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Best Bets: It's February - time to go to the movies

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

Well, darlings, February does drag on, doesn't it? And, I know that after last weekend's entertainment blitz you are broke and eating SpaghettiOs until your paycheck comes. For this weekend, if you aren't watching yet another plastic surgery expose of Michael Jackson on TV, I suggest movies.

First, for the truly broke, there are a few newly released rentals I would suggest. The first is "Igby Goes Down," a coming-of-age story about a privileged, 17-year-old boy Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin) rebelling against his unfeeling, pill-popping socialite mother (Susan Sarandon), who makes everything complicated by slowly dying of breast cancer.

I normally don't rent anything with a Culkin in it, but unlike the half-dozen other towheaded child actors in the Culkin family, the young Kieran can actually act. The movie also features Ryan Phillipe in an equally complex character of Slocumb's high-achieving older brother Oliver who performs a heroic, heart-wrenching, and horrifying act that I won't reveal here.

Other treats in "Igby Goes Down" include Claire Danes as the level-headed girlfriend, and Jeff Goldblum (just when you thought he was typecast as an absentminded scientist in Disney movies) as the philandering millionaire benefactor.

My second new rental suggestion is "The Good Girl" starring a generally annoying actress who straightens her hair, Jennifer Aniston. Normally, I can't stand watching her girl-next-door romantic comedies, but this movie is the anti-romantic comedy, in which Aniston, rather than looking like a work-out goddess in expensive shoes, is frumpy and normal.

Aniston plays Justine Last, a young woman who works at a grocery store, called Retail Rodeo, in rural Texas. She is unhappily married to her high school sweetheart, a stoner house painter (John Reilly). One day, out of boredom, she flirts with a young, brooding cashier named Holden and soon the two are making out in the storeroom. Holden is less than stable and Justine's affair gets out of hand. About this time, her husband's painting partner, Bubba, discovers the affair and attempts an icky blackmail.

I liked this movie for all the funny scenes of small-town life, which reminded me of home. I also tend to like movies where you get all squirmy watching characters get themselves into huge trouble. At one point when Justine is driving down the road with a suitcase in the back, intending to meet Holden at a motel, I almost screamed, "No, stop, turn back. ..." Anyway, it's worth the $3.50.

A less mainstream option playing at the Goldtown Nickelodeon is the famous "Metropolis," a 1920s silent film by German director Fritz Lang. The movie is a romance set in a surreal world where modern skyscrapers tower over impoverished slums and people are divided into two groups: "the thinkers," who understand the large plans but cannot operate machinery, and "the workers," who toil away without knowing why they work. (Sound familiar?)

Freder Fredersen, a thinker, journeys into the world of the workers and meets worker Maria, and a symbolic and interesting romance ensues. The version playing at the Goldtown Nickelodeon has new subtitles and 1,300 feet of film that was cut when the German film was released by Paramount in the 1930s.

"Metropolis" plays at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21; at 4, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22; and 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23.

Also, I am going to see "About Schmidt," a movie with Jack Nicholson about a man who has just retired, loses his wife of 42 years, and is about to watch his daughter marry someone he despises. (Sounds great when I describe it, doesn't it?) Nicholson has been nominated for an Oscar for his performance. As a rule, when we have the opportunity in our little town to actually see an Oscar-nominated film before the Oscars, I wouldn't pass it up. Plus, as my movie-buff editor told me recently, "You really shouldn't miss a movie with Nicholson."

"About Schmidt" shows at 7 nightly at Glacier Cinemas, (6:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, only) with second shows at 9:20 Friday and Saturday nights, and matinees at 1:30 and 4 Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Finally, for anyone who hasn't seen the glitz, glamor and Queen Latifa cleavage of "Chicago," I'll bet this is your last week. "Chicago" shows at 7:20 nightly at Glacier Cinemas (7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, only) with second shows at 9:30 Friday and Saturday nights, and matinees at 1:50 and 4:10 Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Thanks for reading.

Julia O'Malley can be reached at jomalley@juneauempire.com.



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