Bruce Bennett Short Bio

Bruce Bennett

Bruce Bennett has been the primary contributor to Mad About Movies since it began in 2003. He is an award winning film and theater critic who, since 2000, has been writing a weekly column in The Spectrum daily newspaper in southern Utah as well as serving as a contributing editor of “The Independent,” a monthly entertainment magazine. He is also the co-host of “Film Fanatics” a movie review show which earned a Telly in 2009. Bruce is also a featured contributor at:

His motto: "I see bad movies so you don't have to."

Best of 2000

Let’s start the discussion about the year’s movies with this obvious admission: Many of the best films will never play in a small market like southern Utah. That will not change unless a) St. George keeps growing b) more movie theaters are built and c) the theater owners are willing to show important, critically acclaimed movies even if they are not big money makers. I have every confidence in “a” and less confidence in the latter two, so we movie lovers will have to make do with the films that do come here.

The good news is that the year 2000 was not nearly as bad as some may feel. With a few exceptions, the majority of my movie going experience this year was enjoyable. What most people missed was a huge blockbuster summer movie(s) since “The Patriot” didn’t arrive until July 4th, “Mission Impossible:2” was such a letdown and Disney didn’t release a mega-musical as in previous years.

2000 was, however, a great year for war movies. Or, at least, films involving military conflict. And, surprisingly, they were not only diverse but universally excellent as well. Here a few that should not be missed:

“Ride With The Devil” (late 1999 release) (Civil War)

“U-571” (WWII)

“The Patriot” (Revolutionary War)

“Gladiator” (Early 1st Century Roman Empire)

“Rules of Engagement” (Vietnam/Middle East)

The new Kevin Costner film “13 Days” which is receiving very positive reviews and should arrive here in early Jan. 2001 also has a military theme, the Cuban Missile crisis. Other observations:

Best Comeback: Julia Roberts From “Mary Reilly” and “Michael Collins” (Don’t fret, no one else saw these films either) to “My Best Friends’ Wedding”, “Conspiracy Theory”, “Notting Hill” “Runaway Bride” and this year’s “Erin Brockovich”.

Biggest Disappointment: Mission Impossible:2 Simplistic plot, awful dialogue, waste of talent, no cool gadgets and slow-motion overkill.

Next Big Thing: Penelope Cruz The “Spanish Enchantress” is getting huge publicity for her current movie “All the Pretty Horses” and that will continue with the upcoming “Blow” and “Vanilla Sky” (starring Tom Cruise and directed by Cameron Crowe)

Biggest Non-event: No new movie theater in St. George

Guess we’ll have to live with outdated technology, bad projection equipment, indifferent customer service and minimal film choices (and times) for awhile longer. The good news: We pay up to $2 less for a movie than many other cities.

Best Trend: Fewer “R” rated movies Close to 70% of all movies released in 1999 were rated “R” and by my count that number should drop considerably to perhaps around 50% this year. Not sure if that’s because of a conscience effort by the studios to produce more family fare or if the ratings board is simply relaxing their standards for what constitutes a PG-13 rating. Probably a little of both. One thing we know for sure: An “R” rated comedy released today will be more offensive than ever before. (i.e. “Scary Movie” and “Me, Myself & Irene”)

Least Surprising-but- Appreciated Development: Animation Technology Movies such as “Dinosaur”, “Chicken Run”, Princess Mononoke” and “Titan A.E.” used different animation techniques to equally stunning effect.

Most Useful Movie Web-site: The perfect tool for discovering the detailed content of any movie.

Best Local Movie Related News: The success of the “Eclipse” independent film festival. Here’s hoping it gets bigger and better every year.

Best Song From a Movie: “Christmas, Why Can’t I find You?” by Taylor Momsen (not the Faith Hill version) from “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

Best Actor/Actress: Russell Crowe (“Gladiator” and “Proof of Life”)
“13 Days”
“Remember the Titans”
“The Patriot”
“Chicken Run”
“Almost Famous”
“Shanghai Noon”
“God’s Army”
“The Legend of Bagger Vance”
“Small Time Crooks”
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

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