©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:

Filthy says:
"Even miserable people suck."

If you like getting a lot of words for your movie money, then holy shit is Closer a great movie for you. This thing's like some sort of Wal-Mart Family-sized jar of words. The four main characters never shut the hell up. And that's fine, I guess, when the person is interesting, but this shit is like hearing the Harelip talk about her yeasty discharge: loud, unpleasant, unnecessarily detailed and way too repetitive. Actually, I'd rather listen to the Harelip. At least she's not so fashionably depressed all the time.

Closer is based on a play, which I didn't see because I fucking hate theater. I hate the pomposity, projection and BIG ideas of serious theater. I hate the way it's so obvious and artificial, and I can't stand how they get mad if you throw stuff at the actors. You know what they say about how you can take a girl out of the gutter, but you can't take the gutter out of the girl? Well, it's true. Just try dating a girl you met in a gutter. Anyway this movie brings to mind a correlary: you can take the play out of the theater, but you can't take the annoying precious talk, forced wit and obviousness posing as philosophy out of the play. Dramatic theater like this is almost always for the actors, not for the audiences, and fuck that.

Closer stars Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen as four terminally unhappy people who first start out in pairs, then fuck each other's lovers thinking that will bring them happiness. They discover cheating's not the answer, so they go back to cheating with each other. And still, that doesn't make them happy. Meanwhile, they talk a lot about it, in conversations that sound fancy but as unnatural as tits in a strip club.

Each character has a niche: Owens is the most educated but also the most sexually primitive; Portman is the least educated and, surprise!, the wisest; Roberts is the most mature; and Law is the biggest fucking baby. Those are the roles, but despite their differences, the characters sound the same. Much of the dialogue sounds clever and quick, but it's superficial show-off bullshit. Every time I paused to think about a line, I realized how contrived and stagey it was. For example, Portman tells Law she never eats fish because they piss in the sea. So do children, he says. She replies "Don't eat them either." That might be funny if it weren't so obviously written from the punchline backward, and mean so very fucking little. People don't really say shit like that, so how does that dialog get called "real and gritty?"

Closer is like bad Neil Labute, meaning anything he's done lately. It holds the simplistic and intellectually corrupt belief that the more cynical you are the more sophisticated you must be. So, to be really bitter you must be fucking genius. Hell, maybe I should apply for MacArthur grants instead of jerking off to suggestive wallpaper samples. I think this sort of abject misery and self-loathing is the horseshit that appeals to Hollywood because they think it's somehow poignant. Fuck, if all sorrow were poignant there'd be a moral in Worm's crying about losing his wedding ringdown the toilet. There isn't, though, because sometimes miserable jackasses are just annoying.

Closer is the kind of movie that appeals to self-centered actors who worry a lot about being perceived as "real actors." Good lord, this is the acting equivalent of the Olympics and Closer's four leads are Tobago's only athletes, so they have to compete in every fucking event. The 200-meter bawl, the synchronized bemoaning and the parallel pouts. It's like winning the lottery to get to act like spoiled brats, cry, shout and say dirty words.

The personalities and behavior are so monochromatic and monotonous. These people start miserable, they end miserable, and along the way as they lie and screw each other. they give sideways wistful glances. I'm sure it's heavy lifting for an actor to look so sad, but I don't pay to see actors do clean jerks with their emotions. It's fine for characters not to change, but its important for the movie to reveal why. Learning that is what we get from thise movie. But Closer offers nothing but sour milk and you'd have to be a moron to not know all you need to about these jerks within the first half hour. They're boring.

At its root, this piece of shit is barely has a story. It purports to be a brutally honest look at relationships, but it's only a look at the darkest moments. That's fucking phony because there are good times even in bad relationships. Closer doesn't show those because happiness just isn't important enough. How about when I was dating that really fat girl from Wendy's and right before she spit on me in the detergent aisle of K-Mart she covered my nipples in low-fat chili? What about those first few blushing days when the joy and newness of a relationship overwhelms the underlying flaws, like so much Lysol in a Branson motel room? Sure, after a couple days the stench of the dead hooker in the boxsprings reveals itself, but for a while all love is bliss.

The message at the heart of this "intellectual" movie is that men and women can't be happy. Men are perpetually horny and in search of conquest, and women are forever seeking intimacy. Well, fuck, why not also point out that men love sports and women love shopping as long as we're trading on tired stereotypes?

I just don't have anything good to say about this movie. There's only one thing I hate more than a real intellectual, and that's someone who only thinks he is. One Finger for Closer. And if you're going thinking you'll see Natalie Portman naked, forget it. This movie is too fucking important for a quality treat like that.

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Pau Fischer of Dark horizons

National Treasure is "The Indiana Jones of the new millennium! The year's most entertaining film!"

Filthy's Reading
Jean Sheperd - I, Libertine

Listening to
Red Eyed Legends - Mutual Insignificance


Duck Soup