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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.64%
Worth A Look38.98%
Average: 27.12%
Pretty Bad: 10.17%
Total Crap: 5.08%

5 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Jesus' Son
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by Chris Parry

"They tried. They really tried."
4 stars

As a film journalist there's certain films you live for. You love to have a Nic Cage or Bruce Willis action flick to beat around the head. Easy peasy. You also quite like a film that blows you mind, like American Beauty or Being John Malkovich, so you can unload every superlative you've got. What you hate as a film journalist is the experimental, well-intentioned, well performed, original, yet still not great art film. How do you wrap up a story that can't wrap up itself? How do you criticise a filmmaker or at least trying something new? How do you pour scorn on a script that has been adapted from difficult source material?

Jesus' Son is an attempt at an opus, and for lead Billy Crudup, it's just that. Crudup is aflame right through this flick, he's without peer in his transformation to junked out wastoid with no point in his life. His co-stars, including Samantha Morton, Denis Leary, Jack Black, Holly Hunter and Will Patton, are equally into proceedings. Let's be clear, each of these characters is an in-depth story in itself, which is all the more evident when you find out the script was adapted from a book of short stories. But that which makes them great makes the feature hard to praise as a whole. Yes, it's tradition to have a beginning, middle, end of a script, and traditions should be attacked at every turn in the pursuit of the new and the brave, but there's a limit. After viewing Jesus' Son I actually had to research what the point was. I had to read the synopsis to 'get it'.

Now this could mean I'm an idiot, and you wouldn't have to go far to find people who'd be down with that opinion (get stuffed, all of you), but I think it's more likely to mean that in attempting such a hugely original project, the makers have struggled to keep things together. Very understandable and very forgivable.

In an industry where creativity and performance is so undervalued by so many, Jesus' Son deserves your box office dollar if for no other reason than it tries to earn it. Crudup's performance is nothing short of genius, immensely multi-layered and self-deprecating. Surrounded by madness, Crudup manages to avoid competing with his outlandish co-stars for screen attention and instead compliments them magnificently. If nothing else, Jesus' Son contains the best performance by an actor since Cruise unloaded the machismo in Magnolia. Both of them are just a step up from anything else going around.

If Director Alison Maclean chooses an easier target on her next project, and chooses her cast with as much foresight as she chose this one, she'll be one to watch for many a year.

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originally posted: 07/20/00 17:29:39
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User Comments

6/26/11 John Airey very good performance 4 stars
8/06/10 Heather! My 2nd favorite film of all time! I don't understand why it was never more well-known. 5 stars
3/28/07 fools♫gold There seem to be unexplained things, notably towards the beginning. But, damn is it unique! 5 stars
10/18/06 Akeem Durosomo A great film of the decade! 4 stars
1/12/06 j.f. i don't feel the junky love. solid actors, story? what story? humor? if you're stoned? 1 stars
9/05/04 Shawn Biblical Allegory? No! Allusion to Velvet Underground Song Heroin? Yes! 4 stars
4/20/04 A F Euphoric look at the decent into drugs, as opposed to the dark and often disgusting. 5 stars
12/30/03 Samuel great film, Jack Black was hilarious, and Billy Crudup did an excellent job!! 4 stars
12/05/03 Millard Fillmore Me rikey. 4 stars
10/06/03 sarah onlyfor oldies 4 stars
7/28/03 Phil M. Aficionado Crudup is amazing, and the story... well not amazing but OK. 4 stars
6/16/03 Jack Sommersby One of 2000's very best films. Crudup is a revelation. 5 stars
10/18/02 carrot ( lots of great symbolism in this movie... it's about more than just drugs and addiction. 5 stars
9/27/02 rob excellent performances. 5 stars
6/09/02 Phil M. Aficionado The full range of emotions with a sweet/sour/funny/sad/compelling/repulsive soul 5 stars
3/11/02 Melina jesus pleae 1 stars
2/14/02 Bob Marley yeaaaaaaa it's a gaaaaayyyyyyy mooooooooooovvvvvvvviiiiiiieeeeeeee :D :D :D 1 stars
9/06/01 SLICK I believe Palahniuk owes a lot to Denis Johnson & tha film, brilliant but drawn out a bit! 4 stars
9/06/01 Reini Urban Only for younger folks. 3 stars
8/06/01 daniel good movie, some really great parts. samantha morton is a truly amazing actress. 4 stars
2/10/01 Asbury Park Great film. Crudup is phenomenal, reminds me of Sean Penn at his best only better!! 5 stars
9/28/00 Slacker charm Reminiscent of Holden Caulfied 5 stars
9/25/00 The Bomb 69 great performances, average storyline 4 stars
9/20/00 Jeff Crudup is good, the film is blah. 3 stars
9/02/00 Tom The best film I've seen this year. Excellent performances by Crudup and Morton. 5 stars
7/17/00 PJ One of the best films of 2000, great performances, original, beautiful, funny, excellant 5 stars
7/16/00 Losifer entertaining, but you won't miss anything by not watching it. 3 stars
6/29/00 pipeman Has fun moments. Peters out at the end, unfortunately. 4 stars
6/29/00 J At least it was free when I saw it. 3 stars
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  16-Jun-2000 (R)



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