When it comes to Jim Carrey's dramatic roles, there are a few to chose from, but 'The Majestic' tends to land at the bottom of people's lists. To be perfectly fair, the film resembles plenty that came before it with a lot of its ideas, and has been deemed unoriginal by many. But if I'm just recommending a movie based on a performance, for me, this is definitely one of Carrey's best. So, before I get into it, just know that I'm basing this Screening Suggestion more on that than anything else. That said, to be perfectly honest, I do enjoy this for what it is.
Our story takes place back in 1951, and centers on Hollywood screenwriter, Peter Appleton (Carrey), working for HHS Studios. Things are going well for him, overall. He's dating the lovely starlet, Sandra Sinclair (Amanda Detmer), and he premiers his latest film at the Grauman's Chinese Theater on a double-bill with 'The African Queen' (a real-life classic). By the way, his film stars the one and only Bruce Campbell (the actor of the adventure flick is unnamed, but c'mon, it's Bruce Campbell) as Roland the Intrepid Explorer. It's a brief glimpse, but a fun little tidbit for us Campbell fans. Anyway, getting back to the point, it all soon comes to a halt when he's accused of being a Communist due to attending an antiwar meeting in college that he claims he only attended to impress a girl.
This all puts his career on the rocks, leading him to drink some heavy liquid on the rocks, and eventually crash his car into a river with no rocks. He awakens, washed ashore, in a small village that pines for its many lost World War II soldiers. He is found with amnesia, forgetting everything about his past, and is mistaken for one of the town's lost soliders, Luke. Most convinced are Lukes sweetheart, Adele Stanton (Laurie Holden) and father, Harry Trimble (Martin Landau). Will he be able adjust to Luke's former life, convinced that he is Luke? Or will his own former life unexpectedly catch up with him? Easy enough to predict, but it's fun to think of the scenario.
So, you may be wondering where exactly the title comes from. Once Harry takes "Luke" in, he brings him to a run down, abandoned theater that they used to run together before Luke went to war. Much of the film has to do with the restoration of the theater, and bringing back the good old picture show to the town. The whole time as an audience member, you kinda sit there knowing how it's all gonna play out. A Hollywood writer with a well-known film out there, suffering amnesia, helps to open a theater? Bottom line, the film is predictable. It also enjoys manipulating your heart strings, so it's not gonna be for just anyone.
However, it manages to make the Screening Suggestion list mostly based on Carrey giving a good dramatic reading the whole way through. He does a great job here with what he has to work with, and it's kind of a shame no one looks in this direction when it comes to his performances because the rest of the film is okay at best. It's also a good way to see some of Frank Darabont's original dramatic work. He has his share of dramatic adaptations, including 'The Green Mile' and 'The Shawshank Redemption', but if you're curious to see him execute his own dramatic story, it's a good place to look.