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PCR # 212  (Vol. 5, No. 16)  This edition is for the week of April 12--18, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Alamo"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Two stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"The Alamo"
 by Mike Smith
Cinematic Cover Tunes, Sequels, and "Inspired-by's": No End in Sight!
 by Andy Lalino
D-Rice, Ache-ins Diet, and Absolutely Nothing About “The Passion of Christ”
 by Vinnie Blesi
Four Movies in Three Days, the Screening Nazi, The Alamo, The Clone Wars, Scooby Doo 2, Jersey Girl, Hellboy, Dawn of the Dead
 by Brandon Jones
Midnite Terrors .... Hellboy .... Marvel Trading Cards
 by John Lewis
Bush--The Amazing Hypnotist....Happy Horror-Days
 by Matt Drinnenberg
It Was 25 Years Ago Today....Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid....Passing On....Meet The Beatles, Part 12
 by Mike Smith
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Walt Disney Pictures     
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric, Patrick Wilson and Dennis Quaid
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hours 23 mins

There is a great scene in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure," where Pee Wee Herman, knocked unconscious after being thrown off a horse during a rodeo event, is shaken awake and finds himself surrounded by cowboys. "Are you all right, son, "he's asked. "What do you remember?" Thinking back to an earlier visit, Pee Wee replies, "Well, I remember the Alamo," which sets the old cowboys off on a rip roaring, yahooing spree. As I sat through the latest retelling of the Alamo story, I kept wishing for Pee Wee to stop by and fire up the lonelily group of men currently guarding the mission. Alas, he never showed up.

What could have been a great film is only marginal, and the fault must fall on the shoulders of director Hancock. Original plans for the film had Ron Howard directing and Russell Crowe starring as Sam Houston. However, Howard did not want to make a sanitized version of the story and could not guarantee that his vision would not receive an "R" rating. When he bailed, Crowe went with him (the pair are currently filming the boxing drama "Cinderella Man"). Disney turned to it's current golden boy, Hancock, who had just completed the popular film "The Rookie." They even signed "The Rookie" star Quaid to play Houston, even though the role is really nothing more then a large cameo. But where Hancock is a fine storyteller when the camera is still, he lacks the experience of an action director to properly tell this story.

It's 1836, and Mexican general Santa Anna is trying his best to take the territory known as Texas. Among the 200 some people at the mission are famed knife inventor Jim Bowie (Patric), young lieutenant colonel William Travis (Wilson) and former congressman and well known "barr" killer Davy Crockett (Thornton). Faced with the prospect of having to battle Santa Anna and his thousands of soldiers, Bowie and Travis bicker among themselves over who will be in charge, all the while waiting for reinforcements that sadly never come. Meanwhile, everyone keeps watching Crockett, whose legend is so well known that even the Mexican soldiers are in awe of him. Whereas John Wayne played Crockett as a willing leader, Thornton humanizes the legend. When things get bad, Crockett mentions that, if he were just plain David from Tennessee, he might head out over the wall at night. "But that Davy Crockett fella, " he adds, "everyone's watching him."

After many years of small, supporting roles, Thornton burst onto the scene with the film, "Slingblade." Not only did he star in the film, but he wrote and directed it, his screenplay winning him an Oscar. Since then, he has become one the screen's greatest chameleons........able to take whatever role he is given and make it his own. Much like his mentor, the great Robert Duvall, there doesn't seem to be a part that Thornton can't play......and play well. The film brightens up every time he is on screen. As Bowie, Patric comes off as a brash know it all. His constant bickering with Colonel Travis grows tiring after awhile. Wilson does a good job trying to keep things orderly. Much credit also to Emelio Echevarria, who plays Santa Anna. In what could have been a one dimensional standard "bad guy" role, he gives us a glimpse of what made Santa Anna tick. As Sam Houston, Dennis Quaid gets to make a few speeches and, of course, utter the famous battle cry. Remember the Alamo? I will, but only for Billy Bob. Yahoo! On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Alamo"  Two stars

This week's movie review of "The Alamo" is ©2004 by Mike Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.