The Moviehunter

Pulp Culture
I watched the Super Bowl
for the commercials

January 30, 2003
By Franklin Harris

I don't have a favorite NFL team. A couple of years ago, I rooted for the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl because how could I not support for a team named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe and his most famous poem? This year, I was for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because how could I not hate those annoying Oakland Raiders fans?

While I'm on the subject of the Raiders, why is it that a person who wears a Darth Vader mask to a screening of "Star Wars" is a geek, but a person who wears one to a Raiders game is merely a fan?

But anyway, watching Raiders fans slide into depression as their team gets brutalized is fun for only so long. So, while the television ratings may have been up for this year's game, I was flipping between it and "Once Upon a Time in the West" on Turner South.

Henry Fonda in ''Once Upon a Time in the West''Even morbid Raiders fans aren't as entertaining as Sergio Leone's sweeping, operatic spaghetti western starring Charles Bronson and Henry Fonda. And until the rumored "Once Upon a Time in the West" DVD comes out, supposedly later this year, I can't pass up a showing, not even one that isn't letterboxed.

(Memo to all TV programming executives: Always show Sergio Leone westerns in widescreen format!)

Besides, Shania Twain's rotten lip-syncing overwhelmed the normally hypnotic power of her navel.

Not even the commercials were memorable this year. I'm sure of that because I can hardly remember any of them.

I vaguely recall a beer ad. There was a beer ad, right?

At least some of the movie commercials were decent. Now, one should never judge a movie based solely on its advertising, but I am going to attempt it because I am a professional. Do not try this at home.

Judging from the ad that aired Sunday, the film to beat in 2003 is "The Hulk." Yes, the CGI Hulk looks a little cartoony, but at least he isn't a bodybuilder covered in green paint, no offense to Lou Ferrigno. It's worth noting, too, that the special effects may be incomplete; "The Hulk" doesn't open until June 20.

Not that the special effects really matter. We're talking about an Ang Lee film here. This is the man who directed "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" — a man who has never made a bad film. He made "Sense and Sensibility" interesting, so clearly he can do no wrong.

Did I mention that Jennifer Connelly is in it? Yeah, now I've got your attention. Oh, and for the ladies, Eric Bana, the guy who plays Bruce Banner before he hulks out, is easy on the eyes, too.

Or so I'm told.

Based on its trailer, I expect another superhero movie, "Daredevil," to open big. After all, it stars Ben Affleck, who proved with "The Sum of All Fears" than he can open a movie. But if "Daredevil" has any staying power, it'll be because of Colin Farrell, who looks ready to steal the show as the assassin Bullseye. Otherwise, "Dardevil" has "mediocre" all over it.

Speaking of mediocre, the first "Charlie's Angels" movie was a bit of mindless fun, not unlike the TV series that inspired it. But do we really need "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"? I mean, the joke is over, OK.

Supposedly there was a "Terminator 3" ad, but I must have been watching Charles Bronson shoot someone.

Lastly, there was the ad for the two "Matrix" sequels: "The Matrix Reloaded" and "The Matrix Revolutions," opening in summer and winter, respectively. And, yes, the action looks cool, but it isn't as impressive as before because almost every action movie since "The Matrix" has used the same slow motion, CGI fu gimmicks. The story is going to have to drive these films.

I think next year I want a Titans/Giants Super Bowl, just so I can make a lot of obscure mythological jokes.

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