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Review: Mystery, Alaska (1999)

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Steve Kong

Nov 13, 2000, 8:51:14 PM11/13/00
Mystery, Alaska (1999)
Review by Steve Kong
The Hard Boiled Movie Guide

Dear David E. Kelley, if this is all you can do on the big screen, please
stick to the small screen. It's not that Mystery, Alaska is a terrible
film Mr. Kelley, rather is a little to plain and thin on conflict. See,
Mr. Kelley, I an avid fan of your TV shows. I loved your Picket Fences, I
watch Ally McBeal every week, and the best of your shows, The Practice, I
make time just to watch it. What makes and made these shows so
good? Sharp writing, a sense of direction, and conflict. Mr. Kelley
you've done so well with your words every week on the small screen, what's
up with doing the same on the big screen?

First you churn on the terrible Lake Placid which isn't worth even the
rent, hell, how did it get made in the first place? Then you turn out this
quaint film, Mystery, Alaska about a small fictitious town named Mystery in
Alaska where it's always covered in snow and the people there always ice
skate around. The people of the town are quaint just like the movie. You
got your quaint sheriff who loves to play hockey, John Biebe (Russell
Crowe), and his quaint wife, Donna (Mary McCormack). You got your quaint
mayor played by Colm Meaney. You even got Burt Reynolds in the film as a
mean judge. But, you know what Mr. Kelley? Everything is just too nice in
this film. Sure, there are people who look like they're the bad guys, like
Charles Danner (Hank Azaria) who comes back to his home town with the New
York Rangers to challenge the home team at a game of hockey this is
because the home team is so good at hockey that they've been featured in
ESPN. But, the bad guys, well they're quite nice also.

What we have here, Mr. Kelley, is a film that meanders around for 90
minutes then ends. Not much but a lot of nice people going about their
nice lives. Not much entertainment value either. It's hard to do this to
you Mr. Kelley, but for the second time this year, I'm giving one of your
films a Skip, Skip, Skip label because it's not worth seeing. I beg you
Mr. Kelley, bring some of that small screen magic that you bring to Ally
McBeal and The Practice every week onto your big screen projects, else stay
on the small screen.


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