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IT'S ALL ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES

         

For Hicksflicks.com, Oct. 4, 2013

Back in the olden days, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and I was a full-time movie critic for the Deseret News … well, actually, during the post-dinosaur 1980s and '90s … I saw something in the neighborhood of 250 theatrically-released movies each year, plus festival films, special screenings, etc.

Today, having been retired for five years — but still writing a column for the D-News, along with DVD reviews — I see, maybe 80-90 movies a year in theaters. And, actually, that may go up this year with all the "classic" film programs that Salt Lake theaters have been bringing in.

Anyway, I am more picky these days, ruling out the vast majority of horror movies (too gory), thrillers (too profane) and comedies (too raunchy) that roll through town. But I still love movies, so it's a conundrum.

And my wife Joyce and I still go every week, sometimes two or three times a week if temping movies are hanging around, and, truth be told, most of the time we're disappointed. But at least we're not often disgusted or irritated anymore. Most of those films we successfully pass over.

We want to be entertained. We want to be thrilled and spirited away. Doesn't happen that often anymore, and the disappointments do shade our attitude a bit.

So last Friday we saw "Rush," and it was pretty good, although it was very loud and "edgy" with quick-cut editing and, except for the two main characters, very superficial. Then on Monday we saw "Enough Said," which was an uneven but surprisingly warm with a sitcom plot, but, of course, I had numerous wisecracks about sex. But James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were very good, taking the film up a notch or two. And on Tuesday, it was "Baggage Claim." Should have listened to the reviews. Really stupid, and Patton was shrill and unconvincing. It was perhaps the worst episode of "I Love Lucy" ever. And, as with most rom-coms today, it confuses "love" with sex.

Then on Wednesday, we saw "Vertigo," the Alfred Hitchcock thriller with James Stewart and Kim Novak. I've seen it at least a dozen times before and it never gets old; in fact it gets better with each viewing.

And just like that, I was ready to start going again. With enthusiasm. My faith in movies was restored.

All it takes is one good one to remind me of the possibilities.