How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Director: Ron Howard
Year Released: 2000
Rating: 1.5

The Grinch (Jim Carrey), a hairy green pariah who detests merriment (and lives in a cave with his dog Max), sets out to ruin the holiday festivities of nearby Whoville, first by burning down their Christmas Tree and later by stealing their presents ... although there is one little girl in the town, Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen, who grew up to become a rock goddess), that believes he can't be as evil as everyone thinks (and turns into something of a detective to research his past).  The original children's book by Dr. Seuss - about rejecting material possessions - remains a classic, but this doesn't do it any favors: Howard's direction is obnoxious (what's with the Dutch angles and extreme close-ups?) and Carrey's incessant mugging is very hard to take ... but he does sneak in a few decent one-liners, mostly for the adults watching.  In an interview on The Graham Norton Show, Carrey admitted the process of putting on all that makeup was "like being buried alive" and he wanted to walk away from the project, so producer Brian Grazer brought in "a gentleman who is trained to teach CIA operatives how to endure torture" to get him through it ... by chain-smoking, eating everything in sight and punching himself in the leg.