Fall at the mall

Shall We Dance?
October 15
It won’t be the $9 theater nachos that give you gas. Richard Gerestars in this heartwarming glob of pooh about a depressed corporatepiss-on named John Clark who, in hopes of boning his instructor,enrolls in a ballroom dancing class. But this teacher ain’tnobody’s ho, so Clark uses his hot new moves to show his wife thathe’s now a pansy-ass in a good way.

National Treasure
November 24
Inexplicably, Nicolas Cage and Harvey Keitel star in this familymovie about traveling loon Benjamin Franklin Gates, who plots tosteal the Declaration of Independence. Why? Because there’s aninvisible treasure map on the back of it, stupid! Ben wants it, notso he can hoard the riches, but to protect it from the corruptlittle paws of the FBI, who want the map, too, understand? For somereason the feds can’t just seize the exalted document, so don’t besurprised if Benny gets to it first. Not that there’s reallyanything of value in the treasure chest. Is there ever? Poor Bennywill learn, as they’re hauling his ass to federal prison, thatlove/friendship/bravery/compassion is the greatest treasure of all.Yech.

November 5
A ten-year-old boy informs Nicole Kidman that he is her deadhusband, reincarnated. Eww. This basic premise can go one of twoways: just a little icky in a “Tuck Everlasting” sort of way(117-year-old man in a boy’s body falls in love with 17-year-oldgirl), or creepy-creepy like “L.I.E.” And I don’t wanna hear it.”L.I.E.” is argued to be a hard look at a man’s struggle with hisdeviant sexual urges, but to me it’s just the story of a nasty oldtroll who decides, for once, not to molest a young boy. What aguy!

Christmas With theCranks
November 24
Another Tim Allen holiday movie that stinks worse than turned gravyand giblets half-cooked and poorly digested by your obese UncleBertram. This time Allen’s silly daughter decides not to come homefor Christmas, then changes her mind. But mom and dad have alreadyabandoned the tinsel, tossed the tree and booked a sunny vacationin the Caribbean! In the scramble to rebuild Christmas the parentssmash into grocery store displays, fall off roofs and get whackedin the head with buckets. Hilarious – always hilarious. If you’restill not convinced, just know that Chris Columbus, the talentlesstwat who’s responsible for “Home Alone” and “Bicentennial Man,”wrote the screenplay.

The Phantom of theOpera
December 25
King of Suck, Andrew Lloyd Webber (“Evita,” “Cats”) adapts to thescreen the familiar story of a lonely and disfigured recluse wholives in the dungeon of an opera house. Bored and apparently hardof hearing, the Phantom goes wacko-in-love and kidnaps theravishing – and whiny – Christine. I’ve heard that the Broadwayproduction is lovely, but the filmed version can’t be.Webber-written and Joel Schumacher-directed (“Batman and Robin,””Phone Booth”) is just too foul a combination.

Ladder 49
October 1
John Travolta thrusts his nose in the brown holes of firefighterseverywhere – and thinks we should, too. They’re just so goddamnbrave, those remarkable guys. They’re good ol’ boys, doing adangerous job when no one else will. And between saving lives andbattling fiery infernos, they still find time to be dedicatedfathers and pillars of their community. But sometimes firefightersdie and…okay, John, we believe you. Lay off. I said LAY OFF!