The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Doubling back to pick up some titles I missed in the year
The great failing of "Spider-Man 3" is that it failed to distract me from what a sap Peter Parker is. It lingers so long over the dopey romance between Peter and the long-suffering Mary Jane that I found myself asking the question: Could a whole movie about the relationship between these two twentysomethings be made? And my answer was: No, because today's audiences would never accept a hero so clueless and a heroine so docile. And isn't it a little unusual to propose marriage after sharing only one kiss, and that one in the previous movie, and upside-down?
Faithful readers will recall that I found "Spider-Man 2" (2004) the best superhero movie since "Superman" (1978). But I made the mistake of declaring that was because "the movie demonstrates what's wrong with a lot of other superhero epics: They focus on the superpowers, and shortchange the humans behind them." This time, I desperately wanted Peter Parker to be short-changed. If I argued earlier that Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent were boring human beings, I had no idea how Peter would begin to wear on my nerves.
And what's with Mary Jane? Here's a beautiful, (somewhat) talented actress good enough to star in a Broadway musical, and she has to put up with being trapped in a taxi suspended 80 stories in the air by alien spider webs. The unique quality of the classic comic books was that their teenagers had ordinary adolescent angst and insecurity. But if you are still dangling in taxicabs at age 20, you're a slow learner. If there is a "Spider-Man 4" (and there will be), how about giving Peter and Mary Jane at least the emotional complexity of soap opera characters? If "Juno" (opening Dec. 14) met Peter Parker, she'd have him for breakfast.