The Noise of Summer

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With Labor Day upon us, we must adapt to a few changes that come with the waning of summer. First, no more white pants or shoes, as mandated by the Fashion Association Guidelines published at www.nolinen,either.com. Second, movies have to start making sense again. Any film caught without a plot between now and Christmas is subject to becoming this year’s “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

We reviewed the first half of the summer a couple months ago, so we will now pick up where we left off. That was with “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” a film that badly needs a colon between the “A.I.” part and the “Artificial Intelligence” part. This movie was conceived by Stanley Kubrick, directed by Steven Spielberg and misunderstood by everyone else, including me, as I thought it was going to be about steak sauce.

“A.I.” features real people made to look like robots. Meanwhile, “Final Fantasy” features cartoon people that were made to look like real people but that look like robots. “Final Fantasy” strictly adheres to the scientific theory that special effects and a good script cannot exist in the same movie. Also, since “Final Fantasy” was made in Japan by a Japanese director, I believe that makes it “anime,” which means I’m supposed to make a crack about anime fans and how they’re all loser geek boys who live in their parents’ basements.

But I will not make that crack, nor the one about the anime fan taking an animation class (“You mean cartoons are supposed to MOVE?!”), because we must move on to three movies about talking animals: “Planet of the Apes,” “Cats & Dogs” and “Rush Hour 2.” (Seriously, if Chris Tucker isn’t a hyena-chihuahua hybrid, I don’t know what he is.)

“Planet of the Apes” stars former rap singer Marky Mark as Charlton Heston, and former actor Charlton Heston as an old, dying, incontinent ape who doesn’t like guns. This is ironic, because in real life, Charlton Heston loves guns so much he never goes anywhere without several firearms stashed in his personal orifices. Kudos to him for being senile and penniless enough to play a role so different from his personal philosophies.

In “Cats & Dogs,” a lot of cats and dogs fight for control of the world. In “Rush Hour 2,” the people at the movie theater show “Rush Hour 1” and hope no one notices. They don’t, because they’ve also seen “Jurassic Park III,” which has destroyed whatever immunity they once had to movie sequels.

Speaking of gigantic dinosaurs that should have been extinct a long time ago, Marlon Brando was in a movie, too. It was called “The Score,” and it also starred Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton, which means that among the three leads, we have two of the greatest actors of the past 50 years, plus Marlon Brando, who is now great only in the literal sense. Al Pacino was supposed to be in the movie, too, but Brando accidentally devoured him.

Marlon Brando was supposed to have a cameo in “Scary Movie 2,” but he caught pneumonia before shooting began, his body apparently doing whatever it could to preserve his last remaining shreds of dignity. (Later, he ate his dignity as a snack.) “Scary Movie 2” was neither scary nor a movie, consisting instead of random images of desperation flashed on a screen. Still, it was more entertaining than “Bubble Boy,” another alleged comedy that insulted audiences — or, rather, would have insulted them, if anyone had shown up to watch it.

A good comedy was “Legally Blonde,” in which Reese Witherspoon goes to Harvard Law School to prove that blondes are not necessarily stupid. She doesn’t really convince anyone, but man, that little gal sure is perky. She’ll make a fine secretary someday.

Finally, we have “The Others,” a spooky thriller about a lady whose daughter sees ghosts in the house. These ghosts are shrouded in white, of course, which means it’s a good thing the movie didn’t come out after Labor Day.

These movie wrap-up columns are fun to write. I have nothing more to say about this particular one.

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