Just Like Heaven

I hadn't heard much good about this one beforehand, so my expectations going in were pretty low. While I can't really say that it was a good movie, it was actually pretty cute. The writing was mediocre at best--in a few places the dialogue made me roll my eyes--but the two leads, Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon, managed to bring the film up several notches. I've been a fan of Ruffalo since You Can Count On Me; he brought emotional depth to his character where a lesser actor would have choked on the sappy script. And while I can't say that Witherspoon was particularly inspiring in this one, she played off of Ruffalo very well; they had very good chemistry. What else? John Heder was funny enough, although he more or less re-hashed his shtick from Napoleon Dynamite. He and Donal Logue were pretty much the only ones that managed to get a chuckle out of me. The movie's not long on comedy and isn't what you'd call brilliant, but for a dinner-and-a-movie kind of date it fits the bill pretty nicely.

Viewed: 9/16/2005 | Released: 9/15/2005 | Score: C

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Red Eye

I was actually quite amazed by this movie. Despite the fact that it got an excellent review from Entertainment Weekly--who are usually quite snobby--I found it to be pretty boring. Rachel McAdams continues to underwhelm me--she plays everything so straight. Not that she does anything particularly bad, she's just uninteresting. The same goes for the rest of this movie. The plot was so straightforward, so linear. I kept expecting that there would be more, that just around the corner we'd have some mind-boggling plot twist, but it never came. It never even felt particularly suspenseful to me. (Juliette got a little nervous during the climactic scene, but even she found the rest of the movie pretty flat.) I don't know, I just expected more from the director that brought us the Scream trilogy.

Viewed: 9/8/2005 | Released: 8/3/2005 | Score: D

IMDb Page

Why This Will Never Be a Regular Column

I've been running this site in one form or another for over seven years now, and the Useless Opinions section has existed for more than three. In all of that time, I've only written 15 of these pieces. It works out to about one article every three months. What gives? Why can't I get it together to write something once a week, or even once a month? Lately I've been mulling over this very question, and here's what I've come up with:

1.) I'm not passionate enough. I have convictions on political and social issues--some of them even quite strong--but I just don't care enough to really do much about them. I vote, and I sometimes talk about what I believe. It's not even that writing would be too much work; it doesn't even occur to me most of the time that I should write about an issue. And besides, even if I did write about something like that, what would be the point? Not very many people even read this, and those who do are likely to be either friends or family, and in cases where I strongly disagree with people, I generally don't want to run the risk of alienating those close to me.

2.) I'm not smart enough. Well, either that or I'm too much of a generalist. Whatever the reason, I'm not really an expert on very many things. Certainly not very many interesting things. Consequently, I'm not qualified to write technical articles. Even with the things I do know a lot about in comparison to the average joe--electrical engineering, for example--I'm not experienced enough or knowledgeable enough to teach them.

3.) I'm not interesting enough. My life is pretty normal. I go to work in the morning, I do my job, I come home. In the evenings, I eat, I talk to my wife, I watch TV. Occasionally, I hang out with friends. I go to the movies a lot. That's about it. I'm just not dramatic enough to think that the boring details of my life would be interesting reading.

4.) I'm not funny enough. If I were funnier, I could probably make my life fun to read about. I'm not those things, though. I have a hard time making fun of the events or people in my life. I think in order to be good at that sort of thing you have to be convinced that you're in some way better than others, and I don't. Or, at least, if I do, I dislike that about myself enough that I don't want to point it out.

5.) I'm too embarrassed. There are very few things that make me squirm more than reading back over old journal entries (which also tend to be quite few and far between). As I get older and gain more perspective, I realize how silly so many of my previous fears and peeves are. When I see how self-righteous I have been in the past, it makes me wish I'd never picked up a pen in the first place.

6.) I'm too lazy. Writing is work, so when it comes to writing I do what comes naturally: I procrastinate. Speaking of which, I should probably quit stalling on that Overlook turn. Or, you know, get back to that whole "job" thing.