The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Where to begin with this hopelessly mediocre attempt at a
meaningful movie? I think the best place to start is with the
critics. After all, director/star Tommy Lee Jones didn't set out
to make a poorly paced, racist film totally lacking in
credibility. The people to blame would be those who are supposed
to be able to evaluate this kind of material with some degree of
discrimination and warn the rest of us away from it. Many of them
claimed that this naked emperor of a movie was clad in finery.
What was truly astounding was the degree to which this film was mis-evaluated. One critic
wrote that the film was
packed with "note-perfect performances." I'll skip over the
obvious limitations of some of the other performers in the film
and get right to Dwight Yoakum's portrayal of the sheriff.
It is arguably the worst performance ever recorded on film. I'm
not just talking about major films. I will include Ed Wood's
films, Tom Green's performances, your home movies, infomercials,
and local used car salesmen doing their late-night TV commercials.
There may be a worse performance in there somewhere, but I have
never seen it. Now if a critic sees a 75/100 and calls it a
100/100 that is one thing. We can attribute that to a variance of
opinion. But when a critic sees a 0/100 and praises it as
"note-perfect," you just have to think that the lad is in the
wrong profession. Yoakum's performance is so monotonous and
stilted that he almost makes Tommie Lee Jones seem Shakespearian.
Tommie Lee, of course, turns in his usual laconic, inexpressive
performance, and Barry Pepper goes in the other direction, totally
over-the-top as the despicable American border guard who bullies illegals and kills Tommie Lee's best friend, then turns into a
whiny, cryin' bitch when Tommie Lee kidnaps him.
On the other hand, the acting didn't really stand out as worse
than the script. It was awarded the best screenplay award at
Cannes, which is pretty much all you have to know. That fact is
virtually a guarantee that a a script will take a minimalist
approach to plot
and character development, will be needlessly convoluted in narrative
technique, and will have a simple-minded, negative view of Americans.
Bingo! This particular award winner is worse than usual. Every
male American in it (except Tommie Lee) is hateful or stupid or
fat or incompetent or impotent, often several of the above, each
of them living a dull, meaningless, hopeless life. Every
Mexican is self-sacrificing, gentle, forgiving, and generous,
caring for their families, putting in a fair day's work for a
decent wage, filled with love and respect for one another as well
as for outsiders. Needless to say, there were critics who looked
at the film's simplistic black-and-white weltanschauung and
praised it for its nuances. If the entire scenario weren't racist
enough to begin with, the script reinforces the point by including
such lines as Tommie Lee calling the border guard "you stupid
gringo." Mind you, that line was spoken by the film's conscience.
For those of you who do not understand how the film community
defines nuance, here are some examples:
- "You stupid wetback spic." Racist and evil. When a
character says this, we know he is bad.
- "You stupid gringo." Sharp, edgy, nuanced dialogue. When a
character says this, we know he is our hero.
- "Chinese people are evil." Racist.
- "Americans are evil." Nuanced and award-winning.
- "Black people are evil." Racist.
- "White people are evil." Nuanced.
And so forth.
Oh, yeah, and then there are the preposterous coincidences. The
border guard shoots Melquiades Estrada because he thinks Estrada
is shooting at him. As it turns out, Estrada was trying to kill a
nearby coyote. The important fact for us to note here is that the
border guard's wife was so bored by life in West Texas that she
has decided to do some semi-professional light hooking, half for
pleasure, half for profit. I'll bet you'll never guess who her
first (and only?) john was. Yup, that's right, the border guard
accidentally shot the one other guy who was having sex with his
wife, unbeknownst to him
You're not impressed with that coincidence? OK, try this one on
for size. Early in the film, the border guard uses excessive force
on an escaping illegal alien, a young woman whom he punches right
in the face. Later in the film, deep inside Mexico, the guard is
bitten by a snake and the only one who can save him is ... oh,
I'll bet you can guess. I suppose that the screenwriter of this
film just thought Crash was too darned plausible! Need I point out
that some critics referred to this as "gritty realism"?
Here's the general plot outline:
A border guard carelessly
shoots a man, Melquiades Estrada, who appears to be shooting at him, but is actually
shooting at a coyote. The officer basically leaves the dead body to rot in the desert. His decomposing,
half-eaten corpse is found by some hunters. The dead man,
an illegal alien, turns out to be the greatest human being since
Francis of Assisi. During his saintly life he extracted a promise from his
best friend (Tommie Lee) to bury him in Mexico if he were to die
in America. Tommie Lee finds out how his friend died, kidnaps the
border patrol officer, forces him to dig up the corpse, and
together they drag the rotting corpse of Melquiades Estrada toward
a tiny village in Mexico. Tommie Lee treats his decomposing friend
as a nine year old girl might treat her Barbies, dressing him up,
combing his hair, and talking to him along the route. If you are a
Sam Peckinpaugh fan, you may hear some echoes of a film called
"Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia."
The script fails, not only because of the outlandish
coincidences and one-dimensional point of view, but also because
of a simple lack of sensible character motivation. The one element
that strains the credibility of the film to the absolute breaking
point is the fact that Tommie Lee never asks his prisoner how the
crucial killing happened, and the border patrol guard never tells
him until the last couple of minutes of the film. If they had ever
discussed it, it would have resulted in an Emily Litella moment.
"Oh, never mind."
There is more bad news. Tommie Lee's direction of this film
didn't help it, either. The two-hour film drags on and on and on until it feels like four. There
is some good news. The
cinematography is excellent.
The film grossed $5 million in an arthouse run which maxed out
at 350 theaters.
C-. A painfully slow, simplistic, and borderline racist film which was greatly overpraised
by the turtleneck set. It obviously has its defenders. In fact,
most critics liked it and the IMDb rating is an impressive 7.9 -
good enough to make the Top 250 if it gets enough votes!
The mother of all traffic
Kill Bill 1 & 2 in 120
The trailer for Gabrielle
- "Gabrielle" is
Patrice Chéreau's stunning adaptation of the
short story "The Return" by Joseph Conrad.
Recreating turn-of-the-century France with
superb attention to detail, Chéreau casts an
unrelenting gaze on the marital breakdown
that overwhelms a middle-aged bourgeois
couple, played with chilling precision by
Isabelle Huppert and Pascal Greggory. As
wealthy Parisian Mr. Hervey (Greggory)
descends from a train into the teeming
bustle of the city. While on his way home,
he reflects on the sturdiness and success of
his life and the fortress of security he has
built around himself. It is not long before
his self-satisfaction is rudely shattered
when he discovers a letter from his wife,
Gabrielle (Huppert), waiting for him on his
sideboard. The contents of the message will
crumble that security and plunge him into
newfound feelings of vulnerability,
abandonment and betrayal. The couple soon
finds themselves engaged in a
parry-and-thrust of emotions that change
mid-sentence and stretch their ability to
function and live in the same house.
The trailer for Lower
- Set on the
northeast coast of Brazil, this drama
produced by Walter Salles and Mauricio
Andrade Ramos tells the tale of a boxer
(Ramos), a stripper (Braga) and a petty
criminal (Moura) who go on a road trip to El
The trailer for Flyboys
- The unforgettable
story of a group of heroic American men who
volunteer for the French Military and become
fighter pilots before the US enters WWI.
The trailer for The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
- "The origins of the
legendary horror character Leatherface will
finally be revealed in the 'Texas Chainsaw
Massacre: The Beginning'. The film, which is
set years before the original 'Texas
Chainsaw Massacre' movie, stars Jordana
Brewster and is being directed by Jonathan
Top Ten Surprises In Al
Gore's Global Warming Movie
- It's a musical
- Claims global
warming melted Kenny Rogers' face
- Blames the crisis
on a creepy Albino
- The scientist who
supports all his claims is Al Gore in a
- It felt longer than
the Florida recount
The wacky world of
Japanese Ice Cream
- today's feature - octopus.
"Robbie the Recycling
Special forces to use
strap-on 'stealth wings'
Jolie and Pitt Pix Leaked
NBC.com has posted a five
minute preview for Heroes
Here's the trailer for
the re-make of The Wicker Man
"Stone Phillips returns
for another Gravitas-Off with Colbert."
"Stephen Colbert did not
'sell out' -- the world 'bought in' to Stephen
"A look back at Stephen
Colbert's first 100 shows, and how he changed
The Daily Show's Rob
Corddry: "If you want to keep Muslim
extremists out the best thing you can do is
distribute pork. Heeeeyooo!"
"Ed Helms investigates
whether New Jerseyans have what it takes to
pump their own gas."
Jon Stewart talkes to
Caroline Kennedy about the "Profiles in
The Daily Show:
"The Marines' new body
armor is perfect if we ever have to fight a
war in a beehive on the moon."
Watch various trailers
for Season Three of Entourage
"In April 2006, to
celebrate naturist Richard Attenborough's 80th
birthday, the public were asked to vote on
their favourite of his television moments.
This clip of the lyrebird was voted number
Flash animation fights
back against its creator.
The fight of the Solar
System will occur near July 4th. The Great Red
Spot of Jupiter will face off against the
young upstart Red Jr. Who will win when these
Dancin' fool becomes
Internet 'It Boy'
"This is really for all
those people who insist up and down in the
talkbacks that Sony is somehow pulling a giant
trick and there will be no Black Spiderman
Suit in the film"
Scoop: Your update on
the Ms West Virginia sex tape thing got me
thinking, so I did some googling.
Here is a good rundown of
just about every celebrity sex tape out there.
Cheerleader Guy update
Set your TiVo's. Summer
is full of cheerleader action! Enjoy!!!
ABNORMAL SKULLS -
evidence of aliens?
Artisticly Carved Soap
"On Howard Stern this
morning Janice Dickenson went into great
detail on her celebrity sexual conquests"
OK, I know balloon
animals suck if you're older than 9, but these
are pretty doggone cool.
BBC - Senses Challenge
If you suffer from
(06/06/06) is really a bad day.
TENACIOUS D - For the
Jack Black and Kyle Gass bring their
infamous rock duo Tenacious D to the big
screen in the comedy "Tenacious D in The
Pick Of Destiny." The film tells the story
of how "The D" became the self-proclaimed
greatest band on earth and is being directed
by Liam Lynch.
The French teaser from
Arthur and the Minimoys,
an animated adventure from Luc Beson
- "10-year-old Arthur
has a lot on his plate: a real estate
developer is about to snap up his grandma's
home... and there's no way Arthur's going to
hang around for his parents or grandparents
to sort out the problem. Maybe the solution
lies in his grandpa's treasure, which is
hidden somewhere on the 'other side' in the
land of the Minimoys. The creatures that
inhabit this world are just a tenth of an
inch tall and live in perfect harmony with
Arthur ventures into
this world of the Minimoys, where he meets
Princess Selenia and her brother Betameche.
Together they set off to look for the
treasure that will save his grandma. An
action-packed adventure ensues, full of
pitfalls and intrigues, all the way up to
the forbidden city ruled by the evil M the
Malicious. Arthur's journey in the Minimoys
universe reveals that sometimes the smallest
heroes make the biggest difference."
The Daily Show: Homeland
Security distributes funds based on what item
your city has the world's largest ball of.
"Former Miss West
Virginia Allison Williams is suing dozens of
Internet businesses that tried to sell
pornographic videos they claimed showed her in
sexual acts with a Virginia news crew."
- She says businesses
are marketing pornography using her name,
but she is not the woman in the video.
From The Sun:
"POP babe Pink has her
nipple pierced with a pin - watched by her
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Lifespan is a SciFi film set in Amsterdam. Dr. Ben Land (Hiram Keller), a
young American gerontologist, arrives to work with the eminent Dr. Linden,
who has hinted that he is near a breakthrough in curing aging. The
implication, of course, is that human aging is a disease, and that a "cure"
is possible. The day after Land arrives, Linden hangs himself. Land believes
that Linden was on to something important, but his recent records have gone
missing. Land follows a string of clues, including mice that are twice as
old as they should be, patients at an old folks home. At last, Tina Aumont,
Linden's ex-girlfriend leads Dr. Land to Klaus Kinsky, a wealthy Swiss
pharmaceutical company owner. Ultimately, the film ends up being about
Kinsky's attempt to seduce Dr. Land into continuing the anti-aging research,
because Kinsky doesn't want to be a rich "old man."
The film suffers from nearly constant voice-overs, but despite the
narration I found it a quick, if not too challenging, watch.
IMDb readers say 6.1 based on only a handful of votes.
The Drop (2006)
This is a direct-to-vid ... er ... thriller. A college kid is hired for a
huge sum of money to drive a luxury sports car from San Francisco to LA. He is
to make $5,000 for a 6-hour drive, half in advance, half when he gets there.
He is to deliver it to a parking garage. Of course, we know he isn't too
bright, since he didn't even question why someone would pay that much money
for six hours of work in the first place.
When he arrives, he sees Sean Young walk by, and fantasizes about having
sex with her, even though he plans to use the $5,000 to get married. Then he
becomes bored waiting for the owner to show up, and finds a key in the glove
box which opens a briefcase that contains unspeakable evil. We never get to
know what the evil is, but even if we did I couldn't tell you because, well,
because it's unspeakable, dammit. We do know that it glows blue, and fries
most people, other than Sean Young and our hero, who turns out to be "the
key," and is somehow a vital link to unleashing the evil in the case. He hides
the case, and a mob of bad guys, including Sean Young and John Savage, chase
him around the parking garage for 90 minutes, shooting at him and trying to
get the briefcase from him.
A clear F by our grading system. Even if you restrict the genre to evil
briefcase movies about college kids being chased through parking garages, and even if Hollywood, Bollywood and Paris make nothing else but evil briefcase films until the end
of the physical universe, this will undoubtedly remain the worst of the genre
for all time.
IMDb readers have this way overrated at 2.6.
(Scoop's notes: Not only do the characters spend the entire time
wandering around the parking
garage, but many of the later moments in the garage consist of flashbacks to
various earlier times in the garage, perhaps in a reverie of nostalgia for the cheaper
rates of the previous hour, or perhaps because the editor didn't have enough
footage to pad the thing out to feature length without repetition. I reckon it
was the latter, since the early part of the film was filled with
flash-forwards! Or maybe the entire film exists to teach us that time itself
is a much more flexible concept than our weak and linear mortal minds can
comprehend. Even with all the padding, the closing credits start to roll at
the 80 minute mark, and that 80 minutes includes the opening title sequence
and a bizarre prologue which I still don't understand.
According to IMDb, this was filmed in 2002. The DVD box shows that the
copyright date is 2003. I'm not surprised that it stayed hidden for all these
years. This is a truly bad movie.)
Dann reports on The Dress:
You would not
expect a movie about the life of a dress to be very interesting, but
1996's The Dress, from the Netherlands, is a sexy and engrossing
The dress is born in conflict, as the
pattern designer is under extreme pressure from his boss when the boss
rejects all of his designs, just as his girlfriend leaves him. Under great
stress, he creates a new batch of designs, and one of them becomes the
The dress then passes from one woman to
the next, usually due to misfortune suffered by the previous wearer. No
one who wore the dress seemed to have good experiences while wearing it,
and the misfortunes are usually sexual in nature. For example, Maike
Meijer plays a young woman fleeing from a dress designer trying to
force her to have sex with a huge pig (but it was a very nice pig).
This film is classified as a comedy drama
but I saw very little comedy. In fact, much of the film is violent and
even mean, but it's also quite unique and fascinating, and well worth
watching when you're looking for something a little different.
thought I’d try my hand out at vidcapping, so here is Jennifer
Leigh Hammon (and Caroline Ambrose) from ‘Allyson is Watching’ (1996). I actually watched a few scenes whilst fast forwarding through
the DVD to the nudity: Jennifer Leigh Hammon is a real acting talent and
cute too. As far as I can tell, this is the only nudity she has done in film
or TV, but she didn’t shrink from anything: her lesbian scene with
Ambrose is hot stuff!
Hammon appears to have been a soap star at some point and she can certainly
act, but her most recent IMDB listing is as ‘misc cast and crew’ as Tom
Cruise’s assistant, so no danger of
any sexual harassment at work then.
Anyway, no doubt the ‘caps will improve as I gain in experience.
Cheers, The Snapper
LC comes up with the pic o' the day, as he often does. This is the first I
have seen of the nudity in The Sisters. (Based
on Anton Chekov's "The Three Sisters" about siblings living in a college town
who struggle with the death of their father and try to reconcile relationships
in their own lives.) It is labeled Maria Bello, and there are pictures of Maria in the collage, but I believe the nudity is actually Elizabeth Banks.
La Alba at the MTV movie awards. The long shot
(left) makes it look like some fun stuff is exposed, but the close up (right) shows you that
everything is actually taped up and covered.
Becca Romijn in s1e8 of Pepper Dennis. Nice!
Pat's comments in yellow...
An online casino is giving 100,000-1 odds that the world will end today
* A small bet could make you rich, but the hard part
would be collecting your winnings.
* If you're reading this on Wednesday, you've already
Monday at the zoo in Kiev, Russia, a man lowered himself into the lion enclosure
on a rope, shouting, "God will save me, if He exists!" He then took off his
shoes and marched right up to the lions. One lioness immediately pounced on
him, severed his carotid artery, and mauled him to death.
* The flaw in his logic? The lioness had been thinking,
"God will feed me, if He exists."
Lawyers for Lady Heather McCartney denied a report that she'd once posed for a
German hardcore porn book, claiming it was a "lover's guide" to instruct couples
in caring relationships. The Sun tabloid replied that their copy is all photos,
many unprintable, and there's not a word of text.
* Hey, it's a sex manual for illiterates.
* I think we can all agree that no matter what these photos are, the
important thing is that Yoko Ono didn't pose for them.