Reviewing My Childhood Reviews: Lady in the Water (2006)

When I was in early high school/middle school I used to write movie reviews. They were terrible. I was so dumb. In an effort to squeeze a laugh or two out of you, I’ve decided to humiliate myself thoroughly by sharing an old review as well as my review of that review, every Wednesday.

This week, let’s explore my tone-deaf take on M. Night Shyamalan‘s horrifically awful mystical swimming pool fairy tale, Lady in the Water, written in 2006 (age 16).

My 2006 Review (Age 16):

In my personal belief, Lady in the Water, M. Night Shyamalan‘s latest picture is being battered and abused by film critics for no reason. Reading their reviews, they seem to attack Shyamalan more than the film itself. That is wrong, that the critics are being so personal and nasty about it. The fact is critics don’t like M. Night Shyamalan because they don’t like his storytelling technique, a very original and innovative one if you ask me.

If I could impart anything to you it is to NOT listen to the critics when they blast this film. It’s entertaining, nicely put-together, not full of holes with great acting, directing and writing. There’s really nothing to complain about in my opinion.

Paul Giamatti is remarkable as Cleveland Heep, the caretaker of a motel where the ‘lady’ is spotted swimming in the pool. I can’t imagine anyone else bringing as much life, compassion and comedic as well as dramatic value to the character besides the incredibly talented Giamatti. Bryce Dallas Howard is probably the weakest link of the cast, but the supporting players including Jeffery Wright (Angels in America), Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under), Jared Harris (Happiness), Bob Balaban (Waiting For Guffman), Bill Irwin (Broadway’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) and most surprisingly M. Night Shyamalan more than make up for Howard‘s shortcomings.

M. Night Shyamalan masterfully directs this flick, and although it makes some huge leaps with the writing, it’s constantly entertaining, and let’s face facts, it’s a freakin’ fantasy movie! A movie that features plant-backed werewolves and tree monkeys doesn’t have to be plausible! This installment may disappoint because it doesn’t have a twist ending, but if you ask me, I felt the ending was compelling enough without a twist. Again, don’t listen to the critics when they call this film a ‘flop’ because it’s not. Although it’s not quite as good as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs or The Village, it’s a very well-crafted film by one of America’s most intriguing new filmmakers, M. Night Shyamalan.

Grade: B+ (screened at AMC Desert Ridge 18, Scottsdale, AZ, 7/22/06)

my ratings guide – A+ (absolutley flawless); A (a masterpiece, near-perfect); A- (excellent); B+ (great); B (very good); B- (good); C+ (a mixed bag); C (average); C- (disappointing); D+ (bad); D (very bad); D- (absolutley horrendous); F (not one redeeming quality in this hunk of Hollywood feces).

My 2020 Assessment:

What an idiot.

“DON’T LISTEN TO THE CRITICS! THEY PERSONALLY HATE M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN FOR BEING GOOD!” I’m basically yelling “fake news” in every paragraph.

God, I was such a cuck fucker.

I’m so defensive in this review.

Critics obviously don’t have a personal vendetta against Shyamalan, Michael, they have a problem with his filmmaking.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you how innovative Shyamalan‘s storytelling technique is.

(Left to right) BOB BALABAN as Harry Farber, PAUL GIAMATTI as Cleveland Heep and CINDY CHEUNG as Young-Soon Choi in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ and Legendary PicturesÕ ÒLady In The Water,Ó distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film also stars Bryce Dallas Howard. PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION.

Cleveland Heep? What the fuck kind of character name is that? Sounds like a custodian on The Simpsons.

One thing that has held up is the constant shitting on Bryce Dallas Howard, even high school me could see it.

Also, Michael, it’s not surprising M. Night Shyamalan is in this, he has a cameo in all of his movies!

Kudos on covering a lot of ground in your review, Michael.

I’m giving the screenplay a pass because it’s “freaking fantasy”? What a slap in the face to every poignant sci-fi script.

What the hell are plant-backed werewolves? Tree monkeys? Aren’t all monkeys in trees?

I love how this review ends with both strongly recommending the movie while pointing out that every other film Shyamalan has made was better.

Michael you liked The Village more than a movie you gave a B+ to? You gave The Village an A-. MICHAEL!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!?!?!

Your ratings system makes no sense. What’s the difference between “excellent” (A-) and “great” (B+)?

Feces. Good one, Michael.

Grade: D+

NEW YORK – JULY 17: Actress Bryce Dallas Howard arrives for the premiere of “Lady In The Water” at the American Museum of Natural History on July 17, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

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