i've been harping about this movie for months now, so it's about time that i finally saw it! princess diaries is based on a simple rags-to-riches formulaic story. i've heard it being called the pretty woman for girls.

as i expected, there were a lot of girls in the theatre, but not teenage girls, mostly girls much younger with their mothers. i was surprised to see some young boys as well. it seemed to be a very family safe movie, there were definitely a lot of parents with a lot of kids. i heard many babies crying, and in the aisle occasionally i'd see a child stumbling in the dark, dancing in circles. i sat in-between this mother father duo with their family of 4-5 kids (birth control, ever heard of it?), in rows to the front and behind me. they had a kid, probably just a few years old, who would go back and forth between the two rows. occasionally he'd get confused and try to get in my row. one time he headbutted my foot, another time he pulled my hair, and i think he thought maybe i was his daddy and grabbed onto my thigh as if it was a life preserver. he father quickly rushed forward and violently yanked the boy away like a ragdoll. i just totally ignored the kid though, tried to stay focused on the movie while being distracted by this little boy and the occasional baby crying. after the movie, the mother did apologize to me. parents, please leave your children at home! when you have kids, that pretty much means you can't go to movies anymore unless you get a babysitter.

the movie plays on the notion that blondes and brunettes are natural enemies. unlikes legally blonde, where the brunettes are the mean ones, in princess diaries it's the blonde girl (played by mandy moore, she's so perky and bright, it's hard to imagine her being mean to anyone!) who's bad and victimizes the brunette, in this case the princess mia thermopolis, played by anne hathaway. can't we all just get along, dark hair and light hair people? isn't there enough civil strife as it is? all this over head fur!

there really isn't i can say about this movie. it's everything you expect it to be. i personally liked it, it moves along at just the right pace that i don't get confused about the storyline, everything's laid out in a very obvious manner. while i was watching it, i could easily predict what the next scene would be. sometimes you just want a movie like this, easy on the mind. if you're a sucker for these ugly duckling stories, then you owe it to yourself to see this movie.

i read a review that said jeepers creepers starts out strong but finishes weak. i found this very true. the first 30 minutes is a masterpiece of suspense cinema. once the mystery is revealed and you see the monster, the movie becomes very much like a standard monster film.

right off the bat, the movie throws away traditional horror convention where you have a boy and a girl and there's that element of sexual tension that sells tickets. we find out the couple in the story is in fact a brother and a sister driving back home during spring break. here is something you almost never see in movies. the sibling rivalry that's established early in the movie makes you feel for these characters. a little bit of an interesting casting. darryl is played by justin long, an actor i've never seen before*. the part of the sister, trish, is played by gina philips, whom i am familiar with. the last time i saw her was on boston public, she played this controversial (aren't they all on that show?) english teacher who openly flirted with one of her student and talked about another student in a sexual manner in the teacher lounge (ooh, i hope she comes back to the show next season, i'd like to see more of her).

so essentially this is a monster movie. the question you must be asking is, okay, so what does the monster look like? early on the monster appears in silhouette, and it looks like a cowboy actually, long trench coat, boots, wide-rim hat. when you actually do see the monster, the face is definitely scary, but it has hair styled in a manner that can easily be called a mullet. now come on, how can anyone take a monster seriously who has a mullet? towards the end when you (spoiler) realizes the monster also has wings, that's pretty cool. and the final scene when the monster (spoiler) is taking away one of the main characters and does this threat display, that's pretty cool as well. besides the mullet, another thing i thought was really kind of stupid was at one point during the movie, the monster is actually whistling the "jeepers creepers" tune. now the monster doesn't speak during the whole movie -- it just makes these menacing growling sounds -- yet it's able to whistle a tune?

what's so unique about this monster? well, did i mention it appears only every 23 years, where it then feeds for 23 days? and it's not just random monster feeding. no sir, that'd be so plain and boring! this monster eats to survive, in the sense that if it needs to breathe, it eats someone's lungs, if it needs to see, it eats someone's eyes. it's an interesting idea, but nowhere in the movie does it really show this taking place. and what's with the 23? it's cool that this creature has a cyclical lifespan (sort of like the cicada!), but 23 just came out of nowhere. i like how the monster knows who's good to eat by inducing fear in people and then smelling them. young brother's dirty laundry in the backseat of the car turns out to be a very bad idea!

another cool scene that's unique to this movie (i've never seen it anywhere else) is when they actually do confront the monster on the road. the two kids decide to run it over, and the monster is able to just jump over the roof of the car as soon as it comes. but then the sister (who's driving) gets creative and ends up hitting the monster, whereby she goes completely mental and backs over the monster a few times for good measure. of course the monster survives this attack, but for a few minutes, it was a brilliant scene, where for this rare occasion, the victims actually do get even with the monster, even if it is just for a short while. when next we see the monster, it's still injured and walks around with a limp.

somewhere in the middle of the movie, when the monster is just about to reveal itself, an usher with a glowing red wand walked down the aisle, went to check the emergency exit door in front of the theatre. i totally flinched when she came by, because i only saw this fast moving thing approach me in my peripheral vision. i noticed the guy in front of me flinched as well, so i'm glad i wasn't the only one! but talk about bad timing! i wonder if she did it on purpose, but it really scared the crap out of me.

i'd recommend this movie to any horror film lovers out there. as far as story goes, the first half is good, the second half becomes fairly routine. the monster is interesting but not as scary as it can be because of a few character flaws. there are definitely some unique aspects to the movie, but it's certainly not going to revolutionize and revitalize the horror movie genre like scream did when it came out. if you're a sucker for horror, then it's worth seeing. otherwise, wait for it to come out on cable.

* 010916 justin long, i have seen you before! he played the scifi convention nerd in galaxy guest.

at 11am i was standing on a harvard square street corner waiting for my ride to chinatown. when the time came, laurie pulled along the curb in her car and away we went. when we got to china pearl, it was crowded but not as crowded as it'd usually be. we were able to get our own table without having to share it with other people. the table was actually too big for us, and i ended up sitting next to laurie on the same side of the square otherwise i wouldn't be able to hear her talk. we didn't eat that much, it was a light dim sum session, and we were under some time constraint because laurie had to get to a 1pm guitar lesson and i had to get to the fresh pond cinema for a 1:10pm movie. i was nevertheless happy because i had my dish of tripe, which has now become my most favorite dish whenever i come out to dim sum. when we finished out meal, we got the car and drove back to cambridge. laurie grabbed her guitar from her apartment and dropped me off at harvard square.

from harvard i had 15 minutes to get to the fresh pond cinema. when i got to alewife, i only had 5 minutes before my movie started. so i put my running to good use and busted out the speed legs. even with running it took me 10 minutes to get to the theatre. sweating, out of breath, i bought a ticket, quickly went to the bathroom, and rushed into the darken room that was playing jeepers creepers. when the movie was over, i bought another ticket, got the combo large popcorn/large pepsi movie meal, and went into another darkened room to watch princess diaries.

when that movie was over, i decided it'd be quicker walking home than taking the subway/bus (the weather was nice anyway, it'd be better to walk), so i crossed some busy streets to get to fresh pond and walked the perimeter of that body of water until i got home. i was hoping it'd be a very scenic walk, but around this time of the year, there aren't too many wildflowers still out, nor interesting bug life. it'd be better when we get deeper into autumn, when the leaves change colors. fresh pond borders the fresh pond golf course, and i watched some rich snobs play that awful game of hitting a small white dimpled ball with a metal stick. it took me 50 minutes to finally get home, and in hindsight, maybe it'd been quicker if i took the t, even though logistically it meant traveling a longer distance.