The Majestic

Bomb Rating: 

This was a really bad move on director Frank Darabont's part. "The Majestic" is basically his attempt to capture that Frank Capra spirit by making a movie containing not a single, solitary moment that seems to take place in the real world. It's complete overkill -- like somebody told Darabont to go capture a squirrel, and he ran out into the neighborhood with a handful of walnuts and a daisy-cutter bomb.

If you aren't familiar with Darabont, he's one of those filmmakers who's convinced that the only kind of movies worth making are deep human dramas that are about three hours too long. Frank is like that guy in poetry class who, when the teacher asks the entire class write a sonnet, runs off and writes a novel the length of "War and Peace" about a homeless man who discovers the meaning of life after finding a magic blanket. The other students read their poems during one period, leaving the rest of the semester for Frank to dictate his novel to his classmates while they try to figure out how to get that wire out of the edge of their notebooks and hang themselves with it.

In "The Majestic", Jim Carrey plays Peter Appleton, a screenwriter in '50s Hollywood who gets blacklisted, drives off a bridge and ends up in Lawson, California, with no memory. There he's mistaken for Luke Trimble, a war hero and son of Harry Trimble (Martin Landau). Luke and Harry live above the Majestic theater, which has been closed since the war. Because the town lost so many of its sons to the war, Luke's reappearance gives them hope again, prompting Luke and Harry to reopen the Majestic.

Luke is the person Peter Appleton could be if he had any convictions. Lucky for Appleton, Luke was engaged to Adele (Laurie Holden), who glows so brightly you'd swear someone had shoved one of those cheap halogen floor lamps up her ass. In fact, everything glows in Lawson, because it's bathed in a nostalgic light so blinding that Hitler could stroll into this town and immediately turn into Jimmy Stewart. When Luke and Adele leave the local diner, they walk along the street, only to turn around and find the entire town walking behind them. Everyone in the town is cuter than a baby seal and sweeter than a convention of Grandmas. The town has one black guy who works in the theater and seems really happy to be there.

This is yet another film where people are talking about Jim Carrey as a potential Best Actor nominee. That would be an absolutely great idea if the award were given to the actor capable of making the best goofy face, because that's all Carrey does. The guy is incapable of looking genuine. Every time he smiles I expect a fat guy in a used car to drive up and talk about "the deal of a lifetime." When Carrey was an up-and-coming comedian, he did impressions by contorting his face to look like famous people. It was a hell of a trick. He did a great Clint Eastwood. In "The Majestic" he tries to contort his face to look like a real person with real feelings. It fails utterly.

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