“So you wrap your legs around this Inman feller?”

My chosen favorite line from the movie Cold Mountian, a line uttered by the bouncy slurred twangy character of Ruby Thewes… played by Ren?e Zellweger.

Gaul, what a picture. The film was good, there is no doubt that it has production values and that it was made with the utmost of care and attention to detail. I found the story itself to be uninspiring though, and also generally predictable. There were some great cameos, but that is a problem when the cameos are a larger reason that the movie is good rather than the story or the performances by the leading actors. Jude Law does a good job as Inman: he starts out clean, grows an awesome beard, shaves it, grows more awesome beards, and shaves them. All the while his eyes are atwinkle with the grave certainty that his soul is forever damned because of the crap he has witnessed on the battlefield. Nicole Kidman does a flat pitiable job as Ada Monroe, if her character is supposed to be adrift, aimless and mostly pitiful for the duration of the movie then she nails the role and lots of little awards go her way. But I for one found the entire love story to be rather stilted and ponderous, slowly aching its way towards a very obvious and not very touching conclusion. Donald Sutherland is in the movie, though not for long. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays one of the most detestable roles I have seen an actor play in a movie since seeing Peter Weller as Bill Lee in Naked Lunch, or Jennifer Connolly playing Marion Silver in Requiem for a Dream. Jena Malone has a neat, if very brief and quite final cameo in the film. And Natalie Portman has a cameo and does a pretty durn good job of her role. But my #1 favorite supporting character is Mr. Thewes, played by good old Brendan Gleeson, whom you might all remember as Hamish from Braveheart… or the executive from MI:2… or the dad from 28 Days Later… or the club weilding sheriff from Gangs of New York… and he’s going to be in Troy, yes.

All in all I don’t reccomend seeing this film in the theaters, because you won’t be able to fast forward the crappy scenes, which are abrupt and quite offensive. Again, Philip Seymour Hoffman dissapoints me by playing this sick role.

And I realized that I don’t really have a rating system in place for my movies so I will have to institute Joel’s Movie Rating System for beginning with this year. So far here are the ratings for the only two films I’ve seen in the theater this year:

1 = whoever made this nasty crap needs to be shot… now.

2 = whoever created this smelly piece of trash needs to be given many savage indian rug burns before being banished from Hollywood for all time.

3 = whoever pooped this stinker out needs to quit asking their daddy for jobs in Hollywood.

4 = whoever shot this snotball from their cranium ought to start wondering how a no-talent hack like themselves made it into the industry.

5 = whoever made this film needs some serious improvement but they aren’t ignorant of elements that make a story good or entertaining.

6 = whoever crafted this film did a good job and I can tolerate it… but probably only once.

7 = whoever spent time on this film did a decent job and deserves accolades and money and should continue to work.

8 = whoever worked hard on this film has solid talent and I will certainly enjoy and come back for more in the future.

9 = whoever this person is should be glad that God allowed them to make films because they were born for it and should never stop until they die.

10 = this number only reserved for films which blow me out of my shoes and prove to me once again that magic still exists in the chemical emulsion of film.

The Last Samurai:

lead acting: 7/10

supporting acting: 9/10

story: 7/10

directing: 8/10

production design/value: 8/10

overall score: 7.8

Cold Mountain:

lead acting: 5/10

supporting acting: 7/10

story: 4/10

directing: 8/10

production design/value: 8/10

overall score: 6.4

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