SUMMER

The window down; a cool breeze hits my face. I just want to be left alone with my thoughts. Savor the just-ripening juice of summer. I want to stand outside the door of my car, after the movie, with some friends and say, "That sucked!" Or, "That was alright." Maybe grab a bite to eat, and then go home. Listen to that perfect CD which will encapsulate and mark the next three months as its own. A soundtrack to the 4th of July; each beat has me thinking about this peculiar grape crush. It's eating my soul in a comfortable way, like a warm blanket. I want to wrap my face around the fabric. A girl. Yes. It's beginning to look a lot like 1989. There's a new Batman movie in theaters. I'm madly infatuated with a beautiful girl who hates my guts. And I just sh*t my pants. The only difference between now and then is…

Back then, I didn't have to rush home and type up effervescent thoughts on whatever summer movie my friends and I had just seen. We'd enjoy it; we'd maybe talk about it for a few minutes after leaving the theater. But then it was straight into the park for binge drinking and breaking taillights. I'd sit on a bench with my best friend's sister. He'd make out with some bitchy cheerleader from a foreign high school. Then we'd go home, and I'd daydream about the girl I was furiously in love with.

Well, I just got back from breaking taillights. My friend and I talked about Batman Begins for a few moments outside my car, in the parking lot. We managed to drink a pitcher of Hite between us. Now I'm home, and I just want to sit in front of the TV, blankly staring at Dragnet, while enraptured by the thoughts of this awesome lady I can't seem to get enough of. But I can't do that. I work for an Internet Movie Site. And they want me to review Batman. F*cking Batman.

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I've never liked Batman.

I remember going to see Batman in '89. I didn't really want to be there, but we had those plastic cups from Taco Bell, and it seemed like the thing to do. I went to the mall, in Portland, with my parents, and we watched a matinee. I had really bad diarrhea from eating at Hotdog Stick (the "on a" had fallen off the sign long ago). Well, I missed the first twenty-five minutes due to dropping a good backside. And my mom really couldn't enjoy herself, because she thought I'd been abducted. That memory sticks. It's hanging tough in the brain. Sitting down to watch Batman tonight, I was suddenly inundated with the urge to sh*t on everything.

I held it in.

Batman begins. And then it ends. Whoop-doo! Seriously, I don't care. I wanted to watch this stupid movie about as much as I want to stick a coat hanger hook up my ass and pull left. From the moment it started, I was bored. Do you want to know what my favorite part was? When it was over. Ha. Okay, that's not fair. I actually enjoyed the film. I liked it as much as any other movie I've seen this year. It entertained me. I came out thinking, "If anybody had a problem with that, they've got a real problem."

Then I came home, dreading the inevitable write-up. I hopped on the Internet, and checked out some of the other loose film sites. Our competition. Yup, those douche bags at CHUD had a real problem with the film. Bitch, bitch, bitch. And they spew their dissertations with the authority of Hitler. It's their way, no highway option. These guys have lost their sense of humor. Seriously. I used to laugh with them, now I have to cringe and whisper, "Please, guys, get out of the house. You're all taking this a bit too far. For God's sake, going to the movies is supposed to be fun." All these guys want to do is nitpick and punch the kidneys of a fun summer outing. Why? I don't understand why they're taking this comic book fodder and analyzing it as if it were the book of Koran.

Okay, so I have no interest in the movie. I thought it lasted longer than your average television mini-series. It was as if I entered the theater on a Thursday and left on a Sunday. That all goes into personal taste. It's my true belief that the film is what it's supposed to be, a very good superhero film. It's better than the first Spider-Man. I enjoyed it more than the first X-Men, even. But do I care if it's flawed, even a little bit. Not really. I mean, you already know what the film's about. Its about Batman, goddamn it. That's all you need to know. It's about enjoying the summer, hanging out with friends, sucking up the cool night breezes, and dreaming about the girl that currently doesn't want you touching her knee.

(But, hey, it's going to be a long summer. By the end of August, her seas just might part for your parade. You never know.)

I'm suddenly enjoying this sunny summer vacation more than I thought I would. The last thing I want to do is sit here, typing up a bunch of bullsh*t you don't really want to read. Right this second; I don't want to review another movie ever again. It's not worth my time, or yours. Please, shoot me in the head because I have no other choice. This is my chosen profession. Sad, really. I just want the experience to wash over me, and then wash out to sea. I just want to watch the movie and have it end there. Is that so much to ask?

Especially here, now, seeing as how, right after watching Batman, I was quickly ushered into something I didn't want to partake in at all. You should experience the weather in Burbank. It's been beautiful. Yesterday morning, I just wanted to walk around outside with headphones on, sipping premixed Bacardi Zombies from a Gator-Aid bottle. Instead, I was slapped with a mandate. My afternoon got pulled out from underneath me. Yes, I was forced into something none of you are going to want to see.

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Robert Rodriguez's latest. And I'm still angry.

It itches; this cardboard cut across the bridge of my nose. The thin, shark-shaped 3-D glasses barely fit over my head, and the edges dug into every crease on my face. I have these thin blood lines running behind my ears now. And this faint hint of purple can't be shaken from my eyes. If I close my left one, everything seems all rosy red. If I close my right, it's like I'm swimming in a pool. And I have a headache. Not as bad as when I saw Spy Kids 3-D, but the throbbing still bumps at the steering wheel in my hand. I want to pull over and take a fifteen-minute nap. Maybe buck some of these empty images from my brain. Did I really just see a Sharkboy sing and dance as if he were auditioning for a role in a Middle School stage production of Paint Your Wagon? Yes. Yes, I did.

Goddamn it. Don't I have any better way to spend my time?

"No, B. Alan, you don't."

That's simply not true. 3-D? You want 3-D? Invite me over to your house and pass down that homemade bottle of Tijuana Tequila. You'll see all kinds of stuff coming at your face. I'm fun for all ages. Something that can't be said for Sharkboy & Lavagirl. This bitch is strictly for 8-year-old kids that don't bore too easily. Too bad. There's not many of those around, now are there.

Don't get me wrong. I knew, as soon as I heard the title, that this wasn't something I wanted to see. Still, I understand the allure of 3-D, especially for kids. When I was about 8 or 9, I, too, wanted to watch all of the three-dimensional features coming to our local cinema. Sadly, most of them were rated R. I did go to the re-release of Vincent Price's House of Wax. It bored my tender, young soul into an ice cream coma. F*ck, no kid would enjoy that Victorian pacing. It hurt my liquid spine.

Didn't matter. I still thought it might be cool. That's why I was so excited to see Jaws 3-D. I was tricked. It sucked. So did the Creature from the Black Lagoon when they aired it on TV in blurred red and blue hues. The only time I've been impressed with a three-dimensional film is when I've gone to an Amusement park. Captain EO actually looked liked he was coming at my face (not on my face, you sick bitches). Universal's Shrek and Terminator shows are pretty cool. And I dig California Adventure's 3-D Muppet short. It's as if I can actually reach out and poke that sh*t with my fingers.

But theatrical 3-D movies just plain suck. They're horrible. I thought, maybe, an improvement had been made between Nightmare on Elm Street 6 and Spy Kids. I was wrong. That third kiddy sequel came with the same blurring headache as every other movie that requires you to don blue and red cardboard glasses.

Lately, various directors have been championing the new digital 3-D process. George Lucas even claims that he'll be releasing all six Star Wars films in 3-D. It's supposed to be great. I thought, "Maybe, just maybe, they've perfected the technique since Rodriguez's last try at the medium two years ago." Even though Sharkboy & Lavagirl is one of the dumbest titles I've ever heard in my life, I decided to uncross my arms and delve into the graceful arc. And, surprise of all surprises, for the first ten minutes, I thought I was watching something spectacular.

Most people scream, "Sit in the middle!' When watching a 3-D movie. Well, I sat in the middle for Spy Kids. The entire movie was blurry. It was as if every moving thing on screen came with tracers. This time out, I sat far off to the side. Mostly because I didn't want to listen to the other babbling Internet journalists that made up the screening. Much to my surprise, the film was in focus. The blur factor was gone. And the opening prologue, which explains the origins of Sharkboy, actually looked to be in three dimensions. Things came out of the screen and floated in my face. The ocean seemed to go on forever. It didn't matter to me that the action on the screen was dumb as f*ck. I was mesmerized by the oceanic atmosphere. It was cool. Then the film asked me to take off my glasses.

I did.

The next time I was asked to put them back on, the movie began to look a lot like Spy Kids. The 3-D effect wore off. It became boring. The depth of screen didn't seem to push back. And objects were limited to the edge of the curtain. God, its annoying, too. Every six seconds someone is spitting something out of their mouth. That's the sum of the plot. This is a movie about harking up custard and puking it at the audience. Yawn. I'm really glad my dad never put my imagination on the screen for an entire world to see. This sh*t is just embarrassing. Instead of being trapped in a video game, as we were in Spy Kids, this time we're trapped in some kid's dream. That's the only difference. Other than that, it's the exact same movie all over again. Relentless.

Sharkboy & Lavagirl. God, is it boring and stupid.

That's my review. Print it up. I want to go to sleep and dream about beautiful ladies, the Mister Mistykiss machine at the Dairy Queen, and the summer stroll I'm going to take tomorrow.

Sure, you've come here for advice. I'll give you some. Should you go see Batman? Yes. I have nothing bad to say about it. Should you go see Sharkboy & Lavagirl? Yes, if you're eight years old. You'll probably dig it. Nine might be pushing the line, but if you're underdeveloped, or slightly retarded, you still might enjoy it. The first ten minutes are spectacular. Honestly. Just don't overstay your welcome, like the film itself does.

You people are the luckiest in the world. You get to see these movies, and then go swimming, or have a picnic, or cuddle in the grass. Whatever it is you normal people do. Me, I have to rush home and write a bunch of nonsense about the stupid things. Let me tell you, it takes all the fun out of going to the movies in the summer.

Boo!