Ain't It Cool News (

How The Grinch Stole Christmas review (early rough print)

About a week ago I was laying in my bed, working on the site, when I suddenly received a phone call from a representative from IMAGINE, that Ron Howard company, telling me that Ron Howard wanted me and Moriarty to take a look and give him feedback on HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.

I’ve heard for the last month or so that Ron had been screening various rough cuts of this film to friends and family, though I hadn’t been able to get anyone to write a review, dagnamit.

For the past month and a half, I had put forth the challenge to Moriarty to nab the GRINCH for something special that AICN was going to do this month (JUNE).

Well, that had fallen through... We had heard that the print was just way too rough to screen. That they were a bit nervous about screening it till more of the effects were knocked out.

This actually concerned me quite a bit, because... So much of the film is performance and character work within makeup... and ultimately what is happening off in the distant background shouldn’t really matter to this film. THE GRINCH needed to work as a character piece between THE GRINCH and Cindy Lou-Who.

So when I got this call I was a bit edgy. If the film wasn’t ready to screen for a big audience, if it wasn’t ready... then would it not work for me too?

Before I could ask anything else I was told that Moriarty and I were being screened the film, but that officially... in the real world... we would have never seen it. Ron wanted us to comment to him about the film... not the world.

Eeeeek, that sounded like trouble, but... I needed to know where this movie was. Was it SANTA CLAUS THE MOVIE or was it NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS? Where did this movie fall?

So with a dry mouth, I accepted their offer and flew out to Los Angeles.

Checked into my hotel, and then awaited Moriarty to come pick me up. I was very nervous about this screening.

You see, for me... Ron Howard can make a bad movie. I have disliked RANSOM, THE PAPER, FAR AND AWAY and WILLOW. As for the rest of his filmwork... I have enjoyed his comedies most. I adored APOLLO 13 and BACKDRAFT. But really... SPLASH, COCOON and PARENTHOOD have been my absolute favorite Ron Howard films.

As a ‘grand scale’ filmmaker, I have felt Ron lacks in the realm of sweeping epic-ness. I think going into the screen I was terrified of watching a film made up of medium shots and close-ups. That Ron would try to concentrate too much on Who-Ville and not enough on the two characters that the story needed to focus on. This little girl, and this crogedy old Grinch that lives far away from anyone.

Before the screening, Moriarty and I were talking back and forth with one another about our fears. About the odds that what we would see would be a jumbled mess, that the amazing make-up would be lost due to boring camera movements and bad pacing.

Now the screening we were attending was being held mainly for the sound team working on THE GRINCH. Before the film started Ron came out and asked that the sound people pay particular attention to the dialogue. That Jim (Carrey) and himself were worried that some of the lines might be unintelligible due to the fake teeth and to write down a line of dialogue and pass it to the end of the row while you watched the film, so they would know what needed to be looped. Ron said that both he and Jim could understand every line, but that they had seen it and been a part of it so much, they knew what the lines were supposed to be. And basically wanted these sound folks to, check their homework.

Moriarty and I sat on the front row and as the lights went out we looked at each other and did that sigh. As if to say... Alright, here we go.

Straight up, when this film is completed, it is going to be the film that redefines Ron Howard as a filmmaker. That reemphasizes the importance of make-up on talented actors, vs motion capture cgi, and is yet another example of why Jim Carrey is a genius.

The state of the film is at an extremely rough state. How Rough?

Nearly every frame still has the blue screen where the sky is supposed to be. There are shots that still have crew members with fans dumping snow flakes in front of them to push up into the air.

Imagine, if you saw a print of THE WIZARD OF OZ, where every matte painting and backdrop was not yet in place, and in their place you would see the walls of the soundstage itself. To simulate some of the shots there were terrible video composites of characters floating around, that you could see through. The vast majority of the film had no score, but from time to time the temp track would belt out Herrmann’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST Mt Rushmore tunes, the car chase music from THE ROCK and even THE ROCKETEER.

With all these shiny pennies and so much left to be done... The film works really well. Really really really well.

SO well, that after talking to Moriarty and I after the film, they gave us the ok to go public about it.

Ok... let’s address the differences between the script reviews you have heard via this site and Stax.

I have not only read that script, but everyone’s reviews of that draft as well.

#1 change. There is no teenage Grinch. No Who-venile delinquent/WILD ONE/REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE sequences. The Grinch is not a disgruntled stand up comic anymore.

#2 change. Many of the minor subplots that was padding the film to a length that it quite frankly didn’t need, were gone. No longer is there the Christmas Light Contest between two neighbors.

The film has been honed to being a story about how a little girl, when given the knowledge that there is one person on the planet for whom Christmas is not given. A person that all others hold in disdain, but if this be true, then what is the worth of Christmas if Christmas is indeed not for everyone. If Christmas is just about presents and parties and not something more. In her pursuit to discover what made the Grinch so grinchy, what drove him from the town... Well, she discovers a story of a broken heart. And in turn we, the audience discovers that The Grinch works every day to shrink his heart into nothingness. That he wishes to feel nothing, to be numb for the rest of his life. Feelings hurt too much, so he decides to obliterate them.

This version of Dr Seuss’ original story concentrates on the heart of the story, which was to emphasize that Christmas is about more than the size of your present, that Christmas is something to celebrate as long as you have others to share it with.

The film has some amazingly funny sequences in it, but at the end of the day, the film is about a man who decides to love and live again.

As for the brilliance of Jim Carrey’s GRINCH... This is at two levels. First there is Rick Baker, who has constructed quite possibly the single greatest work of make-up I have ever seen. Why? Well, first off... it allows and amplifies every nuance of Jim Carrey’s face beneath, while still seeming completely natural. The Grinch is a wonder to behold. At no point does it look or seem like there is a human in there or even a Jim Carrey.

As for Carrey... You know the moment where the Grinch’s heart grows two sizes too big? Jim does that all himself. No makeup tricks, no cgi. The color of his skin doesn’t change, they don’t trick the lighting on his face. This is pure John Barrymore - Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde time. In one shot, you see all the callous cynicism and anger drain from him. Then you see a warmth pour into his eyes, a zen like grace imbue his face and suddenly he is whole again.

They don’t cheapen the scene by cutting to an ‘INSIDE THE GRINCH’ shot to show his heart big again. Instead, Ron had the confidence in Jim to just let that moment not be some goofy computer whoop-de-doo, but to be a man beneath some of the most amazing make up ever... shine.

Now is this a GREAT film yet?

Noone can answer that yet. Right now there is still so much to be done. James Horner has got to write his greatest score ever. It simply must be nothing short of that. Then, DIGITAL DOMAIN has got to uphold their side of the bargain... make all that blue screen disappear and come to life. Fill the streets with weirder and odder Whos and other wildlife. The sky and the sun must shine. Birds must fly and the world outside of Whoville must be built by them.

What I saw was an amazing theater production, filmed as wonderfully as can be done. But Digital Domain is going to complete this and make it grander still. Horner has got to construct the musical soul of this film.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS will be the film Universal is hoping for. Small children will begin the film with their little hands over their eyes, but by the end of the film... Their hands will be in their laps and they will have both eyes open wide. The film is magic in the way that BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was magic.

I can not wait for this film’s completion. For those of us that love the strange and unusual and that love Christmas and Seuss. This is very much the film we are waiting for.

Harry here, with some additional thoughts about the film. It should be noted that this film does not ape Tim Burton at all. The visual flair goes from the very comic mayhem to very tender. Also, it must be noted that when the Grinch steals Christmas it is very much the thing that must be done. You see, the Whos are all so busy buying and wrapping and eating and chatting that they have lost what it means to celebrate Christmas. So when all the trappings of Christmas are gone, there is a stunned look, a brief bit of confusion and the slightest of anger. In the end, The Grinch's act is not only his cure for his own shallow heart, but for that of all in his little snowflake world as well. We all know how the story ends, but I really was not prepared for how well the pay off pays off here. You know... this is very much the type of film that needs to be seen around Christmas... where everyone thinks it necessary to max out their cards and accounts. Not only is the original intent of Seuss' story in place... but it has even been fleshed out a little more than it has ever been before. And that's all I have to say.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • June 1, 2000, 12:30 a.m. CST

    I knew it!

    by NiX

    I always had faith in this film. And dammit, sounds like I was right. I can't wait.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Grinchly good gnews

    by Sardonicus

    Very cool, Harry. It may be too much to hope that your Wizard of Oz analogy proves to be true in more senses than you intended, but as of now, confidence is high. With so many so-called Christmas classics out there, this one can be nothing but amazing if the gamble is to succeed.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:33 a.m. CST

    Carrey Rocks.

    by Wham

    Nuff said.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:33 a.m. CST


    by brush420

    I was afraid this movie would suck. Now I'm ready to plop 8 bucks down and get my seuss on!!

  • June 1, 2000, 12:41 a.m. CST

    Sounds kewl.

    by Sith Lord Jesus

    One of my fave X-Mass stories, that one. It looks so far like they're really going all out to make a grand Christmas flick out of this and not just some slapstic comedy with a holiday twist. I loved SCROOGED, by the way, but that of course is not how this film should be handled. I'm looking forward to it.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:47 a.m. CST

    Harry, You are My God...

    by Kincaid2

    Can I borrow $10!? No, oh, f you. Moriarity. You are my god. Oh, F you too. This sucks. I work my ass off and have nothing to show for it. Harry sits on his ass all day in front of a computer and gets to live every fanboy's wet dream. WHY!?! I wish to god I live to see the day where some poor slob film maker, let alone RON HOWARD, wants me to see their film at its rough draft. of course, I will slip into the black void of life that is really a never ending kick in the nuts... Yep, my 'spies' have 'inside info' that sucks...:( Harry, I worship ya. Good for you though. Now, for the more important question. Do you get laid? I don't...ok, back to porn...

  • June 1, 2000, 12:54 a.m. CST


    by delicreep

    Well, this might be promising news. I was turned off by the notion of Ron Howard directing this film. The trailer this weekend failed to grab me. (though the sets looked very good, as well as the make-up) So, I'll let the movie speak for itself. Yup, I'll be there. I might as well, since I'm championing PJ and his attempt to bring LotR to the screen, and busily defending the changes he's rumored to have made. I'll give Ron a chance on this one, in the spirit of things. Besides, I don't think I could keep my girlfriend away, given that we even have The Grinch in Latin (to go with our Winnie Ille Pooh) So, good luck to Ron and co. I don't envy them.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:01 a.m. CST

    Harry, What the hell was wrong with The Paper?

    by Samthelion

    I happen to think that, with the exception of maybe Apollo 13, it's Howard's most honest and compelling film. It was a box office smash, but it was extremely well acted and authentic (coming from someone who's been on that side). It didn't go for cheap-thrills newspaper action but told a good story with well-developed characters and had the typical Howard Capra-esque humor. I think it's much better than "Cocoon," "Parenthood," and "Splash." The first and third of which can't settle on a specific ground (fantasy or reality) to work with (what the hell was the Steve Guttenberg subplot there for?). The Paper and Apollo 13 were Howard's best. I look forward to The Grinch, but I doubt it will top those two for the same reasons that I'm sort of down on Splash and Cocoon.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:05 a.m. CST

    Ron is smart!

    by Uncapie

    He knows his audience and this movie will clean up at the boxoffice!

  • June 1, 2000, 1:25 a.m. CST

    Why La Jolla?

    by Joey Joe-Joe Jr.

    ...they had the preview in La Jolla because that's where Dr. Seuss lived (and his widow still lives.) There's "Dr. Geisel" stuff all over the place- The library at UCSD is named after him, and its design must have come out of one of his books. Any Who, if any thing will top the original Chuck Jones Grinch, this might be it...

  • June 1, 2000, 1:28 a.m. CST

    Looks cool

    by Jedi 7

    I managed to see the teaser trailer for this Movie and it looks really like it is going to be one that I don't want to miss.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:41 a.m. CST

    Madmartigan, wait!

    by Uncle_Sam

    I saw Willow about 4 times in the theater and rented it too many god-damned times on video. I don't know why. I saw a part of it again a few months back, ad I felt like cringing. Am I a Grinch, too?

  • June 1, 2000, 1:57 a.m. CST

    right exactly, I know what you mean

    by lickerish

    and if you push the mouses pointer over harrys tracer-traced bruce lee arms....waaaaa CHO!!!!!!!! ehhhhheehhehehe. Jim Carrey is a scary little biggy grinch. and always in the hallways, by biology Mrs.Finch. He would push aside the coke chine, and zippillipp the token thing, and I would get my fill. and i would get my fill.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:58 a.m. CST

    HEY! What's wrong with Santa Claus: The Movie?

    by Toe Jam

    I loved that movie! Remember Dudley Moore as the Judas-like elf? And the candy canes that allowed people to fly? Hehe, I love that movie!

  • June 1, 2000, 2:05 a.m. CST

    hey kincaid...are you hot??

    by lickerish

    Ill let u fill the gap if you sign that you will say only what i want you to much do you weigh Kincaid? wanna get live? runa ruound and stuff. andwe can talk cool books and real brainiac intellectual stuff of great importancte and wonder. while you please me. how bout it. i'm 5'6" 120lbs long mid back red/black hair...olive blue skin..i dont think life snould suck for you aor anyonwe else.

  • blaahhahhhhh you know hwat i meen

  • June 1, 2000, 2:13 a.m. CST


    by majorhavok

    You found the film worked "really, really well" and were then permitted to go public with a report on it it. And this does not make AICN a studio mouthpiece?

  • June 1, 2000, 2:27 a.m. CST

    Aunt Bea would be pleased...

    by Syd Mead

    Way to go Opie !! I was hoping this would be at least better than say...Grand Thieft Auto. (Little Ronny Howard's first flick..yes, it sucks in a Hal Needham kind of way) But Grinch sounds like a winner. The preview had me guessing as it was all too brief but any good news is welcomed to put some negativity aside. Now let's hold hands and sing ...Dow-Ro-Door-Eh Dow-Ro-Door-Eh Christmas ...Christmas Time Is Here !! --Syd

  • June 1, 2000, 2:41 a.m. CST

    Too many questions...

    by Darth Taun Taun

    1) Is there a narrator? 2) Does Molly Shannon ruin the movie by out-upstaging Jim Carrey? 3) What is the running time of this thing? 4) Why did the trailer suck monkey? 5) Will Horner find a way to work Celtic music into a Christmas story? 6) Will Phil Hartman rise from the grave to host the making-of special? 7) How troubled must a production be if they call Harry in for guidance? 8) Wasn't the best line in Willow, "I don't love her, she kicked me in the face"? 9) How was the sound, exactly? 10) Why in tarnation would anyone in his right mind sit in the front row of any theater?

  • June 1, 2000, 2:57 a.m. CST

    opie cunningham's alright

    by balktacker

    I haven't been coming to this site long but I sometimes wonder about your so-called taste. You disliked Ransom, Willow, The Paper, Far and Away? All of these movies are at least serviceable entertainment, especially Ransom and the Paper. But you liked Backdraft? I'm sorry, I love DeNiro, Sutherland, etc., but that movie sucked. Kurt Russell seems like a likeable fellow, but has he made a decent movie since Escape from New York? Yes, including Big Trouble.... Apollo 13 was just okay, Splash was pretty good, Cocoon was good, and yes, Parenthood rocked (the best movie he's done). In general, Ron Howard is an above-average film-maker who always tries hard. I look forward to his interpretation of the Grinch.

  • June 1, 2000, 2:58 a.m. CST

    am I the only person in the world...

    by JetAlone

    ...who likes Willow? I think so. *sigh* It's terribly bad for my reputation as a film student.

  • June 1, 2000, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Isn't it Ironic

    by Skylewalker

    This movie is suppose to send the message that Seuss intended about the spirit mattering and not the size of the gifts or the Christmas tree. Yet, those responsible for selling this message are all going to make millions of dollars from it, and that's probably their main reason for doing so. Every penny this movie makes in the black should be donated to charity with the goal of relieving the world's children of hunger. Now, that's something I'd like to help out with. A Christmas gift for the youth of the world...a reminder that Hollywood isn't all about money. It's all right Opie and Jim, I'm just kidding; no one could expect you to make such a bold step. A Dreamer....but not the only one....

  • June 1, 2000, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Tiptoe through a review much, Harry?

    by juniper

    It's obvious as hell you are neither a big fan of Ron Howard or a fan of this film. Why are you so intent on lying to us? Why do you have to be "Mr. Sugarcoat" just because they were gracious enough to invite you to the movie in hopes you would make US want to see it? You need to learn some ethics. If you can't in good concious give an unbaised review, don't review the fucking thing at all. That look you give Moriarty should be "Gee, I hope this movie is kind of good so I don't have to tell people it is weak and piss off Ron Howard/Jim Carrey".

  • June 1, 2000, 3:28 a.m. CST

    Dr Seuss

    by Celtican

    Hi, being a Brit I haven't been raised on the Dr Seuss books. Recently I went to Universal Studio's Islands of Adventure and experienced Dr Seuss Island. One question. Dr Seuss is for kids?!?!?! It blew my mind, Dr Seuss must have been into some heavy shit in the sixties cause that Cat in the Hat is one crazy feline. I'm sure Jim Carrey is perfect for the role of the Grinch and much better than the woman at IOA who jumps around pretending.

  • June 1, 2000, 3:38 a.m. CST

    Grinch is good and all, but . . .

    by ol' painless

    I just feel a bit sad that they made this and not 'Green Eggs And Ham' . . . . lovely book, that . . . "No, no, no, I will not eat your greeen eggs and ham!" Great stuff.

  • June 1, 2000, 4:03 a.m. CST

    "Night Shift" - one of the great comedies of ALL DAMN TIME!

    by Dave_F

    For that movie alone, I'd give Ron Howard the benefit of the doubt. Factor in Harry and Moriarty's positive test screening and that short, but mighty cool trailer from a couple'a weeks back, and I'm definitely down for this flick. ***** On the topic of "Willow"...I'd call it...solidly mediocre. It's nice to see a big budget fantasy flick and all, but it's so packed with cliches and cornball humor that it seems like a missed opportunity for something a lot better. High points: cool warrior midgets, excellent James Horner score, nice scenery, well-designed two-headed dragon, and Val Kilmer doing a pretty good Han Solo imitation as Madmartigan. I liked it pretty well as a kid, and I'd say it stands as a decent kids movie. As an adult, I mostly see its weaknesses now. Gimme "Conan" and "Dragonslayer" any day...

  • June 1, 2000, 6:33 a.m. CST

    The Paper is a fantastic film! (and Willow's okay)

    by mooch

    Watch The Paper everybody, its really really good. Damn, I just do not get why everyone slags it off. I challenge Harry to watch The Paper again and explain to me why he thinks it is a bad film.

  • June 1, 2000, 8:26 a.m. CST

    No Fear JetAlone

    by Athena

    Willow is one of my favorite movies! I know lots of people who love it.

  • I'm glad others on here also liked these movies. Okay, Willow was no break through in Fantasy Cinema, but it was a decent two hours of fun movie adventure. A nice guilty pleasure like Masters of the Universe and Flash Gordon. But The Paper was an excellent ensemble piece! I loved that movie, nothing anyone can say will ever change my mind, but I'm sad that you missed out on it, Harry. Always a shame when people don't like a good movie. But, Ransom I'll admit had one big problem: Mel Gibson dominating the entire fucking movie! How Ron Howard got Gary Sinise, Rene Russo, Delroy Lindo, or ANYBODY else to be in that anticlimactic Gibson Vehicle is beyond me.

  • June 1, 2000, 8:58 a.m. CST

    I though RANSOM was good

    by Brian DePalma

    Esp. Gary Sinese. BACKDRAFT rocked also.

  • June 1, 2000, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Magical as B&B

    by SevenOfTN

    My first post! Harry, I truly hope that it attains the magic of Beauty and the Beast. That film absolutely stunned me when I saw it. It was unexpected and absolutely changed my perception of animation. Here's hoping...

  • June 1, 2000, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Another AICN screening? Move it to July or August, so it'll be

    by Lenny Nero

    Harry! You need to do another screening! Please! I missed your GLADIATOR one because of computer and mail malfunctions, and I need another chance. If you really wanna show Grinch to us, wait for a more completed version to show in July or August. If Imagine just doesn't want you to show that film, choose another one! PLEEEEAAASEEEE! The studio would never do it, but X-MEN would rule. I dunno, when does MONKEYBONE get completed? Whatever. Just please do another screening. 'Nuff said.

  • June 1, 2000, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Ron Howard Films

    by darius25

    I actually liked all the Ron Howard Films that Harry disliked. Ransom is his best film. I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole movie. I mean, who knew that Gary Sinise would turn in the kid. And the acting was very good. Mel deserved an Oscar nom for the crying scene alone. Re: Willow, it just pure entertainment. Forget the fact that it's from Mr. Star Wars, and it's a pretty good movie (I LOVE basically all medieval themed movies though so I guess I am a bit biased). I loved Parenthood so how could I not like The Paper. The paper was similar in tone, and was a smart little dramedy. Far and Away was pretty good though. Howard's comedies are pretty good also. But Backdraft wasn't that good, and Appolo 13 has to be one of the most boring things ever made. The only good thing about it was Gary Sinise's performance (exactly the opposite of his performance in M2M) and the wonderful cinematography. Bacon was underused, Paxton was underused, and Hanks was overused. None of the action was really exciting because we already knew the ending. (Same thing will happen with Costener's upcoming 13 Days).

  • June 1, 2000, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Splash? Splash? SPLASH? My ass!

    by gravtchik

    Great. Harry likes Splash and hated Willow. Willow was one of the best movies EVER and I do speak as a film student - one who enjoys fantasy and wishes they would make more movies like it. The Grinch? Yeah, maybe I'll go see it if I can get over the fact that if Harry hadn't liked it, I wouldn't know anything about it. Jeez.

  • June 1, 2000, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by Smapdi

    I have to say that I loved Willow when I first saw it at the tender age of 12. But unlike someother people here, I do not feel it has diminished with age. Just reading the line "I don't love her, she kicked me in the face" made me crack a huge smile. Maybe it's nostalgia that makes me remember the movie so fondly (though the last time I saw it was around 8 months ago). But I think that I just really happened to like that movie. Especially the midgets. As for other Ronnie Howard productions: I keep harkening back to the Simpsons episode where Homer is pitching his film about a man and his best friend, the pie who travel back in time for some reason. I kinda felt like I was watching that movie with Apollo 13. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. But I do love Splash, one of the first videos my family ever bought, and Parenthood, which I believe introduced me to the concept of vibrators....Ah, Diane Weist, you wanton vixen you.

  • June 1, 2000, 10:03 a.m. CST


    by Smapdi

    I have to say that I loved Willow when I first saw it at the tender age of 12. But unlike someother people here, I do not feel it has diminished with age. Just reading the line "I don't love her, she kicked me in the face" made me crack a huge smile. Maybe it's nostalgia that makes me remember the movie so fondly (though the last time I saw it was around 8 months ago). But I think that I just really happened to like that movie. Especially the midgets. As for other Ronnie Howard productions: I keep harkening back to the Simpsons episode where Homer is pitching his film about a man and his best friend, the pie who travel back in time for some reason. I kinda felt like I was watching that movie with Apollo 13. It was okay, but nothing to write home about. But I do love Splash, one of the first videos my family ever bought, and Parenthood, which I believe introduced me to the concept of vibrators....Ah, Diane Weist, you wanton vixen you.

  • Tito was 77. And let's not forget his Mr. Burns song on the Simpsons...

  • June 1, 2000, 10:22 a.m. CST

    JetAlone, You are not alone...

    by Wungolioth

    I loved Willow, so much so I read the novelization, and it was much better than the movie, I really wish more of that had ended up in the script, look for it in finer used book stores if you haven't already got it. I defintely think that Parenthood is the best work Ron Howard has done to this point. I saw that movie only a few weeks back, and I'm not quite sure I want to say this, but I was weeping towards the end of it. There goes my manhood in one fell swoop. Thanks Opie. Wungolioth the Wanderer

  • June 1, 2000, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Opie Errata... and Tito's DEAD?! Aw, man!

    by Mirthquake

    "Parenthood" WAS really pretty good... it's one of the few movies that both my wife and I can watch, from any point in the movie, and still enjoy together. That's saying something. * * * * * I only had one real problem with "Ransom". I feel that Howard played the Sinise trump card about an hour too early into the picture. I think it should have been a secret until the kid is back home, and wets himself when he hears Sinise's voice when he goes to pick up the reward. If this was a spoiler for you, sorry, but the film is well over three years old. If you've been putting off watching it this long...

  • June 1, 2000, 11:16 a.m. CST

    I'll Miss Boris Karloff.

    by diverdan

    The Grinch is my all-time favorite christmas show! I am really looking foward to the movie but I know I will be hearing Boris in my head as I watch it.

  • June 1, 2000, 11:48 a.m. CST


    by ColdSun

    Harry Harry Harry. First you diss MI2 (which was just a fun popcorn movie which people are disecting like it was Gone with The Wind) and now you claim to not have liked Willow. Willow was a highly enjoyable film with some truly funny scenes. Val Kilmer was excellent as Madmartigan. Lately I just come to this site for inside information because the reviews and such can only be taken with a grain of salt. Later.

  • June 1, 2000, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Little James Horner sat in a corner...

    by KingMenthol

    Composing a score for the movie... Along came Celine, who let out a scream, and turned the film into doody. James Horner is such a poor composer. There is absolutely nothing special about his work. Okay, the guy can play the emotional downbeat. But if film scoring is the future of classical music, then Horner's got no business being used so much for such films of importance. If Harry believes that the movie might not work without a brilliant score, then you can be sure that it won't. We're going to hear a standard rehash composition that could be a temp track for ANYTHING! Even if this movie's not reflective of Tim Burton's style, Danny Elfman should have been the one to do this. His work on "A Simple Plan" puts him in an echelon above all others working today, and that includes Williams (who hasn't been original since Hook) and Barry, in innovation and movement. Elfman would would SHAME Horner on this movie. But Alas, these producers are so full of crap they don't understand that Zimmer and Horner are BOOOOORING. Danny Elfman and John Ottman should score everything. And Splash was a fantastic film, one of John Candy's best.

  • June 1, 2000, noon CST

    You're a mean one . . .

    by Tar Heel

    I'm pleased to read that they are keeping the song "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." My only hope is that they stay close to the oritinal and not hire some hot band of the moment to record a contemporary version to sell the soundtrack. PS: The ending of "Ransom" was a joke. Gary Sinise (the kidnapper) is going to show up in Mel Gibson's house to collect the reward money? Mel's kid recognizes his voice and pees in his pants? What lazy scriptwriting.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:01 p.m. CST

    allllllrighty, then

    by ziranova

    I'm a huge Jim Carrey fan and from Harry's review, this movie is definitely one to see. My favorite Carrey movie is ACE VENTURA. That opening scene where he's undercover as a UPS guy and kicking and banging that box around is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. As for fantasy flicks, I'm partial to EXCALIBUR.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:18 p.m. CST

    closed eyes

    by Sir Perior

    ...Harry, what's it like turning from human into billboard? IMAGINE a nice little paycheck for some clever marketing...! This shall be forever now, the only time I take a bow.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:38 p.m. CST



    Is that offer open to all? P.S. Harry u suck.

  • June 1, 2000, 12:58 p.m. CST


    by The Grin

    Harry, and Coming Attractions have done their part today spreading the rumor that Jimmy Smits is in the next two Star Wars movies. Do you have any corroborating evidence? I like Smits. I don't think he's had a chance to use his full potential as an actor; he's been in some crappy stuff. The Grin

  • June 1, 2000, 1:02 p.m. CST


    by xtc

    Jesus. Movies are becoming as lame as rap music and the shit they sample. Soon there won't be any literary work that hasn't been exploited for some f-ing studio. "How about a drama where an old man goes out in a small boat trying to catch a fish? Oh it will be a wonderful heart filled movie, we'll get Dicaprio to play the fisherman and Diaz to be the fish!" And as a side note Jim Carey is pathetic, the talking ass joke was the high light of his career. 30 million to fall down constantly and bang into shit. Jesus.

  • June 1, 2000, 1:22 p.m. CST

    The dragon in Willow...

    by twindaggerturkey

    ..looked like a @#$%^&@ elephant seal. Jim Carrey is talented but he is so not qualified to be the God of Cookery!

  • June 1, 2000, 2:17 p.m. CST

    I'm First!

    by Movie Wizard


  • June 1, 2000, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Dear God....

    by BigBritBoy

    Tito Puente dead, jesus!!!!!! Anyway, is it me or in the trailer, when the Grinchy-poo does that werid grin thing, isn't that just too fucking gfreaky for the child audience?!?! I mean, i think that Ron Howard is just a fucking mean bastard who has fallen out of love with children probably ever since Happy Days, the first time i sa\w willow i freaked big time and when i mailed a big jpeg of the wide grin, to my 13 friends on the net, they got freaked as well, jesus christ!!!!!

  • June 1, 2000, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Ahh, Happy Days....

    by mephisto666

    HEEEEEY! as the Fonz would say, this looks good. Carrey is bloody funnt, especially in Ace Ventura. Harry, Harry, Harry, you didn't like Willow? How can you say such a thing? Sure, it's a little cheesy, but would would the Margherita of life be without a little cheese? Nothing but a dry piece of bread with tomato sauce spread all over it. Not as nice, methinks.

  • June 1, 2000, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Ahh, Happy Days....2

    by mephisto666

    Sorry, that should have been Carrey is bloody 'funny'. Banana fingers...

  • Actually, that's a lie, but I do like his scores. Criticisms against his self-plagiarism are wholly valid, but in the end, he's just got a shitload of great scores. There IS something special about his work. His score for "Aliens" bolstered the hell out of the action (and has been cribbed for a hundred movie trailers), and his work on "Wrath of Khan" is nothing short of amazing. Contrary to the stereotype, he CAN be diverse too. Look at "Glory", "Braveheart", and "Mask of Zorro" (love that opening theme). Now I happen to love Elfman's work, but remember, he's been known to repeat himself on a few occasions as well. I'll be honest - Elfman does seem ideal for "The Grinch", but I've got some faith in Horner's ability to diversify when the situation calls for it.

  • June 1, 2000, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Willow was cool

    by Bonniesansclyde

    I know lots of critics harp on willow but i saw it in my younger and more vunreble years, so i think it's great, that's just me though. I glad so many people like that movie too!

  • June 1, 2000, 4:35 p.m. CST


    by KingMenthol

    Braveheart's score was nothing special. The film itself was spectacular, and although the orchestration was fine, it didn't stand out as an achievement in any fashion. Horner's work has never really been horrible, but it's all a bunch of the same. I mean could Titanic be any more like Braveheart? I'll give you Wrath of Khan (which had some great french horn fanfares during the fight in the Motara Nebula). But subtlety is not a forte of this man's composition. There are certainly moments, but there's never any chances to be taken. Elfman, yes, has used similar feeling in movies, but they always give Burton's movies that extra edginess. Look at the circuses that were Beetlejuice and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Similar in their uses of rolling, bouncy brass and odd flourishes, but different enough to give the manic spookiness to Beetlejuice, and the childish playfulness of Pee Wee. One thing's for sure, over the past ten years, Oingo Boingo's frontman has brought a hell of a lot more creativity to the art of filmscore than Horner, Zimmer, and Williams, combined. Really, go check out A Simple Plan. It shows Elfman's got a range WAAAAY past Tim Burton movies. I dunno, I guess I'm just tired of hearing the same-old-same-old movie music. These chump producers gotta get some balls and go for something different, something innovative.

  • June 1, 2000, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Conflict of Interest?

    by Garbo

    Harry dahling, when these sorts of suits tantalize you with a special screening, you must learn to just say no or else be prepared to disclose to your loyal readers whether or not the producers of the movie you are reviewing paid for your first class ticket to LA, a posh hotel room and expenses... Would you really have told them the movie sucked, knowing that if you did you'd have to keep mum and not be able to brag about getting to see the movie? Don't you think they knew that?

  • June 1, 2000, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard & co. played you like a Sousaphone, Harry

    by marsyas

    Honestly. "Come see our movie, but only write about it if you like it." How many critics do you suppose would fall for that one?

  • June 2, 2000, 12:58 a.m. CST

    they are using you harry

    by directorscut

    Harry, they figured you out. Fly you in, greet you, show you a private screening...and let you start the positive buzz. Harry, you lose all creditibility when you do this. Stop accepting gifts in exchange for positive reviews if you wish ever wish to get people to take you seriously.

  • June 2, 2000, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Kincaid cannot be stopped! Behold My Power...

    by Kincaid2

    Ok, my last post has been deleted. This is a devestating set of circumstances. When Kincaid speaks ye shall listen. Now, harry, and ya fat cockeyed triators, feel my wrath (MODERATOR- I love you very much. VERY VERY MUCH) Oh, hold on, I have to bang my head against the wall....ok, back. Listen, this is the site that confirmed a tall skinny white kid (Colin Hanks) will play the over grown indian kid aka Kitster is star wars. You will NOT defy my evil pancake man theory. He IS in Spidey. I have my 'insider sources'... That is why I was deleted. It is true and I f'd up that prime juicy spoiler for ya. I am a threat to this site...who else would know that Anakin would cut Jar Jar's balls off "Ousa, yousa cut me balls off, NOT OkeyDay..." HERE IS SPOILER OF EP2 Before The Knowles Machine Eats Me And This Spoiler: OBIWAN: "Anakin has changed. I can feel it." JAR JAR "Mesa Too, Ouchy O Mesa have no balls..." Harry, you are great. you aint my god anymore 3 LOYAL YEARS! I have a new so powerful, it can make men weep. Do things they never considered. To grab ahold of our souls and shake us til we are weak and vulnerable...who is this god? VAGINA... Unreal. And with my massive collection of bookmarks, I can say I have the power to fulfill every fanboys wet dreams. Enough to cripple the hardest of hard drives...Oh, back to the grinch... Oh, um, uh...he's really grinchy. This is insider stuff from my 'spies'... As for Jim Carrey, It's about time we appreciate his genius. Look, it's no surprise comediens do so well as actors...that's what they are. Less pretty boys and more characters that can add to a story. I just realized I am taking all this time to type into the bowels of this talkback...for like 2 overstuffed horny cockeyed fanboys to read...oy... Oh, and how is it Harry, my used to be god, can't get a GD message board to space messages! I feel like a retard. Like a 4 year old that writes a never ending incoherent paragraph. Oh, hold on...(Insider sources on the phone)...uh huh....uh huh...uh..oh...Oh, shi%, are you serious?! Hold on... Ok, it's just been confirmed until proven otherwise...The Evil Pancake man will be played by BRUCE CAMPBELL! Are you happy you cockeyed pimple dicked fanboys! (MODERATOR-I love you very much. You make me want to eat happy fun candy and sing with the birdies...) What is this infatuation with Bruce Campbell? Mother Theresa fed starving kids and all that jazz, & we go 'eh' when she croaks. THis guy gets in a movie that 1 fanboy, and his 12 video game group scooby doo undies wearing fanboy slob freinds saw and it's time to soak dem panties if he gets any work at all. Yowza... Oh, about the grinch. Uh, um, he's really grinchy. Oh, I said that... Shi!, no wonder I get deleted all the time. I have no gd point. KINCAID HAS SPOKEN...Return to your lifes my filthy manimals. Hey, is pamala lee looking at me? You bet your as* she is... :D

  • June 2, 2000, 2:02 a.m. CST

    D'oh, Kincaid Has Spoken TOO MUCH..

    by Kincaid2

    Oh, jeez, in my post-masturbating haze, I went blurry eyed and was SURE I was deleted with my first message from May 31st. Oh, that aint good. Not when they read my last message-I'll have to become Kincaid *3* tomorrow... Ok, kiddies, repeat after me. No more materbatin$ You'll grow hairy palms and your sight will go in the toilet...isn't that right dad...DAD, Over Here! Very good... Whoops. :D Oh, my inside sources will have a scoop soon on the Evil Pancake man and why Spider Man and the REALLY REALLY BAD GUY became enemies...Kincaid has spoken. Don't cry, I'll be back...or maybe not. (Gulp)...

  • June 2, 2000, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Fear not! I too love Willow (and those other flicks)

    by TheDanShadow

    I've been watching Willow regularly since the 80s, and I like it a lot. It's really quite good, even if the story is very cliche and unoriginal. Ransom was an excellent movie. The Paper was very good. Far and Away wasn't that good, Parenthood is great, Apollo 13 was technically well made, but okay to watch, blah blah blah. I think that Grinch will become a classic, and a big hit. Whether or not it's great is another matter, but I know I'll like it. As for Hornor, he replays himself a lot, but he's got an impressive body of work, and I like his scores a lot. My two favorite composers are, of course, Danny Elfman, and then Hans Zimmer. I mention this because everyone praises Elfman, but someone here called Zimmer boring. BORING?! Listen to Broken Arrow or The Rock. Listen to The Lion King, or Prince of Egypt for more classic. He consistently turns out great work, every since Backdraft about 10 years ago. He music is on the two top movies out right now, and he was nominated for dual composing academy awards just the other year (so was Elfman as a matter of fact). And yes, John Williams is pretty boring these days, but he still does reliable and evocative work, even if it isn't hummable. There are about a dozen really good composers working these days, and then a bunch of less talented folks, but I've noticed that slowly but surely, the lowkey fellow James Newton Howard has been massing a serious resume. Check him out at IMDB sometime. Anyway, I rambled too much, gtg.

  • June 2, 2000, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Darius 25! hahaha you're so pathetic!

    by movieManiac

    man you've got to be the biggest moron here! you loved ransom? u were on the edge of your fuckin seat? hehehe, and you thought apollo 13 was the most boring movie ever made? you've got to be kidding me. you've screwed up Asia-AICN already (this weeks report states 'Ashoka' is a feminine Indian name. thats like saying Jake is a feminine name!) and now you have the nerve to dis Apollo13.

  • June 4, 2000, 2:46 a.m. CST

    The Grinch

    by movieguyjy

    Willow was awesome Harry. How could you not like Warwick Davis as the young magician. Willow is one of the best fantasy flicks ever made, it completely takes you to a time and place with great detail. Not to mention Val Kilmer in one of his best roles. There needs to be more films like Willow, fantasy movies seem to be such a distant memory.

  • June 7, 2000, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Willow - Harry...what're you thinkin.....?

    by mcface

    Willow is underrated by critics, and praised by fans, like it should be. Maybe Harry needs to see it again...I think I do too.

  • June 8, 2000, 9:09 a.m. CST

    About the classic animated version

    by Andymation

    Jim Carrey is great fun and he fits in the role, put this is not going to be as good as Chuck Jones animated classic with Boris Karlof's fabulous narration, no matter how entertaining it gets. I just had to let that off my chest. There..I fell much better!

  • June 8, 2000, 9:12 a.m. CST


    by Andymation

    That's Boris Karloff with one extra "f". My bad!

  • June 9, 2000, 3:16 p.m. CST


    by steeler

    Seen the trailers. Carrey's Grinch looks SO canine. It totally looks like a green dog in a santy suit. Very disappointing.

  • June 13, 2000, 7:55 p.m. CST


    by FlickChick

    I love Willow the same way I love The Goonies...Yeah, some "small" adult part of me knows, it was corny, but that child, still clings on..... Oh, and I agree with that poster who said leave well enough alone...You cannot improve a masterpiece. "Boris Karloff, you da man!!" *err* (da' dead man, but still da' man at Xmas)"...

  • June 25, 2000, 2:41 a.m. CST

    just wondering

    by freebird7

    Tim Burton was born to direct this movie...what happened?

  • July 6, 2000, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I too am a bloated sell-out

    by bswise

    Yep, they flew me out to Hollywood last May for a "sneak peak" at Chris Columbus' movie version of the Charlie Brown Xmas Special starring Robin Williams as Snoopy. Chris sucked me johnson and Robin washed me bum and, by gum, if this working print doesn't KICK MAJOR ARSE!

  • July 6, 2000, 3:11 p.m. CST

    A Code of Ethics?

    by fonebone

    "SO well, that after talking to Moriarty and I after the film, they gave us the ok to go public about it." What if they hadn't given the OK? Do we only hear about the projects that Harry likes? As Harry and AICN get bigger and bigger (Harry quoted in the "Perfect Storm" ads, for example), a code of ethics might be in order. I am pleased that Harry did disclose of this to us. Don Martin, RIP.

  • July 7, 2000, 12:43 p.m. CST

    That boy Opie's done alright

    by Metatron

    I recently had a chance to visit the sets of Grinch at Universal (which already look beaten to hell... makes you wonder exactly WHAT those Whos were up to!) and see the initial trailer for the film. I wasn't sure how the sets would look because I saw them in daylight, but when I saw the trailer, with all its filters and post-processing and whatnot, the stuff on print looks very good. As for Jim Carrey, after seeing Man on the Moon (for which he was COMPLETELY and ABSOLUTELY SCREWED out of an Academy Award), I am entirely confident that he will be the most awesome Grinch that could ever succeed Boris Karloff's immortal manifestation of the same. Unfortunately, I feel that Carrey will have to portray a retarded Jewish Homosexual immigrant seeking asylum in Philadelphia, away from the Nazis during World War II, before the egocentric Academy for Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will ever give him an award. Nonetheless, Carrey and company will be laughing themselves all the way to the bank this Christmas when the Grinch cometh. I, personally, think he went out of his way to do the raucously funny Me, Myself and Irene BECAUSE it was rude, crude and an affront to every Hollywood snob that snubbed him TWICE in a row at the oscars. Piss on them. Yay for Carrey. Seeya at the movies! P.S. Harry, if I fly you out to Rochester, Minnesota, and pay your room and board, Twinkies included, for an advance screening of my home film... will you give it a smashing review even though it's not finished?

  • July 18, 2000, 1:08 p.m. CST


    by Mr Sparkle

    the bones tell me... nothing.

  • Aug. 11, 2000, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Not the only one...

    by filmsounds

    I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who enjoyed The Paper. I agree with whoever said that it and Apollo 13 were Howard's best films. Cocoon and Parenthood I also liked. Splash, Far and Away, Night Shift and Backdraft were awful. Gung Ho, Ransom and EdTV were disposable. And I enjoyed Willow as a kid, but I can't get over the similarities to Star Wars now (I still can't get enough of James Horner's score, though). All in all, Ron Howard is hit or miss but at least he appears to be a solid director who takes chances (the major problems with most of his movies appear to be with the writing).

  • Aug. 17, 2000, 3:37 p.m. CST


    by smegger

    Dude, please proofread before you post a review. Your sentence structure is abysmal. You begin sentences without ending them. If somebody did this in a movie, you'd hammer them!

  • Sept. 4, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST

    The Grinch Pre-Review

    by Movie Fan

    Call me old fashioned, call me square, but don't call me early on a Sunday morning. I'm glad to see that you didn't pick apart "The Grinch" before it had a fair chance. Thanks for not giving away too much information about the story either. Yes, I am of the very few that would always wait for Christmas Day to open my presents. I was never tempted to open them up beforehand. And no, shaking them is not the same as removing the gift wrap. After reading your pre-review, I am excited that this movie will be a holiday film for the "whole family." I've always loved it when they release a horror film just before Halloween, a holiday film in the weeks before Christmas, a fun comedy in summer. I never could understand how the studios could release a Santa slasher movie during the holidays, or some other type of a downer. I think New Line marketing screwed up, and should have released "The Cell," for the holidays. Nothing I like better than snuggling up to a cold, bleached, white corpse by the fire with some eggnog. Ummmm mmmmm! While I am not too afraid of reality, I still love a movie that you can see with your family, that you all can enjoy, and talk about later, and maybe even come away with a warm memory that makes just a little difference in your life. Yeah, your right, I am square!

  • Jan. 3, 2001, 10:11 p.m. CST


    by Eddie Poe

    Ron Howard has proven himself a capable director on a number of occasions; his credentials are unassailable; but bringing the grinch's life story to the Big Screen adds no luster to his canon. Longer isn't neccessarily better.