VerhoHo

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Reviews

Finding Forrester
(2000)

Repulsive Dung
For anyone who lives anywhere near where this story is supposed to take place (Bronx, NYC) you can't help either laughing at or being offended by most of this movie. Gus Van Sant has moved well beyond the decent movies of his early career, and now is nothing but a sell-out, making the worst kind of Hollywood garbage for mass-multiplex consumption. His early obsessions with drug addicts and underage male prostitutes have mellowed into milquetoast in-the-closet tales about attractive and gifted young men who require the guidance of a much older man. It's like ancient Greece without the anal sex. Don't be misled.

The Next Best Thing
(2000)

Exactly what I expected
This sounded like a hideous, shallow, self-righteous vanity project when I first read that it was being made, and surprise! That's exactly what it is. Laden with enough TV movie-cliches to sink the Love Boat, this is a repulsive excuse for cinema, directed by a once-great filmmaker who made The Believers not too long ago...What the heck happened? When they started singing "American Pie" around the coffin (with Doogie Howser as the bereaved widow) I actually started laughing out loud. This product causes brain-rot. Avoid at all costs!

Safe
(1995)

Top Ten
This may be Haynes' last great film (Velvet Goldmine was AWFUL) but what a great film it is. It's on my all-time top ten, and I'm not the only one: I thought I would mention this since it isn't on the awards page...Every ten years about 75 or so film critics get together for the legendary Village Voice and rate the top films of the decade. In the 80's, if memory serves, the number one film of the decade was voted to be Raging Bull (or was it Wings of Desire?). What was voted the number one film of the 90's?

Safe.

Patty Hearst
(1988)

Underrated
I've watched this film quite a few times now, and frankly it just keeps getting better. Stylish and disturbing as only Paul Schrader can be, this film is also notable for its fantastic performances. Ving Rhames walks a paper-thin line between madness and parody. And of course there is the awesome William Forsythe who singlehandedly takes the film to another level. His performances are so astounding in general that they can even make Steven Segal (Out For Justice) watchable. This film served a respectable political purpose as well. Few people really understood what happened to Patty Hearst, especially if you were around to watch her be demonized by the media in the 70's. This film does a brilliant job of putting you in the shoes of a woman who lived through an unimaginable experience. (10/10)

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills
(1989)

Paul Bartel's Best
I can't believe the user rating for this great film is so low! This is Paul Bartel's best film. It is a fantastically clever remake of "Rules of the Game" and is secretly beloved by film academics around the world. It is beautifully shot, well performed by an amazing cast and very well written. If you are a true fan of cinema, this one must not be missed. Hey Criterion, this film deserves a special edition DVD, get on it!

Showgirls
(1995)

Get Your Facts Straight
SHOWGIRLS is a parody only in the most slight sense. Verhoeven uses a cruel sardonic iconography in all of his films except for THE FOURTH MAN. SHOWGIRLS was made with a sincere heart, but you have to understand that when Paul Verhoeven says that, it doesn't mean quite the same thing that you or I mean by it. For what it's worth, this film DOES actually portray a certain kind of people in a realistic light, it's just not behavior that your average person understands. "Intent" seems to be a very important topic to people when discussing SHOWGIRLS, but then again, there are still idiots who think that STARSHIP TROOPERS was an "intentionally fascist" film. SHOWGIRLS *does* show America in its worst light, and if you think that wasn't a sincere intention of the filmmakers, you're wrong. Read any interview with Verhoeven on the subject for proof. Or just watch the film without referring to all the reviews you read. More proof: John Waters and Quentin Tarantino both called it the best film of 1995. The film was successful in every country in the world except for America. It did not lose any money. They still show it in France. Foreigners love the film for the same reason they love our presidential scandal. The way Americans react to sexual material makes them laugh. Verhoeven, with his "sincere" outsider's view shows America a part of itself that it doesn't want to admit to. It made $20 million on its first domestic (American) run, making it only half as financially successful as a piece of garbage like TITANIC, percentage-wise. This film is far more intelligent than anyone gives it credit for. It has been my favorite film since its arrival in 1995, and it will continue to be so.

Superstar
(1999)

A let-down, but not surprisingly so
I saw this at a preview screening here in NYC, and I had high hopes for it because I like Molly Shannon and I like the character, but of course they were unable to get it right. It has a few funny moments (which is more than you can say for most SNL films,) and the idea of a cast of 30 to 40 year-olds playing teenagers is kind of brilliant in it's own way, but it just doesn't work. When are they going to realize that plugging SNL characters into this tired "emotionally-redeeming" formula just doesn't work? How many flops will it take? This film may actually be popular among certain groups. The gaggle of Chelsea muscle queens sitting next to me found it far funnier than i did. So Gay men and some women may find it enjoyable. I was hoping Bruce McCullough would break from SNL tradition, but it turns out that he was not the genius of KITH. Maybe it was Scott Thompson.

Rock 'n' Roll Frankenstein
(1999)

In a word? Awesome.
This is the coolest, nastiest movie I have seen in a long time. I saw it at the Millennium here in New York and it kicks butt. It is so disgusting, but well shot. This is definitely the greatest b-movie of the 90's. It is about a record producer who (with the help of his nephew) makes the greatest rock and roll star of all time, by using parts from dead legends: Elvis' head, Jimi's hands...and Liberace's penis. The last one is an accident, and that's where all the fun starts. the monster is very sexually confused. I was told at the screening that one of the ways the film is being advertised is that they paid homeless people to put the poster for the film on their shopping carts. If that's true, they've got one-up on the Blair Witch people for creative advertising. See this movie!

Election
(1999)

Doesn't anyone actually remember high-school?
This film is a satire in only the most vague sense. None of the characters reflect anyone I went to school with. Maybe it should have been a period piece. I only laughed about three times, and became increasingly infuriated with the audience which seemed to be enjoying the "smarmy" humor without actually being able to reference it to anything. The performances are acceptable, but really the film isn't very funny, unless you've never seen any of the ten thousand other "smarmy" films that fall into this genre. FREEWAY, a film also starring Miss Witherspoon, is a thousand times superior to this film, which should have gone straight to video, or at least to cable. This film is crap designed to make pseudo-intellectuals feel comfortable.

Showgirls
(1995)

Get Your Facts Straight
SHOWGIRLS is a parody only in the most slight sense. Verhoeven uses a cruel sardonic iconography in all of his films except for THE FOURTH MAN. SHOWGIRLS was made with a sincere heart, but you have to understand that when Paul Verhoeven says that, it doesn't mean quite the same thing that you or I mean by it. For what it's worth, this film DOES actually portray a certain kind of people in a realistic light, it's just not behavior that your average person understands. "Intent" seems to be a very important topic to people when discussing SHOWGIRLS, but then again, there are still idiots who think that STARSHIP TROOPERS was an "intentionally fascist" film. SHOWGIRLS *does* show America in its worst light, and if you think that wasn't a sincere intention of the filmmakers, you're wrong. Read any interview with Verhoeven on the subject for proof. Or just watch the film without referring to all the reviews you read. More proof: John Waters and Quentin Tarantino both called it the best film of 1995. The film was successful in every country in the world except for America. It did not lose any money. They still show it in France. Foreigners love the film for the same reason they love our presidential scandal. The way Americans react to sexual material makes them laugh. Verhoeven, with his "sincere" outsider's view shows America a part of itself that it doesn't want to admit to. It made $20 million on its first domestic (American) run, making it only half as financially successful as a piece of garbage like TITANIC, percentage-wise. This film is far more intelligent than anyone gives it credit for. It has been my favorite film since its arrival in 1995, and it will continue to be so.

Showgirls
(1995)

Get Your Facts Straight
SHOWGIRLS is a parody only in the most slight sense. Verhoeven uses a cruel sardonic iconography in all of his films except for THE FOURTH MAN. SHOWGIRLS was made with a sincere heart, but you have to understand that when Paul Verhoeven says that, it doesn't mean quite the same thing that you or I mean by it. For what it's worth, this film DOES actually portray a certain kind of people in a realistic light, it's just not behavior that your average person understands. "Intent" seems to be a very important topic to people when discussing SHOWGIRLS, but then again, there are still idiots who think that STARSHIP TROOPERS was an "intentionally fascist" film. SHOWGIRLS *does* show America in its worst light, and if you think that wasn't a sincere intention of the filmmakers, you're wrong. Read any interview with Verhoeven on the subject for proof. Or just watch the film without referring to all the reviews you read. More proof: John Waters and Quentin Tarantino both called it the best film of 1995. The film was successful in every country in the world except for America. It did not lose any money. They still show it in France. Foreigners love the film for the same reason they love our presidential scandal. The way Americans react to sexual material makes them laugh. Verhoeven, with his "sincere" outsider's view shows America a part of itself that it doesn't want to admit to. It made $20 million on its first domestic (American) run, making it only half as financially successful as a piece of garbage like TITANIC, percentage-wise. This film is far more intelligent than anyone gives it credit for. It has been my favorite film since its arrival in 1995, and it will continue to be so.

Showgirls
(1995)

Get Your Facts Straight
SHOWGIRLS is a parody only in the most slight sense. Verhoeven uses a cruel sardonic iconography in all of his films except for THE FOURTH MAN. SHOWGIRLS was made with a sincere heart, but you have to understand that when Paul Verhoeven says that, it doesn't mean quite the same thing that you or I mean by it. For what it's worth, this film DOES actually portray a certain kind of people in a realistic light, it's just not behavior that your average person understands. "Intent" seems to be a very important topic to people when discussing SHOWGIRLS, but then again, there are still idiots who think that STARSHIP TROOPERS was an "intentionally fascist" film. SHOWGIRLS *does* show America in its worst light, and if you think that wasn't a sincere intention of the filmmakers, you're wrong. Read any interview with Verhoeven on the subject for proof. Or just watch the film without referring to all the reviews you read. More proof: John Waters and Quentin Tarantino both called it the best film of 1995. The film was successful in every country in the world except for America. It did not lose any money. They still show it in France. Foreigners love the film for the same reason they love our presidential scandal. The way Americans react to sexual material makes them laugh. Verhoeven, with his "sincere" outsider's view shows America a part of itself that it doesn't want to admit to. It made $20 million on its first domestic (American) run, making it only half as financially successful as a piece of garbage like TITANIC, percentage-wise. This film is far more intelligent than anyone gives it credit for. It has been my favorite film since its arrival in 1995, and it will continue to be so.

Whore
(1991)

A Fine Line between Failure and Success
"Whore" is , appropriately, a cartoonish response to "Pretty Woman". The cartoonish, satirical bent the film has (in the face of its horrific situations) is exactly what makes it so brilliant. What was so awful about "Pretty Woman" was the commodification of prostitution as something glamorous, fulfilling and rewarding; pablum to be swallowed by American masses. "Whore"'s success depends less on the performances and direction and more on the viewer's willingness to think. The ideology that Ken Russell has placed on the material is unmistakable and renders everything else about the film meaningless. It really comes down to the viewer--If you are intelligent enough as a viewer to read the subtext, you either agree with it or you don't. Personally, I love everything about it, from Teresa Russell's sarcastic, bombastic, career-wrecking performance to the simple joy of seeing Antonio Fargas on screen again, "Whore" is a great, intelligent film worth repeated viewings. The real tragedy is that this will be Ken Russell's last great film. He has lived long enough to see his wonderful style get railroaded into soft-core porn and made-for-cable sci-fi. The world would be a better place if he had been bestowed with the same luck as Paul Verhoeven.

Lincoln
(1988)

UNBELIEVABLE GARBAGE
Though the performances are fine, it is my opinion that anyone who enjoyed this ridiculous simplification could not possibly have read Gore Vidal's book. The tone of Vidal's book is totally absent from this poorly shot and poorly written waste. I am amazed that Vidal allowed his name to be associated with it. Vidal's book is vibrant. It seems like the director did everything he could to deaden it. There are so many ridiculous scenes that have been updated to include modern mores that I would be surprised if the screenwriter did anything but read the book once and then rely on his grade school memories. The film is so badly shot that you almost never understand what is going on, because all important conversations take place in long shot and close-ups seem to be used at random. Every single battle sequence looks identical and uninteresting. READ THE BOOK! You are guaranteed a far more satisfying experience. It is the best book ever written on Lincoln and it is NOTHING like this film.

Showgirls
(1995)

Get Your Facts Straight
SHOWGIRLS is a parody only in the most slight sense. Verhoeven uses a cruel sardonic iconography in all of his films except for THE FOURTH MAN. SHOWGIRLS was made with a sincere heart, but you have to understand that when Paul Verhoeven says that, it doesn't mean quite the same thing that you or I mean by it. For what it's worth, this film DOES actually portray a certain kind of people in a realistic light, it's just not behavior that your average person understands. "Intent" seems to be a very important topic to people when discussing SHOWGIRLS, but then again, there are still idiots who think that STARSHIP TROOPERS was an "intentionally fascist" film. SHOWGIRLS *does* show America in its worst light, and if you think that wasn't a sincere intention of the filmmakers, you're wrong. Read any interview with Verhoeven on the subject for proof. Or just watch the film without referring to all the reviews you read. More proof: John Waters and Quentin Tarantino both called it the best film of 1995. The film was successful in every country in the world except for America. It did not lose any money. They still show it in France. Foreigners love the film for the same reason they love our presidential scandal. The way Americans react to sexual material makes them laugh. Verhoeven, with his "sincere" outsider's view shows America a part of itself that it doesn't want to admit to. It made $20 million on its first domestic (American) run, making it only half as financially successful as a piece of garbage like TITANIC, percentage-wise. This film is far more intelligent than anyone gives it credit for. It has been my favorite film since its arrival in 1995, and it will continue to be so.

Kondom des Grauens
(1996)

ICK
Yet another "gay" film ruined by asinine politics. Luigi's final speech just about sent me running out of the theatre with its bumper-sticker epigrams. Read the comic book it was based on for a much more entertaining experience.

Jeffrey
(1995)

Horrible and Idiotic
This garbage film shows what happens to decent writers when they live in a ghetto. Anyone who thought this film was realistic or depictive of gay life in any way is obviously from another planet. It was a bad play to begin with, and the movie is even more insipid, insulting. Some of the cameos are mildly amusing but it's not worth sitting through the rest to get to them. The lead male is horrible and the words "Is this right for my career?" may as well be tattooed on his forehead. The scene in which he gets gay bashed in front of Barracuda Bar in Chelsea was so ridiculous and implausible that I actually laughed out loud during it.

Philadelphia
(1993)

you have GOT to be kidding
I suppose the heartlands of America needed a film like this, and I suppose ultra-liberal Johnathan Demme felt he HAD to make it after the flack he received for the transsexual villain in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, but get real. This movie is idiotic, unrealistic (I know, I know, it was BASED on a true story,) and utterly insulting. You may appreciate the story, you may appreciate the politics, but that still doesn't make it a good film. It's AIDS propaganda for the masses; a film-by-committee if there ever was one. The only amazing thing about it is that it was financially successful.

Road House
(1989)

Campy, homoerotic masterpiece
DON'T turn your brain off. Inbetween MANDINGO and SHOWGIRLS lies ROADHOUSE, the most homoerotic action film ever made. I've seen this movie 40 times and it just gets better and better. Watch it as a double feature with COCKTAIL or ARMAGEDDON, two other films that ridiculously glorify blue-collar jobs. (He's the best bouncer IN THE WORLD!!!) The smoldering looks that Ben Gazzara's henchman gives Swayze are hilarious. It's also the best "redneck riviera" film until CRY-BABY came along. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! Watch it religiously.

The Quick and the Dead
(1995)

The ultimate post-modern western
This film is hilarious. If you found it unintentionally funny, you probably haven't seen enough westerns. Spaghetti westerns were all about modern parallels. They were "post-modern". Raimi has gone one better and made a satirical pastiche of every western there ever was. Sharon Stone as the 90's feminist gunslinger was an hysterical joke that seemed to go over everyone's head. All of the performances in the film are highly referential and brilliantly pulled off, especially Gene Hackman. Leonardo DiCaprio sticks out as undisciplined. If the film has a fault it's that it's too smart. It's a testament to miss Stone's legendary I.Q. I guess, as she is one of the producers as well. Even if it's too "wierd" for some commercial-minded viewers, there's no denying that the film is beautifully shot and fun to watch. 10 out of 10.

Velvet Goldmine
(1998)

TOO GAY
I too was a huge fan of Haynes, until I saw this film. From Superstar to Safe there's not a lemon in the bunch, but this SUCKED. Bi-sexuality was a theme of the glam era, NOT homosexuality. In creating an admittedly beautiful, excessive film along the lines of TOMMY, THE WALL, etc, (or even CABARET) Haynes trips, stumbles and eventually falls flat due to his own intellectual precociousness. The Oscar Wilde/Citizen Kane crap was tedious and pretentious. Haynes made a 'gay' film with no irony whatsoever, sucked in by his own self indulgence. Up until this point Haynes was doing some meticulous, subversive work that reached a broad audience. So what happened? This is a film designed to appeal to a very narrow audience of 30-something urban gay men who cherish their liberal arts degrees and think Focault is the greatest thing since flavored condoms. The first rule of making a musical is to shoot for a universal audience, and Haynes breaks this rule with his opening shot. Overlong, misguided, and TREMENDOUSLY DISAPPOINTING.

Titanic
(1997)

A PIECE OF GARBAGE
Hand it to Cameron for making a film full of historical inaccuracy that would appeal to the largest of American audiences. Now future generations will always believe that Picasso painted cubist works in 1914, and that turn-of-the-century folk commonly said "s**t" and flipped the bird. Sure, it's visually appealing, but the script reads like it was written on the back of cocktail napkins. I haven't seen such idiotic tripe since "Braveheart". My thanks to the garbage people of America for making a success of this 200 million dollar film concerned with 'class struggle'. The liberal filmmakers are laughing all the way to the bank.

Spice World
(1997)

What were you expecting?
Give this film some credit. Gimmick flicks like this are usually unwatchable trash. Sure the jokes were lame and not one of the Spices can act, but was it really any worse than any of Richard Lester's Beatles films? The homages were funny and I'm sure they were much appreciated by film-literate parents who were forced to sit through it. I am definItely not a fan, but watching the film on DVD was quite an experience. The musical sequences were so well done that I almost enjoyed the music. It's beautifully photographed candy for the eyes.

Mandingo
(1975)

OH MY GOD!!!!!
One of the two greatest big-budget exploitation films ever made. (The other is Paul Verhoeven's SHOWGIRLS.) Like SHOWGIRLS this is a well-crafted, beautifully photographed, outrageous, possibly satirical film with bizarre casting and lots of unnecessary sex and violence. Watch this film and try and figure out how it ever got made. Look for Paul Benedict in an early cameo (George and Weezie's neighbor on the Jeffersons,) as he pulls apart the but tcheeks of a slave looking for hemorrhoids! There are so many outrageous and bizarre moments in this film, from James Mason's rheumatism cure to the pitchfork ending...it's indescribable. Also a great example of how to ruin the adaptation of a novel. Don't miss it!

Citizen Kane
(1941)

So Overrated
Great films should certainly be appreciated in their context, but do you really expect me to believe that the perfect film was made in 1941, and that nobody, NOBODY has managed to improve upon it in the past 57 years?!? The technical achievement, level of performances, and level of intellectual complexity in film today make this look like a cave drawing. Sure, it's amazing for its time, so was Hitchcock, but PLEASE give it a rest. If you think this film is the end-all, be-all, then you haven't seen much. Stop aping the pretentious, outdated opinions of professional hacks like Pauline Kael, and watch movies from somewhere other than Hollywood.

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