Meh Cinema (Let’s Get Together And Watch Paint Dry!)

Welcome to mediocrity…

I saw two impromptu movies this past week, Loyal Reader. Circumstance pushed us into theaters without much forethought. I love this. Last summer, while trying to get over this damn disease crap (as if I’m battling the common cold or something), we spent a lot of time at home. The money we usually pony up for a nice trip somewhere historical, or tropical, or both, went to easy diversions like movies, and eating out, and the occasional thing.

We saw lots of impromptu movies. We even went to see a movie one fine afternoon and then went to another movie at an entirely different theater in the equally fine evening. The lack of order was very cool. I probably enjoyed certain movies more than I ordinarily would have because of it.

Sitting near my best girl, eating popcorn and Junior Mints, unconcerned about time and responsibility, enveloped by the screen – I can’t think on anything sweeter (I truly can’t).

During the school year, things are quite a bit different. We are superBUSY and we don’t get to the movies as often. We plan. Movies actually mean more because we can’t see them all. We rarely take chances and see things that we might deem as subpar for kicks (like we did ALL summer long). It’s less about the experience and more about the quality of the movie.

Anyway, back on Wednesday, my chemo session (usually six hours of intravenous boredom) got cut short thanks to an extremely uncomfortable allergic reaction (I’ll blog about the drama of it someday). Suddenly, my lovely wife and I found ourselves with a few hours (our kid was at a band event) to kill. Naturally, I brought up the Flickster app on my iPad and we made our way to a showing of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3.


That’s it.

I’m not mad at the film (unless I really start to think about the films I could have watched in its place – but then,  I don’t think anything out there is all that great at the moment anyhow).

It wasn’t bad.

It was…meh.


(An exercise in patience – Junior Mints and popcorn help to pass the time…)

I do dig the way each of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sequels slowly (ever so SLOWLY) fills in back story that’s useful to appreciating the film that came before it. I thought part 2 was especially clever, running a story that moved concurrently with part 1’s narrative. I have to give the PA team credit for tweaking conventions and doing things differently than the average cash-grab retread.

Still, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, no matter the chronology, or the occasional glimmer of inventiveness, is…well…still, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. It’s still all about watching NOTHING (hoping for something) for about 80 of the film’s 90 minute run time.

Jumping ahead, the end of PA3, like that of PA1 and PA2, is pretty cool. Like part 2, I like what it does for the other films in the series. It’s interesting (I’m a sucker for demons and the like). Unfortunately, it’s not even a little bit scary. I thought the first and second film did a better job with the creepy factor (utilizing typical household creaks, and groans, punctuated by the occasional massive BOOM for effect). PA3 strives to shock, but the overall impact has withered.

(Note: as a self-proclaimed horror aficionado, it takes a lot to scare me, but I am handicapping my review with the average viewer in mind).

I guess the million dollar question here is would I go out and see PA4?

The sad answer (damn you Hollywood and your filthy, money-making tactics) is ABSOLUTELY!

Despite my many, many quibbles, I’ll definitely turn out for another round. The movies have built up a wonderfully macabre mythology around a simple tale of demonic possession. I want to know what happens next, if only for five to ten minutes of screen time thrills.

So then, go see it, or rent it, but remember, my recommendation comes with a giant MEH tacked to its backside.

Oh, also, the second film we stumbled into, PUSS IN BOOTS, got a small mention in my post EMOTIONAL TWISTER. I can probably come up with more to say, but does the picture really warrant a few hundred words about how average it is. Probably not. If you have a kid in the proper demographic, you could do worse.


The weird thing about the PA3 trailer is that it features a number of scenes not in the actual film…


2 Responses to “Meh Cinema (Let’s Get Together And Watch Paint Dry!)”

  1. I’m a total whore…for PA’s way of building. The “found” footage, the subtle bits, the crescendo…I love it. This third one was great, SAVE for the last 15 minutes. The great thing about the PA franchise is that it has been so mysterious. The conclusion on PA3 made it all too explainable. So, meh, sure.

    But I rewatched the first PA this week and it still gets me. And I get it. Me and PA are cool like that.

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