This week:
The Hours

Filthy says:
"More sour than sisters-in-law

In my fantasies, I often imagine I'm a woman. Don't be alarmed, ladies, every man does. Some say they don't, but they do. The guys who insist they don't are the ones who do it most. And the ones who say, "I swear to God, I have never fantasized about being a woman," are the ones who wear women's panties.

In my fantasies, I am a very pretty, clean-shaven 6'5" living doll in hot pants. I look really hot as a girl, hot enough that I then sometimes imagine I am me (a man) again and meet me (a girl) on the street and want to seduce me. Except that while I am imagining I am a man on the street, I can't also be the hot woman, so I end up just wandering around looking for myself and wind up in an alley, getting mugged and sliced up within an inch of my life by a gang of biker chicks who look like my neighbors.

From what I've read in "Gallery" and "Club", I'm pretty typical. I never imagine I'm a suicidal housewife or a miserable novelist. Sometimes I pretend I have Japanese comics stuffed down my hot pants, but I sort of like that. My point is that The Hours isn't intended for me. But, although it's about women, it isn't intended for them either. It's not for anyone but the smug pricks in it, and the celebrities and fawning dolts who love to give out awards for acting like it's the God damn Special Olympics. "You're all winners!" The message of The Hours is apparently that you aren't a real woman and you haven't really lived unless you want to kill yourself. Also, you aren't sensitive or alive unless you want to get it on with other women. I'm serious.

I think women get a lousy deal from the movies. The big screen is unfairly a man's world, where women usually sit on the sideline until someone needs to be rescued. Or they are relegated to fits of hysteria in horseshit like The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. We need strong women and good women-oriented films. This shit, though, it's just so fucking relentless in its sour self-importance. The armies of middle-aged women leaving the theater with me were scratching their heads and asking, "Are they saying I'm wrong to be happy?"

The movie covers three parallel stories about similar women in different time periods. All three are linked by Virginia Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway" about the last day of a woman who appears in control of her life, but who is achingly empty inside. In the 1920s, the novelist Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is bemoaning her insanity, her writer's block and suburban ennui as she tries to write "Mrs. Dalloway". She's loopy, see, and the suburbs are supposed to quiet the voices in her heads. But after making out with her sister, she decides she would rather be nuts in the vibrant city than try to recover in the sticks. In the boom period after World War II, a dead-eyed suburban housewife (Julianne Moore) locks lips with her neighbor, hates her dull life, is afraid of her toddling son and wants to die but can't kill herself, even after reading "Mrs. Dalloway". The third period is the present, when a lesbian book editor (Meryl Streep) plans a large party for a ravaged poet dying of AIDS, whom she had a fling with long, long ago. She is secretly still in love with him, and fears that her will to live will cease when he dies. She is Mrs. Dalloway, seemingly in control, going through the same motions as the book.

The Hours is a movie that chums the awards-season waters with every bloody chunk of meat it could find. There's three time periods, a role of a poet dying of AIDS, a beautiful actress who makes herself ugly (How brave! Those of us born ugly have it so easy.), another glamorous actress who gets to wear old-lady makeup and a famous actress who gets to pretend she's a quietly suffering lesbian. Boy, with all that bait trolling behind the boat, fat fuck Weinstein is sure to hook a mess of trophies.

The problem is, I can't see any reason for this thing to exist other than to grab trophies. It's not enlightening, or interesting. It's not clever, funny or thought-provoking. It's just a compilation of the shit the Academy loves to congratulate itself for.

Scene after scene thumps us with the obvious sorrow of these characters. They're sad and miserable, sure, but who doesn't have their moments? Sometimes I just have to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and a big blanket and have a good cry. Ah, I'm bullshitting you. But there are people who do and Hollywood isn't banging down their doors to turn their moods into a movie. That's because being sad in itself just isn't very interesting. What's interesting is how people wind up sad, but The Hours is too busy moping and being proud of how it's moping to actually tell us any more. There is very little story behind all the drama.

The acting is like a bad jazz band. In bad jazz bands, everybody gets to step forward and do a showy solo. They aren't so much for the audience as the egos of the players. Yeah, Kidman has a big fake nose to make her unpretty. As she has told every fucking magazine and TV show that will listen, though, it wasn't about her. It was about becoming Virgina Woolf, and, gee, do you think all of this press might help my Oscar chances? She, like everyone else, is required to act with only pursed lips, knitted brows, biding her time until her big solo. For her it comes at a train station. For Julianne Moore it comes once she's changed into her old-lady makeup. Then she prattles on and on about her life's journey to strangers for no particular reason other than it's time for her solo. Harris gets to make his big speech right before jumping out a window. Holy shit! Gay, AIDS, suffering artist on crutches, lots of gray makeup to make him look emaciated and commits suicide.

The gay poet dying of AIDS is a clichÈ that needs to be buried. Playwrights think all of the world's wisdom is distilled in gay artists. And any time a big speech is needed, they just haul out the scabby guy. Aren't there any gay men dying of AIDS who just sit around all day eating Cheetos, watching Dr. Phil and hoping Abby will answer their etiquette questions? And what's with all of the movie's women having lesbian tendencies? When porno directors have ladies working a strap on, it's sexist crap. If it's some artsy-fartsy PBS shit, though, two women locking up in soft focus magically becomes empowering. It means the women are sensitive and just need love. What a load of crap. Lesbians aren't any more sensitive than straight women. They're just better organized when someone threatens to take away their health insurance.

Besides, real people don't speechify like this. If they did someone would tell them to shut the fuck up. In real life, wisdom is revealed slowly, and almost always piecemeal and inarticulately.

The movie goes to belabored lengths to show us the parallels of these three miserable women's lives. A door opening in the 1920s is almost always followed by a similar door opening in another period. Same with coffee cups lifted, alarm clock dingling or someone crying. Director Stephen Daldry must love the unsubtle smash cut and think it's the only way us unwashed morons will figure out how the three stories parallel each other. As unwashed as I am, it felt pretty fucking tacky and unsubtle to me.

Fighting mano a mano with all this overacting is Phillip Glass's bombastic score. It drowns out scenes in new-agey Koyaanisqatsi crap. It's like Glass saw all the bravura performances and got jealous. "Hey, I want everyone to notice me too! Listen! Listen! See how lush this background music is! What? You can't hear it? Then we better crank it up, dude."

It's all too much acting and directing and producing and too little to care about. Two Fingers for The Hours. I'm sure there are many who will say it's wonderful and powerful, but I doubt many will put themselves through the hell of watching it twice. Now, if you'll excuse me; who's the hot young thing that just wandered into my mind?

Want to tell Filthy Something?

Filthy's Reading
Jules Verne - Journey to the Center of the Earth

Listening to
The Breeders - Title TK


All About My Mother

David Sheehan of CBS Los Angeles

Two Weeks Notice "Touches the Heart and the Funny Bone at the same time!"

National Security
is "Hilarious! Wild comic brilliance!"

One little note: When I was younger, David made a big speech on the TV about what an outrage it was that silence of the Lambs won some Oscars. He felt that only upbeat, life-affirming movies should get awards. He's a world class idiot.


©2002 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All fucking rights Reserved