Queen Margot (1994) is a French costumer of 144 minutes with French subtitles, and occurs during a 1572 religious war between Catholics and Protestants. Not exactly my kind of film to begin with, and certainly nothing I should try to stay awake for during a record heat wave. It didn't help that it started with soothing music, behind a text explanation setting up the story. The multi-screen exposition started, "France is deeply divided by the wars of religion raging across Europe. Catholics and Protestants have been fighting and killing each other for years." to which I would add, "they kept doing it," and be done with the plot summary. While the film looks great, I had absolutely no interest in the events, and did not know much about the historical figures. Unfortunately, they assumed the viewer was intimate with these historical figures, and didn't take the time to set the players and develop characters.
Isabelle Adjani shows a breast having sex in an alley, then full frontal near the end of the film. There is also a quick flash of someone's public hair, by the character played by Asia Argento. I have no opinion as to whether the curly hairs belong to her or not, but the angel tattoo was not present. IMDB readers have this at 7.4 of 10. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume design, won a jury prize and best actress at Cannes, a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language film, and got most of the acting and cinematography Cesars. Critics treat it respectfully, with Ebert awarding 2 stars, and Berardinelli three. It is 67% overall at ROtten Tomatoes, with 50% from the top critics. I was bored to tears, and frankly hit the fast forward nearly every time I woke up during the film, but some people clearly like it, so the proper score is C, great stuff if marathon subtitled French historical costumers are your kind of film.
Note on Tuna's column above:
If I remember right, Charlie told me that the sex scene in Queen
Margot is not Isabelle Adjani, but an admitted body double (this is
also true of scenes in Diabolique). As in Diabolique, some of the
scenes include a head, but the scenes are shot in such a manner as
to obscure her face.
The scene of her in the mask looks like it is really Adjani.
- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated.
There's Something About Mary (1998):
Here's a movie to test any given film critic to see if they are in
the right profession. Here we have the film chosen as the best
comedy of the 90's in several forums, including our own poll. You
could include it in a list of the ten funniest films ever made, and not
raise an eyebrow. It was a massive commercial success, and was one
of the best-reviewed comedies of the decade. Given the fact that it
can also bring a tear to your eye, is also an artistic triumph on
many levels, from the startlingly good photography to the Greek
chorus musicians, and is almost unceasingly funny, it is not
unreasonable to argue that it's the greatest comedy ever made. And
can you name any other movie that gets movie audiences laughing,
dancing, and singing along during the closing credits?
So if you
find a critic who gave this a poor review, ask yourself - what the
they doing in the movie reviewing business in the first place, when
they gave a poor review to a film which might be the best comedy
film ever made? Are they there to impose their taste on you, and to
tell you that you should be watching Andrei Rublev instead? Are they
there to promote the fact that no comedies can ever be worthwhile?
You have to wonder.
Similarly, genuinely funny comedies never
get nominated for Oscars. The only ones that make it to the red
character-based films like Shakespeare in Love or Tootsie.
(Tootsie's funniest moments weren't even in the script, but were
just Bill Murray improvising, being himself.) Name a truly funny movie, and
it wasn't nominated for anything. Airplane - nothin'. Duck Soup - zip. Blazing Saddles
and The Producers - nada. Office Space - zilch. South Park - el zippo. Groundhog Day - zero. Something About Mary - goose egg.
American Pie - squat. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - jack shit.
About the only funny guy who gets Oscar nominations is Woody Allen,
and he didn't get them until he started to be serious and make the
humor a backdrop for his thoughts about relationships.
In fact, many reviewers do despise comedies because funny films
disempower the critic. With a drama, there are many subjective
issues which can be evaluated in the measurement of a film. With a
comedy, you really don't even need a critic. Rather than subjective
standards, you could measure comedies objectively. You could just
set up one of those laugh-meters in the theater and measure the
frequency and volume of laughter. Report the frequency and amplitude
in the paper - bingo. Instant evaluation. Add some demographic
detail about who is laughing the most and there's not really any
need for a critic, except to tell prospective audiences what kind of
comedy it is.
Many large laughs = great comedy. But, you see, this simple and
obvious comedy equation is lost on critics and the academy. (To
their credit, the British do award great comedies once in a while.
Groundhog Day was awarded the BAFTA for best screenplay, over The
Friggin' Piano.) It seems pretty obvious that the best comedy film
is the one which makes the most people laugh the loudest, but even
this simple concept is too complicated for the academy. As strange
as it seems, actual humor is almost an automatic disqualification
for a comedy! The only way for a comedy film to get nominated
for an Oscar is to avoid making audiences laugh.
There's Something About Mary didn't follow that path.
an era when comedies are considered great if they produce one good
gag for every ten attempts, this film manages to pull off almost
every gag successfully. There's Something About Mary had audiences
falling out of their chairs non-stop. Its funniest scenes are side-splitting, and
Matt Dillon is truly hilarious in one of the great comedy
performances of all time.
When Ben Stiller was in high school, he was a
complete geek, but he somehow managed to get a prom date with, Mary,
the prettiest girl in school (Cameron Diaz, looking magnificent with
long hair). That date was a complete disaster, which hit its nadir
before it even began, when Stiller used the bathroom at Mary's
house, and caught his genitals in his zipper.
Mary had moved away by the time Ben recovered, but
he never forgot her. More that a decade later, he hired a private
detective to find her. Unfortunately, the investigator was a
complete sleazeball (Matt Dillon, in one of the best comedy
performances of all time) who took one look at the adult Mary (still
Cameron Diaz, now looking magnificent with short hair), and decided
to court her himself. As it develops, at least two other guys are
working similar scams on Mary, and even former NFL MVP Brett Favre
is in the competition (no need to polish up an extra Oscar for Favre),
but Stiller eventually decided to get back in the game anyway
because, well, because there's just something about Mary.
Cameron Diaz brought a wonderfully centered,
sweet, good-natured life to Mary that raised the film from merely
funny all the way to "priceless". Her character, and her interpretation of it, anchored the
film with genuine good feeling, joy, and generosity that balanced off nicely with the
gross stuff and the conniving of her suitors.
The new DVD is so loaded that even I, loving the film as I do,
could only absorb a small portion of it. Bravo to the Farrellys,
Matt, Cam, Ben, those singers, and every other element that came
together to make this film such a freakin' treasure.
Needless to say, the film is an A. It was a hit with critics and
a tremendous commercial success, demonstrating wide appeal.
- Cameron Diaz. She's not naked, but she's still Cameron Diaz. (1,
The Advocate (1993):
[This film is also known as The Hour of the Pig]
This is a cynical look at human nature, as filtered through
France in the Dark Ages.
Colin Firth plays a brilliant lawyer who
tires of the politicking and compromises necessary to practice in
Paris, so he decides to move to a small town, where he can build an
estate which he could not afford in Paris, and thus enjoy the simple
country life in a stress-free life of property adjudications and
It doesn't quite work out that way. He finds
out that the small town is filled with as many deals and intrigues
as Paris, the crimes are just as horrifying as in the city, and
everything is further complicated by the almost unchecked power of
the local baron. After he has been in town for only a short while,
he is asked to defend a pig who has been accused of murdering a
young boy. In the law of that place and time, an animal could be
held responsible for criminal acts, and could be sent to the gallows
like a man.
The lawyer is embroiled in a complex controversy. He
is in love with the gypsy woman who owns the pig, and the animal
represents not only food to the gypsies, but their rights as
citizens, because they know for a fact that the pig was tethered
while the crime was committed. Therefore, Firth is under immense
pressure to defend the pig and set it free. On the other hand, the
absolute authority of the baron cannot be challenged, and the baron
wants the pig to be found guilty, for his own dark reasons related
to the real fate of the murdered boy. Firth has to figure out a
solution that will satisfy all parties.
It's an interesting movie,
written for intellectuals, comparable to the plays of Robert Bolt or
James Goldman in that it uses Medieval civilization as a window
through which we may view as much about our times and nature as
theirs - if there truly is any meaningful difference. Although
the film is not played out as a comedy, the dialogue is constructed
to make use of situational irony, thus revealing additional and
different attitudes than the ones shown ostensibly. Thus, there is
nothing remotely funny about the scene in which a man and his
she-ass are to be hanged for copulation with one another, yet the
situation is so ludicrous, and the donkey seems so out of place on
the gallows, that the humor is evident, although it is never
betrayed by the tone. The funniest thing in the entire film is when
the hanging is stopped by a last-minute reprieve, the typical movie
cliché, a messenger bearing a parson from the bishop which attests
to the good character of the accused. Unfortunately for the man, the
verbiage in the pardon is referring to the good character of the
donkey, so she is freed while the man's execution continues.
DVD is a bit of a disappointment. The transfer is nice enough, but
this would have been an excellent time to restore the scenes which
were deleted in 1993 to avoid the NC-17 rating which it was
originally assigned. Unfortunately, the DVD includes only the
R-rated theatrical version.
This is a classic C+ movie by our rating system.
A very good movie in many ways, even flirting with greatness, but how big a niche is there for a
dark comedy/drama about Medieval France.
- Harriet Walter
- Lysette Anthony (1,
- Amina Annabi (1,
- Sophie Dix (1,
- Various raw snaps of anonymous extras. (1,
of your readers said,
In yesterday's Fun
House you mentioned Justine Bateman as "finally" getting
topless. However, I'm positive she appeared topless in a cable
TV movie a few years ago called "Another Woman".
We actually taped that
movie last year off a Canadian station because we had heard those
rumors too…here’s the story: There is a scene that flashes
back to Justine’s teen years…the girl who plays the teen Justine and
goes topless kind of looks like her, but IT IS NOT…that’s why some
people think Justine Bateman has shown her breasts before…
Kerri Kasem is the daughter of DJ Casey Kasem. Lucky for her, she
does not look too much like her father. In fact she is a knockout!
At her web site,
www.kerrikasem.com, she has quite a few revealing pics. I
thought Fun House should know these things.
The streakers Hall of Fame
Check your dead pool entries for 2003. Strom Thurmond dead at age 100
ESPN picks the Final 64 in the "overrated" categories. (Actors, actresses, musicians, athletes.)
Christopher Walken and Jack Black - together at last.
Cubs work on a new re-usable headline. The most common headline in Sports used to be "Sosa homers in Cubs loss." Now they are working on "Prior brilliant in Cubs loss".
Check those Death Pool entries again. Buddy Ebsen was hospitalized for an undisclosed illness. Maybe he caught it from Dick Cheney at the undisclosed location.
A review of THE HULK, which was actually written by The Hulk himself.
Funny advice from Amazon.com: If you like Ann Coulter's new book "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism" then we also recommend Hitler's Mein Kampf. Actually, Coulter considers Hitler a dangerous McGovernite liberal.
Cameroon star dies in international soccer game. Death is irrelevant to soccer. If everyone in a soccer game died, the game would finish 0-0. Exactly the same as when everyone lives.
Browse Top Level > Audio >Live Music Archive. Down free concerts legally. (Only for superfast connections. Downloads are massive. I checked one, and it was a zip file larger than a gig in size.)
'Comical Ali' re-emerges on TV. I hope Tom Green has him booked.
Kevin Costner Marrying His Girlfriend. They went to the same college. Of course, she went there in the 20th century.
A class in stripping taught by a former writer of Hanna-Barbara cartoons. She's the dream woman for a horde of guys living with their parents.
:::The Annual Lebowski Fest:::. I know I'll see you all there. The Dude abides, man.
HOT or NOT chooses their hottest person of the year
are the latest movie reviews available at scoopy.com.
- The yellow asterisks indicate that I wrote the
review, and am deluded into thinking it includes humor.
- If there is a white asterisk, it means that
there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined
there might be something else of interest.
- A blue asterisk indicates the review is written
by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick
Locke, or somebody else besides me)
- If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too
ashamed to admit it.