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  • tmsindc-24 November 2001
    I find it odd that it is now five years after The Scottish Tale was first released and Mack Polhemus has not had another writing or directing credit. This can mean one of three things: 1) the folks at IMDB are not keeping up with Hollywood (unlikely); 2) Mack Polhemus has abandoned film making and screen writing); or 3) The Scottish Tale went completely under the Hollywood radar and Mack Polhemus is still waiting for his "big break."

    This was obviously a low-budget first film. Remember a real low budget howler called "Duel" about a battle between a man and a truck? Even the director of that film got another chance. Know what he did? Made another big-budget howler called "1941"!

    The low budget nature of the film shows in the poor film stock, limited locations, use of unknown actors, and, of course, the stuffed skunk. However, the parts of the film that are independent of the budget show that Polhemus has / had real talent. The movie is well written with clever dialogue and some interesting word play. The director also manages to make the most of the limited budget in terms of setting, camera angles, and cinematography.

    A movie studio should definitely give Mack Polhemus a shot at a second movie.
  • This film was very hard to watch. The film quality was comparable to a home movie, and I had a good laugh when the fly was buzzing about in a scene with Beth and her father. The lighting in most scenes was so poor that the actor's faces were obscured. The film lacked transitions between scenes and ideas, requiring the audience to constantly adjust to the awkward gaps. The Scottish accents were painfully bad and the acting was pretty stilted. I kept waiting for something interesting or unique, and was only rewarded with a 400 foot tablecloth attached to a wedding dress. It was amusing that Beth had to hold her head carefully to support the awkward headdress. Except for a few of the older actors (Beth's parents), the cast and producers clearly do not have a future in the film industry.
  • It's always interesting to see movies of self-discovery. What I mean by self-discovery is that it is a movie of a person who does not know what they are meant to be, and then finds themself in their own way. This is such a profound story that I have seen it told in many ways, and in many forms. In this way, it is a genre in itself.

    Sadly, most of these movies are failures in the box office. This is truly a tragedy, for all movies, even the ones that fail still have a message to say, even though it may be a deep and metaphoric one, like mentioned in a quote of the Scottish Tale. I assume, however, that over time people will grow to understand the true meaning of movies that may not be popular, but still have a timeless story to tell. For the genre of self-discovery is still an important one.

    Yes, the actors are not famous, the lighting may be off, some of the characters may not act perfect, and there may be awry moments, but does that truly matter? How a movie is determined should depend on the quality of its story and its actors, regardless of how famous the actors are or how well the technical properties of the film are presented. What makes this movie so great is that it focuses on stories of modern day life with modern day people--not a story about perpetuated truth or about things that only happen in movies because we may never see them in our lifetimes.

    Mack Polhemus has a true talent. If people do not enjoy it now, future generations will understand what it truly means. This is destined to be a classic in it's on way.
  • This film was very singular and refreshing in approach. Watching it made me wish that more filmmakers today would take a little breather and remember their early filmmaking experiences, especially what it felt like to be creative and not to care about convention. This film is brutally honest about its low budget and wry humor from the very beginning, so you are encouraged to lower your expectations; once you do, you'll find it hysterically funny.

    One pitfall I see in comedies today is that they are often attempted in a realistic style, which makes them appear embarrassingly and insultingly unbelievable (read, ANYTHING with Adam Sandler). People don't realize that realism is not the standard against which all film is measured; it is just another style, and it demands believability. A style like presentationalism or farce gives the audience permission to find the piece funny, since we already know it's not real. This film was true to its style of comedic farce. Yes, the skunk was stuffed. It was supposed to be. Yes, the accents stunk. They were no more believable than the idea of two Scottish brothers, one a love-struck, drug dealing poet and the other a lawyer, living on the Central Coast of CA and flying back and forth to Scotland to visit their three witch-aunts. Again, the film makes no pretense of being serious drama, here -- it asks you to play along because it knows it's not real.

    In criticism of the film, I wasn't wild about the female character; I thought she was vapid and mono-dimensional; the actress didn't do an admirable job, but it's hard when you don't have much scripted character to work with. Let's hope these guys learn how to write women a little better. Shakespeare, after all, created one of the most complex characters in theater in Lady Macbeth, and that was an element I missed. Why not a final scene where she strangles the Banquo-skunk's lover with her bare hands and wanders, perfumed and babbling madly, never ceasing hand-washing motions...the Bard might have even liked that.

    In general, this film is an enjoyable rental and very creative.
  • It's always satisfying to see a film succeed without the help of Hollywood. This simple and sweet film feels comfortable enough in its own quirky skin to allow for an obviously fake skunk (think CADDYSHACK "Gopher") to enter the picture. The best thing is that it only adds to the independent spirit of the movie. I like to see independent films because they don't always have to be so perfectly precise in their genre. There is a nice blend of comedy and sweet romance. I hope Polhemus gets a chance to make another movie. I'd be interested to see what he does next. I loved the Director's Statement on the video at Hollywood Video. The Director himself makes an appearance and interviews a couple who end up insulting him and beating him up. That was probably my favourite part!
  • bobr-66 September 2000
    A small story about two Scottish brothers in America and the wrong one is about to marry the right girl. Our family thought this was a heartwarming story. It's a light, west coast fairy tale about the the power of love. It's a film with which one can relax and feel good. For me, the low budget aspects only added to the value of it. A refreshing change from the big Hollywood productions we usually see. 8/10
  • Enough already!!! This movie is pretty stinky. The scots' accents are not very convincing, the yanks can't act, the dialogue is creaky, the skunk is stuffed, and the jokes are weak. The only nice thing I can say about it is that it's not quite bad enough to make you stop watching. Oh, yeah, and I like the cheap film stock. To top it all off, the music is by Ed Bogas! Ever play an accolade game from the mid 80's and you'll recognize his work, especially in the "dancing" scene. Sorry, Mack, this bites.
  • cine6fr16 November 2000
    While the aesthetics are not near the level of master directors such as Kieslowski or Wong Kar Wai, Mack Polhemus does a capable and insightful job of capturing the tribulations of two families. The movie is based very loosely on Shakespeare's Macbeth, and Polhemus demonstrates the mastery that he possesses of Macbeth by interpreting it towards a more modernized version of a 90's like story. It is very evident that this was shot for a very little amount of money; however, it does not necessarily affect the quality of the picture itself. In fact, one might attain a more homegrown feel that is welcome into a delightful little movie as this. In no way is this movie a masterpiece; yet, it accomplishes a couple of tasks. 1) it displays what it wants to say 2) has a couple of memorable scenes 3) introduces a welcome debut to a director who could be headed for better things with more resources and experience (which is what the scottish tale will do for him).