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

Filthy says:
"Sexy movies give me boners.

One of the great advantages to drinking like a desert mule is that I always feel sick. I always wake up sort of achy and stiff-limbed, which makes it hard to tell when I really am sick. It's nice, you know, to consistently wake up in misery because it gives a guy a reason to have breakfast with Judge Judy and a tub of ice cream, before drinking Schlitz in the bathtub until he falls asleep.

When I wake up from my bath, I feel like getting out there and taking the rest of the day by the nuts. That is, unless I really am sick; then the bath doesn't help much, and neither does a box of Swiss Cake Rolls. I still feel awful, plus fat and unloved.

I rarely get sick because I take care of myself. I can't even estimate you many times I've seriously consider dusting off the Bowflex I bought that time I had a credit card. But last week, I got laid low by the flu. I was sore and feverish, too tired to get up and too achy to lay down. So, I sort of just squatted. All week.

I feel better now, thank you. I'm back in a nut-taking mood. So, I heard this movie Swimming Pool was sexy and French. The sexy part is what appeals to normal people, the French part gives pretentious assholes an excuse to go see it. The thing is, the movie is pretty fucking sexy, and that's an accomplishment. It's also a dumb did-she-or-didn't-she mystery, and that ain't nothing special.

You know what the French think is sexy? A hell of a lot more than Hollywood does, that's for sure. They don't treat naked ladies like root beer-flavored Bottle Cap candies, doled out sparingly and surrounded by grape and orange garbage to fill out the box. They also don't think showing the boobs is sexy in itself. The boobs gotta be doing something interesting, and I don't mean like me rummaging through dumpsters with the Harelip, although I get called a boob for that. Also, I end up stinking like last year's piss, and that's not sexy either.

In Swimming Pool, the fiftysomething Charlotte Rampling is a mystery writer, much like Angela Lansbury was in "Murder, She Wrote." After finishing yet another of those tiresome, cheeky British inspector novels, she is burnt out. Her publisher loans her his French chateau, where she can go and take a big, healthy dump of bitterness. What her publisher doesn't tell her is that his young, free-spirited daughter (Ludivine Sagnier) will be sharing the house. She swims and suns naked, brings home a different man each night and generally acts slutty. And thank God for that. A bitter old person in a house by herself, watching too much television and drowning in whiskey is a life I've dreamed about for myself, but not one I want to watch.

Before long, the two ladies are fighting like Siamese Bettas. Rampling acts annoyed by this strumpet disrupting her peace, but really she's annoyed by the flaunting of youth and indiscretion. She's jealous. While Rampling races through meals without tasting them, and denies herself pleasure, Sagnier is up to her ass in excess.

At the same time, Sagnier envies Rampling's maturity and self-control. The two begin snooping in each other's stuff and Sagnier discovers the book Rampling is writing about her. Shortly after, Sagnier brings home the local village hunk, a man halfway between hers and Rampling's ages, and whom Rampling has a little thing for. Did Sagnier bring him home to illustrate how youth (and boobs) trumps smarts? Rampling is clearly jealous and on edge. Sagnier tries to seduce him, and he refuses. This pleases Rampling, however, she discovers that Sagnier's insecurity drove her to kill him.

This is the exact moment that director Francois Ozon kills the movie. Out of lack of confidence or fear of being boring, he turns it from arousing character study to corny-ass murder, pulp mystery thriller crap. It's the sort of mystery we've seen before, and while it happens, we don't get to watch these two good actresses do what they do best.

There's a "was-it-all-a-dream" ending to the movie that is a bigger load of horseshit than you'll find in the Santa Anita paddocks. Was the story all Rampling's latest novel idea, all acted out in her head? If so, then she's a fucking lousy hack writer and I like her less than I did before I knew the kind of cliched dreck she writes.

Rampling is fantastic. She's wound as tight as a modern baseball, all coiled energy, uptight like she's got one of Barry Bonds's maple bats up her ass. And she manages to be sympathetic at the same time. She's aware that her problem is not Sagnier's noise, but her youth. Sagnier is not gorgeous, but she's sexy, like she's dripping sex the way some folks sweat. Her breasts are unbelievably appealing. I mean, really god damn nice. (I'm sure I'll get e-mail from one of my resident critics who thinks she's being a feminist by talking down to me for liking breasts. They'll tell me we aren't allowed to appreciate beauty. Too fucking bad; they're nice breasts.) She's as convincing as a petulant rich kid as any of the punks at Littleton High, and her character becomes more interesting as the story goes, unlike the high schoolers. It's all fascinating until the cheesy plot twist, that is.

Really, this twist ending is cheaper and tougher to swallow than a Salisbury steak from the Family Dollar. Even if you know that some jackass jerked off all over the can. These kinds of endings gives directors an excuse to be lazy and wrap a lousy plot around great characters. If people don't like it, they can just say, "Don't you get it? It's not my lousy idea, but the lousy idea of the character in my story!" I don't give a fuck whose lousy idea it is, I don't like it. I would have rather had no murder and a lot more conflict between young and old than yet another murder to be covered up.

When you have great characters, the least you can do is respect them. Put them in a story as great as them. One that is about them and deepens them, not one that cheapens them with this sort of arbitrary twist. After all, great characters are only half the job. At least this one got half right. Three Fingers for Swimming Pool.

Man, I feel all achy.

Want to tell Filthy Something



Jim Ferguson (Quote Whore Hall of Famer)

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is "In the summer of sequels the most original action-adventure movie!"

Johnny English is "Fun, fun, fun for kids of all ages! A hilarious comedy!"

Filthy's Reading
Richard Zacks- Pirate Hunter

Listening to
Talking Heads - Sand in the Vaseline


Pirates of the Caribbean