotable lines.
8. Avatar, four stars. Watching Avatar, I felt sort of the same as when I saw Star Wars in 1977. That was another movie I walked into with uncertain expectations. James Cameron's film has been the subject of relentlessly dubious advance buzz, just as his Titanic was. Once again, he has silenced the doubters by simply delivering an extraordinary film. There is still at least one man in Hollywood who knows how to spend $250 million, or was it $300 million, wisely.
9. Mystic River, four stars. To see strong acting like this is exhilarating. In a time of flashy directors who slice and dice their films in a dizzy editing rhythm, it is important to remember that films can look and listen and attentively sympathize with their characters. Directors grow great by subtracting, not adding, and Eastwood does nothing for show, everything for effect.
10. Beavis and Butthead Do America, three stars. ...it is widely but wrongly believed that Beavis and Butt-Head celebrates its characters, and applauds their sublime lack of values, taste and intelligence. I've never thought so. I believe Mike Judge would rather die than share a taxi ride to the airport with his characters--that for him, B&B function like Dilbert's co-workers in the Scott Adams universe. They are a target for his anger against the rising tide of stupidity.
I realize three stars isn’t the best review, but I was surprised he gave it that many. Of course, he also gave Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties three stars, so…