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The Statesman

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    Best Picture nominee `The Hours’ lasts two hours too many

    Are movie theater managers handing out a free crack pipe with the purchase of a large bag of popcorn?

    I can think of no other explanation for the enthusiastic responses to “The Hours,” a dreary, ponderous, exhaustingly self-important movie about a bunch of women having a really bad day. I first saw the movie in mid-December and naturally assumed that most critics and audiences would see it for what it is a group of talented actresses making a bald-faced grab for the Oscar.

    Nine Oscar nominations later _ and $30 million and counting at the box office I realize I have a bit of egg on my face. But I’m not going to wipe it off. In fact, I’m proud to wear egg if it marks me as one of the few sensible people on this planet who realizes how trivial this movie is.

    Let’s start with the plot, which crosscuts among three time frames to show “Women Living Similar Lives in Different Eras.”

    Can you feel the profundity tonight?

    Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) rages around England in the 1930s, trying to write “Mrs. Dalloway.” Honey, the nose is distracting.

    Julianne Moore wanders around California, as a smart but repressed and bored homemaker. As happens to most repressed and bored 1950s homemakers, a lesbian kiss changes her life forever.

    Meryl Streep is the contemporary book editor, living under the shadow of her best friend, a famous poet. And, really, we all know how hard it is to escape from beneath the shadow of famous poets. (I mean, it would be easier having J-Lo as your best friend.)

    Who was this movie made for? Women who graduated from Ivy League colleges but then felt constricted by having to drive their kids to soccer practice? Is this such a large segment of the population that they deserve a movie to call their own?

    “The Hours” is also one of those movies that equates quality with unyielding misery. It is endlessly downbeat and resolutely somber so therefore it must be good. Ugh. Give me “Jackass” any day over a movie so proud of being so miserable.

    Speaking of miserable, is there any other word to describe Ed Harris in the movie? You certainly can’t describe what he does as acting unless shrieking, squealing and flailing your body qualifies as acting in your book. For this he gets an Oscar nomination.

    Oh, and if I have to watch Moore do her “I’m fragile and repressed” shtick in one more movie, I’m going to hurl. It’s the same performance as the ones she gives in “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “The End of the Affair” and “Far From Heaven.” And for this, she gets two Oscar nominations. And don’t even get me started on the earsplitting Philip Glass score (he got a nomination, too).

    Credit where credit is due: I liked Streep and Kidman quite a bit. I also like the part where the midget hides under the traffic cones and blocks the Japanese pedestrians from getting off the escalator. (Oh, wait, that was “Jackass.)”

    But really, people, if you feel the burning need to watch paint dry for two hours, there are plenty of other Oscar nominees out there “Frida,” “Gangs of New York,” “Road to Perdition.” Better yet: Come on over to my house. The walls could use a new coat.

    Copyright Niner Online

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