Rex Reed Poster


Jump to: Overview (1)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (4)  | Personal Quotes (149)

Overview (1)

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Rex was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Louisiana. He became one of the most prolific movie critics in the country, and for decades has written entertainment columns for The New York Observer.

In 1970, Rex made his movie debut, playing Myron in Myra Breckinridge (1970) - Myron was the young man whose post sex-change operation persona was played by Raquel Welch. But Rex's success came in reviewing movies, not starring in them.

Rex currently lives in New York - at the Dakota, one of Manhattan's most expensive and exclusive apartment buildings (John Lennon was shot there). Rex also owns a spread in an elite corner of rural Connecticut, and is a single man-about-town. Movie stars may come and go, but movie reviews by Rex Reed go on forever.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (4)

Arrested for allegedly shoplifting three CDs from a record store in February, 2000.
April 2000: Manhattan Judge Suzanne Mondo dismissed the charges against Rex Reed. That happened with none of the publicity that had surrounded his arrest, regarding 3 CDs worth less than $10.
Member of the jury at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1971
Has maintained a long-time weekend retreat in the secluded, Litchfield County town of Roxbury, Connecticut where his neighbors have included Arthur Miller, Richard Widmark, Walter Matthau and Alexander Calder. [May 2007]

Personal Quotes (149)

[on the difficulties of making Myra Breckinridge (1970)] Mae West spoke to no one but God, Raquel [Raquel Welch] spoke only to the head of the studio, the head of the studio spoke only to God, who then related the message back to Mae West.
[on Myra Breckinridge (1970) in which he made his acting debut] It was so disappointing to me and it was so disappointing to Raquel [Welch]. And Mae West didn't care what happened as long as she got her song.
[on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)] The most disturbing movie I have ever seen.
[on Marlon Brando] Most of the time he sounds like he has a mouth full of wet toilet paper.
[on Vanilla Sky (2001)] A good example of what self-destructive cinematic havoc can be wrought by handing over millions of dollars to movie stars to produce their own ego trips.
[on Van Helsing (2004)] This moronic abomination is not a movie. It's just a noisy, nasty and repulsive video game/theme-park haunted-house ride designed to appeal to the offspring of warlocks and trolls.
Hollywood cannot pollute the ozone with anything more idiotic, contrived, amateurish or sub-mental than Lady in the Water (2006). This piece of pretentious, paralyzing twaddle is the latest in a series of head-scratchers by the incompetent, self-delusional M. Night Shyamalan. Lady in the Water is described by Mr Shyamalan as a 'bedtime story' he told to his kids. Do not even think of repeating it to yours unless you plan to turn them into runaways, orphans or worse.
A Prairie Home Companion (2006) is about as charming as waking up with a dead animal in your bed.
[on Mulholland Drive (2001)] A load of moronic and incoherent garbage.
[on Never Again (2001)] I don't think the proper alternative to bad movies about teenagers trying to get laid is more bad movies about middle-aged people trying to get laid.
The Prestige (2006) is the biggest pile of incomprehensible gibberish to hit the screen since M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water (2006).
[on The Fountain (2006)] I don't care what a movie is about, but I have one rule that never changes: It has to make sense. This hopeless head trip doesn't make one lick of sense, and it doesn't seem to be about much of anything at all.
[on Seabiscuit (2003)] If you don't go away entertained, informed and sated with satisfaction, you need your pulse checked to see if you still have one.
Dogville (2003) is like climbing the Matterhorn with a cement block tied to your back.
[on De-Lovely (2004)] It is my sad duty to tell you that it is wooden, artificial, contrived, infuriating and as phony as an invitation to bring along a tape recorder to dinner with J.D. Salinger.
The Good German (2006) is as slow as a 90-year-old with gout who has misplaced his walking stick.
[on The Good Shepherd (2006)] In the time it takes Mr Damon's character to find out who the spy is, you could read a book, call your mother, finish your crossword puzzle, do all of your Christmas shopping and pay the first installment on next year's estimated income tax.
[on Spider-Man 3 (2007)] Bloated and stupid, this movie is so bad you can't even review it. Over-produced, over-publicized, over-designed, over-computerised and just plain over the moon, it's so preposterously overwrought there's no entry point for criticism. You just stare at it, as you might a great big exploding pile of cow manure.
Hollywood is where if you don't have happiness, you send out for it.
You know a movie is doomed when the only star in it is Tim Roth. You know it's pretentious when the ads print the logo backward and upside down. Not one word of this bilge makes one lick of sense, and it is two hours and six minutes long. The only way to survive Youth Without Youth (2007) is dead drunk. The least Mr Coppola could do is provide free Cabernet Sauvignon from his own vineyards. One bottle going in, another bottle staggering out.
[on Barbra Streisand] To know her is not necessarily to love her.
Speed Racer (2008) makes you want to never see a movie again as long as you live.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) is a monumental achievement - not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the greatest films ever made.
No matter how bad you think the worst movie ever made was, you have not seen Synecdoche, New York (2008). It sinks to the ultimate bottom of the landfill and the smell threatens to linger from here to infinity. Sometimes the men play women. Sometimes the women play men. Sometimes they all play each other, exchanging faces and identities. Sometimes they're young, other times they're old with gray wigs and waffle chins. What does it mean? I wouldn't tell if I knew. I have no idea whether the director ever found himself or not, but I had no problem finding the exit.
[on Choke (2008)] I don't know what to tell you about a dismal bucket of nauseating swill called Choke, except to warn that if you spend hard-earned money to sit through it, you deserve to do exactly what the title implies. Still nursing nightmares of Hudson Hawk (1991), Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain (2006), and every movie ever written by Charlie Kaufman, I can't exactly call Choke the worst movie ever made, but you get the picture.
[on Shrink (2009)] The director of this fiasco, somebody called Jonas Pate, couldn't direct a dune buggy across the surface of the moon.
As an 18th century rake's progress, Barry Lyndon (1975) catalogues the rise and fall of a likeable scoundrel, liar, cheat and social climber, transporting a viewer into a world of long ago and creating the kind of magic few movies accomplish and few directors attempt in a lifetime. It is a magnificent entertainment, sumptuous, lush, gorgeous and haunting, a classic of inestimable value.
[on Blue Velvet (1986)] One of the sickest films ever made. It should score high with the kind of sickos who like to smell dirty socks and pull the wings off butterflies, but there's nothing here for sane audiences. Dennis Hopper finally goes as berserk on screen as his reputation indicates offscreen. As for the lovely but misguided Isabella Rossellini, all I can say is that her mother, Ingrid Bergman, must be turning in her grave. If she had lived to see her daughter wobbling naked across someone's front lawn covered with teeth bites and cigarette burns, she would probably have made a citizen's arrest.
Blow-Up (1966) could have been an ingenious thriller but it is ruined by Antonioni's inability to tell a story simply or with compassion and by his refusal to use movies as anything but an intellectual device to relieve his own frustrations. Most of the actors seem to have been shoved in front of the camera and told to "do something - anything!". Every time Antonioni's fable almost but not quite makes a point, he clutters the screen with silly sex scenes that are supposed to suggest an interjection of man's desire to relieve himself of responsibility, but they only serve to cheapen his statements. Blowup looks like the work of a man who spends most of his life reading Playboy and never really learning what life is all about.
We all know how rotten today's movies can be, but even at the bottom of the slag pit, you won't find a load of garbage any smellier than From Paris with Love (2010).
[on Inception (2010)] Like other Christopher Nolan head scratchers - the brainless Memento (2000), the perilously inert Insomnia (2002), the contrived illusionist thriller The Prestige (2006), the idiotic Batman Begins (2005) and the mechanical, maniacally baffling and laughably overrated The Dark Knight (2008) - this latest deadly exercise in smart-aleck filmmaking without purpose from Mr Nolan's scrambled eggs for brains makes no sense whatsoever. It's difficult to believe he didn't also write, direct and produce the unthinkable Synecdoche, New York (2008). Inception is the kind of pretentious perplexity in which one or two reels could be mischievously transposed, or even projected backward, and nobody would know the difference.
[on the cast of The Goodbye Girl (1977)] I rarely leave a film wanting to take the people I've just seen home to Mother, but I'd be proud to know everyone in this one.
[on the Costume Design Oscar for Gandhi (1982)] For what? Wrinkled sheets, burlap sacks and loincloths?
[on The Double (2011)] Rarely has Mr Gere walked through any movie with so little energy and so much indifference. I've seen more fervor on the face of a man parking a car.
[on Trespass (2011)] Something strange is happening to Mr Cage's face. His skin is yellow, his cheeks are swollen, and his head is too big for his body. The worst thing that ever happened to Hollywood is the invention of Botox.
[on Melancholia (2011)] What, exactly, is the point? Only the director of a pile of crap that includes Dancer in the Dark (2000) and Antichrist (2009) knows for sure, and even that is severely doubtful. Meanwhile, the critics who fill the quote ads for this dirge with words like "masterpiece" keep me manic with mirth. Wander into this idiocy and by the time it's over, you'll know the meaning of "melancholia" yourself.
The No. 1 movie in America last week was 89 minutes of mindless trash called Kangaroo Jack (2003). Has everyone in this country gone mad? I couldn't find a plot here with a gun to my head. It's 89 minutes of pure agony without a laugh in sight. Kids seem to like the kangaroo in the misleading newspaper ads, but it rarely appears. Talk about false advertising.
[on The Master (2012)] I'm tempted to call it the worst thing I've seen this year, but there are two more coming up - Terrence Malick's dystopic To the Wonder (2012) and a diabolically demented time-travel farce called Cloud Atlas (2012) - that are even worse. I will also refrain from labelling The Master "the worst movie I've ever seen!" because like the proverbial boy who cried wolf, I've blurted that cry of despair so many times, who would believe me? Since it doesn't make one bit of sense - and probably isn't supposed to - there's not much to say about it except... why? It begins with Joaquin Phoenix masturbating and goes steadily downhill from there.
How many ways can a grown person waste valuable time and lose vital IQ points at the same time? If you're a movie critic, the possibilities are unlimited. And they all come together in a new chunk of junk called Identity Thief (2013).
[on Eyes Wide Shut (1999)] Shrouded in a crock of hype, Stanley Kubrick's final film is finally here. It is not the "haunting, final masterpiece" the ads suggest. It is still a crock of hype, but it is also a crock of something else entirely. It's a film made by man who didn't get out much. And what's that nightmarish orgy about? A bunch of masked zombies dancing around to "Strangers in the Night" is about as titillating as a Junior League tea in Greenwich.
Only God Forgives (2013) may not be the worst movie ever made, but it is unquestionably in the top five. In Cannes, one wag described it as "cinematic defecation" in print. I'd like to top that one, but as James Agee used to say, I know when I'm licked.
[on Charlie Countryman (2013)] The most idiotic excess of sex and bloodshed since Only God Forgives (2013). Movies don't get any worse than Charlie Countryman.
[on Oldboy (2003)] What is going on here? Nobody knows. Meanwhile, Dae-su Oh defeats an entire gang of killers with a knife sticking out of his back. He eats a live eel. A severed hand rips out a man's teeth, one by one, with a hammer. Blood flows, there is much vomiting and incest, and more screams than Japanese kabuki. Part kung fu, part revenge theme Charlie Chan murder mystery, part metaphysical Oriental mumbo-jumbo, all of it incomprehensible. I walked out at the point where he grabbed a pair of sharp scissors and cut his tongue off in blood-splattering close-ups.
[on Oldboy (2013)] Garbage never smells good, but you won't find a landfill anywhere more offensive than Spike Lee's stupid remake of Oldboy (2003). This one stinks at 10 below zero.
[on Knight of Cups (2015)] All that is left of Terrence Malick is an ability to assemble casts of A-list names and turn them all into zombies.
[on Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)] A miserable load of deranged, deluded crap.
[on Transcendence (2014)] A pointless nightmare of pretentious science fiction twaddle with no plot, no coherence and no heart. You couldn't find a narrative thread with a microscope.
You expect something called Haunt (2013) to produce a few chills. This one has all the chills of a Baptist church Halloween social.
A stark, shallow, messed-up shambles of a movie, Child of God (2013) is such a James Franco ego trip that it even features a curious end credit for "Mr. Franco's scheduling coordinator." That's a new one. I'm waiting for the one that thanks "Mr. Franco's career-retirement counselor." I'll pay money to see that one.
[on Maladies (2012)] The film is abominably written and incomprehensibly directed by someone called, simply, Carter (like Cher or Pink, except nobody knows who he is - or cares). For your information, he's the same man who made a previous film called Erased: James Franco (2009), in which the actor restaged scenes in his previous movies in case anyone missed them the first time around.
[on The Color of Time (2012)] Lots of shots of James Franco rubbing his eyes. James Franco waking up. James Franco playing with a baby. He hired 12 - count 'em, 12 - student directors to work on 12 different shorts in a film that never looks like it was directed by even one. Instead of dialogue, you get narration: "Uncertain clouds, unemphatic light ... all that held now was that violated, looted country, the fraying fringes of the town ... those gutted hills ... hills by rote ... hills by permission ... great naked wastes of rack and spill ... like genitalia, shaved and disinfected for an operation ..."
[on Song to Song (2017)] Another astonishing example of the lengths movie stars will go to help out their friends. While his pals still shuffle down to Austin to help him out every time he cranks up the camera and the film starts rolling, I consider suffering through a Terrence Malick film nothing short of waterboarding in Afghanistan.
The material is hollow, there is no payoff, and nobody in it has much to do - especially a battered, 90-year-old Jerry Lewis in a bewildering cameo as Mr Cage's senile father. He answers the door, delivers a few cynical lines about cops and disappears. Obviously looking for a better movie than The Trust (2016).
[on Logan Lucky (2017)] Colorful camera work, raucous music and endless ham acting is in abundant supply, but it's not enough. I thought Steven Soderbergh had retired. And now this. Even the title makes no sense.
[on King Cobra (2016)] It comes as no surprise to see James Franco strip down and hump and thump his way through simulated sex with other guys. He's devoted most of his career to queer cinema, while remaining famously ambiguous about his personal offscreen sexuality, oblivious to the fact that nobody cares.
[on Don McKay (2009)] Everyone speaks in the hushed monotone of an oven timer, but just when you think the movie is dead, the doctor attacks Don, who kills him in self-defense with a piece of broken milk bottle and buries his blood-soaked body in the backyard. A few minutes later, Don wakes up in the hospital after an allergic reaction to a bee sting, and Sonny asks him to marry her. Back at home, the photos of Sonny's ex-husband have been scissored out of every frame in the house, but Don discovers the missing pictures are really of the murdered doctor, whose body has disappeared. Unable to sleep (unlike the audience, which is now snoring), Don starts getting phone calls from the corpse. What is going on here? Is Sonny really sick? Is the doctor really dead? Is everybody pretending to be somebody other than who they say they really are? And what's Sonny hiding in the meat locker on the porch? You finally begin to question every character's sanity when uptight Marie strips off her mall suits to reveal a body covered with tattoos; a local taxi driver recognizes Don as a mental case who left town in shame after murdering the real Sonny decades earlier; and two people get beaten to death with a frozen pot roast. The stylized dialogue is unspeakable, which might explain why Mr. Church plays the entire film with hollow eyes and a permanent scowl, occasionally curling his lip to a 90-degree angle, his voice never rising above the kind of detached mumble only a dog can hear.
[on War Horse (2011)] As good as movies can get.
[on Everly (2014)] To save her mother from being murdered and protect her innocent 5-year-old daughter from being sold into a prostitution ring where pedophiles pay top dollar, Everly goes into action mode. The lethal slaughter that ensues would make a butcher retch. Poor doomed Everly is shot, stabbed, sliced by a samurai sword and attacked from every angle by a parade of hoods and whores she dispatches so easily that even a rogue cop takes one look at the mounting corpses and mutters, "That's a lotta dead whores." Alleged screenwriter Yale Hannon liked the line so much that he repeats it several times, just in case you forgot to laugh the first time.
People who ask nothing more for their money than a lot of nerve-scrambling computerized special effects might get through Doctor Strange (2016), another in a long line of lengthy, stupid and unbearable Marvel Studios comic books on film, with minimal brain damage. Everyone else will see through it for the two hours of gibberish it really is and walk on by.
The more I try to find some kind of justifiable meaning and relevance, the more I find The Shape of Water (2017) a loopy, lunkheaded load of drivel. Not as stupid and pointless as that other critically overrated piece of junk Get Out (2017), but determined to go down trying. I call this one Maudie (2016) Meets the Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954).
Nothing about Mother! (2017) makes one lick of sense as Darren Aronofsky's corny vision of madness turns more hilarious than scary. With so much crap around to clog the drain, I hesitate to label it the "Worst movie of the year" when "Worst movie of the century" fits it even better.
[on By the Sea (2015)] Holy career breaker, what is going on here? The Pitts are ravishing, but if their own relationship is half as dismal, it's anyone's guess how they manage to get beyond breakfast in one piece.
[on The Nice Guys (2016)] Afflicted by the same hammered, incomprehensible immaturity that makes modern American comedies unwatchable by any sane person's standards, this action spoof of the brain-dead, odd-couple cop-buddy franchises popularized by Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, or Eddie Murphy and Judge Reinhold, is equally dumb and forgettable but not even half as amusing. This one, by the jarringly untalented writer-director Shane Black, is merely violent, vulgar and stupid.
[on Their Finest (2016)] Skillfully directed, marvelously written and acted without a trace of artificial period self-consciousness, and a real eye-opener about how women were recruited to keep the British film industry alive during the London Blitz in World War Two, this exemplary film opened too early in the year to draw the proper attention and suffered the fate of being criminally overlooked. Too bad. It's a much better film about the war than Dunkirk (2017), including action sequences in the same setting that are better staged.
[on Call Me by Your Name (2017)] Lush, nuanced, emotionally believable and filled with wisdom and passion, it's a rare film about feelings instead of action, devoid of cliches and dumb dialogue.
Looking lovely and catatonic, Angelina Jolie, who now calls herself Angelina Jolie Pitt, has come up with an exercise in self-indulgence for herself and husband Brad [Brad Pitt] that is so boring it defies description. By the Sea (2015) is not only a dog; it's a dog that's got fleas.
I don't care how much drool and drivel fills the ozone about how wonderful everything was in 2017. It was a terrible year for movies - and some of the people who make them. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, producer Brett Ratner and Dustin Hoffman are a few of the folks who agree.
[on Mother! (2017)] This delusional freak show is two hours of pretentious twaddle that tackles religion, paranoia, lust, rebellion, and a thirst for blood in a circus of grotesque debauchery to prove that being a woman requires emotional sacrifice and physical agony at the cost of everything else in life, including life itself.
[on Mother! (2017)] The reviews, in which a group of equally pretentious critics frustratingly search for a deeper meaning, are even nuttier than the film itself. Using descriptions like "hermeneutic structure," "phantasmagoric fantasia," "cinematic Rorsach test" and "extended scream of existential rage," they sure know how to leave you laughing.
From the idiotic drug-addict hokum Requiem for a Dream (2000) to the overrated, overwrought and over-hyped Black Swan (2010), which I called "a lavishly staged Repulsion (1965) in toe shoes," the films of wack job Darren Aronofsky have shown a dark passion for exploring twisted souls in torment. But nothing he's done before to poison the ozone layer prepared me for Mother! (2017), an exercise in torture and hysteria so over the top that I didn't know whether to scream or laugh out loud. Stealing ideas from Polanski [Roman Polanski], Fellini [Federico Fellini] and Kubrick [Stanley Kubrick], he's jerrybuilt an absurd Freudian nightmare that is more wet dream than bad dream, with the subtlety of a chainsaw.
[on Rock of Ages (2012)] This sloppy freak show is two minutes shy of two solid hours of screaming swill, without a shred of freshness, insight, cleverness or coherence to be detected within a two-mile radius. It's based on a noisy Broadway jukebox joke that was never much to write home about in the first place, but it still had a soupçon of humor and banal charm, both of which are bewilderingly missing on the screen. The fact that the show is still running testifies to the confounding disregard for taste and intelligence rampant among today's mass-market audiences. I haven't seen a movie this bad since Battlefield Earth (2000) and Howard the Duck (1986).
A guaranteed cure for insomnia, an abomination called The Whole Truth (2016) is a courtroom movie that looks like a colorized version of an old Perry Mason (1957) TV show, starring Renée Zellweger's new face and Keanu Reeves, who has the charisma and animated visual appeal of a mud fence.
[on The Lords of Salem (2012)] This one is so bad it's hilarious. Sheri Moon Zombie is no Mia Farrow, Rob Zombie is no Roman Polanski, and 'The Lords of Salem' seems to have been made by people on the rubber bus headed for a rubber room with bars on the windows.
I never cease to be amused by the pile of unmitigated crap that gets shoveled off onto the moviegoing public by pretentious critics. They're at it again with The Master (2012), a load of film-festival tripe that was booed in Venice and greeted with massive walkouts in Toronto but is now being defended in an organized rescue mission that hopes to develop a minor cult following in New York before the whole thing mercifully vanishes in a puff of twaddle.
[on Murder on the Orient Express (1974)] Everything a lavish murder mystery on a train should be: a tasty example of pure escapist entertainment done with a modicum of style, wit and elegance, sumptuously mounted, crisply and artfully directed and gorgeously photographed.
Like all Quentin Tarantino movies, Inglourious Basterds (2009) is exasperating, absurd, cruel, cynical, sneeringly arrogant, racist, elitist, naïvely derivative and viciously funny. It is also one whale of a rigorous entertainment.
So Lincoln (2012), Steven Spielberg's bloated $50-million history lesson about Abraham Lincoln's final days in office as he attempted, by hook or crook, to abolish slavery, is noble, civic-minded, exhaustingly researched, immaculately detailed, crowded with a parade of cameos by good actors who look like Smith Brothers cough drop models, and noteworthy for another critic-proof performance by Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role. It is all of those things. But 'Lincoln' is also a colossal bore. It is so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake - which, like the film itself, didn't always work.
[on In Bruges (2008)] The most pretentious bucket of swill since I'm Not There (2007), only worse. Instead of Cate Blanchett as a man, it was about a racist dwarf hooked on horse tranquilizers.
[on Seven Psychopaths (2012)] This movie is proof that moving to Hollywood is poisonous Kool-Aid to the creative process. Kneeling at the trough of Hollywood pop psychobabble that has come to symbolize the New Cinema, Mr. McDonagh [Martin McDonagh] seems to have taken leave (temporarily, I hope) of his senses. He proved in 2008, with a brooding job called In Bruges (2008), about hit men on holiday in Belgium, that he cannot stretch his bristling ideas into one full-length feature. Unfortunately, he also thinks he's a director - a job for which he shows no patience, aptitude or proficiency. The result is a twitching convulsion of vicious drivel passing itself off as a movie, which can be best appreciated by the kind of people who dig Showgirls (1995), the 'Saw' franchise and Spike Jonze-Charlie Kaufman flicks.
[on Murder on the Orient Express (2017)] As a director, I admire Kenneth Branagh for eschewing video games and Marvel comics in favor of [William Shakespeare] and other literary classics on film, but this time he's much too self-indulgent with his repeated use of close-ups - of himself. It's clear from the start who his favorite passenger on the Orient Express is. He also has the best lines, although the Poirot moustache now looks like two Polish sausages separated by a fork.
[on Rock of Ages (2012)] The filthy, disgusting script is by three people who should remain nameless, but I can hardly believe one of them is Justin Theroux, a good actor who would do the world a favor if he dropped his laptop off the top of the Chrysler Building.
Just when I was almost recovered from Mother! (2017), here comes Mom and Dad (2017). If 'Mother' is still the worst abomination ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting and undeserving public, 'Mom and Dad' is at least the perfect companion piece. With an agonizing rupture of craft and common sense, it showcases a performance of screaming, over-the-top hysteria by Nicolas Cage that must be seen to be fully believed, but that is not a recommendation. You've seen him go berserk before, but in this nauseating drivel he's channeling Jack the Ripper, played by Bozo the Clown.
[2018 interview] I like just as many films as I dislike. But I think we're drowning in mediocrity. I just try as hard as I can to raise the level of consciousness. It's so hard to get people to see good films. They're too busy lining up to see to see 'Star Wars 93' or whatever it is.
[on Frank & Lola (2016)] Lola flirts with strangers in bars, she refuses to commit, you just can't trust Lola, who is a chip off the block following in the platform-heel footsteps of her oversexed mother. Frank realizes she's a girl in danger of causing him constant misery, especially when she rarely comes home at night on time, and sometimes not at all. One night, she confesses she's been raped by an old French lover named Alan she knew during her student days in Paris. He becomes so unhinged with jealousy that he flies to Paris to track down Alan and beat him up. After Alan shows him a video of Lola in bed with another woman, Frank switches prey and follows the woman in the video. I guess it's all supposed to be sexy and provocative, but the evening ends in an orgy, so boring it's hardly worth mentioning. The alleged tension mounts with a series of ridiculous and totally implausible plot twists that end up back in Vegas where Alan arrives mysteriously, lusting for Lola. Frank and Alan beat each other to sirloin tartare. By this time, Frank is so schizophrenic he no longer knows truth from fantasy. None of it makes any sense, and if you think you know how it ends when it fades to black, do send me a postcard.
The King's Speech (2010) has left me speechless.
[Nicolas Winding Refn] can't direct traffic.
How many times does John Cusack have to prove he is no leading man? In Shanghai (2010) he comes off as Sam Spade with chopsticks.
[on Cop Out (2010)] The Bruce Willis-Tracy Morgan team is about as on point as four legs with the ankles missing. The sequel will undoubtedly star Adam Sandler and Chris Tucker.
Gay filmmakers seem hell-bent on proving they can make genre films as grim, smarmy and exploitational as the X-rated straight skin flicks that degrade women, slasher epics that appeal to a lust for blood and the early cliché-riddled, black-themed racist throwaways of the 1990s. Set in the seedy underworld of early internet porn and based on the real-life murder of gay hardcore porn producer Brian Kocis [sic], King Cobra (2016) is a cut above most homoerotic masturbatory screen fantasies, but not by much.
[on Knock Knock (2015)] Watching two psychotic sex kittens slap Keanu Reeves around while he's stripped down to his Calvins does, I admit, offer a certain amount of guilty pleasure.
Quite the most appalling piece of junk I have seen lately, Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) just lies there like an autopsy.
[on To the Wonder (2012)] Years seem to pass between scenes. To be honest, years seem to pass *during* scenes.
[on Identity Thief (2013)] The snafus in the worst road movie since The Guilt Trip (2012) plunge Mr. Bateman [Jason Bateman] and his female hippo [Melissa McCarthy] into a motel with only a double bed, a grotesque sex scene with a pickled reprobate she picks up in a bar who demands a threesome, a violent bar fight that bloodies his nose, a kidnapping, a multi-car collision going the wrong way on the freeway...but why go on? They seem to be making it up as they go along, in a movie that threatens never to end.
[on Snatched (2017)] The most depressing Mother's Day present since Mommie Dearest (1981), only not half as funny.
[on The Neon Demon (2016)] I've got news for Winding Refn [Nicolas Winding Refn]: There are no pumas, lions, jaguars or fang-bearing bobcats - not to mention trashy motels run by lunging rapists who look like Keanu Reeves - within 10 miles of Pasadena.
[on Melissa McCarthy's performance in Tammy (2014)] In the chaos, I applaud the star - not for any discernible talent, but for sheer stamina. Her entire performance - if you can call it that - consists of being slapped, slugged, dumped in various lakes and rivers, and bounced off walls and pavements like a big rubber Shmoo doll. She isn't smart, imaginative or creative enough to be a real female clown, like Lucille Ball. Nothing that resembles a fresh approach to slapstick farce ever engages the mind or the eye. Instead she recycles every fatso cliché from John Candy to Totie Fields, which only turns the viewer cynical.
Like the voters who plan to stay home on Election Day because they don't like the candidates, potential filmgoers who avoid Hacksaw Ridge (2016) because they object to Mel Gibson will be the losers. It is violent, harrowing, heartbreaking and unforgettable. And yes, it was directed by Mel Gibson. He deserves a medal, too.
[on Melissa McCarthy] With all due respect, I bow to her ability to pander to the lowest instincts of her groupies by making box office obesity profitable. So, fool that I am, I went to Tammy (2014) hoping for the best and ready to give Ms. McCarthy every benefit of the doubt. What I got was one hour and 36 minutes of farting, belching, snoring, and the kind of violence a sadist would perpetrate against someone in a wheelchair.
The Artist (2011) is so wonderful that the audience applauds everything, including the dog.
[on The Layover (2017)] If this is the kind of garbage kids are watching and absorbing with glee today, no wonder the country is in such a mess. This catatonic horror is aimed at the overcrowded market of brainless meatheads who watch every movie while texting on their iPhones and chewing gum. Alas, 'The Layover' is even worse than most. Compared to this idiocy, Bridesmaids (2011) looks like Citizen Kane (1941).
[on Melissa McCarthy] A gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.
[on Unlocked (2017)] Michael Douglas gets killed off in the first 30 minutes. Insipid Orlando Bloom is miscast as a tattooed Cockney burglar. John Malkovich still sounds like a dial tone. The double and triple crosses escalate with non-stop confusion while the corpses pile up in alleys, shipyards and parking garages. When it mercifully ends after 98 excruciating minutes, you still don't have a clue what it was all about.
[on Bullet Head (2017)] The hoods are played by John Malkovich, Adrien Brody and their younger junkie comrade Rory Culkin. Of the three, Malkovich has built a career mumbling his way through one disastrous movie after another, but this time he's got company. You can't decipher more than half of what the other two say, either.
[on Judy Garland] She was honest. Honest. There was nothing phony about her. If she was having a breakdown, she made sure you had a breakdown too, right along with her. If she was happy, there was no way you were not going to feel her happiness. The camera cannot lie. It can telegraph completely fabricated emotions, but it cannot lie when the honesty is already there. With Judy, you never saw a dishonest moment. Everything she did was so real that you don't believe you are watching an actress. You knew that you were seeing something that went beyond acting, greater than acting. It was reality.
These days actors not only appear in bad movies, they are forced to produce their own flops themselves. Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne co-executive produced Hereditary (2018). They deserve what they get, in spades.
[on Get Out (2017) Truly one of the worst movies I've ever seen, a complete fraud. These young critics today....the last thing they care about is plot.
[on Adult Life Skills (2016)] The focus is on a 30-year-old woman named Anna, played by Jodie Whittaker, who can currently be seen to better advantage as the new Dr. Who on television. Anna lives in a cluttered, trash-filled shed in a corner of her mother's garden where she exists in a world of childhood fantasy. Anna spends her time in seclusion making home videos talking to her thumbs, who play astronauts. During the day, she works in a day camp for children where her best friend is an 8-year-old boy who wears a cowboy hat and a penis badge. There is also a potential boyfriend, who tells everyone he is "definitely not gay" despite his preference for pink underwear. Threatened with eviction by her mum and grandmother, Anna expresses her frustration by beating up her electric toothbrush with a high-heeled shoe and drying her wet clothes in the microwave until they explode.
Forget about The Shed (2019). I've had bigger scares from my broom closet.
[on Siberia (2018)] He hooks up with a waitress in an all-night diner, gets beaten up by local toughs, and rescued by the girl. They have sex with their clothes on, he wakes up the next morning and makes French toast, and just sort of hangs around. The audience hangs around too, waiting for something to happen. Threatened with mutilation and death by both the mob and the girl's violent brothers, his brows furrow. So much for acting. Instead, the girl's brothers take him on a bear hunt. Everything is tenuous, including a performance by Keanu Reeves that borders on catatonia. Just because he stopped shaving doesn't mean he can suddenly act.
[on White Boy Rick (2018)] Look closely and doing as much damage to their reputations as possible, you'll spot a barely recognizable Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie as the white trash grandparents in this pack of rats. Unbelievably, the challenge of carrying the title role has been handed to a nonprofessional with no previous acting experience named Richie Merritt, who not only gives the word "amateur" new meaning but who emerges, replete with vivid closeups of blackheads and ripe acne, as the single most unattractive face on the screen in as many decades as I can count. I can think of no reason any bright, witty or halfway sophisticated movie lover-or otherwise normal person-would want to spend 10 minutes with any of the criminal degenerates in this worthless load of crap.
[on Come to Daddy (2019)] For no explainable reason, Norval ends up in a motel hosting a sex convention where a prostitute shoves a spike through Norval's head from jaw to jaw. None of it makes a word of sense, and the dialogue, by Toby Harvard, provides ample proof. A cop comes to investigate, looks into Norval's eyes, and says "You don't have raisin eyes." Huh? "I'm kinda breakin' the fourth wall here, but I got this theory bad guys have eyes that look like raisins. You know. Small and dark, you know? But you don't have raisin eyes." The writing is filthy and sub-mental, the acting is uniformly dreadful, and if director Ant Timpson has any skill at all behind the camera, he successfully manages to keep it a big secret. 2020 is still young, but trust me - the year won't get any worse than this.
Just when I thought one of the worst movie years in memory was down for the count, Clint Eastwood arrived at the last minute with Richard Jewell (2019), to show us all how great movies are made.
[on Shut In (2016)] I've had bigger scares from my goldfish bowl.
[on The Bag Man (2014)] The bodies pile up before the bag man, known only as Jack, ever checks into Room 13, his privacy invaded by a succession of freaks - a demented motel manager in a wheelchair, a bald man looking for a corkscrew, a prostitute with a blue wig in red high heels called Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), a Serbian midget, a black crystal meth dealer with a patch over one eye, and a sadistic sheriff and his homicidal deputy who specialize in hanging up their victims and torturing them to death. They all have one thing in common: They want to kill the bag man and steal his bag. In the ensuing violence, bones break, two heads are severed, and much havoc is wrought by an assortment of guns, knives, shovels and a script that is as contrived as it is incomprehensible. The bag man and the scantily clad babe kill everyone in the movie, including the cops. All that's left is to figure out why. This is not easy, because the whole thing takes place in the dark, and you can't see what's going on anyway.
Mojave (2015) is the kind of wreckage that reminds you they make too much money in Hollywood and don't know what to do with it. So they finance bad movies like this one for...what? Tax write-offs? The IRS should launch an investigation.
The star of this dirge is a banana head named Fran Kranz, whose onscreen charisma is an undetectable secret. The benign direction is by Gillian Greene and the idiotic script is by Christian Magalhaes and Robert Snow, all of whom hail from the brain-dead world of Hollywood sitcoms. I am hesitant to mention any of them for fear that they might work again. On second thought, with Murder of a Cat (2014) as evidence, there's not much danger of that. None of it makes one lick of sense. But it's a low-budget Hollywood write-off, so what do you want for a nickel?
[on The 11th Hour (2014)] The movie drags along for 97 incomprehensible minutes, going nowhere, while Maria sinks slowly into madness. She picks up a French Canadian junkie dwarf hitchhiker who buys her a baby from a 15-year-old prostitute. The next thing you know, she's in a motel changing the baby's diaper when the mother shows up with a violent, mean-spirited Russian pimp (Peter Stormare) who kidnaps Maria and stomps the junkie dwarf to death.
[on The Wackness (2008)] It stars a doughy wonk with a face like a Big Mac bun named Josh Peck, as a teenage drug dealer named Luke, who trades weed for sessions with a zonked-out shrink named Dr. Squires. Sad to see Ben Kingsley trashing his reputation to play this stoned therapist, who looks like a Bowery bum as he pumps a dreadlocked Lolita (Mary-Kate Olsen) in a phone booth and dispenses mush-tongued jabberwocky in a fog of marijuana.
A guaranteed cure for insomnia, an abomination called The Whole Truth (2016) is a courtroom movie that looks like a colorized version of an old Perry Mason TV show, starring Renée Zellweger's new face and Keanu Reeves, who has the charisma and animated visual appeal of a mud fence. A total disaster that's been hanging around the editing room gathering dust for more than a year, you can't call it deadly because that would imply it's still alive. This one is already dead on arrival.
While I don't believe there are any grown men, living or dead, who resemble the idiots in this movie, I'm told, to my horror, that there is still an audience that loves to laugh at flatulence, body functions, fluid eliminations and dirt you wouldn't hear on a tramp steamer headed for Devil's Island. Next time you fly, collect some of those barf bags they give away. They come in handy watching movies like Hall Pass (2011).
The new year is not even a month old, but a hunk of junk called Serenity (2019) already qualifies as the worst film of 2019. Both moronically written and directed with shocking, amateurish ineptitude by Steven Knight, it's a pointless bomb about the biggest tuna in the Caribbean and the drunken fishing boat captain who devotes his life to catching it. The result is a sub-mental waste of time and Diane Lane. The early months of every year are always devoted to the trash Hollywood couldn't dump in the plethora of Oscar contenders the year before. One expects junk in January. It's a rule. But it is rare to pull any junk movie from the gutter as spectacularly stupid as Serenity.
[on The Child Remains (2017)] Dementedly written, and directed as though it was under the influence of something stronger than cough syrup, by someone named Michael Melski, it begins with a harrowing childbirth scene, a mother savagely murdered, and a newborn infant stuffed into a wooden box and buried alive.
[on The Moment (2013)] Whatever happened to John? Does Peter really exist? Are John and Peter the same person? Is the entire movie a figment of Lee's imagination? Is the presence of Meat Loaf as a cop in a dull business suit a figment of mine? We'll never know. The movie has no ending. It just fades to black. It's a colossal waste of Jennifer Jason Leigh's considerable talent and a ticket buyer's valuable time and money. Don't say I didn't warn you.
This movie just lies there waiting for Tuesday and garbage collection day. Mr. Waters says in the press notes that his writing "filters out the non-believers pretty quickly." If this is true, Sex and Death 101 (2007) should be playing to empty theaters in no time.
[on Don't Go (2018)] Odd things happen. Misspelled messages appear in the sand that read "Seas the Day." Ben has the same recurring dream about building a sand castle. The red flag from the sand castle keeps turning up in his pocket. All of this mumbo-jumbo is related to the dead child, which makes no sense, since the family didn't even live in that house or on that beach when the little girl died. But Ben wrecks the car, then knocks a hole in the wall with a sledgehammer during an open house hosted by Hazel, who takes an overdose and ends up in the hospital while Serena remains at home committing suicide and Ben gets mowed down by a motor boat called "Seas the Day." Then...oh, who cares? All you can do is wonder where they get the money to finance all this junk.
[on A Passage to India (1984)] The best movie of 1984. A priceless work of vision, beauty and substance. A Passage to India is genuine movie greatness. It is David Lean's masterpiece.
[on Wish I Was Here (2014)] Why is the rabbi sub-mental? Why does the family take a joy ride test-driving a luxury car with the top down? Why does the little boy carry around a power drill everywhere he goes, including yeshiva? Does anyone think a running gag about a dog that pees on everyone is funny? Kate Hudson is the only one who tries to apply any realism to the proceedings, but in her office, even she is forced to endure the sexual harassment of a coworker with a talking penis. I'm not lying. Who could make up this stuff?
[on The Sleepwalker (2014)] Will Ira ever get to a doctor to fix his nose? And what happened to the pregnant Christine? Was she kidnapped? Did she drown in the lake? Or was she just sleepwalking? They all seem to be sleepwalking, if you ask me, so how can you tell? One more shot of the lake is held for several minutes. Fade out, end credits. Among the many unanswered questions, I ask: Where do they find this junk, and where do so many amateurs get the money to finance it?
By today's movie standards, even a good actor is forced to appear in a fair amount of trash to make ends meet and guarantee career survival. Now Octavia Spencer gets her turn. In a violent, stupid and nauseating creature feature called Ma (2019), she plays a cruel, bloodthirsty monster who tortures and kills off half of a suburban town for fun. It's a horrible disgrace, but don't say I didn't warn you.
At the movies, John Travolta used to be a valuable commodity - a good actor, versatile, talented and resourceful. Why he has spent most of his adult career dedicating his life to making rotten movies nobody wants to see is anybody's guess. It took three directors to get his latest, a dog called The Poison Rose (2019), completed, and not one of them got it right.
The checkered career of John Travolta rambles unsteadily through a wide range of hits and misses, from the unexpectedly amazing Pulp Fiction (1994) to the unexpectedly hilarious and abysmal Battlefield Earth (2000), but hope springs eternal for this talented, almost always ill-advised, and finally fading star. His latest is The Fanatic (2019). It's a disaster.
[on Shutter Island (2010)] The result may appeal to vacant-eyed Scorsese fans too arrogant or embarrassed to admit they don't have a clue what's going on here. It looks like a committee made it up every day as they went along; when it still didn't work in time for Christmas 2009, he went back into the editing lab and screwed it up some more.
With a running time of 1 hour and 23 minutes, Mom and Dad (2017) is 1 hour and 22 minutes too long.
[on Colossal (2016)] To quote the late, great Dorothy Parker, "What fresh hell is this?"
[on Pan (2015)] The noise you hear is J.M. Barrie turning over in his grave.
Some movies just come out of the chute branded with failure. Our Brand Is Crisis (2015), which premiered to unenthusiastic groans at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, is a wildly uneven and commercially doomed vehicle for Sandra Bullock, produced by her pal George Clooney, written by the pretentious Peter Straughan who wrote a forgotten monstrosity called The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009) for Mr. Clooney six years ago, and directed by David Gordon Green, the wobbly, second-rate director responsible for such feeble-minded duds as Pineapple Express (2008) and, more recently, the Al Pacino disaster, Manglehorn (2014).
[on The Humbling (2014)] At 5-foot-7 and wrinkled as a dried prune, it's hard to play a man getting his mojo back, and Al Pacino doesn't even try with any reasonable degree of craft or stature. Even at his zenith, his strong suit was never comedy, but self-indulgently allowed to mug by director Mr. Levinson, he's more unconvincing than ever. It doesn't help that Mr. Levinson plies him with ugly close-ups and saddles him with improvised snippets of Shakespeare, badly delivered in creepy, monosyllabic grunts. When the mighty fall, it has the sound of a motorcycle crash. They should have called this mess The Mumbling.
[on Rage (2014)] Don't bother to pay money to see this dismal dreck. Just visit Netflix. It'll be there before you can turn on the TV.
Things pop out of cupboards and closets, but Mary (2019) is no scarier than a trip to the dentist.
[on The Sonata (2018)] A number of questions await anyone who lasts the full 88 minutes. What just happened? Was the suicidal composer a lunatic devil worshiper who planned for his daughter to follow in his footsteps? Will anyone else ever hear the sonata of the damned? Does anyone care?
[on Being Frank (2018)] Frank passes off a drunken pothead as Philip's real dad. Philip discovers his friend Lewis is gay, and Frank's daughter falls in love with his son Philip, not knowing he's her brother...but why go on? Every narrative twist is so contrived that they seem to be making it up as it goes along.
The Wait (2013) is 96 minutes of surrealistic gibberish about ... well, absolutely nothing. At least nothing discernible by the naked eye or anywhere outside the demented brain of a bogus writer-director called M. Blash. Write down that name, bury it six feet under the nearest dung heap, and pray you never hear it again. Typical of the kind of pointless, plotless, mind-numbing junk being turned out on a regular basis by film students heavily influenced by pretentious phonies like Terrence Malick, Charlie Kaufman, Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze, The Wait indisputably falls into the category of Valium torpor.
[on Amour (2012)] It's always reassuring to see a nutty director go straight. Austria's Michael Haneke is famous for his lurid, violent and thoroughly sick exercises in torture and sexual depravity. Wait a sec. Did I say famous? Only to the occasional film festival audience. The public has avoided him like a dose of swine flu. Who sat through a pair of homicidal maniacs slicing and dicing up a family in their summer vacation home on a deserted lake in Funny Games (1997), a film he loved so much he made it twice? Or the sight of Isabelle Huppert in The Piano Teacher (2001), making love to her mother before slicing off her own genitals with a razor blade? No, I'm afraid Mr. Haneke's career has thus far existed only in the "asylum home movies" department.
[from 2016 obituaries] And it's a big "Auf wiedersehn" to loopy Polish film director Andrzej Zulawski, known by critics and film festival eccentrics for freak shows like Possession (1981), in which Isabelle Adjani vomited her way through an underground subway in Berlin and had sex with a giant octopus. Ah, they don't make 'em like that very often.
[on Black Christmas (2019)] The lousy actors, incompetent writer and clueless director remain nameless. That's my good-deed Christmas gift to all involved, and better luck next year.
[on McCanick (2013)] Mr. Morse has made so many impressive contributions to movies such as The Green Mile (1999) and The Hurt Locker (2008), in addition to winning raves for his role as a child molester in the New York stage production of How I Learned To Drive, that you wonder how he landed in such a disaster. (Alas, he co-produced it with the film's no-talent director.) Trust me when I tell you there isn't a minute of this recycled tripe that makes one shred of common sense.
[on Deep Water (2022)] It's the kind of riveting and dynamic thriller from start to finish we used to take for granted in the good old days, don't see much anymore, and could definitely use a lot more of.
I've often written that even on a bad day, Woody Allen is better than everybody else on Sunday. This is true again of Wonder Wheel (2017). Ignore those mixed reviews. It may not be one of the best, most inspired and fully realized classics in the master director's oeuvre, but it towers above almost everything else in the junk pile of 2017 year-end releases.
Just when you think you've seen the worst movie ever made, along comes a pile of toxic waste called Bullet Train (2022).

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