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MORIARTY's '90s List - 1994 (Part 2)




1994 - Part 2

TWENTY HOURS I WANT BACK

1. FORREST GUMP

Okay... I am going to get this out of my system, once and for all. I am going to vent my feelings about this film here, and then I have promised those around me that I will never speak of it again. I had to promise them. They've heard my rap on this film for six years now. I've converted a fair number of people in discussing the film with them, and I think it‚s because I am 100% dead serious when I say that this film makes my skin crawl. I'm not trying to just buck the mainstream, take an anti-populist stance. I think the film is a technical masterpiece, as stunning a piece of filmmaking craft as anything Robert Zemeckis has ever touched. I only fault him in one way in this film: he used that Eric Roth script. I have heard this script praised over and over and over now, and I don't understand why anyone would consider this a successful adaptation.

Winston Groom's original novel, FORREST GUMP, is a pretty wicked little piece of satirical fiction, in line with the work of Thomas Berger (LITTLE BIG MAN, NEIGHBORS) or early John Irving (THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, SETTING FREE THE BEARS). Forrest is a big bruiser of a guy as he cruises through several decades, making profound marks on society, pop culture, politics, and the people in his life. He's a big dummy, but he‚s no fool. He's used somewhat like Chauncey Gardener in BEING THERE, as the simple character against whom other people react, exposing themselves, somehow making more of him than he is. GUMP had a lot of that, and it was a pretty great little read. In bringing it to the screen, it was obvious that some changes would be needed in order to make a story out of it that worked as a film. I understand changes. I can live with changes.

What Eric Roth's script did was take the politics of the book and twist them, pervert them, turning the film into an indictment of the '60s generation that ironically embraced the film and bought enough copies of the soundtrack to choke a landfill. The film carries a fairly simple, fairly clear cut agenda now that strikes me as hateful, ugly, and a complete violation of the whole purpose of the novel.

The theme of the film can be beautifully summed up by the main visual motif that Zemeckis uses in the film, the feather floating on the wind. The feather is Forrest. That point couldn't be made any clearer. I know people who have tried to convince me that the theme of the film is that "life is like a box of chocolates," that the world is random, and that we should just roll with whatever it throws at us, but that's not true. That's just one half of the equation. Forrest is stupid. Roth couldn't make that any more clear in his screenplay, where he uses one adverb or the idea. He is that feather, carried by the wind, never questioning, never damaged.

Roth believes we should all try to be like Gump. We should all just hand ourselves over to fate and give up. We should be feathers on the wind, because trying to be anything else will only get us killed. Proof? Well, let's look at the way the film treats Bubba versus the way it treats Lt. Dan. Bubba is, like Forrest, a very funny retard. He rambles on and on monotonously about shrimp, and it's all very funny because he's so apparently stupid. He's just floating through life, waiting for the moment when he can open his shrimp place. Even though Bubba is killed, his stupid idea gets into Forrest's stupid head, and when he follows through on it (stupidly, I might add), Forrest and Bubba's family become very, very rich. Lt. Dan, on the other hand, is not a very good feather. He has specific ideas about what his life is going to be, and he is determined to do whatever it takes to make those ideas come to pass. When he is robbed of his chance to die in battle, when he is robbed of his legs, Lt. Dan does something decidedly un-featherlike. He rails against God, against fate. He crawls into a bottle. He tries to destroy himself. Gump tries to rescue Lt. Dan, but it‚s not until Dan faces God in the form of a storm and gives up to it, becoming the feather, that he is able to find peace in his life. Once he does, life immediately improves for him. He coasts along, right into new legs and a second chance at life. All because he quits.

And then there's Jenny. Poor, poor Jenny. You see, Jenny makes a fatal mistake in this film. She decides to fight the hand that life has dealt her. She refuses to accept the circumstances of her life. Jenny is that part of the '60s generation that reached out for new experiences, new ideas, that tried anything in an effort to attain bliss, to change the world, to better themselves. Jenny chases love, chases a dream, chases even simple affection, and she is rewarded the way anyone who dares to take the helm of their own life should be reasonably rewarded in the world according to Gump: she gets AIDS, and she dies. You see, Jenny couldn't just be punished a little for her trangressions. She never once bows to anyone else's idea of what or who she should be, and as a result, she gets AIDS, and she dies.

I am horrified at the message that this film sends, but I'm more horrified by just how peacefully people embraced the film as "feel-good" or as "funny." It's a film that is full up to the top with horror, a film with an ending as black and pitiless as SE7EN. It's a film that is frosted with sweetness, but which is bitter and cold at its heart. This film hates the '60s, hates the era of experimentation, hates the way idealism motivated people to fight impossible odds, trying to make some statement no matter how futile it might seem. Boomers rushed out to buy the soundtrack in record numbers (no pun intended), never stopping to absorb that the film that music was used in had open contempt for the generation that music represents. FORREST GUMP is a dishonest film, a hateful film, and I will be glad now to put it behind me, never having any need to see it or discuss it again.

2. THE CROW

This is, very simply, a film that should never have been released. I don't care how skillfully Alex Proyas manages the mise-en-scene of The Crow's world. I don't care how charismatic Brandon Lee is as the doomed lead. When a man died on the set playing the lead role, under the conditions he did, in the way he did, the producers of this film suddenly fell under a moral obligation, one at which they failed completely. Yes, I've heard the argument that the film had to be released, that it was Brandon Lee's legacy, but there's no getting around the fact that he was shot and killed because of negligence on a film set, and most of this movie is made up of images of people shooting Brandon over and over. It's the closest thing to a big-studio snuff picture I've ever seen. It's not like James O'Barr's story is some sort of poetic masterwork that demanded translation. It's a fairly simple revenge fantasy that was obviously very personal to O'Barr when he wrote it. That doesn't really make it good. The movie's virtues are all technical. Proyas makes the most of his budget, and he really does pull off some nerve-rattling sequences. If Brandon had not been hurt, I might feel very differently about this film. As it was, I remember being tricked into a test screening of the movie, back when Paramount still owned it. They didn't tell us what it was until the title hit the screen. As soon as it did, people started leaving. I made it about forty minutes in before I stood to leave, my girlfriend and several others in tow. Two of the girls in our group were crying, and I felt sick to my stomach. When the NRG drones asked us why we were leaving, I exploded at one of them, asking them how they could drop this film on an audience without telling them what it was going to be. I believed then, as I believe now, that Paramount should have taken the loss and simply put the film away. It was the only decent thing to do, but filthy lucre spoke louder than decency then, just as now, and so this horrible mistake is preserved for future generations to enjoy as mindless entertainment.

3. FRANKENSTEIN

There is no taste more bitter than disappointment, and this film should be taught as an example of just how bitter that can be, of how to take a near-perfect script and totally destroy it. The project got off to a solid start as a spec script by Steph Lady. In the wake of the box-office success of BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, it made perfect sense for Sony to try and bring gothic horror's other great character back to the screen. Lady's script was the closest thing to a classicist take, and after it was purchased, Frank Darabont was chosen to polish it up for production. That polish evolved into something else, though, a complete rewrite that satisfied Darabont's lifelong dream of bringing the Mary Shelly novel to the screen. One of the things that made reading the script so evocative was that Bernie Wrightson gave Frank permission to reprint his artwork in the script. It was all right there, that little extra push to sell the tone, the look of this particular take on the familiar tale. The script was genuinely scary, poetic for stretches, and it featured the best interpretation of the Creature I've ever read. He had a soul, but he had no idea what to do with it. His rage against his "father" after being abandoned is wrenching and understandable. This was an Oscar-level role as written. With that clear-cut visual plan and that script, all a director had to do to look like a genius was step in and not fuck it up.

Enter Kenneth Branaugh. If there was a way to make a wrong choice on that film, he did it. Casting, cinematography, set design, costuming -- all are held captive to the mediocrity of his vision. De Niro is howlingly bad in the film, but Helena Bonham Carter seems determined to be worse. There should be a law that prohibits Branaugh from even renting a crane again after his swooping MTV-style excesses here, and even if I never see his shirtless pasty English midsection again, it will still haunt my nightmares. The only possible explanation for how completely this movie misses the mark is ego, pure and simple, and we're all the poorer for it.

4. THE FLINTSTONES

It took 3,273 writers to cobble together this joyless, soulless little piece of plastic that manages to set the new high watermark for how phony a film can be.

5. NORTH

In William Goldman's upcoming book WHAT LIE DID I TELL?, he writes to harrowing effect about a disastrous test screening of his film THE YEAR OF THE COMET. While I almost wish I'd been at that one just to have seen it happen, I can tell a survivor's story of another truly painful screening I did attend. You have to remember who Rob Reiner was in 1994. He was a guy coming off one of the coolest creative hot streaks I've ever witnessed. It seemed he could do no commercial wrong as he went from THE SURE THING to THIS IS SPINAL TAP to STAND BY ME to THE PRINCESS BRIDE to WHEN HARRY MET SALLY to MISERY to A FEW GOOD MEN to...

... well, there's the rub. There was a screenplay Reiner found that he fell head over heels in love with. He wanted to make it his next film. He was ready to direct it before he even finished reading it the first time. The problem was, the writer of the script also wanted to direct the film, and since he owned the script, he wasn't going to sell it without that guarantee in place. Even after that hot streak, even with that track record, Reiner couldn't get the script he really wanted. He had to settle. He settled for producing the film. He settled for directing another script, a script that aimed for the whimsy of his earlier THE PRINCESS BRIDE, a script written by acclaimed humorist Alan Zweibel. Rob Reiner settled on NORTH.

Never settle. If your heart's not in a film, it shows, especially coming off of a streak of passionate, heartfelt movies. I was at that very first test screening of the film that Rob Reiner didn't want to make, the film he settled on, NORTH, at a theater in Sherman Oaks, and it's the only time I've seen over 2/3 of an audience bail from a free show. The crowd that stayed just got openly hostile. It was remarkable, and I felt truly awful for Rob Reiner. To this day, I don't think he's the same filmmaker he was. Before NORTH, he was fearless, having never been burned by failure. He settled, though, and he almost never recovered.

6. JIMMY HOLLYWOOD

Rob Reiner had an excuse. Barry Levinson, I don't understand.

7. IT'S PAT

Take the most obnoxious SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE character, figure out the one thing that makes people hate that character the most, magnify that one thing by 1,000, then do it for 90 minutes and call it a movie. When people roll their eyes at the mere mention of an SNL-inspired film, it‚s this crap they're thinking of.

8. BEVERLY HILLS COP III

I never thought I‚d see a movie that made BEVERLY HILLS COP II look good, but this was it. For John Landis and Eddie Murphy to do a film together and get absolutely nothing... no comic energy of any sort... well, that's a film that no one wanted to make. Watching this film makes me very, very happy the '80s are over.

9. EXIT TO EDEN

You do know, of course, that the only reason Rosie O'Donnell is building a media empire is so that she and Dan Aykroyd can one day pool their financial resources and buy every existing copy of this film, along with the rights from Touchstone, and destroy the film and all evidence of it. Then she will retire and just grow old while she enjoys her kids. You may laugh now, but you watch.

10. PRET-A-PORTER

This is the film that people who hate Altman movies are seeing every single time they see one of his films. From this perspective, I get their point.

PERFORMANCES

Jim Carrey, ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE

This isn't the kind of performance that wins awards, but maybe it should be. It's certainly the kind that makes movie stars. There is a sense that this performance was either going to work, or it was going to kill Jim. He knew full well what he was capable of, and he was determined he was going to share that. Actually, Ace isn't sharing. Ace is just inflicting himself at random. There's a manic energy to the work that's just this side of scary. Carrey does things with his body and his face in this film that defy explanation or recreation, brave, risky stuff. If nothing else, this is a record of a man who had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and who had the balls to try.

Tommy Lee Jones, COBB

This is Ron Shelton's buried treasure, and it's probably one of Tommy Lee Jones‚ finest turns on film. It's a difficult film about a deeply unlikable man that pulls no punches. For that reason, it can be hard to take. The film goes into dark places that were hinted at but deftly avoided by SCENT OF A WOMAN. Cobb is a monster, a man of towering intolerance and hate. There's nothing to celebrate about him. He was amazing as a ballplayer, but that can't possibly justify the life he led. I wish Robert Wuhl was the equal to Jones in the movie's biggest moments, but it's one of those adequate performances that you can ignore while taking in the glory of one perfect sonofabitch as he howls at the moon.

Brandon Lee, THE CROW

Brandon Lee was going to be a movie star. There's no doubt in my mind. As much as I feel it was a mistake to release this film, it does prove one thing: his time had finally come. This movie was a stepping stone, a good place to build from. It's like the action movie equivalent of ACE VENTURA, a performance that seems designed for only one thing, to turn someone into an icon. Brandon's coiled physical presence, his grace, his lean beauty -- they all elevated him easily past any competition he might face. His biggest secret weapon was that he could also act. Like River Phoenix, Lee left a specific and unique hole in the industry with his untimely death. Also like Phoenix, the question of what might have been is the thing that hurts most of all.

Johnny Depp and Martin Landau, ED WOOD

When I think of this film, a few key moments flash for me. First and foremost among them is the image of Ed and Bela sitting on that couch, watching Vampira on late-night TV. Bela is using his Hungarian hand gestures on her, and the two of them are just sort of talking back and forth. It's one of the single most honest images of a friendship I've ever seen, the two of them content just to be there, doing what they're doing, happy. The whole movie is in that one scene.

Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, HEAVENLY CREATURES

If I were Peter Jackson, I would have been so afraid of losing control of these two as they created their secret world, that bond that plays so powerfully onscreen. Lynskey looks like she's in awe of Winslet in much of the film, flowering when she follows lead. When she finally finds strength in powerful rage, it's both exhilarating and crushing. It's the integrity of their work that this film manages to avoid any of the trappings of the typical American film about teenagers. There's no outsider here who simply takes off a pair of glasses to suddenly become beautiful and popular. This film deals with girls who are drawn to one another when they recognize something that keeps them truly outside, something which makes it easier to be alone. They find each other because they need each other. They become so lost in this private thing of theirs that they are capable of real horror, and it's because we recognize so much of ourselves in these gifted young performers that we are able to feel the true weight of the film's final shocks.

Tom Cruise and Kirsten Dunst, INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE

Here's another strange and complicated relationship involving a very young girl in what is ostensibly an adult role. At first glance, I can't imagine letting a 12 year old girl play Claudia. It's a violent role, and there's some heavy material in there. Then again, look how Kirsten Dunst seems to have turned out. She's one of the genuinely normal young actresses. Hell, Fairuza Balk played Dorothy in an OZ film, and she turned out to be much crazier than Dunst. Hmm... maybe there's something to that. At any rate, Cruise does some great sly work here, managing to be both funny and vile, frequently at the same time. It's a supporting performance, and that's a problem, since he ends up so much more interesting than Brad Pitt's Louis, the film's central character. It's the truly horrific characters that make Anne Rice's work come to life, and she's helped greatly by what Neil Jordan has done in bringing them to the screen. There's a great deal of his earlier THE COMPANY OF WOLVES in this film, in his approach to the fantastic. Working with Cruise and Dunst, he crafted truly memorable, enduring monsters.

Jean Hughes-Anglade, KILLING ZOE

"Now... now we do heroin." This is said with authority as a car packed with men races at dangerous speeds through the streets of Paris. Jean Hughes-Anglade, the man who makes that pronouncement, manages to strike a note here that I've never seen in a simple action film like a DIE HARD. I believe that this man is absolutely willing to die at any second if he doesn't get his way. If there is even the slightest chance he's going to be punished, he would much rather go out swinging, take someone with him. This is perhaps the most nihilistic character since David Thewliss in NAKED, without any sense of conscience or remorse. Again, it all comes down to that one line of dialogue, a confession to himself as well as to his friend. When he says it, it's obvious that he is revealing a pain so great that he doesn't even allow himself to feel it. He keeps it locked away, numbing it with random sensation, with a constant barrage of drugs and sex and violence. Watching him flail his way through the second half of the film is like watching something in the road that has been run over, but that doesn't know it's dead yet. He struggles, flounders, thrashes about, but there's no getting up for him, no going free. It's liberating to witness in some strange way, no matter how sad.

Nigel Hawthorne, THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

I can't think of anything more horrifying than to have your mind just gently slip away from you. When the physical side of things starts breaking down, there's ways we can compensate for that. When the mind starts to go, though, there's no way to pick up the slack. Hawthorne etches a memorable portrait of a man who simply staggers under an enormous weight, allowing it to crush him for a time. He never goes for easy sympathy, either, playing the role with a sense of quiet humor.

Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, NATURAL BORN KILLERS

There was nothing in any earlier films or television shows to suggest that either of these actors was capable of the work they do here. Harrelson is explosive, oozing reptilian charm, a menacing presence. Still, he's shrewd enough to take specific shots at his sitcom background -- check out his entrance in his scenes with Rodney Dangerfield. He takes a moment when he enters to acknowledge the studio audience, basking in it as they go nuts, like he's Fonzie circa 1977. For him to take that shot suggests that he has no investment in any of it. He's free to do anything in his film work. Juliette Lewis is one of those actresses who had a lot of opportunities this decade that I thought she failed in, but she makes up for it all here as Mallory. She would fall in love with Mickey, and she would be this good as his partner. I believe her in the film. More than that, I am drawn to her in this film. She and Mickey certainly make a convincing argument for the joys of anarchy and mayhem.

Paul Newman and Bruce Willis, NOBODY'S FOOL

What's really remarkable here is watching one movie star who doesn't have to lift a finger to be the most charismatic person in the room share a scene with a guy who was just starting to figure out how to best harness his own specific appeal. Bruce Willis has never had the greatest track record, but he has made some seemingly odd moves in his time that have truly paid off. This was one of them. Newman is an old pro, maybe one of the greatest movie stars to ever live, and he owns the camera when he's on. He can't even help himself. He's just that magnetic. He also radiates a sort of calm, a centeredness. I think Willis picked it up on this set, because it's excellent supporting work from him here that kicked off what I consider the most productive phase of his career. The only question I have about Newman is just how long he's going to be able to continue like this, his appeal untouched by time. Based on the evidence of this film, he's still got some great years to go.

John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and Ving Rhames, PULP FICTION

Who would have guessed that the Batusi, a crazy Afro wig, a Louise Brooks cut and the word "medieval" would carry quite the weight they did? Travolta cuts through this movie like the biggest fattest shark you've ever seen, a side of beef that glides on charm and a sort of languid energy, like he's always just a little bit doped, a little bit slow. He rips into QT's words with zeal, obviously enjoying himself at every turn. Samuel L. Jackson is the very voice of wrath in the film, and he has been basically riffing off of Jules ever since. Uma Thurman is one of those actresses who can be enormously sexy without being what I would consider "beautiful," and she definitely pulls it off in this film. Her look is so iconic, so instantly recognizable, that we were thankfully spared imitations. There's no way to top what's already been done. As far as Ving Rhames goes, this is another of those performances that simply drops someone onto the national radar, fully formed. His scene with Zed and friends in the basement was so perfect that the phrase, "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass" entered the popular lexicon overnight. QT should open a service where he just makes people into movie stars for a nominal fee. This film is all the resume he needs.

Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis, THE REF

We all secretly wish that when we fight with our significant other, we could be this witty, this savage, and this damned entertaining. Spacey and Davis are both dangerously funny here, with timing that has to be seen to be believed. Because of them, this minor Denis Leary vehicle has to be taken seriously. It's like a workshop on comic teamwork.

Morgan Freeman, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

There's no sound in the world more soothing, more relaxing than Morgan Freeman's narration in SHAWSHANK. Normally, that would be a bad thing since you don't want to lull your audience too much. Sleepy audiences are a bad thing. It works here, though, because of the world that Red is talking about in his voice-overs. His slight sense of disconnection from the horror of Shawshank makes it bearable, and his refusal to oversell his story keeps him from telegraphing the film's twists too early. It's a thankless job, narrating a film, since too many people think of it as reading, not acting. This film proves that a great narration can make all the difference in the world.

Jeremy Davies, SPANKING THE MONKEY

He may look like Henry Thomas, but he's got the chops of a young Anthony Perkins. Davies may be the current king of barely controlled geekhood, ready to jump out of his skin at the slightest provocation. He's got plenty to be jumpy about in David O. Russell's first film, a black comedy about incest that manages to be outrageous without being offensive. Davies gets the lion's share of the credit here, since its his work that makes everything else believable. He is so freaked out by sex and the future and his life and girls and school that when he acts out in a completely insane manner it almost makes a perverse kind of sense. I also love that he doesn't seem to be all better by the end of the film. Indeed, he's just barely hanging on, but he's doing it, and maybe that's enough.

Sandra Bullock, SPEED

Admit it. The only reason you bought Keanu as the hero of this film is because she bought Keanu as the hero of this film. It was her we didn't want to see blow up. Given basically nothing to do but drive, Bullock still stole the film out from under actors like Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Jeff Daniels. She's so into it, so completely sold on the ridiculous premise, that we just have to agree to take the ride with her. Just like PRETTY WOMAN, this is the kind of film that earns you enough goodwill to survive almost any box-office dud.

Jamie Lee Curtis, TRUE LIES

I know that many of you feel that James Cameron's better-than-Bond action/comedy was sexist, or that Jamie Lee Curtis got abused by Arnold in it, but if that's the case, no one told Jamie Lee. She has never been this good, this sexy, this funny. Even in A FISH CALLED WANDA, she was still the girl playing among men. In this film, and especially in the dance she performs for a man she doesn't know is her husband, she is Woman, and she is outstanding. I'm surprised she hasn't had an action lead crafted for her away from the HALLOWEEN franchise. After this film, she deserves it.

SPECIAL MENTION

"ER"

Even though the show seems to be caught in dramatic inertia these days, unable to recover from the loss of George Clooney and facing the additional loss of Julianna Marguiles, the lasting influence of the show cannot be underestimated on television. It turned up the pace across the board. Before this show, no one had ever tried anything that was cut this fast, this frantic, on a weekly basis. Now, we see things like THE WEST WING and SPORTS NIGHT and THIRD WATCH, and it seems old hat.

"FRIENDS"

Like PULP FICTION, this show has a lot of imitators that have tarnished its achievement simply by volume, but there's two big reasons this show is still a powerhouse seven years later: casting and writing. Give someone a cookie for putting this ensemble together in the first place. Everyone has gradually focused their characters to the point that any one of them could carry an entire episode with ease. They're all that well-defined, that full of life and energy. It's amazing that none of them have had anywhere near as much success away from the show as they've had on it, but maybe that's because it's easy to get spoiled when you really are the best at what you do.

"SPACE GHOST COAST-TO-COAST"

If you have not seen this show, then I cannot possibly begin to convey to you the sheer majesty of its madness. I can't express to you the simple joy of Space Ghost blowing up a guest or maybe his band leader. If you've never seen Zorak ruin an interview, you can't know what staggering joy it brings. The idea of turning one of the stupidest characters in the Hanna-Barbera library into a talk show host is one that shouldn't work by any rights, but it does. There's a cheerful absurdity to the whole enterprise, and the 15-minute episodes keep things brisk. Find it. See it. You will love it.

"TV NATION"

Michael Moore is a great rabble-rouser, and there's a pretty obvious reason why his show didn't last on network TV. He didn't pull any punches in his attacks on various (mostly) deserving targets, and neither did correspondents like Janeane Garafolo and Rusty Cundieff. This show is definitely the model for Moore's new show THE AWFUL TRUTH which is shown on Bravo here in the US, and even though it didn't last, it's nice to salute the brief moment, the impassioned gesture.

... AND, FINALLY, A MOMENT OF SILENCE, PLEASE, FOR...

1993



Dizzy Gillespie
Audrey Hepburn
Brandon Lee
George "Spanky" McFarland
Vincent Price
Fredrico Fellini
River Phoenix
Frank Zappa
Don Ameche
Myrna Loy

1994



Jack Kirby
John Candy
Charles Bukowski
Kurt Cobain
Dennis Potter
Henry Mancini
Peter Cushing
Robert Bloch
Burt Lancaster
Raul Julia
Michael O'Donoghue
Cab Calloway

They certainly aren't the only people we lost in those years, but they are definitely the ones I miss the most.

That's it for part two, Fellow Geeks. Click here if you want to look back at The Big Damn '90s List, Part I for any reason. I'm sure we'll have some reason to talk again before Harry gets back. Things always come up. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Forrest Gump

    by All Thumbs

    I know you don't want to discuss the movie, Moriarty, so I won't either (I now feel guilty for liking the film). I will say that I, too, read the book before I saw the film and maybe I should read it again because I didn't like it. I thought some of the time it was trying TOO hard to be satirical. I guess I like my satire a little more subtle. I particularly thought the entire "Forrest as a wrestler" part was obnoxious. When I read on your Rumblings that you were going to thrash the movie, I figured you had read the book and were going to compare it. What I want to know is...did you get to read other scripts? (BTW, thanks for the mention of those lost in 1993 and 1994. The ones I miss the most are Hepburn and Cobain, two true artists in their respective fields who will be remembered forever as "greats.")

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Excellent analysis on Forrest Gump

    by Mr. Lynch

    I never thought anyone could articulate exactly how I felt about Forrest Gump as well as you have. It just bothered me when people would regurgitate the cliche that "this film is a triumph of the human spirit". If anything, every single character in that film who seemed to have some kind of an intelligent thought would either die from some kind of a horrible death or get his legs blown off. Be nice, listen to momma and always act like a subordonate to everyone else and you too can attain the American dream. And Christ I'm Canadian. "Triumph of the human spirit", yeah right. However, I couldn't disagree with you more about putting Killing Zoe on your list, especially putting it ahead of Pulp Fiction. It's like saying "Battle Beyond the Stars" was better than "Star Wars".

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:28 p.m. CST

    The Crow is great....I'm glad they released it even with the....

    by Eric Draven

    ...untimely death of Brandon. I'm a crow fan a big as they come. I have framed pics of Brandon, posters, a shit load of Crow memorbilia, and i have seen the original movie well over a hunderd times. I'm glad that Brandon was put on the "Performances" list, because it was exactly true what was said, his greatest secret weapon, was that he could act. Watching the final on-screen interview to this day still gets me a litle misty-eyed as Brandon recites the words that are now etched onto his tombstone , "We tend to think of life as an inexhaustable well........how many more times will you watch the full moon rise...perhaps twenty.And yet it all seems limitless". Brandon was as involved as he could be in this film...every aspect he could help with, he did. He truely felt strongly about this movie...the movie that would have finally proved him to be an actor, and he would finally be able to be his own man and not live under the shadow of his fathers name. I can see how someone whould think releasing this movie was wrong because of his death, but he cared about this project so much, i think it really was a good choice to finish this movie, and let us see what Brandon wanted us to see......that he was indeed an actor. And i think it is most definatly a legacy he left behind, although i wish he didnt have to.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:30 p.m. CST

    gump

    by RipReaver

    man thats not what i got out of gump...this is a pretty twisted view of it....i totally disagree that the intent was to show if you tried to take your life into your own hands you would die or suffer etc.,, thats ridiculous.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:32 p.m. CST

    Big ups on Crow, Big Downs on North

    by jspot

    I totally agree with the Crow, it's way overrated and really not that "bad ass" Its just another movie that gives weirdo art students another reason not to wash themselves. But, North. C'mon man, that was a truly original sweet, and funny movie. Eh well, guess you can't like everything.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Gump

    by Ted Terrific

    Moriarty's analysis of 1993 and 1994 is on the money but I'm not sure I agree with him on Gump. Gump struck a nerve. I don't think it was great but you cannot deny the impact it had. For one thing, I'm not sure the message was 100% one way - "If you fight fate you lose". For instance Gump's mother (Sally Fields) fought against her son's fate and for the most part succeeded (she dies eventually but not untimely). More to the point however, if you disagree with a film's message, does that make it a bad film. Should a work of art be judged in whole or in part on what it has to say rather than how it says it. You might not envision a film that glorifies Nazis or the KKK could be great films but TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and BIRTH OF A NATION are recognized as great films. Conversely, a film (book, play, etc) might have the most profound message but still be shit (e.g., any recent Robin Williams film). Is Art's worthiness independent of its morality?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Hey Moriarty

    by StarBarella

    Great job. You are an evil genius...and a magnificent writer. You have created a wonderful archive of the highs and lows of the first 5 years of the decade. Now, please...I pray...don't make us wait so long for the concluding chapters.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Meathead...

    by agentcooper

    I'm curious about the film Reiner wanted to direct, but ended up producing instead. Anybody know what it was?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Moriarty kicks ass

    by Coopcooper

    It's nice to see honest opinions that don't always fit with the standard ones. Even if I don't agree with them all. I, too, was affected by Brandon Lee's death. I must have been about 12 when he died. I had followed Rapid Fire and the time he did Kung Fu and the movie he made with Dolph Lungren. I was a huge fan of he and his father. He was supposed to do The Crow next. Then I remember just walking by and overhearing on the TV something about he'd been shot on the set. It was Fox news I think, when it first came around. He had died and I remember being shook up. Strange. It really hit home in my young brain that anyone can die at any time. It wasn't really negligence, though. It was more of a freak accident. What happened (to the best of my knowledge) was the tip of a dummy bullet was lodged in the barrel. And when the gun was loaded with blanks, the gunpowder blast fired the dummy bullet. It shouldn't have happened. But some people talk about it like there was a real bullet when it was supposed to be a blank. It wasn't that flagrant. But I'm glad they released it. Otherwise, his last film would have been Rapid Fire, which wasn't at all a representation of his talent. The production wasn't entirely souless. They changed some things to make it brighter, a little more redeeming. It was originally supposed to be much darker and more unforgiving. It's a movie that I see in the video store, pause, and pass by. I don't care to see it again. But I did think highly of it. What I don't understand is why they had to make sequels.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Michael Moore Forever!

    by smilin'jackruby

    And he's right now taping the next round of "The Awful Truth," YAY!!!!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:16 p.m. CST

    So Gump has a non-"Hollywood" theme--

    by 9970

    is that not what most of the film-school connoisseur crowd deem "art," "realistic," and here's my favorite-- "verisimilitude." I don't know if Moriarty went to film school or not, but better films have been faulted for having hard work and diligence pay off for their main characters and their attempts to rise above what life threw at them-- the so-called "Rocky" theme. I thought Gump was well-rounded in showing the good and bad of various choices in life. And who's to say that we shouldn't sometimes simply let go our conscious selves. . . and act on instinct! (Sorry, couldn't resist)

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Sandra Bullock in Speed? What are you smoking!

    by gilmour

    my god i hated Speed, what an overrated piece of garbage. Keannu is not believable at all. And Sandra is just as bad. The romance between the 2 makes me sick its so phoney. Die Hard was such a better film and Speed is a shit ripoff of it. I'm shocked that so many critics loved the film. And can I bring up the fact that Siskel and Ebert gave 2 thumbs up for Speed 2?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Brandon

    by mrbeaks

    He died on April Fool's Day, 1993. I was taking a nap in my dorm room when one of my friends poked his head in to say, "Uh, Brandon Lee's dead." I didn't want to believe him, and tried hard to believe it was just a prank dictated by the spirit of the day, but his tone was too serious. For me, it started with SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, a dreadful little film that barely merits a mention, save that it introduced me to Brandon. This was the son of Bruce, and, in certain scenes, I could sense the same, unmistakable intensity of his father. Bad as the movie was, there was no doubt the kid was going to be a star. Flash forward to Summer 1992, and an August that was so magical (for me, at least,) I can still rattle off the release sked. August 7th, UNFORGIVEN. August 14th, DIGGSTOWN (curiously left off Moriarty's list.) August 21st, RAPID FIRE. Okay, so this movie is no classic, and, yes, Brandon does steal a move, or two from Jackie Chan, but what presence! I walked out of that movie telling everyone I knew, "Brandon Lee *is* a star." Many felt I was premature in my declaration, but when I caught wind of THE CROW, and especially its director, who was a Nike commercial veteran, I was certain all doubt would be wiped away. I saw THE CROW on opening night, but I wasn't sure I wanted to. The fact that the bastards were tasteless enough to make a fucking sequel, though, ensured that I will never see it again. I wish I could say that Brandon left behind a proud cinematic legacy, but, obviously, I can't. When prodded, the best I can muster up is, "we never got his best." It's a sad story, with no closure -- just a big gaping wound that'll never close. Why I invested that much in an actor, I'll never know. Maybe I was young. Maybe I was a fool. Maybe that was Brandon's gift.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Moriarty, you are wrong about The Crow. Completely, utterly. W

    by Nordling

    Sure, Brandon died on the set. It was a fuck up of monumental proportions by the crew. But The Crow to me shows Brandon Lee's complete range as an actor. his father was much better at kick-assery than Brandon was, sure. But Brandon was a much better actor than his father would ever be. It was a wonderful performance, and I cried at the end, not only because of the plot, but at such a life, lost, with all the potential gone. If Brandon were alive today, he would be making $20 mill a picture, I guarantee you. You left too early. The Crow was terrific. Even his family wanted it saved, because they recognized the beauty of his performance. Was it Oscar quality? No, but Lee had something down that most action stars could never have - subtlety. Watch as he laughs at the kids when they're trick-or-treating. Pay attention when he tells the cop - "Everything matters." You blew this one, really, really blew it. Other than that, good list.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Hank's take on Gump

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Tom hanks is to the 1990's (and beyond) what James Stewart was to the days gone by. So what the script didn't follow the book? Find me one that does! I'd have rather seen the book's version of Forrest, mind you, but Hanks just NAILS Gump. Like Mr. M hisself said about Leo in Gilbert Grape, Tom play the dimwitted guy not as a fool but as a plain old simpleton. No reason is given as to why he might be slower, it's just a given. So give Gump a break. If only for Tom. I do agree that the movie makes fun and has no fondness at all for the 1960's decade. The soundtrack is cool (sorry, I got it as a gift. I swear!)

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:27 p.m. CST

    A Great Year ...

    by MarcusBrody

    with the crown jewel coming in the form of "The Shawshank Redemption." Does anyone remember it from the theatre? I don't, but I can just about tell you where I was during each viewing and it means more and more each time I watch it. Sure, the best of the rest of '94 will be remembered, maybe even for a long time. But Shawshank will transcend them and become one of the finest films. Ever. Just an amazing work that I'm so happy was made. My world is a little less drab because of it.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Run Forrest Run/Reiner

    by Anton_Sirius

    Gump was one of those films I enjoyed immensely while it had me in its grip, but as soon as I stepped out of the theater and started THINKING about it I felt nauseous. I think Moriarty got it half-right. The film DOES hate the '60s, but it also hates its own main characters. It has absolutely no respect for any of them. Forrest is just a lucky moron. Jenny is a slut who gets what she deserves. Lt. Dan, who SHOULD be the emotional core of the story since Forrest is just a plot device for the most part, is just someone with a death wish who crosses paths with the Lucky Moron and instead of dying is 'only' crippled. The film's heart is bitter and cynical, and it poisons all that it touches. Mum, da, don't touch it- it's evil! As for North, well, it falls apart at the end but it wasn't that bad. A Few Good Men is far worse. Talk about sound and fury signifying nothing...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Forrest Gump and Independence Day have one thing in common...

    by Nordling

    While you're watching them, they're remarkably entertaining, but once you leave, you know, KNOW how badly manipulated you were. It has not stood the test of time - and Mr. Hanks was right on passing on a sequel to this. I can't remember who all was nominated for best actor that year, but having readjusted my values since then I know now how manipulative it is.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Frankenstein Script

    by curley

    I was interested to hear that Steph Lady wrote the script. My understanding has always been that it was Jim Hart who wrote it. Frankenstein was not his only blunder. His other "credits" include Bram Stoker's Dracula, Hook, and Contact. When will Hollywood stop using this mediocrity of a writer?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:29 p.m. CST

    LETS US NOT FORGET ONE IMPORTANT THING....THE CROW SUCKED

    by tyler_durden74

    FOR ALL ITS VISUAL FLAIR, FOR ALL ITS LEGIONS OF GEEKY, HOT-TOPIC SHOPPING FANS, THE CROW IS STILL A CRAPPY FILM. CARDBOARD STANDARD-ISSUE SUPERHERO. LAME PLOT. AND, AS MORIARTY MENTIONED: NO CONSCIENCE. PEOPLE WHO CONFUSE DARK SET DESIGN AND ART DIRECTION WITH A DARK STORY (OR GOD FORBID "NOIR") ARE THE SAME PEOPLE THAT THINK ANNE RICE IS AN AUTHOR.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:30 p.m. CST

    The Crow

    by Xcalibur

    The Crow was by far one of the best movies of 94. Brandon Lee's final performance was amazing. I feel that the film needed to be released, not just to honor Lee, but also to acknowledge the great work of the entire cast. I own the version of the movie which contains Brandon Lee's final interview, where he shows how passionate he was about this project. I think that it would have been a tragedy if the film weren't released. Also, on an unrelated note, Interview with the Vampire should have been in the Top 10 list.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:38 p.m. CST

    The Crow/Brandon Lee

    by Leviat

    Uh..Moriarty....I can't seem to wrap my brain around the ideal that "The Crow" should not have been released. First of all, the producers were under a moral obligation to RELEASE IT. The most wonderful thing they could have done, was to release it, otherwise a young man would have died for nothing. Especially a death as tragic as that one. I am not a "Crow Junkie", I don't have anything other than the movie and the collected comic edition, but I look at the movie as a great final tribute to a talented young man, who left us far too soon.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Frankenstein

    by Peregrin

    Moriarity; get off it -- if you could direct a film with half of Branagh's vision, half of his style, and half of his technical skill it would be a miracle on par with turning water into wine...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:02 p.m. CST

    The Crow and Sandra...bollocks!

    by Hudson Hawk

    First off, thanks for giving credit where due for Brandon Lee's performance. It was stellar and brought an incredible mix of darkness, anger, wit and coolness to the screen. While you may argue the moral intention of releasing this film, I believe that it would have become an underground sensation either way. I really felt that the movie brought to life the feel of an indie comic book, was exciting, dangerous and plain cool. That is putting the tragedy of Lee's death aside. My personal disbelief is that it has become a franchise. It should have remained a singularity and a tribute to what could have become Lee. Second: Sandra Bullock? C'mon. She is nothing more than eye candy and fodder for adult pic fakers. Just don't see it, Moriarty...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:06 p.m. CST

    The Flintstones was SUPPOSED to be a soulless piece of plastic

    by user id indeed!

    That way,it would stay true to the gawdawful series!Duhr!!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Must See TV

    by Hudson Hawk

    ...and one more thing. On a personal note, I was in college when the Thusday night "Friends/ER and everything inbetween" line-up kicked off. Take this anyway you want, but ever since my friends and I have gathered for beer, pizza and brownies every thursday night to tune in and socialize. Well, except for reruns and potty breaks during Veronica's Closet...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:21 p.m. CST

    IT'S PAT

    by wash

    Ah come on, there were far worse movies that year then "It's Pat". Like "Cabin Boy", "It's Pat" is one of the most misunderstood films ever...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Exactly how Brandon Died......

    by Eric Draven

    I'll explain this as quick as possible... there are 2 types of blanks : dummy rounds, which have no gunpowder, the primer has been fired off, and it still has the tip of the bullet. An Flash blanks which have a verieing degree of gunpowder and a cardboard tip. Some dudes who worked on the set of the Crow were sent to a real pawn shop to get props for the Gideon's pawn shop scene in The Crow. Among the props were real bullets for a .44 magnum. The stunt co-ordinator freaked because no live ammo is allowed on movie sets. Due to time and money, the real bullets were modified into the two types of blanks. However one of the "dummy" bullets, did not have the primer shot off..it just had a hollow chamber and the tip of the bullet in it. The scene with the dummy had someone point the gun at the camers and pull the trigger a couple of times. They heard a "pop" noise and didnt know what it was. The gun was put in a box for 2 weeks 'till they needed it again for filming. What happened was the still-active primer was shot off, the air in the bullet launched and lodged the tip into the barrel. When they needed the gun 2 weeks later, "flash' rounds were used in the scene where Eric Draven and his fiancee Shelly Webster are murdered, FunBoy (Michael Masse) fires at Brandon, and the force of the gunpowder dislodged the bullet tip and hit Brandon in the abdomen. He died later at the hospital on March 31st 1993 at the age of 28. Supposedly, Brandon was signed on to make 2 more Crow movies as well. Some interestng trivia about the Crow.... Cameron Diaz was offered the role of Shelly, but turned it down. Before casting began on the crow, two names that they were thinking of for Eric was Christian Slater or River Phoenix. I am the Crow masta!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Now just WAIT a damned MINUTE, Moriarty! You call Brandon Lee

    by Alexandra DuPont

    While I enjoy your writing considerably, Evil Genius, I must

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:32 p.m. CST

    That said, you couldn't be more right about "Forrest Gump."

    by Alexandra DuPont

    I remember being surprised at the end of the film that the feather didn't spell out "The End" in the air as it was floating away -- I was THAT primed to expect the obvious gesture from Zemeckis by the conclusion of "Gump." I suspect history will not be kind to Forrest. (And yes, I've read the book, and yes, it's exactly as good as the Evil Genius described it.)

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:41 p.m. CST

    gump cliches -- and is that harry's tongue?

    by fonebone

    I appreciate Moriarity's columns, but he's a little sanctimonious, and sometimes he just parrots the Hollywood-elite-conventional-wisdom soundbites. I agree that Gump sucked, but I've heard Moriarity's analysis many times, and although not everyone agrees with it, it's nothing all that new or provocative. His Crow analysis was more interesting; I enjoyed the Crow, and didn't really feel guilty about it. Maybe I should have. And who's criticizing Cabin Boy? David Letterman's performance is one of the best of the 90's!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Top Ten Movies Of The '90's

    by Jake The Snake

    1)(tie) Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan 3) Goodfellas 4) Pulp Fiction 5)Unforgiven 6) Silence of The Lambs 7)Hoop Dreams 8)Malcolm X 9) Forrest Gump 10) Se7en

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:45 p.m. CST

    NBK

    by Alessan

    Great, great artcle, Moriarity, but I have to take issue with one minor point: your positive attitude towards NATURAL BORN KILLERS. You see, I hate that film. I abhor it in levels I cannot describe. Oh sure, the two leads were believeable, all right - believeable as scum; as lowlives; as sub-humans. I did't "like" them, I didn't "emphasize" with them, I didn't for a moment think of them as "anti-heroes". Maybe it's because I've been cursed with a rudimentary moral core, but I judge characters by their actions, not by their dialouge, personal magnatism or haircut. Remember the scene, somewhere mid-movie, when the cops have Woodie on the ground in front of that 7-11, beating him senseless with their guns and nightsticks? That scene had me cheering. I'm sorry, but I decide who my heroes and villains are, not Oliver Stone. ********** I got to hand it to them, though - at least Harrelson and What's-her-name delivered actual character portrayals, unlike everything else in this piece of bile. Suspension of disbelief? Yeah, OK, uh-huh. Disbelief kept on falling like a Monty Python 50-tonne weight.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:45 p.m. CST

    and one more thing . . .

    by fonebone

    "Friends" was good in its first season, but after that, it has sucked. I don't know if maybe the monkey had something to do with it, but for some reason, as soon as Ross started dating that incredibly uninteresting Chinese woman, the show tanked for me. Can you imagine if Lucy Liu's Ling had been Ross's girlfriend? Now that would've been interesting.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:52 p.m. CST

    Wyatt Earp Was Worse Than ALl These Movies Combined

    by golgo-14

    Wyatt Earp, directed by Mr. Empire Strikes Back and Big Chill Lawrence Kasdan, was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. 3 hours of the 3 I's: idiocy, incompetence and impotence. What a stinking piece of shit. Shame on you for not letting the public know about this awful waste of celluloid! God forbid some unsuspecting person go rent this fucking movie and be bored to death.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Gumped

    by ClarkGoble

    First off fidelity to source text is not necessarily a blessing in a film. Witness the Stephen King version of _The Shining_ and the Stanley Kubrick version. So saying that Gump is bad because it is different is kind of beside the point. There have been faithful adaptations of books, but they are few and far between. Usually a director and screenwriter are better off seeing something interesting in a novel and filming their vision. And of course what the director sees in the script isn't necessarily what the screenwriter saw. Next, judging the film by it's own merits rather than contrasting it to the book, I'd have to take exception to your judgments. In the *film* Jenny is in denial. She isn't trying to build a life, rather she is trying to escape it. (Ironically she does what you attribute Gump as doing) She heads into a life of hedonism and pseudo-causes because of what happened as a child. She only becomes happy by rejecting those lies and living the simple life ala Gump. Gump, contrary to your view, isn't just simple, rather his simplicity is brought out so that his essential morality can be brought into view without the burden of regular human complexity. He doesn't float around in a Taoist way like the feather. Rather his simplicity allows him to deal with life from a basic moral core. All the characters only become happy when they return to their basic childhood innocence (represented by Gump). This isn't a denial but an affirmation of basic human nature. Now I can see people not liking this view of humanity. Clearly conservatives will like it. And I think, despite it's simplicity, that it rings true on many levels. But lets at least keep with what the film shows.

  • Forrest Gump was an evil film? What's really evil is defending a 60's generation which preached peace and love and then helped bring about global warming, intensified the separation between rich and poor during the 80's and not to mention made drugs seem cool and henceforth started the war on drugs which continues to this very day. Fuck the hippies. What did they ever do that was so fucking noble anyway? They threw empty beer cans at Vietnam Vets who were returning home and then taunted them with names like "baby killer". Some heroes they were.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 5:59 p.m. CST

    people still brainwashed by Gump

    by Lazarus Long

    Let me extend a note of pure admiration for Moriarty using this forum to soundly lambast what has unfortunately become "An American Classic". I laugh to myself when I see some Talkbackers saying "C'mon man, it wasn't saying that." about the film. Well, Moriarty stated clearly how many saps bought into this sleight of hand from Zemeckis and company, and I'm not surprised to see some of them on AICN. You really have to give credit to the filmmakers for passing off such right-wing hatred off to a generation that loves the 60's. You could write a dissertation on it. This film should have been released in the 80's where its message belonged. I'd like to add my own small comment here, that anyone who is still curious about why Forest Gump is so wretched can simply look to the protest scene at the Washington Monument. It is a perfect metaphor for the film. Forest represents the film itself, the crowd represents the audience. Forest: "This is what I have to say about Vietnam". Microphone goes out. We see his lips move, but do not hear what he says. Mic cuts back in: "and that's all I have to say about Vietnam." Crowd cheers/audience loves movie. The film says NOTHING. Anyone on either side of the political spectrum can imagine this film is talking to them. I admit I fell for it initially as well. But Moriarty hit the nail on the head with its treatment of people like Jenny who challenge the system. It's an insult to single mothers, protest singers, drug USERS (not drug ABUSERS), activists, veterans, etc. It's disgusting, and I'm very interested to know if anyone felt the same way about Robert Zemeckis' Contact, where I suspect the story was being used to advertise religion. I can't see another Zemeckis film without be suspicious ever again. For years I have fantasized about beating the man to unconsciousness with his Best Director oscar, which was deserved more by his fellow nominees. Fucking charlatan.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:06 p.m. CST

    Gump-Right Wing Trash

    by mechanimal

    Like others here, thanks so much for perfectly crystalizing all the nasy little feelings I have about this dreck into one concise argument. Never forget that the Conservatives and Republicans absolutely LOVED this movie when it came out. I too enjoyed it as I sat in my seat, but left feeling...wrong. I now think it was Hank's always-on likability that made it tolerable as the reel spooled. I instinctly remember the conservative establishment going off about how the film was so good for the exact same reasons Moriarty and I hate it so much. I always got this similar message: "Don't fight things, or try to against the status quo. Don't question authority or make waves. Just accept and go with every single little thing you are told or spoon-fed, and all will work out for you. If you 'make trouble' in the world, unhappiness will be yours." WHAT A LOAD OF FUCKING SHIT! I am so deeply offended by this philosophy it makes me shake with rage..it just smells way too much like the kind of tripe our government and religious-right asswipes would like all of us to live our lives by. It also seems to suggest that being mentally impaired will make you happier, because being simple-minded makes life so less complex! Being intelectual and questioning will only lead to sadness. That is the exact same kind of logic that most religions have shoved down our throats through-out history. Forrest Gump is worse than just "black-hearted"; it is arrogant, self-righteous reactionary hatred for any kind of independent spirit. As a Libertarian and an Atheist, but also a believer in Humanism and the poential of mankind, I find it quite possibly the most offensive and degrading film ever made. It's more than a bad movie: Phantom Menace is a "bad movie". Forrest Gump is grand-scale propagandic evil, and will one day be remembered as a colossal mistake on part of the Academy and the populace. Just bury it and forget about it.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:11 p.m. CST

    NBK (2)

    by Alessan

    Satire? I don't think so. for something to be satire, it has to have some sort of point of reference. NBK operated in a world so one-dimensional, so extreme that it bore almost no resemblence to our own. No, I think that what Stone was trying to do was manipulate the audience into rooting for Micky and Mallory, so that they would go home and realize what shallow, impressionable fools they are. Sorry, Ollie - didn't work. Ok, Pharcyde? Just please don't start with the poetry.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Letterman!

    by mechanimal

    I actually don't like Cabin Boy, but Big Dave's turn has got to be one of my all-time favorite cameos. And thankfully, it's in the first five minutes so ya don't have to sit through much. Heh Heh...Ya wanna buy a monkey?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    We seem to think very much alike, and I would appreciate it if you could state a little more about "Contact" being used to advertise religion. I liked the film ok, but would really like to know if I was manipulated as well and need to have my eyes opened. I know for sure that the great Carl Sagan, who wrote Contact the book, abjectly rejected religion, and I find it very troubling that zemeckis may have turned the late physicist's work into a reversal of the man's true beliefs. Please post any observations here, I would be glad to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    We seem to think very much alike, and I would appreciate it if you could state a little more about "Contact" being used to advertise religion. I liked the film ok, but would really like to know if I was manipulated as well and need to have my eyes opened. I know for sure that the great Carl Sagan, who wrote Contact the book, abjectly rejected religion, and I find it very troubling that zemeckis may have turned the late physicist's work into a reversal of the man's true beliefs. Please post any observations here, I would be glad to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:27 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    We seem to think very much alike, and I would appreciate it if you could state a little more about "Contact" being used to advertise religion. I liked the film ok, but would really like to know if I was manipulated as well and need to have my eyes opened. I know for sure that the great Carl Sagan, who wrote Contact the book, abjectly rejected religion, and I find it very troubling that zemeckis may have turned the late physicist's work into a reversal of the man's true beliefs. Please post any observations here, I would be glad to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    I would like to hear your thoughts on how Zemeckis may have used Contact into a religious promotional vehicle. I sorta liked the movie, but am wondering if perhaps I was duped and need my eyes opened. It would disgust me to no end if true, considering the great Carl Sagan rejected theological nonsense in the name of science..please post your thoughts, I'd like to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    I would like to hear your thoughts on how Zemeckis may have used Contact into a religious promotional vehicle. I sorta liked the movie, but am wondering if perhaps I was duped and need my eyes opened. It would disgust me to no end if true, considering the great Carl Sagan rejected theological nonsense in the name of science..please post your thoughts, I'd like to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Hey Lazarus

    by mechanimal

    I would like to hear your thoughts on how Zemeckis may have used Contact into a religious promotional vehicle. I sorta liked the movie, but am wondering if perhaps I was duped and need my eyes opened. It would disgust me to no end if true, considering the great Carl Sagan rejected theological nonsense in the name of science..please post your thoughts, I'd like to read them.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Thank you, Moriarty -- re: Gump

    by 11811

    I don't have much to say here, but I just wanted to thank Mr. Evil Genius for stating what I have long believed and expressed: that "Forrest Gump" is a downright dangerous film. Subversion should not be used to further conservative goals, and this movie artlessly demonstrates why.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 7:21 p.m. CST

    the crow...tsk,tsk,tsk

    by qxkoyote

    Moriarty, your wit when weaving your rants about the industry,are grand. However, your review of the crow as being a hour you wanted back is inexcusable. I will freely admit that I am a freak about this film, unlike the others here, Nor am I ashamed of it. This film influenced the action genre to no end, I mean the dark hero that wasn't that loved so much, he returned from the dead to make things right, when no one else would. He reflects something that a lot of us can identify with, revenge being karmatically correct, or satisfying. How many dark hero action films have come since?...none of them capturing the abandon of this film. I thin that the second in this series of films was pure drivel, and after this I expect to see it on your best of 96 list.... look, if you even think about that piece of drivel being some sort of cinematic masterpiece, then I must question your every motive. however, I'm there with ya on "Forrest Gump"

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Top Movies

    by Darth Delicious

    How can a list of top movies from the early 90's not include Cabin Boy. I suspect an anti-Chris Elliot agenda. This post is most flavorful when served with a nice white wine.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Newman's Own.

    by Shrevie

    Thanks for mentioning Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool. I think it's the best acting he's ever done (apparently so does he). It's a shame that in the last fifteen years when he's suddenly hit this transcendent level of acting ability, that the scripts aren't there for him. Still an icon. And I've got to sit through Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 8:35 p.m. CST

    I think I'm getting it now...

    by sth gekko

    ... you have no soul, Moriarty. The Crow should not have been released? Um... you wanna tell that to his FAMILY whom I gurantee was more upset than you at what happened to Brandon? Brandon was OWED that release. He died horribly on The Crow set, and STILL made the best performance of his life- at least you conceeded to that (which would have been possible with out releasing the film... how?). I, for one, was very moved when Brandon found his peace at the end of the film, which I think was the lesson you were supposed to walk away from the film with. Of course, this only works if you don't walk away without seeing the whole film. (Cudos by the way for reviewing a film you walked out on- how insightful. I can only hope you "suffered" though it again for our benifit- that is the reason you have written this tripe, right? For our benifit? To "teach" us?)--- As for NBK- yes that is right evil "genius", there were no heroes. Er, were you really watching this film? Did you not see that was kind of the point of the whole damn film, or were you already writing your review?-- As for the acidic ramblings on Forrest Gump, I will not even go into it. It is obvious you missed the point entirely, but that seems to sum up your reviews on all of the movies I've mentioned here so far, so why ruin your tradition?--- Everybody be cool... YOU be cool.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 8:56 p.m. CST

    R.I.P Zappa 1994 (Damned, it's been that long!)

    by Kentucky Colonel

    I don't care for a lot of Frank Zappa. But seeing his adieu reminded me of one of my favorite albums. It's a concept album about the evils of rock and roll, as well as a VERY healthy poke at the Catholic religion, or was it just religion in general. Anyway, check out "Joe's Garage Volume 1-3" and have a great "mind-movie". Best line from the narrative-"Ever try oral sex with a miniturized tiny homo replica? No, um, not yet. Is that him. Hi there little guy...think I might get a tiny but exciting blow job? Gimme that, gimme that blow-ow-ow job". Classic. Now, back to the movies...

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 9:29 p.m. CST

    To Mecahnimal---Carl might have wanted that way

    by Kentucky Colonel

    In a lot of books by Carl Sagan he openly states that even he is not always sure which side of the fence he is sitting on. Factually, the man had it going on. Spiritually, I think he was far from being "Anti-God", just kinda anti-organized-religion (hallelujuia, brother!). In fact I believe that through science Carl was trying, maybe even trying desperatly, to convince himself that God does exsist. Some supernova there or maybe dark matter....can we find God there? Or in the abstaractions of mathematics? Perhaps. But, like it or not, reading Carl's books (sometimes co-authored by his wife Anne) opened my eyes to the amazing universe that we live in and is just, so, COMPLEX that for everythimg to have just happened by chance seems unlikely. Of course all of this, conciousness, reality, planets and starstuff may have just happened by accident, but I doubt it. Like it or not, oh Spirit of Carl (and I know you're out there...I can feel you every time I re-read one of your books) you made me believe in God. Getting back to your querry, Mr. (Mrs? Ms?) Mechanimal the character of Palmer Joss in the flick has very little in common with the character in the book. They have the same name. They're spiritual. That's about it. Ellie never slept with him in the book! C'mon! Now, I know Carl and Anne worked with Zemeckis or whoever did the screen adaptation and I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that C&A had to compromise quite a bit to get his novel the "Hollywood treatment". Carl was always questioning himself in his books, perhaps the character of Palmer Joss was his way of doing so in the movie (also, hunk effect-for the cameras mind you. In the book Palmer is quite a bit older, on the order of Billy Graham) I think the casting of Jodie Hubba-Hubba Foster was brilliant BTW. The movie is flawed so read the book instead. I wish Carl would have written more fiction based on his knowledge. Anyone interested in SETI (I know some of you out the run the SETI screensaver!)should read the book and find out what it is that we might find if we ever do make "Contact". Also, if you are interested in SETI at all, a MUST-READ is Frank Drake's "Are We Alone". All you ever wanted to know in layman's terms. PS- Carl's book "Pale Blue Dot" should be a textbook read by every school child everywhere, with some updated information that has since been discovered. It was published, after all, right after Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Jupiter, so it is technically a little dated but the prose, damnit, just can't be beat for literate scientific reading. I miss you, Carl. Thank you for my enlightening! You shall not be a forgotten ancestor....

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 9:45 p.m. CST

    Does anybody even read the posts that are down this far?

    by Dutch_Engstrom

    I always hate posting when there are already this many Talk Backs, because I feel like I'm talking to myself. If you've made it this far, dear Talk Backer, congratulations. Now on to my comment: Just before the Oscars in 1994, there was an excellent article written in Rolling Stone, comparing "Pulp Fiction" to "Forrest Gump", which everybody could see were heading for an Oscar night showdown. The author (I can't remember his name, but it was probably Peter Travers) compared the messages of the two films, and warned the Academy members of the horrific ideals they were supporting if indeed they did give Gump the Oscar. Now, five years later, it's pretty obvious that Pulp Fiction's losses to Gump will go down in Oscar history as one of it's darkest, most confused moments. I've often said that it's ludicrous that Tom Hanks beat out Travolta and Sam Jackson (I think he was nominated for Best Suporting, but he was as much a Lead as anyone else) for best actor. But after reading Moriarty's comments and remembering that RS article, perhaps it is a testament to Hanks that he was able to disguise all of Gump's slanted messages with a performance that made everyone (Including me, Moriarty and all the rest of us who hate Gump) enjoy the film while we were watching it, even if the taste did turn quite sour after that final feather fell.

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Last thing....

    by Kentucky Colonel

    I re-watched bits and pieces of Gump today. Is that George W. Bush snorting coke with Jenny? Could be, the movie is SOOOOO Republican! PS-I hope people read down this far!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 10:29 p.m. CST

    Space Ghost RAWKS!

    by Kentucky Colonel

    That episode with Dennis Leary? Did you see that one? Killer. The one where Space Ghost spent most of the 15 minutes following around an ant must have been way over my head. I just didn't get it. I'm sure it was hilarious to someone but I just didn't get it. Can someone please let me in on that particular joke? Zorak rules. He should replace Andy Dick. Conan? Wadda ya think?

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 11:05 p.m. CST

    defending the 60's/contact

    by Lazarus Long

    You dumbasses. If you're going to use the hippies to symbolize the achievements of the 60's, you're pretty narrow-minded. Check out the documentary "Berkely in the Sixties" and you'll see who the real movers and shakers were. You can talk all you want about the idealists selling out in the 80's, but that doesn't represent everyone who fought so hard for many different causes at a time when people acually GAVE A SHIT and TRIED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. So what if they did a lot of drugs? Anything that allows you to realize how, as Bill Hicks put it "you're being fucked in the ass on a daily basis" is fine with me. Let's not get into another pointless argument about all the musical barriers that were broken during the decade. Why is it so easy to make fun of people back then who decided to grow their hair long, or wear colorful clothes. Imagine what this world would be like today if people hadn't decided to go against the grain and be individuals. Maybe it would have happened eventually anyway, but it happened in the 60's, and just because all the "dreams" didn't come true doesn't give anyone a right to chastise or laugh at the expense of those who strived so hard for so many. *** As for Contact, I've only seen it once so I can't comment too fairly on it, but I do remember being a little peeved about the whole "the alien is her dad" crap. It seemed to almost make fun of the notion of extraterrestrial life, and knowing Zemeckis was the man who made Gump causes me to suspect some Christian power messages under the surface. I'm sorry to say I'm not giving Zemeckis the benefit of the doubt. Although very pleasing to the eye, something in Contact seemed a little false. But hey, if you're a fan of Hanks/Zemeckis/Spielberg/Darabont and the like, that's the kind of whitewashed Americana crap you're gonna get.

  • Clark Goble, I salute you! I was ready to throw myself into a battle to the death in defense of the wonderful PERFECT movie that is Forrest Gump, but your excellent prose has stated it for me very succinctly. Way to go, friend! And now... as for you Moriarty the Moron and all the rest of you vile, soulless, brainless lock-stepping Nazi Bastards who agree with him, may I say from the bottom of my Forrest Gump loving heart:GO TO HELL AND ROT YOU SONS OF BITCHES! FORREST GUMP IS THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST MOVIE EVER MADE! SCREW RAGING BULL! SCREW THE GODFATHER! SCREW WHATEVER "ELITE LIST" YOU TOADS HAVE COMPILED! FORREST GUMP IS AN ABSOLUTE PERFECT MOVIE! AND BACK TO YOU, MORIARTY THE MORON JUST ONE MORE TIME: YOU CLAIM GUMP IS HATEFUL OF THE 60'S? FORREST GUMP MERELY SHOWS THINGS AS THEY ARE, WITH NO BIAS, SO MAYBE IT'S YOU WHO ARE HATEFUL OF THE 60'S YOU CYNICAL SHIT!!!!

  • Feb. 9, 2000, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Nailed it on the head

    by houndog

    Thank you for being the one other person in the universe that hates Gump as much as I do. Do you think we can take away his Oscar?

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:02 a.m. CST

    I find it interesting that...

    by Mean Ween

    ...Moriarty damns Gump for being a morality play (i.e. Jenny gets the HIV cause she's a coke-head whore... you know... consequences) and then damns a studio for not have enough morality to keep The Crow out of theaters. What I find even more interesting is this: when Columbine happened there was a big ole editorial on this site (I can't remember who wrote and the search engine here sucks) which basically said that Hollywood is not responsible for violence in society. You can't blame murder on art/entertainment. But look at what happened to Brandon Lee. It's such a perfect and ironic metaphor for the effect of violent entertainment's effect on real life. The guy gets killed during the actual filming of an incredibly violent movie. And who said that violence in entertainment never killed anybody? It sure as hell killed Brandon Lee. Now I'm sure one of you will say that, no, violent entertainment isn't responsible, whoever left (or put) a real bullent in the gun was responsible. This is true. But I think that, looking at the bigger picture, Brandon Lee's death is where film violence met with actual, immediate consequences.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:10 a.m. CST

    Forrest Gump

    by Samthelion

    I disagree with you Forrest Gump analysis but I do think that you make some good points. However, I don't see the purpose of the movie (maybe Roth's script but not Zemeckis' (sp) movie) as we should all be like Forrest. It's that we all NEED someone like Forrest. Remember what Forrest does to the feather - he picks it up and puts it in his briefcase, sort of taking care of it to keep it from blowing in the wind. The one character in the movie that we can all relate to, unless you're some kind of saint, is Jenny. Jenny is the one who ignores reason (in the voice of Forrest) and goes off into the world to get screwed up. It isn't that she wants to get away, it's that she's willing to sacrifice herself to achieve happiness. In every scene post-high school: The make-out scene, the strip club scene, the Black panther scene, the coked-up party scene she gives of herself in a way that she thinks can make her successful. Ultimately, she REFUSES to sacrifice the opportunities to repent from that life by marrying Forrest on the first call. She doesn't make the one sacrifice (her decadent life) that can save her. Forrest, however, attempts to sacrifice himself for everybody: the way he intervenes for Jenny, for Bubba, for Lt. Dan, even for his Mother (the whole thing about being the sponsor for a paddle he doesn't use), and later for Jenny and little Forrest. He turns out happy. Your comments about Lt. Dan are good, but Forrest ultimately acts as caretaker for him as well. His mother does this for him, too (in a scene I didn't like.) So it isn't really a movie about who we should be, but what we need. We shouldn't desire for the kind of simplicity that deflates our often wrongful reason and selfish drive, but for the guiding light of that simplicity to remind us what life is really about, someone who knows "what love is". As far as the 60's bashing, I don't feel that it bashed the ideology, just the ignorance. Look who the bad guys are in these scenes: the general at the peace rally, the white guy at the black panther party . . . The bad guys are people who won't listen to Jenny sing "Blowin' in the Wind" because they just want to see her strip: people who dismiss subversive ideology just because it's subversive. Finally, Forrest is too hard for us to relate with. We see the world through his eyes because otherwise we wouldn't believe it. If there were a character like George from "Of Mice and Men" to observe Forrest, logic and reason would invade the story and that would lead us to not believe. But we can't relate to him, he's too different. I think Forrest Gump has its problems (technically, actually - there are some problems with the shrimping scenes) and I think the idea of needing a caretaker who is practically retarded has its faults (In this case, it would have been better if his mother hadn't taught him anything - kind of a Romantic notion about being uncorrupted by being untaught,) but this is a good movie that was overpraised. Tom Hanks was excellent in it in a year where only Depp gave a better performance. You're analysis is astute and interesting, but I saw it differently. Just my thoughts . . .

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:14 a.m. CST

    the perspective of an actor/movie-lover/conservative midwesterne

    by Everett Robert

    First of all I want to get it off my cheast that I HATE IT when the talk backs are all fucked up, you know what I'm saying and I think you do, but anywho that wasn't the point of this post.--Second, I agree with you Prof. about Gump and I also agree with all the defenders of Gump out there, yes it is mindless drivel that talks down to it's auidence and force feeds them the line that we are all just feathers in the wind and that if we just float along and go with the flow we'll live in peace and happiness forever, BULL-FUCKING-SHIT! However I too get mind melded into this belief every time I watch that movie. It is like the Prof. said a technical masterpiece, a work of sheer beauty and stupidity, I read the bok after seeing the movie and I perfer the book to the moive in that it(the movie) could have done so much that the book had in it, reading the book I was reminded of Zorro's companinon in the old b&w zorro movies, the servent he is dumb but not deaf yet everyone things he is dumb an deaf, and they say things around him that they normally wouldn't say. That's what I get around Gump, people do things and corrupt Gump, in the book, in ways they wouldn't to a "normal" person. In the movie, poor Forresst ins't forced to do things, they just happen, and I think that is the movies major weakness, that stuff is allowed to just happen. However it is a touching story and I'll be the first to admit that I was in tears and as a lover of old-time and classic rock and roll, the soundtrack rates right up there for me anyways, with Dazed and Confused, although I tihnk D&C is a better ST. Now unto North--if you've made it this far, kudos to you, I LOVE NORTH, it's probably my favorite Reiner film, but I didn't relize that he didn't have his heart in making this movie an dI think that's why it works for me, the movie is played stright, unlike say Princess Bride which is obviously a fairy tale, North is played out completely and strightforeward, we don't know what's coming next or if North is going to stay with his parents or get another set, or what, and it's not until the end, when things look the darkest that you relize it's a fable, and like all fables this fable ends on a dark note, North loses his parents and is forced into the orphange at the moment he relizes his parents are the right ones for him...and then he wakes up, it's not a perfect film but it's one that I hold up in my mind as a favorite, twisted derenged, and heartwarming. It was this film that cemented in mind at least that Elijah wood was a good actor, and you know what people seemed surprised at Willis acting in 6th Sense, I wasn't because I've seen him do subtle in North, as North's conscine in a bunny suit. Prof. I agree with you a lot of the time, however this isn't one of them, North to me, is one of my all time fav. films not just a fav film of the 90s

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Brandon Lee would have wanted The Crow to be released. It was hi

    by golgo-14

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Gump sat alone in a shopping mart....

    by Godai-kun

    It's rediculous to say that Gump expresses hatred towards an entire decade within the span of its 2 1/2 hours. Given, it may show certain events in a bad light (Vietnam, Black Panthers, etc.) but you have to admit that some pretty fucked up stuff happened in the 60's. Of course, if Gump had gone to a Beatles concert or went on the Dating Game in order to show the lighter, fun side of the 60's, everyone would be complaining about how the film ignored the heated social issues of the time. Oh well.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 1:08 a.m. CST

    Forrest Gump

    by Lobanhaki

    The important detail you miss is that Forrest is not the feather. He is the one person in the film continually making choices, stating what he believes to be right, and trying his best to do good. The feather and the box of chocolates remarks are remarks on the nature of the outside world, which continually intrudes into Forrest's life. Forrest is not a feather. He is the guy that finds some use for what he is given at the moment: a feather. He takes that feather and uses it to mark his book. Forrest Gump is about doing the best with what you got. It is about personal responsibility. It's about always being somewhat short of being able to deal well with the world around you and coming to terms with that. The book was more of a romp to me, a satire that was more one of commentary than philosophy. The Movie, when it comments, does so more by implied meanings than direct symbols. There are many instance in which Forrest demonstrates a kind of control and understanding in his life, that many smarter people in the film lack. The point of the film, I think, is that it doesn't matter in your life whether or not your a genius or an idiot, that what counts is being honest about the mess life is and learning to live with it.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Branagh, Shawshank Spoiler, and Conservatism

    by Gun Goblin

    About "Frankenstein". I read Harry's "Bloody-tampon" comments about this once and . . . ya know . . . it was one of those moments where I thought "Harry has once again demonstrated his ability to completely lose his sense of quality". I know you can't really change peoples' minds on a message board, (I usually only listen to the posts I agree with), but nevertheless I think that "Frankenstein" is great. Way better than "Hamlet". There were LOTS of great scenes in it (Victor receives his diary, the Ape-hand, the creation/slime scene, the monster tosses the townsmen around, the monster talks to the blind guy, Elizabeth's death, Elizabeth's reincarnation - talk about GROSS - and the music was very good.) Have any of you READ Mary Shelley's book? It's a cryptic, draining story, and I guess it's fine overall, but to say the very least, Branagh gave it fire. MTV-style filming? What? His eye is great! I wonder how much of this disdain for Branagh has to do with people "knowing" he has an ego problem. It's funny, because whenever I've heard him described that way, it's always coming from the mouth of someone who REALLY HAS A GOOD SENSE OF HUMILTY THEMSELVES. Like all those people who say that they know someone who met such-an-such an actor, and that they were a total prick. Yeah, like I'm sure Al Pacino just loves the fact that whenever someone sees him, it's the highlight of their year. (and you people know what I'm saying, because if you ran into Al Pacino, you'd swallow your tongue.) Shawshank - probably one of the best ten movies ever. But one thing that I find kind of irritating is that no one mentions why the movie REALLY is good. It's good because **SPOILER** Andy escapes and you don't see it coming. The feeling that was created during that portion of the movie was what made it a five-star film, and what will propell it into the list of classics, AND what makes it so inspiring. I know I'm not the only writer who wishes he had been the one to think of that story. "Gump" - I try to avoid describing people as "Democrats" or "Republican" and the like, because it seems that half the problem comes from the presumptions both types of people have about each other, and that there would be much less arguing if we took things a case at a time. Having said that, I've been what most of you would call a "right-winger" for a while (yeah, some of you are just going to ignore my post now) and I don't remember ever stressing the point that FIGHTING FOR CHANGE is a bad thing. That's what some of you are saying and it just isn't true. What kind of a generalization is that? Conservative = anti-change? No, sorry. That's just not true. An accurate, (and less-combative) thing to say is that the Right stresses Freedom, and the Left stresses Equality. That may not have that much to do with "Gump", but everyone seems to be attaching it to Conservative values. And about how the movie "was loved by Republicans". Wasn't "Gump" also loved by Hollywood? Isn't that why it won so many awards? That's strange, because if there's one place where "Republican" values ain't, it's Hollywood, and you people know it.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 2:32 a.m. CST

    Gump and Conservatives

    by not_a_jedi_yet

    I know a lot of conservatives who thought "Gump" was liberal propoganda! All of you going off about its agenda and how "dangerous" it is really need to start taking your medication again. Are you so threatened by ideas? The 60's were not about advancing a political agenda, and neither was "Gump." The 60's were about love, equality, and fighting injustice. Geez, if you would pour the energy you spend on these overzealous "Talkback" diatribes into serving humanity and the common good, then maybe we'd remember that we can make a bigger impact on society than any image on celluloid ever could. Your pride, arrogance, and fear of ideas different than your own hurt the world far more than one film ever could.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 3:02 a.m. CST

    Hating movies for the message

    by ClarkGoble

    There's nothing wrong with disliking a movie for it's message. For instance I pretty much had Moriarty's response to Gump when I saw _Pleasantville_. To me that film was a manipulative, one sided piece of propaganda for various extremely liberal views and a strawman of conservative ideals. Was I wrong to react that way? Of course not. However I'd be an idiot to say that *as film* it sucked. It was fairly well done, although I think Gump had much better production, scripting, acting, and direction. But I certainly don't fault anyone for reacting strongly to a film's message. To take an other example _Fight Club_ probably resonated more with me than any recent movie. It cast up the same doubts and fears I have turning 30 and then just as it puts forth views I fear having in my mind it thankfully undercuts them. Yet several friends were disgusted with the film and especially it's message. Once again who was right? Now I loved Gump. I thought it was an incredibly quotable movie, funny, and touching at the same time. All features that the "common person" wants in a good film. I think Moriarty missed a lot of the point of the film, as did most others spouting off here. But by and large it does reflect a conservative view of the world. And heaven knows that gets spouted off in Hollywood quite rarely. But it really doesn't deserve all the criticism it receives. If people on the liberal side are so insecure in their views that they feel threatened by a film like Gump. . .well what does that say about your views? I hated _Pleasantville_, as I mentioned. But you'd never hear me spouting ramblings of political and ethical insecurity over the film. I just felt it a misrepresentation and criticism of my own views. But I feel my views stand on their own enough that _Pleasantville_ will hardly make a dent. One wonders if Gump will make a dent in those idealizing the 60's. (As if the 60's were only about peace, love and creativity)

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 3:46 a.m. CST

    Cinematt

    by freethinker

    Was that rant for real, or are you trying to be facetious? I hope it was a joke, because of all the things I've read here from various people that I have strongly disagreed with, that post was one of the most childish tirades I have ever seen. Try analyzing a film critically instead of acting on emotion. Geez, you sound like a fourteen year old girl defending Titanic...

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 6:46 a.m. CST

    Forrest Gump and Natural Born Killers

    by Nordling

    Okay, I'm only going to say this once. Forrest Gump, from an actor's viewpoint, is a terrific film. Look at the performances - Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson. All wonderful and well done. They were honest performances and true. However, you must pay attention to the greater whole - and I really don't think Zemeckis saw this big picture until after he was done - and realize that Forrest Gump is an indictment of the 60s. It poked fun at protesters, at their beliefs, and at the fact that given the opportunity, most of them would sell out at any moment. Want to know what Gump said at the memorial when they cut the mike off? He said "You can lose your best good friend in Vietnam for no reason at all" but it was for the conservative audience's (film, ot protesters) benefit that they not hear that. (I got that from the making of Forrest Gump on HBO, where they actually played the speech.) Never mind that some of the greatest artists and minds of the twentieth century came out of this tumultuous time - Bob Dylan, the Beat poets, the best work of the Beatles, J.D. Salinger - it's easier to ridicule what they really believed in. The message of that movie is exactly as Moriarty said. Now, I'm not arguing about the filmcraft of Forrest Gump. It is one of the best made films of the 90s. And I really think that Zemeckis didn't intend for it to be looked at that way. But still, it is, and that can't be changed.****** Natural Born Killers. Now, I'm going to voice my opinion, on what, I believe, is also one of the worst made films in the 90s. NBK is abhorrent. Vile. Dog shit. You can post what you want to me - I don't care, I won't respond, because I know these things to be true. Like Zemeckis, Stone may have intended his film to be a study of violence in society. But obviously Stone fell in love with that violence. NBK is the worst form of pornography. Now, I'm no Christian right-winger or anything (I loved Fight Club, and thought its message sound, as well as the filmmaking) but when you make a film such as this intending it to be satire, you have to be, well, satirical. You can't fall in love with your subjects in a satire - you have to be ready to skewer them on a moment's notice. So Stone attacks the media. Fine, great. Dealing with asshole paparazzi every day might make you want to do that. But the press didn't create the human monsters of today, and there's no need to justify their actions to make a point that is totally invalid. Harrelson and Lewis's characters were just that - monsters. And I don't give a fuck if they were "created by their environment" or whatever. These characters knew they were doing wrong and didn't give a shit. As a director, Oliver Stone has shown that he is capable - look at JFK, or Platoon, or Wall Street. But this film actually commits the greatest crime in art that I can think of - it holds sacred what it thought it held profane. NBK is one of the worst films of the decade, in my opinion, and it will, with any justice, be forgotten. Hell, Quentin Tarantino (on whose script it was based - and THAT was fucking satire, from all I heard about it) expressed his dissatisfaction with NBK. This is one of those films that in the future, when they find it in a vault, will just let it corrode into obscurity.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 9:37 a.m. CST

    by eddie munster

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Another thing that bugs me about the book...

    by All Thumbs

    Is the entire sequence with him in college. The movie does no better, but in the book he is an idiot savant, a plot device I see Moriarty dismissing above. Of course, any plot device done well is a plot device worth doing (ie. in this case, Rain Man), but the way it's done in Groom's novel just doesn't work! Again, maybe I need to read it again. I like satire, maybe I just don't like Groom's satire. Or maybe I don't like authors who write books in a way that is obviously a try at a movie script. Wait, I read Grisham...nevermind.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Friends

    by Josey Wales

    Its funny that Moriarty bemoans the pale imitations of "Friends" when that program was a pale imitation of "Seinfeld" with a larger, younger cast and considerably more sap. Its a fine sitcom, but not the watershed that "Seinfeld" was, virtually defining the late decade.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Moriarity, you evil genius, I love you!!!!

    by Vincennes

    Moriarity, So far, your lists are amazing. It's like you are reading my mind. Of course, I don't agree on everything, but even what I don't agree with is so well written and incisive, that I have to respect your views and admire your talent. You are truly the most insightful and intelligent writer for the site and I look forward to your future posts. You rock!

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 4:34 p.m. CST

    NBK

    by TylerDurden81

    Ok. The movie is satire. It's a satire on the way the media and the American public are fascinated by violence, fascinated by the people that create it. Why did we have TV movies based on the Menendez brothers? Why are there numerous books and movies devoted to analyzing serial killers and what makes them tic? Why did we watch OJ in that low speed pursuit or the ensuing trial? We're interested. A friend of mine was deeply disturbed by the film, especially the scenes of Mallory's home life and the way it was portrayed. I suppose the "joke" was that it was presented in the way the perfect sitcom family is presented while showing what actually goes on in some homes in America. But you know what? I don't think the movie should be defended. If that's what I was doing I'm stopping. If you're offended by it I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't be. The movie portrays the popular notion that society is the culprit in creating monsters and praises them. I suppose, that, to some degree, it can be. But I prefer the notion that man is evil at its base and when society can't teach you right from wrong, or you grow in an abusive environment that nurtures that evil core, then you have someone like Mickey or Mallory. Or Alex DeLarge, the protagonist of the film that portrays that idea, A Clockwork Orange. He starts off immoral and ultraviolent. He's conformed by society to be incapable of violence or impurity and he becomes the victim. Then he becomes a sympathetic figure in the eyes of society and is returned to his old self. What's my point you ask? I have no fucking clue. But I think that's why violent cinema is appealing or fascinating. Sex and violence define us. They "sell." They sell movies and magazines and newspapers and garner ratings. That's what the movie was satirizing, I suppose. I don't even know what I'm arguing so fuck it.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Ellie's Dad in CONTACT

    by Kentucky Colonel

    Y'know, like Mr. Garrison, I can see why one might be pissed that Jodie travels across the universe to meet her departed father. What a jip! Only, in fact, in the book do the five (no just Ellie) travel to the same beach and then, after a plot development, they all are re-joined to the ones they love most. Why? Because the enormity of extra-terrestrial beings might be too much of a shock for us plain old provincial humans. So far in our exsistance we (think we have) reigned supreme over God's creation. Hell, it's been nary 300 years since we gave up the belief of an Earth-centered universe. The aliens "transmogrification" into recogniziable human form was to help the travelers cope with the reality of extraterrestrial life. Actually, I'd prefer that (in the movie/book anyway) than for the band of travelers to meet some bug eyed monster with a glowy-finger or ridges on thier forehead. Just my opinion. So give Zemeckis a break on that point. That was pure Carl...trying to understand the incomprehensible in a human way.

  • Feb. 10, 2000, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Boy, you REALLY missed the message of Gump.

    by Lord Shell

    Not that I blame you, since I didn't get it myself until I saw it a second time on cable. The message to the movie is: THERE IS NO MESSAGE. Now, before you think me sarcastic or retarded myself, let me explain. The movie shows a panorama of history in the US from early fifties until the eighties. The whole movie is shown to us through the eyes of a complete moron because he's NOT SUPPOSED TO JUDGE. The audience sees the tragic and cataclysmic events of the decades unfold, but never really hears Gump's opinion on it. (Remember the only time in the movie when he was actually going to comment on the events? During the anti-war protest in Washington-and the feedback from the microphone drowns out his entire speech? The audience is not given an easy way out . . . What do YOU think of the events you witness? An intelligent main character would almost be forced to comment on the events, but not Gump. The film isn't really about Gump at all . . . it's about America with all her growing pains and tragedies. Gump's just kind of a 'McGuffin' to propel the journey through the recent history in some direction. He's not an 'everyman', he's a 'NOman'. As for being 'anti-exploration'? I really never felt those vibes at all, baby.~~~~~~~~~~~~So far as The Crow is concerned, I actually thought that the film felt more like a homage to Brandon, rather than an exploitation. The movie was about young people ripped from life in senseless fashions. And c'mon, don't you think Brandon would have wanted his final work released? (Unless it was a 'Plan 9' level stinker, perhaps.) Now Poltergeist 3 on the other hand . . ..

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 2:18 p.m. CST

    forgotten and worst of '94

    by moviebuffster

    I didn't find 1994 to be the greatest year in movies but Moriarty did neglect The Last Seduction, Romeo is Bleeding and Nobody's Fool, one of my all time personal favorites. And on the horrible side, nothing that year was as bad as the Specialist and Stargate....blah. Also what were you smoking when you put Killing Zoe higher than Pulp Fiction??? I mean, Killing Zoe is....ok at best. Lastly, I will defend Frankenstein to the bitter end. It was much better than Interview with the Vampire that came out at the same time and it had style to burn, not MTV style. We'll leave that to Michael Bay. HEAVEN HELP US ALL FROM THAT NEW PEARL HARBOR MOVIE.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 2:21 p.m. CST

    missed the boat

    by consciousnos

    I am all for strong feelings, negative ones included, but I feel I must say that there is so much more to Forrest Gump than is apparent. If you must hate it so much, go ahead and do so, but I feel there is much more positive response that you can take from it than what many are. To immediately seek out some sort of hate orientation or political agenda seems to negate. The issue of the film is "reality", and how we make it ourselves. Intelligence isn't defined by brain power, and there is much to be said for the appreciation of things as they exist, instead of finding fault, or outrage or wrongness in every world aspect. The intelligence that is being put forth is the raw intelligence of a child. Unformed, non-judgemental, and free. Cages are made of judgement, and Forrest Gump was able to free himself of many situations by his innate ability to accept. Certainly not the easiest ability to cultivate these days, but quite worthwhile.

  • Feb. 11, 2000, 4:22 p.m. CST

    The Crow

    by Zarozinia

    First off, I've enjoyed these articles immensely. I agree with most of what you have said, and have added many films to my "must rent" list. I must take issue with the treatment you give to The Crow. This film sits on my top ten list films of all time alongside stuff like Trainspotting, Citizen Kane and Blade Runner. I'm not going to get into why I like it so much, since you didn't bother giving one reason why he didn't like it. The fact is, it sounds like you only saw the first forty minutes. Judge a film by it's merits, not by the hype or the circumstances surrounding it. Frankly, I find your reasoning to be very strange. Perhaps the geurilla tactics used to get you into the screening upset you. I can certainly understand that, but again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the film itself. Then you turn around and say that Brandon's performance was one of the year's best? This is just bizzarre. How can you give props to a performance that you don't believe should have been seen by anyone? I'm totally bewildered by this.

  • Feb. 12, 2000, 4:25 a.m. CST

    "Forrest Gump" deserved its Oscar

    by Brundledan

    I will make this very simple for you, Moriarty, and for all of you pieces of leftover '60s hippie wreckage who hated "Forrest Gump". It surprises me not at all that liberals hate this movie. You know why? Because one of the points it makes is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS, and that you must deal with the consequences of what you do. This is a concept that the '60s generation never understood, and apparently still does not. Jenny did not get AIDS because she "dared to follow her dreams", or some other nonsense like that. She got AIDS because she lived a self-destructive lifestyle that invited contracting such a disease. I don't hate her character; I don't think she deserved the disease (NOBODY deserves something like that); I'm just saying that she invited disaster, and she got it. The '60s were, mostly, a terrible time. "Forrest Gump" recognizes this; it would have been all too easy for it to idealize the '60s, as so many other movies do, but instead it sees it for what it was and is all the better for it. I think "Gump" is a great movie; for me it becomes even more powerful and truthful with each viewing. I suspect many of you hate it because it puts forth a fundamental truth that many of you would rather not face.

  • Feb. 12, 2000, 4:15 p.m. CST

    ...and one MORE thing

    by Brundledan

    Why would Robert Zemeckis, who in his BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy pounded home the message that WE control our destinies; our future is what WE make it, turn around and send exactly the opposite message in "Forrest Gump"? I've enjoyed your '90s series so far, Moriarty (you were DEAD-ON about "Batman Returns"; I was practically cheering when I read your essay on that), but you just weren't thinking on this one.