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Monday Movie Bitching

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Cloverfield, the jumbo hit last week, dropped nearly seventy percent in its second frame. Ouch! So much for the second coming of horror — the digital version. Those of you who felt I slapped you in the face by saying there were problems with this re-imagining of 9/11 as a monster flick can at least admit that now I have company. The biggest shame for Cloverfield is coming in behind the lousy Meet the Spartans, the enfeebled Rambo and — yikes — the chick flick 27 Dresses.

Did you watch the Screen Actors Guild awards last night? OK, if you didn't. Two TV hours provided about ten minutes of interest. But it might be the only awards show we see if the writers' strike plods on. The single surprise was Ruby Dee winning Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster when the odds favored Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There or Amy Ryan as a crack whore mom in Gone Baby Gone. Please, Cate was incredible. Best moment was There Will Be Blood winner Daniel Day Lewis ("I'll drink your milkshake — I'll drink it up!") dedicating his Best Actor trophy to Heath Ledger. His words about Ledger's monumental performance in a small role in Monster's Ball were well chosen and heartfelt. The rest was business as usual, but way duller. I never thought I'd miss the Golden Globes.

Speaking of dull, how did Meet the Spartans ever become a No. One hit? This craptacular makes Epic Movie seem, well, epic. Are we that desperate? Could you not just find a small movie — maybe 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days — and do something to charge the brain cells?

Something not to bitch about on the weekend: Martin Scorsese, last year's winner, presenting Joel and Ethan Coen with the top prize from the Directors Guild of America for No Country for Old Men. A great filmmaker passing the torch. Almost makes you optimistic about movies.

Back to bitching: At Sundance, I had at least a fifty-fifty chance of seeing a good movie. Look what's on my screening calendar now that I'm at the mercy of Hollywood: Eva Longoria Parker in Over Her Dead Body — even the trailer is torture, the Hannah Montana/Miley Cryrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour in 3D (bring back Beowulf) and Paris Hilton in The Hottie and the Nottie. Kill me now.

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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