After watching "Goodbye Lover" I was left with a single lingering question. For noir films, having only one question at the end is usually a good thing, because they can be complicated stories. My question was "What the fuck were they thinking?" This movie is a fucking horrible shitstain on the underwear of film history. Not since "Color of Night" have I seen such incompetent handling of a "thriller." It's more thrilling to piss blood than it is to watch this mess.
Truth is, I didn't want to see this movie, but I wanted to see "Life" even less. I'm guessing very few other people want to see "Goodbye, Lover", so I will not use my column to discourage you. I will use it to make fun of it, hoping that one of you can forward it on to someone responsible for it, and that I may in some small way, force that person to cry and hate himself.
Patricia Arquette is the wife of alcoholic ad executive Dermot Mulroney, but she is screwing his brother Don Johnson. Arquette convinces Johnson to kill Mulroney, but really she is plotting with Mulroney to kill Johnson for insurance money. Johnson is murdered, then Arquette finds out that Mulroney is sleeping with Johnson's other squeeze and she kills them both. Detective Ellen DeGeneres figures this out and blackmails Arquette for half the insurance money. They live happily ever after.
Where shall we start? What piece of the poop shall we pick up first? How about plot?
I never studied film theory when I was at the Automotive Vocation Institute. In fact, it pisses me off to think that the sweater-wearing assholes at the university are spending my tax dollars to watch French movies and dissect them. But, I have seen enough noir movies to know what makes them work. The best devices are surprising plot twists and a flawed hero who redeems himself by solving the crime. Well, there are no surprises in this movie. The story is convoluted as an inverted upper-intestinal track, but never in a way where the audience thinks, "How clever." Instead, I just sat there and shouted "Oh, give me a fucking break!" until the usher had to "shush" me.
Screenwriter Ron Peer learned how to tell a story from the little maze on the back of a box of Count Chocula. In other words, "Goodbye, Lover" will only intrigue a really stupid eight-year old. What's worse, Peer can't even figure the maze out so he cuts across borders and cheats to reach the end. There is no hero. I think Ellen DeGeneres is supposed to be the anti-hero, but her flaw is that she's a fucking pig, always shoving food into her mouth, like a rude eight-year old. And she's not smart, or at least, no smarter than the screenwriter that created her, and he is a complete fucking moron. We never see her do anything clever, or figure anything out, except that near the end she miraculously solves the case without any explanation of how. By that point, I didn't give a fuck because I had already accepted that this stink bomb was going to go wherever it wanted, whether it made sense or not.
The direction is heavy and slow. Jesus, is it painfully slow. I'm not sure if the director is comatose, or if he thinks he's doing a slow burn. Was someone actually pleased by this story? Did someone actually think it was clever? Who approved the script? Why haven't they been shot? You get the feeling throughout the movie that Roland Joffé is smugly pleased with his movie. He thinks he's really being clever and all the actors play out there role with a smug sense of "Look how cool this is." It's as cool as sponge-bathing Grandma Filthy, making sure not to miss the area under her sagging boobs. Every single scene, without exception, is contrived and unbelievable.
Let's talk about the setting. It makes no sense. "Goodbye, Lover" takes place in L.A., but there's no reason for that. In fact, Ron "Moron" Peer's settings are a mish-mash. The characters are able to drive a few hours to what appears to be the Smokey Mountains, where there's a quaint old black man pumping gas at a rambling shack. There is nothing like that anywhere near L.A. They go to Las Vegas, for no reason. They go in one day (nine hours round trip by car), when they could have easily called LV police and had them look up the marriage license. Only the moviemakers are too fucking cheap to actually send a crew to Las Vegas, so they just have some neon lights reflect on a windshield and say "Here we are, in Las Vegas." For Fuck's sake, you're not doing a high school production of "Guys and Dolls", you dumb-asses, so spend a little money. If you want to put a movie partially in Las Vegas, go there and fucking live it up. It would have breathed some life into this decomposing corpse. Other scenes are placed irrationally, probably just because someone thought it would look cool. Like on the top of a parking garage, or up in the mountains, or in a church. It's bullshit, it's lazy writing, complete disrespect for the audience and egos unchecked that let this diarrhea get pumped out of the Hollywood asshole.
Moving on to the acting: Ellen DeGeneres is supposed to be funny. In every scene, she is pigging out on some food. It's supposed to be funny, but it's not, it's annoying, one-note and disgusting. Ellen, you're a slob and a pig. She also ends each scene with a punchline that some dumbfuck somewhere (Ron Peer) thought was clever, but really was just the dialog from the last frame of "Nancy" comic strips. Dear Mr. Peer, when will you learn that Nancy and Sluggo are no longer the gold standard by which humor is judged? I mean, these gags went over about as well as hosing down the audience with AIDS-tainted blood. She also swears, saying "fuckwad" and the like, because Peer thought that was funny. What a fucking rube. Swear words in the wrong hands just sound like a desperate child looking for attention.
DeGeneres' sidekick is supposed to be funny because he's a Mormon and very conservative, the opposite of her frumpy, grouchy cynic. Ha ha. It sucks. He's not funny, and their interplay sucks worse than a whore in a hurry. What's worse, he's incredibly one-dimensional, revealing in the end that he is really is as dumb and naïve as he plays. There's no twist. That's beyond this pile of shit's ability. Many characters are meant to be "quirky." They are so irritating, fucking fake and cardboard they should be going around on little carousels in "It's a Small World."
Whereas "Forces of Nature" was one finger because
it was so efficient about doing exactly what it aimed to do,
and what it aimed to do was despicable, a movie like "Goodbye,
Lover" is one finger because a bunch of retards thought
they were making cinematic history. It's sort of like an Ed Wood
movie, where Ed thought he was making something great and the
smugness comes across, but he was actually incompetent.