I’ve only seen an audience applaud a film three times. The first was Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which my mom had to take me to (they were sticklers for that R rating in Victoria), and is unbelievably awesome, so the ovation was well deserved. That same summer, I was kicked out of a screening for Species (that damn R rating again), the ’90s monster flick with a naked Natasha Henstridge who plays an alien who gets her period or something like that. It very well may have garnered applause; I’ll never know.
The second was for A League of Their Own, a movie that still leaves me blubbering like a little girl with a skinned knee. It’s the best of all baseball movies, many of which (Field of Dreams, Bull Durham) are actually fun to watch, whereas real baseball is the most boring shit ever. Only a monster would hate this movie. Lori Petty is cute as a button, Tom Hanks’ drunken lout is hilarious, and even Rosie O’Donnell is great. And there’s Geena Davis at her most Geena Davis-y. I can still remember the audience rising from their chairs and clapping as Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” swelled in the theatre. Sigh.
The third was the preview screening for director Rian Johnson’s debut, and now cult favourite, Brick. What I found to be excruciatingly annoying, the audience went completely apeshit for — the gimmicky Raymond Chandler noir-speak, solemn 20-somethings passing for teenagers, and The Velvet Underground. When “Sister Ray” came on over the credits, everyone in the Globe Cinema applauded like they’d seen Citizen Kane. I said it then and I’ll say it now — what the fuck? A couple years later, Johnson returned with The Brothers Bloom. I didn’t see it, and nobody else did either.
Brick did, however, have Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s now being dubbed “the greatest actor ever” by almost everyone. It’s not without some merit, either — who would’ve guessed that the kid from that sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun would go on to be a movie star. After starring in Gregg Araki’s fantastic Mysterious Skin, he went on to do some great smaller flicks (The Lookout, 500 Days of Summer), then got a huge boost with Christopher Nolan’s Inception. He was also the best thing in Nolan’s painful-as-fuck The Dark Knight Rises. Or maybe I’m thinking of Anne Hathaway’s meow-tastic Catwoman.
Anyway, the new Johnson-Levitt pairing, Looper, looks like the type of brainy science fiction audiences rarely see nowadays. Levitt stars as an assassin who kills targets that are sent back in time by the (future) mob. Everything is great until they send his future self (played Bruce Willis) to be eliminated. Other than trying to pass Willis as an adult Johnson-Levitt (that ol’ movie magic), it looks mysterious and wanky in equal measure, like the best kind of twisty sci-fi thrillers. It may inspire me to watch The Brothers Bloom, but probably not.
The other big release this week is Hotel Transylvania, an animated flick full of ghosts and goblins just in time for Halloween. It looks totally low-rent to me, though it was created by the same Sony studio that did Monster House, which was a genuinely scary kids’ flick, so who knows. It also features a mind-blowing collection of the most annoying voices ever, including Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, David Spade and Jon Lovitz. It’s like Saturday Night Live in the ’90s!