your movie sucks-roger ebert

the npr book podcast tells me that this guy has a forthcoming memoir. to prepare for it, i thought i would check out this (second) collection of scathing reviews. that, and it’s a continual dedication to the craft. although he hates on some of my personal faves (connie and carla, d.e.b.s., pootie tangsadatay, and saving silvermanca-KAW), we both like jennifer lopez as an actrice and booty call.

we may have differing views on john waters‘ films, but i believe we feel the same way about him as a man:

“My best guess is that John Waters produced the talent shows in his high school. There’s always been something cheerfully amateurish about  his more personal films-a feeling that he and his friends have dreamed up a series of skits while hanging out together. Cecil B. Demented takes this tendency to an almost unwatchable extreme, in a home movie that’s like a bunch of kids goofing off.” (43)

“There will however always be a (small) corner of my heart filled with admiration for John Waters. He is an anarchist in an age of the cautious, an independent in an age of studio creatures, a man whose films are homemade and contain no chemicals or preservatives. Even with Cecil B. Demented, which fails on just about every level, you’ve got to hand it to him: The idea for a film is kind of inspired. When this kid gets out of high school he’s going to amount to something. You wait and see.” (45)

see you at the CHFA this weekend, toronto.


3 thoughts on “your movie sucks-roger ebert

  1. t-dot, chicago:

    “Which is my cue to tell you that Zooey Deschanel on this same weekend is opening in two movies; in this one she plays an airhead who saves the life of a mockingbird, and in the other one, /Winter Passing/, she plays an alcoholic address who drowns her cat, which is dying from leukemia. It’s an impressive stretch, like simultaneously playing Lady Macbeth and judging /American Idol/. Deschanel is actually very good in /Winter Passing/ and fairly good in /Failure to Launch/. You know the joke about how polite Canadians are. If a movie is great they say it’s ‘very good’, and if a movie is terrible, they say it’s ‘fairly good’.” (97)

    “Many years ago, surrealism was new, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali made a film so shocking that Bunuel filled his pockets with stones to throw at the audience if it attacked him. Green, whose film is in the surrealist tradition, may want to consider the same tactic. The day may come when /Freddy Got Fingered/ is seen as a milestone of neosurrealism. The day may never come when it is seen as funny.” (111)

    “He plays a radio talk show host in Chicago (i.e., Toronto with CTA buses), who offers late-night advice to the sexually challenged.” (170)

    “Call it what you will, it has the Toronto skyline. Toronto played Chicago in /Chicago/ and now it plays Raccoon City. Some you win, some you lose.” (240)

  2. this film has not been rated (dope documentary):

    “All of this is a setup for a child-in-terror movie, in which a child is the eyewitness to a brutal murder and the incineration of the body. Then the kid sees his father hammered to within an inch of his life, his mother beaten until she has a miscarriage, and himself as the unwitting cause of an electrocution. I mention these details as a way of explaining why the flywheels at the MPAA Ratings Board gave the movie a PG-13 rating. Certainly it doesn’t deserve an R, like /Amelie/ or /Waking Life/. (78)

    “/Note/: I imagine the flywheels at the MPAA congratulating each other on a good day’s work as they rated /Half Past Dead/ PG-13, after giving the antigun movie /Bowling for Columbine/ an R.” (128)

  3. strombo told us, “don’t assume you’re smarter than your audience, but assume they’re as smart as you.” it’s not too much to expect people to do some work. this works both ways. the first quote in this block epitomizes my attitude towards reviews, and thus, why i’m not really interested in them anymore.

    “When I am asked, all too frequently, if I really sit all the way through these movies, my answer is inevitably: Yes, because I want to write the review.” (intro)

    “August 29, 2004-Vincent Gallo and I have a history. In May 2003, I called his /Brown Bunny/ the worst film in the history of the Cannes Film Festival. Then he put a hex on me to give me colon cancer. Now we’re about to meet for the first time.” (xviii)

    “Later, you ask what the filmmakers had in mind. They are French, and so we know some kind of ideology and rationalization must lurk beneath the blood and semen.” (17)

    “If I were to see it again and again, I might be able to extract an underlying logic from it, but the problem is, when a movie’s not worth seeing twice, it had better get the job done the first time through.” (20)

    “/Battlefield Earth/ is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way.” (21)

    “The gays protesting the movie say it deals in stereotypes. So it does but then again, so does the annual gay parade, and so do many gay nightclubs, where role-playing is part of the scene.” (35)

    “And you can’t always support yourself by tips on Karaoke Night. When the girls sing in a karaoke contest, a three-gallon jug is filled with bills, which, after they’re piled in stacks on the bar, are enough to pay for the car repairs and the rest of the trip. Uh, huh. Curious about that karaoke bar. It has a position on the stage with an underlight and one of those poles that strippers twine around. You don’t see those much in karaoke clubs.” (64)
    “Apart from what the movie says, which is shallow and questionable, there is the problem of how it says it. The style is so labored and obvious that with all the goodwill in the world you cannot care what happens next.” (67)

    “/Dirty Love/ wasn’t written and directed; it was committed. Here is a film so pitiful it doesn’t rise to the level of badness. It is hopelessly incompetent.” (72)
    “I’m a science fiction fan from way back. I go to Mars, I expect to see it. Watching /Doom/ is like visiting Vegas and never leaving your hotel room.” (79)

    “You can get the rug jerked out from under you only so many times before you realize the movie has the attention span of a gnat, and thinks you do, too.” (81)

    “The movie’s attitudes seem so dated, indeed, that when I saw a computer screen, it came as a shock: The movie’s period feels as much pre-desktop as it does pre-taste.” (82)

    “The movie stars Johnny Knoxville, from /Jackass/, Seann William Scott, from /American Wedding/, and Jessica Simpson, from Mars. Judging by her recent conversation on TV with Dean Richards, Simpson is so remarkably uninformed that she should sue the public schools of Abilene, Texas, or maybe they should sue her. On the day he won his seventh Tour de France, not many people could say, as she did, that they had no idea who Lance Armstrong was.” (87)

    “There is a scene in /Full Frontal/ where a character comes to a tragic end while masturbating. that could symbolize the method and fate of this film.” (114)

    “I have always felt it ungenerous to have the answer but wrap it in enigmas. When Woody Guthrie, the great man’s inspiration, sings a song, you know what it is about. Perhaps Dylan’s genius was to take simple ideas and make them impenetrable. Since he cannot really sing, there is the assumption that he cannot be performing to entertain us, and that therefore, there must be a deeper purpose.” (190)

    “Watching /National Lampoon’s Van Wilder/, I grew nostalgic for the lost innocence of a movie like /American Pie/, in which human semen found itself in a pie. In /National Lampoon’s Van Wilder/, dog semen is based in a pastry. Is it only a matter of time until the heroes of teenage gross-out comedies are injecting turtle semen directly through their stomach walls?” (205)

    “The filmmakers seem to have aimed the film at an audience that may not have heard of Pear Harbor or perhaps even of World War II.” (217)

    “There’s no need for me to spoil the plot; as I was saying just the other day about /The Village/, it spoils itself.” (229)

    “I hate it when a movie contains its own review.” (233)

    “I’m curious about who would go to see this movie. Obviously moviegoers with a low opinion of their own taste. It’s so obviously what it is that you would require a positive desire to throw away money in order to lose two hours of your life. /Sorority Boys/ will be the worst movie playing in any multiplex in America this weekend, and, yes, I realize /Crossroads/ is still out there.” (277)

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