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The Paperboy More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

VERY disturbing

Author: bianca_man from Ohio, USA
22 March 2013

WARNING! DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE! The movie was very obscene and disturbing. It was all just rape, murder, and racism. It is pretty rare for such great actors to play in such a bad movie, but this was definitely one of those cases. I don't recommend watching it; you'll just lose 2 hours of your life. I don't usually regret anything, but I do regret watching this movie. I'm writing this review to warn you before you watch it. I know I wish somebody warned me before.. But everybody to his taste; some of you might consider this interesting, some of you might like violent movies-for whatever reason-but there really are LOTS of disturbing scene, most of the movie is, really. At the end of the movie, my first thought was " I REALLY hate that movie.", followed by " This movie makes me lose faith in humanity.." and "My stomach is kinda upset now". The trailer of the movie was OK-that's how I got to watch it in the first place-but now that I take a second look and read the comments too, I realize that I could have done a little research before that and spared myself some time.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Raunchy vs Gritty

Author: Pat Bonsall from Florida
27 January 2013

From the trailers, I sexual references and some gritty scenes. What I got was something Nicole Kidman should be embarrassed to admit she was in, I'll never look at Matthew McConnohy? the same way. They definitely delved deep into white trash in south Florida in the 1970's. The racial tension that existed in that time was hinted at, but one never really got a sense of what it was really like. Zac Effron's character seemed totally out of place, like a good boy lost and confused by filth. Maybe that was intentional, but it was more unreasonable in the facts of the story than believable. Kidman's acting may have been good, but how hard it is to act like a slut and pretend orgasms? John Cusack was the only character who really played out of type and convincingly as that truly strange Okochobee swamp living psychopath. The ending was expected and sadly, I wasn't disappointed in the characters' outcomes.

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13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

One of the 2 WORST Movies I've ever seen!

Author: hugh-584-419666 from United States
17 January 2013

Pointless - deliberately shocking and senseless. The vulgarity was inane. Whoever wrote this is in a very dark place. Careers can be made by one great role (Pacino as Michael Corleone). Careers have been ruined in the same manner. Kidman, McConaughey, and Cusack have deteriorated to porn star level. We watched the movie because of past film performances of these actors. They are now on our DO NOT WATCH list. We could never watch another film of theirs and not think of this disgrace. No doubt this film was made for its shock and sex value. Artistically it equals the efforts of junior high school. If it was supposed to be an attack on Southerns, it missed its mark. "The Help" accurately portrayed the Southern temperature - not this tripe. Hollywood has sunk to a "disturbing place".

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Eclectic, Eccentric, Bizarrely Entertaining

Author: opieandy-1 from United States
20 September 2016

Set in south Florida in 1969, this movie had immediate appeal to me with the time and place factor. I am fascinated by America's evolving attitudes during my formative years, when I was far too young to be aware of significant trends and America's evolving culture. Fashion, social attitudes, and the trappings of everyday life in the late 60s, on the heels of America's coming out party for the youth / mod / hippie / drug culture movement, set the tone for the flick. This paradigm was juxtaposed against traditional southern attitudes, although those attitudes were moderated somewhat by the older southerners being associated with the journalism industry or being originally from the north.

The story lazily evolves and you will need to appreciate subtlety, nuance, and the environmental factors I noted above. If you are bored by moderately paced movies, this one may not be for you. I found the pacing to be just sufficient to hold my interest. Attitudes toward sex, race and youth intertwined with a mystery that, while short of fascinating, was just compelling enough to make me appreciate the movie's ending. My rating is based more on the appeal of the actors and the setting than the plot.

The movie has one of the most interesting and surreal scenes I've seen in awhile, especially since it is in striking contrast to the rest of the movie.

SPOILER ALERT: do not read this paragraph if you don't want the details of the shocking scene I just referenced.

In a scene out of Basic Instinct, Nicole Kidman, visiting John Cusack in prison (and accompanied by three other men), sits across from Cusack, separated by maybe 8-10 feet, having been instructed not to have any physical contact with the prisoner. They have been pen pals for awhile and Kidman is planning to marry Cusack, but has never met him to now. Cusack, who is reminiscent of Robert DeNiro in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear in how he seems to have a bit of a hold over Kidman, tells Kidman, who is wearing a short dress, to spread her legs, and then to rip her pantyhose. She proceeds to moan, writhe, and gasp lustily as Cusack squirms in his chair, eventually climaxing in this very steamy scene, while the other three men squirm a little themselves, clearly uncomfortable but also undoubtedly fascinated.


About my reviews: I do not offer a synopsis of the film -- you can get that anywhere and that does not constitute a meaningful review -- but rather my thoughts and feelings on the film that hopefully will be informative to you in deciding whether to invest 90-180 minutes of your life on it.

My scale: 1-5 decreasing degrees of "terrible", with 5 being "mediocre" 6- OK. Generally held my interest OR had reasonable cast and/or cinematography, might watch it again 7 - Good. My default rating for a movie I liked enough to watch again, but didn't rise to the upper echelons 8- Very Good. Would watch again and recommend to others 9- Outstanding. Would watch over and over; top 10% of my ratings 10 - A Classic. (Less than 2% receive this rating)

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They should have called it Repulsion II

Author: Roedy Green from Victoria, BC. Canada
13 September 2016

I thought the paperboy would be a steamy story about some southern temptress seducing the paper boy. But it is quite different. Paperboy means somebody who handles the details of legal papers.

It took several days to watch this film. I had to keep stopping it because it grossed me out so much. The director is like a little boy who enjoys hacking the heads off rats to shock his viewers.

The characters are repulsive, alcoholic and trashy. Kidman plays a bleach blond gum-chewing aging bimbo. Every time I saw her, I would feel nauseous.

Some of the scenes that catch you unawares and punch you in the gut include: 1. a rape that goes on forever 2. guts spilling out of an alligator 3. a bloody throat slitting for no apparent reason. 4. a gay S&M scene gone wrong, almost killing a participant. He is so beaten and bloodied you cannot tell who it is. 5. a masturbation scene in a jail where a woman ripped her panties to let an inmate look at her vagina, while others look on not knowing what to do. 6. people being unbelievably rude to each other.

Between these electric shocks the movie meanders around like your parent's super 8 movies.

Everything is dirty, smelly, mouldy. You just want to get away and get a shower.

The protagonists are so repulsive, there is no sadness when two of them are murdered.

There is only one tolerable character, played by Zac Efron. He is besotted by an utterly trashy woman 20 years his senior. The relationship makes no sense which the object of his desire has the sense to notice. It is revolting like everything else in the movie.

I don't see the point of this movie. We don't even get any feel for what motivates the characters.

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Probably a good book, but not a good film

Author: Shazam-O from Canada
13 September 2016

The film is visually appealing, most of it anyways.

The cast is--or at least should be--great. It's not like there's anything wrong with anyone's performance, it's just the script doesn't allow for them to be great.

It's evident The Paperboy is adapted from a novel. The film starts out at a nice pace and then seems to flip through a bunch of pages, that were perhaps covering some background on the characters, setting, etc. It then catches its breath, but just for moment, before jumping forward again. It then seems to skip an entire chapter or two, giving a critical juncture about 3 seconds of screen time.

Peter Dexter (author) and Lee Daniels (director) share the screenplay writing credit. Sometimes the originals authors are the worst choice to adapt their work. Who knows, but Daniels as writer and director is the only one to blame for this mess.

The end result is a disconnected shambles, a wasted opportunity of what could have been a great film.

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The Paperboy places it's stellar cast in a messy, uninspiring showcase

Author: Screen_Blitz from United States
20 July 2016

Upon watching this sordid dark comedy, it is quite difficult to comprehend where director Lee Daniels' ambition for the film flew off. From his highly acclaimed efforts in the 2009 picture 'Precious', you would expect Daniels to uproot something with powerful cinematic efforts, especially for an A-list cast starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, and John Cusask. Compared to the aforementioned film, this one feels like a harsh chore to sit through, particularly for those who grow uncomfortable with sweaty Florida natives with a thirst of sex and intimacy or gross-out imagery. There is one scene of a character getting urinated on, another scene of a man eviscerating an alligator, the list goes on. This is film is set in the late 1960s in Moat county, Florida. Zac Efron plays Jack Wansen, an aimless young man in his early twenties who is taken care by his old house wife Anita Chester (played by Madi Gray) after he's expelled from college for a reckless stunt. His mother is dead, and his stepfather is residing away in Arizona, and worse he's got nothing go on in his life other than delivering the morning newspaper. This is until his older brother Ward (played by Matthew McConaughey) returns to town to investigate a murder of a local sheriff by a crocodile hunter Hillary Van Wetter (played by John Cusack), hiring Jack and his friend Yardley (played by David Oyelowo) in the process. They soon make an unwise choice of trusting local sex junkie Charlett Bless (played by Nicole Kidman) who happens to be dating the convict. As they dive deeper into the case, violence and sexual tensions unexpectedly arise between the four.

The plot of the film already sordid enough, but with powerful directorial efforts by Lee Daniels the concept could have worked. Unfortunately, it becomes soiled with a messy direction and a vastly uninspiring script by Peter Dexter, all of which results in a 107 minutes of tedium. The plot fails to be interesting or thoughtful in anyway, and this much is due to the soulless (sometimes bizarre) execution it endures. Not only does it suffer from a lack of emotional investment, it is very uneven to the point of reassembling a collection of short films put together than one with a coherent plot. While the premise does an okay job at setting up the story, the plot development stops not long before then. There are definitely some moments destined to shock or disgust such as a "sexually-charged interrogation scene with John Cusack in the jailhouse or the aforementioned urination scene on the beach, but nothing to amuse or leave an emotional impact. The performances may be the only aspect that keep the film from hitting ground zero. Matthew McConaughey is somewhat compelling in his role as the main character's older brother. Nicole Kidman delivers a off-putting vibe as the horny sex addict who adds some slight comic relief to the inane plot. Maci Gray does a fine job as the narrator as well as a supporting character who shares only a handful of screen time. The rest of the cast including Zac Efron, David Oyelowo, and John Cusack aren't bad but there characters are so one-dimensional they are given little to work with. By the end, it is hard to identify any memorable characters.

The Paperboy is a botched cinematic piece with no substance and very redeeming value to offer. From the disappointing execution, to the mundane screenplay, to the overall soiled direction, the film leads vet little to be desired. The result is an forgettable picture that fails on nearly every level.

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Over the top and dragged on

Author: Floated2
21 June 2016

The Paperboy is a crime history drama film set in the early '60s. Starring Zac Efron as Jack, a young South Florida man whose father is the editor of the local paper. Jack lazes away most days, forever sparring in a loving, maternal way with the family's maid Anita, played well by pop star Macy Gray. His big brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey), an investigative journalist, returns to their small town with his African-American friend (David Oyelowo) to look into the case of Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), who was convicted of killing a vicious local sheriff.

Director Lee Daniels shoots the film in a style that is quite gritty, and more so independently, but in truth could best be described as grubby or even scuzzy. That's intentional since he wants to make you feel the heat and the smeared emotions of the characters. The film is more centered not for everyone, and not for mainly the mainstream. The film does have quite a flawed storyline pace and is quite boring after a while. Overall, The Paperboy is quite over the top with over the top performances and the ending is not quite fitting.

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About as Subtle as a Nuclear War

Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
24 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Paperboy" deals with that classical Hollywood theme, the fight to prove a man's innocence. Like a number of other films on this subject, such as "Intruder in the Dust" and "To Kill a Mockingbird", it is set in the Deep South, in this case Florida in the year 1969. Unlike those two films, however, the accused man is white. Hillary Van Wetter, a poor- white-trash swamp dweller, has been convicted of the murder of the local sheriff, Thurmond Call. Van Wetter certainly had a motive- Call, whose methods of law enforcement were to say the least uncompromising, had earlier been responsible for the death of Van Wetter's cousin- but Ward Jansen, an idealistic journalist, believes the evidence unsatisfactory and begins a campaign to prove his innocence.

Jansen is assisted by his black colleague Yardley Acheman, his younger brother Jack and an eccentric woman named Charlotte Bless who makes a hobby of writing to convicted prisoners and has fallen in love with her pen-pal Van Wetter despite never having met him. Ward and Yardley are reluctant to have Charlotte on their team- she strikes them as mentally unbalanced- but need her assistance as only she can persuade Van Wetter to cooperate with them. (He has fallen, if not in love, then at least in lust with the attractive Charlotte). A further complication arises when Jack also falls for Charlotte.

The accused in "Intruder in the Dust" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" were both quite clearly innocent. In "Just Cause", another Florida-set drama about the death penalty, we initially believe that the accused is the innocent victim of a miscarriage of justice but a sudden plot twist makes it clear that he is actually guilty. In "The Paperboy" the question of whether or not Van Wetter is guilty of the murder of Sheriff Call is always left ambiguous. Nevertheless, even if he is innocent of this particular crime we are never left in much doubt that he is a nasty piece of work, capable of extreme violence. Mind you, his self-appointed defence team are hiding a few secrets themselves. Charlotte is just as mad as Ward and Yardley believe her. Ward himself is a closeted homosexual, at a time when this would have been neither socially nor legally acceptable in most American states. Yardley, who is black, has been posing as an Englishman but later confesses that he is a local man, claiming that Floridians are more likely to accept a black man who "sounds like James Bond". Actually, Yardley's fruity upper-class English accent does not sound much like either Sean Connery (Scottish) or George Lazenby (Australian), who were the only two actors to have played Bond at the time the film is set. He sounds rather more like Roger Moore, but Moore's first outing as Bond was not to be until 1973.

"Intruder in the Dust" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" were both made from a clear liberal political position. "Just Cause" seems to start out from a liberal position and then to shift to a conservative one, but this is probably inadvertent, the result of a too-clever scriptwriter not appreciating the effect of his too-clever plot twist. "The Paperboy" also seems to shift from liberalism towards conservatism; the ending, in which Van Wetter murders two of the people who have helped to save his life, attempts to murder a third and ends up in the electric chair, seems like a redneck conservative's wish-fulfilment fantasy about interfering liberal do-gooders getting their just deserts. I suspect, however, that this ending may have been intended as black irony rather than as a rare attempt by Hollywood to proselytise on behalf of the Tea Party.

"The Paperboy" is not a subtle film. It's about as subtle as a nuclear war, an over-the-top slice of deliriously melodramatic Southern Gothic which combines gory horror with what the TV announcer coyly referred to as "scenes of a sexual nature". It's not a film which should be watched by those of a nervous, squeamish, prudish or Puritanical disposition.

That doesn't necessarily mean it's a film which should not be watched by anybody. Those with strong stomachs may well find something to enjoy, such as the performance of Nicole Kidman. The lovely Nicole received an unusual award nomination from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, namely "Actress Most in Need of a New Agent". Now I've often thought myself that Nicole desperately needs a new agent, generally after seeing her in rubbish like "Moulin Rouge", "Practical Magic" or the remade "Stepford Wives". Yet even though a depressingly large part of her output consists of unfunny comedies or formulaic thrillers, she is at least not afraid to tackle something challenging or different when she gets the chance, and few roles could be more challenging than Charlotte, who manages to be completely bonkers and yet desirable enough to enrapture a handsome young man considerably younger than her. There are other good contributions from Matthew McConaughey as the tormented Ward and John Cusack as the viciously feral Van Wetten. The film is strong meat, but it may be something of an acquired taste. 6/10

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"Anyhoo, I think y'all seen enough"

Author: doug_park2001 from United States
24 April 2013

Director Lee Daniels is known for 2009's PRECIOUS, a much better film that evokes the same sort of grittily maudlin mood that this one does, only in New York City, using mostly African American characters.

THE PAPERBOY does have two major redeeming virtues:

1. Maid Anita Chester (Macy Gray)'s narration, character, and interactions with Zac Efron (Jack Jansen);

2. The big ironic twist at the end after a patchy, meandering storyline.

The blurbs on the DVD box rave about what an outrageously different film this is, but I fail to see what they mean. It's just another "noir" piece that seems to be satirizing something--I'm not sure what. It's often funny in the usual dark, gross noir way, but usually more of a guffaw than lol sort of humor. The middle portions remind me of KILLER JOE, another film where McConaughey co-stars; however, KILLER JOE fans may be disappointed because THE PAPERBOY does not descend to the depths of utter tasteless nihilism that the earlier film did. The role that McConaughey plays here, btw, is a something of a departure from his usual roles.

All's well that ends well, I suppose.

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