Reviews written by registered user
|17 reviews in total|
I knew the back story to "Queen of Versailles" before I saw it, but I
wasn't prepared for the extreme revulsion I felt for these characters,
particularly David Segal. These folks are poster children for the worst
extremes of our materialistic, narcissistic culture. Their values are
money, ostentation, self-aggrandizement, acquisition and mindless
hedonism. They are venomous leeches on society.
Yet I felt pity for them as well, particularly Jackie. She's something of an enigma. She boasts about getting an engineering degree so she wouldn't have to work as someone's assistant, yet she mostly devotes herself to keeping young-looking and voluptuous (those breasts of hers deserve some sort of special effects award) so she can snag and keep a rich hubby. As her world starts to fall apart around her, she begins to have some insights about what life is really about (not building the world's biggest house), yet still can't abandon her out-of-control shopping sprees or torturous visits to the beauty clinic.
The children, also, seem to be far more aware than their parents of the emptiness and ridiculousness of their lifestyle.
Fortunately, I saw very little of myself in this abhorrent couple, but I did see some similarities to friends and family. Everyone is susceptible to greed and an inflated sense of self. This film shows what happens when that proceeds unchecked and fueled by obscene wealth.
Okay -- terrible movie, horrible concept, inept concept, blah blah blah -- but this piece of garbage does have at least one raison d'etre for those of us who are into the masculine form. Leading man Brad Harris indulges in a blatantly homoerotic river bath about halfway through the flick, with the camera lovingly gliding over his sculptured body. His post-gladiator movies (mostly pathetic German 007 rip-offs) always featured an excuse for him to strip down, and this turkey is no exception. For lovers of softcore beefcake porn, this is almost (but not quite) worth the price of admission! But you can stop watching after that point.
I went into "Catch Us If You Can" expecting a pallid DC5 rip-off of "A
Hard Days Night." Well, it is that all right, but director John Boorman
also reaches for something more by abruptly separating the two main
stars (Dave Clark inexplicably named 'Steve' -- and sunny Barbara
Ferris) from the madcap Swinging London antics and plunging them into a
existential search for meaning in a superficial world obsessed with
celebrity. So there are lots of brooding looks on the part of 'Steve'
and shallow ruminations on the pressures of fame from Ferris. On their
journey they meet a pack of drugged-out hippies squatting in a military
bombing site, a disaffected upper-class couple who adopt the pair as a
sort of kinky project, and a man who operates a Western dude ranch in
To satisfy what few remaining DC5 fans were coerced into seeing this film, the rest of the rock group is brought in at intervals to dance and leap about. But their presence is never really explained. They're not portrayed as a rock group (their songs are heard on the soundtrack but no musical instruments are in evidence) but as 'stunt boys' who all live together in what appears to be a refurbished church/gym. There's a definite homoerotic tone as they shower and work out and eat breakfast together.
Oh, and there's also a subplot on the cynical nature of advertising involving Ferris' managers and his ad agency cohorts. The whole thing comes off as something of a mess, albeit a watchable one, with bleak shots of the wintry English countryside and 1960s London. A definite curiosity.
Whoever enticed Doris Day to squander her talents in this unbelievable bilge should be burned at the stake -- or, perhaps, forced to watch this film endlessly. Not only is our Doris asked to play a goofy airhead 20 years younger than her actual age, but she has to utter the worst dialog ever written in between achingly unfunny slapstick scenes. I knew going into this that it would be a bad 60s comedy, but I had no idea what I was in for. Even seeing Paul Lynde in drag was a sad case of too little too late. The only worthwhile moment comes in the film's first three minutes, when Rod Taylor -- in his hunky prime -- fishes shirtless on his boat. Yum! They should have ended the film right there.
I finally caught up with this. . .ummm, "film". . .not realizing it
occupied the Number One spot on the IMDb Bottom 100. Subsequently
discovering that fact did not surprise me in the least. This movie is
not just bad, it's astoundingly bad. Everything about it, and I mean
everything, from the wholly inappropriate soundtrack and pathetic sets
to the leaden-paced direction and bizarre "plot", is about as inept as
could be. Yet somehow it actually seems to be a sincere attempt at
making a serious thriller! Equally surprising is that this appears to
have been created by (apparently) functioning adults and not a group of
10-year-olds who have been given a camera and some cheesy costumes. The
tired phrase, "What could they have been thinking?" only begins to
express one's incredulity. Most people view this in its MST3K version,
which is probably the only way to view it without sustaining serious
injury from having your jaw drop onto the floor.
To have to award this "film" even 1 star is giving it WAY too much credit. Even the most boring family's camcorder footage of their last vacation to the Poconos would put this to shame.
This documentary about a gay porn star's quest to embark on a singing career has surprisingly more depth than I was expecting. Actually, I'm not sure what I was expecting other than a few gratuitous shots of star Colton Ford's body (check) and some insights into the "private" life of a male porn star (check). I was not expecting to have much sympathy for a forty-ish gay man, who has enjoyed fame on what has to be one of the lowest rungs of the celebrity ladder, believing he has any chance of success in the youth-obsessed, very heterosexual world of pop music. Yet Ford's naiveté, at first sad, ultimately comes across as somewhat charming as he chooses dance music as his genre. Never mind that the only "stars" in that field are black female divas, and even they only enjoy a level of fame just a notch above that of a gay male porn star. Ford would have been much better off choosing to be a rock or cabaret singer. But he soldiers on, supported by an apparently devoted partner (fellow porn star Blake Harper) and amazingly understanding parents, and despite the pale efforts of his pathetic "manager". As a documentary, "Naked Fame" won't make Errol Morris shake in his boots, but it's certainly an interesting glimpse of ordinary people trying to cope in a surreal profession.
Films such as "Dear Frankie" -- a touching and achingly real portrait of the overwhelming need for family connections and love -- are much too rare in these days of homogenized, formulaic pap. Nearly every element is perfect. The direction is sure-footed and nearly poetic in its choices, and the performances are unilaterally brilliant. It left me with a strange combination of sadness and happiness, much like life itself usually does. The ending might be a bit too tidy for some, given the unusual course of most of the film up to that point, but it all works. See this film if you need an reminder of the miracles and tragedies people can bestow on one another.
When I turned 16 or so and began to develop a mature sense of aesthetics, the films of Jerry Lewis became anathema to me. Suddenly I couldn't stand him, and that culturally elitist attitude has persisted to the present day. Yet when asked which of the films I've ever seen are the funniest, I have to mention this one. I don't remember much about it -- I saw it in a drive-in on a misty night in 1963 when I was 12 -- but I still recall the scene in the appliance department of the store, with the vacuum cleaner sucking up everything in sight. I don't think I have laughed that hard since -- it's amazing I survived to see the age of 13!
"Crash" examines the racism in our society that is always there beneath the surface, yet boils to the top in moments of stress and pressure. It has an at times too-clever interlocking- stories structure that, while showing our interconnectedness as individuals, does occasionally come across as too contrived and pat. Yet so much about this film is wonderful. The performances are superb -- Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton and Ryan Phillippe (of all people) stand out, yet really everyone is good. And the "message" of the film, which some may say is a bit heavy-handed, is valid and uplifting: that ultimately our salvation lies in our humanity and getting to know one another beyond just the surface stereotypes.
This film holds a legendary place in my memory and that of friends I worked with at a movie theater in the early 1970s. I doubt whether any of us can recall exactly what this movie is about. I only know that, at the time, we considered this the worst movie we'd ever seen. We'd be amused by the stream of patrons leaving the theater midway into the film, bewildered and appalled. I recall the writing, directing, acting and everything else were all horrible. Even today we use this an example of the worst a film can possibly be. Not that it's likely this will surface anywhere where people could see it, but if you find it -- be warned!
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