It's Friday. Break out the popcorn and let's watch the first Civil Warlike film of the Christmas season:

Hokey and predictable, The Last Samurai is unlikely to garner the ringing endorsements accorded a more novel exercise in martial derring-do, Master and Commander. The least one can say for this costume action flick is that it hits bottom immediately. - Village Voice

Despite its aura of sensitivity and intelligence, why does The Last Samurai feel so fake? - NY Press

Those are the kind of jaded comments we'd expect from seen-it-all New York critics. Let's go to the Midwest and eavesdrop on some fun-loving college students:

Tom Cruise plays a Civil War veteran who decides for some reason to go to Japan and show their army how to use guns, or something like that. And as such, expect to see lots of montages of Cruise showing ninjas how to aim a musket juxtaposed with footage of the star of “Days of Thunder” slowly wielding a sword in front of a sunset as Japanese-sounding music plays.

If you find Cruise to not be a believable Civil War veteran, let alone a Civil War veteran turned ninja, there’s still a way for you to enjoy this movie: don’t ever see it or think about it.

Rating: I’d rather be escorted to the Tunnel of Love by Michael Jackson with a bottle of chloroform than watch this movie.

Thanks, Chris Becker. I'll make other plans.