Dollar Theater Movie Reviews

By Donna Tartello

June 13, 2000

Has anyone else noticed how expensive movies have gotten nowadays? I remember when I was a little girl, movies used to cost me $4.50 -- then, somewhere around when I turned 12, the price shot up to $7 a movie! Isn't that outrageous? I don't have that kind of money to spend on entertainment; I have children to feed and cigarettes to buy. These days, I catch most of my movies at the Edgerton Park Dollar Theater down the street. Sure, the seats aren't as comfortable, the popcorn isn't as fresh, and you usually have to sit next to black people and sometimes maybe a hispanic or two, but you get to see movies for a dollar that would cost $2.50 to rent at the video store, and you get to see them on a screen that's a little bit bigger than your TV at home. In this column, I've decided to review some of the movies I've caught recently, and help you decide whether you'll want to catch them too.

One movie that I managed to see recently was The Sixth Sense starring Bruce Willis and Macaulay Caulkin. It's nice to see Bruce Willis in anything besides Die Hard, and it's great to see Macaulay Caulkin again, who's been laying low in Hollywood since Home Alone 2. And while The Sixth Sense doesn't have nearly the playful charm or intelligent writing of the Home Alone series, Caulkin turns in a fabulous performance here that ought to earn him an Oscar nomination. Willis is less convincing as a dead psychiatrist who has come back to help Caulkin's character with his emotional fact, I didn't even realize his character was supposed to be dead until the very end of the film. I think the writing in this film could have been more obvious, and some slap-stick humor would have really helped punch up the longer scenes. Additionally, it's somewhat disconcerting to see that Caulkin actually looks younger here than he does in Home Alone 2…is this kid drinking enough milk? All in all, I give The Sixth Sense a score of 11 on a scale of A+ to F-. But be warned: Many of the scenes in The Sixth Sense are dialog-focused and can get quite boring, so you'll definitely want to bring along a cell phone.

Another movie that opened last weekend in dollar theaters across the country was SNL Studios' Superstar starring Molly Shannon as Mary Catherine Gallagher, a catholic-school teenager who, despite the fact that she's fat and ugly, dreams of one day making it to Hollywood. In the Story, Mary Catherine wants to enter the school talent show to prove that she's a "Superstar" (note the connection to the title of the film, which is "Superstar") and win the heart of the most popular 30-year-old in high school, Sky Corrigan played by Will Farrel. While this film offers a few touching moments (Molly Shannon humps a tree--twice!), tackles some large religious issues (why didn't they hire a different actor besides Farrel to play Jesus?) and has a few humorous gems (Mary Catherine tells a character named Evian to "go drink a bottle of yourself"), all in all, Superstar is nothing more than average. I don't understand why it won all those Oscars. For months, all I've been hearing about is how great Kevin Spacey's performance is, but it turns out he isn't even in the movie, or if he is, he didn't stand out to me. MTV's Tom Green is surprisingly convincing, though, as a loud, obnoxious teenager, and Farrel manages to steal a few scenes of his own, mostly when he's alone. If you're watching this movie at home, you'll want to get the DVD for the extra scenes and the alternate ending in which Mary Catherine loses the talent contest and hangs herself in the bathroom. Additionally, with the number of times Shannon flashes her underwear in this movie, you'll really appreciate DVD's crystal-clear freeze frame feature. I give Superstar a C+.

American Pie also opened in low-budget theaters last weekend. While this coming-of-age sex comedy has little more going for it than a scene in which the main character humps an apple pie, that one scene alone is worth the price of admission, and then some. My only complaint is that this scene isn't long enough, and the relationship with the pie is a subplot that is never as fully developed as relationships portrayed in other movies such as Gone With The Wind or Terms of Endearment. I think that the whole movie should have been about this boy and his pie, and I would have liked to see more thrusting and grunting. Oh well, maybe next summer. I give American Pie an A, with a warning that due to it's graphic sexual content and double entendres, it's not at all suitable for children or the elderly.

Deep Blue Sea, starring no one I've ever heard of, is out this week giving budget-conscious filmgoers thrills and chills, with none of the negative side-effects usually associated with other cheap thrills and chills like heroin. Even though this movie features two black people in prominent roles, at least one gets eaten by the shark towards the beginning in a very humorous scene. While to some critics, this movie may sound like little more than Jaws re-hashed, it's in fact very different from the original Jaws series in that most of these sharks are computer-generated. I liked the overtones of science gone out of control and religious faith conquering all, plus the computer-generated actors are very convincing...some of them actually look like people. I give Deep Blue Sea an A-, with and additional 2 bonus points for not ending in a hug.

I had never heard of the movie Go until I wandered into the wrong theater by mistake-- I thought I was watching Blair Witch until I overheard people talking in the parking lot afterwards. However, even without a sassy witch, Go turns out to be a very clever and entertaining film. I could tell it was hip because it included a Breakfast Club reference, and most of the young actors were from shows on the WB network. I do think this movie could have been just as good without all the drugs and swearing, however, and how come there were no cute dogs? Additionally, if I'm going to shell out a dollar to see a movie, I expect to see a few gags about men getting hit in the crotch; these are conspicuously absent from Go, even though the potential is clearly there. But still, the movie does a very good job mocking homosexual relationships and showing the often humorous side of guns, so I give Go a solid B. Some of the scenes tend to flash brightly, so it is not suitable for epileptics or other such retards.

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