The Majestic

Aunt Cleo: So, I went to see “The Majestic” last Saturday.
Aunt Georgina: Which one is thatr
Aunt Cleo: With Jim Carrey.
Aunt Georgina: Oh, I don’t like him. He’s vulgar.
Aunt Cleo: Not in this movie he isn’t. He’s sweet and handsome and charming. Like in “The Grinch.” That movie was excellent and had a message and “The Majestic” is just the same, but better because it’s newer.
Aunt Georgina: Well, Cleo, after listening to your well-reasoned recommendation and allowing myself a silent moment internal deliberation, I have decided that I too will pay money to see “The Majestic.”

Those MBAs at Warner Bros. go, “Ka-ching!” while you’re tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd and not shove this turkey bone up Aunt Cleo’s ass for diluting the family gene pool. But, as usual, I digress…

I went to see “The Majestic” because it seemed to be another one of those films made specifically for me. It takes place in the 1950’s (a decade that fascinates me more than any other) and it’s about a screenwriter (hey, instant character identification) who refurbishes an old movie palace (I plan on enslaving Theo Kalomirakis someday–and if you don’t know who Theo Kalomirakis is then, um, you’re dumb). Additionally, The Majestic is directed by Frank Darabont who’s made one of the best American studio films ever in Shawshank and it stars my two most favorite modern day actors: Jim Carrey and Bruce Campbell (will someone please cast these two as brothers in an action-comedyr).

I don’t know why I still get emotionally pig-dogged every time a movie doesn’t live up to expectations because I should be used to it by now. Not to say that “The Majestic” is bad. Far from it. Actually, not too far. “The Majestic” is mediocre at best, cold molasses boring at worst. Part of this has to do with the script by Michael Sloane which hammers us over the head with the same points over and over again. How many times do we have to hear someone say…

The town needed you, Jim, because all of our other sons died in the War.

Or…

Listen, Jim, you really don’t want to screw around with those McCarthyites–you could be blacklisted!

Maybe it’s because the film is rated PG, but it speaks to us, the audience, as if we were all 8 years-old. That’s probably one reason why “The Majestic” runs 2 1/2 hours and probably the only reason why the climax is of Jim standing before HUAC–I shit you not–reading aloud from a pocket sized Constitution.

But there is good stuff in the movie. All of the performances are top notch. You’d expect nothing less from Jim. Bruce handles his B-movie one-liners with aplomb. Martin Landau proves again why he actually deserved that Lifetime Achievment Award/Best Supporting Actor Oscar. And seeing Laurie Holden –who must of us know and loathe as the Unablonder from X-Files– is like breaking one of the seven seals…she’s a revelation. Funny, fiery, sexy. You can completely understand why Jim’s character falls in love with her because the audience does, too. Seriously impressive stuff by Laurie. She’s gonna get a lot bigger real soon.

Other good stuff: the scene where they re-open The Majestic theater for the first time made me cry. And I don’t cry often–not at my wedding, not during acting class, not even when God Himself did Irish fans a favor and arranged it for George O’Leary to get fired from Notre Dame. But I cried during “The Majestic.”

Finally, the film has come out at a time when it’s themes will actually make people think about the world around us. Because it’s about American boys going overseas and sacrificing themselves for the Greater Good. Because it’s about what it means to be an American. And because it’s about an understandably scared government prosecuting people on flimsy evidence just because they happen to be a part of the wrong minority group. Not that I don’t think the Justice Department should be investigating suspicious Saudis, Egyptians, etc. They should, but at the same not allowing things to turn into a witchhunt. Wow, look at that. A Jim Carrey movie inspiring politically charged discourse. Who woulda thunkr

I took my grandparents to the movie and they loved it. Really loved it. And since they are roughly the same age as your average Academy Award voter and since every other old fogey in the theater stood up and cheered at film’s end, I think Jim will finally get his official Oscar Acknowledgment (that’s what they’re calling “nominations” these days, isn’t itr Acknowledgmentsr How can you get fucking PC about awards terminologyr Only in this town). So, if you’re old or like easily digestible melodrama-with-a-message or need a Bruce Campbell fix you should be fine with “The Majestic.”

Rating: B+
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