Ty Burr offers his advice for coping with the January movie doldrums

By Ty Burr
Updated January 11, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Three weeks ago, it felt like it took half a day to read all the movie reviews in the Friday papers: ”Shakespeare in Love” and ”The Thin Red Line” and ”Prince of Egypt’ and ”You’ve Got Mail” and way too many more to count were all jostling for your and my attention.

This Friday, I opened up the arts section and here’s what was reviewed: revivals of two obscure black-and-white British films and a Marcello Mastroianni movie from 1962.

The January movie doldrums are here, when the studios slump to the ground limp and exhausted from pumping out one hype-driven Oscar wannabe after another. It’s a time when the only films released are the terrible, the tolerable, the unmarketable. Or, as in the case of last weekend, nothing much at all.

I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

Peace reigns in the media marketplace, for the drought extends to music and, to a lesser extent, TV. Everything’s been geared to the end of the year — all those ad dollars aimed at shoppers and out-of-school multiplex-goers — and as the New Year dawns, it’s possible to hear yourself think for the first time since Thanksgiving. There’s psychic space to nurse a long-term hangover, to contemplate the terrors of your AmEx bill — to simply soak up the tranquility before the pop-culture behemoth readies itself for another flame-snorting blast of product.

Other activities I’m planning include:

Enjoying, however briefly, life in an Adam Sandler-less universe;

Digging a bomb shelter in my back yard for Y2K;

Figuring out how to rig the EW office Oscar pool (those damn short subjects get me every year);

Reading ”Ulysses”;

Putting down ”Ulysses” after two days and renting ”Bringing Up Baby” again;

Trying to remember the difference between Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson;

Ignoring Sundance until the films play in a theater near me;

Showing my daughters more MGM musicals starring Gene Kelly;

Trying to remember why I bought that Kajagoogoo LP in the first place;

Attempting not to guffaw out loud every time I see that preview for the new Kevin Costner movie, ”Message in a Bottle”;

Wistfully recalling the days when we ran popular culture and not the other way around.

And your plans?

Shakespeare in Love

  • Movie
  • R
  • 122 minutes
  • John Madden (Director)