"Hide and Seek"

So here's the thing. I hate movies. Well, that might be too harsh. But I really, really, really dislike movies anymore. Now, don't get me wrong. There are some really spectacular movies out there, and I've even seen some of them. It just doesn't seem as if there are any good movies being made now. This has been happening for about 2 years now, from what I can figure. Before that... there were good movies. "Memento." "Requiem for a Dream." Hell, all Kevin Smith's movies, including "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back." Even silly movies that I don't usually go for, like "Miss Congeniality," I liked. (Please don't laugh.) I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now just think about recent movie releases. I'm not really talking Sundance material here, but even then... there has been some lackage. I recently saw "Maria Full of Grace," which was nice. It made me a little constipated, but it was a decent movie. (As you can tell, I don't necessarily agree with Rotten Tomatoes' ratings; I just like the site.) Exception: "Garden State" fucking blew my mind. But I digress. For instance, "The Forgotten" was one of the stupidest movies I've ever fucking seen in my life. And I really expected quite a bit more from Julianne Moore. As we walked out of the theater, my husband (heretofor known as Shark) said, "I wish the aliens would make me forget this stupid movie." Or how about "The Village"? Remember all the hoopla about that movie? (Roger Ebert's review of that movie was classic -- especially the last paragraph.) Shark and I went to see this movie on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon was in the woods on top of a mountain, so we had to make an extra effort to find a town with a movie theater. It was a sad, sad experience for us, wasting all that time driving and then watching this bunk. I would like to point out, however, that thirty minutes into the movie, Shark said, "It's all fake. They're really living in the present."

However, this leads us into a paradox. Shark loves movies. He loves everything about them. He loves sitting in a dark theater and trying to get down my pants. He loves popcorn and nachos and candy. He loves to rent movies and lay on the couch and eat nachos and candy (he will only eat popcorn at the movies). He gets excited about the silliest movies, so we go see them. Or, if they appear slightly sub-par, we wait and rent it. Inevitably, Shark hates the movie that we end up watching. In fact, he's a harsher critic than I am, yet he insists on spending perfectly decent money on this drivel. That is what I don't understand. I am completely happy to watch TV (my true pop culture turn on) or look at bad porn on the internet. Neither of these things costs extra money, and not seeing movies saves approximately 2 hours of my time.

OK. I admit, because of my fall from grace as far as movies are concerned, I don't watch many movies any more. Even movies that are supposedly really, really great, I have no interest in. "Cold Mountain"? Bored me to tears, and I quit watching it after the first 45 minutes. "Ray"? My general feeling is "bleh." "Million Dollar Baby"? Well, it looks pretty good, so maybe after it comes out on DVD. Because of this, when I actually do see a movie, one of two things happens. 1) I am so devoid of expectations that I expect the worse and then end up actually being impressed, because usually there's nothing that can hit my lowest of low expectations (except "Alien vs Predator"). 2) I think, "This movie might actually be good," and 99% of the time it sucks and I am left wondering why I bother any more.

This leads into the real point of this post: a review of "Hide and Seek." Going into the movie, I was somewhere between 1 and 2. I didn't really expect much, in general; on the other hand, Robert de Niro doesn't usually disappoint. And I didn't even realize Elisabeth Shue and Famke Janssen were in this movie until the credits, so that pushed my expectations up a little more.

I think the real crux of the problem is that it doesn't start out as a horror flick, yet you know it is. There are some pretty key horror elements, such as the cat jumping out at you, several music induced jump scenes, and the protagonist's classic one-liner before offing the antagonist. Also, except for "Cape Fear," you don't really think of de Niro as a horror flick actor. However, you do think of Dakota Fanning as a fuckin' eerie little girl, so I suppose it works.

The movie starts off with the suicide of Dr. Calloway's (de Niro) wife and Emily's (Fanning) mother. Emily sees the body and goes, seemingly, catatonic, at least for a little while. The two move upstate to a ginormous house in the woods full of creepy townsfolk and creepy neighbors. I suppose the creepy neighbors were necessary, but I think I really would have left them out. They served no purpose except to make you think they were evil. The creepy townsfolk were pretty good, and I actually kind of enjoyed them.

The plot gets really rolling the first day in the new house, when Emily goes exploring the woods around her new home. She finds a cave where she meets Charlie. This is mostly where the movie becomes interesting, but in retrospect doesn't really work. You're sort of torn between whether Charlie is an imaginary friend helping Emily through a rough time or if Charlie really does exist. In your mind, you know it's a horror movie, so chances are Charlie is real. On the other hand, wouldn't it be a fabulous psychological mind game if he were truly just an imaginary friend?

That's all I'm going to say about the storyline because it was actually a pretty fun movie to watch. Let's put it this way: I didn't hate it, and I wasn't kicking myself afterwards for watching it. The movie even got really good during the last twenty minutes or so. There were some problems, though. Technicalities, really, but still they irk. The first is that these two people live in a huge house. We're talking summer home for the rich and famous huge. From the outside, it looks as if it has two wings, so one would assume several rooms inside. At least two living room areas, probably five bedrooms at a minimum. So why, then, in the final life or death game of hide and seek, would Emily hide from Charlie in her bedroom, where they always played together? Or the bathroom, which was just a few yards from her bedroom? With that whole huge house, why was she limited to those rooms? Logically, you might say that if she actually hid in any of the other rooms, it would take Charlie longer to find her, and it would make the movie too long with extranneous scenes. But then I would argue back, what the fuck was the point of establishing such a huge fucking house as part of the movie? Why couldn't they have bought a little summer cottage? It would have still fit into the town they moved to, creepy neighbors and townfolk and all, and it wouldn't have seemed so... stupid. So that was my peeve with the movie. Shark had two peeves with the movie. The first was the actual plotline. He didn't think Emily could have pulled all of it off. I'm not sure if I agree or not. I think she just wanted a happy place, and saw Charlie as a happy place, so she hid it. Plus, sometimes, you really just have to let things like this one go because it's a contrivance to get to the plot, right? His other peeve had to do with the final Charlie scene. I won't give it away, but there's water, and it's all splishy-splashy. And then there's some stealthy movement through the water, all non-splishly-splashy. It really bothered him that the water made no noise during the stealthy part. Again, plot contrivance. I dunno.

And here's the main point. Compared to recent movies, I give "Hide and Seek" an A+. Compared to movies, in general, I'd give it a C+. Make of it what you will.


Anonymous Your bestest friend said...

Oh god, I totally loved Mean Girls and Saved! But yeah, other than that? Most movies have been crap.

Sat Feb 12, 12:58:00 PM PST

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