The Core

| April 5, 2003

Dear Del,
I just watched The Core. I didn’t pay, you understand, just walked in after seeing another movie. After watching the Warnings (trailers) I knew this was not a movie I would pay to see. In fact, I don’t thing anyone should pay to see it. Even on rental.
I often use three expressions to determine a bad movie. Using some movies from 2002, the scale goes like this:
Mildly Bad: When bad movies happen to good actors. (25th Hour, The Weight of Water)
Bad: When bad movies happen to bad actors (Lovely and Amazing, The Time Machine)
Worse: Film Monthly – We go see ’em so you don’t have to. (Adventures of Pluto Nash, Emperor’s Club)
Scraping The Bottom of the Barrel: People who make movies like these should not be allowed to make movies. (Swept Away, The American Astronaut, Blair Witch Project) This is the category of when bad movies happen to bad people.
The Core bounced around all four of these levels at various times. Not once did I decide there was anything redeeming about it. It even had one of my favorite movie cliché visuals: the computer geek who types 200 words a minute and has a computer that can keep 12 windows open at once, and still operate as if it was at peek efficiency. I last saw this in Swordfish with John Travolta, but that had Halle Berrie’s perfect breasts, so there is redeeming value. In The Core we get no boobage – as if Hilary Swank was worth it.
Speaking of Swank, I think I heard her thoughts at the end of the movie: “I’m 6 movies removed from an Oscar and this is what I’m in? I need a new agent.”
The last line we hear Stanley Tucci (one of my favorites from Road to Perdition and Conspiracy and Murder One) utter is, “What am I thinking?” And then he’s blown up by a nuclear bomb. His motivation for the line came from trying to decide why he took this job.
And Delroy Lindo, a great character actor from Gone in 60 Seconds, Heist, The Soul of the Game, had to be thinking, “The black guy always gets killed.” At least he got to play a General in The Last Castle. If he had been a general in this movie, he could have stayed above ground…except then he would have been a bad guy so its better he was the brilliant scientist who dies saving his friends (ooops, I hope I didn’t give it away).
But one of the worst injustices is that Alfre Woodard was in this movie. Alfre Woodard!!!! My god, she just did a guest arc in The Practice where she plays a killer who is OK when she gets mood stabilizing drugs and she had me afraid for my life when she went off them.
The story of this movie is pretty simple. We stop the Earth’s core from spinning. This is going to kill the planet. We figure out that by using a big ass bomb we can start it again. And in the end it works. Whatever. I believed Armageddon was more real.
This movie sucks. Already a top favorite for worst of the year but I haven’t walked into Malibu’s Most Wanted yet.

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