Posted: 02/01/2004


Andy Walton’s Film 2003

by Andy Walton

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I like a bad movie for precisely the same reason that I like bad porn — it gets the job done. Actually, they really are just like bad porn, because it’s not so much that I like them as it is that I just don’t care. I’m just like the average American moviegoer who goes to movies for the same selfish reasons, but I’m even smarter than them. I so smart, I’ve found a way to live well enough doing what I love for a living and working for myself, and yet still am able to find the time to go see “50 First Dates” on a weekday afternoon. It’s easier that way, cause the really dumb folks have to work Wednesdays, see, so my rotten taste is at least pleasured without Fridays’ taste of rotten pleasure coming from the packed seats behind me.

Like every Oscar year, I will be sitting in front of my medium screen TV shooting guns loaded to the gills with Nerf darts at whomever gets awarded for what I feel to be an obviously undeserving performance. Sure, Mystic River was great — who doesn’t know that? But, look, I’m a straight, single guy and The Human Stain isn’t gonna get me laid any quicker than another Hobbit flick will. But, Love Actually? Yahtzee! And that was one bad movie. Take the time I took a girl on a first date to see “Happiness”. A film of epic tension, transcendant storytelling and great performance. And, guess how that date turned out. I don’t think she came back in the theatre after leaving to pee.

Look, I come from a family of artists, and I was taught to measure great art by the impact it made at the time I was engaged. And then also for say two, perhaps three hours after. Maybe breakfast. So, by that standard, I am picking my Best Picture nominees and winner for 2004 as they most certainly must the greatest art of their genre.

The Best of 2003

Love Actually: This was a second date with a girl that I thought was a little too bubbly and cute for either her, or my own good. So, I took it upon myself to throw a lame little sobber at her. Joila. I don’t have to tell you what happened next. Her name is Penny.

Gothika: Ok, I know, you’re sayin’ “Whoa, dude, hold up… remember what happened with that Happiness thing right?” WRONG, padre, ‘cause Happiness was a good movie that was good on purpose. And what’s the (almost) direct opposite to that?? You got it, and this one worked like a charm. The last I knew she was actually using the name “Coma”, but I think she was slipping into a more serious phase in her life, so I had to stop seeing her.

Mona Lisa Smile: How could I miss with a flick this bad? I didn’t. Twice. That’s right, this movie was so empty of anything worthwhile that my date insisted that we come back the next evening with her roommate. And that we did, and did and did.

Elf: This was truly a disaster. Since I love no God, I forgot all about the whole Christmas thing and took my date that night to what turned out to be the opening Saturday night. Full. Of. Kids. And she didn’t like the kids so much. I can only hope that Wil Farrell works this kind of magic as Ignatius J. Reilly so I can be sure to not hook up with a smart girl again.

So, given that my criteria for a great night at the pictures should be obvious by now, my pick for best picture for 2004 is most certainly Mona Lisa Smile. I have not the first clue as to what it was about, but more than any other film, like all great art, Mona Lisa Smile made the greatest impact on my life at the time I was engaged, er, dating her, them. And continued to do so for at least several days after.

Andy Walton is a quietly involved with a caring, talented and cultured young lady whom he met by chance while seeing 21 Grams. Who Knew?

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