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A.J.'s Rating: 2 Not-So-Majestic Stars
The Majestic
Directed By:  Frank Darabont
Written By:  Michael Sloane
Starring:  Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Laurie Holden, Allen Garfield, Bruce Campbell, Amanda Detmer, Daniel von Bargan, David Ogden Stiers
Rated:  PG (language)
Running Time:  147 Min.
   Do you have a few moments to spare?  I'd like to tell you about a movie I just saw.  You do?  Well, that's just swell.  The title of the movie is The Majestic, and the story takes place way back in 1951.  It's about the remarkable experiences of a rather unremarkable man.  Peter Appleton's his name, and he's a screenplay writer in Hollywood, USA.  Peter lives for the movies, and just can't wait to make it big.  He's had a taste of success, with the B-pictures anyway, and his future seems pretty darn bright.  Good kid, that Peter Appleton, but there's nothing really all that special about him. 
    Now, while I may see nothing special about Peter, it appears that some very powerful people in Washington D.C. disagree.  Looks like Peter's been  invited to have a little chat with them.  You see, back in the late '40s and early '50s, there was a federal investigation to seek out Communists who were scheming to destroy our fine American ideals.  That investigation was headed by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which was entrusted to root out the Red Menace by any means possible.  Their primary target was, of all places, Tinseltown.  The committee wanted to guard against the supposed threat that Communists in Hollywood were attempting to insert subversive Soviet propaganda into American movies.  Imagine that, Commies in Hollywood!  Those unlucky enough to be called before the committee were forced to renounce their Communist ways in writing and before the public, then name other suspected Communist Party members.  Whether they really were Communists or not didn't seem to matter much in these proceedings, but those who were called and refused to testify suffered dire concequences.  Now, I don't profess to be any kind of authority on this, and I could be wrong, but it seems that the most un-American activities of the time were those being committed by the Committee on Un-American Activities!  I'm sure many, including our friend Peter Appleton, would agree.
    As you can imagine, being labeled a Commie has a whole mess of problems associated with it, so Peter decides to take a drive to think things over.  That drive ends pretty badly, to say the least, and Peter soon finds himself in an unfamiliar little town.  It's unfamiliar to him, partly because he's never been there before, and partly because he has amnesia.  Believe it or not, the poor fellow doesn't even remember his own name, for gosh sakes!  What's more, the people of this little town, Larson, seem to have given up on themselves sometime near the end of World War II, and the locals are still grieving for the many sons lost in that great struggle.  Nothing wrong with that, but remember, it's now a full six years after the end of the war.  They must not be aware of the troubles our brave fighting boys were currently having in a little place called Korea!  Thankfully, no one tells them, since this town is already depressing enough as it is, and Peter has to spend about six months there.  That's close to ninety minutes for you and me!  Anyway, as luck and the first of many unbelievable coincidences would have it, Peter is a plum ringer for one of Larson's favorite sons, a missing war hero named Luke.  Well, I don't have to tell you what happens next, as I'm sure you're sharp enough to figure that one out for yourself...  Yep, you're absolutely right.  Nice going!  You've obviously seen your share of predictable Hollywood pictures!
    Now that you know where Peter's story is headed, I'd like to tell you about the actor who plays him.  That actor is a likeable guy by the name of Jim Carrey.  You may have heard of him.  He's quite popular in the comedies.  The problem for Jim is that this movie isn't supposed to be very funny.  There are no funny faces, funny movements, or even funny noises for poor Jimmy to make in this film!  Sure, the actress who plays his love interest gets to make funny noises, but not Jim!  He's a pretty good actor, mind you, and he's shown a wonderful range of talent in other films, but The Majestic is the first movie to require him to not be funny at all, ever.  It isn't entirely his fault, as my opinion may have been swayed by the snoring I could hear from two rows behind me in the theatre, but as far as I can tell, a completely unfunny Jim Carrey is about as entertaining as a trip to the proctologist. 
    By the way, 'The Majestic' is the name of Larson's run-down movie theatre, which the citizens, with Peter's help of course, fix up to symbolize the revival of their collective optimism.  They must not be aware of the rising popularity of 'drive-in' movie theatres in the early '50s, either!  If they found out about that, it would probably be enough to send them all back into a blue funk until 1960, by which time the could become depressed about the popularity of a little fad called television.  Wouldn't that beat all?
    Anyway, while this movie tries very hard to win us over, it turns out there's nothing really all that special about it.  So, I suppose all that's left is to thank you for allowing me the time to reminisce about The Majestic. Your reward will be the two and a half hours you save by not having to watch it yourself! 
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Review published
December 28, 2001
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