What the hell is wrong with Hollywood? How can the same mindless machine turn out “Spanglish” and “Paycheck”? (Why the hell is Ben Affleck still able to get work? I mean come on “Perl Harbor”, “Gigli”, “Paycheck” how much more of this must we endure? Can’t we just label him an Illegal Enemy Combatant and ship him off to Club Gitmo?)
Previously I watched Adam Sandler in “Spanglish”. Now, I will admit that I’m not a fan of all of Adam’s work; but by-in-large, he is a great actor and has turned out some funny and heartwarming movies. As it was put to me recently, “…all men should thank Adam Sandler because in most of his movies, the men aren’t ass-holes.” So for that, I thank you Adam.
But this week I watched “Paycheck”. (In the spirit of openness, I also watched “The Life Aquatic” but I’m still confused on that one.) “Paycheck” is what is wrong with Hollywood. It lacked the excitement of “National Treasure” and the depth of “Spanglish”. Basically it was a “paycheck” movie. Everybody gets a paycheck for doing a middle of the road job. Nothing about this movie stands out except for the potential of the script. Yet again, someone has taken a story from Phillip K. Dick and screwed it. (The one and only good PKD movie, IMHO, was “Blade Runner”.) The directing was mediocre. (Obligatory Homer Simpson quote “…no misdirected woo, which is pretty much any John Woo film.”) Sorry John but this one just laid there. I didn’t believe Ben Affleck, Uma Thurmond still looks like Poison Ivey and even if she didn’t, who is going to believe that Ben Affleck is going to fall for an ugo like that. (John, seriously, hire a new makeup artist. Uma is plain enough without bad lighting and makeup. In parts of this movie, she looked more like Skelator than a biologist.)
How can the same industry put both of these out? The main difference is the talent BEHIND the camera. “Spanglish” boasts of James L. Brooks, whose list of credits goes longer than this entire article. Nobody is perfect and I’m sure James has does something I’ve not liked but I can’t name any of them at the moment.
So to Mr. Brooks, I say thank you. I salute you for “Spanglish”, for â€œWar of the Rosesâ€, for “Broadcast News” and of course, for “The Simpsons”. You sir are the reason God has not smitten Hollywood and made L.A. slide off into the ocean.
Until next time, have a safe flight home.