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In this episode: Double Jeopardy | The West Wing & Love Hewitt
DOUBLE JEOPARDY

Lesson: Never trust MovieFone.com. Once again, its inaccuracy has screwed up my plans. I was hoping to go see Three Kings at the National before it leaves that theater on Friday. I busted my butt to get there from the Valley. Traffic, for once, was cooperative, and I arrived in the nick of time. Oh, but what have we here? The theater is closed for the premiere of Three to Tango. Damn. Wrong Three.

Pissed at the "of courseness" of the situation, I moped through Westwood, wondering what to see. And a stupid idea hit me. I decided to go to a movie that has been making a surprisingly huge amount of money--$80 million as of Monday. It's Double Jeopardy, a low-level entertainment... from Paramount, of course. (Paramount loves making this kind of derivative thriller.) In truth, I decided to go hoping to hate the movie and really hoping to see the new, too loud and excellently, grin-makingly, HUGE THX trailer. Talk about dashed expectations. The THX trailer was old, and the movie, oddly, entertained me. It's nothing great, let me tell you that, but I was transported enough to almost forget about the movie being out of focus (exactly like it was at the Regent for The Muse). After harassing the poor concessionaire twice, then the manager, the focus was fixed slightly, but the projector obviously was not working as it should. However, I've gone on about that before, so ENOUGH. To the flick.

Take one part The Fugitive, one part The Fugitive, and one part The Fugitive, then change some words, settings, and a gender, and you have Double Jeopardy. For example: In The Fugitive, Harrison Ford's wife is killed and he's convicted of her murder. He escapes from custody and runs around trying to find the killer while Tommy Lee Jones runs around trying to find him, only to eventually realize that Harrison is innocent. Now, Double Jeopardy: Ashley Judd's husband is killed and she's convicted of his murder. She serves her time but escapes parole, running around trying to find her not-so-dead husband while Tommy Lee Jones runs around trying to find her, only to eventually realize that Ashley is innocent. There are other similarities too, but I won't bother. I mean, why?

Double Jeopardy is so transparent, Saran Wrap must have been a big part of its script. You know Tommy's gonna end up being on her side. You know Ashley will escape every time she's caught or chased. Even the non-Fugitive elements that are meant to be surprises--that Ashley's husband (Bruce Greenwood, whom I last saw in the awesome but short-lived TV series Nowhere Man) isn't dead after all but LIVES! and what's more framed Ashley for the murder--announce their arrival minutes... no, hours before they happen. That bloody knife on the deck of the boat? Of course Ashley's gonna pick it up, and of course right then she's gonna get caught holding it, even though she's in the middle on the sea somewhere. This doesn't make the movie exciting or thrilling. It's dumb and unintelligent.

Oh, I was also told--and of course I haven't confirmed any of this myself--that double jeopardy as a law doesn't apply in a different state, an important point (if it's true), considering Ashley tracks her hubby down in Louisiana after being convicted of his murder in Washington. Then there's all that stuff about civil trials, where Ashley could have been sued by whomever for monetary damages. It's stupid, because two of the characters in the movie are ex-lawyers, and as such should have understood these major points of law. But, hey, that would have ruined the driving point of the movie, making it fall down like a house made of... of... Saran Wrap.

And DESPITE IT ALL, I was somewhat mesmerized. I think maybe it was because the movie is slick and smooth. Despite shoddy thriller construction, the movie moves along nicely and has some great scenery. (Canada stands in for Colorado, though, so I felt gypped there.) And Tommy is loads of fun to watch on screen. Ashley has some trouble being believable, but Tommy is great, even though he's done this role before. And, well, there's nothing like a revenge movie to get the blood a-jumpin'. The script, too, is not so horrible. While transparent, the actual dialogue and plot were crafted just fine, as if from a factory. Wait! I think I may have found a metaphor for Hollywood here!

That's about all this one deserves. It was a nice matinee flick, nothing more. It might make a nice weekend rental, too. See this only if you have nothing better to do.

 

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The West Wing

I wanna mention a little TV show called The West Wing. It's on Wednesday nights on NBC. I stumbled onto it entirely by accident, and after only 1.66 episodes, I'm hooked. It is sharp, snappy, and fun. The writing is excellent. The characters are interesting (especially Martin Sheen as the President of the United States!). The situations, even though based on the dull world of politics, are engaging. If you have some time, check it out. I think it'll replace Ally McBeal (not Ally) in my viewing schedule.

Jennier Love Hewitt popped into the local Taco Bell today as I was waiting in line to order some mouth-watering Chalupas. (They were YUMMY TASTY!) She ordered 23 Gorditas, a Mexican pizza, some beans, a soft taco, and a large pop, then sat in the back and pigged out.

Don't I wish! Nah, she came in, saw how big the line was, and decided to not wait. Smart girl. Except for that time she almost ran over me in her SLK.

 

--Steve

10/20/99

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©1999 Steven Lekowicz except
Photo ©1999 Paramount Pictures