Sunday, December 30, 2007


Speaking of how THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2007 is a misnomer, and how even though it contains poetry by poets who I usually dig, or at least can appreciate their talent, it misrepresents most of them, e.g. Galway Kinnell, by publishing less than “best” poems, in fact, downright worst poems.

This flick has a similar problem, for me. When I saw the trailer for it, or what we used to call “Coming Attractions” when I was a kid, it made it look like a dumb kid’s movie, and I mean that both ways.

But on the recommendation of my friend Slater, who saw it with his grandchild and enjoyed it, comparing it to E.T. (as some critics have as well), when my ten-year-old wanted to see it, I figured why not, and was pleasantly surprised.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear great things about a movie, or have great expectations based on reviews or the trailer or whatever, I’m often disappointed. And the opposite is true as well. Often when I don’t expect much, in fact expect to be disappointed, I’m pleasantly surprised.

That was the case here. It’s not a great movie, and wouldn’t even make it to my ten best of the year list, but it’s much more than the dumb trailer presents it as. The trailer makes it seem like it’s about a phony-looking but cute little beast causing supposedly hilarious havoc in a home as cats and dogs and other pets always seem to do in the pet genre of kids flicks, even though the humor in these situations always seemes forced and phony.

But in fact, THE WATER HORSE is a very touching tale about wartime loss, not just of lives, or at least the absence of loved ones, but also of innocence and unfounded fears.

Alex Etel, the kid from another underrated movie, MILLIONS, steals this flick with his beautifully innocent face and incredible acting. But everyone in it does their job well, including Emily Watson and Ben Chaplin. (Is he the grandson of Charlie? He has the same diminutive stature and dark-haired athletic good looks, etc.)

If you have a kid, or are in the mood to feel like one, check it out.

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