I will now go against my own advice and write a second half that isn’t as good as the first. I’m going to write short blurbs about other movies I’ve seen where I felt the second half just wasn’t as good as the first. Technically, Star Wars Episodes 1-3 are the first half, so we won’t deal with that here.
SPOILER ALERT!!! I have to discuss the second half of these movies, so I’m just saying that if you plan to see them, don’t be reading this.
Let’s start and finish my list with Nicolas Cage; the start being “City of Angels” and the end being “8mm.” We’ll deal with two non-Cage films in-between.
City of Angels – I was pretty fascinated with this movie when it started. Here was an eternal being who wanted nothing more than to be mortal, and he finally found a real reason to crossover, the scent of a woman. Well, maybe not quite that, but I couldn’t resist. What irritated me was that he “falls” and becomes human, and in spite of the fact that he’s been reading human literature for thousands of years, he doesn’t seem to know how anything works. He’s an angel, not an alien. One of my big complaints with movies is the use of character death. If you kill somebody off, it needs to have more of a point than to just make everybody sad for a while. I almost want to give this movie a pass, because there is a point beyond making everybody sad. He’s longed all his life for mortality, and then discovers the major downside which is death. This is something else that he should have learned from years of reading human literature. He just don’t seem too bright, y’all.
Scent of a Woman – I saw the first half of this movie somehow. I don’t really remember how. I thought I saw it with Miguel and a married couple who weren’t married yet, but I think Miguel told me we didn’t actually go in. I don’t know. It’s not too relevant. What is relevant is that I was enjoying it. I liked Al Pacino’s character, and I liked the basic plot. It was enough that years later I picked up the movie from the library, because I wanted to finish it. What a waste of time! I had seen the best parts of the film already. I could have stopped there.
Full Metal Jacket – Stanley Kubrick is my favourite director. I think the guy was brilliant. I got into him through my grandfather showing me “A Clockwork Orange” and “Dr. Strangelove.” Oh, and the first half of “Full Metal Jacket.” Here’s the story behind that. We were having some sort of family get together, and my grandfather came out and summoned the guys to his movie room. Those of us who went were me, my dad, and I believe it was my Uncle Dennis. I’m not sure why no one else did. My brother three year younger than me, and I was barely a teenager if that.
My grandfather put on “Full Metal Jacket” and we watched the boot camp scenes as the sergeant berates and demeans the men in an attempt to make them stronger, all the way up to the scene in the bathroom with the rifle. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it now. Well, finish reading this first. As soon as that scene resolved, my grandfather stood up and hit stop. “That’s all you really need to see,” he said. Years later I finally saw the rest of the movie, and he was right. The part set in the war wasn’t nearly as compelling. The only reason to watch it was to get the full context of, “Me so horny, me love you long time.”
8mm – Again, burned by Nicolas Cage. I swear I want to like you! In this movie, he plays a character who has to move through the underbelly of society to investigate what seems to be a genuine snuff film. It’s really a very compelling movie, and I was totally enthralled. Really, this doesn’t completely belong here, because it wasn’t the last half of the movie that ruined it as much as the last twenty minutes where he finally finds the killer and then we get subjected to: Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Characters Preach 101. He was just born this way. He doesn’t know why he does these things. Blah, blah, blah. Oh, and he’s yelling loud enough that if there were any neighbours around, somebody should have thrown a boot at him and knocked him off his soapbox. It just ruined the whole thing for me.
I’m sure there are other movies that fit this category, but I’m not readily thinking of any right now. I guess I shouldn’t be too harsh though. These are all better than movies in which both halves suck.