This week:
Where the Heart Is

Filthy says: "Shittier than a hillbilly outhouse!"

Us poor folk are so fucking cute. We're like a big burlap sack full of kittens, all wriggly and cuddly and helpless. "Where the Heart Is" makes us out to be a bunch of simple-minded honest folk with the personalities of moon pie. We're cute and nothing more.

Rich fucks will see this movie and think "Aww, those poor people are so adorable. Let's get some of them to clean the yard and live in our alley."

"Where the Heart Is" was written by schlockmeisters Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, and directed by Matt Williams, formerly a producer of "Roseanne." Fuck it, if you want to laugh at poor people, go sit in your Wal-Mart parking lot because those folks are a lot funnier and more realistic than the dressed-down playacting here.

Natalie Portman is Novalee Nation, the first of many cornball characters with wacky names and no genuine or interesting characteristics. While seven months pregnant, her boyfriend dumps her at a Wal-Mart in the middle of Donkeyfuck, Arkansas. With no place to go, she lives in the Wal-Mart, keeping track of how much she owes for all the shit she steals, and gives birth to a baby right there in the outdoor furniture section. Now, I've seen some teen kids on the patio furniture looking like they were making babies, but I've never seen anyone have one there, yet. You never know though, at Wal-Mart.

Portman becomes a celebrity and a Wal-Mart employee, all the while meeting hillbilly "characters" who just have so much fucking goodness in their hearts that it pours out faster than their sweat. There's Stockard Channing as "Sister Husband" who drives around in a Ford truck made up to look like a covered wagon. There is another character "Moses Something or other," the mandatory kindhearted black man who takes Portman under his wing. It's like every cheesy actor in Hollywood who had a shitty hillbilly accent and corn-pone sensibility showed up to get some piece of this sweet potato pie.

The movie drags and drags, just jumping from one big melodrama to the next without giving a high fucking hoot about the audience's need for coherence or character arc. There are three ambulance emergencies. There is a superlame looking tornado that spawns an "inspirational" death, there is the "bad" ex-boyfriend who, after getting his legs chopped off, redeems himself. And there is the mom who only wants Portman's newfound money. But the main gist is that the local librarian, a freaky looking guy played by James Frain wants to bang the snot out of Portman and he's the only decent guy for miles around. Plus, he's the only guy in town "who done been to the university college school." Despite loving him, Portman fears he's too good for her, so she pushes him away. Guess what happens in the end? But only after a confrontation so heavy with shit dialog that I could smell it.

Oh, I forgot the fucking half-assed subplots involving Ashley Judd as a woman who gets knocked up more than the door of a Jehovah Witness's neighbor. She can't, or as she says "cain't", find a good man. She finally does, and we know he's good because he's an ugly doofus. See, in the retarded world of Ganz and Mandel, ugly men and pretty women have good hearts. Handsome men and ugly women are bad.

For some unexplained reason, the bad boyfriend who bailed out on Portman has his own story told alongside the main plot. It's his rise and fall as a bad country singer, climaxing with a wonderful leg-chopping scene. Portman lost this fucker ten minutes into the story, so why can't the movie? Well, because there has to be a touching scene at the end where they reconcile and Portman shows us all how strong she is now. And, we're supposed to worry that she will go back to him, not to Frain. Duh. But the movie even fucks up that exchange.

This is the lazy fucking dream of Hollywood dipshits who think they know poverty because they watch "Married with Children." They make the poor man's world out to be some sort of trailer park Shangri-La. I say to the Babaloos and Mandels of this world, come on down to the Arvada Tavern on a Friday night and find out exactly what poor people are like. Mostly, we're pissed and tired, and pretty drunk. And we'll only help another poor person if they really need help, but we're not driving around in a truck that looks like a covered wagon looking for opportunities. That cuts into our "Judge Judy" time.

"Where the Heart Is" packages us poor folk like we're sweet hicks who don't care about money. In real life, some of us are dumb, but we're not so dumb as to buy this Hollywood shit. And we aren't all sweet. We're not poor because we're too busy helping others, it's mostly because, unlike the assholes in Hollywood, we haven't figured out an easy way to screw other poor people out of their money. Who do you think is calling the Psychic Hotline? Who do you think actually believes he can make money while losing weight? And who is actually responding to e-mail that says "MAKE $33,000 IN TEN DAYS!" It's stupid fucking poor people, the same ones that'll steal their neighbors lawn sprinkler if they can get away with it. Yeah, we have our good sides, but we are not these picayune characters who spout wisdom without even knowing it. And we don't appreciate writers making us up while they sit in some air-conditioned office in California.

Wal-Mart is the focus of this awful movie. The Wal-Mart in Donkeyfuck is a really clean place jam-packed with nice people always helping out. In "Where the Heart Is", the store has no screaming kids, no floors covered with crushed up animal crackers, no banged-up merchandise or surly employees. There are no moments where there are twenty customers and only two cash registers open. The fucking makers were so afraid to piss off Wal-Mart that they made the joint into Disneyland.

Around here, everybody hates the place, but we got no choice. Poor people have to buy cheap shit in bulk, and we have to go to Wal-Mart to do it. I hate the fucking place and I hate how every mother there is pulling one kid's arm out of its socket while she's wailing on another's head. I suppose, though, that rich assholes like Mandel, Ganz and Williams, have never been in a Wal-Mart and can't imagine the horrors and atrocities that lie within. I wonder how much that company paid for this two-hour commercial.

I think this movie would have sucked at 90 minutes, but the makers tacked on an extra half-hour. They pack the whole sheebang full of scenes that have no connection to the previous or the next. One sequence has Portman's baby kidnapped. After five minutes of hand-wringing, the baby is found alive. This sequence adds nothing to what follows, and the only thing that precedes it is some foreshadowing heavier than Tammy Faye's eye makeup.

The will-they or won't-they relationship of Frain and Portman is excruciating because the movie picks it up and drops it whenever convenient. And it never makes any mystery of the fact they'll get married in the end. Plus, Frain is supposed to be a wacky hermit. In the first scene he is, and he's way over the top, acting like a fucking goober weirdo. Then, suddenly, he's a normal guy. The makers couldn't handle balancing a "good" character with a few bad characteristics so they just dumped the weird act.

In the end, Portman pushes him away so he goes back to college. He must be at least 30 years old, but in the college scene, he's shown hanging out with his classmates. On what fucking planet is this taking place? At the junior college I attended briefly, people who were thirty years old were pushed away and treated like lepers. Fucking non-traditional students only cause problems, ask too many questions, and do too well on tests.

The acting is tedious. It's corn, corn and more corn. Up the ass, in the mouth, out the ears, everywhere. It's "Petticoat Junction" quality southern bull, with loads of twang and not a lot of believability. Of course, lots of that is a result of the horseshit Babaloo and Ganz expect them to cough up. With the exception of Portman, who swims upstream against her dorky lines and the plot, the actors haven't got a clue how poor people act or react. I will single out Sally Fields for her five minute melodrama. She makes a sugar-baked ham of herself by out-acting everyone else. I say we spiral cut her ass and eat for weeks.

And as I said before, the dialog is a mess. People just start saying important shit for no reason. Conflict arises when one character says something that is totally out of place. It's there because the character had to say it in order for the other character to say something pro-fucking-found. The writers and director are very impressed with their ability to preach cliched wisdom that is easily found on statuary at Hallmark.

I'm not sure where the heart is, really, but I sure know you aren't going to find it here, no matter how long you dig through the shit. One fucking finger to Hollywood's finest assfucks. Leave the poor people alone.

Want to tell Filthy Something?

Foley and Gordon - Convention and Choices

Listening to
Smog - Red Apple Falls
Drive Like Jehu- Drive Like Jehu

Quick Change

Leah Rosen of People Magazine

28 Days: "Sandra Bullock is Terrific!"

Frequency: "Father's Day comes early this year for those wise enough to seek out 'Frequency.' It's ingenious with plenty of heart!"

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