Archives Ratings Mrs. Filthy Gooden Worsted

Now Playing

Special Guest Jen L., wife of Quote Whore Stephen Iervolino (whom TNT's Rough Cut has called "No Real Critic").

Stephen's wife wrote to your old pal Filthy to say:

"Thanks for calling my husband, Steve Iervolino, a whore. Perhaps, you're jealous? Glad you have a lot of time on your hands to do this type of stuff. You're a whore to the masses."

Well, Jen, I certainly am jealous, but it's mostly of self-pleasuring hermaphrodites, not your husband.

New York Times

No Deposit, No Return

Duke Ellington -
Live in Fargo 1940Shop at!


Big Empire

Post-it Theater

Las Vegas

The Gift ElectroniquÈ

Big Empire Buddies

©2000 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.

This week:

Proof of Life

Filthy says:
"Russell Crowe, you're lucky I'm not gay."



First the good news: I'm getting closer to employment. I had an interview at America's Video which is staggering distance from the apartment. You know, I'll be a pretty fucking great video store clerk, telling people to go fuck themselves if they try to rent a Rob Schneider movie. And, for those weak of mind, I can steer them toward the good shit.

America's Video offered me the job but I turned it down. They do drug and alcohol testing with zero tolerance, but if someone is going to pay me seven bucks an hour you can bet your red ass I'm gonna be drunk. So, no thank you, America's Video, let me know when you're looking for someone who likes watching pornos on the store TVs and occasionally passes out under the "Foreign" section.

To celebrate almost getting a job, I took the Mrs. to a matinee to see Russell Crowe's latest flick, Proof of Life, a good time marred mostly by the presence of crinkle-nosed pain-in-the-ass Meg Ryan. Actually, Mrs. F paid since I'm a little low on cash, but I promised to finally pick up the dog poop in exchange.

In Proof of Life, Ryan plays one of those goddamn hippies with money. We got shitloads of them in Boulder. They're the prissy fuckers who want the world to be more tolerant, but not in their fucking fascist city where homes cost more than 100 Volkswagen buses and you can't smoke indoors. She lives in South America with her do-gooder engineer husband David Morse, who is building a dam for an oil company. When Morse is kidnapped by local guerrillas, Crowe is brought in to negotiate for his life.

Crowe is a badass, he works for a company that insures foreigners from kidnapping in third world countries, and his job is to retrieve the people as cheaply as possible. The movie opens with him stealing money from corrupt Russians on another Ransom mission in Chechnya. Ryan immediately swoons when Crowe takes her case (fuck it, if I was gay or a woman, I would too). But, Morse's weaselly oil company has dropped their insurance, and Crowe won't take the job. That is, until Ryan makes a whiny plea for him to work for free (yeah, right) and he agrees.

For more than 120 days, Morse is held in the mountains of this spec-fucking-tacular South American country while Crowe whittles the ransom demand from five million bucks to a few-hundred thousand clams. Slowly, way too slowly, Crowe and Ryan fall for each other as they spend four tense months in each other's presence, leading to a moral problem for Crowe. Why rescue the husband of the woman you want to slip the dog to when you can just as easily fuck it up and get her to yourself? (This is assuming you believe that Ryan is worth desiring, which I don't.)

Crowe strikes a deal with the kidnappers, at the same time Morse unknowlingly tries to escape his captors, which queers the whole deal. The only solution is for Crowe and a band of commandos to go in Rambo style and save the day.

It's almost impossible to talk about kidnap movies without mentioning the classic Disney film No Deposit No Return. Proof of Life is similar, only not as funny and Meg Ryan is no Don Knotts. Plus, that movie was about two wacky moppets and this is about a bloated David Morse.

Proof of Life has a ton of shit going for it. First is Crowe, a genuinely fucking great actor. The guy produces more testosterone in two hours than my nuts will in a lifetime. He carries himself almost always exactly right, never getting hammy, and even handling a few corny lines with feeling. Crowe commits to the material and does a hell of a job as a man of infinite macho. David Morse also does a fantastic job showing the slow descent of a man into a kind of insanity. Alone with guerrillas for four months, he grows believably batty, shaggy and beaten. With me, after four hours without Mrs. Filthy, I get a little scared and once ate a roll of toilet paper, so I can only imagine what shitting into a boot for 120 days would be like. Morse does it wonderfully.

The reality of the kidnapping story is also damn good. The details of this business are more fascinating and have more dark crevices than the August issue of Juggs's lesbo spread with Candy Bottoms and Tiny Morsels. The details of negotiating and hostage taking feel damn real. Crowe's character doesn't always have the right answer, just the best guess. And the terrorists aren't shown as third world cartoon villains. Some are sympathetic, some are assholes, and their motives are clear. Director Taylor Hackford and writer Tony Gilroy deserve a truckload of credit for assuming we have brains in our heads and presenting this material with the right amount of detail.

The setting, in South America, is stunning. It's ramshackled, lush and rambling, just like the place really looks in National Geographic. I've never been there, but I want to go more now than ever, and not just because I heard in the jungle you can have monkey butlers. Oh, man, I'll get them to wear tiny little tuxedoes and then I'll piss myself laughing every time they bring me a cerveza fría. The mountainous tropics that Morse and his captors trek through are a much more involving character than Meg Ryan.

Speaking of that bag of bones, she almost single-handedly drags this movie into the abyss. She belongs in Nora Ephron's aren't-I-cute-when-I-crinkle-my-nose crapfests, not in a serious drama where she's totally lost. She handles drama about as well as my 86-year-old neighbor handles icy sidewalks, only she's nowhere near as funny to watch fall. Many scenes have her gawking wordlessly, and she fails to even express what her character is supposed to be thinking. I think she doesn't know. Her line readings are generally bad, like she's talking to a wall, not another person.

Similarly, the relationship between her and Crowe drags this movie well over two hours. If Hackford had cut their dull romantic coupling, the movie could have clocked in a half-hour shorter and been a fantastic thriller about an interesting subject. It could have felt like an old Bogart story. But, Ryan and Crowe never connect other than what the script tells us, and there are almost no consequences to their single tonguing.

Three strong fingers for a generally good action flick. Just bring ear plugs for Meg Ryan's scenes and you'll have a smash-up time. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go check out some more monkey butler web sites.

 Enter an e-mail address and send this page to a friend:

Want to tell Filthy something?