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Matt's Over / Under Column Discontinued

Running Scared

You should be seeing an Over / Under article here on Running Scared (pictured above) today. However, we have officially decided to discontinue Matt Goldberg's retrospective series indefinitely. Due primarily to numerous complaints and other internal decisions, we have decided that the Over / Under articles are not suited for FirstShowing.net and thus will no longer appear on the site. I know a lot of people were not too fond of Matt's writing anyway, but I want to make it clear that we truly appreciated his contributions and his opinion and it was simply an internal decision that we made for the betterment of the site and the consideration of our loyal readers.

 Posted May 10 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: The Boondock Saints

The Boondock Saints

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

The Boondock Saints is a cult movie for people that crowd around crappy movies. It's like they passed by all the good cult movies and staked out a claim on a piss-poor imitation that should have been forgotten in the dust-bin of Tarantino imitators. When people mention Pulp Fiction-wannabees, Boondock Saints should be Exhibit A. And yes, it came out in 1999, but it was actually picked up in 1997 by, who else, Miramax. There's hardly anything that isn't derivative, sloppy, and half-baked in Troy Duffy's first and only film.

 Posted May 3 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: Down with Love

Down with Love

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

At first glance, Down with Love may seem like nothing more than a lighthearted spoof of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson screwball romantic comedies like Lover Come Back, Pillow Talk, and Send Me No Flowers; and it's certainly invoking those classic films. But Down with Love is also a strange but wonderful amalgam of parody, tribute, and farce.

 Posted April 26 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: American Beauty

American Beauty

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

When I saw American Beauty in 1999, I thought it was one of the greatest films ever made and wholly deserving of its Best Picture Oscar. Granted, I hadn't seen Fight Club or any of the other great films that came out in '99. Also, I was only 15. What's your excuse?

Looking back on American Beauty, I can still say that two aspects hold up very well: Conrad Hall's gorgeous cinematography and Kevin Spacey's performance. Oh, and Allison Janney's performance is probably the most over-looked greatness in the film.

 Posted April 19 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: BASEketball

BASEketball

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

After last week's overwhelmingly positive response to my column on Forrest Gump, I am so pleased to actually recommend a film rather than just trash one you love for no good reason.

BASEketball is a spoof from the genius that was David Zucker. Zucker was responsible the greatest spoof of all time, Airplane!, before deciding to embrace the anti-renaissance of spoof films that were Parts 3 and 4 of the Scary Movie franchise. But BASEketball was something different.

 Posted April 12 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

"Stupid is as stupid does."

This oft-repeated rhetorical comeback could not be truer when applied to the film Forrest Gump. I've made enemies out of friends and feuds from family when trying to explain that not only is this film sentimental garbage, but it's a complete misunderstanding of its source material which instead comes to an unnerving conclusion.

 Posted March 29 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: Dangerous Liaisons

Dangerous LiaisonsFor an introduction to the weekly retrospective column Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.

I doubt I'll get a lot of hate mail on this one, but I have to share my shock when I started looking up the awards tally for Stephen Frears' 1988 period-piece Dangerous Liaisons. I was surprised that while the film was shown a lot of love in most categories, there was hardly any love for John Malkovich who, looking over his body of work, gave one of the best performances of his career in this film.

The year is Rococo, France. I'm not sure when that is exactly, but there's clearly no television and so the aristocracy, who don't have anything to occupy their time, decide to play cruel games of manipulation and soul-crushing. The two featured players are the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and Vicomte S├ębastien de Valmont (Malkovich).

 Posted February 17 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Over / Under: James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant PeachOver / Under is a new weekly column that looks back at films of the not-too-distant past and sees how time has treated them. Which films are over-rated and which are under-rated? What's mandatory viewing that isn't so mandatory? What cinema cult should you join or which should you avoid? I'm sure this column will piss a lot of people off so before that happens, I'd like to start with a positive review...

Henry Selick's The Nightmare Before Christmas (yes, Tim Burton's stamp is unmistakable, but he didn't direct it) is deemed a classic and rightly so. The songs are fantastic, the design is sublime, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. But the best aspect is the stop-motion animation.

 Posted February 10 in Film Retrospect, Opinions | Comments

Film Retrospect - Summer of '97: Contact

Around this time ten years ago, Men in Black was getting the most of the attention from moviegoers and became the biggest hit of the summer. Considering how funny, stylish, entertaining and (most importantly) crowd pleasing MIB is, the film's immense popularity wasn't surprising. Yet, Robert Zemeckis' Contact, a film that carried twice the hype, appeared a few weeks later and became one of the year's most discussed works.

 Posted July 20 in Film Retrospect | Comments

Film Retrospect: The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys PosterIf all had gone as planned, The Lost Boys may have ended up a very different film. As most die hard, Honorary Frog Brothers know, Richard Donner was originally going to direct this film. Coming off the success of The Goonies, Donner was fashioning The Lost Boys as a thematically similar, kid-friendly adventure, pitting child vampires against The Frog Brothers (one of the few characters that survived the first draft and made it into the final version). The pre-production went on too long and Donner decided to jump ship and make Lethal Weapon instead. Rather than junk Lost Boys, it ended up in the hands of a promising new director named Joel Schumacher and Donner became the producer instead. With his noted eye for style, Schumacher re-imagined the piece as a sexy, scary teen thriller, flush with comic elements and an MTV-ready style. A new screenplay was prepared, filming took place mostly in Santa Cruz, California and the summer of 1987 saw the release of a genre classic.

 Posted July 15 in Film Retrospect | Comments

Film Retrospect - Summer of '97: Speed 2: Cruise Control

The problem with failed sequels is that a) they kill a potentially lucrative franchise and end a successful run for their studios and, most importantly, b) they hinder your fond memories of the original. Many critics griped about the sequels to Chinatown, Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, saying that they (being The Two Jakes, The Evening Star and Texasville respectfully) came too late, weren't as good as the originals and were uninspired. I liked all three films for very different reasons, but the criticisms made toward them were valid and their disastrous runs at the box office hurt audiences overall view of them. With Speed 2: Cruise Control, things looked odd from the get go.

 Posted July 7 in Film Retrospect | Comments

Film Retrospect: Joe Dante's Innerspace

Die-hard film buffs know the name Joe Dante well. This is a man who loves movies, comes from the legandary Roger Corman school of B-movie know-how (the same as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Jack Nicholson, among others), gleefully ads sly in-jokes in every one of his movies and always has a part for B-movie Grandmaster Thespian Dick Miller in everything he directs. This is a filmmaker whose joy in front of the camera matches the fun he creates in front of the lens and the fact that he remains underrated and underappreciated by Hollywood is a mystery and a shame.

 Posted June 21 in Film Retrospect | Comments

Film Retrospect - Summer of '97: Breakdown

Breakdown PosterAbout four years ago, I lost my wife. You read that right - I couldn't find her. At all. We were engaged at the time and had set a date for the movies (Secret Window was the film we chose to see together that night, I recall). We had set up a place to meet after work, only at 5:00, she didn't show. Neither of us had cell phones at the time, but I had a pocket full of quarters, so I called her at work - "she already left", someone told me. I called a few of her friends and they didn't know where she was either. I drove over to her parent's house - they hadn't seen her and thought she was with me. I smiled and politely thanked them, masking my growing feelings of unease. I drove back to the place we were designated to meet... not there. I began to wonder if she ran an errand or simply forgot. About 30 minutes after we were supposed to hook up, she was still a no-show (this was highly unlike her) and some truly paranoid musings began to take hold of me. I wondered if she was hurt, or trapped somewhere or, most likely, kidnapped.

 Posted June 17 in Film Retrospect | Comments

Film Retrospect - Summer of '97: Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy

Die hard fans of the so-called View Askew universe have been with filmmaker Kevin Smith every step of the way and established themselves as stone cold devotees from Clerks to Mallrats. I was not one of those people, thank you very much. Honestly, I thought Clerks, while clever for what it is, was hugely overrated and I, like a lot of American critics, was a total snob to Mallrats and thought Smith's days were over. Ten years ago (in 1997), he made a film that not only demolished expectations of every critic (including this one) who had completely written him off, but was one of the best films of the year - Chasing Amy.

 Posted June 11 in Film Retrospect | Comments

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