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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look35.9%
Average: 20.51%
Pretty Bad: 24.36%
Total Crap: 7.69%

6 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Majestic, The
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by Collin Souter

"Yeah, okay, so I'm a sap."
4 stars

Be warned: You will probably find The Majestic near the top of Jeffrey Lyons 10 Best Films of the Year list. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? Certainly not. This movie has a misty-eyed view of the world and not a cynical bone in its body. It has a dreamy protagonist and a love story full of clichs. In fact, one cant describe the movie without using the hokey term, Capraesque. A movie that can be described as cheesy, contrived and hopelessly predictable should not be rewarded, nor recommended. The Majestic fits this description perfectly. Yeah, some movies exist out there that, for obvious reasons, I know Im not supposed to like. But in the case of The Majestic, I liked it anyway.

Every once in a while a movie reminds me how much of a sucker I can be. This sentiment often describes the Guilty Pleasure syndrome you and I often feel. You wouldnt necessarily admit to liking this movie until after a beer or two, or if another person in the room bravely admits to shedding a tear during Patch Adams. But heck, some movies, good or bad, have a strange way of winning you over. Im a sucker for movies about movies, and movies about people who love movies and people who write movies they love. The Majestic happens to be all three.

The movie opens with a Hollywood writer, Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey), visiting Growmans Chinese Theater to watch a movie he wrote, Sand Pirates of the Sahara. He looks proudly at a movie poster that has his writing credit at the bottom. I love seeing my name on a poster, he says (in voice-over). Already, Im sucked in, because thats one of my dreams as well. In fact, I happen to be writing a script that puts emphasis on my own golden days of filmgoing, something this movie has on its agenda as well. I realize I should put all that aside when critically evaluating a movie, but what can I do? The movie had me.

Anyway, Peter has been under close watch in light of the Hollywood blacklist. One night, he takes a drive, has an accident which lands him and his car in a river, and washes ashore the following day. An old man finds him and brings him to a small California town, but Peter has a problem: He cant remember anything. But everyone looks at him as though he just won the Medal of Honor, and he may very well have. Peter bares a striking resemblance to Luke Trimble, a war hero who has been missing for nine years. Harry Trimble (Martin Landau) recognizes him as his own son. Peter, with absolute bewilderment, accepts his role in the town.

The title of the film refers to the neighborhood movie theater in the town formerly operated by Luke and his father. The theater has been closed down since Lukes disappearance. Harry convinces Luke/Peter to join him in re-opening the Majestic with a cornball speech about how people go to the movies to disappear from their problems into a world of magic. One would expect to hear such a hokey tirade at the opening of an Oscar telecast. Still, the movie had me.

So, of course, as Luke/Peter falls in love with his former sweetheart Adele (Laurie Holden), re-opens the Majestic and tries mighty hard to remember what cannot possibly be remembered, the feds still search for the real Peter Appleton. So, already, we have three of my least favorite kinds of films: The Mistaken Identity film, the Amnesia film and the film that wouldnt know how to end itself without a court hearing. The Majestic, which one can clearly map out after the first 20 minutes, is all three.

How on earth did it manage to earn my respect? I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I share the dreamy-eyed view of the movies as the films hero. Some people, such as myself, feel happy working within the film industry whether writing films or being one of the ticket takers at the theater. Your name on a poster, or free movies any time you want. Whats not to love?

Carreys presence in the film helps that quality shine through. Since his watershed performance in the Best Film of 1998 The Truman Show, I have been watching him carefully, hoping he could maintain a level of dignity with serious performances so that we wouldnt have to suffer through a 3rd Ace Ventura installment. After his astonishing performance as Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon, Carrey has proved that he can do anything. But, this is tricky. With material this hokey and unabashedly sentimental, Carrey could very easily make us nauseated with his awe-shucks demeanor, but he manages to keep his balance. I liked this guy. Even at the end, when Carrey has a chance to have a Jimmy Stewart moment, which many actors dream about, you cant help but feel he deserves it.

Credit also goes to Darabont, who knows how to pace his films, keeping every scene moving nicely without pandering to the publics decreasing attention spans. He lets the camera linger on Carreys performance, so that we may admire it more. I also found the over-all optimistic tone of the film oddly refreshing. From the trailer Ive been seeing for the past month, I had my doubts walking in, feeling that this could get gooey and schmaltzy. And, admittedly, it is, but Darabont, along with his big star, also know when to reign it in.

The trailers for The Majestic have left out the Blacklist plot, an aspect of the story that will come as a surprise to unsuspecting viewers. The movie doesnt shed any new light on the topic, and certainly there have been better movies about it (The Front, Guilty By Suspicion and to a certain extent, Closet Land). Here, it merely serves to balance out the dreamy naivete of its tone and period.

As I said before, this movie defines Capraesque. Hints of Its A Wonderful Life and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington can be found all over. For over the past decade, weve been referring to Tom Hanks as our generations Jimmy Stewart. Pretty ironic considering that, today, I dont think Hanks would be caught dead doing this film.

I realize this all sounds as though Im writing a bad review. And Im sure the film will have its fair share of detractors. But what can I say? Its hard to root against a film that tries this hard to be liked. So, into the Guilty Pleasure closet it goes. But dont get me all wrong. Patch Adams is still one of the most painfully unwatchable movies in existence.

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originally posted: 12/21/01 16:27:50
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User Comments

3/12/15 скачать кулинарную книгу And how much?, 5 stars
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5/07/13 Charles Tatum Good stuff desperately needed to be edited down. 4 stars
9/05/11 RLan An enjoyable movie. One of Jim Carrey's better performances. 4 stars
8/14/10 robin lupinacci My dad was a decorated WWII vet, this film reached me in it's reminder of sucn values 5 stars
7/02/09 cindy Love this movie, one of Jim Carrey's best. 5 stars
12/26/05 Ben Knapton one of the most boring films ever made. 1 stars
8/08/05 Bad Critic A good film, but its running time could have been cut down a bit. 4 stars
1/04/05 HL Jim Carrey is Very Good...Story Contrived...Worth Seeing Though. 4 stars
7/06/04 R.W. Welch Overly slushy, but manages to hold your attention. 3 stars
3/04/04 daimon Pretty good 4 stars
2/01/04 Dean Carrey's best role. 4 stars
5/30/03 soliddrummer cheezy, rediculous, overly idealistic garbage. for some reason I liked it. 2 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Not as I'd feared: it's actually interesting and inolving -- to a point, though. 3 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon I couldn't believe this movie thought I would buy its message. Jeez Loueez! 2 stars
3/09/03 Hannah This is the stupidest movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
1/06/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng A wonderful story. Jim Carrey was great! 4 stars
1/05/03 WestcoastPunk Why does Carrey always get screwed in his movies. Once again a great performance 5 stars
11/26/02 Monster W. Kung Jake, you must be a retarded redneck fucking idiot or something. 1 stars
9/24/02 Jake Should of been nominated for Best Film instead of that Lord of the Rings rubbish 5 stars
9/04/02 Joe Zappa How can you not like this movie. Darabont & Rubberface are gods. Best courtroom scene ever! 5 stars
8/23/02 Danielle Ophelia Oy. I've digested less sugar in an entire family-size bag of Jolly Ranchers. 3 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Another "Miracle Movie" from the true God Among Directors Frank Darabont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/07/02 Kent Jim Carrey imitating Jimmy Stewart. The story was very predictable and got to be real dumb. 2 stars
7/10/02 Kevin I think Carrey is a very good dramatic actor... A very welcome feel good movie 5 stars
6/24/02 Del Didn't like the ending, but the ride was nice 4 stars
3/15/02 the movie moose critically shamed but excellent film 5 stars
2/28/02 Tiffany Thunderhurst Comic genius Jim C. still wanting to be serious actor; scores higher than usual this try. 4 stars
2/26/02 ownerofdajoint whatahugedisappointmentcouldntbelievehowtotallylamewantedarefunda 1 stars
2/07/02 Butterbean Carrey should go back to talking out of his asscheeks and stop trying to win an oscar nod. 2 stars
2/01/02 E-Funk Cute and cheesy...I think a lot of people missed the idea of a film emulating old Hollywood 4 stars
1/01/02 Greyjack Yay, a movie w/scenes about how great movies are. Still, it's not awful, I guess. 3 stars
12/31/01 poetchuck Heartwarming - good performance from Carey 4 stars
12/29/01 RazorDog So sugar coated I have 4 new cavities. 4 stars
12/25/01 daniboy agree COMPLETELY with A. Hershey. I had so high expectations for this one... 2 stars
12/25/01 A. HERSHEY This Film was VERY disapointing 2 stars
12/24/01 ajay Filled with so much cheese I was ready to puke. 1 stars
12/23/01 JL It's not a complete waste of ur time...a lot of great historical stuff if anything 4 stars
12/22/01 spaceworm USA TODAY: Slap, then dismiss, that bitch Claudia Puig. 4 stars
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  21-Dec-2001 (PG)



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