"I fought The Sean and The Sean won."

Now I've never been a prisoner in Alcatraz, so I didn't have a preconceived notion of what it should look like...

Yes, Tonight, I worshipped The Sean in all his glory. He runs, he drives, he fights, he's The Sean, and that's all that really matters.

Now about the film, The Rock. It's loud. It's darned loud. They blow things up. They blow a lot of things up. It's a testosterone-pumping, boys-will-be-boys film. It's producer Don Simpson's (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Crimson Tide, Bad Boys) last film and everyone says he went out in a blaze of glory. Well, he did go out in a blaze.

Not that this is a bad movie, it isn't. It's exciting, it's fast-paced, it's violence-filled. But I really wanted to grab the screen and hold it still for a minute so I could see what was going on. It's shot like a two-hour rock video, quick cuts, hand-held cameras that can't keep anyone in the frame for longer than an eighth of a second.

There was one scene, a car chase through the San Francisco that was probably exciting, but I really couldn't tell because apparently the director of photography suffers from epilepsy. There was a cable car, and a few other cars, and a yellow car with Nicolas Cage, and some bodies were flying and then everything was quiet and we were left to wonder what had actually just happened.

However, I don't want you to think that I didn't enjoy this. The Sean was magnificent, as he always is. Nicolas Cage was a lot of fun in his role, and Ed Harris was properly stoic as the brigadier general bad guy. In fact, I was impressed as at least six or seven names flashed by in the credits before one came by which I didn't recognize.

There were also some great lines. Mostly from The Sean. "Perhaps I'm losing my sex appeal." he says once and all the women in the audience vehemently disagree. Also, when asked where he learned all this combat stuff he explains, "I spent some time in British Intelligence." I heartily approve of inside jokes that the entire world will understand.

Nick's lines aren't always as snappy. In fact, a few times they seemed forced and out of nowhere as if they wanted to pepper the action with smart-alec sayings and make people think they're watching a Die Hard movie.

Plot wise, it's simple. Bad Guys take Alcatraz, aim poison guns at San Francisco. Good guys break into Alcatraz and try o save San Francisco. The bad guys are each distinct and varied, although a lot of them come right out of the pages of "Joe Blow's Guide to Stereotypical Bad Guys." I wondered why there were so many distinct bad guys, but it's because either The Sean or Nick need to have a climactic battle with each one.

There's a lot of climactic battles.

Also, a warning. If you live in or near San Francisco or if you've ever been to San Francisco, understand that the makers of this movie are not from the Bay Area. At one point, as rockets are headed for Candlestick Park (3 Com Park nowadays as corporations take over everything.) they say "My God, The Football Game!" and then we see the rockets fly over the stadium and the darned thing is half empty.

Excuse me? At a 49ers game!!! No way is that place anything less than packed to the rim and beyond.

And someone should have explained to the writers that Pier 39 is a famous place and that people know what it looks like.


A fun aspect for me was that we sat 2 rows in front of Geena Davis and her director-husband Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Cutthroat Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight) I wondered if Renny was sitting back thinking "They boo my Cutthroat Island of the screens and this is a hit? Fine, next time I'll make it louder."

Because that seems to be the key to success nowadays. Loud = money. Twister, very loud, bad movie, $241 million. I hope this doesn't continue, or we'll all have to go out to watch "Ear-Splitting Noise Pollution 3: This one goes to 11"

So in a nutshell, the movie is well scripted, well acted, decently directed, badly shot, and an adrenaline rush on par with the rest of the summer thrill rides.

In all, and after much thought and deliberation, The Rock gets 3 1/2 Babylons. It probably would have gotten more if I hadn't expected more, and it definitely would have gotten less without The Sean.

I will return next week, as Jim Carrey opens wide with The Cable Guy.

Unless something better opens up. I don't know. Anything. Weekend at Bernie's 3. Ishtar 2. Anyhting.

Until then my dear fools,

This has been the Self-Made Critic.


I recently watched all three Indiana Jones movies on Video. They are good. The third one has The Sean in it. But you knew that.


Editor's Note:

The Self-Made Critic recently upped his score for this movie. It now stands at 3 3/4 Babylons. Why? Cause he was given a poster of it, and he's having it framed.

Apparently he can be bought.