More Scooby Snacks 

I’ll always remember watching Saturday morning cartoons at my grandparents’, eating bowls of corn flakes with so much sugar heaped on the milk was more sludge than liquid, and just kicking it for hours with Mighty Mouse, Hercules and, or course, Scooby Doo. I was ignorant to the fact that the gang of transient detectives were actually getting high all the time (Scooby Snacks) and that Velma was a lesbian but Scooby Doo was a favorite and I really enjoyed the 2002 big screen adaptation. And now Scooby’s back.

Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed opens Friday at the Village 8. The plot is more straightforward this time. The Mystery Inc. team (played by the same cast as the original) are celebrities now, facing the real celebrity problems of trashy tabloid journalists marring their image and some madman unleashing the ghosts of all the gang’s classic foes. It’s not old man Withers, bitter janitor at the rundown amusement park, who could’ve gotten away with it if not for those meddling kids. No, this time it’s the real deal and the green slime projectile vomit scene proves it. Of course this is still just a sequel to a movie based on an old cartoon so expect lots of "positive" messages about being yourself and the fact that there is no "I" in "TEAM", but writer/director team James Gunn and Raja Gosnell bring the same fun, visually cartoonish, energy that worked in the first one along with a few good inside jokes and drug references. Scooby still rhymes with doobie, rest assured.

Also opening is Jersey Girl, a movie that promises to suck but probably not as much as you’d expect. Starring ultra-useless Ben Affleck as a hardnosed but successful Manhattan music publicist who’s wife (J-Lo) dies at childbirth forcing him to shift his life priorities, move to Jersey, and raise their daughter. He ends up falling for a sweet video store clerk (Liv Tyler – hard not to fall for) and it ends up as one of those charming-child-changes-the-morally-questionable-adult-into-decent-person movies we’ve seen before ( Jerry Maguire, Big Daddy, or the great Russian film Kolya). Written and directed by Kevin Smith, the comedic auteur responsible for Mallrats, Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and best of all Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back , this film is a step in a totally different direction for him. It’s an attempt at a chick flick made by a guy who specializes in sodomy and dick jokes and witty banter.

As a date movie it’s not bad, and you can’t blame Smith for wanting to try something different – hell, his dialogue almost makes Affleck seem like a decent actor. But as a film where the great conflict is whether Affleck should go to an important interview to get his old career up and running or hit the kid’s school pageant, Jersey Girl is lousy.

Slightly off topic, those elementary school pageants always sucked so bad I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to my parents for every one they had to sit though. I didn’t have a choice mom, they forced us to do that crap.

The best movie playing this week, actually the best so far this year, is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . Written by tabbity-tabbed scribe Charlie Kaufman, it is perhaps the most realistic and poignant love story I’ve ever seen. Told in reverse, based on glimpses of their relationship as Joel (Jim Carey) sits through a medical procedure erasing memories of ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) after they break up. Joel ends up falling back in love as he relives the memories, good and bad, before they disappear.

Kaufman and music video director Michael Gondry craft an emotional tale about human chemistry, the power of the mind and the ups and downs of loving another person. A convoluted timeline and nifty special effects as memories disappear combine perfectly with Gondry’s surreal visual style to produce a movie that keeps your attention but isn’t too hard to follow.

Fellas, take your sweetheart to this movie; if she’s crying at the end it means she really likes you. And ladies, if he’s crying at the end… isn’t that sweet, tell his buddies all about it. Then take him to the Angelina Jolie movie to make it up to him. Oh Angelina…

At Village 8 March 26-April 1: Ladykillers, Scooby Doo 2, Jersey Girl, Secret Window, Taking Lives, Cody Banks 2, Hidalgo, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Starsky and Hutch.

At Rainbow Theatre March 26-April 1: Big Fish.

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