MOVIES ON THE BRAIN: “MONA LISA SMILE”

1:00 – Paint By Numbers! I loved Paint By Numbers. When I was a kid, of course. I haven’t done any lately. Really. What, you don’t believe me? Really!
1:03 – Julia Roberts’ whole performance in this movie is completely out of context for the time period. There hasn’t been someone acting this out of step with the surrounding time period since Rod Taylor was trying to get lucky with an Eloi in “The Time Machine”.
1:07 – There’s so much smoking in this movie I’m thinking the main producers must have been Marlboro.
1:09< – I’m just going to tune out for the next few minutes and think about the shorts from "Mystery Science Theater 3000". My favorite was the one showing some guys first day on the job selling Chevys.
1:12 – Julia R. just said, “From where I sit” and I’m thinking where’s that, the 1990’s?
1:15 – Julia R.’s boyfriend just got her a View Master. I’ve got nothing here, but please remember I’ve lost a lot of higher brain function due to this movie.
1:16 – “Sleeping With the Enemy”. That alone is worth five to ten years of hard labor. Where’s a cop when you need one?
1:17 – There’s that famous Julia Roberts smile and there goes my lunch all over the nice lady sitting in front of me.
1:18 – And now, just in case I hadn’t already vomited, here’s a sappy romantic montage. Is this movie actively trying to make me ill? If so, it’s succeeding on a stupendous level.
1:20 – There’s a scene here of some synchronized swimming. It’s making me think of that old Saturday Night Live sketch with Martin Short and Harry Shearer. Good stuff.
1:23 – Toga! Toga!
1:24 – Looking like Maggie G. might be the inevitable prep-school movie suicide. Did the filmmakers even try to be original or do they just grab some old outlines and a bottle of White Out?
1:26 – Congratulations! We’ve officially reached the point in the movie where I want to slap each and every single person involved in the making of it. I’ll start with the starring cast and work my way down.
1:27 – I think I just saw Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis sitting in on this all-girl band.
1:30 – I don’t think Julia Roberts’ character took her medication.
1:32 – The pain I’m in right now is so great I’ve started punching the gentleman sitting next to me. I think he understands, though.
1:34 – It’s actually helping a little to imagine this movie being done in Claymation. A little clay-Kirsten Dunst being bitchy to a little clay Julia Stiles is a fun image. This is officially how I will remember this movie.
1:37 – Just to give you all a sense of the pain I’m in, the scene here of the fat, naked man in the shower is the least disturbing thing I’ve seen in the last hour and a half.
1:39 – Gaak.
1:42 – The day Kirsten Dunst looses the cute baby-fat look will be a day of great sadness for me. She’s still got the look of someone a regular guy could have a chance with.
1:43 – Great Scott! November 5, 1955! That’s the day I invented time travel!
1:46 – And now I’ve spent the last three minutes thinking about “Back to the Future”. Hell, I’d be happy if I had spent the last three minutes thinking about a twitchy doctor doing exploratory surgery on my prostate.
1:48 – Julia R. just walked out of the building in a hurry like she needs to use the bathroom. Must have just read the script.
1:50 – Can’t do a graduation scene without my waiting for someone to stand up and start singing “The Greatest Love of All”.
1:53 – I don’t normally comment on the end credits, but these are just shockingly bad. We’ve got stock footage and images of stereotypical female roles and duties, all showing under horrific Elton John song. How low has his stock fallen in the last decade? Can we do a study of his artistic integrity pre-Disney as opposed to post-Disney? Why aren’t dissertations written about important stuff like this?
PARTING THOUGHTS: Exhausted. That’s how I feel: Exhausted. I don’t even have the emotional energy needed to mentally revisit this movie. Wildly inconsistent character portrayals just torpedoed whatever this movie was trying to say. Could have easily cut out everything involving Julia Roberts’ love interest, Julie Roberts or anything having to do with the plot as a whole and had a much better movie.

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Chris Thilk has an easier time remembering lines from movies he hasn’t seen in five years than he does the birthdays of people close to him. For his column this is actually a good thing. He is easily scared by snakes, low-clearance bridges and the rantings of weblog writers.




Posted on March 25, 2004 in Features by
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