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This week:
Peter Pan

Filthy says:
"Five Fingers if you're in NAMBLA.

Some folks never want to grow up; they want a perpetual childhood full of candy, ice cream and making fun of kindergartners. They believe it's the only way to avoid hurt. Well, you get hurt like skinned knees or broken ribs when that asshole on the corner puts you in an old truck tire and rolls you down the hill and into Ralston Creek. But kids don't ever feel the bitter sting of rejection and failure. The little punks just aren't capable of feeling those deep wounds, except, of course, those eight year olds who commit suicide. That shit's just fucked up.

I suppose an everlasting childhood sounds appealing to folks who've fucked up their lives and liked it better when someone else was responsible. Me, I wanted to bust out of my childhood as fast and violent as shit from my ass after lunch at the Country Buffet. Being a kid sucked corny ass.

It wouldn't have taken much to make my childhood a happier time. If my parents had paid more attention to me I could have avoided a lot of my misery and ache. I just wish my mother and father would have taken the time to say the little things to me more often. I spent my entire childhood wishing I would hear just one little, simple phrase at the right times: "Honey, don't eat that." I wanted to hear them just once say, "Don't eat that, it goes on the lawn," and "Don't eat that, it's not food." But they didn't, and I spent more time having my stomach pumped than I did in third grade.

I guess all those people whose parents kept them away from the snail pellets had a pretty fucking good time as kids, though, and now they wish they were kids again. Be careful what you wish for is the theme of Peter Pan.

Like all versions, the new movie (including Candy Bottoms' unforgettable Peter P-anal) Peter Pan is the story of a boy who never does grow up. He has no mother, no responsibilities and no deep feelings. Unlike previous versions, this one is sexed up enough to have the entire membership of NAMBLA circle-jerking to it during matinees.

Peter (Jeremy Sumpter) lives in Neverland (this is, I would guess, where hack assholes insert their Michael Jackson jokes), a fantasy land among the stars created to fulfill young boys' fantasies of adventure. Where I grew up, we had a park called Adventure Playground, a former landfill where the city dumped a ton of plywood, filled a hole with mud, charged kids 50 cents, handed out nails and hammers and let us go at it. Neverland is even better.

Sumpter's Pan wants a mother, so he cons limey child Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and her two brothers into following him to Neverland to mother he and his band of Lost Boys. At the time, she's feeling particularly vulnerable because she is about to be kicked out of her family nursery and into miserable, bodiced, "polite society" adulthood.

In Neverland, Sumpter and the Lost Boys are at endless war with pirate Captain Hook (Jason Isaacs). He hates Pan, jealous as a eunuch at a swimsuit shoot because this Pan kid is so happy and carefree. When Isaacs learns of Hurd-Wood mothering the Lost Boys, he wants to kidnap her to use as bait, luring Sumpter to his death. Meanwhile, the children slowly forget about their parents, who are patiently waiting for them in the real world. Hurd-Wood realizes that, as much fun as it is to stay a child forever, she wants to grow up. She wants to be able to love, which is something Pan can never give her.

Peter Pan can be a children's story and it can be an adult's story. It is, superficially, about Peter's adventures. I mean, what kid doesn't love a world of savage Indians, secret hideouts, vengeful pirates and no parents? That part of the movie is pretty damn good. However, the parts that Director P.J. Hogan tries to make adult movie are about as lame as a donkey's dick after the last show in a Tijuana nightclub.

Pan is tragic, never growing older, never falling in love, never having any real feelings. Sure it hurts like hell to have your heart busted, but it's probably worth risking for the rare chance that a lover doesn't rip it out of your chest and beat it with a sledgehammer. For me, Mrs. Filthy has made me feel complete and loved, plus she does care enough to tell me what not to eat. Worse than never loving, is that when you can't grow up and love someone, the people who try to love you are fucked. They don't even get a fair shot. In the book, poor Wendy grows older and even though Pan swears he'll never forget her, he does. Every year. He returns to her sporadically and Wendy falls in love with him anew, and then he goes and breaks her heart all over again. And then he does it to her daughter, too.

This Peter Pan doesn't have the balls to be that sad. While it makes Pan wistful and wishing he could have a mother, the hurt he causes others is ignored. What's worse is that anything set in the real world is sentimental and stagey. It's dripping with phony nostalgia. No, it's not nostalgia, but something like that, a Wal-Mart version of Dickens, full of stiff caricatures, gruff bosses and eccentric family members who are a little too lurid and loud. The sentiments come off cheap and artificial, as though it's being overacted for the "special education" kids in the crowd. I felt patronized, and seeing how I've got the intellect of a six-year old, the kids probably feel the same.

While those scenes are condescending and sentimental, Neverland isn't. Isaac's Captain Hook is the kind of pirate that is genuinely creepy and mean. In Neverland, Peter Pan doesn't play dumb and sweet, assuming kids can't handle a vicious villain ad his peg-legged parrot. This movie gives kids exactly the kind of bad guys that'll entertain and scare them enough to remember. And the battles the pirates have with Peter Pan are good shit. There is real peril, and people die, like candy kids crave but parents won't give them.

Neverland looks as though someone finally gave Sid and Marty Krofft a real budget. It's all fake, but elaborately so: plastic trees, plastic leaves and papier mache caves full of moldering skeletons. The result is a land that any kid not raised on Tinky and Winky will want to visit. It's scary enough to be interesting, not necessarily safe enough for parental approval.

The kids can't act worth shit, except for Hurd-Wood, who is pretty good but mostly just dopey smiles as Wendy. Otherwise, the Lost Boys are like local children's theater actors doing "Godspell". Probably they enjoyed dressing up, though. Sumpter is a truly dreadful Peter Pan. He is constantly confused, over his head trying to be ambiguously sexual, sorrowful, defiant and ten years old. Peter Pan asks him to reflect emotions that at his age he can't possibly understand. Hey, Sumpter, try doing it again after the first girl you love dumps your sorry ass and you'll get closer. After the thirtieth one, you should have it nailed.

Tinkerbell, Peter's jealous fairy who wants his heart before Wendy can have it, is an embarrassing mime performance by Ludivine Saignier. She's the hottie from Swimming Pool, but here she's just a hammy, shrill little character that is supposed to be comic relief. I liked her better naked. Her performance also pales in comparison to Candy bottoms' Tinkerbell, who was able to crawl her way into the smallest of human orifices.

Three Fingers for Peter Pan, but I'd say show up a half hour after it starts. NAMBLA members add two fingers, and go fuck yourself.

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Earl Dittman of Wireless Magazine

Chasing Liberty is "Mandy Moore as you've never seen her before... sexy, sassy and charming all at once!"

Paycheck is "Unlike any film you've seen before or will likely see again! Top-notch! A stunning and electrifying cat-and-mouse thriller!"

Filthy's Reading
J. M. Barrie- Peter Pan

Listening to
Johnny Cash - The Essential Johnny Cash


Twin Peaks - First Season