Rebecca Ascher-Walsh says, Take a break and see an unambitious movie for a change

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated February 21, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST
  • Movie

What to watch instead of the Oscar nominees

The Oscar nominations are out, we’ve had a few days to make our passionate arguments about who was dissed and what was robbed, and now we have to wait more than a month to hear the results. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is a gift of time to stop talking so seriously and start having some FUN again.

Obviously, the Oscar contenders are the cremé de la cremé of the film world, and I’m all for ’em. But the thing about these films is that if they do their jobs correctly, they illicit strong emotions. If you don’t feel for the poor kid who sees dead people, or the guy who takes on the tobacco industry and loses his family, then ”The Sixth Sense” and ”The Insider” aren’t succeeding.

But frankly, there’s something to be said for the moronic pleasure of good bad movies, movies that don’t aspire to do anything other than ask you, for a couple of hours, to forget about the groceries you need to buy and the laundry you have to do. And luckily, because the Oscar contenders won’t be hogging the market anymore, there are a few delicious, space-age guilty pleasures coming up, flicks that will take you out of your seat and into another world.

Check out ”Pitch Black,” a $25 million sci-fi extravaganza in which a group of panicked, stranded space travelers (and one maniac killer, played by Vin Diesel) have to do battle with fangy-mouthed, screeching aliens on a planet with three suns. For some reason, none of the suns quite work, so there’s a blackout that makes the aliens become flesh-eating stalkers.

Or on March 3, go see ”What Planet Are You From?” in which Gary Shandling plays a randy alien looking for a bride on Earth, and, lucky dog that he is, finds Annette Bening. Or ”Mission to Mars,” starring Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins, who, well, I bet you can guess what they’re up to.

Will these films spark debate around the watercooler, or inspire office pools? Doubtful, unless your office is one of the studios releasing these gems. But with only five more weeks to go until the Oscars, maybe it’s best to stuff our mouths with popcorn, and save our breath.

Pitch Black

  • Movie
  • R
  • 110 minutes
  • David Twohy