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Last night we went to see The Negotiator. I had a free movie ticket, so what the hell. I haven't heard anything really good about it, but the ticket was going to expire.

This movie experience left me with two (count 'em, TWO) things to talk about on this fine day.

The first thing I said to my friends after we came out of the theater was, "Once again Hollywood proves it's collective stupidity."

Why, you ask?

Well, of course, I'm gonna tell you...

The basic plot was actually really good. Cop is great hostage negotiator, cop gets framed by "bad cops" ('cause you gotta have them bad guys somewhere), stressed good cop uses only way he can to get the people's attention: good cop does bad thing - take hostages.

Samuel Jackson was really good, Kevin Spacey was, as expected, exceptionally good. The idea for the story was a really interesting idea for a great suspense movie.

Untill the Hollywood moguls got a hold of it, that is. I'm convinced that somewhere the guy who came up with this idea puts his head in his hands and weeps silently every time he sees a commercial for it. In the spirit of Summer Blockbuster Mayhem!!! (read with the voice of the guy from the Monster Truck commercials) every time the tension was to come to a head and another bit of action was supposed to be a surprise, instead of a few gunshots here and there adn a little shouting - all hell breaks loose. Not only does it break loose, but it breaks loose with the required slo-mo shots of things blowing up and people leaping and alla them other goodies that the unwashed masses call "film-art".

The direction sucked, most of the dialog was crappy, and the character development outside the two main characters (which was pretty damn minimal) mainly consists of lots of shifty-eyed glances from everyone so you can't tell who the bad cops really are.

This movie should have been done on a budget of about a third of what it was, cutting out all the big explosions would have gotten rid of most of that, set almost entirely differently, and been completely closed set as far as Big-Movie types were concerned.

If you're a young movie-maker, go see this. Think about what I said after you see it, think about how you'd do it differently.

Then put your right hand on whatever you consider Holy and swear that you'll get a better agent that the guy who started out with the idea for this movie.

The other thing, and this was bothering me during the movie, was the two rows sittin' in front of me. I don't know if they were a family or something, but I think they were all together.

The theatre was about half full, being a Wednesday night and all, and on our side, two rows down was six people, all from the ages of 6 to about 15. They were actually pretty darn well behaved, but geez... Theres a scene in there where this guy gets his head splattered all over (no, I didn't spoil anything, you can predict exactly that it's going to happen, they've give that plot twist away in the goddamn trailer).

Behind them, in front of us, were the two "adults" and two more kids, both about 4 years old. So much for parental guidance. I'm no family expert, nor am I conservative in any way, but four is really pushing the limits of common sense (and it's not like a babysitter would have been more expensive that tickets for all these kids).

The little ones were good, untill about 20 minutes into the movie where the littlest one wanted to ask mom something and didn't even get to finish the sentence before Pop proceeded to smack him/her in the face for making noise. The crying starts and of course Mom gets stuck standing in the hallway with the kid for the next two hours.

Pop, of course, then proceeded to talk to the screen and cheer everytime a cop had anything violent happen to him...

Not much more to say on that, just making an observation. But it makes you have to sit back and wonder...

What the HELL is WRONG with people???

Slap out.

13 Aug 98

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