of WBAI Radio
are people who love tons of movies in hopes of getting their
names in the paper, and ads only use their quotes when they can't
find legit ciritcs. According to this week's Quote Whore:
Diamonds is "a must see! Douglas,
Ackroyd and the entire ensemble sparkle in this gem of a movie!"
The Big Tease
is "A Comedic
The Third Miracle
is "An entertaining, provocative and structurally complex
ecclesiastical mystery structured in a way that will be of interest
to most serious cinema fans."
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"The Beach" is not an awful film, but it's not very
good either. It is not incompetent, or evil or poorly made, but
it is a silly morality play that wusses out on the moral. It's
also the second movie in the past few months made by the British
with American money about how Americans are rude, obnoxious and
liars, and when we go overseas we fuck shit up for everyone.
Making a movie about this is every Brit's fucking wet dream.
I'm not going to argue with this sentiment because arguing
with Brits is like fighting with peat moss, but the observation
certainly isn't new. Plus, it sounds like sour grapes coming
from limeys, a people who fucked up their own empire and are
obnoxious in their own right. What kills me is that a bunch of
dumbshit Hollywood executives okayed this movie, giving money
to the Brits to point out how obnoxious we are. For fuck's sake,
the studios should give me $1,000 and I'll give them all the
footage they want from the Arvada Tavern that proves once and
for all that we're numbnuts.
Leonardo DiCaprio is the typical dumb American who thinks
he's different from all the other dumb Americans who travel to
Thailand. He talks too much, most of that being in voiceovers
that are a tedious way to cheat us out of seeing real action.
Our tourist boy wants a different experience and lucks into it
when a goofy junkie overacted by Robert Carlyle gives him a map
to the perfect beach, a secret beach that nobody is supposed
to know about. The Carlyle kills himself. I guess the moviemakers
thought that if their movie was going to pivot on a plot contrivance
such as a secret map given away for no reason, then it should
be so loud and brash that the audience will be too annoyed to
think about the logic.
Much to the glee of his countrymen, English director Danny
Boyle shows DiCaprio as unbelievably stupid and loudmouthed.
Before he heads for the island, he not only invites a couple
of Frogs to join him, but also leaves another copy of the map
with two even louder Americans. He only invites the Frenchies,
both of whose characters are seriously underdeveloped, because
he has the hots for one of them, Virginie Ledoyen, even though
she's traveling with her boyfriend, Guillaume Canet. DiCaprio
and the Frenchies make it to the island, only to discover a vast
field of pot cultivated by killer Thai farmers stands between
them and The Beach. In a lame and anti-climactic sequence, they
escape the farmers and reach the Beach.
It's already populated by a clan of extremely conservative
hippies. Now, for me, a bunch of hippies strumming guitars is
enough to send me back to Bangkok. But, DiCaprio is just a stupid
kid who thinks hippies in thatched huts mean paradise. He and
the Frogs blend into the community and we get an hour-long pictorial
of how Club Med would be without jet-skis or electricity. DiCaprio
is told that although he can stay, no more people are welcome
or the dope farmers will kill them all. DiCaprio lies and says
nobody else has seen the map.
A few fake scares are thrown in to keep the audience from
falling asleep. A bunch of Swede hippies get eaten by a shark.
DiCaprio and Ledoyen have sex and her boyfriend steps out of
the way after a very boring confrontation. We see Ledoyen's boobs
for about three seconds, too, but they're shrouded in moonlight
(not worth the price of admission, teen boys). While the two
of them are on a trip back to Bangkok for tampons, batteries
and rice, the hippie leader, Tilda Swinton, screws DiCaprio after
she learns he lied about the map. Then the Frenchie learns that
DiCaprio is a liar and cheated on her, so she says "fuck
Here is where the movie should have worked, by showing this
paradise community destroyed by a bunch of back-stabbing pussies
and liars. I guess, though, that would make this "Lord of
the Flies," a better story.
Finally, just about when the audience is pretty sick of the
exotic beauty and no action (like being at a "no-touch"
strip club), the other dumb Americans with the map reach an adjacent
island and prepare to paddle the rest of the way. Swinton makes
DiCaprio keep a fulltime lookout to make sure they don't swim
across the strait and reach The Beach.
DiCaprio is alone on his lookout, and suddenly goes mad. It's
the craziest thing. One minute he's a big whiny baby, and the
next he is a big whiny nut reenacting scenes from "Apocalypse
Now" and pretending he is a snake in the bushes. If the
movie explained how this happened. I missed it. What's worse
is this insane period is just ridiculous. DiCaprio thinks he's
in a big video game. He hoots a lot. He sneaks up on the farmers
while they sleep. It's embarrassing and uncomfortable to watch.
I wanted the movie to end before it all got loopier. But it doesn't.
The dumb kids arrive, and with DiCaprio's help the farmers
kill them. The farmers go to tell the hippies they broke the
agreement and have to leave. Suddenly, our little boy is sane
again. He's still whiny, though. The farmers give the hippies
an ultimatum, either kill DiCaprio, whom they know is a troublemaker,
or leave. Against the will of the other hippies, Tilda Swinton
decides she'd rather kill DiCaprio (who can blame her) than give
up the land. In another painful scene to watch, big baby DiCaprio
runs and screams and hides behind women, rather than be shot.
Swinton pulls the trigger of a gun supplied by the farmers, but
the chamber's empty.
No matter, the hippies realize that if people have to die,
the innocence is lost and there is no paradise. They all return
to their homes all over the world, including DiCaprio. Back in
the States, the movie tells us that DiCaprio is now to be rewarded
with a relatively normal life for his cowardice, stupidity and
And that's pure bullshit. The movie sets us up not to like
DiCaprio, and believe me when I say we don't. The movie pounds
home the concept that he always lies, he always makes the bad
decision and he's too fucking full of himself. He's practically
a cartoon character. Then, without any irony, it lets him live
and be happy and we're supposed to be glad. Fuck it. If Boyle
and writer John Hodge want us to hate this guy, we will, but
kill him. Otherwise, what's the fucking moral?
The movie does two things very well. It looks like a million
bucks. I mean, the cinematography is just fantastic. One scene
of three small hot air balloons rising from the island was so
breathtaking it made me stop wishing for more shots of Ledoyen's
tits. The scenes in the urban cities also pulsate and feel interesting,
maybe even more interesting than The Beach. The movie also shows
the hippies thinking they have created paradise powered by loads
of dope-smoking, but all the while they can't escape the customs
and norms that have been pounded into them. They are jealous,
petty and only pretending to be at peace. Their lifestyle is
effectively shown as superficial and not capable of surviving
real conflict, and I enjoyed watching that. It's exactly what
I've suspected about hippies for a long time.
But they don't interact. Why not make the movie about how
an American arrives and splits these otherwise peaceful people?
Why not develop the characters in front of our faces then having
to bring all these outside forces in to create conflict? I don't
have a fucking clue, and all we're left with is a cast of characters
who all have one trait and are hard to distinguish.
If this is paradise, why do all the ladies wear so many damn
clothes? If I'm ever stranded on an island with this many hotties,
you can bet the first thing I'll do is burn all their clothes.
Then I will use subliminal messages to get them to have sex with
Is DiCaprio a good actor? Maybe, as long as he isn't required
to do much. He used to play a retard real good, but he sure doesn't
carry this movie. The "insane" scenes are awkward partially
because he looks like a kid playacting. One thing's for sure,
this is the last time anyone's gonna give him $20 million bucks
to be in a movie.
It's two fingers. It's sort of like me after eight
Schlitz at the Arvada Tavern: it looks great, it talks real loud,
it wants to be philosophical, but it's all just hot air. And
I sure as hell wouldn't pay seven bucks to watch me.
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