Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy

I actually found quite a lot of this script to be funny. Unfortunately, I didn't find Will Ferrell very funny. I know there are plenty of people out there who think he's hilarious, but about the best Ferrell ever gets for me is "not annoying." Christina Applegate, who I normally think of as having good comic timing, was also a little flat in this movie. No, the real reason to see this movie is Steve Carell. There may have been one or two lines that Carell delivered at which I didn't laugh uproariously. Maybe. The rest of the time I was laughing so hard that it brought tears to my eyes. So even though I can't give this movie a great score, I still recommend it. And don't forget to stick around during the credits for the outtakes.

Viewed: 7/17/2004 | Released: 7/8/2004 | Score: C

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The Door in the Floor

John Irving is a fantastic writer--one of my favorites, in fact--but the film adaptations of his books always seem to lack something. The movie version of The Hotel New Hampshire captured some of the ridiculous quality of Irving's writing, but was pretty lacking apart from that. The Cider House Rules was pretty good, but it didn't seem to have the right feel. The Door in the Floor is another story entirely. Irving calls it the most faithful film translation of any of his books, and watching it, it's easy to see why. The movie perfectly represents the somewhat silly, somewhat magical feeling that Irving always puts in his novels. Jeff Bridges is one of my favorite actors, and his performance as Ted Cole balanced all of the facets of a character who is at once egotistical and self-loathing, a selfish man but a caring father. Jon Foster was also good, managing a subtle teenage performance that seems to totally lack pretention. And this may be Kim Basinger's best work ever. One of the best movies I've seen this year, it also leaves room for me to discover more, because it only covers the first third of the book it's based on (A Widow for One Year). I can't wait to read it.

Viewed: 7/15/2004 | Released: 6/17/2004 | Score: A

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Spider-Man 2

As much as I liked the previous film, Spider-Man 2 may be even better. One of the central themes of this movie--and one of the things that makes it such a compelling story for me--is the ways in which responsibility impacts the rest of a person's life. Other superheroes didn't seem to have this problem. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark were both independently wealthy. The X-Men solved the prolem by not really having secret identities; they were heroes all the time. And Clark Kent, well, I guess Kryptonians are organized enough to save the world and still hold down a job at the same time. But Peter Parker struggles with life away from the costume, which makes him all the more real and interesting. As before, Tobey Maguire was excellent in this film. Alfred Molina was the perfect Dr. Octopus as well. The end of the film sets up another installment in what looks to be the next big movie franchise, and unlike some other comic book movie series, I'm actually really looking forward to it.

Viewed: 7/6/2004 | Released: 6/29/2004 | Score: A

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