After reading the three movie reviews, post at least two


 

After reading the three movie reviews, post at least two full paragraphs discussing the way they are structured and written.  How do they start?  What does the author do in each review?  How do they support their opinion?  How do they end the review?  What rhetorical techniques or strategies do the authors use?  How does a movie review work? 

Question 1:

“Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” makes a living cleaning fish tanks and occasionally prostituting himself. How much he charges I’m not sure, but the price is worth it if it keeps him off the streets and out of another movie. “Deuce Bigalow” is aggressively bad, as if it wants to cause suffering to the audience. The best thing about it is that it runs for only 75 minutes.  

Rob Schneider is back, playing a male prostitute (or, as the movie reminds us dozens of times, a “man whore”). He is not a gay hustler, but specializes in pleasuring women, although the movie’s closest thing to a sex scene is when he wears diapers on orders from a giantess. Oh, and he goes to dinner with a woman with a laryngectomy, who sprays wine on him through her neck vent.

The plot: Deuce visits his friend T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin) in Amsterdam, where T.J. is a pimp specializing in man-whores. Business is bad, because a serial killer is murdering male prostitutes, and so Deuce acts as a decoy to entrap the killer. In his investigation he encounters a woman with a penis for a nose. You don’t want to know what happens when she sneezes.

Does this sound like a movie you want to see? It sounds to me like a movie that Columbia Pictures and the film’s producers (Glenn S. Gainor, Jack Giarraputo, Tom McNulty, Nathan Talbert Reimann, Adam Sandler and John Schneider) should be discussing in long, sad conversations with their inner child.

The movie created a spot of controversy last February. According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year’s Best Picture Nominees and wrote that they were “ignored, unloved and turned down flat by most of the same studios that … bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to ‘Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,’ a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.”

Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: “Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind … Maybe you didn’t win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven’t invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who’s Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers.

Reading this, I was about to observe that Schneider can dish it out but he can’t take it. Then I found he’s not so good at dishing it out, either. I went online and found that Patrick Goldstein has won a National Headliner Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, a RockCritics.com award, and the Publicists’ Guild award for lifetime achievement.

Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks.

But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” while passing on the opportunity to participate in “Million Dollar Baby,” “Ray,” “The Aviator,” “Sideways” and “Finding Neverland.” As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.

Question 2:

I have no idea why Rob Reiner, or anyone else, wanted to make this story into a movie, and close examination of the film itself is no help. “North” is one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I’ve had at the movies. To call it manipulative would be inaccurate; it has an ambition to manipulate, but fails.

The film stars Elijah Wood, who is a wonderful young actor (and if you don’t believe me, watch his version of “The Adventures of Huck Finn“). Here he is stuck in a story that no actor, however wonderful, however young, should be punished with. He plays a kid with inattentive parents, who decides to go into court, free himself of them, and go on a worldwide search for nicer parents.

This idea is deeply flawed. Children do not lightly separate from their parents – and certainly not on the evidence provided here, where the great parental sin is not paying attention to their kid at the dinner table. The parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander) have provided little North with what looks like a million-dollar house in a Frank Capra neighborhood, all on dad’s salary as a pants inspector. And, yes, I know that is supposed to be a fantasy, but the pants-inspecting jokes are only the first of several truly awful episodes in this film.

North goes into court, where the judge is Alan Arkin, proving without the slightest shadow of a doubt that he should never, ever appear again in public with any material even vaguely inspired by Groucho Marx. North’s case hits the headlines, and since he is such an all-star overachiever, offers pour in from would-be parents all over the world, leading to an odyssey that takes him to Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and elsewhere.

What is the point of the scenes with the auditioning parents? (The victimized actors range from Dan Aykroyd as a Texan to Kathy Bates as an Eskimo). They are all seen as broad, desperate comic caricatures. They are not funny. They are not touching. There is no truth in them. They don’t even work as parodies. There is an idiocy here that seems almost intentional, as if the filmmakers plotted to leave anything of interest or entertainment value out of these episodes.

North is followed on his travels by a mysterious character who appears in many guises. He is the Easter bunny, a cowboy, a beach bum, and a Federal Express driver who works in several product plugs.

Funny, thinks North; this guy looks familiar. And so he is. All of the manifestations are played by Bruce Willis, who is not funny, or helpful, in any of them.

I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

I hold it as an item of faith that Rob Reiner is a gifted filmmaker; among his credits are “This Is Spinal Tap,” “The Sure Thing,” “The Princess Bride,” “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally…,” and “Misery.” I list those titles as an incantation against this one.

“North” is a bad film – one of the worst movies ever made. But it is not by a bad filmmaker, and must represent some sort of lapse from which Reiner will recover – possibly sooner than I will.

Question 3:

 I have no idea why Rob Reiner, or anyone else, wanted to make this story into a movie, and close examination of the film itself is no help. “North” is one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I’ve had at the movies. To call it manipulative would be inaccurate; it has an ambition to manipulate, but fails.

The film stars Elijah Wood, who is a wonderful young actor (and if you don’t believe me, watch his version of “The Adventures of Huck Finn“). Here he is stuck in a story that no actor, however wonderful, however young, should be punished with. He plays a kid with inattentive parents, who decides to go into court, free himself of them, and go on a worldwide search for nicer parents.

This idea is deeply flawed. Children do not lightly separate from their parents – and certainly not on the evidence provided here, where the great parental sin is not paying attention to their kid at the dinner table. The parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jason Alexander) have provided little North with what looks like a million-dollar house in a Frank Capra neighborhood, all on dad’s salary as a pants inspector. And, yes, I know that is supposed to be a fantasy, but the pants-inspecting jokes are only the first of several truly awful episodes in this film.

North goes into court, where the judge is Alan Arkin, proving without the slightest shadow of a doubt that he should never, ever appear again in public with any material even vaguely inspired by Groucho Marx. North’s case hits the headlines, and since he is such an all-star overachiever, offers pour in from would-be parents all over the world, leading to an odyssey that takes him to Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and elsewhere.

What is the point of the scenes with the auditioning parents? (The victimized actors range from Dan Aykroyd as a Texan to Kathy Bates as an Eskimo). They are all seen as broad, desperate comic caricatures. They are not funny. They are not touching. There is no truth in them. They don’t even work as parodies. There is an idiocy here that seems almost intentional, as if the filmmakers plotted to leave anything of interest or entertainment value out of these episodes.

North is followed on his travels by a mysterious character who appears in many guises. He is the Easter bunny, a cowboy, a beach bum, and a Federal Express driver who works in several product plugs.

Funny, thinks North; this guy looks familiar. And so he is. All of the manifestations are played by Bruce Willis, who is not funny, or helpful, in any of them.

I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

I hold it as an item of faith that Rob Reiner is a gifted filmmaker; among his credits are “This Is Spinal Tap,” “The Sure Thing,” “The Princess Bride,” “Stand By Me,” “When Harry Met Sally…,” and “Misery.” I list those titles as an incantation against this one.

“North” is a bad film – one of the worst movies ever made. But it is not by a bad filmmaker, and must represent some sort of lapse from which Reiner will recover – possibly sooner than I will.

 

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