The premise: a monosyllabic North
Carolina boy takes his high-falutin', citified, polysyllabic,
foreign-educated wife home to meet his monosyllabic family in their
small town. The wife is a sophisticated art dealer who combines the
trip with a recruitment push for an autistic "outsider artist" who
lives nearby. It is difficult for her to gain a foothold toward
acceptance into the closed dynamic of Southern life. In the film's
climax, she has to choose between landing the coveted artist for her
gallery or supporting her new family during a crisis.
what Variety wrote about Junebug's commercial prospects in
the thorough review in the Sundance Edition: "contemplative pic
will need favorable word of mouth and critical support to thrive in
had very favorable word of mouth, nice write-ups in the IMDb, and some
of the most enthusiastic critical raves of the year. Two thirds of all
IMDb voters scored it 8 or higher, and it scores quite well across all
demographic groups. Rotten Tomatoes
reports that 88% of its reviews were positive. As it happens, that is
exactly the same percentage earned by Brokeback Mountain, which seems
like the likely Best Picture winner as I write this, two months before
the Oscars. 88 is a higher percentage than that earned by such
distinguished films as Munich, Walk the Line, and Pride and Prejudice. Junebug
also got four stars from Roger Ebert and some other high-profile major
print critics. In other words, it got everything Variety said it
needed to succeed, and still
could not venture beyond 143 theaters. It grossed less than $3
million in the entire United States.
The paragraph above should tell
you two key things about the film industry.
First of all, it shows that even
a concerted and widespread show of critical enthusiasm has very little
impact on a film's performance.
Second, it demonstrates that the
industry's most savvy publication doesn't really realize that fact.
what Variety might have written is this: "Although we consider this
to be a very good film, it is contemplative, character-driven, and
populated entirely by unknowns. There is absolutely nothing which
can be done to transform this from a festival film to a marketable
film. The best it can hope for is the middle ground - some success
in arthouse distribution with targeted marketing at discriminating
As for me, I didn't even agree with the general praise for the
film. It's filled with the usual Southern
stereotypes, but we have such a strange dynamic in this country that
this film was praised for the depth of its stereotypes!
The mother in the family is an controlling
shrew. The father is a monosyllabic, taciturn man who spends most of
his time looking for his screwdriver. The younger brother is a
monosyllabic, resentful, sullen, uneducated, antagonistic man who
makes no effort to be pleasant. The brother's wife is an awestruck
pregnant motormouth who plays the usual character moviemakers come
up with when they need a sympathetic Southerner - the moron with a
heart of gold. As usual in movies, all small-town Southerners
are quaint, eccentric Bible-thumpers. And
then there is the painter being pursued so ardently, a guy who
demonstrates that in the South even the geniuses are morons! He's
a simple-minded racist, and his art is a series of primitive works
depicting the Civil War as a matter of bearded stick characters with
large semen-spewing penises. He ends up signing with the wife when
he discovers that the rival New York gallery owners are Jewish.
I live in the South. I am 57 years old, and
have spent exactly 25 years in Dixie, another 25 in the North, and
seven years overseas. I have spent about an equal amount of time in
small towns and big cities, and am not aware of particularly
dramatic differences between the places where I have lived in
America. I lived in Temple, Texas for years and dated a woman who
came from a really tiny town in the center of the state. I ran the
7-Eleven stores in Western Florida. In no case, not even when I
visited my girlfriend's family or interacted with my store
employees, did I feel any special culture gap with the locals, or
any substantial sense of resentment at my presence. Rarely did I
hear anybody mention Jesus. Oh, yeah, we have our morons down here,
but it seems to me that the percentage of ignorant, lowbrow morons
is about the same in small-town Texas as it is in New York City,
where I lived for four years. When I was a small boy, before the
country became so homogeneous, it seemed to me that there were
dramatic differences between various parts of the country. I'd
travel with my parents through the Carolinas and not be able to
understand a word spoken on TV by the news anchors. Then came
network simulcasting, interstate highways, and corporations like
McDonald's and 7-Eleven which operate identical facilities across
America and move their middle managers around from state to state.
Today everyone eats at the same chain restaurants with the same
menus, shops at the same mall stores, listens to the same music,
surfs the same internet connections, watches the same movies and TV
shows, and gets their news from the same nondescript local TV
anchors with the same generic Midwest American accents. The only
differences between us are matters of degrees.
Despite the relative homogeneity of our
culture, movies seem to perpetuate the myth that all white
Southerners are ignorant, bigoted, Bible-thumpin', beer-swillin'
morons. Well, I'm here to tell you that ain't so. Some Southerners
are ignorant, bigoted, Bible-thumpin', moonshine-swillin'
We call them "aristocrats."
Oh, and you know what? Here in the rural
South we don't generally need anybody with an English accent to
explain Huckleberry Finn to us, any more than the people of
small-town Wessex need me to help them out with their understanding
of The Mayor of Casterbridge. Oh, yes, there really are small-town
Southerners like the people in this film, but there are also people
capable of complex thoughts and art appreciation, and our IQs
distribute within the population with the same pattern as anywhere
else. So where should we look to see the rest of us, Hollywood?
Where are the lawyers and doctors and scientists and hard-hitting
journalists? Where are the Jewish people and the black people and
the Vietnamese? Where this movie is unfair is not in showing that
its characters exist, because they do exist, and the film shows us
real people doing real things, but it fails to show us that they are
only a portion of the population.
So if the film is not very sophisticated,
and the critics went ga-ga over it, surely it is brilliant because
of the camerawork, right? Well, yes, if what you love is long
still-life portraits of inanimate objects. Say, there's some trees.
Um ... yup ... there are the trees. Trees ... trees ... umm-humm ...
trees. Say, why did we look at those trees, anyway? The camera did
not zoom in to show us what was going on in that forest, nor did it
pull back to show us how the forest related to something else. It
just sat there, a-watchin' them-thar trees. I guess that was to
recreate the traditional Southern evening experience of sittin' on
the back porch, a-whittlin' and a-watchin' the trees. At any rate,
if you liked that, the director repeated the same still-life
technique with rooms of the house, allowing us to study them in
meticulous detail. The Raisin Bran. The cigarettes. The pictures of
As I guess you can determine, I was
disappointed by this film. Frankly, I can't see why it is praised so
effusively. I'm not saying it is a terrible movie. It has some good
moments. But I think the state of our Union is perilous, and our
stereotypes deeply ingrained, when we hail a filmmaker for adding
some character depth to the usual Southern stereotypes, as if to
say, "Yes, we are morons in the South, but - looky here -
underneath, we morons have the same feelings as all of you."
Well, no shit, Sherlock! Yes, just like
those sophisticated Northerners, we can cry and bond with our
families when our children die.
Whoda thunk it?
- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated. Find some
excellent caps of Patricia Barzyk from that Mocky film which ICMS
did earlier this week.
Bill Clinton unveils deal to slash price of AIDS tests
- No wait - it's just his volume discount.
Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan's Bogus Journey to a Strip
- The Enquirer people are going to have to create a
new tabloid just for Lindsay, or nobody else will make
it above page five. This is only the 12th day of the
year, and she's already into 2007's headlines!
Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan's Most Excellent Dark Room
Eli Roth Talks Hostel 2!
Peter Bergen talks to Jon Stewart about his book "The
Osama bin Laden I Know."
- The Osama I knew, I Osama I loved - the Osama with a
song in his heart.
The Daily Show:
"By examining our reasons for being in the Middle East we
are cupping Osama's balls."
The Daily Show:
"A look at what medical science promises, and what it can
"SEN. BIDEN PRODUCING DANGEROUSLY HIGH LEVELS OF CARBON
DIOXIDE ... Talkative Lawmaker Creating Environmental
Threat, Scientists Fear"
Body mistakenly taken out with funeral home trash
The line-up for Survivor 12 - Panama
Build your own motivational posters!
- "Armed with a digital camera and that non-stop wit
of yours, you now have the power to turn a simple
photograph into an inspirational message that will burn
forever in the hearts and minds of dozens. Print it,
frame it! Make two -- we know you've got hundreds of
digital images and photos to spare! But don't worry if
you can't think of anything... remember, there's an old
proverb that says just about whatever you want it to.
Discussion and comments about this application here."
Astute critic notes that there may be a subtle homosexual
subtext in Brokeback Mountain
- Actually, I like his reviews. Like The Filthy Critic
he uses the same funny and disingenuously casual
attitude to disguise some serious thoughts
This is for real -
Medical journal: removing ear wax with a Super Soaker
Another real headline:
"Penis is too much for Swedish sex exhibition"
- The text of the article is (intentionally??) funny
as well. "The director of the museum, Jan Sundström,
didn't like the look of the man's penis. It ... was too
much for the museum management to swallow."
The trailer for The King
- A troubled man (Gael Garcia Bernal), recently
discharged from the Navy, returns to his childhood home
in Corpus Christi, Texas to reunite with his father.
The trailer for 'Just My Luck', a high-concept rom-com
with Lindsay Lohan
- In this comedy, Lindsay Lohan plays Ashley, a young
professional just out of college. She also happens to be
the luckiest woman in the world, who has lived a
super-charmed life and has always taken her good luck
for granted. When she kisses a handsome stranger (played
by Chris Pine) at a costume party, Ashley accidentally
swaps her good fortune for his horribly bad luck, and
her charmed life turns into a living hell.
This is a real headline:
"Germany's cannibal back on trial for eating Internet
The Daily Show:
Schwarzenegger's lip, the only part of him not hideously
swollen, was injured in a car accident.
The Daily Show:
It's time to figure out what Senator Ted Kennedy's eye
roll and headshake were all about!
The Daily Show's Ed Helms "profiles a sleepy Texas town
that changed its name to Dish and got free satellite TV."
"Albert Brooks talks to Jon Stewart about performing in
Pakistan for 'Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.'"
The preview video for the Colin Farrell sex tape
"Thomas Edison's neighbor is upset that Edison doesn't
share his electricity."
Inadequate Body Armor Fatalities: President Bush Threatens
to Shut Down New York Times for Revealing the
Super-Duper-Classified Military Secret that Our Troops in
Iraq are Sitting Ducks (WHITEHOUSE.ORG)
Lots of new images from Basic Instinct 2
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Reform School Girl (1994)
An Unmarried Woman (1978) is a comedy from Paul Mazursky about the divorce
and recovery of Jill Clayburgh. She was more or less happy as the wife of a
successful stockbroker and part-time gallery manager. Sure, their love-life
lacked intimacy, but she coped, and never suspected that hubby was seeing
another women until he took her to lunch and announced their divorce for
dessert. The film chronicles the way she emerged as a strong, self-reliant,
and happy woman, with help from an analyst and her best friends.
For most of the film, I was bored, feeling like I had seen this story
before, up to the point that she and her support group of friends started
getting really honest about how they felt, and how divorce attacked their
feelings of self worth. This, to me, was the strongest element of the story.
Clayburgh shows breasts in two scenes.
IMDb readers say 7.1, and it was nominated for three Oscars. It was a
matter of timing. First, the messages about what Clayburgh was feeling, and
how she emerged were nearly the agenda for the feminist movement at that time.
Second, it was one of the first films to accurately depict divorce from the
women's viewpoint, and hence was a fresh idea. As is typical of a Mazursky
film, it is technically sound, insightful, and well acted. While it is as true
today as it was then, it is a little dated now, in that the topic has been
well covered in the two plus decades since its release. This is a C.
The Stoned Age (1994)
Stoned Age, which takes place during one long night, is a comedy about two
stoners on a quest for chicks. The coolest of the stoners, Bradford Tatum, is
a real ladies man, while his best friend, Michael Kopelow, is more sensitive.
They decide to score with two women that, in their crazy world, "belong to"
another of their group. The rest of the film is a comedy of errors with them
pursuing Renee Griffin, a sexpot, and her friend China Kantner, supposedly the
ugly duckling, while scoring as much booze and dope as they can, and avoiding
Renee Griffin shows breasts and partial buns.
I suppose the two characters are derivative of Cheech and Chong, but I
could not relate to them at all. It has elements of road trip, buddy, and
coming-of-age themes, but ultimately, I couldn't relate to the characters, and
didn't find many of the gags humorous. As an example, Kopelaw loses his dinner
of Schnapps and rum, and vomits under a chair cushion. IMDb readers have this
at 5.7, with males over 49 giving a 4.9. Since I am part of that group, it
clearly must resonate with those younger than I am. It is technically sound,
and clearly entertains its target audience, so is a C.
Dann reports on Empire of the Wolves:
Excellent 2005 French
action/thriller (with English soundtrack) is exciting throughout, with a
lot of twists and turns. It can be somewhat confusing, but if you pay
attention, you'll be rewarded with a very good story.
Arly Jover plays Anna, a woman who is experiencing spot amnesia.
She has times where she forgets certain things, even her husband. As she
seeks help for her condition, things begin to emerge that point to a much
more sinister explanation for the memory problems than amnesia.
Meanwhile, a local police captain is on the hunt for a serial killer
who has killed three women. The women are all redheads, and in each case,
the body was purposely mutilated to destroy the victim's face and make
identifying her nearly impossible.
Although they don't know it, Anna is linked to the detective's problem
in an unimaginable way. Things continue to twist and turn as both stories
Telling you any more of the plot will ruin the movie, but it's a
top-notch effort, and great to watch. The movie is based on a novel by
Jean-Christophe Grange, and some people complained that the movie is
not faithful to the book. While I can't comment on that, having never read
the book, I can say the movie on its own is exciting and well worth
Today we go 20 years back in time in order to see a still natural looking Demi
Moore in "About Last Night..." (1986). Breasts and buns are clearly on
display, maybe even more but very dark, in the following six fullscreen clips
from Flemish TV. (1
Scoop rated this movie B- in his
review in the Movie House, Tuna was a little bit less generous with C+.
Regarding Rome episode 10 "Triumph" I can be short.
- Nudity: nihil.
- Plotwise not much happened either, this episode merely seems a step-up
for the two remaining ones. Caesar stabilizes the Roman institutions, Lucius
Vorenus rises on the social ladder while his friend Pullo has a lot of
trouble adapting to civilian life. Servilia starts to foment a coup against
her former lover.
That's it for today, hope to be back soon.
Pat's comments in yellow...
Scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg,
Germany, found a new source of the greenhouse gas methane, which
environmentalists say is threatening the Earth. The source is plants. In
controlled experiments, they found that living plants emit about 10 to 30
percent of the methane released into the atmosphere each year. It explains the
huge plumes of methane that have been spotted over
* The good news is, at the rate we're burning down rain
forests, we should
be able to save the environment.
* President Bush finally agreed to do something to stop global warming: he
declared war on trees.
Tuesday, the natural grocery chain Whole Foods announced that it would get all
its electricity from wind power. The president said the cost would be offset
because it reinforces their core values of environmentalism and will "help
convince a customer to drive past three or four other supermarkets on the way to
* Don't worry, I'm sure their customers' SUVs are all
Andromedical, the maker of a popular penile-extender, did a study into the myths
related to penis size in various nations. After researching data from 15
countries, they determined that the longest penises were in France (average
erect length 6.2 inches). Runners-up were Italy (5.9"), Mexico (5.8"), and
Spain (5.5"). In the U.S., the average is 5 inches. The smallest studied were
in South Korea (3.7").
* That explains why they don't mind driving Kias.
People magazine reported that reps for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie confirmed
that Jolie is pregnant and will give birth this summer. Tabloids had noticed
she'd been wearing baggy clothes for the past month or so and had applied to
rename her adopted kids "Jolie-Pitt." But just last week, Jolie's rep was
furiously denying she was pregnant, and so far, Pitt and Jolie have yet to admit
they are more than "just friends."
* That's Angelina's definition of "friend": "People I
have sex with."
* The paparazzi are trying to figure out how to attach a telephoto lens to
a sonogram machine.
* If there's such a thing as karma, this baby may turn out to look like
Heath Ledger said he found it "hilarious and immature" of Mormon society that a
Utah theater wouldn't show his gay cowboy movie, "Brokeback Mountain," adding,
"I heard a while ago that West Virginia was going to ban it, but that's a state
that was lynching people only 25 years ago, so that's to be expected."
* For the record, lynching was not legal in West Virginia
in 1981. But then, neither was gay cowboy sex...In fact, that might still be
illegal in West Virginia.
* He meant 1881...He's REALLY bad at math.
Nick Lachey gave a post-separation interview to Elle magazine and was not
very tactful. He complained that "women argue in ways that aren't rational to
men," and described his next ideal woman, who sounds like the opposite of his
blond ex, Jessica Simpson. He said he wants a "sexy Latina" like Jessica Alba
or Eva Mendes, who's had "10 or under" previous sex partners, who will
understand his love of sports, and "respects my music."
* Yeah, I'm sure the world is overflowing with those...
* Right, sexy Latina divas are famous for arguing in a manly, rational
* And she has to know the difference between chicken and tuna.
The New York Post reports that Kate Moss and Lindsay Lohan jumped on
stage at Scores and pole danced, with Moss yelling, 'You're a pro, Lindsay!
You should do this for a living!'
* At the rate she's going, she soon will be.